Finding My K-Drama Alter-Ego: A Gentleman's Dignity Review

I have this theory that you can learn pretty much anything you need to know about a person by asking them which Disney character they relate to the most (not which one they wish they could be, which is very different).  For example, my friends have told me on more than one occasion that I remind them of the evil asylum man in Beauty and the Beast.  Enough said.

Over years of asking people this question, I've noticed that 90% of women will claim that they most resemble Belle or Mulan.  At first, this seemed like complete arrogance because, let's face it, no one is as great as Belle, but then I realized that it wasn't a lie: for all introverted nerds out there, Belle really is the best (though idealized) Disney character match.  For socially awkward tomboys, it's Mulan.

I think I've found my Belle of the k-drama world in Seo Yi Soo of A Gentleman's Dignity.  I have a hard time relating to most k-drama leading ladies because they are either sassy loudmouths who are infinitely better at beating people up than I am, or they are sad puppies who don't understand even basic social cues.  In fact, this is why, in spite of her mad chemistry with lead actors, I can't quite join the Yoon Eun Hye fanclub like Coco has.  Eun Hye's characters are often so blatant and socially unaware with their emotions that it makes me uncomfortable as a viewer. (Stop standing in front of his car and crying like a maniac! He doesn't even know you're a girl!)
Fine, Yi Soo, you win me over with your poise and your charm
and your potted plant!  Now give me those clothes!
Seo Yi Soo, on the other hand, is someone I can understand.  Although she has much more charm and silkier hair than I will ever have, I felt myself relating to her. She cares about education and loves to teach (Since teaching is what my daytime non-kdrama watching alter-ego does for a living, this one really made me root for her).  She also loves sports and doesn't mind being all sweaty and gross in front of other people. She understands basic social cues without being a doormat.  Also, her wardrobe is amazing.

And therein lies the entire charm of A Gentleman's Dignity.  I can't recommend this show wholesale because I know it will bore a lot of people, and I don't have any argument against their boredom.  I should have been bored watching what could have been real people with real emotions in real relationships (aside from some manufactured drama at the end) episode after episode.  Interestingly enough, I used my fast forward button far less than usual with this one.  I also became insanely emotionally invested in the characters, which is saying something.  I actually caught myself clutching my heart at one point. Clutching my heart!  Someone needs to stage an intervention.  What is this nonsense melting my evil asylum man heart?

Come to think of it all of the clothing in this show was stellar.
No sequins or fur capes here!
This goes along with the idea of the show's charming realism, but the bromance was a major high point in this show.  I know that I already said the same thing about Rooftop Prince, but I guess I'm just a sucker for hilarious male friendship!  I remember seeing some reviewers who felt like the friendship was unrealistic for 40-year-old men, but I disagree.  I think everyone has those friends who always make you revert to a past version of yourself, no matter how much time passes.  I didn't like all of them all the time (Okay, I sometimes hated Jung-Rok), but I enjoyed the group dynamic.

Last thing that I appreciated:  the OST.  Who can resist a slightly off-pitch indie love song or a ballad that one of the characters sings to earn money in the streets?

Minor Downsides

Sure, there were some downsides to the show.  Although these might not have been the biggest problems, they were the ones that hindered my enjoyment the most:

1. As I said before, there was some pretty manufactured drama for the last few episodes, and I'm not sure the characters reacted in reasonable ways.  Why was all of this stuff such a big deal?  Then again, if Coco tried to marry my (currently) 16-year-old brother in 10 years, I would probably punch her in the face, too, so maybe I shouldn't judge? 

Just fast forward all 3 hours of this.
2. Speaking of Im Meari, her crying face is the worst. Happy Meari is endearing, but wailing Meari is terrible. I know that they're trying to highlight the age/maturity difference between her and Yoon, but why did she have to hop around and sob all of the time if she's 24 years old?  Even back when I was 18 and my friends sometimes cried over boys (*cough*Coco*cough*), I don't recall any of them jumping up and down or screeching at birthday parties. 

