The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Lucky Star / 放羊的星星 / Fang Yang De Xing Xing

Taiwan drama that aired March through July of 2007, and stars Jimmy Lin as Zhong Tian Qi 仲天騏, Yoo Ha Na as Xia Zhi Xing 夏之星, Hong Xiao Ling as Ou Ya Ruo 歐雅若, Lee Wei as Han Zhi Yin 韓志胤, and Leon Jay Williams as Zhong Tian Jun 仲天駿.

Honestly, this is only the third drama from Taiwan that I've seen, and like MARS & Meteor Garden, My Lucky Star was fanTAStic!
And THANK YOU to SUBlime for the nearly flawless subtitles!
I Love You!

What a marvelous stumble-upon ( to while away another cold, grey, & lonely weekend here in Wintersville, USA.

The story is about a young, orphan girl (Xia Zhi Xing) from a small town somewhere in Taiwan, who is a dreamer and a perpetual liar, but NOT in the sense that one would first assume.
She's got a huge heart and enormous charity toward her fellow man, so her lies are more white than real, and always said in order to save someone else from their own mistakes.
She's also very talented, making jewelry from the heart, and in order to survive with her no-good boyfriend, she duplicates expensive items that they try to pawn off on unsuspecting, wealthy targets. She and her boyfriend meet a wealthy target at a fancy restaurant, to try to pawn off the fake necklace.

MEANWHILE, at the same restaurant that Zhi Xing is trying to sell a fake necklace, Tian Qi is there, to ask Ya Ruo to marry him. He sets a blue diamond earring inside a glass of champagne; the orphan to the earring that he wears in his left lobe.
Ya Ruo flatly refuses the proposal, informing the arrogant playboy that he hadn't a clue about her, love, or life.
Devastated, he decides to leave for Italy, to pursue his dream of racing Formula-1.

As he's leaving the restaurant, Zhi Xing is running from the Feds, and when they bump into each other, the earring leaves Tian Xi's hand. He thinks that she's trying to steal it, but she is simply pleading with him to let her go.
The Feds catch her, handcuff her, and cart her away while she curses Tian Xi for ruining her life.

About a year passes when our tenacious Zhi Xing cons her way to freedom by making up a wild story about her dying uncle, and her only objective is to find her boyfriend, to reunite under a romantic notion of fireworks, champagne, and sex.
Fate intervenes though, and instead of her long-lost boyfriend, Zhi Xing stumbles upon Tian Xi instead.

Tian Xi has returned from Europe after he finds out that Ya Ruo is engaged to marry his older brother, Zhong Tian.
THIS TIME though, Tian Xi is the thief, and he's trying to escape from his father's security guards with a priceless necklace that his late mother once owned, but that was given to Ya Ruo that day, her wedding day.

Again, boy and girl bump into each other on the street, and Zhi Xing again begs him to let her go, as she is terrified of being sent back to jail.
Tian Xi uses her to escape, tosses her inside his sports car, and speeds away.

After spending a long and interesting day together, the fated pair end up in Tomorrow Town, the small village where Zhi Xing grew up.
Zhi Xing is crushed, and so is Tian Xi, having both been dumped by the ones they thought that they loved.

From here, the plot twists, turns, flips, and wafts along, with NEVER a dull moment, and even with a fabulous soundtrack to accompany the wonderful show!

I hope I can find the OST online, because this particular tune was SOOO nice!

There are few, if any hokie, Korean drama moments, or sappy, sentimental hogwash teenage moments, either.
Zhi Xing (a Korean in real life) does act like an idiot on her first, official date with Tian Xi, though. That was painful to have to sit through.

NOW to share with you my personal opinions about My Lucky Star.

Jimmy Lin 小志 (Xiao Zhi) is NOT my ideal fella, and it took me a long time to warm up to him, too. That's not to say he isn't attractive or even handsome; just not my cup of tea.
His superb ACTING helped to change my mind though, and slowly but surely, I warmed up to him, so that by the end of this 20-episode drama, I thought he was the Ke ai'est thing since ©Hello Kitty.

