Category: Korean Drama

Heirs to Episode 1, Twitter Real Time Reaction

I’ve decided to change (surprise ūüėČ ) and to do a real time reaction post to¬†Heirs, instead of reviews. I just don’t have the time right now. ¬†I may still do a review at the end or a rating at the end. I can’t really miss out in this… let’s just call it what it is, an attempt to do BOF right. So, let’s see how this works out.

Tangent: Have you seen the previews for¬†Marry Him If You Dare?¬†I am sorry for going off track, I am YEH biased. This looks sooooooooo good. In the same way I am LMH, KSA, HJW, CSW, HB, and GY ¬†biased. However, my love for LMH is waning. So, hopefully my gasp worthy love for LMH will return…

Afterwards

Just finished. Um wow, if anyone thought that first episode was amazing, JUST NO. I mean, Kim Tan, I hope he becomes more interesting. To be truthful, I think my highlight was Rachel vs. Young-Do as far as plot and dialogue. Otherwise, I was literally counting the minutes until something happened. However, the next episode looks better, but as of right now I could easily give this up, at least until the whole season’s over. I’m sorry Park Shin Hye. That’s really all I have to say. Oh yeah, Chan Young is cutie pie.

Lee Min Ho

Lee Min Ho (Photo credit: aBbYhaLO)

Korean Drama Review: Scent of a Woman

Scent of Woman Poster

SYNOPSIS:

Lee Yeon Jae (Kim Sun Ah) is a woman in a rut. Yeon Jae is in in her mid-thirties, has not gone college, is sexually harassed and otherwise demeaned by her boss, spends no money on herself, and has been working for more than ten years as the equivalent of an NBC Page at a travel agency. ¬†A new world opens up when Yeon Jae gets the assignment of finding an expensive car for one of the travel agency’s customers. Yeon Jae is almost out of luck, but then she discovers that the President of the travel agency’s heir, who is also a director, has come back to town and owns the exact car she is looking for.

In the process of tracking down this car, she gets into a car accident. At the hospital, they perform several tests and x-rays on Yeon Jae. At the hospital, Yeon Jae’s doctor turns out to be a friend from childhood, Chae Eun-suk¬†(nicknamed poopy pants). Eun Suk (Uhm Ki Joon)is not pleased to see Yeon Jae. First, because Yeon Jae is a symbol of the fatal day when he pooped his pants in school, and second because he has to tell Yeon Jae about her health. Yeon Jae immediately brushes aside Eun Suk’s disconcerting looks, because she is happy to see an old friend and is perfectly content living in her small, predictable, yet unsatisfying world. Next think you know, Eun Suk has is telling Yeon Jae that she has a tumor.

Yeon Jae’s policy is avoidance, so she returns to work. At work she sees the director, her dream man, and wonders how her life would be with Kang Ji Wook (Lee Dong Wook). Ji Wook quickly turns into a symbol of all the things that she has wanted to experience, but does not have the guts to do. However, she is still the same Yeon Jae, so she stares dreamily, eye stalks, and gives herself pep talks in preparation for the inevitable meeting with the man of her dreams.

At work, things are getting worse when a famous pianist, Andy Wilson, comes to town and Yeon Jae is volunteered as his personal tour guide. This tour forces her to miss her appointment with Eun Suk regarding the results of the tests. Everything goes wrong with the tour, from the lack of halal cuisine to being falsely accused of stealing Mr. Wilson’s ring. In addition to being berated by her boss, Yeon Jae gets slapped by¬†Im Se-kyung, whose company is responsible for Andy Wilson’s performances in Korea. Im Se Kyung is another ¬†rich corporate heir. Se Kyung has a sense of entitlement, which includes not abiding by any social graces for those below her economic status. Se Kyung also happens to be Ji Wook’s future fiance.

Since a hungry stomach has no ears, Yeon Jae returns to work wondering if her life can get any more dismal.  And it does, when Yeon Jae gets the first physical signs that her illness is real. When Yeon Jae finally makes it back to the hospital, she is told she has a rare form of cancer and only has six months to live. Her life suddenly becomes more vivid and her race to do everything she always wanted, ensure that the people she loves most will be okay without her, and right all past wrongs is on. Part one is going on a vacation, quitting her job, and getting new wardrobe .(I really like this plan.)

Off to Okinawa, Japan. ¬†While Yeon Jae is on vacation, and looking what can only be described as fabulous, she runs into the man of her dreams, Ji Wook. Ji Wook’s¬†trip to Okinawa is just one more thing to appease his Dad. Ji Wook is there to work on plans for a vacation packages to Okinawa.¬†Ji Wook is jaded and nonchalant, but without angst. Therefore, Ji Wook goes with his father’s wishes in hope that one day his life may become meaningful, but the reality of that happening is weak considering he is waiting for something to happen rather than willing to change his own course.

When Yeon Jae spots Ji Wook, and figures out that Ji Wook is waiting for a tour guide from his company to take him around Okinawa, Yeon Jae pretends to be her. There is a little bit of confusion, given that Yeon Jae and the tour guide have the same last name. However, once Yeon Jae discovers the mix-up, she keeps the charade going. Yeon Jae knows everything about Okinawa from her time at the travel agency and wants to get a shot at seducing her dream man. Yeon Jae and Ji Wook are drawn to each other immediately and end up hanging out and touring for days. Ji Wook finally realizes this is what he has been waiting for, love.

However, things take a turn for the worse when Ji Wook discovers that Yeon Jae is an imposter and an ex-company employee accused of stealing. There growing friendship that blossomed on a house full of lies collapses. Sometime later, Ji Wook sees Yeon Jae in Korea and meets a totally different woman. What Ji Wook doesn’t know is that he is looking at someone who is carrying the the burden of believing that her best years are behind her. At this point, Yeon Jae is bogged down from constant trips to the hospital to receive her treatments.

Yeon Jae has not told anyone about her diagnoses, including her mother who she lives with. Thus, Eun Suk is the only one Yeon Jae confides in and he becomes her rock. Eun Suk tells her that she has to let other people in, but Yeon Jae resists. Yeon Jae also vehemently resists Ji Wook in Korea. Now, times have changed and Ji Wook wants to reunite with Yeon Jae after he finds that he can’t go back to his life before her. Even though, Yeon Jae loves Ji Wook, she doesn’t want him to have to go through the heartbreak of loving someone and then quickly loosing them. But, Ji Wook doesn’t care…

REVIEW:

 1/2

Yeon Jae and Ji Wook (Kim Sun Ah and Lee Dong Wook): ¬†And I will go down with this ship… (seriously drama character wise it’s this and Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin¬†in¬†It Started With A Kiss. I don’t care if its not real life, just love these OTPs. They give me so much happiness, I could cry. Thank you writers!)¬†The reason why a drama that would normally be a melodrama, is actually just a romantic drama and almost could be a romantic comedy. Don’t be concerned about the sadness, although I did cry. There were really just too many cute and loving scenes to the point I just spent most of the time with a big grin on my face. Don’t even get me started on the BTS, because I try to restrain myself from becoming delusional. Anyways, this drama makes you believe in love at first sight and the power of meet-cute. When Yeon Jae and Ji Wook met, it was a thrilling calm, two characters that were made to be together finally met. Their initial interactions were seamless, in that they exhibited some awkwardness, wariness, disbelief, but all of their reticence was overcome by their enchantment.

Kim Sun Ah as Yeon Jae: Another great heroine played by Kim Sun Ah. Yeon Jae had several great story lines that involved redemption, rebirth, and renewal: finding her niche in the travel industry; figuring out that she is actually quite pretty; telling her teacher who was in love with her mom that she is sorry for falsely accusing him of sexual assault; providing for her mom’s future and finding her a husband; choosing love over comfort; and recognizing that she deserves someone of Ji Wook’s stature. What stood out the most was Yeon Jae’s strength, she went from a weakling to becoming a person that others leaned on when they were attempting to grasp Yeon Jae’s circumstances. All of these story lines intertwined impeccably, sometimes you hated Yeon Jae, other times you felt sorry for her, and most of the time you loved her and hoped that she would find all that she was missing before it was too late.

Lee Dong Wook as Ji Wook: This is my favorite Lee Dong Wook drama character. While there seems to be little on the surface, Ji Wook has a convoluted set of her characteristics stretching from being a recluse to becoming a desperate man searching for meaning in his life, and later trying to hold on to it. Whereas there were many sweet scenes between Yeon Jae and Ji Wook, most of Ji Wook’s development came through his interactions with: his father, who does not want his son to fall in love with a girl that is older, relatively poor, and whose diagnosis will break his heart; his fiance (arranged by his dad), who thinks that she has found the perfect man based on her previous dating experiences with men who use her, who won’t give Ji Wook up because he has been so good to her, and who knows Yeon Jae’s condition; and Eun Suk, who challenges him by showing him the type of dependable man that Yeon Jae needs while she is traveling through a physical and emotional rollercoaster.

Seo Hyo Rim as Im Se Kyung: One of the best written and portrayed evil second female leads I have seen in awhile. Se Kyung is evil in all the right ways. She is mean and not out of no where psycho, meaning that the writer actually found a way to make her actions consistent with plausible motivations. Most of her slapping fury comes from the pain of being mistreated and abandoned by her former lover. Im Se Kyung tries to prove her self-worth and compensate for her low self-esteerm by distinguishing herself from others the only way she can, which is by treating people who are less fortunate than her  like crap. Ji Wook is the only one who sees Se Kyung as a better person than she sees herself, therefore she is determined not to let him go. Once she realizes that this is the same way Ji Wook feels about Yeon Jae, she releases him. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, we all know that a small part of Se Kyung is waiting for him to come back to her.

Ramses, Yeon Jae’s Boss, and Eun Suk, the Other Guys: Ramses, Yeon Jae’s Boss, and Eun Suk play special roles in Yeon Jae’s journey. Ramses, played by¬†Kim Kwang Kyu, and Yeon Jae’s Boss, played by¬†Shin Jeong-Keun, are some of¬†the best character actors in the business and both were also in City Hall. Ramses leads Yeon Jae into the world of tango, finally Yeon Jae has an interest of her own. Yeon Jae’s Boss, who mistreated her in the past, has a hard time acknowledging Yeon Jae’s hard work and dedication to the travel agency, but after she leaves for good he misses her ethos the most. Eun Suk’s relationship with Yeon Jae transforms him from a cynical and aloof doctor to one who engages life, friends, and most shockingly his patients.

