Archive | December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 25,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Delightful Girl Choon Hyang

After the disaster that was Big, I swore to myself that I would never watch another Hong Sisters drama. However, on a whim I decided to break that promise to myself, and surprisingly I don’t regret it. Delightful Girl Choon Hyang was the best drama I have seen in quite some time, easily making my top five. sassy-girl-chun-hyang1 I have been asking myself “What makes this drama so special?” and I believe I have narrowed it down to 3 main elements, the first being Choon Hyang herself. Too many recent dramas have helpless, ditzy female leads that seem to not be able to stand on their own two feet. Choon Hyang however, is quite a formidable woman. Comparable to my favorite female lead Go Eun Chan of Coffee Prince, Choon Hyang comes from a poor single parent household. She attends high school, is the top of her class, and still manages to work several part time jobs to save up for her own college tuition. She is mostly cheerful and positive despite all her challenges. Though I hate that ultimately she is not able to pursue her education and ends up being another designer, in this case of accessories.   Delightful_Girl,_Chun_Hyang4The second element is the actual presentation of the drama. In all actuality the the plot is not so different from other dramas of the time, in fact it is very similar to Goong (minus the royal element). However, they give the show a fun and playful vibe with all the quirky humor, asides, and special effects. It often had the feel of a comic book, and in some ways had the same feel as the recent American movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. For a long time fan of anime, comic books, and manga like me, this was a perfect fit.

0324_sassy_tThe third element is the dynamic between the leads. Instead of constantly brooding ( which don’t get me wrong they do their fair share), they are playful and light hearted and Mong Ryong doesn’t force Choon Hyang to be anything but her strong and independent self.

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Overall, though Delightful Girl Choon Hyang had many of the same plot devices as other dramas (conniving second leads, meddling mothers, and giant misunderstandings) it’s all the little details and the likability of the leads (not to mention Mong Ryong’ s father who is awesome) that set this drama apart and make it, well an utter delight to watch. I give it 5 of 5 stars!

Culture Shock-Smile, Dong Hae and Rascal Sons

I did manage to complete Smile, Dong Hae, my first daily drama and am now currently watching Rascal Sons.  While I have thoroughly enjoyed both of these dramas for the most part, I feel that the vast cultural differences pertaining to marriage and how it affects the family made me a little crazy in some aspects.  I will follow with my list of grievances:

First, why do parents have to be so up grown adults rear ends that they don’t have their own lives?  Really?  I hope that’s not the way it really is, because if it is then there are a lot of Korean mothers walking around with ridiculously high blood pressure just waiting to have a heart attack.  Really?  Your children are grown ass adults capable of choosing their own partners for better or for worse.  I know the root of it is that we are an individualistic society and we see marriage as a fulfillment of the desire of two individual people, and they see it instead as a melding of the families as a whole and it directly correlates to societal status for the entire family.  This makes it difficult for me to be understanding when a mom freaks out over  a son wanting to live in his new fiance’s dead husband’s father’s house.  Okay. maybe this isn’t entirely conventional, but it’s what they want so that they can raise her son together.  In America we have all kinds of families, the reality is that the nuclear family really died a long time ago and blended families are the new norm.  Here, whoever you choose to live life with and love to the fullest is your family, it doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from.  Evidently in Korea parents have to check the resume of of every potential suitor, even if their child is a 40 something year old dentist who is clearly established enough to live life independently of his parents if he so chose to.  I know that both of these dramas are very much about just this very thing, a changing of the times from the traditional idea of the parents/grandparents ruling the family to children being able to be more independent and make their own decisions about who they choose to love, marry, and spend their lives with and who they choose to add to their families.  But these parents are just so closed minded and crazy that it is just making me plain batty.  And I know in my heart and realize that this is mainly out of a deep seeded cultural difference in the way that I view the world because I have been brought up to believe and accept a set of family values that are totally different evidently than those in Korea.  But damn, marriage is more about the two individuals that are getting married than their parents.  The parents are not the ones who have to sleep next to them every night and make decisions about their children.  And speaking of children, there is the matter of grandparents threatening to take their grandchildren away if their children choose to divorce, live with, or be with people that are not of their particular choosing but otherwise have no criminal offense against them or any good reason why they cannot be a good and decent wife/husband or parent   Really?  Seriously?  This is just plain out crazy to me.  How cruel to take a child away form their parent just because your daughter in law is not pining over your dead son her whole life and actually wants to remarry so she can be happy and her child can have a living father.  How ridiculously selfish can you be?

 

Second, the sexism in both of these dramas is so blatantly evident   Not that I am an ultra feminist or anything, but it’s just overboard to someone who has grown up in the U.S., and is used to being treated a certain way regardless of gender.  For example,  in Smile, Dong Hae, Dojin has dated around a lot, his parents make that clear in the beginning, but even though this is the case, he tells Sae Wa that he would never want to be with a girl who has dated another man, that that would be repulsive to him.  Double standards much?  So she’s had a boyfriend before, she’s a beautiful girl in her 20s, so what?  You expect her never to date while you are playing the field as much as you want?  Also, when someone winds up having accidentally dated two brothers they freak out and act like it’s the end of t he world.  Okay, so it may not be the most common practice in modern times, but it happens, and she may not have been right for one brother but she’s right for the other, who cares?  Also, in Rascal Sons the mom is having a duck because her already having been married with a daughter son does not want to marry a virginal, never been married woman, but instead another widowed mother who understands his loss and pain.  Really?  So your son can get married and have sex but the girl he wants to marry is not good enough for him because she has been married and had sex and therefore also had a child?  They’re in the same freaking situation, get your old head out of your ass!!

I’m sorry, I have never ranted this much before and I hope I don’t  sound like a bigot, I still love Korean culture and kdrama, but some of the particular culture in these two dramas was just really hard for me to wrap my brain around since I have been raised to see the world completely differently.  And with this I leave you to stew over my long winded bitching 😛

Converting Americans to Kpop One Impressionable Child at a Time

So you guys have heard me talk about how I’m such a weirdo amongst my friends because only one of them understands my kdrama obsession, and she is just plain out too busy to watch the sheer amount of television that I unfortunately find myself partaking in.   I have no real world friends to talk to about what I spend way too high a percentage of my life doing, which is why I started a blog in the first place.  However, as much as we are all probably sick of Psy and his iconic song Gangnam  Style, he has opened a door with young people that was tightly shut before. I happen to have a student who is particularly obsessed with that song, and coincidentally also obsessed with One Direction, who is a very sub-par boy band in my opinion.  So today I struck up a conversation with her about the fact that Korea has tons of boy bands, most who sing and especially dance much better than her oh so beloved One Direction.  I usually give my classes a chance to earn some free time at the end of the class if they have worked hard and followed directions, so during this time I showed her a Big Bang video.  The second she saw G-Dragon she started squealing about how hot he is and played the video over and over again.  At the end of the school day she came to me and showed me that she had already downloaded the song to her phone and was going to share it with her best friend when she got home.  It made me realize how much influential power we have as teachers, and also that I am super excited because I now have someone to talk to about at least some aspect of Korean pop culture.  Now to introduce her to kdrama….

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The Characters We Love to Hate-Kdrama Villains

I have sorely neglected my blog this past week as I have been sick/busy with work, so I apologize.  I am still tackling  Smile, Dong Hae! (only 63 episodes left!! lol) and watching I Miss You as it airs.  So this week I have no reviews, and in light of the fact the SDH has one of the most evil drama villainesses I have ever seen, I decided to post 2 top 5 lists of the most dastardly villains/villainesses in all the dramas I have ever seen.

Ultimate Villainess

1. Yun Sae Wa-Smile, Dong Hae!

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2.  Kang Hee Soo-Boys Over Flowers

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3. Hong Se-na / Hong Hwa-yong-Rooftop Prince

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4. Baek Sung Hee-Shining Inheritance

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5.  Lady Seo-Arang and the Magistrate

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Honorable Mention-Lady Seo Hwa Young-Goong

Ultimate Villain

1. John Mayer-King2Hearts

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2.  Park Chan-Gul-Padam, Padam

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3.  Prince Deok Heung-Faith

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4.  Lord Choi-Arang and the Magistrate

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5.  Yong Tae Moo-Rooftop Prince

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