This might be the best drama that will air this year.
Not only did we miss Kim Seon Ho but he finally got a wonderful lead role. I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the trailer, and I read the synopsis for the drama, I thought it would be boring and cheesy, but I was proven wrong. The characters are so incredibly likeable, you become invested in their stories instantly. So what makes this drama special? Our main characters.
Kim Seon Ho plays Chief Hong, also known as Hong Du Shik. He is a charismatic, extremely helpful and caring unmarried man in his 30’s. He is a man of many trades, and there’s not much he can’t do. Plumber, car repairman, part-timer, soap maker, fisherman, real estate agent, you name it, he more than likely has a license for it, and he does all these jobs for minimum wage. The village people love him, and practically view him as the all-knowing son of the village.
Then there’s Shin Min Ah’s character Yoon Hye Jin. She’s a posh classy woman who lives as part of the high elite in Seoul because she’s got a good paying job as a dentist. Her motto her whole life? To not be nosy and only worry about herself. She also appears to be ambitious and loves coming out on top. She believes in justice and not ripping people off as a dentist and gets in a disagreement with the chief dentist of the place she works at. She ends up quitting on the spot and later getting herself blacklisted by the whole dentist community in Seoul for bad mouthing her ex-boss.
Chief Hong and Yoon Hye Jin end up meeting at the beach in Gongjin.
Gongjin is a special place for them both. For Hong Du-Shik it is the place where he grew up and was shown love when he lost his parents and for Yoon Hye Jin, it is the place where her and her family had their very last family vacation before her mom passed away.
Through a series of events Yoon Hye Jin finds herself meeting all the towns people and even spending the night. She gets the brilliant idea of opening her own dental clinic, she figures she could actually afford the rent there and get many clients since there is a need for a dentist in the town. A big city girl finds herself having to adjust to living in a small town, with the help of Du-Shik she begins to learn how to be kind and giving.
To me, the dynamic between the two leads reminds me a lot of Emma and Mr. Knightley from Jane Austen’s Emma. Their romance starts from bickering and friendship, but they soon realize they are a lot fonder of each other than they even realize.
It’s a healing drama, it’s funny, it’s sweet, and just leaves you feeling really good after every episode. I suggest you guys all give it a watch if you haven’t already. Where can you find it? On Netflix!
I’m back with a new review on this latest drama on Netflix! This drama really gets you thinking, what if the you from say, 10, 15, or 20 years ago were to show up in your life right now, would they feel proud or disappointed about the way your life has turned out? What if your life is the complete opposite of all the dreams and aspirations you had as a young teenager?
Ban Han Ni is a 37-year-old woman, she is single, and a part time worker at a grocery store. She’s not a cashier, or a stocker, she’s the woman who dresses up as a squid and tries to get people to try the product. She lives in Gangnam, but not because she’s wealthy, she lives in a room with her better off sister, and is practically her maid. Was this how Ban Han Ni imagined her life 20 years back? Far from it. Ban Han Ni from 20 years ago, was a happy 17-year-old girl, super popular, pretty, and charming. Her dream was to be a in a Kpop girl group, and she was extremely good at dancing. How did her life end up like this then?
We’re not sure what exactly happened in the past 20 years, all we know is that time changed her, and unfortunately not for the better. Time made her, timid, insecure, and depressed.
After losing her job, she finds herself in front of an oncoming bus, and out of desperation for her unhappy life, she doesn’t move away, she wishes to die, but she doesn’t. Instead, she wakes up in a hospital, and the patient next to her, is her! But the 17-year-old version. They both can’t believe it, and together try to figure out the reason why the past self is there, and how they can get her back to the past.
It’s definitely a drama with a similar theme as 13 Going on 30 (one of my favorites) but it’s also very different. It’s very endearing seeing the two versions of her together. The youthfulness that the 17-year-old brings to the 37-year-old is beautiful to watch. It really makes you meditate on how much we change through the years, as adults, we sometimes let the realities of life depress us, we allow our jobs and bad circumstances to rob the joy out of us, but is that how the younger versions of ourselves would have faced the challenges? Did time make us more wise, but also too anxious and unhappy?
In addition to meeting her younger self, she also meets a care free rich younger guy, who finds himself in a similar situation as her: Not knowing exactly what to do with their lives.
Han Yu Hyeon is the son of a rich family, a family who owns a large company. He’s also in his 30s and finds himself without a job, but not because he is a good for nothing bum! He actually has licenses for almost everything, and is a man of many acquired skills and interests, but nothing ever sticks. He’s constantly on the search for something new, afraid of commitment to some degree. His father keeps trying to find a way to make his son finally be responsible and settle down, so he takes away all his money, and makes him find a job.
It seems like the two, with the help of the 17-year-old Ban Ha Ni, will work together to change their situations and start living the life they always wanted but never had the courage to begin!
So far, it’s a very interesting drama, a little slow on some parts, and a little silly in others. However, it’s a good family drama, and I am sure it will have many valuable lessons, I hope it motivates me to finally start living before it’s too late and I find myself 37 years old working as a part time squid haha!
DRAMA ALERT!!!! These episodes were tough on our feelings weren’t they?
Emotional, heart-breaking, frustrating, angering. I think those were the feelings we all had watching this past weekends episodes. I don’t usually write blogs for later episodes of a drama, but I saw so much DRAMA going on in the AsianWiki comments for Start-Up! I don’t know if because this show was released on Netflix if it got a lot of new Kdrama fans but it seems people don’t understand how Kdramas are written. People don’t quite understand the first lead, second lead concept and are barely experiencing it for the very first time. Having been around watching dramas since 2012, and having seen second leads not get the girl for so long, has honestly made me numb to it. Newbies though, seem to be having a hard time accepting reality. I’m not here to criticize them though because I’ve been there. I’m here to talk about WHY Dosan is the lead and why Ji Pyeong is the second lead, and why it makes complete sense.
Our poor baby Ji Pyeong. He’s great, honestly I love the actor who plays him. If you failed to recognize his charms and potential in 100 Days My Prince, that was your loss! Sorry it took you guys this long! But he’s great, definitely been on my radar and I hope he gets a good lead role soon, he’s cute, handsome, charming, funny…I can go on, I love him. HOWEVER, we are talking about Ji Pyeong, honestly the character is probably closer to my type, he’s smart, intellectual, stylish, straightforward, rich (haha!) but let’s be real, just because he’s my type doesn’t mean he is Dal Mi’s type. He’s a human being though, he has flaws. He’s arrogant, he’s a know it all, he’s cold, he lacks tact, he has no friends, he’s a workaholic. Our man isn’t perfect, he’s cute but he isn’t perfect.
Let’s talk about Dosan now.
In my case, I have not been a fan of Nam Joo Hyuk until now, he’s personally too playful and boyish looking to be my type but his character has really grown on me. Nam Do San, is not a prince, FAR FROM IT. He’s not a rich chaebol, he’s clumsy, he doesn’t have a way with words, he’s awkward, emotional. The complete opposite of who we are used to seeing as a male lead in dramas. He has both good qualities and bad ones. He’s a coding genius, he has a close tight knit group of friends (which means he’s a good friend if he’s been able to keep them) he’s kind, he’s learned to be honest, he’s not selfish, he cares about the feelings of others. He’s not perfect though, just like Ji Pyeong he has human like flaws. He’s a bit slow, he lacks ambition, he lacks confidence, he doesn’t control his anger well, he’s an overly emotional guy, he has too many insecurities.
However, the question is, which guy is the right one for DAL MI. Not for me, not for you, but for the character of this drama and honestly, she’s definitely formed a bond and connection with the real Nam Do San.
Ji Pyeong didn’t even like Dal Mi! Not 15 years ago, and not at the start of the drama. He wrote those letters in exchange of Won Deok’s approval. Ji Pyeong’s character doesn’t need romantic love, he needs familial love. He grew up without feeling that type of love, and for him the most important person in his life has always been Won Deok, Dal Mi’s grandma. She showed him love, and care, and warmth. If he’s even a little bit human it’s because of her act of kindness. However, had he not crossed paths with Won Deok again, he would have remained ice cold, blunt, and friendless.
