Short summary of Nice Guy

I quit as soon as it got to “Sister or girlfriend” scenario. In which the drama said he could choose only one or the other and I was screaming at him (the neighbors must think I’m nuts).

Look, your younger sister is sick and your girlfriend KILLED someone. One of them is ALIVE, but could die, the other one is dead. Which do you choose?

OK, he chooses the girlfriend. Is he dense? Family first, this is Korea, right? Then, I thought he’d have some sense–ya know he pulls out his expensive and new cell phone. Is he going to call a friend to maybe help his sister? Maybe call hospital staff FROM HIS HOSPITAL? No. Is he going to call 119 (Korea’s Emergency number)? No. He puts the cellphone in his sister’s hand instead. He does not tell her to call his hospital, call for an ambulance, (and he’s a doctor, so his house isn’t that bad) nor anything. His sister has a high fever.

Could he text his girlfriend, “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” and feed the girl an aspirin from his fricking cabinet? Yes. Does he? No. If he’s out, he could go to the convenience store, which would be five minutes.

He tells his sick and barely breathing sister to “count to 500″ Dude. You be that stupid?

I know the reputation that guys can’t multi-task but he’s a soon-to-be doctor. He’s supposed to have training to be calm in tough situations. I just can’t buy this dilemma at all. Let’s call it for what it is, stupid. There are more than two options in that situation and you want me to believe that an ambulance from your hospital or someone nearby can’t take your sister. On what grounds? Are you really friends with absolutely no one in all the years of being a medical student and growing up in the Korean school system?

So I skipped forward to Kwang Soo’s bits and I loved those. Nice breath of fresh air, even if the Running Man crew make fun of him for having so few lines.

Writing is fail. TT I hate plot holes. Acting is good, so that makes my heart ache. Melos usually aren’t my thing, but still. At least think through your plot forks.

The Ending of Big and Why it Works

Hong Sisters do one thing that they will sacrifice all else to–events, characters, pacing, conflict. They will sacrifice all those to get the *theme* of the drama to work. I noticed this particularly in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. They did this in YAB and Greatest Love too. They will sacrifice everything to get the theme to work.

This time the theme was maturity. Each character was assigned a part in maturity and they were using the characters to test questions about maturity. Since no one else seemed to get it and the fan rage died down a bit, I’ll spell it out.

Maturity by character:
Da Ran: Sheltered, mature, untested. Indecisive.
Is this mature?
Character arc: If put to the test and put in a difficult position, can she mature? And at what speed? I saw them try to test the character, but the character was stubborn because she couldn’t get out from underneath her over protective family. Every time she was on the verge of making a decision, they swooped in. So it was a big deal when she went against their objections and left.

Her character arc ended on her ability to fight for what she wants, and even taking the harder path to do so, which is why the ending didn’t end with her on the bus. She needed to show the audience she could *follow* through which she hadn’t done before. So the ending was for *her* and *KKJ*. (The not showing the face is another maturity thing– getting to that later.)

In this case, I think the inability to buy it wasn’t due to the writing–I thought some of the acting decisions could have been handled better. Da Ran was a bit too deer in the headlights. If she was played as intelligent, but inexperienced more, I think people would have liked the character more. That’s an acting, not a writing decision. (O.o;; Been on both sides of the fence…)

Mari:
The Question: How one deals with loneliness, is that a sign of maturity?
Mari’s whole character arc hinged on her ability or inability to deal with feeling alone.
This, too, was illuminated through lines like you can go around her house in the US in 15 minutes by Helicopter. Mari doesn’t give up. Mari’s father always gives her money to do things but isn’t there and only listens to her–but you get a sense of desperation from the character because her *only* family is KKJ. She says so several times. (I’m his only family). But he’s also really her only family too. She also learned boundaries and respect for those boundaries.

When she said “I got the signal to stop” and did… and then accepted Choon Sik, even in a small way, that’s when her character arc ended.

The Teacher Na storyline was a different kind of maturity–the ability to let go and to ability to fight for love. This was a different kind of fight than the KKJ storyline. This was a fight of persistence and realization.

