I know, I wasn’t going to go there. I was one of those people who loved In Time with You who thought to herself – although I would like to see how the Koreans will take this story, I probably am way too biased to have any kind of objective opinion over this drama. Consider yourself warned – I am going to be comparing, because I can’t help myself. When you’re seeing the same scene your brain just naturally go there. However, as discussed previously, In Time with You also had some flaws which the K version has a chance to rectify. There is ample opportunity to surpass the original, especially when our leads this time are slightly older (mid 30s instead of 30 – coincidentally, You Qing and Da Ren would be around this age now LOL) so I was really hoping they can bring some new perspectives into the drama and capture the audience’s hearts again.
Usually, I like to start these types of posts on a positive note. So being the K drama noob that I am (excuse my ignorance), I liked the posters and both Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook gave off a more mature vibe Ariel Lin and Bolin Chen. Ariel and Bolin look much younger than their real age (28 at the time of filming) so to have them as 30 year olds was a bit of a stretch. Also, when I saw Lee Jin Wook I immediately thought of Mag Hsu (writer of ITWY)’s words. When Bolin was cast as Li Da Ren, she thought he was too cute for the role. She wrote Da Ren as more mature looking, someone like Eason Chan! So Lee Jin Wook is probably more suited to the original vision.
Another aspect I liked was the flashbacks. Although they were awkward for most of the time, when they replay a scene from Won’s perspective, it shows us things were not quite what they seem.
Oh did I mention L / Kim Myung Soo (as Sung Jae) is totally cute? He can call me noona anytime. 😉 His acting is quite natural (Nic was rather awkward for most of his appearance) and despite I knew what he was up to, there was a part of me who wished just maybe, the Korean version might turn out different. (And it kinda did, but the end result was the same I suppose.)
The Not So Good
Ha Na and Choi Won’s personalities
Throughout the first episode, I began to think about what makes something a remake? Or adaptation? Or just merely ‘inspired by’? How different is too different? What makes me think Bridget Jones’s Diary is still a damn good adaptation of Pride and Prejudice despite being in different eras – except having the same lead actor? If plenty of viewers were turned off by You Qing’s (Ariel Lin) pride and spitefulness, if we make her all cute like Ha Na (Ha JI Won) – will this fix the problem? If Da Ren (Bolin Chen) was too soft and a total pushover, if we made him more ‘cynical and cold’ like Choi Won (Lee Jin Wook), will this make the drama better?
I think I’ve concluded the answer to all those questions are a definite no. The contrast in the leads’ personalities was what made this story. It was You Qing’s strong personality which made Da Ren very reluctant to tell her his true feelings. By ‘softening’ them up, now they seem like your everyday drama leads. Ha Na might say she’s strong, but all I’m seeing is her aegyo, her pouting (!!!), her not quite effective dealings at work… not exactly my definition of a strong character.
As for Choi Won, I didn’t have a huge issue with him being a more assertive person, however, now it just begs the question – why did he say he doesn’t love Ha Na twice? TWICE? And he said it in such a definite way it’s almost cruel. If he’s now such an assertive person, why can’t he tell her his true feelings? I guess I just have to keep watching and see.
Same scenes, but where’s the reflection and sense of introspection?
Despite what I said about the character’s personalities, I think I’m still prepared to throw that disappointment aside if the story was written with more depth. It feels like the writers watched a scene from ITWY and decided to transport it to the Korean version, but didn’t really transport the subtle meanings and thoughts behind it.
One of the very first scenes, the white sneakers – the original was You Qing’s reflection on her path to a mature woman.
Young girls wished to wear them (sneakers) so they can run faster, so when they grow up they can own their first high heeled shoes. But now that I’m 29 years old, I suddenly miss these white sneakers, from when I was 17.
But now, it’s just another scene where a young girl calls Ha Na ajumma, leading to a mini-crisis about getting old. If anything, I think we’ve all seen these type of dramas before, so this scene becomes not memorable at all and run of the mill.
And more recently in episode 4 – the art gallery. This was a classic Da Ren quote, my heart was breaking as he walked through that exhibition.
If i have seen what you’ve seen, walked where you’ve been, will I be closer you?
Now we actually have Choi Won and So Eun going on a date, bumping into Ha Na. Although Choi Won went there most likely because Ha Na wanted to go (?), but that scene was more about Ha Na seeing them from a distance, while a bit of jealousy develops…
Are we just going through the motions now?
