Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Cinderella and Four Knights: on episode 3~8

Oh, Cinderella. We’re halfway through and i’m still unsure where i stand on the like-it/dislike-it meter. Each episode made me cringe and roll my eyes A LOT yet once it reached the end, i was kinda itching for the next one. That probably counts as ‘like’ BUT i seem to have only complaints about this drama. Thus far. It’s crazy.

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The only thing i’m fine with is the plot: Ha-won hired to harmonize three estranged chaebol-cousins and ultimately turn them into more decent persons, though i think it’s more toward readying them to inherit Grandpa’s empire. He’s having certain health issues, due to either age or something more serious, and although Ji-woon and Seo-woo clearly aren’t into business, he doesn’t seem inclined to automatically appoint the eldest Hyun-min as his successor. It’s possible that he simply wants to give the grandchildren a fair chance, though, can’t he get all three to manage the business together?

Hyun-min may be too flamboyant for the post, but he continues to surprise me with his unexpected sides. He dislikes self-conscious girls, plays brain games in his spare time, and manages to solve rubik’s cube in 8 seconds! Impressive, eh? Okay, he also gives away cars a bit too easily, but if that can solve a problem peacefully, i don’t mind that gesture much. Personality-wise, Seo-woo is a clear favorite — he’s the boy-next-door type despite his superstardom — though Hyun-min is the most interesting of all. Ji-woon, on the other hand, is dry, uptight, and boring. Jung Il-woo is great in cheeky roles, but here his acting is really bland as a broody apathetic guy. I’m thus glad Ji-woon loosens up and shows more smiles in the last two episodes.

That said, when one is brusque, one is flirty, and one is affable, isn’t the third one the best option? =)  But let’s not forget about the fourth knight, the multi-talented guy. Yoon-sung can be too rigid at times, but come on, a personal assistant, chauffeur, bodyguard, and a great cook too? Obviously a catch! That said, the love lines are already complicated as is, let’s not add one more suitor to the mix, shall we? 😉

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Next, the titular Cinderella. Sigh. I found Ha-won to be refreshingly gutsy at the outset; albeit a pushover at home, she took no nonsense from others…until she moved into Sky House where she continues to block Hyun-min’s advances yet freezes at Ji-woon’s. Being around a tense person makes you understandably tense too, but it’s frustrating to see her easily cornered and flustered when she was able to overpower him early on.

She’s irritatingly persistent and pushy too when it comes to the assigned missions. That’s what she’s there for, to do Grandpa’s bidding, and it’s quite fun the first time around — when she tries multiple tactics to get the cousins to eat on the same table. Alas, the magic wore off soon after the second mission was announced: make them attend their fathers’ death anniversary. The way she barges into the boys’ rooms and pesters them with the request began to get under my skin. It’s tactless of her to force them to do what they refuse to do without trying to figure out the circumstances beforehand, her well-meaning and subsequent thoughtful words notwithstanding.

And it’s only getting worse. Besides proceeding to blackmail Seo-woo’s manager to clear his schedule, she even opts to ‘kidnap’ Hyun-min to ensure he flies with the rest to a three-day holiday or whatever it is. It’s appalling; nobody would find it funny if it were the other way around. The plot is interesting around the missions, and truly cringeworthy outside it.

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Unfortunately, Ha-won isn’t the only annoying character in Cinderella. Hye-ji ticks a lot of boxes of off-putting second female lead: clingy, whiny, mopey, delusional (among others). Writing may be the problem, but Son Na-eun’s lifeless and blank acting only exacerbates the situation. I just can’t fathom what Ji-woon and Hyun-min see in her. Seriously, i don’t get why Ji-woon doesn’t try to win her heart instead of declaring to steal someone else’s fiancée, and then hardly follows that through.

As for Hyun-min, that’s the biggest shocker in the first half of the show: hints of his lingering feelings for her. I was like, “OMG! For real?!” There were brief mentions of it but he’s always quick to deflect it, and it was never made that clear until episode 8. Again, it’s probably the flawed writing or acting, or both. To be fair, i don’t see a reason for him to be a noble idiot, and honestly thought he’s starting to fall for Ha-won for real… I was so happy when he told Hye-ji to stop it already…only to discover that i was happy for nothing.

If anything, the love lines begin to clear up: it’s Hyun-min/Hye-ji and Ji-woon/Ha-won. I have yet to support either pairing, though i could totally ship Seo-woo/Ja-young, if they go for it. Ja-young is a nice friend to Ha-won and a cute fan to Seo-woo despite believing the dynamic would be better if she weren’t his fan. But then i soon have issues with this potential pair as well: Ja-young’s objection to Seo-woo’s dating, deeming it would disappoint his fans. *groan*  Besides, Seo-woo is also revealed to be falling for Ha-won. Why, i have no idea.

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I wrote “also” because of Ji-woon. Am i the only one finding it weird that he’s still all over Hye-ji until very recently and suddenly drunk-confessing his love to Ha-won in the next scene? The aegyo was admittedly cute, but the turnaround happened too fast i’m not feeling it.

Romance aside, a big mystery is cooking up in the background. There must be something more to Ji-woon and Ha-won’s mothers passing on the same date. I smell birth secret or switch identity, especially since Dad is searching for a man believed to be Ha-won’s biological father. I’m still trying to figure out whether that man and Grandpa’s second child are one and the same — they look alike to me!

My last two pet peeves are the amount of flashbacks and slow-mo used. The former is the bigger offender; i don’t need to see a long replay of scenes occurring just minutes or seconds ago! You also need not show us what the characters are exactly thinking about, Show! We can figure that much out by ourselves all right, thankyouverymuch.

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