Drama Recaps
Robbers, aka Con Man, aka Bulhandang (불한당)
by | January 9, 2008 | 39 Comments

Okay, okay, last name switch, I swear. I wouldn’t normally bother to change the translation for a series title as widely known as “Robbers” if I didn’t feel the term(s) misrepresented the actual title. It’s nobody’s fault, of course, since you can’t always be sure what a title refers to until the series airs, and by then people have become used to the working title. But “Robbers” is misleading (who else conjured up images of a rollicking Bonnie & Clyde-esque duo?) in that it’s plural, and the title only refers to Jang Hyuk, who plays a scoundrel and con man. (Of course, you’re all welcome to keep using the title you’re used to.)

I make the disclaimer up front that this is not a full episode recap, nor am I certain I’ll take on the entire series. The reason I’m wary of Bulhandang is that for some reason, it makes me think of 2006′s Lovers — prime candidate as kdrama bait-and-switch material. That series sparkled in its first few episodes, funny and light-hearted and promising lots of romantic-comedy foibles between its main pairing of Kim Jung Eun and Lee Seo Jin. And then it went all tragic and overblown and hysterically emotional. I should also note that my opinions on Lovers fall in the vast minority — most tend to rave about the series, its intensity, and its chemistry — and I’m cool with that. But I found it odd and jarring that Lovers, which treated gangsters and crime bosses with humor and jokey fun, should then shift to making them so life-threateningly dangerous. The mixed tone unbalanced the drama, thought I, which is why I could never get into the dark, somber, angst-ridden second half of the series.

Bulhandang is a far cry from Lovers, but my Spidey sense is tingling, and for that I am wary. After suffering through Lovers, I give fair warning that I’m ready to jump ship at the first indication that Bulhandang is heading into tragic melodrama.

That said, Bulhandang‘s first two episodes were cute.

 

EPISODES 1 & 2

The “con man” of the series title is Jang Hyuk, who plays KWON OH JOON, a slick, unscrupulous serial grifter who woos rich young ladies and smoothly relieves them of their burdensome cash. But he’s SO good that when it’s time for the couple to part ways, often the girl doesn’t even realize she’s been played. Which is how we start our series, with a cameo from actor (and former runway model) Kim Eun Joo, last seen (?) in 2006′s What’s Up Fox? You can tell right away from Oh Joon’s overwrought, hokey acting that this is all an act — the girl tearily believes they must part because he’s going abroad. And I think the opening scene might’ve worked better if I hadn’t just seen it as the opening scene of Capital Scandal. (SBS, are you running short on ideas? I know you’ve had a crappy year.)

 

Anyway, then there’s Lee Da Hae as the prettily named JIN DALLAE — Westernized, her name is Dallae Jin, but per the Korean last-name-first order, jindallae is also the name of a flower. She’s a single mother to the young, exceedingly curious SOONDAE, which is a nickname for the girl who’s actually named Yoojin. More on that later.

As a widow and single mom, Dallae’s no longer in the top tier of prize matrimonial catches despite being young (mid-twenties) and pretty, and her prospective-marriage blind date turns up a man who’s not only near-deaf and hard-headed but nigh pushing 80.

But out of pity, she waits until the end of the date to turn him down. He likes her — she’s blunt and honest — but she’s confused and embarrassed and not really all that interested in marrying anyway.

After all, Dallae only agreed to the date because she was pushed by her mother-in-law, and this is one of the more interesting relationships of the series. The two women are so close that they’re much more like blood mother and daughter, which is unusual not just in general but particularly in Korean culture, where the mother-in-law relationship is a notoriously difficult one for a young wife. Along with Soondae, the three females have a very close, loving relationship. So close, in fact, that Dallae feels hurt when suspecting (erroneously) that her mother-in-law wants her to marry quickly so she can get on with her own life. That’s not true (mom’s been acting funny lately because she’s hiding the fact that she started working) but their situation IS interesting and unusual:

Dallae: “If I go on a few dates, find a suitable man and marry, what happens to us?”
Mom: “What else? You’ll join that household, and I’ll live on my own.”
Dallae: “No matter how I look at it, I like things now. I want to live happily with you, me, and Soondae.”

