Monday, November 26, 2012

Drama Review: KBS Nice Guy

There's no such thing as nice guys in this world. Believe it or not, that's the official full name of this KBS drama, Nice Guy. It stars the fantastic Song Joong-ki as Kang Ma-ru who uses Seo Eun-gi (Moon Chae-won) to get back on his former love, Han Jae-hee (Park Si-yeon). A twisted tail of ill-fated love, greed, and what evils money (or the idea what it will get you) brings all of our characters into this tormenting but very fun roller coaster ride. (Includes SPOILERS)

I have to be honest with you, I did get into this drama largely because of the actors. Hot men, beautiful ladies. That's how they get ya. But I was a bit careful in approaching this drama, as I do with everything else really. Especially since, you know. And I didn't put my hopes as high as the ceiling because of a certain other drama I watched because of the actors.

Luckily for me, and you too, this drama is great.

(I'm going to skip straight to my reviews. If you feel like you need more on the story, click here to the DramaWiki page or head on over here where the Dramabeans ladies recaps every single episode, fabulously as always.)

I started watching this drama when it was four weeks in. I knew it was a tight plot type of drama and I know not to put myself in the chair of agony just waiting to find out what will happen in the next video. But alas one of my friends told me it was a great, great show and I just had to watch it, no matter how sucky it feels to wait for next weeks episode. I guess I have to experience drama watching just like everyone else.

But then I stopped at episode 18 because goodness gracious I don't want the characters to die. And writer Lee Kyung-hee did have a history of killing off not just one, but all the main characters (of which I'm told). And for the love of all that is cute I do not want to witness the death, albeit fictional, death of Song Joong-ki because you know he is damn fine. And because Ma-ru isn't that bad of a guy, I guess. Just a nice guy with heaps of bad luck.

Thankfully Ma-ru, or anyone else really, didn't die. So I could save myself weeks of heartache. Everyone kind of lived happily ever after. At least they're not stuck in a revolving door of doom of which they can't get themselves out. They escaped their little hallucinations and ended up being well just ordinary people. Is that what corporate world can do to you?

What Nice Guy had that many melodramas out there don't have is tight, gut-wrenching, heart-thumping, mind-boggling story line. But a different kind of tight plot. While our characters strive for the top, they still remain pretty grounded. Not a single character did what they did with pure evil intentions. And thus basically you spend a majority of the drama sorting out who is good and who is bad. But the reality is, just like what we have in this world, no one is evil just because they're evil. People do bad things because of a reason and thankfully for this drama, each of their reasons are very humane. Whether it's greed or guilt or shame, they're all feelings and intentions we know in real life. It's just that these characters play in the playground of the corporate world in the land of K-dramas.

What's amazing about this particular drama is the fact that each and every one of the characters had a purpose in the story line. No one was thrown in just for the sake of it. Even the ones that only showed face for tiny bits a time provided an added layer to the plot. Of course the longer you are on screen, the more you add to the story. And our three main characters are the most colorful of them all.

And full credits should be given to the actors. If anyone else were given these characters, I'm not sure I would've liked it just as much. Our main leads, Song, Moon, and Park, are just absolutely amazing. I knew that they have what it takes but I didn't know that they would take it to where it is now. I wouldn't be surprised if later at the KBS Drama Awards this drama would nab multiple awards. Or at least one. Maybe for Song because come on now, he was amazing. Although he has a bit of competition, like Joo Won of Bridal Mask perhaps? Should I watch that drama too? Although I heard some characters die so I don't know if I want to go through that kind of heartbreak. Anyways, I digress. Yes, Song Joong-ki for Best Actor. You will get my vote. Or maybe you can finally get that Couples Award with an actress this time. Although you know deep down Geollim is still my OTP.

Our main characters are very different but their learning curve is similar. Each one is their very own person but they morphed into different forms throughout the story. Everyone starts out good, of course they do, and to me they all ended somewhere near there too. It was very weird, somewhat useless when you basically make a character start and end in the same place, but life is all about learning. And these characters need to know that the right place is simple and honest. Taesan provided the place for our characters to learn. It is odd that it suddenly disappears by the end of the drama with none of the characters mentioning anything about it anymore. So much fighting for father's words, eh Eun-gi? Maybe she did take care of it within the seven years we didn't know about and end up supporting Ma-ru once it's back, but you know, a little shout out might be nice.

