My goodness. Is it me or is this drama absolutely adorable?
I have so many things to watch these days that I often find myself watching nothing because I can’t make a decision!
That’s left me keeping track of only one Korean drama.
So there I was on Sunday evening trying to figure out what to watch during my workout. I wanted something a little lighter than Daredevil so I looked through recently released episodes of Korean dramas and picked Page Turner. Why? Because it’s short and if it sucked, I still had other options.
All I knew going in was that it was a teen drama and as I haven’t had much luck with them recently, I fully expected to drop it halfway through and get back to my gorgeous Matt Murdock kicking butt.
But boy was I wrong.
It starts off with two characters’ childhood backstory. Jin Mok (Shin Jae Ha) is an arrogant, spoiled, rich kid who thinks he’s too good for his teacher. In the midst of a tantrum where he gets her fired, her daughter Yoo Seul (Kim So Hyun) hops on the piano and wows them. Jin Mok is under the mistaken assumption that he’s a genius but she shows him what true genius is when she tickles the keys perfectly with no prior training. Recognizing this, her mom immediately stops begging for her job to be reinstated and focuses her attention to the diamond in her possession.
In present times, Yoo Seul and Jin Mok are in a bitter rivalry as the top seeded pianists at their school. Although I’m not sure there’s much of a competition as Yoo Seul is simply better than he is. But instead of basking in that, her mom instructs her to screw him over as a his page turner in a competition, to solidify her position. She doesn’t because despite her extremely mean exterior, to Jin Mok’s surprise, she’s not that pathetic but when Jin Mok gets the chance to return the favor via good sportsmanship, he drops the sheet music to trip her up.
However, when the stars are aligned, good triumphs over evil and instead of faltering, she shows off her memorization skills and wows the judges.
Two things ran through my mind at this point in the drama:
- “The real rivals are Jin Mok and Yoo Seul’s mom.” Other than the original fight being between them, they are two peas in a pod. Yoo Seul is the weapon her mother uses to fight the little kid. And we see that Yoo Seul simply follows her instructions. She’s mean to him because it’s what her mother wants.
- “We’re in for another hate-to-love story.” We’ve seen this story a thousand times and ten minutes into the drama, I researched the age difference between the actors to prep myself for their inevitable kiss scene.
Then almost on cue, we got introduced to the second guy, Cha Sik (Ji Soo). Unlike the other two, he’s an athlete. We meet him during a competition where instead of paying attention to his pole vaulting, he’s obsessed with his mother in the stands. In other words, this kid is loud and crazy.
When he thinks his mom is being slighted by the couple seated beside her, he vows to break their kid’s record to force them to stop looking down on him. Because it’s a drama, he succeeds, despite it being 20cm over his personal best. And because he’s a straight-up loon, he attempts to immediately beat his new record by 20 cm but ends up hurt in the process.
But he’s not the only person getting hurt in this drama.
After receiving his tongue-lashing from Yoo Seul, Jin Mok begs God to punish her. Seconds later, she gets into an accident and loses her sight. Yikes! This guy is probably wishing he prayed for $1 billion instead.
But on a more serious note, he can’t believe his bad luck and now thinks that Yoo Seul’s accident was God’s answer to his prayer. And he hates it. It’s a perfect case of “Be careful what you wish for.”
It’s finally time for our three leads to meet.
Shortly after being told by his doctor that he will have to give up track and field, Cha Sik runs into a blind girl who asks him to take her to the roof of their hospital. Jin Mok sees them when he shows up – flowers in hand – to apologize to her.
Cha Sik takes her to the roof and leaves her.
At this point, all I could think was:
“Why would he take a blind girl to the roof and leave her there! She clearly wants to kill herself! What is wrong with you?!?!”
“But I bet her love interest will save the day!”
And Jin Mok shows up. Yes!
And they talk. I think a lot of us can understand why someone might want to end their life upon losing their sight but her reason surprised me. Upon hearing of her daughter’s predicament, her crazy mom had cried; not because her daughter had lost an important sense, but because it would hurt her as a pianist. Goodness! Even the doctor had to remind her of what was important.
But on another note, when her mom sobbed in private, I wondered if this was the real her, not the obsessed pianist momager, but the one who loved her child and was heartbroken that she was blind. The one who couldn’t put up a brave front and pretend to be stone-hearted.
Anyway, we learned that Yoo Seul had seen her blindness as a positive thing because it meant that she could finally give up the piano. *sob* She was sick of hating Jin Mok and hoped to finally move on but now that her mother was telling her to double down on her practicing to make up for her disability, she couldn’t see a way out. So she was going to kill herself. And then she jumped… and fell into Cha Sik’s arms.
And this was when I fell for him.
All my feelings that he was over the top immediately disappeared and now I suddenly find him the most adorable being to have ever existed. Cha Sik, come to Mama!
He’s no moron so instead of taking her to the roof, he’d dropped her off at the parking lot. How hilarious is that? And he tells her to pull herself together and stop blaming her mother for being a piano psycho when she never once expressed her discontent.
Then we get a scene of Cha Sik and his mom walking out of the hospital to find it raining outside. His mom’s umbrella breaks when she opens it causing him to laugh hysterically. But the laughter soon turns into tears because he’s heartbroken that he has to give up sports. And boy did I fall harder. When it comes to characters with hidden pain, I much prefer the ones who mask it with fake cheer to those who use it as an excuse to hurt others around them.
