EXPECTATIONS: Yay, another cisgendered and heteronormative K-drama! One of my friends kept telling me to watch this so I'm finally getting around to it. It's by the Hong sisters. Lately, they've been disappointing me to the extreme. The Greatest Love (F-) was horrible and You're Beautiful (D) had its moments but it was almost equally as horrible for almost the same reasons. I don't know how I skipped over this but HERE I AM NOW! I hope Hong sisters don't disappoint me with this. We shall see...
LET'S CHECK THE KOREAN DRAMA CHECKLIST OF CLICHES: (x = it kinda happens)
[√] - OBLIGATORY DRAMATIC LOVE BALLADS! You know the kind. Observe Exhibit A:
Although, I have to admit, there was one folksy-sounding song that I really, really liked called Fox Rain.
[√] - OBLIGATORY LOVE SQUARES! I know everyone calls them triangles but wouldn't they be considered squares since there are almost always four people who play a key role in the story? Observe Exhibit B.
1) PERSON A likes PERSON B. Maybe PERSON A likes PERSON D at first but it's clear that PERSON A will end up with PERSON B. And they do.
2) PERSON B likes PERSON C but hangs out with PERSON A more and more. As Persons C and D give PERSON B and A more obstacles to overcome, PERSON B realizes they love PERSON A.
3) PERSON C may or may not like PERSON D; if it's not PERSON D, it's PERSON B but they never act on these "feelings" until PERSON A shows up. When they show up, PERSON C antagonizes PERSON A to drive them away from PERSON B. In the end, they end up with PERSON D or go off by themselves.
4) PERSON D doesn't like anyone until they meet PERSON A. Later, PERSON D gets jealous vibes from PERSON B (or gets jealous themselves) and eventually fights harder to be with PERSON A. Unfortunately for them, they don't end up with PERSON A and, like PERSON C, they either wander off alone or end up with PERSON C.
Simple? No. But that's the recurring make-up of Korean dramas nowadays and it seems the same thing goes for My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.
[x] - NAIVE, CLUMSY, DITZY, KLUTZY, INNOCENT YOUNG WOMAN. The heroine isn't all of this per se. She's only naive because she's a mythical creature who is trying to adjust to the human world so you can understand why she'd be naive about those things. All in all, she's a badass...AND SHE NEVER TRIPS! :D ...at least, I don't remember her ever tripping.
[x√] - OBLIGATORY ROBO-STALKER! Robo-Stalker (the new Terminator; coming soon to theatres LOL) follows the heroine almost EVERYWHERE she goes (observe Shin Woo in You're Beautiful). I feel like Park Dong Ju was just reading the lines off of whatever/whoever he was looking at. His character was SO. BORING. Every time he "cried", it felt really weird...like something that Tamaki in Ouran High School Host Club would do: be a drama queen, add tear-inducing stuff in their eyes, lie down in a dark room, and look pretty while "crying". Although, what he did with the sequences for the parody of Byung Soo's K-DRAMA CLICHES in Episode 15 (around 25:11) gave the audience a glimpse of his comedic style. I look forward to seeing him in a lead role in a rom-com (which will most likely happen soon). Still, DRAMA TICK IS DRAMATIC (sorry, I had to make a GIF of this scene)! Observe Exhibit C:
As for the stalking, I understand he does it because he has to either kill her or return her to her world but that stops. Soooooo why was he at her workplace??? [o_o]
[√] - OLDER WOMAN WHO ONLY WORRIES ABOUT NEVER BEING A MOTHER/WIFE! Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh. *rolls eyes*
[√] - OBLIGATORY WEIRD, OLDER COUPLE!! It's a Hong sisters drama. They have to have a weird older couple.
[√] - GAMES OF "HE SAID, SHE SAID"! Rumours be spreadin' and thangs get uuuuglay, largely due to the woman competing for the hero's affections. You know the jig...PERSON A: "This person's pregnant." PERSON B: "OMGNOWAI! MUST SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE!"
[√] - OVERDRAMATIC REACTIONS TO "BAD" NEWS! For example, look at practically all of the competing woman's reactions. How did she come to the conclusion that the heroine wasn't human from seeing some white furry thing on camera? First thing that would have come to my mind if I saw that would be, "They have a house pet. Is it a puppy? Kitty? Ferret?" Whatever happened to rational thinking?
[x] - OBLIGATORY AWKWARD KISS! Okay so the kisses in this weren't as awkward as the ones in better dramas such as Dream High or virtually any other drama for that matter but they weren't nearly as passionate as the ones in My Name is Kim Sam Soon or The City Hall. Yum.
[√] - WITHHOLDING VITAL INFORMATION TO "PROTECT" THE PERSON THEY LOVE!! Really, people?? Are we 5?? I think it's important for the other person to know that they're gonna DIE if this-and-that happens so that you can all scramble together to find something to stop it if you told them, especially if you love them...bluuuuugh.
