I am about halfway into the first episode of Miss Ripley and to say I am blown away would be an understatement. The dark, seedy, desperate world and characters draw me in irresistibly. I cannot say whether this will be my favorite drama of the season but if it keeps up, it will certainly be the best in quality. What is it like? It's as if Bad Guy and Something Happened in Bali mated and had a baby and that baby was a wunderkind.
There is so much to talk about even in the first episode, but I want to concentrate on our protagonist, Jang Miri. It is really a role of a lifetime and Lee Da Hae bites into it with all the fierceness she possesses. Gone is the benevolent schemer of My Girl or the calm, dignified upperclass lady of Chuno. Miri is a hunted, haunted, hardened thing - I both feel great pity for her and am terrified of what she will do to survive in her "me against the world" mode. On the surface this can be viewed as another noirish drama with a dark protagonist, but while those occasionally exist in kdrama (though not too much) they never put a woman in this position. Kdrama heroes may be screwed up but kdrama heroines are almost always angels - damaged angels, childish angels, or womanly angels - but they are almost always the pure and sane ones. Yet here Miri is the heart of darkness of the story - the damaged scheming one, who brings about a downfall of other characters who love her too much. Maybe that is why it reminds me of Bali so.
In another reversal, it is the man he eventually will find love with who is the pure-hearted one, the naive one, the 'do-gooder.' I loved what I have seen of Yoochun so far - the role is miles different from his stern Lee Sun Joon in SKKS but somehow he manages portray shining goodness yet again. I know very little of Yutaka yet, but I am dying to know more.
Ah yes, if we are talking about the men who will love Miri, we cannot forget KSW's character. I find it interesting - the concept of masks the drama is going with. Because yes, this is most directly attributable to Miri, with her chameleon faces, but both our leading men are not really who they seem either - KSW's calmness and dispassionate demeanor is a mask but it's clear that Yutaka's kindness also masks some inner damage. I cannot wait to find out all their secrets!
Oh, and since there is no way in hell I am not watching Miss Ripley live, this means something gotta give. I am obsessed with City Hunter, CYHMH and Gisaeng, so I am very sorry but buh-bye Best Love. You were mildly amusing, but my emotional involvement was nil - AJ is not very interesting and Dokko Jin is actively annoying - in RL, any person like that should be on medication, and I am not making a snide comment but a statement of fact. It's like a drama starring Bugs Bunny - funny for five minutes, not sustainable for 20 hours, and I'd be damned if I believe Bugs Bunny is real. Plus, he has the maturity of a tissue (is it me or are Hong Sisters' protagonists actually aging backwards? Each one is less mature than the last. DJ makes Tae Kyung from YAB seem mature and he is almost 20 years older than TK). I cannot imagine these characters outside the confines of the drama - I cannot imagine their lives or inner workings or anything. I think it's time to accept that either I grew out of Hong Sisters' dramas or (more likely as I still love rewatching their old ones) their newer direction is just not for me.
Oh, and this was such a gorgeous scene. He's smitten with her at first sight. And seeing that the woman in question is Lee Da Hae, who can blame him?
Mmmmm. Of course, she's all sharp corners and he's such an adorable puppy who is puzzled by her bristling. (Side note - the daddy in Gisaeng, who objects his son's intended was a gisaeng should watch this drama - forget fancy-shmancy gisaeng who stayed a virgin. Miri's past involves being a hooker to pay off a mob debt! No wonder she's allergic to men.) I have to say, Yoochun and LDH have a gorgeous gorgeous chemistry together. When I first thought of that casting I found it a bit odd, but it 100% works. (But then I have yet to see Da Hae lack chemistry with any of her leading men and Yoochun had excellent chemistry with PMY in Sungkyunkwan Scandal).