OPEN MIC SESSION: Heartstrings

I really was going to try and wait until the end of this drama to write this post, seriously I was, but then, I decided I didn’t want to muddle the entire drama with my specific and pointed words to and for one character in particular Lee (greatest college boyfriend in the world) Shin. Somewhere around episode 8 or 9 I pinned this drama: The Shin Show and I haven’t regretted it one minute since.

Is it virtually impossible for a character to go from mediocre in appeal to becoming the only reason for watching in the course of say, one episode? Absolutely! — at least for me, generally but that definitely changed in this drama and this post is dedicated to telling you why.


Open Mic really is just an opportunity for me to be bias and share my thoughts, so if you are enjoying the show and don’t mind reading yet another opinion… Hope you enjoy!

More than meets the eye

The truth is, I always liked Lee Shin as a character. I never felt that he deserved to be considered a jerk per se just someone that wasn’t the nicest bloke on the block. Mostly, he was relatively indifferent to things he didn’t care about or didn’t concern him, and that was cool. Honestly, he was a good kid and a great brother, a spirited musician and a decent student. Also there was nothing about him that was worthy of all the “fan fawning” either but girls love musicians, so even this was passable. But as I said in my initial post, it was episode 3 that catapulted him to intrigue status.

This was the episode that made Lee Shin a character that I cared about and rooted for. His vulnerability during his short time with his father is one that I will always remember in his favor and be glad to go and rewatch. For, we see something different in those times than anyone in his life sees. We become privy to a private longing within Shin that no one really knows exists. It isn’t surprising to infer, given his circumstances, that Lee Shin would desire to know his father, but he isn’t a kid that oozes tons of emotion(if not on stage), therefore, you can never be sure what he’s actually thinking or feeling. However, when he meets his father and he gets a few precious moments with him, that little boy he’d been hiding, peeks from under the bed and invites us to play and color with him and that alone endears him. Therefore, when loses his father and we have to watch him mourn, it’s wrenching emotionally because we were already rooting for him, eventhough we knew the inevitable. That bit of transparency hurls Shin into position to be a character that is layered and realistic and every drama needs a few of those.

When Hyun Soo dies, I have to admit, I was a little annoyed, not because we didn’t know it was coming, but more that Shin had to deal with that heartbreak, after building something with him. I won’t say that I believe his dying was to help Shin as a character (the show is too slice of life for that) but we can’t deny that it didn’t. He grows immensely from that moment on because he’s able to gander what really matters in life, who really cares for him and whom he wants to share his time and feelings with.

Neon Naege Banhesso

Heartstrings actually has done a great thing with the string of this love story, because if you don’t pay attention, you may feel a little jarred by Shin’s sudden attention to Gyu Won in episode seven. I love, that by focusing the story on Gyu Won, her feelings are in the forefront and Shin’s are passed over until she relinquishes hers. Shin’s feelings for Gyu Won begin to bud practically from the moment they met but he notices her long before that. It was a brief moment–he sees her struggling with her bag, helps her, then watches her clamor to get back to her grandfather and snaps a photo. He found her intriguing and that is where all relationships begin. But it’s not until she becomes his slave, that he actually considers her a friend and we all know, friendship is where all good romantic relationships find their footing.

This nonchalant kid, who pays no head to the oodles of female fans clamoring for his attention, finds himself needing the tethered glance and approval of one girl. This, I believe was one of the most telling instances that he was interested in Gyu Won, because beyond the secret smiles or stolen stares, random compliments and bike rides or pitiful excuses to spend time with her(morning coffee runs), he actually valued her notice of him. For someone, who never seems to care about the opinions of others, he even ponders over her words concerning his feelings for Yoon Su and considers them, this if nothing else, was proof of his deep regard.

As I said, Shin has always been interested in Gyu Won but it took several events in his life, for him to take the time to assess them. And of course it wasn’t until he thought, he’d lost her as a friend and confidant that he was willing to be open to them. However, even when Gyu Won confides her resolve to move on, he isn’t angry she shared her feelings or put out that she’s changed her mind. He sticks by her, even more concerned about her than before. I don’t believe this was only for his personal gain but out of respect for her as someone he had growing feelings for. Gyu Won was uncomfortable and insecure around him, pushing herself to feel and do things she really wasn’t up for and he encouraged her not to hurt herself further. There are several traits that I appreciate about Shin but one is his respectfulness. If he’s noticed you, he tries to be understanding of you and meet you where you are.

