Heart is so going to be one of my favourite kdrama shows in 2015. It’s down-to-earth approach to romance appeals much more to me than those fireworks Candy-Chaebol sizzles. There’s so much I wanna discuss, but I shall keep it merely to 3 focal areas — women, selfishness and love.
Unlike majority of kdramas, the women in Heart are strong and not your usual hothouse flowers. Even when they are “sick”, they still prove they are tougher than nails — and guys. Hong-do, as the female protagonist, is of course most admirable for the way she walks out of her shell and faces the world helmet-less. And later, when she breaks up with Yi-seok, she manages to pick herself up after a few days (or weeks) of moping, scolding and figuratively slapping herself out of her funk. I believe that even if Yi-seok hasn’t barged into her apartment, she will be ok on her own. Most importantly, when she finds out the horrible truth about the false charges laid on her for more than two decades, she gets angry…but she doesn’t lose it. Instead, she does the bravest thing ever — to forgive Yi-seok’s family.
Next in line will be Se-ro. I admit, I didn’t have a good impression of her initially. But like Doo-soo, I begin to grow rather fond of her. She is proactive, yes, but she also knows when not to push things. And most importantly, she reads people very well. I suppose being the “ignored outcast” for her entire childhood has finetuned her ability to read between lines to get information. Amazingly though, despite growing up without sufficient love and support, she remains very positive.
And since we are on Yi-seok’s family, the next female characters are Yi-seok’s mum and his housekeeper. While I am aghast at Yi-seok’s mum for wilfully blinding herself to the real cause of Il-suk’s death, at least she doesn’t run away from the family. Unlike Yi-seok’s dad. And once the secret is out, she is the first to apologise. When she decides to snap out of self-delusionary bipolar disorder, she is rather snazzy, isn’t it. Juz look at the way she breezily invites Yi-seok’s dad to Hong Kong. As for Mdm Housekeeper, she is a real gem. After she stops idolizing Chairman Ko, she shows him (and us) that she knows him better than he knows himself — right down to where he keeps his briefs and when he changes them.
Last but not least, Psychiatrist Uhm, who plays Yi-seok’s counsellor — and surrogate mother. She is his pillar of strength, and he knows it. Whenever he has issues, he runs to her. And I love how she drolly dishes out advice, chastising and displaying concern for him at the same time.
In contrast, the male figures are rather weak in Heart. Yi-seok resorts to drinking when he wants to avoid sticky issues, Chairman Ko and Papa Ko either pretends everything is fine, or runs off to hide. Doo-soo, up till the end, is indecisive and needs a love-o-meter to rate how much he likes Se-ro. (duh) Even Butler Ahn is rather passive, he waits and sees rather than act on his feelings.
Several times in Heart, the theme of selfishness has cropped up. In the negative sense, it is the driving force behind Chairman Ko’s decision to dump the fire and Il-suk’s death on poor Hong-do. It is also Papa Ko/ Yi-seok mum’s reason not to face up to the truth. All of them selfishly want to protect either themselves, or their family members. Thus, they lie to themselves and say it is “ok” to push the entire blame on an outsider, even though she is a little girl…and that she hasn’t DONE anything.
Selfishness can also provide for some comedy. During Yi-seok/Hong-do’s budding romance, Yi-seok is clearly jealous of Hong-do’s admiration of Doo-soo. And more so after that accidental one night stand. He wants to keep her entirely for himself. Similarly, Doo-soo feels that Hong-do is “rightfully his”, since she has been like his sunflower, only looking at him for 7 years. As with all love triangles, it lead to some arm pullings, fist fights and bromance.
But selfishness can also be good too. Instead of the usual kdramas’ Nobly Idiotic moves, our OTP are (thankfully) selfish enough to find and keep happiness for themselves. Their periods of separation are kept really short (less than 1ep, really), cos they immediately realise that releasing the other party out of some misguided “generosity” is doling out more pain than pleasure. Thus, Yi-seok chooses to heck care his family’s disapproval, and returns to Hong-do after he learns about her depression. And as for Hong-do, she decides that what the Ko family did to her and her love for Yi-seok are two separate issues. Rather than denying herself her future happiness, she blatantly tells Chairman Ko that from now on, Yi-seok will belong to her. (yay for proactive women!)
Well, it’s a ROMANTIC-comedy, there muz be loads of lovey dovey stuff going around. Our OTP is a clear example how two work better than one. Alone, each of them is flawed in some ways. Together, they complement each other, and bring out their inner best potentials. We have seen how Hong-do’s keen observations on the sidelines help Yi-seok cover his blind spots. And Yi-seok’s strength and innate caring nature help Hong-do overcome her fear of people.
Wrt our second leads, Doo-soo’s chauvinism is a balm for Se-ro, who enjoys the protectiveness (tho she may not really need it), and more importantly, the idea that someone is looking out for and LOOKING at her. The scene in the car where Doo-soo tells Se-ro to cover her legs (cos it’s inappropriate for girls to reveal too much of themselves) contrast nicely with a previous scene when the director has told the Se-ro to slit her skirt higher to show more skin (since she can’t act) remains one of my favourite Doo-soo/Se-ro scenes. Se-ro had felt uncomfortable (and cheapened) with the skirt slitting, and Doo-soo’s instinctual male-protectiveness juz made her happier — someone at least values her. Doo-soo too, needs Se-ro’s proactiveness — and her kicks to the shin. He may find her annoying initially, but she kinda grows on him, until the idea of her being absent boots him into action.
However, the ugly side of loving someone is also present in Heart. Yes, the Ko family again. The parental love in Heart is strong. But also twisted. I can understand how necessary it is for a parent to need to protect his children, but exactly how far should you go and how much should you sacrifice? Pinning the blame on an outsider…it is fundamentally wrong. Yet at the same time, I can empathise with why Chairman Ko, Papa Ko and Yi-seok’s mum do that. They have lost a son, a family member…and the instinctual need to preserve and protect the remaining family members is strong.
(and i have to end here…cos i over ran the article length again) =__=