My favorite new kpop expression is fan service—the idea that idols will go the extra mile to make their fans happy. And for me there’s no better fan service than spending 12-plus hours watching talented and personable kpop stars acting in a kdrama. When you’re already a fan, it can make the viewing experience much more entertaining.
|Song Hye Kyo and Rain in "Full House"|
(Some spoilers ahead)
Since then, several idols have signed on to such series to please fans and raise ratings. One fangirl favorite is Kim Hyun Joong, leader of the boy band SS501, and known for his hit "Break Down". He won hearts by playing Yoon Ji-Hoo, the not-so-nice F4 member who becomes the perfect boyfriend in "Boys Over Flowers". He also contributed to the sound track with the song, “Because I’m Stupid". After winning a best actor award for that role, he proceeded to play the often mean, confusing Baek Seung Jo in "Playful Kiss", a series based on the Japanese manga "Itazura Na Kiss".
|Kim Hyun Joong in "Playful Kiss"|
The series "You’re Beautiful" (about a popular boy band) has a full cast of talented musicians that perform well even when out of character. One of the actors/musicians in the drama’s band, Anjell, is MC and singer Lee Hong Ki of the band, FT Island, who works hard to channel Gdragon-style cuteness.
|FT ISLAND's Lee Hongki as Jeremy in "You're Beautiful"|
It also includes Jung Yong-Hwa of the band, CN Blue, as the perfect boyfriend who doesn’t get the girl.
Before lending his distinctive voice to FT Island, Lee Hong Ki started out as a child actor and appeared on the musical stage in a Korean version of "Midsummer Night’s Dream". Singer Jung Yung-Hwa was new to acting but went on to play a musician in the series "Heartstrings", where he played opposite "You’re Beautiful" co-star Park Shin-Hye, and this time got the girl.
|Park Shin Hye and CN BLUE's Jung Yong Hwa in "Heartstrings"|
One of my favorite singers turned k-drama star is Mickey Yoochun, who supplies the Y in JYJ (with Kim Jae Joong and Junsu) and was formerly a member of TVXQ.
Having starred in several series, as time-transported royalty in "Rooftop Prince", a Japanese-Korean director in "Miss Ripley", a confused Joseon scholar in "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" and finally a detective in "I Miss You", his acting just keeps improving. In "I Miss You", he’s a sensitive but tough character who harbors a guilty secret. His character has spent a lifetime waiting for a girl he abandoned when he was 15, a girl many believe is dead. Mickey Yoochun’s heartbreaking performance includes buckets of tears and his dedication to his lost girlfriend elicits plenty of sobs from viewers.
|JYJ's Park Yoochun in "I Miss You/Missing You"|
JYJ also produced another drama star in composer, singer and director Kim Jaejoong, who has starred in several movies and who plays Cha Mu-Won, the jealous rival in "Protect The Boss". He is completely believable as the second string boyfriend you would really choose, because in real life, what smart woman has time to waste on snotty arrogant boyfriends, no matter how rich they are?
|JYJ's Kim Jaejoong in "Protect the Boss"|
The only idol-enacted role that I never quite bought was the hit man played by BigBang’s T.O.P in "Iris". Maybe because the series was already a little brutal for my taste (how many bullets can a guy take and still be alive?), I have a hard time buying T.O.P as a psycho-killer in the grand tradition of Quentin Tarantino.
Sometimes being a fan actually works against you when you’re trying to enjoy an idol's acting. For example, it was hard to believe that T.O.P could casually snap a woman’s neck when you already know he would find it difficult to be late for a date. Before snapping a woman’s neck, we expect that he would at least apologize in advance. It is easier to imagine handsome idols as players or arrogant, spoiled chaebols than as ruthless murderers.
|Big Bang's T.O.P in "Iris".|
While T.O.P may not be convincing as an incarnation of evil, he does make killing seem super-stylish. The character obviously puts a lot of effort into styling his hair and dressing immaculately before going on a killing spree.
T.O.P is more believable as the slightly derpy but innocent young murder suspect in the film, "Nineteen". And as a bonus, after spending the movie running from the law, he sings a rap song at the end, looking as tough and cool as I am capable of believing he is.
cr. Joan Vos Macdonald
Do you have a favorite k-drama that features a kpop idol? Let us know!
You can watch all of these dramas at places like hulu, dramafever, viki and more. There's even an app for that!
Want more? See the previous K-Dramatic post here.
Source: Arygato1, SHINeeLover712, Romey Chan, bluebanana6023, TransparentDarkness, HallyuYoonEunHye, dreamyfloricyk. Images credit where due and as tagged.