Let’s have a chat, just you and me, I promise, it’ll just take a minute. Now, I’m sure it wasn’t YOU who wanted to put a romance into this story. I’m sure it was a note from the upper management who said: “Chicks watch dramas. Chicks like romance. If you want to get chicks to watch your gross out hero, give him a romance.”
This is not the case. You should have stuck to you guns, whatever your names are. There was no place for a romance in this story. Not with your gross-out hero. Now, you like your guy humor, I get it. I may sound prudish, but I’m not. One of my favorite, make me laugh movies (don’t judge me), is Without A Paddle. It doesn’t get more guy-centric than that.
There’s a time and a place for guy humor. However, as a ‘chick who watches Kdrama’ let me give you some advice. You can’t spend the first half of your drama creating a main character who revels in being disgusting, who thinks it’s funny to fart and burp, pick his nose, steal food from homeless people, and various other habits and still expect us to buy him as a romantic lead. It’s just not going to happen.
And a little side note. Farts are not that funny. Okay, so maybe one is. But an ongoing fart-gag gets real old, real quick.
Now, back to your ill-fitting romance. In my own writing I learned if you can lift something directly out of the plot and your story still makes sense, get rid of it! It may be your baby, it may be the best thing you have ever written, but if it’s unnecessary to the arc of your story, don’t put it in.
Of course, this may not be your fault entirely. It’s possible this was a great romantic arc, but your actors just didn’t have any chemistry. (Although, frankly, I don’t put much stock in this idea.) I’m not one who can judge things like chemistry unless the actors have amazing chemistry. Mostly, if you tell me a story well, I’m going to believe it. That’s just how it is. I’m sitting here watching these shows because I want to believe, I want to be taken away from my crappy day, I’m ready to love what you put in front of me, to believe in the romance. (As romance is usually my genre of choice.) So, just by my choosing your show, a big battle has already been won. However, watching your couple kiss at the end of the drama made me shudder–and not in a good way.
And something tells me that’s not what you were going for.
I totally don’t buy them as a couple. In the last two episodes your heroine was making eyes at someone else and, for no real reason, acted like an immature child to the ‘hero’. We, as viewers, just know that these people are not going to make it. I can totally see them in two months, broken up, her saying “I don’t know what I was thinking.” This may be the poster child for not getting involved with a co-worker.
The original intent of your work is very clear. A story of the week show centered around a rag-tag group of people working as insurance investigators. A kind of buddy/Odd Couple comedy. This is where your story shines through. You have very clear written characters each with their own worlds and foibles. I liked a lot of your individual stories. Some of my favorites include the one with the family of insurance frauders (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but I’m going to go with it.) Everyone was bent in that family from the grandpa right down to the kindergartener. The case with the supermodel with the burned legs was twisty and interesting. I also liked the story with the dead twin sister–man–I didn’t see that ending coming.
There were episodes I didn’t care for. And it comes down to my second point I wanted to bring up. Tone. It’s as if you didn’t know what sort of tone you wanted to go for. At the beginning we had the fun, cute, episodes which was matched with the wacky music. That’s fine. It works better with the fart jokes. However, as the story went along, the tone took a serious shift. A lot of your quirkiness was pushed aside for character back stories, plots lasting several episodes, and general angsty-ness. Where did this come from? I understand that by being set in an insurance office, it’s not going to be all sunshine and lollypops, but it’s another case of starting off with one style of story and dumping it for another.
Perhaps this happened because when upper-management brought down the note to put the two investigators into a romance, you realized you needed to do something to tone down the grossness of the hero and bring out his, well, hero side.
Unfortunately, in the process, whatever spark you had was taken out. Yes, the fart jokes stopped, but you didn’t replace it with anything. Sometimes the funniest parts of those episodes were the bloopers at the end of the show (which I always hung around for, these guys looked like they had a hoot doing this show.)
If I wanted to watch my main characters having emotional issues and personal angst, I’d watch a melodrama. It reminds me of my favorite US shows, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Loved that show. Story of the week, fun mixed with serious, and great characters. Then the writers (like yourself) decided to put more backstory in. Started to make these cases ‘personal’ for the detectives.
And I lost interest.
Like you and your romance and your dramatically shifting tone, this was not what I signed on for and I’m not going to give you a good rating. Is this a good show? Ummm… no. Did I hate it? Nope. Will I recommend it to someone else? Eh. What do you think?
Now, dear writers, if you are looking for an example of what I think you were going for, but was way more successful? Check out God’s Quiz. It has a quirky main character, a odd collection of supporting characters, and a slow (sssllllooow) building romance. It also has the episodic narrative which increasingly raises the stakes and tension. If you want to stick around, that show is coming up for review in a few weeks.
Crazy for Kdrama
Wednesday, July 11, 2012