Drama Recaps
Dream High: Episode 1
by | January 3, 2011 | 155 Comments

An uneven beginning, but one that got progressively better as the hour advanced. (To be honest, I was feeling that dull sense of bored disappointment halfway through, but at the 45-minute mark things picked up, and the last five minutes had my curiosity stirred and hopes rising. Things take an interesting turn.)

I’m not ready to make a decision yet, because the plot pieces are just getting put into place, and the stuff that draws me to this drama — the school, young aspirants working toward their dream, the rivalries — has barely even gotten any screen time. And yes, I suspect that if you were to decide based on the first half-hour, a lot of people might check out, but that’s mostly necessary background maneuvering; it’s really when they move to the school that things pick up.

SONG OF THE DAY

Dream High OST – “Dream High” by cast members Ok Taecyeon, Jang Woo-young, Suzy [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

Oh, god. We start off with a rather self-important telecast of the Grammy Awards, ’cause the first-ever Korean is winning one. In 2018.

The singer is “K,” and therefore a reporter conducts an interview with JUNG HA-MYUNG (Mr. Hallyu, also this drama’s producer Bae Yong-joon), a starmaker whom K has credited for kick-starting his/her career. President Jung is also chairman of the board of Kirin Foundation, which operates Kirin Art High School.

K’s identity is kept a secret from us, and to pique our curiosity, all we are told is that K is in the photo Jung refers to — of our drama’s six leads — back from his/her high school days. The pendant in the shape of a K is a recurring motif linked to both K and Jung.

The reporter asks, “Did you have an inkling then, that K would become a World Star™ who’d win a Grammy Award?”

President Jung takes a roundabout way of answering, drawing a comparison to a billiards game, calling himself the “break shot” — the first shot that sets up the table for the rest of the game to proceed.

A series of images flashes of our leads, giving us an introductory shot of Taecyeon and, sadly, our only glimpse of Kim Soo-hyun in this episode. We land on GO HYE-MI (played by Bae Su-ji, aka Suzy), who is currently enjoying the spotlight singing the Lakmé Flower Duet by Delibes with famous soprano Jo Sumi (one of several star cameos).

In awe is Hye-mi’s friend and toady, YOON BAEK-HEE (Ham Eun-jung), who is in raptures over Hye-mi’s performance. After the show is over, a couple of other girls gossip about Hye-mi, who’s the type of girl who is easily hated — it’s due to a combination of her bitchy attitude and the fact that Hye-mi has everything. Looks, money, talent, and a bright future as a student headed to Juilliard.

Despite her overall snotty attitude, Hye-mi sticks up for her friend when the girls snipe about Baek-hee, calling her “Hye-mi-pa,” which means “Hye-mi’s slipper, who follows her everywhere.” Simple, sweet-natured Baek-hee doesn’t mind being called that, but Hye-mi does, and puts the girls in their place. Which only earns her greater adulation from Baek-hee.

Their walk takes them by Kirin Art School, which brings a sneer to Hye-mi’s lips — which is, by the way, no new look for her. She puts on airs about her superior pursuits in classical music, calling Kirin a cesspool that attracts dung flies. Keeping with the poo metaphor, the people affiliated with Kirin are “pieces of crap.” Such pretty words from this pampered, sheltered 17-year-old.

Kirin is no mere high school, but occupies a halfway point between school and management company, grooming the next generation of pop stars. Many are in training for future debuts, while some are even famous now. For this reason, a celebrity van drives by and a crowd of squealing fans accosts it, no doubt carrying some hot flavor of the month, and Hye-mi and Baek-hee are jostled in the process.

Hye-mi drops her wallet without noticing, and it gets picked up by a passerby. The name he reads on the ID catches the interest of his friend, JIN-GOOK (Taecyeon), who seems to recognize Hye-mi, and he takes the wallet to return. But not before his friend swipes the photo tucked inside, a polaroid of Hye-mi onstage with Jo Sumi.

He follows her to the subway, where he notes with amusement how she covers her face in a mask, then stealthily jumps the stile to avoid paying.

Another star cameo features Kim Hyun-joong playing himself — or a version thereof, as his character is one of Kirin’s most successful alumni. He has a good relationship with President Jung (carrying that mysterious K pendant), whom he greets warmly upon his exit from the plane, not having realized they were on the same flight. Their public reunion attracts the level of interest that, well, a real-life one between Kim Hyun-joong and Bae Yong-joon would attract.

Hye-mi is accosted by a loan shark, as her father has recently lost everything due to the failure of his business and is drowning in debt. To steer clear of the sharks, he has been on the run, leaving his children at home alone while he hides from his debt collectors. Gah, what IS it with egregiously irresponsible fathers in K-dramalandworld?

The man cheerfully tells her that she’s on the hook for daddy’s debts — she can repay with money or her body. What’ll it be?

She decides neither and makes a break for it, losing one shoe in the process, while he just laughs because she’s cornered.

His henchmen advance on her…until out of the blue, one is kicked aside.

It’s Jin-gook, here to save the day, having followed her here. He tosses Hye-mi her wallet, swipes one of the goons’ wallets, and fights them off with ease. (This scene is shot prettily, but sort of a waste of fancy editing; it’s like using high-tech shots to illustrate a schoolyard tussle.)

Jin-gook leads the loan sharks on a chase through city streets and into the subway station, where the leader finally catches up to him. He’s about to get a fist to the face, when out of nowhere flies a shoe, hitting the loan shark in the face. Jin-gook slips away and boards the subway train just as it pulls away, and in his haste runs right into his helper — Hye-mi, who’d given up her remaining shoe to give him a chance to escape.

