Drama Review: A Gentleman’s Dignity 신사의 품격 – Final Recap
A Gentleman’s Dignity poster courtesy of SBS
I have to say, I can’t remember a drama that I became this emotionally invested in. The acting, the characters, the story – everything about it caught my attention and kept me enthralled. Was it all warm and fuzzy? No, but even though I cried more during it – and was frequently angry – than with any other drama, it rocked. That’s the best way I can describe my feelings about it, it simply rocked. I loved that it sucked me in to that degree. I absolutely loved that I cared that much. Is that weird? Perhaps, but as I’ve said before I’m both a people-person and a romantic; so character-driven and/or relationship-driven stories are my thing. And A Gentleman’s Dignity (신사의 품격) was both so how could I not love it.
When I first heard that Jang Dong Gun (장동건) was going to be in a new drama, I immediately added it to my cue of entertainment stories to follow. Then when I heard about the concept of the drama, I just knew it was going to be good. But I never imagined it would be this good. And it’s not just me that loved it – a lot of my friends, both Korean and non-Korean (although mostly the girls) were watching it too and loved it. Was it all perfect? No, there were some storylines and characters that I thought were underdeveloped and one actor was a little one-dimensional. But on the whole, it was simply amazing. I mean, it’s the only drama I’ve watched – and I’ve watched several – that might just take over top spot in my heart from Coffee Prince (커피프린스 1호점). No joke. I waited breathlessly each week for the new episodes to be added to DramaFever, which as you know is my go-to place for K-dramas. And now that it’s done, I’m going to miss it.
Any drama that can make me laugh, cry, sigh, get angry and fall in love – all in one episode sometimes – and care so deeply about the characters (and their happiness) deserves all the praise I can heap on it. Want to know what I loved, hated and how I ultimately felt about all the characters? Read on, my lovely readers, read on.
What did I love about A Gentleman’s Dignity?
The acting – With only one exception, the acting was consistently good. There were some fabulous actors so it was almost a given but they didn’t disappoint.
The characters – While I didn’t love all the characters, I found them more realistic than in a lot of dramas. Did I get angry when Yi Soo was mean? Of course, but after being hurt like that… it was understandable. Did I want to smack Do Jin when he was being noble? Yes, but it made sense (to my head at least, my heart hated it) with my knowledge of Korean culture. I loved how the characters, even when they were doing things I didn’t agree with, were consistent and believable. They weren’t perfect but that’s why I liked them.
Watching a drama with oppas (오빠) – A lot of Korean dramas feature younger actors and storylines so it was fun for a change to have all the guys – with the exception of Colin and Dong Hyub – be older than me. Plus it was fun to have four different guys – with different personalities – to choose from. And as the drama developed, it was fun falling for two of them, wishing one was my friend because he made me laugh and wanting to constantly smack the fourth guy. Care to guess who?
The friendship between the four main characters – This is the type of friendship that most people aspire to but few realize. It was simply amazing. Their friendship – which was more like a family – was a great source of strength for all the characters throughout their ups and downs. I may not have agreed with Yoon not fighting for Mi Ah Ri for most of the drama but I understood it in the context of their friendship. Plus I absolutely loved how it came full circle at the end.
Do Jin and Yoon – I loved them both for different reasons. They were definitely the characters I became emotionally invested in first and while Do Jin eventually overtook Yoon in my heart, I wanted everything to work out for both of them. Now if I could only meet someone similar. ^^
Jung Rok and Min Sook – It took a while to get to know the only married couple on this drama but I found that the more I got to know them, the more I was rooting for a happy ending for them. I didn’t like either character much after the first six episodes but grew to like them both and would love to have them as friends (if they were real of course). The scene in episode 18 broke my heart. *cry*
What didn’t I like about A Gentleman’s Dignity?
Tae San – Sorry but while his cursing scenes were funny, I spent more time wanting to hit him up the side of the head than anything. The acting was great but I hated his controlling ass of a character. Of the four main guys, Tae San is the one I would least like to date… by a country mile.