On her way out of her frustrating date with the old man, Dallae accidentally hits the bumper of another car — Oh Joon’s.

Oh Joon, meanwhile, has gotten the tar knocked out of him for messing around with a married woman, and as he notes the damage to his car, he’s confronted by a couple of dim-witted thugs, who are after Oh Joon because he owes them a crapload of money. The gangsters are depicted as mostly jokey, bumbling goons, but they’re also scary enough (to Oh Joon) that he begs for time. They say he’s gotta shore up $30,000 in mere days.

In more plot twistiness, the gangsters are led by this guy above, who’s alternately a fearsome boss to his underlings and a romantic softie when it comes to one woman — Dallae’s mother-in-law. The man is really very cute when he transforms into a bashful, gentle man in front of her. She doesn’t return his romantic affections (there are hints she may, in the future), and has actually only contacted him to sell him insurance. Oh, poor man.

(This is a case where I’m not sure how to take the mixed tone. If the series keeps the gangster stuff light all the way through, I think that’ll be fine… but if they want us to suddenly take the gangsters seriously, I’m gonna have a huge problem with that, given how foolish they seem in their introduction.)

But to show us that Oh Joon’s not ALL bad and amoral, he has a huge soft spot for his older sister — accompanied by a huge sense of guilt. Whether his guilt is for a particular wrong he’s committed or just a general sense of shame, he refuses to see her even though she pleads with him to talk to her. His fierce self-loathing comes out only when she’s concerned; at all other times, his smarmy outer self is firmly in control.

Anyway, Oh Joon calls Dallae to discuss the matter of car repairs — and when he arrives at the café, he overhears her talking on the phone about hypothetically investing money. Dallae’s family is not at all rich — she’s got one savings account that’s about to come due, with which she wants to set up her mother(-in-law, but you get it) with a small shop or café. But Oh Joon just hears the amount she names — $30,000 — and all of a sudden, he sees a way out of his mess. Bingo! Target acquired.

 

Thus Episode 2 starts with Oh Joon thinking fast to whip up a story to win Dallae’s sympathies. He tells her that he didn’t see her note on his windshield until he was in the car. He stepped out to take it, and was hit full-on by a reckless driver. Solemnly, he thanks Dallae for saving his life.

Dallae buys the story easily enough, but she’s not really interested in extending their acquaintance, so as soon as she clarifies that he won’t hold her responsible for a scraped bumper (what’s the point when the whole car has been totaled?) she laughs in relief, thanks him, and exits. Oh Joon’s left gritting his teeth that she didn’t fall for his magnetic charms.

He follows her out and persistently asks if there’s some way he can repay her. Dallae’s determination to brush him aside falters for a second, and she mentions her name and the bookstore where she works, and says they have a system of customers writing the name of their favorite clerks on their receipts and turning those in. If he wanted to… And then she rushes off in embarrassment, because he bursts into laughter (probably from relief at the simple solution).

So he appears the next day and makes a scene at the bookstore by asking customers for their receipts as they exit the store, then writing Dallae’s name on all of them. He’s totally proud of himself, but the attention is unwelcome, and Dallae’s annoyed by it.

He even tries to wheedle a date out of her (after coming to her “rescue” when she’s stranded without a car or money) and manages to embarrass her into agreeing to three dates — the first in thanks for saving his life, the second to compensate for the bookstore-receipt scene, and the third in gratitude for the two other dates. He even invokes a hilarious parody scene out of I’m Sorry, I Love You, and Dallae says okay just to shut him up.

Oh, and it turns out that the old man was NOT Dallae’s intended date — the old man who showed up was the rich workaholic JIN GU’s father, who was eager to see what Dallae was like. He announces to Dallae’s chagrin that he likes her and wants her to marry his son. Jin Gu, meanwhile, is socially awkward and just as eccentrically blunt as his father, without the old age to excuse him. There are hints that he’s a caring son, but he’s utterly unable to express himself with any nuance or charm. His mannerisms may seem offensive on first glance, but it really seems like he’s just a man who knows he’s weird but unable to do anything about it. (He reminds me a bit of Dwight on The Office, though less aggressively annoying.)

