You've Fallen For Me
Jung Yong Hwa as Lee Shin
Park Shin Hye as Lee Gyu Won
Song Chang Ui as Kim Suk Hyun
So I Yeon as Jung Yoon Soo
Woori as Han Hee Joo
Kang Min Hyuk as Yeo Joon Hee
For more information on Heartstrings: Heartstrings @ dramawiki
With the ending of Heartstrings, of course, comes a whole new review post full of spoilers and personal opinions formed from various matters occuring, even within this simple college love story.
Because this post includes a lot of spoilers and may ruin the series' fresh viewing experience, a warning is now being issued to proceed with caution. For a shorter, less revealing article about Heartstrings, check out the related introductory post: intro info - Heartstrings.
If you don't like spoilers, I would suggest reading that one first for summary info and brief thoughts about Heartstrings by this blogger.
Heartstrings is a series that follows Lee Shin and Lee Gyu Won through their trials and tribulations (if you can even really call it that) as they meet, greet, and fall in love. Of course, their course isn't as simple as falling for each other instantaneously; however, their story isn't as complicated as a Romeo and Juliet melodrama either (although it could have been). The series begins as a simple college love story waiting to blossom and up to the very end, it remains a simple college love story developing into a happy ending.
My only complaints about the series include: 1) the sudden male ego trip that Lee Shin goes through at the end of the series that brings up the age-old soapbox of irritation that I try not to storm into too regularly -- although it may be addressed in another article at some other point in time; and 2) the fact that the story line sort of loses it's "go power" mid-way through the latter half of the series making it feel more like a "when is this story ending" type of deal rather than a "I can't wait to see what happens next" type of anticipation.
The backdrop of Heartstrings surrounds music and depicts the musical performance that comes as the most important event to occur for the university of fine arts students.
Jung Yong Hwa and Park Shin Hye release all of their charm and acting charisma for this sweet and fun series from beginning to end, presenting their characters in all their glory.
He gives into Gyu Won time and time again, allowing her to do as she pleases, and forgiving her despite her blatant disobedience to his demands. Even though he openly treats her with loud commands and slave-driving force, it is all in his form of expressing his love and care. It basically comes down to, "You are Lee Dong Jin's granddaughter. If you're going to do something I don't approve of, you better make sure you be the best, no matter what."
It is a strange one, the relationship between Gyu Won and her grandfather, but it is also one that makes for a heart-warming trait in the series. As far as Lee Dong Jin goes, in spite of his stubbornness, I really did enjoy his presence and the series wouldn't have been the same without him.
Back to Gyu Won, despite her intended description as a plain and unattractive girl, I'm sure that no one in their right mind would believe the presence of Park Shin Hye to be unattractive. While Gyu Won seems to be a carbon-copy created character for Park Shin Hye, there is no doubt that the actress gives the role her own adorable spin and charm that brings Lee Gyu Won into the limelight readily. There is a certain charm that Park Shin Hye possess that makes it hard not to follow her closely in her role as Lee Gyu Won, and makes her a readily loveable main female protagonist. The onscreen presence of Park Shin Hye is something to reckon with and in the future, I have high hopes that she will become a big hit no matter where she goes.
And so it is no surprise that Shin and Gyu Won start off on the wrong foot with one another starting from episode one. Gyu Won plays witness to his arrogance when he rudely rejects a girl asking him out, telling her simply that he doesn't like "ugly girls." Even I had thought, "Ouch, that was harsh." He even goes on to call Gyu Won an "ugly girl" as well and I was shocked that anyone, even in the fictional world, would call a woman like Park Shin Hye "ugly." And so, no doubt, it was definitely NOT love at first sight for these two. Because even with Gyu Won's attempts at being a civil and sincerely kind person towards Shin, he doesn't reciprocate and continues to treat her like dirt; even after he starts to warm up to her a little bit due to their little master-slave contract.
Of course, Shin is the type who can't seem to figure out his own feelings anyway. He's obsessed with being in love with the dance professor, Jung Yoon Soo, who has hinted time and time again that she doesn't want him acting that way. She claims that his love for her is more like having pity for an injured animal than anything else and so even the viewers wonder: did Shin really harbor real feelings of love for this woman like he claimed? Because after meeting with Gyu Won and slowly letting her grow on him, he seems to very easily switch his heart's direction towards the bubbly girl. He's pretty easily moved by her confession as well as her declaration to him that she will forget and move on when he doesn't reciprocate her feelings. He starts to look for her all the time, wondering how she's doing and worrying that she's struggling with her feelings. And then eventually, he starts to fall for her.
