Dramaland in Review #2

by: Raine

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Hello universe. Let’s check out what I’ve been watching and hear a couple of rants and raves. This week we’ll be looking into Descendants of the Sun, Moorim School, One More Happy Ending, Come Back, Ahjusshi, and Cheese in the Trap. I don’t want this to just be about my not-so-humble-opinion, but I’ve love for y’all RD fans to chime in and give your 2-cents.

Spoilers: Are present. You have been warned.

Descendants of the Sun

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Oh man, oh man, oh man. I’m totally digging this show. Sure, there’s stuff I dislike, but for the most part, the hype was worth it. It came in at 14.3% and 15.5% for episodes 1 and 2 respectively. Hot diggity.

Song Joong-ki is still the master of emotional tension. Song Hye-gyo is all woman and woman power. Onew is 100% adorakable. Jin Goo pulls of stoic and dry humor amazingly well. We haven’t see enough of Kim Ji-won for me to judge. Holding out.

Production value: Holy money, Batman! *13 billion won**cough**DAYUM* This is one slick show! Fight scene choreography, video editing, lighting, sound, smoke, ‘splosions, gunfire, lighting, thoughtout frame compositions. You name it. It’s just insanely pretty and wow. You can TELL that there was time.

Plot: We know it from the previews. It’s interesting. I like that the romance takes centerstage immediately and that, like real people and real adults, there is physical attraction (’cause who wouldn’t want to do either of the Song-Song couple?), honesty, realistically approaching values and relationships. The first episode was pretty high intensity and the second focused on emotional development. I liked that both episodes had two very different feelings. It allowed us to see the different aspects of the characters and how those mingle to create what will sure to be a high-intensity drama. I don’t much care for girl battles (i.e. Mo-yeon and the other doctor) but that kind of stuff happens all the time. I know, I’ve been on the receiving end of bitchy.

Characters: Loving Si-jin’s goofy, playful personality that coincides with his serious dedication to his country, his people, and his uniform. He and Jin Goo are a beautiful friendship, especially since Jin Goo ISN’T a side kick. He does things on his own terms. He helped Gi-beom. He deals with his own life. He’s separate from Si-jin and not there to pander to him and make fangirls swoon over Song Joong-ki. Mo-yeon is KICKASS. She’s smart, competent, and don’t take no shit from anybody. She has a fiery temper, and willingness to admit she was wrong. I LOVE that in characters. I also love the doctors and nurses around Mo-yeon, they have such a great rapport, and although we haven’t met them individually, Si-jin’s soldiers definitely have his back.

Some not so good stuff: Although I KNOW that the fight between Si-jin and the American leader was to test each other out and prove that they can work with each other, I hate how Americans are always portrayed as jerks. I dislike the racial slurs used as an instigator. But mostly, I would love if Americans (as an American myself) were portrayed in a friendlier light. I’m not saying my country or my people is perfect and that tensions that the US cause aren’t GREAT plot fodder, but I would like it if a couple of American portrayals were nice. Also, the blasting of the OST (although good) is just so overbearing. And sometimes the editing is very cheesy with the swooshing of fabric and angelic light and eyes meeting.

I can’t wait for the next episodes. Why am I covering this drama live? It’s going to be torture. Oh my heart. Song Joong-ki, come make me feel better!

Check out my HanCinema reviews: 1, 2

Moorim School

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Before I start, HanCinema and I are cooking up goodies on this one! Stay tuned!

Perhaps the most groundbreaking aspect of Moorim School is the fact that it sports an international cast. This is good on several fronts. It shows that foreigners (albeit a certain few) can live the dream. They can learn Korean, move to Korea, and find success. Another hope it gives is that foreigners CAN learn Korean and assimilate. It’s a dream I’m sure many of us have. I know I’m learning Korean. It gives us hope. And last, this shows that Korean small screen is opening up, even if just a bit, to casting foreigners as more than just their stereotypes. Just in this show we have people from England, Ghana, Germany, Hong Kong, and Thailand. That’s Europe, Asia, and Africa represented.

