Sunday, October 10, 2021

Thoughts of the Week

So I'd been thinking that I was putting too many thoughts in my "Thoughts of the Week," and I decided to limit the number of dramas that I put in each post. But then time goes by so quickly that the thoughts that I had never get posted because I feel too much time has passed. Or the surely profound and groundbreaking feedback that I had (lol) gets forgotten by the time I sit down to write. Then I look back at the notes I wrote about the dramas that totally make sense and try to make a post out of them (spoiler: they don't make any sense).

For now, please bear with these scrambled thoughts. (Bonus points for binge watching with a fever, so some thoughts may be nonsensical.) In the future, I'm just going to write what I'm thinking roughly when I think it. This post has some classics here like Bride of the Century, Splash Splash Love, and Because This Is My First Life in addition to some more recent fun like Yumi's Cells, Dali and Gamjatang, and You Raise Me Up. 

Bride of the Century: Even with all the makjang, this story had potential. I'm just mad that the ghost/spirit story line really boiled down to nothing when it had the makings of a great revenge and protection tale. I also hated that grandma had to be intertwined with the Choi family. My biggest gripe is always the separation, but especially this time. Why did Na Do-Rim have to leave while pregnant and not even telling Choi Kang-Joo?! She was really going to raise his child without telling him forever. And they were all like, aww, that's sweet at the end. No! I do have to give credit to Yang Jin-Sung for playing the doppelgangers so differently. 
Blue Birthday: This drama started off so strong but lost some of the initial magic along the way. I have to admit that I was comparing it to Nine: Nine Times Time Travel, which is a bit unfair to the drama. Although, they both suffer from having at least one fairly useless time travel even with the finite number of travels allowed. I do think it's cute for what it is, and although it wasn't wholly satisfying, it's still worth a watch.

High School King of Savvy: Loved. This. Firstly, Seo In-Guk, 'nuff said. Second, I just truly enjoyed watching Lee Min-Seok grow as a person. Taking over his brother's life really oriented him in a positive trajectory in life, and it was great to see his friends and colleagues support him wholeheartedly. And even though he was the younger brother, he was already the more responsible and dependable one, and his double life as a director just cemented that even further. I also really enjoyed the nontraditional relationship between him and Jung Soo-Young. I don't fault her for falling in love with Min-Seok; you naturally believe a director in your office is an adult. Soo-Young's maturity level plays a factor here, and she was very careful about not crossing the line once she found out. At the end, I was admittedly against them getting married – this is the one time where I actually encouraged and expected a time jump. But as the finale pushed forward, I went from "why isn't anyone stopping this" to "this suits them perfectly." This was such a great drama that hit all the right notes for me throughout. 

Yumi's Cells: I tried. I really did. But I just can't. I feel like I'm watching a morning preschool show in between a prime time drama. The cartoons are cute and the thoughts are relatable, but it's just all too much. I also feel that many of the scenes drag on a minute or two longer than they should because of this dual drama set up, which is annoying. This would've been better if the cells were live action instead of animation. And this is coming from someone who loved Inside Out. 

100 Days My Prince: A lot goes on, but nothing really happens. I did enjoy the love story and the humbling of our prince. He becomes a better man suitable for leading the kingdom after experiencing his time outside of the palace. But omg, the story outside of that is circular, and Hong Shim becomes annoyingly stubborn after 100 days. Too many secrets and not enough romance. Story should've just been the 100 days, then a finale wrap up. 
The Great Shaman Ga Doo Shim: Well, it ended, and I'm not so sure what's ahead in life for our spirit-busting duo. Also, the principal's origin story was late and unnecessary at this point, and he didn't even need to be part of the episode. I don't understand why Doo-Shim rejected Na Woo-Soo in the end? I'm not saying that every drama needs to end in romance, but this was a show that nicely put the main characters together who grew fond of each other and depended on one another. And the fact that Woo-Soo even proposed that they wait to date until they've become more independent after Doo-Shim had her time to move out of her mom's home and explore on her own makes it even more confusing. If that was a subject the writers didn't want to touch, then why bring it up at all? It could've just ended with them laughing together at the pojangmacha and not talking about their relationship at all. 

Sassy Go Go: A cheerleading story that has absolutely nothing to do with cheerleading. I actually LOL'd when the team came in last place at the competition at the end because the whole drama I was thinking, "this dance team doesn't know how to dance" and "does everyone think these kids know how to dance?" Outside of the horrible dance moves, this is a great show with heart. Yes, there are a couple of story lines that weren't fleshed out properly or rushed, but overall this could've easily been part of the School series. 

