Fall in Love With You Again / 转身说爱你

Fall in Love With You Again / 转身说爱你

While sitting at the airport, I’ve finally gotten some time to write about this drama. After watching about six episodes, I can conclude that this drama is not bad, but nothing to write home about either. What it is, is a good filler of a drama if you are waiting to watch another one. The story is about Ming Yu, who has a unhappy home life since she got married early to a man who is very nice and laid-back, but with not career aspirations. Their family is not broke, but their finances are not great either especially with Chen Yi, the husband, who keeps on lending money to friends. Ming Yu, at age 36, is that nagging wife with a kid, who wishes that her husband will stop trying to fix his boat and man up for the family.

One day, she gets into a car accident and is thrown back in time, only 14 years though, but looks like she is trying for Bu Bu Jing Xin Part 3. In her younger body, she is able to try and turn her life around. Instead of marrying for love, she vows to be a self-made women by entering a advertising company. She meets Qu Hao, a second generation chaebol who doesn’t care for the family business and has his own ideas. He hires her and begins to admire her work ethic and ideas. With a ahjumma mind and heart inside a young body, she makes an interesting paradox of a women. She has knowledge of the future, and tries to change the destiny and paths of events in the past. While her career is starting to soar, her new decisions have caused others around her to change as well.

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Heard It Through the Grapevine / Heard It As A Rumor

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Not my usual drama fare, I must say. Listed as a black-comedy, I am not quite sure what to expect…maybe perhaps something along the lines of New Tales of Gisaeng? The drama focuses on four main characters, Han Jeong Ho and Choi Yeon Hee, who are the husband and wife of a extremely prestigious family whose life is turned upside down because their son, In Sang, in a night of passion, makes a baby with his girlfriend, Seo Bom, who is from an ordinary family. The first episode gives us a look at In Sang and Seo Bom’s young adult love made possible at a study camp. Their young love is very endearing to watching and really reflects the passion, yet still awkwardness of individuals at that age. From that one night, Seo Bom’s life is changed forever as she dropped out of high school to keep the baby even though she was going to stop seeing him only to just study for college entrance exams. Meanwhile, In Sang, is constantly pressured by his family expectations to do well in studies and take the civil service exam. In Sang, without knowing she was pregnant, did not have contact with her until one fateful day where he finally found her location. After a moment of cowardliness at the Han River where both played a moment of drama by wading into the lake, it was time for D-Day at In Sang’s house. The two nervously and abashedly tell their story to the parents who are furious. The father is especially angry and the mother is emotionally distraught. In Sang and Seo Bom end up birthing the baby at his home! I give so much props to In Sang for staying with Seo Bom during the birth. Not a lot of fathers can endure watching this process, and just this shows the hidden steel in him, even though he is blubbering fool with a weak spine right now in front of his parents. His parents coldly decide to break this new family apart by separating them. The baby with a professional nanny, Seo Bom locked in the guest bedroom, and In Sang locked in a study room away from the house. As father said, “divide and conquer.”

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Fan-made Parody Videos Better Than the Original!

Recently, I have seen these videos circulating amongst the Hyde, Jekyll, and Me as well as Kill Me Heal Me fanbases! They are fan-made parodies of Jeon Ji Hyun’s CF for lipstick redone by Ji Sung or AKA YoNa. And we also have 50 Shades of Grey, Seo Jin style with HaNa. They are really well made and hey, I would definitely buy those products and watch that movie !

A Final Word on Lady and Liar (千金女贼)

This is the first time I watched such a long drama, 46 episodes, without skipping over anything! With marathoning it at 6-7eps per session, I finished it in record time. I very much enjoyed the drama which is set in my favorite era.

Plot: Overall, I definitely enjoyed the rollercoaster of a story that Lady and Liar rode. Misunderstandings were definitely used to the max in they story where Jiang Xin blames Bai Lang for nothing and everything. While it did get annoying at times even just to move the story along with so many misunderstandings in place, the drama manages to smooth it out at the end. Our loose ends are all tied up with inheritances returned to the right families, truths that all come out, and our half-baddie characters receiving moral redemption. As much as I liked the rest the drama, I must admit the ending was a dud for me even though it was a happy one like I had wished. Bai Lang survived his suicidal mission with some last minute sacrifices and had a tearful reunion with his wifie and a shot into the future with his daughter. But, in a way, it lacked all feeling as the moments before his supposed death was more emotion-wrought. However, I’m not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth, and I’ll take it. However, I feel like the version I watched online had a lot of scenes cut as I see in some flashbacks, things I haven’t watched. And at times, some relationship depths don’t make as much sense. I wonder if I can find an uncut version somewhere.

