Korean Drama Review: A Gentleman’s Dignity

English: Magazine cover of KoreAm from Dec. 20...

English: Magazine cover of KoreAm from Dec. 2010; Jang Dong Gun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Gentleman’s Dignity is available on VIKI.

한국어: 엑스노트 마이클 코어스 에디션 론칭 행사에 참석한 김하늘

한국어: 엑스노트 마이클 코어스 에디션 론칭 행사에 참석한 김하늘 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SYNOPSIS:

A Gentleman’s Dignity follows the longtime friendship between four men in their 40s and their relationships with women. The lead male is Kim Do Jin (Jang Dong Gun), a man who never wanted to get married, but finds himself falling in love with Seo Yi Soo (Kim Ha Neul).

Do Jin has two chance encounters with women, he cannot forget. Do Jin becomes the first woman’s prince charming, when her dress begins to fall apart while walking down the street. He sees another woman staring at him outside a coffee shop. As time passes by, he recognizes he has only wanted two women’s phone number in the past year. Then, he realizes that those two women, were actually the same woman, Seo Yi Soo.

Soon, Do Jin finds out that Seo Yi Soo is friends with his best friend, Im Tae San (Kim Soo-ro). In fact, Yi Soo is the umpire for Im Tae San’s baseball team. Unfortunately fo Do Jin, Yi Soo finds out the real reason why she is the umpire for the team, because she wants to see Tae San. Seo Yi Soo is in love with Do Jin’s  friend and business partner Tae San.  However, Im Tae San is in a relationship with Yi Soo’s roommate, Hong Se Ra (Yoon Se-ah).

Tae San’s Younger sister, Im Meari (Yoon Jin-yi), is not pleased with Tae San’s choice in women and happens to support Yi Soo’s crush. Nevertheless, the same repulsion Im Meari holds for Se Ra, Tae San hold’s for Im Meari’s crush on Choi Yoon (Kim Min-jong). Choi Yoon is in the group of the four childhood friends, and as a lawyer, represents Tae San and Do Jin’s architecture firm. While Tae San considers Choi Yoon a good friend and a good man, Choi Yoon is 17 years older then Im Maeri. Yoon is still trying to the deal with the death of his wife, which happened four years ago.

One of the four men is still married, Lee Jung Rok (Lee Jong-hyuk), but Lee Jong Rok has more dates than the other 3 men combined. This has become a problem for Do Jin, Tae San, and Yoon. Lee Jong Rok’s wife, Park Min Sook (Kim Jung-nan), is a very rich slightly older business women, who leases the property to Do Jin, Tae San, and Yoon’s businesses. If Min Sook finds out the extent of Rok’s shenanigans, it would hurt them all financially.

Things only get worse for Do Jin, when Yi Soo starts to use Do Jin to cover up her affection for Tae San. Yi Soo is afraid to show her feelings, because Yi Soo introduced Tae San to her roommate Se Ra. Si Yoo is frustrated, because she knows that Tae San loves Se Ra, but Se Ra won’t marry him. Se Ra’s pro-golf career comes first and Tae San comes second. Whereas in Yi Soo’s eyes, Tae San comes first. Do Jin’s angst exacerbates, because he has to come to grips with the fact that he is now an unwilling participant in a fake relationship with Yi Soo. Do Jin gets all of the appearances of a relationship, but none of the real benefits of the relationship, including Yi Soo’s love.

As Do Jin continues to play the role, he wonders if he will ever become the leading man in Yi Soo’s life or will the pain force him to let he go. Even if Do Jin does get to play the leading role, this may all fall apart due to a new young man in town. The young man, Colin, claims to be the son of the four friend’s first love/crush. Colin (Lee Jong-hyun (CNBLUE)) is in search for his father and claims that his father is one of the four friends.

