dangermousie: (CH: comfort by meganbmoore)
[personal profile] dangermousie
I confess that when I checked out ATDP, I didn't expect to love it, yet here I am, 5 episodes in, loving it so much. So much.

Despite the rather melodramatic premise, ATDP feels very real - it is not OTT or loud, but feels like a peek into lives of real people, people I could pass by on the street (OK, they are prettier and more eloquent than I am but still...) In fact, the drama ATDP reminds me most of isn't any of its fellow melodramas but Worlds Within, a decidedly unmelodramatic drama - it has the same feel of every day, of a mood piece that is somehow real.

The characters, most of them, are not perfect people, but the writing and the acting makes me care for them and understand them even when they do things I would normally disapprove of. I mean, in ATDP, I am rooting for a couple who are sleeping together even though the man is engaged (and the woman knows he is). But Soo Ae's fierce independence and her equally fierce vulnerability speak to me. And Kim Rae Won is perfectly cast because somehow, I don't see his character as either weak or despicable, but someone I understand and care for. When he incoherently sobs out to his friend, desperate for Soo Ae to know that the reason he didn't break off the engagement and marry her was because he was being too dutiful to his parents (who are pretty awful, happily selling their son in exchange for staying in a comfortable groove, even though they know he wants out, but it's realistic), not because he didn't love her enough - I believe him. And that takes a lot of acting and writing brilliance to do.

Another thing I love about this drama is the looping narrative structure - the story is linked by the lovers' memories - jumping from the bleak present to their shared past (the sequence after KRW learns about Soo Ae's illness and flashbacks to the start of their relationship, and then it flashbacks out, and he is crying, and then it moves to a different part of their past, is especially brilliant). It really echoes the theme of identity and memory. And it also allows the writer a lot of freedom - after all, our couple broke up in episode 1, and yet we still get plenty of them together through that looping structure...

Oh, and there is the fact that family is as, if not more, important to the story than romantic love...ATDP is pretty much pitch perfect.

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