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What I Liked About Wild Romance

8 Jan

Ah baseball. There is something so fascinating about the sport even when from time to time it meanders and bores. I enjoyed the sport growing up since my mom was an avid Yankees fan. I guess I caught the Yankee fever along with the rest of my siblings who watched the Yankees play multiple times. Every time we went there, thankfully the Yankees have won. While I am no devotee of the sport, I admire the players and am thoroughly entertained by the game when I do manage to catch it on the off chance I have nothing else better to do.

That said, there is something so intriguing about this comedy about baseball and romance. The poster above gives an indication of how goofy this show is going to be, what with the farcical expressions the lead characters have on and even the disastrous hairstyle both characters are sporting. Seriously, what the hell is on Lee Shi Young’s head? And why are they hiding Lee Dong Wook’s gorgeous face beneath all of that icky facial hair? Thankfully, the show itself is smart and fun, and the characters are quite hilarious.

Wild Romance is about a baseball star who gets paired up with a female bodyguard after certain mishaps at a noraebang. The baseball star, Park Moo Yeol (Lee Dong Wook), is known as the gangster baseball player to many disgruntled fans of  Seagulls, who his team, the Red Dreamers, defeated at the Korea Series. Among those fans is his new bodyguard, the frumpy, ill-dressed ultra Seagull fan Yoo Eun Jae (Lee Shi Young).

The show itself is quite a visual treat. The director smartly understands close-ups, lighting, and some terrific choice camera work to make a scene extra comical.

The story itself is set up quite well. We get like four different kind of shows for the price of one: a show about a baseball star and his unwitting bodyguard, a show about baseball and the dynamics behind it, a show about obsession, and a romance between an ugly duckling and her handsome prince. It’s quite a leap to suggest all of these but given the certain things the show has given us, we’re in for a blast.

Let’s start at the show about baseball star and his bodyguard. Moo Yeol is quite difficult to deal with, especially because he is temperamental and lands himself in a lot of trouble and his bodyguard is there to prevent him from getting hurt. We get lots of hilarious bits from this part of the story. My favorite has to be the scene where they get stuck in the barn.

The second show, about baseball, revolves around the baseball star and the game of baseball itself. The show, if it will go there, can talk  about the dynamics within the sport itself: managers dealing with their egotistical stars, stars antagonizing each other, etc. From what we’ve seen in two episodes, the series want to show that. Moo Yeol has a humorless manager (Kang Dong Ho) who covers all his tracks and protects him from hurting his image and a teammate Jin Dong Soo (Oh Man Suk) who may or may not be jealous of Moo Yeol’s popularity.

The third show is the one that, quite frankly, I’m most interested in. This show has the makings of a perfect satire for the obsessive culture we have. The show addresses fans and anti-fans–passionate citizens who say hurtful things about stars they oppose, throw eggs at enemies, and wish and cheer for the worst to happen. We even have someone obsessing over Moo Yeol by keeping a wall of his pictures and sending threatening letters. I feel like that is a satire of the ridiculousness of fanboyism. What applies in baseball can apply to any kind of entertainment, whether it be music, film, or even literature. The show hopefully fully addresses this idea better than say Greatest Love, who admittedly didn’t go further enough with its “expose” on antifans.

Lastly, this show is about a romance between two unlikely lovers. Moo Yeol is the opposite of Yoo Eun Jae but I can see them falling in love with each other and it’s a treat. I love how the show itself needlessly but comically foreshadows this event (as if we audiences didn’t already know that) when one of the characters started reading from a book about how people fall in love in the midst of a shared panic or crisis. It’s this smart moments that I easily fall for.

Speaking of which, it is so easy to fall in love for the two leads of this show. Lee Dong Wook has proven his talents as a dramatic actor and a comic actor during his stint in Scent of a Woman and My Girl respectively. I love him in this show. His eyes are so mesmerizing even though they seem lazy and casual. I enjoy his light, character details, his hurt machismo, and the overall silliness of his character.

Lee Shi Young is a tremendous game player, an insanely comical actress who makes every scene such a light hearted, nervy, and sometimes plucky moment. I love the conflict in her mind as Moo Yeol provokes her, the nervous girl emerging as she faces her boss, and the believably committed lover of Seagulls she is. With each move or word, she endears herself further to me.

The rest of the cast are funny. There’s something funny about how humorless and vacant Manager Kim is. Kang Dong Ho plays him with effortlessness and sureness that I’m sure Manager Kim exhibits. He’s perfectly contained in the media room, never overtly making a scene or reacting with such calm grace that he becomes scary and funny at the same time. Yoo Eun Jae’s Seagull-fanatic father and brother are equally hilarious in their own scenes; loud, obnoxious, and terribly obsessed with the Seagulls.

Wild Romance is an endearing comedy, a funny satire, and an interesting romance that hopefully continues to make such smart decisions. It has the potential to be a great show, seeing that it started off on such a promising note.

–Clarence

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