Dosan in a way is the opposite. He grew up with a family, a loving family, but with a toxic father. His father always shoving his own dreams into Dosan’s head from an early age, as an only child, all the attention went to him. What Dosan’s character needs, is not familial love, he has plenty, it’s not love from his friends, because he has plenty of that too, but rather love and support from someone who truly likes him for who he is, who will be there cheering him on, not because they are family and they must be there for him, not friends, but a romantic love, that shares the same dreams as him. He fell for Dal Mi because of her support for his dreams, her ambition, her confidence, everything he’s not.
Dal Mi on the other hand had been in love with a fictional character basically for 15 years. Nam Do San from 15 years ago that she was penpals with did not exist. It was a made up character written by Won Deok and Ji Pyeong. Though some of his feelings were expressed in the letters, he wrote those letters as his duty to Won Deok, had he really had feelings for Dal Mi back then, he would have introduce himself. He could have looked for her too all this time, and he didn’t. Had he also met Dal Mi as the girl working part time at a coffee shop, he honestly wouldn’t have fallen for her. He fell in love with the girl she was becoming once she gained confidence from Do San. Dal Mi got the courage to follow her dreams again after meeting Do San and becoming inspired by him starting up his own business. Had she not shown her awesome creativity and intelligence by becoming a CEO for SamSan Tech, he wouldn’t have ever been attracted to her because she wasn’t at his level.
AGAIN, I love Ji Pyeong, he’s just so mature, while Do San is young and inexperienced, so naturally, we find ourselves rooting for the handsome, mature man, but Dal Mi is young and inexperienced too. She finds herself most comfortable being casual, vulnerable, learning and making mistakes, with Do San.
There’s no doubt that Ji Pyeong’s letters, helped her, gave her a friend when she needed one the most, but right now, who she’s come to love is Dosan. He’s her best friend, her partner, her inspiration. That’s why they make sense.
ALL I WANT NOW IS FOR ALL OF THEM TO BE HAPPY. Yes, all of them, In Jae too. I can’t wait to see how the last 4 episodes unfold. Regardless of who ends ups with who, I care more about them all reaching their dreams, to see their hard work finally pay off. To see them all happy as friends, successful, and still dreaming on.
If this drama ends well, I think it will be in my TOP 10 list of favorite dramas of all time. Let’s hope it all does work out in the end!! Until then…
I’ve recently been watching an ongoing daily drama called: “A Man In A Veil” on Viki. I usually stay away from these because they run up to about 100 episodes and that’s way too much for my attention span. However, I’ve been enjoying it.
Is it crazy? Yes. Is it cliche? Yes. But is it enjoyable, yes, to a certain degree. I went over to the review section of the drama and noticed SO many people giving it a bad review. Their reasons? I found out people really don’t know the difference between the different types of dramas that air on TV in Korea. So, I said, why not write a blog about it and explain the difference? Here’s a little KDRAMA 101…let’s get started!
These dramas air Monday through Friday for many weeks. They are typically low budget, not very high quality. Filmed in bad lighting studios, where you can absolutely tell it’s NOT a real home, office, etc. They are 30 minutes long per episode and only one episode is released per day.
Daily Dramas are usually about family, revenge, betrayal and they tend to be a bit outrageous! For example, people WILL get into car accidents, MIRACLES WILL happen, characters WILL die, a lot of memory loss will happen, the evil character will get away with a lot of things. Basically, these dramas are the equivalent of Mexican telenovelas (if you know, you know hahaha) where the shows run for way too long, and the writers have to scramble to keep adding more problems to the plot to keep things interesting so you keep tuning in, day after day. So if you think they are crazy and outrageous, dramatic, then the drama is achieving its goal. That’s the point of daily dramas.
