31 December 2012

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New Year's Eve Dinner Party with lafer and kakashi

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 31, 2012

Goodbye, I'm leaving!!
kakashi: Hello! We're back. And now, we're getting serious ... lafer? Will you do the honors? Tell us whom you are going to invite!

lafer: Right off the bat, I'd have Song Joong-ki to my left and Ji Sung to my right. Yes, I know, about as surprising as your Park Shi-hoo and Lee Jun-ki. But lest you think I'm shallow enough to be swayed only by adorableness, let me assure you that I've seen various interviews with both these guys so am not giving these seats away lightly.

Yes, lafer. I'm also going for brains rather than looks. This is about a dinner after all, right? And we will talk, right?

Well, I'm not sure exactly how much talking we'll do, because let's face it, there is a slight language barrier. But we can pretend to be listening with rapt attention... while gazing into their eyes......

My hangul is perfect for the occasion. I can say "oppa", "sarangae", "kamsahamnida" and one or two things in addition. I'll teach you, if you want! But we are digressing, methinks. Ji Sung and Song Joong-ki, you said. Why those two?

Well, if they're the only words I need to know, I'm golden. On to the table - Ji Sung probably has the best manners of anyone out there, so I know my glass would always be full. And when I fall off my chair drunk as a skunk from the always-full glass, he'll be gentlemanly enough to make sure I get home safely (by piggyback? One can only dream!) In addition he has the cutest profile ever, so I'd love to sneak sideways glances at him.
Wonderful! I'll sneak some from the other side of the table. I love how well we harmonize - there is almost no jealousy between us. Your second guest, though ... well. I'm feeling generous so soon after Christmas, that's why you can have him. 

Song Joong-ki is the man of the year, but also someone well read, playful and flirty, who likes older women. OK, not as old as me, but still. (Although if I can't get Werewolf Boy out of my head, I may have to seat him at the kiddie table--you know, the one where we just pat them on the head and pinch their cheeks.) One thing I know - I'd have a constant smile on my face if he was there.
Oh, wow, what a brilliant idea ... we'll have a kiddie table! This way, we can invite so many more ... Okay, here are my top favorites. I'll have Park Shi-hoo (and his brother) to my left and Lee Jun-ki to my right (by the way: we will have to give them a lot of alcohol, lafer, to make sure they forget about the age difference and the being polite).

Ah, yes, alcohol, the perfect compliment to any dinner party!

See, I knew you would be on board with this! Anyway, let me explain why these two are my favorites and get to sit in the seats of honor: It's no secret I'm smitten with Park Shi-hoo. He is totally hogging this blog right now. I'll make him smile all the time and do crazy dances. From time to time, I want him to flash his abs. But only quickly. You know, the shyness ... 

Yes, the shyness (or so you say....) And wait, what's this about his brother coming? Just so you know, I'm keeping track, so if you get a two-fer, I get an extra guest, too!

Right, his brother. He plays a very important role: I'll have the two Park brothers on the same chair to dampen Park Shi-hoo's shyness and get him to open up. Park Shi-hoo's mother said that "Si Hoo is an introvert and Woo Ho is an extrovert". And his mother also said: "Si Hoo is an introvert but also very naughty", so I'll have the brother there to make sure things don't get out of hand. I can't guarantee for my behavior if Park Shi-hoo is near me. Especially if he is being naughty 0_o
Kashaki, do the Park brothers know you're going to their mom for details? I'm just saying.....

Isn't that what all women do? But enough of the Parks. Because on my right, there's Lee Jun-ki. Ah, Lee Jun-ki.... I recently got to know a woman who works in a shop in Lucerne. And you walked right into her shop and asked her whether you could do a photoshoot in it a few weeks ago. >.< Will I ever be able to forgive you for not seeing me when you were in Switzerland? Let's discuss this over dinner, ok? 
Btw: my husband, who is a really tolerable man, thinks all my KDrama crushes are you, Lee Jun-ki. He glances at my screen and goes: "Is that him again?" I never correct him, because I know you have a black belt in Taekwondo and can take his potential wrath. And better he thinks it is only one (and this is in small print so that he will not be able to read this easily).
You may want to tell him it's not a costume party, though. 

