Friday, February 28, 2014

You From Another Star: A Beautiful Letdown

Maybe I expected too much. They gave me a happy ending. Well . . . a sorta-happy ending. Nobody died. So why do I feel so dissatisfied? I used to worry that the writer would betray me with a tragic, heartrending finale that left me weeping in a puddle. And even though that didn’t happen, I still feel a little let down. I think YFAS is a victim of its own success. The first 20 episodes blew me away so much, that I expected the wrap-up to be this amazing, supercalifragilistic masterpiece of superhero, slapstick, romance, and warm fuzzies. Instead, it was . . . nice. Bittersweet. Like a piece of dark chocolate. Give me a cavity-inducing Resee's Cup any day.

I actually got this joke!
Since I’m still a rookie, who doesn’t even speak Korean, please allow me to pat myself on the back for actually getting this scene. I’ve been a fan of figure skating for years, and I knew of the controversy with the latest Olympics. I didn’t watch the ladies skate, but read that South Korea’s reigning gold medalist, Kim Yuna, turned in a flawless performance. They expected her to take the top spot on the podium again, but the judges placed a young Russian, Adelina Sotnikova, in first place. Apparently, sports commentators and former professionals alike called foul. There was talk of the “Home Advantage” Adelina got by skating in Sochi. Perhaps the crowd’s reaction swayed the marks. Who knows? It doesn’t help that the judges’ scores remain anonymous. No accountability. Who’s to say if the Russian judges didn’t cook the books a little for one of their own. So the fact that the writer alluded to this, and had Song-yi asking Min-joon if he couldn’t do something about it was hilarious.

The teary part, and the really teary part
We spend 20 episodes dreading the return of the mothership, and when the moment arrives, Min-joon just leaves without a word. Poor Song-yi and I both were like, “That’s how you’re gonna do it?” I don’t think I felt weepy at all during the finale. The next-to-last episode delivered the more moving goodbyes. First, with Lawyer Jang’s breakdown, and then Song-yi’s proposal. Speaking of which, would it have killed Min-joon to marry her before Scotty beamed him up? I expected some sort of ceremony after the way episode 20 ended, even if it were only symbolic. We never got that Going-to-the-chapel moment. Call me old fashioned, but I like my happy endings with shoes and rice.

The bromance that never dies
So many little brother moments! Him fighting with Song-yi for who Min-joon belongs to. Sitting with his favorite alien, chocolate milk in hand and promising to be good to his sister in exchange for the prized telescopes. Asking for just one hug and not taking no for an answer. And finally, discovering a planet which he names after his hyung. I just love this relationship. I wish we could have seen the reunion of the brothers-in-law after Do Min-joon’s return.

K-dramas have this infuriating habit of redeeming everyone in the final hour, whether they deserve it or not. I’m so glad this was not the case with Psycho Puppy Killer. Who else enjoyed the satisfying sight of him locked in a dark, tiny cell with no one to talk to except the phantom of Do Min-joon? I expected this character to wreak some last minute havoc by breaking out of jail, or something. But, nope. He’s caught. Punished. That’s all folks.

The big, Hollywood ending
The lights. The cameras. The red carpet and designer gowns. What an appropriate place for a movie star to reunite with her true love. Except he disappeared again. I feel kind of like someone handed me a cookie, then took it back after one bite. “Here’s your happy ending. Just kidding!” But at least we got one sizzling liplock. Someone needs to sit Park Shin-hye down to watch this clip on a loop until the light finally dawns.

In many ways, this drama reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, Queen In-hyun’s Man. The Joseon/Modern juxtaposition. The insurmountable barrier of Time. And even the way they interspersed the heavy moments with bits of humor. But there’s one thing QIM got right, and YFAS didn’t. Song-yi brought the issue up herself. There was nothing she could do for him. Do Min-joon shoulders the burden of returning or staying lost forever. All Song-yi can do is wait. In QIM, the way the hero is able to return to his love is when she defies the fate-induced amnesia, remembers him, and makes a call that connects over centuries. (I wonder who her service provider was?) It took both of them to make their reunion possible. I know some people see this ending as a bit too convenient, but you can’t get more convenient than finding a magic wormhole. At least the cell phone macguffin was hinted at throughout QIM’s story. The wormhole was never even alluded to until the very end. Tah-dah! And I could have used a few more answers to the important questions. Is Do Min-joon still going to look the same when Song-yi is eighty? Will he spend centuries alone after she dies? Was she supposed to be the reincarnation of the original, Joseon widow? Did poor, sweet Hwi-kyung ever get a girl of his own? And, most importantly, was that pesky saliva problem ever solved?!!!!!! (For that last one, they could have showed it so simply by having a baby monitor sitting on the nightstand in that last scene. Just a little present for the eagle-eyed.)

I don’t want to sound ungrateful. You From Another Star provided me with so many moments of laughter and squees, and I thank it for those whole-heartedly. The end may not have been everything I wanted, but the journey sure was fun.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes...I do agree. Slightly anti-climactic, but such a good ride that I didn't want to complain. I had all the same unanswered questions! My favorite scenario would have been her saying "take me with you! I'm dying to get off this lousy planet!" We could have morphed over to another world, and done a whole wonderful sequel with Jeon Ji-hyeon in hilarious adaptation to an alien culture. Yay!