Some k-drama tropes just never get old – and the ever-evolving multiple-personality theme is one of my absolute faves. Next to the poor girl/rich guy genre, that is.
In 2015 we’ve had some unique storylines where the hero/heroine has had to play more than one character at a time. The lead gets to switch things up and showcase a different side from the main role he/she is to play.
For example imagine where a normally timid and inhibited chef assistant, suddenly turns into this vivacious femme fatale ready to jump into the nearest hot guy’s pants! (in Oh my Ghost). Or if you like complex chaebol heirs, then think Hyde Jekyll Me and Kill Me Heal Me.
The latter two dramas focus on Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D) as suffered by the lead actors. And although in Oh My Ghostess the heroine’s personality switch is due to ghost possession, the outcome is the same: the lead actor has to play different personalities/characters in the same person!
All 3 named dramas are enjoyable and tackle the theme in their own way. So it’s going to be fun trying to decide who played it best. Which actor made the switch/swap/shift more entertaining and convincing? Did you get to feel like truly, they were more than one person or was it just a total miss?
Hyde Jekyll, Me
This drama aired from Jan to March 2015 and feels like eons ago. But I still remember the excitement of seeing Hyun Bin in a lead role again, and one as challenging as this one. So how does he pull off his Jekyll/Hyde persona?
Hyun Bin played cold and unfeeling Koo Seo Jin (Hyde) and warm and cheery Robin (Jekyll). How credible was he when playing different roles?
When he was Koo Seo Jin, cold-hearted director of a family-owned theme park company, he was really insensitive. More than once he left a helpless, defenseless woman in danger just to save his skin. Now that’s cold. It was really shocking how really cruel and self-centered he was.
When he was Robin, the hip and charming comic book artist, there’s a drastic change. You get to find out the guy has dimples! Because Robin smiles a lot. Like, a whole lot. Till he just looked silly. He was also a risk taker, where his savior-complex had him doing all kind of stunts to rescue the distressed damsel.
The personalities really were like night and day, but after a few episodes you got used to the back and forth.
Spot the difference?
So how do we tell them apart? Well, Seo Jin favors wire-rimmed designer specs, staid suits and shirts. While Robin has a funky style, with his clumpy jackets and boots. Seo Jin hardly ever smiles, laughs or even eats judging by the contents of his fridge.
While Robin can knock back his share of beers, loves cakes and sweets and oh, even has his very own fan club. I guess it’s not hard to see which personality had the better end of the deal.
Entertainment level: 8/10
Credibility level: 8/10
Kill Me Heal Me
Starring Ji Sung, this drama also aired Jan-March 2015, same period as Hyde Jekyll, Me. Both even aired during the same timeslot! Talk about battle of the D.I.D’s!
ShinSeGi. Is. Bae.
Ji Sung plays not just two but seven different personalities. Meeting each one was a treat and you’ll find yourself picking a favorite or two – maybe three. I can’t imagine having to be split into seven different characters, yet Ji Sung made it look so plausible.
You know the actor did a too-good job when you end up shipping one of his personalities with the heroine! I was definitely team Shin Se Gi for the most part of the beginning of the drama!
I admit I’m one of those who tend to favour the ‘darker’ side of the character to its normal side. As such, you’ll find me rooting for Se Gi over Cha Do Hyun, Seo Jin over Robin, the seductive Bong Sun over her simple side and so on! What? Trust me the bad guys have waaay more fun *cheeky grin*.
As the Kill Me Heal Me story goes, Cha Do Hyun is the heir to a huge family fortune but hides a deep secret. Due to suppressed trauma from a childhood incident, he manifests 6 other unique personalities out of his control, namely:
Shin Se Gi – dangerous, cool, hot guy with the fashion sense of a sexy rock god
Perry Park – 40 year old ahjussi with the love of Hawaiian style shirts.
NaNa – a 7 year old girl.
Mr. X – Mr. Mysterious. Not much is really known about him.
Ahn YoSeob – 17 year old teenage boy
Ahn YoNa – his twin sister
We do get glimpses of each of these characters, whereby a bit of makeup here and a change of styling there gives us a whole different perspective. Added on with Ji Sung’s impressive acting prowess, we’re taken into a rollercoaster spin of personalities. When these characters all start to fade away, you do feel a sense of deep loss. And that is what makes this drama one heck of an awesome fantasy ride.
Entertainment level: 10/10
Credibility level: 9/10
Oh My Ghost
Park Bo Young plays a captivating dual role, morphing from a girl with low self-esteem to a girl with high spirits and even higher sex drive.
When Na Bong Sun (played by Park Bo Young) is not being possessed by a lustful ghost, she’s markedly shy. In fact her timidity is so frustrating you wish you could grab her and give her a good shake!
Good girl gone bad… Park Bo Young killed it, playing the vamp a fan girl can only dream of being
Park Bo Young definitely nails the act of taking us into a whole new dimension where you even start to believe she’s two separate people entirely.
And when the shy girl slowly begins to develop more confidence and comes out of her shell, we believe in this new side of her too. There’s just so much range to this actress it’s mesmerising episode to episode.
It must be tough enough playing one character in a drama. So watching an actor get to tackle two or more personas and getting us to relate to each one, is truly commendable.
It’s no surprise then that most actors are reluctant to take on such a risky, demanding role. So my hats off to Hyun Bin, Ji Sung and Park Bo Young!
Thankfully looks like this year might bring one more of such drama to our screens. Tentatively titled Beautiful Mind it is about a genius surgeon with split personality disorder.
Lee Jong-seok of Pinocchio fame is billed to possibly handle the role. However his character’s condition is not going to be due to D.I.D but instead, caused by a frontal lobe lesion that keeps him from feeling emotions.
So is he possibly going to have a heartless monster side, as opposed to his more humane yet cold doctor persona? Will he be driven by his inner demons, terrorizing the innocent and helpless? I’ll be waiting on pins and needles to discover how it all plays out!
Yet another split personality drama coming my way? Oh goody!