A week’s worth of kdramas – week of January 28-February 3

Here are some highlights of what I am watching. This week’s trending theme: memory loss, either by erasing or amnesia.

Saturday, January 28

The Legend of the Blue Sea final ep 20

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I’m head over heels for Joon Jae (well, really for Lee Min Ho) when the walls come down from his emotional issues and his heart is laid as bare as a pearl before Shim Cheong. Gah! Cheong had to return to the sea to recover both emotionally and physically from the gunshot wound. Buried deep in the ocean’s protective environment (aka, home) she is nourished and rested, although a telltale trail of pearl tears reveals her heartache for the one she left behind. After three years, footsteps in the sand lead to a carry-out order waiting on a bench; it is a hint that Cheong is back on terra firma. She makes the rounds to greet everyone she came to love in her former worldly encounter knowing that they won’t remember her (she erased everyone’s memory), but all the same she wants to check on them and make sure they are healthy and living well.

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(*This is where I love the way Lee Min Ho portrays his character.) Cheong shows up at the house and is greeted by Nam-doo and Joon Jae’s mother. (I’m laughing at how the “boys” in the house love Mother’s cooking and TLC. You’d think they were in middle school – so needy and pitiful.) When Joon Jae arrives, Cheong knows that he won’t remember her, but she wants to see him and tell him in her thoughts that she loves him. At first, it seems as if Joon Jae doesn’t remember her (as expected). Later, in a romantic scene as the snow falls, he approaches her with an umbrella – shades of their meeting in the past – and tells her that he does remember. In fact, although she chose to erase his memory to protect him, he worked hard not to forget her. Long before Cheong departed for the water, Joon Jae kept notes in a diary, documented the things they did and the places they went, and practiced her name and recited his love for her every day in order not to forget. He began going to the beach at dawn and dusk, not sure why he was drawn there, but knowing, longing, for something that he didn’t want to lose. He waited. And even if his memories dimmed, the feeling in his heart remained strong and the cruel circumstances that stole their togetherness couldn’t prevail. To hear him tell Cheong how he wouldn’t let himself forget is pure Lee Min Ho magic and once again I am swept away by his charm and handsomeness.

There’s more: Joon Jae looked for the perfect little house in the perfect spot at the water’s edge and got it ready for when Cheong might appear. The side story of Yoon-ah, the little girl who is the only other one who can hear Cheong’s thoughts, is endearing. She is half-mermaid half-human and her story goes back to the Joseon era. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but after Joon Jae and Cheong settle in and move to their seaside home, they are expecting a little mermaid-human like Yoon-ah. They look so happy and cozy together for a happily ever-after.

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This is why I love kdramas.

WGM ep 358

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The hosts and couples of WGM were dressed in hanbok and watched the episode together in the studio with fun comments and impromptu reactions.

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“It’s nice watching couples cook together,” Misun sighed dreamily. The three couples got together at Sleepy and Guk Joo’s apartment to celebrate Lunar New Year. Each couple prepared something delicious.

Guk Joo and Sleepy dressed in hanbok and made dumplings and boiled pork. Tae Joon declared all the dishes to be delicious.

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The couples’ evening entertainment was bowling with a sharp competitive edge among the guys. Myoung arrived with his own bowling gear – fancy shoes and wrist guards – that was impressive but it sure didn’t do him any good. Poor guy slipped on a practice run, ouch! They hit the arcade (Myoung was so weak – Hye Sung’s father will have a fit) and played the sledge-hammer and punching bag game for points. Guk Joo was amazingly strong!

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Winner couple Tae Joon and Bomi got to hand out the punishment (not) to the others: Myoung couple had to foot the bill and Sleepy and Guk Joo had to kiss (it was a sweet Sleepy kiss on Guk Joo’s cheek). Finally, a frozen pose captured the evening’s atmosphere.

 Immortal Songs 2  – ep 286 – the songs of Hae-eun Lee

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Jung Dongha and Son Seungyeon are two of my Immortal Songs favorites, their performances are never less than spectacular. I find the history of modern Korean music fascinating – the words of songs even in the 1980s were banned (love songs, no less); now decades later writer and singer Hae-eun Lee has changed the words in Third Hangang Bridge back to the original banned words (something we might find curious in the West as the banned words were “meeting for the first time and we loved”).

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Wankyu’s huge victory out of nowhere was the highlight of an episode of trophy-worthy performances. I know I am repeating myself, but I learn so much watching immortal Songs 2!

Monday January 30

I feel bombarded by shows today, so many new episodes are subbed!

1N2D ep 182

Jung Joon Young is back and the fun continues.

