This drama has so many alternative English titles but from now on, I’m sticking to MAN FROM THE STARS because it’s shorter and more direct. And for a drama that’s fantasy at the root, part romance and part comedy, it sure has memorable dramatic scenes not only for the tears but for the nuggets of lessons we can pick from them.
In episode 5, superstar Cheon Song-yi is implicated in the alleged suicide of a rival actress. As the press hound her, she finds herself seeking refuge in the apartment of her neighbor, the stoic Do Min-joon. The chemistry between Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun is so good and it’s totally possible to imagine them as an OTP despite the nine-year difference (or that she’s married in real life). Their scenes together are definitely the highlight of this show especially when Cheon Song-yi is being her uncouth yet charming self while Do Min-joon is stiff and poker-faced being the alien that he is.
I so love the scene in the balcony of Do Min-joon’s apartment in this episode where they’re looking at a billboard of Cheon Song-yi across the street, totally indifferent to the chaos happening outside the door with the reporters camping in the lobby (and I had to suspend disbelief on this considering that it’s supposed to be a high-security residential building and yet, the reporters were allowed to treat it like a park). Song-yi talks on how it took her 12 years to get to where she is and that billboard is proof of her stature in the industry. Every time she feels depressed, all she needs to do is take a look at it.
Min-joon: “Do you know how not to be hurt by people? Don’t give or take anything, so you won’t feel disappointed or hurt.”
Song-yi: “Where’s the fun in living then?”
Song-yi: “You’ve never had a guest at home, right? Just by looking at you, you don’t seem to have friends either. Do you have a family? Living like an island like this, aren’t you lonely?”
Min-joon: “There are 10 reporters waiting for you in front of my door. Many of the people who live down there, more than half of them would know you well. Your manager, your coordinator, your fans… There are always people around you, but you are here alone.”
Song-yi: “Who says I’m alone? We are here together.”
My other favorite character in the drama is Lee Wee-kyung (played by Park Hae-jin) who plays the younger son of a chaebol. In contrast to his elder brother who is a scheming two-faced murderer, Wee-kyung is the “innocent” one whose airheadedness often lands him in peculiar situations, sometimes turning to his advantage without him meaning to. He’s also the childhood friend and long-time suitor of Song-yi (though he likes to think he’s the boyfriend and future husband) and in episode 5, he gets trapped in the lobby with the reporters who thought he’s one of them and ends up picnicking with them while making a case for Song-yi, expounding on her innocence over the suicide case. To which the reporters reply, and quite very interesting quotes too:
Reporter 1: “What can we do even if she has nothing to do with this? People want to believe that she’s involved.”
Reporter 2: “Aigoo, are you a rookie? People don’t want to know the facts. They just need someone to blame, because someone has to take responsibility for this unhappiness.”
Don’t they speak of the truth? Sometimes it’s convenient for us to pin the blame on someone, as long as it’s not us, not even considering how that person will probably feel, especially if he/she is innocent. And coming from the industry, I know the witch-hunt culture very well and unfortunately, some of the time, it caters to what the public wants.
Later, out of frustration, Wee-kyung laments to his displeased chaebol dad: “Isn’t there anything that a chaebol can’t do in Korea with the use of strength, power and connection?” And he said that, not in a cocky way, but in a factual, naive way. That’s how precious he is.
I also like how the characters in this drama are given humanity and don’t just end up as one-dimensional caricatures. For instance, there’s Song-yi’s friendship with Yoo Se-mi, a fellow actress who is always second-fiddle to her. Se-mi, aside from Wee-kyung and that manga shop lady, are the only true friends of Song-yi. While you can see the uncomfortable dynamics between Song-yi and Se-mi whenever they are in public as their actress selves, there are scenes that show how Song-yi is protective of Se-mi and vice-versa. Yet, there are moments too that you can see the rivalry and the jealousy simmering beneath the surface and you know that it’s not just the writer trying to create tension but it’s as real as this drama could get.
Dramas that show behind the scenes in politics and the entertainment world fascinate me. I tried watching PRIME MINISTER & I, but unfortunately, it’s not my cup of tea. MAN FROM THE STARS, meanwhile, is so my kind of cuppa.
(Source for the featured image)
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