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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Not a Complete Home Run But I’ll Take It

So I’ve watched up to episode 5 of Playful Kiss so far because I’m helping Haru2 translate and fill spots, and I thought I’d dish a little of how I feel about it thus far.

First off, although the soon-to-be romance between Seung Jo and Ha Ni has started going in earnest, I’m still firmly parked in the Duckie/Bong Joon Gu camp and I intend to stay here until Kim Hyun Joong convinces me otherwise. Lee Tae Sung captured my heart within seconds of seeing him in his first scene as he bumbled around exuding bravado but immediately morphing into a giant marshmallow confection whenever Ha Ni was concerned. It’s the devoted in love types of guys that reduces me to a squealing fangirl, not cool, suave types like Baek Seung Jo. I’ve only seen Lee Tae Sung in the little-known Romance Zero that aired last year and I was pleasantly surprised to see how broad his range is acting-wise because his character in RZ was the complete opposite of his PK character. Jung So Min has been great as Oh Ha Ni, giving the character just the right amount of simplistic wisdom in the midst of all her naivety and good-natured eternal optimism. Ha Ni finds joy in the smallest things in life which is something I myself can relate to, so that endeared her character to me right from the get-go and continues to win me over with each episode.

I like that Ha Ni is able to speak up for herself in spite of her strong feelings for Seung Jo whenever Seung Jo acts haughty and mean towards her, because it shows that she has a backbone instead of being a shrinking violet. I know a guy who Seung Jo resembles in that they’re both very intelligent, and as a result they have very straightforward outlooks on life. If something isn’t necessary in the whole grand scheme of things, why bother with it? Logic rules over all and there’s no room for emotions because they hinder from more important things, like school and gaining success. When one considers how Ha Ni and Seung Jo are complete opposites, it might seem at first that things wouldn’t be able to work out between the two of them, but knowing how my personality differs so from my friend’s who I mentioned just now, I’m actually rooting for Ha Ni to start influencing Seung Jo to lighten up and take things into stride rather than be so black and white. (I’ve only seen up to the end of episode 4 so I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen.)

I feel for the cast and the production team because I definitely think Playful Kiss merits more than a dismal 3.0% in viewership, but I get that the viewers might be into SKKS, MGIAG or any of the other dramas because of their casts and storylines. Like the wonderful ockoala put it in one of her entries on her fabulous blog, Playful Kiss is more indicative of a drama that portrays a little slice of life. Judging from the fact that the writer of ISWAK wrote the story based on her own experience falling in love with her husband before her untimely passing, that truth alone makes PK a treat for me to watch because it makes the drama seem a little more real to me than other dramas. One of the characteristics of dramas that I can’t avoid is that they always seem so fabricated in their fairy-tale like stories with the airport chases and grand gestures that don’t happen too often in real life. It’s a characteristic that I’ve come to accept because it’s prevalent in almost every drama in the past, present and future, but PK is different in that the characters seem more alive and the stories are more poignant as a result. Because of the boy predicament I’m going through at the moment, it makes the romance of PK all the more sweet and satisfying to watch. And indeed I will keep watching, hoping that even though Joon Gu doesn’t end up with Ha Ni in the end, he will find his happy ending as well somehow. Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t picked up PK yet, please give it a try if you’re looking for a drama that could very well happen in real life. Until next time!

So Much to Watch, So Little Time!

Hey y’all I’m back! To the two of you that may still be reading this blog, I had a wonderful time in Russia. I learned so much during my trip… I was reminded of how patience really is a virtue, and how love enjoys wreaking havoc when you least expect it to appear. It’s during the difficult times that you learn how precious each moment is, and I was grateful for that awakening.