The side story with the Principal, that was more for gags and laughs. Korean Humor style. (Also a Hong Sisters trademark)

Choon Sik’s storyline should be obvious… his storyline ended when he signed Mari’s bag and instead of following her around, fought for her–which is a similar storyline to Da Ran with the difference that he was irresponsible at the beginning, and by the end he’s helping in the restaurant cooking and trying to become a human being by working hard. (See episode 1, schoolyard scene for the large change)

Then you have KKJ…
KKJ’s storyline was his ability to *both* mature, accept responsibility for himself and others (he started out apathetic) and accept and fight for love (For himself). His story stopped at the end of 15 when he said he wanted to *accept responsibility* for someone else and their heart. If he’d gone into amnesia then he wouldn’t have had the time. Granted, this could have been done earlier, but since they were experimenting with smaller events and stronger characters, (and I feel the hand of the director this time who was doing slice of life before this) they opted out of doing it earlier.

So by the end of the first scene of 15, his plot line ended and he realized in order to get Da Ran to fight to be with him, he’d have to make it difficult and wanted to see her fight for it, which is why he gave an instruction manual at the end. KKJ is immature, but he’s pretty good at reading people (Think back to his Uncle) He’s good at manipulating people into what he wants. So he wanted to ensure that Da ran was strong enough to fight for him, which was the banjun in 15, which made the audience feel cheated, but the smaller events made a statement. Sweeping events really don’t make maturity happen. Disasters can break people as much as bolster them. His storyline isn’t a waste because Da Ran’s mission per his instruction was to make him remember their love, thus all of the things he learned inside and outside of their relationship are there at the end of the story. (At the end of 16)

As for not showing his face, I immediately got it though I knew the fan rage was going to be high. Maturity–when you were a kid and dreaming of growing up, did you ever wonder what your adult face would look like? Did you know automatically what was on the other side? The Big movie pulled these questions at the very end, too. I remember that feeling… but then what happens when he grows up? What will he look like then? Will he ever find her? The end of the Hong Sisters drama by not showing his face also pulled the same kinds of questions forward. You don’t know what the other side of maturity looks like. You don’t know what your face looks like–in fact it might never have a finishing point. If you show the face, then it has a finishing point and since the center of the drama was KKJ, you need his face to be ever evolving. (Thus how they sacrificed everything for the theme of the drama). I also think the blocking on this was a directing decision too. ’cause story boards are the job of the director as well. (I watch a ton of BTS…)

Maturity is slow. It is painful. It does take experience. It does take persistence. it does take the willingness to fight. It does take knowing yourself, taking on responsibility, being able to accept and give love. You will feel loneliness. It is different for everyone and just because you are 35, doesn’t mean you are any more or less mature than an 18 year old. (Which is why the side stories were needed from a writer POV.) It’s not the destination, it’s how you get there that matters. It’s the smaller steps, not the huge sweeping events that usually make people mature. (Stories like huge sweeping events to force characters to mature, but that’s not real life). A semi-open ending makes one think about the journey to get there. Maturity is the same way. Those are the statements made by this drama. If anything, Hong Sisters are blunt about their theming.

So next drama, I expect stronger characters, and they probably will bring back strong events, but probably not as over the top. I also predict that they again, will center the drama on theme alone and sacrifice everything to theme, hell or high water. I also am expecting them to borrow more Japanese conventions like they did this time around, though it was kinda incomplete borrowing… (Their love of foreign media shows up a lot in their dramas through story telling conventions and allusions) Also, they will bend to the director again with their writing, as with Hong Gil Dong.

The side stories were not useless, they did have a function. Not arguing that the execution was 100% on this drama, but they did function towards the larger goal: What is maturity anyway?

And no, I’m not saying that this is their best drama ever… but for what it was, it did finish what it set out to do with an ending that made functional sense towards what the Hong Sisters seemed to want to accomplish.

Ten Steps to Convert People to K-drama Land

People ask this question a lot… how do you convert someone to your religion of K-dramas? Here is a list that’s easy to watch, in such that one doesn’t have to explain Korean culture too much because there are explanations within the drama itself.

1. Sweet 18.
It’s an older drama that doesn’t demand too much thinking, but it really is a good starter drama. It introduces a lot of Korean society and thinking very well.

2. Goong
Doesn’t involve a lot of thinking, but gorgeous sets and though it has makjang, it still introduces to Yoon Eun Hye well and why people fell for her.

3. Jumong and Seodongyo for Three Kingdoms era. The previous two dramas establish what the fork in the road was like, so it’s time to travel back in history.

