History Textbooks, Baby Elephants, and Drama News

I threw in the baby elephant so you’d feel better about the overall content of this link roundup.

June 12 summit: “Historical summit finalized for June 12 at 10 am at Singapore’s Capella Hotel” and “N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un to arrive in Singapore on June 10.”

The Park Geun-hye saga: “Prosecutors to take up history textbook case.”

Korean Air scandals: “Worst day for Korean Air chief’s family: Mother, daughter in deep trouble.”

Gwangju Uprising: “Gov’t launches probe into sexual violence during 1980 pro-democracy uprising.”

#MeToo: “Prosecution reopens Jang Ja-yeon sexual abuse case,” and “Vicious voices scapegoat victims for speaking out : Korea’s legal system makes it easy to target those who have come forward with sex crime allegations.”

“Why do workers choose not to do their best?” Because their companies suck and they aren’t properly compensated.

“Judges seek thorough investigation of ex-chief justice” and “[Abuse of Judicial Authority] Lodge Accusations, Cooperate with the Investigation, or Withhold Comments: What Will Kim Myeong-su Choose?” Yikes at all of the allegations.

“Korean gov’t rejects visa request from same-sex marriage couple.” Damn it.

“Listening to the Life Stories of Women Storekeepers, Listening to the Times.” An introduction to oral histories of the women storekeepers of Mangwon Market.

“First elephant born in 23 years at Seoul zoo named ‘Kori’ by children.” Awwwww.

“Lee Young Ae’s Upcoming Historical Spy Drama Reveals More Details.” Okay, this sounds amazing. I want this. All of this.

Lee Seung Gi and Bae Suzy confirm ‘Vagabond.'” Hey, as long as it is better than Gu Family Book, I might stick around.

“Upcoming Drama Starring Song Seung Heon, f(x)’s Krystal, And Lee Si Eon Shares New Details.” GASP, the driver gets to be a lady? Other than that, I don’t really care.

“JTBC Announces Plans For 2nd Season Of ‘Waikiki.'” Huh.

“Yoon Kyun Sang Confirmed To Join Kim Yoo Jung And Song Jae Rim In New Drama As Male Lead.” Really? Yikes at that age gap.

“‘What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim’ Off To Strong Start With First Episode Ratings.” That’s a good sign. Need to start it this weekend.

Something in the Rain, Episode 4 [DROPPED]

You’d think that, in 2018, a show wouldn’t ask us to accept a man as a romantic lead if he would angrily ask his brand-new girlfriend if she liked it when her ex-boyfriend assaulted her. The ex chased her into the kitchen, shoved her against the counter/wall, kissed her against her will, and only stopped when she managed to break away and spray cream in his face, which blinded him and startled him enough that he paused.

Joon-hee found Jin-ah in the wreckage of the store, surrounded by broken glass, and he fucking asked her if she liked it because apparently what matters to him after hearing Jin-ah’s horrifying story is his feelings. No lackluster, one-sentence apologies can ever fix that.

So it should come as no surprise to my long-time readers that I’m dropping this show. I didn’t even bother to finish the episode, because let’s be frank—how can I trust this show to handle the other sexism/misogyny plotline that’s in full swing in Jin-ah’s office after hearing Joon-hee victim blame the woman he supposedly loves? How can this show make me forget that Joon-hee’s reaction to Jin-ah’s assault was to ask her if she liked it?

It can’t. Goodbye, show. You were cute for about thirty seconds, and now I need to forget I was ever excited to watch you.

4 Hopes for What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim

So, office romcoms are not my thing, especially when the boss is a guy and the underling is a lady, mostly because those power dynamics squick me out. But I love Park Min-young, and I know that Park Seo-joon can play head-over-heels in love from his stint on A Witch’s Romance, so I’ll be giving it a shot. (Plus? The feckless boss falling for a hyper-competent underling can be really fun if done well, and I’m praying this is done well.) All that said, I’ve still got a couple of items on my wishlist for the show:

Young-joon confesses his feelings first. It’s clear from the teasers that he thinks Mi-so is in love with him, so I think it would be delightful if he were the only one to catch feelings and end up confessing only to find out that, ooops, nope, she just wants to end her employment with him, sorry. (Bonus points if his confession is Mr. Darcy-esque where he manages to insult her and everything about her in the process of explaining the depths of his feelings for her. Extra bonus points if she rejects him.)

