Thursday, August 23, 2012

Drama Review: A Gentleman’s Dignity (2012)




Grade: Incomplete/dropped
(I watched to episode 7 and then skipped to the last half of episode 20 for background noise while finishing this post)

Category: Romantic bromance

What it’s about
After approximately 30 years of acting like teenagers, a quartet of middle-aged male best friends finally manage to grow up. (Or so I hear.)

First impression
As promised (threatened?), the first episode of this rom-com mostly involves adults acting like annoying teenagers. The female lead has potential, but come on—sure, you had a minor wardrobe malfunction, but let’s be honest here. That slip was a good two inches longer than any shorts you might wear (as you are, after all, a character in a Kdrama), so is it really such a big deal that you flashed it at some strangers? Word on the street is that this show improves with every passing episode, so I’m still hopeful that I’ll end up loving it.

Final verdict
Not the show for me. As I sometimes do, I decided to start fast-forwarding through the boring parts at about episode 7. When I realized I’d skipped through the first 45 minutes of the episode without finding a single scene I actually wanted to watch, it became clear that it was time to call it quits. The characters weren’t interesting enough to carry the decentralized plot, and the plot wasn’t compelling enough to make up for unlikable characters. Although this is not a show without its charms—the bromance is cute, and I really liked the soundtrack—life is just too short to watch twenty hours of people I don’t like doing things I don’t care about.

Random thoughts
Episode 2.


Dear characters of Gentleman’s Dignity:

I hate you and your petty concerns.

Sincerely, 
Amanda


Episode 3. There are a surprising number of Kdrama filming techniques that have never really made it to America—including one that was used in this episode. The leads were having a conversation while standing on a beach and looking out over the ocean. In front of them was the water, and logic would dictate that behind them was an inland view of a road or parking lot. But rather than waste the pretty scenery, every shot of the couple showed the ocean in the background, even if it should have shown the inland parking lot. The director must have pointed his camera at the ocean and filmed the dialogue twice, once with the couple facing the camera, and once with them facing away from it. The two versions were then edited together, so when the actors were seen from behind, the ocean was in front of them. And when the actors were shown from the front, the ocean was behind them. This happened a few times in last year’s Padam Padam, too, including the amazing fireworks scene. In a way, it’s totally contrary to any attempt at naturalistic cinematography ... but in another way, it really does make the most of the backdrop.

—Like me, the male lead names his cars. I have a weird feeling, though, that he’s also the type to name other things. “Hong Gil Dong” much?

Episode 4. This show is starting to win me over, but the appeal of the male lead is still an utter mystery. I know he’s supposedly the Korean George Clooney, but his deathly pallor, razor-sharp cheekbones, and shadowed eyes make him look like an extra from a particularly bleak Tim Burton movie. And even though he says he has a crush on the female lead, he acts like a total dick whenever they’re together—it feels more like he’s set out to torture her than romance her. When normal grownups think they like someone, they chat; when this guy thinks he likes someone, his first order of business is to completely alienate her. I sure hope AGD has something up its sleeve to explain this behavior—I’m no good at love, but even I can see that this isn’t a winning strategy.

—WTF's up with the male lead's pen recording device? <old person joke>Who does he think he is, Richard Nixon?</old person joke>

Episode 5. Jang Dong Gun, I would have thought that someone of your age and experience would know that there's more to acting than exaggerated blinking. Guess not, though.

Episode 7. Did you know that some forms of Islam make ending a marriage as simple as saying “I divorce the” three times? Let’s see if it works with Kdrama: I divorce the, I divorce the, I divorce the. Guess what, Gentleman’s Dignity? It did work, which means it’s the end of the road for us. I can’t take one more episode of your unlikable characters, dull plot, and woman-hating tone. Thanks for the bromance, at least.


Watch it

You might also like
The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, for the close friendships 

Protect the Boss, for the cute, realistically competative bromance 

36 comments:

  1. Awww sorry you didn't care for it. I feel bad because I was going on about how much I loved it. Oh well we all have different tastes and that's what makes life interesting :)

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    1. Oh and I didn't want to tell you until after you watched it because I was afraid it would taint your view but I read that it was written by the same person/people as Secret Garden lol. So I'm guessing whatever it was I loved about Secret Garden made me love AGD and whatever it is that made you hate Secret Garden also made you hate AGD lol.

