Drama Recaps
The World They Live In: Episode 5
by | November 16, 2008 | 47 Comments

Since The World They Live In is all about the behind-the-scenes activity of drama-making, a few meta points sneak in to the storytelling, which should be amusing for those of us who like to bemoan the evils of some kdrama tropes. Today’s episode is all about one of those clichés, the “pure romance.”

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EPISODE 5: “The innocence that is beyond me”

The theme for this episode is innocence, which refers to a purity of romantic love that often gets hyped in Korean dramas, and which is a concept Joon-young doesn’t identify with.

We start off as CP Park relates the story of Chief Kim’s relationship with Yoon Young fifteen years ago. It is dramatized to us as a stage play with Joon-young and Ji-oh in the lead roles.

The gist is: They fell in love, kept it a secret to everyone at the station, and Chief Kim had planned to leave his wife and kid to be with Young. When he arrived at the airport for their rendezvous, she never showed. Instead, he saw her on TV announcing her engagement to someone else. Numb at the shock, he watched as she smiled for the cameras and said they’d been dating for a year. The kicker came when she said, “He’s the first man to love me.” That was a blow — because what did that make him?

Back in the present, the staff members offer their takes on the situation — CP Park calls Chief Kim crazed, but Min-hee thinks all love makes people like that. Ji-oh says this could be Chief Kim’s revenge, as though to say, “You trampled over my youth and left me. Fine, I’ll die of heartbreak,” and evokes Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.

CP Park smiles at Ji-oh’s youthful innocence (and again, “innocence” in this episode’s context refers to a pure ideal of love, akin to naivety). This sparks a discussion of purity. Soo-kyung, the bumbleheaded dolt that he is, grins that men don’t need it, but women do.

When Joon-young asks Kyu-ho for his opinion, being the guy who espouses casual sex, his answer is somewhat surprising. He thinks Young is the sadder case: “We can forget those who treat us well, but never those we hurt. Although that may have a correlation to naivety.”

In the bathroom, Ji-oh mentions that he heard Soo-kyung doesn’t read the scripts, about to scold him. Soo-kyung’s reply is that he hardly needs to, and in an example of the meta elements I mentioned, he gives us an amusing monologue on the Cliched State of the Korean Drama:

“The story’s obvious. There are two guys named Young-woo and Ho-geol who are friends. They have a teacher who’s like a father to them. The teacher has a daughter, Mi-rae. Both guys like the girl, but she only likes Young-woo… Enter another girl, Bong-boon. Anyway, so the four of them cry and wail and that’s the story. You wanna know why I know this story so well when I don’t read the synopsis? This story’s just changed time periods, but it’s exactly the same as Sohn Kyu-ho’s previous drama. In that one, the warrior teacher was a businessman and the two lead males have just changed their names, everything else is the same.”

Soo-kyung leaves, and out steps Kyu-ho, who heard the whole thing. But he’s not upset, and tells Ji-oh, “Your dramas are too difficult.”

This is probably true, but Ji-oh represents the pure (and purist) ideal in this series, while Kyu-ho takes the opposite (worldly and pragmatic) extreme, with Joon-young in the middle. Joon-young’s got the purist ideals, but a coolly businesslike mind when executing things; her problem is that she wants to be both without admitting it. She hasn’t owned either stance so she seems like a hypocrite sometimes, and I suppose this is what she’s learning along the way.

Joon-young sends Ji-oh away with a kiss, then turns to her editing while Soo-kyung babbles behind her. He tells her to steer clear of all those infamous kdrama clichés in her series, because those dramas have no sense of realism: “If the main character just raises his hand, a taxi arrives. There’s always an empty spot in the parking lot. Nobody goes to the bathroom, nobody dies when receiving a deadly injury, and wherever you are on the planet, the two leads always meet.”

Joon-young answers sarcastically that he can make a drama chock-full of reality, then: “The main character is injured in a fight and dies. The hero has to meet the heroine but can’t get a taxi so they never meet. The hero goes to the bathroom every hour.” Touché.

Remembering that she hasn’t told Ji-oh about the house he picked that she wants to use, she looks outside to call him back. She sees Ji-oh on the sidewalk encountering Yeon-hee, who’s waiting to talk to him. He ignores her, but Yeon-hee follows. This ruins Joon-young’s good mood.

Outside, Ji-oh ignores Yeon-hee and gets in his car to leave. As he drives (to pick up a drunk Chief Kim), he answers his phone and yells at Yeon-hee to stop acting like this and angrily hangs up.

Young visits her ailing mother at the hospital, and as she leaves the building, she sees Chief Kim outside, drunk. He asks, “Why don’t you say you’re sorry? Is it because you aren’t sorry? Then let me ask, why aren’t you sorry?”

She answers that she felt sorry for about six months after the breakup, but that faded: “Was I supposed to be sorry all this time, for fifteen years straight?”

She walks off, leaving Chief Kim staggering around in his liquor-induced haze, just as Seo-woo walks up (she lives in the same building as him) and Ji-oh arrives with CP Park.

