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[Short but sweet] An ode to Individualist Ji-young

By whoopeeyoo

It took me a long time to finally decide which mini drama I was going to talk about. I was tempted to wax poetic about a high school kid who fell into a puddle of water and traveled back in time to Joseon and found love with a king. Or a convenience store clerk teaching his crush how to play the guitar. Or the plethora of KBS Drama Specials I have loved and rewatched too many times to count. Or the web dramas I’ve binged when insomnia had its way with me. But in the end, I ended up wanting to talk about the mini drama I want to see more of in dramaland. The one where love didn’t cure all.

Individualist Ji-young has a misanthropic heroine in Ji-young, played by Min Hyo-rin. When asked by Byuk-soo, Gong Myung’s character, why she hates him so much, she corrects him and says that he isn’t special because she hates everyone. Her heart’s walls are unscalable, not only because they are too high but because there are wires and shards all around too. If you tried to get close to her, she will stab you and claim it was self-defense.

She knows it too and she seeks help. Or more like, she goes to therapy to get prescription. Ji-young is a terrible patient, and her therapist finds it difficult to make her open up. While I watched Individualist Ji-young, I felt like I knew how it would go. The iciest and prickliest of the ice queens will be thawed by the puppiest of the puppies, except that, in this case, the heroine is the ice queen and the hero is the puppy. That’s formula.

But what surprised me was that Ji-young, after falling in love, didn’t get a personality change. She’s definitely kinder but her walls never disappeared. She even warned Byuk-soo prior to them being in a relationship that she’s not going to change. And when she felt cornered and betrayed, she did what she’s been doing all her life, come for the person and stab them too in self-defense. This girl knows how to completely turn people away from her.

Of course I was frustrated by this. Just be together and make cute babies! But I appreciated how Ji-young was still herself and that love didn’t suddenly cure her. I loved that she started opening up to her therapist and told her that she wants to try to be better. Sure, the impetus was falling in love and missing Byuk-soo and wanting him back even after she turned him away. But she worked on herself and faced her demons all by herself, in hopes that maybe she’ll meet him again and she’ll be better to him when the time comes. Better at opening herself up, better at not lying, and better at not hurting him. She experienced being happy with a person, after the childhood that she had, and she wants to have that. Now and in the future. And so she did her best to be the person that could love openly.

To me, it was so wonderful to witness. In the K-drama landscape, we’re all used to the magical power of love. How no arrogant asshole can’t be made kind and adorable by a woman’s love. How everyone’s a softie inside. But here, we witness someone actively seeking help to face their own baggage. And it was so beautiful. In just two episodes, this show has talked frankly about mental health and seeking help for it. Without judgment. It showed how being “broken” does not mean you aren’t worthy of love. That puppies like hedgehogs too. And now I lament because I wanted a full drama with these two. Let me just rewatch this drama eight more times so I can fool myself that I watched a whole drama of them.

 
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... she corrects him and says that he isnโ€™t special because she hates everyone. Her heartโ€™s walls are unscalable, not only because they are too high but because there are wires and shards all around too. If you tried to get close to her, she will stab you and claim it was self-defense.

Oh I loved Individualist Ji-young. It was realistic in a way that love didn't cure it all, & how she's constantly pushing people away once uncomfortable. Humans just don't change easily. Even after therapy. It takes more than just time & effort.

Thanks for the writeup! ๐Ÿ’•

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Exactly! Humans revert back to their coping mechanisms, toxic or not, and it's a tall order to actually change, even with love as an impetus. I just love how in two hours, this mini-drama was able to show that. Sigh, I wish we can see more of this in dramaland!

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I love this mini drama too! Thank you for the nice write up.

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Thank you @whoopeeyoo ! It was such a nice read.
*Puts into watchlist*

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I hope you end up loving it too!

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Aww this ode is so sweet. :')

I also liked this tiny show for another reason: it's the first time I saw the disadvantage of being an extrovert. I used to think of them as these limitless balls of chaotic energy that disrupt our quiet (introvert) lives, but it never sunk in with me that they easily get lonely and restless when they don't have interaction.

It made me a bit more forgiving when my extrovert friends are pushing me to go out. XD

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MARY! I didn't even think of that but now that you've mentioned it, wow, I now get a new perspective on my friends' extrovertedness. I suddenly retroactively feel tired and super bad for Gong Myung's character.

