Hey there kdrama lovers! This week I watched a couple of kdramas, a k-movie, and plenty of k-entertainment. I mostly watch at night into the wee hours of the morning which is a great way to unwind and escape into kdramaland. Check it out!
Saturday Feb. 18
I Live Alone 193
We got a peek behind the scenes of filming The Rebel where Na Rae was cast as “a lad” in a Joseon era comedy troupe. At one point her ad lib comedy satisfied the director. But her serious role in a scene with the Mighty Child in episode 1 took some time to get through and she clearly felt dispirited at her mistakes. The director and fellow actors encouraged her. She was quite clever and it was fun to see her succeed in her acting role. However, she was burdened with the responsibility and her message to directors is that she will concentrate on variety shows rather than dramas.
Hyun Min (who looks so young here – maybe it’s the pink sweater) visits his friend, Si Eon. Everything in Si Eon’s house is covered in dust and grime and Hyun Min is determined to help clean. In the words of Hyun Min, “It was extremely dirty.” This segment was pretty much watching a guy clean another guy’s place. Somehow it was charming and many women would love a boyfriend as neat and adorable as Hyun Min. It was more like “I Live With Dust” (*cough sputter*) when it came to Si Eon’s house. The cleanest thing in the house is the vacuum cleaner which had rarely if ever been used. Hyun Min had an amazing strategy as he worked through the bedroom, fixing this and tossing out that. After assembling a new wardrobe to organize Si Eon’s clothes, Hyun Min bought his friend new white sheets for his bed. Si Eon had no idea that his living space could be so tidy and fresh. Si Eon owes Hyun Min for his help in making his apartment livable again. I hope Si Eon took notes. After a long day they enjoyed Chinese food together.
Zion T.’s charm is his mysterious persona. Without his shades he seems less intriguing. His agency, Black Label, is shown for the first time on TV. Zion T. is a serious perfectionist and works on recording a song through the night until 9 a.m. the next morning. It’s tough on his production crew. The cool and collected Zion T. can also be intense. When he finally gets home he is greeted by Wilson, the I Live Alone mascot, and his cat, Namu.
For R&R, Zion T. heads to the Internet Cafe and meets up with a long-time friend. Their physiques are exactly the opposite. This was a fun episode all around.
It’s date day for Gong Myoung and Hye Sung. Poor Gong Myoung said he went to a bowling alley after his embarrassing fall and everyone just said, “I saw it” and laughed. He is traumatized from it. Hye Sung made Valentine’s Day chocolates for Gong Myoung and had it prepared as a gift. Date Stop #1: The Slingshot ride – she is thrilled, but he is scared. He rode it three times for Hye Sung because he wanted to get rid of his image as a weak man. But he screamed the whole time and squeezed his eyes closed. So funny. Life was sucked out of him and he was wobbly when they got off. Stop #2 is a coffee cafe where they brew different kinds of coffee for a complete coffee experience. Even though Gong Myoung didn’t get the coffee thing, he made it fun for Hye Sung who can’t live without it. I’m not really a big fan of Gong Myoung as he seems to lack get-up-and-go and energy in general.
As for Bomi and Tae Joon, they ate super spicy noodles and later cooked at home. Tae Joon is anxious for their first “real” kiss on the lips…
Ice fishing. I can’t think of anything off-hand that I’d enjoy less than that. Cold. Fishing for smelts through a tiny hole in the ice. Cooking them outdoors. All bundled up. No thanks. But Guk Joo and Sleepy made a date of it, boiled up some smelts outside their pup tent and folding chairs, and ate them outside with fur earmuffs and parkas.
Coffee Prince – the last cup (ep 17)
Watching Coffee Prince again for the umteenth time made me happy ~ it is such a satisfying kdrama. I recommend it hands down to anyone entering the world of kdramas! I watched this on the tail of The Goblin for my Gong Yoo fix. But then I wanted more of Lee Sunkyun and so I watched the quirky and semi-artsy movie Our Sunhi (mentioned below). One thing leads to another!
Monday Feb. 20
Defendant ep 9
Cha Min Ho is truly a psychopath. The scene where he killed Ji Soo is gruesome and he has no remorse or guilt. Sick, sick, sick. We find out that Sung Kyu is involved because of his sister. He was promised that his sister’s operation would be taken care of if he kidnapped Ha Yeon and took care of her. Sung Kyu finds out that his sister died, and now he wonders if he should turn himself in. And, what about Joon Hyuk? How much did he know at the original trial when Jung Woo was counting on him to defend him and it turned out different?
Now, Joon Hyuk is set to take the appointment in the States, the one Jung Woo was going to take before all this happened, but he gets a phone call from Ha Yeon. It’s Joon Hyuk’s turn to be shocked. This turns the tables. Is Joon Hyuk a good guy or a bad guy?