Awww ... but look how cute he is!! Kitten! Come here, kitty-kitty ... (to the kiddie table?)

Gong Yoo, you are next on my list. And that is exactly the same look I will have on my face to see you sitting across from me. And while he's another repeat from the 12 Men of Christmas, I don't think too many will object to seeing him on the list. Not only is he a super talented actor, but he's Han Gyul, and one of the best on screen kissers ever. Enough said.
Kissers? lafer ... this is only a dinner, okay?! Next, I'll have Song Il-gook. He has triplets and he named them: Dae Han, Min Kook, and Man Sae. Apparently, if you put the three names together, it means 'Hooray for Korea'. hahaha, that's so funny! "Hooray for Korea, come here immediately, or you will not get desert!". I'll tell him to dress in his A Man Called God leather outfit (if he still fits. Don't know how many kilos he lost for that role!). He is very athletic and I would talk to him about sports all evening long. Park Shi-hoo also likes sports a lot. So does his brother.
You can talk sports all you like. I'll be chatting with Kwon Sang-woo. He was the first Korean actor that I literally gasped at when I saw him without a shirt. He also cried when he proposed to his wife--you gotta love that. And maybe I'd get the inside story on his upcoming drama, if I could actually concentrate on anything he said. (But I'm not making him wear a shirt if he doesn't want to, kakashi!)
Fine, fine, I can take one or two without a shirt. Next, I'll seat Cha Seung-won. We need some more facial hair on our table (if he doesn't have any at the moment, we'll use a stick-on goatee). And he is one of these actors I want to convince to do more dramas. And we also need a potential villain, in case we want to role-play something.       
Role playing--yes, me likey! Song Seung-hun is my next choice. He's 36 and just endured an extended run in Time Slip Dr Jin, which I had the good fortune of not watching. But I did watch (gaze, drool, sigh at) him in My Princess. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts on making that crazy brain fetus drama. Even if he refuses to comment, I'm OK with that. Frankly, I just want to look at him.
Omg, Song Seung-hun aka Mr. Handtowel. He is so honest and naive! Or he is very good at playing honest and naive... I'm following him on Facebook and Twitter, and he is just so ... incredibly open about his acting "skills" (or rather, the lack of). But he is sooooooo pretty ... please seat him where I can see him well. My next guest is Kim Myung-Min! I'm sorry, but he'll have to come as Anthony. Because I have many drama-related questions to ask him. And he will have to change his suit at least four times - I want at least one fur-outfit.
As long as no fur flies in the food. Moving on, there would definitely be a place for Eric Moon, for the sole reason that I love Que Sera, Sera. But like Kim Myung-Min, he will have to come in character as Kang Tae Joo so he can give off his bad boy vibe. I can just visualize myself trying to keep his interest while he looks bored and aloof. Oh, the challenge of it all! And I love me a good challenge!
Hmmmm .... bad boy vibes ... I need some of that too. Smexy undead bad boy arrogance. Yeon Jung-hoon! I'm talking about you! I'm sorry, but you will have to leave Han Ga-in at home. What, she'll not let you?! Pfff. Okay, fine. I'm sure lafer has some more boys she wants to invite ... 
Yes, I'm happy to oblige! Kim Bum, come on down! He should be at the kiddie table, too, but I think it would work out really well if he sat at the big table. I could save myself from eating too many calories and fatten him back up at the same time by feeding him my dinner--that's a win-win in my book! Plus he's good for the long term because I already know how he'd look when his hair turns gray.
Jeez, lafer ... how many more?! (btw: who will do the dishes???). Let's seat Kim Bum and Song Joong-ki at the kiddie table, alright? Because I want to invite one more: Yoochun. Yeah, cause Yeon Jung-hoon has declined and they look so much alike. No pink lipstick, however, hear me, Yoochun!   
Technically I think Yoochun may need to be at the kiddie table also because he's younger than Song Joong Ki. And I'll be too weak in the knees after this dinner to do dishes - I say let's throw them away! OK, I'd have to add Jeong Dong-hwan because I can't just surround myself with young, hot men. I need a man of maturity. Plus I loved him in The Princess' Man and Winter Sonata. And who wouldn't like to hear about a thirty year acting career in South Korea? I would, oppa!
Did you just call somebody oppa?! Awwwwwwwww! I really, really, really want to call Park Shi-hoo oppa, but ... alas ... he's two years younger than me. But you know what? I'll just pretend to be younger! I may be able to pull it off ... if I start using botox and stuff right now ... Anyways, thanks to the kiddie table, I get to choose one more. And I'm going for ... Lee Won-jong! My favorite ahjussi actor. 
Those two can reminisce if we get too busy with the others. And now - TaDa -  I've saved one special seat for last, because who's counting? And that goes to Daniel Henney. While not 100% Korean, he has to be the finest Korean American specimen around. If they ran his commercials in the US, I might actually start watching regular TV again (Go Hawaii 5-O!) And he's got to be one of the nicest guys on Twitter. I think I will give him the seat of honor because he can be my personal interpreter, even though I probably won't care what anyone else is saying if he smirks at me like that!
You are a genius! But lafer: What's on the Menu? 

