Girl Groups, Surprise Guests, and Drama News

Hey, it looks like Viki finally uploaded last week’s Lawless Lawyer episodes. I’ll be checking those out once they’re subtitled. If you’re waiting like me, here are some links for you to read instead.

The Park Geun-hye saga: “Top court affirms 3-year term for ex-president’s friend over school favors for her daughter.”

Korean Air scandals: “Korean Air family suspected of illegally hiring Filipino housekeepers,”“Customs officials raid Korean Air over alleged violation of FX laws,”and“Ministry fines Korean Air, Cho for ‘nut rage.'”

Investigations into the Lee Myung-bak government: “No draw needed to watch ex-President Lee’s trial.”

#MeToo: “6 in 10 female employees at judicial bodies experienced sexual violence: ministry,” “YouTube star says she was coerced to pose for pornographic photos,”“Police launch probe into alleged sexual harassment of famous YouTuber,”“Suzy supports sexually harassed YouTuber,”and“Selective justice? Koreans file petition after female suspect gets arrested for leaking nude photo.”

Gwangju Uprising: “Nearly 40 years after Gwangju Uprising, families of missing victims sign up for DNA registration,” “Moon commemorates May 18 Democratization Movement,” “Reenacting history on 38th anniversary of May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement of 1980,” “38 years later, nobody convicted for murder of civilians during Gwangju Massacre of 1980,” “Last Chance to Tell the Truth. Please Find the Person Responsible for the Shooting,” and “Remembering Gwangju.”

“Women gather in rain-soaked Gangnam in memory of murdered woman” and “Women in White Raincoats Gather at Gangnam Station in the Rain, ‘We’re Here to Change the World, Which Remains Misogynist.'” Around 2,000 people attended the protest.

“Why North Korean defectors learn English.” Statements from the defectors about why they’ve chosen to learn English.

“Reports of dating violence double this year: gender ministry.” Reports have more than doubled over the same period last year.

“We’re Speaking, Now Listen.” A compilation of stories/voices/comments from women who attended various rallies, demonstrations, events in South Korea lately about women’s rights, the #MeToo movement, etc.

“‘Deadpool 2’ star Reynolds serenades Korean audience.” Here, have something lighthearted after all the links I just threw you.

“Eighty years of girl group history : Exhibit celebrates the long tradition of female pop music in Korea.” This sounds like an awesome exhibit.

“‘Burning’ sets record high score at Cannes jury grid.” The film got the full four stars from all but two of the judges.

“Lee Yoo Young To Join Yoon Shi Yoon As Female Lead In New SBS Drama.” An age gap in the single digits! Will wonders never cease.

“Shin Hye Sun And Yang Se Jong Confirm Casting In Upcoming SBS Drama.” What the hell is this plot.

“Fantastic love story ‘About Time.'” Lee Seo-won was fired after after being charged with sexual harassment and threatening a female celebrity with a weapon. Good job, production folks.

“Running Man’s Song Ji Hyo to star in action thriller Enraged Bull.” Not the role I’d hoped for her when I heard “action thriller,” but hey, get all the monies.

“Seo Ji Hoon To Fight Yoon Hyun Min For Moon Chae Won’s Love In New Fantasy Drama.” Go for both of them, honestly.

4 Hopes for Lawless Lawyer

As of the moment I’m writing this, it’s still unclear if Viki will ever get around to posting the Lawless Lawyer episodes. They’ve got the license? Apparently? But haven’t even posted the raw videos, and everyone in the comments section on the page is baffled. So to pass the time until Viki gets its shit together, here are some of my hopes for the drama:

Jae-yi doesn’t end up being muted by the end of the show. We’ve seen it over and over in dramaland, where a heroine starts out spunky and feisty and maybe even—gasp—as aggressive as the hero, only for love to be a giant wet blanket on her personality and smother her spark. Can we not do it, just this once?

Sang-pil needs to be rescued by at some point (preferably more than once). The odds are stacked against me on this one, what with Sang-pil’s fighting skills and the odds on wet blanket-ing Jae-yi, but I would really like it if Sang-pil found himself in over his head and needed to be rescued. A million bonus points if it’s Jae-yi that does the saving.

Jae-yi and Sang-pil’s relationship feels like an actual partnership. Don’t just tell me that they value one another’s contributions—actually show them being a functional team in this whole taking down the bad guys plot. I’ll be forever angry if Jae-yi gets shoved to the side so Sang-pil doesn’t have to share the spotlight. And on a shallower note, if I can’t pretend they’re equals, the odds of me being okay with any romantic relationship between them will take a nosedive.

