A Look at the Upcoming Drama Paradise Ranch

I’m a glass half-full type of person. But I’m also a rubber-necking train wreck type of person. In my excitement over my latest shiny toys dramas My Princess and Dream High, I figure I should also give another premiering Mon-Tues drama a chance, if only purely out of my morbid fascination with how much this drama looks like crap. The drama I am talking about is none other than Paradise Ranch, which is about to follow the time slot just vacated by It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl. That’s the SBS time slot where the only other competition is the freaking nightly news, so let’s hope PR fares just fine.

PR stars Lee Yeon Hee, Max Changmin of DBSK fame (in his first acting gig), Joo Sang Wook (pre-Giant and his rise to leading-man fame), and Yoo Hana, with a script written by the writer who did Coffee Prince. PR is financed by SM Entertainment (hence the plethora of SM stars in this drama), and was 100% pre-filmed. If anything, this means zero second half hijinks that many dramas these days fall victim to. This drama is in the can, which means the story is set in stone.

PR tells the story of a pair of young lovers, Lee Yeon Hee and Changmin, who marry young at 19, then divorce 6 months later. Through the machinations of drama fate, 6 years later they meet up again on a ranch in Jeju Island, where Lee Yeon Hee is a veteranarian, and Changmin is still the unambitious son of a chaebol sent there to earn his keep. PR is the story of a pair of divorced people who clearly have unresolved issues, and perhaps married too young before they understood how to make a marriage work, being given a second chance to find happiness with each other.

PR had a hard time finding a TV station to buy it, but SBS finally took the leap of faith and went with this drama. Based on the trailers and stills, this drama reminds me so much of a TW-idol drama, from the cast of pretty-but-stiff lead actors, to the pretty setting that seems rather manufactured, to the old-lovers-find-each-other-again storyline. I’ve enjoyed many a TW-drama, but my expectations are so low with respect to TW-dramas that I give it so much leeway to be middling and still enjoyable. I expect my K-dramas to be a notch above in terms of story and acting, and I worry about both with respect to PR.

Lee Yeon Hee is a very uneven actress, sometimes too wooden and stiff, other times OTT and rubbery. She’s beautiful, but I’ve never liked any of her performances to date. However, like Kim Tae Hee is currently rocking my socks off in My Princess, perhaps a rom-com is where Lee Yeon Hee is best suited, and PR will be her breaththrough role. I shall watch and see with an open mind. I have never seen or heard of Changmin prior to 4 months ago. During the Sungkyungkwan Scandal mania, suddenly everyone around me was watching old DBSK videos.

Sadly, Changman looks to make it a 0-3 batting average for me with respect to watching a DBSK member act in a drama. Yunho almost made me poke out my eyeballs with his performance in Heading to the Ground, and I really didn’t connect with Yoochun‘s performance as Lee Sun Joon in Sungkyungkwan Scandal, even though I thought he did a passable job overall. Poor Changmin, however, looks in the previews like he woke up and suddenly realized he was acting today, and that freaked him out. His giant wide-eyed gaze is disconcerting, and makes him look like a serial killer crossed with a block of wood.

Hilariously, the PD stated at the press conference that Changmin was indeed hesitant and unsure of himself when he first started filming, but the PD felt like he got comfortable and really got into character as the drama progressed. Which is translation for “he sucks in the beginning, but does get better, so everyone keep watching and don’t judge so quickly, okay?” LOL, poor Changmin, I’m giving you two episodes to convince me to stick with PR, okay? I think that’s fair. Or you can pull a Taecyeon in Dream High – very stiff performance even up to episode 6, but your character is so freaking awesome I’ll stick with you through thick and thin.

PR premieres tomorrow on SBS. This drama can either be cracky good, or wacky bad. I wished the production company hadn’t released the stills of the four leads dressed like rejects from a Dude Ranch – those pictures are going to be impossible for me to unsee, they are that ridiculous and laughable. The rest of the pictures are sweet and cute, and I’m hoping the drama has a story that hooks me as a viewer.

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21 Responses to A Look at the Upcoming Drama Paradise Ranch

  1. betch says:

    “I wished the production company hadn’t released the stills of the four leads dressed like rejects from a Dude Ranch – those pictures are going to be impossible for me to unsee, they are that ridiculous and laughable. ” —- what can i say? they looked weird. lol

  2. somuchsoju says:

    Despite all, I’m very much looking forward to this drama. With all honesty and however I may look “weird” around here, PM is the second on my 2011 watchlist following MP. So… Yay!

    What can I do? I love Lee Yeon Hee and not to forget loved her sizzling chemistry with our Heony oppa (ooops, sorry Miss Koala.) in EOE! 😀

    I hope Yeon Hee can be a huge lucky charm to Chang Min on his first acting venture especially with regards to how their chemistry will fare! Hwaiting! 🙂

    • LizzyD says:

      Don’t forget her molesting Gong Yoo’s mouth in One Fine Day and then proclaiming that he’s delicious. She seems to also enjoy the perks of her job, as she should.

  3. w. says:

    I’m not Changmin’s fan, but I will give this drama a try. The mainlead girl looks familiar, like a girl in one of DBSK’s early MVs. The 2nd male lead seems attractive. I’ll know after ep 1. The drama has got a beautiful setting, good looking people…I’m surprised that some say Changmin had limited expressions…SM has enough gathered money to afford topnotched acting teachers for their people; those lessons should guarantee at least a certain amount of acceptability.

  4. w. says:

    I remember trying awefully hard to watch U-Know’s drama but never made it to ep6. He’s a great dancer though.