Does it really matter? I say go with whatever the caterer suggests, because I'm sure as heck not slaving in the kitchen all day before eating with these guys! I'll be wrapped in facial masks and hanging upside down beforehand, trying to undo some of the effects of gravity. And I want candlelight, very soft, flattering, candlelight.

And at half past eleven, we will announce our surprise guests (lafer, should they jump out of a cake?), which are ... 
The perfect end to a perfect evening! 
Happy New Year's everyone!

30 December 2012

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12 Men Follow-up: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (NOT Lee Min-ho!)

Posted by lafer on December 30, 2012
lafer: Kakashi, apparently there are a few people out there that enjoyed looking at Lee Min Ho and the 12 Men of Christmas.

kakashi: Lafer, "a few people" is an understatement. I'm actually a bit jealous: all of my intellectually stimulating and thoroughly thought through posts don't get half as many hits as your 12 Men of Christmas! 

Kakashi, I think it's just because the name Lee Min Ho was in the title! If I could figure out a way to use it in every post, I would! 

Well, let's just use his picture first so that it will show up on the entry site (little dirty blogger tricks... Lee Min-ho, kids, and animals -- they work miracles!)
And that is why you're the brains of the operation, kakashi! Maybe we can even use him in the title, like Lee Min Ho, Guess Who's NOT Coming to Dinner?

Done! So, lafer... I may be jealous, but I will admit - your Lee Min-ho post is totally awesome. It must have taken you ages to fit the Santa hats onto their lovely heads, right?

Yes, but them letting me measure their sweet little heads made it all worthwhile.......oops....sorry, off in fantasy land again. Anyways, someone even suggested that I may be able to come up with 12 more men to write about. Kakashi, you know I love a challenge - how about you?

I'm the Queen of Challenges! Bring it on! (Will you do a rhyme again?! Please say yes!!! Something like: 'More men, more love, more fun - that will make lafer run')
Guess who is coming to dinner?
No time for rhymes, my dear.......So I'm thinking - how about 12 men we'd most like to sit around the table with on New Year's Eve. With wine. Without hats. I can see it now...pondering visions of 12 guys in Baby New Year's garb.  Maybe we should start researching shower scenes......

About that. I must admit that I have recently discovered that I am, in fact, quite shy. You know these pictures of Park Shi-hoo in swimming trunks and nothing else? I blushed. I even covered my eyes. No shower scenes on this blog!

Hmmm....then why are those pictures plastered all over her computer?
OMG how do you know about that, lafer!! 

Ok, kakashi, we could dress them up as Father Time. Yoo Seung-ho pulled off a similar look in Arang and the Magistrate and it was quite smexy.

Alright! Smexy head librarian! I like that look. It's quite safe!  
Let's just let them wear whatever they want (unless one of us decides to invite Jang Geun-suk. I don't want him showing up in a prettier dress than mine.)
No, lafer. We will be the only ladies there! And we will host it in a top top top secret place. As a precaution against all the other grabby handed noonas.

