Friday, September 19, 2014

Where In the Dramaverse Am I?

Hello bloggers,
Remember me? 

I know. I barely remember myself either. I used to blog about dramas. I used to watch dramas with some regularity. Now I consider it a feat if I watch a few episodes of at least something a week. The world has turned for me, as I always knew it would, and once feared it would. Several years ago my thoughts were, 'What a sad day when I no longer find dramas so entertaining and/or thought-provoking as I do now!' A year ago, 'This can't be the end. I won't let it be the end.'  A few months ago, 'Yep, I'm passed it all. Such is life.'

I think I thought the process would be more depressing than it is. I still watch some things, I still find things entertaining, and I have not retreated entirely from this world I've created from myself. I just show it differently. Much differently. For anyone interested, here's a recap of my life for the last few months:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Kdrama Review: Rebirth - Next (2005)

Rebirth - Next

Drama watchers rejoice: it's the review you've all been waiting for! No, it's not, and actually you've probably never heard of this whimsically romantic drama before, but that's okay. I'm here to change that. Rebirth, Next, Reincarnation, whatever you want to call it, is actually five stories about the same four people who meet in the present, and in four different pasts. Each time they're reincarnated (in four conveniently romantic historical Korean eras) their lives are plunged into chaos and angst, into brilliantly reworked and unique love squares, and when they die they don't remember each other in the next life. Or do they?

There is an overarching story set in the present timeline, which weaves in and between the historical eras, and that story is probably the wildest of them all. It's where we meet our main characters for the first time though. Ryu Soo Young is the neurosurgeon Min Ki Bum; Jang Shin Young plays Kang Jung Hwa, a starving stage actress; Lee Jong Soo is her colleague and almost boyfriend Min Ki Soo; and Park Ye Jin is the psychologist Lee So Hyeon who begins treating Jung Hwa with hypnosis, while possibly revealing their intertwining pasts.

Rebirth - Next is cheesy, epic, romantic to a fault, and great for those rainy days when you just want to whine about love and be overly indulged. And here's the best part. Once you've watched it through, you don't need to rewatch the whole thing. Just pick which era and storyline you liked in particular, and that two-episode era will be quite enough to fullfill all your nostalgic wants. Confused? Follow my guide with accompanying non-spoilery descriptions below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

DRAMA CLUB: Roommate, Episodes 1-5

Oh look who's back to writing non-fiction commentary again! ME. I've been asked once again to join a Drama Club for DramaFever about my new favorite Kvariety program Roommate along with Lore from Lore in Stone Cities (our first collaboration that I'm super excited about) and new friend Qisti from QT K-POP (another blog I seriously need to start exploring)!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Best of Asian Drama Moms (aka Happy Mother's Day)

So let me say something before we even begin:
Happy Mother’s Day!

This a gentle reminder for everyone with moms to give her an extra special hug today, and for those of you lovely ladies who are moms, well… as I said before, Happy Mother’s Day! What am I doing for Mother’s Day? I’m leaving the state and going on vacation without my mom (aiigoo.. eoma mianhamnida!) But because I knew this was happening, I decided to make this special tribute to her and great moms like her, who just so happen to be from the dramas. No evil conniving women in this post - this is dedicated to the best moms of Asian drama (that I have had the fortune to meet with).

Read on for my list of favorite NICE and FABULOUS drama moms on


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Villains of Kdrama: Dare I Say... Boring?

It’s no secret that the vast majority of TV/Movie lovers love a good villain. They drive the story, fuel the angst, and drive us positively bats*** crazy wondering what they’re going to do next - what deviltry will they induce, how many lives will they ruin, how many good people will die – all the while waiting to see what inevitable end they will come to. The hero will get them in the end, right? We’ll cheer and clap, and grin because we knew it would happen eventually. The End. Next drama. Ohh, a new baddie.


Does anyone else ever get tired of the same kind of bad dude, every other drama? The kind that’s completely without scruples, who murders without a thought, doesn’t give a care to his own goons, and will gleefully murder small children if it’s a means to his own success. In real life, I would happily see them behind bars and or just plain dead. But in dramas, they kind of bore me. Why? Because these types of characters exist for basically two reasons: to create a backdrop of black and white, and to make the viewers sick with emotional angst.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a good comic book style villain every now and then. And when a good sicko is created by some genius writer, I enjoy the thrill of seeing them put down a notch (or a 100 notches). But there’s something else I enjoy watching –something that’s almost more terrifying to see on screen – and that’s a villain that looks like real human being. A thug that feels real, a boss who cares about his lackeys, a villain with a 3-dimensional character, and maybe even some feelings to go along with it.

Do they need a full redemption story? Not necessarily, because that’s almost as boring as a bad guy getting his just deserts. But a villain that’s recognizable, or even – dare I say it – relatable? Now there’s a story that’s interesting to watch. Sadly, they’re a whole lot lacking in the Kdrama landscape.

Read the full story on

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Touch of K-Pop: January-March '14

Hey so guess what! I'm still alive.. Just not alive with an "I'm so excited to be blogging!" kind of alive feeling. If anything, I'm in a slump. A rut. Drama, blogging, and believe it or not, Kpop. Blame overly redundant dramas. Blame it my mood. Or the fact that my home computer screen needs replacing because it's so old and glitchy that my eyes hurt when I stare at it too long. Hey at least I got some new glasses that don't have scratches on them the size as the crack in the universe.