The guys take him home, and stick around for breakfast.

Seeing the bulletin board of Yoon Young photos on the wall, Seo-woo comments that Chief Kim ought to get back with her instead of pining. The guys jump in to say no way, but Chief Kim surprises them all by saying calmly, “I’m going to get back with her.”

Ji-oh looks at him in disappointment, because Chief Kim’s situation mirrors his own (and Ji-oh wants a different ending for his own life). Ji-oh reminds Chief Kim of something he’d previously said about life differing from dramas, where all loves are wrapped in the context of “fateful” and “pure,” and how that’s BS in real life. At Ji-oh’s volatile reaction, Chief Kim guesses, “Did you talk to Yeon-hee again?”

Ji-oh responds, “Meet someone new! Let’s live new lives with new people, all right?!”

Joon-young and Young clash when the actress refuses to come in for a 6am call. She chides Joon-young, who should know better than to schedule lead actresses so early — a 6am call means they have to be up at 3am for makeup, and her face has to look good onscreen. Frustrated, Joon-young starts to issue an ultimatum (come now or today’s shoot is canceled) but everyone signals for her to calm down, so Joon-young bites her tongue and asks if Young can make it by 11am.

Joon-young takes out her anger on Min-hee (the trickle-down effect) for scheduling the shoot at a bad time, but Young calls back and agrees to come.

After the shoot, Joon-young asks why she changed her mind, and Young answers that she didn’t want to make it seem like she was being difficult just to make a point. (Upon reading the script, she saw that it was a morning shoot with the character in bed, which doesn’t require lots of makeup or hair prep.)

Seo-woo mentions Chief Kim during a break, wondering if she’d ever get back with him again, which sets Young off in a fit of laughter. It’s so absurd, she can’t stop laughing.

On the phone, Joon-young asks leading questions about what Ji-oh did last night, wanting him to mention his run-in with Yeon-hee. He says he was out all night, and she half-jokes, “Did you go behind my back to meet your ex-girlfriend?” He jokes back, “What would you do if I did?”

Joon-young asks a few more times where he went last night, but he brings up other topics, suggesting that she might want a change of clothes since she’s been out working. (He’s fishing for an invite to her home, I think, but doesn’t want to push, so he’s happy when Joon-young tells him her passkey combination.) She asks for a change of clothes, but tells him not to mess around her place.

Ji-oh runs into Yeon-hee, who’s sought him out again. She thanks him for helping her with a sister-related problem, and he tries to dismiss her coolly, but she tells him, “I was never pregnant.” Things were so bad between them that she lied to end it for good. Ji-oh tells her he’s dating Joon-young now:

“I’m dating her and I’m happy and feel excited around her. Because I want to look good to her, I can’t even sleep. But you keep messing it up. It makes me mad as hell. Right now, I only have one thought in my head, and that’s how much crueler I have to be for—”

Yeon-hee walks away. He shouts after her, “Tell me you wish me happy. Be happy, okay?”

Joon-young and Seo-woo wonder at Young’s reaction regarding Chief Kim. Seo-woo: “A life-and-death love to one person is a source of laughter for another.”

Joon-young counters, “What’s wrong with it? For the first time, I thought Yoon Young was cool.” Isn’t the free, mature thing to do to live like her, rather than pining? Joon-young tells the writer it’s annoying that all her stories are about the Grand Love between one man and woman. She wants to do a story “about a cool type of love,” and denounces dramas that put too much importance on “the innocence of first love.”

Seo-woo points out that Carrie from Sex and the City and Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy returned to their initial loves (ha — like those are such bastions of literary significance). Seo-woo thinks it’s instinctual for people to want that kind of simple, pure love.

Kyu-ho’s drama goes outside for a location shoot, and Soo-kyung grumbles over his latest impossible task: to make a plain, empty field full of flowers. Soo-kyung gripes over his thankless job, but a fellow crewmember says this is nothing. Back when Kyu-ho was an assistant director, he was tasked with an impossible order from the PD, to make the terrain in the dead of winter look like summer — and he pulled it off, staying up all night painting reeds green.

Meanwhile, Hae-jin practices her lines, during which the elder actresses give her acting advice about putting more feeling into her dialogue. They push her to immerse herself deeper into her character’s predicament until she breaks down in tears (for the scene).

Afterward, the Cheerful Older Actress smiles in satisfaction, saying that Hae-jin will make a decent actress. Grumpy Older Actress isn’t so sure, but Cheerful tells her, “Kids are like that. They’re young and pretty, but if they were good actors too, where would we be?”

Ji-oh drops by Joon-young’s place to pick up a change of clothes, but he’s entirely grossed out to discover that she’s a slob. Clothing has been thrown in a heap inside her closet and he tries to leave things as is, but gives in to the impulse to fold her clothes properly. The dirty floor disgusts him, so he cleans that, too. And then, when he’s about to leave, he looks for a cup to drink some water, and nearly has a fit to see how she’s carelessly dumped all her plateware under the sink.