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Joon Ho commented that there won’t be an empty space anymore. Dong Gu added, “The food tastes better today because it’s a happy day.” The guys really missed Joon Young and don’t hold back in showing him lots of love ruffling up his hair, patting his cheeks and back, teasing him, feeding him. It’s so darn cute the way they behave.

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They complain that they suffered so much while Joon Young was gone, and so tonight they will all sleep inside. “But…” They have to choose door 1, 2, or 3 for the room they will sleep in. Poor Tae Hyun picked a tiny room with a tarp of drying chili peppers. Sounds like torture for the eyes and nose. The others were spared and slept in cozy quarters. With Joon Young’s welcome, it almost seemed like two episodes in one with this week’s in-depth mission.

(I love how they call Jong Min “Mr. Grand Award” now. According to a recent poll, he is second only to Yoo Jae Seok in entertainment celeb popularity with best image.)

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Today’s Mission: Made up of teams of two – Dong Gu/Joon Young, Defconn/Jong Min, and Tae Hyun/Joon Ho – each one has to design a New Year’s costume for the other. It is a pretty open-ended and creative mission but it also makes me nervous to think of what these guys might do to each other.

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Luckily, the end result was higher quality that I imagined, thanks to behind-the-scene designers who brought their ideas on paper to a finished product. Still, you have to wonder what makes these guys’ pea-brains tick!

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Dong Gu’s Thor costume was halfway decent while Tae Hyun’s Goblin-inspired costume was only half there! Sexy back costume, but brrr and no!

The costumed characters showed their Lunar New Year respect with a bow to Veteran Choi Bool Am and wishes for a happy and prosperous new year. Mr. Choi gave them coffee money as their senior which they enthusiastically accepted. On 1N2D you have to take what you can get when you can get it! A New Year Costume Greeting Tour will continue next week, so stay glued to your seats!

New Journey to the West season 3 ep 4

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Night vision cameras film the Zombie Blackout Game (because grown men are really boys). How fitting that Ahn Jae Hyun is the zombie with his experience as a vampire in Blood. Only Ji Won remains a human after the game where zombie Jae Ahn bites the person(s) he catches who then becomes a zombie, too.

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This is the show to be on to eat well. Popular dishes are served at a restaurant in Guilin, China – beer fried fish, sweet and sour pork, vegetables and steamed buns – it looks amazing! Ji Won makes an adorable BulMa, and Khuhyun’s colored hair wax is very cool. They played the Strawberry Game (a game where you have to keep a beat and repeat words correctly) and fed each other (because grown men are really boys).

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Next they played The Mafia Game, was it confusing or what? Jae Hyun and Min Ho were the killers in the first round.

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Talk about having fun playing games all day and getting paid to eat. Plus they stay in decent hotels and enjoy sightseeing. Who wouldn’t want to be on New Journey to the West?!

Defendant ep 3 and 4

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Four months ago, Prosecutor Park Jung Woo was getting close to obtaining evidence that Cha Min Ho killed his identical twin brother, Cha Sun Ho and is now living his life as Sun Ho. Fingerprint evidence was altered somehow but Jung Woo is determined to expose that cover-up and get to the truth. When backed into a corner in a building boiler room by Jung Woo, Min Ho makes sure his fingerprints are permanently undetectable by burning them off on a steaming pipe.

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I am curious about attorney Joon Hyuk who originally defended his friend, Jung Woo. But there is a story behind his motive that is beginning to seep out. When Eun Hye, a prosecutor who wants to prove herself, takes on Jun Woo’s case, cracks in the defense by Joon Hyuk surface. I got a creepy feeling when Joon Hyuk told Eun Hye that he was Ji Soo’s (Jung Woo’s wife who he presumably murdered) friend, too. If nothing else, Jung Woo’s amnesia has bought him some time and Eun Hye is determined to get at the truth. In a flashback, Prosecutor Jung Woo slaps Eun Hye in the courthouse hallway and accuses her of stealing information on a case. She stands her ground and replies, “What if there is another slice of truth?” I like her, and he should too, now that she is the only person willing to dig into his case in order to defend him.

Hello, Counselor ep 310

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Today’s show features foreigners as guest panel members and as the guests with issues. Guest panels members: Cao Lu (China), Kangnam (Japan), and Robin (France, original member on Abnormal Summit). It was a good idea to include foreigners on the panel because they could be sympathetic and understand the adjustments and difficulties the guests had. Today’s titles: My Wife is Scary, No, No, Never!, and Why Are You Doing This To Me?

