Well, thanks to that album, I’m now on a Jaejoong high. Gotta keep it rollin’ so let’s talk about him some more! *happy dance* I thought I’d do that with another one of my guilty pleasures, Triangle, a melodrama with the reunion of three vastly different brothers.
This was airing at the same time as Doctor Stranger, but I didn’t watch it until much later (when I fell into the abyss that is Jaejoong’s fandom). Doctor Stranger is undeniably more popular, for both good reasons (acting) and bad reasons (plot), but I honestly believe Triangle is far better as a whole, despite my issues with it. We can get to that in a second.
But first, I must note that after the picture below, there will be ~spoilers~, so continue at your own risk. Let JJ’s
sexy scary smolder be your final warning. If you haven’t seen the drama, I do think it’s worth checking out (as long as you have killer patience), so watch it first and then come on back. 🙂
Unlike in Jaejoong’s album review, here I can promise you that I won’t be completely biased. I love Jaejoong to bits, but even that didn’t stop me from cringing a good number of times in his older projects. He wasn’t terrible—I actually think he started out with a lot of raw talent. But I felt like he was shying away from his characters; he never fully embodied a role, therefore making it obvious to me as a viewer that it was just Kim Jaejoong acting. Then, out of freaking nowhere, he decided to come strutting into Triangle, and I had the biggest What the huh?? moment. That cocky little bastard walking into frame wasn’t Jaejoong. It was Heo Young Dal.
I recall Jaejoong playing a similar misunderstood bad boy type waaaaay back in the day when DB5K did their little drama Dating on Earth. (His Rising Sun hair though… God, help me.) Watching that, I would be thinking, “Oh, look at Joongie trying to act all tough. It’s so cute.” Whereas his introduction in Triangle had me thinking, “Jeez, this Young Dal guy is a total player.” That right there already says a lot. Oppa’s definitely come a long way. I don’t know what happened in this drama, but something gave him that extra push he needed to go from Idol Actor to straight-up Actor. It could just be my love for him talking, but I truly believe that. He blew me away.
So, yes, the acting was damn near perfect for me. Now, on to the meat of the story.
Like I said, this drama requires all the patience you can muster, and since I have little to none, finishing this drama was a teeny bit of a chore. I think I finally finished it after watching it on and off again for about three to four months. Mhm…it’s a struggle bus. But I pushed through. Not only for Young Dal, but for all of the brothers. Reunion stories are one of the best out there. Not just in dramas—I will say that I’m one of those people who loves watching military family reunions or long-lost twin reunions on YouTube. I find stuff like that priceless.
So to have an entire drama resting on this huge reunion was like perfection gift-wrapped just for me. The anticipation for these brothers to discover their true relation was so intense that I practically flew through the first half of the drama (before things got wonky). And, of course, they had to wring even more tears out of me by having the boys around each other all the time, basically hurting or hating each other, without knowing any better. That’s the kind of angst I just eat up.
But this is a guilty pleasure for a reason and that’s because I constantly get the feeling that no one else really likes it. I’ve noticed in Viki comments and AsianWiki comments that they think it’s too boring. But here’s the thing. Just because a drama is slow doesn’t always mean it’s boring. I like that the drama took it’s time to fully flesh out the main characters and let us get to know them better. That way, when shit really did hit the fan, we cared. There were times when I got way too frustrated with a character (*cough cough* Yang Ha), but in the end, I just wanted them all to get out of the hellhole they were in and to find each other again. Not simply as friends or enemies, but as brothers.
And yes, this bromance was what made the drama. Those three held it together, which I guess is where the title comes from. The trio had sizzling chemistry whether they were fighting crime together, beating the shit out of each other, or just talking about the weather. However, the ending just…why? Why?! I felt like there was absolutely no pay off after all we’d been through. When Young Dal and oldest brother Dong Soo (Lee Beom Soo) reunited around the middle of the series, it was like BAM. Tears, tears, ugly crying sounds galore. It was worth it.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy with little bro Yang Ha since, frankly speaking, he was a total dick, but I thought all that buildup would lead somewhere like it did with the first two bros. But Yang Ha just DIES? He freaking DIES? Before all three of them could really make up? What kind of bullshit is that? I mean, I know they had a touching moment right before he passed, but it just felt so rushed and forced. It was as if the writers were saying the only way for them to have that brotherly moment was to kill him off. Well, writers… I respectfully disagree, dammit!
What makes it even worse is that the death could’ve totally been prevented! But for what I can only guess was for the sake of dramatic effect, the characters suddenly decided to stop being smart. The bros didn’t even try to call a freaking ambulance, for God’s sake.
Seriously. His death felt so out of place that I couldn’t even cry for him. His brothers’ sobs as he breathed his last words were heartbreaking, but I just sat there in utter shock, feeling beyond pissed. I kept my hopes up that (like in most dramas) it was a psych-out and that he would miraculously show up alive and well in the very end. But, no. The writers actually thought that after first taking their father, THEN their mother away from these boys, they might as well get rid of their dongsaeng too. -__-
Despite my belief that he had the worst character ending EVER, I have to give it to Im Siwon. He was pretty damn good at making me angry with Yang Ha throughout the entire series (No lie; every time he popped up on screen, I would scowl). There were times when I really pitied him, but he just kept giving me reasons to go back to hating him. Eh… maybe hate is too strong a word. It was more just me wanting to shake him and scream in his face, “LISTEN TO YOUR HYUNGS, YOU BRAT.”
