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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Variety Crushes, Part 1

This is a very subjective, just-for-fun post. I love Korean variety! I'm much newer to variety than I am to drama but I think now I can say that I have an equal love for both forms of entertainment. In fact, when I'm in a drama-slump, I settle in with some nice oldies (that I'm forever catching up on) and they pretty much make everything okay again :) I'm still rather inexperienced in terms of the amount of shows I follow though. But I've had a taste of few, addiction to some, and an undying love for just one.

What makes Korean variety really work, in my opinion, is the (usually) prevalent comedy. They are aware of the need to be funny, to differentiate variety style from documentary style, which is so gratifying with all the reality tv crap that has invaded Western television. Honestly, I could rant and rage about reality tv for several posts >_< but not today. Today I'll keep it light and happy!

So there are a few shows I'm currently (tentatively) following: Running Man, of course, Barefoot Friends and (I'm desperately trying to find links for) Grandpas over Flowers. I wouldn't class any of these as addictive just yet... although Running Man certainly dips into addictive territory occasionally (especially these past two weeks with Park Ji Sung's return) and the cast of Barefoot Friends has so much potential it makes me cry and mad at the production crew for being so baaad at their jobs. But this post wasn't meant to be about those shows in the first place... although it gives me an idea for a future post maybe haha. So onto my variety crushes. The major crushes, are people that first brought me over to the dark funny side of Korean variety. Whom I love and adore and will always be willing to give any show a blind chance for their sake!

Kang Ho Dong

Love him <3 First came across Kang Ho Dong with my introduction to 1 Night 2 Days (first season) and although it took awhile, I soon jumped on the Kang Ho Dong fanwaggon^^ What I love about Kang Ho Dong (and that original cast of 1N2D in general) is his humility and willingness to sacrifice 'image' to make people laugh. He's transparent in that way... the bumbling uncoolness is exactly what makes him super cool. You get the feeling that what you see on tv is everything that he can give, which is really touching and you can't help but love him. And I love his old-style MCing ahah. Despite he's somewhat errm, unsophisticated (?) image, I think Kang Ho Dong is also extremely clever at drawing people in and shining the spotlight on them. In other words, he's a brilliant MC and a brilliant comedian. I'm glad he's back and will always respect and love him. Also, he's so cuuute!

Lee Seung Gi
 Seungiyaaaaaaa <3 Haha and who better compliments Kang Ho Dong than our gorgeous, talented, smart heodang Lee Seung Gi. They were definitely the heart and soul of Strong Heart (which is probably why that show just couldn't hold up to it's former self after the two left..) Okay, so I started watching 1N2D as a Seungi fan and obviously stayed a fan haha. I think Seungi's just a natural in variety. He talks smooth and he's got natural charm which has been enhanced and nurtured with Kang Ho Dong's mentoring. For example, you can see the vein of humility and funny>image that runs in Seungi when it comes to variety now that hardly existed at the start of his time on 1N2D. (In fact, I think it runs in all the 1N2D boys and I credit that partly to the old show's structure itself and mostly to Kang Ho Dong.) I personally think Seungi's at his best (after singing) at variety. I hope we get to see our bromance couple reunite, or even just Emperor/Heodang Lee Seungi's return (I'll take whatever I can get!) soon. 

