Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Possible reasons why I don’t have a real post this week:
1. Korean law enforcement raided my home after realizing that I’ve made snide comments about assorted Korean actors and also used questionable methods to acquire subtitled dramas for viewing. I am now awaiting trial in a Seoul-area detention facility. Prison kimchi is surprisingly tasty, but internet access is hard to come by.
2. A bevy of attempts at recording an audio post on my iPad proved fruitless. In more than twenty tries, I never once made it past the one-minute mark without saying something so incredibly stupid that I was compelled to start over from scratch. Javabeans and Girl Friday may make it sound easy to talk about Kdrama, but I can assure you it’s not.
3. The fifteen-minute memory upgrade the computer shop promised me has taken six days and counting, leaving me without easy access to a computer.
I’ll leave it to you to decide which of the above scenarios are true.
Next week I swear I’ll be back on a regular posting schedule, but for now here are a few things I’ve been thinking about lately.
Monstar. I’m still enjoying this drama a lot, but it’s rather less wonderful than I once hoped it would be. The characters and music are great. I love the fantasy sequences. (Last week’s personal troubadours were particularly amusing.) What I don’t like is the listless plotting—the cast has spent the past few episodes pinballing around each other with little real connection or forward momentum. All the fantastic toys in the world are useless if you don’t know what to do with them. Monstar could have used more one-off music challenges, like Dream High, and less makjangy, multi-generational love triangle action.
American Horror Story. I just finished watching season 2 of this FX series. Its violent, sex-crazed subject matter couldn’t be more different from your typical Korean drama, but the show itself actually uses a surprising number of Kdrama tricks: There are nose bleeds of doom, flashbacks to scenes that took place all of two minutes ago, and limitless reappropriation of long-standing clichés. Its short, stand-alone seasons are also reminiscent of Asian dramas—each tells a story that is completed in a twelve- or thirteen-episode running time. If only more US television was like this, maybe I wouldn't have defected to Korea. (More Evan Peters cosplaying broken, beautiful Kurt Cobain wouldn't hurt, either.)
Meteor Garden. As expected, watching the Taiwanese version of Hana Yori Dango/Boys over Flowers is a real treat. It’s goofy and over the top and full of good-looking boys, some of whom even appear to be hot kissers. Its narrative trajectory is almost exactly the same as Korea’s Boys over Flowers, although there are some interesting differences. BoF did away with the female lead’s guy friend in favor of fleshing out her work buddy, which seems like a good decision to me. It may be different from the source material, but I like the tidier Korean take on things (and the swoony romance it developed into). I also miss the brother that both HYD and BoF gave the female lead. It made for some sweet, humanizing scenes showing the male lead getting to try out normal family life. The other members of F4 and the friendship they share isn’t as developed in MG as the other adaptations, which is a pity. But for the first time I can say that I ship the lead couple—Ji Hoo and Rui were just too tempting in the other versions, and the other male leads didn’t capture the petulant little-boy charm of Dao Ming Si. Now if only he wasn’t such a jerk to Shan Cai, I could really be into this pairing.
Welcome to drama city, population 1. I’ve been having trouble finishing shows lately, which means the Random Thoughts sidebar is getting out of control. I watched the first few episodes of Dating Acency: Cyrano when they first aired, but was seduced away by all the good buzz Monstar was getting. Then came Alone in Love, which is well made but has some lead-likability problems for me. The siren call of Meteor Garden lured me away from that one, and I’m about ready to explode with desire for I Can Hear Your Voice, which is definitely next on my list. Why are you full of such wonders, Kdrama? I just want to quit life and watch you forever.
Next week, things will be back to normal around here. (Really.)