You’ve Fallen for Me: Episodes 1-2

A crotchety grandfather. A chivalrous stranger. Just like that I was sold, and all within the first two minutes.

If you had asked me last month if I was planning on watching You’ve Fallen for Me (2011), I would have stared at you blankly. The name does not ring a bell. But about six days ago I was casually checking out one of my favorite blogs, Electric Ground, and saw that dear Blue had a new post out, a recap this time. As usual this spoilerphobe averted her eyes, but one of the tags jumped out at her, like a single bulb glowing in the dark. The spoilerphobe’s eyes widened as she read the name of the actor.

Would I miss a new Song Chang-eui drama? No way! So I sat down to watch the first episode yesterday. Thirty seconds into the opening scene and suddenly I was beaming. My favoritest of veteran actors, oh my goodness! Snappish and stink-eyed this time but still all Shin Goo!

If that wasn’t reason enough to squeal, as Park Shin-hye was struggling with her heavy luggage, its wheels having dropped off seconds earlier, who should come along like a knight (on tarmac, not horseback) to heave it up the bus for her? Glum-faced but oh-so-gallant Jung Yong-hwa.

Why did I like that fleeting bus scene so much? Bear with me as I explain. Some moons ago, I was going down the moving ramp at the supermart and my filled-to-the-gills cart (with the misaligned wheels) was lurching like it was drunk. Just when I thought I was going to roll down the ramp with the cart, a hand came out of nowhere, grabbed and steadied the cart, and brought it safely down to the bottom of the ramp. The guy, whom my startled brain registered as being rather dishy, said not a word but merely smiled and then went on his way.

I’m a total sucker for such unexpected acts of gallantry. It’s so kdrama!

So, even though his hair and scowl take getting used to, Jung Yong-hwa had me at exactly one minute and 56 seconds into Episode 1. And when he sang in the closing minutes of Episode 2, he had me completely. I played and replayed that scene. I felt a lump forming in my throat. Damn it, Show, what are you doing to me?

Yes, the first episode felt uneven, with music that was too jarring and camerawork that felt jerky and unnecessarily frenzied (a screencapper’s nightmare, hello). Like the first day of a new school year. Like Moving Day, with frayed nerves and boxes everywhere. The two young leads obviously trying to settle into their roles without looking like complete newbies. It all felt rough around the edges somehow.

But you know something? That roughness, that lack of slickness, I like it.

I like that the characters feel down to earth and normal. My first glimpse of Song Chang-eui’s hotshot I-made-it-big-on-Broadway character as he stepped out of his plane? The guy was yawning his head off. How adorable is that, huh?

After successive dramas where Song Chang-eui played serious or tormented characters, it’s wonderful to see him here in a lighthearted role. I love that he’s cocky without being annoying, straight-talking but also playful and sporting. Openly showing his displeasure when he meets the woman who dumped him years ago, he hints within her earshot that the sight of her has caused him to lose his appetite. When they next meet again, because she’s an itch that refuses to go away and he can’t help himself but to go and see her, he says to her face: “You bad woman.”

Yet with Park Shin-hye’s Kyu-won, who’s practically a stranger, he’s kind, perceptive, and funny even. Look at how he cheers her on during her “duel” with Jung Yong-hwa’s Lee Shin.

And look at Kyu-won’s grandpa doing the same, momentarily forgetting that he’s an esteemed professor of traditional Korean music, so renowned in the land those in the know quiver in his presence. Not that they can help it, since Professor Lee Dong-jin’s not one to suffer fools lightly.

I love seeing our crankypants professor and his granddaughter together. When she tells him that the penalty for losing the music duel to Lee Shin is a month of servitude, he barks peevishly that Shin is taking away his slave. Hearing that, Kyu-won is livid. “I knew it. You treat me as your slave!”

They mean the world to each other and they know it. He insists that she must win the duel because the prestige of traditional music is at stake, but in the end it does not matter when she loses because she’s still his beloved granddaughter. And because “that guitar guy is exactly like me when I was younger,” he says, cheeky grin on his face as Kyu-won wails at how swiftly he has switched sides.

