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:
I’m so glad you have been such a big Big lover too, Ms. Koala. Some days it’s been so tough seeing how many people disliked the drama. But there was always you (:
I guess one sign of a crazy drama addict is when you feel like everyone else must love the drama as much as you do hehe
Thank you for this After Drama Petit Four. I was feeling kind of blue about the whole thing being over (both due to the fact that I will miss it terribly and because I was a little let down with the ending), so it’s nice to hear your well thought out reflections after all of the initial excitement from the finale.
I have really appreciated reading your thoughts on this enjoyable but imperfect drama, especially since it was the first one that I’ve watched “live” all the way through. I have to admit that I will really miss KKJ more than anything. Shin and GY did such an amazing job bringing the sweet and vulnerable young man to life that I just don’t know what to do now that he’s gone 🙁 Waaa!
Thanks for trying to put yourself in our shoes, us dislikers. I effectively think the bite would have been less painful if it was a written story. But unfortunately it’s a drama. They cast a young guy with a baby face and couldn’t handle the pressure: Gong Yoo versus Shin. That + the flaws of the writing = This. I’m happy for those who could appreciate and accept that story of pure love stronger than time: I guess unconditional love is not my thing after all… 🙂 Now, as you said, let’s move on.
It’s true.. the most disappointing part for me was not having Shin in the last moment. I was hoping for any of your scenarios to play out for the finale Both back, Da Ran’s choice/dilemma/guilt and KJ’s memory loss. It wasn’t like they didn’t have time (hello, episode 15!)
I already said that with Gong Yoo and Shin combo, they can’t just make Gong Yoo second lead (who by the way had even fewer screen space). I am just disappointed the writers didnt go bold. This drama.. had some really funny and touching moments but it’s towards the bottom of my list of fav hong sisters’ dramas.
I think a big problem for people was that during the drama they kept alluding to a possible fall out of the switch back and then never let the actual switch back and its consequences happen on screen and opted for the copout of having it all occur out of site. We never got to see what happened when they switched back and Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon finally met each other, we never got to see closure between Yoon Jae and Da Ran, on top of that they never showed kyung joon in his original body. Basically in a lot of ways both visually and plot wise the last episode felt like such a copout. Considering how useless most of episode 15 was I think they could of done better by removing most of the content of episode 15 and let the switch back happen in that episode rather than brushing it aside in episode 16.
I will admit though I find it interesting how okay you are with this ending when you were raging at the ending of Queen In Hyun’s Man which while was also a copout was better than how the hong sisters ended this drama.
Hahaha, so true about QIHM’s ending… hi5 sister!
Wow @hockeylover – just a bit rude. She was just pointing out an observation, which I also noted. Your comment is about a million times more obnoxious.
I agree with the inequity of comparing QIHM and Big – all I can say is that while both endings disappointed me, Big left me with a greater disconnect and unhappiness than QIHM. Mostly due to my personal preference for Shin, and with how draggy I thought the overall story was. I would’ve dropped it many episodes ago if I’d known they weren’t showing Shin talking ever again.
My gripes with QIHM’s ending was that it was a cop-out on the very thing I cared about – Boong Do and Hee Jin and their connection. I didn’t want some magical hoo doo cell phone to bring him back, where that time travel mechanism had nothing to do with the talisman and the magic inherent in it. The cop out was on the OTP.
I don’t find Big copped out on the only thing I cared about – the OTP. It failed to tie up lose ends with other characters like Yoon Jae, which are ancillary to the story and frankly I care not a whit about. I don’t need to see the switch back happen onscreen, it was a plot device and one that was explained in one way and stayed true to that in resolving itself. There was no cop out on the OTP – they were together in the end, she kept her promise, he had some sort of curiosity enough to bring him back to find her, and there is the knowledge in her (and the viewers) that they will fall in love again. I don’t find it a cop out that it wasn’t Shin’s body in the end, though I would have preferred it. But not having my wishes catered to is fine as long as the ending remained consistent to the story (she loves his soul, doesn’t matter his outer shell).
And really is there a need for my opinion on Big’s ending to correlate in any way to my feelings towards QIHM’s ending? It’s like comparing apples to oranges. I’m happy to explain the differences, but in the end its merely my feelings and different things affect me in different ways.
Let’s lobby for a SEASON 2 of Big. This time, the story can be on Yoon Jae and we can see more of Gong Yoo – like a spin off with a different setting, in America, somewhere ? With new cute girl, of course. Then GDR and KKJ can co cameo. This time, they can can show a more matured KKJ – yes !
