Rants and Weekly Raves #43 (RAWR)

kakashi: I forgot to mention the 4 Mio page views last time: We did it!
JoAnne: Thank you for liking this place enough to come back!

On Life

Nabi: On Tuesday afternoon I finished four full weeks of jury duty, including 8 days of deliberations. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I'm not really a cuddler, but I wish very much right now that I were, and that Jung Woo-Sung were here in my apartment to oblige. Or even Joo Ji-Hoon. He's not really my favorite, but I think he has taken off his shirt at least once in every episode of Mask that I have seen so far, so his torso springs quite readily to mind. I would also happily welcome Song Joong-Ki. He's just back from army duty, so maybe we could comfort each other, and he has awfully nice hands. :-) On the bright side, I'm sending a shout out to Juror #8, who is a fellow K-Ent fan. I don't really think she reads this blog, but just in case...
JoAnne: Nabi Dear... there are two quite nice torsos making fairly frequent appearances in High Society as well. In case you need back up. I may have shared a bit too much on FB regarding my thoughts on the male nipple.
Hmmm... interesting!
I'm still deeeeeeeeeep in Game of Thrones lala land and it doesn't look like I'm out soon. I've discovered a wonderful reddit group and I could seriously spend 24hours on there. I might, actually. Goodbye.
There's a white man in his family tree (says the white girl who shares the ancestor)

Divorce Lawyer in Love (Finale)

Maybe it's just the traumatized juror in me talking, but I really feel that the big case at the center of this drama was done poorly. The "surprise" twist required a famous actress to be first such an outstanding actress that she fooled her lawyer for weeks at the beginning, and then such a terrible actress that she couldn't even fool her boyfriend for a few hours at the end. And then said boyfriend was revealed suddenly to have been the evil mastermind behind all of her devious machinations all along. His grand plot was both too morally simplistic (as in, he was 100% evil, greedy, and manipulative, and everybody else was just a victim) and too logistically extravagant to make sense in anything even remotely resembling the real world. But worse, it was overcome with laughable ease in the end, and the ethical divide it revealed between our OTP at the beginning of the series was never really addressed.
The other big mystery of DLiL was Cheok-Hee's identity secret as Jung-Woo's Subway Mint Lady savior. While the Big Truth was allowed to play a part in the OTP's final reconciliation and engagement, it was kept from Jung-Woo's mother. In a way, I understand Cheok-Hee's determination to win over her MiL on her own terms, but I also think it was wrong for them to withhold such an important (to her) truth. Chances are good she will find out someday anyway, and will likely feel terrible for holding such a (comparatively) trivial grudge against her DiL all that time. Instead of keeping even more secrets, I wish we could have seen them all sit down together and agree to move forward with real honesty. *sigh*
On the flip side, there was one resolution I really loved on this show, and that was Cheok-Hee and Jung-Woo's wedding. As a woman who dedicated her career to divorce, and did so with relish, for Cheok-Hee to have fallen easily into her own marriage would have felt terribly disingenuous. Yet neither the audience nor Jung-Woo would have been truly happy to see them just date forever. So instead, they met in the middle -- keeping the traditions that felt genuine and important to both of them, but ditching the empty (and expensive) frippery. Most importantly, they agreed to approach their marriage with a realism that was more meaningful to them (and to me) than the typical romantic platitudes. This was especially refreshing coming from a KDrama, where romantic tropes are typically so liberally and unquestioningly worshipped.
In honor of her admirable perspective on fate and marriage, I will leave you with my two favorite finale-week quotes from Cheok-Hee, who had terrible hair and an unfortunate addiction to excessively high designer heels, but was otherwise pretty awesome:

"Don't you think it was too much hard work to call it fate? If it were fate, then there would have been nothing for us to do. I prefer to think of it as a coincidence. Since we met by chance, we worked harder not to break up." - Go Cheok-Hee
"Is marriage supposed to be romantic? No, it's reality."
- Go Cheok-Hee
Thanks for the memories, DLiL!

