I owe a lot to Rain. In fact, I owe him everything for where (and most likely who) I am today in my short, but turbulent career as a fangirl. He put South Korea on the map for me in more ways than one. He led me to MBLAQ’s G.O (and I am forever grateful – *bows* profusely to Rain). Contrary to probably the opinion (and belief) of many, I still have a very special place in my heart for Ji Hoon. And, I certainly have a deep and strong admiration for him as an actor, singer, and performer. Most importantly, however, I have a sound respect for him as a man. So when I heard he was returning to the small screen in way of a 16-episode drama entitled My Lovable Girl, my interest was piqued.
Even though I have not been in the Rain loop much as of late, I was still very aware of the fact that he had a drama coming to our television screens on September 17. I knew nothing at all about his costar, K-pop group f(x) member, Krystal, and upon first read of the synopsis, was a little hesitant. It seemed kind of commonplace and cliché. Boy has girlfriend. Girlfriend has younger sister. Girlfriend dies. Boy meets younger sister. Boy and younger sister fall in love. Sure, this could happen and probably does all the time – and definitely imaginable in the K-drama world.
I started to think (and this is the noona brain at work), this could be even more interesting if say, the sister was, in fact, an older spinster sister embittered by loss or absence of love. A sister who loathed her younger sister’s boyfriend but in their shared grief and path to healing, fall in love. NOONA ROMANCE!!!! I would SO watch Rain in a noona romance. But alas, that script did not make it to the producer’s desk in time. <hehehe>
I decided to give it a watch in any event and I have to say, after only two episodes, I am pleasantly surprised.
It has all the right elements to get the proverbial ball rolling. A crisis that sets the stage for inner conflict for our main character, Hyun Wook. A tragic car accident that takes the life of his girl.
A girl (Se Na) struggling to find her way in the world after losing a mentor and a friend: her sister.
And, a cast of characters (good and bad) who will most definitely get in the way of both Hyun Wook and Se Na as they journey towards healing, redemption, and each other. Oh….and then there is Infinite. Actually, two members of the real Infinite make up part of the 4 member fictional K-pop group, Infinite Power (Hoya, who plays the leader of the group, Kang Rae Hoon, and L, who plays the most popular member, Shi Woo).
L thus far has been the only one with substantive lines and plays the arrogant time bomb of the group at odds with his bandmates and, well…pretty much everyone.
I know absolutely nothing about Infinite. Nada. But, I can imagine the mere presence of two of their members here in the drama is drawing Infinite’s fandom (and perhaps others) to tune in. Heck, if it were MBLAQ, I’d be all over this one even without the history I have with Rain!!
The first two episodes were jam-packed and set up the drama nicely. I am going to be honest, I did not know what to expect. Because I have seen Rain’s work as an actor, I had some expectations, I admit. I have to say, in only two episodes, he is exceeding them already.
Apart from the fact that he is ridiculously handsome (and seems to be aging in reverse), he has changed I believe in the way he approaches a character. With only four previous dramas under his belt and a handful of movies, I believe (as I always have) that Rain is a quick study. But, there is something to be said about the post-military actor.
My good friend, Kfangurl, over at The Fangirl Verdict likes to call it gravitas. This completely sums it all up for me as I am watching Rain in My Lovable Girl. I have always felt Rain was a gifted and nuanced actor. I think he nailed it in his role as Park Il Sun in I’m A Cyborg and That’s Ok. But in watching him here in My Lovable Girl, something has definitely changed. He seems to have settled into himself as both a man and as an actor.
His Hyun Wook is restrained, thoughtful, cautious and smart. It is not to say that Rain is not bringing that playful aegyo that was so much a part of his previous characters Sang Doo in Sang Doo Let’s Go To School, Young Jae in Full House and Ji Woo in The Fugitive: Plan B. It’s present and so far, in my estimation, properly placed.
After connecting the dots and discovering that Se Na is the younger sister of his deceased girlfriend, he begins to infiltrate himself in Se Na’s life. He does it playfully and initially it is perhaps out of a sense of guilt and filial obligation. We already know that he will fall in love, but he doesn’t know it yet.
Nothing is over the top. Nothing is boisterous or loud. Again, gravitas. In just two episodes, Rain has won me over completely. I want to know how Hyun Wook’s life will play out.