[√] - SOMEONE DIES OR IS DYING. This show revolves around the threat of people dying...yeah. My thanatos senses are tingling!
[√] - MELODRAMATIC REASON WHY PROTAGONISTS CANNOT BE TOGETHER; USUALLY CAUSED BY THIRD PARTY MEMBERS! AND BECAUSE OF THIS, SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING REALLY CRUEL TO THE PERSON THEY LOVE TO DRIVE THEM AWAY BUT IT ONLY MAKES THE OTHER PERSON WONDER WHAT THEY DID WRONG AND TRY HARDER TO BE WITH THEM [cue mournful sobbing from both parties].
[√] - RUNNING AROUND IN AIRPORTS. lawl this speaks for itself.
[√] - WAITING/LOOKING FOR LOVER AND JUST BARELY MISSING/PASSING THEM. Why. Does. This. Keep. Happening...seriously though. Why? There is absolutely no reason to keep using this device. It's so cliché (hence, the reason why it's on this list).
[√] - THINGS THAT HAPPEN THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE BUT, APPARENTLY, NO ONE CAN!? And random things suddenly falling over (Episode 13, around 1:03:49). Seriously, how did that hourglass fall over? It's got a relatively sturdy and balanced stand...and it's on a desk...and no one is in the room.
[√] - RIDICULOUSLY SLOW DRAGGING OF PLOT AFTER ABOUT 13 EPISODES ALL THE WAY UNTIL THE END!! ..................
STOP. DRAGGING. PREASE. Especially if you're gonna do the same thing over and over again [>_>]
[√] - OBLIGATORY LOVE CONFESSIONS WHILE WALKING WITH SWAGGER! AND THEN MALE PROTAGONIST SAYS HE'LL DO SOMETHING RIDICULOUSLY STUPID BUT HE DOESN'T CAAAAAARE BECAUSE IT'S FOR ~*~*~*SARANG~*~*~*~
[x] - FAST-FORWARD INTO THE FUTUUUUUUUUUUUREEEE!!!! So this wasn't a few years like it usually is but it still has pretty much the same outcome. It results in either the other person to blossom into someone super sophisticated and/or they get with another person (commonly with the other guy competing for the heroine's affections). HOWEVER, THIS SPIRALS INTO A FATEFUL REUNION OF ~*~*~LOOOOOOVE*~*~*~ AND THEN THE COMPETING GUY REALIZES HE WAS WRONG TO COERCE HER INTO A PLACE WHERE SHE WON'T BE HAPPY AND LEAVES HER...FOR ~*~*~LOOOOOOVE*~*~*~
[√] - DRAMATIC TURNING OF A PERSON ONLY TO REALIZE THE TURN-ER HAD MISTAKEN THEM FOR THE PERSON THEY LOVE!! Seriously. In almost every Korean drama, this happens. I think it happens in every single one I've watched that the Hong sisters have written so far.
[√] - OBLIGATORY DRAMATIC FAREWELLS FROM THE COMPETING GUY! Just...lawl, okay? It stopped being sad...actually, it wasn't ever a sad device in K-dramas because of how overdramatic it is. ALSO, NO RESOLVE FOR THE COMPETING PEOPLE! *sarcastic yaaay* LOL well, there was a bit of a resolve for the competing girl and it was cute but it can't actually be called a "resolve", especially since it seems like she hasn't changed. I liked that the competing guy was on good terms with the hero though. I guess it's way more of a resolve than, say, Goong~ *Ryul disappears into the light LAWWWL*
[√] - TEARJERKING MOMENTS WHERE THE HERO BEGS THE HEROINE NOT TO GO. I admit, even after all the ridiculous drama, I still cried. Gajima ;-; But then again, I'm a sap so I'm exempt from any and all ridicule XP I also hate it when anyone begs for someone not to go but there are circumstances that would call for it like this one. You'll see if you watch it.
[√] - GENRE SWITCH FROM ROMANCE-COMEDY TO ROMANCE-TRAGEDY AND THEN BACK TO ROMANCE-COMEDY AT THE VERY, VERY END! *sigh* So dramatic.
THE VERDICT: Despite the how horrible everything I said above sounds, this is one of Hong sisters' best works. Overall, it was fun to gobble up. There were ridiculously dramatic parts that I had to skip around but it was still good overall. The reason why I gave it a lower grade is because of some of the clichés listed in my "analysis" and because of a few things pertaining to traditional gender roles (for example, the whole "You Can't Hang Out with Anyone of the Opposite Sex" crap from the hero). There are also a few moments of "girls do this, boys do that" but it's momentary so it's better than most dramas. I can also appreciate good art direction and cinematography.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL LOVE: My Girl