dangermousie: (Default)
Barely minutes into ep 4 of Will It Snow for Christmas and am reminded as to why I loved what bits of it I've seen as it aired. Lee Kyung Hee's dramas always create these layers of emotions of an almost hothouse intensity - the plot is always secondary to bringing out whatever mood, relationships and emotional truth she wants to convey. This brief little scene:







Oh, what an emotional punch it packs. There is so little said (she says nothing at all, actually), no voices are raised, but the hidden layers of meaning is are so powerful. (For context, Han Ye Seul was sleeping outside her faithless fiance's apartment and Go Soo, who is the man's neighbor, saw it, saw she was sick, and took her in. Now it's the next morning and the fiance stopped by). Everything Go Soo does and says seems so innocuous but is driven by his feelings for her and his anger at the man who left her. The way he politely explains what happened last night and then feels her forehead for fever, as if the other man isn't there, the way he politely tells the other man he should take her to the hospital and adds "unless you are too busy, I can do that then." (oooh burn!)

Not to mention the chemistry. Ahhh, the chemistry. I have yet to see a LKH drama without an insane chemistry between the leads.

You know, I've watched four LKH dramas - this, Sang Do Let's Go to School, A Love to Kill, and Thank You, and one of the things they have in common is that the protagonists are always outcasts - not just physically, but emotionally. Often, they are outcast in a very status sense (Rain is a gigolo in SD and a thug in ALTK, Gong Hyo Jin is ostracized as a single mother by her island community (and a mother of a child with HIV, no less)), but even if their societal status is OK on the surface, they are deeply emotionally wounded and isolated and odd. Take Gong Hyo Jin's teacher in SD - yes, respectable profession, doctor fiance, seemingly normal life, but underneath it all is someone permanently broken by her childhood and her past. In ALTK, Shin Minah's successful actress is suicidal and wandering her life in search of meaning, and in Thank You, Jang Hyuk is broken by his gf's death. That ever-present trauma and fragility is present in both the protagonists of WISFC - sure, they both have normal 'societal' lives - he's an architect, she's a medical student, but they are both so very broken. From what I remember of my first 'sort-of' watch of this, she wanders through life as walking-wounded, mourning her brother, lacking confidence and hope. And for him, the scars of his childhood remain and the guilt over things that aren't his fault and a deep-seated belief of being unworthy of any possible happiness.

Anyway, ILY, drama!
dangermousie: (Chuno - bw by alexandral)
Barely minutes into ep 4 of Will It Snow for Christmas and am reminded as to why I loved what bits of it I've seen as it aired. Lee Kyung Hee's dramas always create these layers of emotions of an almost hothouse intensity - the plot is always secondary to bringing out whatever mood, relationships and emotional truth she wants to convey. This brief little scene:







Oh, what an emotional punch it packs. There is so little said (she says nothing at all, actually), no voices are raised, but the hidden layers of meaning is are so powerful. (For context, Han Ye Seul was sleeping outside her faithless fiance's apartment and Go Soo, who is the man's neighbor, saw it, saw she was sick, and took her in. Now it's the next morning and the fiance stopped by). Everything Go Soo does and says seems so innocuous but is driven by his feelings for her and his anger at the man who left her. The way he politely explains what happened last night and then feels her forehead for fever, as if the other man isn't there, the way he politely tells the other man he should take her to the hospital and adds "unless you are too busy, I can do that then." (oooh burn!)

Not to mention the chemistry. Ahhh, the chemistry. I have yet to see a LKH drama without an insane chemistry between the leads.

You know, I've watched four LKH dramas - this, Sang Do Let's Go to School, A Love to Kill, and Thank You, and one of the things they have in common is that the protagonists are always outcasts - not just physically, but emotionally. Often, they are outcast in a very status sense (Rain is a gigolo in SD and a thug in ALTK, Gong Hyo Jin is ostracized as a single mother by her island community (and a mother of a child with HIV, no less)), but even if their societal status is OK on the surface, they are deeply emotionally wounded and isolated and odd. Take Gong Hyo Jin's teacher in SD - yes, respectable profession, doctor fiance, seemingly normal life, but underneath it all is someone permanently broken by her childhood and her past. In ALTK, Shin Minah's successful actress is suicidal and wandering her life in search of meaning, and in Thank You, Jang Hyuk is broken by his gf's death. That ever-present trauma and fragility is present in both the protagonists of WISFC - sure, they both have normal 'societal' lives - he's an architect, she's a medical student, but they are both so very broken. From what I remember of my first 'sort-of' watch of this, she wanders through life as walking-wounded, mourning her brother, lacking confidence and hope. And for him, the scars of his childhood remain and the guilt over things that aren't his fault and a deep-seated belief of being unworthy of any possible happiness.

Anyway, ILY, drama!
dangermousie: (Chuno - bw by alexandral)
Barely minutes into ep 4 of Will It Snow for Christmas and am reminded as to why I loved what bits of it I've seen as it aired. Lee Kyung Hee's dramas always create these layers of emotions of an almost hothouse intensity - the plot is always secondary to bringing out whatever mood, relationships and emotional truth she wants to convey. This brief little scene:







Oh, what an emotional punch it packs. There is so little said (she says nothing at all, actually), no voices are raised, but the hidden layers of meaning is are so powerful. (For context, Han Ye Seul was sleeping outside her faithless fiance's apartment and Go Soo, who is the man's neighbor, saw it, saw she was sick, and took her in. Now it's the next morning and the fiance stopped by). Everything Go Soo does and says seems so innocuous but is driven by his feelings for her and his anger at the man who left her. The way he politely explains what happened last night and then feels her forehead for fever, as if the other man isn't there, the way he politely tells the other man he should take her to the hospital and adds "unless you are too busy, I can do that then." (oooh burn!)

Not to mention the chemistry. Ahhh, the chemistry. I have yet to see a LKH drama without an insane chemistry between the leads.

You know, I've watched four LKH dramas - this, Sang Do Let's Go to School, A Love to Kill, and Thank You, and one of the things they have in common is that the protagonists are always outcasts - not just physically, but emotionally. Often, they are outcast in a very status sense (Rain is a gigolo in SD and a thug in ALTK, Gong Hyo Jin is ostracized as a single mother by her island community (and a mother of a child with HIV, no less)), but even if their societal status is OK on the surface, they are deeply emotionally wounded and isolated and odd. Take Gong Hyo Jin's teacher in SD - yes, respectable profession, doctor fiance, seemingly normal life, but underneath it all is someone permanently broken by her childhood and her past. In ALTK, Shin Minah's successful actress is suicidal and wandering her life in search of meaning, and in Thank You, Jang Hyuk is broken by his gf's death. That ever-present trauma and fragility is present in both the protagonists of WISFC - sure, they both have normal 'societal' lives - he's an architect, she's a medical student, but they are both so very broken. From what I remember of my first 'sort-of' watch of this, she wanders through life as walking-wounded, mourning her brother, lacking confidence and hope. And for him, the scars of his childhood remain and the guilt over things that aren't his fault and a deep-seated belief of being unworthy of any possible happiness.

