Big


Reviewed by: sukting

September 08, 2013

Rating: two-point-five

Foreword
Big is a romantic comedy television series about a 18-year-old high school student who finds himself trapped in the body of 30-year-old pediatrician, Yun Zai. Are they able to switch their bodies back? It is written by the Hong Sisters, Big was Gong Yoo's first television series after The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince in 2007 and since being discharged from national service.

Story/Introduction on characters

1.Gong Yoo as Xu Yun Zai / Jiang Jing Jun
En Lan is engaged to a kind and handsome doctor, Yun Zai. He is kind and likes children. It is a fairy-tale-come-true until one month before the wedding, Yun Zai becomes distant from her. He does not dare to touch her at all. Their wedding approaches and she is excited, but he acts differently. On the day they are to look for a new home, he calls that he can't make it and En Lan bursts into tears. She asks if he really loves her or just feels responsible for her and then hangs up.

She doesn't know what to do. Then, Jing Jun sees her and takes her on a ride on his motorcycle. They go out to a lake, outside of Seoul. While looking at the water, Yun Zai calls En Lan and tells her that he will give her the answer to her question. Meanwhile, Jing Jun gets back on his motorcycle and leaves.

Yun Zai and Jing Jun approach each other, an accident occurs in front of them. They both try to avoid the car crash and both drive into the water. As Yun Zai's car sinks deeper into the water, he manages to get out of the car, but sees Jing Jun sinking past him. Yun Zai grabs him and goes back up to the surface.

At the hospital, Yun Zai is declared dead. En Lan cries and Yun Zai suddenly wakes up. When he sees himself in the mirror he is shocked. He has Yun Zai's body, but his mind is of Jing Jun. Jing Jun finds that his body is unconscious and has to assume Yun Zai’s identity. En Lan also realises it.

More problems surface when 30-year-old Yun Zai falls in love with Shi Ying. Shi Ying even makes a drunk Jing Jun to go to bed with her. Still, this hasn’t won Jing Jun over. The two men get into their same positions when their souls return. Yun Zai is clear of his feelings for Shi Ying to be with her.

It was not easy to manage two different roles. Yun Zai is gentle while Jing Jun is aggressive. Yoo really plays his part well. He is good as the gentle and mature doctor while portraying the naughty Jing Jun, many will laugh when watching the part of him getting allergic to mushrooms to rush to En Lan’s school for help. The emotional scenes of Jing Jun missing his late mother are also well depicted.


2. Lee Min-jung as Jin En Lan
En Lan is preparing to take for her teacher's exam. She is kind and serious but can be very forgetful. She goes to a wedding hall to deliver a bouquet. When she hands over the bouquet, she discovers the bride is a friend of hers. En Lan also realises that she isn't invited to her friend's wedding.

She stays at the wedding and gives money to the couple as a wedding gift. En Lan eats lunch at the wedding alone. She receives a phone call that the bouquet is delivered to the wrong bride and she needs to get it back. En Lan attempts to catch the bouquet at the end of the wedding, but bumps into Yun Zai.

Due to the bump, she falls down the stairs and is hospitalized due to broken bones. Her doctor at the hospital is Yun Zai, the man she bumped into at the wedding. Their relationship develops into a romantic relationship and one month later they plan to get married. However, she is skeptical over their social difference and can feel very demoralized easily.

Due to him in a coma, she realizes that he has cheated on her. Not only he plans to leave for America before their wedding, he is also dating Shi Ying behind her back to even have her house key. She is never doubtful towards him. In fact, clueless is the word. She has never seen his naked top before and blushes when Jing Jun removes his shirt. She also has no idea what charity or voluntary work Yun Zai is doing.

She breaks off her engagement with Yun Zai but one year later, she gets her teaching certificate. She chooses to run with Jing Jun in Yun Zai’s body at a wedding. She is confused over her feelings for the two men. Yun Zai and Jing Jun are scared of blood – this is the similarity between the brothers. She decides to leave Jing Jun in order to save him. Jing Jun gets mad and has other ideas, refusing to save Yun Zai. But later, he becomes sensible.

I find her acting of the teacher in the wrong way. She is very childish – how can she be behaving worse than Jing Jun? She makes En Lan to be overly gullible.

3.Suzy as Zhang Ma Li
Jing Jun’s mother nearly marries her father till her death happens. She has opposed to this all along. She is relieved as she likes Jing Jun all along. She comes to Korea to look for him and is shattered to know that he is in a coma. She discovers that Jing Jun is in Yun Zai’s body due to his mannerisms.