Eun Ji Won

Eun Cho Ding! This guy is just hard not to like, I tell you. Because he comes with a straightforward, from the get-go confident rejection of hiding behind his 'image'. Just like the rest of our old 1N2D boys Eun Ji Won is wonderful because of his honesty and transparency on screen, but unlike the others, who developed that over time and with some struggles, Eun Ji Won was always honest from the beginning. Perhaps a little too honest, haha. But a very refreshing character, nevertheless. It's funny, but if Eun Ji Won gives an opinion/states a fact, I will almost always believe it. For example, the stupid diving special on Barefoot Friends at the moment. When Ji Won said it scared him, I believed him. And yet still, I loved that he cut the crap and just dove off the stupid board unlike the others _._ I mean, of course I understand and sympathise with their fears. But talking about how diving scares you shitless and how you feel after might be okay once but is absolutely BORING for three freaking episodes counting. I mean, seriously. Kang Ho Dong + Eun Ji Won is a winning combo, and I'm really hoping Eun Ji Won can pump some life back into that show. Because it's sooo polite. Which is boring. Everyone (except Hodong) cares too much about how they look... it's just too self conscious and safe. They're all too "professional". Which was why Lee Hyo Ri's episodes kind of rocked because she brought some life, some resistance into the team.
Sorry, I'm rambling. Eun Ji Won is, in a nutshell, Kid Genius. He's different, unpredictable and always freshens up whatever show he's on so I'm really hoping this is the start of good things to come on Barefoot Friends because it would be a shame if that show sucked out the life from yet another variety gem.

MC Mong 
I miss him soo much ㅠ.ㅠ
Another member of my all time favourite 1N2D cast, MC Mong, has -it seems- left the k-entertainment sphere forever. Which is really sad because he was a fantastic singer/performer and simply made for variety!
But I think, MC Mong shone most in combination rather than solo... I dunno, that may be just because I've never seen him go solo (in variety) and the few times I've seen him on Strong Heart just don't compare to his usual awesome self on 1N2D. Winning MC Mong combinations? Eun Ji Won, Lee Seun Gi, Lee Su Geun and HaHa (they're supposedly best frenemies, but I haven't seen them together although it was cute when they would jokingly mention each other on separate shows.) Anyway, I love MC Mong for his earnestness, hardworking nature and transparency (sorry if I sound like I'm repeating myself but I pretty much adore all my old 1N2D boys and I guess it's kind of obvious that they're going to be some common factors there.)

Lee Chun Hee
Chunderellaaaaaaaa! Aw how can anyone not love the cute, bumbling, earnest Lee Chun Hee <3 I still haven't been able to watch the whole of Lee Chun Hee and Park Ye Jin's last episode on Family Outing! Again, what rocks about Chun Hee is his transparency and prone to variety persona haha. I guess he's lucky in that way because he doesn't have to try hard for body gags or to be funny. Variety just comes to him! I miss him, but I guess Chun Hee like MC Mong belong to a bygone age of variety..

The epitome of Gary expressions <3 Aww my favourite member on Running Man. Yet another one of those lucky few who don't have to try too hard in Variety. Or maybe it is because he doesn't try too hard that he's so popular and loved? Of course, a lot of that love probably comes from his Monday Couple role (for those of you wondering, Song Ji Hyo is totally one of my variety crushes too! But I've already talked about her here.) But I like Gary's quiet, occasional funny and sweetness just by itself too. Especially with Ji Hyo, but in general too. He's just such a sweet guy with a new, decidedly his, variety persona.

This ended up being a rather long post, so I've decided to cut it into two. Part 2 will feature my minor crushes (whom I also love and respect, just not maybe adore  like I do the above) and new finds/ potential variety gems. I might also take a look at some of the newer variety shows airing and (possibly) do a comparison to my favourite oldies from the past decade! This all depends on time and if I can be bothered though, but will definitely put up Variety Crushes, Part 2 soon. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Queen of the Classroom (jdorama)

I checked out this drama as a result of starting on the Korean adaptation and being curious about the original. This also marks my first ever complete jdorama! (And what do you know, I'm thinking of taking  up Japanese as soon as I've solidified my Korean haha.) But besides that, Queen of the Classroom is a relatively old jdorama having aired way back in 2005. I guess that's one of the first things you notice in terms of visual quality, technology, fashion etc etc. But I think the story itself is nevertheless compelling and sweet in its own right. However, it's not without it's issues... but I'll start off with what I really liked about this drama.

See, the thing is, I'm a huge sucker for a good underdog/youth drama and that is essentially what this is. Add in an interesting and challenging undercurrent of social commentary and yep, I'm just about sold. The driving force of this drama is it's protagonist and antagonist heroines. Kanda Kazumi, a cheery, friendly and sympathetic sixth grader vs. the stone-faced and stately teacher Akutsu Maya. [Be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD.]