Jin-gook smiles a bit bashfully and starts to ask if she remembers him — from that time? with the yogurt? — but Hye-mi cuts him off and demands her picture back. He has no idea what she’s talking about, but she smirks that he probably took her photo because he’s a pervert, acknowledging that she did look pretty good in it.

I do enjoy that Jin-gook, who had previously been eyeing her with curiosity and potential attraction, now loses all interest in her and turns away, flatly ignoring her accusations. Looks only last so long, but a toxic personality is forever.

Now for President Jung’s triumphant return to his home base at Kirin High…which isn’t really so triumphant after all. True, everyone bows respectfully and greets his return with excitement (particularly the students), but there’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the teachers — in particular one underminey department head, Shi Beom-soo. You may recognize him from a similar role in Secret Garden as the second-in-command who’d dearly love to spot a chink in his boss’s armor to send him packing so he can take over. He fulfills the same purpose here, and though he greets President Jung deferentially, in actuality he resents losing his position of power.

President Jung acquaints himself with the changes that have occurred in the three years he’s been working in China. Many of the changes are not to his liking, such as Shi Beom-soo’s pushy attitude that has led some young trainees to injury.

President Jung makes a few immediate changes, beginning with the upcoming auditions for new applicants. Not only will he be part of the judging panel, he wants to make it an open audition.

Now it’s Hye-mi who follows Jin-gook, intent on retrieving her photo, and she makes enough of a pest of herself that he grudgingly brings her back to his basement dance studio (he recalls that his friend took the picture).

Jin-gook is part of a crew of b-boys who practice here and perform on the streets; it seems they’re all somewhat displaced kids, including Jin-gook himself, which we’ll get to in another minute.

Hye-mi demands her photo back from Jin-gook’s friend, and the guy teases her to comment on his dancing skills first, fishing for a compliment. She knows it and she doesn’t care to oblige, so she calls his dancing vulgar and him a coarse thug. Naturally that pisses him off and he gives her the whole, “You called me a thug? Let me show you how a thug really acts” routine.

His aggression veers close to getting out of hand, so Jin-gook steps in and reminds his friend that the Kirin auditions are coming up, and getting worked up won’t do them any good.

That calms him down, but Hye-mi never met a pot of shit she didn’t like to stir, and she sneers at him for wanting to go to that “shithole” of a school.

She stalks out in her superior way, but even so, Jin-gook follows her out to offer her the shoes off his feet, since she lost both of hers. What does he get in return? A shoe to the head; Hye-mi calls them stinky and rejects the offer, opting to walk home wearing scavenged tissue boxes instead.

She finds that the loan sharks have paid a visit to her (upscale, nicely furnished) home, which is in the process of being repossessed for her father’s debts (hence all the red tags on the household items). Thankfully they haven’t harmed her precocious little sister Hye-sung (that adorable weird girl from The Great Gye Choon-bin!).

She gets a call from Dad, who has decided to flee the country. He’ll be appealing to an aunt in Canada for help, but that means when the house is repo’d, his daughters will be homeless. He directs Hye-mi to someone who will surely agree to take them in for the next month or two — but when Hye-mi hears his name, she immediately refuses. Not HIM!

He’s KANG OH-HYUK (Eom Ki-joon, who’s so bumblingly cute here), a teacher at Kirin, although perhaps the least-respected one, by both teachers and students alike. Still, Hye-mi doesn’t have a lot of options, so she tracks him down (and breaks his car’s sideview mirror for good measure).

It’s a combination of Oh-hyuk’s timid nature and his guilt complex that has him eager to placate Hye-mi, because as she so vocally reminds him, HE’S the bad guy here, the homewrecker who seduced her mother and caused her parents to divorce. He’s not proud of that history and hurries to hush her everytime she mentions it, and buys her an extravagant lunch.

She announces the situation: Her father is ruined, so she and her sister will be living with him for the time being. She frames this not as a request, but as an “opportunity” for him to redeem himself for his sins, and he uneasily agrees.

But his cowardice gets the better of him, so he acts on an impulse and ditches her instead, driving away.

Hye-mi has too much pride to admit her situation to anybody, so Baek-hee is under the impression that all is normal in the rich, privileged Go household. When the loan shark comes to school, Hye-mi therefore doesn’t dispute Baek-hee’s assumption that he’s her new chauffeur, and reluctantly goes along with him — to her, this is the lesser of two evils.

Back at her house, the loan shark lays out her options. It turns out that when he told her to work off the debt with her body, he wasn’t trying to pimp her out — at least, not in that way. Instead, he tells her that where other thugs just use their fists on non-payers, he chooses the smarter path that allows him to recoup the debt.

He has done a background check on her and sees that she’s a talented singer headed to Juilliard. That’ll take too long for her to reach success, but with a few tweaks to her trajectory, he might be facing quicker repayment. Namely, if she goes to Kirin and makes it as a singer, she could be earning money a lot sooner. So, his conclusion: Go to Kirin, put out an album, “hit the jackpot like Lee Hyori” (lol), and pay back the debt.

Hye-mi glowers, not at all about to agree, until he smilingly reveals his Plan B: If she refuses, he’ll just move on to the next in line. Meaning, little sis Hye-sung.

There’s family drama in Jin-gook’s background, too, which we’re given a glimpse into as he reacts to a newspaper article about some highfalutin businessman. Jin-gook’s jaw tightens, indicating there’s bad blood there.

