I guess it is painfully obvious by now that I will never shy away from an opportunity to talk about Rain. It is also clear that he manages to show up in every post even when it is not about him! Yes, it’s true, I am a full blown Rain fangirl! Luckily, this post IS about him. When I posted Rain as my first K-Shot of Hot, I was in the process of watching his 2004 drama, Full House. At that time, I had no idea how the drama would play out but what I did see of it at the time of writing was enough to convince me that Rain’s Young Jae would make some kind of transformation. Now that I have long finished watching Full House, traveled to Seoul, and watched Rain walk through the West gate a fully discharged ROK Army sergeant, I am finally able to sit down and share my thoughts on his turn as bratty, loud, petulant, but eternally cute, Young Jae.
I mentioned in that short blurb on Full House in my K-Shot post of Rain that I noticed he was able to give his Young Jae some depth and not play him one-dimensional. That actually becomes more and more evident as the drama progresses as the angry layers around Young Jae’s heart begin to peel away when he falls under the spell of (and ultimately in love with) the quirky, yet extremely lovable Ji Eun.
[POSSIBLE SPOILERY] Let’s face it though, the entire premise of this drama is a little wacky. Ji Eun loses her house when her two seemingly best friends sell it up from under her after sending her on some phony free trip to Shanghai!! That she even speaks to these people after they not only sell her house but also clean out her bank accounts and use her identity for credit is almost offensive to me in that the writers chose to make Ji Eun so incredibly clueless. I get that she is supposed to be almost a stereotypical ‘artiste’ in that they are usually so focused on their art to notice anything else. She is a writer. And yes, she is adorakably cute in every imaginable way. But what Dong Wook and Hee Jin do is downright criminal, felonious even! How they managed to stay out of jail is beyond me. And everyone, including Young Jae (when he learns of their misdeeds) seem to accept it as ok. Friends do not do that to friends!! Of course, the foundation for how and why Young Jae and Ji Eun have to meet needed to be set and I suppose placing Ji Eun in a desperate situation and Young Jae her only option out of it (it was fortuitous that he happen to be the buyer of her house, right?) was a good enough way to get to that point. I think. In any event, it set the stage. Then the writers throw in a contractual 6-month marriage out of the blue between Young Jae and Ji Eun when it becomes clear to Young Jae that the woman he has his heart set on (Hye Won) is in love with someone else. Ok, I will go with this so long as Rain stays on my screen for the entire set of 16 1-hour episodes!!
Ji Eun and Young Jae’s first meeting is on a plane. She is all cute and he is all aggro. This is the Young Jae that gets under your skin and not in a good way. He is course, arrogant, intolerant, boisterous and mean.
He is basically a self-indulgent, brash, arrogant actor who is used to getting his own way, appears to have a general disdain for all who won’t play by his rules, and is really rather unlikeable. Even though I do not know Rain personally, I would gather (and would hope) that he is Young Jae’s polar opposite. And yet there are facets to Young Jae that are likely very much akin to the real Rain when Young Jae begins to soften – and soften due to Ji Eun’s unintentional charm coupled with Hye Won’s rejection. Something tells me Rain may have experienced similar situations in his own life.
In any event, Young Jae’s introspective vulnerable moments in Full House are where I feel Rain shines. It always knocks me for a loop when he goes to that place of quiet, introspection, and even sadness. I cannot help but plead with the powers that be to let him win a role that is demanding and layered so that he can completely blossom and shine. He has the depth and the intelligence to do it. Add his looks, physicality and charisma to that mix, and I think what we have here is a movie star any director, American or otherwise, would be clamoring to work with. He shows aspects of this in every single character he has played to date with the stand outs being (in my opinion) his Park Il Sun in I’m A Cyborg But That’s Okay and Kang Boku in a Love to Kill.
For example, when we eavesdrop on his rehearsal of how he intends to propose to Hye Won, we see a quiet, self-doubting side of Young Jae. I knew then he had a soft core and that perhaps his arrogance and flat out cruelty (at times) were just manifestations of this self-doubt. We continue to see this throughout the drama. When Young Jae lets his guard down this is when I love him the most.
Personally I did not understand his wanting to be with Hye Won when he knew that she was in love with Min Hyuk. Perhaps it was because he knew Min Hyuk looked upon Hye Won only as a sister and was a player. Maybe Young Jae felt he could win her heart by virtue of that knowledge alone. Coupled with that he and Hye Won had been friends since childhood. I believed he truly loved her so imagine my own personal heartbreak for Young Jae when Hye Won runs out of their dinner date (where he was set to propose) to meet Min Hyuk.