Anyway, ILY, drama!
dangermousie: (Chuno - bw by alexandral)
Barely minutes into ep 4 of Will It Snow for Christmas and am reminded as to why I loved what bits of it I've seen as it aired. Lee Kyung Hee's dramas always create these layers of emotions of an almost hothouse intensity - the plot is always secondary to bringing out whatever mood, relationships and emotional truth she wants to convey. This brief little scene:







Oh, what an emotional punch it packs. There is so little said (she says nothing at all, actually), no voices are raised, but the hidden layers of meaning is are so powerful. (For context, Han Ye Seul was sleeping outside her faithless fiance's apartment and Go Soo, who is the man's neighbor, saw it, saw she was sick, and took her in. Now it's the next morning and the fiance stopped by). Everything Go Soo does and says seems so innocuous but is driven by his feelings for her and his anger at the man who left her. The way he politely explains what happened last night and then feels her forehead for fever, as if the other man isn't there, the way he politely tells the other man he should take her to the hospital and adds "unless you are too busy, I can do that then." (oooh burn!)

Not to mention the chemistry. Ahhh, the chemistry. I have yet to see a LKH drama without an insane chemistry between the leads.

You know, I've watched four LKH dramas - this, Sang Do Let's Go to School, A Love to Kill, and Thank You, and one of the things they have in common is that the protagonists are always outcasts - not just physically, but emotionally. Often, they are outcast in a very status sense (Rain is a gigolo in SD and a thug in ALTK, Gong Hyo Jin is ostracized as a single mother by her island community (and a mother of a child with HIV, no less)), but even if their societal status is OK on the surface, they are deeply emotionally wounded and isolated and odd. Take Gong Hyo Jin's teacher in SD - yes, respectable profession, doctor fiance, seemingly normal life, but underneath it all is someone permanently broken by her childhood and her past. In ALTK, Shin Minah's successful actress is suicidal and wandering her life in search of meaning, and in Thank You, Jang Hyuk is broken by his gf's death. That ever-present trauma and fragility is present in both the protagonists of WISFC - sure, they both have normal 'societal' lives - he's an architect, she's a medical student, but they are both so very broken. From what I remember of my first 'sort-of' watch of this, she wanders through life as walking-wounded, mourning her brother, lacking confidence and hope. And for him, the scars of his childhood remain and the guilt over things that aren't his fault and a deep-seated belief of being unworthy of any possible happiness.

Anyway, ILY, drama!
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
These are just some random thoughts I keep having about Bad Guy. Pardon me as I ramble.

Whoever tried to advertise BG as a revenge story did it a disservice. At its heart, it's a family story/melodrama. It is best at showcasing interactions/connections between its damaged characters - the revenge plot is not only not tightly done at all, it's not even a driver of the story or takes too much space. Let me put it this way, if you are a revenge story junkie, you are better off with Green Rose or Resurrection or (the best drama ever made, IMO) The Devil (I am lazy and will from now on refer to it as Mawang).

Revenge stories in kdrama are often a conduit for other themes - forgiveness and change and one's own culpability in Mawang and Resurrection, passionate dysfunctional love in A Love to Kill and Queen of the Game, the suffering motivating such vengeful behavior - Green Rose, Dog/Wolf etc. But still, the revenge and its effects are the main driver in these stories. Bad Guy uses Gun Wook's plans almost as a mcguffin to create its emotional interractions and connections. Its vibe reminds me much more of classic melodramas like Something Happened in Bali and I'm Sorry, I Love You (MiSa). Nobody can claim that the revenge plan in MiSa is in any way anything but an excuse to have So Ji Sub's character meet the girl he loves and slowly become a human being. It's not a revenge drama at all - very little time is occupied with any revenge. And Bali, which is the drama BG reminds me most, has never been described as a revenge drama.

Actually Bali and BG have eerie similarity. We have the prevailing, corrosive power of wealth. We have a powerful, soulless rich family which ends up being brought down by a combo of a smart, poor man who has a grudge (after he realizes he will never be accepted and always used). There is a whole subplot between the poor man and an icy rich woman (though unlike the vulnerable Taera of BG, Young Joo of Bali really does have ice water in her veins). The heroine is a warm-hearted, conflicted gold-digger who draws both of the damaged male protagonists to her through her sheer humanity in contrast with what they normally deal with. The other male protagonist is a horribly damaged rich boy who is emotionally very open and very unstable. Etcetcetc. I could really be here all day but I believe I made my point - Bad Guy, like Bali, is IMO a melodrama and just as I had little interest in seeing So Ji Sub's financial machinations to bring Jangs down, I don't really care about the details of Gun Wook's plans to bring down Hongs in the end - I just like seeing the situations as they develop. Interestingly, just as in Bali, I am all about the damaged rich boy in Bad Guy and the smart poor man leaves me rather cold. Bali is what made me a Jo In Sung fangirl for life - I guess I am drawn to off-kilter vulnerability.

Ironically, I find the protagonist of BG the story's biggest weakness. Even though Kim Nam Gil is a great actor, Gun Wook himself is rather a cypher and not a fascinating one. If you compare BG to Mawang the differences are stark and not just because Mawang is the epitome of the revenge drama. Mawang is a story which really shows the damage and the cost of revenge and what sort of damaged person would be consumed by it. Joo Ji Hoon's avenger in Mawang is arguably even more self-contained than Gun Wook but he is a dynamic, interesting character anyway and as the story goes on you quickly see that this tight control hides a destroyed little child within. Reserved and restrained doesn't have to mean so controlled as not to show anything more than the controlled mastermind facade but that is a problem with BG - so far, after 6+ episodes, that is how Gun Wook comes across to me. He is not an interesting character because the feelings of anger and his background causing his desire for revenge come across fine on paper (i.e. I don't think it's illogical he wants to bring down Hong family) but they lack any emotional connection to me as shown and do not feel dramatic.

One does not need to spend episodes showing the hell that the avenger was put through in order to decide to become an avenger (Green Rose goes that route but something like Mawang reveals the truth stingily, slowly, in scattered flashbacks that probably take 5 minutes combined). But there has to be some sort of an emotional connection and I do not feel any. In part it's because Gun Wook's story is made so bizarrely evil and OTT it makes me roll my eyes at kdrama melodrama - sure, his evil adoptive parents realized they made a mistake and he wasn't the illegitimate son so they dumped the little kid in the rain, he hurt his back badly through being shoved, his parents died trying to pick him up, even his dog got run over. I mean - what???? It all seems a bit silly. Contrast it with e.g. Green Rose, where protagonist is a collateral damage for a corporate murder gone wrong and ends up having his family destroyed as a result and see himself convicted for life for a murder he did not commit , and then, when he goes on the run, almost starves to death in China - it's not just Go Soo's amazing anguished acting that sells this, it's just the story is explained in a number of eps, it immerses you. No crazy brief OTT flashback. One can get away with a brief flashback if it's something fairly simple (like in Resurrection - bad guys killed hero's father to hide their corruption and later his brother. Not much explanation is needed) but if the story is crazy OTT, you better spend more time on it.

But ultimately, what fails to sell me on any sympathy with Gun Wook is not the inadequate background stuff, it's his present-day demeanor. I could overlook a backstory that is lacking if the present-day revenge stuff is interesting either in being clever so the viewer is piecing together a puzzle or emotionally connecting because you are invested in the protagonist, or both. (All the best revenge dramas have both). But here, Gun Wook is so self-contained and so well-put-together and functional, I have little patience or sympathy with him and want to tell him to move on and do something productive - the drama fails to show that whatever happened to him in the past truly screwed him up enough to make him want to go all-out for revenge. The protagonists of Mawang or Dog/Wolf or A Love to Kill - they are all wrecked people and if not for revenge there would be no meaning to their lives. Alternatively, in Resurrection or Green Rose, you see how revenge slowly destroys the protagonist. It all makes for a sympathetic, emotionally grabbing story that has dramatic tension. But neither is the case here. Gun Wook is not particularly symathetic because he is not damaged nor does he become damaged by his vengeful actions. Let me put it this way, if Gun Wook walked away, I can see him living a perfectly fine life - I have not been sold on such a dysfunction which would make revenge necessary. And so the tension in the story is gone.