Leon Jay Williams is probably popular with the ladies, and I will admit he's got a slammin' bod, but again, he's too Ken doll for my taste, not to mention he's got a baby-face with chipmunk cheeks, so it was hard for me to warm up to this guy, too. His acting skills did not equal that of any, other star of this drama, either. He needs to do his homework, IMHO.

THIS GUY, on the other hand, intrigued me from the moment that he arrived late in MLS.

LEE WEI has got that strange way of making me think he's incredibly gorgeous one minute, and then the next, he causes me to wonder what's so great about him. Still, of the three, main leads in My Lucky Star, WEI had them beat by a country mile.
He possessed that cocky, Gen-X attitude, and disrespect danced in his sexy, brown eyes, too. Still, he's probably a sweetheart in real life (at least I hope he is anyway).

On to the scenic moments in My Lucky Star

Night Scenes in big cities fascinate and appeal to me

Taiwan is a beautiful place, but these scenes are the best

I want this overhead lamp!

The condo complex where Tian Xi lived. So cool!

I tried to get a good shot of the beautiful, blue lights that lined a street behind them ~ they're gorgeous!

Monday, January 12, 2009

신 현모양처 / Modern Housewives

I couldn't wait to get home from work today, so that I could blog about this Korean drama!

I don't know how long Mysoju has had this one in their archives, but yesterday (Sunday, January 11) was about the most pleasant day I've had in a good, long time.

I'm a huge fan of Kim Nam-jin, and it makes me sad that there is not more about him online, in magazines, or on the air.

So, to stumble upon New, Wise Mother, Good Wife was a treasure to behold, let me tell you.

Modern Housewives was an aptly labeled comedy with the right amount of episodes (10 in all) to fill an entire day with laughter and excitement at being able to stare at my Ajushi KIM for an entire day.

This was the story of a young, devoted wife/mother, Gyung Gook Hee (Kang Sung Yeon) and the subsequent demise of her marriage/life.

Her husband, Heo (Kim Ho Jin), is the stereotypical mama's boy wimp with a college degree and a steady job.
He could hardly be referred to as attractive, and yet he swaggers with the boys as if he is a jet-setting playboy with dozens of pole dancers at his beck & call.

They have saved up eight-years for their first house, and on the day that Gook Hee is supposed to sign the contract, housing prices suddenly sky-rocket, and the previous homeowner backs out of the contract.

I've guessed from watching so, many of these dramas that Korean's especially are money-happy, soulless Christians hell-bent on making it to the top in order to receive the almighty acceptance of 'society' (whatever that is).

Modern Housewives drove that point home at every turn, but it was refreshing to note that at the same time, the drama focused on the mediocre of Korean society; the work-a-day drones who eek out a living sub-par with Korean society standards.
Factory workers, convenience store clerks, and the ever-present Pojangmacha owners who seem (to me) to feed an entire nation on a daily basis and therefore should be raking in the $$$ about the equivalent of a degree-holding stuff-shirt.

Im Tae Ran (Kim Tae Yeon) enters the picture at this point, and according to the drama synopsis, her character is meant to portray the modern version of the ideal wife.
Tae Ran is a single beauty with abundant wealth, a few homes, a fancy car, and a terrific job as a screen writer.
Naturally, she's single for a good reason, and that is that she's insecure, or relying solely on her appearance to make it in the world of romance while ignoring her glaring personality flaws.
She comes between Gook and Myung Pil, anxious to have what her best friend Gook has by stealing it away with sex.

Myung Pil has no remorse for his affair, and he says some things to Gook that tore my heart apart, they were that vicious and thoughtless.

Worse though, was Gook's determination to hold on to what she is losing so rapidly, and for such a ridiculous reason as money problems.
She clung to her wayward husband, humiliated herself every chance she got, and she ran into the proverbial brick wall at every turn.
I soon began to hold out my palms to the computer screen and BEG her to ssssttttoooopppp already!

You're embarrassing yourself AND me!

It hadn't occurred to me until now that Modern Housewives was a subdued and abbreviated version of Here Comes Ajumma, but with a better cast and a more realistic storyline.
Gook lives with her immature husband, his mother, and their two, little boys in an apartment community, and the association queens play the snob-bitch part to the hilt!
They use megaphones to alert the entire community to the unacceptable ways of the less-desirable tenants (namely, those with no degree or prestigious job).
It's funny, and at the same time, sad as hell to know (or even to have to assume) that people like this actually exist in the world.

