Thoughts on some k-dramas

These aren't quite "reviews" as they are just my random thoughts on the series, some of which won't really make sense unless you watch it yourself. Which maybe you should :-)

You're Beautiful - 5 stars

 Love, Love, Love! This is now one of my favorite "movies" and I'm sure I'll be watching it again in the future so I'll just add it to my rotation of chick flicks I've seen a million times but will still watch again when Craig works nights (I could justify making him sit through one sitting of Pride and Prejudice but any more seems mean).

The storyline seems odd - clumsy soon-to-be-nun infiltrates a boy band by impersonating her twin brother. And true to k-drama form, not much happens in the first episode or two but I'm glad I stuck with it because it turns out that You're Beautiful is my kind of funny - the quirky and random kind. I started watching because I had just finished watching Park Shin-hye and Jung Yong-hwa in Heartstrings and wanted to see more of them. Shin-hye is even better in this than Heartstrings and I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed her performance even more if I had a better understanding of the language and formalities. But if she is good, Jang Keun-seuk is awesomeness itself. Somewhere around episode 4 I fell in love with Tae Kyung and never looked back. And seriously, how great are his expressions...and his hair in this series?! Answer - awesome enough that I was willing to sit through Mary Stayed Out All Night, which is definitely saying something (see below).

But beyond the outstanding performances of and and their chemistry together, it also has great side characters. I know I'm overthinking this because I happened to be reading a chapter Mind of the Maker where she talks about character development during the same week but if I look at my favorite shows, from Return to Me and While You Were Sleeping to Pride and Prejudice that is one thing that is constant - a well developed secondary cast. It's what takes a movie from a cute story that you enjoy while you're watching it to a movie that you feel a part of. And this movie has great random characters - Manager Ma, President Ahn with his overzealous use of american phrases (jackpot!), Jeremy, who could easily have just been that third band member but really became a character. The soundtrack is also pretty good. I actually put in earbuds and stared really listening to the show instead of just reading and watching it with the sound as low as possible (so as to not wake up my sleeping baby.)

Favorite moments:

Any scene with Piggy-Bunny

Any scene with Jeremy. As bad as his hair was (what was with the bun and the assymetrical bangs!) I couldn't help but find him adorable.

Tae Kyung Birthday adventures

When Tae Kyung "punches" Go Minam

The grocery store

When Jeremy's affectionate nature is explained by his growing up in Britain. I think I found that humorous for different reasons that may have been the intention but only in  k-drama are the British considered overly affectionate people.

Do you "like" sushi?

Side note: I originally watched the hulu version but rewatched certain scenes with the viki subs and I think I prefer those, although "pig-rabbit" is not nearly as adorable as "piggy-bunny."

You're Beautiful - I give you...100!

Flower Boy Ramen Shop - 4 stars with caveats

First, the caveats. This show is very...korean. I wouldn't recommend this to a new k-drama watcher or one that is still uncomfortable with the k-drama level of bathroom humor/situations. This one has a lot of that, it's pretty much a minor theme through the show.

(FIRST EPISODE SPOILER) Also, the main characters have quite the age difference - he's a 19 year old high school student, she's a 25 year old student teacher. And that gives me the heebie jeebies. That might be hypocritical considering I met Craig when I was 19 and he was 24 but I wasn't in high school! I actually skipped the second episode and wasn't sure I would keep going but I read the recaps and by joined back later when she gives up the teaching thing to work in a ramen shop.

I'd somehow been able to avoid the infamous SMLS until this series but couldn't avoid it here. (SMLS or second  male lead syndrome = where you really really want the girl to end up with the "other" guy even knowing she won't)  But despite the caveats, I thought this was hilarious and finished it in a couple days (it helped that the episodes are shorter than normal and it's on Netflix so no commercials). All three main characters had great chemistry (yep, even the bromance was awesome) and it has a great set of side characters too. Sometimes I think the side love stories are kinda lame but not in this case.

