Thursday, June 14, 2012

K-Drama Review: Big, Episodes 3-4

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 3-4

The bodyswapping craziness continues as teenage Kyungjoon, whose soul is inhabiting the body of Yoonjae, his teacher's fiance, discovers that Yoonjae was probably cheating on teacher Da-Ran. The other woman in question is Yoonjae's medical colleague, Seyoung.

Seyoung drops all kinds of hints bout how well she knows Yoonjae, then she asks Da-Ran to leave them alone and go fetch cookies. Da-Ran insists on buying the cookies and leaving Kyungjoon alone with Seyoung, so Kyungjoon does the only thing he can to keep Da-Ran with him: he sweeps her up in his arms.


The holding is even more awesome because Kyungjoon doesn't know how to do it--he's not carrying her like a princess, but like a baby, with his hand supporting her neck. Soooo cute. Okay, I'm sold on this couple now.

Meanwhile, at the Gil Household...

Da-Ran's family is concerned about her impending nuptials, but she can't bring herself to tell them not to mail the invitations. Um, I hope Da-Ran's not planning to marry Yoonjae's body while someone else's soul is in there. That's supernaturally unethical. Mom wisely observes that Yoonjae(Kyungjoon) and Da-Ran seem like a great couple now, because they bicker but clearly care for each other. Whereas before, they were a dull pair. Listen to your mom, Da-Ran!

Kyungjoon has plenty of Seyoung/Da-Ran problems, but then things get crazier for him when he sees he's got a hundred backed up text messages from Mari, a girl in the United States. (She's played by Suzy of Miss A, who I loved to death in Dream High.) Since he's not answering her calls, Mari says she's going to follow him to Korea. Kyungjoon is ticked rather than excited about her arrival. This cute little psycho Mari lands in Korea, and I have to wonder, how did smartmouthed Kyungjoon earn this steel magnolia's frighteningly undivided attention?

And Why Does She Have a Pillow With His Face On It?

The Kyungjoon/Mari relationship is downright bizarre, and not at all like a dating couple--I flat out don't get it. But it's revealed that Mari was once going to be in an arranged marriage with Kyungjoon! Now I totally get it. (Side note: You know you've been reading manga/manhwa/watching anime/kdrama too long when a modern day arranged marriage between teenagers answers all your unresolved questions.) But also, Mari did something that made her in some way responsible for Kyungjoon's mom's death?

Holy Moly, I Didn't See That One Coming.

Kyungjoon gets time off from working at the hospital, because goodness knows we don't need this youngun' masquerading as a physician, when he and Da-Ran are forced to go out and be social with medical colleagues.

Now we see flashbacks of Yoonjae on the day he met Da-Ran! Yay, for getting to see some of this impenetrably mysterious person's life. He followed Da-Ran around everywhere at the wedding, admiring her every flaky move. I lurve it, because this gives depth to his picking her. It seems like Yoonjae might not be the rat we thought, which only makes Kyungjoon more suspicious. Kyungjoon ups the ante in his sweet treatment of Da-Ran, and almost kisses her.

But He Chickens Out, Of Course.

Then we learn something unusual. Yoonjae has never kissed Da-Ran before, except once when she was sleeping upright in the car. What? He got engaged to her, then kissed her once while she was unconscious, but never while she was awake? Huh?

It Gets Creepier The More You Think About It.

Then Kyungjoon actually does kiss Da-Ran quickly after hearing that bizarre and sad story. And I think everyone's getting confused about who's kissing who, right about now. Da-Ran kicks Kyungjoon to make sure he doesn't get any further ideas.

Mari stays right by Kyungjoon's body in the hospital. Gosh, it's like Kagura and Kyo from Fruits Basket all over again. Kyungjoon (in Yoonjae's body) tells Mari that she can't take Kyungjoon-body back home to America likes she wants to, because the person Kyungjoon likes is right here in Korea. Then he points to Da-Ran. "Kyungjoon likes Teacher Gil Da-Ran".

Our Love Square. Or, Rather, Love Arrow.

And...Kyungjoon is now rewriting the story of how he met Da-Ran to match the story of how Yoonjae met Da-Ran! He tells Mari it was love at first sight for Kyungjoon at the bus stop, then at the furniture store. Ha.
Kyungjoon acts like a dutiful son and calls Yoonjae's mom, and finds out that Yoonjae's Mom is coming to Korea for the anniversary of some significant day.

Hmmm? Will this anniversary explain Yoonjae's weirdness? Is he secretly an alien? A government agent? Maybe just recovering from trauma, a la Secret Garden? Mom's arriving on June 24th, Kyungjoon's birthday. Oh please, oh please, let Yoonjae and Kyungjoon not secretly be brothers like the male leads were in another K-drama I could name. Noooo. Show, I will break up with you if you throw birth secrets at me.

In Addition to Being Orphaned, Body-Swapped, & In a Coma, He Better Not Be Adopted, Too.

Da-Ran and Kyungjoon are doing tons of couple things now, like buying linens and dishware for "their" newlywed house. Kyungjoon balks at the (pink!) couples' pajamas Da-Ran buys, but she counters that he won't have to wear them. Later, Kyungjoon sees his mean aunt and uncle throw out all his stuff, his clothes, and his special childhood bed purchased by his mom. Heartbreaking. He panics and runs to get a tarp to save his kiddie bed from the rain. Then he fights the struggle of the ages, dragging the unwieldy bed back to the house by himself, in a downpour.


Da-Ran comforts him when he explains that his uncle threw all his things away. She also proves Kyungjoon's important to her by wrapping him in the comforter she bought for the newlywed house, then she tells him to change out of his miserable wet clothes and into the pajamas she bought for Yoonjae. She goes back out to the car to get her dishes for the newlywed house so she can make him a pot of warm tea and some porridge. The look on his face...

 Crushed With the Tenderness.

Kyungjoon uses Yoonjae's money to buy his OWN house back from his uncle. Bwa-ha! But the house is the last thing he has from his mother, besides the kiddie bed, so Da-Ran forgives him for it. Da-Ran goes along with the new plan and moves her newlywed furniture into Kyungjoon's house. Then Kyungjoon, who has been so eager to make Yoonjae appear as a cheating bad boy, suddenly tries to hide Yoonjae's shady activities and spare Da-Ran's feelings when she finds that Yoonjae has a key to Seyoung's apartment. Too late--somebody's heart's going to get broken soon, and it's probably Da-Ran's.

Things I Loved:

1. Physical Comedy. Gong Yoo's physical humor is pitch perfect. When he's Kyungjoon pretending to be Yoonjae, he even puffs out his chest like he's pretending to be a grownup.

Even Though He IS a Grownup.

I also love how Kyungjoon can't even smile properly in his new body. Even while wearing Yoonjae's face, he cannot make himself look like Yoonjae.

50 Shades of Awkward.

2. Kyungjoon, Hero. A knight in cotton armor, this boy is. He repeatedly saves Da-Ran's honor and keeps her from being slighted by her rival, Seyoung. Gold stars for you, Kyungjoon! Seyoung wants special tea and cookies, he asks? Then she can go home and eat them by herself!

I Want to Hug Him, Dorky Attire and All.

3. Choongshik/Mari. I'm shipping Mari/Choongshik until further notice. Choongshik and Mari are adorbs! They have an excellent meet-cute, even. He climbs a wall to run over to her, which seems like a weak puppy move, but then he goes and writes his phone number on her fancy purse, telling her to call him. He says he'll recoup the cost of the purse by treating her to an equal amount of pizza. Oh, the glorious audacity of it. The purse was high-end, so Mari informs him that he will be paying her back in pizza until the end of time. He's totally cool with that. 

My Preferred Pairing.

3. Suzy! I love this actress/singer. Love, love, love. And her character is such an overbearing nut of a princess. Too much fun.

Does Anyone Do the Look of Cold Disinterest Better Than Suzy?


1. Dumbness. In the early part of episode 3, Da-Ran is acting like an idiot. Even a naturally innocent and unsuspisicous person should catch the anvil-sized hints Seyoung is dropping. Kyungjoon sees her brain-block and tries to break it down: "Gil Teacher, I can see that you can't think like a normal person because you like this guy so much. But he is not the person you think he is." She will not be convinced by any evidence, so I lose a measure of respect for her, though I still love her.

A Lying Fiance? Inconceivable!

2. Formality. It upsets me that Da-Ran calls her own fiance by the honorific "Yoonjae-ssi" while Seyoung calls him the more familiar "Yoonjae-yah". In most other K-dramas where someone called their fiance "ssi," it was an arranged marriage or something really formal and distant. A warning flag, mayhaps?


Childhood/Adulthood. Sweetly annoying Kyungjoon is always dancing back and forth between demanding to be treated like an adult and acting horrified that Da-Ran is treating him like an adult. But really, it's equally awesome to see him in grownup, surprisingly mature mode and in smartypants little kid mode. Cute Kid Mode example: Kyungjoon and Da-Ran get into a big fight. The argument haunts him, and soon we see him adorably squatting and drawing in the dirt, rehearsing his apology.

How Could Anyone Stay Mad At This Preciousness?

Motherly-Family Love: Well know that Kyungjoon misses his mom, so Da-Ran is still partially fulfilling a mom role for him. Da-Ran brings Kyungjoon his school notes, and he's touched that she's thinking about HIS future, not just Yoonjae's. He brags that he's an excellent student and that he promised his mom he'd go to Seoul University. Da-Ran says his mom would be proud of him, which is possibly the best thing anyone could ever say to him, and it's not even calculated on her part. She says she'll help him get into the university he wants. I should be squicked out by the thought of them dating, but I'm not. They may never be a real couple, but they're sweet together, nonetheless.


Bad Dude Yoonjae Is Actually a Good Dude (Or Is He?): My new theory is...Yoonjae's still a puzzle. All the evidence was stacked against him as being a jerk, but now it's stacking the other way, that he's a nice man, then the other way again! I think we've been faked out several times now. I'm still not aboard the Yoonjae ship, and this is why--

My 3 Objections to Yoonjae:

1. He's dull.
2. He's a cheater.
3. He doesn't love Da-Ran.

But these objections may be overridden with time, depending on where the plot goes.

Watch Big here on DramaFever

Episode Evaluations: Big is the best show ever! I'm totally invested, and essentially surprised at every turn. Mari's character was nothing like what I expected, and I was stunned to get flashbacks with Yoonjae...ah, it was all handled so well. The funniness is punctuated with super-touching poignancy, and I just adore the acting all around. Even Da-Ran's extreme naivete seems like an integral part of her personality.

The major turning point of the conflict now is, What's going on with Yoonjae? Inquiring minds want to know! We get a flashback to Yoonjae proposing to Da-Ran like this: "Since I made you miss your teacher's exam, I should take responsibility for your life". Which is not remotely romantic, or even all that thoughtful really. But we get other hints that he was totally smitten with her. Well, which is it? Is Yoonjae a cheater or not? Does he love Da-Ran or not? I guess we won't know until next week. :-)


  1. oh your watching as well...i'm on the verge of giving up this series and sticking to recaps. I can't stand anymore of Da Ran's stupidity.

    1. Oh, Da-Ran's painful to watch, but c'mon. GONG YOO is in this! :-) I can't bypass that.

      I did stop reviewing A Gentleman's Dignity because of a silly heroine/jerk hero combination. I'm still watching it, but not devoting time to writing about it.

      Have you tried Time Slip Dr. Jin? I'm hearing that's pretty crazy. :-)

    2. omg...Dr Jin was hilariously bad. Note to self: when traveling to the past, bring a helmet.

      I love Gong Yoo but not digging his character, you know how I gave up on Jinguk in Dream High when he outed Hyemi about the pendent?

      Well episode 4 when Kyungjoon used his knowledge of Mari to crush her was the end for me.

      I can't stand characters that intentional set out to hurt someone else. At lease Jinguk was well meaning.

    3. I heard that Dr. Jin keeps performing all manner of neurosurgies in the past. Like, people keep succcumbing to brain trauma and he just /happens/ to be near with his magic bag of medical goodness...

      Ah, that's where I'm different. I can handle the Jerk Hero, up to a certain point. Snark and spitefulness are okay, so long as the character is growing away from those traits. I do remember how you felt about Jinguk, over the pendant! :-)

  2. I'm glad Da Ran caught on to everything (or just stopped denying it) by the end of episode four so we could get over ll of that wishywashy back n forth blahdy blahhh. lol. Now, on to funny, sad, sweet, evil!!
    And Suzy... OHHH SUZY!! I'm a bit distracted by her dark hair, but I LOVE her!
    I've been seeing this drama's gifs floating around Tumblr, Buzzer Beat. And it turns out it's a Japanese drama.
    I'm not the biggest fan of Japanese in song, so I don't know if I can handle it spoken, but I think I'll give it a try. Tantalizing gifs here:

    안녕 언니! ^_^"

    1. Oh, those gifs are good! I used to /love/ Japanese manga, but then in the printed form you're only geting the culture, not the language. Really, the only thing keeping me from J-dramas now is not wanting to interfere with my Korean learning by throwing another language into the mix. Otherwise, I'd be there.

    2. I watched Buzzer Beat, its a good film. Its a sports film about two souls who dreams bigger then their talent but through their mutual support of each other they learn to hone their skills and really buckle down and improve. Dream High reminded me a bit of Buzzer Beat, but I have to say Dream High 2 had a similar theme, but wasn't as good.

      Both mains are very down to earth types and doesn't have the usual quirky characteristics.

      I tend to watch drama's from anywhere, more dependent on their plots.

      I recently watch a Thai film called "A crazy thing called love". It was a very popular film when it came out and I can see why. Highly recommended.

    3. That's cool that you have such varied tastes! One of these days, I'm going to branch out into more Japanese, Thai, and Taiwanese stuff. There's even more awesome stuff waiting to be discovered from other countries. :-)

    4. "one of these days" are days that never come. lol.

      I told myself 12 years ago I was going to start a blog "one of these days" and that days still hasn't come.

      If you're going to start on Japanese, Thai and Taiwanese one day, I suggest you give yourself some healing time to recover from the cultural shock and get use to the antics.

      The more popular ones are always the best to start, simply because they actually have something that sold to an audience.

      On a side not, Big is not doing to well in ratings. But then romantic comedy hasn't been done well lately at all. Even King 2 Hearts and Rooftop Prince isn't doing that well.

    5. It's not too late to start that blog! :-)

      It bugs me that Big's not doing better. I'm totally in love with the quirkiness of the setup, and it hasn't bored me yet. King 2 Hearts was a little to heavy for me-- assassinations/paralysis/miscarriage, etc are just hard for me to watch and still enjoy the story.

  3. I'm so confused! lol

    I don't watch any of these but I'm still amused by all your recaps.

  4. I just startd watching this, and so far I reall like it despite all the typical k-drama steretypes (like naive/silly lead girl and jerkish lead guy). So far they've really managed to keep it interesting imo.

    I love Suzie in this, too! I've actually never listened to her music, but I love her as an actress. I keep meaning to give her music a shot then forgetting..

    My theory so far on YoonJae iisss... That he might actually be a good guy, but maybe really like, shy, and kinda dull and nerdy maybe. The feeling I get so far based on the tiny bit of himself in his own body that we got to see and the flashbacks and stuff is that this entire mess is the lady-doctor's fault. I base this theory mainly on two points: His brief reaction to her early on b4 the body-swap, and the fact that (if I'm remembering correcly) he may not have been aware of that key since she sent it over with a bag of tea. Or if he was, we don't know what he planned on doing with it since he's been out of the picture. But I definately reserve the right to change my mind, lol.

    Also, I think it'd be cool if you ever did get into watching and reviewing stuff from other countries. A couple of my fave shows are popular Taiwanese. It'd be fun to see what you thought of them if you ever decided to try that out. :)

    1. P.S. Sorry for typos, my keyboard's acting up. :s

    2. Don't worry about the typos! I get your meaning. :-)

      I'm loving "Big," too--I think the difference between this show and others is the genune humor and the heart--the emotional dimension of the show always seems totally real.

      Suzy's the best. Her character is insane, and she totally commits to that insanity!

      I think you're right about Yoonjae, now. I wanted him to be the bad guy so I could get Kyungjoon/DaRan, but really it looks like that whole cheating thing was entirely one-sided on Seyoung's part and that Yoonjae was waffling about the wedding for other reasons. Yep, until further notice, we should probably just label him as a shy, awkward guy with some secrets.

      If I ever make the plunge on Taiwanese dramas, I'll ask you for your recommendations! :-)