4. Dong Yi and Dae Jang Geum are the best of Joseon Era. They will teach all the ins and outs of the Joseon era without much effort on your part to explain the significance of things (Like you would with something like Tree with Deep Roots)

5. Shoot forward in time. You need Ajumma dramas. My Name is Kim Samsoon and Dalja’s Spring. (for Nuna category) though I liked Baby-faced Beauty a lot, it’s better after watching the first two before that one so you can appreciate the differences. Also, 9 End 2 Outs for a non-Nuna romance.

6. Makjang (or where my allergy flares up) If you need absolute Makjang and want to get into it. Winter Sonata and I’m Sorry I Love You should be on the list. Though Alone in Love is better overall, it makes the viewer think too much. Also there is a very good reason.

7. Full House… which is mediocre at best (I know I’ll get slammed for this. But seriously, the girl is how many months pregnant and *still* not showing? Can’t afford a basketball?)

8. But if you watch both melos and Full House you can watch My Sassy Girl Chun Hyang and get all the jokes. Which will be a good start to doing a marathon of all Hong Sisters dramas ever. Finish all the Hong Sister dramas because often they were the start of many trend in Korea.

9. I’d also throw in maybe I Need Romance 1 and 2. Or Hyena (which is 18+) Unconventional and adult, but shows that Korea knows what sex is.

10. Now you can throw anything you want at them because they are hooked for life.

The Black Hole known as America

Every person knows that once you go to America you get F*ed up because you know how pretty it is. (Word play on the Korean term for the US, Miguk. Mi also means Beauty/pretty 美) Of course it’s not Britain–that’s the place where characters go for royalty coming back with American accents. And of course it’s not Australia, because that’s where the melodrama people come from. (I’ve watched a lot). No, once you go to America you can’t do things like really call and most people come back smarter, but damaged because their hearts are sooo much colder. Like there is a pit of no communication around well-telephone-lined airports, there are rules about Miguk, too.
1. It’s where you put the criminals of K-dramas. (In Historical Joseon dramas it’s down in Kyeongsang… which is why EVERY gangster must also come from Kyeongsang–they aren’t native to Seoul–no way.)
2. Miguk is a beautiful country with only one university/college (Harvard)–well maybe a few others, but really they don’t count
3. Anyone from this country, has a cold heart–especially adoptees who don’t know how to love. So of course they won’t, you know, communicate with their relatives even if they have Skype. (In Korean terms, not quite human.)
4. They have the best medical care EVER. So that’s where everyone gets their surgery, (Though I think only one hospital ever gets mentioned. John Hopkins… and I’m pretty sure they don’t cover all those kinds of surgery…) be it for health reasons, unless the patient needs Korean native medicine, which is clearly superior to the less painful Chinese version. (Less disgusting, just as bitter, much more painful. Trust me.)
5. It’s where a lot of mothers and fathers mysteriously die. (The Mi in Miguk must be short of “mi-stery”
6. It’s filled with makjang violence. (Also known as the Mi in Miguk must be short for “Mi-sery” “Mi”anhae~) It used to be filled with only white people and discards of the K-drama world, (You know, where you put second leads), but now with a black president, clearly, they need blacks too. (Forget about the other ethnic groups.)
7. The majority of cities are San Fran, LA, and NYC. Boston, which is near Harvard? No–what’s Boston? All super violent, you know.
8. Filled with crazy people who all speak fluent English perfectly with stilted formal dialogue and Australian accents. “Mi”chiseo” 미치서 -crazy

(And yes, I know the Mi in Miguk doesn’t stand for any of those things. =P I read hanja. 미국 mee-gook–short ee sound.)

A Year in K-dramas

This year I would call, the Asian Drama gods, drew tiles to play Majong and then the K-drama gods put too many bets on the table and severely lost the game. (The Taiwanese table was too cautious and the Japanese drama Gods just played an even hand with what was safe). K-dramas lost too, and must have lost a few hands to the J-drama and TW-drama gods, because K-drama land lent out quite a few actors this year.

Or you can just call it Jekyll and Hyde if Jekyll is the tease and Hyde makes you want to hide. Not a great year in K-dramas, it was full of, Got ya! Oh no it now stinks!

