What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 5

TL;DR: I’m hoping that this is just a momentary stumble because I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how this episode went.

I’m concerned by the laziness in this episode over furthering the romantic awkwardness/awareness between Young-joon and Mi-so. With any luck, this is just a hiccup with the transition between writers, because my enthusiasm for the show is starting to cool.  My biggest problem is not the recyclde romcom tropes, but rather it’s the fact that Young-joon seems to have forgotten Mi-so’s declaration that unwanted consideration isn’t consideration at all. More to the point, it’s how self-satisfied he is about doing things for her when he hasn’t asked if she wants them. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 5”

A Housekeeper and a Historical Headed Your Way

We’ve got two new dramas coming out this week, and while I’m tempted by Mr. Sunshine, I think I’m going to pass.  I couldn’t find official confirmation, but rumors say that Neflix has gotten the license for it. I guess we’ll see if it shows up on the site six weeks down the road.

Your House Helper
32 (mini) episodes
Available on Viki.com/KoCoWa.com

Kim Ji-woon left his promising career at a major conglomerate to become a housekeeper, and he excels at everything from folding laundry to basic household maintenance—and even “cleaning” his clients’ hearts. He has four new clients: Im Da-young, an internet at an advertising agency who is desperate to land a full-time position so she can afford the house her father left her; Yoon Sang-ah, a jewelry designer who has just broken up with her boyfriend; Han So-mi, who is terrified of men until she meets Ji-woon; and Kang Hye-joo, who is having difficulty with her male roommate.

Your House Helper is based on the 2014 webtoon of the same name by Seung Jung-yun.

Mr. Sunshine
24 episodes
Availability unknown

During the 1871 U.S. expedition to Joseon, a slave boy boards one of the boats and leaves his home—but not forever. He returns years later as an American soldier, Eugene Choi (Choi Yoo-jin), and is far more interested in maintaining U.S. interests than the country he was born into, now under Japanese occupation. That begins to change when he meets Go Ae-shin, an aristocratic daughter turned revolutionary, who is determined to fight for her country’s freedom. But Eugene isn’t the only man in Ae-shin’s orbit: Gu Dong-mae, a member of the Black Dragon Society, and Kim Hee-sung, her betrothed, are focused on her exploits as well. Meanwhile, the widowed Kudo Hina returns to Joseon with her Japanese husband’s fortune, intent on building a life that her collaborator father can’t control.

Soccer, Conscientious Objectors, and Drama News

Honestly, I think the best thing that happened this week was all the random Twitter videos of Mexican soccer fans cheering on any random Korean person they found. XD Also, things are getting much worse for the Korean Air family, and by the end of next year, there will be an alternative military service for conscientious objectors.

Korean Air scandals: “Recording reveals alleged rant of Korean Air ‘nut rage’ heiress” and “Prosecutors question Korean Air chairman.”

Supreme Court power abuse case: “The Supreme Court Allegedly Destroyed Evidence: Will This Lead to the First Ever Search by the Prosecutors?”

#MeToo: “Warrant issued over YouTuber’s leaked photos” and “Witness of Jang Ja-yeon sexual abuse case comes forward publicly.”

Yemeni asylum seekers on Jeju: “Refugee fears grip Korea,” “Refugee issue prominent at Jeju Forum,” and “Justice Ministry proposes reinforcement measures to amend refugee act.”

“South Korea stuns Germany 2-0” and “Mexicans thank Koreans for helping team advance to World Cup round of 16.” Honestly, it sounds like a very exciting game, and I don’t even watch soccer.

“New 52-hour workweek comes into effect July 1.” This is down from the limit of 68 hours. Thank god for my max 40 hours.

“Korean students set to cross America for ‘comfort women’ campaign.” They’ll be crossing the U.S. on bicycle to raise awareness of the comfort women.

“[Conscientious Objection to Military Service] Constitutional Court Opens Door to Alternative Service for Conscientious Objectors” and “Historic legal shift on Military Service Act for first time in 70 years.” The National Assembly must devise an alternative service by the end of 2019.

“Who Is to Blame for the Ills of South Korea’s Musical Industry?” A look into Korea’s (small) musical theater industry and its fans.

“Sexual Minorities Have a Difficult Time Gaining Permanent Employment Status.” A look at Korean LGBT youths’ experiences in the workforce.