Characterizations: Bai Lang is your white knight in shining armor in all the ways you can imagine. Literally, a self-sacrificing gentlemen to the max. One of his quotes perfectly describes him, “can’t right one wrong, even if he tries a hundred times”. While he did make the huge mistake of keeping Jiang Xing in her amnesiac state, I believe throughout the drama, he has done more than enough to atone for his sins. He has helped her in every turn and never brags about it, but does it quietly and not letting her know that he had helped. He has saved the damsel in distress about a billion times. To me, he is the reason I watched this drama. As for Jiang Xing, I liked her more in the beginning than in the middle or end. While she was spunky as a magician, her constant misunderstanding and little temper tantrums got real old even though Bai Lang was tolerating her because he loved her too much. Thank God, he was harsh to her near the middle and end to get her to grow up and be more independent. As for Xiao Han, she was delightfully hateful as Fake Jiang Xin and pitiful at the end. While I enjoyed hating her for all her bad choices as she killed off so many people, I felt sorry for her circumstances that led her to this lifestyle. We got to see a quick redemption arc for her as she realized her wrongs. For Shen Shao, the second male lead, I don’t hate him, but nor do I like him. For me, he was just there, a crutch for Jiang Xin and I had wanted to see more his past relationship with her. As for the rest of the supporting cast, I enjoyed their background stories, especially those of Bai House.

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Blood

Blood

So I decided to take a quick peek at Blood, like watched 3/4 of Episode 1 and skimmed episode 2. That is all I could stomach so far. Coming from the same writer, Park Jae-Bum, who wrote the fantastic Good Doctor drama….I can’t believe he wrote this tripe. I didn’t know if I was watching a continuation of the Twilight series, Korean style, in episode 1. Really, we got giant werewolves, some Volturi-looking vamps in hoods, some forest running, teenage angst, pure-bred blood lines all smooshed into one Twilight summary episode. Then we suddenly change the channel to Doctor Stranger, the sequel, but without the decent actors and dumbed down. In strolls, Ji-Sang, genius noble vampire doctor who wants to save lives, but must control his bloodlust. He also likes to push out bullets form his body like Wolverine from X-Men. He meets Ri-Ta, heiress doctor to the hospital (chaebol doctor?), who seems quite arrogant and develops a rivalry to Ji-Sang. But this will turn into an immortal luuuurve to transcend all epic romances, obviously. Then we have Jae-wook who is the chief surgeon …and also the resident baddie vampire who killed Ji-Sang’s parents and is also searching for pureblood Ji-Sang? Like I said….Twilight part. 50. While I’m not finding Jae-Hyeon too atrocious to watch, its clear to me he is NOT leading man material yet. I would say he jumped a little too far after My Love From Another Star. And can we do a little less blood spraying and a little more goggle-mask wearing during surgery? Let’s please make things a little more realistic and have less chance of eye infections for our doctors, yeah? And for the love of God, Gu Hye-Sun, you are just as bad as I remembered from BOF, if not worse. I am so disappointed after hearing you had improved a lot in Angel Eyes. This is you taking 5 steps back. No, actually, there is something new besides your too frozen face, literally why are only your lips are moving? And please put back those eyes in your eye sockets! You also seemed to have developed a weird head tilt. You must have a cramp after filming each episode! Even my neck hurts from watching yours!

PS. This is one of the harshest reviews I’ve written, so I have prepared water for flames!

The Wife’s Secret (妻子的秘密)

The Wife’s Secret

Due to my recent Hawick Lau fascination, I decided to check out The Wife’s Secret, because come on, who isn’t swooning over his beautiful face and angsty expressions?  While the drama itself seems okay plot-wise and cinematically, I am not very impressed or interested after two episodes. Perhaps I should have watched two more episodes to see if the drama got more meatier? So far, it just leaves a bland taste in my mouth and a simmering hatred for the mother-in-law. The story is about Zhang Bai He and Li Ming Lang, heirs to huge corporations and about to get married, before a horrible tragedy befell the Zhang family. Due to an arson at the family company and a tragic car accident, Bai He lost her parents as well as her family fortunes. Ming Lang, faithful and thoughtful husband that he is feels a responsibility since he was driving the parents when they got into the crash. He puts all his efforts into supporting his almost-wife while his mother puts all her efforts into breaking them apart. The mother-in-law, now that Bai He lost everything, hopes to push Bai He out of the marriage since she believes the daughter-in-law will drag the family down. By moving Bai He into her house, she can now bully her at her own discretion when Ming Lang is at work. She takes the utmost pleasure in making Bai He suffer while Ming Lang’s brother plays two-face as well. So far, all that has developed for me is a healthy hatred and annoyance at Ming Lang’s mother. Her constant shouting and nagging is god-awful and so grating. She just never shuts up! I understand that she wants to protect the family fortune as they had been extremely poor before, but the way she goes about is so childish and shows her lack of compassion. Miss Second-Female is also up the scale in annoyance. Clingy and whynotme-plznoticeme always playing up the dramatics to attract Ming Lang. The problem for me right now other than the two two-facers is the lack of chemistry between Ming Lang and Bai He. Coming off of Lady and Liar, I just don’t feel the passion between the two. Perhaps the drama wants to focus on a more understanding type of relationship and how they work it out between husband and wife? It’s just not enough to catch my attention and I don’t feel the motivation to see if later episodes amp anything up. In fact, I think I will just get more annoyed at the mother-in-law’s antics. I think I like my makjang more dark and dysfunctional than the slew of chaebol-poor girl-mother-in-law tropes I see here. Plus, I heard the ending was a dud too….