In fairness to our readers, we should come up with some fresh meat new choices, don't you think? Because I know I missed some favorites last post.

Awwwwww, no, lafer! Please! I want Lee Jun-ki! And I want Park Shi-hoo! Actually, I want Park Shi-hoo AND his brother. I'm thinking: if I can't get the one, I might be able to get the other? (get = to sit at my table, obviously) Am I smart or am I smart?

I say SMART! (Wait, does he even have a brother? Hey, maybe we can all be blood brothers! Like in Coffee Prince! And then we'd get to.....oh, never mind.) Alright, we can each pick a few repeats.  It's OUR party! And my favs were definitely on that list. Hopefully our readers won't mind seeing more than 12.
 
This is the biggest dinner party I ever hosted, lafer ... If there's no more room at the table, I'll take one or two of them on my lap. They're all so slender! (Except Park Shi-hoo's brother Woo-ho. He used to be a baseball pro and now he's into golf. He is much much heavier than his brother, methinks: See for yourself)

I'm thinking we'll have to rent out a fairly large venue to accommodate all of us (unless having them on your lap was part of your plan!) And with such a large table, we'll need to play musical chairs during dinner just to get enough face time with all of them. Think of how much fun THAT would be - us trying to squeeze into the same chair as our guests! ***clapping hands with glee*** So, kakashi, I think it's time. Let the invitations begin!

... to be continued ... 

29 December 2012

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Cheongdamdong Alice ... and Product Placement (Part I)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 29, 2012
I am currently rewatching old Cheongdamdong Alice episodes to get over the long wait for the new ones. And when I rewatch things, I tend to pay more attention to details. In this case, the Product Placement (PPL). Not a new topic at all: I wrote about it a while ago, and so have others. Not a new topic at all, but still one worth writing about again and again!
I'm a relative newbie to the KDrama-craze (it's been 2 and a half years only), so I would be interested to hear from the veterans (like latteholic, who has years and years and years of experience): has it become worse? Or just more blatant? Right, I remember that some laws were changed a while ago, which may have opened the PPL floodgates - but there also seems to be a change in how normal rather lengthy sequences of flat-out advertisements have become.  

Nice Guy was the last drama whose PPL severely irked people ... but now, Cheongdamdong Alice is quickly becoming the new boo drama. But then again, something big happened in between Nice Guy and Cheongdamdong Alice (CDDA): We got to know Anthony, aka The King of Dramas (KoD). KoD, which is great on so many levels, has turned us all into KDrama-production experts. We chuckle and smile to ourselves when what we hear about Dramas in the real world sounds right out of Anthony's world (which is every single time!) and we gleefully ask "What would Anthony do?" when one of them runs into trouble.
And it is from King of Dramas that we learn how important PPL is for KDrama. If you are following the show, you know that KoD's entire first episode was about PPL - or rather the refusal by the main writer to include a certain brand of orange juice into the last episode of a revenge drama. According to Anthony, this particular PPL is worth 300 million won (~280'000 USD) - and having the orange juice in there becomes a question of life and death for this production.
Re-written scene so that the Lead has orange juice for the last scene
... The final scene ...
Of course, this is over the top. But is it in essence? Probably not. I am ready to believe that this type of extra money is in fact absolutely crucial for KDrama. So ... why not let them do some PPL in return for so many drams to watch?!

So ... do I mind the PPL in CDDA? I do not. I surely notice it, but since I'm watching a lifetime of KDrama for free and without a single advertisement to disturb me, I am more than fully okay with it. Seeing the Samsung Galaxy phones and the nice cars and seeing the lovely products they sell at Paris Baguette is, in fact, fun. And because there's often a very, very, very handsome man in or next to these products, I'll dedicate Part II of this entry to Park Shi-hoo in Cheongdamdong Alice doing Product Placement. ^^ 

By the way: Did you notice that the shenanigans about the orange juice PPL was the perfect PPL? Of course, this orange juice is real ... and KoD exposed us to this particular brand about 7 times.

