Orange Marmalade Drama Review
Summary: Jung Jae Min (Yeo Jin Goo) is a popular schoolboy. Baek Ma Ri (Seolhyun) is a mysterious vampire schoolgirl. In a world where vampires and humans co-exist, these two students faithfully meet and fall in love. Another mysterious vampire, Shi Hoo (Jonghyun), is also battling for Ma Ri’s love. Things get even more complicated as in this world vampires are hated and shunned. Jae Min, Ma Ri and Shi Hoo enter a very complicated relationship while managing the civil war against vampires.
I said I was not going to do a review on this drama, but here it goes.I loved the first episode, but in the end, this drama turned out to be a total mess. Every episode after the first was a disappointment. Many times, I complain that there is not enough going on in a drama. The plots are not usually lacking. However, this drama is different. There is TOO MUCH happening in this drama.
It seems like the writers did not know what concept they wanted to use or where they wanted the drama to go. They crammed so much into a little 12-episode series.
The drama starts off with typical students, Baek Ma Ri and Jung Jae Min. Jae Min is the super popular, good-looking and smart guy of the school. To make this more clichéd, Baek Ma Ri falls for him within the first three episodes of the series. Unfortunately, Ma Ri is a vampire and Jae Min hates vampires, especially since his mother married one. During the 4th episode, Jae Min realizes his love for Ma Ri and they decided to date. This is a pretty clichéd school vampire drama, but I did not mind it. It was what I expected when I started the drama.
What irked me is the sudden change in the 5th episode of the drama. Suddenly, the characters are thrown into the Joseon era. Jae Min is the son of a militant man, while Ma Ri, who is still a vampire, is just a poor butcher’s daughter. I was confused at this sudden change and annoyed by the fact that I had to relearn everyone’s roles and purpose. For example, Shi Hoo was Jae Min’s rival in the “present day” part of the drama, but when we switched over to the historical era, Shi Hoo and Jae Min were the best of friends. It was confusing for me and reduced the enjoyment of the drama for me.
This historical era went on for several episodes, until the 10th episode when we suddenly whizzed back to the present day. Jae Min suffered an accident and of course, he had amnesia. Jae Min goes back to hating Ma Ri and we were right where we started at the beginning of the drama. I cringed so much at this point that I was more wrinkled than old and dry fruit.
Throughout this second (third?) stage of the series, Jae Min begins to have visions of himself and Ma Ri during the Joseon Era. At this point, I cringed so much I was microscopic. I constantly complained about the switches in concept in my “Currently Watching Dramas” posts, but I understand the intent of the writers. It was just a very bad decision to do it in a very short series.
Within the last few episodes, Jae Min tries to regain his memory while seeing these visions from his past life. Ma Ri is being shunned and marginalized because she is a vampire and Shi Hoo is just there, being the cool and mysterious vampire. Jae Min is battling between his hate for Ma Ri and a strange attraction and enchantment with her.
By the way, all these characters and a few other supporting characters not worth mentioning are also in a band, and they are trying to become famous and enter a music competition. Yes, this all happens within the last 2-3 episodes of the series. By then, my head exploded and I wanted to send this series straight to the “dropped” section of my drama list.
I do not know if the problem was the lack of planning or too much planning for the plot. It was just a bird’s nest of issues, themes and relationships. I really do not like to shoot down dramas like this, but I am sorry, it was just that terrible. The writers just tried to fit too much into one series.
One thing that I do appreciate about this drama (yes, there was some good in it) was the fact that marginalization and discrimination was highlighted. Ma Ri constantly faced hard times because she was a vampire. She was different from everyone else and many people were afraid of her because of that difference. Even at the end of the show, when the characters usually get their “happily ever after”, Ma Ri was still an outcast.
This is quite reminiscent of the world today. There are many civil and global wars going on. The #blacklivesmatter movement, the constant stigma held against Islamic people, the feminist movement, the LGBTQ movement, and many more. Marginalization goes on around the world. There are people fighting for equality. While it seems in some cases that more light is being shed on the issues, there has been no real solution for these causes. Discrimination still goes on, pretty much like in this drama series. Although I was constantly annoyed with the plot this show, I was partially impressed that they adapted some real-world issues within the show.
I did not have many expectations for this drama, but I was still disappointed at the end. There were a lot of people that seemed to like this drama, but I have come to realize that my taste differs a lot from many K-drama viewers. I give this drama 1.75 thumbs down.