C-dramas are definitely a hit or miss with me and this one is definitely a miss! But hey, it’s just my taste, perhaps you can find a silver lining that I missed? Sorry, but even Hawick Lau can’t make me sit through 54 episodes of this….though I didn’t get to see the second male lead yet, but he seems quite dapper in the posters.

PS. English subless and dubbing warning!

A Final Word on Healer

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Not very often do I find a perfect drama, but I must say Healer hits all the spots for me. Finding brilliant gems such as this drama is what keeps me watching Asian dramas!

Plot: Healer does a wonderful job using a tight plot. What was seen at the beginning of the drama with what seems like a simple courier job is eventually connected and part of the intricate overarching plot. Loose ends are tied up, birth secretes are solved, and generations of family are reacquainted.

Characterizations: Fleshing out characters is an important part of a drama and makes us feel connected to the material we are watching. Healer, himself, is very complex. His past sufferings made him who he was, but at the end, he rose above it. While starting out working alone, he learns how to work with others and reintegrate into society. He is the flawed hero that decides to work on his shortcomings. Chae Young Shin is the definition of spunky, not your usual Candy type, but endearing and earnest. It was a joy seeing her rise above her own past sufferings and bounce back. For our support actors, Moon Ho and Ahjumma, they are also very fleshed out with their pasts and their motivation for what they do now. Even minor characters are introduced well and given meaning to the drama.

Acting: The acting is definitely A++ with all characters. Since this is my first Ji Chang Wook drama and knowning he has not produced too many other ones yet, I am astounded at the expressiveness of his acting. Flipping between his two roles of Healer, Bong Soo, and Joon-Ho, you can see the clear differences between each, but also how each of those characterizations is still himself. Park Min Young is still as cute as ever and also a lovely actress. I have never had a problem with her acting and am glad that it is still shining through in this drama. Yoo Ji Tae, veteran actor, does a great job supporting his younger counterpart. His restrained anger and inner pain made a great contrast to Ji Chang Wook’s action first, talk later. Our group of older radio broadcasters did a great job connecting our younger generation with the convoluted past.

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Lady and the Liar (千金女贼)

千金女賊

Lady and the Liar

Instead of progressing on my job searching, what do I do but start a new drama? I remember maniac Ride anxiously awaiting this drama, and decided to have a go as I wait for Cruel Romance (the same time period/style but with Huang Xiao Ming)  Set in the 1920s’ era, one of my favorite time periods, the Lady and Liar is full of birth secrets, lies, and mystery. Jiang Xin, our main girl, makes her living as a magician with her father, but they live in poverty. However, we find out that she is adopted and that her true family is of high class and has been trying to find her the past few years. Jiang Xin, though poor, lives happily in the slums and is in love with a gentlemen from another high class family. However, that man used to be doctor before an accident made him blind. At her urging, he decides to travel to London to receive operation on his eyes. He tells her to wait for him to come back. Meanwhile, the White Wolf is our main male lead and is an astute businessman. However, he isn’t called the wolf for nothing as he is very calculating and constantly has people trying to kill him to take his place. After Jiang Xin saved his life during a magician act, he falls in love with her. Though he tries to press his suit with her, she rejects him totally and prefers to be with her blind gentlemen. After the White Wolf decides to let her go, Jiang Xin is found out by her true family. She had tried to sell a necklace that had her family token on it to get money for her dad’s sickness. Her true family then sends for her, but she gets into an accident on the train. A female thief that she knew before decides to “let her hand go” and steal her necklace while they were hanging from a cliff. The thief takes Jiang Xin’s place in the high class household while Jiang Xin gets amnesia from the accident trauma. Meanwhile, the White Wolf is also in town and finds out about Jiang Xin. He decides to keep Jiang Xin next to him and lies that they were deeply in love before.

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