Thursday, June 7, 2012

K-Drama Review: Big, Episodes 1-2

Read Episode reviews for:

Big--Episodes 1-2
Big--Episodes 3-4
Big--Episodes 5-6
Big--Episodes 7-8
Big--Episodes 9-10
Big--Episodes 11-12
Big--Episodes 13-14
Big--Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 1-2

Our heroine, Da-Ran, is a bit of a bumbler, if the truth be told. At the opening of the story, she has a job delivering bridal bouquets, and she accidentally delivers some expensive flowers to the wrong wedding. Next we learn that she keeps on failing her civil service exam and so she can't become a teacher. Then she's knocked down some stairs at a wedding, breaks her wrist and tailbone, and has to spend two months in the hospital. Oy. Girl's got problems.

Some Days You Just Can't Win.

But the guy who accidentally knocked her down the stairs is a doctor, Yoonjae (played by well-known K-drama actor Gong Yoo), and Yoonjae takes care of Da-Ran until she recovers and even asks her to marry him when she gets her cast off. Da-Ran gleefully prepares for her wedding while substitute teaching at a local high school. Her stress is increased greatly by a new transfer student from America, the smart-mouthed rich orphan Kyungjoon.

Baby Faced Orphan=Master of Snark.

Da-Ran keeps running into Kyungjoon and taking care of him (which he begrudgingly appreciates, since he's alone in the world), but she never gets to spend time with her own fiance Yoonjae, who always seems to be avoiding her. Da-Ran finally asks Yoonjae if he really loves her, and it seems like the answer is going to be "no," but before she can know for sure, Yoonjae gets into a car wreck with Kyungjoon and, like you'd expect, their souls swap bodies.


That happens.

Anyhow. Da-Ran is the only one who knows about the swap, so she's got to deal with the troublesome teenager inhabiting the body of her fiance, while also worrying about her fiance himself, who is apparently inhabiting Kyungjoon's permanently comatose body. And then there are hints that her fiance Yoonjae was not as faithful and committed to her as he pretended to be.

Could Her Week Get Any Worse?

Things I Loved:

1. Kyungjoon. He's awesome! Just when you think he's perfectly cool, he slips into a whine or does something typically teenaged and sullen. I really like Gong Yoo's grown-up interpretation of Kyungjoon, which is stunningly immature, and I also like the wiseguy pretensions of the original Kyungjoon whose actor, Shin Wonho, looks rather like L from Infinite.

If You Squint, You Can't Even Tell The Difference.

2. The Funny. There are plenty of hilarious incidents, like you'd expect considering the premise of the show, but I'm most struck by the little unexpected moments. Like when Da-Ran's younger brother Choongshik steps in front of Kyungjoon at school, and you think they're going to fight--until Choongshik asks if Kyungjoon happens to have met this one kid he knows in America.

Vastly Underestimates the Square Footage of America.


1. Da-Ran. She's unfortunately falling squarely into Ditz Heroine territory far too often. She never seems to understand people's intentions or their inner natures, and she's the type to let people walk all over her. I do like that she stands up to Kyungjoon, though, which she could never really do with Yoonjae, and I think her character will have a lot of opportunities to grow up and mature over the course of the show.

Please Get Stronger! You Have So Much Potential!

2. Kyungjoon's English. It's exceptionally bad. I kind of wish they'd had him be an exchange student in Japan or some other country besides America, because if he was speaking Japanese incorrectly, I wouldn't know the difference. It's not so much a problem that he's getting his words wrong, it's that in-universe he's supposed to be really good at English.

It's Okay, Kid. We Know You're Trying.


Family Love: Kyungjoon seriously misses the love of a family. He doesn't fully realize it yet, but Da-Ran's family life essentially has everything he wants. Da-Ran's mom is encouraging, her dad is supportive and practical, and Da-Ran and her baby brother Choongshik fuss and fight, but still adore each other at the end of the day.

It's Precious.

The Perfect Guy Isn't Perfect: This handsome, wealthy doctor has serious issues, at least one of which is that he casually proposed marriage to a woman who honestly thought that he loved her. Did he propose out of a sense of guilt over her accident? If you're responsible for a someone's bone-breaking accident, I can see paying their medical bills and bringing them food, etc, but asking them to marry you when you don't really mean it? Who does that?

I Expected More From You, Gong Yoo.


1. Extended Hands/Hand Connections are Important: This image of connected hands is seen throughout the first two episodes. People who hold hands in this show are connected, usually in a very serious and life-changing way. There are some simple romantic connections, but Yoonjae and Kyungjoon's hands also connect when they are drowning, and their connection is arguably the most important in the show, since this is the point at which they swap souls. Other observations:

Yoonjae and Da-Ran's Hands Don't Connect.

But Kyungjoon and Da-Ran's Hands Do.

Watch Big HERE on DramaFever

Episode Evaluations: Lovin' it! Big is cute and funny, but it also feels very meaningful and addresses questions of loneliness, maturity, deception, and personal growth. And man, the camera work is just gorgeous and looks like it has been crafted shot-by-shot rather than dashed together. And Gong Yoo acting like an exasperated teenager is priceless.

But I wonder where the romance is going to go? We have a few different romantic rivals set up, both for Yoonjae and for Kyungjoon, but I'm guessing that our main couple is going to be Da-Ran/Kyungjoon. Which is quite weird, but weird is the name of the game in a body-swapping romcom written by the famous Hong Sisters writing team.


  1. One of these days, I'm going to have to try a K-Drama, and when I do, I'm going to be hitting you up for recommendations. :)

    1. ...aaaaaand probably obsessively start reading your back posts.

  2. Can I just say I love your post? I love it so much I might just hug you right now. And I love your observation about the hands of DR-YJ not connecting at all, while DR-KJ do. And because I've been rooting for DR-KJ since that bus moment, I'm hoping that the signs are real and they aren't there to confuse us.

    1. Thank you! :-) I'm seriously hoping for DJ/KJ as well, though they're an unconventional couple. I can't see any evidence that YJ is really a good match for her.

      Episode 3 is supposed to be subbed today, so I can wait to see what happens next!

  3. it is a really good k-drama!!! ^_^