Drama Thoughts: Fantastic Episode 3 / Second to Last Love
Fantastic Episode 3:
So since Dramabeans is taking this up, and I don’t really have that much time, I just decided to change it up here a bit and just write about my impressions of the episodes.
To be very honest, I’m not that taken with Fantastic, and compared to the immense number of well written and well directed dramas in 2016, Fantastic’s average writing and directing makes it look much worse in comparison than it would normally be. That is not to say that I think that Fantastic deserves the derision and the disappointment directed at it that I’ve seen around the web. It’s just not fantastically good, but it’s not bad either. It’s just very, very straightforward, sort of like an old-ish drama, which is odd, because if it aired last year, it would have hit the spot.
Like I wrote in Episode 2’s recap, HaeSeong is the one whose personality interests me the most, because it does seem like he’s hiding the most and I really think that’s why he’s such a terrible actor. Actors are people who play out the emotions of people only described on paper and that includes playing moments of real vulnerability in front of dozens of people, knowing that it will be shown to thousands of people. The acting profession is one in which a celebrity will have people know more about him or her than he/she does of everyone else and that skewed knowledge makes it hard for one to completely open up, so I really respect good actors. Like the forever funny Ryu SeungSoo, acting teacher of Song JiHyo and Jo InSung, said, working/teaching the models acting is the most difficult for him because he has to break them out of their mold. Even if it’s just acting, it’s still difficult to open oneself completely and show everything. I’m interested to know more about that Caucasian family HaeSeong looked over, when he was six and when he became an adult. Were they his adopted family who threw him aside once they had a child of his own? I don’t understand that part, but I think at this stage, I’m not supposed to understand anyway.
The other reason I think why HaeSeong is so pompous and terrible at acting is because no one is truthful towards him. Or at least, no one who’s more than a netizen who leaves unhelpful one liners of scathing remark is truthful. Be it Park WonSeong, his martial arts instructor or even just his own manager. I felt for him when he said that he didn’t know the method to achieve good acting because I can really tell that he doesn’t understand that to act, he must tap into his own experiences and not just imagine how that person on paper might feel. After all, life mirrors fiction and fiction mirrors life. The job of actors is to make characters come to life and what better way than to play them like an ordinary person the audience might know, who’d react ordinarily in ordinary life? Honestly, the masters don’t always make the best teachers and Park WonSeong was really not the acting teacher HaeSeong needed. Sometimes I wonder how he’d do if he’d so much as imagine SoHye as his leading lady.
To see SoHye break down this episode was hard to watch, though I felt a bit confused because it came out of the blue for me. Probably because of her non-reaction to the news of her cancer. However, it makes sense that she’d suddenly go so extreme in her behaviour after she coughed up blood and became completely vulnerable and helpless while she went unconscious, undeniable evidence that she’s very, very sick. For a woman who’s lived alone all her adult life, provided for herself all her adult life and defended herself all her adult life, I understand why the shock to know that she could be so helpless could drive her to the edge of the ledge. However, knowing that she’s got so little time left let her put down all the burdens that she’d been carrying – her brother, her sister, her job, her assistant writer and everyone else who’s relying on her – and let her enjoy herself, for her own self, and that walk through the rain showed that to me. The shopping just screamed angry and reckless to me though, not really something that made her happy.
And even though she has her three friends, she still feels essentially alone in facing her latest troubles. One has a family full of trouble to deal with (seriously, where is a truck-o-doom when you need one? I hate that Assemblywoman to the core) and the other has a family so adorably loving that she doesn’t want to bother them. Also, she ended up getting jealous of them. It cut when she said that she doesn’t have any one on her side. She’s taken care of others for so long but there’s no one who can really take care of her the way she needs and wants. So I think it’s adorable that she’d taken to calling JunKi oppa, because now she has someone she feels may be stronger than her and able to take care of her and maybe that’s all the encouragement she needs to soothe the pain of having to endure continuing living life, knowing that it’s going too be too short.