Jung Woo is about to be transferred which won’t do. In sheer desperation he writes “Cha Min Ho” in his own blood on the solitary confinement cell walls. As he is being transported to another facility, Cha Min Ho ends up in solitary and sees the writing on the wall (his name in blood). Now he knows for sure that Jung Woo recognizes him and yells for him to be brought back. It was a risky plan but it worked.
Kpop Star season 6 ep 14
This is the final audition for the Top 10. During this round, only four of the ten spots have been filled during the first round. That leaves ten contestants who made it to the rematch to compete for the remaining six spots in the Top 10. There are some surprises, like Shannon, who everyone thought was a shoe-in.
One of my favorites, Sung Eun, put on a shaky performance during her rematch. Fingers crossed that she stays in the competition, but we won’t know until the next episode and by the judges’ critiques, it looks like she may have come as far as she can. At age fifteen, the pressure definitely got to her. After the Top 10 are determined, the show ups its intensity and the competitors will have to put on professional stage performances. I think the two-person group that has the potential to make it all the way is Boyfriend.
Tuesday, February 21
Defendant ep 10
Crazy scum Cha Min Ho plunges to even darker depths as he threatens, “Prosecutor Park, would it be more painful for you to watch your daughter die, or for your daughter to watch her father die?” It is stressful to watch Sung Woo try to keep it together under such mental duress, but I have to hope that he will prevail in taking Cha Min Ho down. Emotions run high and desperation is the name of the game.
Lee Sung Kyu, who kidnapped Ha Yeon that night, has a different agenda than those connected with crazy Cha Min Ho, but he is still causing problems of his own. Ha Yeon is sick and ends up in the hospital with pneumonia. Jung Woo plans to escape the prison by intentionally getting stabbed and then taken to an outside hospital. As it happens, Cha Min Ho is in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets framed for stabbing Jung Woo. “One. Two. Three…” Jung Woo counts as he is rushed by ambulance out of the prison. He gets through the seven prison gates for the chance to look for Ha Yeon. If he lives, that is.
It is no surprise that he ends up at Chamyung Hospital where he finds out from his attorney that Ha Yeon is also at that hospital. He staggers into her room and a father who has kept from seeing his daughter for her safety bends down and tearfully kisses her. “My little girl, Ha Yeon.” It is very moving.
Speaking of his attorney, she doesn’t seen that effective. On the other hand, the doctor has proven to be most helpful.
Bonus: SBS has added two episodes to The Defendant. This is one time when I think that might work out for the best in telling the story. There are quite a few peripheral characters (Cha Min Ho’s mother, Cha Min Ho’s secretary, for example) whose stories in this murder, I hope, are told.
I found this to be a good recap of The Defendant thus far. Go to 41:40 at http://dramacool.es/new-late-night-e-news-episode-12.html
Admiral Battle part 2 – more fun with games, food, questions, and not such great answers!
Wednesday Feb. 22
New Journey to the West ep 7
The wake up mission is “Let’s Read Books.” One at a time, each member picks a book from the selection offered. The questions will be from the book they select and will determine breakfast and a surprise. (The one who answers their question first gets to change rooms.)
Jae Hyun chooses a book first but we can’t see what he chooses.
Kyu Hyun picks a children’s book “The Apple Fell.”
Ho Dong chooses “Man Deuk” joke book.
Lee Su Geum picks “The Little Prince.”
Min Ho surprisingly chooses the 2016 New Law Book with 6000 pages and font the size of a toothpick. Good luck thumbing through that, Min Ho.
Poor dispirited Ji Won is stuck with “Detective Conan” – the entire 20-volume set. He is annoyed and leaves his stack outside hoping someone will take them all.
Jae Hyun mysterious book is a magazine with his wife Hye Sun’s picture on the cover. He fooled the others by acting like he just brought it along to read her interview, but it was actually his book. That was quite clever and it worked.
Kyu Hyun is the most interested in the prize of changing rooms because he is in a small room all alone with a sleeping bag. It is bright and early the next morning and time for questions about each book. Jae Hyun won the change-room prize and switched Ho Dong and Kyu Hyun. It was actually a hold-over revenge move against Ho Dong who burst his persimmon last time. So now they know Jae Hyun holds a grudge. Also, doesn’t he look natural in the turtle shell?
The next game is Cone Hat Operations. While looking through the small hole of a cone hat placed over your face, you must complete the mission. The prize: a dragon ball. Kyu Hyun is sure he can master this and demonstrates, but it turns out to be trickier than he anticipated. The members pair off: Min Ho and Su Geum have to throw and catch a ball with cones over their faces; Jae Hyun has to feed Kyu Hyun jellies with a cone over his face; and Ho Dong and Su Geum have to take a group picture with all six in the frame. Winners Jae Hyun and Kyu Hyun receive a precious dragon ball.
Next, dinner is at stake with the Guess Who Quiz. Min Ho looks intellectual in those glasses, but try as they might to guess the famous fictional and non-fictional faces, they fail miserably and end up with a few eggs and a can of spam. Not a very exciting dinner for a team of six guys.
