What's Up!

Jan. 5th, 2012 01:47 pm
[personal profile] rosdrise
I've watched the first 10 episodes of What's Up and kind of love it. Well, maybe not love but I definitely like it a lot more than any other dramas I've watched recently.

What a wonderful surprise this drama has been! Honestly, I've had such a bad attitude towards dramas recently, that I didn't expect much from this. I mostly just checked it out for Oh Man-seok (especially because I just powered through a re-watch of Vineyard Man (Taek-gi~~~~)). He didn't show up until the end of episode 2, but it didn't matter, because the show itself was just so solid.

I never watched Dream High, so I don't know how it compares to that high school counterpart, but the college story is pretty great. It's pretty funny, genuinely touching, and a little dark. Just how I like my shows! But it really just comes down to the characters. And they are excellent. Here's a quick rundown:

Jae-hun: In what is very much an ensemble, I guess Jae-hun is kind of our main character. He's the one we initially meet and follow from his hoodlum shenanigans pick-pocketing drunk guys on the street, to unintentionally causing a man's death, to seeking escape in acting school (because that's a thing?). He's great at lying, but when he ends up in the musical theater department, he's more than a little out of his depth. Jae-hun's the type person that isn't afraid to voice his opinion, but at the same time keeps his strongest emotions very close to his heart. He's got a pretty deeply engrained sense of pride, but isn't beyond setting that aside for his friends. It's also pretty funny how completely unaware of pop-culture he is.

Tae-hee: Oh boy, Tae-hee is the kind of character that walks a really fine line with me. See: Go Mi-nam (You're Beautiful) and Seung-yeon (Coffee House). She's a talented singer and actress and a sweet girl (who talks waaaaay to much), but has a horrible sense of direction. She can be pretty funny and the scenes with her dad are lovely. But sometimes she appears to have the intellect of a toddler (complete with the shuffling. OH HOW I LOATHE IT. It's not charming to walk around like a child).

Do-sung: What an awkward young man. Seriously, he's just such a goofball. For all appearances he's a relatively quiet student with a great voice. Little do his fellow students know he's actually a Secret!Internet!Popstar! But he had to hang up his mask because his rising policial-star mother wants to keep him hidden (I'm guessing he was born out of wedlock). Then when a reporter stalks him even after he's started attending college, she wants him to quit that. So, that's frustrating. I'd feel sorry for him, but then he does things like hang onto a police officer's leg to stop his friend from being arrested and I just laugh.

Doo-ri: I think Doo-ri's back story might be my favorite. She could easily have an entire drama centered around her. Before Doo-ri was born, her mom was a singer who's popularity was about to explode. Instead, she stepped down to get married and have a baby. Unfortunately the happy family she wanted never came together and her husband started to cheat and basically disappeared from her life. The solution? Obviously you live vicariously through your child. So Doo-ri's childhood was full of fluffy pink dresses, singing classes, and EXPECTATIONS. When in reality all she wanted to do was laze about in flannel and play video games. She's abrasive and stand-off-ish, but watching her melt and learn to want to care about and be cared for by people is great.

Byung-gun: I've seen 10 episodes and they haven't really done much with this character. We know his family isn't aware of his enrollment in an arts college (I can't remember what he told them) and he can not sing in front of people. Like... ANYONE. He's nervous the majority of the time and quite similar to Do-sung in many ways... but more physically goofy? I'm not even sure how to describe it. He's fun to watch though.

Chae-young: The writing for this character gave me a bit of whip-lash in the beginning. We knew she was a B-list actress looking to improve her skills in hopes of being taken more seriously. I though she was going to be this cool-type character who wanted to take her acting seriously. But then they went down the road of lazy, sneaky diva... which was disappointing. Then, in these last two episodes we've started to see the cracks in the facade. She's really incredibly anxious about her position at her agency and with her job, and it's been hinted that the way her company handles things isn't always in the healthiest manner.

Sun-woo: What a disaster of a person. He's living in his office, stashing bottles of soju around campus, and can't be bothered to teach or, you know, shower. He was some soon-to-be big deal musical star, but when his girlfriend, who he dumped because he felt too beholden to her, died in front of him, he left the world of musicals (and went to live in the mountains?) and hasn't sung sense. He has an unorthodox (read: lazy-ass) way of teaching, but there are glimpses of actual knowledge. But the director of the school despises him and is dead-set on getting him off campus. Anyway, after dealing with a few demons (like meeting Tae-hee, who was his girlfriend's niece) and picking up a few more issues (such as Doo-ri crushing pretty hard and leading to a big old scandal) he's cleaned up his act a bit.

That covers our main cast, but everyone in the extended cast is pretty great too. I highly suggest this drama to everyone. Who else is watching?!

Date: 2012-01-05 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flutegirl.livejournal.com
WHAT'S UP?!?!?!

Date: 2012-01-05 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranberrysheep.livejournal.com
It's more like...


Date: 2012-01-05 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shineaurorarose.livejournal.com
I love this show. Like seriously, I adore it. I've been excited for it since I read about it and it's really lived up to my expectations. I find it incredibly well written (though I shouldn't have been surprised--the writer of this wrote Story of a Man which was also awesome if only for the writing and plot). Plus it's oh so much fun.

I do agree about Tae-hee. She's about one step from being annoying. I'm not rolling my eyes at her yet but I didn't really like her actions in episode 10 where she pretty much dropped her old friends (I mean, what?).

Date: 2012-01-06 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranberrysheep.livejournal.com
I completely agree. The writing for these characters is really impressing me. This is the first drama in a long time where I kind of wished it was longer. I'm at episode 10 and I'm dreading it ending!