School 2015 - Who Are You? (Finale)

It's not a BAD ending. It's just, you know. I mean... ugh. I'm not unhappy that she ended up with Yi An, and honestly I do NOT get the Yi An hate out there. Truthfully, they handled the segue of his feelings from Eun Byul to Eun Bi quite well, ditto on the handling of the situation between the sisters. But then there's Tae Kwang, just puppy dog happy and thrilled when EBi un-transfers back to Sekang HS, and what was THAT? Don't be so happy boy, she's still not going to choose you. Are you really that ready to be her pal? I don't think so. Sure, they're teens. And it ends on a good note about how 18 is a great age to start having a dream, not locking yourself into a life. I support that fully. I also appreciated another lengthy look at Yi An swimming because that is one set of beautiful shoulders and a really nice back. Ok back on topic. They're still babies. But Tae Kwang. I did love both boys, but Blondie just stole the show from Yi An, and you cannot deny that. AND OH MY GOD So Young got her feelings hurt and that's about it? I'm going out on this note: that was her second role. SECOND. That girl's going places. She was a DIVINE villain. Perfection.
becca: Hm… I don't have much to add because JoAnne pretty much just said it all. I enjoyed the show, was okay with the ending (I neither loved nor hated it), and I'll be looking forward to seeing all of these kids in future projects.

High Society

Giddy with delight every moment that Chang Soo and Yi Ji are on screen. Every now and then I have to remind myself that he still intends to pursue Yoon Ha as a marriage/business merger even while pursuing a 'some' kinda thing with Yi Ji just to keep myself from passing out with delight at their chemistry. The reveal in Ep 4 that Joong Ki has ALWAYS known who Yoon Ha is made that relationship immediately suspect, of course, but now it's fun to watch what looks like very genuine interest and unguarded smiles as a total act on his part. And umm, yeah...they got some chemistry, too. The sexy kind, not the comedy kind. I don't particularly care about the family bits, but I can see I'll be forced to: clearly the men are set on a collision course over Yoon Ha at some point, and I even suspect that Joong Ki isn't quite as much Chang Soo's man as Chang Soo thinks he is. Thank GOD the women are honestly friends. I LOVE them together...but I think the unfolding of the men's relationship could be pretty interesting if done correctly. Is Joong Ki a decent guy who is driven and maybe does some stuff that he thinks he has to do in order to be successful? Or is he a complete Gollum? And what the F*** is up with batshit crazy YoonHa parents? Holy crap.
With the exception of maybe Lee Sang-woo Oppa and the mom's driver/assistant, that family is a nest of vipers. Humanity's cesspool. You get the picture. As for our four leads, I like them all and find their relationships interesting. I even suspect that Joong-ki isn't being completely disingenuous with Yoon-ha, though, of course, his primary goal is to use her for his own advancement. That said, I'm looking forward to the time when he truly does fall for her and realizes just how much it will hurt her. Let him agonize over that for a while. Maybe in the shower.

Hidden Identity

I had a few minutes to kill this afternoon, and Masked Prosecutor was still at 33%, so I thought I'd give Hidden Identity a shot. First impression: 1) HI thinks its Cold Eyes. It's not.  2) I'd forgotten how beautiful Bummie's brows are...
So I plan to watch that. Maybe. I can't really be bothered, though, cause ... Game of Thrones. 
I watched the first episode last night. I have mixed feelings, not least of which is surprise that Kim Bum can play an actual man (vs. a boy) convincingly, but he does it. Although I suppose you could argue that he's not entirely mature, but that's different. I like the bad guy a lot. No idea who he is, haven't bothered to look it up yet. I will, though. Some of the secret cop group mission activities are fun to watch, but fair warning: Patented Stupid Detective Move Resulting in Unnecessary Death happens pretty soon into the episode. It looks like it might be a fun show though, if it doesn't get bogged down in personal melodrama.
Jaehyus/S@ki6: I tried this for a few minutes and my head hurt. Not my style, as Rose Motel would say.
Okay, now I really don't want to watch. Please no more police stupidity. I've had it with this.
ehhhh... I watched Episode 2 last night, and really, that's pretty much the only outright stupid thing that has been done. It was enjoyable. It's not Bad Guys or Ten, but the girl is cool, Bummie is doing a good job being completely different than I've ever seen him before, and I really like the bad guy. It ended last night on a nice cliffhanger, and the 2d half of the episode centered on a compelling conflict. You might wanna try. 
Okay, gave it a try. Verdict: It's trying really hard. In fact, it's trying too hard. It wants to be cool and badass SO BADLY. Chill, show! The only one that IS truly cool is Park Seong-Woong. And Mr. Blue Tie or Red Tie isn't too shabby either.
Bummie is doing alright, but I take issue with the cliché they are turning him into. Hurt, sad, lonely, quiet, hero cop. NOT AGAIN! Well, unless it's Yeo Ji-Hoon played by Joo Sang-wook in TEN3, that is. That said, I don't hate it. I'll watch some more next week.

