Dear Drama Friends,
Do you sometimes feel so despondent about watching drama, think you'll maybe give it up because you can't find anything interesting, and then all of a sudden, it's pouring so many dramas you want to watch, you can hardly think??!?!?!?!?! Wasn't that a rather long sentence? Well, that happened to me over the past few months, and just when my life is going to get really busy again *sigh*.
I've been lucky that I was on vacation when I broke my toe, got the flu, and then felt like I was suffocating during the season's first Yellow Dust storm (holy crap hazardous air is no joke!!!). Anyway, luckily I had plenty of dramas to keep me company. Maybe too many dramas actually, which is not creating time warp problems once vacation has ended *gulp*.
I started this drama after hearing lots of buzz about it. It is thoroughly enjoyable in a sort of modern-esque, campy sageuk way. Hmm. Maybe that's the wrong way to describe it, but there are moments where sageuk purists might cringe, but hey, it's completely entertaining and addicting. Jang Hyuk is all sorts of Jang Hyuk-iness supreme and he gets more and more addicting the more I watch him. I especially love him when he's being all super serious and throwing out some serious moves (especially in that tournament) and then the next moment being all fluffy and cuddly. That's the best way I can think to describe it.
I don't mind Oh Yeon Seo because she's perfect when Jang Hyuk is being super adorkable. They are rather adorkable and silly together and that makes me happy. I guess it's also partly because I definitely take the drama with a pinch of salt, and I think it's needed. That's not to say I don't love it, I really do, but yeah. Take it with a pinch of salt. Also, I think that white as a wedding colour can be rather boring. I LOVE the red used in the above screen cap for wedding clothes! I want! That an a red sari, ah! Hmmm, my culture has boring wedding colours, jk.
I just about cracked up in episode 11 right after Wang So and Gaedong/Shin Yool have just been making out in the bathtub and they're sitting at the table being all *wink wink* *nudge nudge* *smile* *giggle* *smile*. It was so farcical, but also totally funny and adorable. Serious Hyuk though, dang, he's hotte. And then after all that cute, episode 12 had plenty of tears and heartbreak. We're at the halfway point with the drama, so I think they're giving us a bunch of cute before wreaking havoc with our hero's heart and mind. I keep on wondering when they are going to reveal that Shin Yool also has the North Star birthmark...and of course we have to see what happens with the whole "unauthorized marriages, lovers get killed" thing. Will Shin Yool die before she gets killed? I am sure we've got plenty of tragedy ahead. And I wonder whether Wang So and Yeo Won will reconcile and if she'll also help him shine, or will she be part of the crowd that makes him crazy? So many questions!
Im Joo Hwan is not my favourite in the drama, but he is getting better as a fire is lit under his butt to actually motivate him to do something. Though it is definitely looking like he's leaning towards being a baddie. Let's hope he stops being so mopey and stuff. Honey Lee is killing it. She is excellent as the ice princess cum bad guy cum maybe not quite a bad guy. She is also breathtakingly beautiful. She and her real life boyfriend, Yoon Kye Sun, might be one of the most beautiful couples in all of history. Seriously. Also, I have to say that Lee Duk Hwa's eyebrows aren't so crazy in this drama, it makes me laugh that this stylist has tamed them somewhat.
And funny enough, I ended up learning all sorts of things about the potential medicinal properties of spider webs. Um, they are pretty cool. Thank you drama.
The drama teasers were pretty much only barely scratching on the surface of what this drama is. And I am completely happy with what they're doing with the themes. Of course we have Choi Woo Sik being about the cutest and squishiest beta male lead ever, ah, but he is perfect at it! Perfect! I also really love his chemistry with UEE's alpha female.
This part will be more SPOILERY if you haven't started watching it yet. The drama is touching on so many themes: unwanted pregnancy, love, single motherhood, parenthood, marriage, dating, flirting, male responsibility with contraception, what it means to be a man (and it's definitely leaning more towards the not alpha type), there's a whole bunch. One of my favourite things about Hogu is that he just loves Do Hee so much that he really doesn't care that she's just had a child by another man. He really and sincerely loves her for who she is. I know she's absolutely terrified to accept that love because I think she's confused by the idea of it. Ah! And that bungeoppang scene just about broke my heart. And the baby! The baby is so cute!!! Ah!!!