With that said, aside from all the personal stuff in my life right now, I am facing quite a dilemma at the moment. While I was gone, I was keeping up with the current dramas by faithfully visiting the wonderful Dramabeans site and reading all of the tweets I follow, and I saw an overwhelming amount of positive feedback on dramas that began to air while I was gone. Now that I’m back, not only do I still have the dramas I’d been watching before I left to finish, but I’ve accumulated a slew of new ones that are just begging to be watched! I’ve downloaded all of the episodes to date of Coffee House, Gloria, I Am Legend, Life is Beautiful, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, and Sungkyunkwan Scandal (which just started this week). I think I’m going to start with Coffee House since it’s over, and then catch up with Life is Beautiful. But after that, I’m fair game. What are you all watching? Which ones are you enjoying most? I’m also thinking of downloading the episodes of Baker King Kim Tak Gu. Are any of you watching that drama? How is it? Please add your two cents, I’d love to hear your opinions! 🙂

Falling for Personal Taste

Just a disclaimer before I commence with this post… you’re in for a really long one. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😉

There once was a woman named Park Gae In. She was a well-meaning but extremely naive young lady who clumsily stumbled her way through life, banging into things and unintentionally causing trouble but causing the people around her to ultimately fall for her charm and adorableness. She had only been in a few relationships in all her life because she was what could be considered the clingy type who usually fell head over heels without giving much thought to whether or not the man was worth her time. Although this could indicate foolishness on her part, Park Gae In is a woman who develops trust in people easily and is forever trying to see the bright side of things, always picking herself up after she falls.

She takes a huge tumble when she discovers that her best friend of more than a decade, Kim In Hee, has seduced her beloved boyfriend, Han Chang Ryul, all the way to the altar which is where she finds out about both of their betrayals in a humiliating, traumatic moment. Not even 24 hours later, she finds out that her old friend Lee Won Ho, steals almost all of her money and uses a lease on her house to pay back debts he has incurred after falling for a scam and her overbearing father is returning to Korea in a matter of a few weeks. But what does our heroine Gae In do? She mopes for a few days and then jumps onto her feet again, albeit in a bumbling manner, trying to get her life back on track.

Enter Jeon Jin Ho. Motivated and hard-working, there is very little to distinguish him from a human robot. All he focuses on is work, with his human side only coming out (tee-hee) when his mother is involved. He loves his mother more than anyone else in the world, you see. He encounters our blundering heroine Park Gae In by chance and they automatically are left with bad impressions of each other, she sizing him up as a stuck-up pervert while he considers her an inept old maid. However, they are inevitably thrown into a living situation that they both feel will be a dreadful experience, but which winds up humanizing both of them in ways they would never have expected.

Although they are against this living arrangement at first due to their mutual dislike of each other, Gae In’s incessant attempts to try and make nice with Jin Ho start having their effect. He begins to accept her eager, enthusiastic tendencies with resignation at first, but later enjoys her presence, letting her and her messy ways torpedo their way into his reserved, orderly life. And once that happens, he’s subject to assumptions and incredibly untidy houses, forcing him to endure it all gritting his teeth all the while.

But one day, Gae In and Jin Ho both find themselves warming up to the other. Gae In begins waiting for him on the stoop outside when he comes home late, and Jin Ho automatically races out the moment he hears her break something or yell out in pain, ready to pick up the pieces for her and chastise her for being careless yet again. They start to mean more to each other than they would’ve imagined, and despite the hindrance THE GAYYYY would normally present, they start developing feelings that push past the boundaries of friendship, although they aren’t aware of it yet.

Our clueless hero and heroine of the story have some great friends by their side that aren’t afraid to verbally slap some sense into their besties when they need a wakeup call, and we cue in Lee Young Seon and Noh Sang Jun, some of the most lovable sidekicks to our protagonists that I remember in recent k-drama history. Thanks to Young Seon and Sang Jun, the murky “friendship” that our lovely protagonists have cultivated grows more and more complicated. Despite their roles in mucking up the friendship between Gae In and Jin Ho into something more, Young Seon and Sang Jun provide hilarious comic relief with their great senses of humor and the great chemistry between the actor and actress.

But of course since this is a k-drama, there are second fiddles for both of our protagonists (with Jin Ho having multiple fiddles). It seems that the evil witch In Hee has conspired to make her ex friend Gae In’s romantic life a living hell, not seeing it as enough that she stole Chang Ryul away, she decides to go after Jin Ho as well, despite her initial belief that she wasn’t the right gender for him. She refuses to accept that He’s Just Not That Into Her (Javabeans’ clever usage of the tagline from the book and movie) and relentlessly pursues Jin Ho, despite his numerous shutdowns of her advances. On the flip side of Jin Ho’s romantic dilemmas, there is Choi Do Bin. He is much more discreet about his feelings towards Jin Ho, the sincerity of his interest in him simultaneously heartbreaking and innocent. On Gae In’s side, her wishy-washy ex Chang Ryul has crawled back, regretting wholeheartedly his foolhardy decision to dump her for her witch of an ex-friend as he attempts fruitlessly to get Gae In to care for him again.