So Jin Gu orders Dallae around (“We will eat dinner together.” “When will we go see a movie? I have time Wednesday”) and Dallae wonders how it came to pass that she should be surrounded by such persistent, bold, aggravating men.

When Oh Joon tries to claim his first date with her, Dallae tries to brush him off once again. They sit side by side in silence for a moment as Oh Joon launches into his go-to story that’s guaranteed to melt women’s hearts, comparing Dallae to his sweet younger sister. Shedding tears, he puts on his act as a tortured, wounded soul, explaining that he neglected his sister by going abroad, and was therefore absent when she died.

And then he looks over to see whether Dallae is falling for his story… only to see that she’s FALLEN ASLEEP.

It chafes Oh Joon’s pride that Dallae’s utterly impervious to all the tactics he’s got stored away in his bag of tricks — no doubt every other woman has swooned over him.

But not Dallae, who’s nodding off, drifting back to the day she learned she was a widow…

She’d been eating soondae — a dish made of rice, blood, intestines and other lovely ingredients — and eagerly awaiting her husband’s return from a mountain-climbing trip. But instead of her husband, only his friend and climbing partner returned to break the horrible news that Tae Ho had been climbing safely one minute, and the next, there was nobody in that yawning crevasse.

Dallae reacts in disbelief, which quickly turns to grief: “He said this would be the last time he’d go up to the mountain. He’s a man who keeps his word… so I believed him. If I believed him, he should come back too…”

She asks, brokenly:

“It makes sense that a man who lived five hundred years ago is gone five hundred years later… It makes sense that a man who lived two hundred years ago is gone two hundred years later… And there are people from a hundred years ago who are still around a hundred years later… And people from fifty years ago are mostly around fifty years later… But a man who lived one minute ago… who’s gone one minute later… is too cruel!”

Dallae rushes back inside in hysterical tears, and tries to eat the soondae she’d been happily eating a few minutes before. But her pregnancy acts up and she can’t stomach it, and she sobs to her unborn child, “Please, baby, just stay still a moment so Mommy can think…”

And so, back in the present, the Dallae who’s nodding off at Oh Joon’s story (and now we realize she’s faking sleep) says in a voiceover regarding Oh Joon’s sob story:

Dallae: “I understand. But please excuse me, I can no longer bear to see someone else, or myself, in pain. This is a request. Please won’t you stop, and not me why you’re hurting, how you’re hurting, or how much you’re hurting?”

 
Additional thoughts:

In summary? Lee Da Hae is good, and thankfully has shed the silliness of Hello Miss. I hear people have compared her to her Yoorin role in My Girl, but personally I don’t really see that. Jang Hyuk is also pretty amusing as a sleazy kinda guy, and though his character seems on paper to resemble his bad-boy persona in Thank You, onscreen the similarities are minimal.

I like that the two male leads are vastly disparate, and that neither falls into the category of a typical kdrama lead. One is a shameless scoundrel, and the other is a socially inept, abrasive workaholic whose gentler inner nature has been stifled.

All in all, a nice start to the series. For some reason, I’m hesitant about it, for while it’s probably a better start to a series than Hong Gil Dong, it’s not really as interesting to me. Hong Gil Dong is kinda off-the-wall and crazy, but it’s fresh. The characters here are well-drawn, but the story seems so… inevitable. Come on — who doesn’t know how Bulhandang‘s story will go? Dallae will resist Oh Joon’s overtures, Oh Joon will gnash his teeth in frustration over her indifference, they’ll keep clashing and both will start to fall for each other. Meanwhile, alpha male (or alpha nerd) Jin Gu will start to mellow out and he’ll be good to Dallae, plus there’s the added attraction of him being stinking rich. Then, at a crucial juncture, Dallae will learn Oh Joon was just playing her for money — which will eat away at him gradually and plague him with guilt. N’est-ce pas?

Well, we shall see.

 
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39 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kate

    i thought Hong Gil Dong is way way better and funnier…

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  2. kate

    1st comment…yeah….

