The Musical: A Separate Review (Of Sorts)

I’m not really keen on writing my final thoughts on this drama. Why? Because I am so disappointed in it. But I should, right? After all – it’s worth discussing why it was so disappointing. This series should have been on a cable channel, because then it would have been cut down to 45 minutes, there wouldn’t have been broadcast delays, and there would have been tighter storytelling rather than 10 minutes of recapping just to fill in air time.

I definitely had hope for this drama. I enjoyed it in the beginning because I wanted to know how Eun Bi was going to be a musical actress, how she won Jae Hee’s heart, how Kang Hee was going to foil her every move, how Yoo Jin was going to develop a heart and start thinking so business-like. I was curious about these characters. They all had such conflicting personalities that I was curious how they would all come together and work with each other.

But then things progressed quickly: Jae Hee was in love with Eun Bi by episode 2; Yoo Jin was touched by Eun Bi’s perseverance by episode 4; Eun Bi kept waffling and becoming pathetic at episode 7; Kang Hee stopped being catty by episode 10. And the focus of the drama shifted from Eun Bi to “Chungdamdong Gumiho” to Yoo Jin and his mother, before finally going back to the romance and “Chungdamdong Gumiho.” Now I’m ok with fast pacing – but this “quick progression” was not in a positive way. Characters were basically losing the trait that made them interesting.

And after all this, we didn’t even get “The Musical” that this drama was about. We only got a rushed ending with random edits that were vague, gave everyone a neat bow-tied ending, and gave no clue on the timeline of events.

We did get to see some growth in the characters, but that growth was reserved mainly for the secondary actors, which in my opinion is not good. How can you develop all the other characters but not the main two leads?! Of course, not developing the secondary leads suck too, but I’d like some growth all around. Rather than a drama about “a musical,” it was a drama about how this seemingly-nonexistent-musical affected the characters around it. If that was the goal of the writer, then that’s pretty interesting, and props to the writer. However, the setup made it seem like it was going to be about the obstacles overcome in creating that musical.

Kang Hee and Yoo Jin were the two characters that were given any interesting angle at all. Kang Hee went from super manipulative and strong, to pathetic and nonexistent (literally), to weak and cowardly by the end. She gave up so quickly at one doctor’s diagnosis of losing her voice for six months, and looked like she was not going to try to regain it. As for Yoo Jin, he went from asshole, to distant-but-shy, to complete cad, to an actual human being who can finally voice out his concerns and be more free. I like his progression the best, and Park Ki Woong played him excellently. I do think him and Ock Joo Hyun were the only saving grace to this drama.

That also means that I really don’t like Gu Hye Sun. She’s terrible in this drama. She does not emote properly, and she likes to grimace or make awkward smiles all the time. She looks like she’s not even acting awkward, meaning she really is awkward. And that’s just… awkward. Other actors can act “awkward” and “shy” without looking like an insincere fool. I have not seen her since Pure 19; admittedly I no longer remember much except for the fact that she had an accent/lisp (because her character was from China rather than Korea), and that Suh Ji Suk was damn mighty fine. (See – she was barely memorable for me there too!) So I’m not impressed that in the years between she didn’t get better. She just did more activities; being a jack-of-all-trades isn’t that good because she’s not a master of anything. I have never felt compelled to watch Boys Over Flowers; now I really don’t want to watch it. Ever.

Her character was not well developed either, and the fault lies within the writer. I felt her “growth” was superfluous, rather than a sincere change. She waffled around between musicals too much, and Gu Hye Sun never made her seem like she had a real drive for anything. The character Eun Bi is never seen at succeeding in anything either – she’s not in “Count Monte,” and she’s not seen performing “Chungdamdong Gumiho.” She’s seen kissing Daniel Choi – but really? For a girl who rejected him several times for her “acting career,” you let her succeed in kissing Daniel Choi?

Though the series being cut down could have affected the quality of the ending, I don’t think it made much impact. The story was flagging already. I do feel like this drama was handled badly and in a disorganized manner. That is a shame. This drama had potential, and it really just dropped the ball by the end.

Rating: 5/10. That’s being generous.

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