The Last Dramas of 2015: A Recap

Hello my loves,

It is now 2016 and the time for new dramas is upon us. During the last month of 2015, I went on a drama watching spree. I was out of school and the archeological dig was on a break for the holidays. I was craving my favorite type of drama, the romance variety. I was completely struck with the dramas I watched.

First up: Noble, My Love

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This drama is one of my favorite of the year and of my drama watching career. This drama is packed full of moments that made me go aww. It is based off a webtoon and it is short sweet and to the love. Lee Kang Hoon is a man with money and power in the world. He hates animals and women who don’t follow his orders. Cha Yoon Seo is the exact opposite. She is a vet with a heart of gold. They get together under strange circumstance and the sparks fly. You can finish this drama really fast. I finished my second round of watching in a day. Some say that this drama is clique but I have to differ. This drama is full of great moments.

Second up: Oh my Venus

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I really did not think I would love this drama as much as I did. For the simple reason of the subject. This about a woman who weighs approximately 150lbs that is on a journey to lose weight. Her name is Kang Joo Eun who is trying to lose weight after the break up of a 15-year-old relationship. She enlists the help of Kim Young Ho known as John Kim the world famous trainer. The trainer not only captures her heart but her body as well. I really started to love this drama after the first two episodes. My heart was captured under the spell of Kim Young Ho. This had some intense sexual tension as well which is strange for a Korean drama. I adored this drama until the end.

And Last but not Least: She was Pretty

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I actually learned of this drama from my boyfriend who saw this on reddit. It is such a beautiful drama. Kim Hye Jin used to be a pretty girl when she was younger and the love of her childhood Ji Sung Joon used to be a fat scared little boy. Now that these two have grown up and the pretty became ugly and the ugly became pretty. The reason I love this drama so much is actually the relationship between Shin Hyuk and Hye Jin. The chemistry between the two is amazing and I was honestly pulling for him in the end. I was gutted that his heart was broken. Not the mention he is the first Korean with a beard I’ve seen.

 

Those are the dramas that I’ve been obsessed with in the last month of 2015. I’m hoping for some more amazing romance dramas in 2016.

Until Next Time!

Nerd Noona ❤

 

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The Dramas of the Summer

NerdNoona Here!

So it is summer time and you know what that means, endless free time to do nothing but watch Korean dramas. This summer I’ve been bogged down with two internships at the same time which means I don’t always have a ton of time to watch the summer dramas. The summer is one of my favorite times for dramas. It really seems like the good dramas tend to come out around the hot season. This summer is no different. I have currently been obsessed with three shows that have really captured my attention and made me stay up way past my bedtime.

This summer drama season has finally got some amazing Romantic Comedies  that I am crazy for. It seems like the last few cycles of dramas have been really heavy with barely any fun thrown in so I am happy that Rom Coms are coming back into fashion so to speak.


The First on my list is a cute little drama which throws in a little supernatural flair to break up the usual rom com formula. I am of course talking about Oh My Ghostess

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This Rom Com follows a virgin ghost who can’t help but try to pop her ghost cherry. Her snarky attitude really brings a new life into a drama which had the potential to fail. Kim Seul Gi really plays the grudge holding Soon Ae well even though her parts are far and few between. Her flash backs are really one of my favorite parts of the drama. Na Bong Sun and Kang Sun Woo have a great chemistry that is hard to find in a lot of Rom Coms. I am really looking forward to seeing what else this drama has in store for me.

Next up is another Rom Com that has captured my attention. This rom com follows a girl who can’t lie and a boy who can’t dress, Pinocchio.

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I just started this drama today and I can say I already love it to bits. I was immediately drawn to the drama because of the actress Park Shin Hye. She has got to be one of my favorites of the Korean drama industry. She has played in two of my favorite dramas, Heartstrings and Flowerboy Next Door. I adore her acting as you can really feel her emotions while she is acting. I’ve only watched one episode of this drama, but I can already feel the chemistry of the actors. I am extremely excited to see what this drama will bring.

Last but not least we have a Melodrama. This drama deals with debt, mental illness, and loss. The drama Mask really gives you turn after turn.

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This is not my usual cup of tea, but I was intrigued none the less. This drama follows a woman, Ji Sook and later Eun Ha, who fakes her death to take the life of her doppelganger who is engaged to the traumatized CEO, Min Woo. This is a very deep drama that really leaves you on the edge of your seat. I really felt connected to Ji Sook/Eun Ha who are both caught in cages of their own. I’m on the fourth episode and I really feel that I am going to end up sobbing by the end of this drama.


And that brings the end of my new three summer drama obsessions. I am really pleased with what the summer dramas have to offer this year. When I finish these dramas, I will post a full review of each drama. If you are watching or have finished any of these dramas, let me know what you think!

Until Next Time!

NerdNoona ❤

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PS: How is Lee Jong Suk so good looking! Ugh, I need to go to Korea.

Out of touch

Odds and Ends

I feel a little lost right now in the kdrama world. I’m gonna just throw out some odds and ends that are haunting my brain. I have a problem with depression, which you’ve probably heard me mention if you’ve looked at my art blog, and sometimes it makes getting anything done, including simple things like blogging, feel like earth-shattering tasks. But I hope I can blog more frequently, and my little cuz Nerdnoona will put more beauty stuff up. As for me, I hear Oakland has a Korea town (although it’s a little manufactured) so I thought I might go there and see if there are any cool skin care products. There are also a good amount of Korean Markets in Oakland. My best friend lives above one that seems pretty great, but every time we go in there she feels guilty because she’s buying ingredients to make Japanese food. I tell her most shops are pretty okay as long as you’re giving them money to purchase goods and services, so I don’t think it’ll be an issue. Anyhow. Actual drama thoughts follow, some spoilers.

Roommate

Roommate sort of imploded, but maybe they’ll realize with the second season that stars abruptly leaving upsets fans, and that at the very least they need to give goodbye episodes. I’m going to watch the new episodes because some of the new roommates seem pretty interesting.

High School King of Savvy

High school King of Savvy ended a few weeks ago, and that was a good wholesome serving of awesomely weird. Plots that pair together two characters who are at heart both very strange, despite major surface differences and one being more socially apt has long been one of my weaknesses. It’s lucky the two leads were so out-there. No one thinks the show is trying to encourage typical 27-year-olds to marry 17-year-olds. My only complaint was Jin-Woo’s resolution. I would have liked more for him, less rushed. My theory is he was supposed to end up with the younger sister, but someone realized she had better chemistry with the friend (they were adorable) and looked like an 8 year old next to Jin-Woo. There also should have been more bromantic scenes, like Min-seok bringing Jin-Woo chicken. Let’s be honest, that’s the relationship a lot of people were watching the show for, anyway.

Fated to Love You

Ending more recently was Fated to Love You. I’m glad it took a detour from the original, but the illness thing was just too stretched out. The pain over losing the baby was done amazingly well, and I really appreciated the sensitive way it was handled. But the forced separation for no real reason is one of the worst staples of drama land. It made sense in the original Taiwanese version (for multiple reasons, the main one being that Se-ra’s character did something way more evil.) Gun’s character in that version was still a little bit of a self-centered jerk before Mi-Young left (he started out practically schizophrenic, in my opinion. Sometimes he was sweet, and sometime he was so unlikable I couldn’t stand him and couldn’t stand the girl for putting up with his crap.) Mi-Young’s character in the Taiwanese version didn’t have the inner steel that the Korean version had, and the years abroad were really needed for her to become a stronger, self confident person. But our Mi-young was already a fighter, already extremely lovable, and our Gun was pretty amazing and in love. I know the separation had to happen, but it went on far too long. Oh, also, the end was cute and all, but it was as if someone sat there with a checklist trying to make sure every last person got a happy ending. Also, the whole drugging people thing…I accepted it as funny in the show, but it’s really not. Gun and Mi Young were married, they wanted to be intimate, so I guess I’m just supposed to laugh at the fact that they were drugged to prevent them from using protection so that they’d get pregnant again. But, uh, when I just write it out like that, it seems really creepy.

