K-drama goes PG-13

I didn't really put all these shows together into one post on purpose but when I was writing this down, I realized that most of these are more scandalous that the majority of the k-dramas I've watched. I figured out why though. I originally picked most of my selections based on thecommonroom's HM recommendations. But I had gone through a lot of hers and started to get some of my own favorite actors/actresses and heard about a number of other shows from different sources with not quite the same standards and they you are - an alarming trend towards caveats. Of course, in reality, this is still K-dramaland so I moved from PG to PG-13. But I think I might go back to HM's recommendations for a while.

(h/t to kdramafighting.blogspot.com. It's a new blog but it cracks me up!)

Coffee Prince - 4.5 stars with caveats

The screen shot meme above is from Coffee Prince and I had to laugh when I saw it because when that very scene came up, I was actually taken aback. Here is what my conversation went:

Me: They can't show that in a k-drama!
Myself: Hmm. Well, they didn't actually show anything
I: They can't imply that in a k-drama!

This is probably the show that I have the biggest issue with. And it isn't because of that scene or really any one scene or even situation but more so the very modern it-doesn't-matter-who-you-love theme. I probably should have known by the premise: guy hires girl he thinks is a guy to pretend to by his boyfriend to scare of marriage-dates and later as worker in his coffee shop,  she goes along with being a guy because she needs the money and of course, they fall in love but I really thought it would play out different.

That said, it's really popular for a reason. It's really good. The acting, the writing, the side characters. Sweet, funny and loveable. Some people thought the show lost some steam after episode 10, I didn't think so, those were my favorite episodes (but then again, that's because the whole situation mentioned above had been mostly resolved by then so I could enjoy the characters in peace). The extension did cause the ending to be a bit overextended but I'd rather have to much than to little. If you don't mind the viewpoint they are promoting, you'll probably love it. But I don't think I can watch it again because of that.

Personal Taste/Personal Preference - 3.5

I expected CP to be more like Personal Taste (in how it handled certain situations). He's an architect trying to get the inside scoop for a project. She lives in that "inside scoop" and as luck would have it, thinks he's gay and is willing to allow him to be a roommate. The gay thing is a plot device and an excuse for the relationship and not really anything more so I don't mind it here.

I really liked how their relationship quickly got passed the annoying each other stage to a real friendship. She thinks he is gay and basically treats him like a girlfriend for much of the first part of the show, at times this is humorous but quite often touching as well. Lee Min Hi is in fine form as always and Son Ye-Jin is super cute as a disheveled and naive (stupid?) sweetheart of a female lead and the chemistry between the two of them is great.

This could have been so much better than it was but there were story/writing/directing issues. The whole secret, then another secret got old. Anything to do with her dad. The main storyline with the project that you ended up not caring about. Someside characters were great (both of the best friends) others were not (annoying annoying wannabe female competitor who isn't even good enough to be second female lead which means we still have to deal with annoying second female lead).

That said, I still liked the main characters and their interraction enough to enjoy this drama.

My name is Kim Sam-soon/My lovely Sam-Soon - 4.5 stars

A slightly older but very popular drama that is often called the k-drama version of Bridget Jones.  And after watching it, I really see why people keep using that comparison. Sam-soon is older (just bordering on ahjumma status?), overweight and prone to swearing (although funnily enough, most of that is translated "jerk" but the responses she gets seem to indicate that might not be the most literal translation   :-) She's good at what she does, which is being a pastry chef, but she wants love. Will she find it?

It was really popular when it was on, with ratings in the 40%. That's crazy. I am understanding that right? 40% of the people in Korea watching television at that time were watching this show? But I understand, it's good. It's not nearly as cutesy a lot of other k-dramas although there are a few really cute scenes. I was cracking up at the scenes where Sam-Soon is trying to communicate in English to Henry. It's also a tad more risque than the ones I normally watch (but relative for k-drama standards, even it's more scandalous scenes are less than what you would see on a typical night on NBC). I think what's it has going for it as heart, sincerity and relatability.

Also, this drama has some of my favorite scenes depicting what I love about k-drama and korean culture. Probably my top, KSS's list of what she wants to do when she gets a boyfriend. Well, she gets one and they spend their first day dating doing things like holding hands and shopping and taking a cutesty picture to put on her phone, etc until they get to the last thing on the list and it's...parental introductions! And that's a totally normal thing for two late 20-somethings to do at the beginning of a relationship and not considered a sign that Sam-soon is a marriage obsessed freak. And I love her mom's grilling of said boyfriend (her father has passed away so her mother takes on that responsability) and all her questions about marriage and his family's opinion/treatment of her while forcing him to drink. End that with some drunken karaoke and that scene is perfection to me.

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