Jung Hae In is one of the most beloved Korean actors right now. He’s not only loved for his great acting skills but for his adorable personality which he has shown in many variety shows across the years.
Jung Hae In has been in successful projects since 2016, he gained attention for his minor but viral role in “Goblin” and has since only been in hit drama projects, from “While You Were Sleeping” to “One Spring Night.” However, Jung Hae In failed to find success with his most recent comeback project tvN’s “A Piece Of Your Mind” and today we’re here to discuss why that happened.
Note 1: I am discussing the reasons for its low ratings taking into consideration k-netizens feedback.
Note 2: spoilers of episode 1 to 6.
A couple of hours ago, tvN announced that “A Piece Of Your Mind” will be reduced from 16 episodes to 12 episodes, insiders stated that the drama is being cut due to netizens negative feedback and low ratings, the drama has been called ‘boring’ and people criticized it for its slow-pace. Its also the lowest rated Monday-Tuesday drama for tvN since 2018, a very bad record to break.
Kdramas rarely cut down episodes, not unless the drama is considered ‘a flop’ in comparison to its competition. So today, I decided to discuss the reasons why I think the drama has been cut down by four episodes:
The creepy premise
“A Piece Of Your Mind” is about a guy who refuses to move on from his ‘lover,’ and I say that as loosely as possible. Ha Won is obsessed with Ji Soo (his childhood friend and lover) and refuses to let go despite the fact that she’s long gone and has already married another man.
The entire premise behind Ha Won’s character is unsettling. The drama almost romanticizes close-to stalkerish behavior by Ha Won. Ha Won has never started a love relationship with Ji Soo and she shut him down before they ever started. Yet, 10 years have passed and he’s still not over her, he still remembers and loves her, he stalks her social media accounts and finds solace in the thought of her.
While alone, none of these things are to be considered ‘weird’ or ‘unsettling,’ the combination of those things including the fact that they’ve never had a romantic relationship makes Ha Won look creepy.
Aside from being something close to impossible if Ha Won is a sane character, his behavior isn’t understandable by human standards. When has a man ever been so in love with someone that he completely shut off others and only focused on his memories with that person? and get this, a person he’s never been romantically involved with, its always been one-sided. Ha Won is the type of character featured in OCN dramas about stalking scary men who end up arrested for murder later on.
Then the fact that Ha Won uses her voice in an AI machine (after her death) is another layer of creepy, and he continues to use her voice without anyone’s permission whatsoever. He speaks to an AI machine as if she was a real person not something he programmed by himself based on what he perceives to be Ji Soo. Is that normal?
Not only that, but the AI machine seems to be the replication of Ji Soo’s thoughts even in situations where Ha Won had no idea of knowing what she was thinking of (more on that later), all of that just adds to the confusion of viewers.
He enlists the help of a nice woman, Seo Woo, to get close to Ji Soo again and eventually meet her. He refuses to give up even when she runs away from him.
Now if I had told you that Ha Won wasn’t as good looking as Jung Hae In or as young, would you still perceive this behavior normally? The issue is, “A Piece Of Your Mind” doesn’t treat that as bad as it sounds to a normal person.
They do try to make up for that in later episodes but its never treated as an unhealthy obsession that requires treatment.
“A Piece Of Your Mind” starts off very slow and does a poor job introducing its characters (more on that later). Having a slow-paced drama isn’t bad and Jung Hae In had previously found success in other similarly slow-paced kdramas but this time, there is no pressing matter to go after nor anything interesting enough (at the beginning) to warrant the slow introduction and the slow-pace.
Viewers can be very impatient, in a world of fast-paced quick screenplays, “A Piece Of Your Mind” doesn’t seem to fit in. The writer should’ve done a better job at beginning to make viewers care enough to continue watching instead of confusing them with the way the script plays out.
Watching a man basically obsessing over a woman who’s married and enlisting the help of another woman to eventually meet her while also talking to a strange AI device of his voice isn’t exactly interesting or something that would make people curious.