Discovery of Romance

I’m sort-of watching Discovery of Romance, but with reservations. I’m not always keen on more realistic romances. I watch TV to escape real life. That said, I don’t hate it but I need the characters to be more honest and open with themselves and with each other, so that they can be more likable. I pretty much liked them all at first, and then with every episode every character but Joon-ha and Sol did something extremely shady. Maybe this will be another show where I’m more focused on the side romances. I really don’t mind realism, but it bothers me when “realism” is a code word for everyone begin horrible and every awful thing that could happen, happening. That’s why I tend to avoid Frank Miller comics. But, this is a funny show, and I’ll wait and see what happens.

High school-love on

I don’t generally mind when a show is once a week instead of twice, but this little gem is suffering from the format. It doesn’t seem like it was written to be shown this way, and the fact the it keeps getting preempted shows that it’s not really being cared for by the network. This issue is especially blatant right now, because the show is still setting up it’s conflicts about Seul-Bi needing to return to being an angel (or reaper), the situation at school, the two boys unknowingly being step brothers, forming a tentative friendship, both liking Seul-Bi and, I don’t feel like this when I’m actually watching, but when I think about the plot, it feels like it’s creeping along. Especially the romance. I understand completely why she can’t entirely admit she likes Woo-Hyun, but he’s already confessed to her, and she’s sorta, kinda, maybe given out the vibe that she’s not offended by the idea. That kind of thing is not satisfying to veiwers! If the show was being broadcast twice a week, it wouldn’t feel that slow. We’d have pretty quickly gotten most of the info we need. I gotta tell you, with this being preempted so often, I’m having My So Called Life flashbacks. That should date me for you.

Surplus Princess

Another quirky once a week drama. I like it! I think this baby has way more substance that it;s been given credit for. So far, weird, perverted, adorable, sweet, slightly evil mermaid is one of my favorite heroines on air right now. And I like that it actually is really hard to tell who the lead male is. Of course I’m shipping her with Hyun-Myung because he has eye-crinkles when he smiles because she’s developing an actual friendship with him instead of just liking him because he’s hot, unlike her feelings for Shi-Kyung. Also, Hyun-Myung deserves a nice girlfriend who won’t dump him the moment she starts to climb the social ladder. He also needs someone to push/pull him along into the real world instead of sitting in his room writing masterpiece cover letters. I don’t hate Shi-Kyung, especially when he’s smiling and laughing with our lead, but there’s something about him that’s a little odd. The face-blindness explained some of it, but I can’t help but feeling there’s something else. I’m hoping next week the plot moves a little more zippily. Not saying its dragged, but it is not a fast moving show by any means.

Plus nine Boys

I don’t speak Korean, but I’m gonna guess that’s a terrible translation, especially since it doesn’t explain what the show is about at all. What would be better? Age ending in Nine Boys, which I’ve seen, is another no, because at that point you might as well hand out a summery of the plot as the title. The Terrible Nines? That’s not really a phrase- forget it, the name sucks, but the show itself is great. 39 year old romance: I really, really want to solve the mystery of what happened! What made that sweet lady reject his proposal that way, in front of everyone? And while I think we’re pretty clear that’s not his daughter, she gets pretty uncomfortable when the topic of her marriage comes up, so I think there’s another story, there. 29 year old romance: I really, really hope this one works out, but he deserves to suffer a bit first. I know he’s sorry for what he did. I also know that they saw the scene differently- he didn’t feel insanely bad when she saw him kissing that other girl, but he didn’t feel good about it; however, she remembers him not caring how hurt she was and even smirking as the car drove away. I think he also doesn’t realize how much she liked him at that time. This seems like the one and only time he’s ever actually been in love with someone, but his jerkiness was so complete in the past that I totally understand why she doesn’t believe he’s serious. I mean, he really truly was just working his way around campus/work and included her along the way. So sure, he realized soon after that that he liked her, but if he’s going to prove to her that he’s sincere, he’s got to resist going back to his playboy ways out of frustration. 19 year old romance: This kid totally deserves whatever his “destined girl” is gonna unleash on him. How happy am I that she’s not some shrinking belle? Maybe she can get him to stop taking “meaningful” instagram selfies everywhere, while she’s at it. 9 year old romance: I expected this to be annoying, but it’s actually kinda cute. The kid is acting like a jerk to everyone, but especially his little “girlfriend” now that he’s not doing too well in show business. I was afraid this was going to put a lot of adult behaviors onto little kids, but the romance is playing out just like in real life, little kids who are close friends mimicking adult behaviors but still having childish thoughts and motivations. She just wants him to be nice like he used to so they can play and have fun, and he wants her to like him better than that Do Min Joon kid who everyone else thinks is better than him. And in the meantime, they hold hands occasionally and call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. I’m okay with that.

