Monday, August 11, 2014
Imagine me rubbing my hands together with Super Junior's "Sorry, Sorry" playing on a loop. I know I've been way too negligent of this blog, and I fear it's not going to change with a new job I'm starting. I still want to squee and squall about K-dramas, but right now I don't have enough to fill up my own blog.
Thankfully, the Crazy Ahjummas offered to let me show up at their house occasionally. I plan to write a few guest posts there if any of you wonderful people who still bother to check here want to find me. I'm starting with my firsthand visit to the My Love From Another Star exhibit in Korea, which you can find here http://thecrazyahjummas.blogspot.com/2014/08/me-n-min-joon-invading-my-favorite-k.html . Yes, people. I got to wander past Chung Song Yi's pile of mangas, and stand beside those gauzy curtains in Do Min Joon's bedroom. Jealous? If you want to know more, check out the link. And thank you to everyone who has dropped by, read, and commented through my hapless attempts at blogging.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Wow, this show is weird. They buried the leading man up to his neck in dirt, stuck a paper bag over his head, and made him sing along to Korea’s version of the golden oldies. I just don’t even know what to say except . . . I think I like it.
Enough with the super spies, serial killers, and first love angst. Rom-coms FINALLY rolled back around on the drama schedule, and one of the first to hit the airwaves is Trot Lovers. I feel like I sat through the first two episodes with my face scrunched in slackjawed disbelief. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I wouldn’t call it charming. The bad attitudes fly at random. I wouldn’t call it romantic. The main couple don’t have a love-hate relationship. It’s hate-hate all the way, and they have yet to show us any real connection. But TL has this kind of crazy neighbor appeal that keeps you staring out the window, wondering what they’re gonna do next.
It had to be you
But with this couple . . . not so much. I think Ji Hyun Woo and Jung Eun Ji more than proved their chemistry potential in past dramas like Queen Inhyun’s Man and Answer Me 1997. They sizzled up the screen opposite other co-stars, but right now I’m still waiting for the bells to ring with their current characters. The setup may be campy and ridiculous, but their acting itself is good. I just don’t get that squeeful feeling watching them butt heads, yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the ride. But my fingers are crossed for some fissions of attraction to start showing soon.
Is there such a thing as 5D?
I learned a new term while watching Korean television. 4D. They use it to describe a person who’s kinda left of center. While everyone else operates in three dimensions, they’re in their own little world, and might just wander away in the middle of a conversation and show up a month later to finish it. But after watching Shin Sung Rok as the hapless and reluctant new music president, I wonder if he might be 5D. He listens politely while his father chews him out on the phone, and cheerfully insists he can do so for an hour since his Dad is the one with all the money. (Cracks. Me. Up.) Poor papa gets so frustrated he hangs up. Things like passcodes and whose cell phone he’s holding stump this guy. He’ll spend ten minutes trying to open a locker with the wrong key, until someone else comes along and solves his problem. I can’t figure out if he’s serious, or just too lazy to think up a new plan of action. Either way, he’s hilarious. So far, his scenes are the highlight of this show.
Maybe I should start downloading some Trot
On a scale of 1 to 10, my knowledge of trot music ranks around .47, but I might start paying more attention because of TL. Jung Eun Ji makes the bouncy cheesefest sound heartwarming, mood lifting, and capable of recalling every long buried, happy hearts-and-flowers memory you lost along the way. It takes her away from whatever scary situation she’s currently in and puts her in a safe, little soft-lit cocoon with just the music and her family. The ending scene of Episode 2 hit a sweet spot for me when she starts her American Idol style audition with her back to the judges because she just can’t face reality. But then she imagines her father, sister, and deceased mother cheering and swaying in the audience and the rest of the people just fade away. Call me sappy, but I just love Awwwwwwwwwwww moments.
I really like this show. I’m not sure why. If they’d just mix in a bit more chemistry with the leads, I might start loving it.
Monday, June 2, 2014
I don’t know why I’m so picky of late. But I don’t want to watch melo, medical, thriller, or suspense. This leaves very few options from the current crop of dramas. A little romance, a little funny-bone tickling, a little piggybacking here and there. Is that too much to ask? But I’ve finally found one that puts a loony grin on my face. Even though there’s not an “Oppa!” to be heard. It’s the latest Taiwanese offering, Love Myself or You (AKA Pleasantly Surprised, but that title is too innocuous and irrelevant to the plot to be taken seriously).
It stars Puff Guo (currently appearing in the latest We Got Married: Global Edition) as the prickly French chef, Kai Qi, who relates more to the food she prepares than the living, breathing people around her. Enter the sunny, optimistic, and deeply dimpled new intern, Zi Jie, who is actually the wealthy son of the restaurant owner incognito (of course, he is). He remembers Kai Qi from a childhood connection, and makes it his personal mission to turn this touch-me-not back into a human being.