Likewise, I am rooting (so far anyway) for Se Na. I thought the age difference might be a problem, but Krystal’s Se Na is not a pushover. Life has dealt her some rough cards but I already see her as a fighter and survivor. She is not completely adverse to having an older, handsome, powerful and indeed charming man showing up in her corner. I love that her cell phone contact lists Hyun Wook as ‘Handsome Dog Owner.’ She does not know why he has such a blatant interest in her and her life (we do) but she can’t seem to shrug him off at the moment and probably has a bit of a crush in any event.^^
For example, after delivering him a lunch box to a park where he was leisurely relaxing with his dog, Dal Bong, by his side, it begins to rain. Before she can leave and go about her work delivering food, he tends to her sweetly by covering her head before she makes her way into the rain.
The gesture is so simple.
But we can see its impact on her. A gentleness she was not expecting. A kindness she has forgotten existed.
Rain was perfect in this scene. Quiet and restrained, he tended to Se Na lovingly and I imagine fangirls everywhere were swooning out of control!! Then he has to add more squee to the situation by lovingly attending to Dal Bong similarly.
And all under the watchful of Se Na.
Yeah…she is smitten. Even we are smitten! But the game will change drastically once she discovers who he is.
I like that the drama revolves around entertainment and music. This is always going to be a win for me. Also, I think it is fitting that Rain’s Hyun Wook is a successful songwriter/producer who heads up an entertainment agency (here the fictional ANA Entertainment). Yes, there have been a group of nasties already set in place and it will be interesting to see how their story arcs play out. I have my eye on L, in particular. His Shi Woo is so nasty at the moment. It will be interesting to see if Shi Woo evolves since he is listed as one of the main characters of the drama.
I will definitely keep my eye on this one to the end.^^
Here is a short teaser:
[Video cr. DramaFever]
September 20, 2014 at 16:33
Michele, I couldn’t agree more with you about the drama. Two eps and I’m hooked….of course, it could have something to do with the fact that Rain is the lead. Smitten, you say??? Heck yeah!!!!!
September 24, 2014 at 14:49
Rain is an easy sell…indeed!! But, I admit, I was skeptical. When I saw the teaser photos with Krystal I was like…uh..no. I was too harsh, I admit. I think she is doing pretty good and I like Se Na. She is a survivor and there is a quiet strength about her. I loved when she burst into ANA to give them a piece of her mind about stealing her song but she still lacks belief in herself. Something I think Hyun Wook is going to remedy after she totally hates on him for being her late sister’s boyfriend first!!
I look forward to seeing how things go. This was just a quick thoughts post because I was so pleasantly surprised after 2 episodes.^^ Thank you for stopping by and for the comment!!
September 20, 2014 at 16:40
Well said! I can’t believe how he has matured in his acting. He is so calm, confident and full of charisma. I agree with the change post military! A totally different actor, singer. He is looking younger and younger and that skin!!!
September 24, 2014 at 14:44
Hi Diana…YES! He is so relaxed in who he is and I like the way he is approaching his character. I look forward to seeing how things go for Hyun Wook. He has some things to work through and things are probably going to go a bit bombastic once Se Na finds out who he really is. Thanks for stopping! I hope you enjoy the rest of the show!^^
September 21, 2014 at 02:42
Reblogged this on Cloud USA and commented:
Michele’s take on the first 2 episodes of My Lovable Girl. Right on, right on! — Stephe ^@@^
September 21, 2014 at 04:58
Aw, thanks for the sweet shout-out, my dear ❤ It’s an honor to be quoted, that’s for sure! Also, those thoughtful, restrained shots of Rain look fantastic, seriously. That’s one of my favorite versions of Rain, and I can see the gravitas in him, just from the screenshots alone. Glad that you’re liking the show so far! I haven’t dipped my toes in yet, but I’ll definitely be checking this out! 😀
September 24, 2014 at 14:41
Oh….I am always looking for the gravitas now…wonder how much of it we will see when YSH returns!! He was already pretty replete with it so I can only imagine! Yes, I was on the fence at first with this one and I am happy I gave a watch as it really engaged me these first two episodes. Rain is charming and like I said, he is playing his character with quiet reserve. I like the way his Hyun Wook observes things…quietly and introspectively. And he is able to be playful but not over the top loud and boisterously like Young Jae was in FH. Of course, I am only two eps in…anything can happen over these next 14 episodes!!
And of course I would love to hear your take on it after you have watched it. You watch with a far more discerning eye than I!
But I went into this thinking…omg, Krystal is 12 years younger than him and no way is there going to be any chemistry. But, I think she is holding her own so far…but so help me GOD, if they have to share a kiss and she goes all fish lip/board on him, game over. Hehehehehe….I mean it! We all know Rain can kiss so he needs a gung ho partner to let him do what he do!!!!
