I know I promised an overall review of That Winter, The Wind Blows – in due time, I promise… because (looks around, guilty) that three episodes haven’t budged… – and I’m currently loving my Wednesday nights because it means I do a two-hour weekly marathon on a specific show (because the 24-hour lull between each episode would otherwise immobilize my rational, functional self every Wednesday), but right now I’d like to take a moment to highlight another Kvariety show. It’s not so much trying to pimp it as I did the last one, rather it’s because I realized that my mind doesn’t turn off when watching this one. Hence, here’s a pseudo-impression of We Got Married: Global Edition.
It’s an oldie Kvariety that I think plenty are familiar with, which has an interesting concept albeit a little bit strange. It’s basically pairing of two celebrities – they may be actors, singers, comedians or whatever and the couples typically do not have the same professions – into this virtual, scripted marriage and having them play house and going through the stages of developing a relationship/marriage by doing couple activities and such. I say strange because it’s scripted, and as viewers we’re all aware of this fact too, but because they’re still being themselves ergo not playing characters of some sort, the real fun really lies in trying to distinguish reel from real. My general take is that the chemistry, when palpable, is real – it’s whether or not Stuff Really Happens once cameras aren’t rolling, you know what I mean?
To be honest, I’d jumped on this show for a short while sometime in 2011 when I found myself a little bit obsessed over a particular pairing – the pairings after this one never interested me as much (and frankly, as much as I love Kang Sora during her stint, having to sit through watching Leeteuk and his obvious popularity-obsession is a serious test of patience) that I stopped being a regular watcher… until this slightly new take appeared.
We Got Married: Global Edition is basically a social experiment if I may call it that, in pairing a Korean celebrity with someone’s who not. They’d coined it international and I get why, but let’s be honest here – it’s really Asian-wide, as the pairings have revealed themselves to be:
- Idol-singer/actor Taecyeon of 2PM and Chinese actress Gui Gui (or Emma Wu)
- Idol-singer/actor Lee Hongki of FT Island and Japanese actress Fujii Mina
Shall we jump right in to my impressions of them?
Pairing #1: Taecyeon and Gui Gui
I’ll be honest and admit that their scenes are so cringe-worthy that I typically end up skipping them, for the most part. I don’t know how much is scripted, i.e. did he really not know his pairing prior to signing up for the show? In the first two episodes, they were rather cute in getting to know each other, despite the obvious language barrier, but I think here’s a genuine case of incompatibility, as well as inflexibility to let loose.
I’ve only known about Taecyeon through the dramas I’d watch which he’d starred in and the occasional run-ins with 2PM through their MVs and performances. What little I see of him through these mediums, he seems to be a real dorky fun guy, but one who’s still clearly aware that he has An Image to Maintain. Therefore, what I mean by inflexibility is in my opinion, his refusal to play-along and act all cutesy and stuff – it’s out of his element, perhaps even as a person in Real Life and I get that. I’m an incredibly private person (okay, I think so) as well who personally find it such a challenge to do things out of my element – like dancing, for instance, people do NOT just pull me to any dance floor – that I can only imagine what it must feel like, having to do acts like these on-camera.
Having said the above though, while I empathize with him, this doesn’t make for… entertaining variety show material, you know? It’s not… exciting, scandalous or squeeworthy and it’s especially awkward when the other party is either clueless because of the cultural/language differences or clearly trying very hard herself, both of which I think she portrays from time to time.
I’ve read through some comments at DramaFever (where I’m watching this show, hence I’m up to episode 5 now) and the general consensus seems to be one of these, or all of ’em:
- Taec and Gui Gui are exhibiting more daddy-daughter relationship dynamics
- Gui Gui is too childish, either good naturally or clearly taking up a role but refusing to be serious
- Taec is such an American-cultured douche
Yes I know, I feel ya – generalizations can be such a crime, indeed, especially where (3) is concerned. I can’t speak for all the guys in America because oh hell, it’s too large a continent and too diverse to even try to generalize and I get what they mean by that, but come on… I don’t think he’s being a dick, but he is in my opinion, clearly not interested in her nor this relationship and therefore, is trying very hard to hold it in. For instance, when she tried calling him yeobo (darling for married couple) and he said he didn’t like it because it felt like they’re an old married couple, plus this whole “It will suddenly feel real, and I don’t like it.” Uhm, is that a public confession that it’s not working for ya? Cos that’s how I’m reading it.