Don’t call me cute
I met the adorable force known as Puff Guo in last year’s scintillating Just You. Her chemistry with Aaron Yan registered super high on the Squee Scale, and I still bemoan their lost chance to repeat this duo in the currently airing Fall in Love with Me because of her We Got Married shooting schedule. *Mini-rant: I watch FILWM every week for two reasons: Aaron & Yan. But it’s kinda depressing seeing him sizzle up his half of the screen alone. His costar is adequate. Unoffensive. But it’s like watching two people try to move a couch when one of them is only pretending to lift their half. You just want to yell, “Would you please get with the program !”* I would love to see Puff and Yan together again, but I have to say that this part is way better for her. In Just You, she played the typical “Oops, did I do that?” kind of heroine with lots of charm and little brain matter. This Kai Qi character is crabby, driven, and rude to everybody. Seriously, I don’t think she’s cracked a genuine smile in two episodes. But she’s also talented, resilient, and fiercely protective of the ones she cares about. She’s got lots of love hidden somewhere. And I look forward to watching our determined hero peel her like a steel-armored onion.
Could you BE any cuter
Speaking of our knight in shining white apron, when this guy smiles I find the corners of my lips tugging up in a knee-jerk reaction. He’s just too, too adorable. It’s like his dimples shoot invisible, happy rays. Dramas repeatedly recycle the story of the plucky, positive girl saving the jerky, closed-off guy from his life of self-imposed isolation. It’s nice to see the gender roles switched for a change. He’s got a great relationship with his doting parents, lots of money, a fancy education abroad and no first-love trauma involving amnesia, cancer, or switched identities (at least, not so far). His character might not have as much meat from a development standpoint, but who cares. Look at the dimples!
Gourmet goes glamour shots
Just Rip My Heart Out Already
I’m all about the romance, but a show stealing relationship may be the one between Kai Qi and the child of her deceased sister. She flatly rejects the idea of him living with her when the jerky father drops him off with grandma like an unwanted sack of potatoes. Kai Qi marches him back to his father’s place and insists he take responsibility. A heart-twisting detail is her nephew reaching out to her, but grabbing her purse strap instead of her hand, like he’s afraid to make contact. The deadbeat dad informs her that he’s getting married and wants children with his new wife, and she finally accepts the inevitable and takes her nephew back home. I love how she initially fights against any added burdens tooth-and-nail, but when she accepts the situation, she immediately does everything she can to take care of the little boy. Her personality lacks any natural warmth or nurturing, but she tries her best to make him happy in her own stilted way.
Hooray for Piggybacks
Any show that gives me a piggyback in the very first episode is already scoring major brownie points. But Episode 2 caught me hook, line and sinker with the elevator bit. Dimples (it’s so much easier to call him that) tries to make a connection with Kai Qi but is rebuffed at every turn, until he picks up on her competitive nature. He uses this to elicit actual human reactions from the otherwise robot-like woman, and starts making everything a challenge for her. The big showdown happens one morning at the elevator. He races to get in ahead of her, and presses the button before she can get to it. But Kai Qi does not give in so easily, taking her fingers and lighting up every floor on the panel. Then she leaves him to his neverending ride, and takes the other elevator. Her self-satisfied expression changes however when her car stops at the next floor to find that Dimples got out of his car and waited to hitch a ride in hers. Maybe I’m immature, but I stinking love childish stuff like that.
It’s been a long, dry spell in Dramaland the past few months. But Love Myself or You tastes like a sweet draught of lemonade with just the right amount of tart for flavor. I hope for many delicious scenes in the future.
We Got Married Global: First Impressions
Just You: Just For a Change
Friday, May 16, 2014
You’re not who I thought you were
I Need a Suspension Bridge of Disbelief
Where’s the romance?
Mom and Dad got issues
I expected something different from this show so I’m having to adjust my perspective. But I’m willing to buckle my seatbelt and hang in there. I may be a little scowly in the beginning, but hopefully the crazy antics of everyone else can win both me and Daegu over.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Excuse #1 – I’m studying for one of the biggest tests of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have a hot, snarky genius like Baek Seung-jo to help me (or distract me). My brain doesn’t have much space left for blogs.
Excuse #2 – I’m not loving Dramaland right now. Most of the new shows seem to be suspense, thriller, melos, etc. I want something light and funny to make me laugh! There is hope on the horizon with things like You’re all Surrounded (Seungiyaaaaaaah!!!), but the current shows are leaving me cold.
I hope to be back and gushing about something romantic and squeeworthy very soon. But, in the meantime, I need to get back to my homework. For all of my fellow sufferers out there who have tests or research papers piling up – Fighting!
