10 minutes into the final episode and I was already in a pool of my own tears. Of joy, of sadness, everything really. She Was Pretty was wrapped nicely, not ideally - I'll come to that later - but it was as good as I can get from this drama.
First of all, before I go on to write about what I think about this drama, I would like to offer a sincere apology. Because I, Shahirah Hasbullah,
don't remember the names in korean dramas. I'm sorry but I just cannot hahaha. So for this drama, I will refer to the characters as the heroine, the hero, the second hero, and the heroine's best friend.
Secondly, this is just my own form of catharsis - a reflection, if you will - after watching this drama. I am like a bag laden with emotions, so I feel the need to write things that I feel strongly about because writing casts that therapeutic effect on me. I do this sort of analysis every time I finish a kdrama, guys, and my analysis partner is Amie because I only watch kdramas upon her recommendation. Our whatsapp conversation gets pretty intense whenever we're in the middle of our kdrama analysis. Other than the frequent AAAAAAAH and heart eyes emoji, what I'm about to write is not far different from our whatsapp conversation.
What I like the most about this drama is how none of the characters are antagonists. Sure, the heroine's best friend lied about who she was to the hero and then fell in love with him. But this just goes to show that not one person out there is inherently bad. But sometimes people are driven to do bad things out of desperation, because people are humans through and through, sometimes our rationale goes down the drain and greed overpowers us. It's understandable that the heroine's best friend cannot help but to fall in love with the hero because who wouldn't? I personally empathise how she felt guilty during every date they had but she kept brushing it off, trying to justify her lies with the fact that she was, finally, falling in love for the first time. Was it her fault that she started developing romantic feelings for the hero? She wasn't even planning to fall in love in the first place, heck, she even knew that he's the heroine's first love! But that's the thing about love, it hits you when you least expect it, with the person you'd probably never think of. The heroine's best friend has a big heart, and she was deceiving about her true identity out of sheer desperation for love, and she's not a bad person. She's just human.
The heroine knows this, and fully comprehends this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the friendship that the heroine & her best friend have. Those two girls love each other more than anything, always taking care of each other, even calling each other 'Wifey'. This is the kind of empowering friendship that I don't always see in dramas, or movies for that matter. Friendship level : taking off your best friend's make up when she's too sleepy to do so. Friendship level : telling your best friend straight up that maybe it's her attitude that's the problem, which brings me to my next point
There was a part where the heroine was complaining about the terms that they use in the fashion industry, she thought it was showing off. So her best friend took her by surprise by saying, "That attitude of saying fashion and beauty isn't important and looking down by saying it's all just a show off, isn't that just you?". I was screaming "SPOT ON!!!" (dalam hati) when the best friend said that line. Some people look down on others who put on make up and spend a bit more to buy nice clothes and to dress appropriately + decently. My question to those people who look down : wae? Look, there are some people out there who were born with incredible physical & facial features, some might not even have anything like acne, scars, blemishes, cellulite, etc. written on their fate. And then there are some people who weren't born quite as lucky, and those people try to achieve beauty by purchasing products. What is wrong in that? Isn't it in our nature as humans to get more drawn to things that are visually appealing, aesthetically pleasing? One can argue that there's more depth to beauty than just the exterior, but the exterior is a good place to start at, 아니야?
The heroine didn't take it quite easily at first, she was taken aback that her best friend was not on her side. But she realised her best friend was, ugh, right. The heroine did not ask to work at MOST, she somehow just ended up there by a twist of events. So she was not there by choice, fine, it wasn't the circumstance that she was asking for, okay. It probably never crossed her mind that she would ever work in a field even remotely related to the fashion industry. What an unfortunate circumstance, no? But complaining about her circumstance wasn't going to get her anywhere, what matters is what she makes out of the circumstance. Thanks to the best friend for giving her this (much needed) wake up jingle, because afterwards, the heroine started putting effort into understanding the industry she's working in. She left her comfort zone, and pulled herself together in order to deliver a better performance at work. This carries an uplifting message for me. Also, a reminder that 'Welcome to adulthood and working life, where you can't just throw tantrums and say No whenever you hate something', a life stage that I have yet to enter but will soon :S
Now let's move on to the second hero. Oh. My. Gad! Where do I begin... I love him!! Funny and cute and adorable and handsome and kind and playful and caring and cheeky, apa lagi perempuan nak?! The actor who plays this character, what's his name, Siwon? Allow me to just say that he is BRILLIANT!! His acting comes off very natural, I felt like that's his real personality. Honestly, imagine how fun life would be to have someone like him around to ensure you get the daily dosage of annoyingness? I cannot get enough of his antics!! Every time his scene comes on screen I prepare myself because I know very well that it's my cue to say "Aaaah babo!" because he WILL do something stupid (& funny). My favourite is when he suddenly screams in his voice recording to surprise the heroine. Hahhahaha. Lawak gila ya Allah even I got surprised. And when he said he wanted to sing but then it turned out to be a joke as well hahaha aduh, mcm mana tak jatuh cinta dgn dia ni... But most importantly, he fell in love with the heroine first. Before the make up, before the whole style makeover. He fell in love with the heroine with her freckles and rosacea and clumsiness and, ahem, having seen her drunk behaviour. During the last episode, I cried so much mainly because I was upset that the second hero did not get a happy ending. I speculated that he'd end up with the heroine's best friend, but that would've been a cliche. So corny. But this is why I think this drama has a nice ending, but not ideal. Ideally I would want the second hero to find someone new to teach him love like he never knew before, someone to erase the pain of his unrequited love for the heroine. That would be an ideal, happy ending for him. But he didn't get that, at least not yet lah I think. That's realistic, I suppose.