Those genes

All these put together lay the foundation for who Shin is now in the drama. Some may think it’s a total change but it’s not at all. He’s a kid that wants to be needed and desires to give love and security to some one who needs it. That is what initially draws him to Yoon Su. He sees this woman who reminds him of himself and he wants to comfort her, but confuses empathy with love. I don’t doubt it was infatuation but he knew so very little about her, and she was so resistant and unaccepting of his feelings that it was impossible for him to get closer to her.

Lee Shin ultimately is a stalker. No, he’s a stalker. But it’s got to be genetic(he can thank his dad). I don’t say that for a laugh, it’s just a cold hard fact. From the beginning, he was a lurking shadow to Yoon Su and though some might find that sweet, it was more creepy and annoying than anything else. The greatest thing that came out of it was his closeness to Gyu Won and his stalker ways have grown healthier with each episode.

Shin most definitely isn’t perfect but he’s genuine and focused and those traits draw you in. He may not always know how to express himself. Nor will he always get it right the first time but he will try until things are made right (if it’s deemed worth it).

Shin seeks advice from Hyun Soo before he dies and at the time, it seemed to apply to his feelings for Yoon Su but I think soon after, Shin recognizes that Hyun Soo’s request applies to a person that he truly loves.  Shin evolves throughout this drama but not into a completely different person. He only transforms from a lovesick noona chaser to a man in love. His performance during the musical’s MT showcases something quite poignant– for at the point, Shin had come to understand what marks the difference between what he felt for Yoon Su and what he has with Gyu Won.

The issue of his parents is always this backdrop on the story and has been needling me from the onset. And I have often considered what it’s placement actually meant for the journey of these characters. Ultimately, it comes down to the parallel between Shin and his father, therefore, a comparison between his relationship with Gyu Won versus his father’s relationship with his mother.

His parents weren’t an ideal couple, nor did they get together in the best of circumstances but they did share something in common, a love for music. That is also what connects Gyu Won and Shin. The Stupids have a large fan base, encompassing practically every girl within a two mile radius of campus or Catharis and they flock virtually and admittedly to watch Shin on stage. But unlike, those other girls, Gyu Won wasn’t attracted to the rock star, she was drawn to the music he becomes when he performs. Like his father, all things fade in the face of music and Gyu Won was captivated by that.

Much like his mother with Hyun Soo, Gyu Won isn’t impressed or inamoured by Shin’s persona or simply by the fact he’s attractive, she resonates with the artist that creates the art. Therefore, when he begins to notice her and tries cheap but cute tricks to garner attention, they go unheaded. Shin and Gyu Won have a relationship based on two people, with two lives, that come together and form a partnership. If nothing else, these two give you hope that they have the potential to take a different path, not only from their parents but also Suk Hyun and Yoon Su.

Beautiful music

Now that we’re entering the last week of the drama(penultimate episode airs in under an hour), several ideas are cropping up and most deal with a separation of sorts. I don’t have any predictions but I do believe that Shin is a character that though he’s ambitious, he knows what is most important in life. Ultimately, I feel, a separation isn’t necessary but regardless, time nor distance would change his mind on Gyu Won. I don’t want to sensationalize him, but the person he’s shaped up to be is someone steady and reliable, consistent and supportive, wanting to give someone he loves the best of himself but sensitive enough to be patient for them to find the best in themselves on their own.

This is a Shin post, so I don’t want to speak too much about Gyu Won, but for me, she isn’t a character I loved. Like Shin, I grew to care for her, by watching how much others cared about her. Watching Windflower and Suk Hyun find something special in her, made him take a double take and realize what an asset she was to his life. He not only sees her as a wonderful friend, he also respects her as a musician. Their relationship has the layers and the foundation to last for a very long time. Therefore, when I think about the future of this couple, I have complete faith. Shin, if not Gyu Won, can be trusted to always put her first and love her, not only the way that she wants to be but in each way she needs. I see them growing together, balancing one another and supporting each other through hardships and life challenges. At times, he’s demanding, clingy and even pushy but all these actions come from a place of deep regard and appreciation for who she is today– not only what she may become in the future. We’ve seen them be very mature in their dealings with all the issues that have come their way, and I don’t see any reason to ever believe otherwise.

