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I've been slowly catching up on the Korean version. Hmmmn. I'm not sure: some things I quite like about it - they've certainly got the best Domyouji incarnation (and he can do intimidating plus besotted plus quite bonkers which is a hard combo) but... I really find the more I watch the less I like the girl playing Jandi. Admittedly, she is struggling against the world's most unflattering bowl hair cut, a hair cut no human being should be forced to wear, but, still, that can't be what's impeding her acting. The Japanese version's Makino had a spark that appealed as much as how very cute the actress was, Barbie Hsu as Shan Cai in Meteor Garden was both charismatic and had a will of iron that never wavered, but Jandi is just okay. She's better when they're not making the actress mug for the camera but she still comes across as flat a lot of the time.
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Honestly, I don't think I could love this more. At the end of episode 11 I even rather enjoy emo prince.

I shall cut this for [livejournal.com profile] calixa even though she has a wrong view of OTPs in the show.

cut for spoilers up to episode 11 )
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I'm up to episode 11 and I am delighted that we have finally a (sort of) return of the Giant Hair. Wife is also still crazy and puppy hating and so deliciously evil that she is running neck and neck with Crazy Eyes from Stairway to Heaven for sheer entertainingness.

Cut for spoilers for a show you will probably never watch. And pictures of Giant Hair )

I am quite excited by the sheer number of WTF doramas I have the opportunity to watch: the one about the man stalked by deer and, of course, RH+, that excellent show about gay, teenage vampires who fight crime and other vampires with silverware.
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So naturally I love it. In fact, I am thinking of admitting the obvious and calling this journal 'I only watch rubbish. Don't bother recommending things to me unless they are total, absolute crap.'

This is a kdrama replete with angst, dreadful romantic choices, premarital affairs, evil, Giant-haired women who attack shop assistants, and classical music. AND SO MUCH MORE. It also has had the educational effect of informing me that in Korea adultery is an imprisonable offence. Really!

Angst and giant hair this way! )
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I watch a lot of rubbish. A lot of rubbish. But sometimes I find* a show so bad that it needs a post with pictures to share the glorious awfulness of it all. Here I bring you RH+ a story of gay teenage vampires who fight crime in modern Japan. And are watched over by a really creepy older vampire who likes to do a lot of wrong touching. And there is (as an added bonus) cross dressing as school girls.

No, there is no lower that my viewing can go. I am a bit impressed by that.

Come on: you know you want to click. )

*I forgot: credit must be given where credit is due! I would never have found this wonder of modern television without [livejournal.com profile] calixa. I'm blaming her for all of this.
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Well, the slightly creepy tale of Fake!Brother and Fake!Sister continues not to disappoint. Evil Real!Sister turned out to be, well, really evil and a trouble maker and an annoying sobber (heroine is a big believer in the single tear or just overflowing eyes). Anyway it was exciting to see Fake!Brother and Fake!Sister ran off together to live in a cabin in the country for a bit and made doomed plans to marry. But Playboy is still keen to marry her and is pressing his suit on her poor real mother and useless brother. Real mother wants her to be happy but useless brother wants the money. Same result either way.

As we're only on disc 4 I suspect heroine will bend and try and give in thus causing maximum angst for everyone. And then someone is going to die. I don't know that but I feel it coming as surely this won't turn out well. (Especially not as the hero has said they'll be happy. You know the kdrama gods are going to punish him for that one.)

You should all watch this so I'm not alone. It's excellent in a over the top melodramatic, creepy incest vibe sort of way.

ETA: OMG the Fake!Mum is going die of grief unless the Fake!Brother and Fake!Sister split up. WHATEVER WILL THEY DO???????

ETA 2: Other!Woman, who turned out to be nice and not evil, collapsed tried to commit suicide because of silent and disappointed love for the hero and can now only use her right hand. And now the hero has the DEEP GUILT. And Playboy is all cold to heroine because his love was crushed.