That kind of familial warmth permeates the drama. Shin seems aloof at first, but it doesn’t take long for us to see that that coldness is just an occasional front; he is affectionate and considerate with his sister and mom, and also with his band members. Unlike in You’re Beautiful where we had to wait five episodes to see Hwang Tae-kyung smile, Shin dispenses his soon enough.

And although he and Kyu-won start off on the wrong footing when he ticks her off with his apparent self-absorption (he mistakes her for another of his ardent fans and she’s aghast that he thinks so highly of himself), theirs isn’t the “I hate the very sight of you” antagonism that tends to precede many a kdrama romance.

On the contrary, they can speak to each other amiably without a noticeable increase in decibels or dagger-sharp glares. He doesn’t exactly gloat when his band wins the showdown; he apologizes for what happened the night when he failed to turn up for the fundraising performance for her ailing professor. The two can walk quietly together even though they are far from being friends for now.

For not whacking us over the head with the histrionics, thank you, Show.

For a music-themed drama, the abundance of quiet moments is both a surprise and a delight. This is especially so in the second episode where the pace feels less hurried.

When Shin’s mom receives a call and learns that Shin’s dad is gravely ill and unlikely to live for much longer, her response is gentle and understated. She cries quietly, then makes up a pretext for Shin to meet his father, without revealing the truth about their relationship. Yet Shin seems aware somehow, but he doesn’t ask his mom, he doesn’t insist on raking up the past or kicking up a fuss about how he’s meeting his father only now. No, he goes into the room and the two men—father and son—pick up their guitars and begin to play. Few words are exchanged. There are no tears, just music.

That scene, so unadorned and powerful, is singularly one of the most moving in the year for me.

After the meeting with his dad, Shin goes home. Sitting on the bed in his room, he remembers the older man and how his hand trembled as he tried to play. He lies down and raises his own hand toward the ceiling. He stares at his palm for a long time.

There’s no voiceover in this scene, no indication of what Shin is thinking. He’s simply alone with his thoughts.

Speaking of Shin’s room, I love how cozy it feels, the warm colors inviting one to enter and linger. It doesn’t shout “hey, I’m an indie rocker” or “I’m a rebel so don’t you piss me” but still feels very much like a Shin room, with all the telltale and whimsical signs of an occupant who loves music and… books! It’s not overtly masculine; in fact it feels like a room that his younger sister could grow into and make her own if she wishes. It’s a simple room with character; it feels real and lived in.

Although I know as much about art as a giraffe would know about kayaking, I like the composition of colors in the drama, scenes awash with pastel, very much like a watercolor painting, or stripped down to a few starkly contrasting colors, like what we see when Professor Jung Yoon-soo (So Yi-hyun) is in her dance studio.

The colors help establish mood and tone. Group camaraderie. Aloneness.

Even in a wide open setting like the campus grounds, the colors seem to blend perfectly and form a congruent whole. It’s quite lovely, I must say.

Here’s another example of what I mean. The scene itself is ear-piercingly loud (from frenetic-paced Episode 1), but if you cover your ears and just watch, you may find yourself mesmerized by how pretty the entire scene looks.

But at the end of the day I don’t watch a drama for its alluring cinematography, I watch for its stories and characters.

Thus far the story arcs in You’ve Fallen for Me have been sufficiently intriguing to make me want to keep watching. (I’m the weirdo who can’t plod on to the bitter end just because a favorite actor is in a particular drama. If the writing sucks, I’m out of there faster than a sneeze.) In the short space of two episodes, the drama has done a commendable job setting up the connections and potential conflicts. I’m rubbing my hands in glee just thinking of the one-month “slave contract” that Kyu-won must serve because she lost to Shin’s The Stupid.

By the way, don’t you just lurve the name of the band? So self-deprecating, so satirical. So deliberately… stupid? Overheard on the subway: “I’m a Stupid fan, how about you?”

