I bring here the dramabeans comments again since (everywhere I go) it’s like a battlefield between #teamChanJin and #teamUmbrella. It’s nice and quiet out here.
Cindy is my favorite character. I adore Seung-chan madly, and I really like Ye-jin and Joon-mo, but there’s something about Cindy, as a character and as she’s played, that really appeals to me. I feel like, despite criticism to the contrary, IU’s managed to do a fantastic job with her limited screentime and limited dialogues. In this episode, her emotions were almost palpable, and I absolutely love how the drama frames them, as javabeans said, that the camera-work and editing in her POV is just so beautifully, believably first love. I would take a great Cindy arc even over Cindy/Seung-chan, because I’m so invested in her. But the problem is that becomes nearly impossible when nearly all of Cindy’s scenes revolve around Seung-chan. To root for her, I have to root for them, because that is her arc till now. I could have imagined it being about this experience opening her up emotionally, making her feel things she hasn’t allowed herself to feel before, and making her more receptive to happiness. But I feel like that’s so difficult at this point to do convincingly with the limited screen-time that she has and half the show over now. Which means her entire arc is almost literally Seung-chan, and being alone at the end of it may be existentially really profound or such, but it would have made for an average drama experience for me.
I’m also disappointed because as much as I love the Ye-jin/Seung-chan dynamic, I’m feeling a very low-key, comfort vibe, which I love in friendship, but it’s a bit bland for what I want out of romance. Also, I don’t know why the direction isn’t adding to it, like they deliberately do with Cindy’s POV, when the POV is Seung-chan’s in SC/YJ. Holding hands with Ye-jin should be more of an experience for the viewer! He’s clearly falling in love, but I get an ‘aww that’s cute’ feeling, rather than the Cindy-falling vibe, which is almost entirely built on intensity, and where every moment together with SC in her POV is remarkably, ridiculously visceral.
Anyway, that’s just my issue, and clearly I’m in the minority. But I do so hope that Cindy gets a real arc, even if she’s disappointed in love, because IU is killing it here.
On a completely shallow note, the Cindy/Seung-chan mic scene was incredibly hot. I’m a huge fan of the moment-someone-falls-in-love and it’s visible through the change in their gaze (as with Cindy in episode 4), and I’m equally a fan of well-done sexual awakenings, the moment that you know that someone is impossibly, physically attracted to someone else. I like that she’s attracted to practically every single thing that Seung-chan is, without him having had to do anything for her at all. He has literally not done a single thing that an averagely nice person might- lending her his umbrella, helping her on her feet, tying her shoelaces because she was unable to at that moment, lending her his book, etc. There is no actual grand gesture, or anything out of the ordinary, but that it’s so momentous to her- that the umbrella, the headphones, the book, the shoelace have so much significance for her, is beautiful. And I love that in this episode she’s full-blown crushing on him, and is completely physically attracted to him as well. While these are the kind of things that Seung-chan does for Joon-mo and Ye-jin and possibly his entire team on practically an hourly basis. Considering Seung-chan’s character and his usual mode of operation as the guy who gives more- leaving the legal profession for his first love, the amount that he’s doing for Ye-jin in every episode, it’s a very interesting reversal, and a marked difference from his dynamic with almost every single other character on the show.
I think there’s potential for more with Cindy’s arc – like the demands of her pop star life and maybe finally taking some control over her schedule, not to mention learning to trust people more. But since she’s the only one of the four leads who isn’t employed by KBS, her storyline tends to be Seung-chan-centric. I won’t mind if she ends up alone at the end of the drama (though I really root for that no-chance-in-hell crush of hers) but I want something more to happen in her arc than just falling in love. Personally, I thought one baby step towards it was Ye-jin standing up for her in the hospital despite their previous animosity – I would really like to see that turn into friendship somewhere along the way.