(This info isn’t in the drama proper, but according to the website profiles, Jin-gook’s father is a rich businessman, Chairman Hyun. Jin-gook’s own real name is Hyun Shi-hyuk, and he was abandoned by his single mother at an orphanage as a young child, then taken in by the chairman. He was raised in that cold environment until he ran away at around the time he would have been a first-year in high school, and changed his life and his name. Clearly he prefers his freedom despite his extreme poverty — his friend cooks ramyun on an upside-down clothing iron.)

Hye-mi thinks over her options, recalling how happy she was when she was given the chance to sing with her teacher, Jo Sumi, knowing that she’ll soon be giving that dream up for a much lesser (in her estimation) reality.

Still, she doesn’t really have much of a choice, and so, after indulging in a bit of tears alone, she puts on her bitchface (it’s her shield, really) as she announces to Baek-hee that she has decided to audition for Kirin instead.

Baek-hee is thrilled, because while she couldn’t follow Hye-mi to Juilliard, following her to Kirin is a much more viable option. After all, she’d followed her friend all these years to various lessons, so she’s had some training as well. Surely she has a shot at Kirin?

Baek-hee persuades Hye-mi into auditioning together for their first round, for which they will have to practice together.

On audition day, Hye-mi is utterly unruffled, scoffing to her sister that nerves are for people without talent, while she knows she’s golden. You know who else isn’t affected by nerves, Hye-mi? Sociopaths.

To prove her point, Baek-hee is all ajumble with nerves, and pauses at the gates to offer up a series of prayers. When asked what she prayed for specifically, Baek-hee smiles sweetly and says that she wants them both to pass the auditions together.

It’s like an episode of [Insert Country Here] Idol as the Kirin board evaluates all their auditionees, who range from b-boys to guitarists, Korean folk singers, ballet dancers and vocalists. Some are good, some… not so good.

It’s here that we get our first glimpse of JASON (Jang Woo-young), who frankly pulls in marks for most embarrassing showing. It’s not just the awkward English (I can overlook that, as long as he’s not busting it out frequently) but the hammy acting as he lounges like God’s gift to spoiled teenagers, acting haughty with Jin-gook’s friend and winking coyly to a girl (albeit one dressed up as a sushi roll).

And then, it’s time for Hye-mi and Baek-hee. The latter is nervous and meek, the former all bored confidence. They sing a duet, which I’m sure will have an official studio version and is probably titled something like “I Have a Dream.” The following clip is ripped from the episode. [ Download ]

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Toward the end, Baek-hee’s emotion-filled rendition has her adding a few vocal frills, which earn her a sharp look from Hye-mi, who is Not To Be Outdone. In response, Hye-mi gets carried away, ending on an overwhelming crescendo showcasing her classical chops.

The teachers look suitably impressed, as do the auditionees watching outside on the TV monitors. President Jung asks in his quiet, unassuming way how they would respond if only one of them passed, and the obvious assumption is that Hye-mi is the stronger singer. Baek-hee bursts out that that will not do! They promised to stick this through together, so they absolutely must both pass! Please pass both, or neither.

Jung tests her — what if she were the one who made it? Then how would she respond? She sticks to her guns, saying that if she passed instead of Hye-mi, she would turn it down.

At this point, Hye-mi speaks up, saying bluntly — harshly — that this arrangement doesn’t extend to her. While Baek-hee has come to this understanding on her own, she never promised to go down for her friend, and she won’t.

Baek-hee is stunned, and says pleadingly that they were supposed to go together, grasping her friend’s hand in entreaty. Hye-mi shakes off that hand — which President Jung sees with narrowed eyes — and declares, “I have no intention of failing because of her. I’ll stay.”

Now President Jung sets them straight: The one who passed is Baek-hee, not Hye-mi.

That takes both girls by surprise — neither had even considered this option — and Baek-hee gapes, while Hye-mi has to reconfirm that she heard right. Her shock turns to anger as she accuses Jung of having no right to judge, and no musical talent or discernment of his own. She yells shrilly that this is utterly incomprehensible and turns her scorn onto her (former?) friend, insisting that Baek-hee has no business passing.

Hye-mi: “She just followed me here! She’s absolutely nothing! I’m first-rate, and she’s third-rate!”

It’s in the middle of this diatribe that Baek-hee’s disillusionment is complete, her reaction shifting from astonishment to hurt betrayal.

While everyone else is appalled at Hye-mi’s behavior, President Jung maintains his cool, and offers her a second chance to test her worthiness. They both agree that the results of this round will be indisputable.

He takes a seat behind the piano and begins playing a variation on a familiar tune. The melody is immediately recognizable as Gershwin’s “Summertime,” and Hye-mi recognizes that he’s playing a mash-up with a second song… but what is it? Stravinsky? Mahler?

In fact it’s a humble Korean trot song, called “사랑밖에 난몰라” (I Only Know Love). It’s a famous tune, one that most Koreans would probably recognize within the first few measures (I barely know a handful of trot songs and I recognized it, which shows you how well-known it is). The version below is sung by Horan (Download), although you can also download the original by Shim Soo-bong (Download).

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In fact, the other teachers murmur that this is too easy a test, and that President Jung is sure to lose. Yet when he stops playing and challenges Hye-mi to name that tune, the best she can do is hazard a guess: Saint-Saens?

President Jung smiles to have his point proven, then asks Baek-hee, who correctly identifies the song. Watching from outside, Jin-gook guesses that her downfall was in not even allowing for the possibility that he’d mix Gershwin with a common trot song.

He’s right on the money, because Hye-mi bursts out that it wasn’t fair: “How can you mix Gershwin with crap like trot?” (At least she has the presence of mind to realize that last bit was out of line, and she shuts up.) President Jung sets her in her place: “This school does not accept third-rate.”