The unfamiliarity and a poor introduction
If you follow my blog, then you probably know that I encourage it when writers don’t take the usual route in exposition scenes, scenes that introduces our characters. “A Piece Of Your Mind” did well in some areas but rough around others, it could’ve been so much better.
“A Piece Of Your Mind” CP released a statement addressing the negative reviews the drama received following its premiere, netizens labeled this drama ‘difficult to understand,’ and I agree with that. On initial viewing, you have no idea why Ha Won keeps talking to an AI that has his voice.
The entire part about who Ha Won is talking to and why he’s talking to the AI is never fully explained and it leaves room for frustration. When you don’t know the way a certain plot device work, there is no way to sympathize or develop interest.
“A Piece Of Your Mind” would’ve been perfect if it had explained the purpose of the AI while leaving out all other details to be explored by viewers. I liked exploring the drama like that without being told anything about the characters and what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, but the AI part was simply annoying because it took too much screentime and wasn’t properly explained.
What makes the execution worse, is that the AI part is also incomprehensible because it speaks of something that we’re yet to see. An impossible feat in today’s technology. How are we supposed to understand this?
The AI part is so disconnected from what we know or can articulate, so it leaves room for confusion and many viewers naturally decided to unfollow from that point on which also explains the declining viewership ratings with each passing episode.
My personal thoughts
I will probably not talk about “A Piece Of Your Mind” again aside from this article, I don’t know if I’ll continue watching this drama, but if I do, I will make a full review of it. But since I am unsure of the future, I will share my personal thoughts on “A Piece Of Your Mind” aside from the analysis I gave above.
I actually like “A Piece Of Your Mind.” At first, I was uninterested but I came back for a second viewing because I am under quarantine and I have nothing better to do with my time. I was also interested in trying to understand why Jung Hae In chose this drama, and I think I do.
“A Piece Of Your Mind” has a good idea on its hands and its trying to be different. Its so sad that it was poorly executed in some areas because it will make it harder for future kdramas to take a similar route.
Slow-pace isn’t an excuse for ‘boring’ kdramas to exist. I think a lot of kdrama fans confuse the two terms, slow-paced kdramas are still interesting, they’re not boring because they address social issues in a calm manner.
“A Piece Of Your Mind” started off on the wrong foot. The writer needed to do a better job at the beginning, if they had done so, the drama would’ve been the next big thing. “A Piece Of Your Mind” gets more interesting the more you watch it, but it needs patience which many don’t have, its sad that it has turned out his way.
I also agree with the shortening of the episodes count. I don’t understand why the writer planned 16 long episodes for such an idea, how did they want to fill in the time? What is there to talk about that warrants 16 episodes? I’ve seen episode 6 a couple of hours ago and Ha Won is finally moving on from Ji Soo, what else is there to resolve? The reason why Ji Soo’s husband is an ass? Or the issue he has with Ha Won?
12 episodes is enough in my opinion and we’re going to have to wait to see how it plays out. The best thing about “A Piece Of Your Mind” has to be the actors’ performances.
The reason why I stuck around was Hae In’s and Soo Bin’s performances. Everyone in this drama is just amazing and they play their characters so well and with so much passion that you just can’t hate them. They’re such a beautiful thing to see.
What I do have to critique here is something I haven’t seen anyone discuss, Jung Hae In’s choice. Jung Hae In has basically been playing the same character for the past three dramas, has anyone been keeping up?
He’s always the same nice rich guy with past issues or trauma, its been the same for a while and I think its time for a change. I don’t know if Jung Hae In is planning for another drama comeback this year, but if he is, then I wish he’d take on a tougher role to shed his nice-boy image a bit, not a rude-rich character but something with more substance. An OCN drama would be nice.
Jung Hae In is a master at playing the hopeless romantic but I think its time for a change. I’ll be keeping an eye on his next project, but if he chooses to play yet another similar character, I will likely skip it.
So this is it for the article, I am interested in knowing what you guys thought of “A Piece Of Your Mind,” do you agree with me? Do you agree with netizens? Or do you think it deserves a second chance?