Friday, June 14, 2013

Current K-Watch (June)

I've been lagging slightly despite my previous long to-watch list because of exams and a general lack of chemistry with the dramas I was watching. Checked out the first episode of Gu Family Book and it didn't really get me. Unfortunately it didn't have Lee Seungi to draw me in for superficial reasons either so.. yeah. but I've decided to give it a second chance and it will be on my marathon list to watch on the flight to Korea^^ All about my romance didn't work for me either. Maybe I'll give that a second chance too now that I've got some time.

But I guess the drama gods have heard of my current idleness because they've sent their gifts! Haha.. So here's a quick update on my latest crack.

I Hear Your Voice

Totally adore this drama. Was hooked from the very first episode. It's got everything - solid story, solid directing and solid acting. I love the tenacious relationships which carry this drama. The mother-daughter (which had me in tears in the first two episodes), the colleague-colleague and hoobae-sunbae, the tension between childhood frenemies and of course the noona-dongsaeng. None of these are necessarily romantic (yet) but just like School 2013 the general rapport and growing affection between our heroine and Soo Ha is so touching and satisfying to watch. I lovvvvve our heroine! She's just such a wonderfully complicated and humane character, whom we grow and learn with. Special mention to Kim So Hyun (who played the young Jang Hye Sung) for making me weep like a baby.
 And Lee Bo Young has matched her character perfectly. I swear there were times when I was struck by the resemblance between them, not just physically but in character and tone. I don't think I'll ever get tired of Lee Jong Seok as an angsting highschooler haha. In short, this drama has plenty of things going for it and is keeping me on my toes. It's fast paced, smooth, funny, touching and has a current of finely balanced tension running through it. Keep it up show :)

Dating Agency: Cyrano

Okay, so initially I was super excited for the next edition of TvN's 'Floweboy Series', their former dramas being so hearty and satisfying (Flowerboy Ramyun shop, Shut Up Flowerboy Band, Flowerboy Nextdoor). And even though I thought it was a leetle bit too dragged out, I really liked the movie version Cyrano Dating Agency, starring Uhm Tae Woong, Daniel Choi and Park Shin Hye for its quirky off-beat comedy.
 But I was rather disappointed by the pilot episodes of this show and was thinking of dropping it. But thankfully, I decided to give it a chance and having seen episodes 3 and 4, I am once again feeling quite optimistic (yay!) I think Episode 3, with the start of the Cyrano team's second project (in the show) is when we start getting some goodstuff. Because the flashbacks and reflective moments hinting at depth and story are worked in beautifully with more superfluous comic elements. I'm already curious about our hero's past and what role Master (which is just such an awkward name to start with but on Lee Chun Hee just seems absuuuurd -.-) plays in this show. I like his mysterious, slightly menacing persona, it puts a fresh kind of second-lead in the mix. I'm glad he's not just there to pine away after the girl. Having said that though, I just wish I could get the image of Chunderella out of my head because it is so hard to take Lee Chun Hee's character seriously (on top of being called Master) because it totally clashes with the clumsy, naive image he has in the world of Variety. But Lee Chun Hee's still a pretty good actor so I think I'll be able to buy it with a few more episodes. All in all, Episode 3 was a massive improvement on the first week (I know I'm behind but I'll probably catch up pretty soon) because it's beyond me to resist a good feisty highschool romance for long!

[I'm uptodate now and this drama just stepped up a notch into addictive territory! yay!!!]

