Prettily surprising considering this drama was a manga adaptation.
With the hustle and the bustle of k-netizens with regards to Jang Keun Suk, I waited for this drama with trepidation. His last melo-drama, Love Rain, was how it is suppose to be - a melo. Just one of his own, but did not really shattered my drama-experience. HJI is still my top favoruite as far as his acting is concerned. To think he was really young then. Waiting for his next drama-project is dreadful for a fan like me. Although I have no qualms when it comes to his acting, I am more afraid that the next project would give the anti-ktzens more reason to judge him. So I did not really expect that much, that way I won't be disappointed.
Beautiful Man or Pretty Man or Bel Ami is a drama of depth. And I did not expect it. Although the ending was rushed, and I could have hope for more detailed episodes to wrap and tie ends up, yet the Finale gave me my favourite scene which, for me, defined what this drama is all about -- that scene between Dokgo Mate and Na Hong Ran. To avoid spoiler, for those who have not watched it yet, I will refrain from describing the relationship of the characters. Reason being, that the relationship itself between the characters kind of made this drama different from other drama. The love story, which most of those who criticized this drama, did not work for a lot of viewers, because of Second Lead Syndrome - again for me is no big deal. To start with, the premise of the drama as plugged, seems to expect for a lead to be of gigolo type. A pretty man to conquer 10 women, the top 1% of Korea's female populace - is really kind of far-fetched. So, I just kind of take every episode one step at a time, so as to avoid disappointment.
Dokgo Mate - The pretty man who was given this beauty of "beyondness" for his own perusal. Bad or good, he is Dokgo Mate, the most beautiful man. I love the character growth. I know some viewers were inkling for those moments for him to hook up with the female lead, and got disappointed, but for whatever reason, I understood why the writer wrote him as Dokgo Mate. I love his growth. I love to look deep within that beautiful facade and dig in the thought, the heart, and the soul beyond that pretty face. I remember writing in my "You're Beautiful" post that TaeKyung was made for JKS and JKS perfected TaeKyung, but in this drama, I could say, JKS gave justice to Dokgo Mate's character and gave the heart and soul of this character a different meaning. I don't know about the manga, but I am so entranced with solving the puzzled piece of his character every episode. I did not even care about the 10 women. Although the change of hairstyle is kind of distracting, especially on the first few episodes, yet this character growth of DGM is surprisingly compelling. JKS' acting is impeccable as always. I am glad he took this drama because I would rather people hating him for not being "the most beautiful man - look per se", than them hating him for acting below the expectation of what the character was written. Those moments when he will make you cry in this drama are the moments that will stay in your heart forever. Those scenes are to die for, and I recommend a box of tissue within reach.
BoTong - literally means as "average", and before this drama started, I was expecting a stalker-ly kind of character. She's that average girl who had a crush on MaTe since middle school. Botong's character did not really grow that much in this drama. It did not affect my interest at all, because maybe, the drama was advertised as a weak story of conquering 10 women. Maybe I don't want to invest my heart into her love story arc with Mate. Maybe at the back of my mind, I know there's this 10-woman thing. Somebody gonna get hurt, somebody gonna get dumped. Amazingly, the ending of each woman-story is not that heartbreaking. I just wished they kind of bring them all back at the end. But, back to Botong, I kind of respected her character. Although MaTe is her weakness, and for a lot of times you wanna scream at her to buy some bones, and grow up from that adulation of MaTe, yet I respect her for holding on with her love for him. And this is despite the fact that you have a 2nd lead guy who is a character-mirror of yourself - in male specie. BoTong's role in MaTe's life is very consistent, although no growth, yet it doesn't made me squirm because she never doubted her feelings and her decision to hold on to such love (yes, I am talking about Heir's Eun Sang's No&Yes, GoAway-iNeedYouBack moments with KimTan). Her character also kind of cemented that last line of grip for MaTe when his world collapsed. The lack of their scenes together did not bother me. I like the drama more because of MaTe's quest for the truth than focusing it being another love-story/rom-com kind of drama. I could say BoTong served her purpose in this drama. She could have connected more on that scene when MaTe told her how much the world is crumbling on him -- but it's okay. My first time to watch IU act before knowing she was Pil Suk in Dream High. I did not expect from IU, because I am not really into idols. But she carried her character's quirkiness to high regard, I will never forget her from now on.
David Choi - the second lead guy, who is the mirror-character of BoTong. One thing I like about David Choi is how he stood up against his family and stuck with MaTe until the end. If given a hand on a story arc, I would go the bromance path between him and MaTe. Their moments were crazily serious and hilarious. There's so much in this drama that you could work on, a second season is worth it. What I do not like much is his never giving up trying to tell BoTong she could pick him. I do not like it because I do not like rejection. I hate seeing the pain of rejection because nobody deserves to be rejected, especially with such a character as David Choi. I know the ending was rushed, but if extended, i hoped for a bromance growth between him and MaTe.
Hong Yoo Ra - that woman who gave MaTe a mission to conquer 10 women to supposedly place his name on the family registry. I love and hate Yoo Ra on this drama. She is a complex character that will make you agree with me when you finish watching the series. Everybody has a story - that I reaffirm with this drama.
Characters to watch for:
MG - The chaebol company.
Na Hong Ran - MG's Vice President. Evil? Stoned-heart? Manipulative? Murderer? The most hated villain in this drama.
Park Ki Suk - MG's Chairman. Husband of Hong Ran. Sick husband.
Park Moon Soo - MG's heir, son of Park Ki Suk, husband of Yoo Ra.
This drama has a lot of loopholes. It is a bit weak in some aspect, or maybe the lack of some aspect, but the story is stronger than expected. I did not expect it to keep my interest, but it did. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, you just want to solve it until the last episode. If you are looking for a romantic-comedy kind, this is not that drama for. The suspense is way better than Secret. Although I love Secret, but it did not keep me on my toes as far as solving the puzzle is concerned. I kind of predicted what's next on Secret. This drama surprised me in so many ways. This drama will make you wanna write down o draw a family tree and will end you up asking yourself, who did you miss or how did that name got in and out of that registry.
It's a drama about being a PARENT. How our choices affect our lives and the lives of people around us, forever.