It’s interesting that someone smugly compared your gripes on the QIHM ending with that of satisfaction of Big on DB. It was in poor taste wherein s/he was pointing out things that are irrelevant to the recap post itself. Some of the fans of that show are very obnoxious!! :S They are the very reason that I have yet to watch it and don’t think will do so in the future.
It was nice to come here and read your recaps as an antidote to all the hate out there. Don’t ask me why I feel the need to read the bitterness. It’s a strange compulsion.
Honestly, I just don’t get the level of hate for this drama. As flawed as it was, I still think it was better than 90% of the dramas out there. So much emotion, and I loved all the cute moments between the OTP. Honestly, every Kdrama I’ve ever seen requires the suspension of disbelief.
If we all agreed on everything, there would be no Baskin Robbins, right?
I absolutely understand why people did not like it, but I am glad I liked it.
It made me really happy.
Shin is adorable and TALL.
I hope his handlers (No, Koala, not YOU – HANDS OFF the Shin!) will get him into a role he can do well. As I said before, please NOT a lead. Not yet.
I think that GY and LMJ were probably sleeping.
Both of them looked thinner and paler at the end, didn’t they?
For me the only thing i really disliked was that there was no Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon interaction as brothers at the end. Besides the romance, i felt the show was also about family for Kyung Joon so i was a bit upset that they didn’t show anything. Even though they are both alive i felt a bit like i did when 49 Days ending without the sister having a real sister moment. At the end of 49 Days only one sister was alive and felt the emotions of losing a sister while the other died and never found. The only thing that made me feel better then when i watched 49 days was the fact that both Yoon Jae and Kyung Joon but i was upset with the lack of interaction between brothers.
I have to say, I really agree with some of your points.
I loooved the ending, the way it was written. If it was just a written story I think I would have loved it more, but the way they executed it in the drama totally took me out of the scene and kind of ruined the moment for me because my brain was trying to process what exactly was going on.
Also, I feel like people that hated the drama hated it early on and no matter how it ended they would have still hated it either way.
This was just one of those dramas that you either loved or hated I guess.
I was just thinking earlier today that if the last episode had been in a novel form! Then I could have also imagined Shin aging into Song Joong-ki. I wonder if there will ever be a drama where Shin Won Ho and Song Joong-ki get to play younger/older counterparts or be brothers.
I do feel sad that some people have said that it was a waste of 16 hours, after LMJ and GY’s wonderful performances. Yes the ending was pretty much an epic fail, but there were really good bits of writing and characterization in the drama that shouldn’t be discounted.
glad to read your points on why you loved the ending. as for me, well, i haven’t gotten over the dislike of it yet, because i haven’t stated my reasons somewhere first. (sorry, it had to be on your site, gomen..)
i love Big.. from the first to the 13th episode, that is.. to me, episodes 15-16 were nothing but fillers.. and by ep 15 i was already tired of the “you-hurt-me-then-i’ll-hurt-you-then-we’ll-cry-and-make-up-again” routine. *sigh* anyways, i’m really happy that Kyung Jun ended up returning to Korea and he met Da Ran on a bus again, and then the reverse of their first meeting happened. however, Yun Jae and Da Ran’s closure, it HAD to happen. after one year, only Kyung Jun and Ma Ri were shown to have returned; it gave me the impression that Yun Jae hadn’t returned nor contacted Da Ran at all. why is that? he didn’t know that they got married and divorced? that he got cheated on? the supporting characters ended up looking like they weren’t thinking at all, and that’s sad. 🙁 there are a LOT of loose ends in this drama, and i’ve let most of them slip because of the adorable characters, but the end.. at least spare me that. 🙁
as for Kyung Jun suddenly maturing up after 1 year (while not growing an inch of hair in his 2 years of coma), it’s frustrating how Ma Ri and Chung Sik looked exactly the same. hey, they’re the same age, right? i keep thinking that Shin Won Ho couldn’t pull off the Kyung Jun Gong Yoo played before. :/ it’s not because he looks too young.. it’s more of the connection with Da Ran, and the CONFIDENCE. i’ve noticed it in Da Ran’s dream when Shin Won Ho alternated with Gong Yoo beside her. the longing stare just wasn’t there. 🙁 sorry Shin, i still like you.
sorry it got long. these are the points that i’ve found irksome at the end. irksome, because i really liked most of the story, and it really affected me like none of the kdramas i’ve watched. the actors did a wonderful job, to be honest.. they played out the characters more than what the script was hinting at us. hm.. the ending wasn’t vague; it was bad (at least for me). some more effort (and recklessness, because let’s face it, they didn’t want Lee Min Jung to end up with Shin Won Ho.. it must seem wrong to a lot of people.. which is sad) and it would’ve been fantastic.
