15 September 2015

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Rants and Weekly Raves #55 (RAWR)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on September 15, 2015
kakashi: Is anybody still watching anything? Is anybody still on here or am I all alone? :D
JoAnne:You wish :)
If you (Squeecappers) all feel dramaless, bored or eager to write about Kdrama, please consider giving your input here: Drama Rating. Actually, updating this page made me realize how many dramas I have simply dropped in the last few years.
becca: I've been busy with school and haven't watched anything in a few days. They've been dark days! :(
I keep meaning to head over there...
Nabi: I think I might be in a slump. :-((

Yong Pal

With Saki on holidays, this has completely dropped off your radar. 
I have a morbid curiosity. I may watch another episode. Someday. After I watch the things I know I like.
I hear so much crap about it, I figure I don't really need to watch it. Sorry, Joo Won.

Scholar Who Walks - The End

But now it's over, right?!
So I hear.
Jilly cried, so Gwi must be killed off. From what I can gather, Lee Yu Bi is part vampire (due to ancestry) and so I guess she was part of the secret 120 year plan. I don't know if it means she makes Scholar not be a vampire anymore, or if it means she can live with him forever in a sort of vampire twilight (real twilight, not ...you know)but whatever it means, I do intend to finish this for the campy silliness. For now I assume that Gwi's hold on the kingdom is broken and our lovebirds end up together. I just don't know if Gwi is given a heartbreaking send off or a yay! dead villian send off. I'll learn someday. Just not right now, I guess. 
I watched the whole series and I don't think I know the answers to JoAnne's questions either. I spent a lot of energy last night thinking about what went so wrong for me with this drama, and it's hard to pin down. The first few episodes really were just campy silliness with terrible music, but at worst that was harmless and at best it was kind of enjoyable. Then it suddenly felt really compelling for a while, before slipping into very, very dull. I was looking forward to it pulling out if its slump in the last few weeks and really giving us a great send-off, but instead I found it hair-pullingly aggravating, pretty much right up to the end.
Awww, Nabi. I love what you're doing below....... logic and KDrama. Like day and night. But I stuck a few pretty Joongi picks from his Instagram in. To ease the pain :D 
 
The first three stages weren't an uncommon trajectory for a KDrama, especially one with 20 episodes (okay, they aren't usually campy silliness, but some other kind of fluffy harmlessness is fairly standard), so I focused mostly on why the last quarter or so was so frustrating for me, and I think it boils down to the rules. I still don't know why some vampire bites in this drama turned their recipients into vampires and others didn't (except for the heroine, whose immunity was explained by her vampire bloodline, which, while we're on the subject, worked how, exactly -- the vampire/human hybrid babies, I mean?), or how long it takes the new vampire to be born, or how necessary human blood even was for vampires (Sung-Yeol drank mostly animal blood (or did he?), but had to drink a human at every full moon, except when he didn't?), or how Sung-Yeol's human victims were chosen, or why Sung-Yeol's blood animated that one court lady vampire even after she'd been stabbed by a hawthorn blade (or had she?), or even if she was really a vampire after that or just some sort of vamp-like zombie.
Speaking of hawthorn, why was our hero so focused on hawthorn as a deterrent in the first half of the series if silver can kill vampires just as easily? And why was Sung-yeol shown to be in such agony to have sunlight touch his skin after kissing Yang-Sun the first time, but then he and Gwi both endured extended exposure later with nothing more painful than a little artful steam? [SPOILER: Okay, Gwi's artful steaming was followed by dissolution, but it still seemed weirdly slow and painless.] And while we're on the subject of sunlight, how does a robe worn under one's clothes make any difference in one's susceptibility to sunlight that never even touches it?! Even if one makes the (patently ridiculous) argument that the black robe blocks the last few rays of sunlight from penetrating below the layers of clothes above it, how could it possibly have any effect on the skin it doesn't cover, like the naked hands and head?!?!?! Gah!!!!
Gwi looking frankly rather blissful in full sunlight.
Don't even get me started on how bad the science is when you claim that a maternal bloodline can be assumed to be a direct tie to a paternal ancestor after many hundreds of years. (Is Yang-Sun guaranteed to still share DNA with Gwi's lover all those years later? Yes -- mitochondrial DNA, specifically. But with Gwi himself? Maybe a little, but it's definitely not a sure thing, since all non-mitochondrial DNA splits randomly when the body creates each new egg or sperm, which each contain only half the DNA necessary to create a new person. The only sure connection would have been Gwi's Y chromosome -- assuming vampires are even capable of procreating via sexual reproduction at all, which is already a huge stretch -- through a paternal bloodline, which makes the whole "disguise the girl as a boy to protect her" storyline especially ironic.) Okay, I started.
Technically this is a mitosis gif, not meiosis, but it's so pretty I couldn't resist.  Click the link above if you want to see a quick animation of meiosis.
Speaking of bad science, every time we saw Gwi leave piles of bitten bodies scattered around I kept thinking two distracting things: 1) How could he drink all of those people so quickly that none of them had a chance to run more than a few feet? And 2) How big is his stomach supposed to be to that he could drink all those people to death? For the record, Wikipedia says that "Depending upon the age, health, and fitness level of the individual, people can die from losing half or two-thirds of their blood," and Google says that "An average adult body with a weight of 150 to 180 pounds will contain approximately 4.7 to 5.5 liters (1.2 to 1.5 gallons) of blood." That means Gwi had to drink over 2 liters per person killed. So how fast could he have done that? Let's ask YouTube!
The young man in that short video claims it shows him drinking 1 liter in 4 seconds, so if Gwi were drinking that quickly it would take him at least 8 seconds per kill, which already seems like plenty of time to give most of the other victims a good head start on an escape. (According to this article, "The fastest among us can sprint 100m at a speed of 15.9 mph, or between 13-14 seconds," and they're referring to the fastest "average" person, not Usain Bolt, who holds the world record in the 100m dash with a time of 9.98 seconds, so let's say most folks could only get ~50m in 8 seconds, which is still a lot farther than the handful of feet from each other they were often shown on this show when the corpses weren't actually laying on top of one another.)
Usain Bolt getting a significant head start on the threat of exsanguination by Gwi.
But if you look at the drinking video again, you might notice that the volumetric flow rate of the drinker's large glass of water was limited mostly by the angle of the glass, whereas the volumetric flow rate of human blood through two eyetooth-sized punctures in the Common Carotid Artery (which, by the way, branches into two smaller arteries, called the Internal Carotid Artery and the External Carotid Artery, "at the upper border of the thyroid cartilage," (Wikipedia) or just above the Adam's apple -- in other words lower than where we often saw Gwi's puncture marks throughout the series). Back to Wikipedia, "The average diameters of the common carotids in adult males and females are 6.5 mm and 6.1 mm respectively," and according to this presentation the average velocity of arterial blood is 100 cm/sec.
 