This was my March madness.
Why am I in Kpop rut though? Because honestly, these past few months haven't been that too exciting. For me at least. I think I got overly used to a string of my bias groups promoting, from October on-wards. So January and February were like filler months, and then March happened with the big girl group extravaganza, but by then I just wanted to hear good music, and I got it, and then I was good.

And now I'm hopelessly behind,* and I don't need to apologize for it but honestly I miss ranting a bit about the nonsensical things in Kpop so here I am once again, but this time with a slightly different format.
First things first though:
In two weeks I am going to a B.A.P concert with my mother in Dallas. It's her bias group, so don't look at me. I know I'm not a huge B.A.P fan but I do like a lot of their music and am pretty excited to be seeing them live. Now I just need to learn how to distinguish Daehyun from Jongup and I ought to be good.
Here's the second thing:
In June my husband and I are going to Miami for our 5 year anniversary trip (so cool!). The beach? It's not really my thing. I don't like sand, and I don't wear bikinis (I wear a very classy 50s era checkered bathing suit and I look damn fine in it). Miami, or rather... South Beach is the last place you would probably ever catch me and my husband on a vacation. But we're going because, well, you know... Block B will be there.

I'm going to see Block B in concert!

Hopefully they won't be playing those instruments though, or you know...
it probably won't sound very good. 

We have VIP tickets. I'm going to die. And probably cry lots as soon as as I see them. I'll be packing a a whole tissue box because I'll probably need it the moment they start to sing 'Be The Light'. It feels like this is too good to be true...

So onto the next stuff. I haven't blogged anything Kpop related but that doesn't mean I neglected the whole industry. In fact, my 2014 playlist seems to suggest otherwise. Here are 40 songs that I've noticed this year and currently dropped into a playlist, beyond the cut.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kdrama Review: Taereung National Village (2005)

Taereung National Village 

Every now and then, I get nostalgic for my favorite actors when I haven't seen them in a while. Hence my reason for watching this drama short. And the reason I picked this special production about athletes living in an Olympics training facility, falling in love and out of love... Lee Sun Gyun, aka The Voice. What I ended up watching was Lee Min Ki in a not underwhelming starring role. Taking in each 30 minute episode, the whole drama clocks in at around 4 hours. I speak from authority in that I do not like sports stories, I don't know a think about judo or archery, and I only know that I kind of like watching the swimmers and gymnasts when they come around every four years. But I liked this drama, and it wasn't because of the athletics. It was because of the athletes and the actors who played them.

Like many stories, this is a coming-of-age tale for the majority of the characters. Except the kids in Taereung have already had larger-than-life expectations thrust upon them. Hong Min Ki (Lee Min Ki, not to confuse anyone) is good at judo, except for that little problem that he becomes physically ill before every single match. Bang Su Ah (Choi Jung Yoon) won an archery medal at the last Olympics, but she's showing signs of a slump this time around. Her boyfriend Dong Kyung (Lee Sun Gyun) is a swimmer (yeah that means he walks around in swimmers trunks a couple times ) who's reaching past his prime before he could ever achieve something glorious, and little Ma Ru (Song Ha Yoon) is the best gymnast in the village with the whole world in front of her. Don't expect miracles out of everybody. This is a highly realistic snapshot of 4 completely different athletes who are thrust together due to their relationships, and the world makes what it will of them.

Is her face just tiny, or does he have a big head?

The Males

Lee Min Ki practically glitters throughout the whole drama. He's hyper, alternately cute and annoying, and makes no secret of his crush for the former gold medal winner archer. He's at his coolest though (meaning dorkiest) when he confronts that girl's hulk of a boyfriend. I'm biased of course, but Lee Sun Gyun is fabulous. He also acts the same as every other time I've seen the man act: confident in the spotlight, with a twinge of vulnerability when he's not. It's not groundbreaking, but always appealing. I give this show bonus points for the bromance. When the two aren't nose to nose, about to come to blows, they're sheltering each other from life and all its dirty little tricks. 

The Females

Taereung National Village doesn't just do justice to the males of the drama. Su Ah snuck up on me as one of my favorite characters, mostly for how she maintains her confidence in the midst of career slumps and love troubles. She goes from being a clueless bystander in her own relationships, to seriously considering the whys and hows of all her issues. All this without becoming jealous or vindictive of her rivals in both areas. Her roommate Ma Ru is initially typecast as the clingy would-be girlfriend to Min Ki but for a timely plot device that kind of made me love her. Life works us through many kinds of trials, and Ma Ru went through the pits of character hell into looking and acting like a real human being.

Next time, don't date an archer ;)

The Extra Bits

Why watch? I don't know. If you love the actors, if you're in for 4 hours of slice of life. If you're up for watching people learn and grow, and act natural, and still be funny. There's something peaceful about this drama. After the glitz and glam of Kdramas, it was a refreshing, homey watch, and evidently pinned by a production team that knew what it was doing, despite receiving probably no extra promotional material to work with. But hey, when they snuck in a scene from When Harry Met Sally, with accompanying irony, I was sold.