Oh my gosh, I actually am watching 2 sageuks this month! Besides Moonlight, there’s Moon Lovers. And I’m a well known sageuk hater. It muz be endearing Park Bo-gum (also a favourite of my daughter, and she’s only 3 mths old) and doe-eyed Kim Yoo-jung who have both entrapped me.
But then, I still find my mind wandering off whenever evil Premier Kim gets on screen. (yawns…there’s ALWAYS an evil halbae in sageuks)
Boring politics aside (not that I paid it any attention), I love Moonlight‘s use of cross-dressing trope. Heck, I tend to like all rom-coms with a cross dresser involved. Besides the usual bickering between the opposites-attract type OTP, there’s the added element of confusion — cos at least one of the OTP doesn’t know the fella s/he is arguing with isn’t the same sex. That juz adds to the hilarity, doesn’t it? Like when Ra-on in ep6 blurts out that she doesn’t mind visiting the gibang and Lee-young basically goes on a hissy fit (when he has no idea why he needs to have a hissy fit), and Yoon-sung (who is entirely in the know) goes “huh?!”.
And that brings me to the irony of the cross-dressing trope: for some very weird reasons, it seems like the entire universe sorta guessed the cross-dresser’s true gender — other than the protagonist. Yoon-sung, who is a sageuk version of a modern playboy, immediately latches on Ra-on’s feminine qualities. The eunuch Peeping Tom obviously saw Ra-on (un?) dressing and putting on the dancer’s costume, and I even suspect Byung-yeon having doubts about Ra-on’s gender from Day 1. Cos he seems to be rather protective of her despite appearing standoffish — for example, he immediately warns Lee-young about Ra-on’s midnight assignment to the smarmy envoy, even though there is no pressing need/ reason to.
I enjoy the misunderstandings and the confusions (the scandalous rumor that the Crown Prince is a homosexual? keke) that are tied to a cross-dressing character, in this case, the heroine. Cos they are fun — like assuming if Byung-yeon really, really doesn’t have a clue about Ra-on’s gender, he is now an active supporter of the Gay Pride. (and that’s a BIG deal in the longlong past) I don’t want the truth to be known, if it is juz to stretch out the funnies a little wee bit longer.
On the other hand though, not knowing can be infuriating. Especially when it leads to a massive case of gender-preference crisis, and the protagonist (usually the male lead) decides to distance himself from “his unnatural tendencies”.
In which case, I usually end up gnashing my teeth and grumbling at the screen — can’t you SEE that she’s a GIRL? (bangs head on table)