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    2. It's funny how people can have completely different opinions about the same drama. I think part of the problem was that I wasn't in the mood for something light and fluffy, so AGD didn't do it for me. And after I inflicted Spring Waltz on you, there's certainly no need to feel bad about inspiring me to watch AGD =X

      I had no idea the Secret Garden writers were behind this show, too...I might have to take their involvement into account in my future drama selections. (Although everyone is crazy about that City Hall, which they also wrote. So maybe I need to give them one more shot?)

      Have you watched Secret Garden yet? Did you like it? (Practically everyone but me does.)

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    3. Yes, I loved Secret Garden, so I guess it's no surprise that I loved AGD. I have not seen City Hall though.

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  2. I'm glad I never started watching this one. I was turned off by everything I read about it and everything people were saying, even though they were raving. I don't know, something about this show just screams "stay away" to me. Glad I listened.

    Finally saw the first two episodes of TTBY and Arang. I like both shows. I guess I'm ready for the cute. Just finished Ghost the other day (remind me never to watch anything on mysoju again, so annoying) and it was great. Now I can watch something a little more lighthearted. Especially since I have 6 more episodes of Gaksital (aka Bridal Mask) and it has me biting my nails. I heard that TTBY is getting really low ratings. I hope that doesn't affect the show too much.

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    1. I think A Gentleman's Dignity is one of those shows you'll either love or hate—and that you can pretty much tell what your response will be without watching a single episode. I have more than enough overgrown frat boys in my actual life. I don't need to deal with them on television, too :b

      I definitely like both TTBY and Arang, but I'm actually a few episodes behind on them. I'm having difficulty tearing myself away from Autumn's Concerto, the older Taiwanese drama I'm watching right now. Which I guess is a sign that I'm not ready for the cute, because AC shares DNA with Korea's tragedy-packed Endless Love melodramas.

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    2. I am in total obsessive love with both TTBY and Arang right now. Arang is like the most beautifully filmed drama I have ever seen. They must have had some big time sponsors because the special effects are even high quality. I feel like I am watching abig time movie when I am watching it.

      I am not usually much for the teen dramas aside from a select few, but TTBY is so freaking adorable!! It's just a very charming show and I can't tear my eyes away for some reason.

      I am watching Absolute Boyfriend right now. It's a jdrama, but it is a little more similar to a kdrama than Nobuta Wo Produce was. It has the love triangle (well it was a love square for a short time lol). But it doesn't have all the annoying circling plot crap and making mountains out of mole hills like kdramas usually do. It is a very light hearted and funny drama, so I don't know if you would like it or not. It's about a girl who gets roped into purchasing a prototype of an "ideal lover" robot but then she starts to fall for her boss at work. The robot is frekaing hilarious, he reminds me of one of the students with Aspbergers that I have worked with lol. So socially awkward, but in a really cute way.

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    3. OMG!! I take it back about Absolute Boyfriend being a light hearted drama!! I just cried my eyes out!! What a heart breaker!! Damn Japanese, you'd think I would know by now from years of anime and manga that at some point it's suddenly going to get serious and profound and make me cry like a baby. It actually turned out to deal with some heavy ethical issues, had some very profound things to say about love, and had a very bittersweet ending. Ahhh but it was soooo good!! I'm am so upset that it's over right now!!

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    4. This show actually sounds really tempting, but I'm totally confused. Is this the drama the female lead from Boys over Flowers is in? Is it actually Taiwanese? Or is this one of those shows every Asian country ends up remaking? (And if so, how long until the Korean version happens?!?)

