It’s been so long since I update this blog. Sorry if the once time I update it, it’s not a Shinhwa-related post (though my blog is a Shinhwa-centric one). I just have to let it out somewhere… (ok, I did ranting at some SNS.. but I TRIED to make it as short as possible elsewhere, while what I need is to write an ESSAY on this lol).
So I began the drama as a webtoon fan. I know adaptation never lives up to the original material, but I’m such a sucker for adaptations!! You name it: from Harry Potter, LoTR, to Nodame Cantabile and Love, Rosie. I’m not a quite movie-goers (short-attention span problem) but I make sure to watch ANYTHING if it’s an adaptation. Began as a reader, of course I have a set of expectation on the drama. Though I don’t have it too high, since it’s one of the most complicated story I’ve ever read with the most complicated male lead’s character, and one of the most unusual relationship for the male and female lead. It’s not your usual romance.
My first impression on the first week was really good. I was instantly hooked. I was right when I thought Park Haejin will nail Jung’s character (keeping an eye on him since YWCTS but his follow-up dramas are not my genre #roncomforever lol). Kim Go Eun’s acting is very good, subtle but on point. Though she’s arguably CUTER than webtoon Hong Seol (that girl has so much sass). Seo Kang Joon is good too (improvement since his Cunning Single Lady days), though In Ho is pretty much white-washed in the drama (why he is depicted so nice? Lol. Anyway INITIALLY, I don’t have any trouble with this. But let me get on that later). The only one annoys me was Lee Sung Kyung. I ff-ed her scenes, to over the top and I can’t stand her expression+voice. But she grows on me (later on this).
My satisfaction rate was quite high. Yes it happened so fast. But I only thought, ‘this is drama..the fasten things up.’ Even Jung-Seol’s relationship here so LTE. The drama doesn’t show how they got /really/ close even before they started dating. They cut a whole lot. But I wasn’t complaining. Thinking that maybe the drama was going to add their dynamics post dating. I was fine with it (watched a lot of adaptations, I really was OK if it takes different route, as long as they maintain the characters and main plot line. I could even swallow Tomorrow Cantabile rather happily)
(rather pity they didn’t include Jung’s “my girlfriend” line in the drama. But oh well XD)
…until the thief arc when I began to question several things:
- Where is Jung’s childhood story with ahjussi neighbor? Isn’t it necessary to show it? Viewers won’t understand why ahjussi said those things to Jung.
- Why is Seol made to swat his hand? When in the webtoon, she’s gladly being piggy-backed by him to the hospital? And why she accepted Inho’s hand and went with her (and her brother) to the hospital?
(too bad they didn’t show how much Jung laughed after she did this…)
I realized Jung is depicted so much darker in the drama (what’s with that creepy BGM when he appears?! haha). Beside “I’m not strange”, we can’t see through his perspective. But we were still early on the drama, so I thought they’d it later, in ep 8-10ish, maybe?
We only get this flashback to explain why/when he started to like her. While it’s so much more in the webtoon. They could’ve explained more through a little flashbacks.
But in ep 9, it has started to go downhill for me. Too many In Ho. Yes, the main couple were on a break. Yes, Jung was interning. It was understandable and justifiable for the lack of Jung in ep 9-10. Though they started to shove us non-existent love triangle in our faces, I was still thinking “it’s a K-drama… Love triangle is a must… So, fine.”
But I also began more questions:
- Why do we still not get any Jung’s background story?
- Why Jung and Seol aren’t explained more? Their relationship is more than just misunderstanding-fight-make up (but maybe they do it later…maybe they wanna show how much they need to work out their relationship… I keep making excuses LOL)
- Why the hell did she call In Ho “oppa” with that flirtatious tone albeit she’s joking? She called her bf “sunbae” for God’s sake.
I started questioning really HARD this direction of this drama when they gave the scene of Jung tending Seol’s wounds to In ho in ep 10. Some said “it’s ok it’s just minor”. IT IS NOT OK. Jung seems to be never there for Seol. I’d rather they changed things up (Jung giving a medicine, yes. He said he’d wait, yes…but him applying on her by himself, though she was MAD at him, has more impact, imo), than giving Jung’s scenes to In Ho or In Ho to Jung. Little things could mean so MUCH more, ya know?