It’s Okay, it’s love

I have some mental health issues myself, so I’m very sensitive about how they’re handled. I held off on watching this until I got some feedback on the level of realism/sensitivity involved. I’m hearing good things…what do you guys think?

Trot Lovers Series Review

Some General spoilers ahead.

Trot lovers finished recently, and as it is a series I had recommended to Nerdnoona among others, I wanted to talk a little about what worked and what didn’t.

What’s frustrating about the series is that basically, the whole thing worked until a certain point. It was a simple show, competent, not reinventing the wheel, but going through predictable moments in sweet, sometimes hilarious ways. There was a rude, spoiled lead male, an amusing second lead male, a down-on-her-luck hardworking lead female, lots of people conspiring to keep her from succeeding, and an adorable child. The bickering relationship between the leads didn’t do it for some, but I thought it was cute. Although none of the parts of the story really departed from the tried and true drama cliches, the music and the individual characters were interesting enough to keep you watching. I especially enjoyed the moments President Jo seemed to be breaking the 4th wall.

But then the show took a nose dive. There were a few moments when I felt the show had jumped the shark: Jang Joon-hyun’s amnesia was the big one, but I think the characterization of Park Soo-in was really the first sign there was trouble. Soo-in first appeared as a sympathetic bad-guy. We understood why she was the way she was; in short, she seemed redeemable. But then, Soo-in started making choices that put her further and further away from that girl who was simply suffering because of a controlling mother and had never been taught how to deal with her issues. She started being pretty dang evil, of course mostly over a man, and she assumed that Jo Geun-woo wasn’t with her simply because of Choi Chun-hee. Soo-in crossed the place of no return, in my opinion, but there were hints that the writer’s still considered her redeemable.

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Trot Lovers 13-14 thoughts

Warning: This post will be FULL of spoilers!!!!!! Bursting with spoilers!!!! Spoilers in every paragraph!!!! 

Trot Lovers

Let’s be honest. This isn’t the most subtle show. I wanted to make a sports metaphor here, like “if this was football Trot Lovers would be a…” and that’s where I stumbled, because I don’t actually watch sports. I’m guessing I’m thinking linebacker, but comparing a linebacker to a show that seems determined to rush head on into every cliche, make every foe and some of the friends pure caricatures, and cram songs in whether they’re needed or not, might sound like an insult to linebackers.

However, I like Trot Lovers. It gives me two hours a week to just be amused and entertained. It isn’t really an important show, except for some of the amazing renditions of songs it contains, but it is an entertaining one. Even if some of the entertainment comes from wondering what the heck the writers were smoking.

(I know I warned against spoilers in the beginning, but I’m warning you here again. Turn back! Point of no return!!! Don’t care? OK, keep reading.)

I know the couple is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like them. I bicker quite a bit with my fiance, and people commonly ask if we’re siblings. (Can I just digress here and say no, we’re not? We’re just both chubby biracial people will curly hair who argue jokingly a lot. NO shared DNA. I promise.) Anyway…even though the couple chemistry may not be there for a lot of people, one of the great parts of the show is the family-bond between Byul and Joon-hyun. I’m glad that’s continuing to be showcased.