Lee Shin definitely makes my list of the most amazing leading men of 2011. For he’s a guy who asks questions and waits for answers. He’s genuinely interested in his girlfriend’s thoughts and feelings but he also apologizes first and never hesitates to say “Thank You.”  He doesn’t wait for a segue or hard feelings to crop up, he sees his wrong and patches it immediately. There have been several opportunities for him to jump to conclusions or overreact but he has never (truly) taken the bait. At times, Lee Shin is so refreshing, it feels like a dream or a romance novel written by a smitten fourteen year old. He honestly seems too good to be true. But boy, am I thankful to have met him.

In my world of dramadom, he joins the ranks of characters that are intelligent and forthright, sincere and patient, without riddling their relationships with harsh words, misunderstandings and assumptions. He may be young but he’s willing and ready to learn, which makes him heads above many romantic leads of the past. For me, there is no mistaking that Lee Shin is without a doubt, a grown man. And I have unequivocally fallen for him.

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5 thoughts on “OPEN MIC SESSION: Heartstrings”

  1. I’m not sure I’m fully on board with Shin being such a sweet, nice, thoughtful and caring person now that he’s with GW. I do like their interactions and all, but somehow he’s suddenly become too good to be true. Too nice. Too sweet. Too thoughtful. Too caring. It’s like GW is his everything now.

    TBH, have been quite middling with my thoughts on Heartstrings ever since Shin and GW got together. Sometimes I’m hooked, sometimes I get bored, sometimes I force myself to FFW…etc Perhaps things have settled a bit too early for the OTP? Or maybe they just didn’t give me enuff Ki Young (urrhh totally wasted here!). I dunno, I just feel that the drama hasn’t been as interesting or intriguing as before.

  2. I’m not sure the drama was ever intriguing. I can love Shin as a character because I believe he was always this person( we get random smidgens of proof). I apologize if this post seemed to promote Gyu Won in that way. For I don’t believe, it was really Gyu Won that changed him but more his desire to be with her, allowed him to reveal this aspect of himself(to her). I definitely don’t credit Gyu Won for much at all. I can see that he’s “too much” of quite a bit and I agree but again, I think that was always who he was concerning love and women. At first, I thought the drama was clumsy with it’s execution of Shin(especially in this area), and maybe my initial thoughts were true, but in reassessment, I think it may have been purposeful. Ultimately, what makes it believable for me, is it seems to come from a genuine, sincere place. And that I can accept.
    Also, I absolutely understand the Kiyoung gripe. And the Suk Hyun and Yoon Su disappointment? All three of those actors got JIPPED! So much awesomeness just chucked down the toilet! Believe me, I’ll be discussing that later.
    Ultimately, the drama has been fun for me, but I think it’s only because I was in a fun mood when it began. The finale comes on in a couple hours, and I have to admit the writers have irritated me with this final hurdle. It’s silly, unnecessary and bordering stupid. it gave me deja vu pangs of the crap Marry Me Mary pulled in their pre-finale. That drama is still on my worst list based solely on that episode.
    Overall, I really wish that someone would think of something just a tad more original or at least something that is cohesive, believable and relevant to the story.
    But alas is there ever a drama out there that deserves our complete trust?

  3. en lo personal… me encanta hearstrings!!!!!!!!! y adoro a lee shin , me encanta su papel a lo largo del dorama., me encantaria ver la segunda parte!!!!!!!!!

    1. maguiz, thank you for dropping in and commenting. It’s great to know there are others that feel the same. A reason to keep writing. I truly enjoyed Shin as a character. Too bad per drama evil they ruined that with the last 2 eps. Thankfully, I know it was just drama crap and not the actual character that was created. My drama buddy pretends the last ep never happened. Wish I could. Lol.

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