Chief Kim drops by Young’s home, and she’s not too thrilled to see him. When he tells her he’ll call, she returns, “Don’t.” He forges on with his suggestion that they date again, and lest he sound pushy, he tries to act cool, saying they can always break up if it doesn’t work.

It looks like she’s going to reject him, but when he turns to go, she tells him, “Don’t call before 11. You know I get up at 12, right?” He leaves with a big ol’ grin.

When Ji-oh drops by Joon-young’s set, she asks him, “Do you have something you want to tell me?” She brushes it off as casual interest, but she’s fishing again for him to tell her about Yeon-hee. Ji-oh doesn’t get what she’s getting at, so he leaves her feeling dissatisfied again for not volunteering the information.

The next morning, Ji-oh scopes out his special house (which he doesn’t know Joon-young has chosen to use), and pictures the scene he’ll shoot there. In the drama enactment, they play against type, with Ji-oh in the bad boy role and Joon-young playing the demure, pure girl.

(Once again they’re opposites, because Ji-oh’s drama uses the cliché of pure love, while Joon-young wants kdramas to evolve into “cool love” — although I don’t think Joon-young really wants a relationship like that. Again, I feel that they’re both pushing too far in extreme directions. Really, Kyu-ho’s got the right attitude to be successful — but then, that could just be that I identify with Kyu-ho’s outlook more than the other two.)

Joon-young arrives in the distance and shouts to get his attention. Wanting to see him, she had left the crew bus and now has exactly forty minutes to spend together before she has to get back to work. With time ticking, Ji-oh races to meet her, as Joon-young thinks:

“Thinking about it, it’s not that I was angry with Korean dramas that emphasize innocence, it was myself I disliked for never having felt that. Why did it hurt my pride for me to love the other person more than he loved me? It’s enough that he runs to me like this. I can just believe in him. What was I afraid of?”

Ji-oh arrives gasping for breath, and says, “If you tell me to come to you, I will.”

Joon-young thinks, “That day, I pledged myself to feel that innocence with him. Even if he can’t keep that promise, isn’t it enough if I do?”‘

Ji-oh starts to tell her something, prefacing it by saying he’d intended not to tell her for fear she’d misunderstand. He admits that Yeon-hee came looking for him, and she reveals that she saw them.

Ji-oh tries to work out his frustration with the situation, saying he’s not sure what kinds of things he’s supposed to tell his current girlfriend when he runs into the ex-girlfriend. But he didn’t want to keep the little things from her, because that might lead to them drifting apart. Joon-young contradicts her earlier reaction by telling him he doesn’t have to tell her little things like this.

Then she starts getting upset, remembering back to when he was dating Yeon-hee and found out she’d been drinking with an ex and went to a motel with him. He’d told Joon-young that he wasn’t bothered because he trusted Yeon-hee.

She wants to know what that means for their relationship: “You had an unshaking faith in Yeon-hee even when she went to a motel with another guy, but you have to tell me even the littlest thing in case I’d misunderstand?”

Ji-oh tells her he was just saying that back then to look cool, but Joon-young’s still irritated, so he kisses her. She’s still upset, but the more he prods her, the more her anger falls away, finally giving into laughter.

 
COMMENTS

First, the writing is definitely one of the things I like best about The World They Live In, but there’s also a tendency for the dialogue to veer into TOO writerly. We all know this is a writer’s drama, but when it gets too studied, too precious… well, it loses some punch for me. It’s like every line is being delivered as part of some eloquent speech. I hope Noh Hee-kyung pulls back on that.

I keep trying to figure out why The World They Live In isn’t more engaging for me, because I recognize that the writing is good, the directing competent, and the acting (Song included) is generally fine. And I think it’s that the series lacks a certain… passion.

It’s like we’re viewing the characters through a lens that adds distance, with this air of cool detachment. I don’t know how to explain it fully, it’s just that other shows — lesser-quality shows, even — are often able to convey their emotions beyond/through/transcending the screen, to move their viewers. The World They Live In is so analytical and calm, however — and the voiceovers, which are starting to get gratuitous, do not help — that I don’t feel anything beyond mild emotion.

I’m not saying the characters are passionless, but it’s this lack of dramatic passion that leaves me not really caring what happens to them. I don’t care if Ji-oh and Joon-young get together, I don’t care what kind of trouble Yeon-hee causes, I don’t care if Joon-young’s drama succeeds or fails. (The only story I do care about is Kyu-ho’s team, and that’s because it’s entertaining, he’s an interesting character, and the people in that storyline are a mix of odd and contradictory.) Everyone’s so nicely reflective of their lives, but I want to move beyond reflection and feel some actual emotional energy.

In short, the drama doesn’t move me. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

 
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47 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. tokai

    I agree with your conclusion. I actually stopped to watch this after 2 episodes.