So…we’re past the amnesia. The handling of the amnesia wasn’t horrible, but the way our lead Joon-hyun  developed it and the timing was the epitome of ham-handedness. It felt practically like the moment they start dating. (Speaking of moments, Trot lovers also doesn’t really handle time well. Sometimes it’s practically impossible to understand how much time is supposed to have passed in an episode.) I also felt that Joon-hyun hadn’t stopped being a jerk long enough to keep viewer’s affections when he returned to being a jerk through amnesia.

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Lie to Me review

I just finished Lie to Me. I’m talking about the one starring  Yoon Eun Hye  and Kwan Ji Han, not the one starring Tim Roth (although I highly recommend that if you’ve never seen it.)

Anyway, I think this is the way Lie to Me came about (warning, mild, non-specific spoilers ahead):

Writer A: I thought of some really fantastic kiss scenes.

Writer B: Oh yeah? A lot of them?

Writer A: Tons. Amazing ones.

Writer B: So I guess we better think of a plot for the show to put these kisses in.

Writer A: …Huh? Oh, yeah, whatever. We can just throw something together. I’m going to get back to work on these kiss scenes.

Writer B: Okay. I’ll try to find some amazing actors. I guess it might be better to figure out what they’re doing before hand so we don’t end up wasting talent…

Writer A: Or we could just wing it.

Writer B: That’s a good idea, too…

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching the show, but it’s not well-crafted. There are conflicts inherent to the plot that make sense with the characters and their choices, that are resolved surprisingly quickly only to be replaced by conflicts that were obviously quickly manufactured and don’t make sense. Sang-Hee, second lead and the main lead’s younger brother, seems present only to provide someone for the writers to heap unfortunate circumstances on, and when they aren’t interested in doing that, his character just doesn’t show up. In the second half of the series he barely has any time with Ah Jung, Yoon Eun Hye’s character. Isn’t the point of the second lead to provide some tension between the leads?

The last third of the story was just a bit unfortunate. The main conflict was resolved, which is something that doesn’t serve a story when you’ve got 4 or so episodes left. The questioning about Ah Jung perhaps misusing the power inherent to her government position due to her relationship with Ki Joon was boring, but made sense. It made so much sense that I was a little confused about why neither character had thought about how their dating clandestinely would look. Regardless, it made sense for the plot, but it was handled haphazardly and then poof, it was gone.

Then, because getting rid of every conflict isn’t great when you have 2 or so episodes left, another random major plot point was created and this one didn’t make any frigging sense what so ever.

In the end, if you like the main actors (and how could you not) give it a shot. Don’t watch it for Sung Joon  as Sang Hee, because it will leave you either wanting to sweep in there and kidnap him to get him away from all this nonsense, or wanting to put the poor boy out of his misery. And if you like kisses and don’t mind them being built on a slightly wobbly foundation, this is the drama for you.

This week I’m looking forward to…

I’m going to try to keep this brief, because it’s 3:42 in the morning and my fiancee has been trying to convince me to sleep when other people sleep. While I probably will stay up until 7am again, it’ll be good to be able to say truthfully “at least I wasn’t writing my Korean drama Blog.”

You’re All Surrounded

“You’re all Surrounded” has turned in to the show I really, really like provided I skip about 35%, and then disregard the “logic” in about ten percent of what I did watch. I like most of the relationships between the detectives, (gotta admit I couldn’t care less about Tae Il’s Noona crush. They have mommy-child chemistry. If that’s the way it pans out I will shrug, as long as none of the bromances go down the drain.) I do wish though…just me being selfish, I guess…that the writers would give our rookies the kind of brain power not to make out during an important police investigation. Fan-service is one thing, but most of us were originally watching  “You’re all Surrounded” both as a romance and as a police procedural. I’m not really complaining, though, because the police procedural stuff got our puppy Lee Seung Gi injured in real life, so that should show they’re serious about it.

Anyway, if the show continues on the course it’s on so far, I can see a bit of makjang coming but eventually clear skies in which I will re watch a few episodes occasionally just to giggle when everyone realizes who the Maknae (youngest) is.

Hopes: Well, I’m hoping if the makjang turn is what I think it is, that weirdo rich kid will be a genuinely good guy and brother figure.

Fears: I don’t know what shows did this to me, but my fears are that EVERYONE DIES!!! ARGAAAAARRGFFFGGHHH!