A doggy breaks into the trash, so the queen bitch gets on the horn to alert the neighbors of the fact that the undesirables have broken yet, another Association law by putting out their trash the wrong way.
Gook and three, other women creep from their apartments and converge at the dumpster to clean up the mess while complaining about the injustices heaped upon them at every turn.
Gook leaves the group to find her husband, who is at a Pojangmacha with Tae Ran, and she overhears him tell Tae Ran that he hates his wife, is embarrassed of her, and he wishes that he had never married her.
Gook returns to the girls and suggests that they go to the beach.
One of the suppressed is divorced, the other lives in fear of her abusive husband, and the third woman, Soo Duk, refers to herself in 3rd person fashion, repeating a mantra of demands that her overbearing husband makes on her.

"Soo Duk's job is to cook, and to lose weight", she keeps saying at the first-half of the drama, and believe it or not, it never gets tiring!

She's cute but slightly overweight after bringing two children into the world.

The girls arrive at the beach on the night of a full-moon, and the divorcee runs into Park Seok Doo (Kim Nam-jin).
He's a sexy college student and the son of a Korean ambassador.
Seok Doo stays on the beach with the women, and he's instantly attracted to Gook when she makes the poignant observation that his nomadic childhood must have caused him a great deal of loneliness.

AGAIN, because Gook is five (count 'em, FIVE) years older than Seok Doo, she will not even consider getting involved with his royal hunkiness.

More is the pity.

Seok Doo ends up helping the women with their personal problems while doggedly pursuing the now-free Gook-hee.
Her ex-husband loses his cool the first time that he sees her with the gorgeous Seok-doo.
There is a hilarious scene at a sauna where the two, competitive men end up together inside the locker room.
Myung Pil gasps in wide-eyed shock when Seok-doo removes his shirt, revealing his gym-bod.
Then Seok-doo drops his trousers, and Myung-pil nearly faints.

Kim's character smiled a lot, was wise beyond his years, and was multi-lingual as well as smart.
He always said the right things to Gook-hee and her friends to get them back on the right track and not let their fear overwhelm them whenever push came to shove.
One by one, they took care of their nasty other-halves while growing in wisdom and maturity.
Especially our downtrodden Ms. Gook-hee.
She could not afford to leave the apartment community, so she had to watch her husband and his mistress carry on inside their apartment.
Because Myung-pil could not get over the fact that Gook-hee was actually able to snare a hotty like Seok-doo, he ended up devoting more of his time to Gook-hee than to Tae-ran, which lent itself to more, humorous moments in Modern Housewives.

As I said earlier, Soo Duk was funny, and when her time comes to take back her life and gain some much-needed control in her marriage, she does so with absolute gusto.

She behaved mild-mannered until someone touched her, said the wrong thing, or mistreated one of her friends, and then she would turn into a raging mad-woman.
Except when it came to dealing with her (surprise, surprise) unattractive, overweight husband.
When she finally gains her independence, she attacks him in his sleep, beats him down, and with a fist aimed at him, she orders him to read & follow her list of demands.

"Call me Cutie, not fatso, and say you like my cooking."

Not since Get Karl Go have I had this much fun watching a Korean drama.
I'm at an age now where sappy, sentimental crap and sugary, bubble-gum garbage annoys me.
Teenage anything has dominated this genre (especially in Taiwan and Korea) for almost a decade now, so it's always refreshing to find something like Modern Housewives, Get Karl Go, and East of Eden to fulfill my weekly requirement of the Asian fix.

Korean's do a great job with their period drama's, too.
Kingdom of the Winds is really good, and I'll probably never get tired of watching Emperor of the Sea, either.
I prefer Japanese dramas to Korean, and as long as Hideaki Ito remains on top of his game, I should be able to enjoy mature content dramas from that part of the world, too.

Is Kaneshiro Takeshi ever going to star in a drama, btw?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Jigeumeun Yeonaejong / We Are Dating Now / 지금은 연애중

I so looked forward to watching this KDrama!

