A Gentleman’s Dignity (신사의 품격): A Look at Our Characters
A Gentleman’s Dignity seems like a fantastic show right from the start! I’ve only watched episode 1 and 2 so far, but I’m loving the complicated set up and relationships between the four (five? six?) guys and the four women. This type of setup where everyone knows each other and already has history… I’m eating it up!
Let’s get to know our bag of characters, shall we?
Bachelorette #1 (Our Heroine): Yi-Soo. She’s a high school teacher who obviously receives a lot of respect and like from her students. She has a soft spot in her heart for her four delinquents and has a long relationship with the police officers in their district from her constant misdemeanors.
She has a long standing crush on Tae-San (Bachelor #3 below) from playing on the neighborhood baseball team together. The thing I like about her one-sides crush is that it’s not the typical K-Drama crush where the girl is head over heels in love with the guy for no reason in particular or just because he’s fantastically good looking. You can see why she likes Tae-San. He’s a nice, friendly guy and he does these nice favors for her here or there. Although his affection for her is more like an older brother, you could see how she’d fall for him. There’s also a nice beat in Episode 2 where Yi-Soo explains why she likes Tae-San and why she’s continuously liked him and claims that “My personality is suited for a one-sided love.” She’s interesting. She’s meek, but she’s not a pushover.
Also, there’s a scene where she’s debating what to tackle first, the threat of prosecution from Do-Jin (Bachelor #1, Our Hero), the knowledge that Do-Jin knows about her secret crush, or her hungry stomach, she decides to get sushi first. A girl who puts food before problems? I’m in like with her already.
Bachelor #1 (Our Hero): Do-Jin. He’s a divorcé who’s fantastic at his job (an architect). He’s rich, successful and yes, you guessed it, a little cold. The first scene of the drama establishes the fact that Do-Jin would rather sit back, and calmly watch the chaotic scene rather than get entangled in sticky situation. He also has the weird OCD quirks that every Korean drama hero seems to need; he records his entire day on a little recorder pen he treasures above all. Why does he do this? No idea (yet).
But! He’s got a pretty cute dorky side. We find out that he’s a bit of a coward, he turns into a child when he’s with his friends and he’s a bit of a romantic. Although he might prefer to remain outside of complicated scenarios, when he becomes interested in our heroine, he dives head in to complicate her life.
Bachelor #2: Choi Yoon. “The only gentleman.” He’s the most subdued and normal of the bunch. He’s a lawyer and should be living in a rich fancy penthouse somewhere in the richest districts of Seoul like his other three friends, but for some reason, he’s been crashing at Bachelor #3 (Tae-San)’s place. (My personal guess is that his parents had some sort of huge secret debt which ruined him.) He’s a reasonable guy and although he might seem the most mature, he does revert back to acting like a teenager when he’s around his buddies.
Although he’s the most vanilla of the bunch, there are hints of mystery about him and I’m hoping to love him just as much as the other men in the show.
Bachelor #3: Tae-San. “The innocent macho.” Okay, I’ve seen Kim Su-Ro in lots of dramas and variety shows and I have to say that I’ve never particularly cared for him. He struck me as a wee bit too aggressive (remember Game Devil, anyone?) and I’ve never watched a drama where I’ve fallen in love with his character. But in A Gentleman’s Dignity, I’m starting to really like him.
Sure, he’s a dunce when it comes to recognizing that the heroine has feelings for him and you cringe when he does nice things for her, not knowing that she’s in love with him. But on the other hand, his character is freaking hilarious. He’s the one that sneakily steals Do-Jin’s pen and runs around gleefully making fun of him. When his ex-girlfriend who happens to be the heroine (Yi-Soon)’s roommate comes to talk, he hilariously prepares to meet her by donning a construction helmet and a stick to wield as a weapon. Tae-San, I love you. Please continue being hilarious.
The Only Non-Bachelor Who Acts the Most Bachelor of Them All: Jeong-Rok. He has a wife, but he’s constantly slipping off his wedding ring and flirting with the ladies. The reason why he doesn’t just divorce his wife? She has all the money and she’s the one buying him bars and cafes to run. He’s completely whipped and to be honest, a bit of a sleaze. I’m not the biggest fan of Jeong-Rok, but what the hell- he’s entertaining.
