13 July 2015

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Rants and Weekly Raves #46 (RAWR)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on July 13, 2015
We have a new all time Top 5 post, ladies! It's ... oups. Birth of a Beauty O___o Probably the worst drama of all times? Or at least among the Top 5 worst dramas I've ever watched! But what counts in this list is not quality but quantity ... and seeing how we were the only blog crazy enough to recap this, we get all the hits. Oh well. So be it. Let us be famous for When a Man Loves, Goddess of Marriage, Jangbori, Full House Thai and ... Birth of a Beauty.
We're the Cheese Queens, I guess.
Hi Everyone! Saying a quick hello, since I won't be around for R&R for a couple of weeks. 

Scholar Who Walks The Night

Is this the most anticipated drama of the year? Possibly! In any case, it gets the clearest of all NOs from me. I cannot watch this. It's BAD, BAD, BAD (music, acting, editing, script, set, special effects) and extremely boring. Sure, that might change. But I won't watch this and I won't say anything about it anymore, starting ... now.
I haven't gotten around to it but the Obligatory Abs comment from My Mary, Who is Greatly Missed... I'll at least be checking this out.  UPDATE:  Dammit.  I can't remember if I finished episode 2 or not, but I didn't HATE it.
Actually, it's so bad, it's good. I never thought I'd like anything like this after the Night Watchman (torture) but this is surprisingly fun. And Lee Soo Hyuk's nose fascinates me. 
I love it! The soundtrack is bombastic, the editing is choppy, and the story and script are super, super cheesy. I can't wait for the next episode!!

Oh My Ghost(ess)

I've been wondering for a while now ... does the word ghostESS even exist?! Anyway, lots of ghost-backstory in 3 - it's probably what I'm least interested in but Park Bo-Young is such a pleasure to watch, I'd watch her reading the phone book. 
She is SO FREAKING CUTE. 
Cracked and watched this too. Love, love, love! But what is wrong with dying a virgin? 
Well, she can't go to heaven because of it. So I'd say: pretty wrong
I think it's adorable!! Definitely on my watchlist.
 
This episode was extra boring, I thought and the editing was weird. I might have fallen asleep a bit. Plus, we're having a problem here, right? How can cheppunim fall in love with the real Na Bong-Sun as long as she's possessed by a lustful virgin ghost? (Who, by the way, should step up her seduction game if we're to get anywhere) What else? Sou-Chef gets an awwwwwwww from me for his tea-spirit speech (even though he probably didn't mean any of it, haha). He could even be my favorite character right now.
I like Sous Chef. He's that annoying guy you realize actually does a lot more than you realize, and cares way more than he protests. Usually that character arc has him grow up some and be less annoying, so yay.
Yes, I'm a Sous Chef fan too. Cordon is handsome, but too perfect for my taste. 

I liked Episode 4 much better than 3, because I've been waiting for the awkward the topple Cheppeunim off his high horse and we get awkward and he certainly loses some of his cool. Also, it's good the ghost has a goal now (which is actually aligned with her host's goal) - and it's good that we get Na Bong-Sun back. What will happen from here is not clear and I like that ... how will the virgin ghost get what she wants if she is no longer in Na Bong-Sun's body? Or will she get back in as soon as Bong-Sun's fever is down? 
I am just about to watch episode 4. I didn't think 3 was boring, but then again, don't trust me for anything right now. And it did take me a full day to watch the entire thing. UPDATE: Episode 4 got me laughing quite often. She's adorable. He's adorable. Her pursuit is hilarious.

Hidden Identity

Anyone? No? 
There's too much that's good right now. Eventually. Maybe. Someday.
Um, not since week 1. Not officially dropped, but...
What's this about? Never mind, don't tell me. 

