I was excited for this drama back when Seo Kang Joon was in the works for a main role. However, as the years passed, I eventually forgot about it. So, when I saw it had begun airing — with tons of fresh new faces — I couldn’t hit ‘play’ fast enough.
…And I’m already head-over-heels.
Alright, I’m excited to start talking about it. So grab your favorite drama-material-reading beverage of choice (mine’s coffee), and join me as we go through some things about At A Distance, Spring Is Green I believe will especially appeal to K-drama lovers.
Quick disclaimer: I have not read the webtoon this drama is based off of, so of course I cannot provide any insight as to how the on-screen adaptation compares.
It’s got the great, old-school K-drama qualities we all know and love.
At A Distance strikes me as a perfect drama for K-drama fans because although it possesses familiar qualities and tropes, it’s saturated with refreshing details that will keep viewers coming back for more. It tugs at the right heartstrings; it hits the right notes. It’s a perfect watch for K-drama lovers who want that delicious love triangle (or pentagon…or hexagon…not sure what this is going to look like quite yet) but with new, vibrant characters who you haven’t seen before.
We’re already seeing heavy subject matter.
Jun’s family problems are the most obvious (I’ll get to that in a bit). But we also have Nam Soo Hyun juggling work and school as his family’s financial provider. And even though we don’t know what her family situation is like yet, Kim So Bin is feeling the intense, very real pressure of getting enough experience under her belt before graduating college.
I’m pleasantly surprised at how deep the drama is going with characters already. From the reason behind Jun’s forced smiles to So Bin’s crippling insecurities, At A Distance gets to the kids’ issues quickly. As a viewer, I appreciate not only the pace that the story is progressing at, but also the fact that the drama isn’t remaining at the surface of fluffy angsty made-up problems. No, we’re dealing with young people who have real struggles that, tragically, a lot of viewers will probably be able to relate to (at least, in some form). We’re definitely in for the long haul and I can easily say I’m already invested in these characters, even though we’ve only seen them for two episodes as of yet. Love it.
Our female lead might seem weak at first, but she’s actually Superwoman.
As mentioned above, So Bin (Kang Min Ah) struggles with feeling inferior and insecure (at least, that’s how I interpret her words and actions). Several times, I found myself slightly irritated with her for how weakly she inserts herself into conversations. Are we going to have a mouse-y female lead?
Nope. So Bin is anything but weak.
After taking a step back, I realized that what So Bin is accomplishing is actually incredibly admirable. We don’t have a weak female lead. She can speak up for herself when it comes down to it; she’s done that several times already. What we have here is a young woman who feels behind her peers in accomplishments and grades. She says herself that she goes unnoticed because she’s not memorable. She feels inferior, but voices her opinions despite that. And if she needs to practice standing up for herself at her own pace in order to gain confidence, then let’s applaud her for it. Asserting yourself is not an easy thing to do for everyone — and I believe viewers should recognize the fact that she’s trying rather than criticize the fact that she might not have it mastered quite yet. (I don’t know if that’s what people are saying or not, but since I found myself initially concerned that we’d have a weak female lead, I’m assuming there are folks out there who might have thought so too).
I look forward to watching So Bin gain confidence as she overcomes personal obstacles, celebrating her victories with her, and rooting for her along the way.
You’ll want to save Yeo Jun from his abusive family.
TW: mention of physical abuse and emotional abuse
Oof. I was expecting a sad story as soon as I saw some of Jun’s (Park Ji Hoon) brief flashbacks, but I was not prepared for how abusive his parents are — both physically and emotionally. His dad slaps him once, but it’s very clear that the hitting would have continued if Jun’s older brother had not been waiting for him outside. He’s also verbally assaulted by both parents in this particular scene. I was especially struck by how completely devastating his mother’s cruel words are to him. Does she realize the irrevocable damage she’s causing? Does she even care? It’s honestly difficult to watch.
No wonder Jun tries his best to get everyone to like him — he’s totally starved of love at home.
I really hope Jun finds happiness and someone who loves him for who he is, whether that’s in a romantic or platonic sense. Also, I’ll be setting up a GoFundMe so that I can adopt him.
The other male lead says what everyone is thinking (but too afraid to say).
I find Soo Hyun’s (Bae In Hyuk) forthright, no-nonsense attitude refreshing. Sure, he could be friendlier sometimes. But I like that he says exactly what he thinks, even if it’s socially deviant (like in the flashback to his freshman year when he asks the younger girls why he has to pay for them when he doesn’t even know them).
He is the only person who doesn’t fall for Jun’s charms (or wallet), which is why Jun clings to Soo Hyun so desperately (remember, Jun wants everyone to like him). He prefers unpleasant truth over ignorant bliss, something we witness when he tells Jun it’s easier to hear his honest opinion than to bear his fake friendliness.
Soo Hyun has a lot on his plate right now, so I hope he’s able to find a healthy balance between work, school, and personal life. And I hope he takes his qualities that could easily be used for malice and employs them for good.
The side characters are just as cute and interesting as the leads.
So far I’m especially enjoying two surrounding our female lead: poker-faced roommate Min Joo (Woo Da Vi) and charismatic childhood friend Chan Gi (Choi Jung Woo). I’m excited to see these characters — as with all of them — develop as the story moves along.
The college campus setting is both beautiful and fresh.
I like it physically (it’s gorgeous) and I like the unique fact that our characters are in college. It’s fun to see a new drama where the main leads are in that gray area between carefree youth and full-blown adulthood (which you’ll quickly see is a recurring theme in the drama).
And wherever you live in the world, you’re probably going to get some serious weather-envy.
Well, there you have it. At A Distance, Spring Is Green is such a solid drama overall. The acting is excellent (Ji Hoon’s performance is particularly notable because a number of his scenes have been tough), the story is engaging, and the cinematography is super pretty. I’d encourage anyone to add it to their watch-list immediately.
Currently watching: Mine, At A Distance, Spring Is Green
To stay updated, simply follow my blog to receive an email every time I post. And/or you can follow me on Twitter at @kaylamuses where I tweet every post I publish (as well some of my extra thoughts here and there in between blog postings).