Taecyeon Talk

Sometimes I feel that I’ve been involved in all things Korean long enough that I’ve watched some of these idol groups grow up.  Weren’t they just rookies a blink of an eye ago?  With their hyper-enthusiastic greetings and their befuddlement on variety shows?  And now they’ve moved out of their company-owned dorms, and embarked on solo projects.

Case in point: Ok Taecyeon.  Not just a part of 2 PM anymore; he does variety shows and acts, too.  He’s a totally different actor than he was when he took on the JYP-helmed Dream High.  He actually, well…kind of ACTS now.

My favorite Taec is Three Meals a Day derp Taec, tho.

After watching two Taecyeon-starring dramas back-to-back, it was clear that he’s only as strong as the material he’s given.  The creepily-named Touching You was largely forgettable (if I hadn’t written stuff down I would have forgotten it existed already), while the clearly superior Let’s Fight Ghost was actually fun.

Let’s start by talking about Taecyeon’s drama My Extended TonyMoly Commercial.  Or Touching You.  Perhaps it should have been named Touching Your Skin with a Relaxing Facial Mist by TonyMoly.  It’s subtle, guys, but there MIGHT have been some product placement in this one.

“What are you looking at?  Haven’t you seen a guy mop up Tony Moly Wonder Cheese Firming Cream before?”

 

The premise is that somehow, Taecyeon’s character Do Jin Woo can see the future when he touches someone.  He touches Jin Hee Young (Song Ha Yoon) and sees her death.  So what do you do when you see a perfect stranger dying?  Why, you put on glasses to disguise your identity and sign on as a part-time worker at the shop where she works so you can change her future and make sure she doesn’t die.  Of course.

The list of problems is a mile long with this drama, including plot holes (why don’t you recognize him with glasses?), a totally predictable plot, a villain that practically had “I’m the villain!” written in huge letters on his back, and zero chemistry between the leads.  I think lack of chemistry might actually be written into any idol contract: “You may kiss, but under no circumstances may you open your mouth or move your head.  All eye contact must be slightly awkward.” It does keep the fangirls happy when they believe that Oppa won’t be able to love fully until he meets them.

However, it was quick, lighthearted, and I’m pretty sure watching this drama will clear blemishes and make your skin 60% more elastic just by watching it.

Tomorrow: Part II: Let’s Fight Ghost and the Ghost Net gang (the best nerdy sidekicks since The X-Files’ Lone Gunmen).

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Someone Define “Alzheimer’s” for Drama Writers

As far as I know, Alzheimer’s disease is a tragic condition that happens to people over sixty where they gradually lose their memory and judgement.  According to writers of Korean dramas, Alzheimer’s is a disease that can strike young men at any age, which rapidly progresses into immersive delusions followed by periods of total normalcy.  At least, this is the impression given to me by two dramas I watched this summer, Bong Soon: A Cyborg in Love and Remember.

 

So, in the web drama Bong Soon: A Cyborg in Love, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun plays a robot scientist who falls in love with his robot assistant.  Wait…no.  That’s not right.  Kyuhyun plays a HUMAN scientist.  Only his acting is robotic.  That’s right.

So, the premise is that as a scientist, he develops an A/I, but doesn’t actually realize that the woman he’s falling in love with is that exact A/I, who’s tasked with the job of being his research assistant.  Her memories are his memories.  Basically he’s created a female doppelganger and fallen in love with her.  No narcissism there.

Then there’s the Alzheimer’s.  Kyuhyun’s character, Kim Joo Sung, gets Alzheimer’s.  And it comes in “attacks”–he’s fine, then he’s not.  And his decline is rapid.  Its inclusion into the plotline and involvement in the ending is the height of the absurdity of this drama.

Yoon So Hee is adorable as A/I Bong Soon, but the two leads have zero chemistry.  I can’t get past the man/machine love storyline, either.  I dropped Absolute Boyfriend mid-series for the same reason.

