2 October 2014

INVINCIBLE LEE PYUNG KANG

KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: INVINCIBLE LEE PYUNG KANG



I have avoided this drama forever because.... well, Golf. Yuck. 
But as it turns out it is a zany, over acted (in a totally cute way) madcap romantic comedy, with some really utterly fun and gorgeous characters and the age old story of an enormous huge bratty rich man and a shouty tiny pint-sized poor girl with debt.
And you know what?
I adored it!
But be warned. It is very silly.

Of course it is possible that the totally charming leads Ji Hyun-woo and Nam Sang Mi might have a lot to do with my love of this drama, their over the top shouty chemistry totally charming and fun, if you don't mind Ji Hyun-woo's crazy eye-popping and his screamy overly dramatic voice. Personally I don't mind it at all, though I do admit it's pretty weird seeing him playing such a goony type.

The story is pretty insane and involves a golf course, a succession battle from Ji Hyun-woo's character's dad who has just remarried and introduced a seriously competitive, sly, evil, shifty-eyed squashy faced son in law (how are this man's features so small? Why are they so shifty and tiny? He looks so evil and squashy!), ready to steal the resort away from the completely bratty and incapable true heir, On Dal.

And through a series of completely ridiculous events (so much fun) On Dal ends up setting up house with the very beautiful Nam Sang Mi (gosh she looks good in this drama!) and her plucky little sister, both of whom are neck deep in their mum's gambling debt.
Obviously On Dal is a bit of a shouty tool at the beginning so he is not really feeling much sympathy for our heroine, and instead spends most of his time ordering her about and harassing her chickens (this upset me). 

I really liked Nam Sang Mi's character, Pyung Kang, though I guess she is a bit of a standard in dramaland. Still she is brave and stands up for herself and has all the attributes I love in a heroine, including a shouting bickering relationship with our bratty hero.  I quite love her. She is just so damn cute and plucky!




So as the story progresses we get a plot about the rightful successor of the resort, a less boring than expected golf tournament, some totally eviiiiillll step family members who spend a lot of time plotting and being totally eviiiiil (and also wearing a suit with a scarf WITH A BELT OVER THE SCARF! Hahahah!) and also our two leads spending all their time together yelling, screaming and just being damn handsy with eachother.
Like, all over eachother in an angry bickering annoyed kind of way.

It is a fun shouty relationship I think, and even though there are already glimpses of them being occasionally genuine or even nice to each other, mainly they spend all their time fighting. Which is actually really fun! 

Also as a random side note, I must say it is so nice watching a Ji hyun-woo drama from before he got his teeth straightened during his army service. Yes they are impossibly goofy and stick out everywhere at all angles but gosh are they quite charming! Those goofy toothy smiles are just so lovely in a dramaland filled with impossibly perfect looking people and smiles. Its a bit of a shame he got them fixed and I think I rather miss them.....


So to get into the story a bit, On Dal has returned from America just in time for his dad's wedding to the most totally evil one note villain (at least at the start) that ever existed, along with her insane looking squashed face son (who also totally grew on me before the end).
To be honest I don't mind these guys at all, even though for most of the story there is certainly no depth there. In this drama the two leads are really rather charming enough and the whole tone is nice and light (and quite goony and quirky) so I am happy for the villains to just parade around being totally evil all the time (which they certainly do!). They completely serve their purpose in creating problems for our On Dal and forcing him into hiding on more than one occasion, meaning he is constantly going off to live with Pyung Kang. Which is where I like to see him living!

On Dal is a pretty interesting guy, ridiculously shouty and entitled, but not exactly the total jerk man we are so used to in dramaland. He isn't cruel for example. More like he puts on a totally useless blustering exterior to hide all the problems underneath,  and that right there I think is why it will never work out between him and his sort of fiancĂ©e, cool aloof Ja Rak.
They never talk to eachother!
They are both weighed down by all sorts of crazy problems but rather than have a conversation like real people they end up hiding their issues and yelling or avoiding or basically doing anything guaranteed to not make their relationship work.
Like for instance running off to the squashy faced stepbrother because you and your On Dal had one argument and he didn't treat you very nicely at a really really bad time when On Dal thought his dad was getting dementia in a coma. I mean that's a stressful time! Don't make any decisions after a time like that!



So I admit that the successor stuff with the evil madam is a little bit (TOTALLY) boring, and the dementia ridden chairman is also a little bit (TOTALLY) boring, but whenever our leads are on screen I am fully hooked (even during the weird flashbacks to their past lives selves), and I love how slow their romance builds, really just beginning with a quiet dependability on each other (or at least On Dal ends up desperately depending on Pyung Kang because she is awesome and always solves all his problems.)

But even though he truly drives her crazy, it's clear that Pyung Kang has grown rather fond of On Dal too, and she has seen these awful moments of vulnerability beneath all his ridiculous shoutyness, (some very cheesy, hilarious and ridiculous moments of vulnerability like his wrist injury...hehe) moments where he is obviously genuine and grateful for her thoughtfulness and help.

