Yep, it’s still raining. And I have a feeling the rain won’t stop for awhile but I’m glad it’s more like a summer monsoon than a fall hurricane, for I’m not at all reluctant to get soaked to the bone. The majority of our starter dramas have either hit their midpoint or just surpassed it, so it’s prime-time for some basic reflection. For those of us loving this drama, this should bring a little solace until Weds. arrives.
*This post really should be an Open Mic post because I really just let loose in this one… Hope you can stand all the chatter.
Inning Replay: Bodyguard and rabid Blue Seagull’s baseball fan, Yu Eun Jae meets her team’s most notorious nemesis, the temperamental Red Dreamers short stop, Park Mu Yul at a local karaoke. And their brief, painful, image damaging altercation is secretly caught on tape. To lessen the fallout, both parties concede to work together, pretending the footage represents more of a employee demonstration than a random fight.
But the media isn’t easily quelled and speculation of Park’s female karaoke partner continue to swarm and eventually has Eun Jae guessing Mu Yul’s stealing a few bases with his teammates’ wife, Oh Su Yeung.
Unfortunately, Eun Jae isn’t the only one finding Mu Yul a little foul, for his reputation is getting worse by the day and has escalated to solid threats by mail. Mu Yul refuses to take the messages too seriously until he’s approached and later blackmailed by a woman he meets during a party. Eun Jae saves him from being seduced and setup, however, but not before, Swindling Cindy, kisses and tells that she was assisted in her trickery by a perfectly placed picture outside her door.
This sends Mu Yul’s Manager Kim into a full on investigation to the identity of this spiteful stalker and enlists Eun Jae’s roommate, Kim Dong Ah, for help. But the game has already begun and Mu Yul is found beating the crap out of a local waiter for a snide comment (which is later revealed to be induced by Mystery Mailer, as well).
Reporter Go Jae Hyo, Park Mu Yul gossip monger and personal hater, jumps at the chance for a story and uses confidential information from Mu Yul’s past to further sully his reputation. It is only when pressed to confront his source, he finds Mu Yul’s claims to be true and hands over the evidence to set the record straight. However, with all this bashing, Mu Yul disappears and sends everyone into a panic, Eun Jae at the forefront. After skimming through his baseball diary, she treads to the mountains in search of him and convinces him to return to face his problems. They get back just in time to celebrate but the party theme shifts from career recovery to homecoming surprise when Mu Yul’s ex-girlfriend walks through the door and jumps back into his life.
Meanwhile, Mu Yul’s friend and teammate Dong Su finds himself at a career dead end and decides to retire, sparking sympathy with Eun Jae, believing his wife is also cheating. On a trip to Japan, Dong Su and Su Yeung clear the air about their marriage and future. Upon their return, she begins work as an Art teacher and Dong Su chooses not to give up baseball entirely but to stay close to the field as a team manager, which disappoints his wife and chafes his former teammates.
The green-eyed beast takes control, when Eun Jae realizes her feelings for Mu Yul break bodyguard rules and seethes as Mu Yul swoons and giggles over Kang Jong Hee. It’s the holidays and Mu Yul’s alone, so he invites Eun Jae over for Christmas dinner and company. Annoyed by his ramblings about love and fate, Eun Jae confesses her true feelings for him but upon Jong Hee’s arrival, laughs it off as a bet between she and Dong Ah.
The next few weeks are torture, as Mu Yul and Jong Hee visit their old haunts reminiscing about their past as Eun Jae looks on. Finally, Eun Jae concludes it’s game over and asks Cabin Kevin for a reassignment. Mu Yul is miffed and missing Eun Jae, when he drags her to dinner after work, a few days later. Unfortunately, when he confesses to liking her too (as a little sister), her resolve bursts and they argue, promising to never speak again. This is short-lived, however, for it turns out emotionally fragile Jong Hee is having a mental meltdown and needs protection. Earlier that night her cat went from missing to murdered only a few feet from Mu Yul’s door, presumably by Cloaked Clara (Mu Yul’s stalker). The next day, Mu Yul asks Eun Jae to take the job.