By that point, I looked back and realized, they make Jung and Seol relationship a really really hard work for both. Relationship is hard, I know. Jung and Seol are both introverted and never speak their thought, mostly (particularly JUNG). But in the drama, they show a huge discrepancies between SeolxJung and InhoxSeol. InhoxSeol seems very easy. She has no ‘filter’ if she talks to In Ho. Granted, she might not really confide to him about anything, or lean on him about anything. But the EASE… and why does In ho revolve around her soo much? He’s working at her family shop, she tutors him for GED, and he studies piano at her school…were all in the webtoon. But she doesn’t commute every single time with him, nor does he try to badmouth Jung every time he sees her, nor he even starred at her with those puppy eyes. He’s doing all these when they’re on a break and Jung is interning.
More questions as ep 10-11-12 were aired:
- So much time wasted on piano and useless scenes involve Baek Inho following Seol around.
- Where is Jung? Where is his character development? Where is his background story?
- Where is the TALK between the main couple? Seol is supposed to talk and tell him about her family problems. But here, zilch. I love cute moments, I do (though why on earth they have to add In ho’s watching and sighing at the reunion hug, again??). But at this point, so much depth of Jung and Seol’s relationship are taken away. They talk a lot in the webtoon, even about trivial things. Granted, they don’t really talk about Jung’s past…but they talked about their friends. But, Seol confides to him about her family problems, her problems with people at her English course, and even about Minsoo/Younggon. Their lack of growth in this department bothered me by ep 12. Seol is somehow still tip-toeing around him, he’s still so rigid and putting his wall up high. Jung laughed and being cute and teased her a lot in webtoon. Again, I’m not saying it has to be 100% synchronized, but show has demonized Jung’s character too much and never explained him at all, at this point.
I was thinking to drop the show in ep 11. Cute scenes can’t help my bitterness that JungxSeol’s (together and separately) growth being degraded so much. Jung’s still not explained. But the last 10 mins in ep 12 gave me hope (BUT DO WE NEED MORE IN HO WALKING AWAY SIGHING IN SADNESS AT THE END?). Finally Jung and Seol talk… Finally Jung shares with her about his past. Finally, she fully accepts him and understands him. Though I don’t think she’s quite forgiving about his little “tricks.”
Finally we got insights on their past. Though I’m left a little unsatisfied about the reason of their fight. In the webtoon, Jung and Inho were having dinner with Seol’s family and it went well (in drama, nope. Jung is the never-present-bf for her family AND always-at-fault-bf). It reminded In Ho so much about their good time. They fought and talked about their past, mostly. Not “You’re playing with Dog Fur. I don’t like it cuz I LIKE HER.” #uhm. But at least ep 12 got some insights of their past.
So I held on. Maybe, in 13-14, they’d start working on Jung’s character development and we finally see why and how he’s become like this (drama has done very little…only some glimpse of flashbacks of dad ignoring him in favor of Baek siblings, him talking about dad put much expectation that suffocate him, him “thinking” Baek siblings reported him to his father, etc); his relationship with his father and mother; with Baek siblings, etc.
But in 13-14 we got another Inho’s arc. Some cute moments that show Jung has gradually opened up at ep 13. But at ep 14, he’s pulling strings again with Sang Chul without telling Seol. Where’s his scene with his father post-fight shown at previews? Where’s his scene with In ha that was in the preview too? Some huge chunks of explanation are missing, again. Why do I feel like the cut scene with Inha explains his behavior of not opening up to Seol about Sang Chul? Why do I feel like the scene with his father is important enough to explain why suddenly the father are “mad” at Baek siblings? It was later confirmed about the fiasco broke out…that those scenes are indeed important but got slashed -_-
I grew increasingly uncomfortable with this drama. I didn’t even bother to watch the whole episodes for 13-14. I read the recaps on dramabeans and ff the unnecessary scenes.
More beef with the show post ep 14:
- Seol is “still” fooling around with In ho without telling Jung (She draw a clear line “I SEE YOU AS A FAMILY” to Inho in the webtoon when she sensed he might hv feeling for her –> Seol is not THAT obtuse in the webtoon. Inho even quit his job at the restaurant when he started to realize his feelings. Now, that what I call RESPECT from In ho to Seol), fully knowing WHY Jung asks her to stay away from In ho and WHY is he so insecure about her closeness with Inho. Though she did assure him /nothing/ besides studying and he was understanding when he said “I’m not OK but you have promised to keep tutoring him.” Seol said “nothing besides studying” but still commute with In ho, worry about him for the whole ep 13 (she wasn’t even /this/ worry about Jung), and agree on his ‘one month’ at ep 14 (???????).
