Cotton Candy Embodied in Drama Form: My Princess

This post has been a long time coming but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to find time to write it. In a rare block of time in which I find myself pleasantly relaxing before I sleep after a long day, I decided to dedicate it to the drama that’s been providing me with the most lulz and squees as of late. Continue reading after the jump for those of you who don’t want to be spoiled!

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The Current Dramas I’m Watching

This entry will be a hybrid between the next installment of my halfway mark series and just some thoughts I have on the dramas I’m watching as of today. I’ll be discussing Gloria, Mary Stayed Out All Night, Secret Garden, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and Flames of Ambition after the jump.

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The Halfway Mark IV

This post was long in the making and I was planning on dedicating it to two dramas, Birth of a Rich Man and Life is Beautiful. But the title isn’t completely applicable because Birth of a Rich Man has officially ended its run and Life is Beautiful is still nowhere near it’s halfway mark, so I’ll just write my thoughts on each at this time (sans screencaps because I don’t have the episodes for either drama saved and didn’t feel like re-downloading them just for screencaps).

Birth of a Rich Man was extended by 4 episodes from 16 to 20, and I’m still not sure if the extension did the drama any favors. I still hold to my original opinion that the best episode of BOARM was the first one before it started with its mindblowing hysterics from episode 2 all the way to the end. Lee Bo Young and Ji Hyun Woo had a really interesting chemistry between them but, this could just be in my opinion, I feel like the age difference between the actor and actress (he’s 25 and she’s 31) was evident in their relationship although the characters are supposed to be around the same age. Nam Goong Min was smoking hot but his acting was sub-par, and Lee Si Young was funny but OTT at times. There were too many side plots introduced, and I spent most of each episode idly fast forwarding through scenes that didn’t have to do with Seok Bong and Shin Mi being cute. I “watched” up to episode 19 but haven’t made the effort to download the last two episodes because I already know what happens and no matter how adorable I think Seok Bong and Shin Mi are together, I feel like it’s a waste of time to commit two more hours to watching this absolute circus of a drama. Ji Hyun Woo, a word of advice for you. You’re a charming, talented actor and I love you, but you really need to stop agreeing to every drama that comes along. I enjoyed Invincible Lee Pyeong Kang more than I liked BOARM but that might be because I adore Nam Sang Mi. However, I have to admit that ILPK was incredibly flawed as well and I had fast-forwarded through a lot of its episodes too.

Life is Beautiful was a drama I decided to check out because of my aforementioned love for Nam Sang Mi, but I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I was willing to continue watching after I finished the first episode. Granted, translating for LIB has severely diminished my desire to keep up with this drama because of how much darn dialogue is in each hour, but it interested me enough to continue watching until now. I enjoyed watching the family’s dynamics (except the oldest daughter whose shrill nagging made me want to throw my laptop out the window.. or at her) and there is some SERIOUS eye candy on LIB. The scenery of LIB is absolutely gorgeous because the drama is set in Jejudo, and the father of the family had built their house and the family resort from the ground up. Yoon Da Hoon is one of LIB’s highlights playing the youngest uncle of the family. His character, Yang Byung Gul, is a complete loafer. He lounges around the house eating, sleeping and wasting away his time on petty, useless things, taking breaks from living as a couch potato once in a while when his eldest brother, Yang Byung Tae, drags him out on some errands for the family business. Byung Gul and his middle brother, Byung Jun (acted by the handsome, dashing Kim Sang Joong) fight like cats and dogs because Byung Jun is a motivated, professional businessman who focuses on nothing but work. As a result there are many entertaining scenes between them and it might just be reason to start watching LIB to see Kim Sang Joong waving a toilet brush at Yoon Da Hoon and yelling until he’s blue in the face. But I digress.

I’ve only watched until episode 13 so I’m a little behind, but as of how much I’ve watched, the gay storyline has been very delicately handled. Song Chang Eui‘s character Yang Tae Sub has been tiptoeing around the issue, only having come out to one person aside from his love interest Kyung Soo who’s played by hamster-boy hottie Lee Sang Woo, and that’s Yoo Min‘s character Chae Young who is coincidentally in love with Tae Sub. Confused yet? There are a ton of characters on this show, so many that it’s hard to pinpoint who the main character is. That’s the thing about family dramas that I enjoy, that there’s no one person to root for but the family itself to overcome obstacles and hardships as a unit, a whole.