Highlights

  • Yeon Jae’s hospital friend who turns into a younger sister (she is so cute and so was her dance with Eun Suk)
  • Eun Suk’s race with Yeon Jae at their old school
  • Vacation in Okinawa was refreshing and I could have spent 5 episodes there
  • “How do you save money: eat at work cafeteria, buy clothes from street vendors, have ¬†2 pairs of shoes, don’t even look at designer clothes or handbags, and don’t dream of vacation” (This drama has¬†several¬†sayings that speak the truth.)
  • Can someone tell me what kind of car Ji Wook is driving, it’s cool
  • Camping Trip
  • Breathless Tango Dance with Ji Wook
  • Post-Intimate Session Back Hug
  • The story of the guy in Okinawa watching his child’s wedding from a distance (so many good stories and good characters)
  • Yeon Jae’s best friend, Hye Won
  • Yeon Jae’s teacher is an old school player when it comes to courting Yeon Jae’s mom
  • Yeon Jae, “I’m rich until I die.”
  • Mother-Daughter Spa Day (watch this with your mom if you can)
  • Ji Wook lonely in Tango class (like a puppy)
  • Spell you’re sorry with your butt
  • Yeon Jae’s cute bathing suits
  • “Does someone like you even have a reputation to be insulted” so mean Se Kyung, but yet you’re so good.
  • The rescue of Mal Bok and his adoption by Eun Suk
  • Eun Suk and Yeon Jae’s performance at the hospital and Yeon Jae’s dress (loved it)
  • Date with personal fireworks, it works every time for me. (It is not even a wedding, just a date.)
  • Yeon Jae’s Mom to Yeon Jae about Ji Wook “Because if I tell him how much I like him, he’ll think you are not precious to me.” (tears)
  • Getting Ramses a new toupee
  • Yeon Jae to girls in the office,¬†“Wish your heart was as pretty as your face.”
  • Cell Phone Ringtones
    • Another Day by Buckshot LeFonque
    • Hawaiian Couple Song by Humming Urban Radio¬†
  • You Are So Beautiful by Junsu (JYJ)

Ugh

  • Not the greatest performance by Junsu
  • Andy Wilson, you know how to piss people off with your petulance
  • Ji Wook as Captain Save a Vulnerable Girl
  • Yeon Jae skipping out on her appointments
  • Ji Wook’s Dad is just too much
  • The fate of an oncologist is sad
  • Too much slapping

So that is a 4 and a half out of 5. I have already re-watched and can only imagine that I will love it more as I get older. It is great drama to watch with your mom, so if you have time to watch it over the holidays, you will not regret it. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

Up Next: Queen In Hyun’s Man, Answer Me 1997, or King2Hearts (I have been struggling to get to the end, but only have 4 episodes left… yipee!). I have given up on City Hunter¬†for now, because I keep having to start over to keep up with all the information, so hopefully sometime next year.

Korean Drama Review: A Gentleman’s Dignity

English: Magazine cover of KoreAm from Dec. 20...

English: Magazine cover of KoreAm from Dec. 2010; Jang Dong Gun (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Gentleman’s Dignity is available on VIKI.

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SYNOPSIS:

A Gentleman’s Dignity¬†follows the longtime friendship between four men in their 40s and their relationships with women. The lead male is Kim Do Jin (Jang Dong Gun), a man who never wanted to get married, but finds himself falling in love with Seo Yi Soo (Kim Ha Neul).

Do Jin has two chance encounters with women, he cannot forget.¬†Do Jin becomes the first woman’s prince charming, when her dress begins to fall apart while walking down the street. He sees another woman staring at him outside a coffee shop. As time passes by, he recognizes he has only wanted two women’s phone number in the past year. Then, he realizes that those two women, were actually the same woman, Seo Yi Soo.

Soon, Do Jin finds out that Seo Yi Soo is friends with his best friend, Im Tae San (Kim Soo-ro). In fact, Yi Soo is the umpire for Im Tae San’s baseball team. Unfortunately fo Do Jin, Yi Soo finds out the real reason why she is the umpire for the team, because she wants to see Tae San.¬†Seo Yi Soo is in love with Do Jin’s ¬†friend and business partner Tae San. ¬†However, Im Tae San is in a relationship with Yi Soo’s roommate, Hong Se Ra (Yoon Se-ah).

Tae San’s Younger sister, Im Meari (Yoon Jin-yi), is not pleased with Tae San’s choice in women and happens to support Yi Soo’s crush. Nevertheless, the same repulsion Im Meari holds for Se Ra, Tae San hold’s for Im Meari’s crush on Choi Yoon (Kim Min-jong). Choi Yoon is in the group of the four childhood friends, and as a lawyer, represents Tae San and Do Jin’s architecture firm. While Tae San considers Choi Yoon a good friend and a good man, Choi Yoon is 17 years older then Im Maeri. Yoon is still trying to the deal with the death of his wife, which happened four years ago.

One of the four men is still married, Lee Jung Rok (Lee Jong-hyuk), but Lee Jong Rok has more dates than the other 3 men combined. This has become a problem for Do Jin, Tae San, and Yoon. Lee Jong Rok’s wife, Park Min Sook (Kim Jung-nan), is a very rich slightly older business women, who leases the property to Do Jin, Tae San, and Yoon’s businesses. If Min Sook finds out the extent of Rok’s shenanigans, it would hurt them all financially.

Things only get worse for Do Jin, when Yi Soo starts to use Do Jin to cover up her affection for Tae San. Yi Soo is afraid to show her feelings, because Yi Soo introduced Tae San to her roommate Se Ra. Si Yoo is frustrated, because she knows that Tae San loves Se Ra, but Se Ra won’t marry him. Se Ra’s pro-golf career comes first and Tae San comes second. Whereas in Yi Soo’s eyes, Tae San comes first. Do Jin’s angst exacerbates, because he has to come to grips with the fact that he is now an unwilling participant in a fake relationship with Yi Soo. Do Jin gets all of the appearances of a relationship, but none of the real benefits of the relationship, including Yi Soo’s love.

As Do Jin continues to play the role, he wonders if he will ever become the leading man in Yi Soo’s life or will the pain force him to let he go. Even if Do Jin does get to play the leading role, this may all fall apart due to a new young man in town. The young man, Colin, claims to be the son of the four friend’s first love/crush. Colin (Lee Jong-hyun (CNBLUE)) is in search for his father and claims that his father is one of the four friends.

REVIEW:

One of the best K Dramas of 2012 (writing+cast). Note: 2012 has been just an okay year in the world of Korean dramas, but I have not watched Vampire Prosecutor 2, Answer Me 1997, Nice Guy, or Rooftop Prince yet, so we will see…

Top 5 Reason to Watch A Gentleman’s Dignity:

40’s F4 Friendship: The friendship between the four lead males was so cute, especially the skits. My favorite skits were when they saw the good looking girl at the restaurant; when they were in the reserves; and when they were in college, and saw their first love (they all looked like sad bunch of college students). This is like if the F4, from Boys Over Flowers, went 20 years into the future and finally came to the conclusion that they needed to settle down.You have to love the secret hatred Do Jin has for Tae San, because Tae San has Yi Soo’s heart. The contempt and fear Tae San has for Yoon because Yoon is in love with his sister, while at the same time, Tae San is afraid to loose on of his best friends. The outright reckless behavior of Rok, which the other three try to cover up, because they know that there will never be a better woman for him. Then there is the bleak choice that Yoon has to make when deciding between his friends and Meahri.

Jang Don Gun as Kim Do Jin: I have to admit that I thought Jang Dong Gun was kind of creepy at first, but as time went by, his cuteness¬†developed. I don’t know how I found myself liking creepy-weird, but I did. Who gives a girl “come to me” shoes; crashes into a guy’s car to prevent a girl from talking to someone; starts showing up to play sports he is horrible at for a girl (Uh duh, this will not impress her!); pretends to be girl’s boyfriend, so that he can become her boyfriend; and does a kitchen renovation in a few days to spend time in her house. Some people say that is love, but when you have no feelings for the guy…that’s stalking. Kudos to Jang Don Gun for making this behavior seems acceptable and something that you would want.

Kim Ha Neul as Seo Yi Soo: As much as, I didn’t like her for playing with Do Jin’s heart and being in love with her roommate’s boyfriend. As a teacher, Yi Soo really got it right. Sidenote: I could have watched a whole separate drama about how a teacher can make the difference in students’ lives starring Yi Soo. In fact Yi Soo was a little creepy too: she kept the gloves she bought Tae San under her bed, and never returned them; kept Tae San’s picture from college/high school in her bag; conscripted a boyfriend to cover up her feelings for her crush; and decided to wear an ugly empire uniform, so that she could be right behind Tae San, the catcher (again I don’t know if the umpire outfit impressed Tae San). However, with all of her crazy mid-30s woman antics, she was still cool to me. I think she is a role model for what type of crazy is acceptable. Although, to be truthful, if Do Jin never appeared, Yi Soo could have turned into a crazy cat lady too.

Couple Cuteness Overload: If I had to rate the coupling, as far as what couple I enjoyed most, it would go 1-Tae San/ Se Ra, 2-Rok/Min Sook, 3-Do Jin/Yi Soo, and 4-Yoon/Meari, but I loved them all. Tae San and Se Ra express their love through their bickering, knowing at the end of the day no one is going anywhere, because who else would put up with this. At the same time, their cute moments were too cute, like when Tae San showed up at Se Ra’s tournament and when Se Ra showed up at Tae San’s house when he was upset over Yoon and Maeri. Rok and Min Sook, they provided so much laughter to this story. I admit at one point I was getting pissed, because I was like does she really have to put up with this, but by the time they met in the club I was dying of laughter. Do Jin and Yi Soo’s awkward moments were their best moment, like when they were in the car listening to love [making] songs, when he walks behind her when her skirt falls apart, when he claims Tae San’s present as his, and when they were painting together. Maeri and Yoon, were the most trying, because their storyline was filled with so much pain, but they had me when Maeri found out about the young man who was only a few years younger than her. Maeri told Yoon that if the kid was his, she would raise him well (inner giggle).

The OST and the Cinematography:  I slowly fell in love with this OST, I am not even sure how it happened. I mean when the writing is good and their is a good OST and cinematography, my love grows for the drama 50%, because I start to connect the drama to good memories and feelings. Even if I came away from this drama, not being a diehard fan of the main couple or attached to any character, I will remain attached to this OST and the way the scenes were filmed, because it makes you happy. (Cinematography wise, another drama that captured those types of good feelings is Scent of a Woman) So here are a few of my favorites.

Kim Tae Woo, High High

Park Eun Woo, Everyday

Lee Hyun, My Heartache

Big Baby Drive, Spring I Love You

Jong Hyun (CNBLUE), My Love

Jeon Geun Hwa, Beautiful Words

Juniel, Illa Illa

Jang Dong Gun, More Than Me

And My Favorite¬†ÍįÄžäīžĚī žčúŽ¶įÍ≤Ć – žĚī ŪėĄ

Highlights:

  • Rok and Min Sook’s Macarena
  • The ladies at the restaurant, when they need to be covered up by their men
  • Flash Mob (not exiquisitley executed, but good)
  • “Come to me” shoes
  • Betty, the car (Apparently, Betty is the only one that can park right in front of the school)
  • Sexy Radio “Don’t go home tonight baby. I got a present for you tonight, baby.” (I am sure you do)
  • The kid has his own F4 at school now.
  • “All farewells for another person, don’t make sense to the other person.” (summary of noble idiocy)
  • Park Min Sook, love her (I had the same feeling for Lee Min Ho’s Boss in Personal Taste, but at least she has a happy ending)
  • Did you see how fast Maeri was ready, when Yoon offered her a ride
  • Memory Loss worked here, and that is saying a lot, because usually it upsets me
  • Se Ra’s bluntness, she is always like ‘yeah I said it, no you did not misunderstand me.’
  • If you really hate chickens, apparently you can’t eat eggs!

Ugh:

  • Poor execution of Yi Soo’s Mom’s storyline, could have been cut out
  • Rok’s cheating, I mean I still don’t know how I feel about that
  • Maeri Character- I love her, but then I am a little disgruntled by her lack of personal dreams and¬†initiative outside of Yoon. If Maeri could prove her self in the rest of her life, Tae San would be less upset about Yoon. Is everyone ignoring the fact that if Yoon died tomorrow, Maeri would really have nothing… I think this is Yoon’s issue too, but it was never really resolved. I am glad that they showed Maeri working towards her dreams after marriage though.
  • The awkwardness of Yi Soo and Do Jin, kiss already you are 40 and she is mid-30s.

4 Stars, because it was the total package, but I never got really attached. However, I already know now that this is probably going to get a re-watch (because I just watched all the videos–> see the power of a good OST), so the rating will probably go up.

Up Next: Scent of A Woman, King2Hearts (maybe?), or CityHunter (errr)

Korean Drama Review: I Do I Do

I Do I Do is available on VIKI

(Happy Birthday to Lee Jang Woo with Kim Sun Ah, on the set of I Do I Do.)

