Saturday, April 28, 2012

K-Drama Review: Dream High, Episodes 15-16

Read Episode reviews for:

Dream High--Episodes 1-2
Dream High--Episodes 3-4
Dream High--Episodes 5-6
Dream High--Episodes 7-8
Dream High--Episodes 9-10
Dream High--Episodes 11-12
Dream High--Episodes 13-14

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 15-16

Hyemi, Samdong, Jinguk, Baekhee, Pilsook, and Jason are slated to be in a new pop band, so their professional hopes are in high gear. Samdong and Jinguk talk about their love rivalry over Hyemi, and Samdong says he's not confident that Hyemi will pick him. Oh, kid, you just don't know what we know. Samdong goes to talk to Hyemi, but when he calls out to her she bolts in the other direction and runs for an unreasonably long time. Samdong catches her on the stairs and asks, "Do you still feel sorry for me and pity me?" She can't answer properly (but the answer is "no"), and her phone suddenly rings--her dad has returned!

Hyemi's Dad: Abandoner of Daughters, Ruiner of Good Moments.

Dad shows up at Teacher Oh-hyuk's house and Hyemi runs to him happily, then starts beating him. It's good to see that she doesn't instantly forgive him for being a deadbeat. In a less rosy world than Dream High, leaving your teen daughter in the hands of a loan shark usually wouldn't end well. Anyhoo, Dad's back in the picture and he wants to move their family to the States so Hyemi can attend school at Julliard and pursue classical music again.

But Your Boys Don't Want You to Leave, Hyemi!

Hyemi kinda wants to go to the States, but she's conflicted about the choice. Samdong talks to Hyemi outside her closed bedroom door: "Can't you just stay here? You brought me out of my troubles. If you leave now...what am I supposed to do?" He doesn't get an answer. Jinguk is going to miss Hyemi a lot, but Samdong is hurt deeply by the idea of separation. So now we know: one guy will eventually be okay without her, and one won't recover for a long, long time.

Their new 6-person pop group is called "Dream High" and they've all got mad skills, but unfortunately Jinguk and Baekhee have been black-balled from television appearances, so the group can't really promote. JYP suggests that they all do a flash mob and gain internet success instead of pursuing traditional routes of publicity. And the kids gather their flash mob by blackmailing every kid they know! It's rather hilarious that our main six kids have been mistreated often enough that they can call on favors from the entire student body. The flash mob scene is perhaps the most fun thing I've viewed in a long time.

These days, Hyemi's avoiding Samdong like the madness, but Jinguk tells her he knows where her heart lies now.

It Lies With the Guy on the Right.

Samdong, however, is offered a really huge opportunity to go to America by himself, just as Hyemi has decided to stay in Korea. Oh noes!

Fast-forward eight years into the future. It's 2018. Pilsook is a kindergarten teacher, and though she's not in the spotlight anymore, she had a good musical run and she and Jason are still happy together. Baekhee is a totally boss dance teacher at Kirin, and her former mentor Teacher Shi is the Arts Director. Teacher Shi and Teacher Oh-hyuk are married, and he's still as much of a bleeding heart as he ever was. Jinguk is a major K-pop star (he shows up at the airport looking a whole lot like Rain), but Jinguk is not the world famous Grammy-winner "K" mentioned in episode one. "K" is actually Samdong. Our precious snowflake became a world star, and he still wears the pendant Hyemi gave him.

Necklace of Great Significance and Marketing Value.

A flashback reveals that Samdong didn't want to go to America, but to push him on to greatness, Hyemi all but forced him to leave. Nowadays, Hyemi's doing classical music, and all her friends (except Samdong) and teachers have come to watch her 100th concert.

The End.

But doggone it, the ending let me down. Hard. I wanted a big 8-years-have-passed reunion between Samdong and Hyemi. WHERE IS MY REUNION, Y'ALL?

See This? We Needed More of This.

Things I Loved:

1. Like Father, Like Daughter. It was pretty funny to see Hyemi's dad exemplifying all the not-so-great aspects of Hyemi's early personality. He's spoiled and fastidious like Hyemi was, he has a poker face like his daughter, and he has trouble emoting.

This IS My Happy Face.

2. The Magic Six. We don't see them all together for very long, but I loved having the main six cast members all in one band.

Dream High Rangers, Assemble!

3. The Flash Mob. It's pure grin-inducing musical awesomeness. One of the better scenes in the series.


1. The backstory about Hyemi's mom is overwrought and kinda ridiculous. It wasn't believable even within the context of this very dramatic show.

2. The Ending, and the accompanying empty feeling that comes when all the warm fuzzies are gone.

My Exact Expression During the Last Five Minutes of the Show.


Own Your Own Past: In a TV interview, Pilsook has to face a giant picture of her pre-weightloss self and has to publicly poke fun at the way she used to look. She shouldn't have to do this, but I'm proud of her for rolling with the punches and not getting angry. Pilsook explains to Jason that even at her highest weight, she was pretty happy. She doesn't want to erase the old pictures from her blog because that would be erasing the memory of her happiness. Jason reveals that the picture on his cellphone is of her old self, so he's cool with her at any size, too.

Looks Like a Creampuff, But Has a Backbone of Steel.

Cultural Observances:

Jimjilbangs! Hyemi's Dad takes her and kid sis Hyesung to a jimjilbang sauna to stay overnight while he's hiding from the loanshark. I think it's the exact same jimjilbang from our earlier dance practices.

