Interview with PotUppers: JoAnne

Dear Readers / Squeeglets (that's how you guys are called, didn't you know? 👊), we are doing a series of "interviews" with the main bloggers on this blog. It's all you never wanted to know about us and our drama watching activity :D The first one is with JoAnne, Queen of Puppies and Comments. If you have any additional questions, just ask in the comments section below!
My poor wolf

Interview with JoAnne

kakashi: JoAnne, thanks for answering a few questions about you and your drama watching life! I remember you were VERY reluctant to join any blogging activity at the beginning. How come? And who/what changed your mind?

I remember meeting you, back on Open Thread on Dramabeans, and after a few weeks or months of chit chatting you sent me a note and said any time I wanted to contribute to the blog, you'd welcome it. At the time I just thought 'oh, that's nice, maybe some day, who knows?' but I wasn't really thinking of doing it. Open Thread was enough for me - I'd write a few lines about the shows I watched that week and interact with my friends and feel satisfied. I didn't really want to take on any project-type things, because who has the time? And what if I didn't like it?

And then it was WAML time and the prospect of all the snarking that could happen...I caved for Oppas eyelashes, and his abs, and his terrible, terrible acting.

Tidbit: It was my random comment one night that those abs should glitter that resulted in Shuk's wizardry, you know. She did that a lot - I'd say something and she'd run off to find it or make it. It was very endearing!

She promised me that it wouldn't be a lot of work, Shuk did. Important, because the plan included putting out recaps within 24 hours of the episode airing. I don't think we do that at all anymore. And so we came up with a plan and I worked out a schedule - there were four of us who'd recap, and the ones who didn't recap those episodes would comment, and I think the other three were also splitting up the giffing, too. That didn't seem too onerous. And it wasn't, really. We had a lot of fun working together as a group, I think. But it turns out that for me, recapping 'as I watch' is an hours-long process. Definitely not the three that it takes Kakashi, and a significant enough time-suck that I can't watch things I want to watch. Also: watching for pleasure, then re-watching to get the details and all that - omg boring. So boring. I hated it. (Plus, when I'm bored I fall asleep.) In 6 years and nearly 200 dramas, I have re-watched exactly one drama from start to finish. I don't go looking for fanvids, I don't watch the BTS (usually), I never even read recaps of shows I was watching unless I need clarity on a particular point...get the picture? I'm generally a one and done kind of girl. Except...I love re-makes. Go figure.

If you think back to your blogging activity on this blog here - what stands out? (positively or negatively!)

The friends I've made, whether Potuppers I might not have known otherwise, or commenters who became friends, or tweeters who followed me and somehow I began to interact with on a more than occasional basis. I deliberately don't follow very many people because I find that volume affects quality, when it comes to my twitter feed. But if you tweet something to me, I almost always see it and almost always respond.

But yeah...there are people in this world who are very dear to me, who I admire and trust, who teach me something new literally every day - and PotUp is where I found them.

I know you actually don't like recapping at all. But you like commenting! Why? 

I love commenting. I love zooming in and firing off one-liners or arguing about a motivation or perspective. Love it to pieces. Happily comment on almost anything I'm asked to join, really. Will even comment on things I'm not watching. I bet sometimes you can't even tell when I quit a drama and just keep on with the recap commenting. (Well, maybe Kakashi can.)

I also don't have to think about it very much, and it takes 15-40 minutes depending on who the recapper is and how involved the story is. Shuk writes books, so they take a lot of comment time. Saki is very brief and I can zip through hers. Plus we disagree about almost everything, so that's fun. Kakashi is who I'm most comfortable working with because we've had the most projects together (for me, anyway) and I like her sly little digs in the recaps. Plus I like that she comments on my comments. Trot was fun to work with because you could feel her frustration boiling off the page, and none of us expected to feel as frustrated with Thumping Spike as we did because we loved it when we watched it. It didn't really hold up well, though. I loved loved loved commenting on Mary's stuff because it turns out I'd been trolling her without either of us realizing, and once we figured it out she suspected every single thing I ever said from that point on. It became a game of finding the most innocuous way of saying the most off-color things and then waiting for her to notice. Good times!

