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I just finished watching KBS2 Trot Lovers, which aired between June and August of 2014. The drama starred Ji Hyun Woo as Jang Joon Hyun in his comeback drama. Jung Eun Ji played our Candy heroine, Choi Choon Hee. Shin Sung Rok played the quirky second lead. And Lee So Young played Park Soo In, our psychotic second lead.
See the mini-summary of Trot Lovers below.
Jang Joon Hyun is the God of Music, soaring from height to height, but he falls from grace after suffering multiple scandals. He loses his money. He loses his house. And he loses his girlfriend, the up and coming singer, Soo In. In order to get his chance at a comeback, he promises to groom a new singer, a girl who loves to sing trot (a type of old, Korean folksy music, as far as I can guess). In other words, it’s not a “cool” style of music. The girl is Choi Choon Hee, a Candy character. She is poor, and works multiple jobs to support her little sister when her deadbeat dad runs away after racking up tons of debt. To add to her tragic past, Choon Hee lost her mother years ago, who was also mute!
Jang Joon Hyun helps Choon Hee to become popular, but not before he horribly betrays her and sells her into servitude to a sleazy manager. He comes back to her, repents for his actions, and the two work together. Over time, they become close and fall in love. Choon Hee also becomes the object of affection for the president of the company that ‘manages’ both singers. Soo In falls in love with the president, Jo Guen Woo. Guen Woo seeks to push Choon Hee to stardom, and Soo In makes all attempts to bring her down. Soo In, along with her mother and another director in the company, manipulate results so that Soo In can win, spread scandals about Choon Hee, lure her away on the day of her TV debut, and get her banned from both TV and the stage. When all else fails, Soo In plans to kill Choon Hee by dropping a heavy stage decoration on her.
Joon Hyun swoops in to save Choon Hee, but is seriously injured. His injury causes him to forget everything, including his love for Choon Hee. Soo In takes the chance to claim Joon Hyun, pushing Choon Hee out. Joon Hyun initially falls for it, treating Choon Hee horribly, but then remembers everything. He entraps Soo In, outs her to the public, and then comes back to Choon Hee.
The two are then separated. It turns out that Soo In came by her narcissistic personality naturally. Her mother, along with Joon Hyun’s mother, did a hit and run on Choon Hee’s mother years ago. Delayed treatment caused Choon Hee’s mother to lose her voice. Soo In is briefly punished, and her mother may or may not be in jail a year later. Choon Hee’s father, who came back, gives permission to Choon Hee to forget the past. Joon Hyun and Choon Hee soon return to each others arms. Happily ever after.
Not to be shallow, but Ji Hyun Woo’s blonde colored hair was not very attractive. Moving on. The drama was a huge disappointment, when I was expecting something a little more like his previous drama, Queen In Hyun’s Man. At times the drama evolved into the insane. When Joon Hyun is injured, and Choon Hee is hobbling around with scads of blood on her, the EMTs don’t think to give her emergency care or take her to the hospital?
Jung Eun Ji’s acting was okay, but her character left a lot to be desired. I think that I am suffering from a Candy-overload. Why does almost every K-drama heroine have to be poor, with multiple jobs, and almost no fashion sense? Do rich, sophisticated girls not deserve love? Additionally, the Candy heroine is usually so tired out from all of her responsibilities, that she is a total doormat and puts up with all sorts of sh**, when your average person would be standing up and protesting. Choon Hee’s doormat tendencies did not endear her to me. Finally, back to being shallow, Jung Eun Ji is a dusky beauty. Why did the makeup artists choose to put makeup on her that was clearly too light for her skin? It did not make her look pretty.
Additionally, the trope of a second lead who is the quintessential rich girl suffering from narcissism and sociopathic tendencies is boring now. How many times did we have to see the true heroine ground into the dirt by those with power? The second lead’s actions get worse over the course of the drama, but at the end everything was hunky dory, and Soo In was getting a chance at her happily ever after. How is that fair?
Finally, amnesia is the hated cliche in dramas, but I usually enjoy it. The OTP falling in love, if I am invested and the actors have chemistry, is the most important thing in a drama to me. What would be better than watching that same couple fall in love again? This drama even made amnesia boring for me!
The only saving grace of this drama was Guen Woo, our male second lead. He was cool. Quirky. And knew when to let go. His final wave goodbye to the camera was touching, and I wish that we had focused a little bit on him getting his own happy ending. At the end, the only prospect he seemed to have was ex-convict Soo In. No!!
I ended up giving this drama a 4.5/10. It really wasn’t worth watching.