49 Days- As soon as I smelled the Makjang I was gone.
A Thousand Days’ Promise- Makjang allergy was severe.
A Thousand Kisses- A thousand hives.
Baby-faced Beauty- I thought this was a solid old school K-drama and my favorite Noona drama of the year–solving 100% of my beefs with Noona dramas.
Big Heat- Didn’t watch it.
Birdie Buddy- Still waiting for Korea to get better at showing vocational dramas in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m watching a very bad sageuk.
Bolder By the Day- Didn’t watch it.
Brain-Makjang hell.
Bride of the Sun- No. Melodramas, no.
Can You Hear My Heart- No. Elew.
Can’t Live With Losing @ Can’t Lose- Got raped by the K-drama gods about halfway through. However, it held its own and made itself in its own way compared to the J-drama.
City Hunter- Crappy Hunter. No. Never liked the anime. Don’t like the drama.
Crime Squad- No.
Color of a Woman- Feel colorless about this one. Jae Hee Oppa~~ I loves you, but the writing is weak so far.
Dangerous WomanDidn’t watch.
Drama Special Didn’t catch it.
Dream HighMediocre acting, I watched it through only for one actor. By the end I was asking for an injection of better acting. Sheer fluff.
Dream of 400 Years Fast forward button. Why does reincarnation have to always be makjang?
Flower Boy Ramyeon Shop Fluff, extreme fluff. Not the type you think about two or three years, but stuff like cotton candy.
Fermentation Family Haven’t tried it yet.
Glory Jane @ Man of Honor Makjang allergy acted up as soon as the flashback started and I found out that more than half of it was set in a hospital.
God’s Quiz (Season 2) Skipped it.
Gye Baek Blech. I have enough of watching Three Kingdoms men with flimsy women. I need more women. Haven’t they learned yet with shows such as Dong Yi and Dae Jang Geum that women rock it better than men who are bent on fighting and doing nothing else? Why does A Tree with Deep roots rock? ’cause the stupid mindless fighting and getting revenge isn’t there.
Hair Show I was a no show for this one.
High Kick 3: The Revenge of the Short Legged Tried a few episodes late at night. Not bad if I liked family dramas. I like centralized storylines though. Story junkie here.
Hooray for Love I like the concept, the actress, but not the format… not a fan of long, long K-dramas.
I Believe in Love I didn’t believe in it enough to watch.
I Believed in Men Same as previous.
If Tomorrow Comes Makjang allergy
I Live in Cheongdam Dong Family drama.
Indomitable Daughters in Law No.
I Need Romance- Good drama. Solid and realistic in some of the depictions. I liked how the characters and how our understanding of them evolved over time.
Just Like Today Family drama.
Just You No.
King Gwanggaeto the Great Male Three Kingdoms drama.
Late Night Hospital I get hives around K-drama hospitals.
Lights and Shadows No.
Lie to Me I wish the bad writing was a lie. WTH was up with that. Waste of great actors.
Little Girl K Saw a little and quit.
Live in Style No.
Manny Was good and cute for the first half and then went to crap later on.
Me too, Flower Has a slow start up pitch so you have to wait until episode 4-5 for it to get to you and then it falls off into makjang and melodrama for the sake of it around episode 10-11, such that it kind of gives me nausea. Especially when I can feel the writer phoning it in and giving up. I know, my allergy to makjang is high. And the Psychology posted in the drama is questionable at best.
Midas Elew.
Miss AjummaNo.
Miss Ripley Makjang allergy. If Kim Rae Won gets a pass, Yoo Chun does too.
My Daughter The Flower No.
My Love By My Side No.
My Princess Second favorite drama of the year, best drama thusfar to portray adoption well. Though the K-drama gods pulled the old, “We are making you think one thing, and giving you another,” I wasn’t disappointed to find fluff was replaced by actual politics. I do admit that the almighty press conference was a little much, however, the acting, the subtle politics, the maneuvering put me over the edge with glee.
Myung Wol the Spy Makjang behind the scenes made me not finish this drama–the writing also slid with it.
New Tales of Gisaeng Allergy struck about 10 minutes in.
Nice to Meet You I didn’t meet this drama.
Ojakgyo BrothersNo.
Padam Padam Allergic.
Paradise Ranch WTH… even pretty horse shots couldn’t save this thing.
Perfect Spy No.
Poseidon No.
Princess Hwapyung’s Weight Loss Funny, but she should have gone with the *other* guy. The guy she ended up with sucked.
Princess’s Man Random blindness like Winter Sonata makes me puke.
Protect The Boss Fell apart near the end.
Queen Insoo Wanna watch, but all the subbers are over on A tree with Deep Roots.
Real School! Not real enough for me to watch.
Romance Town Love Yuri, hated the writing.
Royal Family Makjang and bad portrayal of adoptees. Can’t pay me to watch.
Scent of a Woman Good first episode. Then no.
Sign Pretty good summary of why I hate vocational K-dramas. They don’t focus on, ya know, the vocation and why one loves it and putting your heart into it. Instead it’s about the politics, the back stabbing and not say… uhhhh respecting the dead. Ya know that’s called THE MAIN PLOT. But I digress.
Sparkling/Shining Blinded me so I couldn’t watch it.
Special Crime Squad MSS No.
Special Affairs Team TEN No.
Sweet Palpitations No.
The Duo Tried watching this about 6 times over and still couldn’t get through it.
The EmpressNo.
The Greatest Love/Best love Severe Bubble world, which threw some people off, but I liked it for the same exact reason, but perhaps one needs that for Hong Sister dramas. Best drama of the year.
The Great Gift Not gifted enough for me to watch.
The Musical Blech. Short on the writing.
The Peak No.
The Servant No.
The Women of Our Home No.
Thorn Birds Makjang about adoptees, severe hives and I think I’d go into respitory failure watching it.
TV Novel – Bok HeeDidn’t see it.
Vampire Idol Allergy to vampires.
Vampire Prosecutor Allergy to vampires.
War of the Roses (SBS) No.
Warrior Baek Dong Soo Same with the others this year.
Welcome to the Show that I didn’t watch.
What’s Up? Well, show, I tried your first 10 minutes until you turned makjang when what I really wanted was a even keeled show that had great music to it.
When Women Powder Twice I run away.
While You Were Sleeping I killed this drama in my sleep and didn’t bother.
White Christmas Hell no.
You’re So Pretty Not enough for me to watch.
You’ve Fallen for Me @ Heartstrings Allergy.