The Queen's Classroom

As I just said, far be it from me to miss out on some highschool drama so why not elementary school too? Haha checked out the first episode of this show, and I liked it. Our heroine is super cute but also a capable actor so I'm already rooting for her. Plus I love a good underdog story, especially when she's the underdog due to crappy circumstances. The other child characters are quite interesting too and of course Go Hyun Jung's 'witch' teacher is something to reckon with. Haven't seen the Japanese original, so I really have no idea what to expect. (Planning on checking that out too though... so maybe I'll do a comparison later.) I can't decide if she really is evil or... well at this point she seems plain evil, but we'll have to wait and see how it pans out I guess  Go Hyun Joong's doing quite the poker-face and although it seems a bit bland I'll buy it for now. At least the music and directing does a good job of setting her up to be the 'witch/queen'. Also super curious about the Principal (played by the wonderful Yoon Yeo Jung who already has my interest!) For now, I'm liking the hints of magic/mystery with the overall heartwarming cuteness so yup, I'm in!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Korean Journey (First Check in)

Okay, so I'm not sure if I've actually mentioned it before, but I'm a student of Korean. Yes, I suppose it is somewhat predictable considering my major love of all things kdrama and variety. But actually, over the years, my once obsession has now matured into a healthy and rewarding interest. It's branched out in ways I couldn't imagine.. Five years ago I wouldn't have seen myself contemplating a BA in Korean! Nor could I have imagined that I'd be looking forward to job prospects in Korea. But what would life be without its twists and surprises? I'm quite proud of what I've achieved so far and I've been quietly studying Korean for about 3 years now.

It started with self-learning. I obviously watch A LOT of Kdrama and so my ears have slowly naturally tuned into Korean. Not only did I find the language and the cultural/social idiosyncrasies that go with it fascinating, but I think I was initially drawn by the challenge. I mean it was so out there for me to be learning Korean. Although I am technically Asian, I don't really look Asian at all! And...I guess people, especially my family, are kind of surprised/amused by my love for Korean/Korea. After self-teaching myself 한글 (the Korean alphabet which is incredibly easy to learn!) and proceeding from there to teach myself to read + basic words, greetings etc. I finally decided to take Korean as a language unit at University. I have to say, my Korean improved immensely over that time - Grammar does work wonders! But really, its purpose is now much bigger than watching dramas without subs (which wasn't the only reason but might have been the biggest for why I originally started, I admit haha). I've found my calling in Asian literature, entertainment and theatre and sincerely hope (actually, I'm determined) that that is where I'm heading towards in terms of future/career.

Okay, enough rambling. The reason why I'm finally revealing this on here is because I'm about to reach my first significant milestone in my Korean Language Learning journey. I'm finally heading to Korea to study as part of a Student-exchange program! Just found out today, so starting tomorrow going to start a serious study/revision regime because I really want to get into a high intermediate/advanced language class when I get there. I'd rather work harder and reap the benefits of being able to complete units in Korean if I can or at least aiming towards that, than slack off now and then get stuck learning things I've already covered just because I bombed the placement test -.-

Anyway, I'm suuuuper excitedddd because this is really a 'bend' in my life :) So I thought I'd mark the occasion with a little retrospection. It'll be interesting to comeback to this in a year or so's time (or whenever I feel is the next big turning point) and see how far I have come. Basically, it'll be a bunch of questions which I will keep answering and let's see if/how the answers change over time!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Celebrity Girlcrushes

So lately I came across the term 'girlcrush' which made me wonder about the women I admire and adore in my life. Of course, there are many women whom I know in person who fall or have fallen at some point in time into this category. But the term crush has that innocence of liking from afar and I suppose sometimes it is your own ideals projected onto another person, rather than the actual person themselves, that you fall in love with. I mean I don't know these celebrities personally (I wish haha) but there is something very genuine about the image the present to the world. They aren't the most out-there personalities either... but maybe that's what I admire so much about them. In a world obsessed with publicizing private selves its nice to see that some famous people seriously care about the role models they are being for young girls. Anyway, here are some of my major celebrity girl crushes with pretty pictures of them!

 Emma Watson

She's adorable and such a stunning role model. I grew up with Hermoine Granger so Emma Watson will always have a special place in my heart. But apart from the legendary Hermoine, I think Emma's just beautiful, talented and intelligent. I really liked her in The Perks of Being a Wallflower too, so I have a feeling we can expect wonderful things from her!