But, for real, I can never watch the last episode ever again because it angers me so much that they spent the ENTIRE DRAMA fighting and they only had that ONE moment. No. No, Triangle. That ain’t cool. You had 26 episodes to do it right, so there’s no excuse. You could’ve used all that time spent brooding and glaring from across the room to GET THEM TO RECONCILE. *takes deep breath* It’s just a drama, Sara. It’s just a drama… BUT, STILL—
Okay… Okay… I’m calm.
Let’s move on to a happier topic, shall we?
Ah, the romance, yesss. GOD, how I love the romance. It wasn’t the center of the drama, of course, but whenever it turned to the OTP Dalhee, I was legit squealing. With Young Dal having his tough front up all the time, seeing him squirm and giggle like a school girl in front of Jung Hee (Baek Jin Hee) was the cutest f*cking thing. Because the drama was so focused on the brothers, I felt like the writers handled the romance perfectly (at least they did that perfectly), not adding any useless drama. Sure, they had their down moments, but the way they worked through them was refreshingly mature and rational. When he’s a noble idiot, I can understand him. And I know it’ll be okay because Jung Hee won’t have it.
Some might say her character is underdeveloped, but in truth, she’s a very realistic character. She may seem forgettable because she’s a little subdued most of the time, but the greatest things come from subtleties, in my opinion. She’s like a quietly strong female character, which I find quite relatable. Not every girl out there is as loud and spunky as say, Chae Young Shin or Oh Ri Jin. And that’s okay. Girl power can be shown in different ways.
The best thing about her is that every single time Young Dal tries to keep her safe by pushing her away, she’s just like, “Ha. Yeah, no.”
One of my favorite scenes out of the whole drama is when she visits him in prison and he tells her to forget a scumbag like him. She’s understandably upset and explains to him that Yang Ha pretty much told her the same thing, that Young Dal was worthless. But, she insists that she doesn’t look at that kind of stuff when it comes to love. All that mattered to her was if the guy was handsome, nice and made her heart flutter. Now that’s my kind of girl. She’s well-aware that she likes him and that he likes her, and she’s not going to let anything or anyone get in the way of that. Not even Young Dal.
I really knew this couple was special when I realized how excited I got over them hugging for the first time. I distinctly remember when I first watched that scene and (over)reacting to it as if it was a kiss scene. The fact that it looked like he just wanted to melt into her arms made ME melt. I don’t know—it was just a good lookin’ hug. It looked genuine, and not the least bit awkward. I hate the kind of onscreen hugs that look as if the actors are uncomfortable; it brings me out of the moment. Every little intimate moment of theirs was just so precious. And when they finally did kiss… Oy, don’t even get me started. It took a good while to get there (20 episodes to be exact), but it sure did feel like a reward.
The way he just appeared behind her with the music swelling up…Phew. My heart did a little tap dance in my chest. And I love that it wasn’t some dramatic grabbing of the wrist, whirling her around and plantin’ one on her. Instead, it started out with a loving look, a hug…and then a nice, gentle kiss. And another. And another. So swoony.
The only part of the romance that annoyed me was whenever little bro tried to step in and woo Jung Hee. The two actors had decent chemistry, but seeing them together just gave me a brother-sister vibe. It felt like she merely felt sorry for him and wanted to help him. Sadly, he interpreted that as romantic love and started acting extremely pushy. Oh, and we can’t forget that he actually put Young Dal in freaking jail just to get him out of the way… so he could have a better chance at winning Jung Hee’s heart. Um… that’s not how you win a girl over, dude. Take some pointers from the Viki comment below.
There are numerous other details in the drama that annoyed me, one of them being that a lot of characters felt pretty useless. When I rewatch the show, it’s become a reflex to just skip their scenes entirely. Two major ones include Dong Soo’s love interest Hwang Shin Hye and mob boss Go Bok Tae. I kid you not; the only purpose Shin Hye served was to find out all the secrets and reveal them, while Bok Tae’s was to sit in a chair all day and maybe smash his desk a few times with his golf club. Plus the actor for Bok Tae seemed terribly miscast. He was very sympathetic in I Hear Your Voice and pretty darn funny in Modern Farmer, but I really don’t think these kind of roles fit him. If I’m laughing while he’s trying to be scary or angry, you know something’s wrong.
The thing about this drama though, is that for every wrong, there seems to be a right. And I do thank the character of Bok Tae for giving Young Dal the chance to realize he deserved better than working under the likes of that skunkhead. Take the scene where he beat Bok Tae after finding out Dong Soo was his real hyung. Right there, a switch in him went off. He wasn’t Bok Tae’s loyal dog anymore. He became an independent man defending his family. Such a huge change from the Young Dal we first saw in Episode 1, running off in his little red boxers. *snickers*
Even with the laundry list of problems I have with Triangle, Young Dal’s journey from wandering gambler to successful businessman was one of the most satisfying drama plotlines I’ve seen, so mad props for that. When I look back, the drama really had a lot going for it, what with the identity search, the bromance, and the romance. But all of that was ruined by the last few episodes. And I honestly think the extension is to blame. Things just got way too repetitive and ridiculous, making all the other tiny issues I had appear more prominent. 24 episodes was already a lot, so dragging it out to 26 wasn’t really the best idea….
So, my overall verdict? For my personal rating, you would get three out of five stars, Triangle. But because I luff you so damn much, I’m giving you an extra star. After all, you did get me past my post-Pinocchio depression. You should feel special.