As for the show itself, the premise is wobbly and the plot is wobblier. The acting is okay, but I think that’s more an effect of the writing and direction. I’m very proud of the foreign cast for breaking the mold. They don’t just shout their lines robotically. Especially Ghana’s Sam Okyere and Germany’s Daniel Lindemann.

I don’t know how to explain how I feel about this show. It has some great moments, but as a whole it’s disjointed. Kim Beom-soo’s cameos definitely boost the scenes he’s in, but it feels weird when he’s not there and we’re talking about his character. Then we have VIXX’s Hongbin who is most definitely improving on the acting side, but he has a long way to go. (Sorry! I love you, baby! Starlight 4eva!) He does the best when he can be angry. I can’t wait until he can show emotions on his face more accurately.

But then Lee Hyun-woo, a young actor known for his skills, is also doing a bit of the bland face thing. So it could be direction. What do you think?

I admit to wanting MORE martial arts fighting, less brooding, more talking, and more character development outside romance and the main quartet. And more of the foreign CAST! I feel like we’re kept guessing as to how they feel, as though we’re supposed to know based on sad faces and cheesy music. (Well, the VIXX songs are amazing, and I don’t think because of my bias. I think.)

Check out my HanCinema Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

 

One More Happy Ending

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I love the OTP and I love Yoo Da-in’s story. I’m really digging how several shows that I’m watching have realistic people who think through things, do stupid things, take responsibility for their actions, talk things out. I appreciate that Soo-hyuk is a dedicated dad and that he has this gorgeous relationships with his son, Min-soo.

I frickin’ hate the second lead. He’s a doormat, he’s manipulative, and totally self-centered. Then the writers go and give him tons of growth in one episode? No, no. That’s not how it works people. You can’t just smack us over the head with growth and expect us to buy it. He and his doctor ex-wife seem like a waste of drama space to me. They’re only there as an obstacle for Mi-mo.

Now let’s talk about Jang Na-ra as Mi-mo. What a cute little charmer she is. She’s so full of life and emotion and I just can’t help but feel for naive, yet experienced, Mi-mo as she goes through love and life with such earnest passion. And Soo-hyuk, well, a man who loves his kid that much and is so dedicated, how can we not love him? He’s earnest to a fault and makes so many errors, and tries to atone for them. Jung Kyung-ho is such a great match for Jang Na-ra because he, too, is just a bundle of emotions on screen. I want to see more of him with his son because I love seeing a healthy single parent with his kid. It’s rare on t.v.

I have zero interest in Go Dong-mi (Sorry Yoo In-na!) or in Hong Ae-ran. They both do things to themselves and then complain. I know looks shouldn’t be a huge factor, but Dong-mi looks like she doesn’t take care of herself most of the time. Not cool. Ae-ran was cheated on and now she’s letting him woo her? Really uncool. I hate that aspect of Korean drama. Cheaters cheated once. You think they won’t again.

Ha.

Come Back, Ahjussi

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Man, I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying this show. I could’ve just lived without the body swap hijinks (even though Rain and his abs are very pretty, and Oh Yeon-seo is hysterical embodying Kim Su-ro’s Han Gi-tak. But it was Kim Su-ro and Kim In-kwon I fell in love with. They are so dear and real. Honestly, I don’t see what is so unattractive about Kim In-kwon. He’s not model gorgeous, but neither is he repulsive. Ugh, beauty standards. In any case, the premise is nothing new, but I do like that both men are passionate and really do want the best for those left behind. They are motivated purely by other people, not by their own needs, and that’s beautiful.

Not to mention watching Yeon-seo wobble/waddle as a very uncomfortable man-in-a-woman’s-body and her general ability to embody masculine mannerisms. I like that Han Gi-tak’s situation sheds light on what women go through. We’re often treated like sex objects and expected to dress up in heels that are wickedly painful (at least for me) and get looked at like hunks of sexy meat. Not that the same isn’t true for men. Look how differently Lee Hae-joon is treated once he has Rain’s gorgeous physique. Nice social commentary, show.

