Ex-Girlfriend Club (2015) First Impressions / Review : Ep 1~2

Ex-Girlfriend Club (2015) First Impressions / Review


Hello. This is Prof. AKIA and welcome back to my Korean drama lecture. For those new comers, greetings! I review and talk about Korean dramas on my blog akiatalking.com. I also review Korean movies on kmovietalk.com. Come by sometime…

Keyword: #Song JiHyo #ByunYoHan #LeeYoonJi  #JangJiEun #HwaYoung #tvN #tvNShow #Kdrama # ExGirlfriendClub #구여친클럽 #리뷰




Introduction
In this lecture, I will be giving my first impressions of the first 2 episodes of the new Korean drama “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) or 구여친클럽 which basically means  the same thing although the term “Girlfriend” is abbreviated to something like “G.F.” .

So, we have “Ex-GF Club”

It is a new Friday -Saturday  tvN show  following "Super Daddy Yul”. I repeat! This is a tvN show!

tvN!

Whether you love them or hate them, the cable network tvN has a clear identity and their shows reflect this. “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) no exception!

This is review of the first 2 episodes.
 
The King of Drama” (2012)

“The Producers” (2015) 


The Plot
The meta-fad of portraying the Korean drama industry in Korean dramas seemed to have comeback. I think the last time this fad blew through Korea was 2012 with “The King of Drama” (2012). Now in 2015, we have “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) and “The Producers” (2015) starting in the same month.


Well… This is not exactly true since “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) is more about making a Korean movie. But it is a superficial twist on the same thing.

Boy and Girl #1

In “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015), you have the “Girl #1” who is a movie producer at a failing production company trying to save the company by making a web comic into a movie.

You see the sitcom potential here!

What a coincidence is it that the author of the web comic, the Boy, is an Ex-boyfriend.

However, there is obviously more!
You do need more baggage for the sitcom to feed off of!

In addition to the awkwardness of both having to work with an Ex-boyfriend and revealing to him that you are a failure,  “Girl #1” has to deal with
Girl #2”,
Girl #3”,
Girl #4

…who are the Boy ‘s other Ex-Girlfriends.



What happened is that the web-comic at the center of this mess is basically comical retelling the Boy ‘s relationships with “Girl #2”, “Girl #3” “Girl #4” albeit using cute Anthropomorphic animals. So, there is a rights issue which brings the other Ex-Girlfriends into the story.

You can just imagine the hilarity that can be mined from this sitcom setting!
But is the show any good?


Korean Drama Pilot Episodes: I meant it to be plural!
Most Korean drama miniseries that run for 16 to 20 episodes display a similar pattern. The first 2 to 4 episodes are rocky mostly because the actors are still finding their characters. Then, the show improves until about episode 10 to the degree they will ever be and plateaus out, After this point, the show declines in quality because it “Jumped the Shark” and ran out of story.



The better shows tend to stop the decline in their last 2 or 3 episodes and recover somewhat for a decent landing. Most shows do not! It is even rarer for a Korean drama to nail it right out of the gate.

Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) is not one of those lucky shows!

“Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) starts out rocky but still not terrible. I would describe it as a rather bland start even though it is noticeable that the show tried to open the show with a bang.

However, it sadly failed.

The opening scene of “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) is this cold open in which the show seems to be a “Historical” drama. It is not! It is a bait and switch.

A cold open Definition
 A television program or movie technique of jumping directly into a story at the beginning or opening of the show before the title sequence or opening credits are shown.
Excerpt from Wikipedia
Spoilers!
.
.
.
.
They are filming a show or a movie.

However, this is not the problem. The problem is that it is evident from this cold open what the biggest liability of the show is. It is the casting of the main lead actress who plays the protagonist of the show, “Girl #1”.



The Casting
 “Girl #1” is your cliché Korean drama career woman protagonist in the mold of most roles played by “Meg Ryan”. She is the clumsy, insecure, and lonely older woman who, at the same time, has this manic energy regarding her career because basically it is the only thing she has.

Older is the word to remember!


Song Ji-Hyo / 송지” who we last saw in “Emergency Couple” (2014) is casted as “Girl #1”. In many areas, the role of “Girl #1” is somewhat of a departure for her because the role is drier and older than she usually plays.

When I say older I do not mean literally although she is the eldest among the main cast.
I mean that the character is more tired and worn down.

Girl #1” has been beaten down by life and has graduated from being “young” but, at the same time, never really became a fully mature adult.

She is just tired!

“Song Ji-Hyo / 송지” does really go for the tired angle with the character as I do not think I’ve seen her look this old in a Korean drama before. The problem is that Girl #1” still needs to generate a manic sense of energy at moments which Song Ji-Hyo fails to “get it up”. As a result, most of the first episode where we basically only follow her does not really provide an interesting viewing experience.


What makes it worse is that Song Ji-Hyo does not meld well with the other actors who seem to be in a different show from her at moments.

A more glamorous or a more cute show!



Even when she is interacting with “Byun Yo-Han /변요한” playing the Boy, their interactions feel forced. She is like this tired looking cat while he is thing cute googly eyes puppy. There is no real chemistry.  

I cannot believe they had a relationship before.


As a side rant, I cannot believe Song Ji-Hyo is the elder citizen of this show now. It seems like only a few years ago that she debuted “Princess Hours / Goong” (2006).

She is now 34 years old!
We’re getting old guys!


Should I stop watching?
While  “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) started out rocky, it recovers fast! It considerably picks up when “Girl #2”, “Girl #3” “Girl #4” comes in to the show before the conclusion of the first episode.

You get a clear idea that “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) is not going to be a boring show about Girl #1


Rather the show would be Girl #1 looking from the outside into the crazy shenanigans of the Boy and his Harlem of Exs. And this is a good thing.  Byun Yo-Han works far better with these far less subtle characters played by Lee Yoon-Ji, Jang Ji-Eun, Hwa Young.

At least, they are in the same age range as Byun Yo-Han. Song Ji-Hyo is 5 years older than him and it shows.


When this shift happened, I could not help but put a smile on the face and say…

“Okay you got me!”

The best I can describe this moment is to say that I was charmed. I was going to keep watching. And, compared to episode one, episode two was a drastic improvement on average.



Conclusion
I have been vocal about my dislike of tvN shows on social media with the last show I liked being “Queen In-Hyun's Man” (2012). So, I was a surprise that I was charmed by “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015).



It might hit a nice balance between cute, crazy, and dumb that most tvN shows fail to hit. However, at this point of the show’s run, it may still go off the rails. I am not sure that “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) will be able to pull it off but I am willing to risk it!

It is going to be a rocky ride!

I will give the first 2 episodes of “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015) a B grade.


Score: B or 6.75/10


Thanks for coming to my lecture about the first 2 episodes of “Ex-Girlfriend Club” (2015). Class dismissed! 


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