Mi-so actually is a goddess among secretaries instead of just having lip service paid to her abilities. This is a small pet peeve of mine, but it irritates me when we’re told, not shown, just how awesome a lady is at her job, only for her skills/intelligence/etc. to fail her at a crucial dramatic moment so the hero can swoop in and save her. I don’t think there’s a high likelihood of that here since the teasers have consistently portrayed Young-joon as completely out of touch with reality/self-absorbed—but still. I’m keeping an eye on you, show.

What catalyzes Young-joon’s change to a more mature person (because I’m assuming that’s what his character arc will be) is realizing that he in his current state has literally nothing she looks for in a romantic partner (because I’m assuming he doesn’t). Few things are as unattractive in a romantic partner as needing to handle them like you would a toddler. I don’t want Young-joon to grow up in order to win Mi-so’s heart; I want him to grow up because he realizes that he did not even register as dateable because he was a toddler in  a man’s body. I want some serious self-reflection out of him about his own life and behavior and expectations.

Mi-so has friends and/or coworkers that she can vent to. Because heaven knows, she’ll need it after all the Young-joon managing she has to do. I want her to have a life outside of her boss and her job, and all the better if she makes it clear at some point that her world does not revolve around him.

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

2 Spec Fic and 1 Office Comedy Headed Your Way

We have a good mix of dramas premiering this week! I’m personally interested in Secretary Kim (despite my abysmal track record with office comedies). Are any of these on your list?

Are You Human, Too?
18 episodes
Available on DramaFever.com

When a suspicious accident leaves Nam Shin, heir to the PK Group, in a coma, his mother, Oh Ro-ra, is desperate to protect him and his position from the conspiracy that almost killed him. As one of top people in the field of artificial intelligence, Ro-ra gathers a group of fellow scientists to create an android—dubbed Nam Shin III—to take Nam Shin’s place. Ro-ra also hires Kang So-bong to be Nam Shin III’s bodyguard and help him act like a human in order to fool Nam Shin’s enemies. But while all the humans focus on Nam Shin, Nam Shin III begins to develop feelings of his own, and the android starts to wonder if he will be able to have a life independent of just being a substitute for someone else.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?
16 episodes
Available on Viki.com

Lee Young-joon, vice president of Yoomyung Group, is so self-absorbed that most of the time he doesn’t register what his secretary, Kim Mi-so, tries to say to him. Mi-so has a stellar reputation in the corporate world for her secretarial skills, but after spending the last nine years making her boss look good and managing his narcissistic ego, she finally decides to submit her resignation. It’s time for Mi-so to find her own way in the world—but will Young-joon be able to function without her?

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is based on Jung Kyung-yoon’s 2013 novel of the same name. Kim Young-mi’s 2016 webcomic was also based on the novel.

Life on Mars
16 episodes
Availability unknown

Han Tae-joo is a detective who has a reputation for sticking to his principles. While Tae-joo is on the trail of a serial killer, he ends up in a serious accident. He wakes up in 1987 and soon realizes that if he’s ever going to return to the present, he needs to solve a murder case. For that, he enlists the help of fellow detectives Yoon Na-young, Kang Dong-chul, Lee Yong-gi, and Jo Nam-sik.

Life on Mars is based on the 2006 BBC One drama of the same name.

Something in the Rain, Episode 3

TL;DR:  There are some great things in this episode, and there are some that  do not please me at all.

I am over Kyu-min. To be fair, pretty much everyone else in this show is over him, too, with the exception of Kyu-min and Jin-ah’s mother (more on that later). He was tiresome in the last episode when he (mistakenly) believed that mutual cheating balanced out and that meant he and Jin-ah could get back together; he is especially tiresome now that he’s hunting down Jin-ah’s friends to complain about the blow to his ego. Continue reading “Something in the Rain, Episode 3”

North Korean Noodles, Adoptions, and Drama News

Lots of politics and corruption in this one, but there are some fun things to decompress with.