I wonder if our Professor Lee will become a fan of The Stupid, seeing how he has already declared to his granddaughter that he sees himself in Shin. After seeing Shin perform, the dear professor doesn’t seem too opposed now to the idea of Kyu-won becoming Shin’s slave for a month. I can’t wait to see the sparks fly between the two men as they fight to see who gets served by their slave first. Maybe some of the professor’s fire (his tongue can set wet twigs alight) will force Shin out of his shell so that he’s less stony-faced. Maybe Jung Yong-hwa’s acting will improve correspondingly as well. Not that he’s terrible, no, but he can afford to be less reined-in and a lot more expressive. Like the two thespians below.

Of least interest to me now is the story arc of Shin’s obvious infatuation with Yoon-soo, she being the woman who supposedly dumped our dashing Broadway director years ago. Maybe because I still shudder when I recall a certain student in Family Honor doggedly stalking pursuing his professor, even though she couldn’t get over her late husband of ten years and kept talking to him every night (talking to the late husband, not to the stalker).

Seeing how Shin hangs around Yoon-soo, how easily he touches her, and how weakly she’s batting him off, I get the shivers. It’s got nothing to do with their age gap or the professor-student relationship (I’m cool about that), but I just hate mooning of any kind. I especially hate if she’s stringing him along just because she doesn’t have the heart to say no to him.

At this point I’m unsure if I want Yoon-soo and Song Chang-eui’s Kim Suk-hyun together. Their backstory seems to suggest that they’ll have many hoops to jump through before they can put the past behind and move forward. He seems so angry with her right now while her tear ducts go into overdrive the moment she sees him. Not good, not good. Doesn’t augur well for rainbows and sunshine; instead I foresee many dreary scenes of staring into space, whether alone or side by side. *suddenly remembers Phoenix*

In contrast Suk-hyun and Kyu-won have this natural chemistry that I find very cute. If he falls for her we’ll end up with a love square (rectangle?): Shin likes Yoon-soo but she likes Suk-hyun who likes Kyu-won who naturally likes Shin (did you see how her heart went pitter-patter when he sang?). Fun times.

With this being a sixteen-episode drama, I’m hopeful that the pace will remain zippy but not zany, with conflicts speedily resolved. I like the youthful and vibrant vibes (drummer boy Kang Min-hyuk providing many of the laughs with his food fixation) even if the veterans (in acting experience, not necessarily in age) are stealing the show so far.

The drama makes a big deal about the dichotomy between traditional Korean music and indie music and whether the twain shall meet (or can ever meet). I’m interested in seeing how the writing will continue to explore (or exploit?) that divide as a backdrop for Kyu-won and Shin’s coming-of-age story.

You’ve Fallen for Me is sweet and quiet in places but it also exudes a liveliness that makes an hour just speed by. I haven’t fallen hopelessly yet, but this might just be my next crack. We’ll see.

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Categorised in: First impressions, K-dramas, Recaps

35 Responses »

  1. OMG, Thundie! I feel so giddy that we noticed/liked the same things. Song Chang Eui’s yawn at the airport. Check. The watercolor like color scheme. Check. Father and son guitar scene. Check. Yong Hwa’s closing song at the end of episode 2. Check. Although it seems like you’ve loved the first two episodes much more than I did (I think I’m turning into a k-drama grouch… sigh), cheers that we have another drama to watch together! Yay!

    • Hi Blue and Thundie, will it be too much to ask/request if you can translate Shin’s song in episode 2?

    • Oh blue, did we? That’s awesome! So happy we noticed the same things, hehe. I haven’t read your recaps yet, sorry; you know how I avoid spoilers like the plague. I normally don’t notice post tags, but that day Song Chang-eui’s name was right at the corner and I saw it right away. *squee*

      I don’t know why, but I think I’m becoming less and less of a kdrama grouch. It hurts my head to be overly critical or analytical; I just want to enjoy my dramas and not think too hard (or too much) about them. Maybe it started with You’re Beautiful in 2009, a drama I didn’t plan to watch but did. It was such fluffy fun and I truly enjoyed it.

      I think YHFFM has heart and I like that it isn’t shrill. I also always like campus settings (but thundie, you bought Love Story in Harvard eons ago and the shrinkwrap is still intact!).

  2. Even though this isn’t the best drama ever (yet), it’s still really addicting 😀

  3. wow enjoyed your post
    park shin hye is acting her age – cute and sweet
    really am looking forward to development of heartstrings
    there is the interesting two versions of classical and band piece
    when both groups are practising for the competition- totally rock
    thanks again

  4. I intended to read this article but then I saw that picture of a young lady behind Song Chang Ui holding a paper with the word “Ding Dong~!” on it.. and now all I’m thinking of is Best Love and I stop reading.. *sigh*

  5. thanks for the write-up. you write beautifully, i enjoy reading you posts =)

  6. Thundie, I am almost too embarrassed to say the number of times i replayed the last few minutes of ep 2.. when S played the guitar with his father and the closing song. It was so powerfully touching… and with those scenes, I can see how Yong Hwa’s acting has improved.. when he sang, he seems so comfortable and natural and talented. I am loving the drama.

    • Why be embarrassed? I replayed it for I dunno how many times as well. XD While I think JYH has plenty to improve in the acting department, cannot doubt his musical abilities. Love love love his song at the end of Ep 2. I read he wrote it himself? As in Jung Yong Hwa the singer?

      Thundie, you took all words out of my mouth. I had the exact same thoughts as you abt the drama, liked the exact same things. Just that you had a head-start by posting it. hehe Now I can trash mine into the bin. Yours couldn’t have been a better reflection of my thoughts. Totally!

  7. Yayyy I’m watching this too! I wasn’t particularly impressed by the first two episodes (although the father-son guitar scene and Shin’s performance at the end of episode 2 did resonate with me) but I haven’t lost the will to keep watching yet, which frankly surprises me and keeps me intrigued. Maybe it’s because I have such a soft spot for all of the cast members (there’s another one you’ll recognize who appears for the first time in episode 3, Thundie! xD) but I am invested enough to keep watching and halfway through episode 3, I can say that I’m going to keep going for now. Especially for SCE and SYH. They are one of the prettiest pairings of the year so far, and their chemistry is great imo.

  8. Loved your insight on the show!

  9. What have you done to me, too? You always ignite my desire to watch kdrama-s. Notice the S? Notice? Can I borrow your hours of day so I can watch drama-s, and you stop writing them especially for an ahjumma with weak hearted like me? *SIGH
    *slowly goes to torrent sites

  10. not really impressed but I give Show a chance because I’m happy that JYH will finally get PSH & because I just LOVE the poster!!
    just my opinion:
    – PSH is cute but sometimes she tries too hard to be cute ->overacting for me
    – I’m happy to see that JYH has more than 3 expressions

  11. “Although I know as much about art as a giraffe would know about kayaking” this line cracked me up good. i also love the color palette in this drama, all the rich blues and green against the stark white with touches of pink tones. the biggest thing bugging me is when PSH overacts. i think she’s a wonderful actor who definitely has the chops, but sometimes she just makes me exasperated. it’s like why!? i know you can do it well, just stop trying to be so darn cute and exaggerated. and the way she runs, does she really run that way in real life? or is it just for her character? it’s so annoying, it reminds me of the way eun jung ran around in coffee house, true it is the same director… but PSH ran the same ridiculous way in you’re beautiful and kimchee radish cubes.

  12. Just saw on the WordPress dashboard that this post is the blog’s 300th post. Another small milestone, LOL. Considering that the blog is 2.5 years old, that goes to show how “prolific” I am… NOT! 😳

    • 300 just doesnt seem enough thundie – it feels like we need a lot more – no pressure but how about going for another record and adding 300 more by next summer 🙂
      Like I said before, as long as you keep writing and sharing your talent,I will be happy even if you wrote one sentence or 3 pages per post. Thank you for all that you do to sustain our love for dramas -through your eyes we see more than what’s on the screen and end up feeling more attached to the story and characters than we imagined we would- that’s all on you and your gift with words Thundie. This post is just another example, if I wasn’t already watching it – I would be pressing download right about now. always cheering you on with pom poms waving in the air
      your biggest supporter and fan

    • 300, congratulations! It might not seem like a lot, but knowing how much care you put into each entry – which shows in this blog’s quality – you’ve shared a lot with us and we are always appreciative. Besides, to an amateur like me, 300 is really impressive. 🙂

      May you keep blogging about the dramas we all love, and bringing laughter and tears to your readers, for years to come!

