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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 7 & 8

TL;DR: How am I supposed to be objective about the progression of the romance when the cinematography is so pretty?

While I am extremely happy that our dreaming trio has been able to change their dreams, I am also feeling a little disappointed by it. This show kickstarted with a fiery ball of death and the dramatic proclamation that Hong-joo has never changed a single one of her dreams, and now we’re a quarter of the way into the show and all three of them are changing their dreams with just the smallest amount of effort. I feel like a lot of the dramatic tension has been undermined, especially now that they’re even dreaming separate outcomes and can make informed changes to get the exact result that they want. Where did all the life-or-death tension go?

(Or is this supposed to be a sign that the three of them have to be together/connected/around one another in order to change things? Now that could be clever…) Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 7 & 8”

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Couldn’t you have staggered your schedules a little?

I’m a little overwhelmed by just how many dramas are starting this week. There are a couple I have my eye on–Witch’s Court, Avengers Social Club, maybe Black–but we’ll see what I actually end up trying out. There are just so many to choose from. Have any of these caught your eye?

20th Century Boy and Girl
32 (mini) episodes, MBC
Monday/Tuesday
Available on Viki.com

Sa Jin-jin is a former idol who has since become an actress. She reconnects with her childhood friend, Gong Ji-won, now a successful businessman. At the age of thirty-five, Jin-jin and her two best girlfriends have to navigate their familial ties, friendships, and romantic relationships while sorting out what they want from this period of their lives.

 

 

Witch’s Court
16 episodes, KBS2
Monday/Tuesday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Prosecutor Ma Yi-deum has been in the courtroom for seven years, and she has built a reputation for playing dirty (and even illegally) in order to win the case. After an incident derails her career plans, she gets transferred to a special team that investigates sex crimes and crimes against children. Yi-deum quickly grows to hate Prosecutor Yeo Jin-wook, a rookie prosecutor also on the team, but the two of them have to figure out how to work together if they’re going to get convictions on their cases.

 

Mad Dog
16 episodes, KBS2
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Former detective Choi Kang-woo switched career paths to being a top investigator of insurance fraud scams, particularly among the upper class. He forms a team of specialists—the Mad Dog Team—who do everything in their power to investigate and expose fraudulent claims. Together with Jang Ha-ri, Kim Min-joon, and the rest of their team, Kang-woo sets out to ensure that the rich don’t abuse the system and the poor get the compensation they deserve.

Avengers Social Club
16 episodes, tvN
Wednesday/Thursday
Availability unknown

Kim Jung-hye, a naïve chaebol daughter, had an arranged married to benefit both her and her husband’s families. Even though she has tried to be a good wife, her life gets upended when she discovers that her husband has betrayed her. In order to get revenge, she forms the “Bok Ja Club” with two other women she meets: Hong Do-hee, a fish seller at a traditional market whose son has serious problems at school; and Lee Mi-sook, a housewife who is struggling in an abusive marriage to a university professor. The final member of the club is Lee Soo-kyum, the bastard son of Jung-hye’s husband.

 

The Package
12 episodes, jTBC
Friday/Saturday
Availability unknown

Yoon So-so lives and works in France as a travel guide. Her new assignment is a group of Korean tourists who have all signed up for a package tour: San Ma-roo, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend; Kim Kyung-jae, who is in a ten-year relationship; Han So-ran, who can’t decide if being single or getting married is best; Jung Yeon-sung, who booked the tour with a partner but refuses to disclose their relationship; and four other people round out unconventional the group. While a mysterious man begins to follow So-so, the group slowly becomes entangled in each other’s personal lives.

 

Go Back Couple
16 episodes, KBS2
Friday/Saturday
Available on KOCOWA.com and Viki.com

Ma Jin-joo and Choi Ban-do are both thirty-eight, married, and miserable together. While they were both in love when they married at a young age, over the eighteen years they’ve known each other, they’ve grown to hate each other. Jin-joo feels stuck as a housewife, and Ban-do struggles under the burden of providing for the household on his own. When they both travel back in time to their twenty-year-old, university-attending selves, they have the opportunity to do things differently and escape from their unhappy future. It’s up to them to decide if they should choose other paths—or try it all again.

 

Black
16 episodes, OCN
Saturday/Sunday
Availability unknown

A grim reaper called Black walks the world in the body of a police officer. While he is there, he meets Kang Ha-ram, a woman who can see the deaths of the people around her. The two of them form an unlikely team and break heaven’s rules to stop people from dying, and in the process, the two of them fall in love.