September 21, 2014 at 06:54
Okay, you have convinced me earlier Michele but this post just solidify that I must watch it now. Rain oppa does looking strikingly handsome in this teaser. The story line sounded typical but I’m cool with that. It doesn’t appear that there will be crazy plots but who knows…. As I was reading it, I did wish it would have been the MBLAQ boys and not the Infinite. Sigh. I’ll keep hoping then… Good review, gf.
September 24, 2014 at 14:35
Heeheheheeee….although it is no secret that my heart belongs to the younger Jung, Rain is still a quite a force in the K-world and I acknowledge that full on. Like I said in the review, he really has settled into himself as both an actor and a man. It’s that post-MS thing…I swear. It will be interesting to watch YSH when he gets out in a few short months!!! I KNOW you cannot wait for that!!
I say give this one a look. You will no doubt find Rain charming. In these early episodes we don’t know much about Hyun Wook other than he has endured some tragedy. What I did not touch upon in this little blurb was that he does have some daddy issues…big ones it seems. Plus he has some conniving women after him…but, hey..he’s Rain – I think that would come with the territory…LOL!!!
Thanks for stopping by…..!^^
September 21, 2014 at 08:11
You hit all the points why this is worth the watch and why we love Rain. Thank you for sharing
September 24, 2014 at 14:31
Yes, I think Rain has settled into himself nicely following his MS. It is nice to see him in a drama again! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!^^
December 10, 2014 at 18:03
Hello! I am a new fan of Rain, and it all happened after I saw him on this drama. I had seen and heard about him but I never really got hooked. But then I watched My Lovable Girl, and I could say, I was totally smitten, too. You hit it right on the nail about his gravitas, about the change in his acting, etc. Now I’m looking forward to seeing more of this version of Rain.
December 23, 2014 at 15:42
Post-military Rain came back more settled I believe in who he is overall. He definitely enjoys acting and puts a lot of time and effort in making his characters come to life. I wish he would have chosen something a little meatier for his return to drama because as he has the acting capability to handle so much more than what MLG gave him.
He also needs a stronger leading lady. Nothing against Krystal and in the early episodes I was like…yeah, ok she seems to be able to hold her own. I liked her gumption – especially when she stood up to Shi Woo early on. But then she just fizzled for me. There was no real growth to her character (and that may have been a writing thing). And speaking of Shi Woo…I really had hope for his character as they really began to flesh him out nicely and give him more layers. But he too, fizzled.
Sometimes I think it is a matter of the number of episodes and not being able to flesh out characters enough. Trying to wrap everything (and everyone’s story) up in an hour just isn’t sufficient, imo. Maybe if they gave this show 4 more episodes, I would have been content.
Overall though, Rain handled it well. He is a solid actor. Now someone should consider a Ninja Assassin 2…I really want know what Raizo is up to these days!!!^^
December 23, 2014 at 18:39
I have to agree with you 100% about the drama and the characters. If Rain wasn’t in it, I would have discontinued watching after ep 4. You are so right that Rain has the ability to handle a more in depth, complex character. He handled the character portrayal in this drama well but there wasn’t much to
sink your teeth into. Who wouldn’t want to see a Ninja Assassin 2 or at least a movie where Rain is the lead in an action type film?
December 24, 2014 at 11:20
So true and I hope that it is not becoming all about the dollars for him because he is a good actor that can choose good roles. Put him in an indie film like Cyborg and watch him shine. I think he needs to work with directors who allow him the opportunity to really explore and stretch, something that which many probably think he is not capable of but actually is. Really..more people need to watch him in Cyborg to know that he really is pretty fearless when it comes to acting and will totally step outside of his comfort zone to bring a character to life in the fullest sense. Hyun Wook could have been so much more complex and layered than he ended up being.
Oh…and I have one huge nit with MLG, which had me forever screaming at my screen. After it was established that he was in love with Se Na, whenever he moved in to hug her I was hoping to see him hug, touch or caress her as if he was really in love with her (not porn hug…mind you, but you know what I mean – what the hell is a porn hug anyway?? LOL!!). The hugs were repeatedly ‘brotherly’ and that just aggro-ed me!! Rain can act…but I did not believe Hyun Wook was in love with Se Na….at all.
NA – Part 2….who do we lobby for this? For that I say bring Lee Joon back as a rival…omg, that would be hotter than hot!^^
December 24, 2014 at 12:17
Michele, I also hope it’s not all about the dollars now for Rain even though his latest projects would indicate so. Lately, it seems he’s lost that
‘Rain’ edge in his music and acting…..just saying. (I still love him to death) but I wish he would go back to the early R&B Rain that we came to know and adore.
Heck, if I knew where/who to lobby, I’d be right on it as I’m sure would be many many other clouds.