I’m in love. I AM IN LOVE. I knew I could count on this writer! Before I get into all the gushing, let me preface this by saying this isn’t exactly a review. Lee Jong Suk and writer Park Hye Ryun have this effect on me that melts my heart (and brain) like butter… So yeah, this is a completely biased first impression. What can I say? I love when they work together.
It’s not the first time Suzy has worked with Park either. She made her drama debut with Dream High, arguably one of her best roles. Now, I will say that Suzy’s casting for Park’s newest fantasy romance While You Were Sleeping scared me. I had trouble connecting with her characters in the past, but I have to admit… she really surprised me here. She’s not all the way there yet, but her acting has truly improved. I’m proud of you, girl. So if Suzy was the only red flag keeping you from tuning in, I’m here to tell you you should give her a chance.
(*SPOILERS* after the picture below)
The OTP (Because I already want them together forever…and ever). Jae Chan’s little bro couldn’t have been more accurate in saying he and Hong Joo were the perfect match. Both are dorks, hilariously vain and goodhearted at the core. They’re pretty much in sync without even knowing it (their sassy hair flips in episode 2, LOL), and it helps that Jong Suk and Suzy have lovely chemistry. They play off each other so well, especially when it comes to their comedic scenes. But then there was the twist we didn’t see coming — they’re also in sync with their premonitory dreams.
Did anyone else say, “Wait… WTF??” when Jae Chan woke up from that first dream? That totally changed things. From what we’ve seen, it looks like their dreams will be two pieces to the same puzzle. And if they’re able to partner up and put those pieces together, they could make some major differences. I actually like this a lot better than the initial premise we were promised because Jae Chan shares a bit of the burden as well. Neither of them asked for this frightening ability, but as Jae Chan said at the end of episode 2, there has to be a reason. They both lost their fathers in a terrible tragedy and it seems that the one good thing that come from it was the power to stop further tragedies from happening. This is a power couple I can definitely fall in love with. In fact, I think I already have.
The family. I may be all about that romance, but the other people in these characters’ lives are just as important. Our leads don’t exactly have many friends to turn to (which just hit me as really sad), but they’ve got all they need in their family. Jae Chan has his younger brother and Hong Joo has her mother. Both relationships are sweet and adorable, which only has me fearing for their lives. I’m on to you, Show. You give us a cute bromance or cute mother-daughter duo and then sooner or later, you snatch them away from us. Don’t do eeet! I already luff them and if I have to, I’ll fight for them, dammit!
The assholes. Wow. Lee Sang Yeob sure knows how to make me hate his guts. I think he’s doing a great job so far as the sleazy lawyer who only cares about winning alone (yeah, he can stuff that win-win bullshit) and will step over anyone in the process. He’s a corrupt, evil bastard, though I’m glad this writer didn’t make him too cartoony in a MWAHAHA kind of way. I want to see him taken down and I want to savor it. I do wonder, however, if Park will redeem him in some way. She did that with I Hear Your Voice and Pinocchio — the villains were despicable but you at least understood why. I can’t see that with Lee Sang Yeob’s character right now, but I know it’s certainly possible to give the corrupt a shadow of humanity (legal thriller Forest of Secrets proved that all too well).
The story. I’m the type of person who sits in bed and overthinks my own dreams. I love writing them down, interpreting them, everything. The things we conjure up in our sleep just fascinates me so much, so the premise of this drama sounded so freaking cool. Korean dream interpretations always have interesting symbolism, but I liked that these dreams that Hong Joo and Jae Chan have are literal. Their dreams are vivid in such a way that it makes me terrified for them. Can you imagine seeing the worst possible scenario in your head and knowing it’s really going to happen? I sure as hell can’t. The stakes are high here and while we’re only two (or four) episodes in, it’s already threatening my blood pressure.
I am worried about one thing though — pacing. While Park’s dramas have landed spots in my list of all time favorites, those dramas did lose steam in the second half. It was as if she poured everything she had into the first half that the second just paled in comparison. I especially felt this with Pinocchio, where I found the tragic bromance one of the most compelling storylines. The first ten episodes were shocking and intense and heartbreaking, but after one brother went away, there was a noticeable change. The show lost a bit of its addictive pull. The story was still relatively cohesive and entertaining, but I wasn’t scrambling for the next episode like I would in the beginning. I’m hoping that since WYWS is pre-produced, Park was able to space out the story and its pacing.
The magic. I’m telling you, there’s something about Park’s fantasy dramas. They sweep me off my feet with such ease, I don’t know how she does it. She makes the romance everything from cute to funny to oh-god-cut-my-heart-with-a-steak-knife. She makes everyday people feel like superheroes. She makes a simple hug feel enchanting. She’s just, aughhhh, she’s so good. I wish I was as good a storyteller as her. There are definitely flaws that poke out here and there, but the overall picture is always in such a positive light that it’s easy to let go of those flaws. I really hope WYWS keeps this dream-like magic going all the way to the end.
One last thing. These kisses better be amazing. I’m never really a fan of dramas showing the big kisses in its promos and teasers, so this has me a little nervous. If they make the two main posters a kiss, then of course I’m gonna have high expectations. Of course I’m gonna be scared those expectations won’t be met. They look beautiful, but I hope the execution doesn’t disappoint! Please please please don’t disappoint!
(And I see that Subway logo, Show… Don’t even think about it.)
What was your first impression of While You Were Sleeping?