She's just so beautiful! And presents herself with such grace, elegance, confidence and humility. Just like Emma my crush on Beyonce has grown with growing up with her music. But really what has always struck me about Beyonce is not so much the Sasha Fierce (which don't get me wrong totally rocks too!) but the queenliness that just enshrouds her and that friendly, kind expression in her eyes.

J.K. Rowling

She is so awesomeeeeeeee! Arrhghguhdghjg J.K. Rowling is just so inspirational and I love how she makes me fall in love with the world of her imagination. I owe her for so many thrills and rainy days cuddling under my blankets to be transported to that wonderful world of Harry Potter. She is just legend and someday I hope I can give my readers half the thrills she has given me :)

Song Ji Hyo

Aw I love her. Badass Miss 멍 is one of my ultimate favourites on popular Korean variety show Running Man. (I will shortly do a post on Korean Variety Crushes, it's sitting in my drafts at this very moment!) But what I admire about Song Ji Hyo is not just her variety personality but also her straightforwardness and belief in herself. She is bold, kind, confident but also so casually cool without trying. I couldn't believe it when I found out she was Min Hyo Rin in Goong! I do think though that Song Ji Hyo shines more in variety than she does in drama. But I acknowledge her dedication and  commitment to her work, salute her and truly thank her for all the good laughs and giggles she has given me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Return of Mathematics

So I thought with foolish glee, at the end of my Year 12 exams, that I'd written off Maths forever. Maths was  my frenemy in highschool. I didn't hate it, nor was I dismally bad at it. But I wasn't as good at it as I wished I was, so I didn't like it. Plus, I guess I've always had my bias towards Arts. Cheers to making things up, thinking on the spot and twisting arguments to suit your ass! That's what I'm good at. Logic, not so what I always thought and maintained.

And yet now the time has come to spit out my bias and reconstruct old impressions. Because as of today, I will be teaching Mathematics. Yes me. That girl whose grid book was at least 40% blank in between and who began studying for her Year 12 Maths exams at four o'clock on the morning of her nine o'clock exam! I guess, this is life teaching me a lesson haha. But I'm going to take it in good nature. I'm actually determined to befriend my friend the enemy this time and you know what, I think I'll actually learn more tutoring than I did while studying it for myself at school.

Now that I think about it, Mathematics has its own cheeky charm. Its not quite as serious or dreary as Science (sounds to me, again I'm biased obviously). And I guess, really, if you had enough time, Maths would very much be thinking on the spot as well! Its a subject that tests your intelligence, more so than your memory I guess (unless you memorise every sum in the book! But even then, you're going to find new questions.) I think I've always secretly liked maths because of that dashing unpredictability and the scary but comforting thought that Maths will not judge you based only on how much you have "studied". In any case, I'm looking forward to the challenge with the same enthusiasm one gets when preparing to meet an old rival. Who knows...perhaps I'll find a kindred spirit in Maths after all!

Monday, May 27, 2013

O is for Objectivity...but apparently not in the Media

So a few days ago a very popular morning show on Australian television ran a segment so titled - 'The Immunisation Debate'. This is quite a hot topic over here at the moment and having heard quite solid arguments from both sides (in person, not via media) in the past and not having quite made up my mind on where I stand, I was eager to see this. I was hoping for a nice evenly debated, civil and objective overview of the problem. But I guess that was too much to ask. What I saw rather disgusted me. Not only was it void of any actual, substantial evidence; just a 'my opinion is better than yours because I'm right and your wrong', but it also lacked an objective third party to sum up the debate.

Now, I'm not saying that everyone that works in the media is not entitled to an opinion or to voice it. But in this instance we already had two extreme sides pitted against each other and as a viewer, I would have appreciated it if the third party presiding over the debate had stayed neutral. Not attacked one side, demanding credentials and directing hyperbolic questions such as, "So you're saying everyone is wrong?" in in a pompous, accusatory tone. Er, newsflash the majority isn't always right you know. There have been cases in history when a majority view, usually controlled by a dominant 'authority' figure has turned out horribly wrong. Honestly, more than the points made in the debate (I hardly remember them which just goes to show what a joke of a debate that was) I was appalled by the minority bashing attitude shown.