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Thank you for this short review! I havenโ€™t seen it, but it sounds like something I should watch with my kids when they are older. Real relationships are NEVER neatly tied up in a bow by episode 16, and the sooner one realizes this, the sooner one can start being in a healthy one.

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I love your parenting approach, Ally, using stories (especially k-dramas!) for some good ol' lessons. Admittedly, when I was a kid/teen, I had such a rose-colored view on love and relationships so it's better to know the reality sooner.

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I'm also in love with this mini drama exactly because it showed us that love didn't cure all. That falling in love didn't mean getting an instant personality change. I love it because it told us that there are no perfect love and perfect people. It assured me that everyone is also bumbling around trying to deal with their personal baggage like me, even if they don't show it.

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"... that there are no perfect love and perfect people. It assured me that everyone is also bumbling around trying to deal with their personal baggage like me, even if they don't show it."

YES YES YES TT_TT EXACTLY THIS

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What a lovely write up! Though may I ask which drama is this: "convenience store clerk teaching his crush how to play the guitar"

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I almost said Tiramisu Cake! but it's actually to. Jenny ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Watch it & you will know why I thought of the dessert name before the drama title. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Yes to.Jenny is a delightful little surprise hit. But Tiramisu cake will never be the same for me.

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TIRAMISU CAKE! TIRAMISU CAKE! TIRAMISU CAKE (Your like) TIRAMISU CAKE

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Omg please do watch to.Jenny! That's the title~

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This show really got to me. The ending was confusing but i guess bc of their breakup? And the hooking up was strange but it was a good ending and inbetween was just so SAD like it was so beautiful and melancholy

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I actually thought that for a K-drama, it's nice that they hooked up because that's the reality of a lot of relationships nowadays. AND YES, it was melancholic and beautiful AND YES

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Youre totally right! Itโ€™s been a while since Iโ€™ve seen it but didnt he just accidentally stay with here? I guess a stranger compared to an app i was like giiiirl. But yea ppl do ofc i always love when they put ppl actually having sex in dramas bc my god

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Thank you @whoopeeyoo for reminding me of how much I loved this show-for all the reasons you wrote here, and what the other beanies added in response. Sometimes the short 2 episode dramas can be the best finds.
It is a delightful watch!

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Maybe the short runtime just doesn't allow for mistakes and unnecessary storytelling/drama. Most mini dramas that I've seen are so good they spoil me.

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It's my first Kwon Hye Ji drama, and I follow her every drama since then.

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well, i get to read this beautiful piece of writing and get a short drama to watch. Thank you so much for that.

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I miss reading your stuff @whoopeeyoo! Thanks for a great write up!

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I'm slowly coming back in here! I'm waiting for Her Private Life to be recapped so I can go gaga on it. Haha!

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I watched it after reading the first lines of your post and I loved it. You said it beautifully : for once, dramaland showed us what is actually true in the real world, change happens when someone truly wants to change, and for themselves first. But love also can help opening one's eyes, and this drama displayed a very good balanced story about what can or cannot do love.
Those two characters were so lovely, and for once in a K-rom-com land, I did not have any favorite. I was simply equally rooting for them. I loved their flaws as much as their beautiful sides, and this amazing break up scene was so touching and real.
Thumbs up for everyone involved in this drama!

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You just made my day! I'm so glad this little piece of mine made you watch it and someone new found this gold of a mini drama as amazing as I did. <3

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I loved this drama for the accurate portrayal of real people with real issues and how it didnโ€™t skirt around the messiness that is being human. As wonderful as Ji-young was (and she was, most definitely praise worthy as a character) I would also mention that Byuk-soo was also a great character with a fleshed out issues. They both deal with histories of abandonment and being outcasts, but they have vastly different methods of dealing with it. They are actually on two polar extremes with Ji-young pushing people away to the point of being a loner, and Byuk-soo pulling people toward him, even if they use him and mistreat him. Both are aware of their issues and both keep falling in to old habits until they find each other. As much as Byuk-soo made Ji-young want to be better, so did she for him. The balance between these two is perfection- they have the right amount of differences overplayed on their similarities, and together they make each other better versions of themselves.

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