25 August 2015

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Rants and Weekly Raves #52 (RAWR)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on August 25, 2015
kakashi: Do we have an opinion on Viki buying Soompi?
JoAnne: I get why Viki might be interested in Soompi's forums and news, etc. The more ways you capture an audience, the more firmly you have that audience. The thing is, Viki already had a community, and a unique one, at that. Now they'll look like DramaFever on steroids. Forums bring out the absolute worst in people. Sigh.
I don't do forums. I don't want 'a community'. There are a million places to find community. I want better subs, faster. I want more coverage of what's out there to watch, in the countries I came here for. BBC dramas and telenovelas are available EVERYwhere, so why do they need to be here?  Give us the weird little shows we can't find for ourselves. Pay someone to sub things DECENTLY for us. And we don't need any site to be 'exclusive.' Once in a while, okay. Every time I turn around? No. Instead, why not try to be more comprehensive with regard to offerings? Why not get faster? Why not pay people a fair wage and get quality for it?  Why not ASK us what we want, first?
With Soompi joining Viki, Viki becomes more like DramaFever. What was wrong with two entirely different types of experiences? It's not monopolies that will kill us, you know. It's monotony.

Nabi: Wow, that was brilliant, JoAnne. Brilliant.
If Viki becomes more like DramaFever we have a PROBLEM. KDramaland will be represented to us by two sites that target approximatley 12 year olds, judging from the content they currently produce (that goes for DF and Soompi).

Oh My Ghostess (Finale) 

For someone like me, who liked this drama only for the romance, episode 15 was a waste (even though I understand it was needed). I wish they had never introduced that murder "mystery", which never was one. In addition, that story was so poorly done. We were never ever explained the evil-spirit logic. And the struggle at the end (very good acting!), which I guess was supposed to show us that Bad Cop's true self realized what he had done and repented wasn't explained either. Anyway, that evil spirit? That was WELL DONE. Really. Supernatural couldn't have done it better. It made me feel oddly proud.
The final episode was satisfactory and ends a drama that was almost entirely enjoyable. Man, I sobbed. I HATE farewells. And then I smiled during the rest. Awwww, so darn cute... I'm going to miss this OTP and I am going to miss the crazy kitchen crew. Well done! 
Awwww! Two more thumbs up from me! I actually liked the murder mystery, because it gave everybody, and especially Soon-Ae, a purpose beyond the show's many love affairs. But I agree with Kakashi that the evil spirit was poorly explained (as were all the rules of possession, for that matter), and that was too a crucial lynchpin in the sub-plot to be so sloppy. There were also a lot of dumb moves (and dumb luck) on the part of our heroes in Episode 15 that really frustrated me. But my affection for the relationships in Ghostess far outweighed my complaints, and not just for the OTP (who were totally adorable, yes, but their post-possession transformations were a little too jarring for me). I most enjoyed all the loves and friendships that populated the world around the OTP, especially amongst Bong-Sun, Soon-Ae, Shaman Unni, and Sun-Woo-omma. These were all strong, independent women in their own ways, and watching them interact with and support each other was a delight. I enjoyed the Four Amigos of Sun Restaurant as well, and grew to quite like Soon-Ae's weird little bro, but for me it was the women in this drama (okay, and Sun-Woo too) who really shone. 
I tried to find a bts pic of just the ladies, but either I'm terrible at searching or they don't exist. Anyway, I love everybody in this screenshot, too.
This one's a keeper, for sure. Not perfect, no, but I'm more than willing to forgive the weeks of 'But how will they clean up the whole Soon Ae using Bong Sun's body for sexy times?' worry in light of the way they DID clean it up, which I liked. I do think that Bong Sun made a HUGE personality leap in a very short period, but if they'd taken another episode to play out her gradual brightening we'd have complained about that, too. Never satisfied, we.
I'd like to know what happened to the evil spirit in Officer Choi, once he leaped off the building. That move couldn't 'kill' a spirit, but he's clearly gone, so where did he go? And they clearly just ran out of time to even TELL Eun Hee about her own life and husband, which was glaring...but if you ask me if I want five more minutes of the lovelies below or five minutes to wrap up Eun Hee with a neat little bow, I want these guys, not her. So I'm not complaining.

 
No, no complaints. The riches that were our leads more than make up for any plot holes, as far as I'm concerned.  They were absolute gems, stars lighting up the night, joys to behold.  Plus, honorable mention to Suhbingo and the lady cop, who both also got to try their hand at being Kim Seul Gi.

