13 November 2014

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Birth of a Beauty - Episode 3 (A Wooki-Short-Cap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on November 13, 2014
This drama has multiple personality disorder, that much is clear after three episodes. What do you want to be? Comedy? Romance? Melodrama? Or god beware ... makjang? I don't think this crazy mixture is working, but the drama remains entertaining enough. In this episode, we find out more about Han Tae-hee, about his relationship to Chae-yeon, and what he seems to be up against in general. We also find out that there is more to Geum-ran than we might have thought before.
JoAnne: Perhaps it just wants to be a freaking mess. If so, show? Good job!  

Episode 3

After seeing her betrothed smile at another woman in the park, Chae-Yeon goes and slimes her way into Kang-Joo's family. Yup, she doesn't care at all about seeing her man with another woman, much to Sara's surprise and chagrin. Is it that she doesn't care or knows what men want? (i.e. non-nagging women). Anyway, Sara: fail. Again.
Lafer:  I just don't have the same venom for Chae-Yeon that you do. I think she's just secure enough thinking she's got a good grip on him, and if not, she'll make sure the family backs her. Let's just say I've seen a lot worse women.
I think she's demonstrating self-control and using a logical approach to a potential problem. She's not letting emotion make her decisions. I can support that part, at least.

But she has the unearthly beauty, doesn't she? She wants a super dress to one-up Chae-yeon, but Tae-hee closes the money tab right then and there. Sara already has a HUGE debt with Tae-hee (and he charges her 1% interest per DAY on top of that, haha, scumbag!). Hence, she has to go sell her wedding ring at a pawn shop. Take that for symbolism, people. A beautiful dress will not be enough though, he says: she needs a one night stand with her husband. See his smug face turn all shocked when she shouts "Yes! Daebak!"
OMG, let the laughing begin! Now I feel like we're finally getting somewhere with this drama. It has to be a comedy, right?
I would give quite a lot to watch that man laugh like that across a table from (or on the pillow next to) me.
 
Naturally, she loves sleeping with her husband and it's been seven years. She wants to go sleep with him right now. He squirms in embarrassment over her sex-enthusiasm and she smiles mildly, saying sure, a bachelor like him wouldn't understand. I'm loving this. 
Favorite part of the episode. Favorite part of the whole drama, actually. Writers, listen and learn. We would be OK with a drama entirely based on fun moments like this.
Grabby hands. Mama approves. Although not of her taste.
becca: The enthusiasm, though. THAT we like. Now, if I could just grab her by the shoulders and steer her toward Tae-hee instead....
And I'm loving what's next. She does yoga. In front of him. Distracted a little there, Tae-hee? Ahaha at posture names like "sexy crane". Of course, she asks him to help her, too, since you cannot stretch correctly without a second person hugging you close, right? After feeling the heat rise into very dangerous territory, he tries to convince himself that she's just fake and that he is too intelligent for instincts. Nope, it's not working.
Haha, feeling the manly attraction! But wait! He saw tons of fat coming out of her body! OK, not sure if this was offensive, but it was kind of funny. And they both played it so well.
When I see scenes like this and consider the level of politeness Koreans generally maintain, I wonder how difficult it might be for them to let go of ingrained behaviors. And then I laugh even harder at the thought of them all blush-y and apologetic as they grab each other's private parts.
Oh, to be a fly on that wall!
Date with Alien-Ears at a restaurant! Tae-hee, who promised to help, has identified the right angle at which she is to smile at her ex-husband for maximum impact. But things are not progressing fast enough in the direction of bed. Despair not, Sara, more help is on the way: Joo Sang-wook dressed as a Mexican, singing "Kiss me Darling, kiss me, kiss me tonight", using various levels of urgency. With emphasis on KISS. Maybe TEN3 has died right here and forever.
I never watched TEN but I think he was made for these kind of roles. This was hilarious. I'm so loving this drama right now.
If you had seen TEN you would appreciate this even more, because until Single Lady it was hard to imagine him doing comedy.
I'd seen spoilers, but when he came out in that get-up, I died. What the heck?? And MORE of such hilarity, please!!

The kiss is followed by a trip to the hotel room, where the kisses get more passionate. Down in the restaurant, the whole staff celebrates their "success". They call Tae-hee "CEO" and ask why he has taken so much time off. Oh, interesting. We know why he has taken time off, but what is he?
That's easy. He's a deceitful restaurant chaebol slash genius with a cheating first love.
But of course! It's so obvious!

Upstairs, there's no sheksy time though. Sara cries as she thinks of all she went through to get to this point (and surprisingly NOT how terribly he's treated her) and as she waits for intimacy with her ex-husband and he suddenly stops and pulls back (no no, he is still clothed), saying he doesn't want to tarnish her. This is not just a cheap one-night stand for him, after seeing her sincerity. He wants to think it over. Huh.
Huh is right. I'm wondering what is really going through his mind.
Also easy. 'Ah, fuck it. If she's gonna cry before we even get started I can't get... you know.'
This guy is weird, yes, but he's such a cipher that I'm very interested to find out just what his deal is.