28 December 2012

27 December 2012

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My Top 5 ... Elevator Scenes

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 27, 2012
Another Top 5 post, as I wait for new episodes of CDDA and KoD! As always, the same rule applies: The scenes might not be the best and the brightest, but it is the ones I remember most vividly. Truth is, there are quite a lot of elevator scenes in KDrama. I guess it's because walking up stairs is a) unsexy and b) cannot be captured on film quite as well. Or is it because there are so many skyscrapers in Seoul?

Cheongdamdong Alice

This scene at the end of episode 7 of Cheongdamdong Alice gets to go first because it gave me the idea for this post. It could have been a good elevator scene (in the sense of it leading to more awesomeness), but unfortunately, it was only a fake-out. Seung-jo is too stricken by the fact that Se-kyung actually likes him and doesn't even notice her (though she's right in front of him, across the hall). Right... Very much how things happen in real life. But who is interested in real life when they have CDDA? I can't believe I have to wait until January 5 for Episode 9!! And I realize I haven't been that much in love with a drama since A Gentleman's Dignity (any elevator scenes in that one?), though Arang and the Magistrate may have come close (definitely no elevator scenes there, unless you count ascending/descending to heaven). Unfortunately, my AGD love didn't end well at all - that drama started off so awesome and ended as such a disappointment! Here is hoping that Cheongdamdong Alice delivers till the end!

Prosecutor Princess

There are several elevator scenes in Prosecutor Princess. This particular scene is in Episode 14. It's a very, very sad elevator scene, this one; full of longing. Hye-ri and In-woo go out drinking together - and he apologizes to her, for using her against her father, to avenge his father. At this stage, both are in love (and they have kissed ... ahhhhh, that was a good kiss!) - but their love seems impossible at this point. In the elevator, they stand next to each other, both holding onto the bars for support. Their fingers are touching ... and though they really need support from each other at that very moment, they do not hold hands ... but move their hands away. After she leaves the elevator to go to her apartment, he sheds one heartbreaking tear ... most beautiful tear in KDrama ever, Park Shi-hoo. Well played! Park Shi-hoo --- king of abs and king of elevators!
IS THAT EVEN LEGAL???? (thank you, Yaa, for unearthing this)

Rooftop Prince

I almost forgot about this incredibly funny episode in Rooftop Prince , but latteholic triggered my memory ... thank you! This is what made that drama so endearing ... if only the cheabol-revenge story wouldn't have happened, this could have been such a gem of a drama. These boys! Priceless.  

Secret Garden

I have a love-hate relationship with this drama. When I first discovered it, I was head over heels ... as was the whole world, it seemed. 2010 was the year I discovered KDrama, so I didn't have a lot of experience. It was also my first time seeing Hyun-bin and Ha Ji-won. I hated him ... what a despicable character he played! Today, I realize that this type of pushy, jerky man makes a frequent appearance in Kim Eun-sook's dramas, which is why I don't really like them (though I always start off enthusiastic). Anways, back to the elevator. It's in Episode 15/16, when he suddenly finds himself in an elevator due to a sudden body swap and his severe (i.e. life-threatening) claustrophobia sets in. It is also the "big reveal" (though not very surprising at that stage), because we finally find out what happened to him ... and that her dad was the firefighter that died, saving him.

Que Sera, Sera

Que Sera, Sera is lafer's favorite drama. Initially, I felt a bit uncomfortable writing about it, but then she coached me, so it's okay. I have seen parts of it, but not everything - I think I stopped because it was too painful to watch these people hurt themselves. It is on my watch-(again-)list, however - and I do remember one elevator scene. It is in Episode 3, very early on, Tae-joo (Eric Moon *swoon*) is the biggest jerk ever and Eun-soo is a naiv, hapless country girl. They are neighbors (-- I think I'll have to do a Top 5 Neighbors post soon ^^ --) and ride the elevator together a lot. In this particular scene, the elevator stops, she is thrown against him, and he, mean person that he is, decides to kiss her (because he realized that she lied to him about having kissed before). So, kiss he does (that was probably the most surprising kiss ever in KDrama for me). While he is all smug and satisfied and having the upper hand, she says that this was fun. And she wants more. Haha, see him get off really quickly, totally flustered!
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A K-dramaAddict's Guide To Korean Variety Shows [Part 2, Guest Post]

Posted by latteholic on December 27, 2012
TA-DA! Hi everyone, I'm back with the second part of my post! Put your hands up people! And... your feet too! (and yep you gonna fall. Sorry...). And so, without further ado, let me go straight into the "guide" and continue from where I left off last time..