REVIEW:

One of the best K Dramas of 2012 (writing+cast). Note: 2012 has been just an okay year in the world of Korean dramas, but I have not watched Vampire Prosecutor 2, Answer Me 1997, Nice Guy, or Rooftop Prince yet, so we will see…

Top 5 Reason to Watch A Gentleman’s Dignity:

40’s F4 Friendship: The friendship between the four lead males was so cute, especially the skits. My favorite skits were when they saw the good looking girl at the restaurant; when they were in the reserves; and when they were in college, and saw their first love (they all looked like sad bunch of college students). This is like if the F4, from Boys Over Flowers, went 20 years into the future and finally came to the conclusion that they needed to settle down.You have to love the secret hatred Do Jin has for Tae San, because Tae San has Yi Soo’s heart. The contempt and fear Tae San has for Yoon because Yoon is in love with his sister, while at the same time, Tae San is afraid to loose on of his best friends. The outright reckless behavior of Rok, which the other three try to cover up, because they know that there will never be a better woman for him. Then there is the bleak choice that Yoon has to make when deciding between his friends and Meahri.

Jang Don Gun as Kim Do Jin: I have to admit that I thought Jang Dong Gun was kind of creepy at first, but as time went by, his cuteness developed. I don’t know how I found myself liking creepy-weird, but I did. Who gives a girl “come to me” shoes; crashes into a guy’s car to prevent a girl from talking to someone; starts showing up to play sports he is horrible at for a girl (Uh duh, this will not impress her!); pretends to be girl’s boyfriend, so that he can become her boyfriend; and does a kitchen renovation in a few days to spend time in her house. Some people say that is love, but when you have no feelings for the guy…that’s stalking. Kudos to Jang Don Gun for making this behavior seems acceptable and something that you would want.

Kim Ha Neul as Seo Yi Soo: As much as, I didn’t like her for playing with Do Jin’s heart and being in love with her roommate’s boyfriend. As a teacher, Yi Soo really got it right. Sidenote: I could have watched a whole separate drama about how a teacher can make the difference in students’ lives starring Yi Soo. In fact Yi Soo was a little creepy too: she kept the gloves she bought Tae San under her bed, and never returned them; kept Tae San’s picture from college/high school in her bag; conscripted a boyfriend to cover up her feelings for her crush; and decided to wear an ugly empire uniform, so that she could be right behind Tae San, the catcher (again I don’t know if the umpire outfit impressed Tae San). However, with all of her crazy mid-30s woman antics, she was still cool to me. I think she is a role model for what type of crazy is acceptable. Although, to be truthful, if Do Jin never appeared, Yi Soo could have turned into a crazy cat lady too.

Couple Cuteness Overload: If I had to rate the coupling, as far as what couple I enjoyed most, it would go 1-Tae San/ Se Ra, 2-Rok/Min Sook, 3-Do Jin/Yi Soo, and 4-Yoon/Meari, but I loved them all. Tae San and Se Ra express their love through their bickering, knowing at the end of the day no one is going anywhere, because who else would put up with this. At the same time, their cute moments were too cute, like when Tae San showed up at Se Ra’s tournament and when Se Ra showed up at Tae San’s house when he was upset over Yoon and Maeri. Rok and Min Sook, they provided so much laughter to this story. I admit at one point I was getting pissed, because I was like does she really have to put up with this, but by the time they met in the club I was dying of laughter. Do Jin and Yi Soo’s awkward moments were their best moment, like when they were in the car listening to love [making] songs, when he walks behind her when her skirt falls apart, when he claims Tae San’s present as his, and when they were painting together. Maeri and Yoon, were the most trying, because their storyline was filled with so much pain, but they had me when Maeri found out about the young man who was only a few years younger than her. Maeri told Yoon that if the kid was his, she would raise him well (inner giggle).

The OST and the Cinematography:  I slowly fell in love with this OST, I am not even sure how it happened. I mean when the writing is good and their is a good OST and cinematography, my love grows for the drama 50%, because I start to connect the drama to good memories and feelings. Even if I came away from this drama, not being a diehard fan of the main couple or attached to any character, I will remain attached to this OST and the way the scenes were filmed, because it makes you happy. (Cinematography wise, another drama that captured those types of good feelings is Scent of a Woman) So here are a few of my favorites.

