With no deliberate planning on my part, I was able to watch two web dramas last week! Coincidentally, they are both from JTBC and star actresses that were former idols. Surprisingly, they are both so good too! A lot of web dramas I’ve seen are okay but that’s because I lower my standards for web dramas. Due to the short runtime, I don’t expect full characters or very moving plots, but lo and behold, I’ve seen TWO just this week that exceeded those middling expectations. I’m very happy and smug and content about my life choices last week. Heh. Go under the cut to read more on my thoughts on Last Minute Romance and A Person You Could Know!
Last Minute Romance
CUTE. SO ADORABLE. I’ve always liked Han Seung-yeon, ever since she was in KARA. But I still haven’t seen Age of Youth. I know, I’m missing out but I’ll get to it someday. I thought watching a web drama with her on it was pretty low on the commitment scale so I can finally sample her acting skills. I started this one very late at night, thinking to myself that I’ll just watch the first episode and see if it’s any good, so I can watch the remaining episodes some other day. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN I AM NEVER ABLE TO WATCH JUST A SINGLE EPISODE.
I seriously didn’t have any expectations going in. In fact, I expected it to kind of suck because what even is that plot. It’s a contract relationship between a girl dying soon who’s looking for a look-alike of a celebrity she loves so she can date him. It’s a trope-filled kdrama on steroids on paper but what I ended up seeing was something endearingly cute, amusingly fun, and filled with warmth.
Baek-se (Han Seung-yeon) works as an operator of the lifeline help along the Han River. The irony isn’t lost on her because she tries to prevent and convince people not to kill themselves as a counselor, but she’s actually dying herself. She has a Stage 3 pancreatic cancer and when asked by Dong-joon (Lee Seo-won) why she’s not using her insurance money to treat herself, she states that it’d be no use since Steve Jobs even died from it. So she has only one wish left in her short life and that’s to date her one and only love, King of Melodramas Ji Sul-woo (Lee Seo-won). She knows this wish is quite impossible so she just searches for someone who looks like him. Enter an exact look-alike in Dong-joon! So yes, Lee Seo-won plays two roles in here and it’s a blast to see him do it.
Not only does Baek-se want him to act as if he’s Ji Sul-woo, she wants Dong-joon to enact actual scenes from Ji Sul-woo’s dramas. And this is where the fun and amusing happens because DRAMA PARODIES!! You read that right. We’ve got Descendants of the Sun, Secret Garden, Boys over Flowers, AND MORE. And I mean, A WHOLE LOT MORE. It was so funny. Sometimes I think they should just use the parody runtime to delve deeper into the characters or the romance but honestly? I enjoyed the parodies so much that I don’t even care. After all, it’s a web drama!
Kian84 is also here, who should be familiar for those who watch I Live Alone. He plays a webtoon artist, which is so meta because he’s an ACTUAL webtoon artist. Haha!
Anyway, I really really enjoyed this one. I even found the ending fitting and true to the narrative, which was something I was quite concerned at how they’ll handle it. Han Seung-yeon and Lee Seo-won were so cute together so I enjoyed the romance. They pulled off their characters so well. Seungyeon isn’t what I would say a great actress but she was able to make me feel and so she’s good enough for me. I applaud the script too because they were able to touch upon some dark topics too. While there could be a lot to be wished for in terms of character depth (and more romantic scenes too!), I’m not actually disappointed. I think the characters were dynamic enough, well, I felt like they were actual humans, even if the characterization isn’t that dimensional. So that’s still a win for me.
Seriously, this is only 10-episodes long and each episode clocks at about 10 to 15 minutes so it’s super short but rewarding! Compared to a whole lot of other web dramas I’ve seen, I think this was really satisfying. Tell me what you think about it when you’ve seen it! (And please do see it!)
P.S. LEE SEO-WON IS SO CUTE. I gotta watch The Liar and His Lover ASAP.
A Person You Could Know / Someone You Might Know / A Person You May Know
Gah, so many possible title iterations! I hope I covered most so this review would show up on search engines. Heh.
Anyway, I knew of this drama but I didn’t really plan on watching it. It ended up on my radar when my friend Q, who’s currently obsessed with Lee Won-geun, ranted that it seemed like subs would never be available for this because the subbers suddenly stopped subbing it after Sooyoung left SNSD. Then I suddenly saw it on iflix so I thought I should watch it now when I have the chance since subs are apparently scarce!
Once again, I didn’t expect much because it’s a web drama but again, my expectations were just trampled upon by this drama. It was high quality, I felt like I was watching an actual miniseries. The premise has Lee Ahn (Sooyoung) trying to guess the phone’s passcode of her ex-boyfriend Kim Jin-young (Shim Hee-sup), who died a week after they broke up. They’ve been together since college and obviously, his death hit her hard although she tries not to show it at work. Just then, her team gets a new member, whose name is also Kim Jin-young (Lee Won-geun).
This one has 10 episodes too, with each episode ranging from 10 to 15 minutes. It employs non-linear storytelling as Lee Ahn reminisces on her relationship, all the while trying to figure out the passcode. She thinks of significant dates in their relationships or important numbers but she can only guess up to ten times. After ten consecutive wrong passcodes, the phone is set to reset itself. Before dying, Kim Jin-young wanted her to get his phone so she’s hung up on the message Jin-young wants her to know.
This premise lends itself to a very good episodic format and I loved all the flashbacks as we got to know Lee Ahn more and found how her relationship with Jin-young was. Initially, they were really cute but like all couples, they were also bogged down by problems as time went on. Which inevitably led to their break-up. Meanwhile, her hoobae Kim Jin-young also develops feelings for her but she’s not receptive to it as she’s still trying to solve the puzzle that her beloved Kim Jin-young left her.
While I would have liked a more in-depth look at Lee Won-geun’s Kim Jin-young character, I don’t really find it jarring that he liked Lee Ahn almost right away. I just wish I knew more about him but as it was, we actually spent a lot of time looking back on Lee Ahn’s relationship with Jin-young. I was so into the narrative that I felt like I was really reminiscing along with Lee Ahn and it hurt me when it hurt her and it made me happy when she was happy. Sooyoung isn’t a very strong actress to me but she was good and she made me feel empathetic to her character, feeling what she was feeling. With this, I really do have to applaud the writer and the director because you could really feel the nostalgia in the scenes and they were interwoven to the present narrative seamlessly. Lee Won-geun didn’t have to do much so him acting cute was enough. I didn’t know Shim Hee-sup prior to this drama but HIS EYES. HIS FACE. They just show so much emotion. They speak to you! I became quite a fan of his due to this very short drama.
All in all, this one took me by surprise with its quality: script, cinematography, acting. The ending was true to its narrative too and I really like how they tied up and ended everything. Oh, and I must also mention that THE SOUNDTRACK TO THIS DRAMA IS A+. SERIOUSLY. I now feel bad for all web dramas that I’m going to watch after A Person You May Know because I might not be able to set my expectations to zero once again when I know that there are great yet short web dramas. Hope you get the chance to watch this one! I recommend it!