I ‘fess, I’ve been trying to clear the load of backlogs (in watching, not writing…writing has never been the problem) of kdramas…and so…I’m only at ep6 of Pretty. Erm, might as well fill up the blog with a quasi-mid term review, no? (hee)
Thus far, Pretty has been slapsticky hilarious. All thanks to one simple, simple lie: getting your bestie to pose as you. (and also thanks to Hwang Jung-eum‘s usual over-the-top acting) Well, unfortunately in dramalands, the Drama Gods do not favour white lies, no matter how “little”, and so your bestie has to crush on your first love, and your first love has to end up being your supervisor at work. Cue: trying to keep everything nicely under wraps and yet at the same time, playing this dangerous game of hide and seek, where you can’t help but care for your first love, but at the same time, cannot let him know who you are.
I suppose from the onset, the whole idea of hiding — and seeking — is portrayed upfront, with the Renoir puzzle and its crucial missing piece. Sung-joon returns to Korea to “seek” out the missing piece, only to have the puzzle elude him by throwing a smoke screen in his face. Poor chap, I don’t blame him for mistaking Ha-ri as Hye-jin, since his impression of her as the beautiful, popular Swan hasn’t erode at all over the years.
And while Hye-jin is the person he seeks, she chooses to fully become the hidden second girl in the puzzle piece, by literally “hiding” behind Ha-ri and using her beauty as a façade to cover up her own insecurities. Yes, although Hye-jin appears to be overly bright and chirpy, it’s pretty obvious from those quiet moments she has, that she is juz as upset and depressed over how she has “turned out”. If she is that confident in her own skin (as she “claimed” to be, vis a vis her actions and words), she won’t have the need to resort to lying in order to preserve Sung-joon’s image of her.
The hide-seek game takes a complicated turn when Ha-ri realises that she is attracted to Sung-joon and wants him for herself, at the risk of losing her bosom friend. Ironically, although Ha-ri was/is never ugly, she has always been in awe and probably a little jealous of Hye-jin. Even when she grows up to be prettier, and more popular — basically she is now that young Hye-jin she used to envy — I believe she still lacks confidence, and feels her bestie is more “fortunate”. Firstly, Hye-jin’s interactions with her family are what she wished for. Secondly, in some ways, Ha-ri may be jealous of how “lucky” Hye-jin is, to have met such a nice guy like Sung-joon, who can’t forget her after all these years. While she only has a bunch of crappy boyfriends who are after her for sex, or objectify her as a nice bauble. Thus, there are now 2 girls who have vested interest in not letting Sung-joon know their true identities.
The less obvious use of the hide-seek motif would be Hye-jin as a “hidden gem”. Ok, one person, Shin-hyuk, recognised that beneath that awkward, gawky girl is someone who is exceedingly kind, capable and responsible. (and yes, Shin-hyuk and his “hidden identity” as chaebol is another glaring use of the motif) Like all second male leads, he will come across as initially more astute and sensitive to our female lead’s strengths and weaknesses. So while all Sung-joon sees is a horribly inept and rather stupid “Office Assistant”, Shin-hyuk sees someone who is independent, strong enough to be able to pick herself up after (epic) failures, and generous.
Given how observant Shin-hyuk is to his surroundings (despite coming across like a slobby hobo), it won’t take long before he puts two-and-two together to realise how the love
triangle square operates.