Boy #1: Dong-Hyup. This is the leader of the high school delinquents and he so very obviously harbors an immense crush on Yi-Soo. He seems genuinely apologetic whenever he gets in trouble and Yi-Soo has to get them out of a sticky situation. It’s much like the relationship that Seo Min-Jung and Jung Il-Woo had in Unstoppable High Kick, which is probably the reason why I sympathize with him so much even though he hasn’t had much screen time. (Man, remember the original High Kick? I remember pestering my mother to go to the local video store all the time to check if the next episode has been released.)
Boy #2: Colin. He’s obviously one of the four men’s long lost son, but the question is… who? I’m putting my money on our hero, Do-Jin, ’cause that would really stir things up and we know Koreans love birth secrets. (Baker King Kim Tak-Gu, anyone?)
Bachelorette #2: Sae-Ra. She’s Yi-Soo’s roommate, and if she was a character from Sex in the City, she’d be Samantha. She know she has a rocking bod’ and she fully uses it to her advantage. She’s currently dating Tae-San and they have a cutely explosive relationship (if that makes sense). When she goes to meet him for a fight, she dresses up in a feather vest, skintight short dress and the highest of heels claiming that these are her “weapons” for the fight. Hilariously, Tae-San expects this and dons his own weapons. As self-centered as she might be, I like her.
Bachelorette #3: Mae-Ah-Ri. She’s Tae-San’s younger sister and has a long standing crush on lawyer Yoon. She’s good friends with Yi-Soo who was her former teacher and even knows all about Yi-Soo’s crush on her older brother. She’s forward and bright and her personality matches her young age. Although lawyer Yoon doesn’t reciprocate her feelings openly, I’m of the opinion that he really does want to get to know her better, but he doesn’t want to start anything because of his friendship with Tae-San and/or his mysterious problem.
In episode 2, she and Yi-Soo go out to grab drinks on Valentine’s Day to mourn their singlehood and unrequited love. Although she seems as hammered as Yi-Soo is, she slyly sends the best and biggest chocolate basket to Tae-San under Yi-Soo’s name and card! She’s not a fan of the relationship between Tae-San and Sae-Ra and they have a bit of an antagonistic relationship.
The Married One: Min-Sook. She’s Jeong-Rok’s wife and she scares the crap out of me. She obviously wears the pants in the relationship and she knows her husband is a cad. She looks through his internet history, tracks his cellphone and fires the young pretty part-timers that work at the cafe and bar. Even though she does all these creepy things, she doesn’t strike you as a sad person; instead, you’re scared to death of her. She wields all the power and her creepy actions aren’t the sad actions of a wife desperate to stop her husband from cheating; her actions are motivated by a want to control.
Overall I’m loving the interconnecting relationships between the main cast. Every relationships is layered by the other relationships. For example, Yi-Soo is friends with lawyer Yoon from the baseball team, but she’s also been the one to deliver cakes and little presents to him on behalf of Mae-Ah-Ri while she was in America. Every relationships is influenced by the surrounding relationships and that gives the drama so many more conflicting interests and dimension.
I also love the fact that Do-Jin is the first to fall from Yi-Soo, not the other way around. I’m so tired of dramas where the female is running around getting her heart broken all over the place due to the cold calculating male lead. When Yi-Soo came to his office, Do-Jin made her sit and waif for him to finish his work. Although it seemed from Yi-Soo’s perspective like he was ignoring her, we saw that he was imagining them in a field of grass. Cute! Although that image is shattered when he realizes she’s holding hands with Tae-San’s glove, we get a glimpse of the romantic side of Do-Jin.
It’s also refreshing that all the characters are fairly upfront about their emotions. Sure, Yi-Soo has her all consuming secret crush on Tae-San, but when Do-Jin confronts her about it, Yi-San is frank in her response. Everyone knows that Mae-Ah-Ri has a crush on lawyer Yoon and Tae-San and Sae-Ra have no qualms about expressing their feelings (whether of love or frustration) to each other. Even Do-JIn told Yi-Soo that he likes spending time with her (but she didn’t believe him). I’m really hoping everyone continues to be so frank!