POPdramatic's 30-Day Asian Drama Challenge: Day 3

Friday, June 10, 2016

Day 3: Actress(es) that proved you wrong about their acting abilities.

Here they are:

Jung Eun Ji. Like Seo In Guk (and pretty much everyone else in that cast), Jung Eun Ji pleasantly surprised me with her performance in Answer Me 1997, despite me having some prejudice about her being an idol (particularly of a group that's possibly one of the blandest in K-pop - A Pink).  Even more impressive was the fact that this was her very first role in a K-drama and she definitely set an example for the leading ladies to come in the Answer Me series. By now, it's pretty much established that the team behind the series is partly to blame for squeezing out the magic from their mostly unknown cast, but Eun Ji has since hold her own in Trot Lovers and Cheer Up! and shown she's capable of giving performances that not many other idols can.

Jo Bo Ah. Out of all the actresses in this list, I believe I was most caught off guard by Jo Bo Ah's transformation from her first, slightly awkward acting role in high school drama Shut Up: Flower Boy Band to the hilarious and unabashed performance in the mermaid love story Surplus PrincessNot only was the role of an apple-butt pervert completely the opposite of the little-miss-perfect that she was in Shut Up, but it was also rather astonishing to see Jo Bo Ah not feeling self-conscious even a bit and just giving her all for the role. The result was both absolutely hilarious and a little heartfelt, not to mention all the perfect reaction screencaps we gained from her many expressions. Also, apple-butts.

Park Si Yeon. Throughout her career, Park Si Yeon has been mostly typecast in roles of ambitious femme fatale characters, who play second fiddle to the nice and kind K-drama heroines. The first time I saw her was in Hong sisters drama My Girl, where she was the classic bitchy second female lead with no other purpose than to be hindrance to the OTP. Watching Coffee House changed my view on her almost instantly and made me wonder how many actresses I have previously dismissed as annoying second leads, when they might just be perfectly quirky and charming if given a chance. Park Si Yeon's performance as the self-assured, yet vulnerable Eun Young was nothing less of awesome and it was nice to see her being genuinely funny as opposed to the everything else she's ever been formerly. It's sad, though, that she hasn't been given an opportunity to return to roles like this since. 

Jung Ryeo Won. Similarly to Jo Bo Ah, Jung Ryeo Won made a transformation I did not see coming and, similarly to Park Si Yeon, she went from being typecast in certain types of characters to being something different. History of the Salaryman is an unique show in many ways, but it remains most memorable to me for the delightfully insane (as HeadsNo2 once put it) and totally unforgettable Yeo Chi. Never before has a female lead been so intimidating, hilarious, vulnerable and lovable at the same time. I dare to say this was a career-changing performance for her as it showed her range as an actress and finally seemed to set her free from her past fame as a idol group member. 

And lastly...

Hwang Jung Eum. And she's not in this list for the reasons you might think. In the past, my reaction to Hwang Jung Eum being cast in a drama was fairly neutral or even slightly optimistic. While she's never been a favourite, I've admitted to her being rather moving in her former roles. I even liked her in variety shows. But somewhere along the way, someone must have told her that acting like an insane person with a deafening line-delivery will make her super popular, because I can't fathom any other excuse for her current acting. Nowadays, when I see her name in news articles, I pray that she hasn't been cast alongside my biases, but considering that she's been in dramas with Ji Sung, Park Seo Joon and Ryu Jun Yeol, my prayers don't seem to have been answered yet. Will there be a time when I start to stomach her again? I don't know, but the deranged lunatic act can't stay popular forever, right? Right?

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