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  3. La Plume

    I love your “N’est-ce pas?” at the end ^^

    I didn’t know I could use it in English I’ll try to remember ^^
    I only watched the 40 first minutes of Robbers and I really loved it but like you said it’s completely predictable ( though it doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the trip) plus I’m weary about how they’re gonna keep the fun up to the end with that kinda story. I mean I also went from love to complete HATRED for Lovers, MY it killed me, but since I had already watched more than half of the drama…

    Still, I agree with your comment, I was really afraid Lee Da Hae was going to make another Yoo Rin act like she did in Hello Miss ( at least from the only episode I watched ‘cuz I was just plain bored) but surpringly she was really good ^^ and I didn’t felt any Yoo Rin left. Same with Jang Hyuk, he was excellent ^^ pretty smirk he’s got I have to say.
    Now for once I completely agree with you ^^ First time I feel it’s gonna turn into some kind of melodrama and I’ll drop it without any hesitation.

    As for Hong Gil Dong, I only watched the first ep and I simply loved it, though I understand why it doesn’t appeal to everyone. It’s really risky but it does seem fresher as all you can predict is the love relashion between Kang Ji Hwan and Sung Yuri ^^
    I wasn’t expecting a post on Robbers but you still did it, that’s good surprise ^^
    Am I the first today?

    EDIT: Alas no, I guess next time I’m the first to some I’ll make a really short comment just to have the name appear and edit it later, I must have the first one to finish reading 15 or 20 minutes ago… Sigh…

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  4. Di

    Hey that old gangster guy was also the boss in Kindergarten Love with Kim JaeWon!! He’s cute but plays evil really well. XD
    If Dallae’s status as a single mother weren’t so depressing I would give this drama a shot, especially because the lead male characters are so unusual. But alas…not in the mood for tears. @.@

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  5. merriwether

    Watching Oh Joon planning his scam on Dal Rae has me feeling really sorry for the girl. I felt pretty similar to you about Robbers, I can see the ending a mile off which is why I was put off by it at the beginning. It was like I’d seen it all already where as with Hong Gil Dong, there seem to be limilt less possibilities right now.

    La Plume, perhaps everyone isn’t ready for the freshness of Hong Gil Dong? I wouldn’t say HGD is completely fresh to me but it is quite creative for something Korean since they normally traipse off into the land of melodrama and tears.

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  6. Beth

    Can anyone tell me what is a double window? The little girl was asking the same thing when they were at the bath house.

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  7. Winnie

    Beth- I think it was a double widow, what Lee Da Hae is (or Jin Dallae) as in she’s a widowed single mom. (I think)
    Anyways, this seems to be my fav role I’ve seen Lee Da hae in, b/c she actually talks about things in a practical manner and isn’t really sobbing constantly over her oppa…but maybe the next few episodes will show differently…
    still I <3 Lee Da Hae

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  8. kiwee

    so i was confused, she doesn’t actually have 30,000 right? because wasn’t there also talk of 100,000?
    anyway, i was really, really impressed with lee da hae here, because, well i didn’t really like her in my girl. she overacted and was a wee bit annoying (though i liked the drama).
    and also, i actually like the good/bad gangsters. sorta shows how they can be formidable but soft to/around those they love.

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  9. folledingedekdrama

    Salut La Plume,

    Java Beans est vraiment gentille, courageuse, mignonne et surtout adorable, N’est-ce pas?

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  10. 10 fizzlex3mh

    Thanks for the recap. I skimmed through it since I want to the enjoy the episode once I download it for myself. I saw the preview though; I have this gut feeling that I’m gonna enjoy this one more than Hong Gil Dong. Bizarre, since I love the Hong Sisters to death and I’ve been eagerly waiting for HGD for a long time.

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  11. 11 deeta

    For some reason, I see many similarities of this with Capital Scandal (not only the opening scene), but also some characteristics and how the paring is panned out (well, no bets involved I guess, still though). But I don’t know about the Lovers thing. I don’t really think the gangsters are gonna have THAT much impact on the series, but who knows? K-drama could go from being awesome to awful in just a couple of episodes.

