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

Monday, December 12, 2016

Go Ho's Starry Night #review

고호의 별이 빛나는 밤에

Romanization -  Gohoui Byuli Bitnaneun Bame
Genres -  Romantic Comedy
Writer -  Shin Yoo dam
Network -  SBS
Episodes -  4
Released -  2016, Oct

   

CAST




SYNOPSIS


Go Ho (Kwon Yuri) is a 29-year-old woman who works at an Ad Agency. Five men, Kang Tae ho, Hwang Ji hoon, Oh Jung min, Park Jin woo, and Choi Duk moon end up approaching her with love on their minds. ~AsianWiki (w/edits)

REVIEW


This was cute.

A short and sweet tale of a young woman struggling to make it in the Advertising world when she's removed from Team A and sent to Team B.

Team B's leader turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, who dumped her in about the same fashion as she has been removed from Team A -- without much warning or explanation.

What didn't quite make sense was Go Ho's side job (I think that's what it was) as a writer for some online magazine.

She keeps getting phone calls saying her content is boring and needs amping up, and when it is suggested that she use Stars as a point of reference, Go Ho gets this amazing idea and runs with it.

She begins to rate the men in the office and suddenly the articles she posts are a hit.

She's also becoming a Star in said office because her ex wants her back, her ex boss starts to pursue her, and 3 other men she works with also find her attractive.

The two leads had good chemistry



And there was no second-lead syndrome for me, either




This was funny, had a believable plot with a few interesting twists, and kept me entertained throughout.

I also enjoyed the fact that some big-name stars made cameo's, which added to the humor in Go Ho's Starry Night.

Would definitely recommend.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Let's Eat - Season 2 #review

식샤를 합시다 2

Romanization -  Shiksyareul Habshida 2
Genre -   Romance, Comedy, Food, Suspense
Writer -  Lim Soo mi
Network -  tvN
Episodes -  18
Released -  2015, Apr - Jun

   


CAST




SYNOPSIS


Koo Dae young (Yoon Doo joon), an insurance salesman, moves to another city and meets his new neighbors, Baek Soo ji (Seo Hyun jin), a freelance writer who eats once a day, and Lee Sang woo (Kwon Yool), a public officer admired by women. ~AsianWiki (w/edits)

REVIEW


Found this quite by accident and had to watch because it involved FOOD.

Weird thing about that, though, is that while I do tend to enjoy a drama that depicts native fare on a frequent basis, and most of the meals do look delicious, it also has the opposite effect depending on what is being served.

octopus head with black ink oozing out into the soup

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I have to wonder how long after the production ended that Yoon Doo joon got his taste buds back.

EVERY freaking menu item he shoved into his mouth was piping hot with steam curling upward, and he barely took the time to let it cool down before eating.

More than half the close-up shots of him eating showed just how hot the food was, and with him fighting hard to hide his pain.

I'm probably alone in this, but eating anything that hot ruins the whole experience for me.

My teeth and tongue go numb after just one hot bite and it takes hours for the feeling (and my taste buds) to return, so I've always eaten everything at or near room temperature as a result.

I digress . . .

This is about more than just a handsome salesman wanting to be top-dog again in the world of Life Insurance.

Dae young gets into trouble in Seoul and is transferred to another branch in a smaller town a few hours south of Seoul.

There, and after renting a small apartment owned by Kim Mi ran, he meets his across-the-hall neighbor, Baek Soo ji.

She recognizes him instantly and is startled to see him again, but it takes a bit longer for Dae young to figure out who she is and why she's behaving so mean.

Soo ji is a freelance writer currently working with the city government on Food aspects of the city and country, where she's hired to put together brochures for the travel industry.

Her boss, Lee Sang woo, is quiet, diligent, and work-absorbed but Soo ji is smitten and can't stop thinking about him.

Hong In ah is his assistant and starts out rather crass, always sneering at and insulting Soo ji while making every attempt to hook up her younger sister with Sang woo.

When Dae young arrives on the scene, Soo ji begins to waver but still has enough resentment inside her to keep her budding feelings at bay.

She enlists Dae young's help in getting Sang woo to notice her, and it takes about half of the 18 episodes for this plan to succeed.

Sang woo eventually falls for Soo ji and they begin dating, but Dae young is also responsible for getting Sang woo to open up, express himself honestly, and let go of some of the stuffy, uppity brainwash he's been practicing since passing the civil service exams.

Aside characters and a suspense plot twist were included in this drama that really revolved around food.