ETA 3: [livejournal.com profile] calixa suggested a new twist in our Ultimate Kdrama: the hero goes blind because of eye cancer (possibly caused by a car accident) and has to find his way across Korea and his childhood love by echolocation. AND! There will be a time travelling child who will say at the end of every segment of 'Seasons of Pain' that LOVE IS NEVER WRONG. Even when it clearly is. He will be very winsome and turn out to the child of the OTP. And their wrong, wrong love.
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So. That was about the best thing ever. And it ended about as well as you can expect a series about a bunch of freedom fighters struggling against a colonial power to. Especially when that colonial power doesn't leave until 1945. But there was one scene which just ripped my heart out, threw it up in the air, and then did a little dance on it with spiked heels.

Naturally to reduce my trauma I felt I needed to post pictures.

Picspam of lovely people fighting for Korea's freedom behind cut. Also spoilers )

ETA: I finally received Last of the Mohicans and am watching it but, um, I am a bit shocked by the scene in the fort between Daniel Day Lewis and the Colonel's daughter. You know what I am talking about. Zip is also a bit strange in that you never really know what you are going to get. They've gone from Babylon 5 to Veronica Mars (and god knows when I will get another Young Riders DVD).

Last of the Mohicans comments. )
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...this is the kdrama for you.

Right now the heroine, having dumped her playboy suitor because she found out that he was only chasing her to win a bet (he was in the beginning but then he fell in love), is trying to seduce a Korean who works as a top Japanese policeman, because this will help the cause of an independent Korea. And she is so bad at it that her strategy was obviously shadowing him and then thrusting these tickets for a film at him while shouting an invitation to a date. It was the least seductiony seduction I've ever seen. And then, although he is interested in her, he refused because he can't work out why she would care for him because she's been insulting him all along for working for the Japanese. And now the heroine, her mother, seduction target, and playboy suitor are having the most awkward dinner in the world.

It is quite excellent especially as heroine's handler is a geisha who can't really work out why the heroine would have problems on the seduction front even though she is of deep Victorian sensibilities.

Plus the clothes are great.

ETA: WTF? The heroine is arrested and tortured? And neither of the guys can do anything about it?
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This will, I promise, be the end of my moaning about this kdrama. The strange thing is that I can see that this has a lot of good bits and if I did not by now loathe the hero so much (not to mention Hee-jin, the Secondary Female Lead) I think I would find it a lot better at the end. As it is, I just think he's a complete jerk and completely self-absorbed. And I still want him eaten by bears. Big, angry bears.

But most of all I hate Hee-jin. I especially hated it when we got the big reveal that her current illness was...anorexia. Look, I don't mean to say that that's not a serious illness but this being used to rouse up my sympathy for her tragic circumstances when she looks perfectly healthy and seems to be doing alright for herself what with Daniel Henney hanging around her all the time like a lost puppy who has just smelt bacon. Also, I don't think that much of the actress. She's only (IMO) got three facial expressions - all of which I am supposed to find endearing - and I already got bored of them in 'What Planet Are You From.' And I know dorama science is not exactly science of this world* but do they normally do cat scans and head x-rays when they bring you into a hospital with anorexia? It seems a bit of overkill to me and I would think they'd be worried about other bits of your body first.

ETA: I should say that what I do love is Sam-soon's family. Her sister and her mother are quite smashing especially when they are beating people who have done Sam-soon wrong about the head. Sometimes they beat other people too and that is almost as entertaining, though I do like the bits where they hit Sam shik the most. I would probably have liked this show if after episode 7 or so all it had was various members of the Kim family hitting Sam-shik.