President Jung: “I consider first-rate to be students who are talented and work hard. Second-rate are those who don’t have talent but work hard. And third-rate…”
Hye-mi: “Do you think I have no talent and don’t work hard?”
President Jung: “Third-rate… are students who are prejudiced.”

Hye-mi reels as this sinks in, and Baek-hee smiles at the irony. Delicious. Having recovered from her hurt, she says in a taunting voice, “Now that I think about it, you’ve always been first place. How does it feel, being third-rate?”

Now President Jung’s voiceover resumes from the opening scene, picking up from that billiards metaphor.

President Jung: “The moment the break shot is made and the balls scatter, the game begins. That’s the same with important changes in life. When you hit a moment that is as sudden as the break shot, your orderly life scatters in mere moments. In front of such change, most youngsters find themselves confused and scared. If I could go back to those points, I’d like to tell them: ‘The game has begun, so don’t be scared, and enjoy it.’”

As he narrates, Hye-mi walks out, having lost this fight. But she makes a sudden decision, whirls around, and beelines straight for President Jung again.

For a long moment it seems she’ll issue another angry challenge, or throw a tantrum… but she shocks everyone by humbling herself and kneeling in supplication.

She pleads, “Please. Save me.”

 
COMMENTS

As I said, the first episode was uneven. Not completely bad, but not really all that good, either. At least, not till the last fifteen minutes or so, when it kicked things up and gave us some strong moments.

What I find lacking at this point is the tone, which tends to overdo everything. Instead of stately, it’s self-important on the verge of pompous. Instead of merely dramatic, it goes for Grandiose. (Everyone gets a hero shot with gorgeous backlighting, and some even merit super-slow-motion action moves — despite a lack of actual action.) It sort of puffs itself up, and that makes me laugh — it’s a little cheesy.

But what it lacks for in tone and plot, it makes up for in high production values — the drama really looks great. The lighting and camera work make for a lovely visual palette — not to mention that the pretty, pretty idol faces aren’t exactly hard on the eyes, either.

Characters are at the heart of any drama, so it’s when the drama actually focuses on them that I grew interested. I wasn’t bothered by Hye-mi’s Uber-Brat routine, although it makes her very hard to root for — but in this episode, you’re not really supposed to root for her. It’s why that smackdown is so satisfying in the end — which then heightens the moment when she actually humbles herself. If she’d been softened too much, those moments would’ve lost their impact. Now, the trick is to then turn her into a likable lead, because yeah, she IS the lead. At this point she could drop off the screen and I wouldn’t care about her in the least, so that’s the new challenge.

I know some fans were bemoaning Eunjung getting a “second lead” role instead of Suzy, but I had a feeling she’d be a pretty pivotal character with plenty of development, since the promos for this drama featured the prominent copy about “stealing dreams.” I love this idea of Hye-mi creating her own worst enemy, because if she’d been the least bit gracious, she would’ve had a die-hard loyal supporter for life. Of all the idols in this episode, Eunjung/Baek-hee was my favorite (and I say that having had mixed feelings about her bumbling character in Coffee House), so I just hope that Baek-hee won’t turn too mean, now that she’s set up to be Hye-mi’s big rival. Although I fear my worries are well-founded, given how quickly Baek-hee taps into her inner diva. Bitchy, I can deal with (and enjoy!). But if she tries to out-Hye-mi Hye-mi… yeesh. Diva overload.

On the acting front, Taecyeon and Suzy are just serviceable, the latter seeming slightly stronger than the former. Woo-young I found laughably bad, but I hold out hope that he’ll be much better when acting in Korean. But really, I’m just dying for some Kim Soo-hyun.

All in all: I’ll keep watching with a hopeful eye, though I’m far from sold yet. I hope it drops some of its cheesy over-the-top-ness and focuses on the kids, because I do love me some high school drama. On television, that is. The real-life kind can go suck it.

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155 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Pgmli

    I was waiting for this recap al day thank you very much

    • 1.1 caddie

      did anyone else think that the lead girl looks A LOT like han hyo joo? more like a young version of her though.

  2. rawr89

    acting was terrible.

    powerfully horrid.

    • 2.1 ilikehim

      This is why Taec IS not the main lead and WILL NOT end up with Suzy, they gotta add an actual actor in there to pull up the average-acting-abilities. In the end, it’s Kim Soo-Hyun.
      Woo-Young! Lemme just focus on his cheeks…

      • 2.1.1 ilikehim

        Also, i thought Wooyoung’s english was bearable (dare i say precise?), but seriously HAD NO IDEA IU (aka the Ms. Sushi) was speaking English until i saw there was Korean subtitles for what she was saying…Can a person supposedly frm the States really understand that?

        • 2.1.1.1 Elaine

          SHE WAS SPEAKING ENGLISH?!
          Holy cow, I’m really shocked here…

        • 2.1.1.2 yearofglad

          I couldn’t understand what she was trying to say! Perhaps it would have been clearer, had she not been dressed as sushi.

  3. Thaya

    Me too, second one not bad….

  4. baNen

    Hmmmm. Let see what makes GF excited about this…

    • 4.1 baNen

      Oh.. It’s Jan 4, 2011 exactly 1:00 pm.. Am the future, but JB has the latest updates ever.. :(

  5. yun

    very good review

  6. Addicted

    Not bad but Suzy does need to work on her acting skills….

  7. chick

    I was so worried about this drama. Half the the ones with idols aren’t that great as they hype up their acting skills and then they turn out horrible.

    It sounds good, but I think I’ll stick to the recaps.

