I didn’t have any intention of watching Orange Marmalade but as the date of its premiere neared, I became mildly interested in it and once-a-week format looked appealing too. Plus, I had never seen any Yeo Jin Goo work and I wanted to find out why everyone goes ga-ga over him. LOL. And after two episodes, it’s LOVE for Orange Marmalade, as well as for Yeo Jin Goo.
The show has a whimsical feel to it. It is in no hurry to tell its story and yet, nothing seems stuck at a place as we are introduced with lots of characters and narratives. The drama is set in an imaginary world where humans and vampires coexist. I love how the drama has sketched latter’s lifestyle — they drink synthetic blood regularly (albeit packaged as tomato juice), they drink blood in glasses which look as if they are drinking wine, they have their own special control system that regulates their actions, they have their sun protection injections, etc. They have supernatural powers and yet, they stay in hiding because humans are not ready to think of them as equal, with the age-old prejudice that they are dangerous and in a way, monsters. I like this idea of over-arching theme which says about the insecurity in which the minority class lives in our society. I’m really looking forward to see exploration of this new world.
Just when you think this drama will be all about fantasy, it adds a breezy tone punctuated with innocent teenage love. Also, music. It can very well be a simple teenage drama about love and music but adding the vampire bit makes everything all the more interesting. I already like our three main players — Yeo Jin Goo as Jung Jae Min , Seolhyun as Baek Ma Ri and Lee Jong Hyun as Han Shi Hoo . Jae Min is the sincere most guy who is also the class president. He is popular but he doesn’t care about it. He is not a cold fish (as evident from the fact that he never ignores anyone) but he is not much interested in others. But finally he gets attracted to Ma Ri, which can have two reasons — she is breathtakingly beautiful and is perhaps the only girl who is not paying attention to him. Her enigmatic aura as she always remains aloof can also add to the magnetism he feels. And of course, the way she came closer to him while trying to nibble his neck, I’m sure no one ever did, heh. Also, it’s a mystery why only his blood looks sweet to her and nobody else’s.
I can understand the plight Ma Ri goes through as she separates herself from outside world because she can’t take risk of her being found out. She has changed many schools and finally wants to complete her graduation without any trouble. She loves music and is very talented but then she cannot pursue her dream too. I feel a lot of sympathy for her as well as the whole vampire clan. Shi Hoo is fascinating. I love how carefree he is about everything, full of confidence. It was such a relief that they know each other already as now they can have company and can be themselves at least in front of one person. I just hope that the mean girl Ah Ra has something more to do than just being one dimensionally bad.
I really like Song Jong Ho in everything he does, and it’s no surprise that I like his role here. It is much like his Answer Me 1997 role where also he played a teacher as well as hyung. I’m not a fan of childhood connections in dramas but I like that the way our three leads are connected makes sense. Jae Min’s mom married Shi Hoo’s uncle. Their childhood scene of playing guitar together — I like that they have more to their relationship than just locking horns due to a girl. On a side note, I just chuckled at the realisation that Song Jong Ho and Lee Il Hwa, who plays Jae Min’s mom here, were together in Answer Me 1997 but in a totally different dynamics!
I love the teenage angst here. There is a sort of enjoyment in seeing our hero, a popular and sincere student, who doesn’t pay much attention to anyone and gets mesmerized by this new girl, who doesn’t give a damn about him. And then when he thinks she is just aloof by nature, here comes a new guy and she is hanging out with him and chatting with him. I simply love this whole setting. And then when Jae Min ignores her and later runs for her — I loved each and everything about it! Maybe the dearth of teen dramas for so many months is having its effect and making me tickled pink on watching Orange Marmalade.
I’m still not sure what is the direction we are going to take from here on but I think these three will come together to participate in school band. Considering how much Jae Min hates vampires, I wonder what will happen when he knows about Ma Ri. Everyone is perfectly cast and doing a good job. I also like the soundtrack. Lastly, I want to add that Orange Marmalade is pretty daring in showing some sensuality not common in dramaland, especially since it’s KBS. But then the rest of the treatment is on opposite spectrum — all pure and innocent.
All in all, a lovely start for Orange Marmalade.