* We should never forget that it was a dorama that confidently asserted that a car accident could give you eye cancer years later. Stairway to Heaven, your cracktastic plots will never cease to amaze.
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I started this even though I was tempted to go for the full out angstorama that Autumn Tale promised to be. Those Four Seasons ones are always dripping with the good tragedy. I don't know why but I find myself using the ff button a lot even though I've heard really good things about it and it has some excellent scenes. I, horrors, have even ffed through Daniel Henney scenes! (But only the ones with the annoying Secondary Female, Hae-Jin)

After having to put up with the actress who plays the Evil Secondary Female Lead in 'What Star are You From' I really don't like her very much in this one either. She's all mopey and whiney - admittedly she had to part from her one true love because of cancer but still she grinds on my every nerve. And I fluctuate between really liking the heroine and wanting to biff her over the heat for moping over the hero, whom I DO NOT LIKE AT ALL. The actor is cute, but the character really annoys me so watching the heroine droop over him is very irritating. Hence the judicious use of the ff button. Anyway he and annoying Secondary Female more or less deserve each other and can go and breed annoying babies for together all I care. Their combined self-absorption could sink the Titanic even without a helpful ice-berg.

Actually this is one of those dramas where I much prefer the subsidiary characters, especially the mad chef at restaurant and the floor manager lady. Not to mention the secretary of quite scary mum and her love of boxing.

ETA: WTF? Did I really need to see a scene with the hero's ears being cleaned lovingly by the Secondary Female Lead? Really???

ETA 2: Okay, given that I hate the hero and his poorly chosen girlfriend, Hee-jin, and their irritating smugness and all over gittyness, I do not see how I can be delighted by any ending that doesn't have him eaten by bears while Sam-soon and Daniel Henney run off and have a linguistically challenged relationship that revolves around madelines.

ETA 3: You know what I really hate about the hero and Hae-Jin? It's that they don't bloody care about hurting other people's feelings until they realize that they might feel something for the other person or it's not doing all well in their relationship. Then they care. Pair of self-absorbed twats neither of whom actually have any human empathy that I can discern. I HATES THEM BOTH, I DO.

ETA 4: And just when I thought I couldn't despite Hae-Jin and the hero any more I find out she is comes up as 'princess of laughter' on his mobile phone. PRINCESS OF LAUGHTER. Between that and her annoying smirks that I am supposed to find charming I am hoping that it is *both* her and the hero who are eaten by bears. I am also annoyed that I hate Hae-Jin so much that I have to ff through all of her scenes which means ffing through pretty much all of Daniel Henney's scenes.
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I swear, I am on the final episode and I couldn't be happier. I got a terminal illness! And someone walked into the sea! And there was lots of coughing of blood and crawling around hotel rooms and drama and people turning up too late and quoting of Italian movies and self-sacrifice (that bit was actually really boring).

While not quite hitting the cracktastic height of Stairway to Heaven (that one had amnesia, blindness, step-sibling love, and a terminal illness) it came pretty close. I am a bit sad now it is almost over. I should probably watch something good next but instead I am going to watch Winter Sonata. Because I have no taste.

ETA: Apparently I am not going to watch Winter Sonata because it doesn't have subtitles. I like melodrama but I don't think I'm up to watching 18 episodes of something where I only understand 'really,' 'why,' 'hello,' 'let's go,' 'I love you' and 10 other words.
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While I know no one cares I still feel compelled to share it with you:

a) I am pretty sure that we are getting (sort of) stepsibling love. The hero's adoptive father is in all likelihood the heroine's real father. I cannot tell you how much delight I feel on seeing this appear on my screen

b) there have been murder and foul deeds done by Secondary Male Lead's batty mum - the killing of the heir to a large corporation so her son (sadly illegitimate and therefore a SHAME to the family) can inherit.