Lee Shin might have been attracted to Jung Yoon Soo in the beginning, but before he even moved on from the dance professor, he'd already slowly allowed Gyu Won into his heart, even if he wouldn't admit it. Because throughout their hostile relationship, he still seems to find the time to look for Gyu Won or think about how he will tease her or the like. For an indifferent guy like Lee Shin, to even put that much effort into another person is a rather significant feat.
In a sense, it could really be said that Lee Shin's feelings for Jung Yoon Soo really were just a simple child's crush for a woman he couldn't have. They weren't strong enough that he could smile so warmly at the thought of Gyu Won's strange and petty actions like claiming that she'd spit in his coffee.
And so, even as it is evident that our main couple is none other than Lee Shin and Lee Gyu Won, the series does a rather good job of laying the foundation for their eventual getting together plot. The fact that they come together as "frenemies" who bicker all the time, then as Gyu Won harboring a crush on Lee Shin, then onto being awkward friends, and finally lovers... It just seemed like a really natural process.
The rest of the characters and their side plots play off rather nicely, but seemed like they were just a bunch of anecdotes that didn't quite know where they were headed. And so before things could become more complicated for anyone else, a considerate resolution was presented to them, courtesy of the ALMIGHTY DIRECTOR AND HIS WRITERS.
Very early on, we discover that these two have an untold, melancholic past wherein Jung Yoon Soo, due to her pursuance of her dreams, leaves Kim Suk Hyun to go to New York. Of course, then she comes into a bad accident and ends up coming home to teach at the university. But because of her abandonment, the now Broadway director has been harboring ill-met feelings of hostility towards her, even rewriting the celebration performance to mirror the history between the two of them just to humiliate her. This hostility between the two seem as if there requires an act of god to fix since neither of the two are willing to talk things over despite still having feelings for one another.
But then that act of god (a la the ALMIGHTY DIRECTOR) really DOES step in and has Suk Hyun forgiving Yoon Soo out of the blue and asking her if they could start their love story all over again. She agrees and the two start seeing each other as a more matured version of the love story, wherein Yoon Soo will take a level-headed stance on their relationship so as not to screw things up with Suk Hyun again. And so it seems that no matter what happens with our beloved Director, Yoon Soo is willing to stick it out with him, standing by his side to support him. Even the rumors that are spread about him and Gyu Won don't do anything to destroy this newly reformed perfect romance. And from then onward, their relationship continues to progress in a very stable fashion without unnecessary complications or the like.
To the rest of the school, to Gyu Won, and even to Lee Shin, Kim Suk Hyun was merely the mature and wise Broadway director who would mentor and lead them through one anecdote in their lives. At first, while he seemed like he would be an arrogant man who thought he was good stuff just because he'd come back from Broadway fame, his encouragement, his actions and his words were actually really rational and professional. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to treat the "kids" in order to have progress in their goal rather than causing problems.
Of course, his talent doesn't go without complications. And so we can see that, whether as young teenagers, adolescent college students, or even full blown adults of society, there are always petty jealousies and the tendency to use back-handed methods just to get rid of what you don't like. Im Tae Joon's role was very apparently the failure of an antagonist to Kim Suk Hyun who seems adamant that things should not be left up to the Broadway director if he has anything to do with it. But time and time again, his methods seem to be blown off, and aside from the Gyu Won/Suk Hyun scandal, nothing else he does seems to work and he eventually has to admit defeat to someone's who has always ousted him in his own department.
|"He's just like a puppy!" - Cha Bo Eun|
But ultimately, there's nothing else that he does, which very easily renders him as a very minor supporting character. Because even Han Hee Joo (Woori) has a much more significant presence than he does -- her homework is to allow the character to develop and grow into a nicer person. Yeo Joon Hee, on the other hand, starts off as an adorable puppy and ends off as an adorable puppy with the same sweet, friendly, and strange personality from beginning until ending.
And so it's not very clear to me why Joon Hee falls in love with her so unhesitatingly. Is it because she's pretty? Because she was a dancing goddess when he first saw her? Does love at first sight really work like that? And even if so, wouldn't her personality eventually repulse even the strongest of men? Or is this something that men actually like to be around? Or maybe it IS just Yeo Joon Hee's strange taste in women...
I don't really get it. She certainly didn't win ME over. But then again, I'm not a young, naive, hormone raging boy. No offense to the Yeo Joon Hee lovers, but I'm afraid there's a bit of judgement impairment in his choice of female suitors. Granted, she DOES redeem herself by the end of the series, but throughout the entirety of the beginning of the series, I couldn't really find anything about her that I liked, except for maybe her undying determination to be the best. But even THAT I ended up finding rather annoying.
Her case against Gyu Won was actually pretty reasonable, though, since it's true that she's worked hard her entire life to see her dream through, whereas Gyu Won's intended contribution to the celebration performance was merely in the music area to begin with. And then suddenly she gets thrown into the acting division to take away what she never really wanted in the first place. But then I thought, who is Han Hee Joo to decide who's worthy of being in the acting division and who's not? So my one attempt at finding something about Han Hee Joo that I could admire was dropped heavily into the ocean.