So the flow rate of blood from the carotid artery without additional force (like sucking) or dimensional restrictions (like puncture holes) is 0.029-0.033 liters per second (according to this converter). That means it would take a vampire 60.6 to 69 seconds to drink 2 liters of blood straight from a person's carotid artery. Theoretically, sucking could speed that up (if the puncture holes are wide enough), but only to a point, which you will recognize easily if you've ever had a straw collapse in on itself while you were trying to drink a particularly thick beverage. I couldn't find any calculations for maximum flow rate from human blood vessels in the context of blood sucking (for some reason they all seem focused on the conditions presented in actual human bodies and not vampire fiction), but if human blood vessels are anything like those you might find in a raw steak, they are not as rigid as the average drinking straw and would only allow so much sucking force before collapsing, even if the viscosity of blood is less than that of the average slushy. In other words, Gwi's potential future victims would have had a lot more than 8 seconds to escape after he bit down on the first one.
Yup, that's dozens of corpses piled on top of one another in a smallish room with walls made of paper.
So what about that stomach question? Going back to Google, we are told that "The human stomach can be distended up to four liters," so the math tells us that Gwi could have made it through two victims, maybe, if he wanted to walk around with a painfully distended stomach for a while. Or are vampires supposed to have magically altered physiologies in this dramaverse in addition to its radically altered laws of physics?
 
To make a long (okay, very long -- sorry!) story short, it's all ridiculous. Distractingly ridiculous. And when you add the bad real-world science (all vampire stories deal with sketchy science, because, vampires -- but Scholar really ratcheted the ridiculous up to new levels for me) to the poorly defined fantasy-world vampire rules, it becomes impossible, as a viewer, to keep track of the stakes the heroes are supposed to be facing. The circularity of a lot of the plot points ("Let's follow the secret plan!" / "Forget the secret plan!" / "Okay, let's try the secret plan." / "No, I refuse to use the secret plan!" / "But I insist!" / "Oh, okay then."), the propensity of characters to overlook the obvious (sometimes for episodes on end), and the tendency for actual, difficult problems to be solved by handy coincidences made for a lot of frustrations from the plot in addition to the myriad frustrations with the underlying mythology.
 
All in all, there were really only two things I genuinely appreciated about this drama throughout: Lee Jun-Ki (who really did give even the cheesiest moments his all) and the beautiful costume design, and even the latter wasn't always spot on. Most noticeably, in a drama populated by an abundance of gorgeous hanbokery, I could never figure out why our heroine was consistently restricted to the drabbest, least flattering outfits (and hair) in the series. It almost made sense when she was still with her impoverished foster family (except surely some of the colors could have been improved, even then), but all semblance of need disappeared as soon as she moved in with her scholar-nim, right?!

