The Kdramas of 2016: Q4 Roundup

1% of Anything

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The gist:
Kim Da-hyun is an ordinary schoolteacher who due to certain circumstances suddenly (and grudgingly) enters into a contract relationship with Lee Jae-in, a workaholic chaebol with a gruff personality.

The good:
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The main couple’s chemistry…and their kisses! Finally, a rare Kdrama where the couple actually looked like a real couple. Ha Suk-jin (the main reason I watched this remake, after seeing him in Drinking Solo) and Jeon So-min had great connection and were convincing as a couple. They had a normal progress and were consistent with the skinship and the affection, unlike most of the onscreen couples in Korean dramas. The audience was also spared the awkward robotic kiss scenes (a common Kdrama problem) and was rewarded with a bunch of natural, well-made kiss scenes that went well with the couple’s relationship.

The old school vibe. As a remake of a drama from more than a decade ago, it definitely had the old school feels going all over the production, but it didn’t feel dated and distant. I see how the scenes would sometimes feel like clichés patched together (the source material may have been 10x worse), but I felt the effort to smoothen the flow. What matters is that the characters were fun to watch (at least most of them), and the romance was sweet and delightful – which are basically what the audience looks for in a romcom.

The bad:
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The villain. She was a cliché that I hoped the remake had put away, or at least made better, as she was confusing and annoying every time she pops up – without helping the story develop in a satisfying direction. I couldn’t latch on any back story that would make her relevant to what was happening, and the actress didn’t make her character work for me.

The unexplained details. While drama wrapped up nicely in general, there were some parts in the story that didn’t get as much attention. They were mostly on the existence of some characters and on Lee Jae-in’s past, which may have been explored in detail in the original version but was cut in this remake. I haven’t seen the original so I wouldn’t know for sure, but to me the drama could have done away with these details anyway and the story will still stand.

The verdict:
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I tried hard not to compare, but Cinderella and the Four Knights could have learned a thing or two from this drama. Like C4K, 1% of Anything also had the old-school vibe and formulaic storyline, but the latter was far more enjoyable to watch. For one, the female lead did not suffer a sudden loss of sassiness and personality just because a guy came into the picture. And while the scenes also felt contrived in some parts, 1% was still able to make them look good through the main actors’ chemistry. This drama was not perfect, but it was enjoyable to watch nonetheless.

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