Sunday Roundup: Cheer Up, She Was Pretty – 10/25/2015

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8 episodes in one week – it was a lot and I attempted to squeeze in a few more episodes of LAST but ended up just marathoning 8 more episodes of Orphan Black, of which I’m catching up on the second season. So much TV, so little time! So here’s a roundup on the last few episodes of K-dramas that I managed to watch in the past week without much intention to recap.

Cheer Up!

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So I watched episodes 3-6. WOOOOOOOO. That was really my reaction for those last few episodes. It was really great to see everyone’s characters coming out with their own mini arc in each episode. Episode 3 made me really mad with the principal’s – and parents’ – conniving ways, while episode 4 sold me into the relationship that Yeol and Yeon Doo are developing.

What’s really awesome is that everyone is starting to recognize Soo Ah’s manipulative and evil ways for themselves. After all, it’s not enough to be told by Yeon Doo or Yeol that Soo Ah is a jerk. No matter how many times Yeol exposes her schemes in front of everyone, she can scare everyone into following her lead. But Yeon Doo isn’t afraid of her and she is more willing to work with her “enemies” at Baek Ho than to stick to her clique. And because of that, everyone is starting to change because of her – first Yeol (who is her most powerful ally), then Ha Joon, and then Soo Ah’s “best friends” Jae Young and Na Yeon. They begin to work together, and realize that it’s better to live with your own conscience than to live in a bubble. So the ending of episode 6 gave me all THE FEELS in the world.

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I really love Kim Ji Suk‘s character as the guiding light in these kids’ lives, because he’s someone who’s just trying to teach and is a good influence on everyone by not being as ambitious as In Gyo Jin’s character. Him and Lee Mi Do as the cheerleading coach are great together because you’d think she would be just as corrupt as the parents who hired her, but she is just as serious about her job as he is about being a good educator. She finds a loophole in how to get the Baek Ho and Real King kids to work together: threaten them with punishment points! Her blackmailing methods are also so simple, and yet so effective, and I love her for that. We need good influencers like Teacher Yang Tae Bum and Coach Nam Jung Ah to be around the Baek Ho kids more.

And because of that, it really made me sad to see Yang Tae Bum mired in the “sexual harassment” scandal, and to see his job at risk already because he reported the principal and the school to the Education Office. You know that even if the kids admitted to lying about the sexual harassment, his problems are not at the least over. But what’s nice about these conflicts is that while they’re never fully 100% resolved, you know enough of the truth and the kids show enough that they care (like sitting with the outcast teacher in the lunchroom) to make you feel better.

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Similarly, the issues that Ha Joon and Dong Jae have are never fully resolved. Ha Joon still finds himself ruled under his father’s iron fist, and Dong Jae still has a hard time physically touching others because of a traumatic accident in his youth, but you can see them making an effort to get away from it. It’s really interesting to see that because of Soo Ah, both are trying to overcome their issues. Ha Joon is finding the courage to fight against his father because he doesn’t like how his own father is manipulated by Soo Ah’s schemes, and Dong Jae is the only one who sees Soo Ah at her most vulnerable and was also paired with her to support her when she does aerial moves.

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I never wanted to feel bad for Soo Ah, but I have to say that the actress (Chae Soo Bin) and the writing does a good job in making her somewhat sympathetic. She feels she has no choice because she’s gone so deep that she doesn’t know how to turn back. She doesn’t know how to be forgiving and how to be helpful to others because her upbringing and her life now has always been about having others work for her gain. It’s nice to see her look scared of herself, because isn’t it tiring to be angry all the time?

Read the first impressions here.

She Was Pretty

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For this one, I caught up from episodes 5 to 8 (since I am watching on DramaFever and I was a couple weeks behind already). WAO I love Siwon. I mean, Shin Hyuk. He’s actually the best character in this show for me because he makes me so happy every time he is on screen. A true scene stealer that one, with his facial acrobatics and kind and honest soul. I love that he honestly loves Hye Jin for who she is – before her makeover – and how he ends up having a bromance with Sung Joon (they share underwear!!!). As a character, I like that he is the one person who sees what’s going on in the world, who knows the truth before everyone else does, and is the type that won’t stay silent. We need characters like him who are honest, and it’s helpful that he’s also so likable.

Speaking of likable characters, a big surprise for me was how much liked Reporter Cha Joo Young and Hye Jin’s boss from the management support team. They’re actually decent people who don’t try to screw Hye Jin over. Cha gives her a lot of work opportunities (sending her to a business trip to help scout for locations) and trusting her with all her errands. And then Hye Jin’s former boss at least does try to help her find a job when she gets fired from The Most team. So yay for them! At least not everyone in the world is trying to screw Hye Jin over.

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I did feel some butterflies in my stomach as Sung Joon and Hye Jin bonded during the business trip as he learns that the two of them have a great deal in common. (The fireworks in the background were quite an obvious allegory to their budding relationship.) And of course they do because they’re truly the best friends from childhood. As much as I love Shin Hyuk with Hye Jin, and wish that they’d get together, I do like that Sung Joon is starting to appreciate Hye Jin and like her for who she is. That’s what was necessary for this series, otherwise I’d never forgive it if they got together.

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At the same time, I actually don’t hate Ha Ri after all her lies. She clearly needs and wants love, and can get it from Sung Joon – even if it’s a displaced kind of love as he thinks she’s someone else. Go Joon Hee makes her very sympathetic despite everything she does in episode 6 to keep Sung Joon for herself. And knowing Hye Jin’s personality, while it might drive them apart for a few months I think they will forgive each other and stay friends by the end of the series. Because I cannot imagine Ha Ri staying close to them after coming clean.

And finally… isn’t this cute?! An onion crying!

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And WHAT IS UP WITH THIS!?

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Read the first impressions here.

 

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