And then there's the hero :) His character was cold at first. I hated him. Especially when he lost his temper in the scene where the heroine forgot to take her shoes off in the studio. I mean, hello, obviously she's new there so she doesn't know the selok belok of the studio so can't you at least be a little considerate, hero?! Haish. But it was heartwarming to see him slowly letting his guards down around the heroine, to see that beneath his cold demeanour he's still the same person that the heroine knew from her childhood. And he fell in love with the heroine before he figured out that she was actually his old friend. He fell in love with her because given whatever scenarios, he would always gravitate towards her. Now isn't that true love? He even delayed their wedding for one year to let the heroine pursue her childhood dream, because as much as he knows the heroine loves him, he also knows that he shouldn't let love stand in her way to go to greater lengths and achieve greater things. As a partner, he's well aware of his role to encourage the heroine instead of hindering her way to success - some takeaway lessons for guys out there. Anddddddd I think the highlight of his character is that, he made no remarks at all about the heroin being with make up or without make up, frizzy hair or straightened hair. Zilch. Not a single one. He was in love with her. He's not in love with a no-makeup heroin. He doesn't go around saying "Oh this is not who you are, this isn't the real you" when the heroin has make up on. He's just head over heels in love, infatuated, and completely besotted with the heroin. It's as simple as that. And I am head over heels in love, infatuated, and completely besotted with the hero.
I notice that Korean dramas (the ones that I've watched, at least, and I've only watched like what, 7?) have scanty intimate scenes, even when they do, it's not even that intimate? Not as intimate as you'd see in Hollywood movies that's for sure. 근데 even with the privation of on-screen intimacy, I am still convinced that the hero and heroine are in love with one another. It's probably down to their having acted together in Kill Me Heal Me before this thus the familiarity + chemistry, nonetheless I like the idea that love doesn't necessarily mean physical. The OST of this drama is not the best I've come across, but that Kkung Kkung song has such a catchy rhythm, I always sing along to it! I got around to searching the song on YouTube, apparently it's sang by a YouTuber.... Not even a very famous YouTuber, mind you. God, I admire how Koreans scour these underground, underrated, unknown talents.
My only complaints about this drama are....
How did the heroine find the time (and money) to buy all the new clothes!! I mean, it seemed like her closet was totally revamped! Hahaha. I also wish the drama explored the heroine's best friend's family issue in a little more depth, it's admittedly darker and would have skewed the light and quirky and fun concept of the drama but then, why have it in the first place? The scene where the heroine's best friend went swimming and sank to the bottom of the pool engulfed in her own despair, that's an outstanding show of emotions. I wish I could see the heroine's best friend talking to the heroine about her family problems and having the heroine console her best friend in a warm embrace, maybe? And I felt like it's a bit biadab (what's biadab in English??) that the hero just left the heroine's best friend when he realised that she's not his childhood friend... Manners. I wouldn't mind seeing a teeny bit more crisis and tension though (as if I haven't cried so much already.... Me and my big fat mouth asking for stupid things haih). This drama has 16 episodes, but to be honest I felt like the momentum dropped a little towards the end of it. At the beginning, it kept me going because of the love rectangle (one likes the other, who likes that person, who likes the first one) and the secrecy of the heroin's true identity & the heroine's best friend's feigned persona. It was intriguing to watch how the plot the builds up and the way each character gets tangled into another character's life. But by the time I got to the last 2-3 episodes, I felt like there was nothing else to look forward to, because it was a definite positive that the hero & heroine would end up with their own happily ever after. Other than the second lead's hilarity, nothing kept me pumping but I think this drama aims to deliver light, feel-good vibes to the audience and it achieved exactly that. All in all, I enjoyed this drama, I'd give it 7 out of 10. It's light and cute and comical and makes me feel all fluffy inside :) Going against my own principle (that is, to only watch kdramas yg dah habis!) was well worth it. I owe it to the many people who couldn't stop persuading me to watch this drama! If you're inclined to stories of two people falling in love with each other and just pure, innocent love, I cannot recommend this drama enough. it deserves to be loved and shared by many.