Now the cast of these dramas might surprise you, there are actually some really good actors and actresses in these dramas. There are usually some familiar faces too, actors who usually star in your favorite weekday TVN high quality dramas, they are sometimes filming various dramas at the same time, so you might see them in your cheap daily drama on one day, and on the weekend watch them play a completely different role in a high quality highly rated drama.
These dramas are meant to be entertaining for your everyday “What’s on TV?” needs. They don’t really have any substance to them, they are simply made to entertain you briefly. They can’t be compared to your favorite high quality A-list Kdrama, so let’s not compare them but rather embrace them for what they are.
These dramas air during the weekends, and are usually more family oriented. Why? Because weekends are when the family is home together, and what’s better than sitting down in the living room with the family to watch a Kdrama together? It all depends on the drama and their broadcast station but weekend dramas can range from 50 Episode dramas, to your typical 16 Episodes. These dramas achieve some of the largest ratings, but not necessarily because they are phenomenal but rather because more people have time to watch them. They are sweet, fun, and mostly happy dramas.
They can get a little cliche too, but not as bad as daily dramas. They usually feature A-list actors too.
The drama I am currently very much into Start-Up (Check out my review here!) is also a weekend drama. It’s only 16 episodes though, and at the later time slot for TVN. It’s also very family oriented, but given the 16 Episodes, it’s of much higher quality, and features a major A-List cast.
I like a good weekend drama, they are usually more easy and relaxing to watch, and also they air on the weekends, so you always have something good to look forward to! (Especially during this pandemic where there is literally nothing to do on the weekends – 11/04/20)
Last but not least! Weekday Dramas! I can guarantee, most of your favorite Kdramas have been weekday dramas. Usually released as follows: Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday/Thursday, Friday/Saturday. So you only get TWO episodes per week, and they are only 16-24 Episodes long. These dramas are usually at much later time slots, usually air at around 10pm and are perfect for the younger crowd. People in Korea usually get out of work pretty late, then go out for dinner and drinks, so these dramas are perfect for unwinding after a long day before going to sleep. Since they air later, they are also rated 15+, which honestly is just your typical PG-13 here in the States. They allow for more riskier topics and themes. Themes for these weekday dramas include: thriller, melodramas, rom/com, action, crime. KBS, MBC, SBS and TVN always release very high quality weekday dramas with tons of A-list actor/actress favorites.
I love weekday dramas, because they offer escape from the day to day work life. They are usually very intriguing and interesting so they keep your mind busy even after you finish the episodes. Who doesn’t love a good high quality drama?
At the end of the day, I think a true Kdrama addict, loves all types of dramas. I know I do. What about you? Which drama type is your favorite? Have you ever watched a daily drama? Did you love it, did you hate it? Let me know! Thanks for showing up to class, see you next time for another lesson on KDRAMA 101!
There’s something SO nice about those end of the year dramas. They always lift my spirits. This new drama definitely has allowed me to dream again, the dreams I had tossed to the trash when this pandemic began.
I had been looking forward to this drama from the moment it was placed on the radar. Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk return to the Kdrama world with this intriguing drama about two young adults with BIG dreams. The only problem? They aren’t anywhere close to accomplishing those dreams, yet.
Seo Dal Mi (Suzy) is a part-timer college drop out, she still lives with her grandmother but hasn’t let go of her dreams of one day being the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. We learn that she gets that inspiration and innovation from her deceased father, who also had big dreams, dreams way ahead of his time, but he lacked the support. His wife didn’t support his dreams, so she left him and took Seo Dal Mi’s older sister with her. Seo Dal Mi chose to stay by her father’s side and support him in starting up his own company. Her father was so close to accomplishing his dream when an unexpected accident happened and he ended up losing his life. Meanwhile, Seo Dal Mi’s mother remarried a wealthy rich man, and her older sister Seo In-Jae ended up benefiting from her step father’s wealth and even changed her last name. They both grow up to live very distinct lives. Won In Jae (Kang Han Na) lives a luxurious life and is the CEO of her own company that she started with the help of her step father’s money. Seo Dal Mi feels that she made the right decision, to stay by her father’s side, and her goal in life is to prove it to her mother and sister.