Despite all of these obstacles that plague Gae In and Jin Ho from all sides, nothing can get in the way of their twoo luv. What Jin Ho needed was not a shameless barracuda like In Hee but someone to balance him out, provide some yang to his yin and complement his reserved personality which Gae In does perfectly. And what Gae In was in dire need of was a revelation that the way she staunchly remained an optimist despite numerous disappointments could ultimately be her own downfall. Jin Ho being the ultimate realist was just what she needed to disillusion her lingering feelings for Chang Ryul and see him for the simpering, sweet-talking wolf in sheep’s clothing that he really was. As they shared drinks on the deck of Sanggojae, shared an umbrella in the rain and played shooting games at the arcade with her decked out in men’s garb complete with a mustache, Jin Ho and Gae In accepted their feelings for each other and recognized how vital the other person is to their very existence. In order to humanize Jin Ho from the robot he was before and Gae In from the constant ball of hope she was prior into someone a little more realistic, they needed to fall in love.

After a long period of suffering through simmering frustration and giving up on pushing away their feelings, Jin Ho and Gae In have finally accepted their feelings for each other despite the assumption of THE GAYYYY constantly posing as the biggest foe to their love. Jin Ho has let this charade go on for so long that he’s lost for a way to clear up the misunderstanding, while Gae In is in turmoil because she’s fallen for someone whom she believes to be gay, and wants nothing more to be able to stay by his side in whatever way she can, even if she’s ruining her life by committing to love someone who could never love her back. However, once Jin Ho hears the admission of Gae In’s feelings the moment she confesses to Chang Ryul about her revenge plan, all of that falls away and all he can see is her. In a scene fraught with intensity and tension, Jin Ho strides to his love, forcing her to face him and announcing that this game is officially over. And following this declaration is one of the most passionate kisses I’ve ever seen from a k-drama or movie that sent me into a tittering frenzy and drove me to rewatch that very scene at least a hundred times. After seeing Lee Min Ho‘s subpar kisses with Gu Hye Sun in Boys Before Flowers, I figured that was the way he normally kissed, but he blew me away as he deliberately pulled Sohn Ye Jin towards him and met her lips with his. I’d been on the fence about whether or not I found him attractive because I couldn’t move past his Gu Jun Pyo, but this kiss shoved me off said fence to the OMG-Lee-Min-Ho-is-so-FINE side of the pasture. I still get breathless when I rewatch the end scene of episode 10 and fantasize about what it was like to be Sohn Ye Jin in those few minutes. I’m anticipating next week’s episodes so much that it’s probably unhealthy to be this obsessed, but I’m feeling slightly guarded because I’m afraid the kiss possibly wasn’t Jin Ho’s confession of his love for Gae In. The niggling thought that it might have been Jin Ho’s fantasy came to mind (just like he imagined dragging Gae In out of the hospital away from Chang Ryul). If the kiss wasn’t a fantasy and actually did happen, then what if Jin Ho tells Gae In afterwards that he did it so they could finish off the revenge plan with a bang? What if he’s so afraid of making it known what his true intentions were moving into Sanggojae that he retracts this declaration of love and goes back to the aggravating Jin Ho of previous episodes? Only time will tell. With this, I will leave you with one last reminder of the wonderful, wonderful kiss of episode 10 to tide y’all over ’til Wednesday rolls around. Hope you’ve enjoyed this very long post and until next time!

Yes, I am aware that I went a tad bit overboard with the screencaps for the kiss. But can you blame me? ^^

The Magic of Cinderella’s Sister

I’m about a third of the way through translating episode 4 of Cinderella’s Sister, and I had to pause the video because tears were clouding my vision. I don’t know what it is about Cinderella’s Sister that has me so drawn to it, but I want to thank profusely whoever cast Chun Jung Myung and Moon Geun Young as the leads because they are absolutely magnetic together. It’s only been four episodes since the premiere of CS but I’ve already added a few scenes to my list of favorites from any k-drama, and they’re all from this drama.