Another scene that I ADORED was when all the condoms fell out of Ho Kyeong's handbag. Hi-lar-i-ous! Everyone's reactions were pretty much the opposite of what you'd expect from a K-drama, that it was so refreshing. Of course it was a good set-up leading to the contrast of selfishness of Byun Kang Chul's refusal to use a condom that results in Do Hee's pregnancy. But that whole scene was pretty funny. But I also really liked how his sister is so strong and responsible and obviously takes control of her life. She's not one to have things happen to her. Pretty much I find the drama a heartfelt, charming, somewhat morality tale on sexual responsibility and female empowerment.
I'm also a little more intrigued about finding out about Byun Kang Chul now that we know that he thinks he's gay, but doesn't really want to face that thought. Of course, we know he's not, though I can't help but think that it would be more interesting if he were. I'm still processing how I feel about his first love being Ho Kyeong too...especially as she seems to like him, but also wants to get revenge on him. That will certainly be interesting to see how that plays out SPOILER over
If you're not already watching this drama, I would recommend that you start it. It is rather delightful. And Ho Gu. He is a gem. I adore him. And I just heart Choi Woo Sik more and more and more with each episode. I think I read somewhere that he didn't realize he was being considered for the lead role, but that the director thought he would be perfect as Ho Gu. He is. And I haven't watched yesterday and today's episodes yet. That whole needing a time-turner to finish all these dramas is needed right about now.
Hyde, Jekyll, Me
The drama is slowing getting more interesting, but not mindbogglingly so. I know that the drama is getting a lot of flack for not being amazing, and it's not. But it's also not as terrible as everyone is complaining it is. Like really, it isn't. It is mediocre, sure, but it's not terrible. It's also not better or worse than Kill Me, Heal Me. I just had to say that. They're about the same level of mediocre. AND I am enjoying it. That is possible, even though some people don't seem to think one can dissect drama, find it wanting, and still enjoy it *grumble grumble*. And yes, that was very passive aggressive, something I normally despise.
Things are certainly getting more interesting with the development of another identity that we learned about in episode 12. It was also the first episode where I really started to get more invested in Ha Na's emotions and her motivations. I think it was also a really interesting moment with the almost murder of Dr. Kang. I am really starting to wonder how unhinged Lee Soo Hyun is, and whether he is going to resort to murder. I think episode 12 was a really great episode as well for all the character arcs of the leads to move forward. I just wish that we had gotten to this point about six episodes ago. This is where the real meat of the conflict rests and it's a pity we haven't seen more of it yet. We've got eight episodes to go though, so hopefully we get some good pay off.
Kill Me, Heal Me
The other day when I was stopping by a convenience store, I heard one of the OST numbers from the drama playing and it made me laugh. It was the Auditory Hallucinations (환청) song by Jang Jae In ft. NaShow. So at least it's somewhat popular enough here to be on the radio.
The story is progressing as I thought it would, with some major reveals etc. but not really any major surprises. I will say that the one thing that surprised me is that Cha Do Hyun is the one with the DID, when Oh Ri Jin is the one that was physically abused to a larger extent though in the end, they both underwent terrible trauma because of their abuse. I wonder if the drama is going to go the route of saying that because she had loving parents, that is why she has come out a more well-adjusted adult. One major thing that annoyed me in the past few episodes is Do Hyun and Ri On making deals behind Ri Jin's back. It should be up to her whether or not she chooses to try and remember and face the trauma, and not up to them. She is an adult, and the whole trying to "protect" her thing is really stupid. Like really stupid. I am glad that that more or less fell apart in episode 16, but it leaves her vulnerable because she can't really trust that Ri On and Do Hyun haven't made more deals to try and constrict her choices. *Argh*. I also thought that Hwang Jung Eum was really great in episode 16 and I wish we had seen more of this side of her earlier in the drama. I know a lot of people are super surprised with the name reveal, but I wasn't that surprised. I am more interested to know how the only identity we know little about, Na Na, fits in. It also makes a little more sense how Cha Do Hyun projected the trauma onto himself because he is a victim as Ri On says.