It may only be February, but I’m already putting in bids for Yu Eun Jae as my favorite heroine this year. This girl is right up my alley, for she isn’t at all typical (in the Kdrama world) and probably would be rather reluctant (but flattered) to be called a “heroine.” I love that she’s normal and practical, frank but kind, all while being solid and sensitive. Which all make her a lovely, refreshing and just plain great character to watch. She’s not a pushover, nor does she take everything at face value. If she doesn’t like something or someone, she may be opinionated but by no means ungenerous. She will speak truth and accept truth, whether she likes it or not and won’t back down. She’s willing to admit she’s wrong and though she’s not the shiniest bat in the cage, she’s definitely one of the strongest, sturdiest and most reliable. In short, she’s the kind of girl anyone would want as a friend, for the simple fact that she’s easy-going, fairly friendly, loyal and unapologetically carnivorous.
Seriously, Park Mu Yul is rather average in male lead characters because there’s nothing that great or that bad about him. He isn’t extraordinary on one side of the spectrum or other. He is however, childish and petty, with a very short fuse but none of this is over-the-top and at times can be rather endearing.
Mu Yul is still that little boy trying to prove himself and stay in the game. He’s very aware that his golden life is temporary. I find him satisfying as a character because not only is he dedicated, he’s grateful. Not kowtow grateful, but genuinely thankful for his position and who has supported him along the way. His need for love and approval makes him easily attached, overprotective and misunderstood at times. Like most men, he’s very emotional and allows himself to get trapped time after time by personal reactions to nonsense. And somehow, even with all this, Park Mu Yul is a wonderful character to see live and breathe and yell, onscreen. Overall, he’s just a regular guy who desires to have someone who’s a constant support behind him who believes in him, trusts him and has his back. This is due mostly to his big heart, which reflects a man that is generous and unpretentious, for Park Mu Yul may growl but his bark is certainly worse than his bite.
Jin Dong Su (Oh Man Suk) and Oh Su Yeung (Hwang Sun Hee)
The down and out baseball player and artistic housewife *sigh*. Somehow, I like Man Suk’s portrayal of “Hyung” but I feel the story doesn’t actually need he or his wife. When they come on-screen, a bout of hebetude sets in, for they are more of an energy suck than anything else. Sure, it’s sad that he’s had to give up his dream and it’s equally sad that his wife has made concession after concession for him but I really don’t care. I see how the writer has also made the “pioneer-teacher vs. talent” parallel between Su Yeung and Jong Hee’s art and Dong and Mu Yul’s baseball but again, I don’t care. Their stories make no difference to me and the only time I care about Dong Su is either when his former teammates make an off hand comment about his new career path (pompous idiots) or when he and Mu Yul are together. I think it’s fine that the drama wanted to give the other side of the spectrum but it’s a little too sad, too melo, too pitiful, too overwrought.
Kim Dong Ah (Im Joo Eun), Kim Tae Han (Kang Dong Ho), Go Jae Hyo (Lee Hee Joon)
The world of WR really isn’t that vast and honestly not much is going on but these three characters are a nice cushion to an already funky couch. Personally, I’d rather see these three and the main two over Oh and Hwang but oh well. The characters of Manager Kim and Reporter Go were, at first glance, just stock characters that seemed lifeless and pointless, in that they filled time and gave tiny slices of insight into the “stalker” theme that shrouds this show. I was confused by both men and what they were about in terms of Mu Yul and their intentions toward him. I was intrigued, but wasn’t sure I should be and therefore tried hard to ignore them. But, then enters Kim Dong Ah, the eccentric book worm and it’s nonstop laughs. Every scene with she and Manager Kim cracks me up because he’s a block of wood and she’s an ant eater, sniffing around looking for food. Their budding romance has become the “wild” of the title just for the pun of it. They are by far oddly adorable but terribly confusing. They’re that couple that you see and wonder, “How’d they get together?”
