MHIYD chose to present itself as a romantic comedy. In other words, it promises its viewers funny moments while its protagonists develop a sweet or maybe light-hearted romance. Of course, any regular k-drama watcher knows that even a romantic comedy gives its couple harsh obstacles which can become tiresome at some points, but they eventually overcome them and everyone would be happy in the end. MHIYD's biggest flaw was that it actively made 'the obstacle' the center of the story and managed to ultimately rob the show out of its comedy and romance altogether. So, instead of watching two couples fighting obstacles to find love, we had to suffer as they fought love to NEVER be together. Consequently, there was only distress through most of the last third of the drama. Forget opposing parents and meddling second leads, crazy future ahjummas are the worst!
And after all the trouble, we were told that all of this meddling was much ado about nothing. I won't spoil it for you but here's a close metaphor. Imagine that someone crashes a wedding just before the "I declare you husband and wife" part arguing that the couple can not be wed because they're in fact blood-related siblings and if they get married, a horrible disease would plague the nation and everyone would die. Fifteen episodes later, said-wedding crasher discovered that it was the wrong couple, to begin with, and all the created mess was a big mistake. Oops!
The finale could have worked out if the drama wasn't fixated over the romance and chose to focus on the characters' personalities and lives challenges.
The saddest part is that MHIYD had a strong cast and refreshing characters. I would have loved to see more of Kim Shin and my favorite So Yoo Kyung. The pairings had chemistry and charm. Watching all of those interesting characters becoming dull and running through empty circles when they could have easily shined (if crazy ahjumma just let them be on their own) was such a pity, even a shame! Such a waste of potential.
The acting was good. The music was fine I guess.
Obviously, the rewatch value is low.
One more major flaw: I still can't believe that the production cast K-drama's Kissing Queen as their female lead and we still got no kisses! (I'm sorry I had to get it off my chest!).
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But I learned my lesson: "Entering a cartoon is no child play!" It's not a messy writer's mission either.
Here's the problem: W aspired to be a lot of things: a mind-blowing, thought-provoking fantasy, a boundary-breaking love story, a thriller and a creeper, and perhaps a journey of finding oneself...
Unfortunately, it failed on most fronts, but I'm not surprised. First and foremost, we have to accredit the writer for tackling such fresh premise and attempting to explore the themes of creator/creation and free-will/predestination in such a creative way. However, unlike her previous works the writer failed to create clear and sound rules governing the travel between these two worlds. You might scream: "But, it's a FANTASY!" Then, I'll scream back: "Even fantasy has to have solid rules; otherwise, it's magical realism or Deus ex Machina conveniently controlling events."
It's hard to highlight this part without giving up the story. One might claim that the rules of entering/leaving the world were clear from the beginning. It's not true, though! We were never told why and how Yoon Joo was going in when the tablet wasn't involved. Then, there's the fact that the rules changed over and over again! They worked only when it was appropriate for the narrative. Many times, major dangers could've been avoided by simply using the rules. In all honesty, I have attempted to rationalize the show's plot more than once; I always ended up with a severe headache. It's either the plot is a collection of holes bridged by Deus ex Machina or I'm too stupid to get it.
But I could've still enjoyed the show, lapses of logic and all, had the writer tried to make her characters realistic. Isn't it ironic that the writer who criticized other drama writers for resorting to cliches to move their stories, didn't bother to give her own characters identities of their own?!
Take Yoon Joo for example. What is she other than the love interest? What do we know about her other than she'll do anything to be with Chul? For the love of God, the girl had cotton candy for brains and I was supposed to believe that she's a surgical intern. Yoon Joo was willing to desert her ENTIRE universe so she can play romance of the day with her fictional crush. How am I supposed to respect her? I'm a fangirl, mind you! But I still can tell the difference between fangirling and falling in love. The writer and Yoon Joo obviously couldn't. If I were to believe that Yoon Joo fell for Chul because he's her forever crush, why did he fall for her (over and over again)? There was a painful lack of buildup for that romance. The show ended and I was still wondering: Why were those two a couple? Why the hell I'm supposed to root for them?
They might've been cute together. But that was all they ever were!
Then, there was Chul. His life, his whole existence was a tragedy but he was a protagonist who had free-will in a predestined world. In his journey of finding himself, Kang Chul was supposed to prove his humanity. Curiously enough, I found his reactions to the world and to everything to be human in the first half of the story. However, the more he approaches the real world, the more he becomes robotic. Ultimately, he became so bland it was dull to watch him, much less to care for him. (again it's hard to explain without spoiling).
The most interesting and the only well-acted character was Oh Song Moon. I want to take a moment to applaud the acting. The levels of darkness and petty he fell into were very well acted. Unfortunately, the depth of this character was never fathomed. He was shoved away in favor of the stupid never-was-romance. His relationship with his daughter, his fears, his failures, his love were all thrown down the drain. He became a walking plot-device himself.
The acting in the show was uneven. Kim Eui Seong did wonders with his characters where Han Hyo Joo moves around with 3 annoying facial expressions (maybe four if you count her sleeping face :P). W certainly uncovered Lee Jong Suk's acting limitations. He fairs well in cute and playboy, but other than some particular scenes, his acting grew cumbersome to watch, even cringe-worthy at the end. Those crying scenes anyone?!
A shout out to Crazy Dog and Soo Bong: those two were my rays of the sunshine in the dark! Crazy Dog spoke my mind and Soo Bong was the only one who played bewilderment and every other shocked emotion well.
In short, visually captivating, definitely mind-boggling and occasionally a bit creepy, W might have started with a promise but ended with a letdown. Watch it if you're a fan of the actors or of twisty-twisted plots that leave you with more questions than answers, but don't expect any character to come off as human.
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Long Love Letter was one of the most unique dramas I've come across. Not only did it cure me of a vicious drama slump, but it also made me debate whether to choose sleep or the next episode. And, I chose the next episode even when it was 4 A.M.
Just like other reviewers have stated, don't let the synopsis trick you! It definitely wouldn't prepare you for the nail-biting and the nerve-wracking. Just when you think you've seen it all, Long Love Letter hits you with another shock! The plot literally takes you to the most unexpected places and it doesn't shy away from posing some serious questions about the dark nature of human beings. For me, Long Love Letter's brilliance was in its heart, its ability to create a 'home' amongst the insanity and the chaos, and its optimism in the direst situation. I liked how the young cast grew in front of my eyes from kids to mature grown-ups who learned to fully accept responsibilities in the end.
That's not to say that Long Love Letter doesn't have its flaws. Admittedly, it had its inconsistencies but I'm willing to forgive it because we're already thinking outside the box from the start. Also, it felt a tad too preachy at the end. However, what bugged me the most was the so-called Sekiya-Sensei. This character felt like a plot device in the sense that the writer brought her up whenever s/he needed conflict and had her completely disappear when she wasn't needed. Also, her conclusion at the end was laughable not to mention unbelievable.
The acting was superb! The most profound and touching scenes were done in the simplest ways. And, the romance was so sweet.
The cinematography wasn't exactly great. Some scenes felt randomly glued into each other. Whether intentional or not, the sloppy direction helped to reflect the mood of utter chaos and insanity.
The music was serviceable, average at its best. Sometimes, it played at awkward times.
I wouldn't rewatch this one soon because its scenes are still haunting my memory at the moment. Honestly, I don't know if I want to re-live this magnificent experience twice.
I would recommend this work to anyone because I think it truly had something for everyone.
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