Lee Sang Yoon plays the youngest son of the family, Yang Ho Sub, and he’s another looker to watch for. He’s the dropout/disappointment of the family, having left college to become a scuba diving instructor because of his extreme love of the ocean and his dislike for academia, so he works as an instructor with his friend Hyun Jin (a minor character played by actor Kim Woo Hyun). Ho Sub is the one who’s paired with Nam Sang Mi, and they have a hilarious dynamic. Nam Sang Mi‘s character, Bu Yeon Joo, works as the assistant of Ho Sub’s mom, and the moment Ho Sub and Yeon Joo meet, they begin a love-hate relationship that starts off as a hate relationship but slowly turns into love (although the love hasn’t really begun yet, it’s more like her tolerating him and him obsessing about why she’s so dismissive of him).

If you can’t tell already, LIB is an extremely complicated drama to explain and I hope I’ve done a few of the storylines justice (although there are many more plotlines and characters I haven’t even mentioned). It’s an amusing watch however, and I’m planning on catching up with it soon enough now that Oh, My Lady is in its last stretch. Hope you’ve enjoyed this jumble of a post, and until next time! 🙂

The Halfway Mark III

Now for the third installment of my halfway mark series featuring Oh, My Lady! starring Choi Si Won (mine!) and the adorable Chae Rim, with Park Han Byul and Lee Hyun Woo taking on the second lead roles. On a scale of gloom and doom (Cinderella’s Sister) to cotton candy fluff, OML occupies the cotton candy end of the spectrum with Personal Taste being an even middle ground between the two (maybe more on the fluff side, but veering towards the more serious in its recent episodes). Again, there might be some spoilers if you’re watching this and have not seen this week’s episodes, so proceed with caution.

With the character of Sung Min Woo being such a top star, I expected him to be reserved and a man of little words with his charisma fueled by mystery. But boy, was I wrong. Choi Si Won is showing a side of him I never expected to see, expressing bursts of comedic timing that I had an inkling were hidden away somewhere in that nicely sculpted chest of his. He’s especially great with his facial expressions, which are priceless and absolutely hysterical. Choi Si Won reminds me of Lee Seung Gi because although OML and Brilliant Legacy (respectively) weren’t their first roles in dramas, it was the first time for the both of them taking on the lead role and both of them are crossing over from the music industry to the acting world quite smoothly. Although Choi Si Won isn’t quite on Lee Seung Gi‘s level of acting in dramatic or emotional scenes yet, CSW definitely has LSG beat with his comedic timing and that adds to the charm of OML, knowing that it’ll always succeed in making me laugh with each episode.

Although it took a while for Sung Min Woo’s character to develop and mature (12 episodes!), we’re finally seeing some progression in this week’s episodes, which I’m pleased to see. The bonding scenes between Min Woo and his daughter Ye Eun are becoming more frequent and adorable, adding to the overall feel-good atmosphere that this drama emits. The bond between CSW and the little girl who plays his daughter has been reported on, and CSW has posted charming pictures of the two of them on his twitter account, with their relationship becoming more apparent onscreen with each episode.

Although Choi Si Won is at his cutest during the laugh out loud scenes, he’s no amateur at acting the aww-inducing scenes either. I love that Min Woo is starting to develop feelings for Gae Hwa out of the respect he initially felt towards her (although I kind of wish they sped up the process.. we’ve had way too few romantic scenes between CSW & Chae Rim so far for my liking). Min Woo is starting to realize how big of an impact Gae Hwa has left on him since she came into his life, and he’s taking steps to utilizing that impact to become a better person. Not that he was a horrible person in the first place, but the number one lesson that knowing Gae Hwa has taught him is humility and the ending of episode 12 is indicative of that.