  13. Love your review, thundie…. I, like u, didn’t plan to watch this drama at all, but the first time I watch this, I LOVE it. I’m such a sucker love-hate relationship in romance genre anyway, It’s never get old to me. hahas….. I love the tone and feeling they have been deliver so far. hope it will be my next crack drama. 🙂

  14. Thanks for the lovely read Thundie! YFFM is nothing exceptional or groundbreaking but I’m really enjoying its mellowness and pretty colours. I was actually disappointed, at first, that it wasn’t as compelling as I was hoping it to be, but after watching it the second time, I find myself liking and appreciating it a lot more. I also love the music and the overall ambience of the drama, my only gripe so far is the camera and its seizure-inducing tendencies. Just. Stay. Still. Dammit!

    “The two can walk quietly together even though they are far from being friends for now.”
    Yes! I love that the two of them are able to resolve their misunderstandings quickly and civilly despite their mutual annoyance/dislike for each other. It’s also great to see that Shin isn’t a total jackass and actually knows how and when to apologise, this makes it much easier for me to root for him. I like heroine so far even though she is slightly overacted, but I have faith in PSH to bring out the many layers Gyu-won. Here’s hoping the future episodes don’t suck.

    • I agree about the crazy camera – thankfully it’s much better in ep 3, which was also better in other ways – and the story is starting to develop, so it’s getting more interesting.

  15. Thanks Thundie, Enjoyed the read and am totally hooked!! Can’t wait to start on this drama especially after I have just seen both actor & actress from Assorted Gems, hehehe all excited~

  16. OMG thundie, i am so thankful you are writing about Heartstrings!
    i have been a silent stalker of thundie … and the related blogs but it is just now that i came out to speak on you blog!
    i usually comment on dramabeans and koala’s. but koala isn’t into Heartstrings, and when i like a drama, i need, like everything i could find to satiate my need for info on that drama.
    so thank you much! (hehehe and there’s the Electric Ground too 🙂 )

  17. I cannot wait for the “Family’s Honor stalker” to appear in this drama. I’m a sucker when it comes to Lee Hyun Jin. I actually didn’t like his role so much at the beginning in FH, but the boy is great in Boy Meets Boy and Assorted Gems seals the deal for me.

    Thank you for such a warm-hearted write up, unnie. I hope that this drama won’t disappoint in the narratives. It has a lot of heart, indeed.

  18. So many write-ups for You’ve fallen For Me and everyone’s saying it’s good makes me very happy. I know I love the main lead actors but I am also like you thundie. To quote from you “If the writing sucks, I’m out of there faster than a sneeze” ~ that applies to me too. Let’s just hope YFFM will build up nicely. ^^

    Anyhow, I really like reading your blogs thundie! It’s so well-versed. Fighting!
    I love the main lead actors but I am also like you thundie. To quote from you “If the writing sucks, I’m out of there faster than a sneeze” ~ that applies to me too. Let’s just hope YFFM will build up nicely. ^^

    Anyhow, I really like reading your blogs thundie! It’s so well-versed. Fighting!

  19. Glad to see that there’s a small but tight-knit(?) community who’s liking heartstrings so far. I am so in need of something sweet and lighthearted right now and this drama couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment 🙂

  20. Thundie! How is it we have the exact same thoughts about You’ve Fallen For Me? There’s something about it that’s different than anything else that’s aired all year – it just feels young, somehow. In a good way – there’s always plenty of juvenile fare floating around in the trendies, but YFFM is full of all the colour, hope, heart, and the harmless and yet gripping drama that we all used to be caught up in at some indeterminate time in the past. To be honest I did not enjoy Jung Yong Hwa’s non-performance in YB, and it was only my abiding love for Park Shin Hye that made me check this out – but I’m so glad I did!

    I noticed the colours too, but I couldn’t describe it properly – watercolor is so exactly right. The colour palette is natural and bright at the same time, is that makes sense. Sometimes sets full of bright colours are jarring, or at least manga-like, but YFFM is so easy on the eyes, and yet so cheerful. It just embodies the drama’s tone so well. Not to mention a college campus is my favourite place in the world ever, so a drama set at one is like candy for me. It being an arts college is a plus – lots of music and dancing!