    I watched it w/o subtitles and my understanding of korean is practically zero, but usually really good shows still keep you highly entertained even if you don’t understand a single word (e.g. I watched most of Painter of the Wind w/o available subtitles and really enjoyed the show.. all the required emotions were transported w/o the need to understand the spoken language). The World They Live In couldn’t delivery this to me. The lead actress is kind of cute and often this is reason enough to watch any show even if the rest of the cast suxx completly (like in this case), but then also the whole quick cut of the show leaves no room for exploring emotions.

    The only real good thing of the show is to get some insight how korean dramas are made, but usually you get this better and more interesting deliveried in DVD extra documentations. ;-)

  2. cartman

    so..are you still going to continue doing recaps for this drama? :)

  3. popcorn

    yeah…I understand what you mean. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to continue watching even though i wish I will. Ah…=_=’ I thought it was my cup of tea but suddenly it isn’t. I’m sadden; afterall, I really like SHK…

  4. mookie

    tokai, if u watch it raw, u might as well not watch it. I do agree it maybe too ambitiously dense/fast-paced at times to leave room for exploring emotions. It’s a bit tedious that I have to pause to read the subs and to think and almost catch my breath and wonder more what I had missed when it shouldnt be necessary.

    There’s a tiny sth missing for me, I still like the drama a lot, there r parts or scenes I still find very precious, but I’m lethargic watching ww instead of blown away, maybe it’s not ‘sexy’ enough a drama even with the kdrama record breaking # of kisses?!….and for some even odder reason I’m too lazy to think, Ji Oh made me miss Tae Joo (Eric) in QSS (or SHK made me crave for some Yung YooMi).

    I think I have a bit of a prob with PD Pyo’s editing. There were scenes that I wished were done just couple seconds less (like JiOh’s: ‘Joon-young~~~~!!!’ in your top pic, it irked me as being unnecessary).

  5. Sue

    yes, it’s SO calm. and i’m also really interested in kyuho’s storyline.

  6. sora

    i kinda felt that this drama wasn’t moving you as you put it bluntly because the recap of episode 5 compared to that of the other episodes is short with not as much details into it. However i actually am still loving The Word Thry Live In and hope you don’t lose interest anytime soon hehehe

  7. tokai

    mookie, of course -assuming the show sparkled my interest at all- I would have rewatched it as soon some subs would have been available. I usually watch RAW first (not only korean stuff) as soon it gets out and catch up with the detailed information I might have missed later when subs get available (if at all).

    If the show is good this works just fine… it’s amazing how much you can understand a show even without understanding any spoken word at all. Body language, emphasis of voice, etc. There are many ways for communication than just the words.

    If a show in large parts fail to delivery this properly (it might be because the fast cut not giving the actors enough time to express themself properly –as I read also resulting in some claims that the lead actress can’t speak properly/ speeks to fast korean by the korean netizens, i guess– or the whole topic of the show itself… I’m not really sure what the exact cause is) then it will also fail to delivery this when I can watch it again together with the subs (at least that’s how it goes for me).

    If I compare this to ‘Painter of the Wind’ (the only other currently airing korean drama I watch) it’s a difference like ‘day and night’ in this regard. ‘Painter of the Wind’ just works for me without and with subs.

    But maybe it’s just taste of topic after all… at least I don’t share the general critics of the korean netizen (funny word btw. ;) that the lead actress sucked in ‘The World They Live In’… like I meantioned before: she was the highlight of the whole show, IMHO. :-)

  8. mookie

    tokai, I’m also watching (and enjoying) Painter of the Wind, but it has a visual lyrical literacy that is easily captivating transcending words.

    WW is still the best written show out there atm imo, so to watch it for an actress instead of the writing and to hope for merely the visuals to ignite some interest is just unfair. It’s like deciding whether a book is a good read by the font or the feel of the paper it’s printed on.

  9. pabo ceo reom

    Absolutely right. It’s this weird feeling of like and dislike. I feel as if I SHOULD enjoy this drama but for some reason I’m not caught up in it. Maybe Korean viewers feel the same way judging from the ratings?

    P.S. I think mookie has a good point. I don’t doubt being able to enjoy something without understanding the language but for certain things, such as this series, dialogue plays a big part.

  10. 10 kawaii

    me too, mookie. most of the dialogues are a bit too fast for me, that i always have to pause/ rewind it to get back what i’ve missed. yeah, kinda tedious.

    but anyway, this thing doesnt pull me back from watching. i still love this drama very dearly!!

    i understand u javabeans. i guess the emotions didnt really reach me too. for example, i didnt get teary at the sad scenes. maybe its because they didnt really give space for it in the drama. when the emotion nearly there, the next scene came bringing another opposite emotion. This thing continued in a quick cycle until the episode ended. then we got that mild emotion.
    maybe its just for the beginning. we’ll see when things get complicated later.

    however, from a different view, i kinda like the way it is now. i like the mild feeling i got at the end of every episode.. no tension no pressure. watching it like relaxing my mind from a stressful day. every arguments/fights in it didnt last long. no misunderstandings like in a typical kdrama. maybe there are, but the reaction to it is positive. yoo hee is back but things didnt get complicated like in a normal kdrama. i like Ji oh’s reaction to it. compared with goodbye solo, same writer but different outcome/purpose. both provoking thoughts but goodbye solo is more in a mysterious way while this drama is more to entertaining. i dont know how to put it into words but this type of drama i can always watch it over and over again – no tension. like an icecream during summer =)

    anyway, we are only at episode 6 now. more things to come. the way everything is so calm now, i’m a lil scared of what’s gonna happen next.