And at least the drama has had some great kiss scenes in the past few episodes.
You can read more about my thoughts regarding these two dramas in my previous post: A Note About Hyde, Jekyll, Me & Kill Me, Heal Me. Just as a note about that post, just because I analyzed the dramas and found them wanting, doesn't mean I can't enjoy them. If dissecting dramas is not part of your viewing pleasure, then maybe that post is not for you, which is cool, but please don't tell me I'm wrong because I enjoy watching and dissecting and analyzing. It's how I watch all film and TV.
Heart to Heart
Dear Drama, please forgive me. I was so mad at you last week because of that little glitch that has actually turned out to be a really beautiful plot catalyst of hurting, healing, and the beginnings of forgiveness. (If you haven't started watching the drama, and don't like spoilers, maybe skip ahead to the next section.) I should have trusted you because so far you have been pitch perfect and lovely. And episodes 13 and 14 were one of the most beautiful (and realistic) portrayals of loss, trauma, forgiveness, hurt, healing, and love I've seen in a while. Just really lovely. And the filters! Ah! I especially loved them with the last two episodes. And the pacing! And the soundtrack! Ah! It was all just used so well!!!
I really loved Dr. Uhm words to Yi Suk: Forgiving isn't something others do first. That just really resonated with me. I am grateful that the writer used the past trauma of hyung's death to provide the catalyst for dealing with all the stuff it created in the past. It's like a badly scarred and still infected wound that is still poisoning the family, and now that the the scabby scar has been ripped off by the revelation that Cha Hong Do is Young Ji, all the pus and infected tissue is being scrubbed away. And once the wound is cleaned of decay, it can be disinfected and healed. Maybe that was an overly graphic analogy, but it's how I saw the fall out of the big reveal.
I appreciated that Yi Suk was honest that he felt guilt and is slowly being able to deal with it. Just overall, this drama has been about communicating and dealing with all the crap that goes along with complicated human wounding and trauma that creates walls and fortresses around our hearts to impede healthy living. Ah! I just really like it. I also love that Dr. Uhm and Butler Ahn are encouraging Hong Do to hold onto Yi Suk. I am sure that with time, things will come right for the two of them.
It's not even that I have to have a "happy ending" with the two of them together, but I think that the drama has done a lot to talk about healing and love and the power we have to help one another as human beings. It just feels like the sort of drama that has more real life applicability. Or maybe it's just particularly resonating with me, but I love it and I love watching it. And I also really loved how Detective Jang was in episodes 13 and 14. He was just the steady rock that he is. I just, oh, I just love this drama so much. I really do. It hasn't been perfect, but it's been pitch perfect.
Persevere Goo Hae Ra
Persevere Goo Hae Ra is a rather nice take on the young adult-coming-of-age-musical genre of K-drama. I tend to enjoy this genre, and musicals quite a lot. If you don't, well then, avoid it. They are college age students though and not high schoolers if that is a deterrent to anyone. I've also only watched up until episode 7, and I think I'll watch 8 after posting this.
The drama does have an extraordinary amount of misunderstandings that are always coming into play. I feel so sorry for poor Kang Se Jong. Jeepers. I know he brings it on himself half the time, but I swear, the drama is a study on how NOT to communicate with people if you actually want a happy relationship. Mary summed it up well like this when I tweeted earlier this week about this constant cycle of misunderstanding in this K-drama.
The noonas and Tae Poong are also absurdly hilarious and I quite enjoy them for their comic relief. Henry and all the other side kicks of the Perseverance team are delightful. I enjoy them. They're cute. There's not much more to say. Of course, the drama has all sorts of meta references to idols and their agencies and sketchy contracts, but there are all sorts of celebrity appearances, and this is an MNet production, so I wonder about permissions etc. (JYP made a guest appearance even).
