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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Q&A

Once upon a time, Nerdnoona and Curlynoona were free at the same time and were chatting on Facebook (since chatting in person is a bit hard, being that they live 2,220 miles apart.) They decided to ask each other questions about Kdramas, because despite Curlynoona’s name, they are both, in fact, huge nerds.

Nerdnoona’s answers:

1. Drama you wished you’d never watched?

My Love from Another Star has ruined me forever for dramas. I have such a high expectation because of this amazing drama. But seriously, I don’t watch dramas that I don’t research a lot before hand!

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2. Drama you wish was your life?

This one is so hard! Girls in dramas get pulled by the wrist a lot and I have weak wrists. I would have to say Heirs. If I could live with Lee Min Ho, I would be the happiest girl ever.

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3.  Character you’d date?

Jeremy from You’re Beautiful. Its a no brainer. He is so adorable and innocent I could just eat him up!!!

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4. Character you’d marry?

Since I am a Lee Min Ho addict\, I’ll have to say Choi Young from Faith. He is so amazingly good looking with the long hair and rugged style.

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5. If you owned a makeup company, who is the idol or actor you’d want for your CF?

Jun Ji-Hyun. She has such a beautiful face. Her face leans towards strength rather than the more traditional Korean look of being innocent.

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Curlynoona’s comment: I recommended You from Another Star, so I take credit for her loving it so much. ‘Cause, you know, recommending it is almost the same as producing, writing, or acting in it, right? It almost makes up for forgetting to tell her to watch the Korean version of Fated to Love you with a teddy bear to hug in the sad moments and in a room with padded walls for when you need to scream at all the noble idiocy (or laugh uproariously at all the hilarity.)

Curlynoona’s Answers:

1. Favorite aww scene? 

Pretty much any moment Jin-Gu looks at Se-Young in Plus Nine Boys.

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2. Favorite bitch?

Kim In-Hee from Personal Taste. She was a horrible person with no idea of personal responsibility, but the great thing about her was there was never a moment you felt bad about hating her. In fact, I hate her so much that I’m going to insert a GIF of the leads kissing just to spite her.

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3. Favorite Mom?

I like this question, because there are so many articles about evil/domineering mothers in dramas and I think we should take more time to highlight the good ones. I think the mom from I Hear Your Voice was amazing. She never stopped believing in her daughter, and on a more day-to-day note, she’s a big reason why Hye-sung was this awesome:

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4. Best makeup and style?

Despite a few missteps, I thought A Witch’s Romance had great styling for both the male and female cast. The guys especially, really, because often I have a hard time believing some of the things men are required to wear on shows- like ascots. I just don’t believe a 25 year old man, anywhere, is going to regularly where an ascot in his normal everyday life. On the ladies side, I especially liked how the lead female’s hair and makeup got less harsh as the show went on to show that she was becoming less guarded. The show also gave us a lot of moments to see everyone dressed up and dressed casually.

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I don’t remember that last one from the show, but it’s hilarious.

5. Couple that you wish happened but never did?

Second lead syndrome is a regular occurrence for me, so instead of listing every time I’ve had it I’ll just name a couple that was only in my head: Park Gyu-Dong and Kin Na-Na from Monstar. Is that weird? Maybe that’s weird…

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My TV Watching habits and language obsession

Hello folks. I have been doing freelance art/design gigs, so my time to obsess about TV has gotten a bit smaller. My love affair/obsession with television in general and Korean TV in particular seems to be the real thing, though, so I doubt it will ever end. The fiance last night said jokingly that I was working my way through every Korean drama ever made, and I just nodded and said “maybe not the melodramas.” He just sighed.

Let me briefly talk about how I got interested in K dramas. For some reason I feel like talking about it.

