Paradise Ranch: First Impressions

Honestly, not much can be said about the beginning, except meh. Changmin is cute, but too cute to be a twenty-seven year old chaebol. He doesn’t have the look of absolute arrogance. He’s also not a natural actor. Lee Yeon Hee is probably the only interesting actress in this drama – she plays her role earnestly and it works for her character. Yoo Ha Na does not appear enough in episode one to make a good judgment on her character, although right now she seems too good-natured and oblivious to be someone to be hated. She barely even appears in episode 2.

While you can read episode 1’s recap here, and watch it here, I’ll provide a quick summary of episode 2:

Da Ji tries to convince Dong Joo not to take over her farm, since it’s her home that she and her father worked so hard for. Unfortunately, because of his partnership with Yoon Ho, Dong Joo has to buy her out. His secretary (who also appeared in Dr. Champ as Taek Woo – and I cheered for his appearance) goes to offer double what her land is worth, and Da Ji’s sister Da Eun accepts it, not knowing any better. Meanwhile, Yoon Ho asks for a tour of Jeju Island, except his idea of a tour is to visit all the resorts. Da Ji tells him that all the resort construction is actually ruining the lives of the residents of Jeju, and that gets him thinking.

He hires her to take care of his pony, who seems to be having labor pains. She still thinks he’s a horse buyer until she discovers the buy-out payment from her sister and bursts into the middle of a meeting between Dong Joo and Yoon Ho. She finds out Yoon Ho’s an investor, and he treats her coldly, saying that they should no longer see each other. (He doesn’t really mean that of course…) Dong Joo apologizes but says that it’s better if she just takes the money, lest she have to confront his father (who by the way is going through his own divorce with Dong Joo’s mom).

The grandfather decides to pass the role of president to Dong Joo (skipping Dong Joo’s father because he’s too greedy) so that Dong Joo can have some ambition in his life. He also puts his grandson in charge of the resort in Jeju. Dong Joo’s real lazy, and doesn’t want to do all the leg work (or be in Jeju near Da Ji for that matter), and reports to his father and grandfather that all the residents are dissenting.

If that’s the case, move in to the farmland that’s under contention, says the grandfather. Read: Move in to Da Ji’s home. That way, Dong Joo can be with the farmland owners and gain their favor. He’ll have two months.

Dong Joo ain’t too happy, but he goes to see Da Ji; if she can convince the other residents, then he’ll give her her home back for free.

That’s a rough summary – and there were all these payback/non-payback things going on so I got confused and forgot about it. I don’t even remember how the episode ended, nor do I care to find out. Isn’t that sad?

This feels like one of those light dramas that is going to be completely nonsensical and riding completely on the fame of the younger actors. The writing isn’t solid (it’s so flimsy) and the story isn’t engaging. The actors are working real hard to make the drama into something. It’s like the story went through the K-Drama Mill and churned out this typical, not-too-original story and placed it in Jeju because it’s a nice place. The horse race/horse training angle is actually really interesting, and I hope they expand on that more. Da Ji is smart, it’s just, she’s also really carefree and appears irresponsible or clumsy all the time. I keep hearing that Joo Sang Wook was amazing in Giant but I haven’t seen it; either way, he’s actually not bad here. I just hope he continues being evil – I want him to be like Jin Yi Han‘s character in Who Are You? – a calculating, manipulative art gallery owner who uses Go Ara‘s character to get his hands on her father’s art, only to feel bad that he’s hurting the girl in the end. I want Joo’s Yoon Ho to be like that, and I’m sure Joo can act it well. The only question is whether the writing will be up to par for that…

As for the whole moving-in-gimmick, though Dong Joo tells Da Ji to pretend he’s living there in case anyone asks, I think the Grandfather is up to something. He’s the one who allowed for the two youngsters to get married, and now he’s forcing Dong Joo to take over matters in Jeju and live in Da Ji’s home. So he’s probably angling to get the two of the lovebirds back together (and even knows that the farmland in contention belongs to Da Ji). Why? Dunno. Either it’s that, or the writers are finding a REALLY lame reason to get Da Ji and Dong Joo under the same roof so that sparks will fly.

I have a feeling it’s a drama that will start and end quietly; if ratings explode, it’s either because Changmin’s fans are on overdrive, or the actors are the real draw. If the story gets better, it’ll be a true shocker for me.

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2 thoughts on “Paradise Ranch: First Impressions

  1. omgggg joo sang wook…! I loved him in Giant…. His character is so captivated in there… I want to watch this just for him. But it seems bad…. Hahahhaha

    OTT
    If u want to watch another current drama except sign or my princess, u can watch dream high…… It’s seems pretty simple story, but dream high has heart…… I love DH more than my princess to be honest. So many scene who can make my heart melt.

  2. I just had to share that this drama was filmed prior to Giant which means JSW’s acting is probably mediocre. It’s too bad this drama had to air AFTER Giant since Giant is when Joo really started to act. I had a small desire to watch this for Joo, but ChangMin really does not fit his role. ChangMin barely looks his own age…and not cold at all. Sigh… the story is blah too. Pass. I do like the screencaps of JSW though 😀

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