You’re Beautiful: Episodes 1-4

‘Twas a queen who sent me fleeing in the direction of a nun.

Weeks of watching “Dumb and Dumber” (a period drama about Shilla’s first queen) had turned me into a bundle of cantankerous nerves. At the rate I was kvetching on Twitter, not only would I lose all my followers, I would have to soon check myself into an asylum for cranks.

So I poked around listlessly for a solution, until a brainwave answered my own question: “In the batch of new dramas, which one were you planning on absolutely NOT touching? Well, watch that one then!”

Yes, why not? A drama about a boy band might prove more exciting than the band of dolts dulling that Shilla sageuk, never mind that I’ve never been interested in boy bands. I may listen to their music if they are singing the theme song of a drama I’m watching, but don’t ask me for their names because I haven’t a clue. Moreover, what harm could a frothy drama do to one already this grouchy? I could just tune out if I didn’t care for it.

And so, armed with the barest inkling of the synopsis (a girl joins a boy band) and the cast (Hong Gil Dong’s Mr. Surly and Beethoven Virus’s Mr. Sideburns is the lead), I watched the first episode of You’re Beautiful (2009).

Wow, what a surprise. I had no idea it would be this funny. And charming. And addictive.

First, I did not know that Jung-chan (whom I adored in Auction House, a drama I detested) would be here playing President Ahn, boss of the company that manages our resident boy band, A.N.JELL.

When he spoke English, I giggled. When he forwarded a wrong email which unwittingly revealed a secret but pleasurable dalliance, and then fell off his chair when he realized his mistake, I giggled some more. To not only see him, but to have him play this lovable and comic character who was perpetually smiling and who made me smile… What a way to dispel grumpiness!

Second, I did not expect to fall for a klutzy nun. But from the moment she appeared, like a Korean Maria from Sound of Music, to that last scene in Episode 4 (where I last stopped, transfixed by her sorrow), this nun-in-training made me laugh and cry… with her.

Ah, Park Shin-hye. I do not remember if I had watched her before, but her baby-faced sweetness and innocence (none of it cloying or fake, phew), and yes, that clumsiness as well, were instantly endearing. At the airport, where she couldn’t decide if she was chaser or chased, so frantic was she. In the room of her band leader, where she tried to put out a fire with her spit, all the while wearing a wall-sized rack on her back. In the male locker room, where she had to walk past a roomful of naked men, and the only way to protect her modesty was to imagine them as cherubs (naked, of course). In those scenes and more, how she cracked me up, again and again.

But what I loved most was how, even though she had to play a boy, she remained every bit the girl she had always been.

She still spoke in that girlish yet formal way, which made me laugh because it felt like she was in the sageuk I was trying to escape! When cornered (literally and figuratively), she sought the invisible help of her Mother Superior through fervent prayers and a fertile imagination, just like how she had done back in the convent. To protect her twin brother’s dreams, she would be Go Mi-nam in his stead, but she never stopped being Go Mi-nyu, the girl with the voice of an angel.

And then there’s the original A.N.JELL. Three guys who, when all made up and coiffed, appeared even more feminine than Mi-nam. I watched the opening concert scene and thought, “Hmm, the music’s catchy enough, but I’m so over pretty boys now, so no thanks.”

Moreover, Jang Geun-suk’s Hwang Tae-kyung looked like a man who had suffered chronic toothache all his life; his smile muscles had obviously atrophied from lack of use. I cringed as Mr. Scowly rode roughshod over the people around him, but quickly softened as the poor thing suffered one mishap after another, mostly because of Mi-nam.

Finicky and squeamish, especially when it came to personal space and hygiene, imagine Tae-kyung’s horror when he touched lips (not passionately, mind you) with Ms. Klutz’s vomit-stained mouth! Twice she fell on him, once he nearly drowned. Could you blame him for wanting her out of the band and OUT of his life?

But then he discovered her true identity, and that turned him into an accomplice of sorts, a reluctant guardian of her secret. Even though he claimed he didn’t care, he actually did care. He didn’t toss her ring into the waters; he saved her from drowning; he looked at her childish scrawl and decided to design a signature she could use for autographs. When she was huddled on the ground, sobbing, he held her tight.

He could sing, too. And he played a mean guitar. His girly dressing (the lacy tops have to go, pronto) made me shudder sometimes, but the guy was nursing the deepest of wounds: his mom had upped and left when he was just a wee one. How could I, and how could anyone else, not be moved?