Masked Prosecutor

I watched the last episode for Joo Sang-Wook. *sigh*. No charm. No charm at all. It feels like everybody did their duty but that's it. Oh my poor darling! I really hope you're not going from being typecast as sad prosecutor to being typecast for ... whatever you've been playing in your last three dramas.
Haha, Kakashi! You couldn't resist forever, ne?
But you're right that this drama fell very, very flat. I can't quite figure out why, actually, because aside from the weird music I liked all the individual components. But pulled together as a whole it was just...dull. The one aspect in which this drama genuinely fascinated me was as a cultural artifact of modern Korean attitudes on filial piety. Each of the four central characters had different relationships with their parents, and their differing fates within the drama gave an indication of how the producers interpret contemporary social ideals.
Joo Sang-Wook's righteous prosecutor colleague, Seo Ri-Na, was also the daughter of a powerful politician. Ri-Na and her father battled corruption both individually and as a team, and together modeled the traditional ideals for two core Neo-Confuscian social relationships: between bureaucrats and their constituents (honor, integrity, etc.), and between parents and children (loyalty, sacrifice, etc.). That both characters remained healthy and successful throughout the show speaks to an enduring appreciation for these ideals, so it was much more intriguing to see how the drama treated its characters who fell short of them.

The other three central characters, Ha Dae-Chul (Joo Sang-Wook), Yoo Min-Hui (Kim Sun-Ah), and Kang Hyun-Woong (Uhm Ki-Joon), had more complicated relationships with their parents, and more diverse reactions to those complications. Hyun-Woong's behavior was probably the most traditional. Despite indications of a previously strong moral character, when he discovered that his parents were lying, cheating thieves, he became a lying, cheating murderer to protect them. This is a depiction of filial piety I have seen in a lot of KDrama villains of the younger generation -- "I'm not evil, I'm just filial!" -- and it also represents a long-held interpretation of filial piety under which children should be willing to sacrifice everything, including their integrity and even their own lives, to protect and honor their parents. And yet, as with so many KDrama villains before him, he failed. The final episode of Masked Prosecutor saw Hyun-Woong incarcerated, his mother shattered, and his father dead by suicide.

In fact, Hyun-Woong's mother was so shattered by her own elder son -- Ha Dae-Chul. Dae-Chul painstakingly orchestrated the series of events that led to his father's vindication at the expense of his mother and her second family, even though it clearly pained him to betray her. The show went to great lengths to make that betrayal more palatable to viewers -- Dae-Chul's mother was repeatedly shown expressing blatant favoritism for her second son, Hyun-Woong, and outright scorn and contempt for Dae-Chul, even going so far as to perpetrate an outrageous charade designed to fool Dae-Chul into thinking she truly loved him solely as a means to recruit him to protect his younger half-brother. Yet under one interpretation of filial piety, Dae-Chul should have honored and protected her regardless. What keeps Dae-Chul's narrative from breaking too strongly with tradition is that his filial piety was directed toward his father at the expense of his mother. Dae-Chul was, in fact, a deeply filial son, who sacrificed his own dreams and future to follow his father's path for him and achieve his father's goals. And, arguably, when one's mother stands in the way of honoring one's father, Neo-Confucianism would dictate that you sacrifice your mother, which he did. The show punished Dae-Chul mildly for that sacrifice, but then allowed him to live happily ever after in the end, suggesting that the storytellers also agree that he made the right choice.
Credit to Viki for the captions.
Yoo Min-Hui also had one "good" parent and one "bad" parent, but unlike Dae-Chul, Min-Hui's "good" parent was her mother. Min-Hui was, in fact, the product of rape, and when she learned her birth-father's identity it seemed that she might pursue justice for her mother at his expense. In the end, however, it was justice for Dae-Chul's father that she really pursued. Once again, this seems contrary to Neo-Confucian values on the surface, but when you consider that Min-Hui chose her (future) husband and father-in-law over her own father, perhaps it wasn't such a break after all?
Especially since Min-Hui was clearly willing to arrest her father, but despite knowing he was not only a rapist, but also a thief and a murderer, she was unable to shoot him herself in the end, even when she felt her life was threatened. And in sacrificing himself to save Min-Hui, her father modeled the reverse aspect of filial piety (since filial piety is technically supposed to go both ways, but the emphasis has often fallen much more heavily on the child's responsibilities than on the parent's), making him perhaps not such a villain after all, from a Neo-Confucian perspective, at least.