Warm and Cozy

Confessions, slap downs, secret parents appearing, near-death accidents, and a sad, sad, sad second lead who SO DESERVES to get a woman of his own sometime soon, DramaLand. Just another day in a K-Drama neighborhood.


So, as of last RAWR I hadn't yet started watching Mask, and now I have already seen all 8 episodes. I totally get why some folks love this craziness so much, and others can't stand it. It's all kinds of wtf. So far, I'm a fan, but Joo Ji-Hoon left it to Phampire Prosecutor to be the only man to take off his shirt in Episode 8, and that was a mistake. Also, I agree with the recapper over at dramabeans who pointed out that the sudden disappearance of the Min-Woo-drugging storyline after Episode 4 was not a step in the right direction, and a few seconds of Evil Secretary injecting something into bottles this week does not fix the oversight. Similarly, Phampire's grandiose plot is still a total mystery, and the longer they drag it out the more I doubt that it will ever make any sense. So obviously I'm dropping this show, right? Oh hell to the no. Bring the crazy, Mask. Bring it!
Pure, unmitigated joy.  I don't know what it IS about Joo Ji Hoon (who is way too skinny and not really all THAT handsome) but man, he gets me right in my noona solar plexus.  I think since Prince Shin was my very first KDrama Hero, he'll just always be that for me.  And as if that weren't enough, EBiL is just a joy to want watch, and everyone in this drama is pure batshit crazy, therefore fun, fun, fun.  Every time Drunk Sister sips her wine from a straw and then begs EBiL to get it up so she can have a baby, I just grin from ear to ear. The Butler/Maid combo are great fun, and I enjoyed watching that sleazy contractor this week. Not that a gangster in a pixie cut isn't enjoyable crook enough!
It's so good! But I also have to remember to watch it, so I wonder if I like it that much. It's not on my radar like Hwajung or Producer. Miyeon's earrings seem to be characters in themselves.  I keep expecting them to be portals to a demon dimension or start singing and dancing.
Still watching, still loving it. Is it Wednesday yet?

My decision to keep watching Mask was in no way influenced by fantasies of Min-Woo offering me, not Eun-Ha, his chest to cry on. Jinjja. *cough, cough*

Producer (Finale)

Wow. Most anticlimactic confession ever. Who goes through 20 years of friendship and longing and then confesses with a tepid hug? I may have a healthy skepticism for romantic clichés, but I can't pretend I hate them entirely (or else I wouldn't be addicted to KDrama, right?). More importantly, I'm a firm believer in passion. But Joon-Mo's confession had neither romance nor passion, and I admit that I was deeply disappointed in it.
On the other hand, the weak confession seems sort of emblematic of this series in general. It attempted a mash-up of "reality" and drama that I mostly enjoyed, but ultimately it sucked out most of the emotion, to its detriment. It was still quite entertaining -- I liked all of the individual storylines and was happy with where they ended up (if not always how they got there) -- but it really carried very little punch.
Loved this show. One of the few I've seen to the end of my own accord and I hope there's a Season 2!  I thought the middle-aged confession was realistic enough and in character with Joon-Mo.  So, CEO Byun: that was weird that she would bring down her main star whom she raised, to the extent possible for her, as her own child, just because she broke a bone and cracked a bit mentally too.  With Cindy's sleep schedule and the trauma, and the fact that she's at the top of her career at 23, it was almost to be expected she would disappear for a few days.  Plus, she broke her ankle.  That the agency didn't have a force majeure clause for the Japanese events was incredibly unrealistic.  And all Byun had to do was yell at Cindy for creating the hassle of going offline, and then doing something else, maybe with the new girl.  
Also, that writer, DaJung: why is she a writer and not a model or actress considering how she pushed herself everywhere? Finally, yay that Manager Oppa left Byun with Cindy!  I loved him. 
All I wanted was for Cindy to be happy, and I got that. Yay!  I liked the drama, thought it was very funny, enjoyed all of it, but somehow just never got all that invested in PD Ra, Ye Jin, or Seung Chan. I liked them fine, but it's like that classmate you never see or even think of again after graduation. Cindy, on the other hand, always had my heart, and won it more and more firmly as the weeks progressed.  Had she ended sadly, I would have been very ranty, and probably taken a much harder look at where the drama did and did not succeed.