Makjang gives me hives

Mention melanoma, cancer, a hospital scene and I feel hives coming on. Fill it with birth secrets, cold-hearted adoptees and I’m holding it at the end of a pole like a dirty sock that’s fell into the sewer filled with a cesspool of poo. That makes me allergic to dramas such as A Thousand Day Promise. As much as I love both lead actors and I can eat up Kim Rae Won’s acting with a shovel, I can’t stand melodramas. Probably more Korean ones than Japanese ones.

Manny Episode 1

I would characterize Manny as a quirky, yet fun drama, that talks about the Korean family value system. It’s funny, and though it doesn’t have the high production values of something like Goong, it still is entertaining and doesn’t pretend to be anything but what it is.

I think if you were a fan of such dramas as Bad Family and are a fan of the longer Family dramas, I think this is your ticket. it’s a nice break from the string of Melodramas coming out recently.

Episode 1

We start out with a man in an airport waiting for a “Manny”. The guy next to him asks him what a Manny is, and the man explains it is a male care taker. On his sign reads Kim Yi Han. This is when we are introduced to Kim Yi Han (Seo Ji Seok) who is fresh from New York City. He’s fighting with a kid over a luggage cart. The kid argues that he got the cart first. Kim Yi Han makes him cry, which brings over his mother. Kim Yi Han, then, tells the mother that the kid has asthma.

In the car, Yi Han puts on a Mets Hat and the driver (who is driving him to an interview) thinks it is a NY Yankees hat. Yi Han explains that he thought the kid was breathing weird on the plane, but that he can only tell if the kid has asthma from the kid crying. He’s quite arrogant and self-assured about it.

We now cut to Seo Do Young (Choi Jung Yoon) who has a really nruly hairstyle and large glasses. Do I smell a make over coming on? Yes, I do. In the tradition of many K-dramas, I’m betting on it. She is riffling through her daughter’s bag, Oh Eun Bi (Jung Da Bin, the younger not dead one–You might remember her from I Really Really Like you). Do Youbng is really scattered and can’t find anything or remember much.

