Hairy distractions

Some TP readers think I have a hair fixation since I tend to harp on the subject in my recaps or reviews. But the truth is I don’t notice hairdos unless they are weird or downright awful.

Take Emperor of the Sea which I’ve been watching spellbound the last two days. Nine episodes in (and forty-two to go), I’m in love with the story and soundtrack, and awed by the production values. But then Choi Su-jong appears (and the guy has a lot of screen time since he’s the lead) and I’m once again distracted by that THING which is supposedly hair but looks more like shredded rags hastily stitched together.

I know. I would look pissed, too, if I had to walk around looking like that.

Why couldn’t he have shared the hairstylist responsible for this dual vision of awesomeness?

Maybe I should ask the PD directly. Because scene after Goong Bok scene and I’m none the wiser. In Episode 8 I thought I had finally nailed the reason. Of course his hair is unkempt; he’s after all a slave and a runaway one at that! But then I remember Chuno (aka Slave Hunter) and its abundance of slaves.

Sure, their clothes look rat-gnawed and their faces permanently mud-stained. But do they allow their hair to look like it hasn’t met a comb in ten years? Of course not. Not even with pressing concerns such as insurrection occupying their minds.

Look, even the one hunting their kind down is not too busy (or lovelorn) to forget to tame his hair and wrestle it into some semblance of tidiness. Whether he succeeds or not is beside the point.

The important thing is that he knows that some viewers are more nervous than others. Such viewers jump two feet into the air at the slightest sighting of anything scary.

Frightful-looking hair is scary. Everyone is in consensus there. It does not matter if the actor concerned is all spiffy in shades or a suit. If your skin crawls looking at his hair, your attention has just been called away from whatever story is unfolding on the screen.

In other words, you have just encountered a most hairy (and frightening) distraction.

Hair that is styled just right should not distract. In fact, we should not be paying attention to an actor’s hair in a drama. If we are, then we need to ask ourselves: “What is so distracting about his hair that I can’t focus on anything else?”

Is it because he looks oddly different this time? Thus leading some viewers to don sackclothes and wail the night away, hands pounding their chests? Which stupid stylist did this to their favorite actor, waah?!

Looking back, I think Thousand Years of Love was the first drama where a character’s hair freaked me out so much I had nightmares. Nightmares of bruised and bloodied roosters wearing lingerie, no less.

Thankfully the drama didn’t cause my So Ji-sub love to wane. If anything it strengthened it, because of his “suffering” then and even now. Google him and inevitably among the hundreds of so-hot-I’m-burning images you will find a few of him in that rooster hairdo.

That’s the Internet for you. It remembers. *cue sobering music*

Perhaps Only You was the second drama where I wanted to choke whoever styled the lead actor’s hair.

If you are an ajumma, you have every right to remind me of my aunt or mom. But not when you are the handsome lead with the soulful eyes!

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the hairstyle at first. But as the drama progresses, you begin to notice a change in the lead actor’s face, a sort of lengthening. Initially you can’t pinpoint what has happened, but soon the truth emerges. Or, to put it more bluntly, the forehead emerges. More and more of it, even though there was enough of that surface to begin with.

The higher the forehead grows, the closer the space between hair and ceiling. It’s like a force that can’t be quelled. In a scene of passion, as he leans in for a kiss, the first thing I see is that black and gleaming tower beckoning triumphantly to me.

It’s like the opening episode of Brilliant Legacy. The moment Lee Seung-gi steps into view, everything else fades away except for The Nest.

How do his co-stars keep a straight face when they stand in front of him? How do they refrain from searching his hair for hatchlings and nestlings? How?

And now someone else has come along to steal the title of Mr. Nest. Why, oh why?

I’ve have not watched 49 Days yet, but already I’m bracing myself. I hope his acting will blow me away so that I will not be distracted by THAT. In fact, I hope to grow to love that mop ardently. I can do that for you, Jung Il-woo, since I will forever have a soft spot for you because of Return of Iljimae.

Speaking of soft spots…

Hi there, Lee Min-ho! You know how you make me smile, don’t you?

Your hair in Boys Over Flowers, on the other hand…

Oh, never mind. It brought you fame so what’s to lament? Just promise me never to resurrect that hairstyle. Ever.

Another hairdo that I hope I won’t see again is Cha Seung-won’s in Best Love.

I don’t know how others interpreted it, but for me that style symbolized a hair house divided. Look at the opposing directions. And how did he get the eastbound strands to remain that way without rebelling (aided by annoying gusts of wind, what else?) and turning westbound? Such a mystery.

