I Am Legend: 11-16

And no I didn’t forget about this kdrama.  In the end, I found it cute, if a little bit odd. Our heroine, Seol-hee achieves her dreams in the end, triumphing over the nasty ex-husband, who comes to see the error of his ways, the ambitious lawyer/mistress, and the evil mother-in-law. The Comeback Madonna experiences a level of success, complete with fans. Everyone’s happy.

Well, nearly everyone. I wonder why this kdrama bothers to even set up the expected love triangle and resolve it in such an unsatisfying way. Why give Seol-hee two options and have her choose neither? Are you trying to say that ahjumma’s don’t deserve love? WHAT???!!!!!!! Also, why imply that there is something between Tae Hyun and Kang, and then not explore it?  Sometimes I did find Seol-hee to be a bit TOO good. At some point, somebody would have caught a bottle to the head. And there is a lot of behavior that never gets addressed. Seung Hye does all sorts of evil things that just float on by. Threatens to take Tae Hyun’s child on a regular basis. If she is so in love with Ji Wook, what does she care who Tae Hyun dates and why? She just WANTS IT ALL. And what drives me crazy is that she really doesn’t think it’s over with Ji Wook.  Get the memo, sister. He’s dumping you. Actually, he’s been playing you for quite some time, you just don’t want to accept it.

Who I really ended up LOVING is Hwa Ja! I love the fact that she is loud, willing to beat somebody down. I love that they put her on bass, in short dresses and knee-high boots. I love that she’s a healthy girl, but doesn’t come off as “the fat one.”  I love that she’s a mom and a wife. She kinda stole the show somewhat when Seol-hee got boring.

So that’s it! Hmmmmm…..what will I watch next?

I Am Legend: Episodes 9-10

So the actual divorce proceedings in court were BAD! Where does such nastiness come from? And Ji Wook just sat there and let his witchy lawyer/girlfriend lie in court.  I guess this is why nobody likes lawyers. The mother-in-law gave an excellent performance, portraying someone who actually cares. I wonder if the judge bought her act.  In the end, our heroine does not play dirty, gets her divorce but no money.

Ji Wook does not understand that he has still not learned his lesson. So even though the trial is over, he must feel bad. You paid absolutely no attention to Seoh-hee while you were married, yet you just can’t stay away: meeting her at a cafe to try to give her money (and still insisting she live a quiet life–you are a moron, aren’t you?), showing up at the ER, representing the company that her lawyer is suing. When will you get the hint, Ji Wook? You got unfinished business!!

What is delicious, though, is that Seung Hye is about to get hers. Oh not right now, but she’s about to become used and abused by the Family. I guess she thought that they’d be grateful that she got Ji Wook through the divorce unscathed, but Mama ain’t having that. She’s already told Ji Wook in no uncertain terms that he needs to move on, and not move on to Seung Hye. She is also a moron, and can’t take the hint (maybe they do belong together), because she is still acting like they are destined to be together.  He’s about to treat you like he treated Seol-hee.  Get a grip!

Meanwhile, it now looks like Seol-hee is going to be plucky lawyer assistant by day, rock band maven by night.  Good luck with that!

I Am Legend: Episodes 3-4

SPOILERS!!!!!

Um, who goes to divorce court in hot pants? Ok, maybe they aren’t hot pants, and I know Seol-hee’s wardrobe choices are supposed to represent the freedom she now has as she pursues the rock star lifestyle, but the beginning of the courtroom proceedings were a bit, um, unrealistic?

I don’t know why I’m always amazed at how nasty the mother of sons can be in a kdrama!  Ji Wook’s mother is CRAZED!!!!  I can understand the importance they may place on having a son to be an heir, but does she have to treat Seol-hee like a dog? ALL THE TIME?  And he is no better. He just can’t let well enough alone. He doesn’t want a divorce, he wants a divorce, he wants a divorce and wants to shut Seol-hee up. Hey, why don’t you leave the country to make my life easier. And just when she was about to give in, he (of course) shows his mean self.  I DESPISE the way he talks to her. It’s not just I need you to make a baby. It’s the condescension. Um, Ji Wook, that’s your girl….she wasn’t all “eeewwww” when you got her pregnant! What else is a girl supposed to do but fight back?