Lee Joo seung is a young runaway pretending to be 30 who falls hard and fast for Hwang Hye rim, a drug store clerk who uses and abuses guys at about the same rate that they use her.

Joo seung is on the run from more than just his parents and is very angry, which equates to his being overly aggressive, and his age equals immaturity to make him a caustic, brooding soul in much need to a good confession.

Lee Jeom yi is the downstairs halmeoni who befriends Joo seung and treats him like her own since she lost her first-born and never fully recovered.

Im Taek soo works with Dae young and is a Father Goose on the verge of losing his family to divorce, so he drinks a lot, broods a lot, and clings to Dae young a lot for solace.

Out of all these characters, though, only one managed to scene-steal.

Happy the Pomeranian

I started out by watching Season 1 but didn't get into it so walked away only to discover this Season 2 version (which seemed the same) just a week later and ended up watching beginning to end without stopping.

As for its being Comedic...




















Yes, this had its moments of laughter and I think the whole cast worked well together, were in sync, and gave the impression of not only being relate-able in that setting but also liking one another both on and off-screen.




It became an easy-going romp about a young woman who was fat as a child and therefore lonely and oppressed, afraid to make the first move and still living in the shadow of her former, heavy self.

Dae young treated her kindly back then, until she discovered he was only using her to help his mother make money selling tteokbokki.

But, was there a

SECOND LEAD SYNDROME


Kwon Yool                            Seo Hyun jin                              Yoon Doo joon           

Yes, believe it or not, and no.

Not at first, because I rooted for Soo ji to get with Dae young from the beginning.

However, as Soo ji began to get over the past and start to realize how foolish she'd behaved, I was suddenly pouting at the screen feeling very sorry and anxious for our poor Sang woo.

I like Kwon Yool and think he's a promising young actor who will likely come into his own in about ten years, when he'll be dynamite as the ajusshi in gangster and sinister chaebol dramas.

I just don't LIKE like him the way I so easily do with other, more hunky male stars of the Korean drama ilk.

Even more strange -- there wasn't a whole ton of chemistry going on between Soo ji and Sang woo any more than there was a ton of it going on between her and Dae young.

I just felt that Soo ji and Dae young made the better couple.

THE HEA


It was cute and worth waiting 18 episodes to find out if everything would go as I had hoped.



It was a quiet, slow lead-in to a natural and believable romance, so kudos to the writer for making it that way.

No eye-pop kisses here, folks!





Monday, December 05, 2016

High-End Crush #review

고품격 짝사랑  /  Gopumgyeok Jjaksarang


Episodes -  20
Genre -  Romantic Comedy
PkA -   The Greatest One-Sided Love No One Has Ever Seen Before
Released -   Nov, 2015 - Jan, 2016
Network -  Sohu TV WebCast

  

CAST


Stars Jung Il woo, Jin Se yeon, Lee Si eon, and Yoon Bo ra

SYNOPSIS


Romantic comedy depicting the heartfelt and pure love story by of a man, a successful CEO with everything in his hands, who falls in love for the first time in his life with a woman who has been living in completely opposite circumstances from his and is a rising artist in his own company. ~Wiki

REVIEW


I tried.

Really tried to like this one but failed.

20 short episodes of rapid-fire dialogue with as much shouting as there was running around, chasing after nothing, and going nowhere.

Worse, most of these episodes ended one way only to have the following episode begin somewhere else, leaving me to wonder... well? Hello?

Zero chemistry between the two leads, and she had to be the biggest stick-in-the-mud out of all the deadpan, flat-lined, uninterested female leads I've ever come across in a Korean drama.

LOOKS aren't everything is about all I took away from this watch.

What was he so all-fired up about, I wonder?

She was as lifeless as a dead fish after having flopped onshore for a few . . . hours.












Gawd . . .  jinjja??

Stiff, emotionless, boring, one-dimensional and NOT worth all the noise, bother, and mayhem the guy put himself through trying to deny his feelings for someone so . . . ugh!

As for its being labeled Comedy... well, I suppose it can be left up to the viewer to decide if they laugh, but I hardly did.

Slapstick and 3 Stooges never appealed to me and I never found any humor in such antics.

Although each episode was less than 30 minutes, it was difficult to sit through each of them, and the stupid song only made it worse.

Trying to read flashing subs added to the problems with this show, too.

Almost like seeing subliminal messages being flashed across the bottom of the screen, which you had approximately 10 seconds to read or forget it.