Now I'm really excited about the next drama in the Oh Boy series, Flower Boy Next Door. It seems like it will have a similar vibe and it stars Park Shin-hye and I just think she's so cute, a great next door actress. I'm even excited to see Kim Ji-hoon again even though it took me a while to warm up to him in Stars Falling From the Sky. It might be the first k-drama I watch in "real time."

Heartstrings/You've Fallen For Me - 3.5 stars

Cute story about a traditional music major girl and a western music guy so of course you know what is going to happen (if you don't, go listen to some Avril Lavigne please). Starts out a bit angsty for my taste but that resolves itself a couple episodes in and it gets more of a high school musical vibe. If you've seen You're Beautiful you might be wondering if Jung Yong-hwa (Shin-woo) can handle being a lead character but YB was his first acting experience and he got a lot better. He's still not incredible animated but I think it works for this role.

I had two thoughts while watching it were. Firstly, am I missing something with the parental storyline? I wasn't sure if they were influentially leaving things unclear or I was just lost. But by the end, I had it figured out. I did start to wonder why so many people seem to be going to the hospital but it seems like in one or two of those cases, it was due to an actual accident that they had to work into the script so I guess I'll forgive them.

Then there is the issue of the ending. Some people where incredible annoyed with the last two episodes and wished they had stopped at 14. I read ahead so I would be prepared and actually was okay with it. If you're looking for something fun and sweet, this is a pretty good bet.

Full House - 3 stars

 The gateway drug drama for many. It's easy to follow and super sweet. After her friends sell her house, she works her way back in as housekeeping and then contract wife. Similar to many a rom-com, you have to put logical blinders on but once you do, it's fun. It does lag a bit in the middle when you start wondering just how many times then can possible clean that house but if you're looking for a good place to start, I'd recommend it.

Mary Stayed Out All Night/Marry Me Mary - 1 star for quality/3 for entertainment 

Two guys are both "partly" married to Mary and thanks to the two worst fathers in the world she ends up  sharing them for 100 days as a trial. I know that makes no sense and it is really hard to write this review because I'm so conflicted:

Angel on my shoulder: Mary and My Gyul are soooo cute together. There is such amazing chemistry between them and you really feel like the actors "are" Mary and Mu Gyul will end up happily ever after. I could watch them all day.

Devil: Yes, you could watch them all day if they did anything! Instead you feel like Mary and MG are two people sadly stuck in this plotless movie. At least it was plotless until the show switches writers and goes all Makjong on you and starts kidnapping people and having the evolved characters revert back to their old selves for no purpose other than prolonging the agony. And why did MG suddenly become obsessed with hair treatments - I thought we was supposed to be laid back and cool?

Angel: But I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long long time. The dance scene. The drunken lettuce gift!

Devil: Yes, yes. The dancing scene was hilarious as were the first few drunken scenes (and yes, there were many!) But half the time you were laughing, it was "at" the show, not with it. A indie band that sings a song with lyrics "run run run to the bus?"  And exactly how many backrides can you fit into a series.

Angel: How about I just read the recaps and skip to the parts where Mary and MG interact?

Devil: I guess that will work.

1 comment :

  1. I second your thoughts about You're Beautiful! Viki's subtitles were so much better that I watched the whole series again just a week after finishing it the first time because I missed so much. I'm also having to train myself not to multitask because subtitles and playing games on my phone don't work together. It is a shame that Viki used Pig-Rabbit instead of Piggy-Bunny. I was proud of myself for recognizing the word for rabbit in Full House though, so other than basic phrases, that might be my first real Korean word!

    I'm watching Full House again because I don't want to start a new k-drama until I have time to binge. I still hate the Conniving Female, but I'm appreciating the character development more than the first time around. Still wish they had resolved the story line with his parents a little better, but I guess they wanted to focus on the beautiful young people.

    I think the comparison to Pride and Prejudice is very apt. I might just have to write about k-dramas from the point of view of my novel of manners senior seminar.