IT IS ALL SO EXCITING. Can a terminal illness be far behind? I can only hope that someone runs someone over with a car before the final episode.
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1. Massively attractive people all of whom angst very nicely

2. Lots of standing in snow and rain for OTPs. I am always impressed by this. More so by the snow standing than the rain standing as the later often involves getting unattractively damp

3. Guilt trips of the sort that the nuns in my secondary school would be impressed by (and, trust me, they knew their guilt trips). The Secondary Male Lead (I don't like him so I refuse to use his name) admittedly can pull the 'I gave you my kidney' line with the hero, Dong-Joo. With the heroine he just keeps pointing out that he will go insane if she doesn't marry him. And then gives her things she doesn't want. And helps out her useless brother in ways that make him even more useless - against the heroine's wishes too. Of course, he's doing it all for her

4. Many, many stand-offs between Dong-joo and the Secondary Male Lead. They just sort of loom at each other while both saying that they will die without the heroine. There is the implied threat of violence or hostile takeovers but nothing is ever said except through subtext

5. The heroine, Ji-soo. I really like her: she is saddled with obsessive love, useless brother, dead parents, having to drop out of college because of money issues, a sequence of horrible jobs, the hero's brooding and she still is pretty cheery and stands on her own two feet. And also withstands the impressive guilt trips of the Secondary Male Lead

6. Men in suits. Kdrama fashions often wound the eyes and soul but here they've wisely gone the suit route which means much less experimentation (there are some unwise sartorial choices by Secondary Male Lead in the start but now he has become an important heir to a company he has stopped that).

7. Cracktastic plot lines. No one has gone blind yet, but I suspect it or a terminal illness is coming. Or someone running another character over with a car. I look forward to this with the glee of a five year old contemplating Christmas. So far we have returns from the dead, plotting mothers, obsessive love, evil dads, suddenly dead heirs to major corporations, and MANY OTHER THINGS.

ETA: 8. The heroine. I know I've said this before but I admire how - even though she is surrounded by all this mad angst and drama - she is sensible. Even if it does mean that she turned down the hero when he asked her to go to Japan with her because she a) doesn't speak Japanese and b) would be totally dependent on him. I feel this is probably taking principles too far but at least it made sense especially given her somewhat traumatizing experience with Secondary Male Lead
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I am horrifically enthralled by this kdrama. I would be embarrassed by this fact but I think I lack the TV shame gene.

There are quite fantastic amounts of stalkerish behaviour plus lots of 'prove your love by standing in the first snow' scenes. I feel horribly sad that no one has ever proven their love for me by doing this. If only I were a Korean drama heroine I am sure I would not have to feel this way. Of course, I'd also have to put up with losing my first love and enduring massive amounts of angst but it would surely be worth it on some insane level.

The poor heroine of Stained Glass is having to deal with many things: new found first love, dead-beat brother, rubbish life, and oppressive love of secondary male lead. I am sympathetic to secondary male lead but seriously those are some creepy obsessive vibes you are giving off. Admittedly you don't really know normal relationships because of your bastard dad and his desire to get you off the scene before Son 1 comes back, horrible elder step-sister, and pretty dreadful mum.

Also: side effect of my recent pity party for myself has been a desire to post horribly contrary things about my popular culture tastes. So far I am a bit prideful that I haven't done this except for this bit right now where I say I just don't get the Clive Owen is sexy thing at all

ETA: I am bit sad that now I have given up my paid account status I see so many ads. I think I will have to give LJ money so I don't anymore despite their odder commercial behaviour.

ETA 2: Secondary male lead redefines obsessive love even further. Ji-soo I approve mightily of your plan to move out of his house (where she is living due to complicated back story to do with useless brother and secondary male lead's desire not to see her live in teensy hotel room) as soon as you can. Run, run as fast as your legs can carry you!
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Please be aware I don't mean objectively good, but I am enjoying it immensely which is surely more important. It revolves around that tried and true specialty of kdramas, first love lost. And then regained in the angstiest of circumstances. Though the hero, though very comely, seems to creating pretty much the entire angst himself.

Anyway three young children (2 boys, 1 girl) have an idyllic (sort of) childhood together until one of them falls into a river and is believed drowned. Is he dead? Of course not! Where would the fun be in that? He is instead discovered and adopted by a passing Japanese couple (that bit hasn't been fully explained) and lost his memory a bit. I am not sure what bit because it seemed okay but I think it was the name of the town where he fell into the river. (Very selective and useful plotwise memory loss).