Twenty Again

OMFG, Dimples is so darn cute.
I've been converted. This drama is quite pleasant. I like her, I like him, I like the girl who's becoming her friend, I like the woman who is her friend, I like the dance boy who hasn't quite accepted that he will be her friend, I like the son's girlfriend sort of, I think the son will end up okay, the husband barely registers for me, and I dislike the other woman intensely, both for her other woman-ness and her complete and utter lack of sense about relationships between men and women.
Episode 6 is such a good episode (and turning point! The awakening of Ha No Ra. Congrats on the awesome ratings, show!). This drama is MUCH better than I thought it would be (and it keeps getting better, too - I love how the writer manages to give all the main characters their own little dilemmas / time pressures, even the young ones) and I'm just super grateful that it manages to treat emotionally sensitive issues with so much heart. The fear of being alone that No Ra feels ... it made me tear up. Don't we all feel that way? Human beings want to love - and be loved.
Hyun Suk's quest to make her leave this world as a happy human being is equally touching on so many levels. He approaches it just like he would a play (producing the last days of her life), but of course, he can't help his feelings. He wants to be part of his own play, without realizing at this point. We still do not know all the details of what happened back then (we've also had several hints that something was up with Grandma - so she gave his secret recipe to Cha? To pass on to her granddaughter, maybe?), but we have come to realize that she was who made him what he became - his inspiration and his motivation. Of course he would be extremely upset to just lose her like that. And of course, that teenage adoration was the beginning of what could have become a deep, trusting love. They're such a good match exactly where No Ra and Woo Chul are not.
Where are we going from here? I'm officially no longer okay if No Ra stays with her husband. I still don't hate him ... well, scratch that. I do now. What an asshole to threaten to cut her off financially - I hope she sues him for an outrageous amount of alimony! He's clearly the lesser guy and No Ra deserves better, much better. And the last few seconds of episode 6 were simply awesome. Hyun Suk has been doing all those loving things for her, under the impression he would lose her (again) after that - probably feeling sadness more than anything. What will happen now with his feelings? (and with him doing good things for her?) Somebody tell him they're getting a divorce, please, quickly! He's too good a person to go after No Ra full out unless he gets told that that marriage is truly over. I'm not sure I can take too much of his suffering.  

I watched episode one this morning because I woke up early and had some time before heading off to class. And then I watched half of episode two, which I finished as soon as I got back from class. Followed immediately by episode three. In short: I'm hooked! I'm under a pile of homework this week, but all I want to do is watch the next episode. (ㅠ.ㅠ)

Last 

I'm a week behind on this, thus have just watched the duel between No. 1 and No. 2. When I stop crying, I think it will just be to observe a moment of silence in honor of a really good man. Next week, we'll talk.

Assembly

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

My Daughter Geum Sa Wol

I has a sad. The previews for this looked like so much fun and I really like the four leads! Well I can't remember one of the girls right now but other was the awesome princess in Faith and then good in School 2013, too. And Cutie Soo! And Assy Director! But everyone says it's just plain nuts. I'm afraid to look.

I Have a Lover 

I don't know if any of you guys are watching this? I watched the first episode and was underwhelmed, don't really feel like I need to go further with it.

Cheo Yong 2

I really wanted to see the first season of this and for some reason, didn't. Then I was excited to hear that it did well enough to get a second season, so I intended to watch the first season and then join with this in real time, but for some reason, didn't. I know, you're all going to scream 'BUT OH JI HO!' but eh, he doesn't bother me so much, if it's a good GHOST story I'm all in. Gotta find a streaming location, I guess.
Has this started airing? I actually watched the first season -- it didn't live up to its potential, but it wasn't horrible -- and I had planned to watch the new one when it came out...

Other Stuff

Finished My Daughter Seo-Yeong! Lots of ffwarding and little sleep. It was super boring in between (see last week's RAWR) but then, when her deception was uncovered, it got gooooooood. Ah, all that hurting and pining! The feeeeeelz! And such a handsome Lee Sang-yoon. I'm so satisfied with watching him all the time I even forgot to "recap" Kim Ji-hoon's variety. I feel a bit like I'm cheating, but hey, Kim Ji-hoon is not blameless. Anyway, MDSY has a strong Pride & Prejudice feel to it (the non-Korean version, I mean), with all the soul-searching, repenting and becoming a better person. Overall, this was very enjoyable.
Aww, I'm glad you overall enjoyed it, Sensei.
I don't FF shows. I watch shows to watch them! If I don't like it and I'm not squeecapping, I just let it die a slow painful falling-behind death. And if I like them, I watch even the parts I don't care as much about. Well, I tweet during those times.
I don't ffward normal shows either. Either I watch them or I drop them. But there is no way in hell I would spend over 50 hours with a show like this. It's a typical weekender, with many different couples. I was only interested in two and a half and that's the stuff I watched. It's like speed-reading, just it's speed-watching.   

