A review of Gu Family Book Ep. 1-4

Another wonderful present from AnnMichelle: 😀

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While we are waiting for the new episodes patiently (or impatiently), I translated this very nice and thoughtful review from BaiDu TieBa. I included a few of my comments in parentheses.

Some characters are shrouded in mystery and only revealed in the greatest of anticipation.
I have watched dramas where the stories began with the main characters still in diapers. But this one takes it further. It started with a soppy love story of Dad and Mom.

In my view, the first two episodes are typical sound and fury emptiness. An elephant with a brain of a sparrow – it has everything, it has nothing.

It’s like my first attempt at writing an argumentative essay. Thesis, view points, supporting evidence, all are present. But I can’t connect them smoothly. Bad transitions, faulty emphasis, and ill arrangements eventually lead to failure to convey view points.
The writer spent more than half a hour on the intricate dances and stunning visuals. Several days’ worth of tying up of Mom and helpless anguish of Dad. All is to show her aristocratic integrity and his internal struggle.
And all those are mere backgrounds to manifest the helpless betrayal she ultimately committed, the passion that led to his demise, and the shameless, despicable acts of the Bad Guy. It even touched on the feelings the Bad Guy harbored toward Mom: adoration, obsession, and an extreme case of inferiority complex.

What were the results? I don’t know much about the Korean side, but judging from the responses on TieBa, I would say the writer got a huge slap in the face!

Almost no one saw the helplessness, nor the adoration/inferiority. Most just hated Mom’s ungrateful stupidity, yet not bothering to trace back the causes. This is to say the writer’s efforts in background building merely results in a beautiful image feast, and for that she had to share the credit with the PD.

The love between Dad and Mom was handled clumsily as well. The awkward timing of the proposal, not a fault of Dad’s but that of the writer’s, came so prematurely and rushed (time was running out!) that, although it moved many viewers, those repetitive ‘will you marry me,’ struck me as affectation. It’s like we were supposed to, forced to, be touched.

And all these built up to the arrival of the little fox – half man half beast, Kang Chi. His parents’ enmity and suffering. Revenge. Has to be.

Mom wished for a normal and uneventful upbringing of the baby.

Little Fox got that, surprisingly. He turned out to be upstanding and kind. Two old fashioned attributes. But fitting him so nicely. How did he grow up to be like that? Rome was not built in one day. A person’s characters were developed gradually, day by day, from childhood.
Lord Park gets the thanks. Only fathers like him can raise kids like Kang Chi.

A servant’s son, but receiving all the necessary care from Lord Park.

Chung Jo said they grew up playing together. Lord Park said they were raised like blood sister and brother. He is not their son, but is treated like one by almost everyone. All but Lady Park. However, we have to thank Lady Park too.
Because she did not treat him like a real son, Kang Chi got morality influences from Lord Park but not the rigid dogma training as bestowed on Tae Seo, who seems to be a humorless stiff in comparison Kang Chi is free to roam. He smiles a lot. The traits he inherited from his father, like nosiness and action-seeking, make this little fox so honest and straightforward.
Even when someone he likes kisses him, he seems stunned, like his father, and does not know what to do.
At that moment, he is just an ordinary guy.

But let’s not forget who he really is. He is not just Kang Chi, but Little Fox. What he’s going to face is the life of a half man half beast.
Not every man can be upright his whole life. Our reaction to setbacks is different. So many took a wrong step and fell off a cliff. One side is heaven, one side is hell.

Bad Guy turned into a monster when Mom’s father humiliated him unintentionally (AM: or at least not maliciously).
Mom betrayed love when Dad revealed his beast self.

These all transpired but in an instant. Maybe once we were all harmless lambs. But events in Kdrama land tend to push little lambs into Saiyans.

Kang Chi’s future contains not just his half man half beast identity, but the betrayal of his first love, the hostility of his brother, and the relentless pursuits of the Psycho Supreme. I can only rejoice at the appearance of Yeo Wool.

I took an immediate liking to her. The girl who boldly asked the fortune teller about her marriage prospects, who so frustrated by the lack of feminine charms that she knocked her head on the table (AM: another not so feminine thing to do!). It took a pure heart and endearing honesty to act like that. With her on the scene, I feel assured of our Little Fox Kang Chi. Two episodes’ worth of gut wrenching torture and then they can live happily ever after. (AM: fat chance of that!)

Review by 折筵在BAIinDU
English translation by AnnMichelle, special contributor to Everything Lee Seung Gi

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8 Responses to A review of Gu Family Book Ep. 1-4

  1. crazyahjumma fan says:

    Thanks Ann Michelle for the translation n Tryp for posting. Btw, do the Chinese speaking viewers like the drama? My mandarin’s not good, so I don’t go to that site.

    • AnnMichelle says:

      It is VERY popular! In fact on the website of the company who obtained exclusive rights of the drama, it shows Gu Family Book as the only K-drama on the top ten TV dramas list consistently. I just checked and it registered over 4,340,000 viewings.

      • Anonymous says:

        wow. so wonderful. can’t wait to next Monday ^^

      • Eva says:

        Just like what crazyahjummafan said, thank you so much for the translation and for Tryp sharing it with us. It’s really nice to hear that it’s being recognize and love overseas too! Seung Gi-ya and casts/crews of GFB Fighting!!!!

  2. melissa says:

    I like this review. Thanks AnnMichelle. Pretty spot on in terms of how I feel about the first two episodes.

  3. AnnMichelle says:

    Allow me to add a little background information about this review. As I said, GFB has been very popular in China since its premiers on that media company’s website. In fact, so many people adored the love story depicted in Ep.1 & 2 there were comments about ditching the main story line and just continuing with the parents’. I am sure most of the posters were genuine fans of the drama and just wanted to continue to enjoy the lush visuals and fairy tale love story; unfortunately there were also antis using this opportunity to bash Seung Gi (similar things happened with TK2H).

    The reviewer did not try to address jealous vitriol made by fans of others, which were senseless and best left forgotten anyway. She was explaining to genuine GFB fans, in parts, what she thought the first two episodes set out to do but did not completely succeed. While I share most of her views, I feel the audience should shoulder some responsibility as well. Too often we were seduced by smokes and mirrors and did not bother to dig down deeper. I enjoyed the first two episodes. They set the tones of the drama, provided solid foundation, and whetted my appetite for the real stuff. In this sense, as a prologue, it did its job.

    By the way, after Ep. 3 and 4 aired, Kang Chi has exerted his charm, as expected. Now we see comments like when the new episodes will be shown (some did not realize this drama is an ongoing one) and what’s Seung Gi’s earlier works etc.

    Gu Family Book Fighting!

    • muljen says:

      Hope they will continue to watch GFB. I think the story is very interesting and can’t wait for next episode. Seung gi is so cute n adorable as young Kang Chi but he will transform to manly n beastly Kang Chi soon, I believe more people will fall hard to his charms later. I myself really enjoy cute n happy Kang Chi but can’t wait too see his transformation. Hope the writer doesn’t make Kang Chi suffers too much and a happy ending pleasee

  4. crazyahjumma fan says:

    I too hope that the story won’t be too makjang. I personally don’t favour stories like that. I’ll watch the drama till the very end, cos of SG, but if its too tragic, I may not re-watch it again! And I want to!
    Also hope for a happy ending!

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