Sungkyunkwan Scandal, episodes 9 to 14
These couple of episodes have been interesting because it gives me new things to think about. I’m not really clocked into what’s happening in the overarching political storyline, nor am I really invested in the romance between Seon-joon and Yoon-hee, but I think the side characters are shaping up to be more interesting than I thought they’d be.
First is the relationship between Yong-ha and Jae-shin, and then second is the relationship between Cho-sun and Yoon-hee. (The girl who plays Cho-sun was also in Bad Guy as the girl who jumped to her death, which I completely did not even realize until a second ago.)
Lots of gender/sexuality ramble after the jump. Yay!
First, the relationship between Yong-ha and Jae-shin.
For some reason, fangirls really like homoeroticizing male/male relationships in whatever fandom, whether or not there exists any kind of evidence of any actual sexual attraction. I never really understood why girls (because fandom is mostly comprised of females) — and straight girls at that — liked to do that, especially in fandoms in societies that really frown upon homosexuality. And then I read something about a year or two ago that blew my mind, lol, and that’s that fangirls may enjoy homoeroticism, but can still be homophobic. Just exactly why this is, I’m not really sure, and I would love to read up more on it.
Anyway, my point initially with Yong-ha and Jae-shin was that I felt fangirls of the drama were just hooking these two up just because they happen to be both in the same story and happen to interact in a way more affectionate than others, which in my opinion does not give license to put these two together in a coupling based out of attraction.
In the last few episodes, I definitely felt like Yong-ha is a little less straight than I thought him to be, though I doubt this is the true intention of the writers. There is nothing explicit, minus the one scene where Seon-joon asks Yong-ha, as a hubae to a sunbae, what the connotations are of maybe being attracted to someone of your gender. Essentially, Yong-ha says that he used to question that too, in regards to his relationship with Jae-shin, but I mean he ultimately dismissed it saying that he was just a friend, but this spawned the seed in my mind that there is more to Yong-ha than this simpleton drama makes him out to be.
I doubt it’ll ever come up again, but it’s really the combination of that scene, and how Song Joong-ki acts the part that really gave me impetus to even think this. By how Song Joong-ki acts, I mean the deliberate dilly-dallying, and you just feel that Yong-ha is much more concerned and affectionate towards Jae-shin than others. And plus, now I’m starting to think that his playboy image is just to throw off the gaydar. But again, this is all speculation and I don’t usually make speculations like this, but after that talk Yong-ha had with Seon-joon, and then subsequently when Yong-ha went to convince Jae-shin not to masquerade as Hong Byuk-seo for the night (the tears! oh, the tears), I just couldn’t shake it off.
And then second is the relationship between Cho-sun and Yoon-hee.
Another possible same-sex couple that 100% will not play out in fruition. Obviously, Cho-sun is attracted to and thinks well of Yoon-hee, but does so because she believes Yoon-hee to be a man. It’s not hard to see why she would fall for Yoon-hee, because Yoon-hee has the ability to recognize that a woman does not deserved to be treated with anything less than respect. Maybe it’s because she’s a fellow woman that she shielded Cho-sun from the perverse gaze of the men in her company, but I mean, Yoon-hee is just a good person in general.
Now I’m just going to wax on poetically as a liberal left-winger who watches too much TV. Once Cho-sun learns that Yoon-hee is a girl, her initial good feelings towards her probably won’t just vanish because she is suddenly not attracted to her anymore, it’s more that her society dictates that she shouldn’t feel attraction to another girl. I guess this all depends on the semantics of things, because while I think that attraction can be socially constructed, attraction in the most basic, intangible form is based on an idea and an ideal, and you don’t really just drop ideas and ideals, it’s more that society is still at a place where the gender of the person possessing those ideals is a contributing factor to whether or not you can be attracted to that person.
I know there are plenty of flaws and slidey holes in my argument, but I just wanted to get that out there, because I’ve been thinking about just the idea of relationships amongst all genders, whether they be romantic or platonic.
And now completely unrelated to the relationship stuff is just my overall enjoyment of the drama.
I’m sure if you’ve read my SKKS posts, you know the reason why I’m watching this at all. And they are still the reasons why I watch, and now it’s gotten to a point where I can’t not watch the rest, heh.
But on a holistic scale, this is a pretty forgettable drama. I don’t think the characters — all of them, not just the ones I don’t like — mesh well with each other. There seems to be a certain distance from all the characters, despite them being a pretty tight-knit group of people. And while I like Moon Jae-shin’s character the most and I think Yoo Ah-in is doing a great job with the role, I just don’t think this is the kind of drama where a character like Jae-shin will shine or grow beyond what we’re already given. There is depth to the character, but that’s thanks to Yoo Ah-in, not the writing. Yoo Ah-in can be as angsty and angry as he wants to with his character, but if that character isn’t even given the story space to finesse those emotions, it doesn’t matter if the character is good. It’s the idea that you can dress a bear in a princess’ clothes, but at the end of the day, he’s still a bear. In a princess’ clothes. The drama is so ham-handed and sloppy at times that it really doesn’t matter how good Yoo Ah-in is or isn’t, or how well-written Jae-shin is or isn’t. It’s a potentially good character in a frilly drama. Give me a Jae-shin-type performance in something like “Cinderella’s Sister,” then we’ll talk.
There is also something very clacky and campy about the drama. Clacky is not even a word, but I guess I mean the drama as a whole feels kind of obvious and heavy-handed. There are so many moments where more subtlety could’ve done wonders to the scene, but instead, they choose the most contrived and obvious scenarios ever. Like, whenever we need Seon-joon to feel really jealous, we’ll just catch him walking in on a little cozy moment between Yoon-hee and Jae-shin. This happens so many times that I’ve really lost count. I guess you readers who have read enough of my drama rants already know I’m a huge fan of the showing-not-telling in storytelling. I hate it when I have to be told how I should feel towards a scene based on the stupid song that plays in the background. I hate it when characters’ successes are shoved in my face with a bajillion smiles that go from one person to another to another to another and we’re basically given a 5 minute montage of people smiling victoriously at each other.
You get my drift??