Yes, I realize this entire entry has been about Choi Si Won so far, but you can’t begrudge me of fangirliness, can you? Didn’t think so. Chae Rim is lovable as Yoon Gae Hwa, although Gae Hwa isn’t very different from other roles that CR has acted in dramas. CR has decent acting abilities, but she hasn’t gone past her safety zone of playing similar characters in all the years I’ve seen her, and so I hope that one day she’ll take that plunge and try new things. The two girls are adorable, particularly the little girl who plays Ye Eun. Although the role doesn’t entail much except not saying anything and looking like a bite-sized piece of precious, I still love Ye Eun anyway. Those who are watching OML can attest when I refer to that look that Ye Eun gives Min Woo when she wants some acknowledgement from him. She looks up at him and bats her eyes innocently, looking on the verge of tears. It just makes me want to pinch her cheeks and take her home to be my own daughter. (I realize I’m gushing. I’m at the age where I’m starting to want kids, so please be understanding. :P)

I don’t want to turn the rest of this post into a rant, so I’ll just address my qualms about OML without getting too in depth into them. Park Han Byul is one of the worst actresses to ever grace this planet, and it totally grinds my gears that the only reason why she’s famous is because she’s pretty, and she’s Se7en’s girlfriend. That is all. Moon Jung Hee rubbed me the wrong way in the beginning and middle of the drama, but that might just be because of how self-entitled her character was, and I’m starting to warm up to her little by little, despite the whole her being an adulteress bit.  Lee Hyun Woo is also playing the same exact carbon copy of the characters he always plays, but for some reason, he makes me want to cut him some slack. It doesn’t even look like he’s trying that hard, but there’s just something about him that leads me to give him a pass although he’s not a good actor either.

So on the whole, Oh, My Lady should be watched purely for entertainment value because if you’re looking for a drama with substantial conflict and depth, this isn’t the one for you. I like how the dramas I’m currently watching don’t all fit into one category of either rom-com or makjang, but are on different points of the spectrum. It helps me separate them and form more solid opinions about them. On an ending note, yes, I am aware that all of the screencaps I included in this entry are of Choi Si Won. And yes, it’s because I wanted to share the pretty with all of you so you could see the pretty too. Until next time!

The Halfway Mark II

A tangent before I start my second installment of The Halfway Mark.. getting good, clear screencaps is a lot harder than I thought it’d be. Just sayin’.

As of now, Personal Taste is still 16 episodes long, which makes me feel that the drama has been going at a great pace. It’s not draggy or boring at all, and I’m loving how the writers are making progress with the storylines that seemed to be connected haphazardly at first because of the faulty editing, but now have been showing an improvement in flow.

Sohn Ye Jin is by far the best thing about this drama, and watching her act as Park Gae In has solidified my major girl-crush on her. Although the drama itself has been pretty light and fluffy until the most current episodes, her acting has been anything but. She manages to bring depth to a character that could come off as foolhardy and irritating so that Gae In is lovable and naive, but not stupid. Gae In knows what’s what, and despite spur of the moment decisions she makes usually because of her endless reservoir of empathy for others, she knows when to say no and what situations call for fighting back.

But the great thing about Sohn Ye Jin in Personal Taste is that she’s masterful at balancing both Gae In’s cute, almost child-like side with her serious side as well. I’ve only seen Sohn Ye Jin in some of the movies she’s been in, and I never would have expected that she could pull off acting so adorably clueless, but I love that she wasn’t afraid to “tarnish” her image as many netizens have been claiming she’s been doing as Park Gae In. In my opinion, being able to feel secure enough to appear onscreen in sweats and no makeup unlike every other actress in k-dramas (*ahem perfect Lee Da Hae in Chuno) is testament to SYJ’s abilities as a serious actress. And I think she still looks beautiful in spite of the au naturale look.

Lee Min Ho is also a winner in his portrayal of Jeon Jin Ho. His coming out scene in episode 7 was beautifully executed, with outstanding acting from everyone involved, but Lee Min Ho brought tears to my eyes as he painfully squeezed his eyes shut before making the false admission that he was gay. I’m not going to deny the fact that I was highly skeptical of Lee Min Ho‘s ability to be a successful counterpart to Sohn Ye Jin in terms of acting because SYJ is so amazing, but despite the fact that he’s not quite at her level yet, he’s definitely proven to me that he’s come a long way since his Boys Before Flowers days.

The friendship between Jin Ho and Gae In has been in murky territory for a few episodes now, but both sides have taken significant strides in realizing and dealing with their feelings (Jin Ho more aware of his than Gae In is of hers), which I’m excited to see unfold even further in the episodes to come. At the table readings before the drama aired, witnesses gushed that Lee Min Ho and Sohn Ye Jin had amazing chemistry, which I heartily agree with. Not only do they look so effin’ good together, but I can see that Lee Min Ho is playing off of Sohn Ye Jin‘s strength as an actress, and that in turn is doing wonders for his character as well. Their camaraderie is apparent and I’m thinking they’re in the running to making it onto my favorite couples of k-dramas list.