After the hero's (Dong-joo) first encounters with the heroine, Ji-soo, where there are misunderstandings and attraction despite her being a not very good paparazzi trying to photograph him with some actress ALL IS DISCOVERED. But oh noes! He cannot confess his love because his best friend from those childish days is also in love with Ji-Soo and is really nice even if his horrible dad hates him and publicly humiliates him for some reason. This is about where we are at. And naturally Ji-soo works at the company of the hero and he spends most of his time looking longingly at her and being caught on stairwells passionately grabbing her hand leading people to think that she IS A WOMAN OF ILL-REPUTE AND UP TO NO GOOD. After she tells him to back off he naturally is all drinking and broody and staring.

Dangermousie did a picspam here
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You know I really quite like you, don't you? You're really very cute and well written.

But please god or gods or whatever rules the universe do not have any more shots of the heroine eating disgustingly massive quantities of food in short amounts of time. I know it's all part of the 'she's no ordinary heroine and she's not at all feminine' part of your story, but no other kdrama has managed to make me feel physically as unwell as this one has. It's got to the point that every time food appears my hand hovers over the ff button just in case.

ETA: And in just in case anyone might think this is a gender issue, I would feel unwell whoever was doing the eating. It's just rather repellent to me to see anyone roll up 5 slices of pizza and shove them in their mouth. Mind you, I also can't stand those Carl's Junior commercials with all the squishy sounds, so maybe I am over sensitive.
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Behold, [livejournal.com profile] calixa's post on death by flying carpet, surely one of the worst and most unexpected deaths to ever occur in wuxia. It is excellent and comes with many vivid graphics and hilarious commentary.

I continued in my watch of Silence. Wow, the hero's dad is a right bastard in excellent dorama tradition, isn't he? But I can never quite work out why the evil dorama dads are so ham-handed in their infliction of angst. Given a chance they will always organize a completely uncomfortable social situation where they will announce the hero's engagement and insult his OTP. The end result is always the hero stomping out, mother wailing, and complete estrangement of their only son and heir. Which is apparently okay because you will totally screw yourself and your family over in order to prove a point.

I still love Evil Secretary and Barbie Hsu lookalike. Though I can't work out why dad is such a twit as not to realise that she, as his illegitimate daughter whose mother he cast aside, might not harbour some resentment. I am a bit astonished that his company is still functioning given such examples of stellar judgment.

ETA: By my count Vik Zhou has had his brow mopped at least 57 times in the dorama. I tell you that the director is convinced he is Little Nell.
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I am deeply disturbed by how much better I feel that 'Time of Dog and Wolf' got once they started beating the living daylights out of the hero at least once an episode. I refuse to interrogate what this says about me but I am sure it is nothing good. (And the hero getting beat up is not a spoiler because I feel this is the sort of show where they will whack the living daylights out of him on regular basis because they can.)

And to prove it's not just physical pain I admire, I must confess that 'Silence' also got even better* once the hero found out that not only did he have little time to live because of liver cancer but that the heroine did not remember that they were childhood loves. Oh, the angst! And the shots of the hero looking attractively agonized as he dwelt on his unrequited love!

I am saving 'Coffee Prince,' a touching story of cross dressing and, er, coffee to cheer myself up after I have finished 'Silence.'


*And by better I mean even more likely to rip my heart out.
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1. Gave up on 'Sad Sonata' because there is only so much melodrama and cheese that even I can take. I lasted up till episode 12 or so, which is when the heroine impressed everyone in Korea with her singing, hero creepily decided not to tell heroine that he was still alive but spent huge amounts of time angsting and staring at her and her fiance having physical contact of any sort, and secondary male lead got punched by his dad for selling shares or possibly something else - I was a bit of a ffing machine by that stage. Anyway, I am sure it was one of the doramas where everyone dies unhappy and cries a lot and has terrible emotional crises at pivotal points in the episodes. Heroine was particularly drippy and annoyingly unappreciative and kept moping about her (not actually) dead first love when I felt she should have appreciated falling on her feet with secondary male lead.

