Review – Time

This melodrama was a perfect 10 for me – until about 16 episodes or so, when Kim Jung-Hyun dropped out of the show. Sigh. What a shame.

I cruised around the web long enough to read about why the actor dropped out of the show, citing his eating disorder and mental health. I also found a few more recent articles hinting a tumultuous relationship with his then-girlfriend may have also contributed to the shows fate. Who knows. Whatever the reason, it happened. The leading male actor left the show before it’s completion. And no matter how talented the writers are, that’s a hell of a hole to dig yourself out of. I’d say they did a damned good job, all things considered. But it never got back to the high ground it was originally founded on, though I’d say it definitely held its head above the water.

Melodramas are a mixed bag for a lot of people, but for me they’ve always been the favorite item on the menu. The more overdramatic and crazy, the more I love it.

This particular melodrama had a lot of call-backs to melodramas of old (Uncontrollably Fond, Mask, Something Happened in Bali) – with an insanely privileged leading male acting like a complete asshole, throwing screaming fits, terrorizing everyone, and basically being a gigantic demonic toddler – paired up with a rather ordinary girl struggling to survive the injustices of her life and economic hardships. Some horrible twist of fate will bring them together – and they will basically make each other’s lives miserable for a long time before slowly finding common ground, helping each other out, and healing past traumas. One of them might die at the end. Roll credits. This is the format and it usually delivers – because we spend the majority of our time in the angsty sections in the middle. Watching things go from bad to worse to… much, much worse. And then, oh my god, I didn’t realize it could get worse but it has and holy hell, these poor people can not catch a break. If you don’t have characters bawling their eyes out in public as often as they’re sobbing their eyes out in private, then you’re not peak melodrama. Melodramas thrive off absolute destruction before they give you the catharsis of rebirth. You’re gonna burn first, honey, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

If don’t want to throw a shoe at everyone’s head, then the writer’s aren’t doing their jobs right.

Kim Jung-Hyun was soooo mesmerizing as the doomed male lead. I immediately sought out more dramas with his actor after finishing Time and am happy to announce he officially kicks ass across the board.

The premise of Time is as follows:

A rich guy finds out he has a brain cancer and will not survive the year. This is very annoying to him, as he has yet to get over his rebellious stage and make any solid impressions in his life. Everyone thinks he is a screw up because he is a screw up. In typical self-destruct style, our rich guy decides to get wasted and end his relationship with his fiancé by having her walk in on him with a sex worker… cause taking responsibility is not taught at fancy private schools, apparently. He passes out drunk before his fiancé gets there, however, and when he wakes up the sex worker is dead in his hotel suite’s swimming pool (yeah, this guy is so rich he can afford a hotel suite with its own private swimming pool). He has no idea if he is responsible for her death or what happened – but in a tragic twist of fate, ends up meeting the dead girl’s sister. Guilt and a deeply subconscious feeling he should “do something” with his life before it ends, he attempts to help out the sister. And basically makes everything worse. Repeatedly.

It was awesome.

The lawyer, the rich guy, the princess, and the pauper.

The rich guy was a classic jerk fighting a war largely of his own invention.

The pauper was a classic bland girl pushed to one desperate breaking point after another. The most interesting thing about her was how pathetic her life was.

His fiancé was a classic ice queen, spoiled princess, too self involved to even consider the lives of others she crossed paths with.

There was the particularly intriguing character of the lawyer who works for the rich family who also has ties to the destroyed poor family. This dude, played by Kim Joon-Han, literally carried the weight of the drama on his back after the male lead left. He was so… shifty. I found this actor and this role very compelling and always leaned forward a little when he was speaking in his soft, calming voice. The dynamics of this guy, untethered between the other characters, neither for or against anyone but himself and yet… so involved, so obviously devastated and lonely, so broken… I loved him. I loved to hate him. He was fantastic.

This show has all your favorite tropes. Shared living spaces. Fake marriages. Terminal diseases. Rich men atoning for their sins by helping some poor girl become rich too (hey, I didn’t create capitalism).

Even after the unfortunate loss of the leading male, it managed to drag itself to the finish line. Though admittedly flawed by this turn of events, the show still deserves praise. It’s a dark, vicious, tear-soaked spiral down the drain and I highly recommend it anyone who likes melodramas.

Overall Rating – 8/10. A Melodramatic Masterpiece That Died Before The Finish Line.

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