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[Drama Recap] Big

Ratings

Overall Score: 5/10
Character Development: 5/10 (I expect better from the Hong Sisters) 
Plot Development: 3/10 (So much wrong with this plot, it’s hard to pick a place to begin)
Acting: 7/10 (Thank you Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo for making this mildly watchable)
Soundtrack: 6/10 (B2ST’s OST was my favorite of the bunch)
Enjoyability: 4/10 (only because of Lee Min Jung and Suzy)

Sadly, I no longer have time to put out full drama recaps, but I still wanted to express my views for the ones that I still watch.  As such, I’m going to start doing my final thoughts as it’s own 1-page review.

Synopsis

Let’s just go through a quick round of character introductions.  Lee Min Jung plays Gil Da Ran, a rather childish and simple-minded high school teacher.  Gong Yoo plays her fiance Seo Yoon Jae, who is a doctor in a local hospital.  Cross Gene member Shin Won Ho plays the high school student Kang Kyung Joon, who Da Ran eventually falls for.  Suzy plays Jang Ma Ri, Kyung Joon’s rich and friendly stalker.  I’ll introduce and discuss the other characters as necessary.

In the opening scene, Gil Da Ran is working her part time job delivering flowers as she studies for her teacher’s license.  While there, she meets Yoon Jae and also takes a fall down a flight of stairs while going for the bouquet.  We then skip ahead and find out that she is now engaged to Yoon Jae and about to start teaching at a school.  On her way to school, she meets Kyung Joon, who is a transfer student from the US.  The two butt heads from the beginning, but Da Ran feels the need to be a mentor for Kyung Joon.

Then comes the accident that causes the body swap with Kyung Joon and Yoon Jae.  At first Da Ran thinks that Yoon Jae has died and is shocked when he walks out of the morgue.  Of course, she doesn’t believe that the two have swapped bodies at first, but eventually Kyung Joon in Yoon Jae’s body convinces her.  Thus begins the best part of the drama as hilarious hijinks ensue from it.  Mari’s arrival only made it that much better as you see her obsessively run after Kyung Joon even after she discovers the body swap.

Then comes the serious and less interesting part of the drama.  Lee Se Young shows up as a doctor in the same hospital as Yoon Jae and also as the closest thing to a rival for Yoon Jae’s affections.  Along the way, we discover that Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon are actually biological brothers.  Apparently, at some point, Yoon Jae’s mom had some of her eggs extracted and inseminated with sperm from Yoon Jae’s dad.  However, only Yoon Jae was implanted at first.  At some point down the line, it became necessary for Kyung Joon to be born, but because Yoon Jae’s mom could no longer have a baby invitro, they asked Kyung Joon’s foster mom to be a surrogate.  All they ever say about this is it’s because of some disease that Yoon Jae has, but don’t really say anything else.

In the end, Da Ran falls in love with Kyung Joon while in Yoon Jae’s body and so abandons her fiance to be with his much younger brother.

Final Thoughts

Going into the drama, I had some pretty high hopes for it.  Both Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo are both very solid actors and I was looking forward to seeing how much Suzy had improved since I last saw her in Dream High.  Also, I’ve generally been a fan of the Hong Sisters’ dramas so it seemed like a pretty easy for a drama that I’d enjoy.  Sadly, it fell short of my expectations.

Plot aside, I thought Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo did a fantastic job acting.  I was fully engaged with Lee Min Jung’s portrayal of Gil Da Ran and definitely fell in love with the character.  Gong Yoo was kind of hit or miss when he was Yoon Jae, but he did a great job post-body swap as the juvenile Kyung Joon.  Anyone could’ve played Shin Won Ho’s character as he spent pretty much the whole series in a hospital bed.  I actually liked Suzy’s character, but then again I liked her character in Dream High as well.  In some ways, her scenes with Da Ran’s brother were some of the most entertaining parts of the episode.  Anything involving Da Ran’s family actually were pretty funny.

Though I liked the characters, I wish I could say the same for the plot.  The first few episodes were pretty funny as they setup the plot and the characters, but it got just plain weird in the latter half.  What possible disease would require Kyung Joon to be born years later?  I guess making him being part of same egg batch as Yoon Jae allowed them to kind of justify why Da Ran ended up with Kyung Joon, but the details surrounding his birth were flimsy at best.  It was also kind of creeper for me that she did end up with Kyung Joon in the end.  Not only because he was significantly younger than her, but also because he’s her fiance’s biological brother.  They tried to pull the angle of it being okay since Da Ran’s parents were also teacher/student, but it’s still creeper.

I also really did not like Kyung Joon’s character pre-body swap.  He was supposed to be a brilliant transfer student who came from the US.  That last part served no purpose at all, other than to allow him to spout random English phrases as if it’s the cool thing to do.  Also, supposedly, Mari is also from the US, but thankfully they never have her speak any English.  It’s a minor point, but it’s something that nagged at me throughout the series.

The side characters for me were a mixed bag.  As I said earlier, Da Ran’s family was entertaining.  From the strict quirky dad to the simple-minded mother to the dumb brother who kept trying to hit on Mari, all three of them had their moments in the drama.  The teachers at Da Ran’s school also made me laugh as well.  On the flip side, I didn’t care at all for Kyung Joon’s aunt and uncle or Yoon Jae’s parents.  Da Ran’s love rival for Yoon Jae’s affections, Lee Se Young, was also a character who I felt was improperly used.  She could’ve been a true rival to Da Ran, but instead all she becomes is just a pawn in the larger scheme of things.

The ending was ridiculous as well.  After all the things they made the characters go through, the viewers don’t even get the satisfaction of seeing Da Ran with Kyung Joon in the end.  If you’re going to put her with him, don’t shy away from that.  Let us see them smiling at each other and affirm that Da Ran made the right decision.  Don’t make it this half-assed hiding him from our view and let us assume that it’s him in the end.

If the leads had been anyone other than actors of Lee Min Jung and Gong Yoo’s caliber, this drama would’ve been a complete flop for me.  Lee Min Jung had a fine line to balance between Da Ran’s naivety with the world and still make her seem like the adult in her relationship with Kyung Joon.  Gong Yoo had to do the same with his handling of Kyung Joon.  Most of the time, he’s a spoiled brat, but at times he had to portray Kyung Joon as being more mature than kids his age due to being an orphan and exposed to the world of adults.  Suzy being eye candy definitely helped too.  I know the Hong sisters were trying to switch things up this time around, but it seems they have some self-reflection to do before they attempt another drama of this type.

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