  11. 11 lovin it

    yeah almost every line seems to be calculated..and this drama is indeed a writer’s drama.. this drama is also a refreshing change from most other typical drams
    i love kyuho’s plot too.. except they dont seem to expand much on kyuho yet.. just a overall sense of mean on the outsideness. that made no sense.. but pulled allnighter and i may be rambling a bit. just a wee bit.
    even though a little passion seems to be absent.. im definitely gonna continue watching because overall, i still enjoy the drama a lot.. and im loving songhyekyo and hyunbin.. hyunbin more though.. and cp park :)
    thanks for the recapppppp!

  12. 12 kawaii

    btw, MILLION THANKS JAVABEANS for this summary !!!

    i wish this show can be more entertaining to you later on, hoping that you wont stop recapping & summarizing it. i love reading your summary! and i love this drama very very much. i dont know, the feeling i got from this drama is very different. i like fun romantic-comedy drama like my girl, samsoon etc, and i like melodrama like misa, snow queen,i like suspense drama like time of dog and wolf. and this drama worlds within is like under a different unknown genre. and i like it too!

  13. 13 gia

    they are so lovely together

  14. 14 Anonymous

    i have to agree with you about the passion part. i think the writer is trying to do a little of what grey’s anatomy and other american dramas do with their distant characters and self-reflection (though, it’s been a while since i’ve seen grey’s anatomy). perhaps there is something almost american in its dry dispassion. i don’t know.

    i do know that one of the appealing things about the typical korean shows (dramas and talk shows) is this personal connection the audience feels for the entertainers, like watching a group of old friends. it’s the same with korean society…people are up in everyone else’s business and distance and privacy is usually not a part of the social dynamics. emotion and histrionics, however, abound. someone once described korea as the “france” of asia and japan as the “germany” or “england” (however stereotypical and non-pc these descriptions may be, it gets the speaker’s point across). anyway, it’s interesting to try to understand why a well-made drama may not be as fun. i guess it’s the art in entertainment.

  15. 15 wollie

    I completely agree with your conclusion
    It’s too bad since I hoped so much for this drama from the start
    T.T…..sigh….

  16. 16 purple teady bear

    Great recap, dramabeans! Even greater that you actually and literally put words into my mouth in describing how I feel about this drama. Great everything but lacking of the spice it needs to make it a good watch. Too calculated, too impersonal, too detached.

    The unforgettable scene that stuck in my mind and which made me realize it is lacking something was the scene where JO was carrying her to her bed to make love the first time after they got back together. I was expecting some hesitating moments, some sweet moments, some dramatic moments — just something to kind of highlight the getting back together decision (I was thinking similar to the emotions shown in the drama Lovers by KJE and LSJ when they kissed; all kissing scenes in that drama were emotion filled). In real life there should be something, right? But theirs (WW) looked so superficial it was disappointing. I wanted so bad to be happy and smiley for them, but the scene ended without me having that feeling. I may be too dramatic, but my two cents. The director just keeps disappointing me.

  17. 17 cranky

    On the contrary, I like the calmness of it because I hate melodramatic plot lines. When I was watching Beethoven Virus, it’s so melodramatic it kind of spoiled everything for me. Maybe it’s just me, I like the whole everyday-ness of it because I can connect to it.

  18. 18 S

    Thank you for recapping this series even though you aren’t too engaged by it.

    I have to agree with most of your reasons on how placid it has become, but I’m still hooked! Maybe I’m tired of high drama and just enjoy the pace of this World. :)

  19. 19 Redbean

    Thanks for the reviw. But I have to say that everybody should form their own opinion after watching it, especially the acting, instead of agreeing this review without your own thoughts. I love the drama, have watched it two times already. Joo Young’s character is not as likable as Ji Ho’s, so people may feel irritated with SHK’s acting. But I think this is what makes SHK’s acting great. I thought everyone in the drama acted great but it seems that people are picking on SHK’s acting. That’s what happened when she’s being popular. I watched other kdrama too but I have to say this drama is so different than the others that really draw myself in. It is really refreshing so I don’t undertand the low rating either. May be it is too different for the general Koreans.