1 Night 2 Days



1 Night 2 Days follows 5-7 of its cast members as they made various overnight trips throughout Korea, including many offshore islands and was hosted by another famous MC, Kang Ho Dong (which you will hear a lot when you're watching K-variety) and cast members: Lee Seung-gi (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, King 2 Hearts), singer Kim Jong-min, comedian Lee Su-geun, Uhm Tae-woong (Equator Man, Mawang), Eun Ji-won (Answer Me 1997, member of Sech Kies), singer Kim C, and singer MC Mong in its first season. Season 1 just finished its 5 year airing this year, and followed by season 2 almost immediately. In contrast to Family Outing season 2, I think the new cast: singer Sung Shi-kyung, Cha Tae-hyun (My Sassy Girl, Jeon Woo-chi), Joo Won (Gaksital, Ojagkyo Brothers, mine!), and Kim Seung-woo (The Talented Mrs Ripley, Third Ward) along with some of the old casts: Uhm Tae-woong, Kim Jong-min, Lee Su-geun managed to keep the show entertaining with their own unique characters and chemistry AND epic bromance.
Similar to Running Man, the goal of 1N2D (other than entertainment) is to highlight and explore various places of interest in South Korea and promote them to the audience in the best way possible, through various antics and adventure of the cast members.

The show is well-known for one of its segment, "Bok Bul Bok Game" or "luck or not", which is a game used to determine which members will be getting food as well as which members will be sleeping outside. Some simple games are normally held to decide the winners and the losers. The losers will receive a punishment, such as drinking salt water or soy sauce or eating other strange foods, like "Kkanari Eakjeott", "Wasabi", "Vinegar", and more. In some cases (especially if they bargain well with the PD), they are able to be exempted from sleeping outside or receive food and prizes automatically if they can pass the punishment, however this rarely happens. I never taste the Kkanari sauce before in my life, but judging from the cast's expressions, I'm sure it tastes like having molten lava force fed down your throat through a pressure hose.

The show also holds a viewers special every year, in which selected viewers who have sent their applications will get the chance to come on the show and join the cast members during their overnight trip. The huge number of applicants with wide range of age group goes on to show just how popular the show is in South Korea itself.

What makes this show even more interesting -just like many other Korean variety shows- is how the staff (PD, writers, cameramen, lightning crew, etc) is highly visible in this show. The staff and cast interact actively, and they sometimes even hold competition against each other and it t is so obvious that the staff have made it their mission to make our cast members suffer.
Watching the second season while watching Gaksital really screwed my brain. Because who would have thought that Gaksital is actually afraid of bugs?! :D

Happy Together

Happy Together is a talk show that has been airing for over than 10 years and has undergone major revamp over its 3 seasons. The third season is currently still airing and what distinguished the show from other Talk Show is that it is set up in a sauna and so it creates a casual and friendly atmosphere. The rapport between the 4 MCs (Yoo Jae-suk, Park Myung-su, Shin Bong-sun and Park Mi-sun) is great and I think it is one of the reasons that make the show stays interesting. Just like other talk show/variety shows, you will be seeing a lot of dancing, singing, scene re-enactments, etc.

What makes the show funny as well is how both female MCs seem to channel my inner fangirl side whenever they're around the good looking male guests, e.g. making all sort of excuses to get a little "skinship". Pfffttt...

Park Shi-hoo's and Shin Bong-sun's skinship moment (sorry you have to see this kakashi!)

Strong Heart

Strong Heart is a talk show which has been running for more than 3 years and over 2 seasons. The first season was hosted by Kang Ho-dong and Lee Seung-gi, while the second season is hosted by  Lee Dong-wook and Shin Dong-yeop.