I have always been obsessed with storytelling. I started watching Korean language shows because I ran out of English-language romantic comedies to watch on Netflix. I gave in and watched “My tutor friend 2” and then because Park Ki-Woong was awesome I looked up his filmography and watched “The Musical.”. The show didn’t really showcase Park Ki-Woong and was a bit mediocre, pacing and ending wise, but I liked it. I might have mentioned this before, but the biggest attraction to me was that the shows had a story arch and ended when the story was over. I HATE shows that just keep going and destroy the progress made in previous episodes simply because they need conflict in order to be interesting. (Looking at you, Glee. Also, for older people like me, if I mention that Lois and Clark scarred me you might understand.) I decided to watch Boys Over Flowers, and then I think I watched Protect the Boss, and then I just kept going. I didn’t watch currently airing shows until I started having trouble finding completed series.

At first, I wouldn’t watch anything in another language besides Korean, because I had picked up a few Korean words and didn’t want to confuse my brain with multiple foreign languages. The biggest problem when I started watching Kdramas was that the language literally sounded like one big syllable to me. I would try to single out words- not specific words, just understand what sounds completed one word- and fail miserably. I would listen for the names I saw on the screen and be completely flabbergasted when I couldn’t hear them. (I now know that this is probably because subbers chose to put names instead of honorific titles, but it confused the heck out of me then.) I think I wanted to understand the words because I knowing how someone says a word can help you understand what they mean, beyond just words. (I hadn’t encountered tonal languages yet.) Also, I think it’s just disconcerting to not be able to understand anything. Anyway, I felt very at sea. When I started singling out some words, I was further confused by why sometimes they had different ending syllables and occasionally (I thought) different opening consonants. I had no idea about levels of politeness and I was pretty sure I was just hearing things wrong. When I started to understand a few words, I felt very proud and like I couldn’t possibly endanger that knowledge.

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K-drama thoughts this week

Hi everyone! This is Curlynoona here. Nerdnoona has gone from being drowned in finals to visiting an internet-free zone for a week. She’ll be able to put up some great TV/Beauty articles soon. I have a few random thoughts clanking around in my head, so I thought I’d write a quick note.

  • Today was a big day for me: the end of an obsession , Secret Love Affair. I’m not lying, this drama had me so attached to the characters that I was terrified to watch 14-16. No spoilers here, but I will encourage you to watch it.
  • A Witch’s Romance, my other favorite recently, is making me a bit nervous. It’s actually still engaging and great, but the plot has entered the angsty bit that lowered the quality of the original Taiwanese production My Queen. I’m hopeful A Witch’s Romance can stay romantic, cute and quirky, and not spend the remaining 9-10 episodes rehashing one issue.
  • I haven’t seen Hotel King but Roommate has aroused my interest in Lee Dong-wook, so I might check it out. Either that or I’ll go back and watch My Girl, which for some reason I had trouble getting into.
  • While watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal for the 80th time, I realized that 2nd leads who sleep in random places is actually a k-drama trope. This, Boys over Flowers, Flower boy Ramen Shop. That’s odd, right?
  • A reader asked for info on gay and lesbian characters in Korean dramas, and I’m having a hard time finding any that aren’t super depressing.
  • On the non-Korean front, I’m enjoying Fall in Love with Me. It did have a forced kiss this week, though, that didn’t exactly make me smile

Well, that’s about it for now. 🙂

You’re beautiful. No really, I mean it. 3 versions worth.

 

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You’re beautiful (Korean: 미남이시네요, Minamisineyo) was written by the Hong sisters and aired in 2009. While it didn’t get record breaking ratings, it was extremely popular with international viewers and had a large online fan base.

The Plot: Go Mi Nyeo, raised in an orphanage with her twin brother Go Mi Nam, is now a nun-in-training under the name of Gemma at a convent. Mi Nam is off training to become an idol. Mi Nam is about to achieve his dream of entering an idol group- unfortunately, he is in the United States getting undergoing procedures to fix botched plastic surgery. (The exact reason for Mi Nam being unavailable is not the same in every version; however, the same thing happens as a result.) Mi Nyeo agrees to pretend to be Mi Nam for a short period of time when she learns that Mi Nam hoped becoming famous would help them find their mother, who may be alive. Mi Nyeo cuts her hair, dresses like a boy, and moves in with the other 3 members of A.N*JELL.

