I’ve been letting myself get sidetracked by other dramas (more on those in another post) rather than finish watching both Suspicious Partner and Fight My Way, but for different reasons.
I’d held off on Suspicious Partner because it felt that, while I enjoyed the more adult version of a relationship (for a change) that the main couple appeared to be heading towards, there were parts of the story that were feeling a little bogged down. I keep watching 2 episodes here, 2 episodes there of Fight My Way and holding off because it is so appealing in many ways that I don’t want to get to any potential (likely) ‘noble idiot’ phase. But I got over the hump on Suspicious Partner and I’m going to get over the potential hump on Fight My Way this week – after I allow myself the luxury of the final 2 episodes of the superb Secret Forest.
But back to Suspicious Partner… On the whole, I think that this was a generally enjoyable drama, and all the more so because it came from a rookie writer. The writer came in 2nd in the same contest where the writer of Radiant Office came in 1st. Let’s hope that this is an auspicious sign for better dramas to come! And I say this in spite of my feelings about the leads: Ji Chang-wook and Nam Ji-hyun. It’s kind of shallow of me, but there are things I’ve discovered that I don’t exactly care for in both actors. With him, it’s this look he gets when he’s supposed to be happy, or pretending to be happy, and it’s just kind of plasticky/unnatural feeling. He’s perfectly fine when he’s broody or mad or laughing and he’s definitely a good kisser and has a fine physique, but it’s just that look… With her, it’s the eyes. She’s okay as an actress, but they need to do her eye makeup differently to give them better shape and shading. But it was clear that these 2 enjoyed acting together and were perfectly fine with skinship, so I’ll put it down to me and my personal taste. [Update: I just looked her up and now I’m going to be more generous re: Nam Ji-hyun. I knew she broke into the biz as a child actress but hadn’t thought about her age. She’ll turn 22 in September, so for her to be so cool re: skinship and natural, I’ll give her some praise. She needs to lose some of the stuff that works for kid actors, but in retrospect she’s improving. I think it was her kid actory-ness naivete that made me struggle with her part in Shopping King Louis.]
The plot regarding the case that ruins her reputation and how that brings them together works well enough, mainly because of the interpretation of the young actor who plays a central role – Kim Hyung-kyu, who was pretty cute in the role of the boss’s son in Chief Kim. I think he’s got a nice future ahead, but will always be playing the 2nd fiddle in either the chaebol heir or villain role because he’s demonstrated that he’s very good at that, unless someone lets him be a romantic 2nd lead that grows into a first lead.
The other secondary cast members really contribute to this one too; I never felt that the time spent with them was a waste of time. It was particularly surprising that Lee Duk-hwa, the king of the waggling eyebrows and bouffant toupees and growling villain roles is, for the first time I can recall, amusing and appropriately funny. For those of us who loved Padam Padam, we can also appreciate how Choi Tae-joon continues to be an appealing young actor (he played the teen son of the lead).
The drama could definitely have used a few edits here and there, and maybe some fleshing out of some other moments, but once I made it back into the swing of things, I found that it was a more-than-respectable first outing for the writer, and a pretty decent military service send-off for Ji Chang-wook. A little more spoilery commentary after the jump re: the adult take on skinship…As for the adult relationship mentioned, for a change there is a recognition of the fact that 2 young people who are healthy and above legal age will be attracted to each other, want to touch each other, kiss each other, and yes, make love with each other. And after waking up in bed after a night of taking the steps to enjoy that passion neither couple puts on a show of maidenly blushes and squeals (“OMG, I’m nekkid! How did I get this way! Where are my clothes?! OMG, I’m so mortified!”) Nope, they smile at each other and enjoy the happy post-coital glow. And later Bong-hee casually mentions to another character (a female former classmate and the one with whom her ex-BF cheated on her) that she only slept with Wookie’s character once – there is the unspoken understanding that she used to sleep with her ex-BF, and that he had sex too with the classmate whilst cheating. Realistic! Now more, please! There was nothing raunchy about this, just NBD.