You Raise Me Up: It ended very nicely, although a bit abrupt. But I think it was great for an 8-episode drama. It was a little weird how Do Ji-Hyeok was all "aww, go get your guy and leave me behind" immediately after proposing to Lee Ru-Da, but I'm glad when (months later) he was supportive of Do Yong-Shik declaring his love to Ru-Da. I'm sad this show didn't get a lot of attention on the kdrama scene because it really deserves more. 

Splash Splash Love: I haven't had a good, deep kdrama cry in a while, and this gave me all the feels. Even though this was only two episodes long, I truly fell in love with it. Jang Dan-Bi and King Lee Do were so enamored with each other and I was completely heartbroken when they had to separate, never to see each other again. But it was obvious that they each had such a lasting and positive influence on each other so they could each go on and do great things (You know, like create Hangul, nbd.) with a fresh perspective on life. It goes to show that all relationships aren't meant to be, but that doesn't mean you don't still care for each other and that life still goes on afterward. 

Dali and Cocky Prince: Based on all the promo posters, I was convinced this would be a period drama. (I don't watch trailers or pre-show interviews/promos of any kind.) So color me surprised when this takes place is current day. I'm enjoying this drama but I'm also annoyed by the army of men that surround Kim Da-Li. How many knights in shining armor and evil enemies does one woman need? And the multiple schemes going on in the background feel labored and unnecessary. Scale. it. back. I think Jin Moo-Hak is perfect as the loud, over-the-top, nouveau riche character who has a lot of business sense (be it nontraditional). But the ridiculous family and meddling not-quite-an-ex-girlfriend are too much. I also can't believe how many people have second-lead syndrome with Jang Tae-Jin because he's clearly picked his company/family over her before and I don't doubt that he'll do it again. He literally told his assistant that he let Da-Li go because he knew he could get her back. Jerk. And it's clear that his family still doesn't approve of Da-Li, especially after her dad died, because Tae-Jin's assistant warned him that it would look weird if he keeps helping her. That aside, I love Da-Li's classy confidence with a mix of na├»vety (although we could lose the stupid; i.e., flashing an envelope of cash at a seedy motel) from being raised in a gilded cage. I hope the drama finds its footing quickly, because the real show is when Da-Li and Moo-Hak are together and being themselves with each other. 

Because This Is My First Life: The first five episodes were absolutely perfect. Then it went off the rails a bit in the middle but mainly stayed on course. And then the last two episodes were a complete train wreck. I do want to say that I think the story of the side characters are great. I do wish that Kim Won-Seok took a real break from pining over Yang Ho-Rang after they broke up and actually dated someone else (ahem, Yoon Bo-Mi) so he could actually experience life with someone else before determining that Ho-Rang was right for him. But small point. The plot twists and over-the-top scenes are unnecessary after the straightforward and deliberate opening episodes. The drama didn't need an unreliable narrator story line that wrongly turned a cute kid with a crush on a pretty noona into a criminal stalker. (Yeon Bok-Nam's plot line was completely wasted, btw.) This show didn't need to rely on outrageous or nonsensical situations to prove a point; they could've done this in better ways. But it was Yoon Ji-Ho who really made me mad. I hated how she instigated all these uncomfortable situations by not talking with Nam Se-Hee at all. It was rude for Ji-Ho to tell everyone she met and who had connections with Se-Hee that theirs was a marriage of convenience. She didn't have the right to make that decision for Se-Hee, especially when it came to his friends and family. And that stole the opportunity for Se-Hee to address these situations himself and to even proclaim his love for her. Ji-Ho can't expect to will someone to speak what she wants to hear. Just staring at Se-Hee across the table won't get him to talk, especially after it's been established that he's not the type of person to understand hints. (Not that staring at him is a hint.) Then Ji-Ho walks out of Se-Hee's life without explanation to go on a selfish mission to find herself and then expects to just pick up where she left off without any negative consequences. I wish the story would've let Se-Hee rightfully be angry so Ji-Ho could actually learn from her actions. Se-Hee gave up everything he worked for, yet Ji-Ho just laughed at him for getting upset. And all that just to register their marriage in the end anyway? Lame. What a way to ruin a good drama.

Squid Game: I watched it, you watched it, we all watched it. Done.

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