I did feel that the last episode was wrapped up somewhat abruptly. Maybe the extra two episodes might do them good. Maybe not. But I did feel like there were many unanswered questions. Aside from the whole Taesan business. How did Ahn Min-young (Kim Tae-hoon) end up turning himself in? Was it on his own will or by Jae-hee's force? How did Eun-gi react to Ma-ru's memory loss? Did Ma-ru end up regaining his memory back? Or was it like an instinct, similar to Eun-gi with Ma-ru? What did Park Joon-ha (Lee Sang-yeob) do once he regained consciousness?

But for some reasons I do feel like these questions are supposed to remain unanswered. What fun is it to have all the answers wrapped up into a neat little bow? It'd be nice, but I'm glad this left for some open interpretations. Although resorting to time jump makes them a bit of a wimp but you know what, since the rest of the drama is great I'll be a little nice. As for the happiness of Ma-ru and Eun-gi? I think they got it, right at the final minutes of the show. The couple rings Ma-ru handed off to Eun-gi and their happy, lightweight smiles should give away Ma-ru's last wish coming true. Just a simple, ordinary love story with the woman he truly loves the most.

Another hats off I would like to give to whoever is in charge of the cinematography. They sure know how to make the viewers fall into a certain mood. Especially loneliness. I guess it's not a secret anymore to anyone out there that creating lots of space around a character can make it seem like the character is lonely. But you know what, this drama pulled it off swimmingly. And it's not a bad thing that they have beautiful locations to become the back drop of their twisted tale. The fashion of each character also fit each of their situation and development, playing off colors and cuts very nicely. Also, I give credit to the actors who are willing to cut their hair for the 7 year time jump. It may not be a big deal, but the producer's (or whoever) convincing most of the actors was a job well done. It made the characters more mature, or immature for Eun-gi, and made the time jump feel real.

Of course nothing could be perfect and this drama wasn't an exception. The product placement did sometimes make the watching experience a bit annoying. I mean, it will keep on telling you that Samsung Galaxy is sponsoring this drama. They're not afraid to show it blatantly and in your face. I knew that Korean dramas have always had product placements. How on earth would they fund the project in the first place? But there are times when this drama spends those extra few seconds to show us how the product works, especially you Samsung, when they could've used it for some other meaningful story line. I thought those netizens are pesky as always but this time I have to agree.

If you're like me and hate overly dramatic story lines but would like to watch a melodrama without wanting to smash your screens, this drama is for you. It's a fun ride full of twists and turns which I'd love if other dramas went on this road. And you know the eye-candy isn't that bad.

A little bonus, Song Joong-ki's much talked single for the drama, 'Really'. All I could say is, Song Joong-ki, just stay being an actor, okay?

Final Verdict: 8/10

Photo credits: Nice Guy Official Website

Personal note: how crazy is it that I finally made a full mini-series review? I know, I've been saying I wanted to write the review of Trees with Deep Roots but you know what, that's out of the picture now. It's been months since I've finished watching that show and I can't really say that much anymore about it. Please, anyone, remind me to make these reviews because I do like it. It's just that a lot of times I tend to forget and put it off. If you'd like me to write any particular reviews, please let me know. Of course if I hadn't watched it I have to first but suggestions would be nice anyways.


  1. Thank you very much for your review of Nice Guy!!! This review is one of the best for me reviews of Nice Guy I have read so far (and believe I have read a lot since is one of my favorite k-drama if not my favorite until now of course). I really do not mind about the unanswered questions, we can imagine what has happened amd as you have already said it left some open interpretations probably on perpuse. Also is one of the few k-dramas in my opinion that as you said people do bad things due to humane reasons (without meaning that I agree with their options and actions, but at least you can sympathize them and understand them).
    All in all, I agree with everything that you have written. Thank you again for sharing this review :)

    1. Aw shucks that's such a high praise, I don't know how to respond *blush* I actually didn't think my review was any good so I'm so happy you enjoyed it :)

      This really was some drama. It was such a good ride. And while you don't really get any life lessons from it, the performance and pacing especially was worth it. One of the best paced dramas I've seen that deals with crazy plots like this. Although I might be wrong since I don't watch an extortionate amount of dramas in my lifetime.