I used Mysoju this time, and the first half of this 16-episode drama was GREAT!
Then, that little, Chinese girl came back to SARS and ruined it for me.

To retaliate, I've joined the SARS website, and with any luck at all, I'll find a way to UNDO the damage already done (or at least prevent it from ever occurring in the future).

There is NOTHING worse (to me) than to lose your way in a drama because you can't understand what the hell anyone is saying.
Actually, for me, the most annoying thing about it is having to pause the damn screen every, few minutes, to re-read the convoluted garble that is written.

I'm not stupid, so I get the gist of what is TRYING to be translated, but it's still frustrating as hell to have to put up with, and I'm sick & tired of it.

Anyway, as Korean dramas go, WRDN was a long, drawn-out story about two people who meet, and she hates him/he likes her.

SHE (Yoon Ho-jung) has two friends ... a twirpy wallflower that dresses frumpy, (Soo-Ji), and a knock-out hard-ass, (Kang Cha-hee), hell-bent on destroying her own life because of her mother.

She has a bitch mother (BIG surprise), a weak father (BIG surprise), and a dreamy grandmother (BIG surprise).

She's got a hunk brother, too ... KWON SANG-WOO as Yoon Ho-jae.

I really LIKE him!
I mean, aside from his gorgeous looks & terrific bod, that is.
He has that cute lisp, too, like LEE Min-ki does.

He really helped to bring WRDN to life, and I'll always appreciate a man that can make me laugh.
KWON did that in just, about every scene that he appeared, too.

If I had watched this drama when it originally aired, back in 2002 (Jan to Mar), I would have fallen for Kwon the same way that I fell for KIM Nam-jin when I saw 1,000 Years of Love.

Poor, silly So Ji-sub.
He was so NOT attractive to me back in the day!
Thank the Lord (and his stylist) that he changed his image the way that he did!
THIS ... is completely unappealing to me ***

THIS is what I love about my man, Ji-sub ***

Anyway, KWON played the air-head, younger brother, spoiled to death by his abrasively dominatrix mother.

He's not good in school, and his grand scheme is to latch onto a cougar, living off her $$$ for the rest of his life.

Eventually, he falls in love with his sister's best friend, Soo-Ji (Lee Eui-jung.)
The nerd with no sense of style, and who eventually becomes a dentist.

They must not pay very well over there, in Korea.
Soo-ji is an only-child, living with DOCTOR parents, in a fancy, cookie-cutter subdivision.
And, as I already mentioned, she becomes a dentist.
So, when she decides to elope with our Yoon Ho-jae, she's suddenly destitute?
And, I'd like someone to explain to me how ANYONE can blow through $5 grand that quick?

A dentist, with Doctor parents, and her grand total savings is only $6 million won?
For a wallflower that never dated or knew how to have a good time, she sure didn't know how to take care of her income!

Ok ... back to the story.

So Ji-sub plays the upright, stodgy Choi Kyo-in, who falls for Yoon Ho-jung (Chae Rim) of Dal Ja's Spring fame.

She ends up sitting in front of So's character on the same bus, as she did when she made Dal Ja's Spring, which I thought rather humorous and unimaginative.

Choi is old-school, and his bossy nature turns off Yoon almost immediately.

She keeps meeting and falling in love with the wrong men, and he keeps offering advice while growing increasingly jealous of her ability to attract members of the opposite sex.

The hard-ass sex kitten, Kang Cha-hee
(Choi Yoon Young) falls for Choi, and since Yoon is interested in another guy, Choi decides to hook up with Kang.

Naturally, this doesn't work out, and the beautiful Kang realizes that Choi will never love her, so she dumps him and walks away.
Later however, she comes back as a super-model, and along the way, she tries to help Yoon and Soo-ji with their messed up love lives.
She also introduces Ho-jae to her connections in the business, and he ends up becoming a super-model as well.

This was a sappy, sentimental story, and because of So Ji-sub, I had to watch it in it's entirety, though it hurt a great deal, what with the horrific subtitles and SO's awful hair style.

I'll leave you with a few pics, and then it's time for me to finish filling out report cards.