I agree that there are moments where Taec borderlines douche, for instance when he talks about her not knowing his friends – that they’re Korean celebrities, but she unfortunately had no idea who they were thus awkwardness again (he sounded like he was blaming her) – or when she broke the robot toy (but one in which I can understand, because I think I will be pissed too). Like I said, I think it all comes down to refusing to play along but I won’t be so quick to call him on this because while I understand his reluctance, I’m equally aware that he is an entertainer and this show’s premise basically calls for him to act this way, like it or not. So his unwillingness is… something I’m not sure what to interpret as.
As for my own opinions about points 1 and 2, personally they never crossed my mind. Gui Gui‘s definitely very playful, that I think so too, but honestly I think most of the time she does that because she’s trying to deflect the awkwardness. She seems like a real fun sweetheart, but there’s an obvious threshold which must be overcome between them, or rather sort of stands in their way, this cultural difference. I think she’s trying her best, though I agree that her grasp of English is obviously more limited than his, thus sometimes I think she perhaps thinks or feels it’s easier to try to get across through humor, successful or not, or play-acting cuteness. I can’t say the charm’s working on him, which is all the more reason I cringe when they’re on my screen; it’s like third-person embarrassment and ack, it’s basically just downright awkward.
But in hindsight – there seems to be a fair-balanced number of people – based upon comments across the web – that enjoy their awkwardness and dynamics. So hey, maybe I’m just not feeling their supposed budding romance vibe…
Pairing #2: Lee Hongki and Fujii Mina
OMG, hello gorgeous!
Truth is, I’d actually checked out this show for Taec‘s pairing, having seen pictures at Koala’s blog and had honestly skip this pairing … until somehow, I ended up at their scenes in episode 4 and thought sparks were positively flying… cue backtracking to the first three episodes. Then this weekend, I came across the photo above from their bridal photo shoots and homg, that picture above completely undid me.
I am all about the chemistry onscreen and just as my chemistry-dar perked when I watched Kim Won Joon and Park So Hyun back then, I’m having another one of those reel-to-real blurred emotions about this couple. First and foremost, I’ll definitely agree that Hongki‘s very lucky that yes his leading lady is Japanese, but she’s also multilingual, specifically able to converse fluently in Korean so language is less of an issue between them. Second, I’d watched her appearance in Strong Heart sometime last year and I can ascertain that she’s obviously greatly interested in the Korean culture and trying to immerse herself in it – thus she’s obviously by default more familiar with not only Korean culture, but also the Korean entertainment scene. Thus, because she’s up-to-stat on the local scene as opposed to Gui Gui and since FT Island promotes actively in Japan too, it’s obviously much easier for them to find common grounds and talk about the entertainment scenes in their respective countries, of which they’re part of.
There’s also the fact that indeed it all boils down to personality – that willingness and playfulness, especially in a show that’s full of cheesy scenarios such as this one. Both are obviously game to play along, thus they’re taking baby steps forward together you know what I mean? So it’s cute, rather than awkward, because one side isn’t obviously trying too hard. I don’t follow FT Island’s music at all and my one and only glimpse of Lee Hongki was his stint in 2009’s You’re Beautiful so in other words, I’ve no idea what kind of persona he typically shows on or off screen. I’ll just say right off the bat – and I’m prepared for the lashing, if they come from his fans, ha – that this supposed fashionista that he is though… wait WHUT? Half the time I’m mentally screaming, aghast, WHAT ARE YOU WEARING HONGKI??! And those nail arts! I don’t know, I can’t speak for all girls in this world, but I don’t know how cool I’d be about dating a guy who takes his nail arts to be Serious Business. Seriously.
But that’s a minor quibble, moving along now…
As for Mina, is it just me or she’s just such a natural sweetheart? I don’t girl-crush often but oh damn girl, you’re so sweet and nice and clearly making an effort here that I can’t even… so proud, that’s what. She seems to not only be open to whatever she’s supposed to agree to in terms of this show (but okay face it, if Hongki‘s part of the deal I think even I’d give in somewhat too…), but she also seems to be open and willing to accept Hongki and his say, rad fashion senses. I like her, she seems really genuine.
But having said all that… their chemistry? Ahhh, my chemistry-dar is perking up like crazy, I swear. I don’t know if it’s anything beyond infatuation frankly, but they seem to genuinely be interested in each other and are taking really small but sincere steps forward in getting to know each other. Again, as I’ve attested plenty times – I don’t know how much is reel versus real when it comes to this show but I don’t think body language lies and thus, I’ll conclude that this two seems to be headed in a most promising direction.
In a Nutshell – Early Verdicts
Taec-Gui Gui 0, Hongki-Mina 1.
Sorry Taec-Gui Gui fans, but I think they’re a miss and you may disagree, but more and more I really think that Taec himself can’t wait for his stint in this show to end. As for Mina and Hongki though – aw, bring on the budding love, scripted or not be damned!