It was also impossible to remain indifferent to the two other guys in the band, both adorable in their own ways.

Kang Shin-woo (Jung Yong-hwa) quickly established himself as my second favorite male character (President Ahn is numero uno, now and forever). The warmest, most tender eyes in the drama were his (although Jolie the dog would give him a good run for his money). He was the first to notice Mi-nam’s unease, to suspect that he was actually a she. Yet he never once confronted her.

Instead he hovered around, discreetly, shielding and easing her out of awkward situations. If she needed cheering, he would tell self-deprecating jokes. If she needed space, he stepped aside. He revealed more of himself to her than he had to the other band members, but he didn’t pry in return. If she wasn’t ready to tell him the truth, he could wait.

In short, the guy was practically perfect. If not for Bae Soo-bin’s character in Brilliant Legacy already snagging the prize, Shin-woo would be a shoo-in for Sensitive New Age Guy of the year.

Compared to the resident SNAG, Jeremy (Lee Hong-ki) had the patience of a famished kid in a donut cafe. If he couldn’t stand something, he just couldn’t stand it. If he wanted to know something, he had to know right away, because otherwise his imagination would concoct the wildest possibilities, driving him berserk.

Jeremy had Shin-woo’s sensitivity, but not the smarts to go with it. He put two and two together and got five. He was constantly clutching his head, his brain about to explode from trying to process the ungodly shenanigans, if they were indeed shenanigans and ungodly, going on around and inside him ever since Go Mi-nam entered A.N.JELL. Oh, would someone have mercy and just tell him what was going on!

From A.N.JELL to the two people who completed that inner circle: Manager Ma (Kim In-kwon) and Coordinator Wang (Choi Soo-eun).

I liked the manager the instant I saw him trying his darnedest to persuade Mi-nyu to impersonate Mi-nam. Whether feeling exasperated or exuberant, acting as confidant or clown, he made me laugh (and occasionally want to pat his head, too, so like a little boy was he). He didn’t always possess good sense, but that was okay, because there to act as Ms. Sensibility was the coordinator, all six feet of her.

Manager and coordinator complemented each other perfectly. If he was being silly, you could be sure she would tell him. If her sexy sashaying made her trip one day, you could pocket your bet he would guffaw, then quickly dash to the store for ointment and bandage. Both, incidentally, did their utmost to protect Mi-nam’s identity, with dismal results.

The incandescent balls that Wang helped to secure tightly inside Mi-nam’s pants didn’t drop out a second time, but the entire incident was witnessed by an incredulous Tae-kyung. Ma was supposed to stand guard outside an infrequently used locker room while Mi-nam showered, but he walked away absentmindedly and thus subjected Mi-nam later to a roomful of male jewels, real ones this time. Ah, the occupational hiccups of being a star’s minder!

Lovable cast (main and supporting) aside, what else charmed my socks off?

Almost everything. The humor, which was what sucked me in at first. Obvious laugh-out-loud scenes which didn’t feel at all silly, surprisingly. Passing remarks (and Tae-kyung owned the most) which were sarcastic but not snide.

Acting-wise, veterans and youngsters all delivered the goods (some in impressive manner, too). No one came up short, not even the dog. Lee Hong-ki won’t win an acting award (and at some point I might tire of his stock expressions), but he was a hoot in the first four episodes.

Granted some scenes required one to suspend logic, such as when Mi-nam jumped into the pool in a panic. The splash she made would have startled even reposing lizards, yet the film crew searching just a few feet away for their misplaced equipment blithely ignored it. Then Tae-kyung had to stretch the incredulity factor even more, waiting as long as he did for the crew to leave the premises before diving into the pool to save Mi-nam.

But because the drama oozed oodles of charm, little liberties like those didn’t seem to matter. I was waiting with bated breath for the moment he would dive. When he finally did, in a style that would get him eliminated in diving trials, I cheered.

Finally, pacing felt just right; not once did I yawn. Perhaps because I had used up a lifetime of yawns watching a drama about a queen who, forty episodes on, still wasn’t a queen, I lapped up the sizzling speed at which events unfolded in You’re Beautiful.

Before the credits in the second episode started rolling, Tae-kyung had already found out about Mi-nam’s identity. By Episode 4, Manager Ma had already met Mi-nam’s aunt and uncovered the devastating truth about Mi-nam’s mom.