Now that we know about the misunderstanding – HaeSeong signed with President Choi rat-face in after promising to do SoHye’s drama, leaving SoHye in the lurch and embarrassed. That’s just… a very old school and stupid conflict for me. I mean, anything that can be solved just by talking isn’t compelling enough for 2016 and to think that’s what been driving them apart for years.
I’m with HaeSeong in that it’s ridiculous that she wants an apology and yet doesn’t want to hear him out. I think she’s afraid that she’ll have to forgive him if she does hear his reasons, thereby belittling her feelings of anger and hate towards him over the years. But she has to know that even if he does explain, she doesn’t have to forgive him and she has the right to be as angry as she wants. However, apology doesn’t mean anything when he isn’t actually apologising for anything except for her hurt feelings since it means that the same thing can happen again. And I just want her to know the truth, because then it might lift the shame of betrayal off her, to know for sure that it wasn’t her fault but his. (And it definitely is, because even if he did it at gun point, for her, or whatever, to sign with another agency and backstab her like that (didn’t even take her calls!) he made those decisions himself.)
JiSoo continues to play the smitten puppy that I think is now becoming his niche. Hee, he’s just perfect at the bumbling, overeager-to-please act.
Second to Last Love:
I admittedly haven’t watched all episodes of this drama yet and I didn’t actually watch every second of it, but so far, it tells of a story with an intriguing premise, something that is perhaps more suited for calm late nights and for those with more experience with life’s up and downs.
It’s hard to grow old, if only because you have to start grappling with the idea that you’re not young and invincible anymore. You can’t actually do everything you want, because there’s only so much time you have before you fall behind the pack and have to deal with that nagging feeling of “it’s too late”.
When you’re young, you have the freedom to think of nothing but yourself. You can love with no considerations but for yourself. You can pick up a new passion with no thought of anything else for yourself. In youth, you’re seen as one with endless possibilities, ready to be moulded into anything fantastic. But when you hit your late twenties, society demands that you be well on your set path, in your thirties, settled in your career and on your way to marriage (if you still aren’t). By forty, if you’re still some wandering hippie, be prepared to have judgmental looks thrown your way and by fifty, if you insist on following your passion while having nothing else, be prepared to be called immature. If you give any hint of lagging behind or losing it, then you have to endure the ridicule of the presently young, who only see you as an old fogey and have no idea at all of your glory days. That’s the kind of thing – that feeling of uselessness – MinJoo faces now, she, who has no made family to speak of and a string of missed hits following her.
So as much as she’s been helping SangShik’s family by helping them break out of the bubble SangShik made for them, SangShik’s family has actually been helping her too – to help her adjust to the new dynamic between her and society. In her workplace, she may be casted out and downtrodden, but their needing her actually saves her from suffering full blown mid-life crisis, I think.
SangShik on the other hand needs to forgive himself. He’s way too strung up, taking on more responsibilities than he should and causing more harm than good in the meantime. MinJoo seems to be a good sounding board for him, understanding the troubles of their age and yet retaining the heart of a youth. She’s as wild as he is controlled and if they actually got together, man, that family would just blossom. I’ve heard talk that Ji JinHee and Kim HeeAe don’t have chemistry, but I disagree. Their chemistry is subtle and unassuming, just like middle-age love. It’s not two single middle-aged people falling in love. One of them has a whole family to think about. Compared to the crazy passion of youthful love, theirs is more comfortable and blunt.
I know that JunWoo can come off as annoying for some people and I sort of blame it on Kwak SiYang’s portrayal. He plays JunWoo like a “nice guy” and his delivery is kind of smarmy for me. Most of what he says has this air of “I know I’m cool”; “I know I’m right”. But then again, to be so presumptuous is the prerogative of youths. We don’t know any better, after all, heh. Then again, that’s what they have to be, because how else can they forge new roads and find their way?