A Week’s Worth of Kdramas – week of January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! I have some catching up to do with my kdrama viewing after a busy, out-of-town Christmas holiday. But, I never mind having to marathon a few shows to get my kdrama schedule back in sync. I am excited for another year of entertaining Korean shows – let’s go! Warning: spoilers ahead in case you haven’t watched this week’s episodes yet. Onward, kdrama fans!  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Legend of the Blue Sea ep 13

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Captivating scenes like this make me fall in love with kdramas all over again!

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Romeo and Juliet underwater Joseon style; somehow love scenes like this always transcend time and culture.

Radio Star – two-part Big Bang special

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No surprise that Radio Star experienced its best ratings for the time slot with a two-part show featuring all 5 members of Big Bang. This is a first with GDragon, T.O.P., Seungri, Taeyang, and Daesung as guests for back-to-back incredibly awesome and fun-filled shows.

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What an exciting way to end 2016 and start 2017; it’s going to be impossible to T.O.P. that! These are jellies made from Daesung’s nose and lip mold. I’ll pass. On the other hand, Taeyang’s love note to T.O.P. (and ones to his girlfriend, too) reveal that he is a soft, romantic, and serious bff. I think he has the best personality of the group.

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As a total Big Bang fan (GDragon #1 ♥ forever), I was thrilled to sit back and take in their charms, antics, and talk show charisma – 10 years after their debut Big Bang is stronger than ever. They have been selected as “Creative Icons” in promoting Korea’s 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics with the nation’s new slogan, “Creative Korea.” With military service looming, I thought T.O.P. was looking a bit thin, but he sure wears that pink hair well. And GDragon – ever the fashionista – sports cool lemonade hair that is adorable! Can he be more lovable?

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Seungri has come into his own after being the group’s maknae bad boy for so long and earned the compliment of “having become manly” from the hosts. Here he is playing the part of boss man Hyun Suk. It was heavenly as the stress of the day melted away watching this show – best show of the week for sure!

Kpop Star season 6 ep 7

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The initial auditions are over, and now the elimination round begins. Teams of two or three go up against each other and at least one member of the losing team must go home.

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The cutest performance with the most effort was by Hye Rim and Ga Rin.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, ep 16

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I actually found this episode boring with most of the show dedicated to figuring out how to cut down the operation time for CEO Shin. The romance between Dong Joo and Seo Jung is mild and that’s okay. The hospital politics is meh.

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I’m losing interest in the side stories, too. Maybe the next episode will pick up, maybe? It’s hard to top Yoo Yoon Seok’s character Chilbongi in Reply 1994, and I feel like his role in this show is lacking much like the character he played in Warm and Cozy.

Legend of the Blue Sea recap special

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Hmmm, this mid-show special is nothing but a boring recap of Lee Min Ho lines and poses. He is entertaining and has some facial expressions and dorky lines that are common to all of his dramas that actually endear him to me – they’re very him – but this special wasn’t anything to write home about. In fact, it was unnecessary and I don’t recommend the hour-long show of repeated scenes thus far. For example, the special after 38 Task Force was fun, behind-the-scenes footage with actors’ comments and comradeship. In comparison, this was a disappointing filler. Just wrap up the story, will ya?

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Society Game ep 9 (Korean reality show)

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I know I said I was going to drop this a while ago, but somehow it continues to draw me in with the alliances, betrayals, gimmicks, and sometimes actual skills. I can’t help but compare it to the four seasons of The Genius, however, which was captivating  and  had a very well executed concept with amazing, quality players.  This show is haphazard and has some goofy contestants that are just not growing on me at all. There are curve balls along the way, like having to send a Madong team member to team Nopdong and vice versa.

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I think I am rooting for MJ (26 year-old female mixed martial arts competitor).  How, I wonder, is Macho still on the show? He seems untrustworthy and isn’t too smart. Maybe being wily has worked in his favor? I’ll probably finish out the season. Is anyone else watching this?

Hello Counselor, first episode of the New Year 2017

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There are such unpredictable complaints on this show and plenty of them seem embarrassing to air publicly. Like the poor guy who sits on the toilet for hours (“Toilet Prince”) and eats meals there to his roommate’s despair. Or the (adult) son who won’t wash up, or the 70 year-old parents whose daring fishing habits worry their children. The show is curiously amusing.

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By the way, it was fun to see Zhang Yuan who made his Korean television debut as the Chinese panel member on Abnormal Summit. Since then, he’s had success as a manager for Korea’s popular singer Hwang Chi Yeul who is the number one loved singer in China now.