Meanwhile the two male leads of this drama are entangled by a lie that was told 15 years in the past, when Seo Dal Mi’s grandma took in an incredibly intelligent orphan teenager named Han Ji Pyeong. To cheer up her granddaughter from her parent’s divorce and her sister leaving, she asks the teen to write letters to her granddaughter pretending to be her admirer. The grandma and Ji Pyeong spend a year writing these letters together but under the name of a different person, the name of a random boy named Nam Do San that was on the newspaper for winning a Mathematical Olympiad game. So for the past 15 years, Seo Dal Mi has believed that a boy named Nam Do San wrote those letters to her for a year. She fantasizes of this mysterious boy for the next 15 years, thinking he was real and that he was her first love. She’s left wondering who he was, and what he looked like.
Flash forward, 15 years later, Seo Dal Mi, in order to save face, lies to her successful older sister, and tells her that she is actually starting up a business with this man named Nam Do San, and promises they will attend her sisters party. The real Nam Do San then enters the picture, but he is nothing like what she imagined. He’s smart for sure, but he’s not successful, his company can’t even get an investor. His office is a little shack he shares with his friends, and he was only able to afford the shack because he borrowed money from his parents.
Meanwhile, Han Ji Pyeong, went from orphan, to one of the wealthiest men in Korea, a super well known professional investor. Although he didn’t write the letters on his own, he feels a responsibility to Seo Dal Mi and vows to her grandmother that he will help Seo Dal Mi save face at this party and make the REAL Nam Do San show up. So after 15 years, Dal Mi finally meets this Nam Do San, and they both find themselves instantly smitten. In her case, believing she finally met her first love, and in his case, finally meeting someone that believes in him and thinks he’s cool.
AH! I REALLY WANT THESE TWO CHARACTERS TO SUCCEED. SO BAD.
I guess I see myself in them, we all have these dreams, these goals but they sometimes seem almost impossible. I love how both of them are determined to succeed, even when people have told them NO, even when they have been criticized for being hopeless dreamers.
I look forward to seeing their romance develop, and see how far they get with this lie. She’s bound to find out he’s not the one that replied to her letters. Her sister is also going to find out that Dal Mi was lying all this time. Han Ji Pyeong will inevitably regret not telling Dal Mi the truth from the start and revealing that it was actually him who wrote those letters with her grandmother.
I highly recommend you guys start watching this drama, trust me, it’s not a boring storyline, rather its kind of inspiring. The OST is already AMAZING too. I also really like the humor and the cinematography. It feels so fresh, so motivating! Will you join me in watching Start-Up on Netflix? I hope you do! I am sure it’s going to be a SUPER fun ride.
I can’t believe Summer is nearly OVER here in California! However, another season means…NEW KDRAMAS! While I’m waiting for Flower of Evil to end (Really good drama recommendation if you aren’t watching it already) I had to find a replacement so that I won’t feel as empty when it’s over. I stumbled upon Lies of Lies and said “Eh, let’s give it a try even if I’m not familiar with the actors”. This drama, like Flower of Evil, draws me in because it focuses more on adult relationships. Not your teenage first love infatuation stories, but rather serious relationships with an older cast and how these older characters navigate their challenges. To me, that’s something I enjoy watching from time to time. Yes, first love, silly romcoms are fun, entertaining and lovable, but it’s also nice to see “love” from a different point of view, in this case, from a divorced man’s perspective, and from a woman who was abused in her previous marriage.
