Standby (스탠바이): I’m Just going to say it

Standby sucks.

As a faithful viewer of the High Kick series (that’s right folks, I’ve watched every episode of High Kick 1, 2, and 3. Does that make me lame? I’d like to think that means I’m a hardcore fan), I was hoping that Standby would be as enjoyable. Alas, my dreams that Standby would measure up to High Kick were quickly squashed in the first couple episodes. I tried to give the series time to establish it’s premise and found myself watching episodes 3, 4, 5 until I was up to episode 20 and I still wasn’t enjoying the show. The only moments in the show that brought any enjoyment were the scenes between Jung So-Min and Lee Ki-Woo (Ryu Ki-Woo in the show) and now that Jung So-Min is in the hospital, the show has become completely unwatchable.

My main issues with Standby:

-Kim Soo-Hyun has this ginormous crush on Ryu Jin-Haeng on the show but was never really see why.

In High Kick, the writers always showed us how these feelings developed and why certain characters fell for each other. All we know is that Ryu Jin-Haeng came to her classroom once and spoke and it was then that she fell in love. I personally HATE it when dramas start relationships like this. I can understand seeing someone and thinking “Wow that guy’s cute,” or “He’s pretty charming,” but to have Soo-Hyun have a full blown love for this guy who doesn’t treat her like anything particularly special? Crazypants. I don’t feel for her character at all. Jin-Haeng never does anything to signal that he has any particular feelings for her and he never goes out of his way to help her out. Her love for him has absolutely no foundation and if this happened in real life, her obsession would be a bit creepy. The writers need to give us some sort of base for her feelings towards Jin-Haeng ’cause at this point I’m rooting for a relationship between Soo-Hyun and prickly Seok-Jin.

-The father’s hate towards Shi-Wan.

I understand that sometimes it’s played for laughs and that its one of the only overarching plot points in the drama besides the love lines, but it’s really getting old.

-The lame humor.

The humor in Standby feels so forced. The only time I actually laughed was back when Ki-Woo and So-Min were having their thing and she climbed him like a tree. Teeheehee! Besides that, all I can do is cringe at their attempts to be funny. Every “humorous” storyline winds up just falling flat and the fact that they are trying SO HARD to be funny, but failing makes it worse. I know Koreans have a different type of humor, but I’d like to think that I generally get Korean humor. I was raised on Korean television and I laugh at stupid things like falling or bathroom humor but Standby’s humor is oftentimes just flat.

-The fake sets.

The little corner where the apartment complex meets the pasta restaurant is so obviously a set that I have to focus on ignoring the background whenever there’s a scene there. Not only is it evident that the set is cheap, but the director also doesn’t know how to work with it. It’s evident where  the set ends because every scene that’s shot there has the exact same camera angles. If they were more creative with the set, maybe I wouldn’t have such a huge problem with it.

-The one dimensional characters.

Everyone has one or two little quirks and that’s what makes up their character. There’s no dimension and we never see any layers. That guy who has the Mary Poppins bag and pulls out random necessities is just that- the bag guy. We don’t know anything else about him and if he’s ever doing anything besides pulling random shit out of his bag, it’s to be used as a plot device. Even the main character Ryu Jin-Haeng barely has any dimension. His “quirky” traits are his OCD and being terrible at his job and that’s almost all he ever does in the show.

Even with all its faults, I really do want to love the show which is why I’m trying to keep up with reviews or mini recaps when I don’t catch the episodes. As soon as Jung So-Min is back to health and on the show, I’ll actually start watching the show again in the hopes that it’ll be better. I’m hoping that it’s just taking them a wee bit longer to find their footing and that the show will take a turn for the better!