With the original in its shadow I think we can all expect the same ending – I’m sure the fans will riot if it didn’t. So if we already know the destination, is the ‘journey’ worth the time investment? I don’t necessarily think TTILY is a bad drama, it’s enjoyable with some cute moments. A solid drama if you’re looking for something light hearted and a bit of escapism, and escapism is key because TTILY feels like a drama – you know it’s not real. I know it sounds stupid because yeah, ITWY is also a drama (you know, fake-life) but what distinguished it from other dramas was its realism. It was one of those rare dramas which made me think. It really had some of the best quotes but at the same time, it can be confronting. Some people might not like that. Too much talk and not enough action. And I must admit despite re-watching some of my favourite scenes here and there, I’ve never sat down properly to re-watch ITWY in its entirety. For me, it requires a level of emotional commitment. Other idol dramas I can just laugh along and accept its silliness. But then, do I remember much from them afterwards? Not really. That’s the trade off I guess.
Ultimately I know I just need to adjust my expectations somewhat (possible understatement) and recognise what what the Korean version as what it is (or what it’s not). And I promise if I have the urge to write about this drama again, I won’t compare! Or keep it to an absolute minimum. 😉
timeinthegrayJuly 13, 2015 at 7:45 am
I’m watching the Korean version alongside iconic scenes from the Taiwanese version and yeah I agree that the remake lacks depth inherent in the original. Looking at it as a standalone show, so far TTWWNIL is cute and enjoyable but forgettable, whereas ITWY, while seemingly more mundane, leaves that much longer lasting of an impression (I’ve always considered it to be one of the most down-to-earth dramas I’ve ever seen). I didn’t have high expectations for the remake or anything but I’m a bit disappointed that it doesn’t incorporate a similar sense of realism 🙁
katJuly 22, 2015 at 12:51 am
Yeah you’re definitely right there. Instead of being memorable now it’s just another drama which I’ll probably forget the details after I finish, whereas ITWY, the feeling is totally different. Maybe our expectations were too high…
YuiJuly 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm
i got another feeling while watching it. ITWY was moreee realistic than TTWWNIL (oh my, the title is just.. long, sigh). since this korean’s version, i didnt really expect much, so now im watching it without much complaint. ha na is not as though as you qing. i understand that korean team wants to change it for good reason, but it makes it lack here and there especially characters.
chemistry? ha ji won is the queen of chemistry. no doubt 🙂
so far, still enjoy watching it. i just dont want to see dalpo’s hyung (the 2nd male lead) to be a jerk like in Tw version. hmm.. havent watched ep 5-6.. i need to catch it asap 😀
katJuly 22, 2015 at 12:54 am
By ep 7, I have mostly forgotten this is a ‘remake’ of ITWY, which I guess is a good (?) thing since I’ll stop comparing! There are some good moments here and there (especially in Ha Na’s workplace), but I think the 2nd male lead has to come in now to make things interesting lol.
SooriJuly 13, 2015 at 8:11 pm
The sneakers scene made me a little bit angry. In the Taiwanese ver it had such a deep meaning but in the Korean ver they totally lost the message behind it. They are slowly losing all the important stuff from the original and some important aspects of the story are made into a joke – this is what angers me the most, even more than the childish two main characters.
I think, if I wouldn’t have seen the original, maybe now I would’ve been enjoying it more. It is okay, if we take it as a whole new drama tho XD
katJuly 22, 2015 at 12:57 am
It’s hard with the what ifs, I guess I won’t be watching this if it wasn’t a ITWY ‘remake’ ;). TBH I find some episodes boring, like the drama is not offering any new insights and yet the plot is not moving fast enough.
THE TIME I LOVED YOU. SBS. | IKurateJuly 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm
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heisuiJuly 26, 2015 at 3:29 am
Ehhh, how can they change the main characters personalities!?! T_T I’m also sad to hear that the drama leaves out the introspective & quote-worthy moments. I remember everyone really enjoyed the quotes in ITWY so I’m surprised that they left them out in the kdrama version.
katJuly 29, 2015 at 10:52 pm
Yeah they just took all that away – the quotes, the reflections and replaced it with cute and sometimes silliness. 🙁 I was really hoping they can offer some new perspectives now that the leads are older.
tiffanyJuly 28, 2015 at 5:19 pm
This is a really good write up! I haven’t watched the kdrama yet (didn’t even know it was out lol) so I can’t really comment. But it is disappointing if Ha Na’s character is really a toned down version of You Qing.
katJuly 29, 2015 at 10:53 pm
Thanks for the comment tiffany. I would probably say Ha Na is not much like You Qing at all, especially in the beginning!!!