Though all the rest of the time he just yells at her and acts like a massive brat, but Pyung Kang gives as good as she gets, and no matter the fights these two have, it is always forgotten the next moment as they both have tempers as fleeting as the wind.


On Dal comes to rely and trust Pyung Kang as someone who will always help him no matter what (but not in a downtrodden candy heroine way, she'll let him know if he is being stupid) and for Pyung Kang herself,  she starts to believe in him, that On Dal can do it, he can change and work harder and be better.

And that is what Pyung Kang can inspire in him, because On Dal's other romance is failing because Ja Rak is constantly telling him he is a big disappointment (okay yes, he is a bit of a disappointment but how can you expect someone to just miraculously help themselves and change for the better without some help?)
Pyung Kang on the other hand sees On Dal at his worst, at his best, and she takes care of him when he needs it and offers her opinions whether he wants it or not. And I don't think On Dal has had a lot of people on his side before.

And just when you start to think maybe they are falling for eachother, the story just pulls back from it in a nice believable way, taking longer to build up the romance, whilst still giving us plenty of really cute adorable fighting couple moments every episode.



Of course though it is jealousy that gets On Dal in the end. Yet he still hasn't realised anything beyond that petty feeling. Meanwhile Pyung Kang is falling deep for pretty perfect second male lead Edward, only to find herself thinking about On Dal at the most inopportune moments.
So. Goddamn. Cute.


So after an amnesia sort of kiss that confuses the hell out of both Pyung Kang and the (beginning to be) rather swoon worthy On Dal, Pyung Kang steps up big time when On Dal needs her help most, ditching Edward and helping On Dal win over some investors to buy some coupons (or whatever dumb thing ... it doesn't matter!)
When Pyung Kang gets home after her ruined date with the enamored Edward, a hugely grateful On Dal is waiting for her and he offers to buy her anything she wants for dinner as a reward. 
Pyung Kang wants home cooked Korean food and so he makes her (delicious looking) bibimbap and they sit at the little low table in her house, and On Dal just stares at her whilst she eats, like he is in heaven.
Gosh! The way he looks at her! Swoon!

And then suddenly he is reaching out to wipe rice off her lips, except there isn't anything there and its just his excuse to touch her. And then he wipes pretend rice off the other corner of her lips and then Pyung Kang is finally noticing the way he is looking at her as he touches her cheek and leans towards her across the table so slowly. Pyung Kang thinks he must be kidding but as soon as he is leaning in to kiss her for real she doesn't move away and lets him do it.
And it is quite moving and lovely (and brief...) until Pyung Kang's sassy little sister interrupts them and On Dal collapses onto the floor, paralysed with surprise at what he has just done. 
And that is how goony goofy crooked toothy On Dal suddenly became a totally genuine lovely hero!


And the phone call!! Oh gosh it is adorable as a ridiculously nervous On Dal calls Pyung Kang up at night to say that to him the kiss was genuine, that it did mean something.
It is so adorable! !
And Pyung Kang? She is so cute, clearly already completely head over heels! I like her explanation here too, that Edward is the perfect man she should want, but On Dal is the man who has moved her heart.
I really just fell in love with Nam Sang Mi over her role here. She is so beautiful and lovely and so goddamn feisty and shouty. Perfect!



I really loved the ending of this drama too, I loved how the story kept me completely invested in our leads even after they got together and started with a few cliche jealousy plotlines. This couple are just so utterly charming and likable that they carry the entire drama.

The evil step family were somehow given believable depth at the very end and just rounded out in such a satisfactory and totally not stupid way, ending our central succession conflict on such a feel-good note.
The squashy faced son and On Dal punch eachother up and somehow it totally solves all their problems and it's kind of..... nice actually. 
As in really really nice. 
And as squishy faced son walks off, the love of his life Ja Rak finally decides she'll let him into her heart. 
Again ..... it's just so nice

And even the evil stepmum and chairman get a rather sweet happy ending which I really liked (even though I zoned out every time they were on screen because. .. boooring!) But their ending was just so goddamn nice! The woman just wanted to be loved afterall! 

 I loved loved loved this ending and I loved that a sweet simple drama like this even bothered to give its villains depth and redemption at the end. It was such a satisfactory ending and felt so full and solid, a really wonderful close to a drama that I adored. No getting slower or more boring, or less relevant to make me care less by the time we reached the ending,  I just adored it through and through.


And for On Dal and Pyung Kang themselves,  I can completely and utterly see them together forever, they are such a wonderful couple and I can completely see why they like eachother and I think they will be able to truly support and change eachother for the better as they embark on their next great adventure.
I particularly enjoyed the faked time jump, cos the idea of Pyung Kang going away to study for three years drove me crazy, but it was such a fun fakeout because just as On Dal is getting overly blubbery (quite hilarious) Pyung Kang turns back up and it turns out she has only been gone for five days on holiday to Thailand.  Ha!
I loved that ending because I just don't think three years apart or studying abroad is necessary for these guys. They'll do just fine just as they are!

In short, nothing amazing or new here, but for a simple sweet, goofy and very silly romantic comedy, it really ticked all my boxes and for some reason I just really really adored it! I think I will even watch it again soon!  :-)



















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