    It’s weird, because no matter how high the Dream High fever burned, I couldn’t manage to catch it – and I tried for 6 episodes. This is very similar, except set in college. I just couldn’t love any of the characters in DH, or make myself care whether they made it into whatever show they were practicing for, or that everyone hated them. Whereas 5 minutes into the first episode, I already was on board with this slightly dowdy girl who followed her grandfather obediently but wasn’t averse to speaking her mind about his dictatorial ways… and Shin won me over as soon as I saw him with his family. (How cute is his relationship with his little sister?) Jung Yong Hwa is still not great, but he’s improving.

    Park Shin Hye is one of those actresses, like Yoon Eun Hye, that completely becomes whatever character she is playing, causing one to forget all her previous incarnations, despite being a very recognizable star. Whereas some very famous actors, no matter what role they play, are always just Brad Pitt. I only see Lee Kyu-won in YFFM. And I love her – she’s talented, hardworking, and filial, but she’s not a doormat and she’s got a strong will and an attitude when the situation calls for it. (Like when she’s dealing with a certain jerkypants rock musician.) I’m 100% with her on whatever journey she is going to take.

    Song Chang Ui is wonderful, both his acting and the character he plays. Seok-hyun is such an awesome second lead – a nice guy, but kind of conceited, and – shock – he actually gets mad and tells people off like a normal person. I wonder about these saintlike second leads sometimes. Perhaps they’re aliens and that’s why they never get the girl.

    Not loving Professor Weepy though, or her semirelationship with Shin. I really hate the guy-falls-for-girl-because-he-sees-her-crying-and-wants-to-save-her trope (sheesh, what a mouthful. is there a name for that?). And I get that she’s depressed over her dance career ending, but all she does is cry. And two guys are hung up on her – at least, Seok-hyun still has some kind of feelings for her. I hope she gets less weepy soon.

    I could go on, but you’ve already said it all so much more eloquently than I could. And I just watched episode three, and it’s even better, yay!

  21. I don’t know how I feel about this one and I think a lot of it has to do with the acting of the two leads. PSH tries way too hard to be cute and the guy, though his musical ability is great and he’s not bad to look at (though he needs to eat!), I am feel is just rather blah. Plus, I think the two “adult” second leads are being wasted right now. But at least the music is good and it is pretty to look at with bright colors. Love the traditional music and the pop stuff isn’t too bad either.

    On another note, I know it is just a drama and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but the eating disorder jokes made about the Hee Joo chick really offended me. As one who has suffered from one, eating disorders aren’t really anything to be taken so lightly, damnit! Of course they paired up the ED chick with the boy who LOVES to eat. Interesting idea there…

  22. Really enjoy your recaps on LTM. What a joy to see the lovebirds falling in love.

  23. Hi Thundie, I just saw your link in dw4p’s site. Sheesh, I read almost all your blogs but since I just started YFFM recently (and marathoned the 12 eps in 3 days!), I didn’t know you wrote this piece a few weeks back. And I do agee with you on almost all points! There is no way I could have written it better.

    YFFM may have its flaws, but I like its lighthearted feel. Reminds me of the (relative) innocence of youth. Like you I also love the cinematography, the music (father-son duet, Lee Hyun Jin’s solo in ep 3!, Jung Yong Hwa’s guitar playing, the foursome traditional music band, etc.). Most of all, I love Song. Chang. Eui.!! I know you have written about him before but I have only just seen him here, and I am actually crushing on him *blush*. He is just awesome! I should really pay more attention to what the k-drama gurus say, noh? Now, I need to read your back posts about this guy….

  24. Hi Thundie
    Did you finish the drama? What rating did you give it? I think the recapper at a well-known site did not invest enough time in the drama.

    • Hi a_fan,

      Oh, I’ve not progressed beyond Ep 3 or 4. Fully planning on finishing it as soon as I can! 😀 I do have a very soft spot for it somehow.

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