 

 

Revolutionary Love
16 episodes, tvN
Saturday/Sunday
Available on DramaFever.com

Even though Baek Joon graduated from a good university, she hasn’t been able to find a stable, full-time job. Her strict budget and part-time work means that she lives in a poor area while she continues to search for something better. Byun Hyuk is the last person who would be expected to move into her neighborhood as a somewhat naive and friendly third-generation chaebol son, but he ends up trying to live entirely on his own in a tiny studio apartment. Hyuk hides his background while he struggles to find work as a normal person, thanks to his lack of ordinary life experience.

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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 5 & 6

TL;DR: We have three dreamers now, and surprisingly, it lessens the sting of there being a second one. (Also, more domestic violence in this one.)

If you’ll recall, I was rather concerned when Jae-chan began having his prophetic dreams. I was concerned that Jae-chan would take over the narrative, and while my fears haven’t entirely been assuaged on that front (see: his plot and emotional turmoil being entirely front and center in these episodes), the reveal of a third dreamer means that I’m feeling more confident that Jae-chan won’t be able to shove everyone else out of the spotlight. Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 5 & 6”

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School attendance, hidden cameras, and drama news

The change in seasons always makes me restless. I need to figure out what to do with this excess, unhelpful energy over the long-term. In the sort-term, here’s a collection of links you might want to browse through.

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Kpop Friday: 2PM’s “Come Back When You Hear This Song”

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today (and still having a Save Me hangover), so we’re looking back four years to one of my favorite 2PM songs. “Come Back When You Hear This Song” is a fairly straightforward regretting-the-breakup number, though it has a surprisingly upbeat tempo and melody for a song that is essentially wow, I was a piece of shit, please forgive me?

What should I do now that it’s too late
I regret that I let you go
Don’t have the courage to make you come back after making you cry
But give me one more chance

The MV itself has aged fairly well, and I still like the motif of the seven deadly sins and how each of the boys’ different sins drove the lady away. Interestingly, the lady being begged to return was associated with pride before the start of the song–did she need to get rid of it in order to leave in the first place? Or is ripping off that necklace what allowed her to come back at the end? I would definitely not go back to them if I were her, but hey, maybe she wants six rich boyfriends if they grovel a little. That’s her choice.

This isn’t the group’s most interesting choreography (and some of the moves haven’t aged well), but the MV does a pretty good job of conveying its simple story. “Come Back When You Hear This Song” is just easy and pleasant for me to listen to. It makes for some great background noise when I’m out and about or doing chores. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a chance–I think it’s worth four minutes of your time.

Buy “Come Back When You Hear This Song” on iTunes || Buy the Grown album on Amazon
The above links are affiliate links to iTunes and Amazon. By purchasing through these links, you help support this blog at no extra cost to you.


If you want to recommend me songs, you can do so through the music rec meme on my tumblr! Just send me an ask with up to five songs (they don’t have to be kpop), and I’ll listen to and rate them.

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5 reasons to watch Splash Splash Love

Despite the high praise of basically all of my mutuals, I didn’t get around to watching Splash Splash Love until this year. I’m so glad I finally did, because this drama special is funny, heartfelt, and just two hours long. You should definitely put it on your list this fall/winter, for when you need a little pick-me-up. Here are five reasons why I gave this drama special my highest rating category:

1. It focuses on the heroine’s personal journey.

Splash Splash Love is all the better for the fact that the heroine’s good ending is mostly focused on her personal growth and return home than it is its youthful romance (though more on that one later). It’s always refreshing to see a heroine who has a life independent of her romantic relationship with the hero, and it isn’t often that a heroine chooses home and family over a life that would have probably been good for her but wouldn’t have been able to assuage her homesickness.