It wouldn't have been so much of a problem if the program had been transparent about it. If its goal were to argue a particular point of view (although I would still laugh at its credibility if that was how they went about doing it) at least I would have understood and dismissed it less angrily. But this is what makes me MAD. The fact that this whole 'debate' was presented under the illusion of objectivity. Presenting both sides of the argument my ass! That was a prime example of big powerful "educated" people ganging up on a smaller person who just happened to have an opinion and then claiming to be giving us an unbiased overview. It's the same kind of attitude that scientists opposing global warming say their arguments were met with initially, but I suppose in their case being equally 'qualified scientists' meant they could have an opinion. Not having a degree doesn't make you unintelligent. Just like a piece of paper does not make you intelligent. Education is a wonderful thing, but utterly backward and dangerous if it does not let people see both sides of an argument and be open minded.

I was even more disturbed when I saw the kind of overprotective/defensive comments the show had incited on online forums. However, while I don't expect much more of  Facebook forums, I did expect more from the media. Our media may not be censored within an inch of its life (like some other countries) but it evidently has a long way to go towards objectivity. Let me be clear, I'm yet to make up my mind about the immunisation debate itself (no thanks to debates on TV). What angered me was the Media's shit efforts at being 'objective' and even shittier treatment of a minority opinion ON NATIONAL TV. Hah, it might have  even had the opposite effect on me in that now I feel inclined to support the underdog. But as my LOD puts it,

considering the facts about something without being influenced by personal feelings or opinions.

And unlike the media, I think I can be better than that.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Unemployment+Writer's Block= Deadly

I haven't written in ages. Both on here and in other creative ventures and that compiled with a long relentless drought of unemployment has left my optimism old and shriveled and sickly. I've tried my hand at so many different fields and I'm actually a fairly capable and hard worker so I really don't understand why my resume is like the black hole of employment at the moment.

At first, I told myself that this was a clear sign that I needed to get on and do what I've always felt I was put on this earth to do - write. So I started and for a few months it was going really well. I even got through a few chapters and I had the plot elaborately drawn out in my head. I was writing everyday and I felt good. But then Uni came along and sadly, I couldn't keep up the momentum. And now I just can't seem to get back! I can't even revisit what I'd previously written because I get strangely distracted and restless and jumpy and arghhh I don't know what's wrong with me.

But, seriously. Unemployment sucks big time. Like I understand now why people will go to work, even if they hate their job.. (kind of). I guess we're just programmed that way that we want to make a contribution to society. No matter how minute or useless or harmful, we crave to be acknowledged for our sweat and two cents. Anyway, hoping to be announcing some exciting news shortly... and that exciting news will hopefully be the start of a renewed flow of posting and activity in the blogsphere. Meanwhile, all I can do is be a Pollyanna and keep tracing out that silver lining in my grey cloud for now. Lucky I like rain to begin with I guess. And at least I am blessed enough that I won't starve to death although I do feel rather guilty to be living on my parents money right now :(

This guy on the morning news today was complaining about leech-youngsters these days and that just made me feel doubly guilty. I know my parents don't mind at all, but I can no longer freely request my wants of them. I desperately want to be independent...and sometimes I feel angry and frustrated at the fact that all my friends have slipped into the job circuit and here I am struggling to get a casual job! I don't have a very good track record of being employed either. My previous employers either underpaid me, didn't pay me at all or took a bloody long time to get around to it that really had I taken that to court I would have made millions (okay, maybe that's slightly exaggerated but you get the point.) I hate being like this. But I suppose we all go through a slump in life and because I never did see myself working the 9-5, I do think that good, unique and new things await. So no, I will not give into depression. Society will have my contribution to it and be damned if they don't know what to do with it!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Current K-watch (April 2013)