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  12. 12 all4movies

    Thanks for the recap. I will definitely check this out as I love Lee Da Hae and it sounds like a more serious role for her. I’ll probably also like Jang Hyuk once he gets over his smarminess and learns some humility.

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  13. 13 hjk

    “my Spidey sense is tingling” LOL!!
    I had the same reaction to Lovers. We’re in the minority??

    So far, I’ve enjoyed Robbers humour and wit. I also like how it’s character driven, but my Spidey sense is warning me that it could easily move into the realm of melodratic mediocrity. I’ll keep watching it, though.

    HGD is still super-entertaining. How can people not love it? And the soompi thread is so much quieter than Robbers.

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  14. 14 :)

    I really enjoyed the first two episodes, though they were, as you said, very predictable. I HOPE that Robbers don’t turn out like Lovers and go into the melodrama…
    And, I was pleasantly surprised by Lee Da Hae’s acting abilities which are much improved. I really disliked her character & over-acting in My Girl & Hello Miss (which I couldn’t even watch one episode of).
    :)
    I definitely agree about how HGD is much better than Robbers. Though I do find that Sung Yuri does, at times, over-act (which is annoying).

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  15. 15 bjham

    somehow I got the idea the gangsters where two different gangs, one from the boss, seem to be trying to move into more honest work and the other more darker after the male lead?
    As for him well frankly I have little time for charming rogues, but from the older sister who I guess stuffered some kind of mental break down? They already started laying down the work on how really he is a good guy and there a reason behind it all.
    Same for the rich weirdo the comment on his marriage and what happened showed there some story there as well.
    As for Lee Da Hae, lets face it unfair or not she never going to get clear of her acting in My Girl and be compared agianst it good or bad. I liked her in this or more the pair of mother in law and her, it is a nice combo. Of course the rouge has no idea she a widow with a child, I think that is why his normal lines are simply bouncing off right now

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  16. 16 thunderbolt

    #13 hjk:
    “So far, I’ve enjoyed Robbers humour and wit. I also like how it’s character driven, but my Spidey sense is warning me that it could easily move into the realm of melodratic mediocrity. I’ll keep watching it, though.”

    Me too. Loving the humor and wit. I thought the Jin Gu scenes were hysterically funny. I’m really liking the gangster boss too. Ep 2 was wonderful until the last part. Am I the only one who wasn’t moved by that flashback scene where she learns of her husband’s death? I thought it was trying too hard to evoke my sympathies. The whole scene just seemed so contrived, from the moment she was complaining about how he had upped and left (that made no sense as did her rambling about him maybe having an affair with a foreign woman) to her (unnecessarily) long speech about the 500-year old man, to her choking on her soondae as her tears spill over. I know most people thought LDH was fantastic in that scene but it left me cold. It was all so… dramatic. Less would definitely have worked better, but unfortunately we got “more” instead of “less” in that scene. Her scenes with her daughter and mom-in-law moved me more; I found those sweet, funny and very poignant. And boy, can the daughter throw a tantrum. Where do they find all these amazing child actors?

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  17. 17 Susie Q

    So I had to go and watch all of My Girl over the weekend because I’ve seen Delightful Girl, and I’ve heard so much about Lee Da Hae, and because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about over the first episodes of HGD (which I LOVE). I liked My Girl, despite being incredibly predictable, but that’s why k-dramas are fun, right? I also watched the first two eps of Robbers, and they were kind of blah. I totally agree with your prediction that we all know where it’s headed. Personally, the most fun relationship to watch is between the mother-in-law and the mafia boss, but other than that, I found both male leads kind of irritating, and Lee Da Hae’s acting just a little too much. So despite all the positive reviews, I think I’m going to jump the Robbers ship, while remaining faithful to HGD (which I LOVE, did I say that already?) ^_^

    Thank you for the recaps/analysis – you are always a great read!

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  18. 18 ripgal

    Thanx for the recap Beans.. at least you gave Robbers a chance. I thought you’d totally disregard it..hehehe..