  8. Blue

    wuaaaa I still dont know how I feel about this drama Is it settled that Suzy is the lead??? cause sometimes I think Eunjung can steal the show xD just my thoughts anyway thanks for the recap I was expecting this ^^

  9. Angskeet

    hahahahahah…i will probably just stick with the recaps on this drama..acting is not all that great and what’s there to expect cause they’re idols

  10. 10 adklfj

    finally, someone who doesn’t think suzy was that bad! i thought her acting wasn’t bad at all, it wasn’t as bad as other people made it seem

  11. 11 Li~~

    I kind of hate how this is airing before other similarly themed drama What’s Up because it seems that Korean public opinion has been very mixed (don’t take my word on this though, I’ve just heard it around) and I don’t want the idea of a music school drama to be maligned because of this.

    On the other hand, I didn’t mind Eunjung in Coffee House and dig the idea of her being a villain. And of course there’s always Kim Soo Hyun.

    So I don’t know…on the fence….

  12. 12 Christina

    Yes!!!! THANK YOU for the recap!!!! For some reason, the channel went missing on Viki.

  13. 13 leah

    Im Meh about this drama but I’m looking forward to episode 2

  14. 14 balletbabe

    Mr. Park quit his job at the dept. store to come work at Kirin kekeke

    • 14.1 JD

      LOL

    • 14.2 theasianstalker

      His attitude is roughly the same though. As he is still vice president. :P

    • 14.3 kilmenyanne

      awesome. methinks its harder to upstage his new boss than samshik.

  15. 15 estelle

    I think i’ll watch this. Sounds like some harmless fun.

  16. 16 Diane

    So, far I skipped a few parts while reading this. Maybe because it’s late at night or it’s boring. I’ll be the judge when I watch tomorrow. Hopefully this drama will turn out good. I need something to fill me up once Secret Garden is gone.

  17. 17 gi

    I know this has nothing to to do with anything, but I squealed with absolute delight at the Yoo Ah In header!!! He is sooooooooooooooo fine!!!!! YAYAYA. and it’s five different pics of him!

    • 17.1 namemelydia

      LMAO ^_^

    • 17.2 abc123

      LOL..I know that header. I was like multiple YAI and squeal..weee..

    • 17.3 blahblahblah

      HAHA! Same here, i love the YAI headers! :D

      When the two girls were singing I personally liked Eunjung’s voice better. I don’t really like the show all that much, although I do agree that the last part where the girls compete it gets a bit interesting. Hm, we’ll see with tomm’s episode.

      It doesn’t matter if I follow this drama or not, I still got My Princess! hehe (:

  18. 18 pigtookie

    Nice! I didn’t know dramabeans would cap the first episode. I was just about to watch this for fun, and javabeans has a full recap up already.

    As a pilot, it’s not terribly exciting, but has a pace that’s not so dull that I’d drop out halfway through the episode.

  19. 19 namemelydia

    Hmm, I don’t know. I wish we saw more of Kim Soo Hyun though.
    I might stick to reading the recaps (if you’ll cover the series) but I don’t know if I can handle some bad acting anymore.
    This year.. wait I mean last year I watched so many dramas but half of them I never finished. Sigh.

    It would be so awesome if Eunjung turned to be the main lead. How awesome would it be if her character was the actually lead? (I’m dreaming… don’t mind me)

    Anyway, I still have my hope. When is episode 2?

  20. 20 Amg1

    JB, thank you for your hard work!!!!
    The duet got me sold 100% I know that all the idol eye candy can be a distraction but I am well set to see this drama till the end!!!!

    “Eun-jung” FTW!!!!!!

  21. 21 sunshine

    I thought this drama would be all sorts of bad, but this recap made it sound actually interesting. The idea of a haughty star being served was fun, but what really clinches it is the end when she asks to be saved. There’s such strength in her humble gesture, and I love these complexities.

  22. 22 swui

    It actually SOUNDS good on recap here….but I still haven watched it so I can’t judge. But I love a good coming-to-age story…though I usually see the movie versions of that…That said, I’m gonna follow the recaps to decide…not gonna start now…lol. Now just waiting for My Princess’s recap…lol. Go gf…

    • 22.1 Angela

      Same feeling, rofl. It’s a lot better on paper than on screen, I’m afraid. Also, Dramabeans is a great writer. :)

      • 22.1.1 Angela

        *javabeans, sorry

  23. 23 hpn88

    that is exactly the word I was looking for: grandiose
    i mean for what it is – high school musical plus glee – it feels a little full of itself (what do you expect with JYP involved lol)
    i died laughing at several points (especially when the title came on and some sang “Dream high”, it was like the “fly high” from prosecutor princess)
    but i think I’ve developed a soft spot for hye-mi, i like her general bitch air
    and yay for more kim soo-hyun tomorrow

  24. 24 nixxochick

    hearing that GF was excited about this drama i was going to give it a chance but this episode just didnt do it for me :( the acting is pretty bad

  25. 25 danna

    no Kim Soo Hyun yet huh??

  26. 26 Natalie

    I thought the drama was very grandiose and self-important, but I didn’t mind it, I guess since this is the pilot— i’m never usually sucked in at the first episode (except for Gumiho).

    I really liked Hye Mi and Baek-Hee… If done well this could be kind of what Gossip Girl tried to do with Serena and Blair, but more interesting. LOL.

    The last 5 minutes were fantastic, I loved that they established the rivalry between the two girls now… And I suppose this will spill into their relationships since they’re supposed to be entangled in a love square with Kim Soo Hyun and Taecyon’s characters.