- In ho confessed to her and expected her to stay friend. People said “he just confessed not trying to take her from her bf!! Poor him getting hurt” etc. A friendship is ruined once another person confessed that s/he likes another party, for me. Getting hurt is an absolute thing to happen in a one-sided love. It’s understandable if Seol tries to put some distance and don’t wanna be his friend anymore. Moreover, she got a boyfriend and her bf got some major bad blood with this person and she freaking KNOWS it (it’s really more than Jung is being unreasonably jealous and controlling boyfriend). But Inho asks for one month, stay friend, and reject a call from Jung to Seol?? Which part in the world ppl say “he respects Seol”? If he respected her at all, he wouldn’t ask to stay as friend (give her concour excuse for ‘avoiding’ her, don’t revolve around her, don’t commute with her, just stay away and respect her when she said indirect NO by returning the scarf), won’t revolve around her KNOWING her obvious discomfort (take note from Soo Hyuk in OMHE ‘putting her feelings above mine’), and definitely won’t dare to reject a phone call from her bf (stop butting in their r/s, please).
- Seol is somehow depicted as a crazy girl who just accepts whatever Jung does because she’s blinded by ‘love’. That she lets him “off” too easily. That she has the lose-end of this relationship. That the relationship is toxic and Jung is abusive. Viewers never GET why we shall root for the main couple and the reasons why Cheese in the Trap is revolved around them (though, obviously, the drama is more about Inho Cantabile). While Jung was mostly only shown when he is on his creepy mode. And how, despite Seol’s warning, he keeps pulling strings to “punish” YG/SC.
- Jung is demonized too much. Unexplained. I’m not saying I agree with his “method” or even condone it. Nope. Never. I want to strangle him so bad when he did what he did to Young Gon (indirectly send him to Seol via Inha and pulling strings to get rid of him via Inha). I accepted that’s he is operating differently, thinking differently, etc. That’s what makes his character compelling (I don’t even think he’s WEIRD or SICK psychologically… he’s just operating differently. Though I do wish he’s becoming more relaxed and not so-guarded towards people and looking down on them. To think through of the consequences before pulling strings. To feel some more empathy towards others’ feelings). How he’s grown while he’s with Seol…to show him (rather than her always telling him “not to do that”) and stop him when he’s like this (THIS IS WHY I’M SO MAD THEY CHANGED THE SCENE WHERE JUNG PROTECTED SEOL FROM SANG CHUL TO INHO.IT WAS A TOTAL WTF MOMENT) “Oh, there’s another way to navigate in this world… That a person who’s so similar with me yet operate differently.” While Seol is contemplating on why she accepts him and realizes how they’ve grown more similar to each other (she contemplates whether she’s originally like that, thus, can accept and understand Jung’s methods; or is it just because she comes to know him…)
Jung saves Seol
Look, a little deviation from webtoon is fine. A little change here and there to suit the drama’s limited time is fine (do you see me complaining why Young Gon’s arc is shown very late? Nope. OR Jung-Seol’s LTE dating? Nope. It was just rather surprising). But it’s a whole different thing when the plot and story and characterization (and their growth) are lost somewhere in the mountain and deviating TOO MUCH from the webtoon. I was wondering…if SOONKKI did involve in the writing…why did she let this deviation happening? Why she let her characters being butchered and main plot got lost like this?
The viewers have expressed their discontent since ep 9. The production team played deaf. It’s grown increasingly apparent there must be something going on (that’s what I feel)…why the male lead is side-lined too much. In Ho’s story is central in the webtoon particularly during Jung’s interning, it’s true. But by that time, Jung’s side of the story have been explained (except some high school part and those involve Inho—not just hand, but Inho’s bertrayal). We understand Jung at that point. We can root for Jung and Seol at that point. In drama, Jung is just disappeared without being explained and they threw out pity card for Inho too much. Inho’s story in the webtoon revolve around him reflecting on what went wrong, why, how; him contemplating about his current life and how he tries to get his life together; him thinking about his degrading relationship with Jung. Those were all fine for me (it’s still going on in S4 now).