Oh Jung Min (Newbie: Goo Seung Hyeon) is sick in bed, though he doesn’t seem to have a temperature or anything that would preclude my parents from kicking me to school. He swears he’s sick. And Do Young trusts him. There is a call and the kids have been playing pranks on their nannies. Such as a fake spider, dropping ink and so on. This mildly reminds me of Down With Love, the Chinese drama–though they made those kids into true hellions. This is difficult since Do Young is a single mother and works, though her older sister stays with her. Her older sister, Janice (Byeon Jeong Soo) (who loves the sound of her American-picked name) is the head of a model agency and likes to wear fake contacts.

I enjoyed her going down in flames later on. Men parade around her with their shirts off. She pinches the model’s bellies saying that their six pack is their “expression.” She’s pulled aside to talk to a client who wants to hire her for a job. She declares she can do it because she’s “Korea’s Janice.”

So we’re going through the “crossing of fates” beginning which K-dramas like. Lee Han is on a TV show which Do Young is watching, promoting his book. The house is dirty and cluttered, which makes the newly arrived Janice distressed. She tells Do Young that she has to get a Nanny. And asks why did her sister get married at all.

Do Young is reading Lee Han’s book in the book store when we see that Lee Han’s agent is having trouble–and speaking in Saturi while Lee Han is doing a book signing. The agent pulls in front of Lee Han and then sticks out his tongue–taking off with Lee Han’s bag. Lee Han chases after the car only to almost be run over by Do Young. Do Young breaks fast and Lee Han jumps into the car telling her to drive. Do Young really doesn’t get how a car chase is supposed to go and doesn’t seem to understand that they are chasing *that* car over there where Lee Han is, ya know, pointing like wild at.

Lee Han tells her to drive faster, but she’s worried about a ticket. (I would be more worried about dying in K-drama land via car.)  So he starts directing her and as they catch up to the car with his bag in it, Do Young over takes the car. So Lee Han tells her to slow down, but she doesn’t get it, so he tells her to use the breaks, which puts them at a complete stop and the agent sticking out his tongue and wheeling away.

This puts Lee Han out of money and his cards canceled. His hands are tied and he’s broke. I think we can see where this is going. Lee Han calls his lawyer to find out what’s happening. It turns out that Lee Han is stranded for six months because he pissed of the head of immigration. The Head of Immigration’s wife had a thing for him and jumped him against Lee Han’s wishes, leading to a misunderstanding.

Do Young is debating having a Manny after reading a book. But her coworker thinks that it might be uncomfortable, putting strange images in Do Young’s head. Thus setting up the “forbidden relationship” trope.

Meanwhile, Lee Han is stranded in a small room and not happy about it. He only has about 30,000 won to his name. He looks at a baseball, signed by Tom Seaver, which makes him remember that his mentor (a black man on the Mets team) told him that ball can give him luck. This renews his spirits so he goes for an English teaching job.

This gets him to meet Janice. They instantly don’t like each other. She insults his Manny job and he insults her model job as “Teaching people how to walk.” He storms out. This puts him on the street again.

This puts Lee Han on the street again, and Do Young calls him to “babysit” her kids. He agrees. However, Do Young learns of the scandal with the Head of Immigration’s wife.

Do Young goes to confront Lee Han and calls him a pervert, but struggles to throw water on him–her glass is empty, so she tries to throw the sugar packets, but the sugar packets are stuck, so she grabs some passing water and then throws it on him.

There is a cut to Jung Min who has pushed down a boy and run. This leads to a hunt for Jung Min.

By K-drama coincidence, Jung Min runs into Lee Han and he calls Lee Han “Appa,” which leads Lee Han to assess that the kid has been in a fight (after some zooming graphics and music–expect this to continue). He tells Jung Min that he should make up with his friends and invites him for yogurt.

Janice spots Lee Han on the street and reports it as a kidnapping. This puts Lee Han in jail, however Do Young comes to see that it was a misunderstanding and cautiously invites Lee Han into her home–he declares he’s not hungry, but his stomach growls.

Lee Han finds out that Janice is trying for the Top Model program, so has his friend cancel on Janice! Yes for petty revenge. Lee Han sees some drawings and says that Jung Min is depressed.

Lee Han discusses it with Do Young and then goes to Jung Min and puts a hat on his head. He pulls Jung Min out of his funk is a really cute scene. So he tells the story of Tom Seaver. And how Tom Seaver didn’t beat up his competition but gave him a scare. Jung Min says the boy he pushed down was teasing him about not having a father. He cries into Lee Han’s arms. This makes Do Young also cry watching it.

