My Mini Back-story:
- Overall 10
- Story 10
- Acting/Cast 10
- Music 9
- Rewatch Value 8
Jung Woo-Sung is a must-watch actor. His versatile performances are hard to come by these days.
So if the storyline seems intriguing AND I get a chance to watch him deliver, I'll take that as a nod to dive into the fresh pool. Jung Woo-Sung always has something special to offer to his audience/fans.
Padam Padam has to be one of the most original scripts up-to-date (at least from all the Korean dramas that I've watched thus far). I love how the series does not look down on its' viewers. In other words, the plot doesn't go around in a continuous loop. Most, if not everything, gets resolved and there's no hiding/bickering between characters for too long. Hence, it doesn't make the
viewers angry. The main character is very straightforward/honest, so perhaps that explains why the plot doesn't stall also.
The pacing of Padam Padam was just a tiny bit slow for me. However, I don't know exactly what they could have left out, since I believe most of it was necessary. Perhaps, it's just me who finds it a tad slow paced for my taste (especially near the end).
So what does this series have to offer?
a) Pathos driven. It will pull at your heartstrings whether you like it or not. I didn't cry, but I know people who did.
b) Sense of humor/comedy. The comedy nicely contrasts with the emotional/seriousness. There's quite a lot and it's incorporated together really well. It doesn't feel forced. I actually even laughed out loud at some parts (especially the bantering between Gook Soo and Kang Chil).
c) Family Relationships. There are a lot of heart-tugging/tender relationships (especially b/w a father and son, and son and mother).
d) Friendship. I absolutely loved the bromance between Kang Chil and Gook Soo. Those two are my favorite 'pairing' from this drama.
e) Very Romantic. Our two leading stars are not afraid to express their emotions on-screen. They looked sublimely natural together. Love the small/big romantic gestures. It doesn't feel cheesy either.
f) Strong dialogues/writing. This obviously enhances the series' quality.
g) Originality. Like, I've mentioned above.
h) Unpredictable. It's actually quite unpredictable, since there's an element of fantasy involved.
j) Fantasy. There's a touch of supernatural which I was hesitant at first, but it worked nicely. I wish they would have delved more into the 'chicken mutant'.
i) Crime drama. Not your typical gangsters. Phewww!
k) Realistic. One of the most realistic Korean dramas out there, despite it being marketed as a melodrama. The poor characters actually wear the same clothes multiple times. No characters are super 'evil'. Many themes (hope, will, and miracle) relate to our modern society/life. Even the locations and reactions from the characters are realistic. In fact, realism is probably the series' strongest point (aside from the great casts).
Each episode doesn't feel like a separate episode. It rather feels like a whole storybook told from the POV of the protagonist, Yang Kang Chil. And thankfully, he's a well-rounded/flawed character.
I enjoyed most of the characters. I wasn't on the edge of my seat rooting for them, but I am glad that I went on such a wonderful/heart-warming experience with them.
My favorite characters are: Kang Chil, Gook Soo, Mi Ja (Kang Chil's mother) and Min Hyo-sook.
You grow to love these characters as you understand their motives/reverse-psychology tactics. Their reactions are very realistic and each character has distinct qualities which makes them unique. I despise when characters are just written to support the main characters’ existence. Padam Padam is definitely not one of those cases.
Without a doubt, Kang Chil’s character stood out the most. He’s such a heart-warming character. He has lots of flaws, thus many ranges of emotions. Probably every emotion that exists can be seen in his character. The reason why Kang Chil is such an expressive character is largely thanks to Jung Woo-Sung. His face contortions and smiles don’t require words to back up his character’s (Kang Chil) unique thoughts. I can’t remember the last time I saw a character with such huge range of complex emotion. Jung Woo-Sung has never failed to amaze me (perhaps in Athena, but that wasn’t the actors’ faults). He really understands his character well and it shows A LOT.