And the Uniforms Are Still Just as Classy.

House slippers: It's so cute that everyone in Oh-hyuk's house, from tiny children to grown men, is wearing little puffy slippers because in Korea, shoes are not worn indoors.

New words:

oraeganmanimnida is "It's been a long time/long time no see/ we meet again"
Miguk is "America"
Gokjeongijima is a longer form of gokjeongma, or "Don't worry"
Byeongwon-eso is "at the hospital"

Episode Evaluations: To be honest, I was let down by this ending. I wanted Samdong and Hyemi to be together in the present, whenever the present was for the end of the show--and they aren't. In 2018, they're in different places being totally awesome, and while that's so very realistic, it's not my favorite move. *sigh* My romantic hopes are rather easily dashed.


  1. Wow you're done.

    I think your likes and complaints are shared by everyone who watched Dream High. I seriously thought there would be another scene after the bus kiss, so I continued to watch the credit roll until the end. I was waiting for some sort of significant scene that although they were not physically together, we could see they still had each other in their hearts and would, when the time was right, be together.

    BUT NOOOOO...she calls him a friend, more realistic since the media would be all over it if she didn't, and there was no more Sam Dong after he flew on the stage.

    Everyone's got their other half except Hyemi, Sam Dong, Jinguk and Beakhee. I appricieate them achiving their dreams, but what about their love life. I thought they were going to address this in DH 2, and when they didn't...sigh.

    Although counting by the timeline in DH, it started when Hyemi was 17 and ended when Hyemi was 18, Hyemi being the youngest character in the 6, less than a year in total. Skipping 8 years a head, all 6 of them where only 26 or 27 so they still had a lot of time ahead.

    what would be the perfect ending for you Tiger?

    1. Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one unsatisfied by this, Linda! :-)

      I was cool with Baekhee not finding her guy, yet--she's a tough career woman like Teacher Shi, but it'll happen for her eventually. And Jinguk is set up to date Hyemi's now-mostly-grown-up kid sister (weird!). But Samdong...and Hyemi...

      My perfect ending only requires, like, an extra 60 seconds of film. Hyemi finishes her concert and shortly thereafter, maybe the next morning, Samdong flies out and surprises her. We get a big hug/kiss and we either find out they've been in contact all this time, or that haven't really, but they both know that the time is right for them to be together. Maybe we get one more iteration of that "I know you better than you know yourself" line.

      One more scene! Just one! It would have taken almost no effort to nudge the story toward a more clear happy ending for our main pair. Just a little more onscreen happiness, and we can imagine the rest.

      The ending made me sad, but the entire show is stiall easily 10 times better than DH2, which never really managed to upset me.

      What's your ideal ending for DH1?

    2. Agree w/ both of y'all! The very end was the only part of season 1 that left me disappointed, and honestly a little confused. Like, since the very final scene was of HyeMi finally truly revealing her feelings to SamDong, does that mean that they WERE still in contact in the future, since she sort of referred to him in her concert? They obviously all still think about each other.. But I definately agree that just 1 more scene would've been great. At the end of a show, to me, it's always best to have a clear ending, something to tie all the loose ends. Ambiguous endings are rarely satisfying! But anyway, I enjoyed reading all your reviews for the show, Tiger. Thanks for your reviews, as always! :)

    3. This was one of my favorite series /ever/, but I wanted sooo badly for them to just tweak that ending a tad. Nothing went wrong exactly; there just wasn't enough of what we wanted! I don't do well with ambiguity, either.

      Thank /you/ for encouraging me to watch the show! I had many, many hours of delightful viewing, sniffling, laughing, and singing along with DH1.

    4. My perfect ending to would be they would meet again somewhere with just the two of them. Just a smile or a knowing look that tells me everything will be okay. They are together now.

      I wished someone would take up writing a fanfic of it and end the story for me.

      I don't see why they couldn't give it to us, just one measly scene, its not like they were ever going to make a 2nd season the followed on from this.

    5. True, we could have just filled in the rest with our imagination if we knew for sure that they were now clearly connected.

      Fanfiction saved the ending of The Lord of the Rings for me, years ago. I could just pretend things went the way the ff author portrayed, and all was good. If I find anything that "fixes" DH1's end, I'll let you know!

    6. Please do! I tried looking at found some stories but the writing style was so bad I couldn't continue.

      ever thought of taking up writing?

    7. :-) I work on a Young Adult novel in my spare time, but most of my writing is for odd jobs and for the blog.

      Ah, but Dream High fanfic is so tempting!

    8. Ah I thought you did. I got the impression you would be a writer but you didn't have an 'about me' page so I wasn't too sure.

      I finally finish watching all of the series. Though I can't say I became a fan of all of them but I have been keeping up with the main 6's work.

      They've been doing quiet well for themselves.

      Apparently Suzy's new movie is very good. Currently most watched melodrama of all time in Korea.

  2. My perfect ending would be when Hyemi was singing her Only Hope song when she was on the stage Samdong would join her on stage for a duet and everybody be like whhhaaaaaaattttt!?!?!? and then they kiss. Boom my perfect ending for Dream High.

  3. My perfect ending would be when Hyemi was singing her Only Hope song when she was on the stage Samdong would join her on stage for a duet and everybody be like whhhaaaaaaattttt!?!?!? and then they kiss. Boom my perfect ending for Dream High.