Kim Tae Woo, High High

Park Eun Woo, Everyday

Lee Hyun, My Heartache

Big Baby Drive, Spring I Love You

Jong Hyun (CNBLUE), My Love

Jeon Geun Hwa, Beautiful Words

Juniel, Illa Illa

Jang Dong Gun, More Than Me

And My Favorite 가슴이 시린게 – 이 현

Highlights:

  • Rok and Min Sook’s Macarena
  • The ladies at the restaurant, when they need to be covered up by their men
  • Flash Mob (not exiquisitley executed, but good)
  • “Come to me” shoes
  • Betty, the car (Apparently, Betty is the only one that can park right in front of the school)
  • Sexy Radio “Don’t go home tonight baby. I got a present for you tonight, baby.” (I am sure you do)
  • The kid has his own F4 at school now.
  • “All farewells for another person, don’t make sense to the other person.” (summary of noble idiocy)
  • Park Min Sook, love her (I had the same feeling for Lee Min Ho’s Boss in Personal Taste, but at least she has a happy ending)
  • Did you see how fast Maeri was ready, when Yoon offered her a ride
  • Memory Loss worked here, and that is saying a lot, because usually it upsets me
  • Se Ra’s bluntness, she is always like ‘yeah I said it, no you did not misunderstand me.’
  • If you really hate chickens, apparently you can’t eat eggs!

Ugh:

  • Poor execution of Yi Soo’s Mom’s storyline, could have been cut out
  • Rok’s cheating, I mean I still don’t know how I feel about that
  • Maeri Character- I love her, but then I am a little disgruntled by her lack of personal dreams and initiative outside of Yoon. If Maeri could prove her self in the rest of her life, Tae San would be less upset about Yoon. Is everyone ignoring the fact that if Yoon died tomorrow, Maeri would really have nothing… I think this is Yoon’s issue too, but it was never really resolved. I am glad that they showed Maeri working towards her dreams after marriage though.
  • The awkwardness of Yi Soo and Do Jin, kiss already you are 40 and she is mid-30s.

4 Stars, because it was the total package, but I never got really attached. However, I already know now that this is probably going to get a re-watch (because I just watched all the videos–> see the power of a good OST), so the rating will probably go up.

Up Next: Scent of A WomanKing2Hearts (maybe?), or CityHunter (errr)

6 comments

  1. fizzyhasan

    Hi!
    I’m Fizzy from CNBLUESTORM. :) I think this is a good review. And I have to agree with you, AGD’s OST is just the bomb! I mean, Lee Jonghyun (whom I am extremely biased of) aside, ALL songs are good! (I bought both OSTs online! No regrets!!)

    Anyways, as a k-drama freak myself, I strongly recommend Nice Guy (am going gaga over Song Joongki as Kang Maru) and Rooftop Prince and Answer Me 1997 are good too. Can’t say the same about City Hunter though. lol.

    Thanks for the review! :)

  2. chummielim

    Thanks for this review! Undeniably great! i love this show a lot. My favorite is maehri and yoon. i fell in love with their story. overall, its a five for me :) i agree that the OST of the show is the TOP! Kim min jong’s beautiful pain is also my fave

  3. girlnextdoor

    I like your review. I 100% agree with the highlight and ugh points. Park Min Sook is AWESOME! I love her powerful aura and cool personality and the scenes with her husband especially the ones where they were warming up to each other.
    The YiSoo-Mother storyline seemed a little incomplete. I wanted at least a reconciliation or a composed parting, not a parting where she just yells at her for embarassing her.
    Do-Jin’s memory loss issue was just a filler to the drama IMO.

    The thing that I absolutely love about this drama is the BROMANCE… I sometimes prefer this than the romance. XD . The cast all fit together and have great chemistry.

    Thanks for the review, very informative.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s