Song of the day: Born This Way — Lady Gaga [Listen Here]
Sitting back and wondering what to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I decided to watch some dramas and movies (Asian, of course!). It was then that I again came across some good old Cross-Dressing and Mistaken sexuality dramas and movies, which I still rate as my favourites for the comic relief which they provide.
In my eyes, for a Cross-Dressing drama to be flawless and a super-hit, it has to sort out two issues properly like an adult:
- Cause of the need for Cross-Dressing.
- Possible Homosexuality.
I’d first started with You’re Beautiful, a K-drama written by Hong sisters, which I simply loved when I was watching it. In the drama, Go Min-yeo and Go Min-am are unidentical twins (Min-yeo is a girl while Min-am is a guy and both are played by actress Park Shin-ye). They were both brought up in an orphanage-cum-convent, until Min-am sets out to become an idol star so as to find their mother. Sometime later Min-yeo, who is training to become a nun, is stuck with no other choice but to dress up as a boy and impersonate Min-am because his plastic surgery goes wrong and he’s due to join the famous idol group A.N.JELL. And then the comedy starts, where the band’s leader Hwang Tae-kyung (Jang Geun-seok) realizes that Min-am is actually a girl dressed as a boy. And meanwhile, the band’s third group member Jeremy (adorably played by Lee Hong-ki) starts having feelings for her in spite of thinking that she’s a boy.
Now, You’re Beautiful comes under that rare category of Cross-Dressing dramas, where the issues of possible homosexuality and the cause of cross-dressing are both handled properly.
Another K-drama, Coffee Prince was also extremely convincing and handled both the issues properly. Go Eun-chan (convincingly portrayed by actress Yoon Eun-hye) is a tomboy who does all kinds of odd-jobs for the sake of her family and has no father. Her looks as a boy only adds to her security as she goes about doing her work freely. It even helps her secure a job in the new store Coffee Prince, where only male workers are allowed so as to attract female customers. But problems arise when she falls in love with Choi Han-gyul (Gong Yoo), the owner of the store. Even Han-gyul falls in love with her, thinking that she’s a boy. And he’s genuinely shocked and hurt to know that she lied to him about her gender.
Now that, under my impression, should be the feeling when someone you love lies to you. Because that’s what happens is somebody cross-dresses in real life and makes a mess. He even comes to accept his feelings for Eun-chan, though he thinks he’s a boy. That’s quite a leap in faith for a guy who’s thought he was straight all until now!
There was also the 3-episode Ma Boy which premiered in Tooniverse, which I felt was short and sweet. While there was no homosexuality issue involved in this drama, the reason for cross-dressing was convincing enough. Geu-rim (Kim So-hyun) is a new transfer to Daehan Arts High School, and she has a huge crush on idol-boy and schoolmate Tae-joon (Min-joon) who in turn has a crush on the beautiful and enigmatic super-model Irene (hilariously and realistically played by actor Sun-woong), who turns out to be Geu-rim’s roommate. But what nobody knows and what Geu-rim comes to know is the act that Irene is actually a boy called Hyun-woo. To help his uncle, who’s a celebrity manager, Hyun-woo once dressed up as a girl and posed for a photo shoot, and after that there was no turning back as he had become an overnight star (a female star, though!). Geu-rim helps him in maintaining his cover, and soon they both start falling in love with each other.
This is another example of the Cross-Dressing situation handled well.
Even the hugely popular Sungkyunkwan Scandal had a convincing reason for the cross-dressing gimmick. But the angst which followed after the protagonist felt that he was turning gay really made me want to bang my head on my keyboard. Kim Yoon-hee (Park Min-young) is a girl dressed as a boy in the Joseon-era, where education for women was discouraged. But Yoon-hee was actually not only literate but also very intelligent, and made a living by transcribing books to pay for the medical expenses of her brother, Yoon-shik. But due to the stringent rules where women are not allowed to do such stuff, she has to dress up as a boy. Enter Lee Sun-joong (Micky Yoochun), the son of a very high and important government minister, who’s upright and righteous. He forces Yoon-hee to join the Sungkyunkwan University, which is an ALL-BOYS UNIVERSITY, without knowing the fact that Yoon-hee is actually a girl. So, she changes her name to her brother’s (Yoon-shik) and enters the place. Then there’s the charismatic fellow student Gu Yong-ha (super-hot Song Joong-ki), who seems to know everything that goes on in the University and also suspects Yoon-hee’s little secret. And of course, we definitely can’t leave Moon Jae-shin (Yoo Ah-in, who by the way, looks very sexy in here) who’s the wild guy with top-class martial skills and extremely intelligent. A guy with a high IQ and can fight? RAWR.