    Yeah I’m not digging both Taecyon or Wooyoung’s acting, but I thought the two female leads were pretty decent, I might end up rooting for Baek-Hee in the end though… idk, I like it that both of them are going to have their claws out.

    Now I’m just waiting for IU (Sushi Girl!) and Kim Soo Hyun to show up!

  27. 27 hapacalgirl

    I am still going to give this show a couple episodes but I have to say Suzy’s acting was pretty bad, I wouldn’t even say passable. I hate when the main lead cannot act. I am sorry, I like Suzy as a singer and person, but in every scene she looked like she was reading the script. Her face was so blank, almost Hyunjoong levels of blankness. Wooyoung was laughable. Taec was okay but he didn’t have much dialogue. Out of the idols, I would have to say Eunjung was the strongest acting wise and I really like her Baek Hee character. Also the camera loves her face to be honest. I want to see Kim Soo Hyun so I’ll stick around long enough to see how all the characters mesh together. IF there is enough acting to make up for the lack of it, I will follow. Otherwise I will drop this.

  28. 28 ni

    is it just me or was it really HORRIFYING when KHJ and BYJ stood next to each other? gawd, theyre really trying to make a mini-BYJ out of KHJ arent they?

    and theres another singer in the OST song you posted, btw – Joo, another JYP’s singer :D
    this ep is a lot better than what i expected. the plot and character description sound like a bad fanfic, but these idols are really just too pretty XD suzy is a bit stiff but i thought she pulled off the bitch role decently – maybe even better than YEH in My Fair Lady. She has a sweet and innocent image, so I hope when she eventually turns into the good girl, she’ll endear herself more to the audience :)

    also, the tone of this drama makes me laugh lol so cheesy lol i hope they know this too and don’t take themselves too seriously – like Glee, for example. sort of tongue in cheek, i hope.

  29. 29 maria

    no kim soo hyun, no dice!

    and i have a feeling that this has the potential to develop the girls’ friendship/ antagonism as the (gromance?) equivalent of what those boys over at Dr. Champ had. …
    i’m in.

  30. 30 Kuging

    ah so this the much awaited Dream High. I read JV comments. neither good or bad.. this does not interest me at all. unless some react to my comment that i shoud atleast give it a try.

    NEXT.

    • 30.1 sprite

      Give it a try! The second ep was a lot better in my opinion.

  31. 31 dunlop

    It seems to me that HM was not THAT horrible to BH before this whole audition thing. Seeing how immediately BH reacted to HM’s comments during the audition, it must have been the first time that HM had treated her that way. We only see bits of their original friendship throughout the first episode. It’s a shame that that will be all we see for now. But from the little that was shown, HM did care about BH’s feelings. When BH asked to sleep over, HM clearly felt bad for saying no to her.

    I think that will make things a bit more interesting. Was their friendship so insignificant to HM that she would throw it away as soon as it began to drag her down? Or was it because of the whole family problem that’s going on? I’m afraid we’ll probably never really find out. But since she IS the main character, hopefully for our sake it was the second case.

    And now for BH. I was surprised by her little taunt at the end of the drama. She recovered from her hurt so fast, and came back at HM with a bang. That kind of scares me! That little part showed that she could end up being a villain in the future. However, her undying love for her friend in the rest of episode 1 says otherwise.

    I for one, wanna see where all this is heading.

    • 31.1 Maddy

      I’m quite conflicted by some the things you mentioned as well.

      For one, if HM felt such a strong friendship for BH then why can’t she be honest, letting her pride takes priority? It tells me that, despite all the good that she has done previously such as standing up for BH, was out of her own self importance. There is an ancient Chinese proverb, “If you hit a dog, you should know it’s owner.” That particular scene really reminds of that saying because HM isn’t standing up for BH, she’s standing up for her self because other than HM no one can talk smack to her “follower.”

      This of course could be the wrong interpretation but given that she refuses to show her true colors to someone as close as BH, is a telling that she has her pride too high to bend low.

      I was also confused by the change in BH’s character. I wish there was more time to see the change so that it didn’t seem like an out of character thing for BH.

      • 31.1.1 Angela

        Ok what you said makes a lot more sense now.

  32. 32 miss

    I want to watch this drama for Kim SOo Hyun’s sake…..

    But where is Kim soo hyun’s scene ?/ huhuhuu I’m afraid he is suddenly turn out into 2nd male lead? No….. :(

    • 32.1 Elaine

      He’s appearing in the second episode

  33. 33 itunscrewstheotherway

    Meh. It’s all I could’ve said for this episode.

  34. 34 Jennifer

    Man, I hate it when a drama introduces a second-lead first before the main love interest. If I don’t know who the leads will be, I usually end up rooting for the first love interest I saw and get utterly disappointed when I find out that someone else is the main love interest. If I hadn’t known Kim Soo Hyun would be with Suzy later, I totally would’ve thought Taec and Suzy would end up together.

    And wth is up with Kim Soo Hyun not even appearing for 5 minutes in the first episode? I’d much rather look at his humble, endearing face than the brat-stare. Not to mention, he IS the only real actor out of our leads.

  35. 35 sora

    thank you thank you thank you Javabeans. Btw what was the ratings??

  36. 36 tonia

    Thank you for your summary. It helped but you know who I am rooting for in the beginning is the side kick from T-ara…..I kind of like her character here. Not really sure if I will watch it though or just read your summary. For now, not interested yet. Will wait for your ep 2 summary. Thanks again.