To prove how serious I am about this guy, I am now going to watch Angel Eyes. Without ffwarding. I kid you not. Well, I'm going to obviously close my eyes during all the Ku Hye-sun scenes.
Lee Sang-yoon does look very good in that one. If I ever finish it, it will be for him.
Oh god. SO GOOD!!!!!! In every single shot! I will not survive this!!

Re: Angel Eyes - Okay, I have the last 2-4 episodes to finish, but I can see how it's going to end so I don't really need to bother. I liked it well enough, though and Gu Hye Sun toned done the annoyingly badness of her general presence enough to be tolerated. Must make a shout out to the maknaes, though - no matter how decent an undertaking, it was the first 4 episodes that were the best.
Damn, it's not at all bad (I'm saying this as I watch episode 7, which ... is a bit boring, actually. And then comes 8 and it gets .... weirder. And more boring. But I don't care! Just give me sad and pining Lee Sang-yoon!). Even Gu Hye Sun is absolutely okay........ (*considers visiting a doctor*) I also like the soundtrack. The cinematography is quite nice too, many beautiful shots and locations. And beautiful people. Beautiful! Even Gu Hye Sun is radiant! And I might be the only one, but I didn't care much for the kid-story (which is only 2 eps, actually) I'm just ogling Lee Sang-yoon. And HOT DAMN, he is riding a bike in this, it's like Banker with Dimples.
Oooh, Angel Eyes has been on my watch list for a while now, but as far as Lee Sang-Yoon dramas go I'll probably finally watch Liar Game first. Just don't make the mistake of watching Jung-Yi: Goddess of Fire, yeoreobun. Lee Sang-Yoon may have been the best thing in it, but other than that (okay, and Bummie wasn't awful) it was 32 episodes of sheer torture.
Are you looking at me, Nabi? I WILL NOT watch that drama! Will not! Okay, I may have said the same about Angel Eyes at one point, but this is where it ends. I'll just rewatch Liar Game next.  
Oh good. My work here is done. \(^o^)/
(Okay, I need to post this before I start posting more pics of him. But I have this urge to kiss that worried brow......an urge...........) 
 
Still working on Jerry. It's just the first half of each of the remaining episodes, but as a newbie, there's a lot to learn. And I can't really argue with people who change my work, even though THEY ARE WRONG AND I AM RIGHT. In addition to those instances, I'm finding I have a strong desire to change things into - not really 'colloquial' language, but at least into something approximating how we speak today. Not that I would write 'gonna' - nothing like that...but little things: we don't say 'I have some matters to attend to.' We say, 'I have some business to attend to.' Things like that. But that is not my call, and so I do not do it.

Anyway, Jerry is still irritating and cute, the business stuff actually does interest me, and we've entered the stretch where the second lead goes all emo and fishes by himself, sadly.  He's so handsome. Can we find him a mermaid?

Looking Forward to...

Oy, the list is so long! Gonna check out She Was Pretty (Sep 16) (no) and D-Day (Sep 18) (maybe), planning to watch The Merchant (Sep 23) (yes!) and Six Flying Dragons (Oct 5) (shit, 50 episodes, right?) (all of those are a "maybe" or a "yes" for me...I think). Cheer Up starts then, too, and will get a look-see (no idea what that is). (It's a high school cheer-leading drama, also known as Sassy, Go Go, which...ugh. But aside from the setting (high school), the premise (poorly matched cheer squad and dance team forced to unite as one), and that awful title, I'm actually a little interested. Mostly because it stars Jung Eun-Ji, whom I loved in Trot Lovers, and cast the ridiculously adorable bad boy from Angry Mom (Ji Soo) as the second lead.) Bubblegum comes later as a maybe (Oct 26) (don't think so) and then we don't have dates yet for Descendants of the Sun (next year?) or Cheese in the Trap (Park Hae-jin!). Answer Me 1988 starts sometime in Oct (yes, after Twenty Again), that's a must-look, too. And then I have The Bastard Executioner (Sep 15) (yes), Empire (Sep 23) (no), iZombie (Oct 6) (no), The Walking Dead (Oct 11) (no), Jane the Virgin (Oct 12) (yes) and Orphan Black (Oct 18.) Fear of the Walking Dead is already running and I lurve it, of course. (This has been confusing me for a while now -- isn't it Fear the Walking Dead, not Fear OF the Walking Dead?) oh, maybe! And I'd kinda like to check out Scream Queens, Heros Reborn, Blindspot, and Limitless, to name a few (enough, enough! :D. It sounds like a lot, but mostly I check something out and then save it to marathon after a few seasons are completed. For US shows, I'll probably only watch the Dead shows and Empire in real time.

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