Tag: Viu

On my current K-drama series playlist

K-drama series on Viu are my companion these days. I can now put a tick on Goblin: The Lonely and Great God. Done. The story reverberates with truly unique characters – the Goblin, of course, and, a departure from grim reapers of old, the uncannily handsome and domestic Grim Reaper – that are smoothly threaded in to the world of humans. Living among humans day after day meant that human vulnerabilities would gradually rub off on them, and it did. By opening themselves to the human experience, it made them a whole lot better in the end. Better deities. As for the humans…ah, well, love is a destiny.

As I’ve just gotten into watching K-drama, I don’t know many Korean actors, and deciding which series to watch next is based mainly on the actors from previously-watched dramas. The actor Lee Dong Wook was the reason I watched Goblin, because he was the actor of My Girl the first ever K-drama I saw and liked. So, after Goblin I decided to go for dramas in which the actor Kim Go Eun starred in. Hence, Cheese in the Trap.

The drama is a poignant portrayal of university life, youthful romance, and issues affecting young people such as family, mental health, and self-direction. There are also plenty of quotable quotes in there that especially convey what young people are going through:

Baek In Ho: Who studies on the subway? What do you want to become?

Seol:  I just want a job. I don’t want to be unemployed.

Baek In Ho:  What are you worried about? You’re a college student.

Seol:  That’s what I thought, too. When I was in high school I thought I could be anything when I went to college. Now that I’m in college there are many difficult questions. I envy those people the most (gestures toward a couple of men in business suits).

Baek In Ho:  What’s the envy? They look like corpses.

The close of the series brought to mind David Foster’s Just For A Moment (theme song from St. Elmo’s Fire) which floated in my head. I did shed a tear or two. Good news though! There’s a movie adaptation coming out this year! Plus there’s a webtoon of the series which it turns out is the original material.

Afterward, I decided to branch out to dramas of the actor Park Hae Jin, the male lead in Cheese, which led me to Doctor Stranger. I’m now currently watching Episode 9. Incredibly good so far. The story has most everything- spying (North and South Korea), geopolitics, professional rivalry, romance, that involve, well, doctors. But most especially the operating room scenes look very real!

In between, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m also watching Bride of Ha Baek (The Bride of the Water God) originally a manga series of the same title. I’ve seen the male lead Nam Joo Hyuk in Cheese in the Trap and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo that I watched in February. After the first three episodes, I already liked Bride of Ha Baek because Shin Se Kyung‘s female lead’s story arc is so relatable. She has lots of things going on in her personal life, meaning, she’s not as happy, which keeps her, she’s a psychiatrist, from being fully present with her clients until… the series is now on Episode 8. The queer identities that have suddenly popped up in her life are starting to show who or what they really are.

 

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Kdrama initiation

I’ve been exploring the new Viu app- it’s truly all Korean stuff. Kdrama, a dizzying array of it, as well as Klifestyle features. Nothing in the drama section was familiar to me. When you say Korean, I say Samsung because my gadgets are which is more a conscious effort on my part to buy from within the region. Kcosmetics I know as well, of course. Who’s the gal into make-up that doesn’t? And, oh, ESL, because they’re here mostly for that. And, don’t forget, Kfood- bibimbap, kimchi which are staples on my table. Come to think of it, I’m pretty K loaded!

My familiarity of Korean doesn’t extend to the country’s entertainment and creative industry though. But, wait. I did know F4 if that’s at all related. From when the band toured here and Filipinos went totally insane (I believe that’s about when the KPop wave also came to stay for good here). Me, I went gaga over Wonder Girls’ upbeat Nobody. I remember that I worked from our office library (nobody went in there to actually read) just so I could shut the door and wallow in the song in the background. One afternoon, the Director found me there. I thought he looked a bit jangled but also bemused. His image of me didn’t quite match with that me. And, yes, Gangnam Style by the artist Psy- for a while there, it rivalled the national anthem as the most played music during school programs here. Beyond these, I draw a blank.