I cannot identify, sympathize, or get interested in emotions of the protagonist when he has so little of them.

The above is not a bash of Bad Guy or even Gun Wook. It is all a very long way of saying that BG does not work as a revenge story, but what it does work brilliantly as, is a melodrama. Gun Wook is boring as dirt in most vengeance-related stuff or by himself, but his scenes with Taera which sparkle with desperate sexual chemistry and her desires or his scenes with Jae In when he shows vulnerability (i.e. melodrama scenes) work beautifully. And I find the family dynamics of the Hongs and the Hong siblings themselves a lot more interesting than Gun Wook anyway. Taera's cold loveless marriage and her desperation for some genuine warmth and love before it's too late. Mone's spoiled sheltered self-centeredness. Tae Sung's self-loathing and childlike craving for love. Jae In's pressing her nose against the window of the rich people's lifestyles. Madame Shin's cold, socially-calculated scheming. This is what I find really interesting. Gun Wook is interesting to me only insofar as he is a catalyst for any of these people. If Gun Wook randomly fell of a bridge, provided the rest of these characters would remain 'stirred up', I could be just fine. To be honest, I think I would love BG even more if it was a Tae Sung show, instead of Gun Wook show (yes, Bali all over again).

One last quick comment - I have a problem with GW's choice of revenge. He can extract all the revenge he wants from the Hong Parents who wronged him and are monsters. But he is purposely hurting Taera (he is wrecking her life), Tae Sung and Mone, and they have never done anything to him. Tae Sung got torn from his family just as Gun Wook was - he did not choose to come into cold abusive household at 8 on his own. Mone was a baby when all the bad stuff was going down. And Taera was a teen with not much agency either. Leave them alone!

Phew, this was long.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
These are just some random thoughts I keep having about Bad Guy. Pardon me as I ramble.

Whoever tried to advertise BG as a revenge story did it a disservice. At its heart, it's a family story/melodrama. It is best at showcasing interactions/connections between its damaged characters - the revenge plot is not only not tightly done at all, it's not even a driver of the story or takes too much space. Let me put it this way, if you are a revenge story junkie, you are better off with Green Rose or Resurrection or (the best drama ever made, IMO) The Devil (I am lazy and will from now on refer to it as Mawang).

Revenge stories in kdrama are often a conduit for other themes - forgiveness and change and one's own culpability in Mawang and Resurrection, passionate dysfunctional love in A Love to Kill and Queen of the Game, the suffering motivating such vengeful behavior - Green Rose, Dog/Wolf etc. But still, the revenge and its effects are the main driver in these stories. Bad Guy uses Gun Wook's plans almost as a mcguffin to create its emotional interractions and connections. Its vibe reminds me much more of classic melodramas like Something Happened in Bali and I'm Sorry, I Love You (MiSa). Nobody can claim that the revenge plan in MiSa is in any way anything but an excuse to have So Ji Sub's character meet the girl he loves and slowly become a human being. It's not a revenge drama at all - very little time is occupied with any revenge. And Bali, which is the drama BG reminds me most, has never been described as a revenge drama.

Actually Bali and BG have eerie similarity. We have the prevailing, corrosive power of wealth. We have a powerful, soulless rich family which ends up being brought down by a combo of a smart, poor man who has a grudge (after he realizes he will never be accepted and always used). There is a whole subplot between the poor man and an icy rich woman (though unlike the vulnerable Taera of BG, Young Joo of Bali really does have ice water in her veins). The heroine is a warm-hearted, conflicted gold-digger who draws both of the damaged male protagonists to her through her sheer humanity in contrast with what they normally deal with. The other male protagonist is a horribly damaged rich boy who is emotionally very open and very unstable. Etcetcetc. I could really be here all day but I believe I made my point - Bad Guy, like Bali, is IMO a melodrama and just as I had little interest in seeing So Ji Sub's financial machinations to bring Jangs down, I don't really care about the details of Gun Wook's plans to bring down Hongs in the end - I just like seeing the situations as they develop. Interestingly, just as in Bali, I am all about the damaged rich boy in Bad Guy and the smart poor man leaves me rather cold. Bali is what made me a Jo In Sung fangirl for life - I guess I am drawn to off-kilter vulnerability.

Ironically, I find the protagonist of BG the story's biggest weakness. Even though Kim Nam Gil is a great actor, Gun Wook himself is rather a cypher and not a fascinating one. If you compare BG to Mawang the differences are stark and not just because Mawang is the epitome of the revenge drama. Mawang is a story which really shows the damage and the cost of revenge and what sort of damaged person would be consumed by it. Joo Ji Hoon's avenger in Mawang is arguably even more self-contained than Gun Wook but he is a dynamic, interesting character anyway and as the story goes on you quickly see that this tight control hides a destroyed little child within. Reserved and restrained doesn't have to mean so controlled as not to show anything more than the controlled mastermind facade but that is a problem with BG - so far, after 6+ episodes, that is how Gun Wook comes across to me. He is not an interesting character because the feelings of anger and his background causing his desire for revenge come across fine on paper (i.e. I don't think it's illogical he wants to bring down Hong family) but they lack any emotional connection to me as shown and do not feel dramatic.

One does not need to spend episodes showing the hell that the avenger was put through in order to decide to become an avenger (Green Rose goes that route but something like Mawang reveals the truth stingily, slowly, in scattered flashbacks that probably take 5 minutes combined). But there has to be some sort of an emotional connection and I do not feel any. In part it's because Gun Wook's story is made so bizarrely evil and OTT it makes me roll my eyes at kdrama melodrama - sure, his evil adoptive parents realized they made a mistake and he wasn't the illegitimate son so they dumped the little kid in the rain, he hurt his back badly through being shoved, his parents died trying to pick him up, even his dog got run over. I mean - what???? It all seems a bit silly. Contrast it with e.g. Green Rose, where protagonist is a collateral damage for a corporate murder gone wrong and ends up having his family destroyed as a result and see himself convicted for life for a murder he did not commit , and then, when he goes on the run, almost starves to death in China - it's not just Go Soo's amazing anguished acting that sells this, it's just the story is explained in a number of eps, it immerses you. No crazy brief OTT flashback. One can get away with a brief flashback if it's something fairly simple (like in Resurrection - bad guys killed hero's father to hide their corruption and later his brother. Not much explanation is needed) but if the story is crazy OTT, you better spend more time on it.

But ultimately, what fails to sell me on any sympathy with Gun Wook is not the inadequate background stuff, it's his present-day demeanor. I could overlook a backstory that is lacking if the present-day revenge stuff is interesting either in being clever so the viewer is piecing together a puzzle or emotionally connecting because you are invested in the protagonist, or both. (All the best revenge dramas have both). But here, Gun Wook is so self-contained and so well-put-together and functional, I have little patience or sympathy with him and want to tell him to move on and do something productive - the drama fails to show that whatever happened to him in the past truly screwed him up enough to make him want to go all-out for revenge. The protagonists of Mawang or Dog/Wolf or A Love to Kill - they are all wrecked people and if not for revenge there would be no meaning to their lives. Alternatively, in Resurrection or Green Rose, you see how revenge slowly destroys the protagonist. It all makes for a sympathetic, emotionally grabbing story that has dramatic tension. But neither is the case here. Gun Wook is not particularly symathetic because he is not damaged nor does he become damaged by his vengeful actions. Let me put it this way, if Gun Wook walked away, I can see him living a perfectly fine life - I have not been sold on such a dysfunction which would make revenge necessary. And so the tension in the story is gone.

I cannot identify, sympathize, or get interested in emotions of the protagonist when he has so little of them.

The above is not a bash of Bad Guy or even Gun Wook. It is all a very long way of saying that BG does not work as a revenge story, but what it does work brilliantly as, is a melodrama. Gun Wook is boring as dirt in most vengeance-related stuff or by himself, but his scenes with Taera which sparkle with desperate sexual chemistry and her desires or his scenes with Jae In when he shows vulnerability (i.e. melodrama scenes) work beautifully. And I find the family dynamics of the Hongs and the Hong siblings themselves a lot more interesting than Gun Wook anyway. Taera's cold loveless marriage and her desperation for some genuine warmth and love before it's too late. Mone's spoiled sheltered self-centeredness. Tae Sung's self-loathing and childlike craving for love. Jae In's pressing her nose against the window of the rich people's lifestyles. Madame Shin's cold, socially-calculated scheming. This is what I find really interesting. Gun Wook is interesting to me only insofar as he is a catalyst for any of these people. If Gun Wook randomly fell of a bridge, provided the rest of these characters would remain 'stirred up', I could be just fine. To be honest, I think I would love BG even more if it was a Tae Sung show, instead of Gun Wook show (yes, Bali all over again).

One last quick comment - I have a problem with GW's choice of revenge. He can extract all the revenge he wants from the Hong Parents who wronged him and are monsters. But he is purposely hurting Taera (he is wrecking her life), Tae Sung and Mone, and they have never done anything to him. Tae Sung got torn from his family just as Gun Wook was - he did not choose to come into cold abusive household at 8 on his own. Mone was a baby when all the bad stuff was going down. And Taera was a teen with not much agency either. Leave them alone!

Phew, this was long.
dangermousie: (Mawang angst by miss-dian)
These are just some random thoughts I keep having about Bad Guy. Pardon me as I ramble.

Whoever tried to advertise BG as a revenge story did it a disservice. At its heart, it's a family story/melodrama. It is best at showcasing interactions/connections between its damaged characters - the revenge plot is not only not tightly done at all, it's not even a driver of the story or takes too much space. Let me put it this way, if you are a revenge story junkie, you are better off with Green Rose or Resurrection or (the best drama ever made, IMO) The Devil (I am lazy and will from now on refer to it as Mawang).

Revenge stories in kdrama are often a conduit for other themes - forgiveness and change and one's own culpability in Mawang and Resurrection, passionate dysfunctional love in A Love to Kill and Queen of the Game, the suffering motivating such vengeful behavior - Green Rose, Dog/Wolf etc. But still, the revenge and its effects are the main driver in these stories. Bad Guy uses Gun Wook's plans almost as a mcguffin to create its emotional interractions and connections. Its vibe reminds me much more of classic melodramas like Something Happened in Bali and I'm Sorry, I Love You (MiSa). Nobody can claim that the revenge plan in MiSa is in any way anything but an excuse to have So Ji Sub's character meet the girl he loves and slowly become a human being. It's not a revenge drama at all - very little time is occupied with any revenge. And Bali, which is the drama BG reminds me most, has never been described as a revenge drama.

Actually Bali and BG have eerie similarity. We have the prevailing, corrosive power of wealth. We have a powerful, soulless rich family which ends up being brought down by a combo of a smart, poor man who has a grudge (after he realizes he will never be accepted and always used). There is a whole subplot between the poor man and an icy rich woman (though unlike the vulnerable Taera of BG, Young Joo of Bali really does have ice water in her veins). The heroine is a warm-hearted, conflicted gold-digger who draws both of the damaged male protagonists to her through her sheer humanity in contrast with what they normally deal with. The other male protagonist is a horribly damaged rich boy who is emotionally very open and very unstable. Etcetcetc. I could really be here all day but I believe I made my point - Bad Guy, like Bali, is IMO a melodrama and just as I had little interest in seeing So Ji Sub's financial machinations to bring Jangs down, I don't really care about the details of Gun Wook's plans to bring down Hongs in the end - I just like seeing the situations as they develop. Interestingly, just as in Bali, I am all about the damaged rich boy in Bad Guy and the smart poor man leaves me rather cold. Bali is what made me a Jo In Sung fangirl for life - I guess I am drawn to off-kilter vulnerability.

Ironically, I find the protagonist of BG the story's biggest weakness. Even though Kim Nam Gil is a great actor, Gun Wook himself is rather a cypher and not a fascinating one. If you compare BG to Mawang the differences are stark and not just because Mawang is the epitome of the revenge drama. Mawang is a story which really shows the damage and the cost of revenge and what sort of damaged person would be consumed by it. Joo Ji Hoon's avenger in Mawang is arguably even more self-contained than Gun Wook but he is a dynamic, interesting character anyway and as the story goes on you quickly see that this tight control hides a destroyed little child within. Reserved and restrained doesn't have to mean so controlled as not to show anything more than the controlled mastermind facade but that is a problem with BG - so far, after 6+ episodes, that is how Gun Wook comes across to me. He is not an interesting character because the feelings of anger and his background causing his desire for revenge come across fine on paper (i.e. I don't think it's illogical he wants to bring down Hong family) but they lack any emotional connection to me as shown and do not feel dramatic.

One does not need to spend episodes showing the hell that the avenger was put through in order to decide to become an avenger (Green Rose goes that route but something like Mawang reveals the truth stingily, slowly, in scattered flashbacks that probably take 5 minutes combined). But there has to be some sort of an emotional connection and I do not feel any. In part it's because Gun Wook's story is made so bizarrely evil and OTT it makes me roll my eyes at kdrama melodrama - sure, his evil adoptive parents realized they made a mistake and he wasn't the illegitimate son so they dumped the little kid in the rain, he hurt his back badly through being shoved, his parents died trying to pick him up, even his dog got run over. I mean - what???? It all seems a bit silly. Contrast it with e.g. Green Rose, where protagonist is a collateral damage for a corporate murder gone wrong and ends up having his family destroyed as a result and see himself convicted for life for a murder he did not commit , and then, when he goes on the run, almost starves to death in China - it's not just Go Soo's amazing anguished acting that sells this, it's just the story is explained in a number of eps, it immerses you. No crazy brief OTT flashback. One can get away with a brief flashback if it's something fairly simple (like in Resurrection - bad guys killed hero's father to hide their corruption and later his brother. Not much explanation is needed) but if the story is crazy OTT, you better spend more time on it.

