Friday, 7 September 2012

A Gentleman's Dignity (2012)


If there's one positive thing I can say about A Gentleman's Dignity, it's that it's highly entertaining. If there's one negative thing I can say about it, it's too long. What could have been told in 16 episodes, they tried to stretch into some tedious 20 episodes.

A Gentleman's Dignity is about four men in their 40's who grow old but didn't really grow up. They've been friends since high school and they're still together after heratbreaks, bankruptcy, marriages, etc. It has such a nice premise because we always get a story about women who are past their prime, and now, we get a look into the world of men who are really still kids once they get together.

I'd be lying if I say that this drama isn't good, because there are those times when I'm completely in love with it. But admittedly, there are times when I just want to stop watching. I cannot make a proper review because I know my opinions would be clouded with too much biases. I love Jang DongGun way too much to say anything harsh about AGD.

So let's start with the things I love about A Gentleman's Dignity:

The friendship of the four leads. It's the heart and soul of this drama, and as long as they keep it in focus, they don't do anything wrong. The chemistry of our four leads, Kim DoJin (Jang DongGun), Choi Yoon (Kim MinJong), Im TaeSan (Kim SooRo) and Lee JungRok (Lee JongHyuk), is undeniable. They are veteran actors who can go from serious to funny in a snap. My favorite scenes are the ones where all of them are in it. I love them, okay.

The first five minutes of each episode. I don't know what they're called, but every episode starts with a little side story, something separate from what's happening with the plot. It's usually about the four gentlemen, from the time they were in college or in high school. Of all the starters, my favorite is definitely the one when they're talking about SNSD. It had me laughing just by thinking about it! Which leads me to my next point...

The amount of funny in each episode. This is definitely the drama that keeps me laughing on and on and on. Who can ever forget that one time DoJin panics and pours coffee on YiSoo's laptop, thinking it would cover the fact that he's looking at YiSoo's photo? Or that one time DoJin and Yoon are bullied by high school students? And every time TaeSan would curse and they'll censor it? Hee. The funny is enough for me to forget the things I don't like about AGD.

Kim WooBin and Lee JongHyun 
The two cute boys, of course. Colin (Lee JongHyun) and DongHyup (Kim WooBin) are probably my favorite pair in this drama! Okay, they're not exactly in a romantic pairing but their bromance is just too cute. Too bad they have to meet late in the series but their screen time together is just too precious! Favorite scene together? Of course, the one when they're applying for the same position at a fast food chain and they're listing their strengths such as being tall and good-looking. Too adorable for words.

The fact the Kim DoJin is not a prude. I'm tired of Kdrama leading men who act like 15-year-old boys all the time. I guess I don't really understand how the censorship in Korea goes, but it's annoying when leads in other Kdrama act too pure and innocent, and I simply don't buy it. Kim DoJin is different, though, and he can be very vocal about him being a man (and being naughty and stuff). And it's not just Kim DoJin, too, but the other leads as well. As Kim DoJin puts it, "We are still invariably and perpetually men, the male species."

The OST of AGD. A good drama gets even better with a wonderful OST, and this one certainly has a good one. The songs would get stuck in your head and you won't even mind. Of all the good songs included in the soundtrack, my favorites are Everyday and Lee JongHyun's Illa Illa. I do hope they release a full version of JongHyun's Illa Illa. I can't find one anywhere!

The sassy, powerful wife, Park MinSook. There are four leading ladies in this series, and JungRok's wife, MinSook (Kim JungNan) definitely takes the spot as the best one. It's lovely how the four men are scared of her, but it's sometimes annoying how they only care about her and her money. But she often doesn't take their crap. She knows when to keep her marriage and when to give it up, which I think seems to be realistic. I love how she knows how to use her power, and how she puts people in their righteous place. But I also love how she's not just powerful because she's rich, but also because she has a dynamic personality. I need more girls like her in Kdramaland!

The outfit in every scene of Seo YiSoo.  Seo YiSoo (Kim HaNeul) is probably the best dressed high school teacher in the entire country. Be it in school or outside or at home, I want whatever she's wearing! Every episode, I take note of her clothes. They're all just so sophisticated! When I grow up, I want to be Kim HaNeul's hair, I mean, body. NOOOOO. I mean, I want to be Kim HaNeul. She's already in her 30's but she's still incredibly fit.

And if there are good things in this series, there are definitely those that make me not love it so much.

Meahri. Argh. This girl is too much. She's cute, I get that. Her role requires her to be cute at all times, but she borders between being obsessively possessive of Choi Yoon and being pyschotic. Her world revolves around Choi Yoon and all her goals and dreams are about him. Basically, she's too in love to function, and I honestly couldn't stand not seeing any other side of her. She spends 80% of the time whining that Choi Yoon doesn't like her and the other 20% smiling because she might have a chance to be with Yoon. And I hate how she virtually has no other plans but to marry Yoon. Ugh.

It's too long! I think 20 episodes is too much. It's obvious that Kim DoJin and YiSoo are the primary pairing of this drama. When their conflict got resolved at episode 17, I felt as if it should have ended there. Instead, the audience's suddenly bombarded with the conflict of JungRok's, TaeSan's, and Yoon's romantic dilemmas. Personally, I think these are the ones that are resolved first. Episode 18 and 19 were so dragging and boring that I needed all the will to last through it. But I endured for all the Colin and DongHyup scenes.

I don't understand Lee YiSoo at all.  I like her, I really do. Kim HaNeul played her quite well, but there are times when I don't understand her motives. I don't understand the scenes when she was mad at DoJin and she'd call DoJin out and they won't even talk, and she won't even acknowledge him. I don't understand it all! Why would you do that! WHY!!!!

Kim DoJin's memory loss. How it's treated as a minor plot point is a turn off. It has all the makings of a major plot device that could give this series some depth or whatever. But they brushed it off as if it's nothing! The way DoJin's memory loss is given importance early on but is used merely to create his proposal to YiSoo at the end is kind of disturbing. Why, oh why, would you create such a conflict, one that makes you look forward for more, when you'd simply brush it under the rug after a few episodes? Or maybe I expect too much. I don't know!

See the list of pro's and con's of this series, it's obvious that I still like it despite the reasons why I don't. I say give this a try because it's a fun series to watch. I still recommend it to people who's looking for a recent Kdrama. It has the potential to be such a good drama with all the big name stars, there are just some few glitches. Just overlook it, please, and think of Jang DongGun's precious aegyo.

Photo sources: Hancinema

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