    Yeah, I have a feeling it’s gearing towards melodrama already. But again, I’m alright with it.. and I absolutely loved Lovers, so no doubt I’ll continue with Robbers.

    Just a sidenote on Hong Gil Dong, I might be the minority here. Hong Gil Dong being a fusion drama’s totally fine with me. In fact I was even more looking forward to it than Robbers in the beginning (cos of Kang Ji Hwan of course)..but besides KJH, and yes I’ll admit it, besides him, the other characters just came off as bleh for me. I know it’s written by the Hong Sisters, the very same writers who wrote my fav My Girl..but the first 2 eps just bored me out. The humor was bland, some scenes were too boring and long, no outstanding dialogue, no chemistry…and the best thing was JUST Kang Ji Hwan for me. But I’m still gonna continue watching… cos I wana see how Hong Gil Dong becomes the legendary thief..hehehe..

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  19. 19 gail

    ripgal, count me in the HGD minority, as well. *sigh* i think i’ll wait for all the rest of the episodes to be subbed. and i might watch it in one sitting.

    thanks for the recap, javabeans.

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  20. 20 o-cha

    I didn’t know you’re watching this drama javabeans. Thanks for the recap.
    I love Robbers so far…I’ve seen all 3 episodes so far and am enjoying it tremendously.
    Yes we can all sense where the story is going…but then again most K-dramas are pretty predictable…so I have no problem with that.
    I though Jang Hyuk did a great job portraying a sleazeball like Oh Joon…Oh Joon is so imperfect that it just makes his character more endearing.
    Lee Da Hae did a pretty good job too..I definitely like her playing a more subtle character compared to Hello Miss.
    The main supporting cast are wonderful—love Kim Hae Sook in a more spunky role. Kim Jung Tae as Jin Goo is stellar. He got the whole stiff man dead on.
    I agree that the mother-in-law – daughter relationship is so beautiful…and man oh man the little girl Soon Dae is so friggin cute!

    I hope you keep up with Robbers (Con-Man)…I’d be curious to read your insights on the next episodes.

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  21. 21 tealeaf

    Thank you for the review, javabeans.

    @hjk and thunderbolt:
    I agree, like the deadpan humor so far. The Oh Joon and Mandoo love/hate friendship is hilarious. That carrot scene is a riot also. Seriously, I don’t want the writers to change Jin Gu. Leave him alone, Dallae. He’s perfect the way he is: straight-faced and “socially inept”. Ha. I’ll be the first to admit that i’d totally love it if the writers pair up Dallae and Jin Gu for real. It would make this series more entertaining for sure.

    I see what you mean thundie. Lee Da Hae’s acting has improved (and she is sooo pretty). A subtle performance here would still be as effective in conveying the emotions. That scene was five minutes too long and a bit over-acty. I think Jang Hyuk is having a ball with his character. His scoundrel is multifaceted, real and wonderfully repulsive at the same time. BTW, what do you think of the background music?

    @ripgal: HGD is not for everyone. But really, you think that KJH and SY did not have chemistry together? LOL. I thought they were fine. hehe. Please correct me if i’m wrong, but the Hong sisters’ works have rarely been very dialogue-driven. So no surprise here.

    Side note: “Spidey” sense hah? Since we’re talking about comic strip characters, has anyone seen the pre-view clips/pixs of Batman’s Heath Ledger-interpreted Joker? Now that’s something else!

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  22. 22 jinkzzmec

    thanks for the recap javabeans…have seen the first 2 episode if this drama…like you, i have a feeling that it is going in the melodrama direction…will try to finish the whole series…so far i like the first 2 episodes.

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  23. 23 bethany

    haha… thank you for the nice update. although… it makes me sad inside to know the storyline (and the way you recapped it … in one paragraph… haha)… but alas, i have a lot of freetime and withs2′s subbing, sooooo a nice new drama to watch. =)

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  24. 24 Skangrrl

    Wow, I thought I was the only person who felt that way about Lovers. When it got all melodramatic, I just wanted to stop watching it but some strange Henry James-ish horrid fascination made me watch it till the end. Even the pseudo-cute orphans did not make it better.

