Paradise Ranch: A Review

This is the cheesiest, fluffiest romantic comedy of 2011. Ugh.

Why am I even writing this review? Well, I’ve invested too much time into this series, and I already wrote a first impressions post. It had it’s shining moments, but honestly, I think the fault is in the writing more than the acting.

The premise was promising – two young people marry early and have a quickie divorce. One becomes a spoiled chaebol while the other gives up on her dreams of studying to become a sort-of-veterinarian/horse trainer. The drama takes place in Jeju (pretty!) and deals with horses (action!?). On top of that, the exes reunite and jealousy abounds.

So how could it go terribly wrong? Well, for one thing, the drama is solely resting on the shoulders of Changmin and Lee Yeon Hee. I had hoped that Changmin would rise to the challenge as the series wore on, but honestly, he barely improved until the last episode. (His acting in ATHENA was better, where all he had to do was look cool.) Lee Yeon Hee‘s character became grating at times, and Joo Sang Wook‘s character didn’t turn out the way I hoped he would. Yoo Ha Na‘s character was flat and uninteresting. The thing is – aside from the two main leads, I think that if the actors had better material to work off of, the acting could have been better.

In 16 episodes, Lee Da Ji (Lee Yeon Hee) managed to marry Han Dong Joo (Changmin), divorce him, date Seo Yoon Ho (Joo Sang Wook), break up with Seo Yoon Ho, get back together with Dong Joo, separate with Dong Joo, and then get back together with him again. Really? And for Han Dong Joo, that character is the biggest, most wishy-washy man I’ve ever met. He hates Da Ji but can’t stay away from her. He wants to date Jin Young (Yoo Ha Na) and yells at Yoon Ho’s relationship with his ex, but is an absolute hypocrite in regards to his relationship with Da Ji. In the end, the two of them pretty much end up right back where they started, but with more patience, with more maturity, and more understanding. OK – so that’s not exactly where they started, but it’s close enough.

The one thing I really wanted to know and understand completely was why they divorced in the first place. Instead I got an expositional dialogue from the both of them. A flashback into what really happened would have been better.

And that’s the thing about this drama – everything is told to us, and nothing is really shown. The writing in this drama is so generic and uninteresting. I didn’t care about the characters because I knew exactly what was going to happen to them. Plus, every episode would end on a cliffhanger where one more person would find out about Da Ji and Dong Joo’s odd live-in relationship – and honestly, I couldn’t care less. In fact, I was always surprised because I thought that character already knew about their past and their current living situation! They were always so obvious about it! Then, there would always be some sort of obstacle for every love relationship that arises from this drama, and that obstacle is always pretty flimsy (a parent’s disapproval, a hidden ex-wife) that I never felt they were real threats to the true pairings of the drama.

The shining moments in this drama were all about the horses – 1) when the horse Forest finally began to ran after 13 episodes of stubbornly standing in place, and 2) when Forest participated in the horse race and was in the lead, when it decided to stop running and turn back to the starting line where Da Ji was standing. It was so ridiculous and random that I couldn’t help but laugh for three minutes straight.

This is one pre-produced drama that should have been canceled. Birdie Buddy should be given the chance to air if a drama like this could be aired.

Rating: 4/10

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