SPOILER alert!!! Soooo...about that love triangle. I get that Se Chan was super in love with Hae Ra and that he was super great at confessing first and stuff, BUT Se Jong and Hae Ra did meet first and have that whole love at first glance thing going on. I know first loves can be annoying in K-drama, but in this case, I am ALL for it. I wish that the drama hadn't written in so much tension for Se Jong and Hae Ra to overcome. I just want Hae Ra to have some breathing space.
If Se Chan had stuck around and had been able to make his case, I might have been swayed, but I cannot stomach that Ray is taking all this Se Chan vibe and making a play for Hae Ra. It's not about not liking Ray, it's more about how he has used Se Chan as a way to be who he thinks Hae Ra needs Ray to be. He's just trying too hard to be Se Chan, and I don't like that. I would much rather he was Ray first and foremost and not a Se Chan shadow. Se Chan and Ray are too similar, plus, there seems to have been very little trauma at the arrival of Ray. He slipped too seamlessly into everyone's lives, and that is just bad writing. Oh well. It could have been a much better source of conflict. If Ray really gets the girl, then he is going to have to convince me that he's worth it and that Hae Ra likes him for him, and not just because he's nice and happens to look like Se Chan. It could also be Jinyoung's limited acting experience that is not playing out the nuance enough. Of course Se Jong needs to man up and make a move for Hae Ra (dang all these misunderstandings and crap coming into play). I almost thought that he would when he hoisted her over his shoulder. I am glad he let her down quickly though when she asked. He gets what "no" means. Anyway. Ray needs to back off and give Hae Ra and Se Jong some space to figure things out.
Hae Ra has loved Se Jong all along and he loves her too and I don't really think we even needed a love triangle...but they killed off Se Chan so quickly...so...yeah. Lil' bro is not in the picture anymore, and I don't want Ray to get her in the end. Argh! I am totally #TeamSeJong here! I don't even know why I am so wrapped up in their story, dang it! Maybe because I find Se Jong super attractive, but I think it's more than that. They fit together in a way that Se Chan and Hae Ra don't, and certainly not Ray. Anyway, I will be super unhappy if Se Jong and Ha Rae don't end up together in the end. And speaking of misunderstandings, that whole cellphone charm, the music note, that misunderstanding made me want to chuck my computer on the floor. Of course that wouldn't be a good idea, but %#@&%$ it!!! Argh!!!! Misunderstandings!!! The lifeblood of K-drama. END SPOILER
|These two pretty much break my heart all the time|
Sometimes I think of it as a Korean sageuk, modern fusion, more violent take on Downton Abbey. The drama keeps me really intrigued from week to week and is rather beautiful to watch. I did like episodes 7 and 8 more than I did 9 and 10, but 9 and 10 served to bring some characters into collision that really needed to happen before all the pieces started moving. They were more like cog episodes, moving everything into place.
The drama is at its half-way point, and I'm excited to see where it's going to go from here. Also, Kim Gap Soo is always so brilliant at being the bad guy though I have seen him better as the bad guy in other stuff. He is always a pleasure to watch though.
I think that one thing this drama does well is to get us to think a little more about what the servants' lives were like. It's not always super accurate though, and I wonder sometimes just how much back-chat would have really been allowed, but the drama dwells on things like scrubbing chamber pots, and punishment in ways that normally don't get drawn out as often. It also isn't afraid of exploring all the philandering going on and how not so nice the upper classes can be. And then of course, there is lovely, broody Oh Ji Ho. I am starting to realize that perhaps he doesn't know how to act...and all the comments from people about him, but even so, I'm all right with it I guess. Initially I thought he was just being broody, but yeah, I am not so sure of his acting capability. Oh well. Of course, someone with more nuance and acting skill would be better, but there is enough in the drama to keep me watching for other reasons.
Well, that's my update for now. What dramas are you watching? Are you watching any of these? Thoughts? Have you picked up any of the new ones that just started airing? Man, I have so many questions. And don't worry about spoilers in the comments, just say what you want.