18 October 2012

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Farewell to... Arang and the Magistrate

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on October 18, 2012
It is over. Arang and the Magistrate, one of my all-time favorite dramas. Annyeong! You were awesome. You deserve a proper farewell. I'm actually crying a little bit, because I hate goodbyes...
But it's not always sad when dramas end. 

There are those dramas that you start watching because they have an actor in them that you like or because the description seems interesting or because the writers are (usually) great, etc. It might not be a good drama, but you keep watching for a variety of reasons, i.e. because you believe that it will get better, or because your love for actor X or actress Y is bigger than your dislike for the story, or because you believe that the Korean live-shoot system will do it's magic, listen to all the angry fans, and then correct what's wrong with the story mid-way through. While hoping, you get kinda stuck with these dramas. You might even (almost or entirely) hate them, but pulling out seems like a waste, because you've invested so much time into them already. So you keep watching and suffering and when the end (finally) comes, it's a blessing.
And then, there's those dramas that are actually quite good, they might even be great, but they just don't ... get the ending right. Sigh. There's tons of those. In fact, I think there's more dramas that mess up the ending than dramas that get it right. That's probably the downside of the Korean one-shot season system, where you get 16 or 20 or 24 or 36 episodes (or anything in between or above) and that's it. When you have multiple seasons, you can always just do exciting cliffhangers, but you never need to wrap the story up neatly. In fact, there's quite a few dramas that I haven't 'watched-watched' until the end (watched-watched stands for the process of watching every minute of the last two episodes). It's not necessarily deliberate, but when I see the slightest sign of a potentially not-so-great-ending, I stop watching immediately, to not mess up the favorable impression of the drama.
And then, there's the heartbreakers ... There's the obvious ones, which come with the 'melodrama' tag, and which I all treat with a lot of caution. A Love to Kill taught me that. It was my first melo and I simply couldn't finish watching. I think I skipped through the ending, but I had my eyes closed most of the time. The real world is tragic enough, I just don't want to see people die and be unhappy in KDrama. Don't. Want. When a heartbreaker ends, you're just numb - you have no energy left to be either sad or glad that it's over (that said, I'm currently watching Nice Guy and it's bound to happen again, the heartbreak and I'm still watching. Great way to totally contradict oneself in the same paragraph).

But there's also the less obvious heartbreakers, the sneaky bastards, but the ones where you think somewhere in the middle, desperately, 'I could have known... dummy, why didn't you stay away?' That's Arang for me. Seriously, a ghost and a human ... nobody in their right minds can expect that to end happily, right? And the writers of Arang, they masterfully did everything to destroy all hopes for a happy ending, constantly and thoroughly. But this drama sucked me in from the start and I just couldn't get out, didn't want out. However, the better it got, the more afraid I was getting of the ending: not only that it would be terribly sad, but also that it might not be good - and ultimately mess up this über-awesome drama for me.

So ... The only thing that I could do was to stop watching and to impatiently wait until I could be sure that there was either a happy or a good ending ... or hopefully both. I am not yet sure about the good part, but I know it is happy, so this is the happy me happily humming and happily looking forward to the last episodes of Arang. Ha, what a fake goodbye this is! Hello Arang, I'm so happy I still have to finish watching you properly. And you know what? I think I'll start from the very beginning again and marathon you. Ah, bliss!

(and the Goat is back - though reincarnated)
Jun-ki giving shoes to the director (to his immediate left). not sure who the other guy is, but he sure has BIG FEET!

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