Update on Skip Beat

I hate to drop a drama recap when the first episode was so darn satisfying that I was all primed to love it wholeheartedly. But the subsequent two episodes of Skip Beat have once again confirmed my gripe with this story. The concept and set up is impeccable, but the execution fails to focus on the material elements of the story for the sake of exploring every nook and cranny of the SB universe. I’ll keep watching, but I haven’t the energy or patience to recap this sucker. A great manga-to-drama adaption needs to understand that it’s free to pick and choose from the source material and do away with the excess while focusing on the pivotal elements that hooked the viewer in the first place. I’ve always been interested in SB for the Ren-Kyoko-Sho complicated relationship. Not necessarily a love triangle, but one where each person affects and pushes the other to climb higher or be better. The manga couldn’t do this, and the drama doesn’t appear to deliver this aspect as well. I’m disappointed, but then again, SB always makes me gets my hopes up and then dash it.

With the dubbing switch from Kun Da to Nylon Chen (himself a singer, and if you have watched KO San Guo, he played Cao Cao in that wacky drama), the character of Dun He Lian finally meshes the acting and presence of Choi Siwon with the dialogue. I love the switch very much. In episode 4, where Lian finally gets center stage alongside Gong Xi and we start to spend more time with them interacting, I was really taken aback at how much drama Lian is totally my cup of tea whereas manga Ren is not. I love Lian’s calm, his professionalism, his innate goodness, and his complete and utter confidence in himself that never borders on arrogance. I think Choi Siwon has really settled into his role and manages to exude intense screen presence with very little dialogue or body movement. He’s like a silent storm waiting to be unleashed.

Ivy Chen‘s performance as Gong Xi is really hit and miss for me, now that I’ve had a few episodes to see the entire picture. I think she’s overacting for the most part, and playing the character stupider than Kyoko was in the manga. While I really liked Kyoko in the manga, I don’t connect with Gong Xi anymore in the drama. I find all my attention drifting to Lian and waiting for any scene with him in it. Which is not a good sign, since SB is the story of Gong Xi’s climb up the entertainment ladder and she is necessarily going to be the focus of this story. I love the few snippets we saw of Shang in episodes 3 and 4, but sadly those moments are too few and far between. In the manga as well, Sho is completely MIA for books on end, and that rather deflates the balloon when Gong Xi’s nemesis isn’t around to see or spur her on. I’ve already professed to love Donghae‘s take on Shang, and he continues to delight me with his performance as a self-absorbed and insecure newbie idol.

I think the positives about SB the drama (and the manga) are enough to keep me continuing to follow its progress. But the myriad failings leave me uninspired to keep recapping it. When I watch SB, I feel dispassionate. The character of Gong Xi, and her trails and tribulations, doesn’t grab me emotionally (aside from episode 1). So I’m left a casual observer enjoying the story without feeling invested in its outcome. I much prefer a drama where I care wholeheartedly about the main character(s), so even if the execution and story is shoddy, at least I’m caring about what is happening rather than have the urge to file my nails. I hope those of you who love SB continue to enjoy it. Ratings tanked below 1 for episode 3, but rose slighting to hit 1.18 for episode 4. I think the drama is beautifully shot, but I can’t argue much with the ratings, which reflect a general viewer sentiment that the story is rather exaggerated and plodding.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.

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Update on Skip Beat — 37 Comments

  1. I totally understand Koala. I couldn’t finish episode 4 even though I tried numerous times. The execution isn’t what I expected and I was so excited in the beginning too! I think it’s the overacting from Ivy Chen that’s really bothering me. I know it’s a manga adaptation and it’s expected in a Taiwanese drama but I really feel like the beauty of Skip Beat is in it’s subtlety and the nuance of her acting changes through her character development. Maybe I’m just being nitpicky but the overacting has been driving me nuts. I still like Ivy Chen as an actress but not so much as Kyoko. It’s too bad. :(

  2. So far, i have watched til ep 4. I didn’t read the manga, so i can’t compare the story, but what i know is : The lead actresse’s voice annoys me to hell, and yes her acting is approximative. The drama is supposed to last 13 eps right ? If i sum up the time spent on screen for Donghae’s character, it won’t go far. For Siwon, it’s a little bit better mostly thanks to ep 4 ( his silent intense gaze saves the show for me ). My definite feeling is that both SuJu stars lent their names to help funding the show but are merely cameo-ing ( this word exists ? ). And am i the only one feeling that they are like lost and isolated on stage, because of the language barrier ? On the BTS it’s obvious, i just want to cross my screen to hug them and cheer them up, they look so sad… I will watch till the end, using fast forward button; to know how the loveline will be wrapped. But clearly i don’t feel connected to the characters, and i don’t expect much of the story neither.
    Nonetheless, thank you for your past work Ms Koala. Hope next time you will pick a good eucalyptus tree to feed yourself on.