I really think IU is doing a fantastic job, not just by lowered ‘idol actor’ standards, but in her own right. The framing of the Seung-chan scenes does help in setting the mood, but I’ve seen enough wooden actresses ruin perfectly framed, shot and lit scenes to know that IU is the real deal – she’s living up to her material, and holding up really well against a cast of veterans who would have made a really unfavourable reference point if she couldn’t act.
I do think there’s a LOT more potential for Cindy’s arc, and there’s been hints of it, in her relationship with CEO Byun or her idol life or what she actually wants to do (instead of where she clearly feels she’s just stuck and is going through the motions), but at this point I’m not sure how much to trust the show in the realization of it, because it hasn’t been developed so far, in contrast to how good a handle we have on the lives and histories of the other leads. I wouldn’t mind her being alone at the end either, but if her entire arc has revolved around love, andthen she ends up alone, I will definitely feel my favorite character’s been short-changed, and that it’s not a good narrative, because then the character would have lost out to the shock-value aspect of the which-couple-will-get-together quadrangle, which is incredibly frustrating to watch when you’re so invested in the character.
I too liked the Ye-jin/Cindy interaction this episode too- especially how Ye-jin was so surprised that Cindy wasn’t creating a fuss about what happened, and was instead just accepting of it (and I liked the way IU played it, like watching Ye-jin with Seung-chan always seems to take the fight out of her, as in the earlier scene when she was being lifted over the puddle by him, and Cindy was watching from her car.)
I completely agree with you about IU! I genuinely think she’s phenomenal, her non-verbal cues raise the intensity of the scene to such incredible proportions that I am completely absorbed in it. I think there’s such a marked difference in the romance from her POV than any of the other scenes, while, ironically enough, hers is the most unreciprocated. Slow motion is used in a lot of the shippy scenes, but it seems most effective in her case because she’s actually showing really subtle, kaleidoscopic emotions. For an female actor with limited screen-time to have made the audience ship her with the character with the maximum screen-time, when the feelings are entirely on her part, is a rarity in dramaland, in my experience.
totally agreed that the mic scene was hot.
Which is not a word I ever thought I’d use to describe any part of a performance by IU, but she’s the one who makes that scene – yes, the way it’s shot lets you know exactly how physically close he is to her in that moment, but IU’s face and body language is the thing that makes you FEEL it.
I am still !!!!!!!!!!!!!! over it. I love how, during these moments with Seung-chan, when the POV is Cindy’s, he literally fills up the screen, and every single second is stretched. I thought IU and Kim Soo-hyun would be cute and low-key in general, because they are adorable-looking people (ala Suzy and KSH in Dream High or even KSH and IU’s own friendship in Dream High), but I could have never in a million years have imagined, without actually seeing it, that the chemistry would be this palpable, and they could be that- there’s no real other word for it- hot. Also, because Seung-chan not being affected by Cindy, ironically enough, makes a difference to the scene, because he’s not making his bashful/pleased-puppy face, like he does when he’s actually in love (holding hands with Ye-jin, for instance), and his expression is neutral throughout as he concentrated on whatever he’s doing, which helps add to the intensity. I am part amused at that aspect (that his not being in love makes the scene physically intense), even as my ship sinks, haha.
I read the word ‘steamy’ used in a couple of comments in connection to them, and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s IU and KIM SOO HYUN doing steamy. Like, wrapping my head around that concept is very hard, even when I can see it, LOL.
With the slow-motion and tight close-ups of the Cindy-Seung-chan scenes, there’s very little room for error if an actor fails to find the right expression for that scene. If IU wasn’t able to find the right expressions, it would have magnified her failings for sure. Instead, it makes her even more believable, especially in the mic scene where her physical hyper-awareness of Seung-chan takes the step up from swoony to sexy.
And you’re right about Kim Soo-hyun’s neutral expression just making the scene even more intense, because the moment and the feelings are all Cindy’s. Sure, he actually has about as much interest in her as he does in an umbrella, but the poor girl has fallen HARD and it’s pretty apparent even in the non-close-up scenes.
(and yeah, the mic scene was certainly steamy……I mean, who’d have thought IU had it in her?)