Or maybe it’s not that mysterious after all. Just credit it to hours and hours of styling.

For example, one of the things that struck me about my first kdrama (besides the amnesia, almost-incest, truck accidents, interfering parents, clingy exes, and wailing) was the time that must have gone into readying our lead actor’s hair for the camera. Every time there was a shot of him from the back, I could not help marveling at how coiffed his hair appeared. What did that say about his Min-hyung character, I wondered. If the lovebirds eventually married, would they have to fight for bathroom time? Maybe not, since hers was wash-and-go. And in one scene, after he had broken off with his ex and she was hugging him despairingly from behind, I was going, “Oh no, don’t you press your face into that hair; he’ll have a fit if you ruin it!”

Funnily, though, I didn’t fret as much watching His Smoldering Sexiness in my second kdrama.

His bangs were in his eyes all the time, but so what?

To conclude…

This is HOT.

This is NOT.

And this is A LOT.

Of yumminess, what else? Not the least bit distracting, too!

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: K-actors, K-dramas, K-reflections

133 Responses »

  1. OMG – this post is hysterical. I think I just peed a little (**hangs head in shame**).
    For EOTS, CSJ’s hair gets progressively more tamed as his station in life gets better – the “do” is a true barometer for how he’s doing.
    My favorite funny hairdo on a guy? Kim Bum rocking the “Grampa Grey” in WWSWTM!

  2. Okay, so now the ladies time:

    I don’t like why Kdramas make the girls who live in the country have these ugly hairstyles… just because they live in the country means they have no comb or hairdresser?

    The main from Paradise Ranch:

    The main from Can you hear my heart?

    The main from Which star are you from?

  3. This post made me laugh aloud in an empty house so I sounded totally creepy. But that aside, I might be in the minority but I really liked Ji Chang-wook’s hair in ‘Warrior Baek Dong Soo’ when it was that messy, wavy sort of mess. It totally jived with his character and he was adorable. And then, like in Chuno, with the hair change came the “serious change” and suddenly Dong Soo wasn’t as adorable because he had such serious hair…

    Also, Yoo Seung Ho’s hair change into that straight(ish?) wig when Ji Chang Wook’s changed. The hair was so good at the beginning of the show and they ruined it… wah! Yoo Seung Ho’s hair was so pretty… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, Show!

    • I have been ROTFLing for days about this post — major thanks for putting this up!!! I never thought about various KDrama hairstyles until now — mostly my mind is taken in by all the pretty on my screen. Besides, I get distracted if a character’s hair is better coiffed than mine… especially on a guy! 🙂

      Biases notwithstanding, I truly appreciated both Manes of Glory in WDBS. And then when Dong Soo returned after the 3 years of training with the Jin Kazama Ponytail of Glory (TM supah)… which then morphed into the Bun of Glory… oh my my MY!! ::fanning self:: But Woon-ah’s look started out oh-so-totally gorgeous, and then all of a sudden, his wig turned into a “Fight The Frizzies” situation where I felt like flying over there with a flat iron and some smoothing serum to make things right! Let’s not even mention the curled-ends in the last few episodes — the stylist must have been as rushed as the writers to finish up the series that they Just. Didn’t. Care.

      • Dongsoo’s Cindy Crawford 80s perm was so, so HOT! I loved it on him. It has to be one of da best among all o’ the manes of the glories, evah! And I miss it. But yeah, the Jin Kazama hair in a bun was pretty naais too.

        Speaking of manes in sageuk, I just finished up Daemang and Jang Hyuk had some distractingly beautiful, gorgeous, silken locks (seriously, the nicest hair on a dood) to complement his ethereally pretty looks. I hate that I didn’t take some more screencaps to properly evidence it here, prior to deleting the files, but here…

        • Ha! I had completely forgotten JGS hair in You’re Beautiful – when I was still only 2 dramas in to this obsession, I saw a picture of him and thought to myself, ‘Seriously, people? This is what you find attractive? Unbrushed curling iron curls (LMH) and wierd Elvis pompadours (JGS). While I never learned to love Gu Jun Pyo…I did fall hard for the love between Tae Kyung and Go Minam even THOUGH my own personal heart belonged to Yongwha from the moment I laid eyes on him. Talk about ICOMYM!