Strong Heart is formatted as a talk battle show in which a set number of guest stars will take turns in telling "powerful" stories to make people cry or laugh. After hearing the stories from two guests, the audience will decide whose story is the best one. Just like a survival game, the winner then will be facing the next guest and the audience will get to decide again. The guest whose story wins at the end is the final winner.

But more than just a talk battle show, Strong Heart actually gives a glimpse into the lives of the guest stars through their stories. Over the years, most stars will come on the show and share the stories of the hardships they faced in debuting, sad, happy, strange, or funny experiences. Some celebrities also used the opportunity to clear out some rumors or even to announce their happy news.
"What?! I thought I've told mom to get rid of all of my old pictures?!"
Again, just like other variety shows, you'll be seeing lots of dancing, singing, impersonations, etc in segments hosted by the six fixed guests which include Boom, Super Junior's Lee Teuk and Eunhyuk, and other well-known comedians. In its earlier days, the Boom Academy (Boom, Lee Teuk, Eunhyuk, and Super Junior's Shindong) hosted a segment where they will reveal the old/funny/strange/lookalikes pictures of the guests. Most of the pictures are probably the ones that the celebs really want to bury deep and never uncover again and having them revealed usually provoke knee-jerk reactions of breaking the cardboard pictures, which in a way also evokes hilarity.

We Got Married (WGM)

First of all, I'm not following WGM as faithfully as other shows mentioned above, except for one couple: Adam Couple (2AM's Jokwon & Brown-eyed Girls' Ga-in). And I only caught several episodes from the first season so that I would feel a bit justified to write something on this show. In a nutshell, WGM is a show that paired up Korean celebrities to depict life as married couple. Each week, these "newlyweds" are given a mission to complete and behind-the-scene interview to reveal their perspective on the ongoing relationship conflicts and developments. The participants, MCs, and audience will then get the chance to watch all of the recorded material to add commentary or clarification.

Through its missions, WGM provides an outlook on how the idealized Korean couple should function, from how the dates are like to acceptable behavior and skinship. The addition of Julian Kang into the couples in season 4 might also shows the viewers on how intercultural relationship works and how the couple can overcome their differences and barriers and come halfway between cultures.

My favorite couple (i.e. the only couple I followed) is Adam Couple. The couple was actually a guest couple for the Chuseok special. However during their brief appearance, the couple showed a good rapport and managed to garner high rating. Later it was announced that they have joined the show as a permanent couple. Unfortunately for them, because it was planned that they would only become a temporary couple in the beginning, the couple then had to be stuck with living in their little caravan. They are probably the poorest couple (also the longest couple) in all seasons of WGM but their relationship also felt more real because watching them is like watching real newlyweds who struggle with having nothing and have to work hard each week to complete their missions and have their living conditions upgraded. Their personalities compliment each other and they have so much chemistry and hilarity. They bicker, argue, and flirt a lot but at the end of the day it still look like they genuinely care for each other.

 So... who is your favorite WGM couple? :) 

26 December 2012

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My Top 5 ... Female Characters

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on December 26, 2012
It's been a while since my last Top 5 post. Yes, I was busy with other stuff! With Lee Jun-ki, for example. But now, it's become quiet in KDramaland - and I will have to wait for new episodes of my two current shows. Time to do some deep thinking about ... things. After trees, permed hair, and snow, I want to tackle something serious for a change: Female Characters.

Me, myself, and I are totally in agreement with this selection. Yes, it was super easy and very harmonious: We knew within 10 seconds who would go on this list. It's quite obvious what all of these characters have in common: they are atypical, independent, strong, sometimes rebellious women that go against the grain of society. If you want to use the term 'feminist' in relation to KDrama, these characters are as feminist as they come. Though they do not openly fight for a bigger feminist cause, they fight their own micro-battles against men, against women, against conventions that want to shackle them, and against the stereotypes they are confronted with.   

