This past week saw the premiere of Inspiring Generation (or Age of Feeling), the new KBS2 Wednesday/ Thursday drama. Inspiring Generation is the tale of Jung Tae, a fighter, who lives and loves in the tumultuous reality of 1930s Shanghai. The first two episodes of the show were story setup – featuring the younger versions of our lead characters as they made their way into adulthood in 1920s Manchuria. Without further adieus, super fun drama chat time – Inspiring Generation edition 1. Cheers!
Lore: Since this is premiere week for this show should we start our chat off by explaining the story a bit?
E-Kun: Sure, I did not read the synopsis and the first 2 episodes still do not give me any insights since they really dealt with the younger versions of the main characters.
Lore: Yeah, the first 2 episodes were all setup for our story. Basically we had a glimpse of our main characters in 1936 (as adults) and then the majority of the episodes were about their lives in Manchuria 8 years prior. Jung Tae is our main male lead, and in 1936 he is a fighter on his way to Shanghai (for some mysterious reason). In 1928 he is caring for his sister (who is sick) and scraping by a living by carrying a rickshaw.
E-Kun: Then we have the two girls. The one who loves him and the one he will love…Gaya is the one he will probably like and Oh Ryeon is the one who loves him to pieces. She takes care of him and his sister when she can. Oh Ryeon’s mother is a Giesang.
Lore: Gaya is apparently some sort of Japanese nobility, but she is living in Manchuria with her father and acting as a smuggler and street tough. Not sure why they are there, but it appears they ran away from something in Japan. Something like SUPER NINJA ASSASSIN guy! Sorry, he is my favorite character so far. Basically he shows up in ep 2 to find Gaya and her old man. And he kicks ass. A lot of ass. Meanwhile Gaya meets Jung Tae on the tough streets, and they form an acquaintance.
E-Kun: I was in love with Ninja dude until I thought about why he had to see Gaya. Maybe he is her betrothed…
Lore: Oh! I did not think about that. I was too busy thinking “I like you ninja guy. You are cool. Can you jump out of the tv and come hang out with me? I need one of you in my life” If he is engaged to Gaya I am not a fan!
E-Kun: Well, I am trying to make sense of things since I have no idea what the story is about (but it leaves me room to not expect anything either). Jung Tae and his friend were bamboozled!!! I saw it coming a mile away; if it seems too good to be true… You know how the rest ends, ne?
Lore: I saw it too! I was thinking “Wow, did you just make a deal with gangsters to afford your sister’s operation? And you gave them money? Ummm, yeah, bad idea”. But then again it introduced Jung Tae and his clutzy friend to a powerful gang of smugglers – the Do Bi gang – which they join. But how it ends? Not sure. Enlighten me with your super drama wisdom, sensei!
E-Kun: The whole show or something else? Because, I see death in the cards for Jung Tae. Noble or otherwise he is going to die.
Lore: That is a very real possibility. This drama is very gritty and dark so far, and the fact Jung Tae is joining a gang (and a street fighter in 1936) does not bode well for him. While I think Jung Tae will be a good guy with rough edges (kind of has to be) his lifestyle will catch up with him in the end. Which means I will buy lots of tissues come the last episode of this drama. I don’t do well with lead characters dying.
E-Kun: If there is no other alternative then I can understand it and don’t mind it. Like Heartless City, the Japanese drama Guilty, etc. Times it upset me was Illjimae– I almost threw my computer when that ended! I digress, hopefully Hyung Joong won’t make us wish for his character’s death with his dismal acting. I was not impressed in the first few scenes we saw him in. I kind of wished little Jung Tae would stay until the last episode. He is a really good actor because he got me believing in Jung Tae!
Lore: I was wondering if you were happy about not having to see too much Hyung Joong in the first two episodes! The actor portraying the young Jung Tae is doing a wonderful job, agreed. I still am holding out hope that Hyun Joong won’t kill this drama with subpar acting because so far I am liking the story – it is interesting and engaging. I have a feeling our story setup is going to take up the next 2 or 4 more episodes, which makes me a little impatient (but at the same time I would rather have a well done setup then jump back to 1936).
E-Kun: The show is 24 episodes so we have time. I want to enjoy little Jung Tae as much as possible. I have no hope for Hyung Joong and his acting. Why he continues to get and take leading roles is beyond me. All I want is to see is Jae Wook be bomb with the rest of the Ahjussi’s I love (not Won Bin Ahjussi… but I do LOVE him too)
Lore: True, we have plenty of time. Maybe, um, Hyung Joong will somehow be okay in this? Maybe *delusional thoughts *He could have taken acting lessons? Or, um, maybe he is possessed by the ghost of a really good actor or something *Lalalalala* Who am I kidding, he is probably going to suck.
E-Kun: *Side eye of reality* We can just enjoy the good parts and think of baby Jung Tae. Final thoughts?
Lore: Ouch, the side eye of reality. I hate that sometimes! Parting thoughts: Visually this show is amazing. The story we have so far has drawn me in, and I am interested and want to see more. I have impossibly delusional thoughts about how Hyung Joong may do a good job. Talk to me in 6 episodes and we will see if my delusions persist. Overall, I like it so far. Being only 2 episodes in it is hard to say how much I will end up liking the drama as a whole, but so far so good.
E-Kun: Agreed, since I have no expectations my bar is pretty low. I did enjoy the first 2 episodes and hope that the show will continue to peak my interest. I don’t love Jung Tae, but I do like him enough to be invested. I can tell you right now I will not like either of our leading ladies– they already annoy me as teens. I love the smugglers that Jung Tae is linking up with. They are smugglers, but during this time period a lot of “Robin Hood- esk” things were going on, this gang really seems to be helpful instead of bullying and exploiting. And as always- Hurry up show and let me see Kim Jae Wook!!!!!
Have you checked out the show? What did you think?