She bears with it but insists of staying with him. She understands Jing Jun most as she gets along well with his mother. She likes Lady Gaga and can shine in the eyes of others. She even turns up at his wedding in a mini-wedding dress. This attracts Shang Zhi instead and he warns her for being rude to the bride – this looks like he is marrying two women. This is her exact intention. Her acting is natural but the director makes her to be an irritating trouble maker.

4. Shin Won-ho as Jiang Jing Jun
En Lan works as a temporary teacher at a high school, while preparing for her exam to become a teacher. When she goes to work on the bus, she listens to her own story that she writes in to the radio station. She gets off the bus and Jing Jun follows too. She mistakenly believes he likes her. It turns out that she takes his umbrella on the bus and he is her student. He lives in the United States with his mother, but after his mother dies, he comes back to South Korea.

He likes to pretend to be an adult but is still very childish. He is very sensitive and guards against others except En Lan. He is appalled that En Lan knows nothing about Yun Zai and chides her. He even tries protecting her from Shi Ying.

Jing Jun travels with Hui Ting to America and comes back a year later. He also studies medicine. He convinces En Lan to act as a married couple together so that she can take care of him as she is the only one who knows his true identity. He finds a ring that is unsuitable for Shi Ying but En Lan can wear it.

He feels guilty that he causes his mother’s death as she is stabbed to death. That is why he is scared of seeing blood and Ma Li knows his secret even though he is in Yun Zai’s body. En Lan agrees to marry him but will divorce when he reaches twenty if they can’t get along to pursue each other’s new lives.

Jing Jun decides to search for his father when he finds out that Yun Zai's father is his father too, and Yun Zai's mother is his biological mother. He is not born out of love but out of necessity. En Lan finds herself attracted to Jing Jun and reveals her love for him in his birthday. But it turns out if they switch back to their bodies, Jing Jun will forget what happens to him after he wakes up in Yun Zai's body.

To prevent En Lan from getting hurt if he doesn't remember their love, he pretends to forget. But she does not give up on him, telling him she will remind him instead of pretending to not to remember too. Lastly, she reveals her love to Jing Jun in front of Yun Zai and her family. They are shocked but do not oppose to it. There are limited scenes so I can’t tell if he can act well.

5. Baek Sung-hyun as Jin Shang Zhi,
He is En Lan’s younger brother who studies in the same high school she works. He doesn’t like Jing Jun and bullies him. He sets eyes on Ma Li and likes her. When discussing with pals what to sing for En Lan’s wedding, Ma Li insists of getting them to sing 2am’s ‘will not let you go even in death’. That becomes the joke of the wedding to make others laugh. Jing Jun is relieved that she will not pester him from then on to fall for Shang Zhi instead.

6. Jang Hee-jin as Li Shi Ying
Shi Ying is a doctor working in the same hospital with Yun Zai. Hui Ting likes her as she resembles herself. She is Yun Zai’s ex-girlfriend who parts with him as she has never thought of settling down. But she regrets later to date him secretly. She makes En Lan discover that the tea she buys for her. She is confident of defeating En Lan and sure indeed she doesn’t give up even though Yun Zai is away for a year.

7.Kim Seo-ra as An Hui Ting
She is Yun Zai's rich mother. She never likes En Lan and prefers Shi Ying. That is why she is adamant that Yun Zai returns to America with her. She wants to draw out Jing Jun’s blood to save Yun Zai. After giving birth to Yun Zai, she can’t have any more children. He is a sickly child when young. His old illness has returned, and he needs a donor for an umbilical cord. The surrogate idea comes so she approaches Xi Shu.

She tries to accept Jing Jun as her son but Jing Jun points out that he might not accept her as a mother as he is conceived and later abandoned. Upon knowing that Yun Zai cancels his honeymoon due to Jing Jun, she immediately calls up Ying Xu to affirm his identity. She still doesn’t treat him as her son.

8.Ahn Suk-hwan as Jin Min Ji
He is En Lan's father who wants the best for En Lan. He is heartbroken when her engagement breaks off.

9. Yoon Hae-young as Li Qing Ai
She is En Lan’s mother who likes the Yun Zai after the accident. She finds the initial Yun Zai too reserved and polite. En Lan’s family is closely knitted so the guys envy her.