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The discussion addresses the difficulties that foreigners have in acclimating to Korean culture and, sometimes even more difficult, being accepted in Korea. For example, the poor guy from Brazil who fell in love with a Korean woman while visiting her country ends up being criticized for being too slow. The problem is, there may not be any reconciling the fact that the lifestyle in Brazil is much more relaxed and slower than the hurried, scheduled lifestyle in Korea. Hope these two can make it work!

Kpop Star season 6 ep 11

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Episode 11 was the Sudden Battle survival  mission. YGE, JYP, and Antenna have cast their contestants, and one from each agency was chosen to compete in a showcase. The winning agency gets a survival ticket to save one it its competitors along the way, so it’s a big deal and a lot of pressure. JYP’s representative was Kim So Hee, YG chose Shannon, and Antenna chose Seon Nyeo. Although I thought Seon Nyeo was the best, the judges chose Kim So Hee whose did a more overall performance with choreography, dancing, and singing. She is polished in the girl idol group style the agencies prefer.

Tuesday, January 31

Goblin ep 14

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Whoa, I wasn’t mentally prepared for the imagery of Kim Shin departing. His last words to Eun Tak that “Meeting you was the reward of my life” ring eerie and sad.

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There are certainly peaceful sentiments in the memories those who knew the Goblin being erased and in his punishment being over. But then, how is walking endlessly any better? Nothingness – no thing – so completely bleak.

9 years later: Erased memories don’t mean that traces don’t linger; there is a void left of that something that was once there. Also, there are clues that can’t be erased. Then there is the element of time, and rebirth, and shadows of the footsteps that created the path that brings one back to a familiar place.

I nearly cried when Goblin and Grim Reaper meet again, “It’s nice to have someone greet me,” Goblin tells him. You can feel how much he means that.

How lovely that the outside Eun Tuk’s building the weather turned to 22C and the flowers were in bloom on that cold, cold winter’s day. It is a repeat of what happened nine years ago and brings a bit of cheer in an otherwise dingy job (and a feeling that something big is about to happen). Finally, I just want to say that I love♥ Lee Dong Wook.

Wednesday, February 1

Mr. Househusband ep 12

I watch this show out of pure curiosity.

Coffee Prince ep 1 & 2

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I’m re-watching this for fun on the big screen TV I just got. All this time I’ve watched kdramas on my computer so it’s a blast to have Gong Yoo in large, living color.

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It’s double my pleasure watching him in Goblin & Coffee Prince in the same week!

Thursday, February 2

Thanks For the Food ep 25

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This is a food entertainment show that features favorite foods from different celebrities each week. Seho, Se Chan, and Moon Hee Jun are true foodies themselves and make decent hosts. I watched the first two episodes when the show first came out. I would describe the format as a mix of guest celebrities introducing stories associated with their favorite foods and professional input by chefs and foodies on the panel. If nothing else, restaurants and cafes throughout Korea get free advertising when guests rave about a certain dish or meal. The meals are re-created on the set and served to panel members who are swayed by the stories and choose a celebrity’s favorite dish. They always describe their food so deliciously and eat it so heartily. Is anyone else watching this show? What do you think?

Abnormal Summit 134

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To celebrate Lunar New Year, Mark, Christian, and Alex performed “Arirang” on traditional instruments. They’ve been taking lessons for two months and their peers were touched by their efforts at learning about Korean culture. I applaud their sincerity!

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Xuilin has been trying hard to up his image as the Chinese representative on AS. He shared homemade dumplings, a traditional dish served during Chinese New Year (also called Spring Festival), which received compliments and appreciation for his efforts. As expected, golden boy Alex from Switzerland finds the jujube in his dumpling for a year of good fortune.

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Today’s topic was presented by Kim Yong-man, a Korean comedian/entertainer: I can only be at peace when there’s a fixed plan. Am I abnormal? At first, the discussion focused on planned events, tours, weddings, and even some bizarre options like baby planners and life coaches. Then the topic expanded to leadership; do you prefer a flexible or a strict leader? Interesting points of view, as always. I especially like the different perspectives each country brings to the table with national and personal presuppositions. I have watched AS from its first episode and, at the time, JTBC planned on only 20 episodes total. As you can see, AS has won the hearts of enough people to keep going strong and has developed a format of its own that continues to entertain and inform.

Infinite Challenge 515/516

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As you already know, I feature this show as our DN special. Some time back, I connected with another beanie online, and we decided to watch something weekly as a way to keep in touch. We chose Infinite Challenge as our virtual girls’ Friday date night show to watch. This week is part 2 of finding someone in Korea who doesn’t know Yoo Jae Seok or the other IC members. It’s such an insane show and is best watched with someone who can also appreciate the antics and randomness. Fighting! \/

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