But ultimately, what fails to sell me on any sympathy with Gun Wook is not the inadequate background stuff, it's his present-day demeanor. I could overlook a backstory that is lacking if the present-day revenge stuff is interesting either in being clever so the viewer is piecing together a puzzle or emotionally connecting because you are invested in the protagonist, or both. (All the best revenge dramas have both). But here, Gun Wook is so self-contained and so well-put-together and functional, I have little patience or sympathy with him and want to tell him to move on and do something productive - the drama fails to show that whatever happened to him in the past truly screwed him up enough to make him want to go all-out for revenge. The protagonists of Mawang or Dog/Wolf or A Love to Kill - they are all wrecked people and if not for revenge there would be no meaning to their lives. Alternatively, in Resurrection or Green Rose, you see how revenge slowly destroys the protagonist. It all makes for a sympathetic, emotionally grabbing story that has dramatic tension. But neither is the case here. Gun Wook is not particularly symathetic because he is not damaged nor does he become damaged by his vengeful actions. Let me put it this way, if Gun Wook walked away, I can see him living a perfectly fine life - I have not been sold on such a dysfunction which would make revenge necessary. And so the tension in the story is gone.

I cannot identify, sympathize, or get interested in emotions of the protagonist when he has so little of them.

The above is not a bash of Bad Guy or even Gun Wook. It is all a very long way of saying that BG does not work as a revenge story, but what it does work brilliantly as, is a melodrama. Gun Wook is boring as dirt in most vengeance-related stuff or by himself, but his scenes with Taera which sparkle with desperate sexual chemistry and her desires or his scenes with Jae In when he shows vulnerability (i.e. melodrama scenes) work beautifully. And I find the family dynamics of the Hongs and the Hong siblings themselves a lot more interesting than Gun Wook anyway. Taera's cold loveless marriage and her desperation for some genuine warmth and love before it's too late. Mone's spoiled sheltered self-centeredness. Tae Sung's self-loathing and childlike craving for love. Jae In's pressing her nose against the window of the rich people's lifestyles. Madame Shin's cold, socially-calculated scheming. This is what I find really interesting. Gun Wook is interesting to me only insofar as he is a catalyst for any of these people. If Gun Wook randomly fell of a bridge, provided the rest of these characters would remain 'stirred up', I could be just fine. To be honest, I think I would love BG even more if it was a Tae Sung show, instead of Gun Wook show (yes, Bali all over again).

One last quick comment - I have a problem with GW's choice of revenge. He can extract all the revenge he wants from the Hong Parents who wronged him and are monsters. But he is purposely hurting Taera (he is wrecking her life), Tae Sung and Mone, and they have never done anything to him. Tae Sung got torn from his family just as Gun Wook was - he did not choose to come into cold abusive household at 8 on his own. Mone was a baby when all the bad stuff was going down. And Taera was a teen with not much agency either. Leave them alone!

Phew, this was long.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
[livejournal.com profile] walkswithheroes is doing a similar list and I thought I'd steal the idea.

So I am going to post on 10 dramas that I think are excellent but deserve more fandom love.



"If I am to be punished, I'll take it. If people will throw stones at us, I'll get hit. If there is a hell, I'll go there. Let's forget who you are and who I am. Let's be crazy. Let's run away together."

My first choice is my favorite melodrama of all time - 2005 kdrama A Love to Kill starring Rain and Shin Min Ah.

The story is fairly simple - a lowlife named Bokgu decides to avenge his older brother, who he thinks has committed suicide because of being dumped by the rising young actress Eun Sung. (The audience knows from the start he is wrong about his facts and a lot of tension in the story comes from that knowledge). His plan is to get close to her and emotionally wreck her the way he believes she wrecked his brother. (It's an insane plan but it's clear it is just something for Bokgu to do in order to go on with his meaningless existence). But he cannot help falling in love himself...

Everyone on my friendslist who has seen it has loved it but too few people have seen it. Its ratings were pretty low too. I have no idea why it has such a marked lack of popularity - except that maybe many a Rain fangirl couldn't bear to see her idol playing a despicable character in a dark drama? I honestly do not know.

I love ALTK precisely because it is dark and muddy and passionate and desperate - if many kdramas make me think of chicklit, ALTK reminds me of one of those sprawling, tragic 19th century Russian novels, with protagonists trapped and doomed by their environment and limitations. The story is by my favorite melodrama writer, Lee Kyung Hee. LKH is a master at getting at the emotional heart of situation but in her latest work (Christmas) she takes narrative shotcuts to these points - not so in ALTK - the emotional strength is underpinned by a story where things are adequately explained.

There are many dramas I loved where, once a few months pass, I cannot remember why I was obsessed, and the emotional connection gets blunted. Not so with ALTK - remembering some of its moments immediately brings to mind how strongly I felt about them - the utter emotional immersion. The amazing cinematography and direction help with the almost dreamlike intensity of the story. And the acting is top-notch too. This is the drama that made me realize the fuss both about Rain and SMA. They play these both utterly broken people, desperate, dysfunctional, not really likeable but somehow relatable. He is brutal, lonely, crushed under his obligations. She is broken, fragile, self-destructive. They both are controlled by past, honor, and guilt. They both have no warmth in their lives. Despite everything they are strikingly alike.

It is hard to pick my favorite scene (and not be too spoilery) but, oddly, among all the great moments it is one very little one which sticks out. It's a quick moment in ep 15 - when she asks him when he first fell in love with her and his answer was so not what I expected. "From the first moment I met you" - that is all he says and it blew me away. I remember starting to sob like an idiot.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
[livejournal.com profile] walkswithheroes is doing a similar list and I thought I'd steal the idea.

So I am going to post on 10 dramas that I think are excellent but deserve more fandom love.



"If I am to be punished, I'll take it. If people will throw stones at us, I'll get hit. If there is a hell, I'll go there. Let's forget who you are and who I am. Let's be crazy. Let's run away together."

My first choice is my favorite melodrama of all time - 2005 kdrama A Love to Kill starring Rain and Shin Min Ah.

The story is fairly simple - a lowlife named Bokgu decides to avenge his older brother, who he thinks has committed suicide because of being dumped by the rising young actress Eun Sung. (The audience knows from the start he is wrong about his facts and a lot of tension in the story comes from that knowledge). His plan is to get close to her and emotionally wreck her the way he believes she wrecked his brother. (It's an insane plan but it's clear it is just something for Bokgu to do in order to go on with his meaningless existence). But he cannot help falling in love himself...

Everyone on my friendslist who has seen it has loved it but too few people have seen it. Its ratings were pretty low too. I have no idea why it has such a marked lack of popularity - except that maybe many a Rain fangirl couldn't bear to see her idol playing a despicable character in a dark drama? I honestly do not know.

I love ALTK precisely because it is dark and muddy and passionate and desperate - if many kdramas make me think of chicklit, ALTK reminds me of one of those sprawling, tragic 19th century Russian novels, with protagonists trapped and doomed by their environment and limitations. The story is by my favorite melodrama writer, Lee Kyung Hee. LKH is a master at getting at the emotional heart of situation but in her latest work (Christmas) she takes narrative shotcuts to these points - not so in ALTK - the emotional strength is underpinned by a story where things are adequately explained.

There are many dramas I loved where, once a few months pass, I cannot remember why I was obsessed, and the emotional connection gets blunted. Not so with ALTK - remembering some of its moments immediately brings to mind how strongly I felt about them - the utter emotional immersion. The amazing cinematography and direction help with the almost dreamlike intensity of the story. And the acting is top-notch too. This is the drama that made me realize the fuss both about Rain and SMA. They play these both utterly broken people, desperate, dysfunctional, not really likeable but somehow relatable. He is brutal, lonely, crushed under his obligations. She is broken, fragile, self-destructive. They both are controlled by past, honor, and guilt. They both have no warmth in their lives. Despite everything they are strikingly alike.