2. Started watching multiple doramas at one time. This is probably not a good idea as I suspect I will get them horribly confused and wonder why there are not hot, tortured policemen in shows set in the world of fashion design. Or in coffee shops.

3. And relating to 2, I watched about about an episode and a half of 'Time of Dog and Wolf.' I felt a bit conned by so long being spent with childhood versions of Hero and Heroine at the start as I was really watching this for Joon Ki standing around being attractive and emoting and I was denied this for much longer than was surely necessary. I am not certain what I feel about this: I am not a huge fan of cop shows in general and although this isn't bad it very much is a secret service/cop show. With, of course, the kdrama standards of first love lost and forbidden passion.

4. Kept watching Silence, which is on course to rip my heart out by carefully and cunningly exploiting all the usual cliches. Damn you, and your skillful use of Vic Zhou angsting.


5. There's been a lot of gnashing of teeth about the fact that now all of the Doctor companions fall in love with him and then are lost and lonely once he dumps them because their time is up and they are no longer puppyish and attractive. I have the perfect cure for this problem: he needs to find a dorama hero or heroine who already has a first love. As anyone knows who watches a dorama, there is a 95% chance that you will die a sad and lonely person if you cannot find the person you fell in love with when you were 12 and you will never, never love anyone else once you have given your heart in the way that children do. So, basically all the Doctor needs to do is find himself one of those and it wouldn't matter if he regenerated into Jeremy Northam, Hugh Jackman, or whoever, they still wouldn't love him.* The downside is that they might end up dying tragically and beautifully on the console at an inconvenient time but that's a small price to pay for emotional peace in the Tardis.

* One of them resisted Daniel Henney. I think if you can cast aside Daniel Henney in your search for your first love, you'd easily dismiss David Tennant.
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Seriously, sometimes I think there is something wrong with me. Instead of starting any quality doramas I decided that my life would not be complete without seeing 'Sad Sonata,' a Korean drama which apparently decided that there weren't enough cliches in the average kdrama so tossed some more in.

We have:
1. Hero, who is a poor lad who composes and works at a petrol station for a living. His mum ran a club where Korean ladies danced with American soldiers but she has now expired painfully of some disease.
2. Heroine, who is blind and parentless. And also in love with hero but struggling with the fact that she is in New York with gambling aunt who is treated bad by her American husband forcing them to flee onto the streets. She sings at a night club for money that is gambled away by aunt
3. Secondary Male Lead, who is rich, somehow magically friends with hero, at college in New York, and interested in heroine.
4. Bonkers Secondary Female Lead who is doing something with letters heroine is sending to hero and who is causing trouble in the way that secondary females do

Out of a sense of preservation I ff through a lot of this but even still it moves slowly. But now Heroine is wandering caneless, tearful, and pajamed through the streets of NY for some reason. DON'T ASK ME WHY. I predict she will be saved by secondary male lead who will take this opportunity to fall even more in love with her. The way you do.

With a name like 'Sad Sonata' what are the chances that this turns out well? I'm guessing not a lot.

ETA: Ah, heroine has been run over by taxicab on the very day hero has made it to New York to look for her. As we are only in episode 7 I am guessing they do not find each other as otherwise there not would be episodes 8-whatever number this thing has.

ETA 2: Through the magic of skience the heroine just got her eyesight back in operation paid for by secondary male lead. I feel she is a bit less than properly grateful as he has to sell his nice Audi sports car and buy a crap clunker to ensure he didn't have to tap his wealthy parents (but what exactly was that car made of that selling it could possibly pay for something this expensive? Audis aren't that nice.)


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August 2011

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