Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday the First: You're the Best, Lee Soon Shin

Yeah...this probably isn't likely to be anyone's first Kdrama, to be honest...

It's not bad or anything...Some people have criticized it for its slow plot and character development, but that is less of an issue now that you have all fifty episodes to plow through at once as opposed to getting two episodes per week for five months.

Summary (from DramaFever):
Lee Soon Shin (IU) has difficulty living up to the legacy of her name. Despite being named after a powerful general, she's been coddled as the youngest sibling, and is the least successful in her family. When her father passes away suddenly, and the family falls into debt, Soon Shin finds herself desperate to help ease her family's burdens. Her sunny and spirited attitude attracts Shin Joon Ho (Jo Jung Suk), a talent agent banking on a comely return-on-investment. However, both of them get more than they expected when their partnership turns both of their lives around for the better.

(I've noticed that with certain shows *cough* Heirs *cough* it really does help me enjoy the experience more if all of the episodes are available when my finger first presses the "play" button. This is probably one of those shows.)

However, let me reiterate this: fifty episodes. That's over fifty hours, and dramas of this length require just a bit more patience than the Kdramas of the shorter variety. Honestly, I don't know how we got through Boys Over Flowers. And You're the Best, Lee Soon Shin is twice as long. *sighs exasperatedly*

Anyway, this almost was my first Kdrama, actually. I had been listening to IU for a few months by that point, and there also were only about eight episodes available at the time. So this could potentially be someone's first Korean drama. Any drama has this potential, in the end.

Where does this drama's first-Kdrama potential come from?

1) There's always someone to root for. (Or against.)

Most of the scenes in this drama are conflicts within themselves, and it's not difficult to find yourself cheering (or mentally punching) a character in almost every scene. Now, while the amount of second-hand encouragement isn't original, it does keep the energy (and frustration) alive.

2) IU.

Based on my bias for IU, is it any wonder why this nearly was my first drama? If a friend is into K-pop (more specifically, a fan of IU), get that friend to watch some IU dramas. If a friend is a total K-culture newbie, get that friend into both at the same time with an IU drama. She's cute, she's talented enough, and she has that unique ability to make you forget how jealous you are of her prettiness. Her character is growing up (as am I, hence why I relate to the character) and is still finding her way in the world amidst all the daggers everyone throws at her. Again, not exactly original, but certainly cute and catching.

3) As crazy as the drama can be, parts of it are relatable.

Again, this is not an original trait or anything like that...If there isn't at least something that is relatable about a drama, there isn't any way for we, as audience members, to connect with the characters. However, since the drama consists of 50 episodes, each character is given his or her time to reveal traits, pasts, and motivations to draw us in to his or her heart. (I personally related the most to IU, but that's a result of both her character and her identity, so such a revelation is kind of biased.)

4) As dragged-out as the conflicts are, the frustration and the hope that everything will work out is compelling enough to keep you watching.

What better way to be introduced to the immense frustration that threatens to send your computer across the room in fury than to watch a weekend drama? After all, frustration and length make for multiple character arcs (for each character) and conflicts that just scream, "Marathon until Conflict Resolution!"

5) Jaebangsa-ajussi.

Heck, all of the good guys, really.

Especially, you know, the one who is the male lead...
But Shin Joon Ho isn't nearly as sweet as this guy...
...or this guy...
...or Jaebangsa-ajussi.
"Jaebangsa" is the Korean word for "baker," as far as I could tell from the Internet. So for the past eight months or so, my nickname for Jung Woo - no matter how many other fans will call him Trash because of Answer Me 1994, which I haven't yet seen - has and will remain "Jaebangsa-ajussi." Jaebangsa-ajussi's character, Park Chan Woo, Shin Joon Ho, and Kim Young Hoon are the sweetest bunch of men a woman could ever want. Well, maybe not Shin Joon Ho as much, but he is the male lead, so I'll cut him some slack. In any case, if you want your first Kdrama experience to raise your expectations of men (if you like men, that is), look no further.

IU and the men pictured above are what make You're the Best, Lee Soon Shin a worthy contender for a newbie's or a veteran's viewing. There's also the opportunity to soak your feet in frustration, but who needs that when you have precious people turning you into a puddle?

Disclaimer: Pamela is not responsible for any arguments, addictions, loss of social lives, increased understanding, or ridicule that may result from this post.


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