    • There is no love line. 28 BOOKS into the manga, there is still no love line in any direction. See why I’m so annoyed. All this possibility, zero payoff (yet and perhaps ever).

      I’m watching for Siwon and Donghae as well at this point. Lovely boys doing such a great job and being super good sports.

      • :o seriously? whenever i asked people said ren was the male lead. no loveline? in any direction? c r a z y. gdi i LOVE the actors and the set-up why is crap. /deflates

      • Ren is the male lead. But nothing remotely serious in the romantic nature has happened between Ren and Kyoko in the manga up to book 28. It’s building, and that’s all. I feel totally exhausted following this story. I need some payoff. SOON.

      • well… Koala-sensei, you got a point there.

        But so far as I know on the manga, Ren now admits that he loves Kyoko, and Kyoko is now afraid to admit that she likes Ren (well, both of them are confusing) and that stupid bastard Sho had already stolen kyoko’s first kiss (on the lips, which made Kyoko mad) and Ren, after this, stole again Kyoko’s first kiss (on the cheek, which made her too embarrased and confused).

        That’s how the development goes far in the manga. And also, Ren now tries to battle his past emotional trauma with Kyoko on his side (I think he actually killed someone before, that’s why).

      • yes as raycken already mentioned , already we know that Ren loves kyoko and all his entourage or at least his manager and his managing company’s CEO know that but then we are waiting for kyoko to understand and accept her feelings towards him
        and yes raycken I also think he killed or was the cause for his friend to be killed and I guess kyoko will know this and help him to deal with this

  3. Loved the first episode of Skip-beat…. didn’t like the second as much…. but (once stupid stupid exams are over) I will finish the series… cause I’m like that ^sigh^
    But I am sorta intreged about the prospect of no definitive love line…. how on earth are they gonna pull that one off?

    But I’ve been waiting to find out, what’s your opinion on Padam Padam Unni?

  4. I like Ivy as an actress but i am also not really connecting here with her. Something seems off for me… something in the entire drama isn’t quite gel-ing for me – however, I will still watch it and do some fast forwarding just to see what happens. I really do not like ambiguous endings where I don’t really know if the OTP got together. I need a pay off, a good one. LOL

  5. There seems to be a lot of comments here implying that Ivy’s the weakest link – and that isn’t true. The script sucks, pure and simple, and the part of Kyoko has been written to be overacted and I can’t see any actress being able to work this part.
    I wish the writers took out most, if not all of the campy stuff (the ‘ghosts’, Kyoko’s inner imaginings, her overwhelming block-headeness). It’s not funny, and it’s annoying. The pacing is also horrible, it’s like the producers want to bore us to death.
    I feel bad for Ivy. It must be a horrible period of time for her, getting edited out of Black and White, then having this bomb of a drama. I’m watching it just to see the love triangle moments, but at this point I don’t see how it’s going to get better.

    • Bad pacing : True. I would say that long monologues don’t help : It works on manga pages but not on a live show. You’re not supposed to talk to herself every minute of the day. Someone said : A picture can tell more than a thousand words. Amen. We miss interaction between main characters in fact.
      The Ghosts : Not funny, not scary. Bad design and drawing. Just ridiculous. A agree.

  6. Have you checked out the anime? Skip Beat’s anime is pretty much the only one I have ever preferred to its manga version, and for precisely the reason you stated. With a short run, the storyline is stripped of all its frills. Only the stories immediately concerned with Kyoko’s growth (her past, her friends, her acting lessons), Ren’s development, and Sho’s growing awareness, and their interactions were really kept. The rest went; and it really made the kicking premise pay off. I was literally on bated breath episode after episode, and each episode moved the anime forward (unlike the manga).

    The drama would have done well to have taken a leaf from the anime. It’s almost too true to the manga, not knowing how to dial down on all the silliness that only works out in animation, not knowing how to insert immediate depth and interest to characters (since you don’t have 28 vols to do it). I mean, if I was not at all aware of Skip Beat from the manga, I’d have no idea where it was going. Like, wasn’t the premise that she’d get revenge? Why is she still nowhere near ANYTHING after 4 episodes? Where’s SHO?!

    Blegh. I will keep watching, but I’m disappointed – especially when my gripe is that it’s sticking too close to the manga!

    • I agree with you about the anime! It moved the story forward without making you feel like much of the manga was cut out. I’m disappointed that the drama didn’t seem to have taken a look at the anime to get some ideas on how to better condense and pace the story. It would have only taken about 8-9 hours to view all the episodes.

  7. When I heard they were making a tv series our of this manga, I envision Rainie Yang to play the role. A mixture of her character from Miss No Good and Hi My Sweetheart would bring this role to justice.

