A drama can’t succeed on account of just being good, it needs to be nurtured properly and that is where a good marketing strategy comes in. Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love was rather haphazardly marketed from the get go and since it premiered its been playing catch up by hook or crook. The story has dramatically changed since the pre-filmed first few episodes, with Jae Hee‘s second male lead entrance delayed from episode 6 to episode 12 and the general narrative devolving into open plotting and slapfest weeping. It’s such a shame because all the pieces were there from great acting, wonderful cast chemistry, love directing, and a perfect paired soundtrack. I hate to give writing too much credit, but here it really is the lynchpin and when it goes downhill it takes the rest of the great stuff down it it. Gu Family Book trotted out its leads this week for a mid-point press conference which is a savvy strategy so I wondered why JOJ didn’t also plan something similar. Better late then never as SBS held an on-set press conference with Kim Tae Hee and Yoo Ah In dressed in character and meeting the media. Is it me or is the electric pink color of Ok Jung’s hanbok really out-of-place and jarring, which really sucks because the fashion of this drama has been outstanding this far. When I get bored or annoyed by the recent shenanigans I focus on the pretty and it brings me a modicum of happiness. I can’t imagine Joseon finding a way to dye that pink color in any possible way so boo on the color selection. I actually think Yoo Ah In and Kim Tae Hee continue to have great chemistry but that electric vibe seems to have gone away. Yoo Ah In recently tweeted his frustration in acting out a character he no longer understands (I feel you, dude) and I see him struggling in his portrayal of King Sukjung in recent episodes, all dramatic pauses and tics without the earlier comfort and connection. Kim Tae Hee is still wowing my socks off with her consistent acting even as her character is asked to behave in ways I’m sure she’s equally as perplexed by. Scheming to protect her love and survive is fine, being gleefully revengey about it is so not Ok Jung unless the near-death-experience cause a personality transplant somewhere. I wish I could quit this drama but honestly its quality decline actually doesn’t annoy me but for a sense of pity for the cast, so I’m sticking with it to spend more time with my new girl crush Tae Hee-shhi.
I will seriously cut a bitch in the Korean media if, when this drama ends, they dare attribute JOJ’s failure (ratings-wise) to Kim Tae Hee’s acting or performance as the titular Ok Jung. She was the main reason I got hooked and is the only reason I’m still watching. She can act in sageuks from now on and I’m cool with that. But pick a cable network, jTBC‘s War of the Flowers is genuinely awesome and I think she’ll fare so much better in a cable environment where ratings won’t dictate how a storyboard unfolds.