The show goes after the powerful and the wealthy, no matter their “side.” I have faith that there will be lots of social commentary on how the safe-to-hate bad guys are bribing/strong-arming their way out of justice, but I’m equally interested in seeing Jae-yi and Sang-pil go after the system that hands them get-out-of-jail free cards. Perhaps we’ll even get a bit of commentary on what pushed Sang-pil into his earlier gangster career and the ways society failed him back then. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Will you be watching the show? What are your hopes for it?

Two MBC Dramas This Week

MBC has an entirely new weeknight lineup for you. Will you be checking either of them out? I’ll confess that Come and Hug Me has my attention–I would very much like this setup if it were done as thoughtfully as Just Between Lovers. Hope springs eternal, right?

Investigation Couple
MBC
32 (mini) episodes
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com (as Partners for Justice)

Prosecutor Eun Sol uses her photographic memory to bring criminals to justice. While she is passionate about her job, her rookie status and occasional clumsiness sometimes get in her way. She teams up with Baek Bum, a 10-year veteran of the National Forensic Service, who has a reputation for being prickly and eccentric. Together, the two of them will do everything they can to track down a serial killer in the 8th Eastern District.

 

Come and Hug Me
MBC
32 (mini) episodes
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Han Jae-yi and Chae Do-jin were childhood friends and sweethearts, but their innocent relationship was torn apart when Do-jin’s father was revealed to be a serial killer and that Jae-yi was the daughter of one of his victims. Years later, the two of them are united. Do-jin has joined the police force in order to atone for his father’s evil, and Jae-yi has become a famous actress. Will they be able to find comfort and solace in one another as adults?

4 Hopes for Secret Mother

I know, I know, I just finished a show all about mothers (which actually included a secret mother!), but I’m a sucker for shows about ladies over the age of thirty, and it looks like we’ve got several here. Plus, you’ve got mysteries and probably murder, so I am definitely intrigued. Still not sure if I’ll be able to watch it (Edit: Between queuing this and this going up, it looks like it’s a Viki Pass Plus show, so that’s a no), but I’m going to talk about my hopes for it anyway.

The show goes all in on examining privilege. Give me some class commentary about all the advantages rich people have and rigged education systems and—if we do have murder—all the terrible things the privileged/powerful can get away with. I want sharp, scathing commentary about basically everything, okay?

Something interesting actually happened to Eun-young’s sister. I’m 80% certain the sister is dead because I’m a cynic, and if that’s true, I’d like it to be because of something interesting. None of this tired “had an affair with a rich dude and he murdered me when I became inconvenient” stuff, because that’s immensely boring. I want Eun-young to find a more interesting answer than that for her sister’s disappearance.

Something interesting actually happened to Yoon-jin’s daughter. She is dead according to the info I’ve seen about the show, so I’d like for there to be something unusual, unique, memorable about the truth behind her death. I’m tired of girls being treated as disposable portions of the narrative, so give me something worthwhile here. Give me suspicions that actually pay off.

Give me sismance. I just want two (or more) ladies teaming up to become an unstoppable force (for good or evil, I’m not picky). I got a lot of mother/daughter stuff in the last show—now I want friendships/rivalries/etc. between peers. Please?

Is Secret Mother on your watch list? What are your hopes for the show?

Childcare, Stalkers, and Drama News

This edition of the link roundup isn’t exactly going to restore any of your faith in humanity, but it has just been one of those weeks. In happier news, it looks like DF is going to start airing Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food at the end of the month, and so long as they’re available in my region, I’ll probably be checking out Secret Mother and Lawless Lawyer. We’ll see!

Korean air scandals: “A Special Response Team to Block the ‘Smuggling Route’ of Korean Air” and “Immigration officials raid Korean Air in connection with alleged illegal employment.”

Investigations into the Lee Myung-bak government: “Lee Myung-bak requests for first corruption trial to take place in his absence.”

Lifting the Sewol ferry: “Fallen Sewol set upright.”

“Why young Koreans refuse to marry.” Unsurprisingly, economic issues feature heavily.

“Childcare centers habitually reject children of immigrant mothers.” *snarls at these assholes*

“Feminism is Taboo in S. Korea’s Gaming Industry.” Can everything just be set on fire and then rebuilt?

“Government Cracks Down on Stalkers.” Now if only this sticks and is enforced…

“Over 9,000 victims suffered from past governments’ blacklists of artists.” Yikes, I hadn’t realized the number was that high.

“INFINITE’s Sungkyu to Join Army.” Come back safely!

“Ha Ji-won signs on for sci-fi reality series.” That description threw me, but it sounds interesting?

“Get ready for Something in the Rain (Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food) with these Son Ye Jin dramas.” IT IS FINALLY COMING TO DF, IT HAD BETTER BE AVAILABLE IN MY REGION.

