[In the battle of Record of Youth vs Do You Like Brahms? I came here (belatedly) to say that they both sucked, kinda? but not really.]
After 500 years 2020 is still going on!!! So please forgive me for not remembering to post in here because, frankly, I don’t have any grasp on the concept of time anymore and then I ended up watching the most monotonous dramas where literally nothing happened? Yea, that truly sucked the rest of the motivation out of my body and I found myself trapped in a little drama slump.
If you don’t know, Record of Youth starring Park Bo Gum and Park So Dam and Do You Like Brahms? starring Kim Min Jae and Park Eun Bin were both airing around the same time in September and October and both dramas dealt with angst that comes with being a twenty-something. So needless to say, the dramas were competing for ratings and fans were declaring if they were team ROY or team DYLB. Meanwhile, I was on the side cheering for both dramas – at first.
If you are trying to figure out which drama you should watch? Or like me if you have seen both dramas and want to talk dramas? Go make some tea before you scroll down because this is going to be a long one.
RECORD OF YOUTH vs DO YOU LIKE BRAHMS?
Record Of Youth – What is it about?
People in their late twenties striving to make their dream come true in the aggressive Korea entertainment industry.
Sa Hye Joon (Park Bo Gum) is a down to earth hard-working actor who is struggling to make his dream come true. Hye Joon is a headstrong man who believes in himself and his dreams even if no one else does.
Ahn Jung Ha (Park So Dam) is a small make-up artist who wants to earn and make her own name. She is very forward when it comes to money and her thoughts. She tells it like it is.
Do You Like Brahms – What is it about?
A girl realising her dream of being a violinist in her 20s and struggling to fit in with her young more talented batchmates and a successful man who despite his success is still struggling in his own way. (And there are multiple love triangles, well, sort of but not really.)
Chae Song Ah (Park Eun Bin) is very timid, introvert who is still learning to be a better violinist. Because she started learning very late she is not as good as people around her. She doesn’t speak up for herself (or at all).
Park Joon Young (Kim Min Jae) is a successful pianist who plays around the world however he is not in a good place financially and in his love life. He is also very introvert who likes to keep it to himself.
Before I go on full analysis mode let’s talk about good stuff first.
Record of Youth
The cinematography was beautiful. I really loved how they showed us places that are rarely shown in dramas like library, museum, youth-centric places of Seoul where everyone is showcasing their talents and it goes very well with the youthful mood of the drama.
There were a lot of cameos by a lot of actors and people from the industry sprinkled throughout the drama like the director’s own version of easter eggs. From real models walking on the runway to actors like Park Seo Joon graced the drama with their presence. They also added Hye Joon’s drama scenes throughout the drama and if I am being honest, even those 1-2 minutes scenes were more interesting than the main drama story at times.
Do You Like Brahms?
I really loved the overall mood of this drama. It is a melodrama and at least for the first eight episode it never failed to make me feel comforted even if things were not that great for the characters but the mood, the ost and dialogues just made it feel very cozy and comforting to witness.
If we are comparing the OSTs of the two drama, well, I don’t think there is comparison. While ROY has good OST, DYLB had Punch, Chen, Baekhyun, Heize among many more incredible singers in it – along with classical music. It really just added more beauty to this drama.
PLOT AND OVERALL VIBE
ROY follows a couple that is extrovert and very forward about their feelings while DYLB follows a couple that is introvert and had a tendency to drown in their own thoughts. So from the viewer perspective, ROY felt very fast-paced while DYLB was slow and both in a good way.
ROY’s fast pace felt like it was full of youthful energy and DYLB’s slow pace felt healing but as the dramas progressed to the second half, this same speed became mind-numbingly boring. There was no balance to keep the stories interesting.
In at least first half, I found myself loving and rooting for all four of these main characters, they were very different from one another but on their core, they only wanted love and success.
While Jung Ha was quirky and sensible, Hye Joon was hard working and ethical. Similarly, Song Ah was lovely and Joon Young really just needed someone to hug him.
I am a big fan of all four of these actors and I was looking forward to these dramas for the longest time and at first, I was excited to know that these actors finally got a script the deserved.
Unfortunately, this excitement did not last because not only there was little to no character development, these characters were not flushed out and literally felt like a 2D cardboard cutout than people.
Where Jung Ha’s frank and independent nature was very refreshing at first, she becomes a side character in her own theory her purpose in the story was to just smile and say something mature, that literally was her character in a nutshell. Exactly the same with Song Ah – a sad, soft-spoken and insecure girl who you want to root for but because even though she had deep thoughts she did not speak up and cried a lot. She somehow ended up becoming more of a love interest.