SYNOPSIS:

Hwang Ji Ahn (Kim Sun Ah) is in her mid-30s and is the director of design at a shoe company. Ji Ahn is one of those women who is a workaholic to the point that she misses out on everything else, like dating and family functions. A trip to the doctor’s office reveals that Ji Ahn is n the brink of early menopause. ¬†Something finally has to give when she misses her father’s birthday party, which she planned and paid for due to a problem at a fashion show. Ji Ahn arrives at her father’s party, after it ends. ¬†Her father is really upset to the point that he cast her off. He is furious, because Ji Ahn no longer seems to value what is important in life, family. ¬†Therefore, what else is there to do when one faces the perils of the world other than get extremely drunk.

Earlier that day, Ji Ahn almost got ran over by a man in his mid-20s on a bike, Park Tae Kang (Lee Jang Woo). If there is a statement that would sum up Tae Kang’s character, he named his bike Beyonce (apparently Betty in A Gentleman’s Dignity¬†is a name used by older bachelors). Fortunately, this meeting was an opportunity for Ji Ahn to convince Tae Kang to give her ride to the fashion show.

As K-drama fate would have it, the two meet later that day. By the time, Tae Kang had also been cast off by his father. Since “abandoned children need to stick together,” they both decided to drown in their perils together.

Then, something happens, that often happens to people who get extremely intoxicated; Ji Ahn and Tae Kang sleep together. When they wake up, they are surprisingly calm about the situation. Tae Kang is actually pretending to be calm, because he just lost his virginity to Ji Ahn. Tae Kang was trying to save it for someone who was worth it, but I guess that didn’t work out in the way he wanted it to.

Tae Kang and Ji Ahn move on with their lives, but they begin to have some hiccups as a result of their encounter. In another chance meeting, Ji Ahn finds Tae Kang with counterfeit shoes and calls the police. Ji Ahn feels personally harmed, because shoes are her life and a one night stand is not going to prevent Ji Ahn from having Tae Kang arrested. Tae Kang accepts the charge, because he is covering for his father. Tae Kang’s father used to design shoes and had a store, but all of that fell apart once his wife, Tae Kang’s mother, left him and a fire burned down his shop. During the same period, Ji Ahn attempts to reconcile with her parents by going on a blind date with the son of one her parent’s friends. Of course, this guy happens to be a gynecologist. The doctor, Jo Eun Sung (Park Geon-hyeong), is the perfect man for Ji Ahn. Eun Sung is not the type that wants to get married and Ji Ahn is not the type to let a man get in the way of her career.

Eun Sung and Ji Ahn begin to believe that love may have a place in their lives, and marriage could be a possibility. However, Ji Ahn begins to feel sick. After, ¬†another quick trip to the doctor, Ji Ahn discovers that she is pregnant with Tae Kang’s child. Just when Ji Ahn started to believe that she could have it all, her heart breaks. Ji Ahn struggles to tell Eun Sung and her parents, who are all very much in love with the possibilities. ¬†When Ji Ahn tells Eun Sung, he also becomes distressed, because Eun Sung does not feel he can become the father of another man’s child. However, Eun Sung is also against an abortion. Eun Sun, not wanting to lose the connection with Ji Ahn, and knowing the strife she has to deal with, offers to be her doctor. Although, to clarify, this is after all the other doctors are “unavailable,” due to the fact Ji Ahn has the type of personality that even doctors don’t want to deal with.

Not only does the baby provide Ji Ahn problems in her love life, the baby is also detrimental to her career. Ji Ahn’s company is seeking a new president and Ji Ahn is currently number one in the running, because she has the backing of the current president’s wife, Madame Jang. Madame Jang has enough shares to control the appointment. However, the daughter of her husband mistress, Yeom Na Ri, just came back to town and also wants the appointment. Yeom Na Ri just graduated from graduate school, and believes that her attitude qualifies her to be president. Yeom Na Ri idolized Ji Ahn in the past, but does not believe Ji Ahn’s experience trumps her family connection. In addition, Na Ri is pursuing the position so that Madame Jang will treat her like a daughter, instead of being treated with contempt.

Ji Ahn is now in fierce competition with Na Ri, and Na Ri attempts to sabotage Ji Ahn at ever corner. ¬†This includes agreeing to hire Tae King, after he surprisingly wins a shoe design competition sponsored by the company. Tae King is high on talent, but low on skills. Nevertheless, things only get worse for Ji Ahn, when the company finds out that she is pregnant. Madame Jang insists that Ji Ahn get married immediately to the Eun Sung, who she mistakingly deduces is the father of her child. ¬†Accordingly, Tae King also doesn’t that he is th father, and begins to get jealous of Eun Sung, because Eun Sung spends so much time with Ji Ahn. This misconception is bolstered by the fact that Ji Ahn has persuaded Eun Sung to keep up the facade for a short period.

As a result of the their deepening connection, and against Eun Sung’s wishes, Eun Sung has now fallen head over heels for Ji Ahn. When Eun Sung starts to put the pieces of the puzzle together, he realizes that Tae Kang is the father. Eun Sung watches as Tae Kang becomes closer and closer with Ji Ahn in their working relationship. Ji Ahn becomes Tae Kang’s mentor, and he grows as a designer by leaps and bounds. Tae Kang’s father is extremely proud of his son, but is unhappy with the growing relationship between Tae Kang and an older pregnant woman. Na Ri is also watching Tae Kang blossom, and thinks that maybe they should strike up a romance. However, ¬†Na Ri quickly realizes that Tae Kang only has eyes for Ji Ahn, as a result, the race for president intensifies.

REVIEW

As much as it pains me to give a Kim Sun Ah drama 3 stars, the drama was watchable and enjoyable, but my personal allegiance Kim Sun Ah is the only thing that kept me on board. I will re-watch Scent of A Woman as soon as possible, so I can get all of my satisfied feelings back.

Reasons to Watch:

Kim Sun Ah as Ji Ahn: Really is there anything more to be said. Well there is. Here, Kim Sun Ah plays a woman that is stuck with the problems of living in a man’s world; if Ji Ahn’s girlfriend was pregnant things would be perfect. The fact that Ji Ahn struggled in deciding whether to keep the baby, may offend some viewers. However, I always give gratitude to a writers and actors who know how to tackle difficult issues without them coming off as taboo or otherwise abhorrent. Kim Sun Ah drew me into her character’s world, Ji Ahn was contemplating whether: she would ruin Tae Kang’s life by telling him he is the father; she missed out on her last opportunity to be happy with perfect man, Eun Sung; her parents would ever forgive her; she is fit to have a baby; and whether all her hopes and dreams will go up in smoke because she got pregnant.

Father and Son: This is one of the best father-son story-lines I have seen to date.¬†Park Yeong-gyu¬†played Tae Kang’s father, he also played the male lead’s father in¬†Protect the Boss.¬†It was intriguing to see a Dad not want his son to fall in the trap of being in love with an older pregnant woman, due to Tae Kang’s one-sided love.Tae Kang’s father was afraid that his son’s future would be ruined , and that eventually Ji Ahn would leave his Tae Kang, like his mother. Tae Kang’s father always wants the best for his son, and makes the ultimate sacrifice, when he says he won’t copy any of Ji Ahn’s shoes. On the other hand, Tae Kang knows his father’s hopes and fears, but still decides to pursue love. Tae Kang has no fear, and that is what Tae Kang’s father fears the most. As the drama evolves, viewers get to see Tae Kang enter adulthood and take more responsibility for Ji Ahn and his father. When Tae Kang’s father observes a more mature Tae Kang, and he releases some of the grip he has on his sheltered son.

What Could Have Been: Ji Ahn and Eun Sung were really perfect for each other. Their demise rested on the fact that they were so clos, yet so far from what they wanted. (Note: If you want to watch a drama with longing, where a perfect pair actually get together, you should watch In Time With You.) Along with Kim Sun Ah,¬†Park Geon-hyeong, who played Eun Sung, does a well executed portrayal of what happens when a man gets a glimmer of a life that he never knew he wanted, and then, in a split second, it all goes away. Since Eun Sung couldn’t get what he wanted, he decides to settle for something that is as close to his goal as possible, so he asks Ji Ahn to marry him. So much angst here. I have never felt like I wanted a 3 person marriage, or, at least if things didn’t work out with Tae Kang, then a second marriage with Eun Sung was okay by me. (This is the preeminent reason why I had to stop watching Take of the Young Lady, yes I do feel that Yoon Eun Hye and Jung Ill Woo owe me a drama).

Major Issue:

I think the main reason why I had trouble buying into this drama, even though Ji Ahn and Tae Kang were exceptionally cute, was that their emotional relationship was far from being promising. Ji Ahn said truly awful things to Tae Kang and about him behind his back. Ji Ahn did not think Tae Kang was worthy to be a father. Tae Kang consistently took her criticism with rare push-back. I think Ji Ahn’s critiques had little to do with Tae Kang’s age, and more to do with his station in life. ¬†Ji Ahn’s treatment of Tae Kang was never really resolved. Throughout the drama Ji Ahn made all the decisions in their relationship, including the decision to let Tae Kang start taking care of her. Tae Kang followed her like a puppy, even after his realization that he should not to go to America. Thus, I never really felt like Tae Kang grew all the way up, because Ji Ahn was too overbearing. This was in contrast to Eun Sung, Eun Sung seemed to be able to easily maneuver Ji Ahn in an unassuming manner, because Ji Ahn had greater respect for him. (But I guess he still did not get her down the aisle?)

Highlights:

  • A 50-year-old uterus in a 36-year-old woman
  • Dad wrestling Tae Kang in an attempt to give him some common sense
  • Doctor Eun Sung’s eyeshadow (and then the girl that thought nothing of it)
  • The harmonica playing of Tae Kang’s best friend at work
  • Pregnant Ji Ahn’s need for pigs feet
  • Lee Jang Woo’s dimples
  • Drunk love confessions
  • Ji Ahn’s Dad’s consistent face of displeasure, except when Eun Sun is around
  • Tae Kang pulling Ji Ahn in a cart, so that she could make it to the bathroom
  • Eun Sung’s self-massage lessons at a restaurant
  • Ji Ahn’s reaction, when Tae Kang picks up Ji Ahn in his friend’s late 80s, early 90s, Nissan
  • Tae Kang’s line of pregnant women and baby shoes
  • Tae Kang’s father’s wig
  • Tae Kang said, “Skinship and kissing is good for the baby.”
  • Ji Ahn’s best friend tells it like she sees it (that’s what best friend’s should do)
  • Tae Kang’s best friend support Tae Kang no matter what, but also makes fun of him in the process (that is also what best friends should do)
  • Kiss in episode 13
  • I can’t say I love Lee Jang Woo after this drama, but he held his own and look forward to more dramas from him

Ugh

  • Jake, irrelevant and annoying, but eye-candy
  • Na Ri’s character also seemed to have lost its way towards the end of the drama
  • Eun Sung’s proposal through stethoscope
  • Eun Sung’s lack of latex gloves
  • Translator who is speaking during the shoe presentation
  • The fashion, seriously someone consult the stylists from Still, Marry Me or Lie to Me
  • Where do Ji Ahn’s clothes go, same issue I had with Gong Yoo’s slide out closet in Coffee Prince
  • Had to wait forever for a kiss, you guys are not spring chickens, like in Skip Beat. (Same problem in A Gentleman’s Dignity). However, note episode 13.
  • Baby saying something about shoes, what? no
  • Grandma licking lollipop
  • Na Ri “I am not stupid Mother” (really it was only bad, because that storyline wasn’t written well)
  • Worst couple outfits ever
  • The guy from the other shoe company, even if what you are saying is a real reflection of others opinions, I am sure you could deliver the message in a nice manner
  • Tae Kang’s acting like a 12-year-old girl after a kiss and other tender moments.At first there is giggle, because Tae Kang is cute, but at a certain point I reverted to ceiling eyes. (Same feeling during Playful Kiss, because some of the kiss scenes were not great or otherwise really awkward, in spite of the cuteness of the Jung So Min and Kim Hyun Joong. I guess I could blame in on the fact that they were supposed to be young, but then I remembered Joe Cheng and Ariel Lin in It Started with a Kiss…. So maybe there is a difference in the way Korea wants to portray kids in highschool? Hmm, maybe I will try to get past episode 1 of Dream High….)

That’s 3 stars, because while I think that Ji Ahn and Tae Kang would date, but I think they need therapy prior to marriage.

Up Next: A Gentleman’s Dignity, King2Hearts (maybe?), or CityHunter (errr)

Korean Drama Review: The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry/ Still, Marry me

Still, Marry Me or The Woman Who Still Want to Marry is available on DramaFever and HULU

WED/THURS - MBC - THE WOMAN WHO STILL WANTS TO...

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The focus of the drama is ¬†Lee Shin Young (Park Jin Hee), a 34-year old woman reporter, who is just returning to South Korea. ¬†When¬†she left to study abroad, her long-time boyfriend,¬†Yoo Sang Woo (Lee Pil Mo), broke up with her. Upon her return, Shin Young finds out that her ex is engaged to someone else. The woman Sand Woo is engaged to is a family friend and several years younger than Shin Young. ¬†Additionally, Shin Young’s career is in stall mode because people perceive her as old. This includes her petulant male chauvinist co-worker, Choi Myung Suk, who wants to keep Shin Young down, because he sees her as competition. Luckily for Shin Young, she has two friends to keep her company¬†Kim Boo Ki (Wang Bit Na) and¬†Jung Da Jung (Uhm Ji Won).

Kim Boo Ki is a restaurant consultant and lives a “wild” lifestyle (a korean drama much more toned down version of Samantha from Sex in the City). Boo Ki has sworn off serious relationships. Book Ki outlook on love stems from a long-time boyfriend, who never proposed, and who she waited on hand and knee. Boo Ki was her ex-boyfriend’s family servant, instead of a girlfriend. After a period of self discovery and learning martial arts, Boo Ki finds that there is a fierce woman within her. Boo Ki gives great advice, based off the lessons she has learned from her past relationships.

Jung Da Jung is a korean-english translator. ¬†Da Jung meets Shin Young, when they both discover that they have both are dating the same guy. ¬†In addition, the guy who Da Jung and Shin Young are dating, just asked Shin Young to get married. At the time, Shin Young finally believed that her life was coming back together. However things quickly fall apart, when Shin Young goes on assignment and sees her fiance attempting to jump from an apartment building, which was on fire, with another woman in sleepware. In shock, Shin Young went back to her ex-fiance to confront him, but Da Jung beat her too it. Shin Young and Da Jung met outside their former lover’s apartment, ¬†where Da Jung was yelling insults outside his window and attracting the attention of all the neighbors. This incident ¬†was the last straw for Da Jung, from that point on Da Jung began to treat marriage like a science project (specific formula needed to get an optimal result). In this respect, Da Jung is the complete opposite of Book Ki, let’s call her a Charlotte.

Given the many ups and downs of Shin Young’s love life, Shin Young returns to putting her work first. Whereas her boss still believes that Shin Young will eventually get married, since she is a middle aged woman (and what else is there for woman in their mid-thirties to do?). Therefore, her boss takes steps to prepare for Shin Young’s imminent departure from the workplace, and puts her on a special projects team. ¬†Though skeptical, Shin Young plans to make the most of it.

While on assignment, Shin Young goes to a college campus to do a report, but cannot record due to loud music from one of the buildings. Shin Young goes to the building to ask the person playing the loud music to temporarily cease the sound, and comes face to face with the cute college student Ha Min Jae (Kim Bum, part of F4 from Boys Over Flowers). Shin Young believes after talking with the kid, she will be able to record her spot, but when she gets downstairs, the music starts again. Shin Young returns and this time Shin Young takes matters into her own hands. Shin Young cuts the cord of Min Jae’s guitar and quickly leaves.

Min Jae is disturbed and cannot seem to forget about the woman who cut his guitar cord. Min Jae decides to write a song about the incident. Eventually, Min Jae and Shin Young meet again, when Shin Young becomes the substitute professor for a class Min Jae takes. ¬†As time goes on a relationship develops between Min Jae and Shin Young. Min Jae agrees to help Shin Young with tips for her assignments at work. While providing Shin Young with help,¬†surprisingly¬†Min Jae proves himself as someone that Shin Young can depend on. ¬†At the same time, Min Jae becomes more mature and focused around Shin Young. This change helps Min Jae’s career as a singer-musician and his career starts to take off.

Min Jae’s mother, Choi Sang Mi (Park Ji Yeong), ¬†also notices the change in Min Jae. After some¬†investigation, Min Jae’s Mom finds out that Min Jae is dating the much older woman Shin Young. Min Jae’s mother also has another big problem, her cheating husband. Min Jae’s mother is at the point of no return with Min Jae’s father’s continuous¬†frolicking, so they decide to¬†get a divorce. Now divorced, Min Jae’s Mom has become even more lonely and vulnerable. Min Jae’s Mom does not like Shin Young, because she has taken away her only child.

There is now a rift between Min Jae and his mother. The rift is so strong, that Min Jae moves out of his parents house and stays with an older male friend, Na Ban Suk. Na Ban Suk is a doctor and works in the hospital that Shin Young visits frequently. Due to the stress at Shin Young’s job, Shin Young has what I can only diagnose as facial muscle spasms. Her symptoms seem more serious than what would occur in the real life; Shin Young makes a face in anger and her face gets stuck like that (impressive comedic acting). Ban Suk uses acupuncture¬†so that her muscles will relax and return to normal. While treating Shin Young, Ban Suk starts to develop feelings for her. Prior to Min Jae and Shin Young exclusive relationship, Min Jae finds out about Ban Suk’s feelings and become rivals. Ban Suk and Min Jae bet on who will date Shin Young. Quickly, Ban Suk realizes the extent of his young friend’s feeling and decides to move on.

However, during one of Shin Young’s visits to the hospital, Da Jung accompanies Shin Young. Da Jung cannot believe that Shin Young is ignoring this eligible bachelor, who is a doctor, and falls for Ban Suk. Luckily for Da Jung, Ban Suk is also in love with the determined Da Jung. Although, Da Jung has one problem, Ban Suk’s overbearing family. Thus, Da Jung is still unable to achieve the fairytale love her heart desired.

In the mean time, Yoo Sang Woo, Shin Young’s ex-boyfriend, realizes that he made a big mistake. Yoo Sang Woo wants Shin Young back, but Shin Young’s heart is elsewhere. Though there is still hope, since Shin Young cannot fathom that her relationship with Min Jae will last, since Min Jae is more than ten years younger. Shin Young believes that the romance between her and Min Jae is just a fling. Sang Woo knows Shin Young’s dilemma and says that he will wait.

While Sang Woo is waiting, he meets Min Jae’s Mom, and they find out that they have a lot in common from traveling to heartbreak. In light of these commonalities, they fall for each other, but they face the same problems of Min Jae and Shin Young, due to the large age gap. Min Jae’s Mom, begins to understand Shin Young, but still cannot accept Min Jae and Shin Young’s relationship. Min Jae’s Mom believes that Min Jae is still far too young and has not lived life. Min Jae’s Mom wants Min Jae to experience life and freedom, unlike her, who got married at a young age, due to an unexpected pregnancy,¬†to a man who never loved her. For these same reason, Min Jae’s Mother does not feel worthy of Sang Woo’s love.

Questions to be answerd: Can Min Jae and Shin Young can really work with given the age gap, because they have very different outlooks on life? Will Min Jae’s Mom accept her son and Shin Young. Will Min Jae Mom enter in a relationship with Sang Woo? Will Boo Ki ever settle down? Will Ban Suk and Da Jung live have a fairy tale ending?

REVIEW:

Girl’s Night¬†Cinema-therapy: This drama focuses on the challenges that Shin Young, Book Ki, Da Young, and Min Jae’s Mom face as women in their early 30s and 40s in relationships. It will also appeal to a younger crowd, because of the flashbacks to the character’s late teens and early 20s years (+ there is Kim Bum). The message is universal; you cannot change the past, but can learn from future relationships based on the past experience of your earlier relationships. Heartbreak, anguish, tears, and newfound love, it is all in there. ¬†The writers did a very good job of showing the growth of girls to women, and how your ideas about how love changes as you get older. It’s a great Mother-Daughter drama, but probably won’t be¬†appreciated¬†by those who are not 16+ and mature.

Park Jin Hee as Shin Young: The ultimate question for Shin Young is whether to choose the safe route with Sang Woo or go out on a limb with Min Jae. Given that Shin Young is 34, she knows that she has to be more serious with her relationships and should be with someone dependable. Thus, when Min Jae did not come home on time, because he was out with his friends and a girl his age, Shin Young battled with whether Min Jae was the one for her. Shin Young felt as if she was taking Min Jae’s youth and ¬†began to understand the feelings of Min Jae’s mother. Park Jin Hee was made for this role and portrayed Shin Young. Jin Hee played the role so well that I never felt uncomfortable about her and Min Jae dating, because you could feel the internal struggle of her character. As a viewer, I felt that I was struggling with her. It should also be noted that Jin Hee has a youthful spirit and never looked that much older than Kim Bum.

Kim Bum as Min Jae: I thought Kim Bum really stood out in Boys Over Flowers, but here he really shines. He plays a guy that really does not know how to act in a relationship with a woman, since it is his first relationship. Min Jae has nothing else to go on other than he really likes Shin Young, and wants to do his best by her. The best example of this are towards the end, when he meets someone that is his age. In addition, his portrayal of a boy becoming a man was also very gratifying, especially when you see the struggles he has when he chooses between his mom and his girlfriend. I can definitely say that I love Kim Bum after this drama, he is very talented, and I expect a very bright future for him as a leading man. Plus Kim Bum sings, plays guitar, and looks very cool.

Park Ji Yeoung as Min Jae’s Mom: Normally, you hate the evil mother, but it was really hard to hate this one. This was one of the few dramas where the Mother’s attempt to thwart Min Jae and Shin Young’s relationship could actually be attributed to a mother’s love. Min Jae’s Mother saw the parallel between her and Shin Young and her husband and Min Jae. Min Jae’s Mom did not want Min Jae to feel pressured into marriage that he would later regret, because Shin Young was older and wanted to get married. In a way she was trying to protect Shin Young from the pain she experienced. Viewers also understood why Min Jae’s Mother was reticent with Sang Woo. Min Jae, as a young mother, felt that she didn’t deserve to be loved, no less by someone who was a lot younger than her. In addition, she felt that she would ruin another person’s future, because Sang Woo already had a girl who was his age, Shin Young. Moreover, if Sang Woo and Shin Young got back together, her son would be safe. I give Ji Yeoung credit for playing a hard-nosed beautiful but fragile character. I almost cried when she went to her husband’s hotel room, reminded me of My Lovely Sam Soon.

Writing: One of the best written dramas period. Each character had a background story that was well presented, but even better, viewers were able to connect each character’s background story to their actions in the drama. There was no point in the drama, where I was like they would never do that. Also, there were some very serious issues, like Da Jung’s past, that were dealt with in a very forthcoming and unoffensive manner. I also enjoyed the light moments, they reminded you that it was still a romantic comedy, when the issues adressed could have clearly made it a melodrama. Note: I don’t want to cry all the time (this is the reason why I still cannot complete 49 days,¬†even though¬†I thought it is very good. ¬†I almost had to stop watching Scent of A Woman. It is in my personality to get too attached.) My only real complaint is that it seemed as if the writing for Boo Ki’s character just stopped.