3. Jang Dong Gun's cheekbones are distractingly pointy, which made him look slightly skeletal for a while.  I got over it once his character grew on me a little.

With all of these elements combined, I enjoyed this show far more than I think I should have.  Like I said, I can't blame you if you hated it, but it won me over big time.


P.S. If Yi Soo is the idealized k-drama Disney princess most similar to me, Secret Garden's Gil Ra Im is the one I wish were most similar to me.  Who's yours?

Comments

  1. Just found this blog and love it already! I just finished A Gentleman's Dignity and really enjoyed it. I thought the bromance was the best part and I agree with you about Im Meari - always crying and throwing a tantrum...so annoying. Although sometimes Seo Yi Soo also got on my nerves what with her flopping on the bed and kicking her feet! And yes, the clothing was great! Both the men and the women's. Watching All About Eve now. Looking forward to browsing through your blog and reading more!

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    1. Thanks! We're glad you like it! I don't think I've heard much about All About Eve. Would you say it's worth watching?

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  2. I really loved this drama! I am so glad that I found someone who liked it as well, it is not one of the more popular dramas but I love it. It grabbed my attention like a drama hasn't in a while. There was loved Kim Do Jin and Seo Yi Soo, I thought they were adorable. Their relationship was mature in some ways but silly as well. In a lot of dramas I feel like "the guy" is always doing all the work and the relationship is lopsided. In this one I feel like it was that way at first but she worked at the relationship so it was more real to me in that way. I got a little annoyed with the other guys' relationships. Anyway it was sweet that they stuck with each other through it all. And you are right the fashion was AWESOME! (and their is more than one kiss in it :)) Thanks for posting!

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  3. Wow...this is the first time I saw a review of this drama and 90% good review! I can't believe you could bear Kim Haneul's acting, I don't like it at all (never like her, even in My Tutor Friend and Ditto)

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  4. I dropped this drama because they went ahead with the age gap couple. That's just a no-no to me. So I was done.

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  5. i loved A gentleman´s dignity and .... I loved these gentlemans !!
    The best best best drama , I saw it 3 times and enjoy it each one.
    Indid, I need these clothes :)
    The first 5 min are awesome .
    Saludos desde mi bello Chile, felicitaciones por el blog, ! me encanta and I following your heirs ´ coments !

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  6. I may be a "aleumdaun se yeoja", blonde and green eyed...but I am addicted to Korean TV drama. I admit it and if I were younger...Hyun Bin would be my stalking victim...LOL I thought the leading female role in Tell Me Lies wasn't that convincing or cute though.

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  7. Jang Dong-Gun. I have become a fan girl. Sigh.

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  8. Wow! This is an amazing blog that gives this drama justice. I loved A Gentleman's Dignity. I finished it during finals week last year. You're so right about people probably saying, what is the big deal about this drama. But you said! It's this sense of realism! I don't know, I loved everything about it and I'm still trying to find a drama similar to it!

    Oh and about Im Maeri's crying? We are on the same page. Although it's kind of sad, but I couldn't whole heartedly feel bad for her the way I felt for Seo Yi Soo!

    Sigh, now I feel like re-watching it! LOL

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  9. Omg I'm so glad I'm not the only one in love with this drama. I want to find more like it. You mentioned rooftop prince so I will watch that too. The OST in this drama is the only kdrama OST i immediately downloaded after watching. Love everything about it and the actors/actresses were STELLA! Also like you I am not a fan of YEH her acting is horrible and I dislike actresses that act weak and indecisive and lacking in basic common sense

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  10. Gil Ra Im is the best! But I'm partial because I absolutely love Secret Garden.

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  11. i agree with this one. Im Maehri is the biggest flaw in this drama. they couldve done better without this character. i skip the scenes where meahri does nothing but whine worse than a baby,such an immature spoiled brat. Yoon is waaaay too good for her.

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