Re: Tae-hee, yeah, that was a bit clunky. I could see her getting drawn into a new, shiny circle of friends, but I would have liked to see the progression of that a bit more. We've seen her develop a relationship with Jae-hun, Do-sung, and Doo-ri, so to throw Chae-young and her crowd in feel like it came out of left field.

Date: 2012-01-05 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spunspider.livejournal.com
i'm only upto ep 6 but i love this shit. it's got totally whip-smart characterisation in a way you just don't get in 99% of kdramas, but also it's fun and a bit campy to keep it from veering too hard into pretentious! i love this style of dialogue, too, where you have character intersects which are more ~profound than the way people typically talk in reality but is also realistic in that way where people surprise you by how much they know and can understand, and how little.


i sortof love that the school director's hatred for sunwoo is vicious? like, not just strong but nasty.

i totally want doori and sunwoo to be a Thing, inappropriate as it would be. :|

Date: 2012-01-06 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranberrysheep.livejournal.com
I just love that while all of their circumstances are a trifle more intense than that of normal college students, they all still seem completely real. It's edgy, but it works because in the end it's still grounded in reality... for the most part.

With Seung-yeon it became virtually impossible for me to watch her on screen. I just couldn't take it. Everything she did I found so incredibly annoying.

I really want the show to go with the Doo-ri/Sun-woo thing... but I know I'm going to be disappointed. :/

Date: 2012-01-06 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sisterjune.livejournal.com
omg some of this sounds so similar to dream high XD I just finished watching that and love it. I love it so much that I dont think I can watch whats up or dream high 2 without comparing them to death. lol. maybe i'll try whats up out on my next break but i tried the first ep and it really didnt stick or me. but then the same thing happened to me with dream high so who knows. lol

Date: 2012-01-06 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranberrysheep.livejournal.com
You're like the exact opposite of me! I had no desire to watch Dream High (and ditto What's Up, to be honest, but Oh Man-seok~~~). But now that I'm watching What's Up, and loving it, I just don't think Dream High could ever compare!

Date: 2012-01-06 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bornclassie.livejournal.com
saw your post on tumblr. i also picked up this drama because of oh man seok (and partly b/c of im joo hwan), and for a drama that was filmed in 2009 with much of its scenes cut due to cable time restraints, it still retains an amazingly high standard of quality (aside from shoddy editing here and there).

taehee's character pisses me off; unfortunately, there's really no better way of putting it. she started off okay, typical kdrama heroine -- innocent, naive, heart of gold etc. etc, but you get to a certain point where that "intellect of a toddler" really starts to rub you the wrong way. aside from that moment in ep 9 where she lectures sunwoo (and unknowningly doori) on asking others for help, her scenes are pretty boring/there's only so much sympathy i can dole out for her naivety/crying (esp in ep 10).

jaehun is pretty awesome, trying to survive in musical setting with no musical background. he's fun to watch, and especially interesting to track the development of his character. he also has some great scenes -- confrontation with his mother, his first attempt at singing, stand-offs with his sunbaes.

dosung is pretty much comic relief so far for me, since they clearly haven't delved too far into his story yet. chaeyoung's the kind of person you try to understand/excuse because of how cut-throat the entertainment business is...until she slams all her bitch tactics so hard in your face that you kinda just give up trying.

doori-sunwoo-byunggun trifecta is probably my favorite of this show. doori and sunwoo are practically soulmates in the sense that they're both sort of loners, initially unwilling to ask for help/doesn't really give a shit about the world/anyone else. it's actually ironic how doori, who had no ambition whatsoever upon entering the school (free housing away from her mother really), actually gets spurred on by sunwoo who was basically hey-let-me-crush-your-dreams. then she turns around and spurs HIM on/is partly responsible for setting him on the right track/cleaning him up (physically also). oh and doori has, hands down, some of the best quotes in that entire show.

byunggun’s a hoot. hilarious to watch, and i’m actually really excited to see him get past his stage fright and just own the stage like he does in his fantasy sequence. judging from the eps so far, doori will probably be the confidante that sunwoo asked him to find, and i foresee that potential new loveline forming (i actually love their relationship; him the bumbling coward, and her the badass rebel). despite how much chemistry doori/sunwoo have (tbh, during the bathroom/grab the collar scenes i was screaming -- EFF THIS JUST JUMP HIM ALREADY), i don’t really see her love for him panning out anymore than just an misguided crush resulting from him being the only source of male comfort she’s encountered in her life.

tl;dr -- show is awesome.

Date: 2012-01-06 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cranberrysheep.livejournal.com

I had completely forgotten about the cable time restraints! I wonder what it would have been like full length. I don't know that I'd want to change it at all though. The episodes always fly by for me.

There are elements of Tae-hee's character that I find enjoyable/entertaining, but she is definitely starting to wear on me. I mean, honestly, what is her character arc? If it's supposed to be her learning to grow up and survive without her father than they need to show that. We know she has this raw talent... but that's kind of it.

I keep waiting for them to do something with Do-sung. I mean, there's plenty of potential there (ditto Byung-gun). Maybe their stories will come to the forefront in the last half of the show?

Not that I really want them to... because I really enjoy Doo-ri. I want to see her get free of her mother and find out what she really wants for herself. And, you know, to a slightly lesser extent... totally get it on with her hot mess of a professor.

Oh man, I hadn't even considered a Doo-ri/Byung-gun relationship! I love the idea of them as buddies though. I think they'd balance each other out really well.




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