Two years ago, if you’d told me that T-ara would be the girl group getting the most ambitious both conceptually and visually, I would have laughed at you. But now, I’m eating my words. T-ara might not be particularly consistent performance-wise, but they’ve recently been cranking out some cracktastic, highly varied, and visually interesting releases — a breath of fresh air in this current atmosphere of crunchy dance tracks, accompanied by videos that feature nothing but closeups of the idol group and some slick dance moves, filmed in a minimalistic, boring set (SM Entertainment, I’m looking at you). Was a twenty minute long mini drama as an MV a bit excessive? Perhaps, but bless them anyway for going for it. You don’t get anywhere fun by playing it safe.
The bad thing about this, though? It looks sort of cheap, like a drama on a tight budget rather than a mini film. But that’s okay; Core Contents Media is not a film production company and it’s not expected that they’ll churn out something that’s worthy of an Academy Award, but it does look a little like a student film. The executives should have sprung for better quality cinematography, because as it stands, the general quality of the video is distracting. On the plus side, the stylists nailed it with the girls. I haven’t seen Eunjung look this good in a long time — a bizzare observation, seeing as she’s meant to be styled as something of a delinquent here.
Story-wise, the flashback set up is a tad muddled. Plenty of people (mostly international fans who don’t know a lick of Korean) have been expressing confusion concerning the plotline of the video. So, a quick summation of the plot for those still unsure: this video is meant to be a sequel to the similarly themed “Cry Cry” video. Eunjung and Qri star as a pair of delinquent thieves who wind up in a huge mess when the bag they lift from a club turns out to be stuffed with drugs. A flashback sequence reveals that Qri originally was Jiyeon, but after a run-in with a couple of gangsters, her face was mauled and she ends up with plastic surgery leaving her looking like Qri, and unrecognizable to the man played by Cha Seung Won, a man whom she once loved. Prior to running off to save Eunjung, who has been kidnapped by a group of mobsters owing to the bag of drugs she lifted, Jiyeon reveals who she is to Cha Seung Won by way of a sign known to both of them. Confused, Cha Seung Won calls a number left behind by Eunjung, only to get a desperate plea for help as Jiyeon/Qri’s rescue attempt goes all wrong. He shows up just in time to save Jiyeon/Qri, but takes two bullets to the chest and dies on the way to the hospital. A distraught Jiyeon/Qri then drives off a cliff and into the ocean, determined to be with her love.
Whew. Classic overstuffed K-drama plot line, isn’t it? And all in twenty minutes too! The Jiyeon/Qri dynamic was nice, but marred by the fact that Jiyeon is clearly a more convincing actor than Qri. Plus, that slightly ridiculous haircut just looks better on her. Additionally, I learned a long time ago that it’s best to just ignore the sillier things about K-dramas and to not nitpick; otherwise you’re going to get a migraine. But as far as the action scenes go — really? The mooks are going to run at Cha Seung Won one at a time just so he can neatly dispense them with a single whack to the stomach each? And then he’s just going to throw the bat away when it’s clear that there’s probably still a guy in the room? And he survives two shots to the chest for an extended period of time, while it only takes one to kill the big bad instantly? But then again, it’s probably not fair to hold all of this against “Lovey-Dovey” specifically, especially in light of the logic-defying quasi-action bonanza that was DBSK‘s “Before U Go.”
As much as I enjoyed the fact that they just went all out for this MV, I can’t shake the feeling that “Lovey-Dovey” probably wasn’t the most appropriate song choice for the type of film that they were trying to go for. There were several sequences in the MV that were clearly meant to be dramatic and emotional, but I ended up laughing because of the disconnect between the track and the images. The lyrics in “Lovey-Dovey” aren’t necessarily happy ones, but the feel of the song itself is very shrill and bouncy. It would have been wiser to take the “Roly Poly” route. “Roly Poly” wasn’t T-ara’s best, but at least the MV worked with the song.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Despite its numerous flaws, I found the “Lovey-Dovey” MV highly enjoyable. Overall, I do appreciate that T-ara has developed a trend of being consistently ambitious, rather than just phoning in with the same dance video every single time. The word is that Core Contents Media has multiple, differently themed MVs that they’re going to drop for “Lovey-Dovey”, so here’s to hoping that they don’t fumble, and keep bringing in fresh, relatively ambitious things.