One show’s residue: a whole lot of sap stainsI used to fancy miracles of love in my teens ― at least when it came to TV dramas. Love should be something so grand that even human mortality could not shackle it. Last Sunday night, however, I sensed that those days of innocence had ended. I found myself irritated at the wonders of love displayed in the soap opera “Taeyangsogeuro” (Into the Sun) on SBS-TV, which aired at 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Its 20-episode run ended Sunday.
The heartthrob star Gwon Sang-woo was perhaps the only reason to invest an hour out of a precious weekend night on this sappy drama. My younger friends, apparently all Gwon enthusiasts, badgered me to give the drama a chance. Though last Sunday’s episode was the show’s final curtain, I regretted having grabbed the chance.
Gwon stars as Seok-min, a typical navy officer hunk whose testosterone knows no limits. He falls in love at first sight with Hye-rin, a beautiful surgeon who looks too frail to pull apart a chicken wing.
The only problem is that she’s locked her heart up after her fiance is killed in a car accident en route to a date. To boot, he had a rival, Hye-rin’s senior surgeon Seung-ha, whose sole mission in life is to exchange vows with Hye-rin. Seung-ha is the familiar villain in these soap operas: cold-hearted and astute enough to trample his enemies.
As the story goes, Seung-ha seems to win at first in this love triangle ― Hye-rin says yes to Seung-ha, only because she thought her late father would want her to. Seok-min finds out it was Seung-ha who killed Hye-rin’s fiance, but he loves her too much to hurt her and decides to stay quiet.
On the wedding day, Seok-min joins in a rescue operation, remaining true to his profession no matter how heartbroken he might be. Incredibly touching.
One of the weakest aspects of last Sunday’s episode is how pathetically predictable it all was. Despite the loud, crass background music which obfuscates many lines, it was a cinch to understand what was going on. On the wedding day, Hye-rin learns about Seung-ha’s dark designs and refuses to walk the aisle. She decides to go abroad but just in time she hears on the TV news that Seok-min is seriously wounded and hightails it to the hospital. There seems to be zero chance of Seok-min’s survival ― his heartbeat won’t jumpstart even after electric shocks.
Here is where his acting climax comes ― where he lies in a coma, his famous well-built chest naked to view. Gwon usually does not do much with his notorious tongue-tied voice, so this is where the drama is at its weirdest. First of all, there were neither doctors nor nurses in the emergency room while the man was dying. Then, here comes the miracle ― out of nowhere. Seok-min wiggles his fingers and opens his eyes at the sight of Hye-rin. I prayed that he’d die, so as not to make the drama ridiculous. But the love was so great that Seok-min was resurrected. Though he should have been dead, the two get married instead.
I know that it’s only a TV drama. But come to think about it, little Frank Abagnale Jr. in “Catch Me if You Can” mastered his tricks through TV dramas. What if a Korean version of young Frank was watching “Into the Sun”? I started to worry myself silly. I must say I was very relieved to see “Into the Sun” end. Well, maybe this proves that I’m no longer a teenager.
by Chun Su-jin
“What’s on Korean TV” appears Wednesdays in the JoongAng Daily.
More in Features
Kakao TV launches this month, takes on Netflix
[TURNING 20] In a sea of hate, change flourishes
Criticism of sex ed books for kids raises more questions than answers
When it comes to sex ed, this Danish author says just talk about it
The traveling grandma who's 'alive and kicking it'