So, yeah, I don't like recapping. I keep trying to come up with new ways to do it and sometimes it's really great for a while and then... ugh. I did LOVE doing Falling In Love with Innocence, though, where Kakashi loaded pictures and then I just made up a story to go along with them. I'd do that again. And the Caption Cap I started for Night Watchman was fun. I can't remember what happened there but I know I didn't finish. I can't do that anymore though, screen caps on a Chromebook are an absolute BITCH. Oh, I guess I mostly answered this up there in the first question, huh? Commenting is fun, and lots of times what I write is exactly what I'd say to the person sitting next to me, watching the show.  For me it feels like we're all watching together.

Where and when do you watch your dramas? (And how do your organize it, because I know how much you manage to watch!!)

I mostly watch in the evenings, or on weekends - especially in the winter when I hole up inside during the day.  Sometimes I might watch a little at lunch time, if I actually take a break.  I have a laptop at home that gets heavy drama-watching use, but I also have that Firestick thing - I could watch pretty much anything on the TV with that, but I always forget to do it. Very, very, rarely I'll lie in bed and watch something on my Kindle.

I primarily stick to Viki and DramaFever, but I also watch Korean offerings on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. I'm not interested in torrenting and I don't really download anything. I generally avoid the unofficial sites although that wasn't always the case. The ones I knew are long gone, though. I have been known to watch (and help edit) at Dark Smurf Subs. I got my start with dramas at Crunchy Roll, and I've watched stuff on Daily Motion and Youtube, too. I own A Love to Kill and Autumn's Concerto in official form, and I'd have bought Scarlet Heart: Ryeo if that had worked out even though I don't technically have a DVD player anymore. I think there's one packed away, but I have to check. For my wolf, though, I'd have bought a player.
As for organizing, I have a method I've refined over the last couple years. A simple chart, renewed each month. For airing shows, I list them under the day(s) airing and the number of the episode(s) that will appear in that particular month. When an episode is available to watch, I make a box around it. When I watch the episode, I cross through the box. When the show is completed, I check it off. For shows that completed in the past that I'm watching just now, I list them under 'whenever' and start by listing only the episode I'm due to watch, then adding as above. For shows that I'm working on, though, I generally will list all the episodes that are remaining. Still playing with that a little bit. But I like it, it works for me. I'll often tweet a picture of my new month because then people will show me their lists, too (and I love lists!)

Many people are interested in "first time" stories... care to share yours? What's your first KDrama (or Asian drama) and what happened then? 

I love horror movies. Back in 2009, I think, I became aware that The Ring and The Grudge were remakes of Korean movies, and I decided I wanted to watch the originals. A simple google search later I'd learned of Crunchy Roll and they seemed legit and fairly safe, so I was scrolling through their offerings and I saw this pretty pink thumbnail that made me click on it. It was Goong. I began watching on a Friday night. I finished it on Sunday night, so late that I ended up calling in sick to work so that I could get some rest. I distinctly remember asking the universe what the hell I was watching, and yet feeling completely unable to prevent myself from clicking 'next episode' either. I laughed, I cried, I googled things. My first Korean word(s) were hanbok/haengbokaeyo. I know, two different things. But that's exactly why I looked them up, because I couldn't figure out why something that sounded really similar would be used in such different situations.

I didn't really watch anything immediately after that experience, but I think my next drama was Boys over Flowers, and then Playful Kiss, and so on. At some point it became most of what I was watching, and pretty early on I was open to watching the occasional Japanese drama too. Lakorns are not really my thing - the few that I've watched have been remakes of Korean or Japanese dramas and are thus really 'Lakorn-Lite'. My first 'watch as it airs' show was Protect the Boss. If I count the things that are ending this month that I'll complete, I'm right at 195-200 dramas now, and most of them watched from mid-2010 on. Ironically, I've seen very few of the horror movies that have come out in the past few years!

What is it you're looking for in Asian drama?

