MBC newest drama “When I Was The Most Beautiful” has aired its 1st and 2nd episode two weeks ago and I know I am late, but here is my review.
Note: below is a spoiler review of episode 1 and 2, not the entire drama. This is a subjective review.
“When I Was The Most Beautiful” is a drama that I don’t quite know how to feel about, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the cast is.. ‘will Jisoo get the girl this time or what?’ It might be super weird to have that as the first thought, but I genuinely want him to end up with the girl at the end. He’s the male lead of this drama so I think that will happen.
The age gaps and all
So before we begin talking about the script extensively, let’s talk about the age gaps and all of that jazz.
I immediately thought to myself that there will be a time jump but I just felt weird-ed out by the fact that the story starts with a student falling for his teacher. Not that it doesn’t happen, but the fact that he actively tries to get romantically involved with her… the whole idea is freaky. He hugs her at one point and tries to act as her guardian, it just feels weird.
He follows her around everywhere and she just accepts that, he ditches school to make her feel better and takes her to a secluded place so freely, he feeds her with his hands… and the way they play out… am I supposed to feel happy/excited seeing this? a lot of moments between them didn’t feel romantic to me but creepy. He was acting like he was this 20 something year old man who’s trying to ask a woman out.
So supposedly, Im Soo Hyang’s character is a student-teacher, generally speaking, this means that she’s not older than 22 or 23 years old. And I am assuming Jisoo’s character is 18 [duh] but the entire premise is icky to begin with.
I don’t have an issue with the plot-line of a student falling for his teacher or crushing on her, but I do have an issue with a plot-line about a ‘teacher’ who allows a student to get this close to her and for that student to actively try to woo her and for the drama producers to somehow label that ‘romantic’, that’s why I find the drama weird thus far. I don’t understand how I’m supposed to feel about this because I can’t get behind that idea, to begin with, romanticizing a high school student relationship with his teacher like that.
He touches her face romantically and gazes at her like that, I was like ‘sis how stupid must you be?’ Do teachers usually allow their students to get this especially close to them? Am I the only who thinks this is weird? Regardless of whether she knows he likes her or not, the logical step would be to distance herself… what’s going on?
I was told the drama will jump in time and I am guessing that will be the case since the phones they’re using are a bit old. I wouldn’t continue watching if that was going to be the environment of the drama.
The cliché brotherly love-triangle
So the screenwriter behind “When I Was The Most Beautiful” is relatively unknown with no notable credit to his name which is already a concerning point especially considering the fact that his first project was published in 2014.
The basic idea is utterly cringy, two brothers fighting over a woman and for the introduction to be what it is, honest to god, it felt like I was watching a kdrama made in 2004. How much longer will kdrama writers continue to use the same tropes? Tropes aren’t wrong but it goes a long way if you try to reinvent a basic idea, take it and improve on it.
There is a reason why public channel dramas have been falling behind and I’ve previously touched on that point, MBC and KBS continue to struggle in 2020 with no notable short kdramas made thus far and we’re half way through the year.
It felt like I was reading a teenage romance but the drama airs at a time when I highly doubt high school students would be watching. Who is the targeted demographic? I am honestly curious because this introduction screams ‘teenage fantasies.’ It’s something I’d expect out of a teenage movie or drama.
I thought the way the characters were introduced to be tedious and a bit difficult to take seriously. The cute-nice-but-rich boy and the overly nice sensitive damsel in distress who would stop to help out a cat, how convenient… come on man; give me something to latch on to.
I also find the way the second lead romantic interest forms to be very creepy and not portrayed as such. So he basically drags her around in his car and she has no idea who this man is but somehow she trusts him enough to go around with him. The way Ha Seok Jin’s character is written (thus far) is annoying and creepy but is portrayed as this ‘romantic’ gesture. Both brothers jump to her defense at such convenient times. The way the scenes play out between them often felt very unnatural, the way lots of scenes played out in the premiere of “When I Was The Most Beautiful” felt very unnatural.
I know that some of you will say, ‘this is a god damn introduction, stop being picky, they all start like that,’ and I understand… but… again, I feel no effort was put into the premiere, the most important part of any drama is done without effort.
I am also not in love with the way Im Soo Hyang’s character is written. I have come to hate the damsel in distress scenario because it portrays women as these vulnerable characters who can’t do shit without a male (usually rich and capable) interfering and magically improving their lives. It’s beyond annoying and ridiculous at this point.
What I Liked
The cinematography is nice, and I like the actors’ performances despite the fact that they’re written badly (thus far).
Will it get better?
I’ve been watching kdramas for more than 8 years, so I’ve basically seen all there is from the most basic to the most experimental and everything in between. I know that kdramas introductions are usually not the best, and oftentimes, we must watch a couple of more episodes to decide whether it’s worth it or not but I am not feeling this drama at all.
The issue is, the more I watch, the pickier I become and such types of scripts hardly interest me anymore. “When I Was The Most Beautiful” episode 1 and 2 had boring moments. I just felt that the actors’ talents were getting wasted with this basic weird idea.
There is a chance it’ll get better, but I don’t know if I’ll stick around to see that. I love Jisoo but I wanted him to pick a role where he could shine, this looks easily forgettable and I highly doubt the drama will get better ratings.
This is not to say that “When I Was The Most Beautiful” sucks and you shouldn’t watch it. It’s up to you to decide. These are my thoughts on the premiere of “When I Was The Most Beautiful,” it’s not the judgment for the entire drama, just these two episodes.
I might watch some more and if I do, I will write a review about it, but it has to be either especially good or especially bad for me to do so.
So these are my thoughts on “When I Was The Most Beautiful” episode 1 and 2, what did you guys personally think of the premiere?