Sweet 18

I finally finished Sweet 18, starring Lee Dong Gun and Han Ji Hye, yesterday. I was interested in the show because this is Lee Da Hae’s debut and she played a villain. But it took me forever to finish this drama. Why? Because initally, I was very annoyed with Han Ji Hye’s character, Jung Sook. Her immature ways and constant yelling were getting on my nerves. However, as the drama progressed, she became more mature and I guess, when you think about it, she got married when she had just graduated from high school and was only 18 so it was realistic that she was immature. Every now and then, the yelling still bothered me, though.

On storyline: Basically, it’s about two people who married each other because the nuptial was arranged previously by their grandfathers. Initially, it was a one-sided love on Jung Sook’s part. However, over time, they learned to live together, mutually care for and love each other. Overall, I like the storyline and the pace of the drama.

On Acting: HJH did good. LDG did okay. The actor who played Hyuk Joon’s grandfather was terrific.

Well, what about Lee Da Hae, you ask? Not bad. At one point during the drama, I hated her character so that must be saying something about her acting, right? At the beginning of the show, I remembered commenting in LDH’s soompi thread about how I irritated I was with her character Moon Ga Young and told myself that it’s her drama character, not her real-life personality. Moon Ga Young was very superficial and conniving when she was trying to steal Hyuk Joon away from Jung Sook. Eventually, however, Ga Young made me laugh because her villain was so funny and childish. She wasn’t outright evil.

LDH looked very mature in the show, probably due to her wardrobe and hairstyle. Her character was around 27 years old when, in fact, she was only 20 when Sweet 18 was filmed.

On chemistry: HJH and LDG had great chemistry together. They’re very compatible. Thus, it’s no surprise that thanks to this drama, they began dating in real-life.

Funny tibit: In Sweet 18, Jung Sook sported the famous “bun look.” You know, the one that can be seen on Song Hye Gyo’s character Han Ji Eun in Full House, LDH’s character in My Girl and Yoon Euh Hye’s character in Goong. It was funny when LDH’s Ga Young teased HJH’s Jung Sook about how hideous the bun looked when it’s only a few years later that she played a character that sported a similar style.

Lastly, I just want to say that Kwon Hyuk Joon (LDG) is my second ideal man. (The other one being Ben from TVB’s Survivor’s Law.) Hyuk Joon was so understanding and caring towards Jung Sook. He respected her and was faithful despite the tricks from Ga Young. He was also a very responsible and filial man. He is, what I would call, an ESOM: extinct species of men.

(It’s a funny coincidence how both of my ideal men are lawyers. So lawyers aren’t really scum of the earth but they’re actually righteous and responsible? Eh, who knows for sure… That phrase is most likely a gross generalization either way.)

Come to think of it, though, almost all Korean men in TV land are ESOMs. Seriously, why are they all so tall, good-looking, loving, caring, sensitive, etc.? Where can I find one?

Sweet or Sour?


I Love Fantasy Couple

I just finished watching Fantasy Couple yesterday. I completed 15 episodes in two days. (The dramedy has a total of 16 episodes but I saw ep.01 a while back.) I stayed up late to watch it knowing full well that I needed to wake up early the next morning for work. And when I got off work, I rushed home to watch it. So, let me just say this: I LOVE THIS SHOW!

The Hong sisters (the writers behind Delightful Girl, Choon Hyang and My Girl) have, once again, made me laugh, cry, and care for the characters that they’ve created. Credit to Han Ye Seul for portraying a bitchy, picky woman who’s surprisingly very likable. Jo Anna reminds me a lot of myself. No, rest assured. I’m not as bitchy or picky. What is similar between our personalities is how defensive we both are when it comes to emotional attachment. We shun it (being emotionally attached to other people) because we fear that we’ll get hurt.

My most favorite couple is Sang Shil and Kang Ja, although that’s not to say that I don’t like the main couple (Sang Shil and Chul Soo) and all the other odd couplings. I love them all.

Sang Shil and Kang Ja

The only two characters that annoyed me were Yoo Kyung and her materialistic friend.