It is hard to pick my favorite scene (and not be too spoilery) but, oddly, among all the great moments it is one very little one which sticks out. It's a quick moment in ep 15 - when she asks him when he first fell in love with her and his answer was so not what I expected. "From the first moment I met you" - that is all he says and it blew me away. I remember starting to sob like an idiot.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
[livejournal.com profile] walkswithheroes is doing a similar list and I thought I'd steal the idea.

So I am going to post on 10 dramas that I think are excellent but deserve more fandom love.



"If I am to be punished, I'll take it. If people will throw stones at us, I'll get hit. If there is a hell, I'll go there. Let's forget who you are and who I am. Let's be crazy. Let's run away together."

My first choice is my favorite melodrama of all time - 2005 kdrama A Love to Kill starring Rain and Shin Min Ah.

The story is fairly simple - a lowlife named Bokgu decides to avenge his older brother, who he thinks has committed suicide because of being dumped by the rising young actress Eun Sung. (The audience knows from the start he is wrong about his facts and a lot of tension in the story comes from that knowledge). His plan is to get close to her and emotionally wreck her the way he believes she wrecked his brother. (It's an insane plan but it's clear it is just something for Bokgu to do in order to go on with his meaningless existence). But he cannot help falling in love himself...

Everyone on my friendslist who has seen it has loved it but too few people have seen it. Its ratings were pretty low too. I have no idea why it has such a marked lack of popularity - except that maybe many a Rain fangirl couldn't bear to see her idol playing a despicable character in a dark drama? I honestly do not know.

I love ALTK precisely because it is dark and muddy and passionate and desperate - if many kdramas make me think of chicklit, ALTK reminds me of one of those sprawling, tragic 19th century Russian novels, with protagonists trapped and doomed by their environment and limitations. The story is by my favorite melodrama writer, Lee Kyung Hee. LKH is a master at getting at the emotional heart of situation but in her latest work (Christmas) she takes narrative shotcuts to these points - not so in ALTK - the emotional strength is underpinned by a story where things are adequately explained.

There are many dramas I loved where, once a few months pass, I cannot remember why I was obsessed, and the emotional connection gets blunted. Not so with ALTK - remembering some of its moments immediately brings to mind how strongly I felt about them - the utter emotional immersion. The amazing cinematography and direction help with the almost dreamlike intensity of the story. And the acting is top-notch too. This is the drama that made me realize the fuss both about Rain and SMA. They play these both utterly broken people, desperate, dysfunctional, not really likeable but somehow relatable. He is brutal, lonely, crushed under his obligations. She is broken, fragile, self-destructive. They both are controlled by past, honor, and guilt. They both have no warmth in their lives. Despite everything they are strikingly alike.

It is hard to pick my favorite scene (and not be too spoilery) but, oddly, among all the great moments it is one very little one which sticks out. It's a quick moment in ep 15 - when she asks him when he first fell in love with her and his answer was so not what I expected. "From the first moment I met you" - that is all he says and it blew me away. I remember starting to sob like an idiot.
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
Have a 7-minute preview for upcoming Will It Snow on Christmas:



A romantic drama by the woman who gave us A Love to Kill, my favorite romantic tragedy? Oh YES PLEASE. If there is a scene in this half as awesome as the one where Rain shields Shin Min Ah from a brutal beating in the rain with his own body, I will love the writer forever.

Also, read spoilers for ep 13 of IRIS and ahsjfkfrjrjjjds
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
Have a 7-minute preview for upcoming Will It Snow on Christmas:



A romantic drama by the woman who gave us A Love to Kill, my favorite romantic tragedy? Oh YES PLEASE. If there is a scene in this half as awesome as the one where Rain shields Shin Min Ah from a brutal beating in the rain with his own body, I will love the writer forever.

Also, read spoilers for ep 13 of IRIS and ahsjfkfrjrjjjds
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
Have a 7-minute preview for upcoming Will It Snow on Christmas:



A romantic drama by the woman who gave us A Love to Kill, my favorite romantic tragedy? Oh YES PLEASE. If there is a scene in this half as awesome as the one where Rain shields Shin Min Ah from a brutal beating in the rain with his own body, I will love the writer forever.

Also, read spoilers for ep 13 of IRIS and ahsjfkfrjrjjjds
dangermousie: (Lobbyist OTP by miss-dian)
I decided to give it another try and watched ep 4 of Lawyers of Korea as per [livejournal.com profile] ambergold's instructions. It was very hilarious. While the insane flashback which both makes me hate Min Gook the Rich Guy and makes no narrative sense (seriously - they do not interact in any way consistent with that flashback - none of the three main characters!) pretty much guarantees this drama won't make it into a favorites list and also precludes me shipping the Heroine with Rich Guy, it's funny enough to watch for at least a few more eps. I am just going to pretend for the next few eps I watch that Min Gook is sleazy but well-paying client that enables her to gain experience and nothing more and that she and Lawyer Byun get together at the end - except for his walking out without a word years ago (I'll handwaive this as he left a message she didn't get. It's easier than handwaving Min Gook into a good person) he is pretty darn awesome - supportive and alpha at the same time, funny and with chemistry with the heroine. Also not a serial cheater, which is more than I can say for the leading man. Yes. Still bitter.

This scene with Lawyer Byun and Ya Kyung was gorgeous, though.



Sail on, my undaunted uncanonical ship!

This ep is so funny it even features a "guy protecting girl from beating with his body" scene that is hilarious! I literally LOLed. Sadly for LoK, I prefer the angsty-serious take on this such as in (leaving aside the pinnacle of this that is Hana Yori Dango/Meteor Garden) 'A Love to Kill,' (the best one - he is her bodyguard and his side job with thugs goes wrong and they are slowly beating him to death. She walks by and sees it and tries to stop it, one girl against a horde of violent criminals - telling them she is a famous star (she is) and so they can't hit her without getting in trouble and covering him with her body. But they don't care and start hitting her and he rolls over, barely conscious, shielding her with his body. They end up in hospital with serious injuries for a while and I end up in love), 'Tree of Heaven' (he begs on his knees for his enemy to stab him because otherwise the guy will go after his OTP), and 'Lobbyist' (he covers her with the last of his strength). I have to say Lobbyist, despite the happy ending is, hands-down, the most hurt-comfort drama I have ever seen. I don't think there was a single episode where Song Il Gook's character was not seriously, and sometimes horrifically, mistreated. I am still amazed he made through it with all his limbs intact. I am rather looking forward to 'Swallow the Sun,' another mercenaries drama from the same team - I am curious to see if they can top Lobbyist. (I wonder why SIG has a thing for getting roughed up in his drama - other than Lee Jun Ki's 'Time Between Dog and Wolf,' the only drama to offer some competition to Lobbyist is another SIG drama - Kingdom of the Winds.)

And that was a heck of a digression.

Also, after watching various Seoul 1945 vids on youtube, I now ship Lawyer Byun and Ae Ri just because that OTP seemed awesome in S1945. That drama is very much up my alley - gritty period epic - and I would have watched it a long time ago if it wasn't so dratted long - 70 episodes! I am sure the topic of WW2 and Korean War is worth that many, but I have the attention span of a gnat. Just point me towards the episodes with Lawyer Byun and Ae Ri tortured in the prison camp, kthanks.