Orange Marmalade

I'm starting to think that the once-per-week format of this drama is really hurting it. Most KDramas can weather an episode or two with slowish plot momentum fairly easily, often by just picking up the pace again the very next day. I've rarely seen a show stretch that streak to more than four episodes (although it seems like Mask is contemplating that right now), but even if they do, that's only two weeks in real life, and my attention can usually last at least that long. Orange Marmalade, however, has now gone three full weeks without doing very much at all, plot-wise, and they all but started an entirely new story at the beginning of that. Similarly, I often find myself forgetting what little did happen in OM from week to week, which feels like less of a problem for me with shows that give me an extra hour of programming between the gaps to reinforce my memory.
This drama and I are consciously uncoupling until it's over, when I can marathon it. It isn't keeping my interest at one hour per week, and it's not because it's not interesting. There's not enough time for me to get into it, and that hurts my concentration.
Look, JoAnne! At least the kisses are back!
Sadly, even that didn't do the trick.  Plus from here that could have been the two boys.
Oh, wait.  Hmm.  Nope.  Gonna wait.

Masked Prosecutor

Joo Sang-Wook feels little arrows in his heart every time you forget even to make a header for his show, Kakashi... ;-)
He is a traitor, and I don't care about his feelings. I'll watch him in TEN3 next and will ignore him before that, like he deserves.
Perhaps that's just the motivation he needs.
Ouch!! But in this case I'm starting to think you may have made the right decision. I kept hoping Masked Prosecutor would come together into something coherent and compelling, but it really hasn't yet, and it only has a few more weeks to go. At first I thought it would be a good, straightforward story with heart and real (if quirky) characters. Then I thought, maybe campy fun? Last week I was convinced it was a melo. And throughout all this it has also frequently seemed like it was trying to be a comedy. (Speaking of which, I'm really enjoying Lee Moon-Shik in his hapless-crook-turned-prosecutor's-housewife role.) The harsh truth is that it is all of those things, but never at the same time. The disparate tones are poorly integrated, and the schizophrenic soundtrack is disorienting. The drama is constantly struggling to maintain any kind of focus...and so am I. (And so, I would argue, are most of the actors, including Joo Sang-Wook.) The icing on the cake is the overarching conspiracy, which is so confusing I'm pretty much completely over it at this point, and I don't think I can keep blaming it on the subs anymore.
One thing that has really kept me going until now was Yoo Min-Hui, because she is pretty awesome. But it's almost like she's so awesome that the writer doesn't really know what to do with her. For the second time now, when confronted with life-threatening danger, Min-Hui's otherwise-consistent bad-assery just evaporated like a puff of smoke. Both times she literally wilted, while the hero rushed in to save her. Gah! So aggravating!! And yes, she also still hasn't seen through the hero's disguise. *shakes head in disbelief*
Unfortunately, I have a task-completion compulsion. There are a handful of dramas I dropped in the first few episodes due to lack of interest, but of those I stuck with, only two have frustrated me enough to overcome my need to see them through all the way to the end. Ironically, MP's lack of focus will probably end up working in its favor, at least when it comes to my viewing habits. Because while some viewers may not like it enough to keep watching it anymore at this point, I just don't care about it enough to drop it.

Ho-Shik + Dae-Chul = the weirdest, most wonderful relationship in this show.


I'm not getting excited. Not really. Maybe a little. A little! I'll just forward to all the fight scenes.
I see him! I see Boss Hwang! *sobs* I miss the Dobis
I want to see this because Lee Soo Hyuk as a vampire is life. 
The stills coming out of this are really gorgeous, whether they include Actual Vampire or not... but I agree. More than a little excited.


Orphan Black, baby. As if sestra clones and then brother clones were not enough, now we have a chimera and what? Bugs? BUGS? Seriously. Fucking BUGS. Hurry back, you damned show. The Whispers is no longer even remotely creepy, but it's still kinda interesting. Does anyone remember what I told Kakashi I'd check out from SyFy Channel?
Yes, JoAnne, I do remember :) The show is called Dark Matter, but I haven't watched it yet.
Mr. Robot will start airing from the 24th on, I'm excited about that.