North-South politics: “Koreas agree to hold military, Red Cross talks, open Kaesong liaison office,” “Trump announces meeting with Kim Yong-chol in Washington, DC,” and “Trump puts N. Korea summit back on for June 12.”

Korean Air scandals: “Korean Air chairman’s wife to be grilled by police” and “Police seek arrest warrant for Korean Air chairman’s wife.”

Sewol Ferry: “Simple safety protocols would have saved the Sewol, study indicates.”

Investigations into the Lee Myung-bak government: “Court orders Lee Myung-bak to appear at every scheduled hearing” and “Government asks prosecutors to investigate overseas development projects under Lee Myung-bak.”

#MeToo: “Police seek arrest warrants for two pro baseball players accused.”

“Ramen expo to invite North Korean ramen to Seoul.” An expo all about instant noodles sounds amazing.

“Busan district office and police remove forced laborer statue near Japanese consulate.” Doesn’t sound like this is over.

“Some of Joseon era’s soldiers were into leather.” This is less kinky than the headline makes it sounds. XD

“[Graphic News] North Korea: The world’s most isolated country.” Here, have some depressing stats in faux tarot-card form.

“Former chief justice denies abuse of power allegations” and “Supreme Court issues apology.” The current chief justice is still trying to decide if he’ll bring criminal charges against his predecessor.

“Dismissal of KTX female train attendants possible result of political tradeoff.” One of the possible casualties of the former chief justice’s abuses of power.

“Swing Voters Making up over 20% of the Voters, the 20-Somethings, and Early Voter Turnout May Be the Hidden Keys.” Local elections are on June 13.

“Family tragedy turns into family business.” Kang Eun-mi and her husband (and their employees) run a farm and deliver ready-made side dishes.

“South Koreans Prefer to Adopt Girls: Study.” Boys are more frequently adopted overseas.

“Exports of Korean Cultural Content in 2016 Surpasses US$6 Bn for 1st Time.” Games were the biggest category at over half the total.

“BTS snatches No. 1 on Billboard 200, first time for Korean artist.” Congratulations!

“‘The Miracle We Met’ Concludes With Its Highest Viewership Ratings.” Congrats on hitting 13%!

“‘Suits’ Approaches Double-Digit Ratings Again + ‘Come And Hug Me’ Sets Personal Ratings Best.” Here’s hoping you hit the double digits.

“Yeo Jin Goo And Girl’s Day’s Minah Confirmed As Leads Of ‘Absolute Boyfriend,’ Hong Jong Hyun In Final Talks.” Filming is to start in July, but apparently they don’t have a network yet?

Something in the Rain, Episode 2

TL;DR:  Things got really awkward, really fast.

I am extremely unhappy that Kyu-min continues to lurk around in this story, but I’m hoping he gets the final boot in the next episode. His pathetic attempts to get Jin-ah back after cheating on her would be laughable if only he didn’t believe that she had cheated on him, too. It is very important to me that everyone significant (her parents and brother) walks away from this awkward evening understanding that Jin-ah didn’t cheat because she didn’t. She went along with Joon-hee’s rescue outside the office because it got her out of the first awkward confrontation with Kyu-min. Any feelings that might be developing? Happened after the breakup, which means she’s got a clear conscience while Kyu-min is still filth. Continue reading “Something in the Rain, Episode 2”

Something in the Rain, Episode 1

TL;DR:  If we don’t have some commentary on corporate drinking culture during this drama, I’ll be disappointed.

After waiting for an eternity, I was finally able to start Something in the Rain/Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food. (It’s up in its entirety on DramaFever and Netflix, in case you’re searching for it.) It’s a relief that, after all that waiting, the first episode was a solid introduction to the characters, their world, and the possible conflicts that are in their futures. And on a meta level, it was nice to be dropped back into Ahn Pan-seok’s familiar directing style and his penchant for reusing actors as secondary characters. Continue reading “Something in the Rain, Episode 1”

Summits, Radioactive Mattresses, and Drama News

I’m just going to go scream in a corner over this first set of links.

