I Really Really Like You is not a good show, but Nam Bong-ki honestly has one of the best character arcs from jerk to sweetheart that I’ve ever seen in a kdrama.

I think I’ve made it clear that romantic male leads behaving badly is probably the quickest way to enrage me and get me to click out of a drama at the speed of lightning. A jerk of a hero played by Lee Min-ki hurts even more and makes it feel as if I’ve been stabbed in the heart with 5,000 searing-hot knives (I guarantee, @vivanesca, that watching Beauty Inside hurts me much more deeply than it hurts you). When I first started I Really Really Like You over a year ago, I seriously struggled through 10 episodes (of 34) until I decided that torturing myself wasn’t worth it. This would just have to be a corner of Min-ki’s filmography that I left unturned.

But a few months ago a little voice inside me said to give the show another chance, and I’m glad I did. Because Nam Bong-ki is different.

A large part of that is because he’s not some entitled rich chaebol asshole. He’s just a very immature kid from a very modest background who grew up without a mother. He’s not malicious or manipulative, he’s childish and rude. I mean, he’s not a literal kid—he’s in his 20s—but I know firsthand that some people take longer to grow up than most, and Bong-ki is one of those people.

While the drama did show our heroine Bong-soon and his growing affection for her being a driving force for this change in him (unbeknownst to her for much of the show), she was not the only factor. The show took care to demonstrate how Bong-ki’s interactions with a multitude of other characters resulted in his maturation. I think what particularly endeared me was seeing him change with regards to how he treated the girls and women in his life. Bong-ki lacked respect for almost everyone in his life at the beginning of the drama, but the parts that bothered me the most involved the female characters, especially Bong-soon. Seeing him change while interacting with the President’s granddaughter, the first lady, Dr. Jang’s wife, Bong-soon’s mother and sisters and friend, and, of course, Bong-soon herself, warmed my heart—not to mention the way in which he spoke of his own late mother.

Seeing Bong-ki wearing sunglasses inside with the little girl he was guarding and telling her that he wore them because he wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t want people to so easily read him is honestly one of the most precious things I’ve seen in my 12 years of drama watching.

Now, I still don’t think I would ever rewatch the first half of the drama, even knowing that the later emotional payoff is satisfying, but I’m very glad I gave this drama another go. Not all character archetypes are created equal, and Nam Bong-ki is different. Am I biased? Probably. Would I have given it another chance if not for Min-ki? I doubt it. But he plays nearly every character so convincingly and with so much heart, even being as green as he was back then, that you can’t fault me for giving him a second chance.

He was a baby actor here, but there were some scenes where you could just tell he would one day live up to all of his potential and more. Whenever he looked at Bong-soon, my heart went out to him.

Also, I can’t help but be obsessed with his forehead scar after watching this. It was my first time noticing it and yes, he still has it. I have no clue how I didn’t notice it in Because This Life is Our First when I watched it so many times, but now I can’t unsee it. Here’s hoping for plenty of opportunities to view it in his upcoming drama.

This was meant to be just a short paragraph to explain these gifs, but it turned into an essay. Oops! Sorry, Beanies!





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    I really really Like You was one of those dramas which I inexplicably liked. Lee Min Ki was a big part of the ‘inexplicably drawn to’ factor, cos Bong Soon’s accent at the beginning was hard to swallow, President’s son was – oh so wrong!. But then Bong Soon and Nam Bong Ki – 😍.
    the swimming pool scene! 😂

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      Oh don’t even talk to me about the President’s son.

      I loved the swimming pool scene!! But it hurt so much when she said to him and she didn’t feel the same way towards him. The way he tried to laugh it off even though you could see he was devastated. Kill me. And the look he gave her when she finally arrived!

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        Yup the poor baby!
        But then we got the boxing scene. I’d have socked him a KO!
        When Nam Bong Ki broke his arm and was drunk and he thought his shadow was following him!! 😂

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    Looks interesting. Maybe I can watch it this weekend.

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      It’s not a good show don’t blame me if you hate it

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      Well if you even wondered how to say I Love You in many many different ways – Nom Bong Ki will show you. 😂

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    Too old. No interest.

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    I should watch it now , thanks @mindy

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