10 October 2013

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The Heirs - Episode 1 (A SqueeCap? A Heir Cut?)

Posted by JoAnne on October 10, 2013
JoAnne: It's heir, it's heir, it's really, really heir! Ok...I couldn't resist that. As you well know, I haven't passed up the opportunity for a single pun, good or bad, in the last 48 hours to get myself ready for this. Because I was waiting for THEM, people. The heirs. Will they let me down and break my heart in the time-honored chaebol way? I certainly hope so. You can't really be funny from a happy place, after all. Shall we get to it? Let the heart aches, bad puns, and nicknames begin!
Episode 1

JoAnne: Someone who is not Lee Min Ho but will magically turn into him during close-ups is surfing in sunny California. It's comforting to see that even IN the US, a KDrama production company will select the absolute worst Western actors possible. I do like consistency. I also wonder if the girl that Lee Min Ho kisses realizes how many fan girls just signed her death warrant?
cherkell: BAYWATCH FLASHBACKS! First off, the Coast Guard would bust you for surfing that close to the piers. And it looks like these scenes were shot closer to Ventura Beach than Malibu Beach, but who’s counting. (You’ve seen one SoCal beach, you’ve seen them all.) But I bet LMH felt right at home with all that plastic surgery surrounding him!

JoAnne: Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) is a sad boy. He's been alone in the States for a long time, judging by the size of the kid who plays him in the flash back, but his English makes it seem like he's only been here a little while. It's not his crappy language skills that make him sad, though - it's his terrible family. Apparently there's some dysfunction in the House of Kim (Empire Group. Fabulously rich and so it stands to reason just as fabulously effed up.) But no mind: Kim Tan is too lazy to even resent these terrible people, so let's move on. But first, we shall crown him as Good Heir. Although he may just turn out to be Fussy Heir, what with my expectations of his sensitivity and all that.
cherkell: His hair is bouncin’ and behavin’, that’s for sure. Good Heir sports the ubiquitous “Wolf Cut” which is very popular in Korea these days. Make a note of it.
JoAnne: Choi Young Do (Kim Woo Bin) is a bully. A bully with terrible hair smothered in gel, unfunny minions, and the de rigeur motorcycle. By all accounts, this is Bad Heir. Or at least Hard to Manage Heir. Did anyone recognize the kid getting hit with the balls? He's familiar but he's not in the list of characters that I saw. Maybe he won't matter. What does matter? Well, you should be aware that we are now in Seoul, and the Choi family owns hotels and resorts and the like.
cherkell: Heh heh heh… she said “balls.” Still having a hard time believing these are HIGH SCHOOL KIDS. I’d pay good money to see Woobie NOT be an ass upon first blush in a drama. *sheesh* (But the bullied kid looks a lot like one of his classmates from “School 2013," no?)
JoAnne: We have a brief glimpse of our heroine working 2 of her 13,012 jobs. This is Cha Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye.) Along with her being poor - so we know she's the girl everyone will fall in love with - it's important to note that Choi Young Do saw her first! As far as we know. But of course she's not really an heir at all, and since her mother is a housekeeper for the Empire Group can it be possible that she's never even met Kim Tan before? I think not, drama people.
cherkell: Of course, Eun Sang and Kim Tan have not met each other – she’s disgusted with her mother’s career choices to where she's completely blocked that out of her mind, and Kim Tan probably has lost the directions to that part of their sprawling mansion and doesn’t even know it exists.
JoAnne: Our heroine has a friend, Yoon Chan Young (Kang Min Hyuk) who is studious and considerate and all kinds of adorable. There's no such thing as Cutie Pie Sugar Britches Bunny Love Heir so we will call him Baby Heir, but know that this does not begin to cover the depths of his adorableness.
cherkell: *consulting Venn chart for character names again* Token Boy Band Singer Drummer Appearance? CHECK. But I really liked KMH in "My Husband Got A Family," so hopefully he’ll repeat that cutesy-pie performance in this vehicle.
JoAnne: Baby Heir has a girlfriend who is jealous of his friendship with Cha Eun Sang. This is Lee Bo Na (Krystal) and she is deeply unpleasant, plus her skirt is so short that I swear I see ass cheek and her legs are so thin that toothpicks seem too large as a descriptor. I don't like the face of the person playing this character and I LOATHE the way she talks (although that could be an acting choice) so I am fully prepared to be really mean about her. For now, she is Stringy Heir. Daddy owns entertainment companies. I'm guessing not the kind with hookers.
cherkell: Token Girl Group Member Appearance? CHECK. Stringy also is the perfect descriptor for her acting, ‘cause it’s pretty cheesy so far. This one's gonna hurt, and hurt bad.

JoAnne: Baby Heir lives with his dad Yoon Jae Ho (Choi Won Young) and they're cute, quite domestic, and wearing couple aprons. Dad is Secretary for the Empire Group - so Baby Heir isn't really an Heir, but he's better off than Cha Eun Sang and is apparently leaving for the States tomorrow to continue his language education. Stringy is pissed about it and Eun Sang has no idea because Stringy forbade Baby from telling anyone but her the news.
JoAnne: The awesome Lady Choi, most recently Auntie in Master's Sun (Kim Mi Kyung) is Cha Eun Sung's mom! Ohhh, she's deaf. Nope. She's mute. And....they're choosing to have her write out her responses and then the actor voices them over for us. Oh-kay. Hm.
cherkell: Introduction of KDrama Trope No. 705 (Disabled Mother of Innocent Lead Girl)? CHECK. Granted, I love Kim Mi Kyung and have been watching her in dramas for decades, but don’t these actresses ever worry about over-exposure (and I don’t mean in the Stringy Hair way)? Or are they just grateful to have the work available?

JoAnne: Han Ki-Ae (Kim Sung Ryung) is the petulant mother of Good Heir. Ok, she might be funny. When told that 'The President' has just arrived home, she quickly swallows a full glass of wine to 'hide' it. And upon being told that he went straight up to his room she promptly spit it all back into the glass and chastised the maid for saving the good stuff for last. Between that and the big ass bow in her hair, I'm guessing she's could be a major source of laughs. Mute Mama has some skills, too. This should be good.
cherkell: I laughed so loud after this scene ended that I’m sure I woke up the neighbors. (Bite me, neighbors.) Drunk Mom done gots some smarts in her at least!
JoAnne: It's Take Me To Bed Heir! I mean...Kim Won (Choi Jin Hyuk) has arrived. We all know he's Good Heir's older brother. Half-brother. Perfect. Runs The Empire Group, etc. I'm happy to report that even though Kim Won appears to be...umm...fairly particular and strait-laced, uri Jin Hyuk is just as sexy without a mane of glory and 9 inch nails as he is with them. We're going to call him...Sex Heir. Yes. He is Sex Heir. There's tension between Sex Heir and Drunk Mom, and she's all up in arms about being treated like a mistress. I guess second wifey has a bit of an inferiority complex. Is the dad still alive? Where is First Wifey?
cherkell: GUMIHOT! I don’t care what we call him, just as long as he answers back in those sweet, dulcet tones. This show just shot up 1000% in my eyes. RAWR.
JoAnne: Cha Eun Sang has a bit of a pride thing going. And she's not all that nice to Mute Mom. She stomps off to her room to pout about her sister, living in luxury in the States. I guess she doesn't know the scoop there, because earlier we saw her leaving Sis a message but at the time Sis was getting knocked around by her asshole boyfriend. Turns out Mom wants to send money to the states to Sis, who is supposedly marrying the brute. I wonder if that 'Bitch get out of my house' was something new or something he just says when he's mad? Either way, a dick. But also, a Westerner. So we won't see much of him.
cherkell: Stereotype of Ugly American Brute? CHECK. I almost wish he was wearing a red shirt so I could invoke the Laws of Star Trek and have him killed first!
JoAnne: We get a brief glimpse of Rachel Ryu (Kim Ji Won) and her mother, Esther Lee (Yoon Son Ha) who is about to remarry someone short, because Rachel is instructed to put on flats. Esther owns a big clothing company. Oh look, it IS possible to divorce and not immediately disappear in Korean society. Yes, I'm looking at you, GoM. Rachel is going to be Temperamental Heir, I think.
JoAnne: Cha Eun Sung is going to use the wedding as an excuse to get to the States. I'm starting to wonder if I should make up a name for her. She's not an heir. She works hard, which is good, but she cries a lot and that tends to annoy me. Plus being embarrassed by her mother is a BIG issue. Miss Snippy Pants, maybe.
JoAnne: Temperamental Heir and Mom are having lunch with Bad Heir and his dad, Choi Dong-Wook (Choi Jin Ho). Wow, that blended family is going to have a bad heir day. Yep. When Rachel is introduced as his new younger sister and he's told he should take good care of her as her oppa, Young Do gives Rachel a good look up and down and says 'yes....she's JUST my type.' in a sexy enough voice that everyone at the table stops and stares at him. Heeeee.
cherkell: Sorry, I have no words to describe Woobie’s look. But my panties almost melted. ALMOST.
JoAnne: Young Do stands up to leave and says he has an appointment when Dad tells him to sit down, and in response that shrimpy little Dad hauls off and slaps him hard across the face. Young Do is immediately upgraded to Hard to Manage Heir and before the end of this show he will be Great Heir if You Treat It Right, or possibly Heir That Just Needed Good Conditioning. Mark my words. And by the way: Woobie looked hella good in his cashmere sweater and khakis with his tear-filled, defiant, mis-matched eyes.
JoAnne: Rachel goes after Young Do and - are they going to insist on using crappy English throughout? - oh MY. She's engaged to Good Heir? I'm not sure why but she seems to think that is connected in some way to him not wanting their parents to get married, just like her. But he's not against it at all, and explains that marriages for them are really just mergers and acquisitions -so if she wants to fight against this marriage of their parents she should fight hard. There's a lot at stake.
cherkell: My ears were bleeding from all the Engrish attempted here. Did something important happen?
JoAnne: Job #3 for Cha Eun Sang involves lots of dirty dishes in an industrial kitchen and yes, more tears. Shall we drink to the tears each time? She tells her boss that she's going to the States and that she's been wanting to do this since she was 8. She tells her mom that she exchanged the money and arranged for the passport and then she reads the notebooks of things her mother has had to write to her employers (why save them?) while her mother silently sorts Beans of Sadness in the kitchen. Eun Sang starts to cry as we slowly realize that dry cleaning must have been a very important part of Mute Mom's job. She's very sad to leave her mom, but not sad enough not to do it, and I'm already tired of her crying.
JoAnne: OH my God this blonde haired kid who's friends with Kim Tan is ridiculous. Does he think that over-emphasizing each word and facial expression will help the Korean audience understand him better? Hahahahahahah oh boy - Min Ho's English. Sorry. I don't think he actually even understands what he's saying and just memorizes sounds. Cha Eun Sang has just this minute arrived at LAX and ALREADY her English is better than Good Heir's English.
cherkell: And another sorry to the Viewing Public, but the species Blondicus doofusia surferosa actually does exist in California. I’ll take yas to Santa Cruz sometime; you can view them in their natural habitat!
JoAnne: Naturally, Temperamental Heir was on the same plane. She's busy lying to someone about how awesome Good Heir has gotten since the last time she saw him when Cha Eun Sang notices her. The girls have their expected 'meet bitchy' and as it turns out, Temp's English is also far, far better than Good's. Well, he does always say he's too lazy for this and that. Should we switch and call him Lank Heir? Lifeless Heir?
cherkell: Nice attempt, girlie! Shoulda shot her back a その どやがお やめて instead! :)
JoAnne: Not Lee Min Ho goes surfing again, and in the close ups I notice that his butt is kind of girly. Back on shore, he's looking a little pink from the sun and yes, a little buff. But that girly butt, yo. I do think he should always wear baseball caps backwards, though. It's a good look for him. This is the first time Cha Eun Sung sees him, as she strolls on the boardwalk. With her suitcase, yes. I know.
JoAnne: Her sister must live in Watts. This looks like Boyz in the Hood neighborhood. And yet, prices being what they are, no one reading this will ever be able to afford that shack she's walking up to, I'm guessing. Come to find out, Sis is no where to be found and not only was she not really ever getting married to the neanderthal, she wasn't going to school, either. Great.
cherkell: After a bit of research, it turns out that scene was actually filmed in Compton. I guess Watts is too gentrified now to represent a run-down, slummy American neighborhood? And what's with the 35-year-olds living at that house? If they're running a hostel, I would give them negative stars on Expedia.
JoAnne: In a coffee shop just off the beach, Kim Tan is writing an essay in English, which Lee Min Ho voices over in Korean, and then someone subs back into English. I guess it makes sense. But it's good that there are random Korean waitresses everywhere, or the boy'd starve.
cherkell: LMH should be writing in his journal, “All the beachside coffeeshops and oceanside restaurants in California, and she has to slut around mine…”
JoAnne: Sex Heir is having a board meeting! He's not happy. It seems their target audience (top 10th percentile of income) actually spends most of their money overseas. Why they wouldn't have known that before building a premium shopping mall is beyond me. I have two thoughts: I do like angry Sex, and wouldn't it be AWESOME if Kingdom Shopping Mall was a competitor? Ok 3 thoughts. I wonder if money trouble will be the thing that brings Good Heir home?
cherkell: Lalalala don't care about the business stuff right now. More Sex Hair and Voice!
JoAnne: Ok I'm just going to say this and get it over with. This is the best I have ever seen Lee Min Ho look. He's sitting on a patio in a jean shirt with slightly reddish hair cut in aflattering way and yes, wayyyy less nose, and he looks fine as hell. I can say it.
JoAnne: Ohhhhh, the random Korean waitress is her SISTER, Cha Eun Seok. Duh. Cha Eun Sang is standing outside and we have just had The Moment of Fateful Noticing from Good Heir. Little Sis is mortified to see how Big Sis is treated by certain piggish customers and then is incensed to overhear the suggestive conversation between her sister and what looks very much to me like Jason Mraz. He's too nice to talk like that, though. Goddammit she's crying AGAIN.
 