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Like a windmill on a Korean hillside, this show is weird and unexpected. My main feeling while watching the wrap-up was, "WHAT is going on?" I do love my happy endings. But even after the writer crafts a finale with a pot of gold at the end of everyone’s rainbow (and I do mean EVERYONE), I still have one question left. Where are my kisses?!!!!!
Did the director take some Artsy Pills before shooting the ghost backstory? The stolen kiss among the freshly washed laundry. The origin of the bead bracelet. The falling petals from the surrounding trees. It was all so beautiful and tragic as we watched the somber, wealthy man fall in love with his mute, caring servant. Until someone mentioned his wife. Hold up! He’s MARRIED! So our sassy ghost lady isn’t the first bride, but the first mistress? I fervently hoped Dramafever subbed it wrong. (It wouldn’t be the first time.) But no, Ghostie had an affair with a married man while his wife stood by and watched. This wasn’t Sageuk times where he could collect as many concubines as he wanted. The show specifically pointed out it was a hundred years ago. 1914. The guy came home in a suit, not a fancy beaded top hat. It made the whole thing so sordid to me. A cheater knocking up his servant girl then abandoning her is never romantic. I don’t care how many cherry blossoms you throw at them.
My favorite line in the whole finale
You know what is romantic. THIS GUY. Kang-joo got better and better as the show progressed. He forgave Doo-rim for her deception waaaaay quicker than expected. He publicly admitted everything to the public in two separate press conferences. And he takes his vows seriously, even if there’s no legal piece of paper to back them up. The writer can draft as many poetic speeches as they want about how finding love is like a blind turtle looking for a piece of driftwood in the ocean. When an attractive model gets in a guy’s face and he doesn’t even hesitate to throw the ring up and say, “You must not have heard, I’m married.” Now THAT’S sexy times a hundred.
Someone get the padded cell ready
Who else enjoyed Makjang Ma’s total descent into Looneyville? The sight of her choking Doo-rim, choking the ghost, choking her own daughter, and then ripping into a piece of rare meat with her bare fingers before earning a bed in the Psych ward. It seemed like a fitting end for this horrible excuse for a human being. Why couldn’t the writer leave it that way! That must be some therapy program at that hospital, because two years later she’s hugging Doo-rim and begging for forgiveness. It may sound twisted, but I would have preferred her to say the line about waiting for her to show up, and then reaching out to choke her again. It would have been such a fitting piece of macabre humor. I'm all for love and forgiveness in real life. But fictionally speaking, some villains just shouldn’t be redeemed.
Boy, did I read that wrong
Am I the only one that got the wrong idea from this scene? I assumed it was Yi-kyung and Oppa sitting together at first. So when a medical looking professional started lecturing about removing the biological problems, I got this crazy idea they were trying not to be blood related so they could be together. I know it sounds insane, but we’re talking about a show with Bride Curses and Look-a-like Strangers. And then it turns out it was just a commercial for hand treatments. How dare they waste any part of the finale on product placement! Less side characters. More smooches. Or ANY smooches for that matter.
Look at that face!
Dramas must have brainwashed me, because I don’t get super upset over time jumps any more. Now my reaction is more, “Oh good, it’s only been a year or two.” That’s almost nothing in K-time. Some viewers probably knew the moment they saw the red yarn, but this scene came as a surprise to me. A lovely, sentimental surprise. Kang-joo spends all day tracking down another fruitless lead to Doo-rim’s whereabouts and it looks like he’s just going to walk away, when a ball of fate rolls by his feet. Lee Hong-ki deserves major props for this moment. I thought both actors sold it, but the way his face just crumpled with joy hit me right in the heart. No cheesy slo-mo rush to embrace each other as the camera swirled around them. It meant so much more to have the two just stand and quietly smile at each other, relieved that the long separation is finally over.
Bride of the Century started out weird, and finished the same way. The finale meandered on and on, and it wrapped up every loose end imaginable, except the ones we really cared about. Where was the moment when Na Doo-rim first tells Kang-joo he’s a father? Where was the first kiss between the long parted lovers? Or any kiss for that matter? They jumped straight from the reunion to “old married couple.” One of the most awesome things about this show’s beginning was the ridiculous amount of skinship. Did they blow their wad in the first half and the censor shut them down? Did Hong-ki have the flu and not want to pass it on to Yang Jin-sung? Did the director think wandering around planting trees was more romantic than a few cuddle sessions? I confess it was disappointing. But the show stayed true to its weird self to the very end and provided some nice moments along the way. Ghostie playing with baby Kang-nim in the sunlight. Choi Mama turning into a Go-Stop cardshark. Kang-joo finally admitting the moment his heart fluttered for Doo-rim was the first night they met. I guess we can re-watch the first few episodes for the skinship stuff. And I’m glad we can fade out of this wacky ride of a show on a happy note.