“Comedian Kim Tae Ho Passes Away In Tragic Fire.” Condolences to his family and friends.

“The 10 most popular dramas on DramaFever so far in 2018.” I’ve watched (and finished) exactly one of these.

“‘Wok Of Love’ Announces Change To Number Of Episodes.” Better than getting an extension they have to fill up with fluff.

“Jealousy Incarnate’s Jo Jung Suk and longtime girlfriend Gummy are getting married.” Congratulations, you two!

“Update: Im Se Mi To Join So Ji Sub, Jung In Sun, And Son Ho Jun In New Drama.” Huh.

“2PM’s Wooyoung to begin military service.” Complete your service safely!

D&D Alignment: Kdrama Heroines Edition

This post is thanks to an anon on tumblr who asked me to classify my favorite kdrama heroines in a D&D alignment chart. Some of these probably aren’t strictly considered heroines (though please give me more shady ladies, dramaland, and don’t think I didn’t notice that there aren’t many young characters falling into the lower part of the alignment chart), but they’re all major players in their respective dramas.

Normal disclaimers apply re: the subjectivity of the alignment chart, and you’ll notice that not all of these characters started or ended the drama in their assigned slots. I’ve slotted these ladies where they are based on my strongest/favorite impression of them—this is the archetypal version of them that I always remember first when I think of them.

We might disagree on the best methods, but we can mostly agree on what good actually is.

Lawful Good: Go Seo-yeon, Solomon’s Perjury

Honestly, what else do you expect from a teenager girl who risks expulsion in order to put her classmates and school on trial for the death of a boy she had barely interacted with?

Neutral Good: Chae Young-shin, Healer

She wants to do good in the world, isn’t particularly fussy about using extrajudicial means to expose corrupt people and systems, and also believes that the system can be fixed with a bit of vigilante help.

Chaotic Good: Arang, Arang and the Magistrate

Look at her, willing to pick fights with the supreme being of her universe and also put a stop to an evil when evil starts interfering with her goals and her boyfriend.

There’s a lot of room to breathe in the gray areas of the world, and we enjoy taking up space.

Lawful Neutral: Kang Suk-soon, You’re All Surrounded

She’s seen the system break firsthand, and now she’s committing every bit of her life to take control so it won’t ever happen again, even if she has to make deals with the devil for it.

True Neutral: Oh Hye-won, Secret Love Affair

She sold her soul long ago for money and prestige, and now her life’s a balancing act of keeping all of her bosses happy and trying to stay out of jail while she slowly dies inside.

Chaotic Neutral: Lee Jin-sook, Heartless City

She got dealt a shit hand in life, but she carved out an illicit kingdom for herself and is willing to do just about anything to protect the people who matter to her.

I will make the world submit to my desires.

Lawful Evil: Kang Eun-shil, Save Me

She is absolutely certain that New Heaven’s Sovereign can save your soul, and she’ll ensure you cooperate in your salvation.

Neutral Evil: Choi Yoo-jin, The K2

Intelligent, ruthless, and endlessly frustrated by all the times she has to play by the rules in order to keep up her perfect wife act, though she is excellent at weaponizing it whenever she has the opportunity.

Chaotic Evil: Jamie, Liar Game

Rules only exist so she can find clever loopholes and walk away with everything she wanted—who cares about everyone else in this sadistic game?

What do you think of my assignments? Where would your favorite heroines go?

It has come to my attention…

that my Twitter and Facebook settings for commenting were out of whack. They ought to be fixed now, so my apologies to everyone who tried to register/comment/subscribe and couldn’t. I’ll do some more poking around when I get home tonight to ensure that the rest of the social accounts work. In the meantime, things ought to be back to normal.

(Also, yes, I will be catching up on What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim this week. I’ll have more commentary for you soon.)

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 4

TL;DR: HE SAID IT FIRST, HAH \o/ (Also, Mi-so is ridiculously beautiful in this episode.)

One of the things this episode excelled at was showing Mi-so and Young-joon’s growing awareness of each other as something other than boss/subordinate. From physical contact to emotional vulnerabilities, this episode really ramped up the intimacy factor for the two of them. It was a delight to watch them—and especially Young-joon—become aware of just how rapidly things were changing between them. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 4”

Summits, Elections, and Drama News

The big news item this week is the June 12 summit in Singapore. Add the local elections the day afterward, and it was a busy week, politically, in South Korea.

June 12 summit: “[US-NK Summit]Trump-Kim summit repeats past failure of denuclearizing NK: experts,” “Moon says US-N. Korea summit moved world back from brink of war,” “The Singapore Summit Gives Hope that Peace Is Still Possible,” “Blue House to soon announce decision on whether to halt joint military exercises,” and “Trump gave Kim Jong-un his direct number; 1st call due Sunday.”

“Military talks restore hotlines.” This hotline has been shut down since May 2011.

June 13 elections: “[June 13 Local Elections] Conservatives Fall Before the Ruling Party’s Landslide Victory,” “Eye-catching outcomes of 2018 local elections,” and “Feminist candidate fares well in Seoul mayoral race despite opposition.”

The Park Geun-hye saga: “Prosecutors demand 12 years for ex-president Park for taking bribes from spy agency” and “Prosecutors seek 25 years for Choi Soon-sil.”

Supreme Court power abuse case: “Judges nationwide support ‘criminal procedures’ involving judicial abuses of Yang Sung-tae,” “Supreme Court chief vows cooperation over probe into power abuse case,” and “Chief Justice agrees to cooperate with prosecutors in investigations of judicial misconduct.”

“South Korean women look to Dutch non-profit for terminating unwanted pregnancies.” The company provides consultations and abortion pills to women in countries where abortion is illegal.

“Korea approves SNU students’ exchanges with North.” Now that would be interesting.

“Court denies damages for ‘comfort women.'” The court ruled that the government had not acted illegally.

“Gov’t to Crack Down on Hidden Cameras in Public Restrooms.” Honestly, this makes me wonder just how big of an issue this is in the U.S., too.

“Sex, an Eternal Dialogue with Another.” A Korean woman’s essay about her sexual experiences, desire, and others’ power and control.

“Lee Joon Ki and EXO join star-studded cast for Lotte Duty Free web drama.” Oh dear.

“‘Suits’ Ends On A High Note With Its Best Ratings Yet.” Congrats to the cast and crew.

“‘What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim’ Continues To See Success With Consistent Ratings.” Be careful, there’s a spoilers section at the bottom. I had to scroll back up quickly!

“Update: Lee Je Hoon Confirmed To Play Leading Role In New SBS Drama Chae Soo Bin Is In Talks For.” Interesting.

“Jung In Sun Confirmed For Leading Role Alongside So Ji Sub In New MBC Drama.” Also interesting.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 3

TL;DR: Looks like we’ve got some serious childhood trauma on the horizon

Petty, childish jealousy requires a careful balancing act if I’m going to enjoy it. It needs to be without cruelty. It needs to leave the jealous person frustrated in all their attempts at getting attention/validation. And it absolutely must turn the jealous person into the object of humor. I am happy to report that this episode nailed all three of those things as Young-joon tried to win over Mi-so, failed, and then insisted that his admiration of Mi-so was strictly professional. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 3”

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 2

TL;DR: I’m torn between being touched that he took part of her message to heart about consideration and being annoyed that he still missed the greater point.

But let’s start off with the things that made me happiest in this episode, and that’s Mi-so and her relationship with the other ladies. I was so worried when Ji-ran burst into Mi-so’s home, demanding to know what was going on between Mi-so and Yeong-joon. It became clear very quickly that Mi-so, while irritated at the interruption, had probably fielded this kind of nonsense before and was an expert at it. In a matter of moments she had Ji-ran on her couch, giving her cookies and sage life advice to stay the hell away from Yeong-joon and find someone who was actually capable of giving her the kind of relationship she wanted. It was a lovely scene, and I’m just praying that this defusing sticks and Ji-ran doesn’t end up in the jealous second lead lady role because that would be predictable and boring. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 2”

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 1

TL;DR: Well, that escalated quickly.

It’s always a treat when a premier episode has its shit together. This first episode was a strong introduction to Mi-so, Yeong-joon, the people around them, and our heroes’ immediate conflict. In between the comedic scenes (largely funny, though with an occasional misstep), there were some genuine, lovely moments—from Mi-so, at least. Yeong-joon, on the other hand, was too busy being convinced of his own perfection to actually understand what she was trying to say with her resignation. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 1”