While the drama is focusing on him too much on his less necessary stories. So much filler scenes. So much unnecessary scenes of In ho. Look, I am all for him to find a family in Seol’s and him finding his dream back. But I’m not in for him moping around and hogging the screen time with “oh pitiful me, oh miserable me..oh how Jung ruined everything for me now and then” without even once contemplating whether he did some share of mistakes, too. His useless scenes can be used to tell more about Jung and his father, Inho-Inha, Joon-Ahyoung, even JUNG-INHO themselves. So much things were sacrificed for Inho’s moping around, taking out garbage, playing piano (WE GET IT THAT HE’S PRACTICING HARD, OK? It’s not Nodame Cantabile, so excessive piano scenes are annoying), and walking around in angst.
Even for the former boss thingy, it’s not taking too long and taking up the story (it’s untranslated so I’m grasping the gist and rely on available English reviews/summaries). Jung even knew first-hand when they came to the university looking for Hong Seol (the boss thought she was In Ho’s gf) and Jung went all scary “what do you want with my gf?” lol. Iirc he then warned In ho about his boss endangering Seol (without “I gave you the money, so get lost” thingy in the drama).
What the heck going on with this drama. I can’t help but questioned it’s either blatant favoritism toward SKJ or PHJ did pissed the PD off somehow. I was glad it was blown up post-ep 14. Soonkki has nothing to do with the deviation, I sighed in relief (well…she wouldn’t have wanted her story got butchered like this). You can read the whole fiasco in here.
Episode 15 feels like it is back on track. We got more Jung’s story and Jung x Seol’s relationship development (couple ring, yey. Noticing his obvious discomfort, she saved him from those ass-lickings college ppl, yey). Even Joon and Ahyoung’s story!! But it all feels FORCED. TOO LATE. That’s what I screamed in my mind. Seems like they squeezed on what should have been in previous episodes. Jung’s childhood story feels forced to be inserted because PHJ complained. It’s supposed to be told from Joo Young ahjussi’s POV (the one that told him to SMILE, the kid that Jung saw pouring wine inside the glass), not his father’s. Finally we got that conversation with Prof. Baek, but it’s incomplete (Prof. Baek diagnosed Jung with “excessive victim mentality” without even examining Jung directly and Dad just took it).
I love how Sang Chul told Jung that “we’re watching you too.” If it’s done sooner, perhaps we can also see Jung’s growth as a character…that he’d be more trusting to the people in the university. A pity they totally sidelined Kyung Hwan here and making Jung a total loner. Kyung Hwan is Jung’s bff…they’re close enough for Jung to tell him beforehand that he is dating Seol (before he told everyone at the class). Jung was even there for him when Kyung Hwan lost his mother.
The last parts turned into a total makjang. It is convinced me they did change the ending to be different from the webtoon, as Soonkki wouldn’t have written a makjang drama like they present us in episode 15 and 16.
- Jung’s father took Inha’s story without listening to Jung’s side. Chaebol parent’s objection ☑
- Car accident for one of the leading character ☑
- Noble idiocy to complete a Holy Trinity of makjang drama ☑
- Spiced it up with a time skip ☑
THE ENDING – I’M NOT OKAY
*disclaimer* I haven’t watched it…
I only peeked at the last part in soompi. I read the whole recaps in DB. Now that I know about the /WHOLE/ ending, I don’t feel like watching. I STILL DON’T FEEL LIKE WATCHING #INEEDAVACATION
If only they didn’t waste too much time on piano and Jung’s issues are explained, open ending will be okay. Heck, even there are other ways to make a satisfying open-ending.
But why do I feel like Jung is being ‘punished’ until the end. Viewers never get enough explanation/insight about his side of the story. He is still being misunderstood until the end. He didn’t get his happy ending while even Inha and Inho got. He has to be separated from Seol. He has to live alone and being lonely, again. What happened to him during those years alone, we never know… His happiness with Seol is very short-lived. Even until the end, Jung never got his justice and happiness… Even Seol family is seen him as the “never present boyfriend” and blamed him for everything, but accepted Inho whose sister caused Seol to be hit at the first place (THIS IS WHY THE DINNER SCENE IN WEBTOON WITH THE SEOL’S FAMILY IMPORTANT.. T_T).