          • In BoF I was a Kim Bum fan before the story even got started. I think GJP just drove me crazy from the manga to HYD. So my poor HOttie was doomed. 😦

            However, with JGS’s hair in YB. I didn’t really other me as much as the dead animal on his shoulder at the end. I mean, most of the time his hair looks like mine does when I want my bangs out of my face. You’re NOT supposed to go out in public like that Sukkie….

            • I know I’m in the minority but I actually liked his hair (his whole look, really) in MSOAN. Between him and Jae Wook I was just in pretty boy overload.

            • Unni – me too. I thought he looked really hot mostly cause the rest of him was pretty masculine. It’s when you combine femme clothes AND femme hair that you get a recipe for cross dressing…

            • I agree with you. He has a very expressive face and his voice is so very, very hot…but physically he doesn’t appeal to me other than that – too small, too skinny. Although skinny isn’t always an issue – think Waffle Boy 🙂
              Anyway, with JGS for me, what comes through with his acting when his character loves another character – I find that very compelling. I have a lot of his earlier stuff on my list because I want to see the progression of the actor.

            • Unni – He is quite small and skinny. BUT….he was my first Hallyu crush and like your first K-drama, it sticks with you. My first was YB. I remember seeing JGS and thinking, he’s not super cute but he’s got swagger. Then as the show progressed I was like, hrm, he’s kinda cute. And now, well you know the sad end to this tale.

              As for his progression. You can REALLY see it through all of his dramas. BV (early 2008) was stronger than Hong Gil Dong (late 2008). Except I think in HGD he was a bit like Song Jong-ho (Shin Myeon) in the way that he had the same expression the whole (SJH did a better job I think.) But he was cast opposite KJH, who is an acting god. But JGS’s got such a lovely speaking voice. ALSO! In BV he looks super manly ’cause he hadn’t yet lost all that weight and he’s not so super skinny. Me likes.

              (And Unni, I finished my arrangement. Will you go listen to it? :D)

            • Yes, tell me where to find it. As for SDLGTS: words escape me. Bali, Bali – we need to talk about this!

            • Unni- I’m on episode 3 of SDLGTS. I’m off to the Farmer’s Market right now but then I will continue to marathon it. It’s shaping up to be intense. Rain, what is WITH you and these shows, huh?

              If you click on my name, it should redirect you to my blog and its the newest post. Or, I could just give you a link like a good dongsaeng…


      • I just started Chuno, and I can’t decide which is better: the Manes of Glory on Jang Hyuk and Oh Ji HoMyGod …or their chests. So I just pause every time any of the four wonders of the world (2 manes, 2 chests) appear, and then I thank heaven for them.

    • I was also an Early Adopter of Ji Chang Wook’s Mane Of Glory (herein after referred to as The MOG) in WBDS. It was a thing of beauty and adorableness, you can’t tell me otherwise, sorry. Ditto Song Il Guk’s beauteous MOG in “Emperor Of The Sea.” I think his sheer physical presence in that series catapulted him to stardom. His next one, “Jumong” was just a foregone conclusion. Other delicious locks were sported to fine and hypnotic effect by Hyun Bin in “The Snow Queen.” **Siiiiigh** I can never, will never get tired of watching that series, so sublime was the man, from every angle. I could go on and on, but that’s enough. Suffice to say, many of us here take The MOG very seriously.

  4. I think the best “weird” hairdo I’ve ever seen belongs to Kim Bum in Still, Marry Me. It’s distracting AND it’s so good:

    • Our beautiful Bummie!!
      Although, I must admit that I’ve got a wig that looks JUST like that – same color and cut.
      What?! I was experimenting…….

    • Did you see “Padam Padan” perchance? Kim Bum played an angel and I was a believer! GOD, he was adorable in that series! Everyone should drop everything they’re doing right now (unless they’re involved in brain surgery or something) and watch it right now. Kim Bum gets himself officially out of the “Boys Over Flowers” Doghouse with this one. He’s wonderful, endearing and completely a genuine acting talent here.

  5. Oh Thundie, you’ve done it again, Great Article which I had to read while in transit on my way home, Business Class Lounge to boot, I just had to control myself from laughing out loud, KI was already getting weird looks..
    Hahaha, laughing at all the comments, have to agree most with Song Il Gook’s hair in A Man Called God, that drama was just unbeliveable!
    Lee Min Ho, other than BOF, which I hated him and loved Kim Bum more, I have since grown to love him and simply adore his hairstyles ever since, totally agree with you, his hair in CH, would love to run my fingers through, hahaha
    Actually watched Personal Taste twice and continue to wonder how they could have him paired with Son Ye Jin who looks like an ahjumma, so not matching!!
    Thundie, did you notice Chae Si Ra’s everchanging hairstyles in EOTS?
    Should just mention it, lol

  6. Wait. Didn’t SSH have this curly orange hair in Green Rose. I totally can’t watch the drama because of his hair.

  7. Lee Min-ho in BoF wins for me. GJP paid for that crap. SERIOUSLY? It looks like a 3 y/o went to town with some curlers and hairspray.

    Now this ‘do bothered me the whole damn show (plus some PSH eyecandy):

    Kim So-yeon – why did you let them do that to you?

    What is it with crazy curly perms that makes rich characters so drawn to them? Explain this to me PLEASE.

    Thundie – again. You totally gave me a stomach workout. No gym for me!

  8. Watching Chuno, and loving Jang Hyuk’s hair (thank you for that picture.) I called LMH Lee Min HOrrible Hair until I saw him in City Hunter (sigh). Almost didn’t watch Protect the Boss because of Ji Sung’s hair, but fell in love with him anyway…and then sought out films where he didn’t look like a bunch of broccoli.

    And not for nothing, but I laughed myself SILLY all the way through that link to A Man Called God. Guess what I have to watch next, thanks to you?

    • Still haven’t gotten past the first episode of BOF because of being totally grossed out by LMH’s hair. Luckily I saw Ji Sung in Royal Family and thought he was adorable, because it was really hard to look past that hairdo in PTB (especially with the bow tie, but crazy guy outfits could be a whole other post, starting with the animal JGS wore on his shoulder in You’re Beautiful!)

    • We worshippers at our well-appointed home shrines to Song Il Guk remember viewing AMCG with a certain amount of trepidation. The teaser photos were…uh…compelling (a few steps away from eye-candy; these photos were sex-candy) but the first few actual episodes of the drama were slightly scary (the weight loss) and given to fits of unwilling giggling (the hair) which we then felt terribly guilty about. Still, one must say that the rest of the SIG oeuvre has been so awesomely prodigiously HANDSOME that we can immediately forgive him this fit of temporary insanity, this AMCG. I’m just hoping that there may yet be ONE obscure yet compelling legendary historical figure that has not been commemorated in the pantheon of K-Series lore. Please God, let there be one and let SIG be available and his handlers agree to the terms of the deal.

  9. Loved your conclusion….my picks exactly

  10. Received a special request to post Bidam’s pic here, keke. From Queen Snoredeok Seondeok.

    Did someone mention Jang Hyuk’s hair in Successful Story of Bright Girl?

    No idea who’s this person, but this is from a recent episode of Tree With Deep Roots:

    Finally… from The Princess’s Man!

    • BWAHAHA! Those are terrible. However, the last one from TPM, the burly prisoner…I totally wasn’t checkin’ out his gnarly ‘do…

      • OMG! PSH’s got ManBoobs in that photo! Well… I loved this series, I own it and will be watching it every now and then in perpetuity. I love PSH and I trust him to continue with worthwhile projects wherein a suitable Hair Designer/Wrangler is on staff. He deserves nothing but the best.

        OK, let me just share with the class my Number One, All Time WORST Hair in a drama – hands down it had to be Joo Jin Mo’s head rug in the Chinese series “Bichunmoo.” This alleged hair substitute was just sad. Someone had abused it terribly, then slapped it on poor Jin Mo’s head. It was rode hard and put away wet, as we say in Texas.

    • Wait…in that next to last one, was there hair in that picture? I couldn’t see past the chest.

      • Anais – Everytime I see the word ‘moobs’ I somehow read it backwards ‘sboom’. Haha. And personally, I’m totally digging PSH’s body! 😀

        • He has a fine body. A very fine body. It’s just that I can’t get over how rounded his pecs are. I know it’s totally immature, but I just can’t get over it. They never fail to leave me in chuckles of disbelief.

          • Anais – You make me giggle. That comment made me think of that scene in Grease when the dorky girl with pigtails (Frenchie?) is working her pecks/boobs and singing the brushing teeth song. Imagine PSH doing that!

            • OH NOOOO!!! Now I’ll really lose it whenever I see his moobs! That would be frigging hilarious. Some kdrama director ought to pick up on that stat! Kdramaland would so love it! Rather than a just the usual gratuitous shower scene, imagine him stepping out of the shower and doing the pec dance. My brain wouldn’t be able to process it, and I’d choke myself laughing!