    • I agree with you, Rainie Yang could play Kyoko a lot better, now that she really have short hair like Kyoko in SB manga, I think her appearance is a lot closer to Kyoko and although she’s not young anymore but she still so very cute and still can play 16 year old Kyoko, i think so… and she’s got this super acting, I love every expression she had, from the cute one, silly one, angry one or even sad one. Rainie Yang is one complete package to play Kyoko character.

  8. Thankyou for recapping what you have Miss Koala, I very much understand why you won’t be recapping anymore. I have been an avid Skip beat fan since it began and after 28 books of nothing I am so frustrated! When I heard it was being made into a live action drama I re- read all the books I have and it just got me frustrated all over again!
    I will continue to watch mainly because I’m curious to see where they end it. I was always so disapointed when I watched the anime and they ended it just as Ren discovered his feelings for Kyoko. ARGH!! I love the Super Junior boys in this I think they are really making the roles their own and I think the voice change for Siwon suits him much better.
    I’ve always loved Ivy but I think she needs to tone it down just liiiitle bit. Anyways sorry for my little rant I’ve been dying to get it out after watching episode 2 lol.
    I look forward to the rest of your drama recaps! ^_^

  9. I wish they would just GET ON with the story! Episode 2 & 3 were too slow. They barely covered anything! It’s not like SB has no plot. There is SO much to cover (even if they chose to cover the content from the anime). So I really want them to speed up. I expected the Kimono part to have been over by episode 3 but we’re not even done at episode 4.. When will the Revenge & Dark Moon arc come?

    • Could it be that the script was written for more episodes, but filming got shortened when executives realized it ” didn’t work ” ? I’m really bothered by that 13 eps thing : Since when TW dramas are that short to start with ? The more i think about it, the more i find it nonsensical and suspicious. And it explains why the ” introduction ” goes through 3 eps.
      If i’m right, they are airing what they could save and then it’s the second fiasco after Love Recipe a few weeks ago. Taiwanese drama industry would reveal to be in bad shape, that’s an understatement.

      • Most TW dramas are actually 13 episodes if they’re pre-filmed. For example, Hayate the Combat Butler, In Time with You, Sunshine Angel in 2011 alone.

        The pacing in this case is strictly the fault of the script and nothing to do with extensions & cuts.

  10. I feel that in the drama, they could’ve done the whole Love Me setup in two episodes max. The interesting things haven’t happened yet, and it was pretty boring.

    There’s enough in the manga for a good story, and they didn’t have to drag on the set up for so long… and introduce random characters.. I think, people outside SB fandom have already dropped this drama.

    I do love the boys more than kyoko, at this point.. even though she is one of my favorite female leads.

  11. I can honestly say I’m only watching this because I like Siwon and Donghae. I loved the Skip Beat manga once upon a time but I dropped it because it just dragged on too long and nothing was ever happening. And I totally agree that the drama is heading to that vein. And I also agree that Gongxi’s story isn’t capturing my attention. I remember absolutely loving Kyoko in the manga in the beginning but Gongxi doesn’t have that same appeal for some reason…I think Ivy is over-acting a bit but to be honest, whenever she has scenes with Lian and Shou, it tones down and all three of them shine.

    I felt like fast forwarding some parts in episode 3 because it was pretty boring like some of the weird owner and owner’s wife bits which was SO weird and totally unneeded. But there were some scenes that I really liked and gave me a bit of confidence, like when Lian had the scenes with Gongxi. I was squealing when Lian did his beautiful manly smile to trick Gongxi which is exactly how I would picture Ren to do it if he was in real life.

    I’m going to see this through and I wish you were doing recaps so I could have some more motivation to watch this but its a little bit of a chore right now. But for Siwon and Donghae I WILL

  12. I like the Skip Beat comic book even though is it still on going. I didn’t think the drama would do well when Koala sister first mention it…I was extremly skeptical. I don’t even know about those 2 super junior guys other than they are in the super junior group. At this time, to my suprise, I actually enjoy the show. I know it is not perfect and plot line can be more concise, but I found myself looking forward to the show and watching those characters develop…just like when I first discovered the Skip Beat comic. Slow or not, it is still 90mins of entertainment for me. Love some of unexpected funny dialogue. Glad they switch the voice for Ren. Only thing I really don’t like is the Kyoko ghost…not cute, not real looking, not funny. Ms Koala, I will finish watching this drama, good or bad. ! Certainly wouldn’t mind reading more about your thoughts on this story as it goes. =)

    • Erm….you can call me, like you always do, and beg me to talk with you about it. I love love love the SuJu boys as Ren and Sho. But I wish the drama moved me more. I do “like” it, just don’t “love” it. Much to my sadness, especially after I got you onboard. LOL, I am an evil sister. :-D

      Talk to you when I get back. You’ll probably watch this Sunday’s episode before me. I’m just waiting for the Chicken suit variety show episode. And perhaps the drama ending with the weird goth vampire rock dude arc.

