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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 😛

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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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Missing You-Without Subtitles

So I was so anxious to see the first episode of Yoon Eun Hye’s new drama “Missing You” that I just finished watching it without subtitles.  Of course I plan on rewatching it with subtitles hopefully tomorrow because I’m sure I will be able to find it somewhere by then.  Anyway, I was still able to piece together what was going on and double checked that I understood correctly by reading a recap afterwards.  My initial thoughts are that this drama is so much better than I expected it to be.  I was thinking Spring Waltz, but this is much higher qulaity in every way than Spring Waltz was, and much more mature.  Watching it without having to read the subtitles really allowed me to pay attention to the finer details and I have to say the child actors kick butt and the camera work is superb.  I am so sucked in already.  I really hope that this drama can keep up the momentum instead of starting off with a bang and then fizzling out like so many dramas do.  We didn’t get to see YEH in this episode except for a glimpse in the opening, but I believe she makes her first appearance in episode 2.  I do have one question to ask, what’s up with yellow umbrellas in kdramas?  Is there some kind of cultural significance to the umbrella being yellow?  It just seems like the most popular umbrella color ever…

General Update

My life has been crazy this past week, and I have actually not been able to watch much kdrama, so I don’t have any reviews this week.  I am going to review Arang and the Magistrate soon, but I want to rewatch a few parts over before I do (watching a drama over so many weeks leaves you forgetting details from the beginning).  Anyway here is a general overview of my life and my thoughts on kdrama:

Currently Watching

I am currently watching Faith, which I am enjoying, but I really wish I had seen it before Arang.  I feel like Arang was so visually spectacular that it has almost made Faith seem kind of draggy and on the boring side at times.  The fight scenes also seem incredibly fake in comparison to the dazzlingly choreographed fights in Arang.  However, I am not far into Faith, only on episode 5 because of the business of my life this week and the fact that my husband really wanted to watch something that we would both really enjoy, so we caught up on season 3 of The Vampire Diaries and have begun watching what has aired of season 4.  After having been so incredibly disappointed with American T.V. during the week I spent with no internet, I was pleasantly surprised to find season 3 of Vampire Diaries to be suspenseful and satisfyingly entertaining in a very cracktacular way.

Halloween

So part of my business this week was all of my Halloween fun.  Since Halloween is my all time favorite holiday, I had to of course have a Tim Burton movie marathon day, a haunted house and pumpkin carving day, a Halloween social gathering, and haunted karaoke.  It was all fabulous fun!!  Here are some pictures and videos of my Halloween escapades, I’m the Katy Perry impersonator lol.

Ignore my bad singing in this video.  I’m posting it because of my hilarious husband in the modern “The Tick” suit that he made himself and our friend Bob who is someone from Mortal Combat.

In Other News…

I am in the process of buying my first house!!  I picked out a house this week and have been working out a deal with the owner to buy it.  He has agreed and I am just waiting to hear back from the private investor!!  I am so excited!!  We are returning to our hometown since we are both working down there now and will probably be starting a family sometime in the near future and would like to be close to our parents.

An American Horror Story-A World Without Internet

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been particularly active on my blog in the past week.  This is because I was house sitting for my in laws, which turned out to be much like an American Horror story.

To begin with, they live in the woods in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin house with a bazillion windows that consequently have no curtains.  How do you sleep in a place like that?  Second, my cell phone got no 3 or 4G signal.  My provider is Verizon, how can this happen?  Third, and the most terrifying bullet to my list, I was not able to access the internet AT ALL.

Why would this be so significant?  As I access ALL of my drama through various internet sources such as Hulu, Drama Fever, and Viki, I was rendered completely unable to watch any kdrama for an entire week.  Oh nightmare of nightmares!!  What a terrible ordeal this was for me to go through!!  Never in my entire year and 4 months of obsessing over kdrama have we been separated for more than a day.  I swear it felt like I had lost a limb!!!

I kept reliving Coffee Prince scenes over and over in my head and listening to the soundtrack on my ipod until I felt like I was going to burst.  I have not been through a break up in eight and a half years, but this is precisely what it felt like to have my true love ripped out of my hands as I waited helplessly for the pain to be over… okay maybe that is a little too dramatic, and it is quite possible that I have been watching way too much drama and I am starting to act like the crazy characters I love so dearly.

However, as in all situations there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I believe two good things came from my temporary delve into the primeval world of internetless wonder.  One, being that I actually read quite a bit in order to find surcease from my incessant grief and boredom.  This is a pastime that I neglect far too often.  The second being that I realized something important as I was surfing through the tiresome Dish Network guide, praying desperately for something decent to watch on T.V.  I will not be made to feel ashamed of my kdrama addiction, because quite frankly American T.V. SUCKS, Honey Boo Boo being my case and point.  Thank the Lord for Korea and the wonderful additions they add to the world of television, where would I be without you?

Yoon Eun Hye officially signs onto new drama-“Missing You”

So, I have just read that the rumors that have been circulating about Yoon Eun Hye starring opposite Park Yoochun in the upcoming drama “Missing You” are true.  YEH has officially signed onto the project.  Whether this is a good thing or not, I am not so sure.  While Yoochun has been in popular dramas recently (S-Scandal and Rooftop Prince), he is not what I would say the most gifted of actors, though he is not terrible either.  The whole premise of the drama does not sound particularly exciting to me (it is about childhood first loves who are separated by a tragic accident and then find each other again but go back and forth with one another), and what makes it worse is that there are only 4 weeks of filming that can be completed before the drama airs on October 31st.  So in short, I am very apprehensive about the quality of this drama and though I miss watching her, I wish YEH had waited for a better project.  However, there is always the possibility that I will be proven completely wrong and this drama will be amazing.  In either case, Yoon Eun Hye is my hero and I will always support her, so I will be watching it as it airs and cheering her on the whole way.  Fighting!!!