I don’t know that I’m on board with making this a permanent feature, but I couldn’t think of a better way to title this post. Let’s talk about the circus that was Revolutionary Love, shall we?
There was a lot of fun hype around Revolutionary Love, especially because it was Choi Siwon’s first drama after his military service. This maknae found him hilarious and heartbreaking in She Was Pretty and I was hoping for a similar performance this time around. Unfortunately, my boy did not choose a great drama, and the director had some unfortunate quirks that did NOT enhance the story experience, including an unusual focus on hands and feet during emotional reactions. Anyway.
SPOILERS ABOUND. NOT GONNA HOLD BACK HERE, DRAMA FANS.
A lot of viewers I’ve talked to were put off by Siwon’s extreme clownishness in the first few episodes. Having seen the entire series, I can see why he played the character that way–to show a greater contrast to the more serious-minded Hyuk in the latter half of the series. Unfortunately, the clown lasts until about the sixth episode, which is a lot longer than most audience members will tolerate. Siwon’s Byun Hyuk was silly and immature and relatively spineless. There were not any glimpses of a smart boy hiding under that clown suit, leaving this watcher NO hope for an improvement to his character until it was too late. Also, it was completely out of character for him to go on extended mental poetic rants while swoonily gazing at Joon and to be captivated by floating dandelion seeds. Maybe this is on Siwon, but that proved Hyuk’s simple-mindedness, not his naivety. In my own humble opinion.
Perhaps someone should explain to the writer the difference between naivety and stupidity. Naivety is temporary, but stupid is forever. Hyuk was supposed to be naive, but guess where he landed instead?
Kang So Ra did as well as she could with the character she was given. Her Baek Joon was smart and refused to walk the beaten path. She had her life in the order she wanted it to be in, and lived as independently as she could. The problem was that Hyuk’s stupidity was catching at the worst moments, taking me out of the narrative to yell at the tv when she was acting particularly brainless.
Gong Myung playing Jae Hoon was probably my favorite character. Despite the flawed script he was working with, he gave his character great depth and conflict and made me root for him all the way, even when he was doing something to push Joon away. And when he finally smiled? Took my breath away. THAT is how you do character contrast.
The secondary characters worked out pretty well — sometimes I wish they had been the main characters instead — but their backstories weren’t fleshed out enough. I know that we aren’t supposed to know everything about the secondaries, but a few more brush strokes were needed to complete their image. Had the story centered around Mister Lee, Managing Director Seol, and Madam Ahn, I think we could have had something brilliant.
Enough with the characters. On to the plot. It was solidly constructed, but not surprising or twisty. Basically, I felt like EVERYTHING was a long-winded set up for the punchline at the end — the janitorial crew slowing down the security team and then Jae Hoon and Hyuk volunteering to be arrested. That part made me laugh and laugh, but it took way too long to get there.
And the ending, where Joon finally follows through on her dreams to go to Oslo and see the aurora borealis and travel the world while working odd jobs for a year? Fine, yes, that makes sense. HOWEVER, the two-lead love did not resolve correctly. This is not just because I was hit hard with SLS (Second Lead Syndrome) from the beginning, but because of Joon’s actual actions. She always asked after Jae Hoon first. Given a choice of whom to chase after, she always chose Jae Hoon. But one kiss from stalker Hyuk, who followed her onto her personal trip, and she’s swayed? Nope. She even looked confused after he kissed her. Nope. All indicators were for Jae Hoon, not Hyuk. And I thought Hyuk was buried under mountains of work? How in the world was he able to take off time to follow Joon? Not buying it.
(Yes, yes, they had a kiss in the middle of the series and Joon acted like it affected her. But her later actions didn’t follow through on that premise. It’s all about consistency.)
ALSO, how in the world did Hyuk’s older brother escape punishment? He was just as entrenched in the embezzlement and corruption as his father AND his seal was on the “secret” document proving it all, and yet he remained at Gangsu Group and kept his position. What?
It’s possible that the vision for this drama was slapstick and romance with a bit of corporate corruption thrown in for depth. However, it was NOT mixed by an expert and dwelt too long on Hyuk’s fantasies and brainlessness. I really couldn’t recommend it. I hope all of these talented actors pick a better script next time.
Until next time, I remain your exhausted–
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi