Friday, June 29, 2012

I Love You Review

  This was my first exposure to kdrama, the first delicious sip that led to my current and abiding kdrama addiction. I had recently been interested in trying to find out more about international tv, since I love international cinema and love to be exposed to other cultures. It was late one night, and I was flipping through the cable channels—you know the ones past 100 on basic cable that almost nobody watches? It was then that I saw this

  Please forgive my ingnorance as I admit that my first response was "that guy has an awesome Spock haircut!" I didn't yet know the awesomeness that is Korean male hairstyles (and admittedly, this is no Lee Min Ho masterpiece). I watched in rapt attention as the drama and the comedy unfolded before me. I had no idea what language they were speaking—I thought it was Japanese, my roommate thought it must be Korean—but I knew I had found something special. Something noteworthy. I didn't know at that moment that I had found something that would change my life. I had no clue what this was called, but the end credits said I Love You, so I googled it. Sadly, I googled it as I Love You Japanese show. Nothing came up. I tried various similar searches to no avail, until I tried changing Japanese to Korean.
  Bingo! Amazon had it for sale, but unfortunately it was too expensive for me to buy at the time, and with 16 episodes, and after only having seen half of one, I wasn't comfortable dropping that much cash on something so unknown.
  Luckily for me, Netflix had started streaming some kdramas, and I devoured them voraciously (My Princess, Boys Over Flowers, and Mischievous Kiss). Months later, after learning that Hulu had a kdrama channel, I was able to watch the rest of this series, grateful the entire time for a show that opened a new world to me.
  I tell you this so that you can understand why this drama has such a special place in my heart. It may not be up there with the greatest dramas. It may not have won awards or broken new ground. But I love it. It's funny—the thing that really drew me in at first. It's sweet. There are great dramatic tropes like pregnancy from a one night stand, lost jewels, family opposition to a relationship, cheating spouses, and girls being chased by thugs. Also, the lead Suk Chul Soo is bunglingly endearing.

  When Young Hee and Chul Soo meet, she thinks he's some pervy guy groping her on the subway and proceeds to yell at him. This being Korea, various people record videos on their cell phones and post it on a Korean version of youtube. Suddenly Chul Soo is well known as the subway pervert. He tries desperately to contact Young Hee, and manages to apologize, but creates more misunderstandings. She seems to feel some kind of pity attraction to him and ends up repeatedly helping him out. He looks for excuses to see her. One memorable scene is when he calls her as a relief driver to drive him home, since he's had a bit to drink. When she arrives, he motions to his bike and tells her that it's even dangerous to ride a bike if you're drunk. She decides it's better to take him home than leave him.

  I also love his seduction scene. He tries so hard just to get in her house, and when he finally succeeds, he immmediately starts to make some moves. But, although he considers himself a player, I am totally unconvinced. He is so awkward and strange that it's a miracle Young Hee even lets him kiss her, let alone sleep with her!

  The top scene is his awful proposal to Na Young Hee, and it's hilarious! "I may be a jerk, but I'm just like every other guy out there. We might as well get married. Besides, if we don't get married, who knows when you will show up expecting me to pay for it. That's just like burying me alive." This is a planned proposal, mind you. What girl wants a proposal like that? Seriously! Not really an endearing moment, but I laughed so much watching this scene.
  Chul Soo and Young Hee decide to try to make things work, setting off the crazy shenanigans. Add to the mix Chul Soo's neighbor who got a different Young Hee pregnant, Na Young Hee's brother-in-law who is unfaithful to her sister, and various other troublemaking family members, and you have the makings of a decent Korean comedy. Not great, but solidly decent. It has a special place in my heart, but as a recommendation to others, I have to be more objective.
  Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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