Janice finds out that the manager of Top Model canceled on her. Cue hatching more plots of petty revenge.

Do Young is watching over her sleeping son and remembers that Lee Han told her that coddling is fine, but as the children get older she is supposed to help them learn tools to operate in the world.

This leads to in the morning Lee Han and Janice fighting, so Lee Han storms out, much to the distress of Do Young. Not knowing what to do, Lee Han wanders until his lawyer calls and tells him he has a plane ticket–Lee Han can go back to America now. Lee Han, however, sees a boy and his father in the airport, feeling a little guilty for leaving his depressed charge behind he cancels the ticket.

Summary

This drama is campy, cheesy and cliché in many places, but at the same time, I think the appeal won’t so much be from the cliché moments we all know by heart, but from what the drama can get from the interaction of the family aspect of the drama–talking about raising of children and those warm and fuzzies that make one smile.

Current Predictions

I smell a make over coming up for Do Young. The curly hairstyle represents how scattered she is as a mother, so when she gets it together, her hair has to change with it.

I’m also seeing lots of petty revenge between Janice and Lee Han–which I welcome. I hope they push off the attraction bit to either never or very late in the game.

I’m also seeing for our characters, The we have a professional relationship according to the contract, isn’t this awkward moments. The chemstry isn’t there yet, but I hope it warms up.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Updates…

I’ve watched a lot of new dramas since 2009, but with Blogger being difficult and WordPress not quite catching up at the time, I didn’t have time to fix the problem.

So let’s resume where I left off before in reviewing dramas. If you also noticed I moved the website to Asian Fiction. Why? Because it was kind of lost on involuntaryart.com and this has better visibility. Plus this allows me to cross link to the other related material in a more centralized fashion.

 

List of Korean dramas watch 2010:

 

Yaksha– Bloody and something that I think people will watch if they like blood spurting. I think this would appeal to types like my brother who like spurting blood.

 

It’s OK Daddy’s Girl:

Ditch. It lagged.

 

Secret Garden: Great drama.

 

Mary Stayed Out All Night:

Strong acting with the worst writing ever. The writing never came together for what was a good cast.

 

King Geunchogo:

Still watching it. The subbing is steady, but slow.

 

Queen of Reversals:

I skimmed it.

 

Dae Mul:

Ditched.

 

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho: I really liked this drama, but felt it was a little weaker than YAB.

 

Mischievious Kiss: I skimmed. A whole lot of skimming. I’m still partial to the It Started with a Kiss version since it was a lot more true to the original.

Dong Yi: Great Historical drama, ranks only second to Dae Jang Geum.

King Suro: Sucked and bad.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Great drama, surprisingly good acting–not the best historical drama ever, however, it was entertaining, and just the right amount of fluff to keep one going. It was missing a good ending to match–the ending got too fanciful for my taste.

Joseon X-Files: Secret Investigation: I’ve tried it three times in a row and still I can’t get into it. The camera angles still leave me feeling sick. Maybe another time.

I am Legend: Ditched. First episode lagged for me and it didn’t get better–it seemed like an ajumma try at YAB,, but some of the best points they could hit on they entirely missed.

Gloria: Skipped.

Gumiho: Tale of a Foxchild: Skipped. I’m not fond of horror done Korean style in dramas because they always add extra fat on top, like melodrama, etc.

Baker King: Kim Tak Goo: When it turned melodrama in the first episode, I ditched it.

Coffee House: Ditched halfway through. Loved the actors, liked the production values, and the writing was clever, but it just fell off the horse somewhere.

Cinderella’s Sister: Ditched, to be fair, second episode. I could smell the melo in the first episode. Love the actors, not my type of drama.

Prosecutor Princess: Thoroughly entertaining and on the edge suspense without being overdone. I also cleaned subs for Viikii

Personal Taste: A contrasting flavor to Prosecutor Princess. Complete fluff and I loved it for that. Nice character development and progression.

Oh My Lady!: Ditch, ditch, skim… found I didn’t miss much.

The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry: Great and entertaining drama. My Ajumma drama pick of that year.

The Master of Study: Ditch, Ditch, Ditch, Skimmed… Meh. I am partial to the Japanese version.