I cringed my way through all 20 episodes in a few hours (given several bathroom and food breaks) but would not recommend this to anyone, least of all the hardcore Jung Il woo fans, who may turn out to be sadly disappointed in this Oppa's latest attempt.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

The K2 #review



Writer -  Jang Hyeok rin
Network -  tvN
Episodes -  16
Released -  2016, Sept - Nov
Genre -  Thriller, Political


CAST




PLOT


Kim Je ha is a former solider for hire. He becomes K2 as a bodyguard of Choi Yoo jin. Yoo jin is the daughter of a chaebol family and the wife of presidential candidate, Jang Se joon. Ko An na is Se joon's secret daughter and a recluse. ~DramaWiki (w/edits)

REVIEW

I liked this one and I didn't like it.

And, what this is actually about is corruption, greed, and political mayhem in very typical Korean Drama-style.

Relieved it only went for 16 episodes, too.

I was tempted to add FANTASY to the genre listings, but that is a stretch.

And, I know things are a bit different over there, but still . . . having a love child is still considered a death wish?

C'mon.

So, here's where I really didn't like things (the fantastical script aside).

Yoona's Ko Ah na.

Ugh.

It's just REALLY difficult to wrap my head around the idea of a grown woman behaving like she's still 9.

Being held against her will, always running away -- but at night and in bare feet and her nightgown -- and getting as far as a subway station but unable to figure out how to hop aboard the train?

Really?

She's from eminent wealth, too, so how is it that it never once occurred to her to steal something from someone's purse and make her escape in a logical and mature manner?

When she's back in Korea and still held captive at her stepmother's house, it still never occurs to her to make her escape.

She mopes, lies around, and avoids the guards yet somehow can't figure out how to turn on a stove.

Ri-ight.

Then she meets K2 and what does she do?

Whines, weeps, cries, sobs, and carries on (and on, and on) about the past; about her dead mother and what she thinks happened, what she believes happened, what might be true and what might not be true.

I was over this twit by the third episode and cared less about her plight from then on.

The inconsistencies baffled as well.

K2 falls in love and asks a foreign girl to marry him when she's gunned down right before his eyes and he goes berserk.

He's on the run after being framed for the murder and returns to Korea in search of the real killer when Choi Yoo jin starts threatening him by taking out anyone he's involved with.

K2 wants his revenge for that, too, so he hires in at Yoo jin's security team, buddying up to her and promising her husband he'll protect his daughter, Ah na.

Immediately, and I mean right away, K2 falls for Ah na.

But later in the show, he tells her he feels guilty about his not being able to protect the woman he loved, and then turns right around and promises Ah na he'll do everything he can to protect her.

Is this meant to be reassuring?

He's a mercenary for hire turned bodyguard, yet he's unable to shoot to kill because of PTSD.

Again with the ri-ight! remark.

If this was a Romance Novel, it would be panned something awful.

So then, let's just jump on ahead to the good stuff, shall we?


 photo K2Stills-4.jpg










Ji Chang wook is still smokin' and abundantly so in K2.

His acting was superb (as always) with his unique (and rare) ability to transform himself on-screen so that what we're watching is a character come-to-life and not a hot actor playing the part.

Oh, and the shower scene that drove the censors up the wall? Hilarious!

I felt bad for Yoona, though.

When she sang Amazing Grace (at least I think it was actually her?) I was stunned, but beyond that, her character was too namby-pamby, whining baby, immature dolt for my taste.

There isn't a soul on earth who hasn't experienced some form of trauma in their lifetime, and while some do tend to carry that burden with them to the grave, it is just as rare for a grown adult to remain suspended in childhood animation well into adulthood.

Korean or not, she needed to get over herself years ago, and at some point say enough is enough, I'm my own person, I don't need my parents, so there.

But, no.

Back to the good stuff.

The central plot (and there are always several in a K-do) had to do with Yoo jin's UNbelievable ability to manipulate all of Korea with her wealth -- which, by the way, she'd forfeited decades earlier when she married Se joon against her father's wishes.

Somehow, and despite her having been ostracized from the Chaebol clan, Yoo jin still managed to amass a huge fortune, controlled a major share of her late father's holdings, and worked tirelessly to see that Se joon becomes the next president.

She's got enough power and money to create this totally cool MIRROR gimmick 9 floors beneath the company, but she's completely helpless against the people of South Korea when it comes to her step daughter's existence.

Can I get a huge eye roll, please?

And speaking of MIRROR and inconsistencies in the writing . . . K2 has to get everyone off that 9th level of Dante's hell before a bomb explodes, so what does he say?