You’re Beautiful: (Korea, 2009) This is the original, and while the others have great moments, I would say it is the best. Jang Geun Suk as A.N*JELL Leader Hwang Tae Kyung creates a main lead that is vulnerable and caring despite a hard outer shell. Park Shin Hye’s Go Mi Nam/Go Mi Nyeo is adorable, if there are moments when she is unbelievably dim. She always looks like a girl, so people thinking she is a boy is a bit of a stretch, but I’ve only seen a few gender-bending dramas that were even slightly convincing. Lee Hong Ki’s Jeremy is comic relief, but there are moments when the character makes you want to cry (in a good way.) As for Jung Yong Hwa, while he is notably stiff in his first acting role as Kang Shin Woo, Shin Woo has nonetheless caused second lead syndrome for many watchers. Last but not least, Uee is fabulous as Yoo He Yi, the “fake fairy” you love to hate. The Korean version is, I believe, the only one to include the visit from Go Mi Nam’s high-school buddy, which was for me one of the most enjoyable plot lines. The complete absence of communication between Go Mi Nyeo and her brother (who barely appeared, understandably since he was also played by Park Shin Hye) was something that I found disappointing, plot wise, in every iteration of the story. But, also in every version, the great music made up for it.

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Boys Over Flowers: So Many Versions

Curlynoona here. Often, a drama is remade by several different countries. I like to try to watch them all, especially when I’m in a drama slump; it can be a great way to discover new favorite actors. Different countries also tend to explore different angles on the same story. Over the next few weeks, I will be comparing versions of some of my favorite dramas.

One of the most often recreated stories is Hana Yori Dango, or Boys Over Flowers.

Hana Yori Dango (花より男子, lit. “Boys Over Flowers”) is a manga series by Kamio Youko. It revolves around working class Tsukushi Makino and her interactions with her wealthy elite classmates, the flower four, or F4. Originally bullying Makino, F4 leader Tsukasa Domyouji becomes interested in her when she fights back. However, she is already interested in F4 member Rui Hanezawa.

Boys Over Flowers: (Korea, 2009) This adaption was the entry for many into the word of Korean dramas. Lee Min Ho and Gu Hye Sun as Gu Jyun Pyo and Geun Jan Di created one of the most iconic on screen couples, and there is also a background romance that for some was more notable. Jan Di seemed a bit tame and helpless at times for the girl that took on the great F4, but at other times she showed notable spirit. The cinematography was great, the settings were beautiful, and if the clothes and hair were sometimes horrendous, it was at least deliberate.

Hana Yori Dango: (Japan, 2005)
Only nine episodes, this drama has a lot to recommend it. It boasts many popular Japanese actors, including Matsuda Shota and Matsumoto Jun. While it doesn’t have the production value of Boys Over Flowers, it is still a good looking, well shot drama. It is more humorous, and focuses a bit more on the characters’ emotions than other versions. Matsumoto Jun’s Domyouji is the best at mangling proverbs while believing that everyone else is getting them wrong.

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Top 5 Korean Dramas to Start Your Obsession

NerdNoona here! Everyone has their first drama that sucked them into the word of Kdramas. These 5 dramas are sure to bring  you into the world and have you craving more.

First up is: Boys Over Flowers

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This drama is so light and funny but with some seriousness thrown in. This is one of the first dramas I watched as a beginning kdrama addict. Lee Min Ho is by far one of my favorite kdrama stars. As a rom com it has you laughing at nearly every episode.

Plot:

Hardworking Geum Jan-di (Ku Hye-sun) attends the exclusive Shinhwa High School by a scholarship  she gets because of an incident. She finds her shallow, privileged classmates unbearable, especially the notorious F4. Rich, handsome, and arrogant, Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho), Yun Ji-hu (Kim Hyun-joong), So Yi-Jeong (Kim Bum), and Song Woo-Bin (Kim Joon) are the kings of the school and no one, not even the teachers, dare challenge them. No one, that is, except Jan-di. Angry at their rudeness, Jan-di tells off F4 leader Jun-pyo, bringing a world of trouble upon herself. 