Watching the youtube vids led me to discover (through 'similar vids' feature) a drama I really want to check out (also starring Lawyer Byun): 18 vs 29. It sounds adorable and I need a fluffy drama in midst of all the serious ones. The heroine is a 29-yr-old woman who married her highschool sweetheart (someone she hated in school at first but then fell for). However, things haven't been going smoothly and she has decided to file for divorce. Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for the drama), on the way to the courthouse she gets into a car accident. It being a Korean drama car accident, her injury is loss of any of her memories after age 18. It is up to her almost-ex-husband to care for her. Can they fall in love all over again?

Cute MV:



ETA: Found this "justification" on soompi for Min Gook being a bastard to Ae Ri after her miscarriage:

"I have this feeling that HMK thinks that maybe AR have other man before their marriage. So, he is angry that she have difficulty keeping babies."

Oh yes. That would be such a lovely justification. "Hey, whore, you stretched yourself out with other guys and because of it now can't keep my kids!" Forget medically unsound - that would be even sicker than what the drama has. Sometimes fans drive me up the wall.

'Tis a pity Min Gook such a bastard because occasionally he comes across as hot.



Pity.

ETA2: reading soompi, I found out the reason why Lawyer Byun left that first time. AWWWWW. Lawyer Byun, I forgive you. It's official, I want you to get the girl you like because you are a good guy.
dangermousie: (Lobbyist OTP by miss-dian)
I decided to give it another try and watched ep 4 of Lawyers of Korea as per [livejournal.com profile] ambergold's instructions. It was very hilarious. While the insane flashback which both makes me hate Min Gook the Rich Guy and makes no narrative sense (seriously - they do not interact in any way consistent with that flashback - none of the three main characters!) pretty much guarantees this drama won't make it into a favorites list and also precludes me shipping the Heroine with Rich Guy, it's funny enough to watch for at least a few more eps. I am just going to pretend for the next few eps I watch that Min Gook is sleazy but well-paying client that enables her to gain experience and nothing more and that she and Lawyer Byun get together at the end - except for his walking out without a word years ago (I'll handwaive this as he left a message she didn't get. It's easier than handwaving Min Gook into a good person) he is pretty darn awesome - supportive and alpha at the same time, funny and with chemistry with the heroine. Also not a serial cheater, which is more than I can say for the leading man. Yes. Still bitter.

This scene with Lawyer Byun and Ya Kyung was gorgeous, though.



Sail on, my undaunted uncanonical ship!

This ep is so funny it even features a "guy protecting girl from beating with his body" scene that is hilarious! I literally LOLed. Sadly for LoK, I prefer the angsty-serious take on this such as in (leaving aside the pinnacle of this that is Hana Yori Dango/Meteor Garden) 'A Love to Kill,' (the best one - he is her bodyguard and his side job with thugs goes wrong and they are slowly beating him to death. She walks by and sees it and tries to stop it, one girl against a horde of violent criminals - telling them she is a famous star (she is) and so they can't hit her without getting in trouble and covering him with her body. But they don't care and start hitting her and he rolls over, barely conscious, shielding her with his body. They end up in hospital with serious injuries for a while and I end up in love), 'Tree of Heaven' (he begs on his knees for his enemy to stab him because otherwise the guy will go after his OTP), and 'Lobbyist' (he covers her with the last of his strength). I have to say Lobbyist, despite the happy ending is, hands-down, the most hurt-comfort drama I have ever seen. I don't think there was a single episode where Song Il Gook's character was not seriously, and sometimes horrifically, mistreated. I am still amazed he made through it with all his limbs intact. I am rather looking forward to 'Swallow the Sun,' another mercenaries drama from the same team - I am curious to see if they can top Lobbyist. (I wonder why SIG has a thing for getting roughed up in his drama - other than Lee Jun Ki's 'Time Between Dog and Wolf,' the only drama to offer some competition to Lobbyist is another SIG drama - Kingdom of the Winds.)

And that was a heck of a digression.

Also, after watching various Seoul 1945 vids on youtube, I now ship Lawyer Byun and Ae Ri just because that OTP seemed awesome in S1945. That drama is very much up my alley - gritty period epic - and I would have watched it a long time ago if it wasn't so dratted long - 70 episodes! I am sure the topic of WW2 and Korean War is worth that many, but I have the attention span of a gnat. Just point me towards the episodes with Lawyer Byun and Ae Ri tortured in the prison camp, kthanks.

Watching the youtube vids led me to discover (through 'similar vids' feature) a drama I really want to check out (also starring Lawyer Byun): 18 vs 29. It sounds adorable and I need a fluffy drama in midst of all the serious ones. The heroine is a 29-yr-old woman who married her highschool sweetheart (someone she hated in school at first but then fell for). However, things haven't been going smoothly and she has decided to file for divorce. Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for the drama), on the way to the courthouse she gets into a car accident. It being a Korean drama car accident, her injury is loss of any of her memories after age 18. It is up to her almost-ex-husband to care for her. Can they fall in love all over again?

Cute MV:



ETA: Found this "justification" on soompi for Min Gook being a bastard to Ae Ri after her miscarriage:

"I have this feeling that HMK thinks that maybe AR have other man before their marriage. So, he is angry that she have difficulty keeping babies."

Oh yes. That would be such a lovely justification. "Hey, whore, you stretched yourself out with other guys and because of it now can't keep my kids!" Forget medically unsound - that would be even sicker than what the drama has. Sometimes fans drive me up the wall.

'Tis a pity Min Gook such a bastard because occasionally he comes across as hot.



Pity.

ETA2: reading soompi, I found out the reason why Lawyer Byun left that first time. AWWWWW. Lawyer Byun, I forgive you. It's official, I want you to get the girl you like because you are a good guy.
dangermousie: (Lobbyist OTP by miss-dian)
I decided to give it another try and watched ep 4 of Lawyers of Korea as per [livejournal.com profile] ambergold's instructions. It was very hilarious. While the insane flashback which both makes me hate Min Gook the Rich Guy and makes no narrative sense (seriously - they do not interact in any way consistent with that flashback - none of the three main characters!) pretty much guarantees this drama won't make it into a favorites list and also precludes me shipping the Heroine with Rich Guy, it's funny enough to watch for at least a few more eps. I am just going to pretend for the next few eps I watch that Min Gook is sleazy but well-paying client that enables her to gain experience and nothing more and that she and Lawyer Byun get together at the end - except for his walking out without a word years ago (I'll handwaive this as he left a message she didn't get. It's easier than handwaving Min Gook into a good person) he is pretty darn awesome - supportive and alpha at the same time, funny and with chemistry with the heroine. Also not a serial cheater, which is more than I can say for the leading man. Yes. Still bitter.

This scene with Lawyer Byun and Ya Kyung was gorgeous, though.



Sail on, my undaunted uncanonical ship!

This ep is so funny it even features a "guy protecting girl from beating with his body" scene that is hilarious! I literally LOLed. Sadly for LoK, I prefer the angsty-serious take on this such as in (leaving aside the pinnacle of this that is Hana Yori Dango/Meteor Garden) 'A Love to Kill,' (the best one - he is her bodyguard and his side job with thugs goes wrong and they are slowly beating him to death. She walks by and sees it and tries to stop it, one girl against a horde of violent criminals - telling them she is a famous star (she is) and so they can't hit her without getting in trouble and covering him with her body. But they don't care and start hitting her and he rolls over, barely conscious, shielding her with his body. They end up in hospital with serious injuries for a while and I end up in love), 'Tree of Heaven' (he begs on his knees for his enemy to stab him because otherwise the guy will go after his OTP), and 'Lobbyist' (he covers her with the last of his strength). I have to say Lobbyist, despite the happy ending is, hands-down, the most hurt-comfort drama I have ever seen. I don't think there was a single episode where Song Il Gook's character was not seriously, and sometimes horrifically, mistreated. I am still amazed he made through it with all his limbs intact. I am rather looking forward to 'Swallow the Sun,' another mercenaries drama from the same team - I am curious to see if they can top Lobbyist. (I wonder why SIG has a thing for getting roughed up in his drama - other than Lee Jun Ki's 'Time Between Dog and Wolf,' the only drama to offer some competition to Lobbyist is another SIG drama - Kingdom of the Winds.)