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    5. I was not sure of the answer to this so I looked it up and you're right, the original Japanese version that I just watched aired in 2008, but there is a South Korean version that aired earlier this year starring the girl form BoF. I read there was also a Taiwanese version that is supposed to be airing this year. I was originally interested in it because I like the author a lot who wrote the Japanese manga it was based off of and I have had people tell me that the drama was really good before. I didn't know that there were 2 remakes done this year. Now I think I'm going to have to watch the Korean one, though I doubt it can top the version I just watched, we shall see though.

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    6. Okay, so maybe I was confused again. Evidently the girl from BoF starred in the Taiwanese version (even though she is Korean?). And the Korean version is still being made and the rumor is that the lead girl from AGD will be starring in it. Sorry for the confusion.

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    7. But the original version I watched is definitely Japanese lol.

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    8. How's this for crazy: I think Korean stars like BoF girl star in Chinese-language dramas pretty frequently, and rather than just learning the language their dialogue is *dubbed.* My boyfriend (also known as Kim Jung Hoon from the original I Need Romance) was in one a while ago, too.

      I totally added this to my Dramalist :) Did you watch it on Dramacrazy?

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    9. That is weird that they dub it. Lol, Kim Jung Hoon is a pretty good catch for a boyfriend :P

      I actually watched it on www.epdrama.com because it wasn't broken into parts, but it just linked to Youtube anyway. They also had it on mysojou.

      I just read the synopsis for the Korean version on viki.com and they are definitely going to koreanfy it and from what I read I think it's going to ruin it, I may give it a chance, but I loved the jversion so much that I don't know if I'll be able to watch it when they are going to change it so much.

      I am trying to give Shut Up and Let's Go Another chance, we'll see if I can make it through it this time.

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    10. Hey I just realized that I accidentally copied the info from the Taiwanese version on my blog post, but I fixed it and it's the Japanese info now. Sorry for the confusion lol.

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  3. This show actually got soooooooo much better in between the time you stopped watching. Not recommending forcing yourself through it but the wife with the cheating husband actually got a little comeuppance and the lawyer/sister couple was really cute too. However the main couple was just like you wrote almost the whole time and it made fastforwarding an absolute necessity. Did anyone else have a total crush on the student (Kim Woo-bin) though? Feeling like a cougar but I was more interested in his story by the middle of this drama than anyone else's.

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    1. If only the female lead had hooked up with the student instead, I would have kept watching. ;)

      Maybe someday I'll give this show another shot, as I lot of people whose opinions I really respect liked it. But we definitely need a cooling off period, lasting until ...say... my 40th birthday?

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    2. Yeah I completely understand- there are those dramas that just really tick you off for whatever reason. This year for me it was probably King 2 Hearts (for how it ended) or Big (for wasting all the talent it had). Probably won't watch either of those for a loooooooong time.

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  4. watched this drama but i stopped at ep13 or something... I was trying to make myself like this drama because i love the OST's but i gave up. For some reason Kim Ha Neul's character irritates me ^^

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  5. Kim Ha Neul's character irritated me for lots of reasons. Her hair was really pretty, though!

    I haven't downloaded the OST, but I think this show's music was probably my favorite since Coffee Prince. Because I'm old and like easy listening, maybe? =X

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  6. I was eager to watch this drama because of Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul and thought it would be a great drama after reading the reviews else where. After 30 min into Ep 1, I had to stop watching it. It was boring and I found none of the characters interesting. Then in denial, I gave it another try and continued until another half an hour into Ep 2, I had to turn it off and turned on my computer in frustration to see why the drama got one of the highest ratings in Korea and found your site. I thought I was the only one who found this drama quite boring, plain, and annoying at times. Totally agreed with your comments on JDG's acting and the characters who act like teenagers. I was watching MBC Faith at the time and, even though it is not one of the best, found it much, much more interesting and was drawn into it episode after episode. Gentlemen's dignity is a pass for me.

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    1. We're not totally alone in liking this show...but almost ;)

      It's funny how people can have completely different impressions of the same drama—it's all about personal taste. As far as I'm concerned, Gentleman's Dignity was something in the realm of a pickle juice-peanut butter smoothie, with a chaser of toothpaste.

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    2. LOL @ "a pickle juice-peanut butter smoothie, with a chaser of toothpaste".

