I want to take this opportunity to welcome Zhaoul, as a new author in our blog 😀 While she has always been a member of our Stuck on Hyuk little gang, now she is going to be more “official”. Please help me welcome her and don’t forget to also visit her wonderful blog Kdramadreamer.
DF and I have been online chingus for quite some time now. DF was one of the very first people to talk to me and comment on my blog when I started blogging. We have fangirled over Jang Hyuk many-a-times. She’s also been very patient with me and my flighty drama heart which sometimes sways like the wind in different directions but always finds its way back to Hyuk. Hard to believe we’ve been friends for 2+ years now. This will be our first collaborative piece together, so I hope you enjoy it.
Awww Z! Ok friends, for our first collaborative post we wanted to talk a little bit about Beautiful Mind. The latest Jang Hyuk drama that captured our hearts and twisted our brains (some) This is not going to be an actual series review, but more like a collection of ramblings about some aspects of it.
Z & DF Talk Beautiful Mind
Let’s dive into it!
What did you think of the romance?
I really liked the romance in this drama because I found it different from the norm. It was truly unique and challenged my definition of (drama) love. Lee Young Oh loved in his own way, without fully being able to grasp what love is. Despite this, he loved deeply. Truly unique and thought provoking. From Jin Sung’s perspective, she could understand him despite knowing how difficult it was for him to express his feelings and thoughts. It’s strange though; I thought in many ways Lee Young Oh expressed himself better than most. They were very sweet together. I felt their affection for each other was very pure. They both seemed so innocent, like young love.
Definitely a unique romance. I LOVE THIS COUPLE SO MUCH! Uri adorkable Wifi couple! I don’t know how objective I can be right now, because I’m still suffering from Beautiful Mind fever and withdrawal but I’ll give it a shot. So, for the first few episodes I truly didn’t know how on earth those two could become a “romantic” couple. Especially after LYO’s rather charming (not) way of grabbing her and everyone’s necks. You know? I mean, I felt he was Creepzoned for life! Lol But boy, was I wrong! The drama, the story and especially these two amazing actors, managed to sell me that romance. What we saw, was also, only the beginning stages of a romance (always beautiful to watch, when well done) because before the romance came the bonding, the compassion, the friendship, the understanding and love for another human being. It was deep and simple and it progressed naturally. Two people who just wanted to “spend time together”.
Wifi Couple Moments:
Share your feelings on the Father-son relationship.
The relationship between Gun Myung and Young Oh was one of the most interesting character dynamics in the entire series. It was complex, confusing. It also evolved. For a large part of the show, it felt like each of them was trying to get the upper hand on the other. Gun Myung was holding onto so much guilt and garbage from the past that it really messed up Young Oh as a person, and also their father-son relationship. I really thought the show redeemed Gun Myung beautifully and allowed the two to receive much needed healing.
Hands down my favorite part of the show. I remember comparing LYO to Sherlock (the BBC version), Dr.House and Dexter. The first two because of LYO’s direct no-nonsense attitude, initial arrogance and curiosity but also Dexter because of the father-son relationship where we weren’t sure if Dexter’s Dad had helped him “hide” his condition or actually created that condition. But ultimately, the more apt comparison is with the story this was loosely based on, and that is Dr. Frankenstein. Dr Lee Gun Myung, was ashamed of his “creature”, he wanted to fix him. He also attempted to hide him and control him. He feared his creature but mixed in with all these feelings, there was guilt and even love. The creature on the other hand, craved his father’s acceptance desperately. He was set out to prove to his father, and himself that he deserved to be treated with the basic dignity that any human being deserves. This mesmerizing tension was present in every scene between the father and son and it was a sight to behold, in the hands of actors Heo Joon Ho and Jang Hyuk. That sort of chemistry and acting level is not something you see every day . I need to watch them work together again.
Discuss Lee Young Oh’s transformation.
As a Jang Hyuk fan, I was very proud to watch him take on such a challenging role. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love Jang Hyuk in psychological/tormented roles. I really was unsure how both Jang Hyuk and the writers would mold a character who couldn’t feel or empathize and make him change in a believable manner. They left some up to personal interpretation, but I felt convinced with the transformation.