  37. 37 anon

    I didnt get the YAI header ;(

  38. 38 Paloma

    Sorry for this comment, but I think Bae Yong Joon is too thin and pale.
    Why does he have this kind of sad look?
    He does not look happy. He looks different…

  39. 39 Stupidity

    in case anyone was wondering, the name of the song was “goose’s dream” by insooni. beautiful cover done by suzy and eunjung. =D

    sushi girl!!!! IU??

  40. 40 asianromance

    thank you for the recap!

    I wonder if the drama is using Kim Soo-hyun to add credibility to the drama and then shoving him to 2nd lead. can’t comment on the acting because I haven’t seen the actual video.

    I really hope Baek-hee doesn’t turn evil! I’m surprised by her taunt since it was only a few minutes ago that she was betrayed.

    “what IS it with egregiously irresponsible fathers in K-dramalandworld? ” — i know! I guess it is harder to write abt loving fathers? I think even with the amt of bad fathers in kdrama, there are also quite a few good ones. It’s just that the bad fathers are so exaggerated and outrageously irresponsible that they seem to take over.

  41. 41 cookiesx

    Here’s my two cents on what’s going to happen:
    Hye Mi (Suzy) will become a nicer/likable person as the drama progresses. Baek Hee (Eunjung) will go b*tchy, and stand up for herself against Suzy and then something will happen and she will become nice again and Hye Mi’s and Suzy’s friendship will be repaired and be stronger than ever.

    Now onto the lovelines:
    I initially rooted for Kim Soohyun with Eunjung, but seeing how obvious the age difference (6 years) is between Taecyeon and Suzy; I’ll be rooting for Kim Soohyun with Suzy – since he looks similar to her age. Also, many people are already shipping Eunjung with Taecyeon.

    So it will be like this ->
    Eunjung will love Taecyeon, but Taecyeon loves Suzy, Suzy likes him back, but then falls for Soohyun, and then Taecyeon notices Eunjung and he begins to like her. LOL. In the end, everyone is paired up. XD

    Oh also, I think during the audition scene, the opera singing part couldn’t possibly be Suzy’s actual singing right. I don’t think idols could master opera singing overnight like that? O_O

    Anyways, thanks for the recap. =)

    • 41.1 Maddy

      I think with sound manipulation like autotuning devices, it could easily be “her voice with extra help,” even with the vibrato at the end.

      I say her voice because autotune literally takes the “sound” of your voice and manipulates the frequency thus by either raising/lowering the pitch but keep your “sound.”

      • 41.1.1 Maddy

        I should make it clear…

        I think it’s her voice, but not her singing.

        • 41.1.1.1 cookiesx

          Oh, okay. Yeah LOL. I was thinking if it was actually her singing, she’s pretty good at hiding it.

    • 41.2 Angela

      I think they’re going to end up arch enemies trying to be Numba One in the school/in stardom… No happy endings for friends, but definitely happy endings for the lovebirds.

    • 41.3 tina

      lol kim soohyun is the same age as taec [22] but i see what you’re saying, he looks a lot younger because of his baby face

  42. 42 snorty

    @paloma.. BYJ is acting in a drama. He has his own reason to be thin and pale and sad look while acting in this particular drama. So he must look different from previous dramas. Want to see him plump, crewcut, button pop out from the belly, rosy cheek blushed from 2 bottles of soju or wine, while dancing on the street? Then he will look perfectly different.

    I have read plenty of comments on Ms A Suzy for her raw acting as a debut. Remember this is the acting school that she joins to study acting. If she knows how to act she should not enroll to learn how to act. Whether her acting is not good in reality or the drama has made her into acting this way, the purpose of letting her act has achieved by the director. She is supposed to act a raw and she fits in well, because you all say so, her acting is bad. Then only she’ll learn how to act , to act in the drama.

    Some expected that the ratings will be heading towards the ground but it didn’t happen. President Jung said the 3rd rated one is prejudice. True, when it comes to BYJ , some in their hearts, prejudice prevails over his success.

    • 42.1 hapacalgirl

      I have no idea what you are talking about but the HyeMi character didn’t go to Kirin to learn to act, she went there to sing. Kirin is a music and dance school, not an acting school. The Hyemi’s character originally dreamed of going to julliard.

      Therefore people can criticize Suzy’s acting all they want. She got a lead role because she is in JYP not because she can act, so she deserves any criticism she gets, especially when her acting is bad like it was here.

    • 42.2 JB

      Err…..I’m really confused with your comments.

      “Whether her acting is not good in reality or the drama has made her into acting this way, the purpose of letting her act has achieved by the director. She is supposed to act a raw and she fits in well, because you all say so, her acting is bad.”

      There is NO way, whether it’s the producer or the director, consciously AND purposely told their actors to act badly or raw…unless they want their drama to get negative comments (such as…they only depend on pretty faces) and bad ratings. Her acting was not good enough (but not THAT bad). That’s it, that’s all.
      Anyway, it’s VERY normal for an actor/actress to suck in her/his debut. I’ve seen some actors who did worse than Suzy in his/her debut (still remembers Kim Hyun Joong’s acting in early episodes of BBF), but I also have seen a lot (and I mean LOTS) of actors who could do really great in his/her debut.

      • 42.2.1 snorty

        Now I’m more confused. If Hye Mi character goes to Kirin to sing, why is her acting being pointed? If her singing is good, then her performance is accepted. Julliard is a famous performance school in US. Kirin doesn’t have acting, but music and dance. So this school is not a performance school as Julliard. Ah! Queen’s English!
        JYP has not entered the scene yet. He must be prepared towards arrows that will come from any direction. The drama’s title is Dream HIGH.

        • 42.2.1.1 JB

          You made me even more confused!! LOL…

          “If Hye Mi character goes to Kirin to sing, why is her acting being pointed?”