And then there are the girls-who-aren’t-girls-girls. That’s right, I’m talking about you, Ran-hee. You are a spoiled brat in need of a beatdown. It’s just all about you. No wonder you have no friends. Even willing to use a friend’s misfortune to make yourself feel better.  Soo-in had your number, early!  And if she wasn’t enough, there is Seung Hye, who doesn’t seem to be over her husband, who is our requisite cutie, Tae Hyun. He’s not bad to look at; I will spare you my shout out to my most recent favorite kdrama man. Ok, NOT!!!!!  STILL lovin’ on Lee Seung Hyo!

I also like how Seol-hee’s girls have her back.  This is excellent!!!  I’ve been there: your friends are engaged in questionable behavior on your behalf, and you get convinced it is a perfectly legitimate thing to do!

I wonder how long the divorce will take?

I Am Legend: Episode 1-2

SPOILERS, Y’ALL, SPOILERS!

Ok, you had me at Girl. Rock. Band.  But it’s a kdrama, so there must also be some slaptastic tension going on, usually between some man and some woman.  Oh, but there’s more.

So it  doesn’t start with the girl rock band. It starts with Seol-hee, trapped in a loveless marriage of her own making. And you can see the repression in the first scenes.  Her hair is pulled back so tight it could snap! She literally can’t say anything.  All she is supposed to do is smile and shut up.  Then you see the other side of her, ’cause karaoke brings that out of you.  Once she put a knot in her evening gown, put her 5-inch high heel up on the tabIe, and told two guys she would beat them both at the same time, I knew I was going to like her.

I give her props, she embraces her choices, no whining or complaining.  She puts up with her hateful mother-in-law and her punk-of-a-husband Ji Wook.  But she’s drawing the line when they actually think she is going to be a baby maker instead of saving her sister who has cancer. Seol-hee is like, “Peace out!”  Now of course it won’t be that easy.  Ji Wook, who has political aspirations, won’t give her a divorce. But I think that Seol-hee is about to give her husband’s family a run for their money.

And that would be cool in itself, but there are the other girls in the band. These aren’t teeny-bopper chicks with dreams of making it big. These are ladies who have seen what life has to offer, and still have that exuberance of the young. Especially Hwa-ja.  I know you’ve heard me stay it a million times: SHE’S MY GIRL!!!  Eager sidekick of Seol-hee.

Um, yeah, and there is some attractive guy in here too. I’m sure we’ll get more on him later.

Yeah, you had me at girl rock band.

Queen Seondeok: 52-56

SPOILERS, Y’ALL, SPOILERS!!!

Yes, I continue the slow descent to the end of this kdrama! At first I thought it was because I didn’t want to see the inevitable tragedy that was Bidam. But then the show did the fast forward, you know, where everyone “gets older,” signalled by more “adult” hairstyles for women and goatees for men!  And I realized, just because Mishil is gone doesn’t mean that the palace intrigue stops! But there’s something icky about the series now. Gone are the plucky rebel days when Seondeok and her ragtag crew were battling Mishil.  Now, everybody’s got an agenda, a plan, a motive and is liable to whack somebody if the need arises.

This is what I’m feeling so far: um, Queen Seondeok is nothing like Princess Seondeok! Queen Seondeok has some hard, high-riding attitude going on! Like she took a page out the Mishil playbook! I have to say, I do like the way she’s pimp-slapping the Bokya around–somebody needs to put them in their place. News alert: you Gaya folk need to get with the program; your country is gone and it’s not coming back.  And she actually gets mad at Yushin! You know in the end, he’s her boy, but still.

And as always, there is my beloved Archeon, just hanging out as the Queen’s guard, chillin’ in the cut. I love that man (Lee Seung Hyo)!

I’m going to try to barrel through to the end so I can write the wrap-up entry, because I got some opinions about Bidam as well as about the whole royal thing in general. I think Bidam is getting a bad rap. I don’t think he’s a bad man, I just think he got put in some really BAD circumstances.  Could he have responded to them better? Probably. Is he alone in responding to circumstances in a bad way? Not at ALL!

Queen Seondeok: Episodes 1-13

SPOILERVILLE AHEAD!!

I admit, I had been putting off watching this, mostly because I wanted to see some sword-slinging action by the queen, but can’t recall actually hearing about that. I thought it was going to be all boring. WRONG!!!  When did I know I was going to commit to the full 62-episodes? When I realized this wasn’t your typical king-queen-princess kind of show. Eventually, there is going to be a beatdown and a showdown between the women.

