Sashiburi desu. Thank you to the new followers even though I haven’t been updating this blog as consistently as I want to! Now enough of real drama, and on to reel dramas. I find it interesting that two ongoing dramas in South Korea and Taiwan tackle, well, dramas: KING OF DRAMAS (KOD) and DRAMA GO GO GO (DGGG!)!
KOD and DGGG! have so many things in common: they tackle the behind-the-scenes of making a drama, the lead female character is a writer and there are two main characters that are actors. The idea of looking behind the drama scenes is very interesting, especially for someone like me who is curious about the inner workings of the industry, more than the finished product.
And this is where the difference between KOD and DGGG! become so glaring. DGGG! is the typical breezy Taiwanese drama from the get-go. From the first episode, it’s as if it’s begging not to be taken seriously. With Jiro Wang, who plays himself but in another incarnation as Eason, it really takes a lot of effort to take it seriously. It makes me wonder why Jiro stars in a lot of dramas when his dramas have all rated low. Or it is the same case as Eason in DGGG! that all the big stars are busy with other projects and he’s the only one available?
It’s a pity because the premise of DGGG! looked promising. A female scriptwriter, on the verge of being a “leftover” and caught up in her own romantic notions, suddenly gets the big break she’s been waiting for. Then there’s this cad of a washed-up actor, played with unbelievable cheerfulness, who uses her to stay in the game. Cad and cheerfulness do not really go together but with another actor, it may have worked. With Jiro, I keep seeing Jiro and not Eason, who experienced fame before and now has to settle with scraps. Ruby Lin is somewhat endearing as Ming Ming, the writer, but sadly, that is overshadowed by the Jiro poison.
Now, about KOD. Those who read this blog would know I am not a fan of K-pop or K-dramas. Been there, done that. But I do watch K-dramas when something interests me and I must admit that I gave KOD a watch because of Siwon. I was expecting the same Siwon I saw in EXTRAVAGANT CHALLENGE, which I never got around to finish. But boy, was I surprised.
Siwon’s Kang Hyeonmin (yes, he is on Twitter @kang_hyeonmin, an account that @siwon407 himself created) may only be a secondary character (and he does not appear until episode 2 or 3… I think), but whenever he is onscreen, he upstages everyone without even trying. Kang Hyeonmin is so different from his straitlaced, Mr Perfect actor role in EXTRAVAGANT CHALLENGE. Kang Hyeonmin is the very opposite. Sure, in front of the cameras, he projects the typical idol who knows how to please the press and the fans, but in private, he is a money-minded, shallow and even dull human being. How Siwon plays it is a hoot and though it begs not to be taken seriously, we all know that somewhere out there, there are actors like him. The role, in fact, was supposedly patterned after a real actor. Yes, the guessing game has been on for some time.
However, Kang Hyeonmin is not the KING referred to in KOD. That title role belongs to Kim Myung Min who plays Anthony Kim, the domineering producer who suffers a downfall and is now moving heaven and hell to get back to the top. Kim Myung Min nails down his portrayal of a heartless man whose only obsession it seems is to make a top-rating drama at whatever cost, even if it means the loss of someone’s life. But as the story progresses, his sad history slowly unravels, and with that also comes the subtle changes in his personality brought out by the other characters around him. Beyond all the machinations considered as common practice in the entertainment world, not to mention the almost caricature portrayal of the anti-heroes, KOD is a heartwarming drama with all the right tension and laugh-out-loud moments (courtesy of Kang Hyeonmin) that makes you feel good, as what dramas are meant to do.
Unfortunately, the Koreans do not seem to agree with the rest of those watching KOD because its ratings have been consistently low. It’s either they want their dramas to be super melodramatic with convoluted plots or they don’t like a drama to make a parody of one of Korea’s most famous exports to the world. But there is hope yet because in the last two episodes, the story arc will center on a debilitating disease; in other words, KOD will go the “melo” way just like how the drama within the drama, Kyungsung Morning, was unable to help itself, in order to win the ratings game. Life imitates fiction?
As for GDDD!, I have stopped at episode 2 and is quite uncertain whether to plod on. Maybe I’ll give episode 5 a watch because apparently, Peter Ho is in a cameo role. He already appeared briefly in episode 1 (or 2?) and he was a hoot, but not as campy as Kang Hyeonmin. I hope that Siwon gets a best supporting actor award for his work in KOD. Not every idol would be willing to play Kang Hyeonmin. Besides, I have seen his other actor roles in dramas and in fairness to him, he makes an effort to differentiate each role unlike, well, Jiro.
So which drama is king? KING OF DRAMAS, hands down.
For reviews/recaps of KOD, of course, where else to go but dramabeans. No idea about GDDD! though.
But I do like GDDD!’s theme song, Our Script, by Jiro:
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