Don’t even get me started on the male lead characters.
These characters and amazing actors deserved much better than the bland script that was the entirety of the second half for both dramas.
If you are going to have characters that are so easy to love at least make them more than their personality traits. That being said, kudos to these amazing actors for interpreting their characters so well. I started these dramas for them and I stayed for them.
Both dramas had some interesting characters and some useless characters. I quite liked Hye Joon’s grandfather (Han Jin Hee), his manager Min Jae (Shin Dong Mi) and the second lead Hye Hyo (Byeon Woo Seok) in ROY.
The second leads in DYLB Jung Kyung (Park Ji Hyun) was a very complex character while Hyun Ho (Kim Sung Chul) was a likeable guy.
Both stories featured a lot of side characters that may have looked interesting on paper but had nothing to add to the story, they were just there for the sake of main leads to do something or provide conflict in the drama.
The biggest victim of the script for me was Byeon Woo Seok’s character Hye Hyo in Record of Youth because he is right there in the poster with them but he was just forgotten in the drama. He started off as Hye Joon’s rich best friend who always got everything and had much successful acting career because of his rich parents.
Hye Hyo had so much potential as the side lead but he was just there to keep everyone see how amazing Hye Joon is for succeeding instead of being poor. It was like the scriptwriters added him as an afterthought then at the last episode they realised, ‘oh shit we need to do something about Hye Hyo’ so they gave him a bland end.
Sa Hye Joon and Ahn Jung Ha – Extroverts and a tutorial on how to apply hand cream
Both dramas had their own take on the relationships. Record of Youth showed a more casual form of dating life where struggle in their relationship was not a rich mom or love interest living in North Korea, it was just finding the balance between relationship and a career. Their relationship was based on conversation and giving each other space to grow as people.
If you have seen the movie Before Sunrise, (please watch it if you haven’t, it is very romantic and beautiful) the entire story was the couples walking around Paris and just talking to each other. Record of Youth tried to do that with Park Bo Gum and Park So Dam by making them walk around Seoul and giving them random topics to talk about. However, it didn’t work!
Their dialogues were just random pieces of conversation sprinkled throughout the drama that failed to show anything about their relationship and chemistry and ended up being random tidbits like ‘Do you apply hand cream on the back of your hand or your palm?’ like????? what was the point of the conversation?
Most of all relationship where couples that seem to be great at conversation, they were just bad at talking about their real feelings. At no point in the drama, I felt like I should ship them together because there was no fire, no intimacy. I kept thinking why are they even together? Okay, I am not saying they had to show us R rated scenes, but intimacy can also be shown through just two people cuddling on a couch. Instead most of the time they both sat on the couch with stiff backs and a lot of room for Jesus and his homies.
Chae Song Ah and Park Joon Young – Introverts who blushed a lot
Chae Song Ah and Park Joon Young’s journey was a slow journey from strangers to friends to lover and in all three stages they were a little silent but they just made me feel comforted for some reason.
Yes, they had their moments of up and downs, miscommunications and lots of tears but overall it somehow worked. Part of it is because Park Eun Bin and Kim Min Jae did a damn good job portraying their characters. There were times in the second half of the drama when it got irritating and repetitive and I felt like watching in 2x speed but despite all the shortcoming of a painfully slow drama the actors still managed to make me root for them and their relationship.
They didn’t need a lot of words to know what other person was feeling and needed, they did it even when they barely knew each other and despite how awkward these two characters were their romance and chemistry was so genuine and a delight to witness.
They were just…..very lovely together, you know?
Overall, both dramas were a mixed bag of good, bad and bland.
Sometimes we tend to focus a lot on the negatives than on the positives, and despite a solid first half, the ratings of both these dramas saw the impact of viewers displeasure in the second half.
If I have to go back and watch one of these I would choose Do You Like Brahms? because even with it’s obvious flaws and ups and downs the drama was still a good watch especially if you are in the mood to watch something slow, Melo and heartwarming.
I think both dramas had positives and negatives, not the best dramas of the year but still good average dramas worth your time.
Lmao, why did I write a whole 2000 words essay on this? If you somehow read this let me send you a big virtual hug!!
If you have time please do comment below and let me know your thoughts on the drama and if you are team introvert or team extrovert?
Please come back soon for lots and lots of end of year K-drama content that I have planned for December.
Hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. See you soon.