Decided to check out Trot Lovers. I typically like music centered dramas (Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Dream High, What’s Up, etc.). I enjoyed the lead actors in other dramas: Ji Hyun Woo in Queen In-Hyun’s Man (one of the best male lead characters in any drama I’ve seen) and Jung Eun Ji in Answer Me 1997.
On-line synopsis for Trot Lovers: Jang Joon Hyun is a talented and popular musician. He looks down upon the traditional trot music genre. Meanwhile, Choi Choon Hee supports her family by herself and she is crazy about trot music. A romantic relationship begins.
I had no idea what the trot music genre was and googled it:
Trot is a genre of Korean pop music, and is recognized as the oldest form of Korean pop music. Formulated during the Japanese rule in the early 1900s, the genre has been influenced by Japanese, Western and Korean musical elements. While the genre’s popularity declined during the 1990s, most recently, it has been subject to revivals by contemporary South Korean pop artists such as Jang Yoon Jeong and BIGBANG member Daesung. The name derives from a shortening of “foxtrot”, a ballroom dance which influenced the simple two-beat of elements of the genre. Trot music is described as two-beat rhythm or duple rhythm, traditional seven-five syllabic stanzas, and unique vocal style called Gagok.
I now have a small idea about the trot music genre.
Epsiode 1 goes as most do, we are introduced to our male lead Jang Joon Hyun (played by Ji Hyun Woo). Joon Hyun is an arrogant pop-star that crosses path with our female lead Choon Hee (played by Jung Eun Ji) when he cheats completing a half-marathon (someone else ran most of the race and he swaps in at the end and she sees this). Joon Hyun is wearing a hideous flowered track suit, so bad. She confronts him about his cheating. He dismisses her but she won’t be denied getting back the medal he doesn’t deserve. She chases him in the parking lot with sounds of the 6 Million Dollar Man so right away you know this production is going to have some cheeky elements.
Joon Hyun is on a live TV show and a caller mentions she saw someone cheat at a half-marathon and NOT really run the race. Joon Hyun thinks it is Choon Hee making the call to blackmail him. He ponders how to retaliate.
Choon Hee has a debt ridden father who runs a convenience store and has the family finances in complete chaos. By the end of the episode he has deserted Choon Hee and her little sister Byul. This is similar to Shut Up Flower Boy Band where the female lead was deserted by her debt ridden father and had to fend for herself. When debt collectors come and take everything from the convenience store, things are dire. Choon Hee clutches the CD of her Mother singing Trot music (Mother is dead) not allowing it to be confiscated. Things go from bad to worse when Joon Hyun gets Choon Hee fired from her job (he did this because he incorrectly thought she was blackmailing him).
Deserted by Dad, responsible in every way for the family and caring for her sister, and now fired Choon Hee is frustrated beyond belief and goes to confront Joon Hyun.
Meanwhile Joon Hyun has gotten himself in a scandalous situation by drinking to excess. His one-night lover posted pictures of him passed out on the bed clad in his underwear.
As Choon Hee converges on the hotel a gaggle of reporters hunt down Joon Hyun too. Joon Hyun knows the reporters are nearing his room and when he sees Choon Hee he does not have time for her issues. Joon Hyun grabs Choon Hee and they hide in the closet while the reporters search his room and leave disappointed that he escaped. Here is where you see the romantic potential of this couple, stuck in the closet, it is obvious that this pair can shine given decent material to work with.
In the hotel’s parking lot Joon Hyun tells Choon Hee that she has ruined his life and he never wants to see her again. Amazed that he considers her the culprit, she sputters SHE is the injured party because he got HER FIRED. Joon Hyun blows her off and makes his way to the ubiquitous black van where his manager awaits to whisk him away from the pursuing reporters. His flight from the reporters is campy.
Unfortunately for Joon Hyun he runs right into the van’s door that manager opens for him and is knocked unconsciousness. The reporters swarm, cameras click steadily and the internet blows up with the scandal. Joon Hyun is dropped like a hot potato and becomes a former pop-star.
The record company president looks for his long lost love who just happens to be Choon Hee’s mother. The private investigator informs him his long lost lover is dead but two daughters are alone and fending for themselves. He goes to visit Choon Hee and Byul but only watches them perform trot music (which they learned from their mother).
The record company president’s son Jo Geun Woo (Shin Sung Rok) has a couple of interactions with Choon Hee and appears to be forgetful, aimless, and totally dependent on his father (much to the frustration of his father) to fund his lifestyle.
Joon Hyun’s girlfriend Park Soo In (Lee Se Young) works at the record company and she’s pretty. She drops Joon Hyun after the scandal, intent on making her own record and not wanting his scandal to reflect negatively on her.
When Joon Hyun begs the record company president for a second chance he realizes he can help Choon Hee to become a successful artist. He sends Joon Hyun to tutor Choon Hee in the music business.
Reluctantly Joon Hyun goes to Choon Hee’s house and announces he’s here to make her music dreams come true. He is horrified when he recognizes Choon Hee. Choon Hee is equally appalled that Joon Hyun is at her door.
* Ji Hyun Woo dyed his hair a sandy blond for this role and I’m not sure I like it. I like Jung Eun Ji’s hair color and style.
* This production is campier than I thought it would be. I can enjoy campy productions but it takes a certain mindset shift.
* The second leads had little impact in this first episode. Geun Woo seemed scatterbrained and Soo In seemed selfish.
* Our leads, Joon Hyun and Choon Hee, have mega chemistry potential, can the story effectively mine it and make it shine?
Tags: Trot Lovers, 2014, Korean Drama, Ji Hyun Woo, Jung Eun Ji, Lovers of Music, 트로트의 연인, Shin Sung Rok, Lee Se Young