Second up is: Flower Boy Next Door

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Another rom com, but this one hits a cord with me. It is a bit more serious than Boys Over Flowers yet still has those great laughs. Park Shin mixed well with her male costar Yoon Shi to make this drama seem very real.

Plot:

Go Dok-mi (in Korean, literally “lonely beauty”) is a shy, frugal freelance copy editor who, for a yet-to-be-revealed reason, refuses to leave her apartment or interact with people as much as possible. Every day, she anonymously receives a carton of milk with a post-it attached. Every day, using a pair of yellow binoculars, she steals peeks at her neighbor across the street, Han Tae-joon, as he goes through his daily morning routine. Enrique Geum arrives in Seoul from Spain, his reason for coming is “cupid’s arrow.” Though he’s in love with his best friend Yoon Seo-young, she has feelings instead for his older brother, Han Tae-joon, so he intends to play cupid for the two.When Enrique comes to stay at Tae-joon’s apartment, he catches Dok-mi in the act. That same day, a new neighbor Watanabe Ryu moves into the apartment across to Dok-mi’s (Jin-rak lives next door). And with all these new men suddenly entering her life, Dok-mi’s solitary and orderly world is turned upside down.

Third up is: Faith

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Another drama with Lee Min Ho. This guy is perfect in everything he does I swear. This is a historical drama with an amazing plot. The costumes are stellar and the acting is on point. I will say that the villains can get a little cheesy but no matter!

Plot:

After King Gongmin of Goryeo marries the Yuan  princess Noguk, they return to Goryeo. On the way they are attacked and the queen is fatally injured. According to the advice of his soothsayers, the king orders royal bodyguard Choi Young to pass through a mystical portal (“heaven’s gate”) and find “heaven’s doctor.” Choi Young travels to the future and brings back Yoo Eun-soo, a modern-day doctor from Seoul, who saves the queen’s life. He makes a promise that he will return her to her world, but the kind-hearted yet powerless King Gongmin forces Eun-soo to stay as she can be useful to him.

Fourth up is: The Master’s Sun

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The Master’s Sun is a dramatic and sort of scary drama with some heart wrenching episodes. No kidding, I cried at the end of nearly every episode. This drama is filled with ups and downs. It will delight every sense!~

Plot:

Joo Joong-won(So Ji-sub) is the stingy and greedy CEO of Kingdom, a conglomeration that includes a major department store and hotel. He meets the gloomy Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin), who started seeing ghosts after an accident. Their lives take a new turn as they work together to deal with the terror and sadness brought about by the spirits, while delving into a kidnapping incident in Joong-won’s past

And Last up is: City Hunter

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Another Lee Min Ho drama. Can I just say I am obsessed with dramas that he is in? This is one of my favorite action dramas to date. There is enough romance to keep it balance with all the action going on. While this is not my favorite of Lee Min Ho’s dramas, is it up there!

Plot:

While working at the Blue House, Lee meets bodyguard Kim Na-na. Eventually Na-na participates in his revenge plan, as they discover that they have the same goal in mind. Problems occur as Jin-pyo’s revenge plot unfolds, especially when Lee defies his surrogate father at several occasions as they try to identify and kill the officials, known as the “Council of Five.”Each member of the Council have achieved significant wealth and political influence since 1983, and are engaged in various levels of corruption. Jin-pyo and Yoon-sung’s conflict stems primarily from Jin-pyo’s wish to murder each official, and Yoon-sung’s wish to teach them a lesson and expose their corruption without killing them. As Yoon-sung exposes the officials’ corruption, the citizens of Korea sense an unseen force of justice that they dub “City Hunter.”

Those are my top 5 Korean dramas to start your obsession! While this should be called what Lee Min Ho drama should I watch, this is just what dramas that made me fall in love with kdramas. Give them a try and I bet you’ll become a fellow addict!

Until next time!

NerdNoona ❤