Padam Padam: First Impressions

After much wheedling and hearing about it from others, I finally got a chance to watch the first three episodes of Padam Padam. I wasn’t inclined to at first because I couldn’t even get a good grasp of the story – everyone I asked would say, “I can’t tell you – it’d ruin the story!” And I’d go: “BUT WHAT’S THE STORY!?!?”

But thank the Lord for long weekends. Seriously. They’re my chance to catch up on some new-ish dramas that I wanted to check in to, but never had time for. And I’m most grateful I checked this one out, because I’m now hooked. This drama is INSANE.

I marathoned the first 7 episodes, so I’m not going to bother with a summary of all seven episodes. Rather, here’s a summary for anyone who wants a summary, but their friend says “I can’t tell you – it’d ruin the story!!”

Yang Kang Chil (Jung Woo Sung) is an inmate sentenced to death row. He’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit, but rather, was the victim of. His cell mate/best friend/little brother is Lee Gook Soo (Kim Bum), who claims to be an angel (literally). Kang Chil dies, but then gets a second chance at life (yes, LITERALLY). He ends up having an intertwined destiny with Jung Ji Na (Han Ji Min), who has a connection to his past and also is at the receiving end of some unintentional groping by Kang Chil. (I’m serious here.)

All you need to know is that this drama is like 49 Days – but SO MUCH BETTER. Then again, both dramas have very different tones; 49 Days went for the romantic melodrama that was more light-hearted than this one. This drama is dark, and it’s unflinching with the cursing, the beating, and the deaths.

OK – at this point, I’m going to say some things that are spoiler-y. Considering that this drama is like 49 Days, it does mean that Kang Chil has three chances at life. While the former drama is all about gathering three tears to return to the human world, Kang Chil will experience three miracles – three instances where he can reverse his death through sheer will. It sounds cheesy, and ridiculous, and unbelievable, but believe me – it’s done SO WELL.

There are things about supernatural dramas that you’re forced to just accept; you can’t be bothered with “Is that realistic or what?” but rather, you have to accept it, and then see if the things that are happening fit the rules of that world. For example, we are forced to accept that Kang Chil is going to relive his death until he figures a way out of that death. We are forced to accept that Gook Soo will have his angel wings, even though everyone else in the drama thinks he’s crazy. Kang Chil is halfway a believer already though.

There are special effects regarding Gook Soo’s wings too, so we just have to accept that weirdness is going to be part of the drama. However, it’s not the entirety of the drama. This drama is intriguing, suspenseful, and deep because at the root of it, it’s about a man who wants to live a simple life after getting a second chance, but extenuating circumstances prevent him from having that peaceful life.

I love the cinematography of this drama. It’s beautifully shot, with everything in soft focus and the colors are so vivid. It’s set in a peaceful fishing town/countryside, which juxtaposes the roughness of Kang Chil’s character and the inner turmoil a lot of the characters go through.

But the cinematography is trumped by the actors. Not only is the drama well-written, but the actors make mundane lines hilarious. They express such joy and innocence that we don’t see much anymore – especially from male characters. Jung Woo Sung just proved my belief that he’s a great actor, and that Athena completely wasted his talent with a shoddy script. This man is amazing; his expressions are wonderful to watch, his acting from insane laughter to tears. I love how his character is so truthful and blunt, and also more insecure than most male drama leads we see. He doesn’t bother putting up a front, because he has no front. He is who he is, and he’s not going to hide or run away from the fact that he’s an ex-convict.

As for Kim Bum – I LOVE THIS KID. He’s utterly winning, and though he was great in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, I like him WAYYY better here. He’s so endearing, omniscient, and honest. I just prefer him fully dressed. Yes – I know, it’s weird to say that I’d rather see a guy who’s all dressed than see half-naked shower scenes of him. However, Kim Bum dear – you need some meat on your bones.


I have never seen Han Ji Min act before, and she is quite the beauty (shallowly speaking). Her character can be quite frustrating and confusing at times, but that’s not the fault of the actress at all. She portrays the confusion just fine, and I think it’s necessary to have a character so complex when next to Jung Woo Sung’s character, who’s so simple. Another newcomer is Choi Tae Joon, who plays Kang Chil’s son (maybe). I love watching him interact with Jung Woo Sung because they manage to mirror each other’s habits and facial characteristics so well. This guy’s a newbie, so I hope to see more of him in the future. He looks like a young Lee Kyu Han.

My MOST FAVORITE character though is “Tenggie” – the dog. He’s smart, he’s capable, he’s good looking, and he’s quiet. I want Tenggie in my house.

I need to catch up on this drama. It’s just so good.

The end of 2011 – beginning of 2012 is incredibly promising.

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