The soundtrack, like almost all other Korean dramas, is awesome. The themesong is very catchy!

If you haven’t seen this yet, what are you waiting for? I highly recommend it.
Do visit the soompi thread for more in depth discussion and goodies. The link there can be found in the Drama Info: Fantasy Couple blog entry.

Sweet or Sour?

Delicious Godiva. Fantasy Couple is delightful fun throughout with tons of substance. Na Sang Shil is my type of girl. She is my new hero!

Mr. Goodbye

The Cast
Ahn Jae Wook- Yoon Hyun Suh
Lee Bo Young- Choi Young In
Jo Dong Hyuk- Kyle
Oh Yoon Ah- Kang Soo Jin

From left to right: Jo Dong Hyuk, Lee Bo Young, Ahn Jae Wook, and Oh Yoon Ah

Who is “Mr. Goodbye?”
Yoon Hyun Suh is known as “Mr. Goodbye” in the hotel world because wherever he goes, employees would usually be bidding farewell to their jobs.

The Storyline
What do you do when you’ve ran a marathon to win a travel prized package so that you and your significant other can go on a trip together only to discover that he has been cheating on you (with your best friend, no less) when you came to pick him up for the airport? Do you a) kill them with your bare hands, b) proceed to go back home and be depressed all day/week, c) try to exchange the plane tickets for money, or d) leave for the trip alone? Choi Young In chose (c), but when that didn’t work, she chose (d) and left for Las Vegas. Whether or not this was a wise decision, considering the turn of events that ensue, depends on the audience’s perspective. I, for one, thought that it was a wise choice.

It was on her trip to Las Vegas that she met Yoon Hyun Suh, a workaholic, hotel executive who does not let emotion or any of those “weak feelings” get in the way of his success in the business world. He is competitive and can be said to be ruthless. Although they did not meet nor depart on good terms in Las Vegas, fate brought them together again and they ended up working in the same hotel in Seoul, Korea. Of course, they start a relationship, but the question is: for two people with such opposite personalities, how long would they maintain the relationship? Lastly, do we, the audience, get a happy ending?

The Characters
Yoon Hyun Suh- It wasn’t shown clearly in the drama but from what I was able to deduce, he was abandoned by his mother and then was later adopted by another family. He is very competitive and always earns top marks, whether it is in academia while growing up or in the dog-eat-dog business world. Career-wise, he is very successful. Relationship-wise, it is a whole different story. He doesn’t like to express his thoughts and emotions, which at times, can lead to other people misunderstanding him. In other words, he’s a stoic. He lives alone and is somewhat obsessive-compulsive.

Choi Young In- During her childhood, her father left the family. Thus, as the eldest child, she took care of everything. (Also because her younger brother is so useless.) She has a very strong bond with her mother. Despite her sad childhood, she is a patient, straightforward, outgoing, and optimistic person. She says what’s on her mind and stands up for herself. However, she is not perfect as she also has her own insecurities, and that makes her more real. There is just this innocent and honest aura to her personality that makes her character very likable.

Kang Soo Jin- She is a doctor and also Hyun Suh’s college classmate. Without his knowledge and consent, she chose him as the sperm donor and gave birth to a boy. (During college, Hyun Suh was very poor and thus, donated his goods to a sperm bank to earn money.)

Kyle- He’s a hotel concierge who works with Hyun Suh in Las Vegas, and then later follows him to Seoul, Korea.

The Actors

Ahn Jae Wook- He does a good job at portraying the cold and lonely Yoon Hyun Suh. I felt his pain when he was sick and didn’t want to tell anyone, especially Young In. Those scenes were sad! Although he is supposed to be a heartless executive, he looks too friendly for the role, at times.

Lee Bo Young- She tends to overact in certain scenes with over the top facial expressions, especially when she is angry and/or frustrated. Other than that, her performance is good. She has terrific crying skills.

Jo Dong Hyuk- Not much emotion from this actor. Wooden.