April is my month. It's the month I wait longingly for at the dawn of every year so it is quite fitting that I should find a treasure that truly stands above the rest this month. Cruel Palace: War of the Flowers has enraptured me with its beauty, cleverness and elegance with which the story holds itself.
One of my favourite scenes <3 (which might not be saying much since there are actually so many  in this drama haha)

You know when a drama's so good, it's hard to find the words that do it justice? That's the reason why this post has been sitting in my drafts for awhile. So I think I'll keep this brief, not because it doesn't deserve more but because I'm sure its grandeur will surely speak for itself when you watch it.

The Opening Sequence! O.M.G. Absolutely beautiful. Something I've noticed about this director/writer team is that they really know how to work silences. So often writers feel the need to explain every thought, feeling and need in words. Not realising just how much the gaps speak for themselves. The silent looks, the amplified breathing, the drawn out silences, they all hold so much meaning. And it's a real treat to come across a drama that flaunts its silences and embraces the mystery of love, anger and pride (without forcing them into definition by words.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Current K-watch (Feb/Mar 2013)

February is (already!) dwindling away into March and of course, that means we are in the thick of our Feb/March pack of kdramas. I have to admit, I'm not much impressed with anything that's on at the moment. I've found refuge in K-variety for the moment because, honestly, the current k-watch is turning out to be somewhat disappointing. Anyway... here's what's running through my screen at the moment.

That Winter, the wind blows

I can't say I was expecting to be hooked going into this drama. I haven't seen Song Hye Gyo in anything but Full House (which I didn't finish and in which her character was insufferable so that's probably why I was never much of a fan) but I decided to give this a watch for Noh Hee Kyung (the writer). And... I'm not really impressed. The story seems to be on this side of predictable, the directing feels like a rehash of Nice Guy (I blame the soundtrack) and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, the fact that Nice Guy was a pretty recent drama doesn't help. There are the few odd moments and I have to say, the best thing going for this drama at this point may be Song Hye Gyo. I feel like I want to watch this drama, in the same way you want to read Tolstoy or Tolkien... but if that addictive factor is missing.. it just may end up being pushed to oblivion on a waiting list.

Incarnation of Money

Oh IOM. I nearly loved you. I was just settling into your quirks and wonderful set up when you came along with the blatantly stereotypical, cringe-worthily offensive comedy and ruined it. And really, comedy was not what I was expecting this team to get wrong. I loved History of a Salaryman and I love Kang Ji Hwan so I was all out looking forward to this one. The pilot episode wasn't the most gripping... but Park Ji bin came out with a solidly convincing portrayal of young Kang Seok and with that deliciously ironic set up at the end of episode 3, I was hooked! But THEN! Episode 4. I mean seriously, wtf with the insensitive and totally elementary level fat jokes. Not once, did I laugh. I mean I wasn't sold with the young Jae In stuffing her face every 4 minutes but that was WAY less offensive than seeing how they made her character out to be some forever-gobbling monster!

Okay, let me just say this. Fat suits have always disgusted me. They do not look realistic in the least, making the character in them seem phony by association. What I've always hated most about them is the hands. The hands on these suits look like they've been injected with multiple shots of silicone by a blind plastic surgeon! I mean seriously, no one has fingers or palms so bloated. It's not only unrealistic but the fact that the drama focuses on her hands and so cruelly sacrifices the character's appearance for laughs is horrifying and really really disappointing.

And to be honest, neither Kang Ji Hwan or Hwang Jung Eum are reeling me in right now. After the wonderfully nuanced performance from Park Ji Bin, Kang Ji Hwan comes across rather strained and overacted. So does Hwang Jung Eum, though I blame much of that on the character construction and writing/directing than acting. I really liked this drama, so I'm going to try look past the fatastrophe and keep watching. Hopefully, the clear up this fat suit nonsense quickly so we can get to the real comedy and the tap into the potential promised by the premise and early episodes.