Gook Soo is also an amazing character (too bad Kang Chil is hard to beat). I love his innocence / contemplation of what is a miracle or not. He’s like the archetype of Kang Chil. In a way, they both bring out the best in each other and it is indeed rare to come across such a strong bromance. They truly stick to each other through thick and thin. Kim Bum has improved A LOT from the last time I saw him in Boys Over Flowers. When I first saw him in BOF, I never thought of him as manly, but he has definitely changed my mind. He’s also a very versatile actor. I can’t wait to see him in another project that will do him justice like this one. He’s a young actor that should be used to the fullest potential (like Kim Soo Hyun).
Mi Ja is the epitome of a caring mother. She often uses reverse psychology because she doesn’t want to show her weakness. And I love how she’s so brave / strong even though she’s a single mother. Definitely love the relationship b/w her and Kang Chil. It’s also rare to see a bonding mother-son relationship in K-dramas. The closest one that I’ve come across is Will it Snow on Christmas?
I don’t know why, but I just love Hyo-Sook’s presence. I admit that I wasn’t too fond of their countryside accents at first (shallow me!), but I grew to like hers. Her conversations with Gook Soo were also tender / cute. She really brightens the mood whenever she appears, which is nice for a change.
On a side note, since Ha Ji Min plays a huge role as well, why not talk about her? I personally thought her character, Ji Na, felt unoriginal for me. She's your typical Korean drama girl. I was hoping for a more in-depth characterization b/w her and her father. It wasn't a huge deal in the end though.
Nonetheless, Ha Ji Min played her character beautifully. If a less experienced actress played her role, I think it would have been hard to watch, since Ji Na isn’t a very interesting character to start. The thing that stood out for me the most is how Ji Min reciprocates Woo-Sung’s actions/love. They felt so natural together that it was hard not to believe that they aren't more than just friends in real life. Ji Min and Woo-Sung are probably one of the best/most natural on-screen couples I’ve seen. I’ve already mentioned in my review of The Princess’s Man how I like it how couples give the same amount of effort in the relationship (HATE when the man does everything). And they did just that, or they even went beyond it! One look/one touch, sparks were flying all over the place.
Originally, the songs didn’t peak my interest, but as the drama and its’ characters pulled me in, I started to take notice.
My two favorite songs are “You’re a Fool” by Brown Eyed Girls (JeA) and “In Order to Live” by Noel.
“You’re a Fool” matches so well with Ji Na’s perspective. The melody pulls at my heartstrings.
On the other hand, “In Order to Live” fits the mood and it makes me palpitate whenever it comes at the end of the episodes.
These two songs make you feel like you’re living a part of these characters’ lives.
The other songs were nice, but they didn’t stand out.
It took me awhile to get into the way it was filmed. First of all, it was shot like an actual film.
The backgrounds/scenes look rather gloomy for my taste. Though, it gave it darker/grittier atmosphere which complemented the tone of the drama. Hence, I slowly came to appreciate the cinematography. It added realism to the storyline.
Did I mention that Woo-Sung and Ji Min look beautiful here? Honestly, beautiful, beautiful couple! Not just in the looks department, but the way they cared for each other.
Love the addition of Tengie!! I'm an animal lover, so maybe that's why.
Loved it! Padam Padam is a well-rounded drama if you’re looking for a melodrama that’s realistic (does that make sense?). Not only is it realistic, but the characters are thoroughly fleshed out (with a few minor missing). I loved the concept and the twist of fantasy.
If you’re a sensitive person, you might want to carry a box of Kleenex with you while watching this. Padam Padam excels at bringing one moment of sadness followed by a moment of happiness. The mood transition happens quite quickly, but it’s plausible (can’t really explain it until you’ve seen it). My mom actually cried while laughing at some point (no, she’s not crazy).
It’s quite uplifting and inspirational too. So if you’re looking for a change/originality in K-dramas, be sure to give this a chance. You won’t regret it.
It's not the type of drama that I would watch over right away, since some parts were kind of slow (for me at least).
Overall rating for review: 9.5/10
Purely for entertainment: 9/10 (Why not 10 instead? Padam Padam is a spectacular drama, but I did not obsess over it)
My Dramalist rating (avg): 9.25/10
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