Why separation is needed I also don’t get it.
Jung and Seol have gone so much hardship and obstacle and finally they could reach a thorough understanding and acceptance of each other. Jung’s reason for leaving “to find himself” is acceptable (he’s been judged as weird his whole life… and he realizes he’s judging people too. he realized how it could harm others without him knowing/empathizing. I get it if he wants to find “himself”). But why they need to break off their relationship, I don’t get it. With their level of understanding, shouldn’t “long distance relationship” enough? Why must there be noble idiocy? Jung could’ve gone for years, while still in contact with Seol. They can develop to be better people, separately yet together. Seriously, a break up is not even necessary at the level of their relationship. Seol can still be /there/ for Jung while Jung is trying to find himself away somewhere. Jung can still be with her and be happy, not alienated like this. Then he could go back and show her what has changed… Seol can show him how much she’s grown. But they chose to go into cliché tropes instead… it’s extremely disappointing.
Every other character besides the main couple got their happy ending. Why? Don’t they deserve that after all those shits they have been through? Just one minute, just one minute that shows they meet again, it’s fine. NOT SOME FREAKING READ-EMAILS. They could’ve filmed a decent ending (since it’s pre-produced)…they could’ve extended it for ONE FRIGGING MINUTE to show us they met.Heck, even the last scene and the voice-over seemed to be put there…JUST BECAUSE.
I feel Inception-ed.
I’ve had my share of disappointing endings previously from so many years watching drama, but CITT is the most unforgivable. I have watched a lot of unsatisfying adaptation, but CITT is a downright disappointment (maybe also because the first half DID deliver one of the best adaptations I’ve seen in my life). What’s the use of it being semi pre-produced if you butchered it half-way and finished like this?
On characters (drama vs webtoon):
- JUNG. WASTED. BUTCHERED. He’s made as if he’s a total psycho. I left it at that. I ranted enough about Jung above.
- SEOL. Lack of sass and backbone. Particularly obtuse if it’s about In ho…making her looking like a two-timer. I’m sad they’re making her like this in the drama.
- IN HO. I don’t really like webtoon Inho, to be honest. Simply because he has blabbermouth, rather rude, and fist-first attitude. I have a major problem with people like this in real life. Initially, I was ok with whitewashing drama-Inho (SKJ is an adorable puppy so it’s hard to imagine him as rough as Baek In ho in webtoon)… But the second half of the drama has made me despise drama-Inho completely (not the actor) and also the PD. They don’t even show what happened really to his hand. They don’t show that Inho did report Jung to his dad (in the webtoon). That his big mouth caused a nasty rumor to spread about Jung during high school. That in some ways, he did betray Jung (The hand incident isn’t resolved in the webtoon, so idk much what happened). I wish they mend the relationship between Jung and Inho…instead of putting all the blame to Jung until the end. The bromance is not repaired. #ohbitterme
- IN HA. Oh Inha…what have you done to her character development, drama T_T The actress annoys me at first (I mentioned way above), but her interpretation is growing on me. She’s so meme-able lol. She’s a biatch, batshit crazy, malicious, leech, gold-digger, etc. But I like her being honest about it. Even with Jung, she is just honest “I use you (his money), but you can use me, too.” She never tried blaming Jung and his family for every wrong turn of her life (which drama-Inho does a lot), as she acknowledges it’s her own doing/decision. I was waiting for this character to be developed. In the webtoon, she’s attending school, trying to change (somehow). I’d love her mending her relationship with Inho step by step (their sibling banter was so cute). But it never happened. It’s a pity to see her ends up in psychiatric ward. But at least she got her happy ending.
Disappointment is an understatement.
“What could’ve been” will haunt me forever.
I was tweeting last night (just after the recap) that I highly suspected the read-email was a second-thought/forced ending… that it’s supposed to end at the crosswalk.
I was right.
“According to CJ E&M -the producer of CITT-the ending was supposed to be the scene when our jung n soel were crossing the road. They chaned it 4 times before airing the email version. All casts except PHJ were called to re-film the ending” (soompi)
gdi richard simmons for the ending and not calling PHJ