Because Gyu Won was right: Han Hee Joo worked hard to attain her dreams, but she's not the only one who has worked hard. And so her consistent attempts at putting Gyu Won down were simply without rationale and kind of futile anyway, making her seem more like a fool than anything else.
I think the last straw for me and my attempts at finding something to like about Han Hee Joo were broken when she used Joon Hee to help secure her position as main female lead and to get rid of Gyu Won from the performance altogether. Joon Hee is an innocent boy who really only wants to love and be loved by his "Natasha" goddess. Even though I don't know why he started liking Han Hee Joo in the first place, there's no questioning that as he continued to pursue her, he began to admire her strong determination and her hard work and her passion for the arts. Joon Hee is a kind young man with a very, very good heart, but because he thought that he would get Han Hee Joo into trouble, he agreed to lie for her, telling people that he was not with her on that fated day that the students were to perform for the sponsors. Han Hee Joo, being lured away by Joon Hee's kindness and lots of "non-fattening" foods, misses the practice performance showing, allowing Gyu Won to shine in front of all the people. And so she is even more determined to get rid of Gyu Won, and in order to do that, no one could find out that she'd snuck away with Joon Hee and had her phone turned off.
And so she goes and tells him to lie for her, not even bothering to tell him that because of this, very dire consequences would come to take place. And so when Joon Hee realizes the seriousness of the situation, he begins to feel guilty and stressed out about it. It is even described that he has stopped eating -- for him, the stress was really just too much to cause him to lose his appetite like that.
And so despite her repentance by the end of the series wherein she merely stops being a rude and bratty girl, I still can't really forgive her for what she did to Joon Hee. He may like her a lot, but I don't really harbor any feelings of like in this girl at all.
But of course, just like the rest of the series' side plots, this little side romance is resolved rather flatly. Basically, Han Hee Joo just grows accustomed to having Joon Hee around and is touched by his constant kindness towards her. And then the two unofficially get together. Case closed.
Han Hee Joo's mother suddenly has the need to admit that she'd been too hard on her about being the best and being the most popular girl. This really came out of nowhere. Im Tae Joon, the guy who was causing all the rumors and wanting to get Kim Suk Hyun out of the picture suddenly just stops trying to make trouble and accepts defeat and so along with him the rest of the professors admit their defeat as well. But this is never really shown and is actually assumed when no one tries to fight Kim Suk Hyun's ideals about the celebration performance anymore. Hyun Gi Young's stage fright tendencies were solved before the series even started rolling and there were no signs of relapsing for him, so really, was that anecdote even necessary to appear in the series at all?
Lee Dong Jin stops opposing Gyu Won's desire to do something else with her life rather than playing the gayageum because Grandfather wants her to. This happens because Shin's younger sister has a sudden interest in traditional music and so Grandfather decides to raise a whole new apprentice, finally giving up on his own granddaughter. And so all is forgiven and fixed.
All of these conclusions seem to just drop out of the sky from the ALMIGHTY DIRECTOR'S tablet of answers. Of course, this might have been forced out since the series was robbed of one episode due to Park Shin Hye's unfortunate car accident causing her to become hospitalized for a duration of time. The writers chose to rewrite some of the script and then had to rush a conclusion in order to wrap up the story within fifteen episodes.
Still, there was a very evident deflation in the story line's development as it progressed after the script change. Nothing else felt exciting anymore after our main couple got together. As Lee Shin holds Gyu Won's hand and tells her that he wished she would fall in love with him again, fangirls all over the world squealed in delight. Even I felt giddy for the newly formed onscreen couple's official getting together. But unlike the rest of the fangirls in the rest of the world, I found that the rest of the series lost steam after that confession was made.
All of the half-begun complications and side plots were forgotten. The series' main goal from then on was to finish off the 100th Anniversary Celebration performance and show a few trials that the couple has to go through in order to end the story with closure.
Sure, I enjoyed following Shin and Gyu Won on their random dates and watching their sparkling interactions with each other. But nothing seemed to excite me about the series anymore and it just felt like watching any other real life couple going around and having fun. It was nice and it was fun and it was enjoyable, but the story had lost it's power suddenly and the authors were trying really hard to fill in the vacant spots with substance.
And so rather than rushing those conclusions, maybe the authors could have used what filler scenes available to them to figure out better ways to finish off the series.
