March 15, 2014

Wonderful Days, episodes 1-3

Now why is it so intriguing to see Lee Seo Jin speak English? I’m liking how real he looks in this drama (if you disagree, you may find this video from a recent Cosmo shoot more to your taste). But it’s weird that they have him playing a 33-year old. He makes 43 look good, but 33 he is not. Would it have been that hard to adjust the script to the casting??

Mihansa.net is not a Lee Seo Jin fan site. However, if for some unfathomable reason you don’t find him worth watching, better come back in about 6 months when Wonderful Days is over, ’cause I am going to be mentioning his name a few times until then.

I wonder what children are really like in Korea. They are always so incredibly sophisticated and wise (not to say mouthy) in Kdramas. Hard to understand how they become such tortured teenagers and neurotic adults after such a promising start.

WARNING — WARNING — WARNING — SPOILERS AHEAD
Even though I knew it was coming, young Dong Seok dumping young Hae Won took me back to a place I did not want to be. When your first love breaks your heart, you’re never quite the same again.

Except I didn’t believe for a minute that he didn’t love her. How could he resist? She was really adorable. But not very bright, it seems. What is up with these stalker rich girls who can’t see how impossible their interest is for their financially struggling love objects?

And from his phone conversation with his fiancee, it seems Dong Seok grew up to repeat the pattern. He obviously doesn’t love her, so why was he with her in the first place? Is she the boss’s daughter or something?

And Dong Seok and Hae Won have so much in common, with their burdensome families. Everybody in this drama has burdensome families giving them stress, even the children. If it’s not too audacious to guess at the moral of a 50-episode drama only 3 episodes in, I’m thinking it’ll be something like: even burdensome families have something to offer if you only let them into your heart.

I haven’t been able to identify him by name yet, but the actor who plays young Dong Seok is doing a great job, and is quite credible as a young Lee Seo Jin. He was a little too unremittingly cold in the first 2 episodes, but in episode 3 we start to see more of those inner fires that are giving him indigestion 15 years later.

For anyone who still hasn’t found a place to watch Wonderful Days, DramaCrazy is also carrying it (thanks again to Kim for the link, and also for above-mentioned Cosmo link). And Hulu has teamed up with Viki. I don’t know where Drama Fever was while all this was happening, but at this point, they’ve missed their chance.

I’m doing my initial watch on KBS, but second run-through on Viki. The subtitles are only slightly different, but it can be an illuminating difference. Many thanks to the No Place Like Home volunteer subbing team at Viki for thinking like a non-Korean viewer as they translate.

If you aren’t watching Wonderful Days yet, what’s stopping you? Get with the program!

5 comments to Wonderful Days, Episodes 1-3 – Initial Thoughts

  • Kim in gran Couva

    Dang that man makes eating veggies and reading a book look sexy. Although I like the high fashion clothing, Cosmo could have done us a solid and taken at least one skin shot – I would be sooo grateful.

    WD – the family connections are so convoluted, with some classic characters in between. Love the grandad and his guilting and bullying everyone to his will. Mom is un characteristically nonchalant when oldest son shows up but is kindhearted to her husbands mistress- really? Kids too mouthy for my taste but you see that a lot too in western dramas too. Note they do it among themselves, not when adults are around. For once I like the female lead, and love the teenage actors. I even like sad divorced older brother, the actor/ singer wanna be. My heart broke when he said they divorced because he couldn’t support them.

    I’ve only seen 1 & 2 but I’m hooked and not just my LSJ fascination (ok – obsession). I Still have to make a landing on a site with fast replays and English subs.

    • Mihansa

      Yeah, I agree about Kim Hee Sun. I’ve seen a lot of stalking rich girls in Korean drama, and though they are often supposed to be sympathetic, there are usually several points in the drama when I want to slap them, or at least speak to them sternly about their selfishness. The relentlessly upbeat Ho Jeong in My Husband Got a Family (a couple of dramas back in the same time slot), was more tolerable than most, perhaps because of her rather extreme innocence (and also she was less rich and her love interest less poor by the end of the drama). In Hae Won, we’ve got a great balance of spunky-to-the-point-of-feisty heroine, yet with a still tender heart. She’s been humbled, but not broken. I’m curious to see the backstory of her relationship with Dong Hui. Why was she egging him on like that, I wonder?

      Yoon Yeo Jung’s scenes with LSJ are just marvelous. I would swear her whole complexion changes. The first couple of dramas I saw her in were rather repetitive (and let’s be honest, not very special) dailies, in which she played working class moms with more heart than mind, and a low tolerance for change. Although My Husband Got a Family was a better drama overall than they were, her role in it wasn’t that much different. Which is why I was so completely blown away by her urbane academic character (speaking flawless English, no less) in the film In Another Country. She is so good in this drama so far. Younger actors, take note. This is how it’s done. Though for all I know, she was always this good when she had a role that allowed her to show it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for her earlier work.

      I previously saw Ryu Seong Soo (Dong Seok’s hyeong) in “My One and Only,” in which he had a large supporting role as an unemployed lawyer with a dependent family who finds work as an entertainer to make ends meet. His character in Wonderful Days seems to have a few things in common with the previous character. His restoration of his kibun (not to mention his older son status) in episode 3 after Dong Seok’s nasty behavior in episode 1 is priceless. He may not be financially successful, but he clearly has some of the family smarts. It’ll be interesting to see the backstory of the brother relationship, since he’s been absent from the flashback scenes so far.

      BTW, as unlikely as it appears that “second mom” (aka mistress) is in her 50s, the actress actually is in her 50s. I guess they figured she didn’t have to look like her age in the drama as long as she really was that age.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Thanks Mihansa. I’ve seen up to episode 8 and the stories are really interesting, also the characters and each of their individual stories have drawn me in. Everyone has a history and some current drama to be resolved (except for one older hair-challenged uncle who works in the shop- but maybe later), which makes for a complicated but somehow very cohesive whole. I absolutely love the photographs of common people and places that are used as scene starters- it’s like a coffee-table collection of Koreana (if that’s a word). No major shockers in the stories so far which only increases the anticipation of what’s to come.

    • ida

      So glad to have found a site to share my enjoyment of this show. Really love Hae Won, even if she is not that smart. Her “can do” attitude about doing what it takes to get through life is very impressive. The scene in episode 12 where she washes dishes for bus fare after Dog Soek leaves her high and dry at the beach took my breath away.

      • Mihansa

        I’m liking Hae Won too, except when she loses all her oomph and starts beating herself up. But she has a lot on her shoulders. She seems pretty smart to me, except when Dong Seok is around. Maye everyone is like that when they’re in love, though :)

        I agree she was quite resourceful about getting herself home. I looked up the beach town on a map of Korea, and it’s a long way from the city they started out from. I was a little confused about how she ended up back on the beach though. One minute she’s rushing out the door with the restaurant owner’s husband to catch the last bus, the next minute she’s back with Dong Seok.

        Anyway, glad to welcome another Wonderful Days fan!

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