New character alert! It's Han Sang-jin as Han Min-hyeok. He is (business) buddies with our Cheater Husband and ... oh. A high-up at Winner Group. Meet our really-bad-guy!! O___o Even Kang-joon looks at him weary. I have an instant crush. And he was very funny in that Running Man episode the other week.
It took me a minute to place him because the only thing I've seen him in, he played a kind of bumbling nice guy. So not this role.
Don't think I know him. Don't think I care.
Hm... I've only seen him in Codename: Jackal - that movie with Song Ji-hyo and Jaejoong. He was funny, but he didn't wow me (same goes for the movie).

Since Alien Ears is starting to cancel meetings and is more and more elusive, Chae-yeon finally does start to react to his growing attraction to that other woman. Gotta love her for her straight forwardness: she calls Sara and asks to talk. Oh, and she has sass: she tells Sara to stop trying. This man left his wife for her - she has NO chance. I'm liking her a little but will keep this for myself since you can't really like a bitchy husband-stealing 2nd lead, right
Refer to my first comment. It can be done.
Points for addressing the issue frankly once she's determined it is an actual issue, but she is talking to the wrong person. Also, karma's a bitch.
I like that she isn't screechy. I still don't like her as a person.

Tae-hee's dongsaeng Ji-hoon (who seems to be Chae-yeon's and not Tae-hee's real brother?) manages to get Tae-hee, Chae-yeon and Kang-joon to his house. So they grew up together? Oh, he grew up with their parents?! And it seems Tae-hee is a skilled restaurant consultant. Tae-hee expresses his hate for Kang-joon with some hand-pressing. Always funny.
He's so good in this role. It's been done before, but maybe he just does it cuter? 
He's very funny. I am here due to this fact, although I'm not actually amused to the point of laughter. Not once yet, in fact.

After their meet-ups, Tae-hee and Sara get into a fight who the bigger dick/bitch is and then make up, deciding to move forward. Insert pretty random hot pic of Joo Sang-wook.
Heart: pitter patter
Shirt: in the way. And what's the baseball bat beam of light?
Funny bone: delighted.
 
Just step up the seduction game is the next plan. It works ... up to a certain point. Why Kang-joon decides to go see the ocean with her is utterly beyond me, but they go - and because he goes really fast along a coast road, she remembers her accident. She has a minor freak out.
Oh boy, I know where we're heading here, and it ain't to comedy central.
Next stop: Trauma City. Please exit on the left, and mind the gap.
I'm not sure I care where we're going, let's just GET there. Keep the action movin', show!

Then, it's day, and she wakes up in the car. Off camera, they seem to have spoken about the accident because they talk about it. He gives her a tip, sensing her suppression/trauma (my, he is a sensitive one!!): don't fear the memories of the accident, face them head-on. Knowing it all will make the trauma go away. This is followed by another weird cut to a bedroom. And as he prepares for sheksy times, she remembers more details ... and freaks out once again. She also has a mild fever and he goes for medicine. She wonders aloud why everybody thinks she committed suicide ... wasn't it an accident? Oh. Interesting. I didn't see that one coming for sure.
It's hard to believe he's not suspecting SOMETHING with Sara at this point. I found this scene just weird.
I don't know, Kakashi. How sensitive do you have to be to figure out that someone has past trauma when they freak the fuck out for absolutely no reason as you drive along the coast? (I was being sarcastic, dear JoAnne)

I said it before, and I'll keep saying it until I'm proven right: there's a major story with this guy. I have my theories.
New character(s) alert! It's a benign grandma (Kim Yong-Rim, last seen in Jangbori is Here) who is also the President of Winner group. Very-Bad-Person Han Min-hyeok lives at the manor too, and I'm thinking he may be Tae-hee's brother? Cousin? There's also a mother (who paints). Whom Halmoni doesn't like AT ALL. So, maybe half-brother? Anyway, they plan an evil company takeover. *yawn* Hello makjang!
SO disappointing. Who are these people and why are they necessary? Can't we just have fun times with the main four?
So humiliating your daughter in law in front of her son is benign? Well, okay, this is Korea. Yeah, that's pretty benign, actually.
I already don't like this people. Speed it up, show!

At home, Tae-hee goes into happy-happy mode when he realizes that Ahjumma didn't come home at night. He also talks to her cardboard image (why does he have one anyway?!), telling her she is too good for Kang-joon. The one-night stand didn't happen though. When Kang-joon gets back, Sara has disappeared. Kang-joon looks really pissed and also a bit evil, but he has to work on that a bit.
I think there was a little vicariousness (is that a word?) going on in Tae-hee's mind, don't you? 
That is the face a 13-year-old girl makes when she thinks about Justin Beiber or One Direction in the imagined country home they share, surrounded by adorable tots, that she totally believes is in her future.
HAHAHAHA!!