Ultimately, filial piety has always been a problematic concept to reconcile with parents who don't honor their children, or each other, or the rest of society. And while Masked Prosecutor showed diverse reactions to that dissonance in its various characters, in the end I think it continued to uphold a fairly traditional interpretation of Neo-Confucian values. The biggest shift that I saw was that MP came down clearly on the side of honoring one's responsibilities as a public official over one's parents. For Dae-Chul and Min-Hui it softened the blow quite a bit by giving them more "important" filial obligations to honor in place of the parents they sacrificed, but it's still a shift from a long-held interpretation that filial piety was paramount.
Well gosh.
Hehehe, too much? ;-)
No, that was interesting. I never watched even a minute so I had no idea of the plot and that's just...wow.
Glad to have you on board, Nabi :) 

Mask

Holy filler, Batman!  But I'm happy that Min-Woo finally learned his wife's real name...in the last 30 seconds of the week...
I love MinWoo, I love MinWoo, I love MinWoo, I love him, I do. Soo Ae is about to kick some serious ass. MinWoo's secretary is 17 different kinds of adorbs, and I'm so afraid that Drunk Sis is going to go to the wrong side. Everyone I know except Kakashi that tries this? Marathons everything available in one sitting. It's like beach reading, but with subtitles. I love it so.
I owned these earrings before Mi-Yeon did. They cost me $2.99 at Walgreens.
I'm such a Chaebol!

My Love Eun Dong

Due to health issues of two out of two of the recappers doing this show, the project is delayed ... indefinitely at the moment. It will be up to them to decide whether they want (or rather, can!) continue or not.
I cannot conceive of putting together enough sentences to be a recap. Commenting requires frequent naps. I think Dewaani is there with me but she will speak for herself when able, I'm sure. It's going to be a while, folks. I don't think we'll EVER catch up to the show, though, unfortunately. I didn't expect this, even knowing that I would be indisposed for a bit. And I know Dewaani's issue was completely out of the blue. I'm sorry Trot! 

Orange Marmalade

And we're back in the present! Er, make that the future? We picked up the 21st Century story a few months after we left off five episodes ago, and filled in some of the missing details for good measure, with flashes of the Joseon storyline starting to sneak in...to Jae-Min's consciousness, anyway. Suddenly I'm kind of excited to see what happens next!

My Beautiful Bride

Recaps for 9 and 10 will be delayed by about a week, cause I'm going where there is no wifi. Yes. DAMN. 7 and 8 will be on time, though. Have so Behind The Scene pictures! Awwwwwww...

Other

I tried to watch Death Note 2015 (I read the manga) but ... not, this is not for me either. I've never been able to watch a Japanese Drama (the acting TT_________TT) and this one is not going to be the exception.
I would like to try. I have never seen any version but the general outline has always had my interest. As for other other...I am behind on everything of course and can't think of names and do much better responding to others prompts than I do generating my own independent subjects, so assume I like what I did like and look forward to what I was looking forward to, and have a great week!
I finally finished my Jdorama, Doctors' Affairs, this week. Another really, really dull ending to a really, really dull show. And, for a second time in a row (following Love Affairs in the Afternoon), a surprisingly unsexy Takumi Saito drama, despite the word "affairs" in the title and, you know, Takumi Saito! Sigh.
This screenshot is just a tease -- a lot like its source material.
Until next time, Saito-kun!
Watch Mother Game. It's surprisingly riveting and it's about the pressures mothers face raising their kids, and the problems they have in their marriages and how those get resolved, or not. The heroine gets less annoyingly candyish as the show goes on, which is good, believe me, and the kids are cuties. 
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