Recapping my thoughts on the dramas that I’ve watched the previous Sunday through today with *lots* of spoilers
I think today I’ll start with what I found most interesting this week and work my way down to the least favorites. I’m pretty busy watching 10 dramas right now, but still wish I had room for more!
I am just loving Shark. These fast-paced dramas that get straight to the point are the ones I love. Secrets don’t stay secrets for long (well, except for those initial 12 years, but you know) and our good guys? semi-good guys? bad guys posing as good guys? are always right on the trail. My only gripe is that Yi-Hyun is just a plot device. “Oh, let me just tell grandpa about this open murder case for no reason at all except to move the plot forward.” Boo. I guess we all can’t be perfect.
I Hear Your Voice
I am enjoying this show, although if I had to admit it, without the case-of-the-week, there’s not a whole lot propelling the story forward. Yes, there’s that whole murderer problem, but that (main?) plot is not dwelled upon as much as I would like. I also don’t feel any chemistry between the characters, and therefore don’t really buy any love lines, except for Su-Ha’s adoration for Hye-Sung. This show takes the leisurely route with making the characters learn the moral of the story from each case and then take baby steps to whatever end we’re headed for. Although I wish that we would focus on the Su-Ha/Hye-Sung/Joon-Gook story (as when they’re faced with Joon-Gook, *that’s* when the story gets good), I don’t mind taking my time and enjoying the characters because I do like them all.
I love musicals and I love high school dramas, so this show is just perfect for me. I am curious about the characters, their lives, and their hidden backstories, but I can’t say that I’m riveted. It’s no Shut Up Flower Boy Band, that’s for sure. It’s filmed very prettily and makes use of the soft-glow filter, and Ha Yeon-Soo (plays Se-Yi) is absolutely gorgeous. We’re at the halfway point, and it seems like it’s right on target, with the band falling apart. It seems like it’s the perfect midpoint.
I don’t care that this show still has no direction, and one trip takes WAY TOO MANY episodes to complete, the cast is great. This week they are finally beginning to open up to each other more (although forced through that game on the MT) and I just enjoy seeing them interact with one another. I was dying when Hyun-Joong had Si-Yoon talk about his last girlfriend. YSY is so freaking earnest that it was so cute and funny to see KHJ tease him and make him open up. This was unfortunately Hyo-Ri’s last episode, and I think the show is really going to seem lacking once she leaves. She’s such a great foil to Ho-Dong, and it’s also good to have more than one female on a variety show, especially since Uee disappears into the background. Also, I’m not sure when the filmed shows will catch up to real life (again, SO MANY EPISODES covering just a TWO DAY trip), but when Se-Yoon and Ji-Won disappear, I wonder how that’ll change things, too. I guess I’m not completely attached to the cast yet since the show is so slow moving that I won’t miss them too much.
Gu Family Book
There are things I really like about this show, and things I really don’t like about this show. But what’s bothering me about these last two episodes (22 and 23 since 23 got subbed super fast) is that everything seems so forced. It’s like the writers/director suddenly realized that the show is ending and they need to finish up the story. It’s nice to have a love story, but the Kang-Chi/Yeo-Wool relationship took up way more screen time than was necessary and the rest of the story suffered. Why are we only remembering the Gu Family Book (you know, the show’s namesake?) in pre-finale week? And why does Yeo-Wool keep getting captured so easily?! She’s supposed to be the third best at the school behind her dad and Gon. I know all of our secondary leads got tossed to the wayside only to be used as plot devises, but the first lead, too? And you know what I realized at the end of episode 23? That I really don’t care who got shot. The cliffhanger just didn’t do it for me.
Dating Agency: Cyrano
The reason I decided to keep watching this was because of the scene in the first episode when Min-Young first stumbles into Cyrano, the reveal reminded me of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which is an amazing, underrated film (Heath Ledger’s last role, that his friends stepped up to finish in his stead) that everyone should see. Unfortunately, the drama doesn’t hold up to movie standards. It’s shot in this pretty soft-focus, which may be the only reason I’m still watching.
I don’t buy the future pairing of Min-Young and Byung-Hoon. When the two are discovering feelings for each other in small ways, I feel like the actors are acting, which takes me out of the moment. Zero chemistry. Byung-Hoon and Yi-Seol? Yes. Min-Young and Master/Seung-Pyo? Yes. Any other pairing (including Moo-Jin and Hye-Ri)? No.
I find Arang adorable, so I guess I’m watching for him? And the guest stars of the week?
You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin
SIGH. There’s so many things wrong with this.