Seo Eun-ki (Moon Chae-won in Nice Guy)

Unlike other pretty plutocrat daughters who live sheltered lives, Seo Eun-ki is a character forged by a heartless and cold father to be the perfect heir(ess) to his business empire. Expecting everybody in the world to be her enemy, she is an emotionally scarred woman with abandonment issues. She is sent on a painful journey, which changes her from cold, harsh, and lonely to super vulnerable and naive within a few episodes, brought to an extreme during her amnesia days. When she regains her memory, she tries to go back to her old, heartless ways and to get back at everybody that hurt her - but she cannot. Not only has she been changed forever by love, she also changed the one she loves, by bringing him back to life and to his old self. Unfortunately, Nice Guys' disappointing ending also affected how this character was written (I prefer the Seo Eun-ki from the beginning to the Seo Eun-ki at the end!) - nonetheless, Moon Chae-won's skillful portrayal of a crazy and destructive love for an equally scarred guy and their journey together made this a drama to remember.

Arang (Shin Min-ah in Arang and the Magistrate)

Arang and the Magistrate was such a pleasant surprise. A lot of the drama's appeal boils down to the sassy, witty ghost with no memory, who is (or feels) all alone in a rough world ruled by men ghosts and petty Gods. She simply shines ... No wonder she makes the Magistrate Eun-oh fall in love with her at first sight. If I were a man, I would have fallen for her too! (Shin Min-ah ... you are a Goddess!) Okay, but if I were her, I would have fallen for him a lot sooner. Jeeeez. I did get annoyed with her for losing her assertiveness and wit, becoming all broody as her memories return and her feelings for Eun-oh deepen. I hate, hate, hate noble idiocy, though at least Arang and the Magistrate dealt with its in a interesting way, and I could have kicked her for her will to self-sacrifice. So glad Eun-oh and all the others didn't let her.

Hwang Ji-an (Kim Sun-ah in I Do I Do)

I adore Kim Sun-ah. She has a kind of charisma that I miss in many other actresses. She has played other memorable characters, like Kim Sam-soon (in My Lovely Sam Soon) or Shin Mi-rae (in City Hall). I Do, I Do wasn't a particularly good drama. It also wasn't particularly bad. It was one of the shows this year that I watched without much emotional involvement, but enough enjoyment to not drop it mid-way. Nonetheless, there is something about the drama that does stick: First, there's Lee Jang-woo's incredibly cuteness. Second, there's Kim Sun-ah's performance as a hardened business woman, ready to sacrifice her personal life for her career. It is hard to like her, and the character was probably not even written to be liked. However, by making her pregnant due to a one-night-stand with a totally unsuitable man, and by therefore turning her into a brave woman who, despite all the odds (society, company, parents) wants to go this alone and be a single-mom, this show added something to the standard mix in KDramas that I found fascinating.

Lee Se-ryung (Moon Chae-won in Princess' Man)

Moon Chae-won, here you are again! And you were not even part of my Top 5 female actresses post!. The Princess' Man is my favorite drama of 2011 (not least because it had Park Shi-hoo in it). Lee Se-ryung is part of the package and part of why this drama is such a special treat. How she constantly defies her powerful father for her love, even if the prize is her life, and how she turns the dark, bitter avenger back into a human being make her one of the most intriguing characters ever seen in KDrama, particularly the saeguk kind, which tends to go for kitschy or angsty, or über-pure and passive (I'm thinking females in Chuno or Warrior Baek Song Doo). What a long sentence! Princess' Man, you're such an awesome drama, you make me make long, long, loooooooong sentences.

Yoo Jung-in (Lee Young-ah in Vampire Prosecutor)

Yoo Jung-in is not a very complicated character. And she isn't even all that special: We have seen similar female cops, kinda rough, not very feminine (that comes with the job), but often with a soft spot for the lone wolf cop next to them. Nonetheless, Vampire Prosecutor does a good job in making Jung-in more and more interesting as the show progresses. For example, we find out that she is the daughter of a mobbster. And then, there's the rather obvious crush on Mr. Vampire, which is so full of promise and anguish. There wasn't exactly a lot of development in the romance department this season - and the show has once again been a total tease about it! - and now she might even be dead. Or a vampire. This character is memorable because this woman is strong, and takes this for granted. And because she kicks ass - and knows how to shoot.

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