This past week, we had all three on-screen together and of course, Im’s Dong Ah stole the show. Im’s interpretation of Kim Dong Ah gives new meaning to the terms dimwit and quirky, for I haven’t seen a character in a long that makes me furrow my brow, shake my head and bubble in giggles all at the same time (and all in a good way).
On the other hand, Reporter Go is this character that executes “Hyung’s(Dong Soo)” story or role– the “unrecognized dream” in a better manner. But though, Go’s story much more compelling, his bitterness and jealousy is distasteful. His connection to Hyung is understandable and his empathy with all things anti Park Mu Yul is also relatable but his determination to destroy him is/was not. Mu Yul is seemingly a man who doesn’t deserve his fame, popularity or position, nor does he come across as someone who has never worked hard for anything. And Go has the attitude of many that view athletes as undeserving celebrities that rely on luck and good looks, but this is all based on his own disappointment, personal hardship and downright saltiness towards his past. The drama actually tried to garner sympathy by hinting toward Mu Yul as the “cause” of his misfortune but cow-tailed. Therefore, though there is a basic clemency for him as the man whose dream was snuffed out, it’s quickly squelched, when he purposefully sets out to ruin the dream of another, making him worse than his assailant.
When he befriends the scheming Seo Yoon Yi, he has such great empathy and compassion for him, it’s not only irritating but unfortunate he never thinks he’s being bamboozled. I personally believe the writers dropped the ball in dragging an entire episode for Go to remember a listening device he planted could be useful in uncovering the truth (because erm, isn’t that why it was planted?) but I try not to quibble. I’m thankful, the show gave him a moment of redemption because I want to like him but nothing negates his audacity.
Ultimately, it’s comical how very similar in personality he is with Mu Yul and Eun Jae, therefore, I’ve always felt he’d make for a great third-wheel but I guess that’s only in my dreams.
The Romance: WR seems to be going for a different type of love story than the typical “tomboy” setup. My hopes are very low in this regard but the thought is out there. Eun Jae has decided that she likes Mu Yul and there is no turning back, with a confession at the halfway mark and a retreat this week. The drama knows it’s best asset is Eun Jae and Mu Yul in the same sphere, so typically, she’s now contracted under his service once again.
What has made the romance, or lack there of, fun for me, is that it’s just exciting seeing them together. Whether they ever have a full blown romance is obsolete, because these two belong together. If it’s raising kids, rearing cattle, or playing video games on Friday night, doesn’t really matter. This couple is stuck together, forever. As always, I find that the best relationships transcend romance and sex and Eun Jae and Mu Yul are yet another example.
Also, I’m not sure that what they have can ever be considered love, at least not the kind that is propagated in fairy tales, but I do believe Mu Yul values Eun Jae and trusts her immensely. This is shown in several instances, but most recently in this last episode. Though his actions (and words) can be misconstrued (and I’m sure they are and will), his request came from a genuine place and says more about his thoughts and feelings for Eun Jae, than his worry and concern for Jong Hee. For though, I’m positive he’s extremely uneasy about Jong Hee’s condition, he doesn’t need Eun Jae; he chose her. Nor did he need to stop by; he could call or text but he didn’t. Not because she was the easiest or most convenient choice (though true), but because she’s the first person he thought of; because trusts her, because he considers her a friend. Plain and simple.
The Stalker: I’m sure everyone has their theories on who this stalker is, (well if you care anyway, and believe me I’d understand if you didn’t), and there are many theories but since episode one I’ve only had one person in mind: Imo/housekeeper Ahjumma.
Ahjumma is a character that we know very little about though we see her constantly and with each episode my suspicion grows. My first issue is her appearance. For a woman that has worked for a high profile athlete for 10+ years she looks mighty haggard and worn out, almost like she works slave hours (or is pretending to be something she isn’t). Does Mu Yul pay her in peas? Does she lead a double life? Did her family rack up debt that she’s now forced to take more jobs to supplement?
