Stairway to Heaven was not the first Korean anything that I’ve encountered. That ‘honor’ belongs to My Sassy Girl, a movie that was highly recommended by a lot of people so I just had to watch it to see what the fuss was all about. I’m still wondering why people love it. Ok, Jeon Ji Hyun is gorgeous, and I guess ordinary guys think Cha Tae Hyun is their hero because he got Jeon Ji Hyun to fall in love with him (in the movie, that is). But it wasn’t enough to convince me to “turn Korean”. It was Stairway to Heaven that did it, and later on it was Rain and Full House that cemented it.
My first copy of STH was a set of VCDs from Rizza. The first half was fan-subbed, complete with explanations of some words like ‘oppa’. The other half was downloaded from a broadcast in Hawaii, with some scenes edited to make the episode shorter. Still, that didn’t stop me from crying buckets from Episode 10 onwards, and that didn’t make Kwon Sang Woo any less cuter in my eyes. ‘Cholo’ (Cha Song Ju, Filipino version) became my first Korean crush. In fact, I loved him so much that I was even arguing with officemates regarding who’s sexier, Cholo (KSW) or Justin (Rain – yes, THAT Rain). I was rooting for Cholo. Later on, Karma bit me and I switched to Rain and never went back since… But that’s a different story altogether. Back to Stairway. Recently, I was able to download a DVD-rip and with a serious dearth of something good to watch (mainly because I haven’t met with my drama ‘source’ yet and haven’t leeched off the new ones), I decided to watch STH again and see if I will react to it like the first time.
Random Thoughts While Re-watching Stairway To Heaven:
1. The young Choi Ji Woo is the now-famous Park Shin Hye. The young Shin Hyun Jun (Han Tae Hwa/Tristan to PH viewers) is the now-famous – and now enlisted – Lee Wan. Whatever happened to the young Kwon Sang Woo and the young Kim Tae Hee? Someone replied to me on Twitter saying these two have been in minor roles in some dramas but yes, their careers did not take off as well as the other two.
Interesting to note that eventually, Park Shin Hye and Lee Wan ended up having their own drama, the equally-tragic Heaven’s Tree.
2. It’s a good thing that Korean dramas have now evolved. Gone are the days when one of the lead characters must die, or at least, have cancer or amnesia (sometimes, both). Watching Stairway to Heaven again, I realized that Choi Ji Woo’s constant crying even at a snap of a finger can be so annoying.
Also, I could be wrong because I don’t watch that many K-dramas, but I think in recent dramas, men don’t physically manhandle the women anymore? I remember being terrified in the olden days when I see scenes of women being pulled by the arm or hit in the head so easily by their boyfriends as if it’s as normal as kissing or hugging them.
3. I must admit, though, that Kwon Sang Woo still holds the top spot as the Best Crier amongst male Korean actors. No one, and I mean NO ONE can cry and still maintain good looks the way Kwon Sang Woo does. At times, he even has snot coming out of his nose and spit flying all over and he still looks gorgeous.
4. After watching four Kim Tae Hee dramas – ‘watching’ is actually a stretch, because I didn’t finish Love Story in Harvard and I gave up after three episodes of My Princess – I therefore conclude that Kim Tae Hee works best at bitchy, spoiled brat roles. I swear, her characterization of Han Yuri still gets to me. I still want to slap her silly, pull her by the hair and throw her around. The only other time that I was able to withstand Kim Tae Hee was in Iris, but that’s basically because I was concentrated on the men in that drama.
5. This drama’s OST is really one of the very best. Bogoshipda and Ave Maria are still two of my most favorite songs from Korean dramas.
6. Aside from the constant crying, what’s up with the non-stop running in this drama? They catch a bus, taxi or car on foot, as if they can outrun it (actually, KSW can outrun a bus here). Kwon Sang Woo receives a call, and he runs. He was told that Tae Hwa’s corpse is at the morgue, and he runs. Doesn’t he have a car? Choi Ji Woo runs after Shin Hyun Jun who was arrested and was in a police car, nevermind that she was wearing a gown and high heels. She does end up at the station in the next scene; did she run all the way there from Lotte Hotel?
Then again, in Fugitive Plan B, they also run, and do hand combat, and fall flat on the ground and everything and somehow they still manage to keep their hair and clothes immaculate. Korean drama, ladies and gentlemen.
7. Note to self: never ever Google about eye cancer while watching Stairway to Heaven. There’s a reason why it never bothered you in the past; it’s because in the past, there’s no Google yet.
8. Did you know why Han Jung Suh’s cancer worsened easily, thus leading to her quick death? It’s because upon learning that her cancer has metastasized, their solution is to go on a ski trip where she and her hubby Cha Song Ju decided to wrestle in the snow. Because the way to treat a dying cancer patient and make her live longer is to make her do extremely physical activities. Bright idea there, guys.