Drama Check-In: Rich People Drama

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hey guys, remember me? 

Indeed, it has been a while since the last time I posted and probably ages since the last time I made a Drama Check-In post. What happened, you ask? The usual - school, life, laziness etc. But excuses are boring, so let's focus on what isn't boring - dramas.

In this period of absence, I've actually watched quite a different variety of dramas, but to save time, I'm just gonna focus on what has captured my interest most recently. That drama being High Society, previously known as Chaebol's Daughter, which I was actually very excited for.

Though, if I'm being honest, the first episode was a bit of a letdown with slightly awkward line delivery, cheesy background music and stereotypical "rich vs poor" set-up. But I wasn't gonna jump ship without giving it a proper chance. And sure enough, the following episodes settled on a tone and pace that I liked and I found myself growing very attached to the characters. Not to mention, there are two OTPs to root for, which is a rare happening in dramaland, yet a major selling point for me.

(NB! From here on, SPOILERS for episodes 1-4!)

At the centre of the story, we have the chaebol's daughter Jang Yoon Ha (UEE), who is the black sheep of her family. Despite her strong and opinionated personality, Yoon Ha is constantly belittled by her parents and siblings, but most of all by her mother. At first, we cannot quite see the effect it has on Yoon Ha because she spends most of her free time on a part-time job at the food market, working alongside her supportive BFF Ji Yi with whom she shares an utterly heartwarming and adorable bond. 

However, when Yoon Ha takes a liking for her boss Joon Ki, the extent of her mother's mental abuse is slowly becoming apparent. Yoon Ha falls for Joon Ki so fast that it admittedly feels almost off-putting, but at the same time it's not necessarily unrealistic. She's been craving for love and affection her entire life and has not experienced a real relationship before. But when her older brother, who's the only person in her family to show fondness towards her, dies, it sends Yoon Ha into despair. She believes she's cursed because everyone who loves her leaves her, but it seems like a fixed idea that has been planted, deep inside, by her family. 

At this point, I can give some credit for Joon Ki who, while his intentions are still unclear, does try to assure her that she's not to blame. One can only imagine, what these words may mean to Yoon Ha and how it's going to make the poor girl fall even harder for a guy who probably isn't yet to be trusted. Yoon Ha is clearly confused by her feelings of grief and guilt which only make her cling onto Joon Ki even more desperately, so it's difficult to say how much of what she's feeling towards him is actually genuine love.

The character of Choi Joon Ki (Sung Joon) is a tough one to unriddle. His polite and gentlemanly demeanor is not fake, yet it is evident that it hides a much darker layer underneath. Joon Ki comes from a poor and hard-working family and has managed to achieve quite a lot already, but his ambitions are reaching for a far grander life. 

Due to that fact, it's difficult to trust his intentions towards Yoon Ha as well as his friendship with rich buddy Chang Soo. It's particularly worrying that he talks about making conscious "choices" when it comes to forming personal relationships. I don't think he's villainous per se, but it's obvious that he harbours a certain contempt for Chang Soo and that he has a heightened interest in Yoon Ha, after learning about her real background. I can only hope that he will soon become conflicted about his "choices" and will not reach the point of no return, while chasing something that probably won't make him happy.

Joon Ki's chaebol buddy Yoo Chang Soo (Park Hyung Sik) is complete opposite of his friend. Spoiled, childish and petty, Chang Soo does not hold back on what he's thinking or feeling. It's both an annoyance when he's making an effort to be mean and also very adorable when he actually likes his company. 

Chang Soo is not the sharpest pencil in the box, as he's quite oblivious to Joon Ki's manipulations, and his view on the world is also rather naive, but he shows willingness to be better. Although Chang Soo might not understand that befriending those who are not as privileged as him is much more complicated than he thinks, I like that sees value in friends like that. While his relationship with Joon Ki worries me a bit, I have more confidence in his little crush on the chipper food market employee Lee Ji Yi (Lim Ji Yeon)I have a feeling that just like Yoon Ha, he is drawn to Ji Yi's warmth because of how it contrasts to the toxic environment of the rich and powerful. He is amused and smitten by her, though our dense chaebol boy is probably going to pull her pigtails a little while longer before admitting how charming she really is.

And Ji Yi's character is indeed charming. At first sight, she appears to be too naive and happy-go-lucky to be taken seriously, but it would be a mistake to dismiss her because of her sunny attitude. It is exactly her optimism that gives her strength when she realizes that her crush is more interested in her BFF than her. Instead of doing the typical K-drama character thing and silently carrying contempt for her friend, Ji Yi talks it out and steps aside to give Yoon Ha a chance to be happy. It's almost too nice, but it's who she is and one cannot help but admire her for that. 

Ji Yi shows similar emotional maturity when it comes to Chang Soo pursuing her. She's not willing to be played with and rejects his advances, knowing that guys like him are only fun to date in dramas and not in real life. She knows what she wants and she wants man she can count on, even if she allows herself to dream of a fairytale romance every now and then. I guess it's up to Chang Soo to prove that he can be that guy for her.

As a final note, I think High Society has a lot going for it - intriguing relationships, two lovely OTPs and lots of ensuing drama. I found myself enjoying the first four episodes a lot and I hope that the show continues to be such a compelling watch for me. I don't dare to hope for too much, though, because it is a melodrama after all and that means it has a lot more things that can go wrong with it. Even so, I'll be anxiously looking forward to next week's episodes.


School 2015: Who Are You - *sigh* This show has got to be the most aggravating show I've watched this year so far. In fact, never before have I felt so manipulated with as a viewer while watching a drama. The show was an enjoyable watch until it became permanently focused on the love triangle.  The romantic conflict is needlessly being dragged out as a cheap trick to keep tensions high and give false hope to Tae Kwang shippers. And as a fierce Team Tae Kwang shipper, I realize that this show brings out the worst in me and I hate it. So what could have been an insightful show about bullying, instead turned into a nasty shipping war. What a major letdown. Don't know if I bother to finish it, especially knowing the ending spoilers.

Ex-Girfriend Club - It started out light, breezy and fun, which was exactly what I wanted, that is until I realized that there was little depth to the plot. Still planning to finish it, but suddenly feeling a bit disappointed about how the drama turned out. 

Warm and Cozy - Honestly, other people's comments totally ruined this show for me. Even though I wasn't crazy about the drama before, I didn't mind it and thought it would be a nice little drama to watch. But suddenly, everyone seemed to hate on it and although I was determined not to let other's opinions influence my enjoyment, it still did and I stopped watching. I don't know if I can go back.

Producer - Watched episode 1. Not sure if I'm ready for another shipping war.

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  1. I enjoyed reading this post! Very much appreciate your candid perspectives especially on High Society. I have read other first impression posts and it gives me a well rounded picture of whether I want to plop down 10+ hours on watch it. I am intrigued by your depiction of Yoon Ha. Seems like one complicated fellow. I don't like my male lead to be the sinister kind so hopefully there's no hideous worms in that closet.

    I am marathoning School 2015 since my twin really loves it and since she and I have similar tastes I am trusting her on it :) I dropped W&C and Producer.

    1. I'm glad you liked my character analysis. I didn't mean to analyze them that much but somehow I became intrigued by what might be their possible motivations at this point. Right now, Yoon Ha's spirit definitely seems to be quite broken and I wonder wherther Joon Ki's going to become very conflicted towards her or if he's going to break her heart. I don't think he's a bad person, but I worry about his future actions. I'm comforting myself with the thought that he's still a romantic lead, so he can't get too evil.

      Yeah, my relationship with School 2015 is not good. I might finish it eventually, but right now I'm too heartbroken about Tae Kwang.


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