I’ve not watched the fifth episode, but judging from Episode 4’s ending, Shin-woo and Jeremy must have huge question marks about Tae-kyung and Mi-nam’s relationship, seeing how tightly he was hugging her and how her head rested on his chest.

What conjectures would Jeremy conjure up this time? How would Shin-woo, who clearly had developed more than a passing interest in Mi-nam, react? What about Tae-kyung, whose preoccupation with Mi-nam’s phone suggested that he no longer wanted her to leave? (Because the phone could contain a message that would take Mi-nam away from A.N.JELL for good.)

With a pesky reporter hanging around the studio, eager to ferret out juicy fodder for the next day’s news, how long could Mi-nam keep up the pretense? Boyband trainees in the company had started voicing their puzzlement at the way Mi-nam used the toilets. A guy who never used the urinals but instead went inside the cubicles to pee, how queer!

Oh, so much already happening in the first four episodes, and so much to look forward to in the next twelve. What more could a grump want?

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “You’re Beautiful: Episodes 1-4

  1. *sayroo surprised*
    WOW! I am in total shock that thundie will be watching this. *MIRACLES* haha..
    It gave me an idea already that you are somehow having fun with this drama when I saw you FINAL QC’ing already.. i’m still in shock that your welcoming this drama in your blog. haha.
    And once again your part of the FANDOM! lol.
    But with the thought that the Hong Sisters are the creators for this, any impossible can be possible.
    Such weird shenanigans are in this drama. haha.. Looking forward for more surprises from you, thundie!

  2. …Really? It’s good? *remains highly skeptical* I dunno, the Hong sisters really just don’t do it for me. Even their sense of humour isn’t to my taste. But I suppose I can always give this one a chance…

    Great write-up, as always. 🙂

  3. Thundie – glad to see unlikely folks are liking the drama. I wasn’t sure if it was gonna be good… with the comparisons to BoF. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised almost every single episode. Look forward to reading your thoughts!

  4. I feel like soon I will be watching pigs flying from the window. Thundie watching AND reviewing this drama? LOL..

    Like you, I did not plan AT ALL to watch YB. The trailer, the poster, the pictures, the main actor (JGS) turned me off. I was bored one Wednesday evening and for the hell of it, tried watching the first episode. Then the second. By the end of the second episode, I knew that my Wednesdays and Thursdays were now sold.

    I must be one of the few who just doesn’t find Shinwoo all that great. Boy needs acting lessons. Lots of it. I find the character himself to be really dull because he is way too perfect (which was my problem with Junseh as well) without any interesting flaw to highlight his personality. Plus, how come he’s suddenly into Minyeo and get all jealous? The way he falls in love with Minyeo isn’t convincing for me.

    Angelina Jolie should appear more often!

  5. Wait till you get to Ep 6, ahhh.. the angst.

    deeta, I’m totally with you on SW. I agree that’s he’s all nice and kind to MN, but his perfection is way too irritating for my taste. I also find his jealous streak a bit annoying altho he doesn’t really show it… so what if MN likes TK right? I guess we’re the weird ones huh… cos everyone feels bad for SW, and we’re like dissing him? hahahah..

    thundie, you’re so right with PSH’s portrayal as MN. I really like her too. I love how she’s so naive to everything, and how she treats everyone so nicely. I love how she always sees the good side of everybody (and everything) and even in front of an obvious flaw, she just treats it as something really normal. Doesn’t she have a temper at all?

    And awww… is Snoredeok really that bad? hahaha..

  6. I am loving this one as well. I haven’t been bored once and I haven’t waited each week for kdrama for a while. It is defintely going to be kdrama of the year. I agree ep6 the angst, looks like MN and TK are starting to like each other.

  7. i so resonate with u on this, thundie….i was gonna give this a miss – what could an ahjumma like me do with a idol boy band drama with actors half my age and even lesser acting chops? but i checked it out and from the first strains of I WILL PROMISE YOU…. i was a goner. love the plot, the acting and still resisting JGS’ charm but just barely….can’t wait for mid-week now…

  8. “Weeks of watching “Dumb and Dumber” (a period drama about Shilla’s first queen) […] Perhaps because I had used up a lifetime of yawns watching a drama about a queen who, forty episodes on, still wasn’t a queen, I lapped up the sizzling speed at which events unfolded in You’re Beautiful.”

