25 June 2013

MONSTAR: EPISODE 1 - 5 REVIEW



MONSTAR: Episode 1 to 5 checkin and first impressions review:


Although I do not think I am quite so adoring of this drama as I have read most other people to be, I must first say that I am still really enjoying it.  There is heaps and heaps I really like about it, its sweetness and fun characters, cute songs and some truly beautiful singing voices included, but unfortunately I am also completely unable to stop comparing it to other similar dramas that I happen to truly love, meaning that it has really really large shoes to fill.

I am sure everyone can understand the inexplicable love we often feel towards certain dramas, meaning that any other show that attempts a similar story in that same genre, no matter how good they are, can never really stand up in the face of our first true love. 
For me that beloved drama is ‘Dream High’, it has singing and dancing and teen angst galore, and for me at least really trumps ‘Monstar’ for all its worth in the emotional attachment stakes. Which is really unfortunate, because I do think I would have enjoyed ‘Monstar’ a hell of a lot more if I wasn’t constantly comparing it to one of my all time favourite shows at every turn.

And once I begin picking a drama apart, I just cannot seem to stop and I start to notice more and more tiny and silly problems that I probably could have otherwise completely overlooked. 

 



So first issue:
Even after episode 5 I still feel like the main female lead of Se-yi is a bit of an enigma as a character. I still don’t fully understand her or her inner feelings and although she is a sweet girl and I definitely like her, I am not overly attached to her in any way. This is a huge shame because watching a drama that has provided no substance to its main character is like watching a story unfold with a huge gaping hole at its centre.
This does sound quite harsh so don’t get me wrong I am not hating on Se-yi, as at first I was very intrigued by her cute quirkiness, and quite enjoyed watching her back story slowly unfold. 
For the first few episodes I even felt like I was afforded enough extra glimpses into her character to satisfy me just by watching her interactions with the two boys and the other ragtag team members of their group, a slow burn reveal of her character which I quite liked.

Except then by Episode 5 her story just sort of stopped and stagnated, and I feel like she became a character who was present in the drama only so the others around her had someone to be in love with or react to. I felt like she almost existed solely as a fantasy that the two boys had created of her and not really as a real person that they know, the narrative spending too much time following the the two guys as they fought over her or fantasised over her, without actually taking enough time to fully flesh her character out so we can understand why they feel such a deep connection to her. 

I can only hope this issue will be addressed from Episode 6 onwards and I have a good feeling it probably will, rendering all my arguments totally invalid. 
So if that is indeed the case then please forgive me for my rambling….


 
Issue two:
And what the hell is going on with this most creepyiest of all creepy Ahjussies ever? I understand what the show is trying to do (misguided feelings of wanting a father figure, using Ahjussi to feel closer to dead father etc.) but bloody hell he is so ultra creepy that I am very disturbed by pretty much all of his interactions with Se-yi.  She needs to run away from him and never come back.

I actually feel like Se-yi has so far had more moments of connection with the (totally creepy) Ahjussi than either of the two boys which seems like a huge oversight when trying to construct a believable romance.   His whole relationship with Se-yi just seems completely inappropriate and yes I know she is naive but seriously who follows a creepy (possibly perverted) dude home late at night and agrees to go down into his completely isolated dungeon thingie under his house?
Also he was even wearing a trench coat and aviators at night! 
 
And the whole scene where he fixes up her cut knee and leans down close to a random teenage girls bare legs to blow on her knee? Totally uncool.  I mean I totally get those kind of scenes if they happen with the male lead love interest, like Seol Chan for example, who is of similar age and much less threatening, not exuding that same level of ultra inappropriate menace....

And also another one that drove me crazy was the scene where Seol Chan runs inside the Ahjussi’s house after hearing Se-yi’s scream, only to find them wrestling (very physically) in what totally looks like an attack by the creepy Ahjussi.  And yet when he goes to help (and punches the Ahjussi in the face…which was totally called for in my opinion) he gets yelled at by Se-yi and told he is the one in the wrong and that he should apologise???? Ugh.

And then Seol Chan and Se-yi basically don’t speak again for the next hour or so of viewing time……boo.
 

Issue three:
The level of evil bullying is so hardcore in this drama and seems so at odds with the sweetness and fun young vibe they seem to be reaching for. It feels like the drama is trying to inject some 'School 2013' darkness into its plot when really it is a completely different vehicle and it doesn't really work. 

I really hate that they totally humiliate and destroy poor Kyu-dong in the classroom (and we even see he was about to possibly kill himself) and yet I am still supposed to be totally okay with the sudden switch back to happy vibe and then be interested in everyone else's problems, which seem totally insignificant and petty next to his.
Also the second male lead Sun-woo is a classroom president who seems to have a fair bit of authority over his classmates but he has let this bullying go on all this time without ever doing anything to help? And I am supposed to like him? (yes I know he is very cute but that is beside the point). I understand he is meant to be changing due to Se-yi’s wonderful influence but it still means he began as a huge uncaring douche.

Personally I feel like Se-yi should just fall in love with Kyu-dong instead.  Although then I would miss the bickering vibe between her and Seol Chan which is one wonderful aspect of the show.
Maybe all the above ranting is just because Se-yi and Seol Chan don’t get enough joint screen time during Episode 5 and I feel cranky about it? 

A definite possibility. 




 

Verdict:
So from all the above ranting you might imagine I absolutely hated this drama and will never watch another episode ever again?
Nope.  I actually really like it.
Its true I swear!
I think I just needed to rant about all the bad stuff so I can get it out of my system and then get drawn back into the drama by continuing to enjoy the good stuff. 

Because in contrast to what I seemed to be trying to say above, there is actually a hell of a lot of good stuff in this one and I actually do really enjoy watching it.  I am sure my next drama check in on this one will be much more positive now I have gotten all this out of my system!






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