DRAMA CLUB RECAP: Temptation Episodes 19-20 (2/2)
Drama Debussie: Seeing that this is our last hurrah in this magical place we call Temptation Drama Club, we thought we’d do something a little different for this last post. Watching a drama is important, but reflection afterwards is even more important. So, everyone, what are your thoughts on Temptation? I’ll start. One word: UGH.
Unnichan: Pfft. Oh DD, where the blazes do I begin? Ok, I’ll start with the cast, for which though, the melodrama was turned on high, I enjoyed as a whole. I like Choi Ji Woo and Kwon Sang Woo individually and did see their previous drama together, I was never too caught up in their “timeless OTP” status. However, with this drama, I can give them props for being absolutely winning together. I didn’t need Seok Hoon and Se Young to end up together or anything, “against all odds” and stuff like that, but having those two smiling and camping and jogging together, well, it was pretty bomb.
Pamela: In my case, even though the drama might not have held much weight for my unnis in terms of plot, I still found it entertaining. Most of the enjoyment was due to the cast, and especially since I was only acquainted with two of the cast members - Kwon Sang Woo and Yoon Ah Jung - this was fortunate. The interaction between the characters was filled with either tenderness or edginess at any given time, and that helped retain my attention.
Drama Debussie: I think many of us will readily admit that we were all drawn to the light that is the reunion of Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo. It was fantastic to see those two back together and, honestly, if they weren’t in this series it may not have kept my attention as long as it did. As Pamela mentioned, a big problem for me was that the plot was lacking for most of the series which is not only disappointing because of the Stairway to Heaven reunion, but also because Temptation was a female centric drama which is rare. I was really rooting for this show mainly because of that and there so many things this show could have covered that many of the female audience members would have been able to relate to. Instead these issues were used to move the weak plot forward and quickly forgotten. Just feels like many missed opportunities. We honestly should have known we would have many of those when Se Young did not take full advantage of “purchasing” Seok Hoon for three days! I’m sorry, I’m just still not over that.
Unnichan: HA! I didn’t know much about the drama, only who the actors were and it was a melo. Those things worked for me. I like the main [Shout out to Park Ha Sun!] and supporting cast and that is usually what gets to take a look at a drama, for though story is what keeps me, I need to know the actors are worth watching. As for this story, it was a let down that the “femme fatale” label never played out. [Wait did I find another term this drama “redefined” for me?] Not because they didn’t have sex or because there was no sexual temptation (though that would’ve been interesting and dangerous and subsequently more entertaining on some levels), but because the term also refers to a state of mind or attitude, which Se Young did not possess. Yes, she was curious and sadistic in the beginning, being rich and loveless but that’s about it. There was nothing about her that truly posed a threat to anyone, accept the inclination all single women are sex crazed man eaters. It’s something I definitely agree with you on DD, addressing the way single women are viewed. For the idea that any woman who is attractive, single and wealthy is instantly a problem to any man, (especially if he’s married) would’ve been a wonderful misconception to debunk.
Pamela: That misconception made a quick reverse, though. Seok Hoon and Se Young began drifting towards each other within a few episodes of the deal being made. One of the important aspects of this is that Seok Hoon and Hong Joo already shared an intimacy that was love for a time. Granted, that marriage was thrown into the river, unlike the wedding bands, but it still existed. The fragility of relationships is a cruel reality - I can only assume...you know, since I’m not even at the level of novice in romance. Whether you’ve experienced love or not, it isn’t difficult to note how easily love can shatter or sputter over the course of a few episodes. The same goes with trust.
Drama Debussie: There’s a part of me that feels this show was a victim of the live shooting system that most Korean dramas utilize. You’re both right in that there was certainly a shift and that may have simply been a result of choosing to give the audience what they want in lieu of what was originally planned. It seems all of the main characters were being set up to be tempted by people who were the exact opposite of what (or who) they have grown accustomed. I was preparing myself for breakups, flirtations with an affair and eventual paths back to their significant other with a better appreciation of them or simply themselves. THAT I could’ve stood behind. Although, Seok Hoon and Hong Joo, our seemingly loving couple, was ripped apart early on and the more we explored their relationship the more it was destroyed into this pile of ashes so that room was made for what seemed to be the audience preference, Seok Hoon and Se Young. I’m the last to complain about this but I never felt any emotional investment in Hong Joo and Seok Hoon which makes me wonder why we were introduced to them as a couple in the first place. Actually, there were many moments I wondered why we were introduced to Hong Joo at all.
