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]