This drama was delightful. Full Stop.
Of course, from the very beginning, right from the first casting news, we knew it was going to be, didn’t we? Everyone’s favorite side character, Kim Seul Gi , who has spot on comic timing, is finally allowed her chance at a lead role? Heck yeah, sign us up. And when I say all, I mean all. I haven’t heard of a single fangirl out there who wasn’t looking forward to this (or another one since it’s released not loving the heck out of it.). Add to that the casting of Doo Joon who I personally have had a super soft spot for since his turn in Let’s Eat, showing himself as one of those idol actors who might just be better off as an actor than an idol.
The only thing that was in question with this was the fact that this was a time traveling drama short where he plays the king. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t have great experience in either good drama shorts, or saeguks which don’t feature the dreaded ‘bittersweet’ ending. Yeah, when I read the term bittersweet I’ve learned to run for the hills. Why? Tears. Tears from the hero, tears from the heroine, and generally tears from me. Not to mention the fact that political/royal intrigue gets my blood a boilin’.
However, despite these things, there was no way I was going to give this one a pass and luckily, it did not disappoint.
Now, I know I’m not super great at giving reviews on a regular basis, but I can tell you, I’m a story fangirl. I’m not one of those who, just because I love something, can ignore all of the flaws as if they do not exist. I’ll point them out for all to see and then will spend the rest of the time pointing out why you should watch or why the drama worked despite of it’s flaws. Here though? I legitimately can’t think of that many flaws. Maybe, if I try really hard, I can say that the writer wasn’t very clear as to why she was arrested? Well, actually, arrested at that point, for betrayal of the queen? As, in a time traveling drama, I’d be surprised if the person doesn’t end up in jail or some sort of crazy bin at some point of the drama. I mean come on, realistically there is no way you would ever fit in! Heck, you go far enough back into time and you basically aren’t even speaking the same language. So the fact that she was arrested at all wasn’t a surprise, and I know that the charges were mucked up by the father of the queen, but I felt like I was missing something. Here’s the thing though, in this case, the story is so well written, I’m not entirely certain I didn’t miss something. One line of missed or incorrectly subbed text and the a whole plot can go down the tubes. Maybe it was in the moment I was checking Instagram, or stuffing my face with Christmas Mac&Cheese. So, my fault, not the shows.
One issue I thought I had, was the fact that we never got to see the king realize that Jang Dan Bi was a girl. When it came out to everyone, after it was decided she was to become a concubine (ugh), we never got to see the moment when the king was told that the person he had become so close to, who had feelings for, was actually female. After such a big set up, it seemed a bit of a let down. As the story went along though, we realized that this is one smart king and he’d know almost from the start that she was a woman and got to see all of the clues to lead up to it. I like the fact that the king was smart enough to realize this on his own as, she was a pretty terrible man.
While we have the story of the king trying to make his country a better place, do good for his people, despite what his advisers wanted, this story was Jang Dan Bi’s story. With her time in the present, buckling under the pressure of the SAT’s, the pressure of, if you don’t do well in this one test your life is pretty much sunk and you’ll disappoint your friends and family, wanting to run and away and escape it all—throughout the story she learns that she is much stronger than she thinks. She teaches the king all about math and science, reinforcing within herself how much she knows, and she realizes by the end she has to go home to face her fears.
Usually I’m the sort of girl who wants, no, demands her OTP to be together by the end. Otherwise, why are we here? But in Splash Splash Love, perhaps because it was, technically, a high school drama, I’m okay with them not being together in the end. Actually, pretty much at the start we, as the audience, knows that this pair, no matter what their feelings, could not end up together at the end. They met at the moment where they both needed each other the most, learned and grew from their interactions, and were able to let each other go to live out their individual lives, happily.
Before we watched the drama, Cherry and I wondered if the production was going to pull a Rooftop Prince at the end of the drama to which we can say—kind of? Yes, by the end of it, she does not technically have the king, but she is left with the reincarnation of himself. That is the same. What is different, and pulls off the whole thing in the end, was that they did not depend upon this reincarnation, that was more of a happy accident (or fate). The king went off and achieved his goals for his life and people living, (by the account of the 80 children) happily. He didn’t know that she kept bumping into people who she knew in her present in his present, suggesting reincarnation was actually real. Heck, she didn’t even know what that meant. The realization, once she got back to the present that some version of him was there, was a happy plus. When she heard that he had 80 kids, she wasn’t jealous, she laughed it off, knowing they both had to live their lives. And I truly believe that if his reincarnated self hadn’t shown up, she would have lived her life just as happily.
Now that’s an ending folks.
Apparently, there is a big push to have a season 2 of this drama and I think that is where we get into trouble. Would I love to see these two act together again? Fudge yeah! In something associated with this drama? No. This story is done. As much as we don’t want to leave the world, sometimes you have to remember the happy times and just let it go. Where would it go? Her go back in time again? To what end? In that past the only thing she can amount to is head concubine where people will continued to do her in. They both know that. Do you want to see her get together with the reincarnation? Technically he’s not the same person as the king. That’s a different, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say, not as good of a story.
Splash Splash Love, had some smart writing, great actors who had some awesome chemistry together and was short and sweet. Would I watch it again? Heck yeah! Would I recommend it to others? Do I really need to? My guess, if someone likes dramas, likes fun, and has access to the internet? Has already watched this show and loved it.