    I was hesitating over watching Robbers because I had a feeling it would descent into total melodrama too. Still not sure despite Sarah’s excellent review. Hmm … and HGD is growing on me but I am still hoping it will not follow the route of the bad Hong Kong “kung fudies” that made Stephen Chow famous. Major shudder …

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  25. 25 ripgal

    @tealeaf: It’s just me I guess…hahaha.. but I’m glad ppl are enjoying the drama. They definitely saw something which I didn’t manage to see. Maybe I only saw Kang Ji Hwan Kang Ji Hwan..hahaha.. About chemistry, I have yet to see the chemistry yet, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be any in future. It took me 2-3 eps to see the chemistry between the leads in My Girl and Chun Hyang..so I guess I’ll wait and see, probably it’ll be more obvious in Ep 3…

    (I think the main reason why I’m not into HGD and Yi Neok yet’s because I really liked KJH and Han Ji Min in Capital Scandal..plus I’m rewatching it now, and loving them so much..yeah..hehe..probably that’s why..)

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  26. 26 Anonymous

    Sometimes it seems you’re so partial to Hong Gil Dong just because Kang Ji Hwan’s in it.

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  27. 27 quicksilver18

    Ripgal: I agree w/ you as well on Hong Gil Dong. Yes, the concept is refreshing and it tickles me to death when i see modern idealism mixed in with history (a techno music, yangban club??? Lolz!) However, something about it isn’t grabbing my attention entirely. Perhaps it feels a bit cartoony w/ its humor in my opinion. I’m more about the smart, witty humor that I was hoping Hong Gil Dong would deliver. Ahh, well I’ll just await and see if the episodes get better.

    As for Robbers/Con Man/Bandits or whatever ppl want to call it, I pray for the humor to remain consistent throughout the series. No more sob stories!!!

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  28. 28 ripgal

    ^ I think the humor will still be there..in Robbers I mean. But maybe not so much of it.. the melodrama will be the focus I think. I really don’t wana scare ppl away by saying this..I think it’ll get more depressing and sad as the drama progresses. And not many ppl like melo…hehehehe..

    #26. Yeah.. maybe. Kang Ji Hwan just spells love for me.. I know I’m shallow..:P

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  29. 29 breezy

    haven’t seen it yet, and i hope to get to it soon. but the screencaps are confusing…. it seems like it is a fun story and depicted quite well… but i’m taken aback by the fact that there are already 3 sob scenes in the first two episode… this drama is one of those that start off well, but then just makes you wanna reach in the tv and slap, slap, slap the actors… (kinda like Bad Love…urgh…can’t stand that drama.. Lol)… maybe i’ll try to check it out whenever i’m bored to death…

    p.s: the actress kim eun joo, starred in a drama last year … “crazy for you” aka one of the best dramas i’ve ever seen… check it out if you have time…

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  30. 30 hagrid

    hoooraaay to you… i wouldn’t worry about you considering to drop this drama off at the first instance of it hitting the melodramatic curb (afterall you never even showed signs of interest in watching it in the first place) but im really really glad that you gave it a shot… and that is all that matters… and i do hope other people would also give it a try…

    Thanks for the concise sum up of the episodes and for discounting the ever famous da hae rants and complaints you’ve usually had quite recently… as for me i really loved the first two episodes and the great mix of actors and character relationships that the drama has put in… the leads are really good… i love the comic sequences expecially those of Jin Goo’s… i hope you continually enjoy the drama… i really pray that this drama would not disappoint the most-influencial-kdrama-voice-in-the-blogging-world anytime soon… and i mean you hehe… as always thanks for the great reviews javabeans!!!

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  31. 31 dae

    ha ha ha! I dunno but am more hooked to your reviews than the drama itself. thanks!

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  32. 32 dae

    oh btw, i think i’ll pass on this one. I like Jang Hyuk, but I just don’t see the romantic chemistry he’s got with Lee Da Hae. I’ll see more of your postings though and try to get some laughs from there. I’ll pass on Hong Gil Dong as well, am just not into period dramas anymore however wacky.

    Am seeking refuge with some JDoramas and see if any interest me while I wait for further KDramas to arrive.