More than a transformation, I like how the character was revealed to us. Actually, I really enjoyed how all the characters and also the plot of the drama, slowly unraveled. Nothing was what we first thought it was, and that speaks to one of the points the drama made, about prejudice and how appearances can be deceiving. But I digress, I love LYO so much as a character. Like you said, he quickly climbed to the position of top three Jang Hyuk characters for me as well (Daegil, LYO and Gunnie are my top three) And yes, I’m grateful Jang Hyuk accepted this role because it allowed me to see this other side of him and once again reminded me of his amazing acting skills. He transformed into the character and completely disappeared into it. LYO evolved, but not drastically. He lacked instinctive empathy and did not get a magical cure throughout the drama, but he made the conscious decision, to become “A Doctor who saves lives” and a decent human being. The fact that he made such efforts, automatically makes him deserving of respect and admiration. After all, there are many people in this world, who are able to empathize and still choose to turn a blind eye or shut their hearts for various reasons.
P.D I also want to mention how much I love Jang Hyuk playing a creep. He was downright scary during those first episodes and I found it just so hot! (Ok, judge me, I deserve it! Lol)
Young Oh Moments:
Who were your Top 3 Favorite Secondary Characters?
This is a tough one because the secondary characters were really wonderful in beautiful mind. Is Gun Myung a secondary character? I think of him as a lead, even though technically he’s a secondary. He would be in my top 3 for sure along with Suk Joo (but I’ll assume he’s also a main).
That being said, I’m going to say Nurse Jang, Min Jae and Yoon Kyung were my favorite secondary characters.
I don’t even feel I need to explain why I liked nurse Jang. She was clearly awesome in every way. She had great expressions throughout and was also someone who was uneasy about Young Oh at first, but ended up really getting along well with him.
Min Jae was more of a polarizing figure, and I’m sure not everyone would agree with me on this. Her actions and behavior could be very frustrating at times, but I think she was a well developed complex character. Her feelings for Young Oh ran very deep, but because of his diagnosis, she had a very hard time dealing.
So why Yoon Kyung? There were lots of other great characters, and hers got cut early. Well, I included her because the way she expressed her emotions. Sometimes she seemed foolish, but her heart’s focus was on her daughter. The torment of her soul came bubbling out. Really good acting.
I agree that this is a tough question. All secondary characters and even the patient of the day, were wonderful. I also consider Lee Gun Myung to be a main and I could wax poetic endlessly about him, cause Heo Joon Ho, gave us a stellar performance. Seriously, I would throw an Oscar at this guy right now (and also to Hyukie of course :D). He was Lee Gun Myung, righteous, tormented, conflicted, proud, scary, and full of guilt father, who kind of lost his way until he could reconcile his fabricated self image with his actual self. It was beautiful to see him finally, break free.
So, let’s cheat and add then, three more faves to the list :D.
Nurse Jang (and how adorable is Ha Jae Sook in this role?)
Resident Yang (amazing comic relief but also had his chance to shine brightly in a dramatic scene in one of the episodes)
And yes, I’m going to choose Kim Min Jae. She did the most despicable thing to LYO and I felt betrayed by her! But as a character, I could see where she was coming from. I found her very interesting as a second female lead who didn’t quite reach the category of villain. She acted selfishly and was willing to destroy the person who had been there for her (in his own way) in order to “save” herself. But behind the cynical and cold facade I could perceive guilt and denial. She wanted to convince herself that he was a monster, not deserving of any compassion or consideration, after all “He couldn’t feel pain or anything”. But I did get the feeling that deep down she knew better, and that it was eating her inside. This is why she kept hovering around him, taunting him. Btw, I found that tension and dynamic betweem Park SeYoung and Jang Hyuk, very sexy :p
What made you scratch your head the most?
Hmmmm *scratches head*. Well, I guess I’m still a little confused how Young Oh has obviously changed in many ways but that his progress hasn’t shown up in his scans. I guess I do like the fact that the writers didn’t just say “Oh look! It’s a miracle, he’s better” but it is still confusing.
Ah yes, the scans. I see a lot of people still scratching their heads over this one. My very simplistic understanding of this is, first scans were accidentally switched, Dad never double checked because he feared his mistake would be discovered. He started training LYO, not only showing him how to read gestures etc, but also systematically disabling him from trusting his own instinctive understanding of everything. I can imagine him constantly repeating what we saw him tell him as an adult “You are wrong, once again. Don’t ever act based on what you think, but based on what I’ve taught you. Just breathe but don’t dare to have dreams”, etc. But something that the drama didn’t really address but was sort of there, is the fact that LYO used anti-psychotics. Did he use them at an early age? Wouldn’t those drugs, used on a normal brain btw, in combination with psychological torture actually physically damage a brain? I think they can, however, I’m not sure if that sort of damage can be seen on a CT scan. But if that is indeed the case, then that is the damage that KMJ saw on LYO’s recent scans.
