K-Pop and K-Dramas: Imitation Episode 8

Promotional photo of (from left) Lim Nayoung, Kim Minseo, and Jung Jiso. Copyright goes to KBS and Kakao Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Another Friday has passed which means another episode of ‘Imitation’ came out. Yes, I am surprisingly still watching them. I feel like each episode has one moment where it actually tries to focus on the reality of being an idol, but for the most part it all remains the same. As usual, there are always some developments. But they always move at the speed of slow. Anyways, if you’re still here wondering what happens in this idol drama, I am here to deliver the SPOILERS. So, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!!

The Good:

Hyunji- Somehow, Hyunji managed to rise from the absolute rubble that her character development has been in and carve some form of a plot for herself. Even more surprisingly, she had agency in this episode! I know, insane right? In this episode the members of Tea Party find out that they are being sued by their original company for breach of contract which seriously threatens their careers. Hyunji immediately steps up to comfort the other members of her group and put on a brave face. It was actually a really good depiction of the contradiction of feeling horrible but not showing it for the benefit of others. But her struggles were only made worse when Yujin calls her later in this episode to briefly give her sympathy and then ask only about Maha’s well being and not ask about Hyunji or Riah. Even though they were just as much affected by everything. With what we’ve gotten from Hyunji so far, I was absolutely certain that she was going to politely tell him how Maha was and then sulk afterwards. Imagine my surprise when she actually went off on Yujin for calling her and then only asking about Maha. She even interrupted him mid-sentence and then basically told him not to call her anymore. It was well deserved and such a powerful character moment for her. When she cried afterwards it didn’t feel weak, it felt understandable. I mean, how would you feel if someone who was your crush and your friend only seemed to care about you because you were a device to give information about another friend of yours? Seeing Hyunji be brave in this episode in so many ways was amazing. I only hope they can actually keep this character development going.

Fans- The real moment that I was talking about at the beginning of this post actually came from a scene depicting fans of Ryok and Shax. At the beginning of this episode a couple of actors are involved in a scandal that reveals that the two are dating. The show takes the time to show fans of Shax reacting to the news, which is simply them stating that they don’t care. Of course, neither of these actors are involved with Shax so they all repeat the sentiment that it doesn’t matter who these actors are dating. And then when one of them asks what might happen if Ryok was the one in those pictures, they all freak out and agree that Ryok dating would be an exception to that rule. Sadly, there are plenty of fans like this. People who say that they don’t mind who celebrities date, but when it comes to their idols they don’t want to see them dating ever if they aren’t dating them. This act of jealousy and selfishness is awful. They don’t realize that they aren’t allowing these human beings to be human. I was very glad that this show addressed how ridiculous fans like that are.

The Acting- Everyone is great and it only gets better by the episode.

Ji Hak- The manager of Tea Party actually got some pretty good character moments in this episode. Mainly to do with advising the members of several groups and fighting for Tea Party. Some of his plot I do feel takes away from time that should go to more central characters, but I thought this episode knew perfectly well how to utilize this character. His face off with giant corporate conglomerates was punctuated by some pretty cheesy dramatic music, but the point came across well in the end.

The Bad:

Yujin- I love Yunho so much and seeing him play this character is starting to cause me pain. I am at least glad that this episode acknowledges that Yujin is being cruel because of his near obsession with Maha. But none of this is earned. When Yujin is introduced to the audience we see him as a great friend and an over-all kind guy. The way that this show has continued his character development is not that at all. Yujin only seems to be kind to Maha and no one else. I honestly can’t think of one other character that Yujin has shown true kindness to unless it was for the benefit of Maha. And more often than not, he’ll actually be unkind to a character for the supposed benefit of Maha. I don’t know if he’s starting to seem like a cruel character or a character that suffers from being a puppet for Maha, or both. Probably both. Has he even gotten any character development beyond Maha? Not really and not enough. I guess that answers that question. Yujin has fallen so far on my favorites list and it hurts. I’m only hoping that we see true kindness from this character again. Preferably towards someone who isn’t Maha. I don’t mind a flawed character, but so far his only asset has become his only flaw and that does not make for a well rounded character.

Sparkling- They’re here again. Did they do anything in this episode? Nope. Moving on.

Shax- Unfortunately, we barely got anything from anyone in this group that isn’t Ryok. Not even Hyuk. He was only in about two scenes and he got maybe one line per scene. Considering Hyuk is my favorite character now, this definitely put a damper on my watch of this episode.

The Romance- I seriously just can’t get behind it at all. And this episode made everything even more confusing. The way they were acting in this episode, it seemed like they’ve been a couple for months now even though they just got together. And then there were a couple of scenes where Maha would be too shy to kiss Ryok and then you would kind of see that they had just stared dating. But it went back and forth so much that the signals were completely mixed. Ryok, who is an actor, also had a moment this episode where he got jealous of a kiss scene that Maha had to do. That also didn’t make any sense. Their romance feels unearned and they spend so little time in this episode actually together that there’s really no development of it either. By the end of the episode Maha and Ryok find out that pictures have been taken of them that could be leaked and Ryok proposes that the best course of action might be for them to break up. This was supposed to be an emotional moment, but I didn’t feel it because their entire relationship lacks so much development.

The Fans- As much as I love this show for calling out toxic fan behavior, I wish it would do something to highlight the masses of fans who are actually supportive and don’t engage in toxic behavior. Most fandoms actually have pretty close communities involving their idols, and many of these communities are overwhelmingly positive. It would be nice if they took at least one scene in any one of these episodes to highlight non-toxic fans.

Riah- She has no personality anymore other than vaguely angry.

La Lima- She appeared briefly in this episode to support Maha for some reason. Not only was this confusing, but it still didn’t add any reason for her to be in the show.

The Villain- I wish we didn’t have a face for the corporate conglomerates, because let’s be honest, most of the time we don’t in reality. The mustache twirling is really trope-y and feels unrealistic. There are other ways to show fighting against bigger companies without having to resort to a cardboard cutout character.

Reality- The show promised to tackle realistic idol problems, but it’s not doing that well. We maybe get one realistic scene per episode and then the show defaults back to the slow moving romance. I wish the show would emphasize this more. I have a feeling they are having trouble trying to balance the lightheartedness with the realistic views and keep defaulting on lighthearted because it feels safer.

Every episode of this show has at least one moment where you feel like there’s a little bit of hope buried under everything else. But ‘Imitation’ has so much trouble finding its footing that it never has been able to really get going. Really my favorite part of this episode was when Yunho posted the picture of him dancing as a cute little kid before the release of the episode on Twitter. Maybe if they can start focusing on the development they did with Hyunji they can at least save the sub-plot romance. It’s a small thing. I’m definitely trying to lower my expectations at this point. I feel like I’m too far in to give up. I know that there are more idol based dramas coming soon that hopefully will handle this concept a little bit better, including one that’s set to star Hyungwon of Monsta X. We’ll see what I end up watching! But the failings of this show have nothing to do with the acting or ATEEZ or anyone else involved in that way. They’re all great! It’s entirely the writing that’s bad, unfortunately.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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