Together they form the Joseon F4. But cupid strikes and Sun-joong starts falling for Yoon-hee, still thinking that she’s a boy. And then he tries to push her away (and I started facepalming and headdesking wondering what’s so wrong with him that he’s afraid to consider himself gay!). However, once he gets to know that she’s actually a girl, everything becomes alright.
But, in my eyes, the OTP weren’t Sun-joong and Yoon-hee. It was…yes you guessed it right! Hehe! Song Joong-ki and Yoo Ah-in also won the Best Couple Award, though it was never directly implied in the drama that they’re a couple! Hee, I knew it! *does victory dance*
In my eyes, if only SKK Scandal would have handled the issue of homosexuality properly, it would have been a drama without a flaw.
Never mind the rants of history purists who blamed the drama for muddling up facts… (Hello, dad!)
I’d watched the Japanese drama, Ouran High School Host Club, and while there wasn’t much stressing on the fact that the heroine has cross-dressed throughout the beginning of the drama, the hero had still harboured feelings for her. I don’t know why, but I felt that Japanese dramas handle the issue of Cross-dressing and Homosexuality much better than any other industry (Of course, you can correct me if I’m wrong!).
If there is one Cross-Dressing drama that I really wish I hadn’t watched, it is To the Beautiful You. First of all, the reason for the cross-dressing is so clumsy that it really made me want to throw my mouse at my monitor wondering why the heroine is so stupid. Gu Hae-hee (Sulli) is a huge fan of the ace high-jumper Kang Tae-joon (SHINee’s Min-ho) who decides to retire because of an injury. But Jae-hee’s determined to help him make a comeback, so she decides to hunt him down in his school which is an All-Boys’ School. So for that, she undergoes a complete make-over and arrives at the Genie High. Now, could a plot be any more stupider than this, I don’t know! But TTBY really made me wish that I could un-watch it!
Moving on, I’m arriving at the case of Mistaken Sexuality. Now, that’s one hell of a genre, as often dramas and films fall short of doing justice to it.
We have Personal Taste, a K-Drama, which began pretty well but lost track somewhere in the middle. Before Lee Min-ho fans will begin to rant at me, let me tell you that I’m a Min-ho fan too!
In the drama, Park Kae-in (Sohn Ye-jin) is a furniture designer who lives in a splendid house designed by her father, who’s a famous architect. Jeon Jin-ho (Lee Min-ho!) is an architect who runs his own firm and desperately wants the deal for Dream Art Centre. But it turns out that the President of the Centre wants it to be modelled after the house in which Kae-in lives. For that, Jin-ho decides that he should live in that house. So, because of some circumstances, Kae-in assumes that Jin-ho is gay, so she lets him become her house-mate. The premise, the story, the actors were all interesting. But then, it slowly started slipping away and failed to become a classic hit.
But, still, hats-off to Min-ho for daring to do something only few actors do.
I haven’t watched much when it comes to the Mistaken Sexuality genre, so my knowledge regarding this is pretty sparse.
But an Indian movie, Dostana, had created waves by portraying two leading actors of the time, John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan as gays. A triangle is formed when two men (JA and AB) fall in love with the same girl (Priyanka Chopra) and pretend to be gays so that they can stay together in her house and try to woo her. The idea was different at that time in Bollywood and became a hot topic.
However, nowadays, jokes are cracked at the expense of the LGBT community. It’s even considered an insult if one is compared or likened to that community. Some of the jokes are so vulgar that you can feel bile at the base of your throat. It’s like people are running out of ideas to hurt others. The reason why I support the LGBT Community: because they’re human too.
It’s your decision who you want to love and how you choose to dress. Because you are who you are and the world is what it is.