On top of that, Dan-bi’s happiness couldn’t be achieved until after she had conquered her own trial: building up her confidence and skills in math. Not the most common of goals, but fulfilling that point really is what makes our heroine fit a lot of the old Hero’s Journey milestones (complete with death threats if she can’t math well enough). I’ll never get tired of ladies leveling up and doing things that once were hard for them. Continue reading “5 reasons to watch Splash Splash Love”

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5 reasons to watch Naked Fireman

Don’t lie now—you know that the title of this drama special totally caught your attention. I originally went into this show expecting the absurd. And while I got that in spades, I also got a heaping dose of believable romance, found families, and an exciting thriller. Here are five reasons you should watch Naked Fireman the next time you have a spot open on your to-watch list:

1. The prickly, jaded heroine and innocent hero fall in love.

I love it when prickly ladies fall in love and are loved in return without having to completely wipe and rewrite their personalities. Jin-ah is blunt, clever, and utterly determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ murders. Even though she is still very traumatized over the whole thing (and is receiving treatment for it, and not shamed for needing it!), she throws herself headfirst into investigating based on the clue she recently remembered via therapy. And while she goes from distrusting Cheol-soo to being deeply in love with him in just four episodes, the incremental thawing of her heart and budding belief in his innocence is magnificent.

Cheol-soo, in the meantime, is a comedic slacker, who isn’t always quick on the uptake but nonetheless has a good heart and more courage than he probably should. Yes, he’ll trust his con artist and thief of a friend with basically everything up to in and including his life, and he’ll also put himself in embarrassing situations to help his father figure receive life-saving medical treatment. He’s the hero with a heart of gold who rises to the occasion and falls head-over-heels for the rich woman who is only supposed to be spending time with him to draw him shirtless. Continue reading “5 reasons to watch Naked Fireman”

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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 3 & 4

TL;DR: And I am suddenly reminded of  how much I hate workplace dramas. (You guessed it—more on that later.)

Writer Park Hye-ryun is doing a masterful job of interweaving her A and B and even C stories together to the point that I was feeling smug about correctly predicting a reveal, only to be blindsided by one I never saw coming. What a delight it is to be surprised (in a good way) by a writer, especially when you realize she was answering a question you had only just started to ask. Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 3 & 4”

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While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 1 & 2

TL;DR: I am both delighted and terrified by how much I loved this premier. (Also, this mini-episode count thing is going to throw me off at some point.)

One of the best things about the premier was just how narratively cohesive it was. We had clear character introductions, foreboding dreams, interpersonal conflict,  tragedy, a series of plot twists, and a conclusion that took us right back to where we started—but with a new understanding of exactly what had happened. If the rest of the writing can be as good as the opening episodes, this is going to be an amazing drama. That said, I still have some reservations about it. (But more on that later.) Continue reading “While You Were Sleeping, Episodes 1 & 2”

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Closing – 4 hopes for Save Me

Now that the drama is over, it’s time to review how it held up against my original expectations.

We get a ton of social commentary. The drama did surprisingly well in that regard. Instead of pausing every couple of episodes for self-righteous speeches about the corruption of those in power, the injustices that were perpetrated were instead an integral part of the story. From Sang-mi being trapped in the Guseonwon to Dong-chul’s imprisonment to police officers who looked the other way to believers being milked for cash, we got to see failure after failure of the system and society. Perhaps the most reaffirming part of it all was that the good guys didn’t try to excuse their own family members’ complicity—they called them out on it instead, repeatedly.

Sang-mi’s trauma isn’t played to motivate the boys. I’m so happy about how this played out. Yeah, sure, the boys answered the call to help her, and they often expressed sympathy and were upset about her plight, but at no point did any of them take her suffering and make it about them. The boys suffered for her, because they understood that the Guseonwon was a shitty, dangerous, evil organization, and they could not help her unless they helped her bring the entire thing down.

Jung-ki is terrifying. Yep. He was. He was terrifying in his soft-spoken, I-have-half-a-dozen-people-willing-to-die-and-or-commit-murder-for-me way, and the grip he had on the Guseonwon members’ lives was absolutely awful. The man was a charismatic predator with a silver tongue and an ability to inspire fanatical devotion. His stolen wealth let him rub shoulders with the local elites and gave him absolute control in his domain. It has been a long time since I’ve seen someone who deserved to be set on fire as much as he did.

Give me an optimistic ending. Thank you. Despite the murders and the continuance of the splintered Guseonwon group, Sang-mi got her happy ending with her mother and was able to go out into the real world, just like she wanted. Dong-chul was able to start reconnecting with his father (here’s hoping he has a spot in an recovering alcoholics program), and Sang-hwan got the miracle of his mother waking up. The world is still populated with evil, corrupt people, but this time the young people won, and I’m so grateful they did.

Save Me exceeded my expectations, and it has cemented its spot near the top of my 2017 ranking. What did you think of the show?