JoAnne: She kind of has the right this time, though, because damn - her sister is a bitch. She's caught red-handed and all she does in response is dig through baby sis's suitcase looking for money while Eun Sang sobs brokenheartedly on the sidewalk. She finds the money and runs off, leaving poor baby sis completely alone in a country she doesn't know with a language she doesn't really speak, no money, and no place to go. Nice. But hey - Good Heir has been watching all along. Random Korean Benefactor Gene, activate! I wonder if LMH's orange skinny jeans will be the thing that his pink skinny jeans were in City Hunter?
cherkell: If this was Real Malibu (as compared to this Faux Malibu), that suitcase and its contents would have been stolen a nanosecond after she turned around to run after Slutty Sister. Also, Darwin’s Law would have been invoked with Surfer Dude stroking out on the beach. Show, you have disappointed me.
JoAnne: Oops - as it turns out, before Good can benefact all over Cha Eun Sang, his dickweed friend grabs a bag from her, thinking it's drugs. He ends up snorting bean flour and goes into anaphylactic shock. The American doctor wasn't terrible, for a change. No Random Korean Benefactor Gene after all, either, since he blames her for causing the hassle by having the stuff, when his friend was 'just drunk.' Hm. Cha Eun Sang and I share the same puzzled reaction to his logic. And then the police arrive to question her about her 'drugs.' This girl is NOT having a good introduction to the US.
cherkell: There we have First Instance of Suspend Belief – a random LAPD foot jockey can take away a passport just like that. I apologize to all our international readers – remember, this is pure fiction!
JoAnne: And there it is! With the already-famous phrase 'It's okayee, baby!' Good Heir swoops in to save her from the po-po. But - the cop knows him, and that just makes him more suspicious. I'm getting the idea that this is the No-Good Heir. Still, she's not arrested. They're just keeping her passport until some lab tech calls them up and laughs at the cop who couldn't tell bean flour from coke.
JoAnne: At her request, Kim Tan takes Eun Sang to her sister's house, and not very willingly leaves her there even though no one is home to let her in. The minute he drives off, of course, a random gang of boys arrives to harass her. Is he going to come back and be all City Hunter on their asses? God, I hope so.
cherkell: Why are those strange men dressed like Seo Taiji and Boys? Did they get lost on their way to the “Answer 1994” set?
JoAnne: No need, because they leave after exactly 30 seconds of jeering. Once the coast is clear, she grabs her suitcase and heads off down the road. But the music swells, and headlights appear in the distance. Hong Ki starts singing and - yes, there it is - the Benefactor Gene has activated! They share a Fateful Moment of Noticing, this time, and he asks if she wants to come to his house as Hong Ki's voice swells with passion and longing and a zazillion fan girls scream YESSSSSSSSSSSS at their TVs, computers, phones, tablets, and other handheld devices.
cherkell: I wasn’t screaming. Not in the least. Though I was lusting after that car. Mine’s been on the fritz these days.

Thoughts

JoAnne: All in all, not so bad. No lack of snark material, for sure, and plenty of pretty to squee over. Acting, except as noted, is at least workmanlike. Scenery is gorgeous. Plot? Who the hell knows? We haven't even gotten half way through the character introductions yet. All we know is that everyone hates their families and everyone has some connection that goes back years and years. We can speculate that pretty much every damn body is going to be in Cali for some reason by the next episode, but I somehow don't think this will translate into a topless Sex Heir so I'm a little sad about that. I don't much like our heroine yet, although she IS at least minimally better than our other choices. I hope that Woobie and Minhot give us a real triangle, and I PRAY for KimBro-mance. We'll see.
cherkell: Oh most defintely snark-worthy, but I found it kinda meh, like all the PD-nim did was string all the trailers together into a 72-minute show. The hype sure as hell didn’t help any, and here’s some advice from someone who’s been there: If you’re going to produce a BELIEVABLE drama about Korean expats and their escapades in a foreign country, maybe you should try to get a foreign adviser on your staff for a change? There were soooooo many stereotypes tossed out that I lost count. (Good thing we weren’t doing tequila shots for every bad line of Engrish uttered, or I’d be in rehab by now.) But it's only a drama... I should really just relax.
One thing the DeeEff viewings does not include is the cold opening to the show, where someone (and I've got to figure out who) does a really bad cover version of Iggy & The Stooges' "20th Century Boy." I give major props to the brain trust who decided that, because it's perfect to describe these snooty little brats and their First World Problems. But it's only the first outing; let's see how things play down the road. 


Recapper: JoAnne
Commentor: Cherkell
Art Work: Kakashi

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