Whiplash – I Am Legend

I am currently watching I Am Legend (SBS 2010), and this drama has induced actor whiplash in me. What is actor whiplash? It is when there is an actor you previously loved or loathed, and suddenly you see that person in almost a completely different light. Let’s call it a 180 degree transformation in your impression of said actor.

Whiplash the post may or may not be a one-trick pony. I think it’ll end up being a series, probably updated no more than once a year. If I was blogging earlier this year, I may have been tempted to do a whiplash post on Lee Da Hae after her performance in Chuno. Alas, time has dulled the distaste with that particular outing for her.

I have already written a First Impression review of IAL, where I discussed at length how my impression of Kim Jung Eun has just done a 180. Normally I would leave it at that, why belabor the point. Except, I didn’t really discuss a second whiplash that has occurred in this very drama – two in one drama, the odds of this happening are normally so low it’s like getting struck by lightning, twice.

In addition to be blown away by Kim Jung Eun’s Seol Hee, I am currently utterly mesmerized by Kim Seung Soo, who plays Seol Hee’s evil ex-husband Ji Wook. I have openly declared that they are the OTP come hell or high water, because they have so much chemistry and unresolved pain and frustration when they are simply in the same vicinity of each other.

It doesn’t help that cutie pie Lee Joon Hyuk has zero chemistry with Kim Jung Eun, and his character continues to exist in the periphery doing stalking or assisting work. I am normally not a second fiddle person, I almost always ship the main OTP. And I have NEVER ever shipped the heroine with an evil second fiddle, or one played by an actor I have always associated with being villainous and/or douchey.

IAL is not a great drama by any measure of quality, but it’s totally absorbing and makes me feel squishy inside with sadness for Seol Hee or a fervent hope that my OTP will reconcile, Ji Wook pays his penance for being such an asswipe, and they end up having that little baby they were supposed to before fate played a cruel joke on them.

I know that my IAL fan-fiction is most likely not going to happen. I’m not living in happyland, you know. However, I do feel that the writer and PD are not 100% sure of how to move this story forward. For one, Ji Wook continues to get way more screen time than Tae Hyun, especially with Seol Hee. Two, the story continues to dawdle on developing anything, period, between Seol Hee and Tae Hyun – right now, I wouldn’t even call them friends, more like acquaintances. And three, Ji Wook was all full-on evil in the first 3 episodes, and now he’s being more and more humanized and I wonder if that was intended all along or done so that my OTP could flirt with reconciliation.

I don’t mind if Seol Hee ends up with Tae Hyun, or even ends up alone but happy at the end of the story. I hope the trajectory of her character’s development continues to progress in a logical and meaningful way, and that the ending leaves me satisfied. I merely am pointing out that so far, I root for a coupling that is likely not to happen, because I feel much more connected with Kim Jung Eun and Kim Seung Soo’s performances in IAL.

Kim Seung Soo is doing such a marvelous job at playing what appears on paper as a throwaway character. His purpose in the drama is simply as a foil and an obstacle for Seol Hee, a measuring point from which we can assess how awesomely she turns her life around after she divorces him. And Kim Seung Soo plays evil douchebags often, so it’s not like he was purposely making Ji Wook have a heart and soul. Except, when great acting unleashes itself, the result is that the viewers can’t help but connect with the character.

I’m actually kinda sad watching IAL induced two cases of whiplash in me. Now I have to add two more actors to my stable of performers I like to watch and will be willing to check out new projects if they star in it. It’s exhausting, I may be happier thinking Kim Jung Eun had AFS and Kim Seung Soo had bulgy-eyed megalomania. But I wouldn’t trade it for the off-chance that I missed out on watching IAL, which is my current drama crack. It’s angsty without being outlandish, and the music in the drama is truly a treat to listen to.

And for your sampling pleasure, I’ve embedded a scene from IAL, episode 8, which doesn’t have much dialogue, but what happens speaks volumes about the characters in said scene, and the actors’ performances which I have been discussing in glowing terms.

Awesome Scene from IAL ep 8 (No subs, but there is singing and lots of exquisite emo):

Share with me some of your whiplash stories, will you? And may I end with some wholly superficial comments – neither Kim Jung Eun nor Kim Seung Soo have ever looked hotter in any drama I have seen of theirs. Kim Jung Eun should wear short shorts as long as she has legs like hers, and Kim Seung Soo is smoking hot in his suits. But I demand a hot emo angsty shower scene from this man in the upcoming episodes, please PD-nim.

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6 Responses to Whiplash – I Am Legend

  1. jusash says:

    i am quite sucked into I am Legend (way more than my enjoyment-interest level of My GF is a Gumiho).

    Kim Seung-soo is so reminding me of KJE’s ex – Lee Seo-jin.
    and KJE is totally handling her introspective private moments alone so well, compared to the nightmarish twitching that was the cringeworthy LIParis.
    graceful. dignified.

    while yes, their chemistry is not quite there …. yet, i can also see the potential sparks happening between the Seol-hee + Lee Joon-hyuk’s Tae-hyun pairing.
    have read comments about KJE looking older than him. personally i don’t think so = LJH is looking maturely better here (to me) – more so than in Star’s Lover or City Hall.

    was not at all enarmoured with the court scenes so far. nor is fart-face Seung-hye terribly convincing as killer-rep lawyer either.
    but loved yesterday’s episode and Seol-hee’s dignified choices (totally in keeping with self reliant independence too) … and how it is mapping out.

    my whiplash moment was with Park Yong-ha in On Air.
    Lee Kyung-min completely erased my initial impression of PYH in WS.

  2. jayjay says:

    I don’t have a really whiplash moment, but I don’t know what the fuss about Won bin beside a pretty face, but after watching FRIENDS (a short 4 eps.) Our Won bin can do no wrong now.
    love IAL and enjoy reading your writing very much,
    Thanks ; )

  3. ockoala says:

    @ jusash – PYH in On Air was also a whiplash moment for me. He went from a total tool to a total hottie in one drama. May he RIP. 😦

    @ jayjay – I’ve always loved Won Bin, so am happy you now like him too!

    Let us all enjoy IAL, it’s writing is all wonky but the acting of certain of the leads is truly a treat to watch!

  4. hjkomo says:

    I haven’t watched IAL, but it’s not hard at all to imagine Kim Seung Soo overshadowing Lee Joon Hyuk. KSS had truckloads more chemistry with Yoon So Yi than Lee Jin Wook in City of Glass. And, there, the writer robbed the viewers of a proper ending, so if your OTP rings true, it will be well-deserved.

    If there is “a hot emo angsty shower scene”,
    I better be the first one you call. 😉

  5. kfan says:

    Could not agree more with you about KJE. I saw KJE in lovers, lovers in paris but definitely did not have a strong or positive reaction to her acting.
    She is doing a lot better here-she fits in. I feel that she personifies the song that she sings (while acting, emotions feel real) while the ex-husband drinks remembering her words.

  6. nycgrl says:

    @hjkomo I felt the exact same way in City of Glass but I only saw 5 ep when I went to MIL’s house so I have no idea how it ended. I also enjoyed him in Jumong & found him quite hilarious in the role as first prince but than again I have a soft spot for him that goes way back and I happen to think he is a talented hottie.

    BTW if I’m going to get whiplash on anyone this year it has to be Shin Min Ah. She is someone I feel pretty meh abt and she has surprised me in MGiaG in the 3 ep I’ve seen so far. (haven’t decided if I’ll continue or give up on MGiaG).

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