Trot Lovers

On paper, Trot Lovers seemed like nothing but a rehash of tropes, cliches and excuses to play trot music, but it’s a surprisingly interesting, intense story so far. Ji Hyun-woo apparently is taking extra care not to get type cast as the most lovable man on the planet, cause this time his lead is giving Gu Jun Pyo a run for his money as “lead who most gives off the impression of being a sociopath.” I don’t mean he likes to beat people up and make them lick his shoes, he just doesn’t seem to care about anyone other then himself. At the end of the second episode I did feel for him, but I also raised my eyes superiority and said “That’s what you get.” Speaking of sociopaths, Shin Sung-rok who was the baddie in You From Another Star is second lead Geun Woo. Geun Woo is yet another chaebol son, but luckily here the resemblance ends. He does not want to take over for his father, and in fact seems dead against it. Now his personality is hard to track down. He has a charming smile, disinterest in everything, and a blatant case of kleptomania (or is it just not caring if he inconveniences someone else?) which all blend together to create an unsolvable mystery air about him. That will keeps my interest for about 2 or 3 more episodes, so I hope there’s more going on. There’s some family discontent there, and I can’t tell if he’s interested in Miss Snotty Soo-in, who I guess could be cool, I dunno. Second leads tend to go one of two ways.

The little sister, Byul, is adorable and a big part of the shows appeal. The singing is also great- the last song of the second episode gave me chills. I have never been able to figure out what trot is, really, but guessing from reactions to it on the show the closest allegory I can think of is classic country or folk. As in, some people are going to laugh at you just for listening to it.

King of Highschool Savvy:

I’m very much looking forward to seeing Min-Seok realize most people in the company aren’t as nice as they seem, and it is definitely time for an alliance with Soo-Young. I would love for this show to be available somewhere with English subs legally and easily accessible. If it’s not legal, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to finish the show there, and ya know, also I don’t want to cheat the people who made it…which might be a reason to start broadcasting dramas on American TV…or making deals with netflix or hulu or…actually, I have no frigging idea, I just want to be able to watch this show without having to hunt for it.

We Got Married

I dunno about heechul, man. Whatever is going on with him, it’s serious. I say that with admiration in my voice, but the man is just seriously off his rocker sometimes. I like that Puff is starting to take after him instead of the other way around. It’s cute. I’d like to mention a specific incident, but I think the man’s whole career is just made up of Heechul being a little too full of himself, a little too odd, and completely too awesome.

Puff is pretty cool too, and they’d make a perfect couple, I think. Heechul could keep her on her toes and she could knock him down to size when he needs it.

(Little detour here: I’m watching her new drama (the one with the funny name “Love Myself or You.” They tried to change it to “Pleasantly Surprised”but that has nothing to do with the Chinese name at all.) Anyway, she’s great in it, and it is far better than Aaron Yan’s “Fall in Love with me.”No offense meant to Puff’s group mate, Tia Li, but- well, maybe tiny offense meant: She is not a good actress. At all. She tries hard, but she only has one or two expressions. It’s something she might be able to get over, but she should get over it with an acting coach, not while actually being in productions other people could have been better in. Aaron is pretty fantastic playing two roles, and I hope he and Puff actually get to act together again soon!)

Now back on the Heechul front, there was something I wanted to mention. I think Heechul is just a ginormous Troll about the whole “is he gay thing.” If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, read this or this. Some guys who have these rumors going around might make a big show out skinship with their “wife”…and Heechul kinda does that, but not in a desperate “so the cameras can see” way, and when they walk around with each other they’re obviously comfortable being physically close. Heechul has his best friend and rumored boyfriend on the show, and that friend plays a trick on him by kissing him on the lips that Heechul wasn’t at ALL surprised by. Puff neither, when I think about it. I do not play the “is he gay” guessing game because I’m horrible at and it’s none of my business, but in this case I just  think Heechul is aware of the rumors and wants to let everyone know he doesn’t give a flying f*ck what they think. And that, my friends, is a big part of why I think he’s awesome.

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