Well today marks the ending of one of the dramas I faithfully followed this year as Big makes aired its last episode. I’m a big fan of the very famous Hong sisters who are the writers of this show. I’ve seen only three of their shows: My Girl, My Girlfriend is a Guminho, and Best Love. Since I liked all three shows, I thought that I would fall easily in love with their new offering Big. Even Temi wrote about how wonderful the show was when it premiered. I felt the same fuzzies when we were introduced to our main characters and to some degree I still feel the same way about them now.
In the beginning, it was all good and totally stole my heart. There’s so much quirkiness going on despite the fact that little happened. I disregarded the plots that didn’t work because I was smitten. As the weeks marched on, the drama didn’t disappoint with its big revelations and twists that kept me hooked and patiently waiting for new episodes to fill the void in my heart and mind during the remaining 5 days of the week. And the drama upped the romance and I swooned at every single forward progression in Gil Da Ran and Kang Kyung Joon’s relationship. Then episodes between 10 and 14 had me bawling like a mad person–my tears ceaselessly fell for each heartbreak onscreen. Last week, it seemed like the drama was going to take me to Valhala.
And then the unthinkable happened. Episode 15 was marred with all sorts of dumb plots that did little to make any sense of what was going on in the drama. The very first 5 minutes was a mess of character development and angst building. The rest of the episode had me pulling my hair out of frustration for the ridiculousness of the plotting and the stilted acting. My heart was in pain–not from crying my eyes out but rather from the heartbreak I experience when I am seeing a genuine train wreck happening before my eyes. Shark, you’ve been officially jumped.
The last episode began much better than the previous episode but it reminded me too much of what could have happened had the writers brought up revelations faster and allowing us to spend some time with Da Ran and Kyung Joon before the inevitable memory loss takes place. The writers did an awesome job with reminding the audience of what they liked about the drama in the beginning: the green umbrella, 10:10, that watch, and even revived the spark that disappeared last episode with that whole jumping from the window scene. But as the hour marched along, I started to get worried about how this show will end. Every minute that passed made me nervous–”how are they going to resolve this conflict with ___ amount of time,” I asked myself. And the writers’ answer? THEY DON’T or at least not as neatly it should and could have been.
That’s when my heart (and my mind) broke in half. Given my passionate rant last week regarding Mari’s actions, it’s quite obvious that I genuinely was in love with this show but now, I feel cheated, stabbed, robbed, punched in the face, and stupid. That has to be the most unsatisfactory ending I’ve seen in a while. It was simply a big WTF moment for this week.
Basically, instead of giving us the romance between Da Ran and young Kyung Joon, we get what might as well be called an imaginary ending considering how we don’t even see young Kyung Joon. There was no conflict resolution simply because one year passed and we’re never told of what went down or how it happend. Nothing at all. What happened between Da Ran and Yoon Jae? What happend between Kyung Joon and his real parents? How is Da Ran’s relationship with her parents? What happened between Da Ran and Kyung Joon, we could only guess and I suppose that is what the writers wanted. But that’s a terrible ending. I want to swoon but instead I ended up throwing a fit. I devoted at least 16 hours of my life, two days a week, and not to mention the amount of time I was thinking about this drama when it didn’t air. That’s a lot of emotional investment that got sucked away in ten minutes tops.
What kills me more is just how much I adored the episodes leading up to this week. That’s 14 episodes I thoroughly enjoyed (with various amounts of enthusiasm, but all of them I liked or loved). So before I go into full review mode, I have to remind myself of the pleasant things about this drama that I liked–the ten best moments in this drama that made my heart race:
Top Ten Favorite Moments in Big
10 The Green Umbrella That Started It All
This was a wonderful introduction to the characters and a cute visual gag as well. From a purely visual standpoint, I love how the green umbrella blends in with the greenery in the back and how the rain seems to make the color pop even more. Not to mention the fact that we hear Kyung Joon say “Uh oh” for the first time. I fell in love the show with this scene alone.
9 Da Ran’s Unintentional Confession
Da Ran finally admits to herself and unintentionally to Kyung Joon that she feelings for him. I love the way she stumbles into it as if something in her mind just clicked at that moment. It’s such an honest moment because most of the things we love or like, we don’t really have it all figured out until something happens to change our minds. Plus, there were some smart editing here and choice physical gags from Lee Min Jung.
8 Kyung Joon’s First Kiss
Swoon! His first stolen kiss and his first real kiss! I love it. There’s so much sincerity pouring out from Kyung Joon that I was enthralled by how his face reacts to Da Ran’s words. He didn’t hold back and there was no shame in what he did and I love that about him–truthful and straight to the point.
7 The Ring is Finally Off
The moment when Kyung Joon hears about Da Ran’s intention to leave Yoon Jae after they switch bodies and the grin on his face was so perfectly conceived and perfectly acted that the rush that overcame me when this kiss finally happened was one of pure and ceaseless ecstasy. I especially love how the ring just fell from Da Ran’s finger, leaving her vulnerable to Kyung Joon’s lips.
Oh this was the most hilarious visual gag from this show. I love the three instances in the show where the taxi drives into the morning announcement at Da Ran’s school, the quick shifts in Da Ran’s face from confusion to panic to mortification, and the teacher’s glare. But above all, the sexual innuendoes from Kyung Joon are genius.
5 Kyung Joon Finally Finds Out
What a heartbreaking scene. I cried like a mad man on this one. I have to give credit to Gong Yoo for delivering the best acted scene of this entire show. This was the moment Kyung Joon hears about the truth behind his birth. I love how he changes from childish petulance to angry rebellion to crushing betrayal and all of these he portrayed with his eyes. Simply stunning and heartbreaking.
4 “Because I Love You”
Equally heartbreaking is this scene at the end of Episode 14 where Da Ran stops Kyung Joon from running away by finally saying “I love you.” Lee Min Jung gave me a hard time this whole show but here’s one moment where I felt for her character, for the angst, and for her tears. Hell I was crying too.
3 Panda Bears of Love
Episode 12 is arguably the best episode of the show and it all comes together wonderfully for the couple in this beautiful and hilarious scene between Da Ran and Kyung Joon where they argue about how a panda looks like. I love love love how much spark these two characters have and the funny gloating image of Kyung Joon as well as Da Ran’s attempt at cheating. Simply a joy.
2 Kyung Joon’s Request
This was probably the most heartbreaking scene for me to watch even though it’s far lighter than #5 or #4. What I found so touching here was Kyung Joon’s wish to be remembered. He summarized essentially how lonely he’ll be when he returns and the thought of someone remembering him is all he can think about. His voice is gentle but you can still hear the pangs of pain he feel with the slow way he asks a sleeping Da Ran. To cap it all off: Da Ran actually hears him and sheds a tear.
1 “I Think It’s Going To Be 10:10 For The Rest of My Life”
Still, this is my favorite moment–well moments to be exact. Every scene that had to do with 10:10 had me either laughing, swooning, or crying. It started with Kyung Joon’s cute curse that’ll make Da Ran think of him every time it’s 10:10. I love how Da Ran sees 10:10 and even stretches out her arms like it’s 10:10. That scene where she sees everyone with a clock above their heads and outstretched arms is an awesome visual scene. But I especially love the scene where she admits to Ae-kyung, who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, that she thinks it’ll be 10:10 all the time–finally realizing that regardless of her noble idiocy, she’ll always think of Kyung Joon.
Now That I’ve got all of that out of my system, let me clarify my position on Big. Clearly, I’m disappointed by how this drama turned out and I have to blame the writers for that. The logic escaped them towards the end as they try to resolve everything within the last 10 minutes. The drama definitely moved slow with episodes piling on the cute and adorable with progress between the main couple’s romance going at a snail’s pace. This became a major problem towards the end because as big secrets start popping out, they’re left unexplored thoroughly or just dangle over the main couple like a threat with little solutions. I especially hate the emptiness of Episode 15 because it was a wasted opportunity to wind down the drama. Instead of starting to resolve things, they added more unnecessary burden that adds nothing to the drama’s central conflict. it was a whole lot of meandering. What bothers me even more is just how many of our storylines didn’t even get resolved because the framework of the drama wasn’t sturdily built to last. Yes, the Hong sisters have built a pretty house with candy-colored paint and cute wallpaper to match the nice furniture. But in the end, if the structure is wobbly the house will eventually crash.
But even with its unstable foundation, I found that the actors made the best of what was given them. Gong Yoo gives such a deliriously good performance as Kyung Joon. He’s a manchild at the beginning and he’s hilarious. But I was caught off-guard by the virtuosity of his performance. Kyung Joon himself is giving a performance as Yoon Jae and Gong Yoo makes that impression so damn neatly. His eyes say a lot about his emotions and my God if the eyes were the windows to the soul then Gong Yoo poured his soul out into this role. This was a terrific performance from start to the regrettably dumb finish.
Lee Min Jung, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly work as well. It feels like she was sleeping half the time in this role. I mean even when she runs she’s stilted and stiff. Furthermore, there are so many moments where she left me frustrated by her actions, not because she’s doing those actions but rather because the logic and reasoning behind her behavior seem to elude her. I do think she’s really good when she’s funny but when she’s being dramatic, I feel more vacant.
Suzy unfortunately landed the most ridiculous role in this show with Jang Mari’s stalker (probably psychopathic) behavior. Not once did I enjoy her company mainly because Suzy doesn’t exactly strike me as a charismatic actress. She’s self-indulgent here and leaves a bad taste in my mouth whenever I see her. Baek Sung-hyun saved that couple as Choong-shik because he’s so earnest in his performance. He was cute the whole time though I wish the drama gave him more things to do.
I really wanted to love Big and for a few weeks I did. But it has too many shortcomings that I end up disliking it for making my heart race but then suddenly stabbing me. I hate that I spent so much time with these characters only to leave disgruntled but that’s the way it is.