Drama Review: Tomato

Credit: doramax264.com

Credit: doramax264.com

The plotline

Initially I was drawn towards the plot because it breathed an air of freshness into the rich man-poor woman (replete with a bitchy second lead), formulaic kdrama setting:

An incisive development of love and achievements in young people. A drama on the conflicts and love of two characters working in the shoe business. Ha-ni used to work at a department store but then she applies for a design certificate and becomes a shoe designer. By chance, she gets acquainted with Seung-jun, the son of the chairman at her company and subtle conflicts with her frenemy Se-ra arise. Sae-ra approaches Seung-jun for her ambitions but success and love all come to Ha-ni.

[Credit: doramax264.com]

My thoughts on the series

I’m inexplicably biased towards kdramas (and shows in general) from the nineties, and so I began watching the drama with high expectations. The first few episodes were light-hearted, very 90s and trendy. From the get-go, Se-ra’s character – cunning, complicated and calculating – was the most appealing of the lot. Ha-ni is your average kdrama Candy: kind, guileless and ever well-meaning; nonetheless, misfortune never seems to leave her alone.

Oh.the.chemistry!

Oh.the.chemistry! Credit: hancinema.net

It’s a shame that there was almost zero character and romantic development as the series progressed. Every episode seemed repetitive and worn-out, especially after episode 7 / 8. Don’t get me started on the endless trail of failures. Oh puh-leez, even an idiot could do better. I remember thinking for the umpteenth time, this is it! Perhaps Ha-ni will finally succeed in something. Or, at least the guy will muster the guts to speak up (I’m not specifically referring to his feelings. I just never saw him own up, despite him being “righteous” and all)… or, give Ha-ni a back-hug… or, at the very least, wrist-grab her? Nope. Mr Hopeless Lawyer was frustrating to watch till the very end.

Even the last episode appeared to head nowhere… it seemed as though the series needed 10 more episodes to wrap up. And it did, except that it settled for a very rushed and dubious ending instead, which I did NOT buy. The writer concocts a massive concoction of WTFery and, out-of-the-blue, expects us to believe that all is well, no hard feelings? Riiiight.

Tomato_08[15-53-45]Acting-wise, the second leads were consistent and did a good job throughout. Both characters were layered and complex: Se-ra was detestably duplicitous and Ki-Joon was a-mysterious-weirdo-in-lurrrve. While the female lead was cute and likable, I hated how utterly clueless she was (most of the time). The male lead is a limited actor, in my opinion. I couldn’t warm up to him. He was so spineless and unmanly that he can’t even be termed a “noble idiot”. Oh, and except the second leads, every other character seemed unbelievably childish and caricature-like.

photo18345

Credit: hancinema.net

As for the whimsical title, it hints towards the fact that the leads grew closer together through caring for tomato plants. Uhhh, it still sounds weird. After all, how many kdrama titles out there are well thought-out and / or appropriate?

My verdict

Nothing ground-breaking or distantly memorable. Overall, a disappointing series.

Rating: 5/10

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Second Impression: It’s Okay, That’s Love

Mian-hae! I’ve been in a state of torpor during the last two weeks. Time for updates…

It’s been a while since I’ve dropped It’s Okay, That’s Love. Despite liking the premier episodes, episode 3 gave me the notion that the show was trying too hard to be fresh, blithe and modern (a.k.a immoral) – just that it got on my nerves instead. I struggled to finish the episode, by the end of which it became clear that the central theme of the drama had shifted from mental illness (the main reason I was looking forward to the show) to will-they-won’t-they-go-to-bed? – thus rendering the show cringe-worthy and pretty much unwatchable for me.

No sense of morals let alone Faith, materialism in full glory, wanton / unnecessary skinship, fan-service outweighing the actual storyline, hackneyed plot elements and lack of originality are some phrases that can be used to describe recent kdramas. What bothers me is that most of the audience is totally cool about them. Aigoo, the world has become so ugly.

After being disappointed by a number of dramas that I’ve picked up over the last few months, I’ve reverted to watching a couple of old dramas for the time being. I treasure old-fashioned, Islamic values such as chastity and no-sex-before-marriage a whole lot, which is why I can’t help but wistfully wonder: whatever happened to the golden, good ol’ concept of “platonic love”?

First Impression: It’s Okay, That’s Love

It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014) tells the story of Ji Hae-Soo (played by Gong Hyo Jin), a sassy psychiatrist, and Jang Jae-Yeol (played by Zo In Sung), a naughty mystery writer and radio DJ. Read more about the synopsis and cast here.

It's Okay, That's LoveI was initially disappointed by its plagiarized teasers, but I’m happy to report that, minus the night club / bikini club scenes, the show is a pleasant mix of psychological and rom-com. I love that it is quirky, feel-good, witty and original. Consistency in the rom-com genre is a rare find but I sure hope the drama stays this way. Be sure to check this kdrama out. It promises to provide you with insights on mental illness! And love~!