Now let me see, if I were a nineteen year-old high school senior with no parents and an abusive auntie, would I go for a well-dressed, obviously wealthy immortal with a mysterious past and a sword sticking out of his chest? Le duh. All a girl really wants is to be with a guy capable of taking her to Quebec City in the blink of an eye after asking if she feels like having steak. I might quibble a little, though. The best beef would likely be found in Argentina and Wagyu beef is big, but hey. I’m nineteen years old and easily impressed, Quebec City is romantic in sepia and who wouldn’t want to catch falling maple leaves in slow motion with an admittedly attractive man? Anyone would disown their abusive relatives in a heartbeat after a date like that.
My feed will not shut up about this show, so naturally I jumped on the bandwagon and am gawking at it along with the rest of them. One episode is way too long – an hour and a half, come on people, we have lives to live too – and sometimes the things the people in it do and say are completely contrived and make absolutely no sense. Still, this is a soap opera and it’s par for the course. I’m also chalking the wonkiness down to a bad translation job, and the need to make a story stretch for sixteen episodes.
It does drag on as it goes along. I’m still in the sixth episode. The titular Goblin (Gong Yoo, last seen running from zombies on the train to Busan) has spent over 900 years looking for his bride – the only girl capable of seeing the sword wedged in his chest, destined to pull it out and therefore end his agonizingly long and lonely existence. Now that’s he’s found her, he can’t seem to decide whether or not he wants to die. Cue mood music and intimate whispers under raindrops that fall just softly enough not to ruin one’s hair, because he also makes it rain when he gets all emo.
This is a show where the men dress better than the women, and I’m loving it. Even if I’ve never been drawn to fops, it’s hard to ignore Lee Dong Wook, an amnesiac Death God, giving face, face, beauty and moody face each time he’s onscreen, rocking wool coats like no one’s business. All the brooding disappears when you hand him a smartphone, and the results are hilarious. I’m rooting for him and the owner of a fried chicken shop – that budding romance is way more interesting than the one between a nineteen year-old high school senior and a Goblin who can’t make up his damn mind.
Speaking of interesting romances, the best part of this show is the bromance between the Goblin and the Death God who wants him to go ahead and die already so he can take over the gorgeous home they both share. Both immortal, both gifted with supernatural powers, both males used to getting their own way, both tired of the vagaries of living. Like all males, they express themselves in the form of pranking, the level of which is borderline Van Wilder, and this forms a big chunk of what makes this show watchable, extended running time bedamned. The weakness of one brings out the humanity in the other. It doesn’t hurt that both of them look like they stepped out of the pages of Korean GQ every day of the week. It’s easy to see the script flipped into a homo-erotic story where the women exist on the fringes as superficial interests, but it doesn’t and their Odd Couple setup brings enough charm to keep us rooting for them to succeed with the women who’ve wormed their way into the hearts of these troubled immortals.