  13. I like the show enough to keep watching it, but i wanted to like it sooo much more. In the previews, has shown the interactions between the three characters and made it look so good. Why waste such pretty people with good chemistry by not putting them on the screen together? I find myself always skipping to when any of the leads are interacting with another. I think Ivy’s overacting comes out when she’s having those monologues to herself, and it gets tedious to watch. I do love the boys, and want to get to the FEEEEELINGS so I’ll keep watching.

    But it could have been So. Much. Better.

  14. ahhh sad to hear that you wont be recapping it, but i understand your qualms about the drama. i decided to watch skip beat b/c of ur good recommendation on episode 1, and after watching it, i was hooked! maybe it’s b/c i’m in the mood for a crack drama with crazy antics, or maybe it’s b/c i havent read the manga and thus dont have any expectations going into it, but i am really liking the drama so far, esp. the lian-gong xi interactions. i agree that lian’s character is much more fascinating and nuanced than gong xi’s, but i feel like i can root for this girl b/c i want to see her succeed in her journey to find herself and find love again. i think it was episode 3 where there was a scene of gong xi contemplating her failure to win the audition, thinking back to her childhood and her whole life living for shang–that was esp. poignant and got me to root for her. however, the drama really does drag on. i feel like there’s unnecessary bits that hog up screentime; it’s like we could’ve gotten to places faster, but the drama takes its time going thru every little scene. it’s too bad though, b/c i really like ivy chen and really want this to be another hit for her. i’m still going to watch the show, but i’m wary of the pacing. i feel like the good stuff is still waiting for us in the later eps. i hope gong xi gets some success by the end of the drama’s run, and pls pls pls have her and lian get together! (hate to hear that there’s no loveline in the manga! i need my rom-com awesomeness!)

  15. I was also thinking of Rainie Yang while i was watching the first episode of SB. I think RY would have delivered much better acting than Ivy. Even Rainie’s over acting would look cute on screen. I guess i’m being biased but sorry for Ms. Chen. I don’t really relate to her and i don’t see any chemistry between her and Choi. Maybe i’m just blind :lol:

  16. I understand your opinion Ms. Ockoala though have the completely opposite one!
    Anyways, the more people the more opinions :) This is a normal thing :)
    I only want to say that I really do like this drama very much! I don’t agree with the most of you about Ivy’s acting because I think it’s pretty good! I like Rainie but her being Kyoko? No!!!
    I agree about Siwon and Donghae, they’re doing great!
    I will be watching the drama because I’m really hooked up :)
    The most interesting things are coming! :)

    • maybe you just haven’t read the manga, Kyoko suppose to be a girl whose cute even when she’s anggry, and she is such a cameleon, I mean when she changed into another character that no one would recognize her, even Sho, when she decided to change and wants to become an actress and Sho met her, he didn’t even realized he was talking to Kyoko, the same girl that he knew almost his entire life. I think thats amazing. Thats not what I see about Ivy chen, there’s not much changing about her appearance, I can still the same her. I think they should pick an actress who can pull some dramatic changing on the appearance so we the audience will be feeling like “wow!!! she’s change!! or she’s become different” and one more thing become more beautiful.

      • most of all, we believe that Sho can’t recognize her because she is really change, or when she play a character and become a different person which is the character she play, so it’s not because the script or the storyline told you too… but because it does …

      • I read the manga, so I know what Kyoko is have to be :) But, again I think that Ivy doing good, and I can see Kyoko in her! Don’t forget that she still haven’t begun to act, it’s only coming! I don’t know…I don’t try to change your mind, I just say what I’m thinking :)
        You, guys, may have your right point too :) I’ve already seen different opinions on this show, good and bad…As I said the more people the more opinions ;)

  17. I love the drama, before hand if you had read the manga and watch the anime, you will know that is not love and kisses and all about it. In my case I dont see it slow, i love how is execute, I was thinking why her o why him, but after a moment you see that are perfect, Kyoko is not the most beautiful girl and the ghost are necessary… are not the best but are necessary to have is part of her evil aura. The only complain is maria-chan should be a cuter girl her parents are from England- japan…. but is not an main character. Kyoko chan lives in her own world of fairytales so over acting is a must for the rol, because she does and look ridiculous and is part of kyoko, she doesnt feel how out of place look some times… I cant wait for the episode for the music video and sho found out it´s her… This type of drama we see someone growing even do she doesn’t want to, someone whos hearth was broken and unable to be repair and willing to does not allow to hapen that, usually in all doroma, the healing process is as fast she met the other guy, but that is not true, someone who has been devoted to a person and damage as she will be not cure one day to the other.

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