But like any historical epic, you gotta wait.  So far, I’m most taken by the Hwarang (yes, I’m still taking applications), yes that incredibly good looking group of elite young male warriors who are under who? Under a woman–the wonhwa (see, it even lets you get your Korean on).  So we got Mishil, the royal consort, wreaking havoc because the men don’t dare cross her, and Princess Cheonmyeong, who after some ambivalence, decides she’s going to tangle with Mishil. But we know the star of the show is Deokman, the future queen. Except right now she’s passing for a man among the Hwarang.  Really, after like five years, they don’t notice? For real?  She may be the weakest, but Deokman does wield a sword in battle (yay!) and she has the most sense, and she’s not afraid to get up in her superiors’ faces if they are not being righteous.  She is smart, and sassy. I like her.

The political intrigue is off the chain, and even I like the nice outfits and big hair.  How can I rock that look everyday?  Right now, our heroes are trying figure out the source of Mishil’s power. I’m waiting for the big reveal, because Deokman doesn’t know she’s the king’s daughter or Cheonmyeong’s sister and hasn’t really started to tangle with Mishil.

Also, I find it intriguing how transnational this drama is.  We see there are different kingdoms in Korea, then they take it to China in the desert, where we find folks who have been to Rome. Nice!

Ok, next update in a few more episodes!!!

Boys Over Flowers: The Aestheticization of the Korean Male? Or THEY’RE SO PRETTY!!!!!!

Dedicated to my Kdrama Kousin, Emily!

Welcome to the inaugural post for the new category on High Yellow, the Kdrama Kafe! Spoilers ahead (like you haven’t seen it!)

Now, Boys Over Flowers is not my first kdrama, but I can see why it is much beloved.  And like many, I like it for the Boys! But let’s dispense with the girls first.  I can’t figure out if I’m not enamored with the actress who plays Jan Di, or Jan Di herself.  She starts out great: fiesty, sassy, and violent.  But as the series wears on, I can’t believe how passive-passive she gets.  Even her sidekick-friend Ga Eul has more character growth than she does.  But to her credit, she still wants to make her own way.  She could be nicer to Gu Jun Pyo.

Speaking of the men…..I know that this is based on a Japanese manga, Hana Yori Dango, which spawned a Japanese drama and a Taiwanese drama, but the Koreans showed why they OWN the drama.  Just for my own edification, I decided to watch the first episode of the other two, particularly the introduction of F4, to test a theory.  In Hana Yori Dango, the female progatonist seems more anti-F4, but F4 themselves do not strike me as particularly enviable.  In Meteor Shower, the Taiwanese version, the creators do a slightly better job of making you think these are privelged sons of industry (or in Woo Bin’s case, illegitimate industry). But the introduction of F4 in Boys Over Flowers convinced me that F4 was every bit as priveleged and snotty  as they are supposed to be, at least in the beginning.  They roll into school with that halo of light behind them with expressions that imply, “What?”

So why do I like them?  Because whoever styled them deserves a medal, hence the theme of this post!  These guys are dressed, I mean DRESSED.  Who sports white suits, canes and fur to go to school?  They are pimptastic! For real, it takes a special man to rock eyelet (yes, I’m talking to you Kim Bum!).  Now, some may argue that I am objectifying these young men, not allow them to be fully realized human beings with thoughts and feelings. Hey, I’m all ears to hear whatever they got to say. Hit me up on the blog! 🙂

But I think there is another way to read this.  Way back in the day, intentional clothes mattered. They were emblems of personal style and expression. When people dressed for dinner. You know you’ve caught yourself watching some old movie from Hollywood’s glamour period.  I can remember my mom talking about how they looked forward to dressing up on the weekend to go dancing (not even trying to put my mom in Hollywood’s golden age; she would kill me for putting her age on blast on the internet).  You don’t even have to go back that far. F4 reminds me of the New Romantics of the 80s. Clothes may not give us world peace, but there is a tradition of intentional dressing, significant to communities the world over.  It means something. And that’s what I like about the Boys in Boys Over Flowers.  THEY’RE SO PRETTY! And I say that with much love and affection!

So to close out the post in an appropriate manner, here’s a little video!  Gentlemen of the world, remember, women love a well dressed man! Shout out to SS501, who make that sneaky cameo in Boys Over Flowers! Oh, and one question: where does one find a Lincoln Continental in Korea?