Viewers Note that Memories of Alhambra Appears Tailor Written for Hyun Bin as Jin Woo with an Excessive Male Gaze

I think the knock on Park Shin Hye having a very marginal and excessively teary character in tvN fantasy AR drama Memories of Alhambra isn’t the entire picture. Eight episodes in and its clear this dram is not only Hyun Bin‘s male lead Jin Woo centric but it has an skewed male gaze where all the male supporting leads have their own personalities and ties with the central narrative while the few ladies are horrible ex-wives of Jin Woo or plot devices like game master Se Joo’s family. There’s rival-turned-AR zombie Hyun Seok, loyal secretary Jung Hoon who is now also Jin Woo’s in game alliance partner, playing favorites Professor Cha, company director Sun Ho caught between believing in AR game gone amok and runnina company, and game mastermind and still missing teenager Se Joo. This drama feels like it’s written for a gaming fan to nerd over with even a nod to making the female lead into an actual NPC that can be dressed in different outfits. Even though I’m loving Memories for Jin Woo’s emotional and physical torment it’s a knock on the screenwriter who is a woman for not writing better female characters. This drama does not pass the Bechtel test for sure.


Viewers Note that Memories of Alhambra Appears Tailor Written for Hyun Bin as Jin Woo with an Excessive Male Gaze — 42 Comments

  1. I don’t give a darn about the Bechtel test but have the guts to not bring an actress (I’m middle of the road about PSH’s acting talent but she’s definitely a top tier k-drama actress.) into a drama that isn’t going to utilize her unless she knew beforehand that’s how it was going down. Who knows, maybe she enjoyed sightseeing in Spain while HB worked his tush off.

    Of course, the drama isn’t done and could be PSH’s role in the second half will be more satisfying. If the production had hired a less well-known actress, a smaller role would have been anticipated but I can see why some PSH fans are a bit irked.

  2. Yes you’re right. This drama is not going to pass the Bechdel test. It’s already 8 episodes and they’ve only focused on Hyun Bin and AR stuff. PSH feels like a cameo. Very strange that a top actresses like her would take such a lame role. Even bigger issue is how badly all of the female characters are written. Like a dude with cheetos fingers wrote it. I’m curious, is this the consensus of Korean viewers too? If you ignore the female characters and only focus on Jin Woo’s journey then it’s watchable.

    • I dint consider PSH is a top actress yet. Just not yet. In Korea industry she still consider as young hallyu actress just like Suzy etc. They still has a long way to go. To become top they need to take more challenge acting character. However I agree this drama is more HB centrism and not really favor to PSH which kind a disappointing.

      • Status and ability has nothing to do with each other.
        Both PSH and Suzy are considered top actresses of their generation, irrespective of how i-fans view their talent.

      • I would think PSH is a level above Suzy, even leaving the question of talent enrirely aside, she has consistently successful (in ratings) dramas over the last five years and two 20 percenters in that (Heirs/Doctors). It’s a shame MoA is so lame and sidelines her though.

    • And so i thought i am just the only one noticing it.shouldn’t they give her the best of it since she os one of the most anticipated actress.just a bit sad about how they led her into something not so noticeable??.

  3. OMG that first pic looks like our Binnie has a rod wedged between his legs! Anyway if I was a diehard PSH fan I would be spitting tacks because all the promos led us to believe that it was a equally played out drama you know the ying and the yang but it’s not. And whilst I’m enjoying the storyline I’m definitely not happy with Hee Joo being sidelined as the weepy no back bone 2nd. If that was the case why bother casting her? This writer and her portrayal of female characterisations is questionable. However PSH would have seen how her character was placed and good on her for taking the role regardless. That’s what you call a good sport. Everything about MOA is on point except for Hee Joo’s character not enough meat so to speak!

  4. How do we know how PSH’s role turn out to be as we are only half way through the series.As someone had said must the lead actress be always punky and fiery. Just look at some other over hyped actress whose roles have been been always a ‘poor me’ that evoke sympathy. Those repeated recycled roles get the thumbs up for her sad stories. And here PSH is critisized for her always being weak ‘crying’.

    Im not a PSH fan. Im putting in my comments noting how articles here over the past weeks have been so slanted. Suppose its all commercial and nothing else.

    • Agree with you on the punky and fiery lead actress. As much as we like our female leads to be the independent and capable modern woman, dramas will become all stale and similar if they are all like that. Besides, this is a male lead-focused drama, it’s only natural that the female characters take the sidelines.

      • Correct, this is a male focused drama.

        So, that begs the question why add a female lead character to the story and why cast a high profile actress for it? The drama works fine without a female character, so I’m baffled that there is one.

        For ratings and profits, a female lead is needed, and a high profile actress is much better.

      • This is a reply to drawde2’s question – why cast a high profile actress’. My question – why cant a ‘high profile’ actress accept lesser roles? What does ‘high profile’ mean?