Oh Yoon Ah- Great performance from this actress. She also looks very pretty with her flowing long hair.

The Chemistry
The two leads have great chemistry together. I love how honest and straightforward their relationship is; how Young In is able to understand so much about Hyun Suh without him even telling her much about his thoughts and feelings; and how much patient she has for him. I also like how their relationship is mature and not so melodramatic. Yes, they fight…who doesn’t? But they resolve the conflict quickly, without dragging it on and on.

The mother-son and father-son chemistry that Soo Jin and Hyun Suh have with Yoon is also amazing. It felt so real when Soo Jin scolded Yoon for leaving the school without telling her where he was. It was so sweet of Hyun Suh to dress up as Spider-man for Yoon so that his classmates will stop teasing him and calling him liar.

The Music
Similar to every other Korean drama, the music in here is awesome. Although, it can get too dramatic in certain scenes, overall, it’s good. I especially like the song in the opening sequence, which has a very nice saxophone intro and is very upbeat. It’s the type of song that you can dance it. I also like the song “Good Bye,” which is more mellow and sadder. It enhances the emotions in the drama very well, especially when it was played during the ending.

Memorable Moments
1. Yoon just bought several baby chicks as his pets and he’s sitting in KFC eating fried chicken. In a later scene, he meets Hyun Suh for the first time and started to imitate his every move. Hyun Suh threatens to cook the chicks and make fried chicken. Yoon’s response? “Hmm.. I like fried chicken. It’s yummy!” Hyun Suh’s reaction? “What the heck?!”

2. The fights and bantering moments between Hyun Suh and Young In.

3. When Young In is describing how alike both Kyle and Hyun Suh are, he asks her why then did she pick Hyun Suh and not him. Young In says that because Hyun Suh is lonely because has no one else; thus, he needs her more.
4. When Hyun Suh put aside all embarrassment and dresses up as Spider-man to cheer up Yoon.

5. The scene when Hyun Suh asks Yoon about what is one of the things that he’d like to do with his father. Yoon’s answer is that it’s peeing. His reasoning is that since he obviously cannot do that with his mom, he wants to try it with his dad. Although I frown on such behavior in a public environment, I like that scene because it is just too cute. (Watch the show and you’ll understand what I mean.)

6. Any scene with Yoon in it. That is one adorable kid! Kook kee oh!

7. The ending. Not the happiest of endings in the traditional sense but very satisfying. One of the best endings that would definitely be memorable in the audience’s heart.

General Comment
Why is it that Korean drama tend to showcase characters with personalities that we would aspire to have or want our significant others to have? At least the new dramas, that is. The men in Korean drama are almost always extremely suave and good looking. They are very clean and have great personalities. The New Age Sensitive, Metrosexual Men. (The group of men that is no where to be found in real life, by the way.)
On the female side, the characters tend to have such strong personality and resilience. They’re optimistic even though life often slaps them in the face. They have really good methods to cope with stressful situations. They stand up for themselves when others are being offensive and insulting to them. I love their sassiness! Sometimes, I wish that I, too, could be like that. But it’s so difficult. Anyway, in two words: they rock!

Sweet or Sour?

Sugar-free Hershey’s. At first, Mr. Goodbye looked unappealing to me because I have never seen Ahn Jae Wook in any shows before, have only watched Lee Bo Young briefly in The Last Dance Is For Me and didn’t really like her character in there because she played the typical K-drama villain. Eventually, I decided to watch it because the subtitles were out and other people were commenting about how good it was. And they were right. I’m glad that I didn’t pass this up. It is good.

Image credit: soompi thread

Which Star Are You From?

Main Cast:
Kim Rae Won – Choi Seung Hui
Jung Ryeo Won – Lee Hye Su and Kim Bok Sil (she plays twins in the drama)

Apparently, the PD (production director) for this drama is the same guy that directed Attic Cat and Full House (not sure, though). Kim Rae Won’s previous K-drama was Love Story in Harvard (which I gave a pass because Kim Tae Hee’s stare scares me and because, well, I’m just not interested). Recently, I saw him in the movie Mr. Socrates, where he was quite good. This guy has really good comedic timing, although the movie was really violent! Jung Ryeo Won gained popularity when she played Sam Soon’s “rival” in My Name is Kim Sam Soon.

Why did I choose to watch this?
I chose to watch this drama because 1) I like Kim Rae Won in Attic Cat and he’s not bad to look at either. Plus, I don’t mind Jung Ryeo Won. She’s cute, great smile, and most importantly, she can act. And 2) It was out during the time when I “left” TVB and became “obsessed” with K-dramas. Hence, I must watch everything that came out. (Granted, subtitles must be available. Hey, I’m not patient and obsessed enough to just stare at the screen, not understanding what the heck is going on, just to get my “fix.”)

So… Is is any good?
Initially, I wasn’t going to write a review about this drama because, well, too lazy to write anything that won’t be graded by a teacher. However, it’s gotten to a point where I can’t keep my feelings in anymore. Thanks to Which Star Are You From?, I’ve realized several things:

1. I’m bothered when I don’t finish something that I’ve started.
2. I have masochist tendencies. (the opposite of sadist, where you like to hurt yourself, not others)
3. Why, hello TVB! Long time no see!
4. Obsession, like alcohol, may impair your judgement.
So obviously, the answer to the above question is: NO.

What is it about?
From episode 1 to around episodes 3-5 (or maybe earlier): Boy meets girl A –> they fall in love –> girl A’s family objects but, of course, they stay together despite this obstacle –> unfortunately, girl A dies in a tragic car accident –> boy is very sad.

From episodes 3-5 to infinity, I mean, episode 16: Then, boy meets girl B who is a country girl and who just happens to look like girl A because… *drum rolls, please* she is girl A’s long lost sister –> of course, they fall in love –> family objects, again –> they refuse to break up –> girl B’s real mother becomes sick –> they break up (yes, boo hoo, I know. Pass the kneenex please… umm, I just clumsily knocked over my soda!) –> but then, they got back together at the end. Woop tee doo!

Really? That’s all?
No, porky pig…heehee. That is not all. In every episode, the same song is playing over and over again and the audience gets to watch a grown woman dress her hair up in Pipi Longstocking-like pigtails, acting like she is 10 years old. In addition, girl B adds to the soundtrack by crying in probably every other scene. What’s the dealio, here? Is it really that sad? After careful analysis, I’ve come up with the following possibilities.

A) She’s too hydrated and her body must somehow get rid of the extra water. What better way to do it than something that may elicit viewers’ sympathy at the same time.
B) She went to the Onion Festival and enjoyed it so much that she wants to recreate the experience and bring back fond memories by crying.
C) Dang, those allergens!
D) Seoul, Korea is so dusty that her eyes can’t help but tear up.
E) Believe it or not, it is really that sad.
F) Geez, can’t a girl just cry because she just feels like crying? What’s up with all these reasons?
G) None of the above.

What about the acting? It must be better than the storyline, right?
Well, it’s not bad considering the material that the actors had to work with; but, it’s not good, either. The roles are not complex or even interesting. Simply put, one word: boring. Kim Rae Won was hilarious in Attic Cat and Jung Ryeo Won gave a good performance in MNIKSS. However here, there is something lacking, something that would make the audience care about their characters enough to keep watching even though the storyline sucks.

The plot stinks and the acting is mediocre. But is the scenery/cinematography good?
No. Cinematography wise, don’t expect anything similar to the “Four Seasons” dramas. Those dramas aren’t good but at least, they look beautiful.

Who should watch this?
A super duper fan of either or both lead actors. Or an insomniac who can’t seem to fall asleep. (Believe me, it works!)

But summer’s here and I’m so bored! What are the alternatives?
There are several recent dramas that are quite good. I recommend Goodbye Solo, Alone in Love, Bad Family, and Mr. Goodbye.

Which star are you from? Please, let me know so I can shoot you back to wherever that is! Leave Earth in peace.

Sweet or Sour?

Bertie Bott’s jelly beans.