Benign Halmoni misses her grandson. *hint, hint* Who is dead. *hint, hint, hint* Who she thinks is dead, right? Who definitely isn't. He drives a motorcycle to the Winner Group HQs and looks at the building. Ah, HAWT. And ah, he knows who he is (great, cause I couldn't take amnesia at this point). And ah, I love this sad-pensive face of his.
Yeah, let's ignore this story line for now and just gaze upon his beauty.
His beauty in LEATHER.  So he's that dickwad guy's brother?
One request: can he dress like this all the time? Please? If I'm a very good girl?

As Sara goes work the family again (to investigate her "suicide"! Oh! There was a will she never heard of before), Kang-joon drives to the coast. Flashbacks to the day of the accident: Kang-joon was there. Driving ... behind her?! In front of her? Next to her? We don't know. Not yet.
But we can certainly guess.
Neat trick, being able to identify her car in the dark as it approaches, and then skillfully drive it off the road at exactly the right spot.  I wonder if those elf ears channel a GEEEEEEEEEEEEEENIUS murderer from another dimension?
Genius murderer? Now I just want to watch Bad Guys. Now THAT show - that is heaven. *daydreaming*

No idea what that place is she meets our leather-clothed HOT fake-doctor in, but Sara informs him that she has a feeling ... there's something entirely wrong with her death. A scary conspiracy! And he thinks to himself: "When people have happiness before them, they get a bad feeling. They hope their bad feelings is wrong. But unfortunately ... the bad feelings is always right."
Deep thinker, he. 'Something bad will happen to you at some point even if you're happy right now.' Sara, let Eeyore go about his business and you do you.

Comments

Well, well, well. No, I didn't see this coming. So this is not a drama about beauty and plastic surgery but a chaebol-son will get back his empire drama? Ahahaha. You are weird, drama. Nice to meet you.
My main concern is that the intentional overacting that is fantastic for a comedic vibe will either a) disappear quicker than the car over the cliff as the storyline turns or b) turn into makjang overacting. My love for this duo is built on shaky ground here.
Isn't EVERY drama eventually about some poor chaebol with hidden trauma?
Lafer's comment now has me worried that this will be Spy Myung Wol all over again. :(

What I did find interesting is that in his struggles against his attraction towards her (which is a strong one, quite obviously), he keeps telling himself she is "fake", that she was extremely unattractive before. That's not working either, so we could take this as a sign for a genuine fondness of HER as a person. Of course, that sexy body who doesn't even realize how sexy she is is the trigger, but if we are to believe that he is indeed intelligent, the attraction goes beyond that. Her personality hasn't changed a bit - she still is that naive person with a very good heart who faces the world with courage, despite all that life throws at her. He may be helping her because he wants that man away from his "sister"-love (ouch, fauxcest!), but I'm pretty sure he is also helping her because he has a big heart of his own. He is one that takes in stray cats and puppies, I'm pretty sure.
I wish they could have drawn out his awareness of his attraction for her. Like let us know, but not let him suspect so quickly. Yes, he's fighting it, but it could have played out so much longer.
Oh, no. I want him knowing it for pretty much the whole time she's messing with Dickhead Elf Ears.  That makes it funny, watching him struggle.
Watching him squirm is a big part of the fun, it's true.

As for the makjang ... I am laughing at that. After Jangbori, nothing can shock me anymore in that department. I'm also genuinely disinterested in it, which may be a problem for future episodes.
While you are trying to put a noble spin on his attraction for her, there is really no getting around the theme that the pretty girl gets more than the homely girl. Maybe the writer wanted to make us forget that politically incorrect story line by piling on the 10 most common used melo themes - evil mother-in-laws, lost chaebol son, secret death attempts....well, you get the picture.
Listen, they don't show him smiling fondly at her sweetness. They show him breaking out into a sweat looking at her boobs. There's nothing noble about it.

What I liked:
  • Joo Sang-wook. Especially in leather. (*looks at secret gifs she made and will not show to anyone* *strokes them a little*)
  • Appearance of Very-Bad-Person in the form of Han Sang-jin. No, I've never seen him in anything before, but I'm absolutely convinced he's a very good villain. 
  • Han Tae-hee battling his animal instincts. Can't get enough of that. Let's see him lose again and again!
  • 1 + 3, but I still love Han Ye Seul.
  • Joo Sang Wook in leather, Han Ye Seul. That orange lace dress.
  • Joo Sang-wook in a sombrero, leading a sing-along. 'Nuff said.
What I didn't like:
  • Weird editing. They do have issues with when it's light and when it's dark. 
  • The family. We don't even need to see them anymore, just skip them and save money.
  • Cliché-stuff. Like ... the whole Winner Group trope. But I'll have Han Sang-jin to ogle, so I don't care. 
  • The feeling that this is not going to stay a comedy after all.
  • Everything in the drama that I did NOT put in my bullet point above. Except for Dad, possibly.
  • Really. I don't know where to start.
Quotes:

"Sleeping with my husband? I love it!"
"Darn, I forgot my assignment. Will try harder next episode."
"Bitch, that's my husband you're talking about."  Oh wait, Sara hasn't said that yet.
"I'd already watched this episode when I found out I needed quotes. I'm not rewatching."

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