  20. 20 dramafreak19

    You’re right, javabeans…and you worded it perfectly…i, myself, also can’t figure out why I’m not head over heels for this drama (though I am head over heels for Hyun Bin)…so disappointing….there is a very, very, very slim chance it might turn around in the next couple of episodes, but i doubt it…

    I guess I’ll continue to look forward to Boys Before Flowers with insanely high anticipation….if I’m disappointed by that, I swear my head will spontaneously combust or something…=S

  21. 21 jerome

    i agree with you fully on that. i just realize it myself. what i like about this drama is the story. and its the only thing thats moving me. the reason i still watch this show is because it kinda makes me wanna know where the story is heading to. its not because i want them to be together or i feel heart broken with the love story. more on it feels like watching a reality show to where i dont know what to expect. its definitly not your ordinary kdrama. hopefully u can keep blogging about this show.

  22. 22 ")

    dont stop summarising the drama though…. heheh

    hmm… like what what Cranky said… i too, think i like the calmness that the World They Live In delivers.. slow paced and relax and i look forward to see how JO and JY relationship develops..

    im likeing Hyun Bin more and more… ish….

  23. 23 all4movies

    totally agree with you javabeans. this whole series seems detached and passionless.

    i wanted to like it, but it’s becoming a pain to slog through. i really don’t care for Song Hye Kyo who’s beauty they have minimized in an attempt to present a professional image, boring. And Hyun Bin’s cute little boy persona gets tired fast.

    sad to say, the only series I’m mildly interested in right now is Kingdom of the Winds, and I don’t even like the main actor. maybe painter of the wind will be worth watching when the drama comes out in dvd.

  24. 24 janjan

    People don’t have to think deep or analyze why this drama isn’t working for them or seems to lack something to make them glued to it. The answer is plain and simple, it’s not a typical korean drama where at the end of every episode, you’re left hanging whether the villain is gonna kill the main lead, or will the main leads cross paths, or will someone be caught doin something or will they guy have the courage to declare his love. Nor this drama’s plot is typical like girl likes this guy but guy likes another girl or it’s about revenge, or about the lead being underdog and manage his way up or about an undying love for his/her first love. Whether people admit it or not, typical stuffs like these give them some adrenalin or heighten emotions or stir up curiosity, thus making them wanting to know more what happens next (even though, most of the times they know what’s gonna be next since it’s too predictable), which is a normal reaction. WW is not all these. It’s actually defying Korean drama norm. It’s trying to deviate from too much action (not necessarily martial artsy) drama but to more reality. Where it depicts people trying to feel and understand all that’s happening in their lives and what they think deep inside their minds kinda explaining why they act in such ways. And it’s true, if you don’t know Korean language, like me, you couldn’t follow just by watching it without subtitles because you have to understand what each of the character is saying and meaning to appreciate the essence of it. And if one’s perception of a good drama is to be intensely passionate or highly entertaining then definitely WW wouldn’t click for him/her. For me, I love this drama in a way that I could relate so much to one or two of the characters in how they think or do at present. And I don’t agree to the comment that the characters are so distant or detached, in fact I do feel they’re so close, so real, that when one said something, I say “OMG that’s so true”. Or the characters acting in such way, I could say “OMG that’s so us!” or “hey he’s so like so and so”. This what makes this drama interesting to me and unfortunately, this what makes other people find it boring. Which I totally understand, coz most people want to see those passionate or entertaining dramas to escape from reality from their real monotonous lives. And also, as mentioned above, this drama ends every episode at a light note. No suspense, no pressure Which I think is depicting more realism, where we get up in the morning, have our coffee, go to work, come home and at the end of the day, think of how the day went and then sleep. However, there will also be times when we hit it high or low, so I’m sure at some point this drama will have those times too. Which is what is making me glued to it, thinking that the main leads right now are grounded that what could trigger them to lose focus and what could happen in their lives as they go on. Will they be together or will they realize that they’re not meant for each other, who knows. Nobody knows. Only writer Noh Hee-Kyung knows.

    So this is just my two cents (think it’s more like a dollar). Still many thanks for recapping this drama. Just too bad that we’re not on the same page.

  25. 25 Amber

    I realized quite quickly how empty this drama was at heart, so stopped watching it.

    it’s sad, as both are talented actors and it’s plot is a refreshing change from the usual cliches, but…it just doesn’t work.

  26. 26 anette

    i love it………………………. they luk good 2gether

  27. 27 bduck

    Jan Jan – I think you have hit the nail on the head. exactly what I said in comments for episode 4.

    In episode 5 – the drama is already telling you many times – they r tired of the usual Kdrama story lines and this isnt going to be one of them. Soon Kyung said why read the script when you already know the story line and whats going to happen? In a way its mocking viewers, why watch a drama when you already know the story line and what will happen?

    but I guess general korean market is not ready for such a big change. you either love this drama for its difference and refreshing change or you don’t coz its not what you expect – no rich guy prince charming come fall in love with normal girl – nothing to fantasize about hahahaha

    i think this drama is great! I think both leads are doing a good job considering roles are so different. I mean anyone can look and act kool rich guy in expensive cars etc and any female k actress can act ugly duckling with makeover into a swan. the roles are about people in real life and I can relate to them