    Thanks again JB.

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  33. 33 dae

    sorry, ff up on the jdorama. i know this isnt related. JB i’d like to get your opinion on “Boku Dake no Madonna”. This kid – Takizawa Hideaki seemed to be paired off often with mid age women and this time, as his character, it’s w/a divorcee. I like the plot and the way it holds up the romance till the end.

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  34. 34 just a girl

    ok this is not really about Robbers, but i felt I had to drop a line after seeing all of the negative comments surrounding Lovers. i loved that drama because it had comedic elements in it, but i never thought the whole series was going to be that way. i thought it was a drama that provided relief from all the dramatic tension and emotion by enfusing comedy bits. i mean it did have gangsters in it so i didn’t think everything would be laughs. now i know that the second half became drastically more dramatic, but it was precisely because the drama was ending that they had to cut out the funny. in a highly moral society, which I believe Korea prides itself on being, there was no way they could let the gangsters of lightly. of course something terrible had to happen and they had to learn a lesson. while i wish this wasn’t the case, i accepted it. (even in all the american movies about gangsters, i can’t think of any that end on a happy note… the godfather, casino, scarface) so that’s how i rationalized the ending. but overall i laught my a** off, the leads acted well, and lee seo jin made good eye candy; so i walked away happy. it had romance, action, comedy i figure that’s alot better than most. that being said i’m sure i didn’t persuade anyone from hating Lovers, but i just wanted to plead their case. by the way, Java i love your site and i hope you do keep blogging. you are hilarious!! oh and forgive the lack of capitalization, i’m going thru an emily dickinson phase. ahh who am i kidding, i’m just lazy.

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  35. 35 nk

    Thanks for the recap. I’m actually watching both Bandit and Hong Gil Dong at the same time and am enjoying both at the moment. I agree that SBS has been doing a lot of shows recently that start out a bit lighthearted but take a darker turn. I’m not sure if I will be able to take it if this drama follows that same path but I do really like Jang Hyuk and Lee Da Hae and at least it’s only 16 episodes (not like Lobbyist which preceded this and was painfully long and didn’t really pay off for me in the end) but we shall see… But I like how these characters aren’t very typical for kdrama and a lot of the situations they get into are very amusing. Yes, it’s predictable but I don’t think I ever watched a kdrama that has been unpredictable so far. Also I really like the soundtrack for this show so far. Especially the usage of JYP’s Honey. The music is mischievous and really compliments JH’s con man personality.

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  36. 36 bethany

    just a concluding thought… with bulhandang ending, it was not as horrible as i think we worried! i really really enjoyed it… typical or not :)

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  37. 37 dunlop

    Hey I watched this show thinking it was gonna be a comedy! It was pretty funny in the beginning but got pretty serious towards the latter. However it wasn’t really depressing. The story itself wasn’t that great I thought, nothing new. The storyline wasn’t what kept me watching this show, it was because of the acting. LDH’s character isn’t like any other I’ve seen, and I think LDH did a great job of portraying her. “My girl” was the first time I saw her act, and this one just shows her range as well. And the drama had such a sweet ending.

    SPOILER ALERT (this drama is pretty old so I thought it would be okay)
    As for the OJ’s illness I felt like it didn’t belong. At episode 10ish the main storyline seemed to have ended and I felt like they only add the illness to add more drama for another 6 episodes. I could have done without that, but I give them props for having a sweet ending. Also the illness they gave him was just so right and cruel because it meant DR could loose OJ in a minute. I was sure they would kill JH’s character off, but the series ends with the couple promising to live every day to the fullest.

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  38. 38 Soua

    @dunlop

    Totally agree! The illness didn’t belong, and came out of no where… didn’t really add to the story line… just dragged it on. But it’s so typical of kdrama.

    I agree. I like this character of LDH as DH more then Yoorin. I really like the ending of the movie… It meant there was hope. *sigh

    You know what’s funny? I thought this story connected with Chuno, where jang hyuk and ldh didn’t get to fulfill their love. hahahaha… :D

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  39. 39 nurul

    does anyone know where i can watch this drama online with english sub

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