Drama Battle: Fashion King vs. Love Rain
I am going to be totally honest- I don’t like Korean dramas. Generally, I find the plots to suck seeing as Korean people are obsessed with romance (a genre I myself am not too interested in). This isn’t to say I don’t watch Korean dramas though; as boring as they are, they’re great for passing time. Since every K-drama plot is completely predictable, I’ve reduced myself towards watching dramas only to see acting performances by some of my favorite actors and idols (yes, I know idols generally have awful acting, but I always force myself to watch anyhow just to see how awful they are).
Initially, this was my reason for starting both Fashion King and Love Rain. In the past, I’ve enjoyed performances by both Yoo Ah In and Jang Geun Suk, and the additions of Yuri and Yoona from SNSD were even greater bonuses. Yoona is no stranger to dramas; she’s been in a couple before, and though I’ve never watched them, I had heard sufficient opinions about how awful her acting was. Love Rain, I figured, was a good chance for Yoona to redeem herself, especially considering this was less of a drama for tween girls and more of one for the older audience. On the other hand, Fashion King happens to be Yuri’s first drama, and I was very curious to see how she would do. The reason I compare these two dramas now is obvious: both star SNSD members, up and coming actors, and both happened to come out at about the same time. The battle for ratings was on between these two, and comparisons were inevitable.
Initial Impression/Concept: Fashion King
I’ve already stated how I don’t watch Korean dramas for the plot: most of the time, dramas will center around romance (particularly a love triangle/square) with little to no anything else. The first few episodes of Fashion King were promising though. The inevitable love lines were there, but the drama seemed to actually be more than just love. The drama introduces Kang Young Gul (Yoo Ah In) and Lee Ga Young (Shin Se Kyung), two designers who have had crap lives and dream of something bigger. Together, the two decide that they deserve better, and plan to show the world how successful the underdog can be.
This drama had so much potential in terms of plot: the initial story was great. It was only until later that it got stupid.
Characters, love lines and plot: Love Rain
If Fashion King had stuck to the plot it was supposed to have, I’m sure it would have taken this spot too. A huge problem with Korean dramas is that they’re too long with the amount of things that happen (a.k.a: very little). If Fashion King was reduced to say, ten or so episodes that only included the action and competition, it might have been one of my favorite dramas. But unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Fashion King dragged on way too long, and it almost seemed as if the drama writers were coming up with things on the spot to fill up all the time. Half the things that happened in the drama were ridiculous and so painfully poorly planned. I give this spot to Love Rain because, although also suffering the “too long” problem, Love Rain seemed like a mini drama within a larger one. The drama features two romances taking place at two different times, and this sort of broke up the drama so that it didn’t feel as painfully long as compared to Fashion King.
The only redeeming characters in Fashion King were virtually ruined by the awful writers. The two protagonists that you were supposed to sympathize with, Ga Young and Young Gul, I most nearly hated by the end of the drama. Ga Young went from being strong and determined to weak and selfish. Young Gul was a really carefree and selfless guy, content only with making the rich suffer as much as he had in the past, but by the end of the drama, he almost seems obsessed with money, and fails to realize how his actions only drive Ga Young away from him. The two antagonists, typical chaebol kid Jung Jae Kyung (Lee Je Hoon), and Choi Anna (Yuri), Jae Kyung’s jealous bad-designing (ex) girlfriend, begin as selfish characters and end as so. If I had to choose my favorite character though, it would probably be Choi Anna, who remained pretty true to herself throughout the whole mess.
Love Rain’s characters were actually a bit more lovable. Taking the actors aside, all the characters were plenty cute and especially pitiful. The love lines were beautiful and romantic; the sheer angst between Jung Hana (Yoona) and Seo Joon’s (Jang Geun Suk) against-destiny-love was heart breaking; the two lovers just had the world against them, and only their love to give to each other. Love Rain seems to me like it had the better writing, but the story just wasn’t right for a drama. Maybe a movie or a novel, but not a 20-hour long repetitive cycle.
Fashion: Love Rain
Love Rain takes this spot easily. Which is actually really funny considering Fashion King is supposed to center around fashion. Most of the designs in Fashion King were relatively unimpressive, and sometimes pretty ugly. Love Rain had adorable fashion, whether it was the subplot in the 70s, or the present day love story. I particularly loved how Kim Si Hoo‘s characters dressed in both time periods- his adorable fashion sense in the present day consisting of pastel skinny jeans and colorful cardigans was especially precious.
Acting: Fashion King
Both Yoo Ah In and Jang Geun Suk are amazing actors. Their acting performances in both these dramas were great, as expected. I think they managed to do an amazing job portraying their respective characters, and the terrible writing is not to blame on them. However, I wish to focus this award more on the two girls of SNSD.
Yuri did an amazing job. Granted it wasn’t award worthy, or anything to really praise had she been a professional actor. But Yuri isn’t- she’s an idol. And for an idol’s first time, she did pretty darn good- heck, she did better than some idols do in their third or fourth dramas. Her more emotional performances were awkward, but I wasn’t expecting her to totally kill them either. In my opinion, she did good playing the mean but misunderstood Choi Anna; her character was plenty pitiful to me, and I think this means Yuri did a satisfactory job portraying Anna.
Yoona on the other hand was more of a disappointment. Her acting wasn’t completely awful; her portrayal of the soft spoken Kim Yoon Hee in the 70s was plenty awkward and forced-feeling most of the time, and Yoona seemed more comfortable when she was the happy-go-lucky Jung Hana. However, this isn’t what I wanted to see: the character Jung Hana, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who noticed this, wasn’t that different from Im Yoona herself. The more happy side of Hana was very naturally played by Yoona, but once again, this wasn’t too impressive considering Yoona’s personality is very much carefree and happy as well. Yoona’s awkward acting was extremely evident when she had to play the love-stricken, heart-broken Hana, tears and broken heart and all things angst. There was little emotion and sincerity in her tears, and in a drama that was specifically supposed to be a heart-wrenching love story, the wrong female lead was chosen.
Ending: Love Rain
Fashion King’s ending was a complete and utter disaster. And I am being very kind with my words as well. It was so bad, I don’t even want to mention it.
Love Rain was 100% predictable, but even that’s better than the worst drama ending of 2012, and possibly of all existence.
Overall: Love Rain
Fashion King had way more potential with its better plot and better acting. But it just went completely downhill after the first few episodes. Love Rain was nothing special to begin with, and it ended as nothing special. But both Love Rain and Fashion King prove that being a flop in ratings because of a relatively boring storyline is much better than being known as a complete failure of a drama. I would recommend watching Love Rain if you’re bored out of your mind and want to watch some pretty scenery, cute clothes, a gorgeous cast, and aren’t really in the mood to watch anything good, but do not waste your time and watch the trash that was Fashion King.
Or if you’d like, watch until about episode 18 but no more after that.