High School Rapper ep 2
Two top high school rappers from the group, Dickids, scored high. But 18 year-old Choi Hamin won the hearts of the judges with his artistic rap that is “music to the ears.” I really liked him, too. Auditions continue as the panel of judges including Swings and Mad Clown make the rounds to high schools throughout South Korea searching for young, worthy talent.
Thursday Feb. 23
Radio Star 515
The Kings of Studying Hard Special ~ These brainiacs are something else!
Seo Kyung Seok, successful comedian and restaurant owner, compliments Kyu Hyun who is thrilled to be acknowledged as a precious pearl and underrated host on Radio Star. I agree.
Golden boy Kim Jeong Hoon is the King of Math. (He says numbers are more adorable than women.) He scored in the top .01% on the SAT and claims that when he gets depressed he solves math problems to cheer himself up. He loves prime numbers and sets his volume to 23 or 29 (prime numbers) rather than say, 24 or 26. So I guess geniuses think differently and have some rather odd methods.
Kang Seong Tae takes an intellectual approach to everything and beats down Gu Ra pretty badly although it is all in good fun. He has made his Stopwatch Study Method a popular learning tool.
Shim So Young is the youngest person (age 17) to enter Wellesley College (same school that Hilary Clinton went to) She is a model with a perfect memory.
They were tested to see who could recall the most out of 20 numbers in 20 seconds. The winner – Kyu Hyun – which stunned the geniuses! I clapped for him! (He made the guests look bad.)
Gu Ra and Seong Tae mentioned that they are both hosts on New Late Night E News, so…
New Late Night E News ep 12
…I watched my first episode.
It is something like Entertainment Weekly, only the interviews are feature stories are much more in-depth. Hosts Kim Gu Ra and Park Sun Young anchor the show with special reports from celebrity hosts (including Kang Seong Tae who was a guest on Radio Star this week). They covered the lovely tribute to veteran actress Kim Ji Young who lost her battle to disease at 79, Yoo Ah In’s injuries and military update, as well as other celebrity stories. There is also a decent recap of The Defendant thus far at 41:40. I’ll definitely give this show look-see next week. I wonder if this entertainment news show is giving longtime favorite Entertainment Weekly a run for the money.
Our Sunhi, Korean movie, 2013
As I mentioned, after watching Coffee Prince, I looked for something with Lee Sun-kyun and came across this ninety-minute movie. Sunhi returns to the film college she attended after studying abroad for a while. She asks Professor Choi for a recommendation and he writes a bland, non-committal reference that leaves her wondering if what he writes is really how others see her.
Her old boyfriend, Munsu (Sun-kyun), still loves her, but she is aloof towards him. The characters are in different places in life but have self-reflective moments together. Professor Choi expresses an interest in Sunhi, something that lightly surprises her, but it is more of a one-sided love. Does she play on his infatuation when she asks for a rewrite on that letter of recommendation? He obliges with an overly enthusiastic new letter. Did he miss all of these qualities in her before? Is this a true representation of who she is as a person and student? Flattery? Truth? Or a new subjective view based on feelings? It makes me wonder how Sunhi sees herself. I liked it well enough and would give it a B-.
Friday Feb. 24
Guesthouse Daughters ep 2
This episode moved me towards liking this reality show set-up. Last week’s intro could have been edited better and left me on the fence. But this week, the guesthousehold of mother and four daughters along with the two permanent boarders and now a visiting guest is taking shape. The family is getting used to their roles and each other. The permanent guesthouse members are:
Lee Mi Sook – )Oma – mother)
Park Si Yeon (Daughter #1)
Jang Shin Young (Daughter #2)
Lee Da Hae (daughter #3)
Yoon So Yi (Daughter #4)
Lee Se Geun (Oma’s younger brother) is definitely more cheerful with this female household than he is with the New Journey male travelers.
Park Soo-hong (boarder)
Each week there will be a visitor to the guesthouse. This week’s guest is veteran actor, Park Joon Hoon, whose manly stature makes the women flutter. It is a loose format – something like Roommate but with more conversation; we’ll see how the household interacts with guests for fun and antics (like eating with yardstick-length chopsticks).
Infinite Challenge The Legend ep 1
During a seven-week hiatus to revamp the show IC has pieced together some of the best episodes and gigs over the years. It is a nostalgic look at past IC episodes. In the first episode viewers picked the top five Legendary Characters. Jaaseok mentioned how much younger they looked back then. The favorite characters were: Manager Jung is Buying, General Park’s Surprise Attack, Temptation; Infinite Company (’cause G Dragon); and Myung Soo Is 12 Years Old. The best part was the reactions of the members as they watched. I wonder what IC will have up its sleeve after their break?
That’s it for this week. Leave a comment and let me know what you’re watching!