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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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! 🙂