  28. 28 selva

    thanks for the recap :D I hope you don’t stop making them, because I’m relying 100% on you my dear :D

    janjan I love your analysis and I totally agree w/ it.

    strangely I’m enjoying this drama more than I thought I would… the whole BTS world entertains me… and I think I’m the among few people here who are moved by all the characters and feel sympathy w/ all of them.

    yes indeed the dialogues are so calculated and I have to pause the subs and think about what they say so I can understand, but this to me is the most fun part. I want to think. I don’t want anyone to spoon feed me what’s going on. I love it when the conversations are mysterious and require some energy to figure it out. Maybe this irritates some people, but to me <33333333333 love it ;-)

    I’m actually surprised because not so many people here (including you) are enjoying this drama as much as I’m. But, again, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so I understand why it’s not so engaging for some of you.

    but to me I think all the staff here did a fantastic job. Maybe you should just let yourself flow w/ the story and then MAYBE you can feel the passion I’m feeling right now to all of the characters :D

    have a nice day.

  29. 29 Anonymous

    i actually really like this drama. it isnt melodramatic, and its just everyday lives of actual people. as someone mentioned, beethoven virus has TOO much drama, sometimes i just want a calm peaceful drama. the world they live in is the one <3
    thanks for the recaps

  30. 30 Worlds Within

    I agree that there are moments that make this drama seem a little weak but I guess the quirk that makes me like it so much still would be that it is different. In most dramas you can immediately see who the villians are and who the heroes are, in this drama there are no heroes or villians, there are just characters who are beautiful yet flawed. SHK and Hyun Bin’s acting is mediocre, it’s not like I expect them to win some award for this particular drama or anything but the chemistry and relationship they portray seems real. They aren’t too lovey dovey, they aren’t too shy, they don’t cry too much and they haven’t been in love with each other since they were born. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my kdramas that are all about one’s first “pure love” but I also appreciate this drama for going in a somewhat opposite direction. All in all, I really do hope you continue to recap this drama.

  31. 31 Lucille

    To me the drama seems very real. I can relate to the thoughts, insecurities, and some of the normal relationship problems of the cast. However, there is no drama in this drama!! I don’t watch dramas to see the same relationship I am in being protrayed on television. I guess I am a sap and I want to see that pure (true) love story that I wish I was mine. However, I do like the story and will stick with it until the end. Thank you for the summaries.

  32. 32 Lucille

    To me the drama seems very real. I can relate to the thoughts, insecurities, and some of the normal relationship problems of the cast. However, there is no drama in this drama!! I don’t watch dramas to see the same relationship I am in being protrayed on television. I guess I am a sap and I want to see that pure (true) love story that I wish I was mine. However, I do like the story and will stick with it until the end. Thank you for the summaries.

  33. 33 Jabbawockee_Swan

    Wow…you guys are really deep into this…

    Although I agree with JanJan and Bduck, I need to be very upfront on the reason why I watch this drama…
    Its simply because Song Hye Kyo..She is georgeous.
    Yes I know its very shallow…it is very sad. Its actually affecting my life and the people around me..
    My doctor told me to stop doing that…He is prescribing me new medication to control my Song Hye Kyo obsession…

    I think its working a bit….Now I watch it without sound to not hear her voice..at least thats a start..

  34. 34 Secret Sunshine

    I am totally engaged with Goodbye Solo but not with WW… at least not yet! Sorry for being shallow >_< in fact the only reason I was pulled to watch WW is because of Daniel Choi, Uhm Ki Joon and Seo Hyo Rim, can’t wait to see their characters unfolding in the drama. I love Kyu Ho’s cool and calm demure and anticipating to see if there will be a dose of “pure romance” between him and He Jin.
    Fortunately and unfortunately, I predict that WW will be one of the most popular dramas in days to come. Through WW, many get to appreciate Hyun Bin’s acting even more and Noh’s down-to-earth writing style! As for the rating condemnation, this is how Hyun Bin puts it in a realistic way, that many are watching WW through internet and downloading and I think he is fine with that (low rating) as he knows that he and his partner Hye Kyo have a strong base of support backing them up esp cyber fans!

  35. 35 julie

    I´m relieved to hear that it´s not too much drama , looking forward to watch this when I have the time (:

    Thank you for the recaps!

  36. 36 juno

    I’m appalled by the flood of negative remarks on this drama out of everything else we have endured in the name of kdrama, yes there’s a calmness to this drama but I would never imagined it to be described as ‘ boring, cast suxx, placid, detached, slow paced?!?!?!’

    It has a ‘calmness’ to it since it is not overtly dramatic, but the characters are going around their very interesting tangents simultaneously through their mild ups and downs. Yes, there is no gratuitous drama to keep us at the edge of our seat, but that’s what makes it refreshing too. There were times I think Noh took up more she can effectively chew and deliver, but this drama has not one boring moment for me. I’ll admit there were some moments I’m ‘less’ interested in but still every scene has its place and role in the drama. It’s a bit too ‘designed’ and crafted, but it’s a personal taste whether u appreciate it or not.

