Been a while guys. Sometimes, reality is no fun. Gotta create our own fun in order to face the brashness of life and I think that what is drama is about. Well, it’s along this line, for the most part.
Lust, greed, jealousy, anger, pain, sickness, abandonment. Love, friendship, family, compromise, healing, support. These were most of the reoccurring themes that were present in Jealousy Incarnate. This show is one of the best shows I have seen this year. Then again, I have watched limited K-drama this year for that statement to hold true. Nonetheless, it was a simple, unapologetic drama that held its ground.
Synopsis: The competition is fierce when you work at a broadcast news station. You have no friends, and everyone is out for himself or herself. Pyo Na Ri (Gong Hyo Jin) is a weather forecaster from a humble background. She secures a part-time contract to work at a prestigious broadcast network but soon realizes that petty jealousy and cutthroat competition surrounds her every day at work. Her life becomes even more complicated when Na Ri falls in love with the station’s star news anchor, Lee Hwa Shin (Jo Jung Suk), but Hwa Shin’s best friend, Go Jung Won (Go Kyung Pyo), falls for her. Can Na Ri get what she wants both at work and in her personal life? “Don’t Dare to Dream (Jealousy Incarnate)” is a 2016 South Korean drama series directed by Park Shin Woo. (Viki)
Yep, a basic, unconventional drama that read good on paper, but when it came to live, it was off, felt boring and at first, I was skeptical. But as the show progressed (episode 3), the funny increased. Every single episode, I laughed. Even though, there were issues that didn’t warrant a laugh, I laughed because the actors were too silly in their thoughts, actions or behaviors.
A serious topic like breast cancer, infertility and family abandonment, death were heavy focus in this drama, yet with a serious dose of comedy, it made this drama lightweight and easy to watch.
What Did I Enjoy?
Jo Jung Suk never fails to disappoint. He took this drama to the level it was in. Gong Hyo Jin held hers up as well. Shoot, she is my top five crush, but this show really was meant for Jung Suk’s Lee Hwa Shin. A self-centered, self-absorbed jerk who needed constant punch anytime he opened his mouth, but later became a wounded puppy that needed love since he was trying to hide a facade of being cold, rude and crass.
Hwa Shin was an ass, no contemplating argument about that and he remained as ass till the end. It was really hard to root for a lead who treated the heroine like she didn’t exist. Though, the show was funny, it was awkward and odd to watch Nari constant crush on Hwa Shin. I wanted her to stop liking the jerk and move because he treated her like street trash, yet, she crushed harder. It was frustrating to watch her being herself; full of love and willing to give love to those she truly loves. The mini-feminist in me yelled at her to grow a backbone and move on. Find her worth in herself and not in a man.
Even when she was dating Jung Won, Hwa Shin’s best friend, it still never felt like she was over Hwa Shin and she never was. I really felt like the show would give us a different trope to play with…a genuine and sincere like of the second lead with the heroine. Don’t get me wrong, Nari liked Jung Won, but it was platonic on her end. Jung won was the rebound guy and he never stood a chance. Though, Nari claimed to be over Hwa Shin, but home-girl know she lyin’.
However, as the show continued to play into its 24 episodes, I realized that Nari did have a backbone. She always had her worth. She is an inexperienced woman in love and she just didn’t know how to go about it, except being unapologetic about displaying her affections to the world. She fought for what was hers against the “odds”- Hye Won (Seo Ji Hye) which in my opinion and Nari, she was never a threat anyways. I did like her, even though she too was crass, like Hwa Shin, and if they had dated, they would’ve been broken up faster than you can say the name of the President of United States.
Anyways, Nari was determined in her career and in love and it payed. I’m not advertising you stalk your crush and bother him endlessly till he falls in love with you. NOT IN THE LEAST BECAUSE YOU WILL GET REJECTED AND I WILL LAUGH AT YOU. However, what we can get out of Nari’s playbook is that love is unconditional and it’s unexpected. Hwa Shin learnt this lesson after getting his face unstuck from his ass. Jung Won was able to understand this, mostly, when Nari decided to call it quits with him.
Of course, What I didn’t like?
When the love triangle formed, literally, both male leads and female lead actually had a verbal agreement to be in a triangle (Nari initiated it) and the show was NOT subtle about it. It began to feel pathetic in the way the men were fighting over Nari. At first, it was hilarious and I was curious as to how it will play out, but it became awkward and I had to skip a little in order not to watch the cringey part, mainly, Jung won’s. The men did not respect Nari’s wish and it felt like they kept invading her privacy constantly. I know, I said love is unconditional and unexpected, but there is a line. Love is not black, white nor gray. It is multicolored and multi-layered in complexity. Yet, it can be simple. And when it became simple, it took a turn into the abyss of “STOP, IT IS WEIRD” “STOP, BEING PATHETIC, MOVE ON!”
This show had different types of love. Friendship, bromance, mom-ance, and love triangle in all aspect. Though, the lead was the main focus, I did like Chef, Sung Sook and Ja Young’s triangle. However, my favorite was the mom-ance between Sung Sook and Ja Young. Once, frenemies and mothers to Pal-gang, their organic chemistry was cute and it was nice to watch them grow into a family of their own.
Dr. Geum Suk-Ho(Bae Hye-Sun) had a better role to play than Jung won and that speaks a lot. Jung won felt like a side piece of meat that was needed whenever things issue needed springing between the leads. He felt off and displaced. I will get tomatoes thrown at me, but Go Kyung Pyo felt like a college freshman trying to date his older crush. Maybe because he is acting among a cast of seasoned actors, but when put against Hwa Shin or Nari or any other character, he sounded like a whiny brat.
No offense, he was sweet, but he came off spoilt and entitled. Even though, he is supposed to be the perfect second lead, it never felt like it. Maybe it is because I now watch k-drama with a cynical eye, but if Nari was never comfortable around him to be herself, it never was a good relationship to start with. She was majorly (who says that anymore), comfy with jerk face Hwa Shin and her comfort showed even though, assy face was a definition of verbal abuser. And I still did not ship Nari with Hwa Shin until she began to put him in his place. Even then, I was skeptical to do so, because neither men deserved her.
The teens love triangle was cute, but it was irritating when Pal-gang began to take the boys for a ride and I still DO NOT get her “special-ness”, so I was glad their story got limited.
Lee Sun-Kyun, AKA, CHEPPP!! I squealed hard, when I heard his voice. Pasta was what got me into loving Hyo Jin and Sun Kyun, so I was glad his voice cameoed.
Overall, it is a simple drama. The heavy topic on breast cancer and infertility (male having breast cancer is an ostracized conversation, that and infertility- double whammy on “manhood”).The topics did not turn this drama into a melodrama. Even the news report on the show like the environment was highly welcomed (I am learning about Environmental science, so, I was invested in the news report the show produced). It is light, almost fluffy and funny. Besides, Jung Suk and Hyo Jin’s chemistry is off the charts. Who am I kidding? They can act besides a melon and have chemistry with the melon.
Photo credit: google images. Thanks to all whose images I used off google images.