She Was Pretty Review

She Was Pretty ended this week and it was such a fun and fulfilling journey. My family and friends would get together to watch it when the subs released and have a mini party. Sad we don't have one now to gush over every week. But for a television watching party, I don't think there is a more appropriate and rewarding show out there than She was Pretty.

The things I loved:
1. The main leads were utterly charming and unequivocally made to be an on screen couple. Absolutely no doubt. They played siblings before in Kill Me, Heal Me (both were so hilarious in their scenes, from the little I've seen), so it definitely helped to ease them into these roles.
2. The second fiddles, Ha Ri and Shin Hyuk were also really adorable. Not everyone agrees on Ha Ri being likable, especially in the early episodes, but I still empathized with her. I'm probably really biased because I just like the actress in general. But their relationships with Hye Jin highlighted strengths in their characters, and brought tears to my eyes on many occassions. I love that although their conflicts were legitimate (Ha Ri loving Seong Joon; Shin Hyuk loving Hye Jin), their bonds were able to overcome that. That's rarely seen in Korean drama. People throw each other away so easily over conflicts in love. I think it's rare to see friends genuinely choosing each other. And that's a shame.
Also, I especially enjoyed the Ha Ri and Shin Hyuk dynamic. I hope they get to do their own drama with each other one day.
3. The latter episodes were a great example of what happens when characters are outright honest with each other. Korean dramas are rife with these "I'm not going to tell you how I feel because it will cause more drama and I need to extend the conflict" tropes and it gets tiring so fast. Although Seong Joon doesn't express his fondness for Hye Jin in the beginning, when he does realize it, he says it right away. Same with Hye Jin during the car accident episode, where she blatantly tells shin Hyuk how she feels for Seong Joon. Hye Jin doesn't wait 2 episodes to say that the reason she can't be with Seong Joon yet is because of Ha Ri. Ha Ri, in turn, tells Hye Jin to be with him. And both Ha Ri and Seong Joon are open to Hye Jin about seeing one another and having a talk. You know what? That's more like real-life. More like people who love and respect each other wanting to be honest and clear on where they stand. It was so absolutely refreshing and needed, I was decidedly impressed by their maturity. I didn't have the desire to shake them all from frustrations over their behavior.

This kind of openness and honesty proves that once those cats are out of the bag that soon, you will have a series with episodes left over for more fan-service. And man, was that fan-service glorious.
4. That result is number four: a deeper exploration of love relations with someone who was first your friend. Though Seong Joon and Hye Jin were friends when they were much younger, they both remain fairly themselves. Well, Seong Joon changed, but she got to rediscover his true self, the one he doesn't show anyone very much, during their cute little field trip. She realizes that their similarity and ability to get along was still there.

I also really enjoyed seeing him "see" her again as Hye Jin. He gets to put two pieces, his childhood friend and the woman he's grown to really care for, and make them one. He opens himself up full force and their chemistry becomes so tangible, I almost feel like I was going to explode from seeing that cuteness. And dating someone you know well because you related to each other as friends first, is a different kind of story. Although you're navigating a sea of issues in love, family, and marriage, when you're doing that with someone you already know, I think the experience becomes richer because your relationship is already excellerated on many levels because of familiarity. I loved the little scenes and conversations they had as a couple, because I feel like watching typical korean dramas, we're starved of that. We get maybe 1 or 2 minutes in the end, and that's it. With this show, it's sprinkled all over in the last 4 or 5 episodes, and it's so lovely and euphoric and so very rare. Those interactions (talking all night comfortably in the car, eating together over Skype, meeting in the rain, cutting your partner's nails, etc) weren't corny or cliche, they showed through well as almost a mirror of my real-life experiences. And I really appreciated that. It didn't feel like they were trying hard, but that they were sincere to the characters and where they were in their relationship.
I honestly do believe, though, that this probably wouldn't have worked with just any actors. Chemistry like this and with this script, they really hit gold with Park Seo Joong and Hwang Jung Eum. Thank God for Kill Me, Heal Me.
5. The recap format of the show is one I haven't seen done very often. The end of one episode is seen through the eyes of one person, and the subsequent episode is the same scene but delivered through the perspective of another. The editing and direction of those scenes are done really well and it's lovely to see the different sides to a story in that way.
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