Pasta: Great drama. Love the food theme and the acting really held this drama together.

Chuno: Ditch, ditch, skim. OMG, WTH is with sad endings to dramas about the lower class?

Jejungwon: Ditch, ditch, skim, ditch. I just hated the lead character more and more. I wasn’t sure if it was the acting (i.e. stuttering in many ways) or just the fact that I really found the main character somewhat unlikable no matter what he did. Also the lack of growth–despite liking Dae Jang Geum and Dong Yi which had similar formats, I couldn’t connect to this one.

2011 (so far)

Dream High: fluff with mediocre writing and very little depth–what you see is what you get. Some of the acting was wooden as well.

My Princess: Surprisingly not fluff and very layered, but so subtle to the Western audience that many missed the cues across the board. This was a drama to study, not just let wash over you. The subtle power plays and the chemistry was great. It made me want to reconsider City Hall, but really, I didn’t like City Hall.

The Thorn Birds: On my I hate it forever list. (for treatment of adoptees) My hatred for it is the same reasons why I like My Princess. My Princess had tact, but still went head-on into the issues of adoption without getting rude. While there were some weaknesses with the sister in My Princess, I believe that’s a lack of acting skill, where as here it’s a lack of understanding adoptees.

Royal Family: Ditch. First episode, when I realized it was a melo without any real heart to connect me.

The Duo: Been watching it on and off. I’m a little wary of the ending.

New Tales of the Gisaeng: Ditch, ditch, permanent ditch when I realized it was a melodrama. The trailer made it seem more light-hearted. Disappointed.

Paradise Ranch: Ditch, ditch, skim. Weak acting and writing.

Sign: Ditch. I hate politics–the melodramatic must add it here in my doctor dramas, which is why I tend not to like K-dramas with hospitals. I’m more in favor of the Japanese approach. (Concentrate on the case and the problem more than the politics. But Korean dramas foreground the politics and forget about the cases.)

Dramas I’m looking forward to: Woongchi and the Hong Sister drama in two months.

 

Last Scandal–Quick review

1-3 is lag time. 4-13 is really good. 14-15 is lag again. 16 is a solid ending in an American style. So there are mild pacing problems. Full House developed more on the romance and humor side, this one developed more on the acting and the inter-personal issues. It’s also for an older audience so it doesn’t have so many “cute” moments like Full House, but more “romantic” moments. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s fair to compare these two dramas.

There are some melodrama tropes that are used in the drama which are unrealistic in many ways, such as a gullible wife as the husband is lazy and spending the money. The list of secrets being kept from characters and how those secrets are discovered.

For example: (Highlight to see)

- The husband is in debt and pushes it on the mother.
- The mother believes the husband no matter what.
- Hoon is really the main character’s son.
- Hiding a divorce from the family because of the shame involved.
- The distant mother.

These could annoy people, but I think if you look at the ajumma as the main character dealing with romance aspect as a piece of fresh air, and aren’t looking for laugh out loud as much, but more slow and charming, this could be your pace.

The acting and plot are solid. In terms of production values, this drama does not slip, even though the writing in places does lag, it still manages to hold interest even through the laggy parts.

This didn’t turn out to be laugh out loud funny or griping, but it does have a slow building plot which is part of its charm. Episodes 9-11 are particularly strong as they have centralized themes and plot points that execute the episodes very well and give them good flavor.

I would rate this: A good Interpersonal relationship romance drama for older women, or someone looking for something slow and building. I wouldn’t particularly go out of my way to recommend this drama, but if there was nothing else to watch, but you don’t need a filler drama, this could do the trick.

Preliminary Review of Lawyers of South Korea

대~한민국 변호사

Dae means great. Such as in Dae Jang Geum.
DaeHaminguk however means south Korea.
In addition there is a character named Han Min Guk.
So this is a running joke and a pun that doesn’t translate well.
변호사, however, does translate as lawyer.

If you are going into this drama expecting a melodrama or say.. something about Korean divorce law you will sorely be disappointed. At this drama’s core is only a love quad with a minor love triangle thrown in. The thing that keeps this drama together is the mystery aspect, which is weaved and played out pretty well.

I’m about half way through now. It’s not a show stopping drama. I;’d rate it as an OK. When you are bored and don’t particularly want to contemplate the world, this is that sort of drama, but enough to keep you conscious.