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[Beanie Review] Our Blooming Youth

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Not worth it. Not even for the Fish Cult.

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If you have 20 hours to burn and are not afraid of uneven writing, messy pace, bipolar directing, not-so-mysterious mystery, drastic acting gaps and torturous slow burn that can put any victorian romance to shame, then try it - it's oh-so-pretty visually, tackles some interesting themes (to a varying success), celebrates friendship and loyalty and has a cast full of charming characters, no matter how you combine them.

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It has interesting characters and captivating plotlines but the writer chose to shove that away in return for a cracking villain. What could have been a compelling story about revenge and the growth of our characters has turned into a flat 20-episode story where you can skip about 4-6 episodes and catch up easily.
Long story short: not all dramas can maintain the pace and stick the landing when you prolong the story more than needed.

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Don't you mean "shoveL that away..."? ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Yup exactly ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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I bailed at Ep 10 and took up Secret Romantic Guesthouse as a replacement.
That is a wonderful picture of the cast.
The drama could have centered on the the 2FLโ€™s story as a novice coronerโ€™s apprentice, I would have stayed for that .

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I like that last point - second leads' plot line as the main plot line would've been something fresh!

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I reckon this one works as a binge watch because you can fast forward as needed without the agonising feeling of having to wait each week to hope that something in the writing changes. Unfortunately, for me at least, this show couldn't meet the exciting potential it set up with its premise at the very beginning, nor the ambitious 20 episodes it gave itself to carry out the plotline(s).

Antagonists aren't really that memorable. Or memorable for the wrong reasons, like their evil cackle and something about a pretty red & blue fish? That fish somehow occupies more of my brain space than anything else from this show, despite it having like a grand total of 5 minutes of screen time. And after a while the Sherlock Holmes shenanigans start to wear thin because the direction of the plot is lacking (and confusing at times lol).

Overall not a bad drama but not one that's going to stick around in my head. I won't be running back to watch again any time soon.

Watch: if you're curious, for Park Hyung-sik and Pyo Ye-Jin, pretty aesthetics, if you fancy writing a fanfic of what could've been (please someone do this!).

Don't watch: if you're misled by the posters to think the romance is front and centre (it's a slow burn on the lowest heat setting) or for tight writing and pace.

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I wonder how I managed to last until ep 12! Thatโ€™s the feat I would say given how monotonous it was.

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Par Hyung-shik in royal robes again, I liked it! It has one open antagonist and another working in the sidelines. Both the FL and female second-lead dressing up as males while the men who knew about it trying to shield them from harm, while also trying to get to the root of all the problems, it was entertaining for me

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This was a show that had a great premise - but threw it away through poor direction, scripting and pacing.

The basic story idea was great - a couple of female detectives who cross-dress to solve cases combining with a male pseudo-forensic scientist (and a few others) to solve crimes and especially a plot to overthrow the Joseon dynasty, rooted in some events ten years previous. There are some interesting themes at times, on the limitations on the role of women in (Joseon) society, class expectations that looked promising at times. And at various points it really looked like things were being set up for a spectacular showdown.

Alas, the drama never really allows our heroes to actually get anywhere in their investigations, completely fails to develop the motivations of their protagonists beyond the very superficial, or explain just why they took the (seemingly inexplicable) path they did, and largely wimps out on the themes of agency for women and the rigidity of class structures. Combine that with some highly implausible (indeed utterly fanciful) story elements, a cardboard cutout bond style main villain, and a fairly anti-climatic ending, and the show is a fizzer.

It could perhaps have been saved if they had stepped on the gas for the two or possibly three romances flagged in it, but alas, everyone was so busy being prim and proper in Joseon terms, that to call it all slow burn is kind.

There were at least two really memorable episodes in terms of cinematography, out in the fields and a polo game (though polo games seem to becoming a sageuk trope these days!) which are worth fast forwarding to!

But ultimately the only reason to watch Our Blooming Youth really is the cast and the cinematography (in a couple of episodes). The leads, especially Park Hyun-Sik, Pyo Je-nin, Yoon Jeon-seok and Jeon So-nee and did their best despite a terrible script, and made me really want to go and watch some of their other work now.

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A middling watch. Best watched with one hand on the FF button during the second half. Don't waste your energy trying to solve the mystery either and just enjoy the fun times when we get 4 of the characters meeting up to discuss a mystery or chat over a meal.

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Absolutely watch it for:
A very cute and believable romance
A compelling storyline that covers a lot of social themes, and a mixture of science, superstition and a bit of the unexplained in our universe.
A main lead that will leave you stunned with his mesmerizing eyes, a magnificent physique, deep deep voice and an incredible performance. I have not seen him before but he is a complete package and probably the best K-drama lead I have seen so far (watched 20 K dramas so far, Lee Min Ho being my fav but now I have to find more of Park Hyung Sik's work).
A badass heroine who never stops being the badass, and she can act.
The best confession scene by a female character of all time.
Layered characters : Prince has Everest size trust issues, is very emotionally needy, reactive and defensive, but he is also a genius, honorable to a fault (hence the passionate but platonic romance) and, has immense patience and fortitude; the heroine is a smart detective, gregarious but is very impulsive and exceptionally brave, putting herself in danger many times, sometimes foolishlly so and it's a theme all through. She is good at hypothesis but she also acts first and thinks later. The second main lead is conflicted and very emotional too, and is deeply attached to whoever he lets in his orbit (he spends the entire series being in love with a picture of his fiancee he has never met nor knows. And oh! The picture looks NOTHING like Min Jay Yi lol!)
The side characters: A genius and ridiculed scientist who also fashions himself on a bit of a detective; He is a goofball and is so much fun to watch. All his scenes are laughathons.
A loyal and faithful servent who puts her life on line for her mistress and is the perfect foil to the mad scientist.
Super villains: Some stereotypes, some surprisingly layered.
A lot of character building: The first 10 episodes are all about building relationships. The last 10 are about resolving of mystery and conflicts.
Note: Please read about arrange marriages in Eastern socities. It did not include choice/love and the couples didn't see or meet each other. It was a family union and the couples could not choose who to marry.
The only complain: The lead couple is amazing, and wished they had shown some truly intimate scenes and their life together at the end, however the ending is, while short, but very cute and meaningful.
Watch it.

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