"Shoot the elevator cables to send the car down; it's safer that way."

How many more freaking levels below earth can a massive office building hold before it caves in on itself?

AND!

What makes K2 think he's being genius with that remark?

Excuse me, sir. Newton's Theory on Gravity proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that ALL THE THINGS must come down . . . eventually.

So, the bomb goes off, nothing happens to the building or any of the people on the above floors, not even a massive fireball barreling up the elevator shaft!

Oh, and no rubble atop the disengaged elevator car, either.

Need another mass EYE ROLL here.

Still, I have to say this was worth it.

It was still exciting enough to try and overlook all the glaringly apparent Uh-uh's! that occurred and enjoy the rest of the show.

The intrigue was there and so was a good amount of fight scenes which, sorry to say, became over-the-top unrealistic toward the end.

That Korean Men Don't Get Concussions thing occurred in the last episode and I had to shake my head.

The Million-Dollar Man kind of thing that always makes me laugh until I'm about ready to fall off my chair.

There were a few funny bits, and the sardonic banter that occurred between Yoo jin and her younger half-brother was pretty cool.

The background music was AWFUL and didn't fit the storyline or the mood at all.

Very annoying and had me muting most of the time.

So, it's too bad Ji Chang wook took this part because it fell way, too short of his last suspense drama, Healer.

He's the main reason why I gave this one as high a mark as I did.


their expressions sum up the 'romance' in K2

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Something About 1% #review

1% of Anything (2016)
Genre - Melodrama, Romance
Based on -  1% of Anything by Hyun Go woon
Starring -  Ha Seok jin, Jeon So min
Episodes -  16
Released -  2016
Network  -  Oksusu
Remake  -  1% of Anything (MBC, 2003)



PLOT


Jae In, a ruthless son from a wealthy family, starts seeing an elementary school teacher, whom he has never met before, for a ten-month contract engagement in order to inherit his grandfather’s assets as written on will. 'One Percent of Anything' depicts what happens throughout the fake engagement. -- Hancinema (w/edits)


REVIEW


As  cliché (a hackneyed theme) as this was, I still enjoyed the watch and thought the lead couple were adorable together.



Ha Suk jin is Lee Jae in, the 'ruthless' heir to a hotel with the really weird (and real) name Alpencia, who is determined to make it on his own yet becomes doggedly determined to follow through on a 'love' contract with a perfect stranger in order to receive his grandfather's inheritance (much more than just the silly-named hotel).

Jun So min is Kim Da hyun, that woman.

She's self-sufficient as a 3rd Grade teacher who also does a lot of volunteer work while her parents continue to set her up on blind dates with Eastern Medicine Practitioners (like her father).

Da hyun is working with her students when she hears a cry for help and goes to investigate, finding a rumpled old man lying lifeless against a berm.

She gets him to a hospital and even pays for his treatment, and the old man gives her an apple in exchange for her kindness.

Turns out he's the chaebol king.

So, the old man writes Da hyun into his will, leaving her everything, and the only way his grandson (Jae in) can get it all back is if he agrees to date Da hyun for at least six months.

Da hyun has no idea who Jae in is or what he is telling her about his wealthy grandfather, but once Jae in starts donating money to the school and orphanage, Da hyun becomes obligated to go through with the arrangement.

I had begun by watching both the 2003 original and 2016 remake simultaneously until I realized the two are practically the same story, so I gave up on the original and continued with this remake.

The only fun part about attempting that dual watch was to note how many things have changed over the years and how little has changed as well.

On the plus side, family isn't the center of a Korean woman's universe today, so while the original showed tons of family time, the remake did not.

Neither is hung up on the idea of marriage, and even though both families are desperate to get their offspring hitched, the lead couple took their time, did things their way, and managed to build a relationship in as natural a fashion as reality-based fiction can allow.

The HEA worked itself out in just as reasonable a fashion, making for a delightful ending to an otherwise mundane-topic drama.

Cinderella, wishful thinking, poor girl meets rich boy, etc.

Still, it proved to be a fun watch and was easy to get caught up in all the drama that went with a beaten-to-death story line.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Drinking Solo (Let's Drink) #review

혼술남녀



















Genre -  Romance, Comedy, Food
Writer -  Myung Soo hyun
Network -  tvN
Episodes -  16
Released -  2016,  Sept - Oct

    

CAST



PLOT


At a private institute for people preparing for their civil service exams in Noryangjin, Seoul, South Korea, the teachers, students, and staff like to drink after work, alone or otherwise. Story depicts these people and the romance between Jung suk (Ha Seok jin) and Ha na (Park Ha sun). 