Highlights

  • Really cute couple, say what you want about age difference, but Park Jin Hee and Kim Bum made it happen (even better than Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin in Personal Taste, where they were supposed to be the same age and about the same as Ha Ji Won and Lee Seung Gi in King2Hearts)
  • Good portrayal of women in the workplace
  • Clean finish (very rare to clean 90% of issues up)
  • Ladies singing at Karaoke
  • Kim Bum as a Rock Star
  • Sang Woo and Min Jae’s Mom bed scene –> Whoa there!
  • Book Ki, can I have your job?
  • Da Jung Eating the Pavement
  • “Eating sweet potato in the cold” love.
  • Shin Young’s team at work
  • Shin Young’s stuck face
  • Sang Woo in airline uniform
  • Sang Woo’s scarf present for Min Jae’s Mom (I want one!)
  • Kim Bum and Shin Young’s date at the cafe
  • Min Jae’s Mom wearing Sang Woo’s present constantly–> cute

Ughhhh!

  • Really slow beginning, like the first 4 episodes.
  • Flamenco dancing… no can do. I’m sorry, it just wasn’t that great.
  • Min Jae go back home to your Shin Young
  • Stop singing Ban Suk, just stop
  • Ban Suk and Da Jung almost got really annoying, luckily the drama ended before that point
  • What about Boo Ki? No really, what about Boo Ki!
  • Myun Suk must have graduated from Slytherin a.k.a. the School for Pompous Jerks
  • Ban Suk’s sister needs to get out of their house and take care of your own kid

That’s a 4 out of 5, only because I was really not crazily attached to any of the characters and it had a slow start, but I still recognized the quality of the work as whole. So, ¬†find your Mom or your girlfriends and go watch it.

Next Up: King2Hearts, City Hunter, or I Do I Do.

Korean Drama Review: Secret Garden

Secret Garden (TV series)

Secret Garden (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Secret Garden is available of Netflix, HULU, and VIKI.

SYNOPSIS: Secret Garden tells the tale of a 30 year old stunt woman, Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), and a 34 year old CEO of a shopping mall and chaebol heir, Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin). Joo Won meets Ra Im ¬†while working. In fact he is on a mission to cool down a former lover of his company’s spokesperson, Oska (Yoon Sang Hyun, played male lead in My Fair Lady), from releasing lurid pictures of Oska. Oska, is a famous older (35) idol singer ¬†working on his 7th comeback album and just happens to be Joo Won’s cousin. Oska informs Joo Won that his former lover is the lead actress in a movie and is on set. When Joo Won goes to the set, ¬†a sleepy member of the crew mistakingly identifies the famous actress as her stunt double, Ra Im. Due to several misunderstandings, Ra Im reluctantly goes off with Joo Won to meet Oska, because she is one of his biggest fans, but Joo Won does not realize he grabbed the wrong girl.

After a series of meetings, Joo Won is stuck by Ra Im’s straight forward and blunt manner, and starts to consider it her charm. Slowly Joo Won falls in love with Ra Im, because she is unlike any woman he has ever met. Ra Im is unwilling to accept his gifts and other acts that are attempts to make her life easier. Ra Im lost her father in high school and no longer has any family.. Ra Im’s father was a firefighter who was killed in an accident on duty. Thus, Ra-Im is very independent, takes nothing for granted, and has come to realize that she can only rely on herself. Ra-Im’s life consists of going to the action school, because she is a stunt woman and hanging out with her roommate, Im Ah Young (Yoo In Na, second female lead in The Greatest Love). Her best friend, Ah Young, works at Joo Won’s shopping mall. Ra-Im knows nothing else, so she is¬†perturbed to say the least when she confront Joo Won’s outlook on life.

Joo Won is selfish, conceited, and best of all thinks intermingling with the lower classes is charity. Joo Won has worked hard to get where he is as CEO of the shopping mall and is constantly battling to keep his spot from challengers within his family and the company. Nonetheless, Joo Won takes his privileges very seriously. Due to his attitude and lack of empathy, he has few friends other than his cousin, Oska. Ra Im is one of the few that his been able to break down his walls. Joo Won is awestruck that Ra Im is able to get through to him, she challenges him in ways that others won’t dare. Joo Won’s family and friends have been tip-toeing around him ever since an accident that left him in the hospital for days. After Joo Won’s accident he developed claustrophobia (causing him to avoid elevators and drive with top down no matter what season it is) along with other psychological impediments that impact his relationships with people. However, even prior to the accident he had problems with relationships, note his ex-girlfriend is his current psychologist.

Joo Won knows that his feelings for Ra Im may be fleeting, but in spite of this he decides to just go with it. Joo Won never imagines that he will want to spend the rest of his life with Ra-Im, he believes it is just a happy fling, because considers marriage the biggest transaction/deal in life. Joo Won knows he has to marry someone that will add to his family’s wealth. Ra Im, knowing that Joo Won’s love/ obssession is only temporary, doesn’t accept his love. Ra Im does not want to be heartbroken when it suddenly disappears. She makes no attempt to encourage him by dressing up when they meet or trying to impress his¬†colleagues. Ra Im does not want to proffer that she is more than a stunt woman with scars and little education. However,¬†surprisingly, Joo Won persistence starts to win her over. ¬†Joo Won is so good that he may also be succesful in convincing himself that he is in love.

Just when Joo Won and Ra Im are trying to determine if their feelings are something more, things fall apart. Ra Im goes to one of Joo Won’s hotel, because some of the members of her action school are filming and Joo Won follows her there. During some down time, Joo Won and Ra Im get lost in the woods and a magical shop appears. They stop at the shop with no other options, since they are starving and it is getting late. A manly lady serves them food and offers them a set of potions under the guise that it will improve their health. ¬†Ra Im decides to get one for her and her new friend Oska (Oska and Ra Im have become friends after the misunderstanding was worked out). When they are finished with dinner, the way back home becomes suddenly clear. When Ra Im and Joo Won part, Ra Im gives the potion to Joo Won to pass on to Oska. However, Joo Won decides to take the potion instead. That night, both Ra Im and Joo Won take the potion. When Ra Im and Joo Won wake up, their bodies are switched. Joo Won and Ra Im become even more connected, because they are forced to step in the other’s shoes. While living each other’s lives they learn they appreciate and respect the each other more and fall deeper in love.

Then more trouble comes when Joo Won’s mother finds out about the amount of time that Joo Won and Ra Im are spending together. Joo Won’s Mom is determined to break them up the best way she knows how, with another woman. Unfortunately, the other woman that Joo Won’s mom chooses is Yoon Seul, Oska’s ex-girlfriend. When Seul was with Oska, Seul was forced to stay in the shadows, because Oska was at the height of his popularity. Seul is the one that got away. Oska asked Seul to marry him, but she refused and then left the country. Oska was unable to forget her or forgive her for leaving him. Now, Seul has returned to Korea and works as a director. Seul just happens to be in charge of Oska’s new music video which is being shot at Joo Won’s hotel (Korean Drama Coincidences). Oska is astonished when he sees Seul, because she seems like a completely different person. Seul is no longer happy and bubbly, but cold and shrewd. Oska becomes distraught when he learns of the plans of Seul and Joo Won’s mom. Oska feels betrayed knowing that his heart still yearns for Seul and she wants his cousin. Oska will do anything to stop a Seul- Joo Won Union.

Oska also knows that a marriage between Seul and Joo Won would mean heartbreak for everyone including Ra Im and Joo Won. Thus, Oska tries to rekindle Seul’s feelings by faking a relationship with Ra Im. However, this only complicates matters more. Seul becomes even more determined to marry Joo Won, whereas Joo Won becomes extremely jealous.

Then, there is also Han Tae Sun, a promising up and coming male singer/songwriter. Tae Sun is the key to Oska’s comeback, but Tae Sun also has feelings for Oska. Seul knows of Tae Sun’s unrequited feelings and attempts to use Tae Sun for revenge against Oska too.

But there is more, Ra Im still has another suitor, the only father figure left in her life, Im Jong Soo. Jong Soo is the director of the action school and has been taken on the role of protector, since her father died. Jong Soo gave Ra Im a job at the action school and helped her to get on her feet after her father’s death. Jong Soo knows that Ra Im deserves more, but he is unable to give it to her. Jong Soo constantly worries about Ra Im, because he has helped her enter a career that is detrimental to her health. Jong Soo hopes that Ra Im can transition into becoming an actress. When Jong Soo sees Ra Im with Joo Won, he is torn because even though he loves her, Joo Won can provide Ra Im with a better life.

Joo Won also recognizes that Ra Im provides him with a better life. After Ra Im appears in Joo Won’s life, he stops using his claustrophobic/anti-depressant medication. Joo Won appears to be a calmer and treats his employees a lot differently, including his right hand man Secretary Kim. Secretary Kim now has more time to pursue his other interest, including impressing Ra Im’s roommate Ah Young. Can we say double date? Sadly, this doesn’t exactly work out.

In sum, Ra Im and Joo Won go through several trials and tribulations, which are only aggravated by that fact that they switch bodies whenever a¬†meteorological¬†event occurs. Will their love stand the test of time, or will Ra Im, go like the Little Mermaid and¬†isappear from Joo Won’s life like a bubble because she will never fit into his world?

REVIEW:

1/2

Joo Won and Ra Im Love Team: This is a couple you can ship (Refer to my future blogpost shipping, but as a short side note on shipping this leads to a major problem. I love Kim Sun Ah and Hyun Bin in Sam Soon, but I also love Kim Sun Ah and Lee Dong Wook in Scent of a Woman. So really I guess it’s fine, since they now both have alternates). There are several kisses to like, I never had a giggle fit moment, but I liked the kiss at the party the best (sorry foam kiss was not my style, but I do recognize its uniqueness). The reason why this drama worked was because both characters were fully fleshed out and were able to command to the audience what they wanted out of life and what they were missing. It was clear to viewers why Ra Im and Joo Won found what they were looking for in each other. I think some of the most though provoking scenes were when they were arguing about their differences like when Joo Won attacked the way Ra Im presented herself and when Ra Im and Joo Won discussed her scars and her choice of career. The writers dealt with deeply rooted ideological differences in a well communicated¬†therapeutic¬†manner (aka: rich man poor woman relationship 101).

Ha Ji Won as Ra Im: Seriously, I love Ha Ji Won. She is one of my three favorite established actresses in Korean Dramas and I like them each for different reasons (the others are Kim Sun Ah and Yoon Eun Hye). I might say that it is starting to seem like Ha Ji Won may be getting typecast between this and King2Hearts, but she plays the role oh so well. Ji Won’s ability to execute the role of a girl who works hard, but does not know how to play hard is fantastique. I also credit the writers for both her role here and in King2Hearts (which I will review later) for their sound character development prowess. Ji Won has the ability not to make viewers misconstrue her characters as uptight or lost, but determined. I really believed that everything that Ra Im did was necessary, so that her life would not fall apart. Not until Joo Won came along did I realize that there were areas that needed improvement in order for her to achieve more. I tip my hat.

Hyun Bin as Joo Won: The only real problem I had with this role for Hyun Bin was that it seemed like the same character he played in My Name Is Kim Sam Soon or My Lovely Sam Soon, but with deep psychological issues instead of a past girlfriend. However, you can always count on Hyun Bin to be a funny, delightful, and alluring jerk, think Cha Seung Won in the Greatest Love. His ability to play megalomaniacs is sublime. Joo Won strives in his ability to¬†acutely¬†identify, use, and highlight the flaws of others, while remain unaware of his own. Hyun Bin has an uncanny ability to make this crazy character believable without a hint of suspicion, which is where the similarity between Joo Won and the lead male character in the Greatest Love ends. Note: the reason why I love Cha Seung Won’s performance in the Greatest Love is because it is so unbelievable.

