Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baker King Kim Tak Goo Review (2010)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Kim Tak Goo (Yoon Shi Yoon) is the eldest illegitimate son of Goo Il Jong, president of a large baking company. Due to various circumstances and schemes concocted by Manager Han and Il Jong's wife Seo In Sook, Tak Goo was separated from his mother and father during his childhood. Tak Goo eventually finds his way in a bakery run by his father's teacher Master Pal Bong. With support from his newfound family, Tak Goo strives to win back his rightful place in the family and society.

*Spoiler warning*

The drama unfolded unusually with a number of prologue episodes to give viewers a better understanding of the background story. This certainly helped provide a lot of perspective to the storyline and set the stage for the main story arc, which was well crafted and generally well executed. One of the true highlights of the drama came with an exceptionally touching scene when the road was filled with Master Pal Bong's students - few scenes have ever put a tear in my eye but this one literally had me in tears. Excellent writing! On the other hand, the frequent interspersing of scenes regarding Kim Tak Goo's challenges and scenes of Manager Han and In Sook's scheming certainly put a dampener on the general sentiment I had while watching the series. Tak Goo's scenes were generally quite uplifting and inspirational whereas any scene involving Manager Han sickened me more and more. From a plot perspective, these scenes were necessary to drive the storyline to the finish but IMO, it contributed as much as it detracted from the overall impression of the drama.  In addition, the entire romantic storyline seemed to fall completely apart as it felt quite unnatural and rather forced.

To be sure, most of the cast was quite strong with Yoon Shi Yoon playing an extremely inspirational Kim Tak Goo. In a sense, he reminded me greatly of Lee Jun Ki's take on Iljimae. Jun Kwan Ryul as President Il Jong, Jun In Hwa as In Sook and Jung Sung Mo as Manager Han provided a strong supporting cast for the series. Jun In Hwa, in particular, portrayed a maddeningly stubborn Seo In Sook, bringing the inherently flawed character completely to life. Unfortunately, some of those great performances were marred by an incomprehensible Shin Yoo Kyung acted out by Eugene. To this day, I am still not sure what her motivation was behind choosing Ma Jun over Tak Goo - either her portrayal was not done convincingly enough for the script just didn't make sense, neither of which endear me to her character. A minor additional point I had to bring up was the scowl on Joo Won's face - can that kid smile? =)

My favorite song of this drama was 'That Person' which was quite effectively used in a few places throughout the drama.  I particularly liked some of the more inspirational tunes generally associated with Tak Goo's successes in the bakery.

This was one of the most frustrating series I've watched. On the one hand, I thoroughly enjoyed and treasured the sequences with Tak Goo and the Yang family going through various trials and tribulations as Tak Goo struggled to find his own identity and family. On the other hand, the drama concentrated far too heavily on the scheming of Manager Han and Seo In Sook. It would have been nice to change the ratio of those scenes. Additionally, a cleanup of the romantic storyline IMHO was certainly warranted as it certainly felt rather incoherent and awkwardly put together. While this drama certainly achieved strong ratings, I was a little put off by parts of the story, which sadly leaves me lowering both the drama rating and my personal rating from what I think the drama could have achieved.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree.. Eugene was either horrible at portraying Yoo Kyoung or that character was written really badly.. probably both. Her character made no sense.. I like the younger Yoo Kyoung much better. Also, Joo Won was pretty bad as Ma Jun.. read his lines like reciting the alphabet.

    It was a frustrating show to watch as you said. On one hand, you had the marvelous performance of Jun Kwan Ryul as President Il Jeong. On the other hand, you had all these manufactured "crises"that made no sense. At the end I was actually hoping that Yoo Kyoung would get punched in the stomach. She was that annoying. Maybe having to end up with Ma Jun is kinda like that. She is not a nice person and actually glad that Tak Gu didn't end up with her. Nice review.