Also, her reaction to all women surrounding Mu Yul makes me uneasy. From the beginning, her response and attitude toward Eun Jae was snide, cold and condescending at best. It wasn’t until she saved his life that Imo seemed to soften, almost remorseful. Then, there’s her interaction with Jong Hee. I find their rapport unsettling as well. Jong Hee remembered instantly but Imo was hesitant to accept the acquaintance, though it’s clear she remembered her. I would normally chalk all this up to pretense and protection based on her love and loyalty to Mu Yul but I just believe there’s more. Ultimately, there’s no way, I don’t think it’s her.
Now of course, I could be wrong because basically, I just don’t like the woman. She creeps me out. But even with my evil thoughts towards Imo, I don’t want her to be the “hooded wonder” basically because it seems senseless. For, she’s by all accounts and purposes a pseudo-mother to Mu Yul and was genuinely worried when he disappeared. But regardless, the woman is weird. It’s got be her (lol).
I will concede, however, that everyone and anyone could be the culprit, especially, Oh Yu Seung or Kang Jong Hee. Oh Su Yeung being the more interesting of the two, for her motives are terribly unclear. Mostly, I envision Show copping out to make Jong Hee ailing with a multiple personality. This would explain the pointed addresses toward relationships (by Gloved Glenda), her inability to live in the present, her insistence on confronting Seo Yun Yi and even the demise of Short. I personally wouldn’t like this scenario because again, it’s a cop out but it renders Mu Yul unable to patch up their past and frees him for a future with Eun Jae (cue fan cheers– YAY!). My attitude toward this is, if it pans out, that it snatches common sense and rational decision making away from the characters, not to mention it’s logically insulting.
Again my hopes are low, but Show, please don’t renege and make it, like the trash guy we never see or a random fan or by god Hyung or Manager Kim. These are all scenarios that I won’t accept Show. I MEAN IT!
The Gripe: [I don’t usually have this section in my posts but this “gripe” was too long not to speak on it separately.] As usual there are gripes with the show: (2) glaring and valid, (1) just cause I’m a girl.
1. The Stalker
The plot for WR has always been thin and simplistic but moreover fun, energetic and doesn’t take itself too serious, therefore, the first few attack attempts on Mu Yul were ruffling but surmountable. Then, “raincoat Randy” is in every episode and using one person after the next. Mu Yul has these mood swings, and then we’re in the woods or the bar, or in a club, with a brat now a cat… you get it.
Plainly, the stalker bit isn’t done well at all, at least not to where I’m actually concerned.The redundancy is ludicrous and borderline malignant. When we start from one premise, the audience understands that Mu Yul has an enemy, an enemy that is close but concealed, and though the attacks were often, they were flimsy, then blown out of proportion. This is where you see the holes in plot and substance.
Whomever this person is (see: above), they are virtually harmless and more spiteful and territorial, than dangerous (until Short). When thinking about the threats they are more about teaching Mu Yul a lesson or steering Mu Yul away from love and relationships, rather than stomping his career. It’s his reactions to provocation that damage is world. “Creepy Crystal” doesn’t seem to really want to ruin Mu Yul’s reputation or career or life even– just irritate the crap out of him and keep everyone that cares for him at bay.
The return of Kang Jong Hee was inevitable because there is no Korean drama that knows how to keep the past in (wait for it…) the past but again it’s taxing and tired. This drama would have been fine, low ratings and all, without the slightly annoying but not terribly repugnant presence of Jessica Jung. I suppose linking the stalker angle and the ex angle, work, but yet again, it’s typical. It’s also an excuse to keep our OTP together (which makes fans happy) but it by no means feels anywhere near original or fresh. Also, the way it’s done is rather abrasive.
In a previous episode, we’re given the information that Jong Hee has bi-polar disorder or some form of depression and then, “picture poker Patty” uses Jong Hee’s prized possession as a way of tampering with her mental health? I don’t know about you, but that’s a little hard to stomach, in what is supposed to be a breezy 16 episode rom-com. I don’t believe that Show “means” to toy with mental health topics but it is a tad insensitive to the gravity of the real issue. [This is also true in the entire handling of the “we broke up cause I need meds” topic hovering over Mu Yul and Jong Hee’s relationship, but that’s for another day.]
