I’ve never been a huge fan of korean dramas. I find them long, melodramatic and too overtly weepy. They progress at such snail speed that you could catch Ep 1, miss 10 episodes, watch Episode 11and still, all the characters are at square 1.0001 and the female lead is still going “O-ba!” complete with anguished voice and tear-drenched face.
Also, I can’t understand why two lovers would still address each other formally. I also do not understand why they just literally stick their unmoving lips together when kissing. Where is the love?
Before you think i am making sweeping statements, I must qualify that i’ve watched at least ten episodes each of “Autumn in my Heart”, “Summer Scent”, “Winter Sonata”, “Love Story in Harvard” and much more (thanks to SCV jumping so enthusiastically on the K-craze bandwagon). I have never finished watching an entire series and for the record, i find the combination of Winter Sonata and Bae Yong Jun a turn-off.
So Fantasy Couple came as an absolutely unexpectedly delightful surprise=) It is my favourite Korean drama and it’s definitely not just relatively better than the rest- it is excellent. I like it so much that I watched it once on cable, got the DVD and watched it again, and repeated the whole series when it was telecast on Channel 8. Hooked, I am, line and sinker.
In a nutshell: Anna (Han Ye Seul) is an insufferable brat who also happens to be grossly rich. She is rude to everyone around her, henpecked husband Billy included. After a few chance encounters with Jang Chul Soo (Oh Ji Ho) in which Anna and Jang pissed the hell out of each other, they became sworn enemies. When Anna lost her memory after falling off her yatch, Jang took the opportunity to take revenge- lying to Anna that they were lovers and taking her home to be his slave.
The plot: The story is not unpredictable. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that Jang and Anna are going to fall deeply into the sea of love. However, Fantasy Couple has all the ingredients of a good romantic comedy. The plot is comprehensive and clear, yet moves along at a fast pace, not once stretching the patience of viewers. The lead and supporting characters serve up plenty of laughs with witty dialogue and silly predicaments and there is never a dull moment. The main story centres on love of course, and what an adorable love story it is! The romance between Jang and Anna is funny, sad at times and totally sweet=). The other subthemes of family, friendship and greed are all thoroughly explored. The story progression serves as a model for all romantic comedies. Three quarters of the series is hilarious, romantic and heartwarming. There are some sad and touching moments (especially when Jang and Anna get jealous of other potential suitors) in between but they are never over-milked for tears and in fact, often still come across humorous. The story reaches a climax in the last two episodes and so viewers need only tolerate the melodrama for two hours. By then, the characters have been developed so well that the most unfeeling of viewers would feel heartache for Jang and Anna. And in the end? No one dies and everyone is happy=) Perfect.
The characters: They are realistic yet likeable. These are people who all have flaws, but who are deep down, still in possession of some moral integrity. You grow to identify with them.
The acting: Han Ye Seul was excellent as Anna. She is so unbearably arrogant yet you can’t quite bring yourself to hate her cos’ she was just darn adorable and cute! Han Ye Seul managed to pull everything off and you can’t help pitying Anna, for you realise very soon that her haughty exterior was simply a shield to protect herself from emotional hurt. The chemistry between Oh Ji Woo (who is, by the way, very very hot) and Han Ye Seul was sizzling- not the innocent Oh-Ba kind, but more the lets-jump-into-bed-and-get-it-on-now sort. Supporting characters- the kindly neighbours, the dependable good friend, the money-hungry beauty, the desperate female tutor, the chubby little kids, Billy and his silly sidekick, even the pet dog, they all did a wonderful job. Special mention goes to Jung Soo Young who portrayed Kang Ja, the town’s dimwit with a heart of gold, beautifully.
Scenery: What would K-dramas be like without scenery? So yes, you get your token dose of pretty lighthouses, deep seas and a cosy little cottage nestled in lush greenery.
Links: You can watch this on tudou.com and you-tube!
My favourite scenes: