Sungkyunkwan Scandal, episodes 1 and 2

I was never really interested in the premise of this drama because I’m feeling quite blah at the thought of another cross-dressing girl drama. I was willing to by-pass that and watch this if it had a good cast, and I thought that Song Joong-ki and Yoo Ah-in were good choices.

What wasn’t, is Yoochun and to a lesser extent, Park Min-young. I’m very irrationally angry at dramas that cast idols with no acting experience to take on big roles. I know there does exist a number of people who are of one profession, who go into another without ever having done it before and end up being good at that other profession as well. But from what I can tell of the dramas I’ve watched with idols taking on really big roles is that they’re better off as idols.

If they were really better off as actors, they would probably debut as an actor first, then randomly get plopped into idoldom as to boost their popularity, and then go back into acting once they’ve reached that level of popularity (ie, Sulli and Heechul). It makes me angry because it’s not like there’s a lack of good actors in Korea who can do the job a thousand times better than the idols that are chosen for the parts.

More ramble on casting after the jump.

And then on the Park Min-young front. She’s alright, but not the best. She’s better than Yoochun, but it’s really hard to have a good drama with two fairly weak leads. This looks like it’s going to be a comedic drama, for the most part, before getting deeper into the heavier, more dramatic stuff and you need at least one lead who can do transition nicely from goofy to intense (ie, strong Jang Geun-seok + weak Park Shin-hye).

I guess I’m just mostly disappointed because Song Joong-ki and Yoo Ah-in’s roles aren’t as hefty as I wanted them to be (and in a drama with BOTH OF THEM TOGETHER, guh). I’ve been following the both of them for a while now and I definitely think they both have what it takes to take on bigger, heavier roles that require more of them, especially in a drama geared towards the teen audience.

Song Joong-ki has an eternal baby face and I guess he’s naturally suited for light, cheerful, cute-as-a-button roles, but I think he’s capable of more. I think that he does suit his role in this drama, but I’m dissatisfied as a fan :P

But look at him! He’s just so fucking precious!

Same goes to Yoo Ah-in and after watching these first two episodes, I’ll go as far to venture that I think he would’ve played Lee Seon-joon (Yoochun) much better than Yoochun can. He hasn’t done a whole lot but he was one hell of a scene stealer in Strongest Chil Woo and completely fit for his role on Antique. He’s really the only one compelling me thus far in the drama so far and he’s only had like 0.3234 scenes out of two episodes.

So to wrap this up: DNW Yoochun and Park Min-young. DW Yoo Ah-in and Song Joong-ki. Also, DNW the horrible soundtrack with a bad song from Jaechunsu :(

  • oreoreo

    ahhh actually i wasn’t expecting much of Yoochun’s acting at all (ok, actually i’ve disliked the guy for a while bc i can’t erase that camera-snatching episode from my mind lol), but he’s not bad! my fingers and toes don’t shrivel up when he delivers his holier-than-thou lines, and he works the ‘tortured genius/ forgiveable asshole’ role pretty well imo. But like you say, i’m also against the idea that a singer gets an acting role purely because they are already famous – but i guess that also works against him, as the ratings have started off pretty bad and everyone is blaming him :S

    Song Joongki is the effing cutest and his acting is the best of the bunch – no surprises there (not to mention he looks amazing in his costumes!), and it looks like there’s a much bigger role coming for Yoo A-in, so i’m satisfied

    and even Park Minyoung is okay, maybe i find her tolerable bc i like her voice when she’s acting the man – i feel like smashing my tv screen whenever girl leads shriek and squeak in falsetto

    OST is kinda fail atm, hopefully they’ll add in some better and more appropriate songs as the drama progresses – the scene when Park Minyoung is in the University library and some bloody rock song came on was a wok the fok moment

    but yes, overall, even with weak(er) leads, there seems to be a strong supporting cast (eg. Kim Kapsoo as Yoochun’s dad, the bookshop owner, even Park Minyoung’s first ‘friend’) and it seems pretty big-budget, so i don’t see why it wouldn’t steadily get better and also gain more viewers

  • mintyboy

    aww, I’m sorry that the series isn’t as fun for you as it is for me. I understand your disdain for idol>actor, but for this series, I see the need for a big star name to attract attention (albeit the ratings are wee low). I do concur with you that PMY is a weak lead. However, after suffering through 4 episodes of Boys Over Flowers, anything is better than that mess. Come to think of it, that debacle of a show has set the standard for bad acting for everything that I watched afterward, lol.

    I know that Joongki is capable of more yet I just love his role here. I love that he outshines the leads and I do squeal every time he pops up.
    The other scenestealer for me is Kim Gabsoo. OMG, I’m not sure why but after Cinderella’s Sister, I can’t seem to take my eyes off of him. I also agree with oreoreo about the 2 weak leads being supported with a strong cast, ie. everyone else.

    On another note,this drama is what I imagine You’re Beautiful would be if the sisters had tone down the craziness and added some credibility to the plot. For one thing, PMY was already crossdressing before the story started so we know her motivation wasn’t so fickle like Minam. We have some mysteries with Joongki, the pretty gisang and Yoo A-In and I can’t wait to see how their backgrounds are revealed. Overall, it’s much more enjoyable and believable than both BOF and YB.

  • Jenny

    Despite the weak leads, I love that this drama has the potential to be about something (instead of just a display of fluffiness & eye-candy). By that I mean, the theme that’s emerging: being able to sticking to your morals in the face of temptation, corruption, and enemies who would howl in glee to see you brought down.

    Anyways, while I agree Yoo Chun is pretty weak, his attempt at acting, so far, isn’t cringe-worthy and hasn’t been bad enough to be distracting. Not yet. He should count himself lucky to be handed such an upright and calm character to play… it makes his job pretty easy. That, and the second leads positively sparkle and ooze charisma in their respective roles – so that, right now, is enough for me.

    But… it’s too early to tell. Who knows? This series could turn bad… or it could live up to the potential that I think it has. I’m hoping for the latter.

  • martianvirus

    “I’m very irrationally angry at dramas that cast idols with no acting experience to take on big roles.”

    Oh man I agree so much! Aside from Hongki* in You’re Beautiful I can’t think of a single idol who has wowed me with their acting debut. But what makes me even angrier is when an idol totally bombs in a drama but keeps getting casted. Like Hyunjoong for example, how the HELL did he land another drama (and a lead at that!)?!

    *technically he debuted back in 2002 but it was in some cheesy kids show, totally doesn’t count. lol

    • Amanda

      I’ve noticed that the DBSK members so far (Jaejong in Sunao ni Narenakute, Yoochun in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and Yunho in Heading to the Ground) have not improved their acting after all these years. I wouldn’t cast JJ for anything until he takes some lessons but seeing how Japan loves him regardless I doubt that’ll happen (Case in point: Yamapi).
      Yes! I was so happy with Hongki in You’re Beautiful especially after having been forced to sit through a BOF marathon *shudder*. I mock Hyunjoong’s acting every chance I get but even I have to admit that he improved. I still wish he wasn’t cast as the lead because he still isn’t that good but at least this time it isn’t painful to watch.

  • Alixana

    OST is totally out of place and it makes me laugh like crazy most of the time. I think it’s the highlight of the drama. Its fail is absolutely precious!
    Yoochun is… okay. Not KHJ bad, not LMH spectacular either. But I love his character, so I’m ready to overlook this.
    Girl is fun. Cute and I like her voice, so nothing to complain about.
    The rest of the cast is superb!
    All in all, I’d rate this drama 7.5/10
    Looking forward to more

  • Elizabeth

    I totally agree that idols shouldn’t come in as a lead actor. I wouldn’t be so frustrated if it was a more minor role like what Song Joongki has – still a pretty big role but not lead. And it frustrates me more because they seem to do that a lot.
    Whenever they play the OST, I just want to skip it.
    I totally loved that part where Song Joonki held her close. I actually like Park Minyoung so far. I suppose she’s not really great. But she plays a boy well. I couldn’t stand the girl in You’re Beautiful just because of her voice and how the character was too clumsy and made too many stupid mistakes that I couldn’t stand. PMY’s character actually has a good voice and is smart, so I like that.