If Shin really appeared,I think the screen would have crashed. Everyone would have go gaga over him. Shin is becoming popular regardless of whether he appeared or not,in the end.
thanks for your hard work koala , BIG will remain in my heart as a great love story ^.^
I don’t think YJ was just a cameo. A cameo comes and goes but he kept on impacting KKJ and Daran’s relationship. I think he was integral to the plot but was like a silent all through. Without him getting sick KKJ wouldn’t have been born. Without his body/shell, DR would have never given him a second look or considered pretending to be his wife. Without him getting sick KKJ would have never found his family. I would have preferred they focus finishing YJ’s arc instead of focusing on the teachers or Rabbit (even though she is cute). KKJ was his brother going out with his wife/fiance. They should have also addressed why YJ wanted to talk to DR at the park. Closure was needed.
I think not getting to see the switch bothered me more because the Hong sisters would have their characters talk about how eminent the switch was at least once per episode. Shin Won-ho spazzed around in the bed a few times too. They made their own expectations then didn’t follow through.
I also felt that they’d spent almost 16 episodes priming the audience to believe she loved the soul, no matter the body– even went so far as to wipe Kyung-joon’s memory so that Shin Won-ho would only need to convey a blunted version of 16 episodes’ character growth and nuance into a short ending scene– if this audience can’t handle Lee Min-jung and Shin Won-ho standing under an umbrella shooting hearts out of their eyes, then I don’t even know what drama they were watching. (Ending it with a flashback to Gong Yoo with LMJ was perfect though, since this drama would’ve been nothing without GY.)
I was also disappointed with the drama once it became obvious the show was hurting for plot and conflict, but wasn’t going to reach for any of the threads they’d dangled since day 1. Instead we got the same-old same-old “noble” idiocy.
I wouldn’t say I wasted my time with this drama because there are still pieces of it that I consider absolutely sublime: pieces that I would recommend to my friends (even if I couldn’t recommend the drama as a whole) and that I am due to rewatch a few more times. Gong Yoo and (to a lesser extent) Lee Min Jung were wonderful, and the saddest part of all this for me is that we’re not likely to see them in another project together. TT^TT
This is my first comment here so I wanted to thank you Ms. Koala for the fabulous recaps, previews, etc. It definitely enhanced my enjoyment of this drama.
THIS ————–> if this audience can’t handle Lee Min-jung and Shin Won-ho standing under an umbrella shooting hearts out of their eyes, then I don’t even know what drama they were watching. – a million billion percent agree!!! But we can’t tell viewers how to feel viscerally. Sigh, if only, if only….
We can’t tell viewers how to feel viscerally (though one of the biggest complaints around the English language web I’ve seen is the fact that we didn’t see Shin Won-ho in the end) but I still wish the Hong sisters had stuck to their guns and put Shin Won-ho in at the end for the sake of everything they’d built up to that point. Never mind the audience. The Hong sisters had already made the daring choice of putting the high schooler and the teacher together, instead of the teacher with the doctor everyone thought it was going to be. They’ve had haters about that since the beginning, but they stuck to their decision and wrote 14 episodes’ worth of why this OTP was the right one, regardless of age and his twisted family. I thought the story arc they’d built called for Shin Won-ho to be there in the end. I wish the Hong sisters had been brave enough to see it through. Now it just feels like they didn’t please anybody. ~Sighhhh~
i agree with you Koala!! I am glad that you love the drama….ME TOO! Absolutely loved it to pieces!!I am heart broken to see all the criticisms on the ending but again i understand them, because I have to admit when I first knew the ending, that there would be no Shin won ho and nothing about yoonjae, I was SO FRUSTRATED!!literally my heart was itching, i could feel it! But then i told myself to take a deep breath and thought things through…And when I finally realised the underlying meaning of this drama i was no longer angry or anything….I was actually awed by the awesomeness of this ending! There are 3 lessons/meanings from the ending of this drama:
1. Age, looks, what you are do not matter when it comes to love.
2. It is KJ’s soul that Gil daran fell in love with, not his looks, so by not showing KJ’s face at the end, it is telling us that it does not matter which face it is. (of course we know if it happened for real then it would be KJ’s face)
3. Given the majority of the audiences’ reaction: “I want Shin won ho back in the end!!!!”. This reflects on how MANY people care about the looks (what a person’s face), but when we are asked by others, ‘does looks matter to you?’. We all say ‘NO!!The heart is what matters!’ SO WHAT HAPPENED TO US?????