First, there is disappointment. Can almost see the tears welling up in his eyes as he watches Hye Won talk on the phone with Min Hyuk.
And then, there is disbelief when she walks out to go meet a man who doesn’t even love her.
The rough exterior that surrounds Young Jae is just a facade he has placed around himself. I get it. I understand wanting to protect one’s heart from repeatedly breaking. His core is soft, however, his heartbreak palatable. These are the moments in the drama where I absolutely and unequivocally LOVE Rain!
Admittedly, by mid-point in the drama I was restless waiting for Young Jae and Ji Eun to just throw their hands up in the air and say, ‘YES, yes already….I love you!!” But the writers saw fit to prolong that realization and make us watch Young Jae continue to be in denial. Pleasure delayers!! For example, when he mistakenly calls Hye Won “Ji Eun” (much to her horror and disbelief), and rambles on about how he is worried about Ji Eun (saying in so many words that he was in love with her), I had hoped he would finally come completely clean and just be in love already – and admit it!! We know it and even poor Hye Won KNOWS this to be true as painful as it is for her to accept.
[Must interject fangirl swoon for this gorgeous shot of Rain above… Ssssswooon!]
Of course, when he fully realizes the extent of Ji Eun’s love for him, Young Jae rebukes her love by literally telling her that he must leave her.
Say what???!! Wasn’t it just in the previous episode you were telling her that she makes you feel good? That when you are with her you have fun? That she makes you forget Hye Won???? Aiesssh! He tells Jin Eun he must leave her for good with tears welling up in his eyes. Honestly, I just did not get it. Was it because their marriage was a business arrangement bound by a contract? And, if they actually did fall in love, would it then render them both in breach of said contract???? (Can you tell I work in a law firm?!!) But who cares??! Love trumps all!! 🙂
Ok, so the general romantic comedy formula has the OTP struggling to be together. I get that. But Full House really drew it out and I tell ya, I was suffering right along with Ji Eun – especially after she herself realizes she is in love with Young Jae. Then, when she admits it to him, he thinks it’s a joke and continues to see Hye Won much to the suffering of Ji Eun who is now in love but forced to continue the facade of a contractual marriage. And let’s pause for a second here and examine that. She falls in love with a guy who belittles her and repeatedly yells at her to clean the house and cook. My goodness…really? This was yet another aspect of the writing and/or character development of Ji Eun that I had a difficult time embracing. I suppose I could cut her a little slack given the desperate situation she was in – no money, no home.
All of that aside, I still enjoyed this drama. Rain and Song Hye Kyo had wonderful chemistry and that chemistry kept me interested even when I wanted to smack the both of them upside their collective gorgeous heads!! When Ji Eun wasn’t full on offended by Young Jae’s bullying ways and reminded that she was in fact in love with him, she looked upon him with such softness and admiration.
And, when he forgot that theirs was a business arrangement and wasn’t quick to make fun of her for whatever reason, he was equally as captivated, soft and loving.
He even does something I would gather Young Jae would never do: resorts to goofy antics to cheer up a sad Ji Eun. Who can resist his charms while singing Three Bears complete with an American version? He had me with the first syllable out his gorgeous mouth….LOL!!!
I knew they would end up together. It just seemed a lifetime for them to actually get there! But when they got there oh my how cute and adorable they were! I think overall Ji Eun was perfect for Young Jae. She had a light, free-spirited quality about her that allowed Young Jae to let go of his otherwise stern and serious actor persona and just have fun. I love the scenes in the ice skating rink where they are simply enjoying the company of each other forgetting whatever it is that continues to plague their relationship.
I can look beyond the flaws of this drama because I really adore Rain, in case you haven’t already noticed. I think he is a good actor and handled his Young Jae quite well, especially the quiet, introspective and pensive moments. Also, the content and in love Young Jae is pretty adorable (Rain’s smile has a lot to do with that, probably!!). Song Hye Kyo was a perfect co-star matching him pretty much wit for wit with excellent comedic timing herself. And, they are simply so gorgeous and adorable together.
Will I revisit Full House in the future? I already have and continue to do so. As smoking and steamy hot Rain is at present…
[Photo credit as marked.]
I still love his cute, young and adorable 22-year old self: