K-Drama Review : Big

 

 

This drama review is not spoiler free.

One night, my boyfriend is in the other room playing video games, while I’m browsing Korean dramas on Hulu in the other room. In the face of all these great looking shows, I have a HORRIBLE time deciding which one to watch. I finally narrowed it down to two, Big and Marry Him if You Dare. Unable to decide, I made my boyfriend pick one based on the title. Happily enough, he picked Big. Little did he know that he would walk in when I was on the second episode and get glued to the show too!

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Gil Da Ran and Gyung Joon meeting for the first time.

Let me tell you, the Hong Sisters never disappoint in writing an original, heartwarming story. And though we both absolutely loved this soul-switching romantic comedy so much (I’m even listening to the OST while writing this), we did feel that the ending fell a bit short. That being said, when the show was finished, I went back and played the first episode over again for my boyfriend to see for the first time, and I’m literally certain that I could have watched the whole series all over again! It is really that good.

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Da Ran literally falling for Yoon Jae.

Big focuses on teacher Gil Da Ran, a thoughtful, attractive young teacher who hopelessly (and quite literally) falls for Doctor Seo Yoon Jae. And though these two have a fairy tale meeting, their relationship and forthcoming wedding is lacking. With so little time together, Gil Da Ran is uncertain that chronically busy Seo Yoon Jae even loves her. Contemplating their love on the bus one morning, Gil Da Ran runs into new transfer student Kang Gyung Joon, who is everything that Seo Yoon Jae is not—passionate, mischievous, and open. Before she knows it, Kang Gyung Joon is turning her world upside down—making her think and laugh, taking her away on his motorcycle and forcing a confrontation between her and Yoon Jae by leaving Da Ran in the middle of nowhere without a ride.

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Gyun Joon leaves Da Ran in the middle of nowhere, forcing Yoon Jae to come pick her up.

But Da Ran would never know the answer to whether or not Yoon Jae truly loved her because as Gyung Joon leaves, Yoon Jae races toward a stranded Da Ran. Unfortunately, Yoon Jae would never reach his destination. Caught in accident, Gyung Joon and Yoon Jae hurtle off a cliff. Unable to swim to the surface, Yoon Jae risks his life to save Gyung Joon. Little did he know that instead of sacrificing his life, he would actually give his body.

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Yoon Jae and Gyung Joon’s car accident.

When Da Ran rushes to the hospital with the news that her fiance Yoon Jae is dead and collapses in the hall crying, she is stunned to see him appear in front of her, wearing nothing but a towel. She gets only more shocked when she learns that it is actually Gyung Joon wearing Yoon Jae’s body. The two have switched places, leaving Yoon Jae residing in Gyung Joon’s body, which is currently in a coma.

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Devastated, Da Ran has no idea what to do. Gyung Joon is even more shocked and runs to his house. Before long, the two decide that there is nothing for Gyung Joon to do but pretend to be Yoon Jae. Later, hilarity will ensue for this reason. But believing Gyung Joon to be in a coma, his aunt and uncle decide to sell his house. Out of desperation to save the house that his late mother bought for him before she died, Gyung Joon uses Yoon Jae’s money to buy the house, leaving Da Ran with no money for their newlywed home.

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Da Ran finds herself questioning whether it’s really Gyung Joon she loves, and not Yoon Jae.

The two end up living together and Da Ran finds herself with an understandable mix of emotions—does she love Yoon Jae or is she developing feelings for Gyung Joon who is in Yoon Jae? At first, she simply can’t handle that the latter might be happening. It is Gyung Joon who realizes that he has feelings for Da Ran first. Though she is able to laugh off his feelings in the beginning, Da Ran finds the lines between her liking Yoon Jae and having feelings for Gyung Joon blurring more and more all of the time. To complicate matters, Jang Ma Ri, a girl that desperately loves Gyung Joon shows up in Korea, and soon discovers the truth of the switch up. Ma Ri then makes Da Ran swear that when Gyung Joon switches back into his own body, she will not hold onto him and let Ma Ri have him for herself.

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Da Ran promises Ma Ri that she will let Gyung Joon go when he returns to his original body.

At this point, I found myself super conflicted. I definitely shipped Da Ran and Gyung Joon, but how impressive is it that Ma Ri figured out that Gyung Joon was in Yoon Jae’s body on her own? She picked up on his mannerisms, likes and dislikes, and put it together! That is some serious love and dedication right there. Plus, Ma Ri is played very charmingly and sympathetically by Bae Suzy.

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These two have SO much chemistry.

But even though I couldn’t help but root for Ma Ri a little, I couldn’t help but LOVE the forbidden romance of Yoon Jae and Gyung Joon. I didn’t care that Gyung Joon was much younger than Da Ran. The truth is that the chemistry between these characters is explosive and unable to be ignored—even when Gyung Joon is in his own body at the beginning of the show. They just connect and make each other feel things that no one else does.

My only complaint about their unique romance (and the entire show), revolves around the ending. When Gyung Joon, in Yoon Jae’s sick body goes away for a year, Ma Ri writes Da Ran and tells her that the two have switched back to their rightful bodies. But instead of keeping with the overall theme of the drama, which states that love is between souls and not bodies, Gyung Joon magically appears again in front of her not in his own body, but in Yoon Jae’s.*

WHAT?!

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Gyung Joon reappearing under their umbrella at the end.

Sure, it’s sweet how he appears under the umbrella—just like in the very first meeting between the Da Ran and Gyung Joon—but that cuteness doesn’t make up for the fact that the Hong Sisters and the drama took the easy way out and kept Gyung Joon in Yoon Jae’s older body because it was more socially acceptable from an age standpoint. It simply isn’t as acceptable for an older woman to date a younger man. But to show that the two truly loved and accepted each other for what was inside—you know, just the ENTIRE point of the show—Gyung Joon should have appeared in his own, original body, but with the appearance of being older.

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After all, there were two separate one-year-time-skips in the series, so it shouldn’t have even been a legality factor. And even if it were, it shouldn’t have mattered in a series that is based around the fact that true love transcends all things and incorporates magical things like soul-swapping. Sigh.

Putting my major disappointment in the culmination of the romance and themes of the show, the ending left even more to be desired in the form of tons of nagging questions with no answers! For instance, we know that Yoon Jae’s body is sick and needed the stem cells from Gyung Joon’s body in order to live. Did he or did he not get the surgery? Is he going to live, if he didn’t? Is Yoon Jae’s spirit still in limbo/sleeping inside Gyung Joon’s body? If it is, how do Da Ran and Gyung Joon not feel guilty for leaving him like that when they know how to switch the souls back to their rightful place? And those are just a few of the questions I was left with.

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Though the ending left something of a Big hole, I’d still say it’s ultimately one of the best dramas I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It was also very addicting. I’d definitely recommend it to any one looking for a romantic comedy with a side of supernatural. 

*Author’s Note: Since writing this, I read a fan theory on tumblr that explained that Yoon Jae and Gyung Joon are actually twins. So when Gyung Joon appears in front of Da Ran at the end, he’s actually in his own grown up body (which just happens to look exactly like the body of his twin, Yoon Jae’s). Ohhhh. This makes more sense to me now, but I still found it super jarring and confusing and wish they would have use Gyung Joon’s younger body and just made him look older. Plus, it just plain sucks that I had to read fan theories in order to wrap my head around the ending.

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Posted November 17, 2015 in K-Dramas, Watch

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