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What I Like About “Can’t Lose”

1 Sep

As someone who plans to go to law school after college, I’ve had a huge interest in law since I was young. However, I haven’t really found a drama, movie, or television show about law except maybe for a few episodes that I truly enjoyed. Indeed, most of my favorite “workplace” shows have involved more science than the liberal arts and law. Regardless, I always perk up when hearing about law-related movies or shows.

“Can’t Lose” or “Can’t Live Losing” is the latest of these law shows that I was interested in. When I heard about the cast, especially Yoon Sang Hyun, I immediately put it on the must-watch list. I’m a big fan of Mr. Yoon, whose last outing in Secret Garden was delightful to watch. I’m not familiar with Choi Ji Woo but I’ve heard plenty of her 2003 drama “Winter Sonata” which, in my opinion, virtually introduced the world to K-drama.

The plot goes something like this: two incredibly talented lawyers met at a baseball game, fell in love after a kiss on the Jumbo screen, and got engaged two weeks after. Their personalities are vastly different from each other and these differences lead to the arguments and issues they have with each other. In the future, they’ll have a divorce and presumably they’ll be the lawyers arguing for themselves. It’s one big Kramer v. Kramer except instead of being represented by someone else and fighting over custody of a kid, they’re just trying to break up.

Now, what hooked me into this was the divorce aspect of it. I like my acting roles meaty and there’s a lot of meat to be chewed in divorce topics, especially when you have two characters who are essentially loudmouths with very different personalities.

When watching the show however, I got a very different vibe. The story is pretty much in tact but with a wholly different tone than what I had expected. Instead of high drama with lots of scene chewing acting and grandiose levels of emotions, I got instead physical comedy similar to Protect the Boss (which I happen to love every single moment of. I haven’t fallen hard for a drama like that!). There are cutesy moments evocative of love (hello almost-sex-scene) between the couple but much of the episode included bickering, lies, and a lot of hide-and-seek. Similar to Protect the Boss, we have lots of adults playing childish games with each other and I have to say they’re endearing.

Still, there’s a lot of room for error here. The problem with dramas like Can’t Lose or Protect the Boss is the balance between comedy and drama. Right now, it’s very comedic with undertones of drama that will be brewing once we move further towards divorce. However, the drama might head towards gloomy tone if not done right and I think it might take away from the charms of its first episode. I hope it goes the Protect the Boss mode and capably balance out the richer tones of the comedy with the deeper moments of drama.

As for the acting, both lead actors are doing great for me. Yoon Sang Hyun, in particular, is adept at performing the physical comedy while also avoiding caricature. Choi Ji Woo has the task of basically being less of a sympathetic character, which I think is hard to pull off for anyone. Still, she has lots of room to maneuver her character as the drama progresses.

I’m sad that I can’t read or speak Korean (damn the Korean class here at American is at 8:30pm and quite frankly I’m not willing to have such a late class) because the drama’s subbers are slow and currently there is only one subbed episode that I can find.

Anyway, the drama is definitely something worth watching. Let’s hope it’s not as a flub as its rating suggest.

–Clarence

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