What aspect/part moved your heart the most?
Ooooooh, this is a good one. There were quite a few moments actually, but I’m going to go back to episode 6. Remember when Lee Young Oh got fired from the hospital and stumbled out onto the streets in a total daze? He completely lost it, couldn’t control himself. In that moment he was utterly alone and yet Jin Sung came to him like an angel to give him refuge and comfort. If she wasn’t there at that moment, I think his downwards spiral would have continued. This was really a moment where things started to shift for him. He hit rock bottom, but now he could start to build back up from scratch and become a different person from what he was (despite his diagnosis).
I would pick the same scene. It was the turning point and the moment I realized, scary Young Oh, was extremely vulnerable. At that moment all I wanted and needed was for someone to save him. And that’s when our hero, Miss Wifi showed up! It was the most perfect scene. But Ok, I’ll pick another one. The final scene between father and soon. Forgiveness, is there anything more beautiful?
It’s time to fangirl spazz, so go ahead and spazz away.
I don’t spazz the same ways I used to, but this performance is for sure spazz worthy. Honestly, Young is probably one of my favorite Jang Hyuk characters. He will go up there with Daegil and Dr. Min. Pained Jang Hyuk, whether it be psychological, physical or emotional intrigues me so much. I love the complexity he brought to Young Oh.
I think I spazz so much on twitter, I’m going to spare our poor readers here 😀
On the scale of 1 to 10, how sexy was Jang Hyuk in this?
10! The thing about Jang Hyuk as Young Oh in particular, is that Jang Hyuk makes Young Oh sexy, maybe even when he shouldn’t be. Normally I wouldn’t be swooning when a guy slams someone up against the wall, but he makes it difficult to ignore my fangirl senses and look at everything critically. Yes, I find Jang Hyuk very sexy and physically appealing, but I’ve always found his acting style makes him even that much more sexy. Because the character is so unique and well acted, the sexiness is amplified exponentially.
Jang Hyuk is always sexy of course, he is a 100000000000000 in my book lol! But not all his characters are super sexy. LYO rates high though. Gah, I love his voice and that way of speaking, kind of slow and matter of fact, almost like a sexy sexy robot or alien. Did I say sexy already?
Edited to add the moment that melted my socks, the smexiest love confession ever. I have three words for you: “No, it’s you”
Scale of 1 to 10, rate the show overall
I give the show an 8.7. If I’m rating as a fangirl, 9.5. The series was really good. Although they made it very complete despite having two episodes cut, I think this could easily have been one of my favorite dramas if they had allowed it to play out how it was intendedintended (with all 16 episodes). They had to compact the story, but people wanting to watch it, should definitely still watch it. It also has really fantastic re-watch value. I feel like I must have missed so much and will understand more if I watch again.
Plot wise, this might have holes. I honestly don’t know, and my brain is not sharp enough to detect any. However as an exploration of the human condition and as philosophical piece of art, even more than psychological thriller, to me, this is a solid 10. Acting and character development was superb. I could say 9.9 to try to be fair, but why? It’s a 10 from me.
What hopes do you have for Jang Hyuk’s next project?
I’m fairly open to whatever but I think for now I’d personally prefer if it wasn’t a sageuk (historical drama). Don’t get me wrong; he’s great in sageuks, but he’s been in quite a few, so I’d rather see him in something different. He does well with challenging roles, so I wouldn’t mind seeing another complex character, but of course I would be pleased with something lighter as well.
To be honest, I don’t have a preference as long as its a character that allows him to shine and grow even more as an actor. Hmmm let’s think what aspect has he not shown in dramas yet or not too often? Maybe his sexy side? I kind of want him in a drama where he gets to kiss, in the sexy way he kissed in Robbers 😀 Maybe an adult drama with a good actress closer to his age? (age gap has never been a problem when the story works and I certainly loved him in Beautiful Mind with Park So Dam, but I kind of want variety too) How about Kim Sun Ah? She kisses well. Ok, yeah, contrary to my usual preference, I kind of want him in a romance now. A sexy adult romance (could be a movie, it doesn’t need to be a drama). Also, I’ve been wanting to see him as a shy, not super macho character, who is sort of dominated by the female lead teehee! Kind of like Lee Bum Soo in History of the Salaryman.
Thanks for reading! We would love to know your thoughts as well. We will both deeply miss this series. Also, this is a bit of an experiment. This is our first collaborative post. Let us know if you like this format and would like to see more of it.