            • I can so totally see Rain or Kang Ji-hwan as shameless enough to do it. Do you think PSH would? If we begged him? He needs to be in a rom com…speaking of, how about CSW? Flexing his pecs and impressing himself with his Dokko Jin awesomeness? I say we petition for it!

            • Rain steps out of the shower stall wrapped in a fluffy white towel, only to find his contract-marriage wife standing there mouth agape in embarrassment. (Not so embarrassed, however, that she doesn’t do a quick scan up and down.) To cover his own discomfort, Rain plays it off as cheeky, and flexes his pecs so that they dance. Contract-marriage wife gasps and runs from the room – out in the hall, she leans against the wall and fans herself, muttering about the nerve of that guy…but who know he would be so strong, either? Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Rain winks at the mirror and says ‘she definitely liked what she saw, right?’ and then smiles a self-satisfied little smile.

            • Unni- Print and press baby!

  11. SSH in Summer Scent.

    Hm, it certainly looks better wet. Or maybe not! 😆

  12. How did I forget Minki’s hair in Mixed-up Investigative Agency?!

    But the drama was such a gem and the hair suited Moo-yeol’s goofy personality.

  13. BTW, I want to point out a welcome hairy distraction, but it’s not on kdrama screens. It’s in a tiny square on the pages of this blog. Thundie, I wuuuuuuuuuuv your chinchilla. Such great hair.

  14. Just have to add, love bae Yong Jun’s hair in The Legend, haha

  15. HAHAHAHAHA. So funny! Ow, Yoon Sang Hyun’s hair as Oska in Secret Garden really distracted me.

  16. I’m watching Sang Doo right now and there seems to be a trend of ‘fros.

    Sang Doo’s kid and the mother of his kid.

  17. LOL 🙂
    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s unbelievable hilarious!
    I am so agree with you on this “What is so distracting about his hair that I can’t focus on anything else?”. OMG, I can’t stop myself laughing so hard.

  18. Ahh, you made me laugh so hard that my next door neighbour came to ring on my door and complain of the noise.

    I actually have to comment here. I thought that Kim Soo Hyun in “Dream High” was far more appealing in his unkempt mop of hair than after the infamous “hair cut”. I lamentated the rest of the series after this scene.

    By the way, Thundie, you have to do the same with lips! There are so many yummy lips on so many korean actors that it deserves a special mention (Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In to mention just a few mouthwatering pieces…)

  19. One last one: Sung Joon’s adorable kinky, uncomb-able bird’s nest in “Shut Up Flower Boy Band” was curiously appealing. He’s so thuggishly handsome, such a punk in this drama. (Oh I do love me some Bad Boy.) I’m still singing the U2-esque anthem “Wake Up” from that drama. A classic how-to in hit songwriting, that.

  20. Personally, I loved Choi Su Jong’s bedroom hair in Emperor of the Sea. For me, it added to the period flavor of the sageuk. The first time I saw a photo of him in a suit and short hair, I was shocked by how nondescript he looked. Different strokes I guess, though I completely agree with you about some of the other hairstyles you pictured. What were they thinking?! Adding to my “dramas to never watch” list…

    Did you notice how the promo photos for Can Love Become Money had Yeon Jeong Hun’s hair brushed into a really unfortunate pompadour? Thankfully they re-thought that before they started shooting. It’s a bit of an insult to an actor’s skill to use an extreme haircut to say something about his character – Korean actors don’t usually need such unsubtle props.

    My favorite use of hair for an actor was Jang Geun Suk in Love Rain. His pretentiously edgy haircut was so right for his character.

    Favorite actress hair was Chae Shi Ra in Emperor of the Sea. Or maybe Go Hyun Jung In Queen Seonduk – hard to decide. For women, I favor the classics 🙂

  21. true very true hahaha! Got me rolling on my bed,true fact,dat hair does nt suit lee min ho nd song il guk bt dey r just films,am preti sure it wnt hapen in reality

  22. Just a quick update to this thread now that I’ve started “Blade & Petal” as per Thundie’s hearty recommendation. OMfreakinG – Uhm Tae Woong! This isn’t a Mane Of Glory, it’s a Mane Of Destiny! He is so sexy in the first 2 chapters I can hardly stand it. (Oh, but I can, I can!) This was my one beef with “Queen Seon Duk” – Kim Nam Gil got to wear his hair all wild and mad delicious and poor UTW had the stupid bun for all 50+ episodes. Anyway, that’s all she wrote, but thanks thundie for the 2 thumbs up on this drama. I hear Dramabeans panned it, so I’m the only one I know besides you who’s watched/is watching it.

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