    Urgh, tell me about it. I dropped Queen Seon-deok around Ep. mid-20s-ish. I only felt bad towards Yoo Seung-ho because I thought, ‘Sorry, kiddo, I’m fond of you and your acting, but I can’t continue watching this crap, not even for your upcoming presence.’

    But yeah, You’re Beautiful unexpectedly charmed me too, despite its synopsis. I love your amusing descriptions of the characters, especially this one:

    “Hwang Tae-kyung looked like a man who had suffered chronic toothache all his life; his smile muscles had obviously atrophied from lack of use.” (spot on!)

    As for Shin-woo’s acting sulky from jealousy, I mean, I can understand the guy. The girl he likes is completely oblivious to him and his efforts to be woo her but not towards the other guy, so wouldn’t it be natural for Shin-woo to feel bad? He’s only human. And he did get over it and tried to move on. But unfortunately for Shin-woo, it’s pretty clear that he and Mi-nyeo aren’t compatible, whereas she and Tae-kyung are.

    Speaking of which, I just learned that Jung Yong-hwa is the younger brother of Jung Kyung-ho (whom I loved in Time of Dog and Wolf) and apparently is a member of an indie rock (LOL, I admit I expected him to be a part of the whole Korean teen pop scene) band in real life.

  9. I didnt really plan to watch this one either as I tried to stay away from those idolized dramas… But after seeing a positive feedback from Javabeans, and it was written by Hong sisters, so I gave it a try… It was surprisingly fun… ^^

  10. Oh, Thundie, you’ve really brightened up my morning with this. When I first read the synopsis I wasn’t interested in the drama too. Boybands are just not my thing but when I heard that the Hong sisters were in it, I wanted to give it a try. Now thanks to you I’m seriously going to give it a try.

  11. I knew that Lee Hong-ki (I saw him sing with Lee Seung Gi and knew that he was a good singer) and Jang Geun-suk (whom I admire for his looks — but with his style here he looks like an Adam Lambert wannabee) were 2 of the leads here…but it still didn’t motivate me to watch this.

    But with your review, I decided to try it out last night and you’re right…so far this is charming and totally addicting 😀 It falls under my “must watch after a stressful day” category. Thanks for your great recap.

    Side note: thank you for planning to continue with the BL recaps. I miss that drama 🙂

  12. ETA: Apparently, they are not brothers and that that was a mix-up. But the member of an indie rock band still holds true. I checked the latter out in case that was misinformation as well. 😛

  13. Thank you, everyone. *hugs*

    This wasn’t a recap by any means, just a short prattle about first impressions. I’m truly enjoying You’re Beautiful (yes, Dahee, watch it! ^^). I rewatched a bit of ep 1 in order to take the screencap for my current blog header and immediately itched to watch the whole thing from the beginning. LOVE Park Shin-hye; she’s uber adorable.

    Since I’ve not watched the latest two episodes, I haven’t seen Shin-woo sulking or being jealous. As of ep 4, he’s still every bit a sweetheart! I don’t agree that he’s dull. Like I wrote in my Brilliant Legacy recaps, it isn’t easy to be Mr. Nice (Bae Soo-bin’s character) because folks take you for granted and even perceive you as dull! 🙂 You’re perfect boyfriend material and yet you lose the girl, how sad! (Psst, check out my post on second fiddles in kdramas.)

    Ripgal, the first four episodes of Queen Snoredeok were great (hence my one and only QSD post), but then it just rolled downhill after that. I didn’t watch 9-29 (because X had eye surgery and didn’t translate those episodes), but Dahee said they were terrible. Episodes 30-39 bored me to death, but things are finally picking up from ep 40. You can try the QSD movie (which is fully subbed by us) because it gives you 29 episodes in just three hours, thus sparing you all the boring fillers.

    Len, if you still want to check out Yoo Seung-ho in QSD, try ep 40 onwards. I hated what the drama was doing to him before that (mindless idling, like some dimwit), but he’s now revealing his true colors. I wouldn’t say his acting is great here (and it’s all the fault of the stupid writing), but he’s so very handsome, ahhh!

    Thanks again for all the comments. I plan to do another YB post when I get to episodes 5-6. 😀

  14. Oh, Thundie! Thanks for the cute prattle and recommending YB to your readers. I mocked it ceaselessly when the promos and posters first started to emerge, it looked so fruity and silly and trite (girl dressed as boy – done and done before). But YB has been the second biggest surprise of the year for me (to City Hall – again, not what I was expecting as well). I am so excited to watch YB with your prattle and JB’s recaps.