10. Jo Young-jin as Xu Ying Xu
He is Yun Zai's doctor father who feels apologetic to his sons. He loves Xi Shu but has no right to be with her. Hui Ting admits that it is all her doing to ask Xi Shu to raise Jing Jun for her. She needs Jing Jun in order to save Yun Zai. Hui Ting cannot accept Jing Jun because of Dad’s love for Xi Shu. Ying Xu spends his whole life being unhappy even when he stays with Yun Zai and Hui Ting.

11. Choi Ran as Jin Ying Shu
She is the vice principal who is very strict. She always shakes her head upon seeing how En Lan behaves. She has liked Min Ji before and is still sore over his choice to choose to marry his student, Qing Ai.

12. Moon Ji-yoon as Luo Xiao Shang
He is the PE teacher who likes her to get Ai Jing to help him. Of course, it does not work for him.

13. Shin Ji-soo as Li Ai Jing She is a Math teacher and En Lan's friend. She ends up going steady with Xiao Shang.

14. Jang Hyun-sung as Jiang He Xiu He is Jing Jun's uncle who is greedy for money. He wants to sell Jing Jun’s mother house away. Jing Jun then uses Yun Zai’s identity to buy it back. He has liked Qing Ai in the past.

15. Go Soo-hee as Li En Mei
She is Jing Jun's aunt-in-law who suggests sending Jing Jun to America since they do not have any obligation and even though he has no more relatives in America.

16. Im Ji-eun as Jiang Xi Shu She is Jing Jun's foster mother who cares for him. She gives him whatever he needs. She does for love and not money to raise him alone. He Xiu knows his sister better than anyone, and says she grows up wealthy. She has made the book hoping that when the two brothers meet, they help each other find happiness.

She is grateful to Yun Zai because he is the reason she has Jing Jun in her life. She is the surrogate mother. She has planned when he grows to be Yun Zai’s age of having the operation at 18 years old, she will tell him about his family, so he will not be lonely.

Interesting facts
Rating were about 12%. Many thought that it was a waste to get Won-ho to sleep on the bed most of the time – he wasn’t given enough time to act. Many grumbled over the ending but had full of praises with Yoo’s acting. His acting made up for the deficit in the development and dipping viewership.

During the promotion in Seoul, Yoo was overjoyed to have the actresses surrounding him. He joked to the reporters not to get jealous of him. Suzy said she called Yoo uncle and Min-jung touched her head to laugh. Yoo quickly hid his head under the table. Suzy quickly explained that she called him senior or oppa.

Many liked their faces to be small but not Yoo. He thought he was not manly enough. That was why he looked childish and hardly got tough roles. He even asked reporters to use photoshop to enlarge his face. Many asked what his uniqueness was. He replied there was none as he was more of the next door boy. But maybe he was approachable due to this.

Winner of 2012 KBS Drama Awards - Popularity Actress Award (Bae Suzy)
Most favourite character
Jing Jun, he is playful but he is also mature. He tries not to hurt others although many hurt him.

Most hated character
Shi Ying, she is bitchy – why can’t she make up her mind earlier so as to avoid hurting others?

Conclusion

The plot is messy and long-winded – no wonder the ratings are so low and can’t be ‘big’. The drama can’t rely on Yoo alone to survive. We can see that many of them can’t act properly. Most parts are not explained and we have to guess. Both brothers have a miracle book and their souls are switched by holding each other’s hands when the accident happens. Ying Xu draws the pictures while Xi Shu writes the story.

Confusing is the word - aren’t just brothers… they’re fraternal twins, separated on purpose by the parents. One to be born right away through in vitro, the other saved for later. Saved for later?! Is it possible in modern technology? No wonder Jing Jun wants Yun Zai to wait for his treatment out of revenge.

The last part on whether the souls are switched back is up to everyone’s imagination. Both do not have the memory after the accident. Even though Jing Jun has forgotten what happens, he recalls what happens on their first meeting. He knows that it is love for him at first sight to hold her hand.

Yun Zai is clear of his feelings for Shi Ying to be with her. But why it is Jing Jun calling En Lan’s name at the bus-stop for the last 5 minutes? We have to look at his dressing – he is wearing a checked shirt but he sounds exactly like Yun Zai. The director uses an umbrella to cover his face. This hints to us that Jing Jun is back since it shows the shot of him meeting En Lan a year ago but I will prefer a direct, clear answer.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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