Saturday, May 23, 2015

Drama Review: The Girl Who Sees Smells

This drama took over my life the past 2 months. Okay, that may be an exaggeration. But I have a feeling this drama might be one of the more memorable dramas of the year, at least in the couples category. And for all the stupidity happening in the drama, The Girl Who Sees Smells moved my heart just a tad more than I'm personally comfortable of dealing with.

As basically any drama that I have watched this year, The Girl Who Sees Smells is a drama I have no clue what it would be about. The concept was kind of vague and weird: a girl and a boy meets by (the dreaded) fate due to a murder in their past. The odd thing is now the girl has super senses in her ability to see smells, hence the title, and the boy is one without any senses at all. I kind of laughed at the concept because it was just ridiculous. But my interest was piqued due to probably one of the best promo posters of the year so far. Not only were the leads absolutely gorgeous in it, it was just so whimsical in a way that many posters haven't been recently. Also, during the first week, a lot of the bloggers and fellow drama watchers seems to have positive feedback on it, so of course I decided to try. And boy, was I hooked.

I think when discussing this drama there's two very different aspects which needs to be dealt with which are the murder case file and the lovely couple story. Since I like to start with bad news first, let's dive in to the murder mystery. As a person who doesn't enjoy the mystery/detective genre, I'm not aware of the usual tropes that are often used. I couldn't see the perpetrator's plans two steps ahead like many of you have been able to do or guess where a case would go. Heck, I don't even know enough about law to point out the little mistakes filmmakers often make in these genres. But even for a clueless person like me, I could tell how stupid the cops were. They were making unnecessary action or involve themselves in stupid mistakes over and over again. To say the mystery aspect failed big time is an understatement.

Thankfully, Mugak (Park Yoo-chun) and Chorim (Shin Se-kyung) are the cutest couple ever and the little bits they have in the show saves all the crap the drama decides to throw at us. It's a miracle what they were able to do. Even until the end, I never felt like I was heavily disappointed in the show despite it clearly doing so. All because of these two. I looked back at previous episodes and they were only on together for about 10 minutes per episode. Those 10 minutes mask 50 minutes of bad television. This proves just how wonderful they are. Once the giggles start, they don't fade away it seems.

And since I like to talk about the positives, let's talk about why the Murim couple works. For one thing, fate didn't play a heavy hand on their relationship. Sure these two meeting in the first place or having a connection in the past is considered fate. But it is in no way a factor into their relationship as lovers. They met as friends and developed feelings for each other by spending time together and getting to know one another, like normal people. They also have a positive relationship from the start. I don't know about you, but I hate the haters to lovers trope. It's frustrating and sends a bad message. Mugak and Chorim have zero negativity in their relationship. They are supportive and loving, all the qualities of an actually good relationship. It's not the most complex relationship ever portrayed, but sometimes all we need is simplicity and cuteness, two people falling in love because of each other and have each other's back no matter what happens. We don't need lying, manipulative, or hateful individuals. We need love, and these two have it plenty.

I don't think none of this can work without the two actors just being the best that they could be. I usually like one half of a couple better than the other, but for these two, I love them just the same. Park Yoo-chun has been hitting it out of the ballpark with his last two performances, here and in Haemoo. He has a lot of charm as an individual, but now his acting experience just adds on to the love. Shin Se-kyung was just perfect as the bright Chorim. I would love it if she continues doing romcoms more often, rather than going the melo route which she has been doing for years. The character herself was peppy without being fake, and I think Shin was a big factor in that. I love it when a female character is bubbly without being a Candy, and Chorim with the help of Shin is that exact character.

And while I love these two separately, they really are the best when they're together figuring out each other and their relationship, and in general being all cute. The writer sure knows how to write a loving couple. It's really the little things that matter, like Mugak going straight to Chorim's side whenever new nightmarish memories come back or Chorim's pure happiness when Mugak slowly begins to feel again. Their chemistry is amazing and was there from episode one. I've never really felt strong chemistry with these two actors in the previous roles that they portrayed, but if they haven't had the spark in the past, I'm so glad they brought it out for this drama.

Another thing I love about the couple is the fact that the love is just between them. We have second leads alright, but they were there for the mystery case. When the OTP is cute and lovely together, there's only these two. No other potential lovers to dampen the mood. I think it's the biggest reason they worked, outside of being just lovely characters and a lovely couple.

Speaking of second leads, I did think they were on the interesting end of the scale. I liked that they have a good purpose in the drama and weren't wasted and thrown into the mix as wishy-washy first loves that weren't meant to be or jealous individuals whose only purpose is to destroy the main couple. They gave a stupid mystery plot an added depth which was necessary because the cops, while funny, were utterly dim. Yoon Jin-seo, who played the awesome Yeom Mi, came out as the most badass character of the drama. She was cool and collected, yet showed vulnerability when it came time to do so. This is the drama that didn't leave any girl a damsel in distress, and Lieutenant Yeom is the leader of that group.

Namgoong Min's performance on the other hand is either love or hate. Maybe because I've had the honor of seeing amazingly intricate performances of complicated villains (be it on film or in dramas), his Chef Kwon was lacking on so many levels. Not because Chef Kwon was a bad character; he was probably the most interesting in the murder case. But I thought Namgoong didn't quite get to the level I want Chef Kwon to be. I suppose considering his limited acting ability, the role of a psychopath whose whole emotional repertoire was fully rehearsed is the perfect role for him. But there were moments where I thought it could've been better. All the scenes where Chef Kwon showed his little bits of humanity left me hanging, mostly because Namgoong only had two modes for Chef Kwon: fake smiley and I need to go the the loo am going to kill you. All I could think of is if a better actor would've played him, someone like Yoo Yeon-seok (who has the ability of going innocent and smiley to deep dark evil), Chef Kwon wouldn't just be interesting on the pages. That being said, I liked him more here as a character I want to punch the living daylights out of because he's bad than some vague second lead lover I'm supposed to love/hate. I mean in both cases I want to punch them anyways, but I guess in here there's justification.

Alas, despite my great love for the OTP, who were the only reason I was able to plow through this drama, The Girl Who Sees Smells unfortunately falls into the underwhelming category. I wished the writer consulted a knowledgeable source, or at least a writer with experience of writing good mysteries. I wished they focused more on the couple, but that would probably mean adding unnecessary angst into the most lovely couple of the year (so far). I wished Mugak and Chorim had more comedy sketch scenes, because Yoo-chun is hilarious and Se-kyung gives great responses. I wished there were more Park Jin-joo because she is awesome (and I hope we will get to see more of her soon). I wished the series ended with half an hour of these two being all cute together, but I knew that wasn't going to happen (my ceremonial dance didn't pan out the way I wanted to). There were so much potential, but like many dramas prior to this, and I'm sure many more will come in the future, it came out short. But on the upside, in years to come, I probably couldn't care less about the Bar Code Murder, but my affinity for the Murim couple is going to be difficult to fade away.

No comments:

Post a Comment