Goodbye Solo

I’m a rather reticent person and I don’t like imposing on people. But about five years ago, a drama turned me into a chatterbox and a nuisance.

After finishing Ruler of Your Own World, I could not stop yakking about it. I bought set after set to give away, even to friends who didn’t ask. (And, I believe, still have not watched it even though the years are a-passing! *sob*)

Two years later, I did the same thing, this time for Goodbye Solo (2006). To everyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot I yelled: “Watch this! It’ll change your life!”

Goodbye Solo, written by Noh Hee-kyung (who also wrote Solitude and More Beautiful Than a Flower), reminds me of Ruler of Your Own World in so many ways. That warm feeling of contentment. Lines that sneak up and make me laugh because they are so witty. Quirky fringe characters who turn out to be wiser (and even quirkier) than I expect. Toughies who are actually softies inside, and softies who are tougher than they think. Unlikely friendships. Characters who grow on me; characters I care about. Ordinary people with ordinary problems who teach me that life is not just about overcoming but being…

This is not a terribly dramatic drama. There’s not much of cinematography. Even the soundtrack is kind of quiet. Both lead actors are not your typical good-lookers, but they are sweet. (Yes, he’s sweet, like her.) My favorite characters are an over-the-hill gangster boss who has tattoos of flowers instead of scary dragons and scorpions; an ajumma with a bad hairdo who behaves like a cabaret queen minus an audience; an old lady who irons her money, who doesn’t speak, who’s this beguiling mix of innocence and anguish; and a Mi-ri who reminds me so much of Mi-rae in Ruler of Your Own World.

Real and empathetic characters. Characters who are larger than life, and yet so ordinary and flawed, so full of the “humanness” of life. Noh Hee-kyung has this amazing knack of creating people you care about, whether they are main or supporting roles in the drama. She makes you think about life, about what’s good and worth fighting for. Her characters redefine the meaning of family and friendship. How I wish they are people in my own life.

And then there’s the amazing, amazing acting.

In an interview Kim Min-hee said: “I know that I am not good enough, but I will show that I can do better.” This is the first time I’m watching her so I’ve never seen how “bad” she was previously. But she’s fantastic in Goodbye Solo. Most of my tears are for and because of her. I love her Mi-ri character – her feistiness and vulnerability, the way she wears her heart on her sleeve, the way she wails when things fall apart.

Mi-ri and Ho-chul (Lee Jae-ryong). I’ve not seen a couple in a K-drama who belong more together. They love, they fight, they make up… My eyes light up each time it’s their scene. Ho-chul, our gangster boss who beats up other gangsters but also cooks, cleans the house and wears a flowery apron. Mi-ri, who taught Ho-chul that it’s okay to be happy. How I missed this couple when the drama ended.

And how about our lead couple? Min-ho – disarmingly dorky and yet so COOL. His round face, crew-cut and too-long sideburns take some getting used to because this is my first time seeing Chun Jung-myung. But he’s such a sweetie. I love his honesty and bashfulness, and… (I know, I’m sounding like a broken record) the fact that he reminds me of Boksu in Ruler of Your Own World. This is also my first time watching Yoon So-yi and I like her quiet and understated acting as Soo-hee.

And what about Na Moon-hee, Bae Jong-ok, Lee Han and the rest of the cast? I can go on and on about them, but such first-rate acting needs to be seen rather than read about. So I’ll leave you with just two words:

WATCH THIS!

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9 thoughts on “Goodbye Solo

  1. *SPOILER* Thundie, you’re so cute.. I went through the same thing after watching ROYOW.. although I didn’t go far as to buying sets to give to other people, I just couldn’t stop talking about it and told people that mattered to me to borrow my set and watch it. Anyhow.. I love this show too! All the characters in it are lovely.. chun jung myung.. and na moon hee si… gah~~~ the scene in which she blurts out, “pretty!” when she sees chung jung myung being happy with yoon so yi.. that was the best scene!

    • Haha, good things need to be shared, although I don’t think my pals appreciate being hit on their heads with the ROYOW loving.

      Goodbye Solo is wonderful. Miss it.

  2. Deaar thundie,
    Yes I know…it’s a wonderful story. they are so real and what happens to them is so important to know about. It has to turn out well for them all or else daily life will be full of anxiety. I had to watch this quickly because I wanted to have a contented mind. He is so sweet and nice and warm and kind and loving to his friends. How can he live with that bent and bruised heart for so long. He never gives up but he doesn’t push too hard to make it happen. He just has faith.This is a fulsome drama. I search for all the right words but this is truly a fulsome drama.

    Peg

  3. Hey Thundie, i am on the same boat with you on Goodbye Solo and Chun Jung Myung!!! I have found a kindred spirit….

    I managed to catch Goodbye Solo only this May when KBS World showed daily re-runs on weekday. Though the first 2 episodes were slow, it caught my interest and stuck with it. I am so glad I did because the story-telling, the dialogue and the acting was wonderful. I liked the way the story unfolded, with each episode showing us more and more about each character and their pains, joys and heartbreak.

    In short, I was so moved… so i went online and finished the entire show in 1 weekend…. LOL!!! Now I am recommending it to friends…. hehe

    This show also hooked me on CJM. He’s so cute… hot in a more subtle way than others…and such a great actor.

    I watched Whats Up Fox last weekend and will watch Fashion 70s next. I heard he was really good there too!!!

  4. Hi Thundie, just discovered your blog and am enjoying myself tremendously here.

    I watched Goodbye Solo about 6 months ago because of CJM. Absolutely loved him in Fashion 70s.

    I enjoyed the show and acting was really good but somehow I found the characters a bit too selfish for my liking (they are so human and real, they scared me). But therein lies the brilliance of Goodbye Solo in that it is like a mirror allowing you to view yourself, your family, friends and foes through the eyes of the characters. You see their characters in the people you interact with every day. We are all those things and more. After all the fairy tales it’s good to be doused with a dose of reality.

  5. Hi morserachel

    Your nick’s really familiar. Soompi? D-addicts? ^^

    Thanks for the enouraging words. *muah* I love being able to prattle about my addiction and am humbled that there are people who will read it!

    Psst, do you know I have a special post here for CJM? Hehe, have you read it yet?

    I love Goodbye Solo. LOVE. Always feel guilty leaving it out of my Top 10 list, but it’s definitely Top 15.

    Hope you enjoy exploring the rest of the blog. Lots of loony posts, beware! 🙂

  6. You wouldn’t believe I spent a whole day in between eating and drinking reading your posts here. Ha, ha, ha. My back was aching for a few days thereafter from all that hunching!

    Ooh, I didn’t know you have a special post for CJM. Must look for it.

    I found you when we both posted in D-addicts on Fight sometime back.

    Going to do more reading now.

  7. I’d recently got the set and watched it over these past few days. It’s not the type of show that’d leave you at the edge of your seat at the end of every episode making you miss sleep because you just HAD to know what would happen next. That said, the characters left a deep impression on me and I couldn’t stop thinking about them – with what had happened or was happening throughout the course of each episode. Especially the silent grandma and the lonely older woman. There were a lot of unexpected tears… from me.

    And most unexpected of all? I fell in love with Chun Jung Myung. He speaks with his eyes! Also, he led me to another rather promising drama – Cinderella’s stepsister. So, Goodbye Solo has made its way into my own personal Top10.

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