In Viu, I tapped on a show at random just to see how it plays in the app. And, surprise, sutprise, I didn’t want to stop until after the final episode! Ha!

My Girl has a straightforward story line ie. it didn’t try to get more and more people and histories in in an attempt to make it sophisticated, which I like. The reason I can’t sustain my attention for TV drama is because unlike movies in which I’m able to know the beginning and end in one sitting, TV plots branch out into intricate sub-plots that could stretch into six years! I admire the imagination put into that but I simply don’t want to be entertained by the same thing that long. So anyway. Sixteen episodes of this refreshing fast-paced series went by like a breeze. I found out afterwards that the show was shown years ago- 2005. That long! I also had no inkling who the actors are only that they were right for their roles. I looked them up on the Net afterwards. I was impressed. Even blacks in the US are diggin’ into K artists! Also, the leading man who looked like a young Keanu had actually come to visit after his huge following here “petitioned” a media company to sponsor! I watched his appearance on Wowwowee- the reactions! I totally understand it though. I felt the same in my time when Menudo first toured Manila. The screaming and everything. Embarassing in retrospect but such is life. For fans. What I don’t get is paparazzi, attention to the point of making another person feel violated and fearful.

I’m sure there were plenty of reviews about the drama, and though much belated here’s mine in the form of what I’ve taken away from watching it:

  1. My girl may appear to refer to just Yoo Rin in relation to Gong Chan, but in totality, it’s also about the other girls around them- Syeo-hyun to Gong Chan, Gong Chan’s grandfather toward his granddaughter(s), Yoo Rin to Jung-woo, Gong Chan’s maiden aunt to Mr. Jang, Gong Chan’s assistant to Yoo Rin’s friend’s brother. While the story focuses on Yoo Rin’s and Gong Chan’s love story, several other love stories are happening close by. And if airports, snow, and view from the top are symbolic of the ties that bind Yoo Rin and Gong Chan, the others have their own too. These provide interesting depth and variety.

  2. True friends are worth more than any gold. Yoo Rin’s two friends stuck by her no matter what. It’s to them that she could be honest. Their friendship is her lifeline to a normal world. After them, Jung-woo is the first stranger who sees her despite her lies. Gong Chan who was not a friend at first had to go through a kind of purging in orde to see her and ironically become her most important friend.

  3. We grow to love those who we make memories with. And, it goes without saying that we cannot do this in absentia. Two years of memories were what Gong Chan and his girlfriend lost during the time she was away. And, before both are able to make up for lost time another equally irresistible being has already physically moved in and occupied a significant portion of that gap. It’s hard to fight that kind of advantage, as what Syeo-hyun learns in the end and accepts: I thought I lost to a girl named Yoo Rin but I actually lost to love. Same with Jung-woo who failing in a final bid to get to Yoo Rin admits, why can’t I see what’s in front of me? Heartbreaking both realizations, yes, but I guess that’s what it means by all’s fair in love– sometimes it’s really about who gets there at the right time first.

  4. Fifty Shades’ what is it with elevators? apparently wasn’t the first. But, joking aside, the drama’s many elevator scenes drove home the point that elevators are film-worthy sites on their own.

  5. Last but not least, the soundtracks. I love them! KPop has some similarity with Cambodia’s which I was introduced to by a shop owner in Phnom Penh from whom I bought my first mp3 player. They loaded it with their music, free of charge “because you’re Filipino”. Ah, that’s music to our ears!

The most awkward and amusing scene for me is when the girl, stealing oranges from Gong Chan’s orchard, is caught redhanded by the man himself, and before that, received payment from the same man after he drove right on and squashed some of the oranges that fell on the road. She had been selling the fruits as well as the jams she prepared from them. Homeless, she had been living in his vacation house she had broken into. She knew of the house from when Gong Chan hired her to interpret for his business partners who he took to his Jeju Island estate. There, she discovered that he has an orchard filled with ripe oranges that nobody seemed to care about. Imagine meeting your future spouse under bizarre circumstances! But there you go!