Friday, April 11, 2014
The Roll-with-it Couple
The Awkward Couple
Ironically, the Roll-with-it Couple looked more comfortable with each other at the WGM press conference. It could be the difference in personalities, the older ages, or the fact that Heechul just grabbed his wife around the waist and pulled her to him. Yes, he's soooooo shy. The Awkward Couple possesses better communication tools, yet seems a little stilted standing next to each other. But both couples are interesting, and I look forward to plenty of culture sharing, hearts-and-flowers faking, and Hao-Haoing in the future.
If you want to check out We Got Married Global: Season 2, you can find it at www.dramafever.com.
Just You: Just For A Change
We Got Married Season 1: Fake, but Funny
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
It's the same old song
But what about THE COMPANY?????
Makjang Mama and a surprise reveal
If I recommended Bride to someone and they asked me what it was about, I think I’d feel embarrassed to explain. Well, there’s this ordinary girl from a fishing village who takes the place of a rich, wealthy look-a-like and proceeds to fall in love with her uber-rich, snotty fiancé. She marries him. He finds out she’s a counterfeit but forgives her. The scheming fake mother-in-law blackmails the groom’s family with information about his murderous grandma, who just happens to be on her deathbed. The fake brother is also in love with fishing-girl. Oh, and there’s a ghost! It all sounds so ridiculous. I think this show must be experienced firsthand, to be appreciated. Even with all its over-the-top melodrama and wall-to-wall clichés, it works. I don’t know why, but I’m not complaining.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Who knew faux marriage could be so fun? The new We Got Married: Global Edition airs tomorrow and, in honor of Season 2, I dug out an old recap of last year’s premiere, starring Ok Taecyeon and Lee Hongki. (All the Bride of the Century fans should excuse me for my obvious bias towards the Taec/Gui Gui pairing. This was long before our scratchy-voiced Hongki played the charming, crankypants Kangjoo.) For those unfamiliar with the setup, two celebrities are paired up in a pretend marriage, complete with bogus ceremony and honeymoon. (No, I don't think they take the honeymoon THAT literally.) It's like getting a front row seat to the ultimate blind date, as we indulge our voyeuristic tendencies and secretly hope that one of these couples will fall in love for reals.
Episode 1 Recap
They speak almost entirely in English which adds a whole other layer of cuteness. Taec lived in Boston for seven years, and his American is perfect, but hers is endearing. She communicates very well, but makes the little, grammatical errors here and there that lead to unintentional hilarity. She asks how she should address him and he says in no uncertain terms, "You will call me, Oppa." Gui Gui balks a little, protesting that there's only a year's difference in their ages, but Taec reiterates that he is Oppa.
Then he asks a stupid question. "Do you like shoes?" Proving she's a girl, she says yes, and for some inexplicable reason, she's drawn to a pair of shiny, gold, grandpa loafers, complete with tassels. A hilarious sequence follows where he tries to put the shoes on for her and she freaks out, crying: "What are you doing? I don't the like the boy touching my . . . I can do myself." Taec collapses on the couch already worn out from his first thirty minutes of marriage. He later tells the interviewer he thought it would be this great Cinderella moment. Um, Fail! But in the best possible way for the viewers at home.
Yes! My wife is hot!
Uhhhh . . . what do I do now?
Their conversation is painfully polite, in that forced setup kind of way. She likes books. He doesn't. She knows his work. He doesn't know hers.
He gives her an envelope that has puzzle pieces in it and, when you put them together, it forms a letter he's written her. Okay, I must admit I dig that. So does the bride as she starts fitting the puzzle together so fast it actually intimidates the groom.
She likes books AND she's good at puzzles.
Definitely have to up my game.
I don't get romantic vibes from either couple, but the show is definitely entertaining. The hook is in the mutual culture shock going on in the already awkward context of a fake marriage. If it were only Hongki and Mina, I probably wouldn't stick around. They have their own brand of cuteness, but it's very well-behaved and low-key.
The star of the show is undoubtedly Gui Gui. Her charge-ahead cheerfulness, coupled with Taecyeon's bewildered good humor is a winning combination. It's a hilarious kind of slapstick comedy. Taec is obviously the straight man, standing around giving reaction shots as Gui Gui stumbles around building one-foot snowmen and running head first into igloos. You can tell that the crew finds her hilarious, as well, from how often you hear the PDs laughing in the background during her interviews.
I admit after watching all 15 episodes, the Taec/Gui Gui interactions got a little repetitive, while Hongki/Mina’s relationship grew into something more natural and sweet. Season 1 must have been a hit, because the show is back for more with two new couples. You can watch it on the official Youtube channel or Dramafever. Come back next week for my initial reactions.