  5. Kender says:

    He may be a serial killer, but he’s MY serial killer. XD I love Changmin, but I’m fully prepared to mock him mercilessly in this. It looks spectacularly bad.

  6. hapacalgirl says:

    I hope to dear god Changmin improves because lets just say the little acting he did in his DBSK banjun dramas were epically bad and like you I have a love/hate relationship with Yeon Hee, the camera loves her but her acting has left a lot to be desired. I think I might try the first couple episodes for plot purposes but if the acting is epically bad and I don’t like the characters I think I might have to put it on the back burner and watch it on a rainy day just to see if Changmin improves.

  7. hmi4 says:

    weeee~ maknae CM! he’s my favorite from DBSK (along with Junsu) not because he’s their best singer, or dancer, or actor… but because he’s slightly weird and sarcastic, in a Kim Hyun Joong sort of way. so yeah, maybe he’ll turn out just as bad as KHJ. but i pray pray pray that the story will at least make up for the acting, since i’ll be sitting through this drama for him.

  8. LizzyD says:

    When the director says he felt compelled to give the lead actor nightly acting lessons and states that he indeed sucked at the beginning, but got better, I can hardly be expected to look forward to this series. To make matters worse, LYH says the guy was incredibly shy with her. She may be a spotty actress, but she usually has good chemistry with her leads. Based on those photos and the previews- his discomfort was contagious. To top it all off- his shirtless scene made me laugh out loud and yearn for Koala’s Heon Oppa. Why? If you must cast a pop idol who can’t act- at least make sure he’s gorgeous and can kill a shower scene! That’s the least they can do for the viewers! That’s zero points scored beforehand for this series. I am so sad that after MP, I’ll have nothing to look forward to in the rom com front til City Hunter (is that a rom com??). So sad.

    • tangee says:

      Dear cheery one
      Looks like you are right… after MP, we’ll just have to wait for City Hunter with delicious LMH..
      cheers…

    • mayssenger says:

      Hey LizzyD, who knows….this could be the next big hit of the season…..LOL That girl in the cowboy hat and the rifle is giving me the shivers….I thought you need a license to lug that thing around? Geez, imagine her getting drunk on soju on the ranch, and then lurching into the woods with that rifle and releasing her frustrations on those poor forest creatures!

  9. Kristal says:

    I love Joo Sang Wook after seeing him in Giant but I’m sooo not going touch this one with a ten foot pole. Plus, he’s playing second fiddle to some idol guy who probably can’t act. BLAH.

    I agree with the commenter on DB that JSW should have found the tapes of this and burned them!

    But at least the Changmin fans have something to look forward to!

  10. mayssenger says:

    Ockoala you made me laugh….haha…actually the plot IS romantic, don’t you think? Very mills-and-boonsy…..but the dreaded Curse of the Wooden Dead is swirling around this drama. Prove me wrong, show!

    Let’s see….strange pics of cowboys and cowgirls with Asian faces…hmmm….all that’s missing is an old Indian chief smoking the pipe of peace. Even better if chief has Asian face.

  11. ockoala says:

    You know, everything about PR looks kinda cute, goofy, dorky – just your average run-of-the-mill TW-drama in quality.

    EXCEPT those friggin moronic cowboy get-up pictures! Which just turns this little harmless drama into something straight out of an Asian Ed Wood’s creation vibe. *shivers*

    • mayssenger says:

      Imagine those ppl in the pics chomping cigars, lassoing and galloping around on horseback, and doing all this COWBOY macho stuff with those stary eyes and wooden faces ….. you’re right Ockoala I’m terrified now!

  12. v says:

    Lol…. those cowboys costumes + the mention of TW dramas reminds me of the absolutely cringe-inducing moment in Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu when the band had the outdoor photoshoot… man, ella looked terrible in that dress + wig. i do remember the boys looking fine in the cowboys costume during the shoot that was indoor but somehow, my mind connected to the other cheesy photoshoot (this post “cowboys” + “TW” -> HYSNSN cowboys photoshoot -> horrible photoshoot).
    or maybe i’m mixing the whole thing up…
    and i’m pretty sure Changmin will be a bad actor from the one preview I’ve seen… in the first few eps anyways but being an ex DBSK fan, i will still forgive him for it… plus i have a real weakness for jealousy in drama and i’ve witnessed plenty of cause for jealousy scenes in the preview… But sadly, i won’t be able to watch PR… Hell, I didn’t even finish half the dramas I was watching… and I’m watch DH and MP through major fast-forward + speedy skimming through recaps..
    I want my life back.

    • mayssenger says:

      Asians wearing cowboy garb just doesn’t work for me, same as Asians wearing period costumes complete with blonde wigs….it’s just….AWFUL! I cringe every time these dramas include them ….Stairway to Heaven she wore Cinderella getup and he was Prince Charming? OMG.

  13. soulfighter says:

    Changmin ah! u know I love u, right? I will watch this drama despite having very low expectation of it. I will watch it even if ur acting is sooooo bad. If I can endure watching MSAON for Jung In I def can watch PR for u!

    sooo, koala will do the recap ?

  14. CapitalScandalRocks says:

    I still want to watch it…………………

  15. wendy says:

    hahahahahaha!!!!!!! if only they had stuck to the beach photos……….hahahahahha
    regardless…if you took the time to write about it… i will give it a shot.
    hahahahaha yup the idiotic garb is just WAAAAY too much….although….the funny factor grabs hold of viewer attention so it served its purpose…hahahahaha

  16. Lyly says:

    I watched the first episode. And MAN the guy sure doesn’t know how to act, he never knows how big he should open his eyes and just seem so stiff and fake. I’m giving this drama a chance because of the second guy. He is so handsome! his smiles kill! lol

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