        My take is that after having been in the industry for a while these ‘high profiles’ know what they are into. They could have been given flaks when playing centre stage. Why not then play some ‘side roles’ once in a while to hone up skills. And when they take on lesser roles(im not saying this female role is of lesser imptce as we still do not know) they got lambasted too. So it seems a male focused drama shld not have ‘high profile’ actress even when the actress herself may think tt the role can help her development in the long run.

      • @drawde2000 Why can’t you cast a high profile actress for it? Hee Joo’s role in this story is important too, the naive family member who don’t know anything about games indirectly sells the game to the male lead; looks after the male lead and enlightens him (in terms of morals and such); and let female viewers fantasize themselves as her. Can you really replace her with a male character?

      • No, there’s nothing wrong high profile actresses accepting lesser roles. But I think there’s a problem when an actress accept a crappy role, whether as a lead or secondary.

        If i was auditioning for a lesser role, I would have preferred the younger sister’s character. That character has more spunk and more fun to play on screen.

        I just think that the character should have been written better. And it is still possible that the latter half can prove me wrong.

        So again, if this is a male focused drama, why add a female character? What is her purpose, besides cry and pine for her crush?

    • Actually a spunky and fiery female lead is not needed for viewers to be satisfied. Viewers want a well written female lead, not someone who is just there on the screen.

      As an example, Life on Mars was somewhat male-centric but the female characters also stood out. A lot of viewers adore Nayoung, who was feminine, so softspoken but also fast to act, she knew how to defend herself, made good deductions and was a great addition to the whole team and also narrative. LoM put major focus on Taejoo’s journey in 1988 and everything else seems to fall in place and made narrative sense, including Taejoo and Nayoung’s relationship. Yes LoM is a remake, but it is one of the best remakes in kdrama history.

      Personally i think MotA would have been much better if they put a focus on one thing first: JW’s game adventures and struggles. We are only half way in, i hope the writer surprise us with HJ being super awesome. Her constant crying is unfortunately not rubbing well with some viewers, me included.

    • Lmao if you really think all she did is cry and pine then you clearly haven’t been watching the drama properly. Why can’t male-focused dramas have female characters? You don’t see female-focused dramas without male characters too, do you?

      I don’t get this whole “both male and female leads in the drama must be equal” thinking. Life has multiple perspectives and dramas tell stories from one of them, this one tells its story from the male lead’s perspective.

  5. I’m enjoying the drama so far as it is though, I can’t imagine changing any of the men to a female character. There’s no need to fit women in just for the sake of equal representation. I also give this drama a little more leeway as they are doing a fresh genre after all.

  6. I’m fine with this drama so far and had no problem with the lead actress being weak. I swear I have watched tones of kdrama to date’s and I’m super annoyed with drama where the lead actress is fierce and tough. It just doesn’t work with Korean drama because the acting is usually too much: not natural at all. The only one that I can stand is Jang Oh Jung because Kim Tae Hee did great in portraying Jang Oh Jung. I remember never finished watching Secret Garden because I just can’t stand both characters and especially Ha Ji Won acting and Gi Ra Im.

    Hee Ju is not such a bad characters after all. The only flaws is she cried too. Still love this love and rooting for a happy ending. Also please no unreasonable romance related because this drama work better with light romance.

    • I like what koala observed but I also agree with you. While PSH role seem less significant in comparison to the male casts, I am happy to see PSH looking so lovely and mature in this role.

      And I must say I like Hyun Bin best in this role too. I trust the writer who has produced marvellous show for us as I still love the characters in W – two worlds.

  7. not interested to whom played the only concern is how they portrayed and played the role on the script..i love the story of of this drama..thpugh im not a fan of hyun bin and park shin hye they are good actress and actor who desrves a lot of appreciation on tjeir own fields..i wish this drama gets some sort of award..the drama is getting more interesting as it goes to more satisfied enough of it as a whole..

  8. OMG I don’t understand why people complaint so much. Park Shin Hye didn’t blindly accept this role without reading the script so if you’re her fans: please respect her choice for this picking this project. She said she accepted the offer of Alhambra because she always wanted to work with Hyun Bin for a long time. Don’t blamed the writer or anyone because they didn’t force Park Shin Hye to accept this drama. Both Hyun Bin and Shin Hye did great and work hard so hopefully they get recognized for their performance. The best drama I’ve watch this year.

  9. Come on guys, PSY even did heirs so what makes you think she is not ok with this drama. *seriously*
    At least here she got to be in a creative plot while in heirs she had to carry a high school back pack and be in a tug a war in the middle of the road between LMH and KWB – if she’s ok with that, Hee Joo is prob a better role

  10. Waiting call movie as PSH will be the lead and finally with women actresses no male dominated role nor oppa fans girls who are jumping in every article attacking seriously I am disappointed with this writer who is female why are they gating their gener that much by writing superficial female characters , I am from Egypt and in our dramas there are women centeric dramas like women jail , My Road ,Raya and Sokaina …etc the woman centeric movies or dramas more interesting and have material .

