Sunday, March 18, 2012

K-Drama Review: Dream High 2, Episodes 13-14

Read episode reviews for:
Dream High 2--Episodes 1-2
Dream High 2--Episodes 3-4
Dream High 2--Episodes 5-6
Dream High 2--Episodes 7-8
Dream High 2--Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 13-14

Kirin High School of the Arts is still having sing-offs in order to pick the kids that will be turned into a super-celebrity band with OZ Entertainment. The "proposal" singing challenge is over and JB is disqualified for the running to be in the supergroup. It's too bad that losing the challenge doesn't feel too significant, because everyone in this show who fails/gets disqualified/gets kicked out of anything bounces back just fine and suffers no longterm downsides. Not that I want to lose any cast members; it's just that it would be nice if the eliminations felt like they counted for something. 

Bigshot Producer Dude tells our heroine Hyesung that JB was eliminated because he chose her as a partner, and that his poor decision ruined his chances of winning. Eek. Way to make a girl feel rotten, Producer Dude! JB's thoughtfully acting happy, letting Hyesung know he's not at all upset over the loss. But Hyesung is still afraid that she's dimming JB's light now that she's his girlfriend, and all signs point to her actually being a big deterrent for his career.

Hyesung discovers that JB's working himself to death with secret dance practices because he hasn't given up on his dream. So with some prodding from Rian, Hyesung breaks up with JB for his own good. She has to say some hateful things in order to convincingly break things off, and then when he chases after her, he is hit by a truck. Sorrow! JB makes it out of the accident with only a torn ACL, but that's still about that worst thing ever for a dancer. Hyesung has to figure out a way to preserve JB's dreams no matter what, even if it means sacrificing her own hopes for a singing career.

Also in these episodes, Yujin confesses his feelings for Hyesung! I still don't know if any of these potential couples can actually stay interesting for more than two episodes at a time, but the confession is precious.

Things I Loved:

1. Rian. Well, she's not precisely lovable, but she gains a lot of points when she makes breakfast for everyone, acts nice to her mom, and sticks up for Hyesung against some bullies. She also shows that she truly loves JB, although I don't know if that was made clear enough all along--in the early eps, she genuinely seemed like she was just an occasionally catty buddy of JB's. But anyways, I'm glad she's becoming more of a secondary heroine, now.

 Rian: Slightly Less Evil Than in Previous Episodes.

2. Hyesung's Maturity. Our little Hyesung sure is growing up! She has to make a lot of tough decisions, and she's always looking out for others. Well, mainly for JB. But in repeatedly sacrificing for JB, she's actually doing what's best for herself, too. Hyesung now seems like she has a gift and purpose, when before it seemed like she was chasing fruitless dreams.

Making Sure Her Honeybunny is Safe and Warm.

3. References to other K-dramas. In the class where Kirin students act out scenes from dramas, I recognize lines from Secret Garden and My Name is Kim Samsoon.The really great thing about this is when Hyesung and Rian exchange lines from My Name is Kim Samsoon where a guy's current girlfriend is talking to his old girlfriend, it actually mirrors Hyesung and Rian's basic conflict over JB. Quoting another show is such an interesting way to add depth and humor to a scene, so bravo.

4. Normal-guy JB. I half-like and half-dislike this change, but I'll classify it as a "like" for now. JB has always had a certain glitz and glitter to him, but now he has undergone a hair and wardrobe change to reflect his new, humble station in life. He dresses casually and sports dark, flattened-out hair, and he reveals a few more everyday quirks, like how he always carries around a spoon with him so he can eat whenever he wants. It's sweet and nerdy.

 Superstar JB and His...Lucky Spoon.


1. Master Plan?  Rian reveals that every event in the past few months--OZ's takeover of Kirin High, the super-idol competition, etc, have all been done in an attempt to draw attention to JB and to make him into the star to end all stars. Okay, then. Kangchul didn't really seem like he had some massive master plan when took things over; he's just the kind of guy who buys up stuff that he thinks will benefit his business. But now the show is trying to introduce this insidious "master plan" plot when I don't think it was really set up all along. Plus, there are only about a trillion ways that this plan could backfire.

2. Yujin's Stardom. Yujin signs a contract with OZ in order to become a big star and impress Hyesung? What? Why? How? That's a horrible reason for Yujin to sell out to this soul-crushing, star-exploiting company. It goes contrary to everything we've seen from his character. And due to magical television time, Yujin catapults to stardom overnight, films a half dozen commercials, and gets interviewed by major news outlets all within the same week. *headdesk* But his fame makes him hang out with Rian more, which is surprisingly good for both of them, though they give off more of a Good Friends vibe.

Not Actually Too Bad of a Pairing.

3. The accident. In the scene where JB is hit by a truck, he falls to the pavement still clutching the lyrics to the song "Together" that Hyesung wrote for him. He looks at the lyrics meaningful before losing consciousness. Ehh. That's horribly contrived and would be cheesy, even in a music video. Plus, JB gets hit by a truck and doesn't bleed except from a strategically placed scrape on his cheek!


Father/Daughter Bonding: I love-love-love the subplot with Kangchul, the president of OZ Entertainment, and his tough daughter Seul. These two could almost have been their own K-drama. Kangchul is BEAMING while watching his daughter's recorded musical performance, and it's cute to see that he's a loving daddy even if he is also a cruel overlord. Kangchul is finally trying to do right by Seul, but it's going to take a lot more than just sending her to the boarding school of her choice. Seul finally admits to her dad that she wants to be at school with him and she calls him out on stage and tells him that he needs to loosen up and make some friends. I like her tremendously.

Cultural Observances:

Couple clothes: In Korea, couples will often wear matching t-shirts while on dates, or they'll have matching accessories like cellphone charms or even the same shoes. When Nana buys a matching backpack for another guy, it makes her boyfriend Shiwoo jealous. Shiwoo then goes and buys himself an identical backpack to theirs so that they can all be a---a triple-couple, I guess?

K-pop: I nearly died when Seul and Eui-bong started performing the K-pop song "Balloons" by TVXQ. If you've seen the original video....*snort*. If not, look it up. Words fail to describe the wonder and horror of "Balloons".

New words: "Seonbae-nim" means senior or upper-classman. Even though they're the same age, Yujin jokingly calls Rian seonbaenim because she's been in the music industry longer than he has. "Himdun" is "difficult" and Hyesung asks Rian how she survived the difficulty of her trainee period with OZ Entertainment.

Episode Evaluations:

The plot suddenly got very soap-opera-like and needlessly dramatic in these episodes, but I'm still watching, so that counts for something. There are a few sparks left in this show, and I hope they don't all fizzle before the finale.


  1. Did you review eps 9,10,11, and 12? Just wondering cuz I couldn't find them. :)

    1. *dying laughing* I didn't think anyone would notice! I watched those eps, but didn't review them because they were a little on the dull side and I was busy recapping Shut Up, Flower Boy Band at the time. But now I'm kinda wishing I'd completed them, just to have a full set of reviews.

      I just added the first Dream High to my DramaFever queue! Lets hope Suzy's acting holds up. :-)

  2. Im getting sick of how Hae Sung is written but on an opposite point Im really digging Rians growth.

    Not really liking the flat ironed JB hair but the color is fine.

    1. I'm glad Rian developed as a character, too! She was getting to be too much of a rival/villain instead of just a complicated girl with her own set of issues.

      I'm betting JB's going to go back to blond for the finale--just a hunch.