Furthermore, though this may bring the OTP together, it also separates them by encouraging the pity plea and leaves ample fodder for “the great reveal.” For my b.s. barometer hints, this isn’t the first time “stabbity Stacy” (or someone) has utilized Jong Hee’s mental state to separate she and Mu Yul (read: initial breakup=lost ring vs left ring; see: ep 9). Granted, I believe the writer is allowing Mu Yul to use his brain, as he senses all he and Jong Hee have is their past but he’s not overly convinced yet. And neither am I.
I will preface by saying…. I hate when girls confess first. Liking the guy first gets under my skin too but in this scenario, though I didn’t love it, I was willing to let it pass. Then Eun Jae confesses and I was crushed! Wae, Eun Jae! Wae! Obviously, I’m rather prideful but also in this setup, it just wasn’t the right time. Her subsequent actions were equally upsetting because unbeknownst to me, I wanted a little more maturity, from a character of which I knew only had raindrop remnants.
With that said, I do however, like the way the drama handled it. No, I don’t like that she ran away, nor that she acts like she’s the one with the personality disorder but I do respect her for taking some dug out time and having a girl moment. She needed space and I would too. Mu Yul’s confession was also handled well and though it wasn’t what Eun Jae wanted, it was a genuine reflection of his feelings and how he currently identifies his attraction and dependence on her (at present).
Eun Jae’s dismissal of his feelings was unfair and uncouth, because Mu Yul is very sensitive and wasn’t being selfish, even if oblivious. He extended solid friendship, without the ties of employer-employee obligation and she just stomped on it. I don’t think that she needs to accept everything on his terms, but, tact is essential. I’ve actually appreciate Mu Yul during this entire “confession” blurriness because he didn’t take it lightly. He hoped she was joking but didn’t assume so, instead he clarified, then accepted (relieved I’m sure, perhaps confused). Those are the actions of someone who cares and desires to build upon a relationship. He’s also the first one to label their relationship, though a little off base.
Overall Thoughts: Wild Romance is for some reason, my favorite drama right now. There isn’t anything amazing about the show, nor is it extremely thought provoking but it’s a whole lot of fun to watch. Therefore, these aren’t my comprehensive thoughts on every episode but a glimpse into all the things I love and love to hate about a drama I’m enjoying immensely. The story of Park Mu Yul and Yu Eun Jae isn’t some whirlwind or classic love story but it’s cute, comfy and most of all cacklious. These two fall into the enemies become lovers (we think) category but what I love is how very much alike they are. This isn’t a story about opposites attracting, for their temprements and attitudes are very similar. Nor is this an ugly duckling meets her dazzling prince. Eun Jae hasn’t gone through some magical transformation and Mu Yul hasn’t finally seen her true beauty, even though she’s suffered the pains and trials of plucking eyebrows, straightening hair and slapping on lip gloss. Eun Jae didn’t change, she just began to care a bit more. Subsequently, neither of these characters has to change in order to get together; they just have to get together. That alone makes this drama a shining speck different from tons of other rom-coms greater and lesser in quality. And why it holds a strong place on my fav list.
Lee Shi Young is one of my favorite actresses and I am delighted to see her be so wonderful as Yu Eun Jae. No one is matching her on the acting scale but Lee Dong Wook is a breath of fresh air as Mu Yul. I’ve seen a couple of his dramas/films and this is my favorite character. He’s brooding but lovable, and most definitely a complete jock. I like that he tries on different roles and makes the conscious effort to make them his own. He’s a hot guy but it’s his acting that deepens my regard. Together, they tug at my heart with every scene (cute, crying or cursing) and their comedic timing is impeccable. This is a rom-com that is heavy on the bickering banter comedy stretches and I eat it up. The first couple episodes were priceless. I truly can’t wait to see what either of these two do next.
As for the drama as a whole, I have to admit I’m on the wait and see front. Though I’m enjoying WR entirely too much right now, we’ve still two innings to go and honestly, each time Kdrama’s up to bat, it’s all chokes or chases.