REVIEW


If anyone had bet me I would like this one, I would have laughed and laughed . . . then bet them double I wouldn't.

They would also be in the money right now.

Who in the world could predict that a 16-episode K-Do about alcohol consumption would be this hilarious, this interesting, and this memorable?

From start to finish, Solo had me entertained while laughing my ass off, and I'm still amazed I'm able to admit such a thing.

5-stars because I know for a fact I'll be re-watching this time after time, too.

Key's breakout debut was pure magic.

Key as Kim Ki bum

Dude ran with this one out of the gate and straight to the finish line without a single hitch, so to say he's multi-talented is putting it mildly.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is about more than just drinking (or drinking solo).

The story revolves around a few educators and a few of their students at a posh Prep School for people interested in taking the Civil Service entrance exams and their various life-happens along the way.

Jin Jung suk is an elite educator making six figures and calling more shots than the guy who runs the place.

He's self-absorbed, fastidious, and boring while also being handsome in a very Ken doll kind of way and garnering a major portion of the attendance in each of his classes.

Park Ha na is the exact opposite, of course, and comes from humble beginnings, working part-time through a lesser college as a tutor who ends up becoming an educator at this Posh cram school.

So, Polly Pureheart and Mr. Stuffy don't see eye to eye and don't get along at the start, but she's interested and he's fighting it.

Meanwhile, there are three students who hang out together since they've known one another as children: the eldest student keeps failing the exam while the other two slackers continue to goof off, have fun, and dog the third guy about cutting loose from his study habits.



A 4th student is a pretty girl who has a bad attitude (shocker, eh?) who snubs all the guys who keep trying to get her attention.

Dong young lost his girlfriend and is in a slump, Kim bum comes from wealth and can't concentrate long enough to get any studying done while Gong myung is crushing on his teacher, Ha na.

But Gong myung's older brother, Jung suk, also has a thing for Ha na and so there is a love triangle that actually turns into a love rectangle that is brilliantly dissected by Dong young, who films classes as an aleubaiteu.



In a majority of the episodes, we usually start out watching as Jung suk dines alone in some bar or restaurant, and while he's repeating the same lines about why he enjoys drinking solo, we are left to drool over whatever meal it is he's about to feast on -- hence the FOOD aspect of this drama.

Made me very hungry watching this one, so be prepared.

My only complaint is that I didn't quite feel it for the two leads and their resulting relationship.

The Romance story was great, believable, and worth rooting for, but The chemistry wasn't all the way there, I don't think.

She's cute and all, but some of her facial expressions were too weird or embarrassing to ignore.

Not sure I like her.

Han Seok jin is having a banner year, and I'm not done watching Something About 1% yet, but he's doing fantastic in that one, too.

Hope I'm able to watch his 2016 Movie (Like for Likes) as well.

It has to be difficult to play duel roles, but Korean men seem to have a knack for it.

He comes off as a stuffy bitch as easily and with as much believable as he does a sweetheart who is desperate to learn in order to grow.

Key's Ki bum had to do the same thing in his role, but his was more obvious even if he spent a majority of onscreen time snarking at and belittling his secret crush (which, by the way, was a major reason why Drinking Solo was so funny).

SECOND LEAD SYNDROME


No.

But, I have to say that the 5urprise member worked his magic to make me second-guess myself a few times.

Yeah, he's worth it but...

Now, Min Jin woong's character is a different story.

As bumbling an ass as he portrayed, there was just no way I could ignore him or wish he'd stop with the ridiculous impersonations he came up with as a way to entertain his dwindling number of students.

He's just such an adorable guy, what's not to like even if he's being a huge ass?


Min Jin woong

His story was a build-up I could see coming, but when it did arrive, it wasn't difficult to shed tears and pout at the screen.

So, when the inevitable eventually does occur, it was Hurray! time for me.



Damn he's cute and was adorably so in Drinking Solo -- and is a big reason why I won't mind watching this one again.

To recap, this isn't about Solo Drinking or Drinking Solo or students wanting to pass a Civil Service Exam.

This is a story about people intertwined under the same roof who must co-exist, get along, and work things out while enjoying a refreshing cold one every now and then.

Love, Lies, Misconceptions, and Attitude that all need fixing and readjusting in order for things to work out better for them.

BRAVO on a job well done.

(do-do mani-pani cho-co-lah!) can't get the theme song out of me head!


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