At this point, all I could think was:
“Great. What a typical Korean drama. Of course, the bright, wonderful guy gets to be second lead while the brooding, spoiled brat is lead. Why can’t it be different for once?!?!”
There’s some K-drama shenanigans where Cha Sik’s mom cheers him up by telling him that his father is a famous pianist… which in his mind means he’s got latent, untapped musical skills. O-kay.
Meanwhile, Yoo Seul takes what he said to heart and begins to exert her independence, refusing to let her mom be her guide throughout the day. I don’t know about her but I think most teens would head for the closest ledge at the thought of their mom going to school with them.
This leads to some cute scenes of the still guilt-ridden Jin Mok protecting her on the way to school.
He may have almost killed her via prayer but he’s very adorable too. Gosh, this show is more adorable than a kitten and a puppy tickling each other in a basket filled with cotton wool.
Anyway, shenanigans upon shenanigans, Cha Sik can’t get admitted to their school (to hone his piano skills) and ends up as her guide. It’s a win-win arrangement because she gets a guide who isn’t her mother (or her enemy Jin Mok who was the only other volunteer) and he gets to attend an Arts high school. It’s also highly unrealistic but who cares as long as it leads to tons of Cha Sik/Yoo Seul time?
And this was when I wondered if I was mistaken about who the lead was.
They spend a lot of time together and she slowly warms up to him.
Quick question, KBS 2: why is this drama so short? Why is all of this unfolding in one episode when it could easily had been spread over four?
She stops being stubborn and allows him to take care of her outside school and when her leg is hurt, she finally takes a ride on his bike. It’s her first, and it’s lovely.
And I couldn’t help but feel for her when she told her mom that she now lives in regret because there are so many things she never experienced when she only lived for piano. And now that she’s blind, there are so many things she’ll never get to see. *sob* I hope her sight is restored.
And yes, I smiled when she stood up for Cha Sik after her mom insulted him. And was positively grinning when he showed up the next day dressed differently to change her mother’s mind about him. This kid is ADORABLE! No one is allowed to be marriage material at 18! Stop it!
So cute. So direct. So forthright. He doesn’t even know how to play games. Which is probably due to the limited time. As there are only three episodes, we can’t waste time on misunderstandings that halt the plot.
And then we zip to the part where Cha Sik learns to play!
He gets Yoo Seul to play a song for him on a piano that very conveniently sits in an alley. It’s heavenly, like the music that plays in his recurring dream where they play a duet together.
Meanwhile, Jin Mok gets hurt protecting Yoo Seul from a peeping Tom and instead of the care and worry one would expect from a loving dad, the man is more worried about him not being able to play at some colleague’s child’s wedding. Typical. And as expected, this leads to more angsting by our (second?) lead.
Anyway, there’s a piano duo competition that Cha Sik wants to enter. All the other kids scoff at the idea because he’s got neither the talent nor experience but he rebuts them with the amazing fact that his father is a genius pianist – something he will prove by passing the preliminary round. Wow, what A+ logic.
He repeats this to Yoo Seul who also scoffs at him and points out that a paternity test would be more accurate. Nonetheless, she listens to him play and he’s surprisingly good. He asks her to enter the competition with him and she agrees with a HUGE grin.
And I turn to goo.
Guys! Guys! GUYS!!!!!!!!!!! This is so freaking cute!
I love this drama. Gosh! I LOVE Cha Sik! I love Yoo Seul. I love Jin Mok. I want to kidnap these kids and spend all afternoon with them playing hopscotch and hide-and-seek and double-dutch and every playground game that exists!
My biggest beef with this drama is that it’s so friggin’ short. I can understand not wanting to have sixteen episodes but three episodes are not enough. Especially when we have all these family threads and the competition. Cha Sik’s story arc alone from being the “dummy” to learning enough to show off and win over his “classmates” in addition to learning to play the piano could easily span four episodes alone.
Then we have all of Yoo Seul’s story with her mother and whatever the backstory of her family might be. Let’s not even talk about Jin Mok – we haven’t even scratched the surface. It’s a travesty that we only get three episodes when some unnamed dramas with meandering plots and boring characters get at least sixteen. Le Sigh. K-drama gods, why do you hate me so?
On the plus side, as previously mentioned, it also means that we don’t get frustrated with stupid twists and misunderstandings that halt the plot in order to take up time.
While I don’t ship-ship, I kinda do ship Cha Sik and want him to end up with Yoo Seul if there’s a romance at the end of this drama. There is one, yeah? He’s truly the light in her life. And believe me, once I started to wonder if I’d been wrong about Jin Mok being the lead, I did a whole bunch of Googling and I think I’m on the right ship (if there’s one). What a pleasant surprise. If this ends the way it should, for once, the fun, sweet guy is the lead. Please be the lead. Please, God (not Jin Mok’s), grant me this wish.
But poor Jin Mok. He obviously didn’t cause the accident but poor, poor thing. I want someone to hug him and tell him that it’s not his fault. And also finally show him the love he clearly craves.
The final episode looks like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what kind of friendship all three forge at the end of the drama. Romance or not, all I want is for all of them to be happy. Preferably with Yoo Seul in Cha Sik’s arms. Oh, what the heck, maybe I ship-ship.