    I do think why it was not engaging with certain audiences is that it put in depth descriptions to side characters and each episode is built around a theme with almost all characters contributing (in some eps it was genius, in others it was a bit too labored). So in a broader view, some dramatic tension may be lost when the flow of the story jumps fr one character to another instead of a focused, continuous fluid portrayal.

    I do not think SHK or HB are mediocre, I’m not a fan of either and I watched it for Noh. There were scenes that they surprised me (esp HB), of coz there were also scenes that can use improvements but overall I havent seen this level of great work fr the actors to the staff and crew for a long time.

  37. 37 jin

    i don’t think calling WW “placid, detached, or slow paced” are negative. Those are just descriptors, and I think they’re true. For me, I really wanted to like WW, it seemed so promising at the start, but a drama has to engage the viewers no matter how well written the dialogue is. I suspect this is why ratings are low. Not just because East of Eden is popular but because WW isn’t gripping. Maybe some people don’t mind watching slow, quiet, not-much-happens dramas but for me, I don’t want to be bored by my entertainmnet!

    Also, for people saying up above how WW at least is better than Beethoven Virus, asking for some passion doesn’t mean we all want tears and melodrama like EOE or Beethoven. It isn’t like we just have two choices, total boredom or total hysterics. I want something in the middle, even a little more excitement would do the trick.

  38. 38 V

    I anticipated this drama so much that I have made myself slog through 6 episodes, but I don’t know if I can do it anymore. First of all, it is too overly self conscious in its portrayal of the characters. There is nothing “real” about them–the actors are vehicles for artistic things about relationships to be said. There are no emotions really shown because that damn voice over does the work for them. The conversations are plot-moving devices rather than conversations evolving characters.

    I am so annoyed with how something with so much potential could fall this flat.

    Also, professional looking doesn’t mean ugly-looking. Who on earth came up with PLAID and FLANNEL as the central wardrobe for the characters? SHK wears huge flannel shirts with black leggings AND a ridiculous bowl cut of a hair style. Wow–who the hell wears crap like that? I can think of only Linsey Lohan, and at least she keeps her hair pretty.

    The whole production is woefully pathetic. There is all that fuss about Singapore as a location and then nothing is done about it.

    I feel sorry for Hyun Bin. He made a terrible choice in making Snow Queen, and it was deservedly a flop. He made a good choice in choosing this storyline of Worlds Within, but the production and execution of the story is so terrible, I wonder if he will be able to maintain his reputation as a great actor. Really, SHK and HB are GOOD actors–and yet, they come across as so pitifully mediocre, and that is because they have so little to work with!

  39. 39 ikanmas

    This drama doesn’t attract me at all. I tried to watch 2 episodes in the beginning, got a little bit passion. When the third episode came along, I became lazy again. NO matter how famous the main characters are does not affect me at all. Maybe, it was right, it lacks of passion. Not the chemistry between the two characters, but the passion of the drama itself. THis drama maybe comes too calm and subtle in every single way and episode.

    There is no tension between characters too. I like to watch drama which I can predict easily, but it turns out to have a shift. This one is unpredictable and becomes more lack of emotions.

  40. 40 nana

    i like everything in this drama
    the story,music,the actors
    I don’t think this drama boring at all

  41. 41 Alimac

    Thanks so much for the recaps, I love this drama so much! I hope you start to like it again…

  42. 42 haidee

    I love this drama, and I don’t think it’s boring at all. This is one of the first realistic Korean dramas I’ve seen. Personally, I think that most Korean dramas are just too formulaic, too full of cliches. If I want to see something different, I’d have to go see Japanese dramas, they have more variety in their plot. But this drama is engaging, the main leads and the side characters are interesting and real. I like the calmness and the lack of gratuitous,contrived drama. After a while all those mind boggling plot twists become so muddled and too unbelievable.

  43. 43 mimie

    i love this drama. its like seeing a real live. just normal person with not too complicated problem with complicated family background. event its also about poor and rich, but its different from any other korean drama. I love this drama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. 44 zuru

    well, i totally agree with you on the “passion”-thingy.
    let’s take, “Goodbye Solo”, for example.
    I deeply sympathize with the characters most of the time, esp when their feelings , sorrow & happiness, are pushed to the limit.
    “Worlds within” has good storyline (non-typical, enough to follow), good actors (yeah, Huynbin has had more diverse emotion expression on screen), as you said, but I did not truly “feel” it.
    yeah, what a pity.

  45. 45 dimpz.

    lool plan : watch this . :D

  46. 46 Huh

    Oh I love SHG albeit short! I like HB too! They are both cool and really nice to watch.

    SHG is a pro. She can bring out the character effortlessly. Like her since “All In”

    It’s a pity that LBH didn’t cherish her as much as she deserve. Media pressure then? I wish both of them would consider the possibility of a reconciliation?

  47. 47 sansan8

    I just watched HB ………. that’s it :) hahahahahaha
    So cute and handsome ………. playful too :D

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