But I do want to say that I actually LIKE Mi-Ryung at the moment. Maybe it’s because my family has enough adoptions and birth secrets to fill up a kdrama of our own, but her reaction to finding her daughter is completely normal and realistic! Yes, she gave Soon-Shin up for selfish reasons, and if she never found her, she would’ve been perfectly fine. However, running into the person you gave birth to suddenly is shocking and unexpected. Mi-Ryung’s doing her best (in her selfish way; can’t change the personality there) to make up for lost time and do right by her flesh and blood. And let’s face it, parenting in general is hard. The Lee family had 20 years to raise Soon-Shin, and Mi-Ryung has only had days. She’s not going to be perfect. Parents of a first newborn child have to make the adjustment that the world no longer revolves around them, and parents in general make mistakes every day. People are putting too much pressure on Mi-Ryung to be this wonderful mom right out of the gate. No, that doesn’t justify airing the interview without her daughter’s permission, and I’m not saying that Soon-Shin needs to go run off to Mi-Ryung (like she did, ugh). She needs time, and so does Soon-Shin.
Speaking of parents, I still hate mom. Nothing can make up for the way she grossly mistreated Soon-Shin for weeks. Even now she’s still being a halfass mom. I do think she realizes that Soon-Shin genuinely wants to act and may even be good at it, but the way she’s “encouraging” Soon-Shin is all wrong. She tells Soon-Shin to go to the meeting with the producer with the most sorrowful face that of course Soon-Shin wouldn’t go. And grandma is just a horrible person. She hated Soon-Shin growing up, but is sickenly sweet to her now that she thinks she’s her son’s birth daughter. It’s disgusting to watch.
I don’t understand chicken ajumma at all. Yi-Jung needs to get a grip on life. I don’t think Yoo-Shin deserves Chan-Woo (and I still don’t like her from the way she treats Soon-Shin) at all, but if he had to choose, which is must in kdramaland, Yoo-Shin is the lesser of two evils.
The love triangle between Young-Hoon, Soon-Shin, and Jun-Ho is something that was so not fleshed out and I’m having a hard time buying it. I thought it would go that way from the beginning, but the way Young-Hoon asks Soon-Shin out on “dates” is handled so flippantly. I guess that’s just another symptom of second-lead syndrome?
But who I completely dislike now is Soon-Shin herself. She is bull-headedly naïve and getting in her own way. She’s spent way too many episodes giving up acting for her family’s sake that I’m over it. She needs to find a new excuse, because protecting her family of horrible people is not cutting it anymore. It’s not even believable since she was initially willing to be homeless if her family didn’t agree with her acting. I did like how she told Jun-Ho that if she were to return to acting she’d do so on her own terms, but the delivery was lackluster. And as much as Jun-Ho cares for her, there is no chemistry on her end, and I’m getting to the point where I won’t find their pairing believable.
Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love
I am two episodes behind on this, which is sad because I started off enjoying this more than its same-airing counterpart Gu Family Book during its first few weeks. I’m more disappointed that it’s converging more and more with actual history than it was initially advertised. This was touted as a reimagining of history (and I even bought the now irrelevant fashion plot), but now I’m thinking it’s just going to end the same way it did in real life. My coworker feels that it’s reimagined in the way that it shows the love between her and the king, but I’m still not buying it, because in history, he had to like her enough to have her as a concubine and then eventually elevate her to queen.
Itazura Na Kiss Love in Tokyo
This is my first non-English/Spanish/Korean drama ever, so it’s completely new territory for me. I like how it’s not glossy and shiny like k-dramas. Teenagers don’t walk around with the newest, expensive phone permanently attached to their hands (even all simultaneously and silently upgrading from the SIII to the S4 mid-series for the shameless product placement) and everyone’s dressed in regular clothing. I think it was a good choice to go with a familiar tale that’s been told and told again, to see how the exact same story is portrayed differently. And I’m noticing that 75% of the major complaints about the Korean Playful Kiss is 100% story based. Many people are raving about Love in Tokyo, but the story is really the same. The male lead (who looks just like a young Joo Won, I swear) is just as emotionless and the female lead is just as dimly annoying. I like both versions of the magna equally thus far, and I like and dislike the same things in each. What I do like more about the J-version is that they move quickly through the years, as the K-version spent a lot of time on the set-up of each phase of life to the point that the ending of the series could only be aired as a youtube special. I don’t think the J-version will have the same problem, and will reach the conclusion during its on-air run. I am super anxious for the next episodes, though, as one episode a week is pure torture! Unfortunately, we’re at the point where there’s not a lot of forward motion for the couple, so the wait seems even longer.
The King 2 Hearts
I am watching TK2H for the third time, and I am happy to say that I still love it. Third time around and I’m still depressed by Jae-Kang’s death, still shocked at how Bung-Gu/John Mayer is a sociopath, and super endeared by Earnest Bot. It's so weird to watch Lee Seung-Gi and Jo Jung-Suk playing such great characters, then see them play mediocre ones in their current airings. Such is life in the acting world, I guess. Anyways, I just finished episode 18 and am so stoked for the finale pair. I know what’s going to happen, but my heart is still racing, and it’s not at all prepared for the break. Let me go prepare my tissue box now…