I like the escapism, not that I have much to escape from. It's relaxing and it doesn't look like something I could see just by walking out my door. It makes me curious about other places and other words and other thought processes, and I crave that. I always have. And while I love to be emotionally invested in what I'm watching, I also don't mind something that just makes me keep shaking my head and laughing, either. (I'm looking at you, WTFParis, Surplus Princess, Mask) Also, I really love the community that I discovered, and have in some small way at least, helped to evolve. First on the DramaBeans Open Thread (Movie Noona Nights!) and then on Twitter, and eventually at PotUp, where, when we are very lucky, our Comment Section turns into that old MTV Pop-Up Video, but for blog posts.

Have you ever gone to a real-life meeting with KDrama watchers? 

Why yes, yes I have. I attended the very first DramaBeans meet-up, held in NYC although I don't remember when. 2012? I had some drinks with dinner, and when we arrived at the bar where the event would be held, I told the bouncer he was cute and kissed his cheek. (He was, and he didn't seem to mind.) Let me tell you, I was BEYOND thrilled when the DB ladies all knew who I was as soon as I introduced myself. That was a good night! I met a bunch of people there, but I don't think any of them are associated with PotUp.

Next was Big Bang's first East Coast concert ever, although I went the second night, not the first. Listen, we'd just had a terrible Hurricane and until the day of, I wasn't even sure I could get through New York. They'd closed the bridges! I met some Potuppers there - Cher, Shuk, Lafer. Another friend too, but she isn't on PotUp.

Since then, I've had individual meet-ups with Lafer and Trot. I've just missed out on meeting a very dear friend from California twice now, too, but my daughter actually met her and stayed overnight a couple years ago, so I can almost count that. We are determined to make it happen someday! Trot and I actually live less than two hours apart and will see each other again soon. I'm looking forward to that!

What is your biggest drama-disappointment ever? 

I tend to forget about the things that let me down - if I even finish them at all. There've been plenty that seemed like they would be really awesome where the execution fell decidedly flat - so many, in fact, it would be hard to pick out one. Instead, I'll count as my disappointment the devastating (I'm not kidding, I was floored) moment when Sang Doo dies.

No one told me that Korean dramas do this, because at that point I didn't know anyone who even knew what a KDrama was. In fact, I think that moment is what led me to DB, because I was looking for answers. For meaning!

I grew up on a diet of movies and shows where, if the hero goes through twenty hours of absolute shit, he gets rewarded in the end - or else you know right up front that the hero is going to die because he's got a fatal illness or something. But plowed down by a White Truck of Doom, right at the exact moment he's about to be rewarded for a lifetime of misery? No. I had seen (maybe) 4 or 5 dramas by then. Nobody died in them.

Watching My Beloved Rain die in that show was as shocking and as painful as if I'd seen the accident in person. I cried so hard my daughter came down to see what was wrong with me and then left in disgust because I was crying like a baby over a TV show. This year - THIS YEAR, almost six years later - I was finally able to tell someone the most basic plot outline and not become obviously choked up. (I was able to pass it off as a frog in my throat.) I couldn't even say his name without tears. That's how terrible it was. I have not watched one minute of it since. I want to. I want to rewatch it very much, through the lens of a more experienced viewer, and I cannot. Someday, though.

Is there a particular upcoming drama you are most looking forward to?

Mm... I was waiting for Goblin forever, and that sort of overshadowed everything else. (As well it should, right?) I think I'll like Voice, with Jang Hyuk, and if everyone came back I would be thrilled with Bad Guys 2. I'm still feeling a little emotionally spent after my wolf, though, you know, and then with Goblin on TOP of that? I'm feeling a bit fragile.  I'm hoping to see Candle in the Tomb, and Solomon's Perjury.

Any drama-wishes for 2017? 

I always look forward to dramas with a supernatural bent, if they aren't ridiculously cheaply done. I would like to see pre-produced dramas take advantage of their schedule and give us short-form dramas (24 or less, preferably 16 or less) that have as consistent a story line as some of the longer, 50-episode weekenders seem to do. It doesn't matter how much time you have. You can tell a consistent, cohesive, entertaining story in 1 hour or 10 or 100, if you plan properly and have enough story.

Don't throw every cliche in the book at me. ABOLISH ABSOLUTELY those situations where the 'problem' could be solved by someone simply opening their mouth and speaking, unless you give me a rock-solid reason for why they cannot speak.

For us to continue squeeing happily for a long time!