Second Leads, Yoo In Na and Yoon Sang Hyun: After watching Yoo In Na here and in the Greatest Love, I knew that she was well on her way to become a leading lady, because if you can make an annoying or a should be hated person lovable than you have punched your ticket to acting success. I haven’t watched Queen In Hyun’s Man, the 2012 drama she recently starred in, but I really can’t wait to see it. Seriously, Ah Young and Secretary Kim are too cute. I really enjoyed the way the she would chastise Secretary Kim, when she thought that he was taking her for granted. Then, Yoon Sang Hyun really blew me away as Oska. He made a character that could have been a dud and one¬†dimensional¬†have great depth. It was almost heart wrenching seeing his journey with Seul, because he could not figure out how things went wrong. This shut me up, ¬†because I really did like Yoon Sang Hyun as a former gigolo in My Fair Lady.

Romance with a Side of Action: There was just enough action here to make me feel like I was not just watching another romantic drama. The writers also achieved a feat, by not just randomly inserting action scenes to spice it up. All of the scenes seemed to be in line with the script and purposeful. When I saw Ha Ji Won in the beginning, did anyone else think Lara Croft: Tomb Raider? ¬†This drama gave viewers a lot of background information about the hardship of stunt doubles. I am not sure if all of it was true, but the¬†camaraderie¬†amongst the action school members was cute and added a cherry on top of the storyline. (While writing this, I just remembered the hilariousness of the director of the action school in My Girl Friend is¬†Guminho, when he constantly yelled “Action!” Then, he would ¬†pose and gaze off into the distance.)

Highlights:

  • Oska’s nighties for visitors to wear
  • Nice Club, can I go there?
  • Too Many Story lines, but it works!: Ra Im’s father, Joo Won’s claustrophobia, romance between Oska and Seul, Oska’s prodigy Tae Sun, Oska’s comback, Department store in fighting, war between Oska’s Mom and Joo Won’s Mom. Amazingly, I know that this was good script, because it still never felt like too much (I am in the midst of Shining Inheritance and there is really too much going on and its slowing me down, however I am starting to become a fan of Han Hyo Joo).
  • Moreover, Even though there were lots of storyline, I appreciate the fact that there was no great tragedy caused by a betrayal, I am kind of tired of that because it pisses me off.
  • She is Poor, He is Rich, are they meant to be? Now this happens time and time again, but I think that this is one of the best dramas that show the real problems that occur when ¬†liking someone of a different socioeconomic status, including the misunderstanding and¬†miscommunication¬†that occurs as a result. Even though I felt sadness especially the broken purse scenes ;( (that’s me with tears).
  • If that’s is how sit-ups are done, I would probably do more.
  • Best houses I have scene to date
  • I want to shop at Joo Won’s department store

Ughhhhhhh!

  • I really like Joo Won’s “tacky” sparkly blue track suite, but I will take a pass on the leopard print one. It must have been a men’s fashion show, because every time I turned around Joo Won and Oska had on interesting new outfits, but they weren’t all hits. While HB won the apparel contest, Oska definitely won the hair contest. I have never seen so many hair cuts on a male in any film or t.v. show period.
  • I think that Hyun Bin’s character in My Lovely Sam Soon was more versatile, but I like him here too.
  • I would not say Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won couple were sizziling on screen, because the romantic scenes felt like they were holding back or just subdued (Then, I watched the Behind The Scenes and the holding back appeared to be true). Although, their individual acting performances and other interactions with each other created a powerful showing of romance.
  • The second time I watched it was less enjoyable then the first, but it was still great.

That’s 4 1/2 stars for this drama and it really comes down to rewatchability. I feel the same way about Lie to Me and Boys Over Flowers, initially loving but as time passes my reminiscing is better than than reality. In sum, they make you Feel Really Good, but to me they are Never As Good As the First Time (Sade anyone?).

Speaking of Music, Can’t really review Secret Garden without “That Man”

Up Next: The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, King2Hearts, City Hunter, or I Do I Do.

Korean Drama Review: The First Shop of Coffee Prince

The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince

Image via Wikipedia

Coffee Prince is available on HULU and Viki.

SYNOPSIS:

Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is the hardest working part-timer tomboy in Korea. Eun Chan splits her time between waitressing, sewing on doll eyes, cracking chestnuts, teaching taekwondo, waitressing, being a milkman, and delivering food. The 24-year-old Eun Chan works nonstop to support her sister who has informed her family that she plans to enter college and her mother who is a shopaholic. Eun Chan has no time for herself, instead of pursuing her own dreams, she seems to be caught up in the drudgery of day to day life.

One day she delivers food to the apartment of a handsome guy in a towel. This handsome guy in a towel is Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo), the heir to a food conglomerate that specializes in selling coffee beans. When Eun Chan walks in, she is shocked, whereas Han Kyul thinks nothing of it, because he mistakes Eun Chan for a guy. Eun Chan is often mistaken for a guy, due to her hair cut and wardrobe. After delivering food, Eun Chan rushes out of Han Kyul apartment extremely embarrassed.

However, that is not the last of Han Kyul. Han Kyul has just returned from abroad and is getting in touch with all of his old friends, including a woman he has had a crush on for nine years,¬†Han Yoo Joo (Chae Jung Ahn). Unfortunately, ¬†Yoo Joo dated his cousin¬†Choi Han Seong (Lee Sun Gyun). Yoo Joo has also returned to Korea, because she has finally realized that Han Seong¬†is the one after leaving him heartbroken. Despite knowing Yoo Joo’s true feelings, Han Kyul cannot give up on Yoo Joo. Han Kyul continues to hang out with Yoo Joo, even though he knows he has been friend-zoned.

One night while Han Kyul is out with Yoo Joo, a robber tries to snatch Yoo Joo’s purse. When the robber appears Han Kyul is not around. Fortunately, Eun Chan is on her motorbike, see the robbery, and chases the robber down. Eun Chan reclaims Yoo Joo’s purse, but ruins her bike in the process. While taking down the robber, Eun Chan realizes that the robber is Hwang Min Yeop, a guy¬†that has a crush on her sister. Min Yeop explains to Eun Chan that he is trying to get money to pay for Eun Chan’s sister’s music classes. Min Yeop then conceives a plan to make it look like Min Yeop escaped her grip.

In the meantime, Han Kyul has reappeared and watches the act that Min Yeop and Eun Chan put on. Yoo Joo is thankful for Eun Chan’s help, but Han Kyul sees right through it. Han Kyul says that he will pay for the repairs to Eun Chan’s bike, if Eun Chan admits that the whole thing was a set up. Eun Chan rejects his offer and leaves disheartened. Since, Eun Chan no longer has a bike, so she is out of a job.

That loss in income is a real problem for Eun Chan and her family. Now, Eun Chan is forced to choose between money and her dignity. If Eun Chan takes the money from Han Kyul, she will be admitting that she is a schemer, but if she doesn’t her family will not be able to pay the rent. Eun Chan succumbs to Han Kyul’s wishes and admits that it was all a set up. When Eun Chan finally meets up with Han Kyul he gives her less than what she is expecting, but provides he with another offer. Han Kyul, who is still under the impression that Eun Chan is a guy, asks Eun Chan to act as his lover, so that his family will not set him up on anymore dates.

Han Kyul is almost 30 and has never had a real purpose, therefore, his family is fed up with his lack of direction and wants to get him settled and participating in family business as soon as possible. Han Kyul is trying to avoid the life planned by his parents at all cost. Han Kyul wants to use a gay lifestyle as an opportunity to prevent him from following his parent’s plans. When Han Kyul makes the offer to Eun Chan, who is now desperate for money, it is an offer she cannot refuse. Nonetheless, Eun Chan has no clue what she is in for.

While Eun Chan is acting like Han Kyul’s boyfriend, she starts falling for him.¬†Eun Chan is torn and has no one to talk to except for Terry, the dog who stays at one of the houses on her milk route. Terry’s owner happens to be Han Seong, Han Kyul’s cousin and Yoo Joo’s ex-girlfriend. Eun Chan and Han Seong eventually meet and bond as they discuss the problems that they are having in their relationships, leading to a new love line.

Furthermore, Han Kyul’s family has not given on up on Han Kyul’s future outside of love; they still see him as the successor to the family business. Starting small, Han Kyul has now been tasked with the mission of running a coffee shop to sell his family’s coffee from. When Eun Chan learns of Han Kyul’s plan to open a coffee shop employing attractive males, she volunteers herself for the job. Seeing Eun Chan’s work ethic, Han Kyul hires her. ¬†Min Yeop also¬†finagles¬†himself into the Coffee Shop, along with a cast of other intriguing¬†characters.

Questions: Will Han Kyul parents finally be proud if the coffee shop be a success? Will Han Kyul fall for Eun Chan, despite the fact that he thinks he is a guy? Will Han Seong ever get back together with Yoo Joo, despite the way she left him? Will Eun Chan ever pursue her own dreams?

REVIEW:

To be truthful, I wasn’t quite sure how much I enjoyed Coffee Prince, the first time I watched it, although I realized it was top tier. ¬†At the time, I truly did not value all of the factors that it had going for it. Most good dramas have a few ingredients that make it stand out, but not enough to watch it over and over and over. My doubts may have been a result me believing that there really was not much meat left to the story after Han Kyul discovers that Eun Chan is a woman, but oh there was so much more. Continue reading

Korean Drama Review: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is available on DramaFever.

Credit as labeled via Soompi

SYNOPSIS:

Yang Eun Bi (Lee Chung Ah) is a 25 year old college student studying for her civil service exam to become a teacher. Eun Bi is in complete study mode from her clothes to her disdain of people who publicly exhibit affection in her study area. Nevertheless, Eun Bi is still on the look out for a potential boyfriend with the economic stability of a 30 year old and who drives a cool car to work while wearing a suit. Instead of a 30 year old, she is stuck with 19 year old Cha Chi Soo (Jung Il Woo).

Eun Bi first meets Chi Soo under peculiar circumstances; he follows her into a bathroom stall and unbeknownst to him seduces her. Eun Bi mistakes him for a stalker that has been attacking girls on campus, but Chi Soo is just trying to hide. After the initial moment of flirtation is over, Eun Bi mistakes him for the man of her dreams, since he is wearing a suit, looks older, and drives a nice car. When Eun Bi follows him to her workplace, a his high school, and realizes that he is  actually wearing a uniform.

After bumping into Chi Soo several times, Chi soo starts to become attracted to Eun Bi. Chi Soo is a spoiled son of a food conglomerate, who hates girls who cry. Suprisingly, Chi Soo overlooks Eun Bi’s faults, including the fact that she cried over her ex-boyfriend in front of him, and starts hitting on Eun Bi when she becomes his teacher. Since Eun Bi realized that Chi Soo is not as old as she thought, Eun Bi no longer likes Chi Soo. However, Chi Soo’s persistence and comforting spirit change her mind.

Chi Soo and Eun Bi stay together after the death of Eun Bi’s father whose Ramyun Shop she has to help takeover, after they discover Eun Bi is promised to her father’s cute narcoleptic apprentice and ramyun shop successor¬†Choi Kang Hyuk (Lee Ki Woo), and after Chi Soo’s family disapproves of his relationship with Eun Bi. Chi Soo is dedicated to winning Eun Bi and even accepts a job at the Ramyun shop under Kang Hyuk to remain in her presence. Although, no matter how great Chi Soo’s actions are, they cannot avoid the fact that Eun Bi is 24, 25, or 26 and Chi Soo is 19.

