Watching this show for the second time around is just solidifying for me how masterfully it was executed. The characters are actually believable, tangible human beings. In fact, they’re the kind of people you’d want to get a beer with at the pub on Friday night. It has the same fresh breath of life that makes Coffee Prince feel so astoundingly real and pierce straight to the soul.
It struck me last night as I was sitting tearfully on the edge of my seat, breathlessly waiting for the events that I already knew were going to happen to gracefully unfold, that episode 5 has to be one of the most simultaneously heart wrenching and heart warming drama excerpts I have ever beheld. It has a fluidity about it, a natrualness, rather than this chopped up overly dramatic, commercialistic, wheel spinning that entices you to find random projectiles to hurl at the T.V. screen. It looks and feels like a real family that fights over real every day things like money, and grades, and spending too much time mooning over unattainable famous boys. A family that loves each other enough to drive each other crazy, but also loves each other enough to come together in a time of crisis. A wife that loves her husband so much that she’ll call the drama script writer 100 times just to get the ending that will make him feel encouraged about his recovery. A father that loves his daughter so much that even though she acts like spoiled baby, he’ll do her homework while he’s in the hospital because he can’t stand to think of her being hit by the teacher at school. It’s plain, simple, humanistic beauty captured at its best, and I was soaking in every gloriously emotional second of it.
Seriously, if you have never taken the time to watch Answer Me 1997, I highly suggest that you do. You won’t regret it!! Especially if you are a 90s/early 2000s kid like me. You just can’t beat the nostalgia with a stick.
Watching two sageuks at once is quite an undertaking, but I’m enjoying it all the same. However, though both are historical dramas, they really are two completely different shows.
Thoughts on Gu Family Book-
I have found that I’m a huge fan of the sageuk’s that infuse Korean legends of the super natural. It gives a glimpse not only into their historical culture, but also their old superstitions and religion as well. I’ve seen many animes and dramas alike that give their own unique spin to the legend of the nine tailed fox demon, and it’s always entertaining. For those of you who have seen My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (Nine Tailed Fox) and loved the cuddly, fuzzy, human/spirit/fox that was Mi Ho, don’t expect it from Gu family book. Daddy fox (Wol Yong) and jr fox (Kang Chi) both have a raging, demonic, blood thirsty side that they are desperately trying to contain. Though Gu Family book may lean towards the campy side at times, I am still thoroughly enjoying it. I think this type of drama has to have a little gooey melted cheese on top to add to the flavor yah know?
Thoughts on Jung Yi, Goddess of Fire-
Okay, so I really like this drama overall, but I am finding that this is yet another sageuk that would have benefited from being a little shorter. Sometimes less is more. There’s only so much of the same situational drama over and over again that I can take before I start getting desensitized to it and I’m like *Yawn, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ*. That being said, I think it’s really interesting that Moon Geun Young took on two roles about women who were pioneers in the world of Korean art. In Painter of the Wind she played the role of the first Korean woman to be a royal painter, likewise in this drama she is portraying the role of the first Korean woman to be a royal potter. Both are based on real people in Korean history. It really makes me like and respect her more as an actress because she’s choosing some dramas of substance, rather than all money making commercial regurgitation.
So this is my first “daily drama” as it is evidently called. The episodes are 35 minutes rather than an hour, but they aired Monday-Friday instead of only twice a week. They also aired from August-May and there are a total of 159 episodes. I have been wanting to watch this drama for a long time, but the 159 episodes intimidated me. But when I took a closer look the other day and realized the episodes were only 35 minutes long, I thought “What the hay, that’s not so bad!” And so I began my journey with Smile, Dong Hae.
I have worked with disabled children for three years and have never loved anything more in my whole life, and am therefore a sucker for a drama with a disabled person. I am always interested to see how the writers and actors will depict a person with a disability, what their idea of how they feel and act is. In this case, Dong Hae’s mother Anna is mildly intellectually disabled. The actress is really pretty spot on and brings a lot of life to the character. I love her innocence, purity, and devotion to her son.