          We are not talking about Hye Mi’s acting, we’re talking about Suzy’s (the actress who played Hye Mi) acting here…. (-_-”)

          • 42.2.1.1.1 snorty

            So it is like between Drama beans and Java beans. ha ha..

  43. 43 Meh

    Bitchy and cocky attitude? I can bear with it. I wasn’t really bothered with Hye Mi’s character UNTIL the audition scene. Man, believing yourself is better than your friend is okay…..but thinking that your best friend is NOTHING?? Gosh…what a bitch!! LOL…..well, but we all know that her character will get better in the future… And I’m rooting for Baek-Hee x Jin-Gook pairing!! I’m sooo into this ship!!

    As for the acting, no offense…but Suzy can’t really act. She’s not really good with facial expressions… :/ But Eunjung is looove…<333 I really like her acting in this drama! She, Kim Soo Hyun, and Taecyeon are the reasons why I'm willing to watch this drama…though Taecyeon's acting was….err….not good enough…..but he's so cool!! So yeah….LOL… XD

  44. 44 Angela

    Hi, this was just about the best overview I’ve read so far, and your comments are spot on. I also laughed at all of your little jokes… It doesn’t seem too unique of a drama (there’s a reason they had to bring idols in to get attention) and the acting abilities range from mediocre to really bad, but it has potential, I think. I’m afraid your worries are well-founded, too. They’re going to make Baekhee into that classic friend-turned-bitch within two episodes. And Hyemi is going to swiftly go from bitch to angel… Don’t like how this drama is so predictable, and from the looks of it, it’s going for all the cliches so we can’t expect that Baekhee’s going to be that conflicted, complex antagonist (like the villain in Queen Seonduk) or that Hyemi’s going to skirt the obvious.

  45. 45 Angela

    Oh I forgot to mention that Hyemi’s bitchiness during the audition was super unnatural. I mean, her character from the beginning was hard and selfish, but not evil. They just wanted a way for Baekhee and Hyemi to split. What was with Hyemi defending Baekhee in the beginning if she was going to ultimately betray her? Character inconsistency… Writers need to be more careful about character development. ALso, she expresses care for her little sis, so it doesn’t make her inhumane. She could be selfish, but calling Baekhee “nothing” was uncharacteristically brutal.

    Suzy’s acting is stale, and everyone’s rooting for Eunjung cuz she’s the sweetie right now. But that’s all going to change later. I can see Eunjung acting the role of a diva-bitch well, but I hope that the script will allow her to make the transition more gradual than it’s going for.

    Wooyoung was cringe-worthy. Taecyeon was alright… typical hero-boy ready to save bitchy main girl unconditionally. They all need to brush up on their acting.

    • 45.1 Meh

      I agree with you. That “nothing” word was too much. Hye Mi is bitchy and cocky, but she’s not evil. And I hope Baek-Hee’s character won’t turn into evil. Because that would be very VERY unrealistic. Baek-Hee’s true nature is sweet and decent, and making her a villain just because one little betrayal (unless that betrayal means your friend killing your loved ones or something as bad as that) is TOO MUCH.
      I mean, who has never got hurt by someone whom she/he loves? Could that make us suddenly come into the darkness? I don’t think so…LOL…
      Being angry and bitter is natural for Baek-Hee, but being a sly-bitch-who-will-do-any-dirty-trick-just-to-crush-her-former-BFF is RIDICULOUS!!

      • 45.1.1 Angela

        EXACTLY MY POINT. :D

  46. 46 E

    I wasn’t as disappointed with the acting as so many people made it out to be. Although I have to say that I did skip around a lot during the episode (mostly skipping over Bae Yong Joon’s parts… =__=)

    I’m a big EunJung fan and I like her character – but not sure how I feel about the attitude at the end. I hope she can blossom into a confident woman without being a huge bitch…

    Everyone is all hyped up about the pairing – and I’m just Taec and EunJung because I know they’re friends in real life and I think they look cute together haha – I’m pretty sure that Suzy will get both guys on her side though from what it seems. The released images are giving a confusing stance – as the official website has Suzy and Taec together while EunJung is with SooHyun & Taec. There have been other pictures released with different pairings though.

    I don’t want it to end up like another Coffee Houes – where anticipation was so much for the pair (that I preferred) and then it ended up in the complete opposite direction…which I kept watching just to see the scenes with my favorite pair haha.

    The acting is not enough to really keep me captivated with the drama – I’m gonna need to rely on my anticipation of my pairings to really keep watching haha. The ratings are doing pretty well which was a bit surprising, especially since Athena is playing on the same night.

    Can’t wait for JYP’s appearance! I’ll look forward to tomorrow.

  47. 47 am

    I’ll probably give this a try mainly because of Eunjung. I sincerely liked her in Coffee House and by the second half of the drama, I started leaning towards her ship with KJH. hehe

  48. 48 alove

    Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be turned off by DH’s subpar acting or mediocre story-

    Where on earth will I ever find another drama with BOTH Taecyeon and Kim Soo Hyun’s faces packed together into an hour? I felt overwhelmed with anticipation at the thought that at least one of the two would show every now and then.

    I seriously envy Suzy’s character. The only way Taec and KSH fight over me is in my own dreams.

  49. 49 dramaboy1

    this was awful…awful acting, boring storyline, and horrible editing…and its going up against athena, so whose going to watch this trainwreck

  50. 50 Mickey Mouse

    is BYJ really playing piano? many years ago, I recalled he said he would be learning piano, I guess by now, he should be able to at least twinkle twinkle little star…hehe..

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