Currently Watching: Love In the Moonlight
Love in the Moonlight, also known as Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, has taken everyone in kdramaland by surprise due to its unexpected high ratings (especially from episode 3 onwards.) However, people who have been following the drama closely should not really be shocked by its immense popularity because it strikes a wonderful balance of light-hearted comedy with squishy cuteness, along with intense, political intrigue within the palace.
Let’s have a detailed look at why this drama is so beloved among Kdrama fans right now.
The Happy Pills
Having a difficult day? Fear not! Every Monday and Tuesday, these 'Happy Pills' come on your screen in order to brighten up your day and make you laugh non-stop through their adorable antics. Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung may seem like a highly unlikely couple, but their chemistry is one of cuteness, confusion, and friendship. In fact, they could be your only reason to watch this drama because they are absolutely captivating, independently as well as together.
Park Bo Gum plays the role of Crown Prince Hyo Myeoung, also known as Lee Young. On the surface, the Crown Prince seems to be a good-for-nothing, spoilt rascal, who whiles away his time by pranking the palace guards and eunuchs in order to escape the palace and roam the streets. He also does a fair amount of eating and sleeping. However, the drama gradually reveals that his reckless and carefree demeanour is just a façade. Beneath that, he is made of sterner stuff – a sharp wit and intelligence that comes in handy as he tries to navigate his way through murky palace politics. Park Bo Gum adds a beautiful dark undertone to the otherwise light character, bringing a depth to his role and his relationships with other people, especially his father. Also, I will always be in absolute awe of his ability to bring about subtle changes in his expression, and also for his ability to go from adorable to scary.
Kim Yoo Jung, plays the role of Hong Ra On, also known as Hong Sam Nom. Hong Ra On lives as a boy, matchmaking and helping people to woo their loves, until she is forced to become a palace eunuch. On one of her matchmaking missions, she meets the Crown Prince, and mistakes him to be the lover of the man whom she has been helping. What ensues is a classic tale of mistaken identity as the Crown Prince keeps his real identity hidden from Ra On. Kim Yoo Jung’s experience with acting in saeguk dramas is apparent in this drama, as she captures the subtle nuances of her character with grace and aplomb. Her character’s story arc has not developed as much as the Crown Prince’s, but the drama is setting up the premise for her character development, which seems quite intriguing so far.
Hope for Bromance
The mysterious Kim Byung Yeon, played by Kwak Dong Yeon, is Crown Prince Hyo Myeong’s closest friend as well as bodyguard. Skilled in sword fighting and a variety of other weapons, Byung Yeon doesn’t speak or show much emotion but is loyal to the core to the Crown Prince. However, there is ample opportunity for conflict as the drama progresses, for Byung Yeon may just be torn between two opposing factions.
The charming Kim Yoon Sung, played by B1A4 leader Jung Jin Young, is a lady’s man who loves to paint. Once a close friend of the Crown Prince, he is now a rival to Lee Young, both in love and palace politics. However, clearly he still wishes to be friends with the Crown Prince as the drama often reveals him to be wistful for the childhood that he shared with Lee Young and Byung Yeon. However, he is caught in the opposite side of the political strife as his grandfather is Premier Kim, who is the leader of the opposition faction within the palace.
Honestly, I cannot wait to see how their friendship evolves; there is so much scope for these youngsters to join hands and come together to end the political strife, so that the energies of the administrative and royalty can instead turn towards improving the living conditions of the common people.
I would have mentioned Cha Soo Bin’s character Crown Princess Jo Ha Yeon too, but her character has only recently made her appearance, and no proper premise has been set up for her character yet.
Our Villain who has an Eye on the Throne
To be honest, Chun Ho Jin’s image as the benevolent and righteous President from City Hunter is still stuck in my head, despite the many years that have passed since then, which is why I am having a bit of a difficult time reconciling with him playing a villainous role. However, like any other role that he plays, he plays the role of Premier Kim Hun with poise, as he plots and gathers supporters in his fight against the current King and Lee Young.
The Plot – Humour and Intrigue!
The plot of Love in the Moonlight is not very unique; a lot of people have found it similar to most gender-bending sageuk dramas like Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Scholar Who Walks the Night and Splash Splash Love. However, the way that the plot is told – the storytelling – is quite unique in that the drama takes no qualms in hiding the fact that it is a fusion sageuk drama, that it is very light-hearted with just an undertone of darkness (a sageuk drama simply does not escape palace politics). The drama acknowledges that the genre itself may seem over-the-top, but at the same time, it does not demean the genre. Instead it celebrates the genre, and I find that quite amazing. So, while there are references to contemporary popular culture (like the parody of the classic Kang Dong Won umbrella scene from Temptation of Wolves, reference to an airplane, insertion of the quirky background music from Descendants of the Sun in the scene where Young Master Jung is introduced), the drama takes the genre quite seriously.
The plot also sets up a premise for a darker intrigue as it constantly keeps referring to the uprisings ten years prior to the current events in the drama, which has left the King traumatized. (This is a reference to the peasant rebellion that actually happened in 1812 in Korea.) Clearly, our major characters are tied to it in one way or another. To be honest, I cannot wait to see how the three friends and Hong Ra On (and maybe, the King!) join hands to bring down the faction that is lead by Premier Kim.
The cinematography is breathtaking as well.
If for nothing else, you should definitely watch this drama for the friendships, the bromances and the cuteness overdose (while not being too cheesy) of the main cast!
What do you think? Is Love in the Moonlight worth a watch?