I don’t know why I’m sucked into this drama, but I am. Somehow despite the slapstick and cheesy acting, it got to me. I’m addicted. I’m ashamed to be addicted, because now I will have no life on Mondays and Tuesdays. Episode 5 why can’t you come sooner?!?!
One disclaimer I must make is that I have not seen the original Japanese version, even though so many people have told me to watch it and I have heard comparisons between this Korean drama and the original (namely, the girl is not as ridiculous as Shim Eun Kyung). So you won’t really hear comparisons from me.
Instead I’m going to break down very, very simply why I’m in love with this drama in a list.
1. It’s the elites vs. the underdogs
Throughout the four episodes it’s about the underdogs trying to prove that they’re just as good – or better – than the elites. Cha Yoo Jin (Joo Won) is presented as the most brilliant pianist and the top student in his school, and yet he is not even fit to be a conductor, which is what he really wants to be. In a way, he’s an underdog.
We have the S Orchestra, a special group of the “leftovers” specially chosen by Franz von Stresemann (Baek Yoon Shik), going up against the A Orchestra. A Orchestra was the original one that was formed for the school, so they’re already the best of the best. To have them go up against S Orchestra for the fall festival is like an insult to them, but it gives us the wonderful conflict and space for character growth for our main characters.
This simple story of elites vs. underdogs is enough to make me watch, because I just naturally root for S Orchestra to do well.
2. The musical performances
It goes without saying that the classical music is amazing, but what I love more is watching the performances. I love watching the actors perform onstage in a drama – performing within a performance. It’s why I watched Heartstrings, The Musical, and my ultimate favorite What’s Up. Though I know that the main actors are not professional pianists or violinists, it’s still fun to watch them fake it and go up against others who are probably more musically talented.
Performances are fun, and don’t require much dialogue, so I can sit back and enjoy without thinking too hard on what’s going on. Tack on some bets on who’ll have the better performance, and I’m sold.
3. The Best Friend-Triangle
This is new for me, and something I LOVE LOVE LOVE. We have Yoo Jin, Nae Il, and Yoo Il Rak (Go Kyung Pyo) all together – but they’re not rivals for love! Well, not romantically at least. Il Rak is not even competing with Yoo Jin for Nae Il’s affections; if anything, he’s competing with Nae Il for Il Rak’s affections! I love that the three of them are becoming best friends slowly, even though Yoo Jin continually brushes them off when he’s annoyed. And then if we made it a “love square” like in other dramas, I love that the other leg is Ma Soo Min (Jang Se Hyun), a gay timpani player who idolizes Yoo Jin and competes with Nae Il for his love! 1) Prominent gay character, and 2) EVERYONE’S IN LOVE WITH YOO JIN. I know that Soo Min is not the first prominent gay character in K-dramas, but it’s still pretty rare to see.
In general, the “best friend triangle” reminds me of Harry Potter and his friends, and their misadventures. Even though Yoo Jin isn’t Harry, Il Rak isn’t Ron, and Nae Il is definitely not Hermione… but I hope you get what I mean…
4. I don’t like Nae Il – but she is tolerable because of everyone else
I dislike the over-the-top acting from Shim Eun Kyung, and considering that I have not seen her in anything else, it’s not leaving a favorable impression of her. I knew only from stories and the news that she’s a good up-and-coming actress. I will give her credit for being unusually bright and cheerful all the time, and for giving her own spin to the character. And, there is one moment in episode 4 where she kind of calms down and has a moment where she realizes that she really is falling for Yoo Jin; that was a nice moment from Shim Eun Kyung.
But everyone else around her is a bit more even and they temper her outrageousness with their own disbelief at how a girl can be this crazy. It’s how they react to her without being equally crazy that kind of helps make her tolerable. If I just had to watch only her with her crazy Jeju accent and her attempt at being aegyo all the time, I might just go crazy.
5. Joo Won’s Reactions
Joo Won is a good actor. He’s fine, though I haven’t seen all of his dramas to completion. His hair sucks, but I get that it’s part of the character in the manga. (It’s better than Jang Hyuk’s Fated to Love You hair at least.)
But he’s so awesome. I love how petty he can be, how great he is at acting annoyed, and how he can get along so well with Nae Il despite how annoying she can be. Despite his prickly character, he quickly shows that he’s willing to change and be more understanding of others. He appreciates others’ talents, even if he seems like the type to live by the credo “my way or the highway.”
Yayyyyy Joo Won!!!