I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the huge chasm between those who love Big and those who hate it. Not that like or dislike could be validated either way, but perhaps one huge reason for why that exists is that Big as a visual story creates such a huge disconnect and from a production stand point certain things could not be overcome. Perhaps if Big was a novel, then the ending would be fine, as the writers could say that an older looking Kyung Joon (not Kyung Joon from the beginning, nor was he suddenly big like Yoon Jae) walked off the bus and up to Da Ran. We can use our minds to picture it – he’s about 2 inches taller (not-as-evil Mom fed him food without beans in it and lots of eggs with ketchup), add 10-15 lbs or so as this young man hit a growth spurt after he woke up which didn’t happen when he was in a coma, and his face lost some of his baby roundness and added some angles. In my imagination, he looks like Shin turned into Song Joong Ki.
Would that take away some of the disconnect? Maybe, but probably doesn’t address what other faults folks may still have with the story and the fleeting conclusion where everything but the OTP was left like a flag billowing in the wind. The cast and crew attended a Big wrap party last night, so watch the short interview below. I hope this will soothe some hurt that Shin wasn’t in the final scene, as his interview starts at the 1:56 mark. He expressed great pleasure in working on this drama and knowing that Kang Kyung Joon got his happiness in the end. Hear hear, baby boy! The oddest thing about this entire clip is that Gong Yoo and Lee Min Jung are both curiously MIA. Word is they attended, but curious minds wonder why they weren’t ambushed by the reporter. Perhaps they were still in character of Da Ran and Kyung Jae and sneaking around to avoid detection, LOL.
Going back to the ending again, my feeling is that there was no way to wrap up this drama in a way to please any majority of the viewers, because neither side constituted a majority. Situations like this define a no-win proposition clearly. There appeared to be an equal split amongst viewers as to whether they wanted to see Shin’s Kyung Joon with Da Ran, or felt that Shin was too baby-faced and wanted to see Gong Yoo’s Kyung Jae with Da Ran. Setting aside the lack of onscreen conclusion to many plot points which where implied to be resolved offscreen, just taking the ending as the reunion of Da Ran and Kyung Joon by the bus and under the umbrella, I thought that the choice to not show the face was probably the only way THS could balance the two sides.
If Shin showed up, there would be no reason not to show his pretty face. By using Gong Yoo to play that scene but not showing his face, the point is to convey Kyung Joon has grown up and asking us to imagine an older looking Shin’s face on that body. Maybe it would have worked better to have a completely different body actor play that scene, but that’s neither here nor there. In the end, nothing Big could have done would have worked to win over those who had their gripes with it, and I’m just happy the ending worked for me since I loved it so. Yoon Jae didn’t die (yay!), Kyung Joon went back to his own body (double yay!), and Da Ran and Kyung Joon showed us that their love story could miraculously have its happy ending by their reunion which was clear enough to show he could remember her but vague enough not to spell it out.
I wonder if this drama would have worked better if THS had made it clear (as in obvious) before this drama premiered about what it was about – namely, Kang Kyung Joon. Take out Seo Yoon Jae from the onset, a character who is really at most a cameo appearance, a past and not the present or future. They should also have said that there would not be a mutual switch, nor are they interested in dealing with the aftermath of a switch back. I felt like people kept waiting and waiting for switch back, and of course they would be annoyed and disappointed that episode after episode it never happened. I never thought the drama was about the switching back, though I was curious how it would be dealt with. Perhaps even adjusted expectations can’t overcome the myriad other faults in this drama’s execution, but at least it might have tempered some feelings of unfulfilled possibilities. Who knows? To those who liked it, rock on. To those who didn’t, move on. In the end, it’s just a drama, in a long line of good, bad, and mediocre cinematic offerings that linger or dissipate with time.
Big wrap up party: