쾌걸 춘향 / Kwae-geol Chun-hyang/My Sassy Girl Chun Hyang review

Title: 쾌걸 춘향 / Kwae-geol Chun-hyang/My Sassy Girl Chun Hyang
Type: Drama
Genre: Romantic Comedy/ Drama
Cast:
Han Chae Young (한채영) as Sung Chun-hyang
Jae Hee (재희) as Lee Mong-ryong
Uhm Tae Woong as Byun Hak-do
Park Shi Eun (박시은) as Hong Chae-rin
Lee In Hye (이인혜) as Han Dan-hee
Moon Ji Yoon (문지윤) as Pang Ji-hyuk
Kim Chung (김청) as Kong Wol-mae
Ahn Suk Hwan (안석환) as Mong-ryong’s father
Choi Ran (최란) as Mong-ryong’s mother

Basic Plot Summary:
Loosely based on the legend of Chun Hyang, this drama follows Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong from high school into adulthood.

The legend of Chun Hyang is about a devopted wife whose husband went away, but then a Minister tried to force her to marry her who was much, much older than her. Believing her husband would return Chun Hyang stayed devoted to her husband and waited paitiently for his return.

The drama follows this loosely in the latter half of the drama, but as a drama in of itself it makes fun of the original legend. It starts with Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong meeting badly, first by her landing on his head, and then later by her crushing his phone and mixing them up. Because she wants to go to Hankook University, and through a series of scandels, they agree to get married.

However they both have to contend with their rivals–Chae Rin and Byun Hak Do. Chae Rin is Mong Ryong’s Nuna, whom he wishes for her to look at him as a man, and Hak Do wants Chun Hyang to be his.
Hormones: Hormones to watch for, would be Jae Hee… When he smiles it’s very cute and killer. Also Han Chae Young is also someone that might appeal to the guys. Besides them the count on hormones is lower.
Popularity: Most people are blissfully ignorant about this drama. However, the majority of people who watch it have very little complaints about the drama itself. Despite My Girl being popular many people continue to ignore or not know about this drama.
Music: The quality of the music is high. There are several good outside pieces as well as several excellently cued pieces made for the drama. The voices used aren’t the usual pop-flavor which compliments the tone and outset of this drama. It’s a very rememberable track despite this. It even has a kind of traditional flavor as well.
Acting:
Jae Hee is remarkable as an actor. He acted in 3-iron previously which was the exact opposite of this role. He’s funny, charismatic, his body language and movement are really funny and remarkable. And he has a good sense of timing and humor.
There were no painful performances overall, and until the last moment everyone does their part fairly well.
Visuals: The set design for the past paraodies were really good and showed a deep understanding of it. The color use, and framing shots weren’t of particular note, however, the shot work is integrated to tell the story more than to make one notice them.
Direction: The director’s influence can be seen throughout this. It feels like he tried to have a lot of fun, working well with the writers (enough that he went on to do My Girl). I particularly like the show of the love of dramas and the jabs he makes at the current dramas out there.
Story: The writing is excellent. It usually takes up to 3 episodes for a Korean drama to finally warm up, but this one is captivating from the start and doesn’t let go until the end. It does lag for one or two episodes, but it’s not as bad as some other dramas where if you skip those episodes you won’t have missed anything.
The Good: The story, the acting, the use of hanbok, the slow and progressive movement of the story with smooth transitions. This drama doesn’t fail to deliver on most levels. When it’s funny, it’s funny, when it’s meant to be dramatic and sad it shows it. And even in the dramatic moments itseems to make a jab at other dramas. The chemistry between Jae Hee and Han Chae Young is interesting to watch as well.
The Bad: Sometimes when Chae Young and Mong Ryong weren’t fighting it was a bit difficult to believe. However the writers did try to cover for this by making fun of it. This is also not a drama to watch if you haven’t watched a long list of things before it and have no idea about Korean dramas that proceeded it. As prevviously mentioned it does lag around Episode 13-14, but it’s not so bad.
Why Watch it:
This is good if you want a fast-paced drama with a good amount of laughs and gags. It’s particularly good if one has been around the block and then some and are getting tired of the regular korean drama. This makes fun of previous Korean dramas in both direct and indirect ways. If you know th conventions of Korean dramas this makes a lot of stabs at them.
Things to Watch for:
- The Matrix reference.
- The jab at the bridge scene.
- The jab at the suicide scene.
- The jabs at I’m Sorry I Love you, Full House and Winter Sonata.
- The constant references to My Sassy Girl movie. (Both the main actress’s name in which they say they can’t get her and also the most common phrases that Chun Hyang says)
- Mind Your Own Business and “Do you want to die” you can count them during the series to keep track of them.
- Countless other references which I won’t give away or it’ll spoil it.
- The subtle scene changes and character development.
- Also watch the NGs. They are really hilarious!
Overview: This drama is light, and funny and posesses the second most hateful villian in history. It also has a female lead that doesn’t turn whiny and crying during the course of the drama nor tries to reform her significant other. Since it makes fun of other dramas it’s quite refreshing after you’ve watched the gamut of movies and dramas that have the same forula. I would watch this one after Full House, but before My Girl. It’s an entertaining watch and very original compared to other dramas.
Rating: 5/5

K-Drama Pink Shirt Theory

This mainly works for men, not women. Pink in general is disproportionately in K-dramas and shows up only in a number of ways. Here are the stages of the Pink Shirt Theory.

1. First pink shirt means, “I’m going to fall for her.”
2. If the girl gives light pink to the guy that means they will end up with each other, or at least vie for each other.
3. Repeated pink shirts means that the guy is in love if the rival hasn’t shown up.
4. If the rival shows up with the girl, and the other guy is wearing a pink shirt, it means jealousy.

Pink, as Bright Girl’s Success Story put it is a color of love. The more the guy wears light pink voluntarily (darker pink being secondary), the more likely he’ll win the girl. Wearing light pink first sometimes, but not always helps.

Pink on a girl in makeup or clothes always means she’s the hero of the story. If she suddenly wears a lot of pink, that means she is falling or just about to fall for the main guy.

Patterned Pink, and lavender take second ranking ot pink. Purple isn’t as strong as pink. However, no real explanation for this has been given within the scope of K-dramas.

In Wedding the Pink Princess wins automatically! As soon as she buys that pink tie you know she’ll win the guy! So remember, light pink is a trump color and is even stronger if the wearer does it doof their own free will!

Guide to K-Drama Romantic Relationship Points

(In order to win main girl/ guy)

Note: Don’t take this seriously.

This mainly works for comedic dramas set in the present, and does not work for Historical dramas. Melodramatic dramas it sometimes works for. I’ve watched about 30+ K-dramas. This won’t work for J-dramas, or C-dramas, only K-dramas.

Invariably though in the beginning of the drama they st it up so you know right away who is with whom. Take this for fun!

Disclaimer: Some of the dramas might seem to not conform to this list/ theory. I do not guarentee they do.

Plus Side
Main Trumps: (In order)
1. Marriage
2. Names in Title
3. Produce a child
4. Light Pink Shirt Trump. (See Pink Shirt Theory)
5. Sleeping with the guy before Marriage. (New Trump)

Strong Trumps:
- Practically Married
- Being a jerk that “reforms”
- Obligatory teary airport scene with BG music.
- Frustrating (to viewer) passing shots.
- Meeting first on screen
- Meeting in childhood first/ triggering childhood memory where _both_ parties fell for each other. (Trumps the previous) Has to be ON SCREEN, not just mentioned.

Medium Trumps:
- Going to the Beach (with sand)
- Doing something for the or about the other’s family (not with money).
- Main Romance Theme BG.
- Were together in a previous life
- Sleeping in the same bed (By accident doesn’t work)
- Walking together in the rain under umbrella after meeting at the bus stop.
- Doing laundry together.
- Cooking together alone (rival must not be there.)
- Cinderella Effect 1: anything to do with returning a shoe, or putting one on.)
- Cinderella Effect 2: Rich guy for poor girl.
- Piggy backing a girl home (extra points if the rival sees)
- Taking a guy home drunk and he “confesses” a darker past.
- Guy listening to girl’s troubles and trying to fix them (without throwing money directly at it).
- Girl listening to guy’s troubles. (fixing the troubles is trivial)

Small Trumps:
- Man doing Laundry for Girl.
- Cooking Favorite Dish. (Buying it doesn’t matter.)
- Man only: Cooking for the girl even if it fails.
- Woman only: Makeover
- Dressing the sig. other
- Flowers (of the right kind and color)
- Domescity (Taking care of children, etc.)
- Color coordinated clothes
- Long night out on the town
- Walking together under an umbrella in the rain.
- Meeting a sig other at a bus stop to take them home (and meeting them, cancels if they miss them.)
- Flirt fighting.
- Cinderella Effect 3: Female being compared to Cinderella.
- Men Only: Puts up with loud head-strong girl.
- Main girl wears mainly pink makeup.
- Seeing each other semi-naked after “romantic” relationship is established.

Minus Points

- Forcing sig other to like them.
- Men: Girlish looks
- Being put into “Best” friend category.
- “Younger” brother/ sister look.
- Being nice always.
- Dressing up fancy all the time with red lip stick.
- Guy is younger than the girl.
- Fixing problems with money (directly).

Non-Points
(either plus or minus)

- Dates
- Getting engaged early in the drama
- Being married once and divorcing or near to divorcing
- Guy is much older than the girl. (10 years is not unusual)
- Divorcing off-screen

How to Protect Yourself When Entering K-drama Land

Before you enter this treacherous land full of Love Rivals and drama, you must prepare properly for your journey.

This is a list of things to pack before you ever set foot in K-drama land:

In your suitcase also should be the list of K-drama curses (listed on this blog) and K-drama Romance points. You will need both to make sure that 1. You make it out alive 2. You get the person you want to end up with. It is best to DUCK TAPE these in visible form on your suitcase. You may think “Oh I won’t need my suitcase while I’m there, I’ll find a place to stay easily”, but remember that people often move, leave, or shift a lot. This is the safest place to plaster it. be sure to leave it in a visible place where you can see it away from food, and use a laserjet printer when doing so. Have some back up copies as well on a few burned CDs in case it gets damaged.

You will need a Pink Shirt.
Make sure it’s light pink, and not fluorescent or you’ll get crucified. A dress/business shirt is best. Cotton is preferable. If you don’t have any or your local stores don’t carry those, try to find a light pink over sweater. Make sure it doesn’t have any pattern and is of solid color. If you are a girl, then bring it along and give it to the guy as part of a job interview or when he has to meet someone important. He will never object. Guys–don’t worry about being perceived as gay through wearing this shirt. It is one of your best tools to get whatever you want.

Next, add a Pink Tie to your list.
The best method though is the girl buys it for the guy and then fiddles with it later so it’s straight while the guy stays still. As one K-drama put it, it’s a “leash” to make sure the guy will always be yours. Light pink is again best, solid pattern doesn’t so much matter as long as it’s just pink. Be careful of red and pink ties. It’s just not good fashion sense. In Wedding the tie is a diagonal stripe with light and dark pink. However, one should note she took forever to actually snag the guy, so a solid pink tie might be best for less drama.

To all the men out there, remember to buy a dress, preferably light pink while the girl comes down the stairs or from another room. (Stairs is preferable). And remember to refuse at first the couple clothes, but give in later. This will surely defeat your nasty rival and give you a better chance at those Major Trump points.

Other things to consider bringing along:

A bullet proof vest (lightweight and one heavy weight if you find yourself in a melodrama is best), a good pair of heels that will break (for the ladies), binoculars (to ward off any fast-approaching cars), genuine 100% silver chopsticks and a spoon (to guard against poison) and a list of Korean superstitions (tape this also to the inner suitcase lid). All of which if mentioned will become true. (A book of Korean folktales might not hurt either, since being compared to some characters sometimes becomes true as well.)

Foreseeing common K-drama curses:

These curses include:
Amnesia, poison, leukemia, car accidents (usually you flying over the car while your significant other either finds out belatedly, watches you, or is waiting for you.)

Leukemia is the number one reason that people die in a K-drama. It’s a favorite. Though AIDS is also a concern, this is the one disease you have to throughly check before your arrival to make sure you don’t have it and after. You can do this by before, insisting on a full body scan, full blood work and checking your marrow. The tests will hurt like hell, but it will be worth it. Check for any cancer or other abnormalities too. You specifically want to look for the dreaded Philadelphia genes which are linked with leukemia where you will need a bone marrow transplant. After you arrive, don’t forget to offer to donate some marrow. They will screen you for leukemia and you won’t have to repeat said tests. Crossing into K-drama land is unsure which is why this must be done. It will also earn you points later.

To guard against AIDS you must donate blood to exclusively be used by yourself Be sure that the needle that the nurse inserts is from a new and sterilized package. Don’t accept less. You can’t be too careful when it comes to a fatal disease that no manner of medicine can cure. Getting tested before arriving might also be a good idea.

Amnesia is the next most common of the lot–while not always fatal, it is common. The best way to guard against this is to keep up a journal. It has worked in other country’s dramas, so it might work for a K-drama as well. Be sure to keep it every day and keep in mind that the guy/girl you like will most likely read it later. K-drama people are notoriously nosy. It has worked on Lost, which has a Korean actress in it whose crossed over and it also has worked in many Taiwanese dramas. Especially Prince who turned into a Frog which was filled with amnesia. Give it a shot for the Korean dramas too. It might work out for you later when you can’t remember anything.

Car accidents– bring binoculars, and a good set of lightweight bulletproof vest with you. Look both ways before crossing the street, around corners and especially look out for black cars– black sports cars are usually the people who put a hit out on you. A regular sedan or truck usually is an innocent bystander. (also usually black). If you can spot one by using binoculars in all FOUR directions (and don’t forget alleyways too.

The poison is fairly easy– buy yourself 100% silver chopsticks. Use them and a silver spoon at all costs. All k-dramas dictate that all superstitions are true. If they tarnish, then you know there is poison. And it will work once you get there.

Stray bullets has the words bulletproof vest on them. You shouldn’t worry is they think you are a fashion freak to have this necessary accessory. Don’t explain it to them either, they will find out later from the people around you why you wear it–even better get angry about it. If you have to explain it, make it short and to the point as possible, or risk it will fail in battle. try not to leave room for day dreaming or flashbacks. You might be dead before the end of the next week or so if you do that.

Upon Your arrival:

You need a place preferably in Seoul (If you don’t you will have to return to your “hometown” a lot which is just too tedious and expensive). Make sure though that you have a way to access a beach. The beach on Cheju Island is probably the best place to go with your significant other, though not necessary–any beach will do. However, Cheju worked for Goong, 18 v 29 and My Girl, so it might be a good place to think about. Forget the smaller Islands–those are usually used for melodramas, like Spring Waltz–and you saw how painful that was. So be sure you know your way to the beach. Mark off the nearest one and then Cheju. The success rate is higher with a car than a plane–a plane is too easy to miss and there are no cellphones allowed in K-dramas when there is an airport scene. Trust me, a car is better. When you arrive chase each other along the beach, throw each other in, and splash each other. Don’t just walk and enjoy the sunset–you will get cut from the race and fail to earn points that way.

Situate yourself near a hospital in case you get injured. Not all injuries are fatal, but it will cut down on your chance of mortality. Your loved one can then piggyback you to the hospital for things like high fever, stomach aches, discovery of being pregnant. The ones who have not been near a hospital have a higher rate of mortality in K-dramas, contracting things such a cancer in the time they are trying to get to the hospital. You can also use cellphones in hospitals in K-drama land, so don’t stress out, unlike the airport, you can pretty much use it all the time and get a signal too!

Last thing you need to remember, it rains. Yes! This is easy points and a great way to meet that special other person. An Umbrella scene is a must. If you lack your umbrella, someone else will have one. A guy tends to give a girl his umbrella more than the other way around–so guys bring one extra girls don’t bring any.

Other tips include never blackmailing and manipulating anyone you like save for when you have to become a maid, or are teasing someone because you secretly like them.

Last note: Never worry about a lack of a cellphone. Firstly the Korean cellphones will be better than whatever you have now, usually the standard K-drama one has Internet, a camera (cameras are essential in a phone), text messaging and a number of other things (plays music has games, etc). It’s not unusual for a guy to say, “You don’t have a cellphone in this day and age?” Then berate you, and then buy you one. Accept it only from the person you want to end up with. Accepting two or more just drags on the pain for longer (My Sister in Law is 19). It’s more common for guys to buy the girl a cellphone, but a few girls have done the reverse as well. Promising to pay them back never pans out, but offering won’t be a bad idea.

So good luck brave traveler! May you not be killed in your quest to find true love everlasting in this unpredictable land. If you fail, well, there is the next life where you can succeed… and no matter what your religion, according to Korean dramas you can be reborn!

Wonderful Life/원더풀 라이프 Review

Title: Wonderful Life/원더풀 라이프
Type: TV Series Drama (16 episodes)
Genre: Romance, drama, family life
Cast: 김재원(Kim Jae Won) as Han Seung-wan
유진(Eugene) as Jung Se-jin
이지훈 (Lee Ji Hoon) as Min Do-hyun
한은정(Han Eun Jung) as Lee Chae-young
(Joo Hyun) as Han Bum-soo (Seung-wan’s father)
(Sun Woo Yong Nyeo) as Yoon Tae-hee (Seung-wan’s mother)
(Kim Hye Ok) as Pyo Jae-kyung (Se-jin’s mother)
(Choi Joon Yong) as Han Seung-pil (Seung-wan’s older brother)
(Yoon Hyun Sook) as Baek Hyun-joo (Seung-pil’s wife)
김효진(Kim Hyo Jin) as Jung Il-jin (Se-jin’s older sister)
(Kim Seung Min) as So Chang-myung (Seung-wan & Do-hyun’s flying academy classmate)
정다빈(Jung Da Bin) as Han Shin-bi (Seung-wan and Se-jin’s daughter)

Basic Plot Summary:
Han Seung Wan and Jung Se-jin end up on the same airplane headed for Singapore. Se-jjin goes there to say goodbye to a long-time lover who died, and Seung Wan goes there to surprise his girlfriend. However, they accidentally mix up passports. Starting in a Love-Hate relationship they end up consoling each other and drinking. Leaving each other with a one night stand and Se Jin pregnant…
Hormones: Kim Jae Won could be considered a hormone factor in this, however, his pretty boy (Just stand there so female viewers can stare) is greatly diminished in this as he plays a type he rarely plays previously. (Though it does have touches of 100 days with Mr. Arrogant).
Popularity: There is no real big popularity for this show to speak of. With a lack of the usual pretty boy people, it doesn’t have great fan draw. The ratings for it are currently not availible.
Music: The musical score is very cute and poppy at times. It has three major scores, that of the opening score, the voice, but wordless score, and a really cute edition of Se Jin and Seung Wan’s daughter (Jung Da Bin) singing. The musical score might remind some vaguely of 18. v. 29.
Acting: The acting for the most part started out pretty mediocre–I feel this is because the actors didn’t feel they had to deliver anything. The first section is pretty much a huge tribute to Full House, which shows up later as they explicitly mention Bi’s name and use the same character for bi’s name in Shin Bi’s name.
The most surprising acting performance for me was Kim Jae Won. He’d mostly played arrogant types, or the eye candy type before in what I’d seen him. But as a character that’s downright immature, doesn’t know to handle things, he seemed to have a lot of fun with the role as it challenged him more and more. I loved him in the role because he subtly matured the character and I finally got to see him display real acting talent.
Another surprise was Jung Da Bin–the one that played the daughter. She’s adorable, cute, but she also plays a convincing role later in the series.
Eugene was fairly good in her own role, and also managed to mature the character, but I didn’t feel the same kind of elegance to the change. Most of the change happened after she showed up with the daughter and sometimes it was hard to tell where her character was going, which is why I think she struggled with it.
The other roles weren’t as impressive because they did not play against the usual roles that I’ve seen them in.
Visuals: The framing shots, etc weren’t all that impressive for the show. There were a few here and there that struck me once in a while, but not a lot of artistic thought was put into it. However, the subtlty of the shotwork did work in favor fo the script which turned more towards developing the characters later in the show.
Direction: The director was fairly good, though I don’t think he had his heart in it which is why certain parts of it struggled, however the framework that he set up was pretty impressive at times.
Story: To be honest this series doesn’t really capture you and make you think it’s good until about the 8th episode. After the 8th episode you feel that i gets really good. The slow shifts in the phases of the character’s life is what makes it compelling, but to be honest it struggled quite a bit in the beginning. It’s only when it gets to the family life and the characters are forced to grow up that it becomes from OK to engaging. So you’ll have a fairly long wait before the story picks up. It’s almost as if the writers realized they had some decent actors to play with and adjusted the storyline accordingly.
The Good: The compelling things about this drama is that while it looks run of the mill, later on it gains a sense of heart–both main characters are reaching for their dreams, and even if they don’t gain fruit throughout the series they continue to try. I also like the fact that not for a second did they glorify pregnancy nor one-night stands, but went to great lengths to show how difficult it really is. The musical framework for the series was a nice addition as well and they tried to really work off the lyrics for the song they based this drama off of. They in fact, made fun o a lot of dramas that make life look easy. The idea that no life goes exactly as you planned is played up in the latter half of this 16-episode drama to perfection.
The Bad: The music connection could have been played up a touch for a better sense of framework. Because it’s Seung Wan who falls for Se Jin because of the musical connection, and it’s the major point of the drama, it could have been subtly interwoven a bit more. This drama also is not for people who like comedies to stay comedies–this story turns very, very sad at the end and for some just plain confusing (if you are just used to sitting back and laughing). While I got the ending, not everyone will. This drama is slow to start, but I never found a place where I wanted to skip an episode or go ahead. So it holds its own in that sense.
Why Watch it: This would make a great second or third drama (If you’re just starting)–I wouldn’t recommend it as a first drama. If you like seeing relationships and people evolve over a long period of time and mature due to situations, this woud be a good drama for you. If you want pretty faces, eye candy, and a plot that doesn’t make you think, you won’t like this drama. Since this dama has a touch of everything, it’s a good beginner drama, however, its a bit confusing at the end for beginners who aren’t used to the asian idea that one should be able to figure out from implications what the ending is. This drama is pretty good to watch in between other dramas and works that way. You won’t be bored as long as you have patience that the drama will pick up.

Things to Watch for:
The major thing of note is the large tribute to Full House. One may want to watch Full House first, even though this drama is better quality in terms of plotting.
Jung Da-Bin is also equally cute and may be worth watching for those who get bored with the first half.
For those who like to follow good acting and see an actor grow outside of the usual roles, Kim Jae Won’s performance might be interesting to watch.
I like the children’s song about the fish, which can be counted as kind of a counter to the Three Bears song of Full House, but is not fully realized.
There are no “special” moments in of themselves to watch.
Overview: A good, solid drama to watch, I’d say better than Full House in terms of plotting. While it’s not funny 100% of the time the theming is very strong in the drama, and in the end it’s very compelling to watch.
Rating: I’d recommend this drama. I won’t say it’s required. 3.5 out of 5. 5 being good.