Let’s start by saying “I love K-dramas.” No, really, I do. I’ve loved watching Korean dramas even before the influx of ‘koreanovelas’ in Philippine TV. It was My Sassy girl that started it all when I was still in high school. I loved the humor, I loved the acting, I loved the thought process behind every scene, and every line, and every cinematographic effect. Pinagiisipan kasi. There’s a certain appeal to Korean dramas that only they can give and not our drama-soaked, tried-and-tested-not-to-mention overrated-unoriginal story lines. If you notice, Filipino soap operas operate on the same story line, the same character representations, the same tear fests that I don’t know why it appeals so much to Filipinos and I can only conclude it’s because the watching demographic is simplistic and doesn’t want to think. Really. When I watch our soap operas, I always end up saying, “ano ba yun, ang bobo naman nun!” Sometimes, you just drop your jaw and fall off your seat at the lack of logic and coherence of it all! Policemen are always dumb and late, the poor daughter is always the long-lost heir of a scion, the protagonists always end up getting shot at or dead. And I wonder whether this reflects some part of our culture, I mean, are policemen always portrayed this way because that’s what we see in reality? Heaven-forbid we move on from these stereotypes and show something creative and witty for once.
So my point is, I’ve always loved Korean dramas because of the story line and the character design. You know what else? I love Full house particularly, the original version. I also try to be very selective with the Korean dramas I watch. Usually, if it ends up in one of the two TV stations and they get the prime spot, they’d have done their research well because that k-drama most likely did well back in Korea. But there are more K-dramas that we don’t show here, so you end up researching and googling until you find one that makes the cut. But sometimes, even before it airs here, you already know about it if you know the sites to go to.
When I heard that GMA was going to adapt Full house, I was intrigued. It’s hard to copy Full House. There’s a reason it was the top-grossing K-drama when it aired in Korea back in 2004. Not only did it win over the viewers with the credible and comic portrayal of both Song Hye Kyo and Rain (Bi), the story line really sold! There was obvious chemistry between the two characters, and you cannot watch it without laughing and being angry and crying all at the same time. They bring out all these emotions and the best part is that you feel what they feel and there’s no disconnect between the characters and those who watch it.
So finally, when GMA’s Full House aired last Monday, I watched it. And I was utterly disappointed. It was bad enough they got unfunny (and what’s with the weight?) Richard Guiterrez to portray Young Jae (who was really, naturally funny). But they also got Patrick Garcia who, by a million miles, does not come close to the charming, drool-worthy Min Hyuk. I mean, come on! Character obviously plays a BIG role in making Full house such a hit! If you’re going to adapt an award-winning drama, you better do a good job at it or not attempt to copy it at all! I thought Isabel Oli looked the part of Hae Won, but she was out of character. And Heart Evangelista does resemble Ji Eun, and she does dress the part, but something is obviously missing —natural humor.
The first episode was such a drag it was so disappointing. The original version was made alive by the music and the comical scenes which blended well with all other scenes. You feel Ji Eun’s anger at her friends for selling her house, you feel her embarrassment and awkwardness and, sigh, it was just natural.
I’m beginning to think it’s not about the storyline anymore with Filipinos that make our soap operas a letdown. I think it’s how we approach it. I expected more from GMA to do their research carefully on the storyline. I expected the actors to study very well the characters and what makes Ji Eun, Ji Eun, and what makes Young Jae, Young Jae. But then I remembered, “oh right, they also tried this with All About Eve and failed miserably.” And for the record, All About Eve was my favorite drama, EVER. I forgot I haven’t forgiven them for ruining it. How they could even think Mark Anthony Fernandez is a Jang Dong Gun in the making is way too much!
There, I just wanted this said in defense of my love for authentic, original Korean dramas that are heartwarming, witty and creative altogether.