  11. Plain and simple if you’re looking for a Miss bullet proof female lead and a spicy hot romantic drama then you’ll be disappointed. This drama is not for you so don’t waste your time leaving rude comments to ruining others who enjoy the dramas’ day. Also leave the “can’t take any criticism,” line out because that’s for narrow minded people.

    Fighting Memories of Alhambra.

  12. Please get this right – No one is hating on PSH we are hating sorry that’s too strong a word rather dislike the fact that her character Hee Joo is weak and cries too much and yes it’s 2018 and I for one advocate for strong feisty female led characters in all dramas regardless of what genre it is unless the story demands otherwise. MOA is an action thriller fantasy and I expected a lot more from Hee Joo and that was part of the excitement wanting to know how she would evolve as a character and her purpose in the scheme of things but I guess the writer had other ideas to keep her meek to keep her weak and my issue is with the writing of the character to service a lead which is doing fantastic in leaps and bounds whilst we are sitting; waiting and hoping the best of HJ is best to come. It’s midpoint now and I am wishing upon a damn star to bring HJ to the forefront and get this baby on the road!

    • You’re talking about a woman who at 27 y/o has been raising her younger siblings for more than a decade since their parents passing in a foreign country! Not to mention burden of feeling guilty that she has to endure since her family moved to Spain in the first place because of her. Yes, it’s 2018, but is there any rule that a strong woman has to be spunky and feisty?? As far as I remember, NO. It’s just a comical interpretation of strong woman in kdrama, and you fell for it.

      • @manohira- Oh have you just gone and contradicted yourself? The character HJ is the sole care giver of her younger siblings and has the assistance of her grandmother so bearing that burden she’s supposed to be timid and weak whilst managing a hostel? My point is the writer should be realistic in her character development of HJ who should be staunch, feisty and strong considering she has been the pillar of the family in the last 10 years. Gosh where have you been? And don’t shout at me with your capitalised no. Btw what did I fall for exactly?

  13. LMFAO…all these dumb unnies fans are so hilarious. I’m a girl myself yet find these commenters here to be some of the most sexiest and dumbest reasons ever. What is up with the high profile standard actress recieving a lesser forefront role when the girl can’t even make her weak character convincable. It’s not the writer’s fault if she wanted the drama to focus more on the male lead. Park Shin Hye walked into this production knowing this role is suitable for her. She still need more acting experience until she can take on a stronger character.

    • @seesee- I’m sorry but who are you calling dumb? As your comment follows directly after mine. Yes I do have a tendency to be the dumbest at times but I can also be hilarious however please don’t confuse PSH the actor and Hee Joo the character and the validation of why some of us here have pointedly said the writer’s intention of making Hee Joo a mere second to service Jin Wo’s lead is the cause of our frustration. And I would kindly remind you about PSH still needing ‘acting experience’ to take on a ‘stronger character’ she is a veteran in the industry with15 years experience so unsure how you arrived at that conclusion and MOA could have been that platform if the writer hadn’t been so stingey when creating HJ. And for the record I don’t know about sexist comments care to enlighten me?

    • Need what ??? Seriously she had stronger characters before ..Oh by the way park shin hye is veteran honey she is only need to not to trust some female writers and only think about her role more in depth the story of the drama not based on books but script given to them before every episode so I wish she had consultant who can advise her before accepting any drama .

  14. Loving this drama for making me think. There is an interesting blog about HeeJoo leveling up and I really did noticed about the time shown on her wall clock. Koala won’t let the link be copied so just google bitchesoverdramas . Shin-hye always had been wise in her choices and as a fan I’m happy with it. This script must have intrigued her and from all those that were offered to star Hyun Bin and her, MAO was something different and a first. Before we all bellyache about why she accepted the role, we should watch till the end.

  15. Well the writer is making a mistake then because having the female gaze would probably be more beneficial to TV ratings.
    This is why on average, romance dramas or female-centric dramas tend to do better in ratings.

  16. Im still stuck in ep 6. Too many plot hole. Just give me a good reason, how HJ fallin love with JW? I even dont understand why she cried for a stranger? And how about her brother, she never think about him.

    • Yes.. too many plot holes. In this techie world we now live in, a close family member goes phone money..yet.. nothing to worry about here but cry over a stranger. Who can remember the face, let alone the name of the manager of a hotel they stayed at a fews months ago?? … you have to disengage the brain whilst watching these formulaic dramas.. an engagement or wedding will be slotted in before the end.. afterall the male lead has been married twice already.

    • yes, i’m thinking about that too… how and why she doesnt have any concern about his brother’s whereabouts,,, the writer maybe has overlooked that part. too busy with the main leads lovestory to progress,

  17. Does PSH read comments? I wish she does so she can read, see, and think about all these observations. This is interesting. Ive never seen a drama that enjoys/experiences a lot of varied reactions to its story. Congrats to PSH and HB!

  18. I guees Alhambra the best drama 2018 ,if anyone told PSY to weak in this drama i think the writter had a far till 8 eps i really curious and enjoy this drama.the right choice for the director and writter pick HB and PSY ?…just interract wit dialogs they have strong chemistry .i hope the writter give some skinship for next eps.

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