And that was a heck of a digression.

Also, after watching various Seoul 1945 vids on youtube, I now ship Lawyer Byun and Ae Ri just because that OTP seemed awesome in S1945. That drama is very much up my alley - gritty period epic - and I would have watched it a long time ago if it wasn't so dratted long - 70 episodes! I am sure the topic of WW2 and Korean War is worth that many, but I have the attention span of a gnat. Just point me towards the episodes with Lawyer Byun and Ae Ri tortured in the prison camp, kthanks.

Watching the youtube vids led me to discover (through 'similar vids' feature) a drama I really want to check out (also starring Lawyer Byun): 18 vs 29. It sounds adorable and I need a fluffy drama in midst of all the serious ones. The heroine is a 29-yr-old woman who married her highschool sweetheart (someone she hated in school at first but then fell for). However, things haven't been going smoothly and she has decided to file for divorce. Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for the drama), on the way to the courthouse she gets into a car accident. It being a Korean drama car accident, her injury is loss of any of her memories after age 18. It is up to her almost-ex-husband to care for her. Can they fall in love all over again?

Cute MV:



ETA: Found this "justification" on soompi for Min Gook being a bastard to Ae Ri after her miscarriage:

"I have this feeling that HMK thinks that maybe AR have other man before their marriage. So, he is angry that she have difficulty keeping babies."

Oh yes. That would be such a lovely justification. "Hey, whore, you stretched yourself out with other guys and because of it now can't keep my kids!" Forget medically unsound - that would be even sicker than what the drama has. Sometimes fans drive me up the wall.

'Tis a pity Min Gook such a bastard because occasionally he comes across as hot.



Pity.

ETA2: reading soompi, I found out the reason why Lawyer Byun left that first time. AWWWWW. Lawyer Byun, I forgive you. It's official, I want you to get the girl you like because you are a good guy.
dangermousie: (Mawang otp by miss-dian)
I have decided that it was about time for me to update and expand my favorite kdrama primer yet again (which I first did some months ago). Not only were there a bunch of kdramas I wanted to add to the list, but I wanted to rearrange the order of some of the dramas on the list already (except for the first three or so, the placement of the other ones within the rankings is fluid and moves based on my mood) and very much expand it.

So behind the cut are 25 of my favorite kdramas, with summaries, reasons why, pics and vids. I have tried to keep it as unspoilery as possible.

No kdrama I have not finished is on the list because I want to have seen the complete drama before evaluating the fave status. Also, I watch a lot of dramas, but I have hardly seen all or most kdrama out there, and there are some very famous ones I have never seen. I am always open to recs and am always looking for said recs.

Now, without too much further verbosity, Dangermousie's 25 favorite kdramas list, new and improved.

Lengthy post here )
dangermousie: (Mawang otp by miss-dian)
I have decided that it was about time for me to update and expand my favorite kdrama primer yet again (which I first did some months ago). Not only were there a bunch of kdramas I wanted to add to the list, but I wanted to rearrange the order of some of the dramas on the list already (except for the first three or so, the placement of the other ones within the rankings is fluid and moves based on my mood) and very much expand it.

So behind the cut are 25 of my favorite kdramas, with summaries, reasons why, pics and vids. I have tried to keep it as unspoilery as possible.

No kdrama I have not finished is on the list because I want to have seen the complete drama before evaluating the fave status. Also, I watch a lot of dramas, but I have hardly seen all or most kdrama out there, and there are some very famous ones I have never seen. I am always open to recs and am always looking for said recs.

Now, without too much further verbosity, Dangermousie's 25 favorite kdramas list, new and improved.

Lengthy post here )
dangermousie: (Mawang otp by miss-dian)
I have decided that it was about time for me to update and expand my favorite kdrama primer yet again (which I first did some months ago). Not only were there a bunch of kdramas I wanted to add to the list, but I wanted to rearrange the order of some of the dramas on the list already (except for the first three or so, the placement of the other ones within the rankings is fluid and moves based on my mood) and very much expand it.

So behind the cut are 25 of my favorite kdramas, with summaries, reasons why, pics and vids. I have tried to keep it as unspoilery as possible.

No kdrama I have not finished is on the list because I want to have seen the complete drama before evaluating the fave status. Also, I watch a lot of dramas, but I have hardly seen all or most kdrama out there, and there are some very famous ones I have never seen. I am always open to recs and am always looking for said recs.

Now, without too much further verbosity, Dangermousie's 25 favorite kdramas list, new and improved.

Lengthy post here )
dangermousie: (ALTK by alexandral)
Photobucket

Today's picspam is courtesy of A Love to Kill, a 2005 Korean drama starring Rain and Shin Min Ah.

ALTK is a story of a man (Rain) who decides to get close to a rising young actress (Shin Min Ah) in order to be able to wreck her life to avenge his brother, who he believes has been jilted by her and, as a result, committed suicide.

ALTK wasn't my first Korean drama, and probably not my fifth. But it was a drama I fell madly in love with, the first Kdrama I truly went psychotic for: it remains one of the most beautifully filmed kdramas I've ever seen: clean, sharp, yet oddly muted cinematography, tilted camera angles, mirrors and reflections (reflecting the deception and traumas of the protagonists).

But what really drew me in was the story and the characters: their love and dysfunction extreme in equal measure. Because, no surprise, when Rain is hired as SMA's bodyguard, he begins to slowly fall in love with her, and the lines between his revenge and genuine feeling get more and more blurred. But (and that is part of why I love this drama so), falling in love doesn't make things better, it doesn't make it all magically OK. Neither does even the eventual realization by him of the truth of which we, the audience, were aware from the start: Shin Min Ah is innocent of all he blames her for. Nothing makes it better, and yet nothing can make it worse, either, because they become two individuals who are literally incapable of existing without each other, and equally incapable of allowing themselves to be together.

They are both dysfunctional, brutalized people: not just Rain, who was raised on the streets as the younger son of an abusive goon, and whose belief in the value of a repaid obligation is so extreme as to be a psychological millstone. But Shin Min Ah is equally off-kilter: a tough drinker who is psychologically fragile, who is caught in the traumas of her childhood and who latches onto love with unhealthy desperation. They are both so so screwed-up. Yet somehow, they work together...

Anyway, this drama has a lot of amazing scenes, and a lot of them are spoilery :) But here is one of my all-time favorite scenes from the drama, from episode 5. Shin Min Ah is completely drunk and her fiance (who she got coerced into accepting, long story) decides that nothing will make love of a disinterested woman blossom like a little date rape. So he has Rain (whom he hired to be SMA's bodyguard) drive them to his hotel and takes her inside. You would think this is a perfect opportunity for Rain to get a little revenge, isn't it? The woman responsible for his brother's ruin getting date raped. (And at the very least, he owes her nothing, the guy is rich etc etc). Well, click and find out what happens.

Picspam of awesomeness )

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November 2012

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