I must say that Honey Lee/Lee Ha-nui is improving in her acting. It’s good to see. And it’s also good to see Hae-joon’s wife loving him for him despite his “looks.” The problems she has with him are caused by his job and not their relationship or attraction between them.

I can’t wait for next week to see how these two men help the people they care for before their time is up.

Cheese in the Trap

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I am loving this show. Seol is such a wickedly awesome character and the way that the main trio relates is just scintillating.

Unfortunately there is a bunch of annoying crap in this show that I want to fast forward through. Stalkers, stalkers, and more stalkers. Entitled people who then make themselves into victims. Baek In-ha. And more of her. She’s so annoying.

I love Bo-ra’s and Eun-taek’s romance and he he finally steps up and she gets over herself.

Seol grows a spine as the series progresses and it’s is not always shown in the best light in terms of how her peers view her, but that’s okay. She’s been a doormat, and she’s learning not to be. Being with Yoo Jung and Baek In-ho is teaching her that. Kim Go-eun is very much deserving of the media praise she’s getting.

Yoo Jung. What a character. I love that we don’t actually get him and he keeps doing dubious things. I’m a little hesitant to say that I support him and Seol just because he is kinda dangerous in his hurt an inability to properly deal with his issues. But, wow, those issues! HOW AWESOME! I love that this difficult subject matter is put on the table. He’s so afraid of people usurping his place and taking his things because of how his father treated him with the Baek siblings and because of how he’s been used his whole life that he lashes out against anyone who takes what he deems his. Seol gets that and I would be amiss to neglect mentioning that she sees everything, good and bad, and still accepts him. Perhaps that is what he needs to get that nasty streak under control.

Baek In-ho. Maybe I love him ’cause he’s a suffering musician. I am a musician who hurt her hands/elbows and who still hasn’t quite recovered. I’m not like In-ho, however, who really threw his life down the crapper for a while. His bad choices are coming back to get him and he’s dealing with them as best he can. He’s struggling to change and to come to terms with liking Seol and with how she’s changing him as well. Maybe all these changes in the boys will bring them back together. After In-ha gets run over by a car. No, seriously. She needs to go. She is so cruel and manipulative.

Overall, I’m in it for the amazing psychological play going on and the spot on acting. Not that Park Hae-jin looks like a college kid, but we can move past that. He’s so great at transitioning between the Yoo Jung who displays infinite affection for Seol and the one who displays definite symptoms of sociopathy (I know I ain’t a shrink, but I seriously don’t think he has anti-social personality disorder. Think serial killers. He’s not there yet.)

Okay, people, what do YOU think? Comment, discuss. Let’s get this ball rolling!

 

3 thoughts on “Dramaland in Review #2

  1. aigoo says:

    The only drama i seem to watch is Glamorous Temptation…i am yet to catch up though, but i do like the drama. One more happy ending went into one more crying ending since episode 4 downward. Im habging there ‘ciz of the leads. If not, i would have been done with this drama since episode 6. DOTS…not really interested though i do like Song-song…not my cup of tea. Come.back ajusshi i will marathon it nxt week. After i am caught up with glamorous

    • Raine says:

      I’ve not started Glamorous. Is there a reason you’re drawn to it? I used to think I didn’t like this or that genre, but the longer I watch drama, the more I realize I like more genres. Of course, I have my preferences *romcom**cough*, but who doesn’t?

      • aigoo says:

        Hehe….anyone who doesn’t like romcom need to restructure their lives. I do agree that the longer you watch the more you like other genres.

        Glamorous is a little bit revengy with melo..however, it is pretty tame for a melo and revenge plot. I dont find myself cursing at my screen or having high bp, maybe that is why i am sill sticking to this 50 episode drama. By now i should be done with it, but i do like Choi Kang Hee and i want her underdog story to have a meaning at the end. Also, i like the orchestrated music piece. It is so revenge-y if that is a word. It feels like i am watching a Period drama…

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