“‘Secret Mother’ to draw attention on Korean education.” Now if only I’ll be able to watch it…

“Memories of Alhambra confirms Hyun Bin & Park Shin Hye casting.” …I’m not sure how I feel about this.

“Moon Chae Won Joins Cast Of Modern Fantasy Drama Starring Yoon Hyun Min.” I feel better about this one.

One Romance and Two Thrillers This Week

Will wonders never cease? I’m actually interested in all three of the new dramas airing this week, though my desire to watch them varies significantly. Honestly, if I pick any of these up, it will probably be determined by which of these I can get with my standard Viki Pass. Will you be checking out any of them?

Wok of Love
SBS
40 (mini) episodes
Monday/Tuesady
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Chef Seo Poong used to be at the top of Korea’s culinary ladder. He worked at the best Chinese restaurant in the country, but when his popularity faded, he crashed hard. Now Poong works at an obscure restaurant that has fallen on hard times. The building the restaurant is in is owned by Doo Chil-sung, a former gang member who has recently done time in prison. Poong and Chil-sung’s paths cross with Dan Sae-woo, a rich woman who frequently craves Chinese food.

Secret Mother
SBS
40 (mini) episodes
Saturday
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Psychiatrist Kim Yoon-jin leaves her job after the death of her daughter and throws herself into being a housewife by caring for her son and supporting her husband’s career. Yoon-jin hires Lisa Kim, an expert in helping high schoolers prep for college, but Lisa has an agenda of her own for getting into Yoon-jin’s household: uncovering the truth behind her sister’s disappearance. Meanwhile, homicide detective Ha Jung-hwan is the only person who believes Yoon-jin’s doubts surrounding her daughter’s death and works with her to uncover the truth.

Lawless Lawyer
tvN
16 episodes
Saturday/Sunday
Available on Viki.com

Bong Sang-pil was a member of a gang, but he turned his life around in order to avenge his mother. Now a lawyer, Sang-pil has a reputation for finding loopholes in the law and for being unafraid to use his fists when necessary. He teams up with fellow lawyer Ha Jae-yi, who is hot-tempered and reckless in her work. Together the two of them will use their profession (and less reputable methods) to take down the powerful people who think they’re above the law.

Motherhood, Children’s Day, and Drama News

Things aren’t going too hot for the Korean Air family, and mothers get the short end of the stick. Also, cult stuff maybe?

The Inter-Korean Summit Meeting: “Peace on Land and Sea: Will the Demilitarized Zone Be ‘Demilitarized’?” “Residents near North Korean border relieved at removal of propaganda loudspeakers,” “Panmunjeom Declaration implementation committee holds inaugural meeting at Blue House,” and “More than half of S. Koreans trust NK willingness for denuclearization.”

Korean Air scandals: “Ediya Coffee terminates contract with Korean Air heiresses,” “Prosecution rejects Korean Air heiress’ arrest warrant over alleged assault,” “Cho Hyun-ah, Hyun-min Regularly Smuggled Chocolate and Designer Handbags from Overseas,” and “Korean Air employees hold candlelight vigil against controlling family.”

Investigations into the Lee Myung-bak government: “Ex-president Lee Myung-bak denies all corruption charges in initial hearing.”

“Druking Scandal Shadows Moon Jae-in’s ‘Super Spring.'” A scandal has erupted over the manipulation of comments on Naver, and what responsibility the company has toward the people. (This seems fairly equivalent to all the Facebook stuff that’s been revealed over the last couple months.)

“Police grill Rep. Kim on bribery, manipulation.” This is tied into the Naver comments manipulation scandal.

#MeToo: “Rape apology sought from baduk champion,” “NHRCK Survey Confirms High School Teachers Are Sexually Harassing Their Students,” and “The #MeToo Poem That Brought Down Korea’s Most Revered Poet.”

“Dark side of play for S. Korea’s female game makers.” *screams into the void*

“Unwed single mothers battle against harsh reality.” 83% of single parents in Korea do not receive any child support from the noncustodial parent. 80% of Korean single parents are women.

“Working mothers struggle to meet demands: Balancing duties of home and the office come at a cost.” Working mothers in their 30s spent an average of 174 minutes on leisure activities, while working fathers in their 30s spent 237 minutes.

“Koreans work third-longest hours in OECD.” Mexico and Costa Rica were first and second, respectively.

“Children’s Day: A celebration of childhood.” A brief look at Children’s Day in Korea.

“Military’s ‘glass ceiling’ eliminated in South Korea.” Good.

“‘Suits’ Maintains Lead In Its Time Slot As ‘Switch’ Sees Increase In Viewership Ratings.” You’re so close to double digits!