  15. Never thought I’d watch this after the very disappointing BoF. No doubt I’m not quite the target audience, but what can I say? I like the pretty boys. And hence, what started as an interest for Jang Geun-suk ended with me waiting patiently every week at Vikii for Eng sub-bed episodes. Caught a glimpse of him on Hong Gil Dong (a show I’ve since picked up), went past Beethoven Virus which (should’ve) earned him the nickname, as you put it so accurately Mr Sideburns (ick!) and now onto You’re Beautiful.

    It’s amazing how superficiality can sometimes lead you to something (dare I say) greater. A little bit more research later, I find out about the Hong sisters (who imho have done a great job with the characters and pace of this show) and as it turns out, I’ve watched quite a few of their shows previously. And loved them! So, this shouldn’t be an exception. I just can’t wait for the dvds to be released. Then JGS can (and as he should) be viewed on a bigger TV screen! Ah… one never quite escapes their own superficial character after all… And I better stop – before I start coming off as some cradle snatcher lol.

  16. Thundie, glad that you like the show too, at least the first 4 episodes. Similar to #1 Sayroo, when I saw your name at the credit of the subtitle, I was squealing, ha ha, guest Thundie will update her blog soon

    Oh btw, first time comment here but I’ve been always your silent reader, and I’m patiently waiting for your final SI/BL recaps 🙂

    YB is a pleasant surprise, one I didn’t expect turn out highly addictive. After the bad xperience with HGD I told myself be carefully approaching Hong sisters’ dramas. Besides HGD, I’ve watched their others, My Girl and DGCH. I don’t understand all the great things about DGCH (sorry fans). My Girl was so fun at the beginning, but then like their other scripts, dragged out so bad at the end. And I came across the conclusion that this Hong sisters always so fun, so good at the beginning but then all things change, suddenly turn angsty, dramatic.

    I just hope that with YB they keep the good balance of the comedy and the lighthearted with a bit confused angsty. So far the plot is tight, fast pace, and funny.

    I absolute adore all the characters in this show, even Yoo Heyi. She’s an evil character but she definitely holds a strong chemistry with Tae-kyung.

    Jang Geun-seok, *sigh* I’ve already fallen for his voice since HGD’s days, and I watched Happy Life, he’s rock!
    ‘Nuff said about A.N.JELL 🙂

    Oh, btw, the parody at the beginning of Ep3, TK holding a phone in an Ad., I laughed so hard I cry, it’s an idea from So Ji-sub’s Cowon CF!!!

  17. Thundie, I didn’t mean to spam your blog, he he, but how come I forgot to say BIG THANK YOU for all the awesome reviews and recaps.

    Thanks 🙂

  18. Hi thundie, (hi sugar and spice)

    Thanks for the write up. Random stuff, your blog’s previous header, the one about M, prompted me to dig up the file and watch it again. 😄

    OhhhhAhhhh, weird, that shot of JGS above has him looking like a young Judd Nelson – inThe Breakfast Club. It’s the stare. lol. IDK why, he really does to me. Breakfast Club is great, wasn’t it? A bunch of misfits… like this one A.N.JELL band.

    I enjoy You’re Beautiful. JGS is perfect for the role, so much better in this Hong sisters work than in HGD. Tae-kyung may change by the end of the drama, but please please make him stay cranky and OCD for me.

    PSH is lovable. If it was any other character than a nun-intern, I would have a hard time believing all the situational comedies that she got herself in. One thing did cross my mind now (too early in the drama I know), I hope she will start to stand up for herself soon. I want to see a spunky Mi-nyu by episode 10. lol.

    Love the pace of the drama so far. Off I go to watch E5.

  19. You’re Beautiful marks my fall into the depths of fandom. It had me from the shower scene. Mother Superior literally caused me to fall out of my chair laughing. Boom, I was done for.

    I de-lurked on Soompi. I bought the DC from Korea in region 3. Then when the subs turned out to be bad – I resubbed it. That, my friends, is insanity. At least I had the sense to stand on the shoulders of giants and not redo the WITHS2 work, but just redid the new stuff.

    Then, I inflicted it on any and all family members successfully snagging 3 more into the k-drama zone where EotS had not. MUAHAHAAHAHA!

  20. Pingback: You’re beautiful aka 原來是美男。 «

Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s