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    3. How can you say it was annoying at timew when you only watched one and a half episodes, wow and faith was bad too I wonder what you watch on a regular basis, you must be something to judge a drama in the first hour and a half you definetely should be a member of the academy, you are special.

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  7. Aiiigo. I knew I should have heeded your warnings about this drama. I didn't even make it as far as you did. Ep 2 and I feel like I wasted about one and a half hours of my life -_-

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    1. By the way, 5 minutes of the non-wasted time was probably me staring at Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jong Hyun, and another 25 minutes fantasizing about all the ways this drama could have been better if they'd given them more plot and screen time. ;)

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    2. As much as I hate this show, I'm actually seeing it in a new light with a few months' distance from the hours I wasted on it. It does have some strengths...just not enough to justify an entire drama worth of obnoxious characters being obnoxious. :b

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    3. Well it's officially on hold... possibly waiting for a mood swing out of me. How many months now have you waited? Maybe I'll give it a try in another 5.. Lol

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    4. That is the problem much of the watcher are just horny teens that is why you don't pay attention to the story and fantasize with a guy you watch for 5 minutes... :)

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  8. well, I dont know about you but I find this drama good. I've taken time to watch every episode intently, it's not the usual too much lovey-dovey kind of drama and it may not be as fun as those hip drama but I can say that AGD has captured my taste in a way.
    just my two cents.

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  9. you're right"' this kdrama is sooo amazing..i love it .

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  10. Funny, because this drama is actually one of my favorites!
    A Gentleman's Dignity, Reply 1997, Secret Garden, I Need Romance (1+2), Goong (The Princess Diaries), Love Rain, Full House, Playful Kiss, Ojakyo's Brothers, and Dalja's Spring were all my favorites! It might be because I refuse to give anything up, and all these dramas were just too good to give up after getting deep into it! I watch almost every drama except for action dramas, and I find that these were the ones I went back to rewatch.

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  11. I like this drama, I just finished the whole episode and its good...not your usual hard core, cute, handsome boys, but it is something that will make you smile and laugh once in a while, not to mention they seems to be old for all those cute gestures but it still live something light, warm and a smile in the heart. I just hate those who keep writing that it seems unreal for their age-type, i think that's why its called fiction, drama, something that came out from one's imagination jerk. dah...

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  12. I guess everyone deserves a forum, your reviews though are baseless and just biased, I mean you can hate something and give rants about why you hate it or but don't call it a review, you are just childish and have no valid points, the pen bothers you that much? you should know why before pointing it out. I am sorry I stumbled upon this "review" admit it, you don't like the age of the actors, which is perfectly fine,you like TTBY which has a lot of hot young idols but they can't compare since most of them can't act with the exception of the second lead the soccer player, I must admit I liked it too,yes they are cute young and hot and the drama is full of fluff but to say that the actors in AGD overact and that you can teach them how to act is just laughable after reading how you admire how good of actors the ones in TTBY are I know for sure you really don't know that much of acting. Since you give your personal opinions as definite let me give you mind, call this a rant and not a review. AGD was nice and funny and well written even the young actors in it were really good, with some exceptions I would've changed the kid from CN blue which emo attitude I didn't care for and Mae ri whom crying was as annoying as hell, but the rest were really good, the mistakes is that their culture and ours is completely different, to us a man with a kid is normal to them it turns the woman into a laughing stock that is why he wanted to avoid her, was it a real conflict, it depends on whom you ask, for a South Korean real South KOrean it is a one for a NYer like me no, it isn't. As always we have to adjust to what others believe if we are going to watch other cultures. Well that is all... I give your review a -10 out of 10.

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    1. totally agree with you!

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  13. I really did enjoyed it, I even re-watched parts of it to get a full understanding of what was going on. You have to watch all of it to appreciate it. I am 57 so I guess that is why I enjoyed it. I understood it, because I have presbyopia. (smile). The younger kids want enjoy it for another 20 years. Since I am a baby boomer, The majority rules. Watch out generation X. Your day is coming. Then you can relate.

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