Remember is a decent legal drama with two actors I really like: Yoo Seung Ho and Park Min Young.  The concept of a young lawyer trying to reverse his father’s conviction is a classic, and the twist was good–the father has Alzheimer’s and can’t remember the crime, but the son has photographic memory!  It’s a great parallel.

But then…the son gets Alzheimer’s.  Again very early in life, but in a medically impossible way, too–because of his photographic memory, the Alzheimer’s is somehow MORE AGGRESSIVE.  It’s SUPER ALZHEIMER’S.  Seo Jin Woo (the son) has Alzheimer’s attacks which are more like fugue states–he doesn’t remember anything about them later, nor does he remember his normal life when he is in them.  It’s like switching back and forth between two states of being.

Even if I let this part go, and try to go with the flow of this drama, I can’t love it.  The legal part was good.  Namgoong Min as the bad guy, Nam Gyu Man, is deliciously evil.  I hated him SO MUCH.  He chewed the scenery apart like a rabid dog, and it was delightful.  But on the flip side, the chemistry between Seo Jin Woo and attorney Lee In Ah flops awkwardly into noona-dongseng territory too much.  I found I didn’t really care what happened to the two of them at the end, and it’s good thing I didn’t, because the vague ending would have made me throw things if I did.

So, drama writers, a piece of advice:  Give up the Alzheimer’s.  Let’s just go back to the old days, where everybody got amnesia.  Deal?

TL:DR

Bong Soon: A Cyborg in Love — Don’t even bother.  2 stars.  Barely.

Remember  — Watch it for the legal drama, if you have to watch it.  3.5 stars.

All Classic

In the corner of the world known as the internet, it’s Throwback Thursday.  In honor of this tradition based on nothing more than alliteration and people’s desire to show their cute baby pictures, I will do a little k-drama throwback with a classic drama you should watch.

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Today’s recommendation: 2010’s Secret Garden.

Secret Garden ranks in my top ten dramas of all time.  Seriously a favorite.  Rich and arrogant, Kim Joon Won (Hyun Bin) is the heir to a department store fortune.  He meets standoffish, independent stuntwoman Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), and is strangely attracted to her. She fascinates him, but he can’t understand it–she is, after all, just one of the underclass he is used to ignoring.  They find themselves bound together–quite literally–when a mysterious potion makes them switch bodies.  Gil Ra Im must pretend to be Kim Joo Won and vice versa, bringing them into each other’s worlds.

This is an “against the odds” relationship.  They shouldn’t work, but they do.  Their chemistry is good, and they seem to make sense together.  This drama was very popular in 2010, and became a part of the cultural zeitgeist–especially two unique drama kisses–the sit-up kiss and the much parodied foam kiss, most famously challenged by Big Bang’s TOP and G-Dragon.

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G-Dragon makes a passable Gil Ra Im, right?

Great actors, great stories, just enough twists and turns, and iconic imagery make Secret Garden a great classic drama.

All Confusion

Cheese in the Trap is driving me crazy.

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I usually try to wait until a drama is over or almost over before I start watching it, because I like a new episode to be available to watch whenever I want.  I don’t like having to wait a week for a new episode.  But I started watching this drama when episode 6 came out, and now I’m stuck waiting for a new episode.  This is made all the more maddening since I don’t have a stable ‘ship!

SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP.

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All Man Monday

One of the things that I love about Korean Drama is the shameless display of abs.  There are no such standard on American television, which is much more about female T & A.  But KDrama and KPop loves them some chocolate abs.  (Isn’t that a much better term than “six-pack abs”?  Who doesn’t love chocolate, after all?)

So, for a Monday burst of energy, allow me to present a KDrama cliche’–the gratuitous shower scene.  The male lead (or second male lead) stands in the shower, struggling through some deep, internal conflict, and the audience gets to see his solemn face for a brief moment, and then we get to see his abs, dripping with water.

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All Man Monday is presented today by Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun), lead alien in the drama everyone should see, My Love From Another Star.  That wacky, ripped alien not only likes a nice earth shower, but he enjoys doing it in a full-length towel, too.  Which begs the question–doesn’t the towel just get waterlogged and fall off anyway?

Enjoy.