There is also another adorable love line in the form of Ba Wool (Park Min Woo) and So Yi. So Yi is Chi Soo’s ex-girlfriend who he is literally using as a place holder until Eun Bi will agree to be with him. So Yi uses Chi Soo to make Ba Wool jealous, so she doen’t mind the fact Chi Soo is not as interested in her. Ba Wool is one of the runaways that Eun Bi’s father took care of at the Ramyun Shop. Eun Bi’s father’s ramyun shop is located outside the high school that Eun Bi and Ba Wool attend, however most of its customers are underpriviledged kids who need free meals and guidance. Thus, Ba Wool is like a younger brother to Eun Bi and he agrees to help at the Ramyun shop after the death of Eun Bi’s father. Ba Wool is over protective of Eun Bi and is unhappy about Eun Bi and Chi Soo’s relationship. Ba Wool’s unhappiness is aggregated by the fact that So Yi is still dating Chi Soo, while he and So Yi are dating.

REVIEW:

This drama is like a beach book; it is light, airy, quick, happy, and satisfying. For instance, as good as Scent of Woman was, it was really draining. At the same time, this would mean that it is not groundbreaking and lacks depth. By lacks depth, Boys over Flowers had more depth.  3 stars for this unoriginally satisfying drama redux. Sidenote: Yes, I am very behind in my Korean Drama reviews, but I will try my best to dish them out over the next few days.

Easy Watching: ¬†Perfect zone out weekend drama. If you just want to feel good, it makes you feel good. Moreover, the viewer is not really given any new interesting storylines. This drama is actually a combination of scenes from¬†Boys Over Flowers, My Lovely Sam Soon, Love Actually, and Personal Taste, which makes me happy because I like all of those pieces. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy. There are some sad parts, but hopefully you are like me and don’t feel them. The characters never could make me cry, and in some parts they even made me laugh when I knew I shouldn’t. The only thing that would have made me cry was her father’s death, but it happened too early for me to have an attachment.

Funny Moments: The writers know how to be funny. From the description of Eun Bi’s ideal man, they had me hooked. Bathroom stalker scene was one of the most hilarious meet-cute’s I’ve seen. They followed that up with Chi Soo’s car being put up on blocks. Then on top of that Eun Bi decided not to come home over a slap from her Dad over cigarettes. I am not sure if that was supposed to be funny or serious, but I found it funny.

Kang Hyuk: Kang Hyuk’s character kind of disappears at the end of this drama, but at the beginning of the drama his storyline is brilliant. He has a picture of Eun Bi that he dreams of his whole life √†¬†la City Hunter. Kang Hyuk hugs Eun Bi after her father dies and she thinks it is a dream. Then Kang Hyuk starts living with Eun Bi and she is unaware that he is there. Finally, when Eun Bi and Kang Hyuk start communicating, Kang Hyuk ¬†automatically assumes the role of husband. I almost died when Kang Hyuk took the door off of Eun Bi’s room to ensure that Chi Soo would not try to steal his girl. In addition, there is his random sleeping habits.

Chi Soo’s father: Again these characters are really well written, Chi Soo father is all about work. Chi Soo and his father live in a penthouse on top of the corporation. I think this is too much, but there must be some real benefits since Diane Von Furstenberg¬†does it too. See it here. Side Note: I love that this article is labeled apartment porn. That is a perfect segway to Chi Soo’s father’s obssession with the hot tub. I mean one out of every two scenes he is in the hot tub. If he is not in the hot tub, he is angry. If he is not angry, he is in the hot tub. However, there are a few moments where he is angry and in the hot tub —> ahhh! Anyways, drama fail when the person with their shirt off the most is someone’s older out of shape dad.

Eun Bi and Chi Soo: Regardless about how I felt about their acting, which didn’t lead me anywhere emotionally other than to laugh. I thought that they were a cute couple who had good chemistry. This is in spite of all the awkwardness I felt about the student-teacher relationship. I really never even thought about Eun Bi and Kang Hyuk together and I never thought Chi Soo would go back to So Yi. Viewers are rooting forthe main couple in light of the unimaginable plot, because of the strong dialogue. The characters and writers really expressed the feelings that the main characters had for each other well.

Highlights:

  • Knitting flower boy
  • Porsche to Infiniti downgrade ( I am sorry to the Infiniti drivers out there, it is just a fact. ¬†Note: Vanquish to 911 Turbo is also a downgrade, even if the numbers are similar.)
  • Karaoke with toilet paper headbands
  • Fight scenes using high school desks
  • “I didn’t work here, because I missed her. I work here, because I had to see her.”
  • Good scenes only happen in bathrooms.
  • Gong Hyo-jin¬†cameo
  • I just started playing Pandora in my car and the song that came on is expressing how I feel
  • Chi Soo is on a motorcycle and Ba Wool catches up with him on his bike
  • Chi Soo’s F5 versus Ba Wool’s Jets
  • The art of getting a leg cramps while watching a movie
  • The art of love. Lesson one: interrupt a kiss to tell the person you are kissing I am not done kissing yet. Lesson two: “Always stand beside me until I can get my sanity back.” Lesson three: lick the kimchi off your significant other’s fingers and then kiss her —> unsanitary in the Ramyun Shop. Lesson Four: saying “I’m your older brother and that woman is my wife, so she only sleeps with me” does not always work.
  • Naming cars Marie Antoinette, Paris Hilton, and Louis XVI
  • Ba Wool and So Yi’s confessions

Ugh:

  • I am always uncomfortable when there is a more than five year age gap and one of the people is still in college. See The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry. See also My Girlfriend is a Gumiho I am kind of tired of these Noona relationships. At least, let boys graduate from college, this was even worse, because he was in high¬†school. I was throughly grossed out with the forehead kiss by Chi Soo in the high school gym. I know he is 18, but anything student-teacher is way awkward. When you thought one student teacher relationship was not enough, what was going on with Eun Bi’s high school volleyball coach and her best friend? Did their relationship also start when she was in high school, so much¬†murkiness.
  • First kiss by father’s grave
  • “Can I stop acting like your guardian?” Yes, Kang Hyuk you can and you should have stopped earlier.
  • Insulting a woman’s bust size —> not cool. Guys its akin to judging you below the waist.
  • Was I supposed to get emotional while you are introducing each other’s ramyun dishes?
  • The “I didn’t write, because I would miss you too much” theory, hated it in My Lovely Sam Soon hated it here even more. You two live in the same country.

Again 3 stars, because of the deadpan humor. I am not sure, if this drama is supposed to be as funny as it is. There may be something lost in translation that makes this funnier to someone who identifies with western culture. If they weren’t trying to be a funny, then 2.5 stars.

Up Next: The illusive Secret Garden, Coffee Prince, or The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry.

Korean Drama Review: Vampire Prosecutor

Vampire Prosecutor is available on DramaFever.

Via The Voice of A Seagull

SYNOPSIS:

Prosecutor Tae Yoon (Yun Joong Hun)¬†is haunted by the death of his sister, several facts make him believe that his sister died by the hand of a vampire. Soon, Tae Yoon also joins the other side, ¬†when a car accident forces himon the ground gasping for air in the rain. He is on the verge of death, but is suddenly saved by a vampire’s bite. The bite turns him into a vampire. Also at the scene, Prosecutor Tae Yoon sees a vampire take another person’s life.

Believing that this vampire is also the killer of his little sister and countless other victims, Tae Yoon commits to tracking this vampire down. Prosecutor Tae Yoon uses his authority to find out more about the victims and hunt down the vampire serial killer. Thus, Tae Yoon has a heavy workload, investigating the cases assigned to his team and finding the vampire serial killer.

Prosecutor Tae Yoon suppresses his urges for blood by meeting up with other non-violent vampires that get blood from a blood bank. His friend is also a vampire. The friend was a former doctor, but now deals blood out of his bar. The bartender has volunteered to help Tae Yoon with his search.

While becoming vampire creates some impediments, like wanting to suck the blood from his co-workers, it also creates some benefits. Prosecutor Tae Yoon is now stronger, faster, and most importantly can use a drop of a deceased person’s blood to see what happened in the last few moments of their life. Obviously, Prosecutor Tae Yoon is winning. Due to his gift, Prosecutor Tae Yoon is assigned to a special division that solves the city’s really hard cases. Tae Yoon asks his best friend, Hwang Soon Bum (Lee Won Jong), from the police force to join him. Soon Bum is the only person outside of bartender, who knows Tae Yoon new status. Therefore, Soon Bum helps protect ¬†Tae Yoon’s identity, by covering for him while Tae Yoon is away doing vampire things.

The rest of Prosecutor Tae Yoon’s team includes the newly minted prosecutor,¬†Yoo Jung In (Lee Young Ah), and a police intern,¬†Choi Dong Man (Kim Joo Young). Prosecutor Jung In is suspicious of Tae Yoon’s cryptic behavior and question’s his allegiance to his work. Jung In is also hiding something in her background, therefore she is reluctant to throw stones. Over the course of the series, Jung In and Tae Yoon develop mutual respect for one another as they solve cases. Intern Choi Dong Man is the determined fresh faced member of the team. Dong Man’s character serves as comic relief ¬†in conjunction with Soon Bum.¬†Other characters include Prosector Tae Yoon’s mysterious and overbearing boss,¬†Jang Chul Oh and the attractive medical examiner who discretely passes Soon Bum vials of the victims’ blood.

Each episodes, the team participates in a murder investigation and trial. It is kind of like Law and Order, but has the additional storyline of a vampire trying to hunt down other vampires. Additionally, the writers make it a point to showcase the thought process of the criminals to the point that the audience may sympathize with their plight.

REVIEW:

If you like Law and Order, Sherlock, or Luther, you will definitely enjoy this drama. It is dark, thrilling, and suspenseful. I would go as far to say it is one of the best Korean dramas that came out in 2011. The last 2 episode put it over the edge. Questions of morality arise when characters have to decide what ordinarily deplorable acts are necessary for the greater good. Luckily for us, this drama has more time to grow, because season 2 is supposed to some out this year. My one concern is re-watchability. Thus, when I watch this again for a potential ratings increase I may get bored. I usually require a year wait between re-watching law and order episodes.

Top 5 Reasons to Watch:

Cast Dynamics and Storylines: There are very few instances when the whole cast in a drama is outstanding. There is not a character that I don’t like and each adds value to the drama. See also Coffee Prince and Protect the Boss.¬†The characters each have a clear specified role and viewers are able to connect and predict how each character will act given certain circumstances. At the same time, the show devotes time for the audience to discover each character’s motivations through flashbacks. There is also something for everyone a manly man, strong willed woman, funny loyal best friend, all powerful boss, cute young guy, and hot woman. The serious planning and hard work of the writers shows, this series that the potential to captivate several demographics.

Yun Joong Hun as Prosecutor Tae Yoon: Yun Joong Hun is a brilliant lead for a character who is on a Hero’s Journey. His ability show the complexities that his hero undergos is impressive. Joong Hun succeeds at portraying a character that is entering a whole new way of life as a vampire, searching for his sister’s killer, and solving deplorable murders. On top of these issues, Tae Yoon is also suffering from his inability to deny his attraction to his headstrong co-prosecutor, Jung In. There is minimal love in this drama, though there are hints of a coming romance between Tae Yoon and Jung In. Not to mention, he exceed expectations as the strong silent type.

Lee Young Ah¬†as¬†Yoo Jung In: Viewers watch Jung In rise from a insecure prosecutor to a woman that is confident in her convictions. The reason for Jung In’s transition into the world of prosecuting criminal is explained in later episodes, helping to cement her as a headstrong character. Jung In is slowly convinced that something is going on in the prosecutor’s office and something is fishy with Tae Yoon. ¬†The once complacent Jung In starts to ask questions and unknowingly enters a cat and mouse game with Tae Yoon. Young Ah’s appeal is in her ability to express her character’s angst in reaction to constant suppression.