It’s the supporting actors and side stories in this drama that are really great so far. The two mothers that are constantly bickering and competing are hysterical, Tae Hoon and Sae Young’s unconventional romance is delightful to watch, the bond Pil Jae has with his daughter is adorable, and the love of the two families (minus evil Sae Wa) is really heart warming. These are all really the appeal of the show. Not that I don’t like Dong Hae, but his brooding is a little much at this point. I’m kind of just like it’s time to move on dude, get over it, but I’m sure there will be more brooding moments in the future, but also some new romance with Bon Gi I’m hoping to balance it out.
In short, I am totally obsessed with this show right now. If it continues to be this good, I won’t mind a bit that it’s 159 episodes!!
Well I happened to have been watching what have to be two of the most depressing dramas in kdrama history, A Love to Kill and Missing You at the same time. Understandably I needed a little more sweet and less sour to recover from A Love to Kill. So I decided to watch Panda and Hedgehog because how could a kdrama be anything but happy with a name like that? I am now on episode 11 and it is indeed as light hearted and cutsey as I expected. It is a predictible, enjoyably slow stroll in the park, which is just the spoonful of sugar I needed to make the medicine go down. It may not be winning any grandiose awards anytime soon, but it is a drama to smile at.
While so many people cannot seem to stomach the sheer depression of this drama, I for one am still majorly on board, in fact I am entirely wrapped up in it and loving every tear jerking moment. I will sum up how I feel about it in a comment I left on another blog-
“I actually really love this drama, given I am a huge YEH fan, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look, but nonetheless I began watching it with serious apprehension because I normally run away immediately from melodramas. This one is different though, it has a very distinct feel from other melos. Rather than it being psychotic spoiled rich people blowing their ridiculously stupid problems out of proportion, it actually feels like gritty real life drama, which I am all about, even if it is twisted and difficult to watch sometimes. The feel of it reminds me of the movie “The Crucible” starring Gong Yoo, which actually was so tortured that it makes this show look like a box of fluffy kittens. But nonetheless I ate up the dark, gritty, indie feel of that movie just like I’m eating it up in this drama. But all that being said, I can definitely understand how this is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I am very happy to see that Yoon Eun Hye is taking on a much heftier role that will maybe allow her to bring out some of that much loved depth of character and earnestness that we saw in Coffee Prince, though something tells me that we are not going to see the level of cuteness of Go Eun Chan…”
I was super excited to see YEH this week!! I think she is doing a great job so far and I can’t wait to see more interaction between her and Yoochun. Speaking of Yoochun, he is actually really surprising me, I think this is going to be the big role where he really taps into that inner actor.
I will admit I was not a huge fan of this show for the first few episodes. I felt like the story was not well pieced together and I wasn’t overly fond of the female lead’s high strung personality. But as time has gone on, the show has gotten a lot more interesting to me, mainly because I’ve become invested in the OTP. There is just something really sexy about an aloof and emotionless soldier suddenly falling hard for a girl and even being willing to forsake his duties towards the king for her. As far as the rest of the story goes, I still don’t care too much for it. I feel like they really wasted an opportunity to do something truly awesome with the super powered villains and heroes, but chose to only display them every now and again in little short lived tussles. Also, is it just tradition that the kings in saeguks all have to be ridiculous idiots? They must not be fond of the kings in their history to continually portray them like this over and over again. Ah well, every drama has its flaws, but Lee Min Ho definitely made the show worth finishing for me. Nobody pulls off the sexy aloofness like he does lol. 5 more episodes to go!!
I went into watching this show with a lot of apprehension. Yoon Eun Hye in Coffee Prince is the reason I started watching kdrama in the first place. I fell completely in love with the show, but especially with her portrayal of Go Eun Chan. After CP, I watched every single drama and movie I could find that had YEH in it. She just really has something charismatic about her that draws you in and makes her fun to watch. However, I feel that her last two dramas were not the most well scripted and kind of put a damper on her ability to shine like she did in CP. I have been holding out hope that she would be choosier in her next project and really pick something that was going to rock my socks off. When I first read the description for this drama I was like “Oh God not one of THOSE dramas…” but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that it’s really totally the opposite from what I thought. So far the child actors are incredible, it is well scripted and emotionally charged, but in a way that is compelling rather than making you want to rip your hair out, and the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, on par with Arang and the Magistrate which it replaced. I am still a little apprehensive about Yoochun, but maybe this will be the script to make him break out of his usual robotic performance. We still have yet to see YEH and Yoochun, but I suspect we will next week and I think with this script she’s really going to shine, I just hope that Yoochun can shine along with her. Come on Yoochun, don’t let the child actor show you up!!!