Unnichan: True. I didn’t buy Seok Hoon and Hong Joo as a loving couple in love. Not from the first moment we met them. I saw two people that were married, that were making it, but only just so, because they applied themselves. And I think that had been going on for quite some time which becomes tiresome and draining. My largest issue with their story is that their real issues were never addressed. Instead, everything gets blamed on the “Hong Kong” incident, they divorce, then “move on” within milliseconds. I suppose I did believe there would be a transgression, poor choices, and a breakup but certainly not in the way it transpired ‘cause to be entirely honest, the ways and reasons used to justify the separation of both these married couples never made sense. At one point, you just realize drama needed Seok Hoon and Se Young to be free agents, Min Woo to be smarmy and Hong Joo to be spiteful. Like those are still the basic elements that make this classic cooky cookie recipe work for the masses. And honestly, I think audiences have surpassed that.
Pamela: You’ve got a point there. The plot twists and sudden character revelations in this drama didn’t seem as such - they were more like devices used to further the plot more conveniently yet unnaturally. It’s difficult to say how the drama would have turned out had everything not seemed as out of place as it did. For example, we have Ji Sun and her wishy washy character whose shoes were more waterlogged by former relationships than Seok Hoon’s. She wanted to enact revenge on Min Woo, but she wanted money. She wanted money, but she wanted her children. She had little reason to be with Min Woo besides her children, but she still wanted him back for the money and to have a label as a wife. Ji Sun was with Min Woo for the luxury, but she still loves him. Loving him is understandable, considering that he was her husband and the father of her daughters. But Ji Sun never gave any hint that she held him at all in her heart until after the miscarriage.
Drama Debussie: For fear of sounding like a jaded drama clubber, I do have to say that I enjoyed that we were able to spend time exploring Seok Hoon and Se Young’s (as well as Hong Gyu and Se Jin’s) relationship instead of waiting until the last scene. I appreciate that in the midst of all the drama we saw true love leading us to believe that it’s still possible even in these conditions. I think it’s important to know that love (for someone else or self) will find its way no matter how much baggage we may have.
Unnichan: I certainly enjoyed Hong Gyu and Se Jin’s development because it was so simple, so normal, so easy. Maybe it’s because they are young but it wasn’t because they were completely oblivious. Even considering how jaded I am, when Se Young tried to pull the “we’re too old to choose love,” bit, I scowled. Not because I believe love conquers all or one should live by the 'follow your heart' notion but because I don’t think there’s ever a time when you shouldn’t choose love. Love is fundamental to Life, but as we get older we have a hard time knowing how and when to love well and hard, unflinching and unabashed. Love doesn’t have to romantic or passionate, it only has to be sincere and real; genuine. In that way, it can always be the first and only valuable option, whether it’s of self (<--- choose this) or others.
Pamela: Ideally, love should be the first option. Revenge can come later, after you test to see if love can heal whatever you wish to avenge. Hong Gyu and Se Jin are a couple embodying what I personally would like in a romance (besides the attractiveness): there are no other forces actively working against the relationship - only Hong Gyu doubts himself; the two of them can have fun and be cute together; and most importantly, they care about each other and want to be together. Not every romance can develop that way, though, and that is what Se Young is fearful of. If the vulnerability she shares with Seok Hoon seeps out into the public, she risks losing her company, which she almost did. Having a first love whilst attempting to find her way through a confusing time in her life - menopause and suffering from tumors - must not be easy. Despite whatever challenges are approaching, loving yourself, especially through another person’s heart, seems to be the happiest way to come out alive. If any of us should take one positive aspect of this drama into our lives, this lesson of Se Young’s is one we should take into account.
Unnichan: Well Tempters, it’s about that time, and though I’m sad I’m saying “Goodbye” without a shower scene to gush over or a dope line to cling to... There it is. It’s been a long, uphill journey and yet, I’ve greatly enjoyed my time each week right here, slogging it away, spitting at Hong Joo, hissing at Ji Sun, scoffing at Se Young and ignoring the boys. It’s been fun and there’s no one I’d rather share those things with than these ladies. Alls I can say is--- “Stay tempted”…You know, if that means anything to you anymore. Deuces.
Pamela: We’ve survived another drama, everyone! My experience with this drama, and all the group references that came with it, has been made all the better by getting to work on this drama club with these two unnis. If Temptation wasn’t too painful of an experience for you, comment below about your opinions and recommend it to your friends so they can join in on our ramblings! If it was painful...still comment on your feelings. Feelings are fun, as we’ve learned here. I hope you’ve enjoyed this drama club, Tempters, and we hope you’ll join us on our future projects!
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Episodes 19-20 (Final...*sniffles*) : [Part 1] [Part 2]