The under-development of Dong Hyub – I know I said this before but I thought his character had a lot of promise at the start of the drama but alas, nothing really happened with him. However, I absolutely abhorred the scene where the crazy mom was beating on him, way to make his character look pathetic. Yikes! He did get a little more action once he became friends with Colin and I loved the scenes in episode 19 & 20 that help bring the drama to a close but I did expect a little more from him.
What/who grew on me?
Lee Jong Hyun as Colin – I thought the actor was a little one-dimensional at the start as he only seemed to have one expression but as the show progressed and his character developed a bit more, I became more impressed. Okay, the singing at the end of episode 13 might have influenced my opinion – dude has a beautiful voice – but as the character grew, we did get to see more from the actor.
Min Sook – I grew to love her fierceness as the show progressed. She’d be a fabulous friend!
Jung Rok – He’s not as stupid and useless (or faithless) as he pretends. I grew to really like him as the drama progressed. Hated his hair though.
Do Jin and Yi Soo – This was the main paring and I loved their chemistry together. It was interesting seeing the guy fall hard and fast rather than the girl, and having to work at convincing her to take a chance on him. Now you all know that I loved the character of Do Jin but I also thought that Yi Soo was the perfect match for him. She was strong-willed, professionally confident but just a little socially awkward, fragile about family & home, thinks with her heart a little too much and just a little too innocent for her age. Basically she was the opposite – in most ways – from Do Jin. And the proposal, OMG… I love, love, love it. *swoon* I picture many years of happiness!
Yoon and Mi Ah Ri – I rooted for them from the start and spent a lot of time crying for Yoon (seriously, I ended up wanting to give him a hug to cheer him up almost every episode). She was so cute, fresh, full of life and love, and sweet. Mi Ah Ri was just what Yoon needed to brighten up his life and find love again. Loved that it all worked out in the end… they both deserve to be happy. Their wedding vows were so cute. *happy tears*
Min Sook and Jung Rok – As the show progressed I grew to like these two more and more. After the first six episodes, I didn’t like Jung Rok and really had no feelings for Min Sook but they both grew on me as we got to know them. They were the only married couple at the beginning and while I was worried (*cry* episode 18), I’m happy that they emerged stronger. Jung Rok grew up during the drama and Min Sook finally realized that he did love her, not her money. Yay, happy ending!
Tae San and Se Ra – Ah, my least favourite couple. I actually liked Tae San at the start of the drama even if I never really found him attractive but while some characters grew on me (Se Ra, Jung Rok, Min Sook), Tae San did the opposite. The more I watched, the more I thought he was an ass. However, that being said, Tae San and Se Ra did seem to truly love each other and he finally showed he cared for her (and not just as arm candy) at the end by rushing to her side.
I love, love, love this drama. I really do. Do I like it better than Coffee Prince? It’s too early to tell. While I’ve watched dozens of Korean dramas over the years, there have only been three dramas that I’ve loved so much that I couldn’t wait for subtitles. I would watch them in Korean first and then again with subtitles and Coffee Prince is the only drama I re-watched at a later date because I loved it so much. So I will have to wait and see if A Gentleman’s Dignity stands up to the test of time (will I want to re-watch it?). But I have the feeling it will. It may not knock off Coffee Prince but it’s definitely made it into my all-time top 5 K-dramas. It was one of the three I couldn’t wait the extra day for subs after all. ^^
Everything about it rocked – I connected with the characters, the storyline was engaging, it was super romantic *sigh*, and it had a happy ending for all. I loved how certain things came full circle – friendship (the oppas & then the younger guys), fights (Do Jin coming to the aid of Dong Hyub), relationships (Do Jin’s proposal using the red yarn at the spot it unraveled). So perfect!
Like I said before, how could I not love a drama that made me laugh, cry, get angry, fall in love… and had eye candy too (the locker room scene anyone?) But I want to hear from you! What did you think? Did you love A Gentleman’s Dignity? Who did you like best? Worst?