In between trying to read the pile of novels I have in the 'must be read before leaving Los Angeles so I know whether they are worth keeping' pile I've been watching the uber-angsty kdrama What Happened in Bali
. It's not just regular angst: it goes so far beyond that that it enters new and completely depressing territory. Which is a pretty impressive achievement given some of the stuff kdramas go for.
Having been forewarned by dangermousie
and after reading her write-ups I decided to skip the first 5 episodes and move right in ye miserable love quadrangle of dooooomed love. Then I couldn't get episodes 12-15 online so I missed the middle bit as well. Probably just as well because the level of misery in this show should get it a public health warning and I suspect that one's head would explode if you watched the entire thing.
The plot: rich guy falls for Poor Young Thing, Poor Young Thing sees in him her meal ticket out of the slums but despite having the instincts to sell herself always falters at the last minute - because she's interested in her next door neighbour, a Bright Young Man who is working his way out of the slums and who is desired by the fiancée of Rich Guy. I hate fiancée by the way: stupid bint goes along with Rich Guy's family forcing him* to marry her and then is all mopey when he hates her. What did she expect given that he was almost insanely in love with and obsessed by Poor Young Thing? Stupid bint I say, and mean it. (Though I do rather like that she's now trapped in this hell of her own making.)
Rich Guy has horrid parents and (now) mother-in-law who specialise in not noticing that he is going to go spectacularly off the rails if they keep him from Poor Young Thing and also in beating and humiliating her for good measure. They are all Obsessive Control Parents of the sort that these dramas seem to possess in abundance. I really find it interesting that most of the time parental figures are just absolutely horrid and do not really care at all for their children's happinesss - and even when they must know it will destroy the child, the desire to control them overrides any other impulses. If they even have any other impulses, that is. In dramaland family hierachies are about the most damaging thing there is.
I like the two poor slum people and the Rich Guy, even though clearly he is not the sanest guy around and would in real life freak any sensible girl. But in fictional land he is interestingly disturbed and also clearly willing to stand around in alarming cold moping over his love, thus fulfilling many kdrama hero requirements.
Will all of this be resolved? Hell, no. There's no way anyone is getting out of this happy. As long as the wretched parents and older brother spend the rest of their lives regretting what they've done, I don't really mind.
ETA: Though this kdrama is (quite clearly) terribly melodramatic and over the top in many ways, it is terrifically honest in the humiliations that poor people have to bear without saying anything just so they can get by. There's a great scene where the two horrid rich mothers are battling it out for whose maid should clean the new couple's apartment and the misery and uncomfortableness on the maids' faces as they're dragged into this and have to tolerate the things being flung around about them without saying a word is just horribly, horribly good.
ETA 2: Rich Guy and horrid fiancée (now Horrid Wife) have clearly decided that their one strategy to dealing with being thwarted in love is to turn up at the object of desire's doorstep drunk and impose and insult people. Extra points if you also drag along your spouse at some time! If I were the poor slum people I would be more careful about giving out my home address as obviously the rich like to keep you awake to all hours with their alcoholic melancholy and weeping even if you have to work the next day.
*To achieve this Rich Guy's father beats him senseless with a golf club and then threatens to go after Poor Young Thing thus winning worse dorama parent award amdist some pretty close competition.