Then again, maybe this is the charm of Heartstrings up until the very ending. It's a simple love story and it remained as a simple love story. There were no extraneous complications and there were no reasons to make things more complicated. We want to end on a happy tone and that's what the fangirls truly want anyway. It's admittedly a refreshing way of bringing about a love story -- no third wheel, no love triangle, no strange conspiracies... just a simple ending. All other side plots tapered off with justifiable and decent resolutions and some side plots just tapered off without a proper resolution. This is real life anyway -- not everything can be resolved and we just have to deal with it that way.
|A sweet and simple love story...|
Or at least it would have been an ideal simple ending. Because -- SPOILER ALERT -- suddenly we input the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING into our main couple's love story as is apparently necessary in every romance which causes them to separate for a while and have to have a warm reunion where there are hugs and kisses and the like... Totally uncalled for, really, but if that's what the authors were shooting for... I guess... All the power to them. It certainly didn't really do much to make things any better.
Lee Shin didn't need to get hurt and end up having surgery. He also didn't need to push Gyu Won away from him or break up with her. And she should have been given the choice to either leave and pursue her career dream, or remain and pursue the man she fell in love with. That would be her choice ultimately. Or they could have come up with a good solution wherein Shin has his surgery and Gyu Won can STILL go on her one year sabbatical to become a popular celebrity and musical performer.
These kids are too young to be thinking that they don't have other opportunities.
It wasn't like Gyu Won would be leaving forever. After a year of being away for her new career opportunity, she can return to her home and return to Lee Shin and continue to be their lovey-dovey couple. At least during her year away from home, neither of the two would have been so sad and depressed as they ended up being.
So the ending separation and heartbreak was really unnecessary. Why couldn't we just let things be fine and Gyu Won just leave in peace and return to reunite with Shin after her career got jump-started? Why on earth did he think that keeping secrets from her and then breaking up with her would be the right answer? You know, maybe if you hadn't kept your problem a secret in the first place, she wouldn't have been worried to the point that she'd give up her opportunity at being famous to stay with you.
Honesty, apparently, is not common courtesy anymore. His heart was in the right place, but his methods were a little foolish. Once again, this type of plot device just opens up all sorts of soap box ranting that needs to be set aside for a different post later on. Really, this device is used so much for the necessary separation of the main couple that it DOES become kind of tiring sometimes. Especially if the separation was really unnecessary and the story could have just ended "happily ever after" without it and NOT making viewers wonder what the writers were trying to accomplish. In some instances, the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING resulting in their split-up is written rather well and runs smoothly and I find them pretty reasonable, but in other instances, you really just wonder why it was there in the first place.
In Heartstrings, it's obvious that the break up and separation was really unnecessary.
Nonetheless, the series ends on a happy tone and all is well.
The series, despite losing it's power partway through the latter half of the story line was still a delight to watch, just for entertainment value's sake. Ultimately, Heartstrings is a simple love story of how Lee Shin and Lee Gyu Won fall in love. Once they officially become a couple in the series, the story pretty much is done and over with, and so this in itself might be the reason why the story loses its steam by that point in the telling. There's nothing else left but to figure out how to conclude the rest of the series.
The actors were solid and wonderful, the chemistry was great, and scenes were interesting even if the story didn't add up anymore. The date scenes between Shin and Gyu Won were fun to watch and the musical performance (what little of it you get to see) was rather interesting. Although without actually knowing what Kim Suk Hyun had intended to convey with his performance, I don't think I would have figured it out just following along with the musical's story line.
|"Excuse me. Can I come back in? I really don't have anywhere else to go."|
This series boasted a lot of fun and cute scenes, good looking faces and excellent talents and skills. The music was amazing and the singing was on par with excellent. There were little details about the story line that were simply enjoyable during the moment, such as when Gyu Won gets drunk at the senior citizen's home and Shin has to piggy-back her all the way home; or when the couple goes to the art museum for the first date; or even when the entire group of students stays overnight at the school for practice purposes and ends up trying to scour the school for a ghost. It was all in good fun and reminds you of those cute little young adolescent movies or series featuring a group of kids just hanging out at camp or the like.
|O.O Hmm.... O.O|
Yeah... I think I rather enjoyed the musical... fanservice...
But, moving along still...
The actors were what kept the series going, I believe. Despite this being Jung Yong Hwa's second drama series, he does a very good job of portraying his character to a very standard 'T', bringing out the character and then making it his own. I have high hopes for this guy in the future and will continue to follow him if he continues to pursue acting as a side career next to his music.
|Does anyone else want that hoodie that Gyu Won is wearing? So cute!|
Heartstrings... I would recommend this as a source of entertainment to follow along with when you're waiting for something else to watch. But for merely something to become hooked onto; I'm not sure if this would be the one. Highly enjoyable and good fun. Great music and lovable characters. But that's about it. This was, after all, evidently, a series created for the fans.
first impression: Heartstrings (Korean) - a first look at the series' beginning
news: Heartstrings dropped to 15 episodes