The music adds wonderful ambiance to the scenes that Eun Jo and Ki Hoon share together, and the director adds little whimsical moments (such as the bubbles in episode 4) that make the scenes even more special. Those aspects would be enough to make the scenes unique and enjoyable, but the dynamic that CJM and MGY have together is so incredibly appealing. I thought the Gong Hyo Jin – Lee Seon Kyun pairing in Pasta was genius, but to cast one of the best actors (CJM) and one of the best actresses (MGY) of their generations together is an intense experience for us viewers. It’s captivating to watch the scenes where Eun Jo and Ki Hoon connect because we know how similar they are, and what makes CS so different from other dramas is Eun Jo and Ki Hoon know how similar they are as well. They know they’re alike in the burdens they’ve had to carry all their lives, and that gives them reason to lean and depend on each other, and that’s a beautiful thing for two people who had been so lonely for almost the entirety of their existences.

What’s even greater about the scenes they share is how simply they’re set up. Most of the scenes where they feel their souls connect are lacking in dialogue, but it’s due to the immense talent that CJM and MGY possess that the scenes become all the more significant through their superb acting. Eun Jo and Ki Hoon don’t need to speak to understand how the other is feeling, because they already know every thought, every emotion.

On a less fangirly note, the acting overall in CS is perfect. What’s a word that’s better than perfect? Because I adore each and every character and how the actors/actresses portray them. Kim Gab Su is dashing as the stoic stepfather to Eun Jo, Lee Mi Sook is alluring but calculating as the stepmother to Hyo Sun, and Seo Woo is flawless in her portrayal of Hyo Sun as a teen. It’s not easy to play a character who’s almost a decade younger than the actress herself, but Seo Woo acts as Hyo Sun with aplomb, giving depth to Hyo Sun’s flightiness. I’m hoping the younger version of Hyo Sun won’t bleed into the older version because that will be a bit annoying, but I like Seo Woo’s Hyo Sun so far, and I can’t wait to see how the character develops further.

Cinderella’s Sister is rapidly making its way onto my list of favorite dramas for several reasons. One, the plot is a creative, fresh new spin on the Cinderella story that we’ve all grown up with. Two, the directing, writing, and the music all give CS a wonderful vibe that isn’t commonly found in k-dramas. Three, the lovely, lovely coupling of Chun Jung Myung and Moon Geun Young. I wonder if they know they’re amazing together. I hope they do, and I also hope they know how giddy they’re making their fans with their unbeatable chemistry. And last but not least, four, the acting of all the cast of CS (I’m not sure about Tacyeon because I haven’t seen him yet) is wonderful. Well, I’ve left episode 4 hanging because I felt compelled to write a post about it, so I must get back to it. Until next time!

Musings on the Dramas of Late

I was eagerly waiting for March to roll around because so many new dramas were going to start that I was invested in mostly due to the actors that were going to star in them, and after watching at least a few episodes of each, I have some thoughts on them.

I’ll start with Birth of a Rich Man because it’s been on the longest, and with recent news of its extension, I have a lot to say about it. When I caught the first episode on the day it began, I enjoyed BOARM. I thought Ji Hyun Woo was great as usual, and although Lee Bo Young was stiff, the way the first episode went gave me high hopes that this would be a fresh change from the cliched dramas that the Land of the Morning Calm has churned out for the past few decades. However, the writers (and the director?) managed to completely squelch my hope in the second episode. Since then, I keep telling myself to drop this drama because I just wind up fast forwarding any of the parts that don’t have to do with Ji Hyun Woo and Lee Bo Young‘s budding relationship, but I haven’t yet. I was annoyed when I heard about the four-episode extension, but a person commented that because of all the storylines that have yet to be resolved, more time to flesh them out could do the drama some good, which I agree with after thinking on it more. At this point, I just park my brain at the door, keep my finger poised ready to fast forward, and watch BOARM because of how freaking cute Ji Hyun Woo and Lee Bo Young are together. Seriously, they make one good-looking couple.

