Another One for Conspiracy in the Court

Day 08: Your Favorite Line/s by a Female Lead Character

I had a really hard time choosing a line by a female lead character. There were two that stuck out at me because they both struck me, but for entirely different reasons so I’ll include both and explain why I chose the one I did as my favorite.

Although Cinderella’s Sister was a terrible drama, Moon Geun Young‘s “He called me Eun Jo yah” still resonates with me even to this day. I don’t know what it is about that simple line of dialogue that grips my heart so tightly, but that scene from episode 3 between Moon Geun Young and Chun Jung Myung still remains one of my favorites to this day and probably will always stay on my list. With just a few syllables, MGY expresses a world of pain that her character Eun Jo has had to endure all her life and the fact that someone cares enough about her to call her by name is what begins to open up her heart to the man she’ll eventually fall in love with. I love its impact.

Kim Ha Eun‘s character Na Young said, “If you never aspire for them, how could you ever fulfill your wishes?” The magic of Conspiracy in the Court is that once you watch it, you can never erase the remnants of it from your mind. While going over the review I wrote for it once I finished watching, I started tearing up again looking at the screencaps I took because the sorrow I felt during CitC’s scenes is still present within me. Although the quote from CS is one of my favorites, this has to be my ultimate because it encapsulates so perfectly the essence of Conspiracy in the Court. All throughout the drama, the main characters tried to ignore their desires (with the exception of Lee Cheon Hee‘s Man Oh who ironically is the only one who survives… woo-hoo symbolism!) until the very end. When Sang Gyu and Na Young decide to succumb and pursue their dreams, they are killed. This was the biggest heartbreak for me because they had to live lives of such turmoil and they weren’t allowed happiness even ’til the end. Although they didn’t survive, I thought this quote expressed the sentiments of CitC flawlessly and that’s why it has earned the title of my favorite line from a female lead.

A Newbie Reviews: Dramas of 2010

As the year 2010 comes to a close, I feel a little shell-shocked at how quickly time has passed by. Pretty soon, I’ll reach one year since I first become a fansubber/translator and since I started this very blog. By extension, this is the first year-end review I’m writing so please bear with me as I try to be as objective and impartial as possible. Not only will I be reviewing dramas that aired this year that I watched, but a few that I watched for the first time this year although they aired in previous years. Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one.

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Such Potential Wasted

I’m just going to lay it all out in my opening sentence so y’all will know where I’m going with this entry discussing the end of Cinderella’s Sister: ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH YOU HAD SUCH POTENTIAL! KIM KYU WAN, HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!

Ahem, now that I’ve regained my composure, I’ll continue this entry after the jump. Proceed at your own risk as there will be spoilers for those of you who haven’t watched the final episode yet.

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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.

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? 😛