New Cases to Solve Every Week: The guest stars are usually amazing and can hold their own. Moreover, the cases are intriguing and I was rarely able to predict the killer. Some of the cases include: death in a fight club; home invasion of an renowned artist; psychic predicts death of host who defames him on t.v.; reality matchmaking show contestant killing; and a death on set that mirrors the scene from the movie. ¬†In addition to the amusing concepts for the cases, the writers often implicitly permit viewers to question whether you should sympathize with the killer and whether the victim deserved to die. Essentially, things don’t turn out they way you expect them to, nor do they turn out how you want them to.

Cinematography: There are no scenic backgrounds, but the way this drama is filmed, edited, and paced keep you on the edge of you seat. Some may find the constant fluorescent lighting annoying and dry, but it grew on me and added to the angst and creepiness. The action scenes do sometimes leave viewers in the dark literally and the speed of the camera often fluctuates.  However, these techniques force viewers to pay attention. Also watch for the special effects when Tae Yoon is tasting the blood, chasing scenes, and the fighting scenes.

Highlights:

    • If this is a true representation, then interns in Korea have a lot of responsibility
    • Bum Soo is the type of semi-shady cop viewers like
    • Everyone one who plays a person with a mental illness or goes crazy does freaked me out
    • Wardrobe is amazing, even though it is mostly black
    • You have to wait a long time for them to get real guns, but they do arrive just in time
    • Law firm shell company is genius
    • Whenever the team has to interrogate persons of interest, oftentimes it turns out to be hilarious
    • The power of a blood transfusion
    • Mafia ties
    • Vampire Club/ Blood Bar

Ugh…

  • Jung In is always left out
  • Bath of Blood
  • Vampire strength inconsitently varies
  • Boob shots started to get annoying
  • The ending for the doctor
  • Where in police procedure, does it say not to carry a real guns and to go to places without back-up
  • Not impressed by the SWAT team

The unique appeal, great cast, and seamless writing of this drama warrant 4 stars. As a person that does not care for scary movies, I enjoyed this. If you don’t mind blood and creepiness, then give it a try.

Up Next: Secret Garden, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, or Coffee Prince.

Korean Drama Review: My Girlfriend is a Gumiho/ My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox

My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox

Image via Wikipedia

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is available on VIKI.

SYNOPSIS:

Cha Dae-Woong (Lee Seung Gi)¬†is a spoiled brat university student who hopes to become a famous start. The opportunistic Cha Dae Woong uses his grandfather’s money, which was supposed to go to his college tuition, to fund his rise to stardom and go to action school (stunt man school). When his grandfather learns of Dae Woong’s misappropriation of funds, Dae Woong’s grandfather and Aunt chase after him. Dae Woong escapes to the countryside and eventually ends up at a monastery.

While at the monestary, he begins to hear voices. What he doesn’t know is that voice is from a gumiho (Shin Min Ah), a nine-tailed fox, trapped in a picture with¬†Grandma Samshin. At one point Grandma Samshin, akin mother earth in folklore, released the gumiho and was going to allow her to become human. To become a human, the gumiho had to find a husband. However, the women in the village hated her and were jealous of her human image’s extreme beauty. The women villagers spread rumors that she would eat the men in the town, thus her intended fiance abandoned her and the gumiho missed her opportunity to become human. Ever since, the gumiho has been trapped in the picture with Grandma Samshin.

The Gumiho asks Dae Woong to help set her free by drawing nine tails on her painting. After Dae Woong draws the nine tails, the Gumiho, which has now taken a human appearance escapes with Dae Woong Although, in the midst of their escape Dae Woong gets critically injured. The gumiho realizes that the only way she can save Dae Woong is by giving him her bead, a magical sphere that is her life source. The bead is transferred by almost kissing. Dae Woong is saved, but the Gumiho informs him that he must have the bead in his body for 10 days in order for him to heal. Note: Being a Gumiho allows for several special abilities, includes fighting, running fast, and tracking. Furthermore, the Gumiho tells Dae Woong that she and the bead cannot separate. Therefore, the Gumiho and Dae Woong have to stick together.

Dae Woong is really confused, but goes along with the plan, because he has just been cast in a role that requires him to do action scenes. Without the Gumiho’s bead, he would not be able to participate in the film. Thus, Dae Woong integrates Gumiho into his life. Step One is naming her Mi Ho. Step Two is moving out of his grandfather and aunt’s house and moving into an apartment over the action school with Mi Ho. Step Three is supporting Mi Ho by taking on jobs, introducing her to the human world, and buying her soda and beef. Beef is apparently her main nutrient, she doesn’t settle for chicken.

Dae Woong’s relationship with Mi Ho starts to become a burden. He becomes at odds with his family, lost his “friends”, lost his crush Eun Hae In (Park Soo Jin), and has to grow up to support his new “girlfriend.”¬†Mi Ho begins to fall in love with Dae Woong, because of the way he treats her. Mi Ho loves him to the point that she will give up her everlasting life as a nine tailed fox to become human and wants to spend the rest of her life with Dae Woong. Still fearful of Mi Ho, Dae Woong does not return Mi Ho’s advances, Dae Woong just wants¬†Hae In and to become a star.

However, soon, Dae Woong realizes that Mi Ho is not a burden, but has helped him become a man. Through Mi Ho, Dae Woong has discovered who his real friends are, how he should be treated by a girl who likes him, and how to take responsibility. His grandfather and aunt recognize this transformation and allow him to stay with Mi Ho, his muse. Note: His aunt also supports the relationship, because Dae Woong will be staying at the action school and his aunt has a crush on the owner of the action school. Nonetheless, when Mi Ho realizes the life of hardship that she has forced on Dae Woong she also become concerned about their relationship.

While all this love is going around, Mi Ho figure out that she has enemies. Gumiho’s seeker is Park Dong Joo (No Min Woo), a half human/ half goblin seeker of gumihos. Dong Joo almost kills Mi Ho, but can’t after he sees her. Mi Ho looks like a goblin that he once loved. The goblin that he loved also wanted to become human, but died because her human lover betrayed her.

Due to Mi Ho’s resemblence to Dong Joo’s past lover, Dong Joo hopes to avoid killing Mi Ho by giving her two options. The two options are either to return to the painting or to become human. To become human a human, Mi Ho must get a human to hold her bead for 100 days and she must drink goblin blood. What Dong Joo doesn’t tell her right away is that the person who is holding the bead has to return the bead after 100 days or else she will die. Moreover, after the bead holder releases the bead , the bead holder dies. On top of all that pain, Mi Ho will also slowly lose her tails one by one over the 100 days and her special abilities.

The drama follows the love story between Mi Ho and Dae Woong. Mi Ho loves Dae Woong. Mi Ho wants to become human. Dong Joo tells Mi Ho how to become human starting the 100 day countdown. Dae Woong and Mi Ho are in love with each other and cannot wait until the 100 days are over. Dong Joo tells Mi Ho the truth about becoming human. Mi Ho distances herself from Dae Woong. Dae Woong finds out and wants to save Mi Ho…

REVIEW:

1/2

I thoroughly enjoyed this drama. The storyline, characters, and actors were highlights. ¬†It just got to the point that I could not follow the gumiho folklore story line. I know it has a lot to do with the fact that I am not intimately connected to Korean culture or the Korean language, but it still seemed to be too convoluted to follow. I started to question: why they both can’t live, how does the ex-girlfriend goblin dying of human betrayal relate to gumihos, random goblins surfacing from trees, what is the need for goblin blood and what are its effects as opposed to a gumiho not having the bead, what was the purpose of Grandma showing up, how far can Mi Ho be away from the bead, and solar eclipse resurrections (at that point I was like WTF). The logical side of my mind could not take it, I began asking too many questions.

These are the problems that arise when people start writing ¬†about folklore, science fiction, and anything magical; writers have to make the storylines tighter. It is the genius of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the failure of Avatar (still a good movie, just annoying). Furthermore, as much as I like these the two leads, I didn’t fall in love with them. This was a problem I also had in the beginning of Protect the Boss, but the background stories quickly resolved it. This drama was like akin to thinking something is ¬†a chocolate souffle, but in reality its just a a chocolate cake. The cake was very good, but there was not a rich gooey middle.

Top 5 Reason to Watch:

Where is the Beef?: Mi Ho loved beef so much, her ringtone was “I like Korean beef.”¬†The fact that Mi Ho had to have so much beef was a constant source of comedy. At one point Mi Ho says, “If you buy me a cow, I won’t eat you.” Mi Ho really knows what she wants. As Mi Ho moves past depending on Dae Woong, she attempts to buy her own meal by saving coupons and starts to eat vegtables. It was super cute.

Romance Between Director and Dae Woong’s Aunt: Anytime a man pretends not to smell your fart in the elevator, that is love. Another hilarious moment came when the Aunt said that she liked the smell of his muscle relaxer patches. Therefore, before their first date, the director put a whole bunch of patches all over his body, so that she could enjoy the aroma. Finally, the director pushed Chow Yun Fat to number two for her.

The Power of the Bead: Mi Ho uses the bead as an excuse to stay close to Dae Woong. Dae Woong states that the bead hurts whenever Mi Ho is close to Dong Joo. Dong Joo uses the bead to take Mi Ho away from Dae Woong. The bead prevents Mi Ho and Dae Woong from getting closer after they declare their love for each other.

Naive Mi Ho: Since Mi Ho has not been out in 500 years, her learning about the world is a source of comedic relief. Some highlights are when Mi Ho is amazed by fizzy soda, Mi Ho buys a poster with a picture of a camcorder instead of the actual camcorder for Dae Woong, and when Mi Ho becomes a bouncer/ best friend to chicken ahjumma. In addition, Mi Ho has a great calendar of things to do after she becomes human. On day 1, Mi Ho wishes to mate with Dae Woong. On day 100, Mi Ho wishes to marry Dae Woong. After year 1, she wishes to have a baby with Dae Woong. Mi Ho’s goal is to have 8 babies with Dae Woong!

Director’s Search for Action: The Director will go to any length to find his dream action star. After seeing Mi Ho one night, he follows her into the woods and his dream is realized. The Director witnesses Mi Ho do moves that can only be attempted by the cast of Cirque Du Soleil. There are several episodes where he sees her and tries to catch her and the storyline turns into a cat and mouse game. The segment ends when he discovers that Mi Ho is his action star, and later the storyline fizzles out when Mi Ho gives up her starring role for because she is blackmailed by Hae In.

More Highlights

  • Drumstick stuffed animal
  • Chicken ahjumma, great side character
  • Lee Seung Gi is cute, his mannerisms and facial expression are like Rupert Grint
  • Shin Min Ah is adorable, how can he not keep that nine-tailed fox around.
  • Director open’s his trench coat to block the sun, but seriously why is he only wearing a wife beater under there?
  • My favorite Grandfather; not to harsh, but not too nice either.

Ugh…Sigh

  • Hae In’s role could have just been eliminated. Hae In keeps running around doing things that mess up the plot and don’t make sense. Additionally, the faces that she makes are ugh.
  • What is up with that music anytime Dong Joo is on screen. Turn it off.¬†
  • More on Dong Joo, very creepy the way that Dong Joo is holding on and trying to trap someone that looks like your past love. At no time, did Mi Ho show any feelings for Dong Joo and yet still Dong Joo continues all the way to a fake a marriage.
  • The dialogue is lackluster in every scene where Mi Ho and Dae Wong are expressing their love for each other. This scene is cute and similar to all the other scenes. To me it’s not really romantic, because they don’t really saying anything and aren’t able to express themselves through words. Maybe, I am asking for too much?¬†
3 1/2 stars because it was good enough for me to watch again, but if you pay to much attention to things that don’t make since this can turn frustrating.