I was thinking how I’ve been watching lots of first episodes of dramas these days, but haven’t found anything to dive into since the end of Who Are You? It’s starting to feel like going on a string of disappointing first dates — measuring up expectations versus performance, anticipation versus letdown, etc.
You know, there’s that date you’re really looking forward to, so you get dressed up and put on your heels and makeup and count down the hours, and he turns out to be a total dud. Or the date you agreed to because it was easier to give the guy your number than to try to invent an excuse not to because those excuses always come out embarrassingly half-assed — like you say you don’t have a phone and then it rings, or something — but then you end up having a good time.
I didn’t exactly intend to go off on an extended metaphor, but when I thought about all the recent dramas I’ve caught, they all seemed to fit (more or less).
SONG OF THE DAY
G.O.D. – “Falling” [ Download ]
|Iljimae is the date your friend set you up with, assuring you for weeks in advance that the guy is so hot, so popular, SO the perfect catch, and then you meet him and you’re like, “Him?” Your friend then assures you that everyone else loves him, but all you can do is keep looking and wonder, again, “Him?”|
|Three Dads, One Mom is what happens when the class clown asks you out, and you think this should be a fun night out. He takes you to some place casual like a carnival, or bowling, and although it’s hardly romantic, you enjoy yourself thinking that even though your conversation is pretty shallow, all people have hidden depths and you’ll get to see his at some point. But you’re wrong. Some people really don’t have hidden depths.|
|On Air is the date I actually had with some random guy who spent the entire night telling me what a dick he was (seriously) and how he used to be an asshole to his last girlfriend (seriously) and expected me to be charmed anyway. Instead of recognizing his actions as problematic, he seemed pretty proud of himself, and when he suggested we follow coffee with dinner, I practically blurted “No” straight out and ducked away to safety.|
|The Last Scandal of My Life is the date you hesitated to accept because he was a little older and you thought you probably don’t have much in common. But it turned out he’s actually really young at heart — he might even be younger at heart than you, like he’s a semi-regular skydiver, or parasailing expert — and you get on smashingly well. He’s the date that turns into a long-term relationship.|
|La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life) is the date you admire for being smart, albeit somewhat humorless, but after a while you get really tired of his Pinot Noir-swilling, Foucault-spouting crowd, and you’re like, “I need someone who knows how to converse about things other than Darfur and Sudan and drinks beer occasionally and doesn’t make me feel ashamed for knowing how many kids Angelina Jolie has or for watching reality television — hey, some of it’s really entertaining!”|
|Why Did You Come To Our House is the guy you had a pretty fun time with, and intended to call back to meet again, but when you got back home you totally forgot. You remembered several weeks later, but by that point it would have been more awkward to call him back, so you figure he wasn’t The One anyway and promptly forget about him again. (Hey, it’s not like he couldn’t call you, either.)|
|Tokyo Showers is the date who’s kind of old-fashioned and sweet, but you just have nothing to say about (or to) him. Thankfully, he knew from the start that this was going to be a short relationship and just faded back afterward, unobtrusive and undemanding.|
|Rivals is the dude who thinks he’s George Clooney but he’s really more like Owen Wilson. Or Jack Black. As in, he’s fun on his own terms, but he keeps thinking he’s more deep than he ought to. And apparently he can’t make up his mind about who he likes, which is so frustrating to the two people he’s stringing along.|
|I Love You is another date I actually had, this time with the cute guy whom I really wanted to like. He was interesting, funny, and likable in an everyday sort of way. He was a great catch and kept asking me out, but I wasn’t attracted to him (I tried!) so we parted ways and I figured he’d make some other girl happy.|
|Spotlight sounded good on paper, if a little dry. Probably a workaholic. But then he showed up and bored you to tears and you called your friend to stage the fake-emergency date extraction phone call. You felt kind of bad for doing it, but he never noticed.|
|Hong Gil Dong was the date who was tons of fun — maybe a little shallow — over drinks and appetizers, but halfway through dinner he got up and switched places with his twin brother because maybe they have some kind of weird grown-up Parent Trap thing going, only it doesn’t work so well nowadays because Twin #2 is just so dire and tragic. You want to leave too, but you feel so bad for him that you stay and in the end he kills himself. Or, like, passes out in a drunken mess after dessert.|
|Bulhandang / Robbers is the date that started off tentatively until the guy suddenly started tearing up and told you he had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease, which totally brought to mind how your last blind date went awry and that guy kicked the bucket too, which makes YOU feel all teary-eyed, and now the both of you are just a blubbering mess of tragedy.|
|Who Are You? is the date that almost never was, because at first you thought he was kind of goofy in a lame way, but then you cut him some slack because maybe he was just nervous asking you out, you know? And then you have a wonderful date and he’s a lot more interesting than you gave him credit for, and you’re simultaneously glad you decided to go on the date but also ashamed that you weren’t initially going to. But all’s well that ends well.|
|Yi San is the date that would never end. Every time you’d near a natural point to end the night and go home, he’d barrel over the conversation and extend it, ordering more courses, suggesting additional rounds, and generally wearing out his welcome. He’s a pretty decent catch, so maybe he figured you would want more of him and was happy to oblige. You could’ve had four other first dates in the time it took you to get through one with this guy.|
|Extending the metaphor to an older drama: Coffee Prince is the date with whom you hit it off so well, so instantly, that before long you were swept up in a whirl of happy romance and hormones. But about twelve dates in, you started to realize that you didn’t have as much in common as you thought, and that you were held together more by attraction and endorphins than anything else. In the long run, you’ll probably outgrow each other, but boy, did you have fun while you lasted.|
And what about dramas that have yet to air?
Will Gourmet be a romantic fine-dining experience, or will he be the guy who took you to the fancy restaurant just because he couldn’t think of someplace more original to take you? And Chil Woo looks to be a quick summer fling — will that be all frosty mojitos and sunset strolls, or a cold day on the beach? While it aims for hard-edged swagger, will East of Eden come out more James Dean or Jimmy Dean? How about Beethoven Virus, When Night Comes, Lawyers of Korea, or Painter of the Wind?
Got any more first-date scenarios to offer for comparison?
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, Bulhandang/Robbers, Coffee Prince, Hong Gil Dong, I Love You, Iljimae, La Dolce Vita, On Air, Rivals, Spotlight, The Last Scandal of My Life, Tokyo Showers, Who Are You? (MBC), Why Did You Come To Our House, Yi San