June 12 summit: “North Korea Takes Action toward Denuclearization, But Significance of the Test Site Dismantlement Pales,” “Trump cancels summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore,” “President Moon calls emergency meeting after Trump cancels North Korea-US summit,” “North Korea urges US to revive summit,” “Trump says Kim summit could still go ahead June 12,” and “Moon’s office welcomes renewed hope for U.S.-N.K. summit.”

Korean Air scandals: “Customs service seizes suspected smuggled goods at Korean Air supplier,” “Police to call in Korean Air Chairman’s wife for questioning over alleged abuse,” and “Korean Air heiress questioned over Filipino housekeepers.”

Investigations into the Lee Myung-bak government: “Ex-President Lee denies corruption charges at first hearing” and “Ex-President Lee asks for selective attendance at court hearings.”

“Largest ever women’s rally protests spy-cam pornography” and “Police books man for threatening to attack female protestors with acid.” Because that’s the correct reaction to women protesting, clearly. /sarcasm

“Gov’t confirms discovery of more radioactive bed mattresses.” …wait, what?

Abortion ban challenge: “Abortion ban challenged at Supreme Court” and “Women’s Groups Rally Against Anti-Abortion Law.”

“Because our love doesn’t hurt anyone.” A personal essay on a woman cutting her hair short and dating another woman.

#MeToo: “Drama production companies eye to include #MeToo clauses.”

“Coach accused of abusing PyeongChang gold medalist Shim Suk-hee.” A government investigation found that Cho Jae-beom repeatedly punched and kicked the Shim.

“Majority Find Cause for Conscientious Objectors Incomprehensible.” But at least the majority favored an alternative to military service.

“Korea Grapples with Growing Discontent over Shorter Work Week.” Hourly workers in particular aren’t happy that they’ve lost chances for overtime.

“Money, patriarchal culture stand in the way of Korean men taking child care leave.” This is not terribly surprising, but still depressing.

“MoonMoon’s secret criminal record exposed” and “MoonMoon dropped from agency over spycam charge.” GOOD RIDDANCE.

“Kim Dong Wook, Kim Jae Wook, And Jung Eun Chae Confirmed For New OCN Supernatural Drama.” Ooooh, I like the sound of this.

“Update: Hyun Woo And Yoon So Hee Confirmed To Lead New MBN Drama.” Honestly, give me all of the supernatural stuff this year, please.

Kpop Friday: Dreamcatcher’s “You and I”

It’s safe to say that by “You and I,” you know whether or not you like Dreamcatcher’s sound and concept. Considering I am writing this post, it’s probably safe to call me a fan of their music 🙂 Dreamcatcher continues with their jrock-inspired music and horror concept combo in “You and I,” and it’s another solid entry in their niche.

The verses are comparatively sedate, but the restrained instrumentation they’ve got going there is definitely a plus. The song feels almost mysterious at points, especially in the pre-chorus, which has this haunting little choral effect on the vocals that just makes me grin every time it happens. As is typical—and a selling point in my book!—for Dreamcatcher, the chorus is basically an anime opening/closing that they go all out on. Here’s a live stage with a better view of the choreography, complete with a magical baton appearance.

Overall, the song has good momentum and consistently builds toward the energetic finish. (Whoever is on that guitar was definitely enjoying themselves.) The lyrics themselves are romantic-ish, but I’m more than happy to read them in a more sinister light as is befitting their MV:

Even if you run like crazy
You’ll end up in the same place again
Your reflection in the mirror
It’s a distorted mystery
When the sun goes down
Keep the door open

The MV revels in Dreamcatcher’s horror concept, from giant spider webs to exorcisms and magical portals. I’ll admit that I’m a bit shaky on the connecting story between their MVs, but it looks to me like evil may have been defeated? Or at least banished for the moment. Regardless, the ladies have some striking sets and outfits, and the MV is fun to watch and complements the song.

If you haven’t given “You and I” a listen already, you should hit the play button now.

Buy “You and I” on iTunes || Buy “You and I” on Amazon
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