Episode 11 was kind of whatever for me because it was mostly about that skank hoe. However, two very amazing things did happen. 1. Eun Gyul had the most incredibly adorable sock puppet moment ever (How could you not love this character?) and 2. Eun Gyul finally confessed, and it wasn’t a big production, just a very honest conversation between two friends, which really fit his character. Yaaaaay!!!
Episode 12 was one of the most wonderfully cracktacularly adorable kdrama episodes of all time. I am in such a quandary here because I am so in love with both the male lead characters.
I can’t believe it’s almost over!! Only two more weeks!! I know I am going to feel the way I do at the end of CP every time I watch it, like a piece of the world is missing… if only they could be real…
11 and 12 were both great episodes!! Great action scenes, some of the twists are beginning to be revealed, and FINALLY the magistrate is taking some action in the romantic arena!!
Please give us some more romance next episode!! Come on Arang, stop trying to be the noble idiot because you’re going to hurt him if you refuse him anyway, so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you may as well enjoy it while you can!!!
I really hope this doesn’t have a sad ending….
Hana Yori Dango
Since I am planning on comparing TTBY and Hana Kimi (the Jdrama and manga), I decided to do the same with BoF. I am currently watching the J-version, and am planning on re-watching the k-version since it has been so long, and I also plan on reading the manga as well. I am thinking of making this a new section on my blog.
So despite the fact that all of the boys except Rui are considerably less cute, I am pretty into the J-version. I actually can’t seem to stop watching it. I watched the first 7 episodes in one day, which is a lot considering how busy I have been lately. It has all of the fun without all of the annoying stuff that bothered me in the k-version so far. Thank freaking God that they don’t have her being on the swim team and then getting injured as a plot device, because I think the Korean BoF set the record for male/female damsel in distress in the water moments and I thought I was going to scream when I watched it before (at least this time I will be expecting it)
Maybe it is because I cannot understand the lyrics, but the music is considerably less annoying than the k-version.
I think the shorter length of episodes contributes to it being more to the point and less fluff than the k-version.
Rui’s personality is really different from his Korean counterpart it seems so far.
Is it just me or is the male lead more violent in this one? I don’t remember him being quite that punch happy in the k-version. but maybe my memory is just foggy.
God Minako is SO much less ditzy and helpless than her Korean counterpart (and in my opinion a lot prettier too)
Having said all of this, the really crazy part is just now starting when the rich bitch mom starts to unleash her wrath on Minako, so it may get too ridiculously melodramtic and crazy for me yet.
I am getting to the point of total obsession with this show. I definitely bought the first 3 volumes of the Hana Kimi manga and have started reading it.
I miss Eun Gyul’s old hair. It was cute and quirky like him.
There are so many CP references in this show I have lost count lol, but I love that they pay homage to the greatest drama ever :).
I think I am so into the characters now that I felt like I was stabbed in the heart when Eun Gyul walked in on Tae Joon and Jae Hee sleeping in the bed together.
Ugh I hate kdrama spoiled brat girls. All I can think of right now is Uee in You’re Beautiful.
I thought the doctor was just kind of metro and they were making him seem like he had a man crush on Jae Hee’s brother just to be funny, but it turns out in the manga he is like flaming gay and very open about it, so I guess he is in the Korean version as well, just a little more subtle. So that makes him, chapstick kid, and then sort of Eun Gyul lol.
I love the part where they start to first realize their feelings.
I’m sorry, but creepy fiance guy is just not attractive to me.
I wonder what is special about Moo Yong besides him being the Reaper?
Those were some crazy awesome action scenes in episode 10. Lee Joon Ki really can kick some butt!
One Fine Day
So all I can say is wow…. I didn’t think it was possible to fit so many racial stereotypes, overdone k-drama cliches, and terrible action scenes into one episode. As much as I love Gong Yoo, I am not going to lie, it was pretty much one of the worst first episodes I’ve ever seen, but because it is starring Gong Yoo I am going to try and keep watching to see if it gets better.
I wish they would get rid of his awful wannabe mustache thing. It makes him look like a creeper…