WGM (We Got Married)

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I’m not interested in the other two couples for this round, but it is fun to watch Sleepy and Guk Joo. They have an unusual relationship that, by all appearances, doesn’t look like it could work out, but somehow they seem to be having fun.

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Sleepy, who I didn’t give much credit based on his early reactions on the show, has stepped up his game and planned a New Year’s event – dinner on a tour cruise ship and fireworks – sure to please any date! This pair is definitely odd, but then, the entire show is an odd concept that is kind of hard to get. Oh, and they went to a fortune-teller who gave them a compatibility score of 85-90. (What? Really?) So there you have it.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo ep 13

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Gosh, I just like how sweet Bok Joo and Joon Hyung act toward each other in this episode. I think it’s the cute puppy love interaction – the thrill of getting and sending texts, the little jealousy spats (that seem pretty realistic), the caring intentions, and the adorable hugs – all things that have a very kdrama feel to them that I like.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Legend of the Blue Sea ep 14

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I am happy to report that this episode held my attention and melded the two-era stories in a way that made me appreciate the possibility of a repeated fate or an opportunity to change it.

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I am  beginning to worry that Cheong must return to the sea, but then with Joon Jae’s display of mermaid-like abilities to hear Cheong’s thoughts, I wonder if their shared death as Dam Ryung and Se-Hwa has made him part mermaid as reborn Joon Jae. Just a thought.

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I am intrigued by Yoo Ran, Joon Jae’s mother, and her story, but it does get kdrama complicated with the “other wife of her husband and the son/brother” relationships. And the roommates, they’re weird but provide comic relief. So, will Cheong and Joon Jae return to the sea together? With Cheong’s consistent answer, “If you live I have to live. If you die, I have to die,” it looks like we may be in for that tragic kdrama troupe that goes like this: I love you so much that I can’t be with you.

Mr. House Husband ep 8

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I’ve actually watched several episodes of this offbeat Korean variety show. I have an inexplicable crush on Bong Taegyu. He always seems a bit depressed to me and can be irritating, but he makes people around him smile. He is also serious and contemplative.

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Anyhoot, the show has a few regular “house husbands” as it were who cook, do chores, and talk about it. The format is loose and I’m guessing is an attempt to raise the awareness on men helping as husbands and fathers as Korea rates low on the worldwide scale in those areas. Muzie (whom I’ve never been a fan of) got a nod from me with his craft project that he made to compliment and display his daughters’ art work. I’m not sure who this show might appeal to, but it’s something I can watch when I feel like it and if I happen to skip an episode or two it won’t make a difference.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

1N2D  Flowery Men Winter Camp; KBS Awards episode (2 episodes)

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I’m behind in one of my favorite variety shows, 1N2D, and watched these two episodes back-to-back. It was an exciting start with the flower boy cast (Park Seo Jun, Choi Min-ho, Park Hyung Sik) from Hwarang appearing as guests, although the regulars were once again disappointed in the all-male outing.

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I have no idea how Seo Jun earned the title of ugliest among this group – really, it is beyond explanation that he landed behind Defconn, Jun Ho, Jong Min and even Taehyun. Here’s how I’d rate them from 1 to 8: Choi Min Ho, Hyung Sik, Shi Yoon (okay, okay, Dong Gu if we must call him by that name on this show), Seo Jun, Taehyun, Defconn, and Jun Ho and Jong Min tie for last place. There are the usual games for food, but the restaurant gondola idea was ingenious, I thought. Two members selected a cuisine and while riding a gondola, the chef prepared the meal and served it. The trick was the preparation and eating all took place in the 15 minute gondola ride. It was a fantastically fun idea.

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The next episode began with highlights from the KBS 2016 Entertainment Awards. 1N2D raked it in with best variety show, Yoon Shi Yoon (Dong Gu) won Rookie of the Year, and Jong Min won the KBS Grand Award for his nine years of providing entertainment since 1N2D began. It was fun to watch the team humbly accept their awards (in typical Korean fashion). There was sincere mention of Joon Young and wishes for his soon return to the show. Even Jun Ho, who often drives me crazy and has a comedy style that I find hard to appreciate, made a moving New Year’s comment to Joon Young, “Your spot is reserved for you right here so I hope you’ll join us soon.”  I didn’t know I’d be so touched by 1N2D’s New Year’s episode. Here’s to another great year of travels, games, and pranks. (Hey, they haven’t done the fish sauce coffee prank recently. I’m looking forward to the next time they punk someone with that one – it never grows old.)

