Song Joong Ki, will you be my Nice Guy?

13 03 2014

QUICKNOTE: Will reply to everybody’s awesome comments over the next couple of days! And hello to the new followers : ) : ) Thank you for the love despite me being blatantly lazy at returning the love. Bless you and your dorama-lovin’ souls! X

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[ !!!!!!SPOILERT!!!!!! All out. Though I’m not going to talk about the series scene by scene, just a few prominent moments here and there. This includes the ending. But seriously, you’ve had close to two years to watch the series. Who am I to talk? LOL. ]

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Aaaaaahhh, yes, please take the title of this post very, very seriously. I will even spend five (or was it six?) years locked up behind bars for you, Song Joong Ki shi. What? You want me to fight down… Yoo Ah In first..? Yooh Ah InANIooooooooooooo~~~~~~~ LOL.

Ahem. So… okay. I realise my last blog entry was one hundred million years ago. But still, it ain’t nowhere near as long as the last time Kimura Takuya made a decent series *coughs* *coughs again* *chokes* …um, gomen nesunsengnim Kang Maru, could you resuscitate me, please? :D :D :D

I know I tend to watch dramas these days long after they actually air and having any meaning to society, but… isn’t it nice to know that I can still enjoy a series that isn’t necessarily current? That’s when you can be confident you haven’t just been swept up in the hype, right? That it IS actually a good series ? Yeah I saw you nod your head.

So what made Nice Guy bring me out of blogging hibernation/abandonment/semi-retirement/all-of-the-above to conjure up the effort and piece together a somewhat articulate body of writing? It can’t be as simple as a super cute actor boy, can it? Would you judge me if I said yes? Seriously, can you say no to this face?? —>>>

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Well, firstly, again, darn you Lee Kyung Hee for your tantalising writing. You are responsible for three of my top (sometimes changing) ten favourite series of all time (read, Misa, Sang Doo!, and Thank You <<<— like, a million, thousand trillion glowing kokoros  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  Btw, Song Joong Ki shi, you were in Will It Snow For Christmas ? For goodness sakes, now I have to consider watching it). Therefore, anytime I hear your name I’m gunna be on da lookout. You have a craft for beautifully written characters and dialogue, and your themes always just sing to my heart. Really, it’s all I ask for in a drama. That, and good acting. And this, we received a thousand trillion times over in Nice Guy.

I do also ask for a good man (or should we say, a nice guy~~*Pun count: 2046* <<- Wait, is that some sort of pun itself? -_-lll). Truly, a good man will move me. I know I’m not the only one. Through all of my hard-toiling years of drama-watching, I’ve come to this conclusion which I’m sure I’ve mentioned or alluded to before, but from hereon, I will strictly adhere to and NEVER, EVER waste a single minute of my drama-watching life again – the leading guy needs to be worth my time. Heck, let’s make it crystal clear, right here – he MUST be someone I would marry. Not someone to fluff around with a couple of days a week, not a toyboy, not a Summer fling situation… he NEEDS to be husband AND father material. Why should I waste my time with anyone else? Call it high standards if you like, I know my self-worth. I guess as you grow older, you learn to accept less crap, whether it is in doramaland or in the real world.

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I’m not saying he needs to be perfect because I’m certainly not that myself – I mean, that shit doesn’t exist. In doramaland OR the real world. He can have some downright jackass traits. He can make you want to throw a glass of soju in his pretty, BB cream slathered face. He might also have a pretty messed up past, or life in general. But the key is, he needs to have a good heart. He needs to be someone you can rely on, someone you can lean on, someone who is considerate, someone who is supportive of himself and of others. He needs to be a kind person, bottom line.

Now, you may be wondering, how can someone who actively plots a revenge be kind? How can someone, who left his dying sister to be with his sobbing girlfriend, someone who is more or less selling his body and taking advantage of his good looks on naive girlies, someone who is making other people’s lives miserable be even remotely considered to be kind? Ah, please allow me to explain.

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So for those of you who don’t know, Nice Guy basically follows the story of our leading man, Kang Maru (played deliciously by Song Joong Ki – come back from the military already! ❤ ). Maru gives up a promising medical career and takes the blame for the murder of a man (who, come on, you have to agree was a teeny bit too greedy) to save his first love, his budding superstar journalist of a noona, Han Jae Hee (played by the perfectly cast Park Si Yeon, who mind you, has actually been close to perfection in everything I’ve seen her in. Admittedly, that’s not a lot of stuff, but still, the girl far from just a pretty face/perfect body).

Five or six years later (I would google and confirm but I can’t be bothered), he is out of prison, and as the almighty Drama Gods would have it, Maru and Jae Hee meet randomly on a plane. Minor change though – our beloved Jae Hee noona has married a man who is old enough to be her father, and why, yes he just happens to be unfathomably rich. She has a toddler son, Eun Suk, (who is as cute as a button!), and also a step-daughter who is close to herself in age, Seo Eun Gi (played wonderfully by Moon Chae Won – can you sense that I am digging the entire cast’s acting much? My last impression of Chae Won shi was from her Shining Inheritance days, and although her character was hugely unlikeable, she actually somehow left me liking – or at least not hating – Yoo Seung Mi in the end. Mark of a good actress? Sure, and now after Nice Guy, I definitely like her even more).

Oh, and by the way, this step-daughter is having a heart-malfunction mid-air as well just to make things interesting.

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Long story short, Maru saves Eun Gi‘s life and begins to take revenge on his noona by courting Eun Gi. And then, a whole lotta doing stuff behind people’s backs, dodgy threats and secrets being revealed, amnesia(!), love conundrums, more hidden agendas, and other majorly questionable life decisions go down. To be honest, I don’t 100% know what Maru was ideally wanting to achieve as an end result, but anyway, as we’ve seen before with other drama heroes, this really doesn’t work. Remember in A Love To Kill ? Even Bad Guy ? Don’t play with your heart, peeps! Heartbreak! Lots and lots of hormonal crying! Pimples, wrinkles and eye bags! Do you seriously want that? What, you do? Waeyoooooooo??????

What I loved about Maru, like down to the very last drop of blood in my veins and my very last breath, was the fact he ultimately cared deeply – and I mean DEEPLY, as in deeper than the amount of fish there are in the whole damn sea – for everyone he loved. For life, really. He was always very attentive, very empathetic, very “I would take the pain for you” kinda guy. He most most definitely, in my eyes, kind. At his very heart centre, he didn’t want any pain in this world. He could read people. He noticed the little things as much as the big things. If you think about it (not even), he really love everyone around him, and in many ways, appreciated the miracle of human existence, period. He saw possibility. That’s probably why he made such great (potential of a) doctor, and definitely the reason why his plot to revenge was never, ever in a million hundred years going to work.

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But yes, one or two major blunders here and there which essentially believing in the moment it was what was best to protect the person he loved, caused his life to take a turn for the worse. Well, worse temporarily. I don’t believe in “wrong” decisions in life per se… no wait, let me elaborate on that… I mean, I think once you make a decision, you live with it (well, duh I hear you say. For golly’s sake, keep reading). People, society, loved ones – or even yourself – will judge you. But it’s imperative to remember that every decision you make presents you with a different life experience, and if you were to change that, you definitely will not be who you are today. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now. And I think, ultimately the current you is ALWAYS better than the you x amount of time ago in some way, shape, or form. Nobody has gone through what you have been through, nobody in this Universe has the same collective experiences as you do, and it is because of this that makes us all unique and beautiful. What I feel Nice Guy shows is that you can make what are perceived as “bad” decisions but there are “good” and “bad” consequences that follow, and it is in your own hands to take the “better” road somewhere along the line, learn the “lesson”, and come out a “better” version of yourself. I know I am using a lot of quotation marks to frame so many of these words, but seriously, who are we to judge what is right and wrong for other people?

So in a nutshell, I want to marry Song Joong Ki, lol. All that talk was just a preface for me to say that (I mean it when I said to take my post title seriously!). No, really, watching Maru go from his first love, who he pretty much sacrificed EVERYTHING he had for, to his last love, who I feel like in many ways awakened him to the fact that love is a two-sided thing, was a really satisfying (albeit predictable) thing. I still feel that he was probably more of the giver out of himself and Eun Gi, but Eun Gi certainly wasn’t so much of an emotional leecher as what Jae Hee was. Eun Gi‘ gratitude and appreciation for having met a Kang Maru was evident, and at many stages, she showed she was willing to throw away all her money and power and run away to a land, far, far away (moreso in the first half of the series at least). As long as they had each other, that was all she cared for. And Maru felt that. 100%. You can not NOT be touched by someone that innocent in their love.

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On the contrary, Jae Hee, until the final few moments of the story, always, always put herself first. Think about it. As long as she could continue that shiny, luxurious life, it didn’t really matter who or what was sacrificed. I guess having come from such a broken background (an abusive father whose debts led to the mother prostituting herself), you can understand her crave for financial security and power. Not warranting her actions by any means, it’s just psychologically, I feel like that’s where she stood. To be fair as well, I feel like she never really wanted to initiate any of these ill-events anyways – like, it’s not like she asked for that man to sexually assault her in the hotel room, nor did I believe her intent of giving Maru the compensation money was to put him through the hell they subsequently went through – it’s  just that she found herself in these scenarios, and unfortunately made decisions that brought upon huge, traumatic challenges. Did she deal with them the way Judge Judy would approve? I would say no, but when you make one bad decision, often you have to continue along that road to cover the original mistake up. The question is, at what point do you stop?

As melodramatic as it all sounds, Nice Guy wasn’t nearly as tear-inducing for me as my aforementioned three favourite Lee Kyung Hee series. I thought at first maybe I’m just becoming more immune, as in I’ve just watched too many dramas and it’s difficult to make me cry at something that I’ve more or less seen before. Or maybe I’m just emotionally colder now that I’m older, lol. But then I was flipping through some old scenes from Sang Doo! and Misa, you know, just to test the tear ducts, and bam, instant tissues required! Was it merely the nostalgia factor? Mebbe. But I’m thinking, I actually didn’t connect with the relationships in Nice Guy as much as I did in the others towards the end of the series. I would’ve liked a whole lot more for the love between Maru and  Eun Gi to have had more of a focus in the final stretch. I wanted to see more of what made them become individually better and happier after having met the other. I wanted more sweet moments (that freaking epilogue, damn it! All those wonderful, icecream-like colours in some Korean seaside town as the backdrop set the mood perfectly! But it was over all too soon. Btw, Seo Eun Gi shi, why on Earth are you still using the same camera?). I wanted to look at them as a couple and be inspired to be them, even after all the crap they’ve gone through. And you know what, now that we’re talking about it, deep down, I wanted Eun Gi to have sacrificed a bit more somewhere somehow for Maru. Honestly, I was hardcore questioning why she chose to freaking take forever to hop in the cab and go home while her dying lover was secretly trying to not pass on after taking the knife from Attorney Ahn (played by Kim Tae Hoon) INSTEAD(!!!!!!!) of spending the night in hospital with him before the big operation for his subdural hematoma. Don’t give me the visiting hours excuse, no, that doesn’t work. And come on, I love you girl, but how did you not notice the guy was stabbed in the middle of the crossing? Surely you can’t be that oblivious.

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So for me, that was one flaw in the otherwise, supremely well-written script. Perhaps also how magically Maru was picked up by the Drama Fangirl Fairies when he collapsed in the pitch black park where there was not a single soul in sight, obviously making it to the surgeon’s table in time for both the wound from the stab and his hematoma situation to be rectified and not bleed to death before then. Fine, it’s a drama, I can be flexible with miraculous scenarios. I certainly accept and believe in them in real life. In fact, I am a firm believer that good things happen to good people, and Maru was undoubtedly a good human being through and through. Else I wouldn’t want to marry him so badly. Nice Guy was truly fulfilling in so many ways, from a stellar all-round acting performance, to a gloriously directed visual feast (yes, it helps that the cast is that good-looking), to a script that didn’t leave too many crazy loopholes left unanswered, but…… I just really, really wish the relationship between Maru and Eun Gi was taken to that next level. That crazy, I-honestly-can’t-live-without-you kind of level (but not of the suffocating variety). And for that epilogue to have been just that little bit more rounded out, that little bit more punchy to match all that predecessing build up (of course it can still be as airy and as happy as it was).

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Still, I’m glad everyone got the healing they needed, both physically and emotionally. In the end, Nice Guy wasn’t a series about revenge at all. It wasn’t designed to wreak your sympathy and make you sob like a monkey (sob like a monkey? Is that even a saying?) which I am glad about. For me, it was a depiction of individuals growing through life, dealing with suffering, and finding the courage to break out of what is often a never-ending circle of drama – individually and together – for the better. At the end of the day, life is too short to live in the past, to mind other people’s business when you’re not asked to, or to try and find blame on someone else. Your world is my world, but you are not accountable to me for the things you do.

One last thing – I also would’ve preferred more scenes between our super pretty-faced hero Kang Maru and his long-time buddy-buddy Park Jae Gil (played awesomely by Lee Kwang Soo). One of my favourite scenes is when Jae Gil goes to his father’s grave and begs for protection over Maru. And also, towards the end of episode 18, where Jae Gil is pleading for Ma Ru to go into surgery, and vows that if Maru were to became paralysed, he would look after him for the rest of his life. Gaaaaaaaaaahhhh. The was actually the only time I properly cried. I mean, I was misty-eyed every now and then, but again, as depressing as the series was, I never really sobbed to the point of ruining my face. This scene was the exception. And it really didn’t take the guys to screw up their faces in an exorbitant amount of pain and leak out an ocean of man-tears, nor did it require super-duper dramatic music (which now that we mention it, I also wish had been toned down a bit to allow the characters and scenes be ). All it took was one candidly spoken line. Simple as that, really.

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I guess if anything else is for sure, bromance seems to be the way to get me these days. Which is why I fervently wished Nice Guy  would’ve dedicated just a smidgen more time to the friendship between Maru and Jae Gil. I didn’t necessarily need an entire episode or even a quarter of an episode, but even just a flashback scene here and there to remind us just how long they’ve stuck together – I would’ve shipped that.

So don’t worry Yoo Ah In, your title as “The guy I would most gladly lose Song Joon Ki to” still stands, lol.

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P.S. MAJOR LOVE and shout out to Attorney Park Jun Ha (played oh-so-handsomely by Lee Sang Yeob) – okay, so maybe you were slightly guilty for having a hand in Eun Gi‘s mother’s death, but, well, your constant, unintrusive and unconditional support of the director herself more than made you a man worthy of my admiration and respect. Wish you had more screentime ❤

P.P.S. Shout out also to Lee Yoo Bi for playing Kang Choco with such a refreshingly girly yet not annoying innocence! I really, really liked you! You definitely brought a warming sense of hope to the otherwise pretty heavy story. You and your Jae Gil oppa, of course. I wish you both many more loving, superstar children in your future XD

P.P.P.S. Semi-lazy ending of a post with the postscripts to talk about people I loved in the series instead of formally amalgamating my thoughts on them into the main body of the post but, hey, given my recent track record, this is more than what I can handle at the moment, lol. I really hope I can get back into this blogging business but honestly, not even going to slightly make reference to making a promise. Been on a hippy, spiritual journey. Until whenever my next post is, I sincerely hope YOU stay well! We are one Universe! ♡ X ♡

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Pictures used in this post credit to:
joencorner.wordpress.com, kdramachoa.com, kdramatherapy.com, koreandrama.com,
runningmanbiased.blogspot.com.au, tenasia.com, dramabeans.com