Big is a 2012 South Korean television series starring Gong Yoo and Lee Min-jung. The romantic comedy/body swap series aired on KBS2 from June 4 to July 24, 2012 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 for 16 episodes.
Written by the Hong Sisters, Big was Gong Yoo’s first television series after The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince in 2007 and since being discharged from mandatory military service.
Body-swap can seem like such an overused trope (think Freaky Friday, Secret Garden) that there’s nothing much special about it in this drama…right? Yes, no, and maybe.
The poster says it all!
I actually thought it was pretty interesting how our female lead, Gil Da-ran, finds herself falling for her student (Kang Kyung-joon, played by Shin Won-ho) who is stuck in her fiancee’s body. It sounds mind-blowing, and it really is a very strange concept to go with, (and I’m even more surprised that they let this air on KBS, of all channels), but admittedly interesting enough to get people watching.
Gong Yoo – I feel like I have to stress this a lot, and exclude the rest of the cast from this because! the whole drama was surviving on Gong Yoo’s superb acting alone. I was not impressed by the rest of the main cast, who added to the dreariness of the drama plot. I’ll rant more about that later.
Anyway, Gong Yoo really pulled his weight in this drama from start to end, transitioning easily between the mature doctor fiancee, to the childish student who had his fair share of misery. It was such a delight to watch – almost as good as watching Ji Sung pull of 7 personalities in Kill Me Heal Me.
Humour – Also Gong Yoo’s credit. If anyone else had tried to pull off the same stuff he did, it might not have been half as funny.
Rest of the main cast – Lee Min-jung struggled to find chemistry with her co-actor (frankly not Gong Yoo’s fault) and ended up feeling a bit too silly throughout the whole drama; Suzy was occasionally good at being unlikeable in the show, but sometimes it just felt like she was trying too hard; Shin Won-ho reminded me of Myungsoo – stiff, not entirely comfortable emotions on face. The worst of all was how Won-ho ended up lying on the hospital bed for 90% of the scenes he was in. Like, why???
Such good visuals – wasted!
Character Development – I liked the idea of Kang Kyung-joon maturing a lot more over time to match that of Gil Da-ran, but honestly it felt very unrealistic. Sometimes I even wonder if they got lazy and just wanted to make it not look like a teacher was having a crush on her student (albeit stuck in her fiancee’s body). Also, a lot of scriptwriters really need to stop with the fast-forwarding in time – seemed a bit lazy on the scriptwriters’ part to just skip Kyung-joon’s development years and go straight to the part where he can ‘match’ Da-ran’s maturity, and really jarred the flow of the show.
Ending – Open ending, and once again a let-down. No one has an inkling of what is going on at all, and I don’t know where to start in order to decipher the ending. The horrible ending even made me wonder why I even watched this show (probably just Gong Yoo), and left me terribly disappointed that they didn’t even bother wrapping things up properly.
Who you be looking at??
Don’t waste your time on this show unless you insist on watching body-swap dramas, or every single one of Gong Yoo’s works. It takes a lot of effort to overlook everything else, and just enjoy the funny & cute moments in the drama, and you’re probably better off watching another of Gong Yoo’s rom-coms, e.g. Finding Mr. Destiny.