Thursday, July 19, 2007

KDrama Review: Hwang Jini

Bee Gees Song of the Day: Massachusetts

"And the lights all went out in Massachusetts
They brought me back to see my way with you."

In searching Hwang Jini online, I found this and found it particularly moving:
"Oh that I might capture the essence of this deep mid-winter night
and fold it softly into the waft of a spring-moon quilt,
Then fondly uncoil it the night my beloved returns."
Ponder Angst: 10 – there was very little ponder angst! Good for them! Lots of points here.

Love Angles: 20 – we have five people involved in the pentagon of love. Wow! Nice job! Early on, Jini is in love with Eun Ho (and there is actual kissing), but his death affects relationships for Jini way down the line. I HAVE to include him in the angles. Later on, Jini loves Jung Han, Jung Han loves Jini, Baek Gye Su, powerful royal personage loves Jini (its not love, its obsession) and is friends with Jung Han, and Bu Young loves Jung Han (she does love him, but its yet another area where she “loses” to Jini. LOSER!)

Sizzle – 6, no, wait, I’ll give it 10. The two leads weren’t bad, but the heat coming off of the bodyguard was niiiiiice.

Physical Intimacy – 8 – the show was rife with it actually – we are talking about gisaengs and randy court men coming to call, and our main character gets pregnant so its inferred. Not a lot of heat though.

Heartwrenching Death – 12 – boyfriend from youth dies, teacher dies, mom dies, miscarriage; it was a positive death fest.

Going to the Beach – 15 bonus points – 5 points for the actual suicide, 10 points for it occurring on or around the beach. Teacher dances off a cliff into the turbulent waters of her own wasted life. This sends our heroine into a psychotic riff that includes alcoholism and amnesia.

This was the story of 16th Century Korea's most famous Gisaeng, Hwang Jini. Driven to perfect her art, she struggles with life, love, and psychoses.

To be honest, I'm conflicted about this drama. At the end, and as a woman, I respected her for her art and her struggle to dedicate herself to it. Her drive to rise above being a Courtesan – used and at the mercy of men, to free herself and practice the dance. She finally achieved peace in her life.

The girly part of me wanted her to be able to have her art and her love too. Good news is that her love gets to live. Bad news is, they are separated for the rest of their lives. It would have been nice to see Kim Jung Han reach the peace that Jini achieved. He may well have been able to, we just never get to see it. Hell, even nasty Baek Gye Su gets redemption ¾ of the way through and we get to see it. I just wanted the hunted look to leave Jung Han's eyes and have them fill with admiration for Jini for what she had accomplished at the end.

But nope, nope. So boooooo!

BTW? If hot body guard Lee Saeng looked at me the way he looked at Jini? <>. Yum. I would have walked away from the dance, the poetry, the music, my job, my kids....woof.

When she wasn't fainting, we got to see the many sides of Jini. We see cold and aloof Jini (she's my favorite!), we see spiteful, hateful Jini. Grief-stricken Jini was a little dull but then things heated up with hallucinating Jini and right on the heels of that was alcoholic Jini. The comes Psychotic break Jini, followed by Amnesia Victim Jini. Living with the love of her life Jini was sweet for about half an episode, since we also get pregnant Jini. Sadly, this is followed by felon Jini, miscarriage Jini, au revoir to the love of her life Jini, struggling to find true art Jini, and then at peace Jini.

A complex character you may say. Blah blah blah blah blah. I say, pick an effing side Jini and go with it already. And it SHOULD have been "living with the love of her life"-Jini making lots of artsy Korean babies. You SO blew it.

We did get some lovely character death! And ding ding ding ding ding! Two Lucky Seven Bars and a Bell! Almost hit the jackpot! (Three Lucky Seven Bars is actually suicide by ocean – walking into the surf until no one can see you anymore and you don't come back. Free spin if an item of clothing floats up onto the shore without the character in it - like a shoe.) We had someone "go to the beach". Well sort of. Threw herself off a cliff because she realized her life's work was crap.

End of the day, the drama wasn't bad. Ha Ji Won's performance as Jini was wonderful. Won't watch it again. Jini gets a 75 on the drama scale. That's about right.


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__ILY__ said...

Have you watch Queen Seon Deok...It was AWESOME! seriously...I'm really inspired by that drama

E said...

I have not seen it ILY - I'm looking for a new one to watch! Thanks!

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