Next up is Personal Taste. From what I can see, Lee Min Ho losing his Gu Jun Pyo hair has done him a whole lot of good because boy, does he look good. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of him watching Boys Over Flowers, I had to agree with those who said that he was one of the saving graces of that addicting trainwreck, and when Sohn Ye Jin signed on to PT, I was invested right away because she’s one of my all-time favorite actresses. PT hasn’t disappointed, persay, but the female second lead, played by Wang Ji Hye, infuriates me with her holier-than-thou attitude and her perpetual cattiness. I’m not crazy about PT yet but I can see that once Lee Min Ho and Sohn Ye Jin‘s relationship starts to blossom, they’re going to have great chemistry. I think that’s one of the great things about Lee Min Ho. He seems to have good chemistry with most of his leading ladies.

Oh, My Lady is not my favorite of the bunch, but I’m impressed by Choi Si Won‘s acting so far. He’s talented enough to convincingly act out the character of Sung Min Woo, an actor who lacks talent. I feel like for other people his age (He’s 22), that’d be difficult for them to do convincingly, but both he and Lee Seung Gi have managed to cross over from singing to acting and show some impressive acting chops for newbies. Chae Rim is her usual adorable self, and I just have to say that the little girl who plays Choi Si Won‘s daughter is so freaking cute. It took me a few episodes for OML to pique my interest, but this week’s episodes were an improvement so far, and I’m definitely looking forward to where OML goes from here.

Life is Beautiful is one that I was interested in solely because of my love of all things Nam Sang Mi, but it was actually a pleasant surprise. I’ve been working on translating it and it’s been insanely hard because boy do they love to talk, but I am enjoying watching LiB. When I heard that Song Chang Eui and Hamster Boy Lee Sang Woo would be paired together as a gay couple, I was intrigued. I have to give writer Kim Soo Hyun props for being brave enough to come up with that storyline, and I have to say that it’s been interesting to watch thus far. There was a scene in episode 5 that really bothered me when Lee Sang Woo‘s mother in the drama is incredibly harsh with his character and calls him a monster, and it just reminded me of how conservative our motherland still is. But I’m impressed that they’ve loosened up enough for a gay storyline to be included in a family drama, and I’m definitely sticking with LiB at least a little while longer to see where it goes. And on a completely superficial note, I’d like to say that there is MAJOR eye candy on LiB. Seriously. Check it out for yourself. 😉

Last but not least, Cinderella’s Sister. This is my favorite drama of the bunch so far, and for good reason. I was almost salivating when I heard that Chun Jung Myung had taken on the male lead role, and Moon Geun Young was the cherry on top. I hadn’t seen anything of hers before, but I had been wanting to watch her in something for a while, so this drama was the one that I was most excited about. They haven’t disappointed so far. I usually like more lighthearted dramas and if the terms melodrama or makjang appear in any of the descriptions for upcoming dramas, they’re enough to send me running highspeed for the door. But my adulation and obsession with Chun Jung Myung ever since I watched What’s Up Fox a few months ago kept me in high anticipation until the drama began. I was pleasantly surprised to see that CS wasn’t as dramatic as I expected it to be, although I suspect that it’ll definitely take a more melodramatic turn in later episodes. Chun Jung Myung and Moon Geun Young have wonderful chemistry, and I’m completely invested in their relationship already even though it’s only 3 episodes in. There was a scene between the two in episode 3 (when CJM comes back drunk) that had me squealing and clenching my hands in fangirly hysteria. I love CS so far and if CJM and MGY don’t wind up together by the end, there will be blood. Or a very disappointed, slightly pissed off Soluna.

I caught the first episode of Prosecutor Princess and decided to drop it because although I think Kim So Yeon is a talented actress, I was bored during the entire hour. I thought about watching the second episode just to see if it would pick up, but I didn’t feel like it. When I realized that I had no interest whatsoever in seeing where PP would go, I knew it wasn’t for me. I tried watching episodes of Dandelion Family and Merchant Kim Man Deok too, but they didn’t capture my interest either so I dropped those as well. But with all the dramas that I’m sticking with, where would I have the time to watch anything else? 😛