“My Mister is on vacation this week.” The show will be back on May 9 and 10.

“Jo Jung Suk And YoonA To Unite As Leads Of New Action Film.” His IRL girlfriend is only five months younger than him, why do casting directors keep sticking him with ladies a full decade younger?

“​Evergreen’s Hwang Chan Ho dies of heart attack.” Condolences to his family and friends.

“Lee Si Young And Ji Hyun Woo Confirmed As Leads For MBC Drama.” Do I like you enough to sit through a medical drama?

“K-pop heavyweight Park Jin-young denies preaching for religious cult.” This seems fitting for 2018.

Closing – 4 Hopes for Mother

Between my late start and general life hectic-ness, it took me an extra six weeks to complete Mother, but I’m glad I finished it. Mother was a solid show, filled with a variety of women in different stages of life, economic class, and background. While I had various nitpicks throughout the show, I had few actual grievances with it. It’s time to look back at my four original hopes and compare them to what the show actually did.

  1. Ja-young’s abuse isn’t pinned on her single mother status. Aside from a few lines, the show was actually careful not to assign Ja-young’s abusive behavior to her single mother status. It really helped that Yeong-sin, Soo-jin, and Hong-hee were portrayed as good single mothers who were capable of living up to what the show had decided was its criteria for True Motherhood. Unfortunately for me, I actually sided against the show on that point. Ooops.
  2. The show tackles the social and cultural failures of preventing child abuse. I really liked the setup to Soo-jin’s decision to kidnap Hye-na. The show didn’t shy away from pointing out all the ways the school and the police failed to protect her, and it even got meta toward the end with Hyun-jin writing exposés about Hye-na’s case. If these systems hadn’t failed Hye-na so thoroughly, this show never would have happened.
  3. Hye-na is able to make decisions that are respected by Soo-jin. Soo-jin was amazing at this. I loved how often she checked in with/consulted Hye-na and explained things to her in an age-appropriate way. Honestly, the show gets full marks for this, especially since they also had Hye-na run off and do things on her own/in spite of what Soo-jin would have wanted for her. It felt like Hye-na had agency and that she was respected by Soo-jin.
  4. Soo-jin gets to explore both the good and the bad about motherhood. I don’t think Soo-jin had a whole lot of the bad, per se—most of the bad was directly related to her being on the run from the law—but with all the other mothers in the show, we got a long, hard look at some of motherhood’s more disappointing and/or unsavory aspects. I’m still ready and willing to pick a fight with the show over its True Motherhood conclusion, but I didn’t walk away from it thinking it would be all joy and rainbows, either.

So what did you think of the show? It’s going to end up high on my list for 2018, that’s for sure.

Two Remakes in Dramaland

Guess who can’t keep track of dates and totally missed the fact that we had two separate shows premier last week? Me. In an interesting turn of events, they’re both remakes, one from the U.S. and the other from the U.K. Are they already on your list?

Suits
KBS2
16 episodes
Wednesday/Thursday
Availability unknown

Choi Kang-seok is a top lawyer at one of South Korea’s most prestigious law firms. After a chance encounter with Go Yeon-woo, a college dropout with a photographic memory, Kang-seok decides to hire Yeon-woo as an associate even though Yeon-woo doesn’t have the credentials for the position.

Suits is based on the 2011 U.S. series of the same name.

 

Mistress
OCN
12 episodes
Saturday/Sunday
Available on Viki.com (in limited territories)

Four friends have their lives overturned due to their complicated relationships with others. Café owner Jang Se-yeon receives a mysterious phone call, while high school teacher Han Jung-won struggles to conceive a child and then has her life fall apart after a one-night stand. Psychiatrist Kim Eun-soo’s ex-boyfriend died, but she fears her secrets will be exposed when her ex’s son comes to see her as a patient. Meanwhile, law secretary Do Hwa-young has ex problems of her own—her ex-boyfriend’s wife is the firm’s latest client, and she wants to get evidence of her husband’s cheating.

Mistress is based on the 2008 U.K. series Mistresses.

Mother, Episode 16 [END]

TL;DR: Good job on sticking the landing. (Also, warning for a mention of anorexia.)

It is always a pleasure when a drama gives us a thematically appropriate and emotionally satisfying ending. In many respects, this episode was a slower one because it took the time to establish the stakes for its two-year time skip and provided us with fitting endings for many of the secondary characters. It didn’t try to come up with any last minute-twists or inject artificial drama into the situation. Instead it centered its finale on the most important question: could Soo-jin and Hye-na ever be reunited as mother and daughter? Continue reading “Mother, Episode 16 [END]”