Scholar Who Walks at Night 

It sounds like Jun-Ki has recovered from the cold he had last week, which makes me happy for him, but I do kinda miss that little extra something all that congestion added to his voice. In honor of his brush with sinusitis, I would like to give a shout out to all the beautiful male voices in dramaland that are deep and rich, but may tend to be overlooked next to the sultry bass tones of the Choi Jin-Hyuk's and Yeo Jin-Gu's of the world. Everybody, please feel free to nominate your own picks:
Lee Jun-Ki (this drama, Arang & the Magistrate, Two Weeks, Joseon Gunman)
Song Joong-Ki (Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Nice Guy, A Werewolf Boy, Penny Pinchers)
Yoo Ah-In (Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Fashion King, Jang Ok-Jung: Live in Love, Secret Love Affair)
Ji Hyun-Woo (Queen In-Hyun's Man, Trot Lovers, Angry Mom)
Jerry Yan (Meteor Garden, Down with Love, My Best Ex-Boyfriend)
Shin Sung Rok (Liar Game, Trot Lovers, You Who Came from the Stars)
Lee Jin Wook (Nine, I Need Romance, The Time We Picked a Bad Remake)
Jang Hyuk (Chuno, IRIS, Fated to Love You, Shine or Go Crazy)
Ji Soo (Angry Mom)
Lee Jong Hyuk (A Gentleman's Dignity, Cyrano Dating Agency)
I choose Kim Ji-hoon. 
Ooooh, some excellent picks, sunbae-deul!
In terms of actual Scholar plot, somebody finally flat-out told Yang-Sun that her sunbae-nim is a bloodsucker, which was long overdue, frankly, and as a result the fallout was a bit rushed and heavy-handed. But it still hit all the right beats for me. I haven't talked much about the romance in this drama, mostly because it seems to get overshadowed a lot -- by the campy story, the cheesy music, the gorgeous costumes -- but Sung-Yeol's deepening love for Yang-Sun has actually been very well written, and spectacularly well acted by Lee Jun-Ki. Yang-Sun's side of the love affair has been a lot less interesting -- her character is basically an emotional simpleton, which was only cute for the first 5-6 episodes. Unfortunately, this also lessens the impact of the romance overall, at least for me, but it certainly doesn't ruin it entirely. In general, Scholar is a bit of a lightweight, but it's enjoyable nonetheless, and I'm pleased to say that all the chess pieces seem to be lining up reasonably nicely for next week's finale.
More incredibly lovely embroidery this week.
Jun-Ki's gorgeous navy blue jeonbok and gold dopo had seen better days by the time we got to this scene, but look how beautifully they coordinate with the King's excursion duds! I think these two might secretly be the real OTP.

Last 

I could barely stay awake during this week's episodes. *sad face* 
I've been occupied elsewhere! I'm sorry babies, I will watch you tonight!
I did press play .... and then fell asleep after 5 minutes. But I don't think the drama is to blame. I did an insane amound of gardening this weekend, two times 5 hours

YongPal 

I'm ... not 100% sure about this drama. On the one hand, the story is quite intriguing and different enough to please me. Also, there are many strong female characters, which in itself is such a rarity, this drama deserves special mention (Cynthia! Sleeping Beauty! Nurse Hwang! The Wife!). On the other hand, things are not exactly progressing quickly and we're only on episode 6. I see huge potential for a scary and gruesome type of medical thriller/revenge story, but I do not fully trust these makers to pull it off. All those editing mistakes and sleepsless nights ... I'm weary.
The best part about episode 5 (that put me to sleep otherwise) was Sleeping Beauty's "revenge" on Nurse Hwang. Whose insanity and Misery-like behavior is intriguing. As is Chief Surgeon Lee. Is he a bad guy? No, he isn't - and yet, he is. Very human. And I guess that is exactly what I like (when I do like the drama): the characters are human. They are flawed and make strange decisions and have obvious vulnerabilities even if they want to appear strong. That does not go for the evil brother, who in my opinion is miscast. He simply cannot pull off the evil psycho with those snore-faces. Luckily, he does not get too much screen time. 
In any case, for this to use its full potential, Sleeping Beauty needs real agency beyond moving money from Swiss bank accounts. I hope they go dark. I mean really dark.
I think I've only seen through the nuclear reactor episode. Fun stuff, but so far a distant second to Last, for me.

Late Night Restaurant

crickets

Assembly 

more crickets

Hwajeong 

really old crickets

Mrs. Cop 

really irritating crickets

Strange Daughter-in-Law 

They added cartoon puffs of air to her ass when she farted in the car, and I was done.