I know that my entry is getting entirely too long, but I just have to gush about the best friends of the main characters before I conclude. Jo Eun Ji who plays Gae In’s best friend Young Seon came off as slightly typical at first as the female lead’s BFF, but Jo Eun Ji has been great at making Young Seon utterly likable. Jung Sung Hwa is a riot as Noh Sang Jun, Jin Ho’s sunbae and friend, and I love his chemistry with Lee Min Ho. Sang Jun is the perfect man for someone like Jin Ho to be friends with, because despite the fact that they are polar opposites, they balance each other out and complement each other nicely. (Gotta love some bro-lovin, especially when Sang Jun is involved.)

In short, Personal Taste has vastly improved as it has hit its halfway mark, and I’m greatly pleased at its progression so far. I left out some things I wanted to discuss (such as how much the character of In Hee infuriates me and the sheer greatness of Ryu Seung Ryong‘s Choi Do Bin) but I can save that for a later post. Thanks for reading, and hope you’re enjoying Personal Taste as much as I am! And with that, I’ll leave you with this final screencap:

Because you just know that this is bound to be the next pig-rabbit. I personally think this is way cuter than the pig-rabbit, but that’s just me. 😀

The Halfway Mark

We’ve reached about halfway in most of the dramas that are currently on air, and my opinions have shifted with each episode to what I’m feeling for each drama now. There might be some mild spoilers ahead for those of you who haven’t been watching these dramas or aren’t up to date just yet for any of them, so be forewarned before you proceed. This entry will feature Cinderella’s Sister and subsequent entries will be about the others.

I’m starting with Cinderella’s Sister because that was the one that had held my interest most since its premiere. But the precipitous drop in the quality of this drama just goes to show that my hopes for it were too high. Just because the first four episodes were charming and wonderful, I allowed myself to expect that the rest of the drama would stay that way, but it’s taken a horrible, regretful turn for the worse and I can only weakly hope that it’ll get better in the episodes to come. However, like I said in my previous post, Moon Geun Young is still killing it as Eun Jo. The drama has become more melodramatic, which was to be expected, with quite a few crying scenes in each episode. The two female characters played by Moon Geun Young and Seo Woo are being fleshed out nicely. Eun Jo’s vulnerability is rearing its head more frequently now that she’s come to care for her stepfather and Ki Hoon has come back into her life.

The scenes when Eun Jo looks out for Hyo Sun break my heart because I wish she’d show Hyo Sun that side of her, but at this point, I think Hyo Sun is at the point where she’s past reason and now has taken to chalking all of her sister’s actions as deliberately trying to one-up her. It’s sad that Hyo Sun’s true enemy isn’t her sister, but herself. She has taken a dark turn much quicker than I expected, and there have been a few moments when she scared me with her two-faced tendencies.

Ki Hoon has been confusing the heck out of me. What are his motives? What does he want with Dae Sung Cham Do Ga? I gotta say, his studying abroad did him good because he’s so damn sexy in those suits he’s always wearing, but Chun Jung Myung is doing a good job portraying a dark side to Ki Hoon that we weren’t able to see before. It’s almost as if there’s a constant shadow across his face that disappears just when he lets his guard down.

Eun Jo’s mom has become almost a caricature now.. Lee Mi Sook is still acting her character with great complexity, but how is it possible that her character still hasn’t changed when it’s been almost ten years since she got married to Hyo Sun’s dad? Where’s the character growth? Will it be Eun Jo that ultimately drives her mother to grow up and start living as an adult?

Episodes 5 & 6 were good (although I didn’t enjoy them as much as the first four), but episodes 7 & 8 were incredibly disappointing. The only things that I truly loved about these episodes was the progression in the relationships between Eun Jo and her stepfather, and Eun Jo and Jung Woo. It’s almost as though Ki Hoon was such a huge presence in her life before he left that she needs both her stepfather and Jung Woo to fill that void. Taecyeon still isn’t as bad as I expected him to be, and he had much more dialogue in episodes 7 & 8 than he did in the first two episodes he appeared in. I’m still not sure about his acting yet, but he’s doing a better job than I thought he would in the presence of his much more seasoned fellow sunbae actors and I have to give him credit for that.