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, ep 14 & 15

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This is a decent coming-of-age story about two really good kids. Episodes 14 and 15 are emotion packed as Joon Hyung faces hurts and Bok Joo moves out of her comfort zone. Even Si Ho, Joon Hyung’s toxic ex-girlfriend, comes to a place where she faces the pressures that have negatively controlled her and figures out what is best for her even if it means stepping back as a high-profile and promising competitor. I think the show portrays the pressures of national and Olympic competitions realistically through these three young competitors in their respective sports. I love how Bok Joo is balanced and more mature than she realizes. She faces her jealousy of Si Ho’s former relationship with Joon Hyung, but given some space, is able to handle it well. She helps Joon Hyung deal with the emotional turmoil of meeting his birth mom (who didn’t raise him) and lashing out at the parents who raised him. When he suspects he has disappointed the mom who raised him by things he said to her, Bok Joo wisely tells him, “Moms don’t get disappointed in their sons. Go give her a tight hug.”

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I like that Joon Hyung works hard to make things right, faces his wounds, and reaches out to his mother and birth mother. That’s the sign of maturity that every adult hopes to see in a young person. In this way, the show is headed for what should be a satisfying ending.

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I’m looking forward to the final episode. Here’s to good things for Joon Hyung and Bok Joo and their families and friends – they deserve a happy ever after! (My reactions seem syrupy sweet even to me, but hey, I just like how warm and fuzzy this show is!)

Hip Hop Tribe 2, Game of Thrones, ep 11

It’s the semifinals and only four teams will go on. There isn’t much else to say other than Cheetah and Jang Sung Hwan of Hot Chicks dominated the stage with Yellow Ocean, a tribute to the students who lost their lives in the Sewol disaster on 4.16.2014 and their families. (Some were present for the performance; it was very moving and emotional.) With lyrics that include, “Yellow ribbons in the ocean, shine on, ocean” and “remember 4 16, remember 4 16,” everyone was moved to tears. You can watch it (with English subs) here:

The four final teams are SeSeSe, Brand New, Swish, and Hot Chicks. Team Hi Lite was eliminated (bye-bye G2).

Friday January 6, 2017

Happy Together ep 480 (or my title for the show: Randomness Run Amok)

First of all, Hyun Moo in a mermaid costume is totally disturbing and he wears it the entire show {{{shudder}}}.

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The theme today is Brothers’ Special – with guest brother comedians Se Hyung and Se Chan and brother hip-hop rappers Zico and Tae Woon. I’ve seen Se Hyung on several shows recently (Infinite Challenge, Thank You For The Food) and he is very funny and likable.

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Zico is always charming and a gentleman – he’s one of my favorite music icons. I don’t know the other brothers as well, but they were all hilarious and exposed plenty of brotherly love and rivalry.

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The next random guest was the 2015 U.S. barista champion, Charles, who served up regular and fish sauce coffee. That’s all he did, then he left the stage. (Yay, my favorite Korean prank that everyone falls for every time!) The losers get (….drum roll….) the forehead finger flick – another Korean prank that is on every single show and Jaeseok can’t ever get enough of. He was delirious laughing so hard. The silliness is infectious.

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This show always loses me when they get to the Kian84 drawing part because there is no way one can follow the drawing clues in you don’t know Korean. It’s not just the language, either, it’s the proverbs and sayings that are unique to Korean culture that foreigners wouldn’t get.

Infinite Challenge ep 510

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More catching up to do! You might recall that a friend and I have a virtual date night (DN) and watch Infinite Challenge in different time zones simultaneously with running comments that add to the amusement. We wear face masks, drink coffee, tea, or another beverage of choice, and have our little inside jokes that only avid kdrama/kentertainment viewers could appreciate. Tonight we watched ep 510 (we discovered we are more behind than we thought), Santa Academy Special, with children’s drawings (the shark was pretty amazing), contests for prizes for viewers, and elf skills tests that they all failed miserably. (How do you wrap persimmons or a lit time bomb?)

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(That’s Kwanghee being tossed about like a flimsy paper doll.) In the end, Jaeseok got to be Santa and the other members were reindeer (possibly wearing the worst reindeer costumes I’ve ever seen) but, as is always the case with this team, it was all in good fun. How, though, can the show go from an amazing experience at the cosmonaut training camp in Russia to roller skating and wearing flippers to win prizes in 10 seconds? The extremes are truly polar, making it the hot/cold variety show of the year. Is there an award for that? Here’s another thing: GDragon and Big Bang are on next week’s show; how’s that for going from 0 to 60?

Next week look forward to Goblin as I continue my kdrama post-holiday catch up! Is anyone watching Hwarang? Would you recommend it? I’m on the fence whether to start it or not, although the cast is tempting. Thanks for checking out “A Week’s Worth of Kdramas” – I’m making it a regular feature in 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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