Other 

I marathoned Nine: Nine Time Travels (tvN, 2013) this weekend. For the most part, I loved it. I particularly loved Lee Jin-Wook as Park Sun-Woo, and I think it was mostly due to his performance that I was so emotionally invested in the love story (really, very, very invested...*bittersweet sigh*).
"Do you know the word I hate most in the world? Uncle."
The mechanics of the time travel were mostly clear and followed their own logic (more on that in a minute), and the story was nicely paced, but I do have some small quibbles, plus one big one. My first small quibble is that there were 10 incense sticks and 14 time travels, because Sun-Woo used the first stick in four chunks and Choi used 5 minutes of the last stick before Sun-Woo used the rest. It's a petty complaint, I know, but still. Second, the (already-cartoonish) villain's postiches were terrible during the middle stretch. KDramas have such an extensive tradition of false facial hair, so how did Nine's makeup team manage to screw that up so badly? Third, unless the 1992/93 locations (house, hospital, record store, CBM) were all within a minute or two of each other by car, Sun-Woo's 30-minute windows were a bit of a stretch on some trips, most particularly during the trip when he planted the cameras and the last trip.
Not a time-travel screenshot. Did I mention how invested I was in the romance in this one?
Which brings me to my biggest complaint: the ending. As with Nine's writer/director team's previous drama, Queen In-Hyun's Man (which I also mostly loved), the ending wasn't entirely consistent with logic or previously established rules. [SPOILER ALERT] No matter how I think about it, or how many internet theories I read, I still don't think Sun-Woo getting stuck in 1993 makes any sense (on several levels), and the epilogue in the Himalayas was particularly problematic. They were clearly trying to tie it in with the beginning scene, but all explanations for it violate at least one previously established rule, such as each incense stick having only a single use in any timeline, or allowing Sun-Woo's visits to the past to remain intact in the past characters' memories and experiences, even while his past actions eliminated the future circumstances that prompted/allowed his time travel in the first place. [END SPOILERS] Whereas with QIHM I felt the ending was allowed to be too simplistic, with Nine it felt overly convoluted -- like they were trying to manufacture additional drama or cleverness.
Almost a happy ending, but then they had to go and get all deep and shit.
Ultimately, Nine didn't make my Top 5, but it certainly made my Top 20, which doesn't happen all that often anymore. More importantly, as if he travelled back in my own timeline and changed it for the better, Sun-Woo managed to replace most of my memories of Lee Jin-Wook in his most recent drama (which JoAnne renamed so perfectly above), for which I am eternally grateful. And the memory that remains most firmly intact is my determination to give Lee Jin-Wook a (now even more enthusiastic) shot if he ever appears in front of me and asks (or offers, or heck, just as long as he doesn't physically restrain me) to make out. RAWR!
Seriously, Jin-Wook-ssi, I have been complimented on my kissing skills in the past. Let's swap tips! ;-)
Ah, he was sooooooooo sexy in this.
It was a good drama! I remember it fondly

Those of you who know me on Twitter may have noticed that I've been pre-occupied lately. I've fallen into a Jerry Yan-sized hole and I am quite content down here, so please just leave me be. I am up to Episode 17 of My Best Ex-Boyfriend and my throat should probably hurt from the amount of cooing and squeeing I am doing in Jerry's general direction. (Not to mention the state of my laptop screen, which I constantly reach out to pat.) I went looking for episodes of Loving, Never Forgetting, and have been in touch with the Channel Manager on Viki: when the episodes are segmented and subbed I will be doing post-release editing in English! In the meantime, I got a little sidetracked while waiting for the subs on 17 and 18, and last night I watched 3 episodes of Love, Now with George Hu and Annie Chen. Talk about adorable! And somehow while I have been off visiting Taiwan, I missed the premier of Fear of the Walking Dead and the end of hiatus for Mr. Robot, so that must be rectified quickly.

Looking Forward to...

I was looking forward to the series review of My Beautiful Bride -- what happened to it?
Er... DAMN, I wouldn't think anybody would notice! I simply had zero time last week. I was hoping to just not do it and it would go away :)
I'll help, if you want! Not quickly, I'm afraid, but I've been thinking about a few things I would love to discuss...
More subbed episodes of My Best Ex-Boyfriend. I'm obsessed. And because Jerry is dressed SO BADLY in this drama, look forward to a special post devoted to that subject, probably in the next day or so.
Nothing. Not even that movie Kim Ji-hoon makes an appearance in. Or is it a proper role? We don't know. We are left in the dark.
Wait, is that Kim Ji-Hoon?! He's almost unrecognizable! Holy crap, I just did a Google image search on him. He...takes very nice care of his body. I..think it's my bedtime now. Good night!
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