First thoughts – Episodes 1- 12
Name: My Absolute Boyfriend
Writer/director: Yang Hyuk Moon / Jung Jung Hwa
Date: March 2019
Number of episodes: 40 (half hour episodes)
Genre: Comedy, Artificial Intelligence – AI, Romance, suspense
Based on book/manga?: Yes, Absolute Boyfriend (manga), not sure who the author is.
Why did I press play? Jumped on the bandwagon of a new popular drama.
Update: At the end up episode 17 there is an unexpected twist, and re-energizes any lost interest in the drama.
A few thoughts and observations: This drama feels like waves in the ocean, moving up and down in a smooth rhythm. In this pattern, the story goes from interesting, too dull, logical, to illogical, good acting to not the best acting. Just when you think of tuning out something unexpected happiness. For example… Diana!
The love story is unique and pulls on my heartstrings. I enjoy that it springs from a long term relationship and not two people meeting for the first time. Joon and Da da’s relationship has many layers and as the onion is peeled, we learn more about them.
To me, it’s the characters that shine and the story is supplementary and provides a space for them to come to life.
Da da: In episode one, there is a one-shot scene, where she walked through the gate into her house, opens the door, etc. it’s all one take. This is the moment, you really get a glimpse of who she is. It’s here that she gets your attention. Due to her father’s death, she carries a lot of burdens and deals with unavoidable (needs the money) negative situations, eg. the directors, actors, etc. At this point, she is in a seven-year-long relationship, but due to her boyfriend’s celebrity status, they can’t date openly, which means he can’t support her very much. Surely this makes her life lonelier. She puts up with most of the frustrations in her life but isn’t a jellyfish and when push comes to shove, makes difficult decisions to stand up for herself.
When the true reason behind their break-up is revealed, you feel little remorse towards Joon. Over the last several years, she’s taken for granted and he treats her poorly. It’s tough for Da da to see this because it would have been gradual over several years and she’d gradually adjust and be use to it. However, issues come to light as she unintentionally compares Goo with Joon. It’s only once it was over and comparing him to Jin Goo. The fact that he didn’t stop her from being arrested as a pervert/stalker is abominable.
At this point, it’s hard to gauge how she feels about Joon. Is she longing for reconciliation? If tries to get her back, would every attempt be too little too late? Can he begin to make up for the things he did? Would his reason for breaking up with her be enough?I don’t care too much for her relationship with Goo – he is a robot, so… But in terms of supporting her, caring for her, and helping her, this is something she really needs at this point in time. For that he is awesome.
Ma Wang Joon: This is an intriguing guy. He has a unique look and Jong Hyun does a great job with expressions and the look in his eye to portray reactions. Joon, like Da da also looks haggard. He is drained, doesn’t want to deal with things, and just get on with it. You can feel his fatigue and the little reprise because of his action-packed schedule.
He is a little all over the place and the way he acts towards Da da (when he is or isn’t around her) is inconsistent. He doesn’t treat her well, but then misses her – the scene where he has a day off and notices all her stuff around his house. He wants to protect her from the person who sends the black boxed gifts – despite an apathetic attitude, presuming she’ll hang around. I guess he is best his lingering immaturity from knowing her so long. They met young and sort of navigated through the early years of adulthood together. Her “relationship” with Goo is a deserving bucket of iced water.
It’s their relationship and dynamic that interests me the most and what I look forward to. We’ll see where the story goes.
- Yoon Goo: Totally charming, his devotion and unabashed cheesiness and innocence is endearing. I’m curious to see what happens to him. He is a robot, but it feels like something more and unpredictable will occur.
- Diana: This is one creepy gal! I was quite taken aback when she did the make-up of her maids in a disturbing way. Hong Seo Young is taking this character to another level. She adds an odd dark cloud over the drama. It’s out of sync with the rest of the tone. Is she connected to the person sending the threatening letters?
On a side note, the cinematography is spot on. The camera is frequently slightly shaky, to give an impression of seeing the scene from the perspective of a character. I’m not convinced it’s impactful or necessary. More locations would add more vibrancy, it feels stuffy that we are limited in locations, especially lack outdoor shots.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?
Yoong Goo played by Yeo Jin Goo
Uhm Da Da played by Bang Min Ah
Ma Wang Joon played by Hong Jong Hyun
Diana played by Hong Seo Young
Nam Bo Won played by Choi Sung Won
Theme: Everyone needs love and support and they can come from unexpected places. For example, a handsome robot.
What it’s good for? Relaxing after a long day, in the mood for something interesting, that is fun and a tad unpredictable.
Original and Japanese version: Zattai Kareshi, 2008
Taiwanese version: Absolute Boyfriend, 2012