This drama focuses on the main character Ji Eun Soo played by the very beautiful actress Lee Yu Ri (I want to look like her when I’m 40!). Ji Eun Soo had it all, a good job and good looks, this attracted the son of a chaebol family, it seems he pursued her and eventually married her. This should have been the happy ending, Cinderella gets the prince, the fortune, but that’s not what happens to Ji Eun Soo. She ends up discovering this chaebol prince is an evil violent man, who physically abuses of her. She discovers she’s pregnant with his child and tries to run away from her husband, but he ends up finding her, dragging her back home and almost attempts to kill her. We don’t know what exactly happens next, but she ends ups waking up on the floor of the apartment with a knife in her hand and her husband now dead on the ground. Without being able to prove her innocence, she is then sentenced to prison for 10 years for murdering her husband. Having to give birth at a prison, and then later giving away her baby to her evil mother in law who says she will give her baby a better life.
Ji Eun Soo spends the next 10 years in prison waiting to reunite with her daughter, her only motivation these past 10 years to keep enduring the pain.
Meanwhile, Kang Ji Min, played by Yeon Jeong Hun, is a journalist. Him and his wife keep trying to have children but it seems his wife is infertile and she suffers several miscarriages, so they end up adopting a baby, Ji Eun Soo’s baby. For awhile they are a happy family, until Kang Ji Min discovers his wife is cheating on him. Their marriage falls apart and they get a divorce, leaving Kang Ji Min to finish raising his daughter alone.
Kang Ji Min and Ji Eun Soo’s lives intertwine when Ji Eun Soo comes out of prison looking for her daughter and finds out Kang Ji Min is now the adoptive father of her child. She decides that the only way she can be close to her daughter is by become her daughter’s step mother, so she plots to make Kang Ji Min fall in love with her.
I am in love with the chemistry between these two characters and the chemistry they both have with their daughter.
Ji Eun Soo is a kind, caring, creative woman, so there’s no doubt that Kang Ji Min WILL fall in love with her, in my opinion, he will fall helplessly in love. Kang Ji Min is also a very charming, sweet caring man, the complete contrast of her ex husband who would beat her up, so I think although she is planning on doing this for her daughter, she will end up falling for Kang Ji Min, and end up regretting lying to him and using him for her advantage because he will love her the way she always deserved to be loved.
I cannot wait to see how their relationship develops, if she gets to finally get closer to her daughter, and how Kang Ji Min’s ex wife reacts to the new woman in his life!
Can these troubled souls find happiness in each other?
I feel blessed to have at least 3 friends now who also watch Korean dramas and yes, I met them all while traveling in Korea last year. I tried getting my local friends into Kdramas but they simply won’t even bother with them. I’ve recommended many dramas to them too and even told them they could now easily watch them on Netflix but nope, they simply don’t have interest in them!
Now my 3 friends who do watch dramas, they are all very different, and with differences in personality come differences in the types of dramas we like to watch! Nothing is funnier and sadder than asking a friend if they have seen a particular drama that YOU LOVED, just to find out they never watched it and don’t plan on!
Some of my friends really like those funny light hearted dramas, and don’t get me wrong I enjoy those too, but I also want my dramas to make me emotional, to have a deeper meaning, and for the characters to be a little more complex. Light hearted romance and comedy is fun but I need scenes like these too:
Dramas like: Strong Girl Bong-soon, Coffee Prince, and Love in The Moonlight, I’ve never bothered watching, just not my style, but I have friends who loved these dramas.
Dramas I’ve loved like: Doctor John, Pinocchio, Faith, Thirty but Seventeen, Rooftop Prince and About Time, haven’t even been watched by many of my friends! It really is just a matter of each individual’s taste, but I think you can all agree with me that when you fall in love with a drama, you wish everyone else loved it as much as you do.
I started this blog to be able to express my love for dramas out-loud. To be able to get more people to love something I love very much. I know that even if my friends did not like the dramas I watched, there has to be at least one person on the internet that did enjoy them as much as I did!
What dramas do you personally love that you feel didn’t get as much hype as they deserved? Do you have any hidden gems? What’s your favorite Kdrama genre? I’d love to know what all of you Kdrama lovers like to watch!
Two incredibly strong first episodes! I don’t think I’ve watched a drama like this one in a long time.
Long hours were definitely put into creating this drama. The music, the way the storyline was introduced to us, the haunting Tim Burton-like animation, and visuals, it felt like I was watching a film!
The drama began telling us in animation form the story of a girl who lived in a castle, she was lonely and tried to make friends, but they were afraid of her and called her a “monster who brings along the shadow of death”. She ends up saving a boy from drowning, and he ends up following her around wherever she goes, for whatever reason, the shadow of death that followed her disappears after this. As if to test the boy and see if he will remain by her side, she ends up showing him her dark side: she rips the wings off of the butterflies. At seeing this, the boy becomes scared and leaves running. The girl is left alone again and the shadow of death returns telling her: “No one can ever stay by your side, because you’re a monster”. We are then shown the main character Ko Moon Young as the grown up version of the girl in this story and it is revealed to us that the shadow of death might be referring to her mother, since she replies “Yes, mother” to the words said to her by this shadow.
It’s a very interesting way of introducing us to the main character, she is a children’s book fairytale author, so it makes sense for her to tell us her story through a story. There’s still a lot of we don’t know about her, but one thing is for sure: She’s had a very rough and dark upbringing.
We are then introduced to our male lead, Moon Kang Tae and his older brother Sang Tae who has autism. Life hasn’t been easy for those two, it appears that Sang Tae can’t keep a job since “he’s too much to handle”. Sang Tae worries that Kang Tae might get upset at him for causing a scene and losing the job but we are quickly shown how much Kang Tae loves his brother, how forgiving and understanding he is too. He makes a living as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital, he has many scars on his body from his long history of working with patients with psychiatric problems, but he seems to find his job fulfilling in some way, since he is good at it.
What brings these two characters together is one interesting encounter at Kang Tae’s workplace. Moon Young is sitting there in a clearly marked NO SMOKING area, smoking a very fancy cigar, waiting to read her book to the children at the psychiatric hospital. You can tell she’s not one to easily care about rules, and lacks consideration for others. She also has the habit of destroying beautiful things, as she plucks off the petals from a nearby flower shrub. I wondered if this reminded Kang Tae of the girl he once knew, or if he simply was very bothered by her smoking, but regardless of the reason, he approaches her and asks her to please stop smoking. They lock eyes, and for a moment they stare at each other as if they recognize one another. She then asks him if he believes in destiny and explains to him that “If someone shows up when you need them, you call that destiny”. The way these two look at each other is perfect, I feel the chemistry, the sadness and intrigue in their eyes.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am kind of in love with her character, she comes off at first as someone evil, mean, rude, and scary. Even her book at first, sounds like a book that isn’t meant for children since its so dark in nature, but by the time you reach the ending of the book, you come to realize, she’s not a bad person, children love her books because she encourages them, to face their fears, and grow from their trauma and past.
A scene I found interesting, was when the Nurse Nam Joo Ri shows up at her hotel asking for a signature to allow Moon Young’s father to receive a surgery he needs in order to live. The two seem to know each other from childhood, but seemed surprised to see each other (I wonder if Moon Young went by a different name before…) they talk about how they hadn’t seen each other in 20 years since she transferred schools. Moon Young says her father is dead, and then Nam Joo Ri begins to say “But your mother is alive…” and Moon Young interjects saying she registered her death a long time ago and claims to be an orphan. This leaves me wondering about what exactly happened to her family. Is her mother alive, or is she really dead? Did she have a bad relationship with both her parents? In the second episode, we find out that her mother was a writer herself, and is in fact dead and died suddenly…but then why did Joo Ri say she was alive? We also find out her father was a successful architect who went crazy. They keep blaming all the bad things that happened in her life on her.
These phrases about Moon Young were also mentioned throughout the first and second episode: “She was just born like that” and “That’s just how she was born”. I don’t think that’s the case though, if her father tried to murder her as a child, and if her mother died suddenly, and she had no friends growing up, I can understand why she is the way she is. People have shoved in her head that she isn’t worthy of good things in her life and happiness, that bad news follows her and they should stay away unless they want bad things to happen to them too. Makes me feel really sad for Moon Young, her children’s books help us understand that there is much more to her personality than just a mean, anti social, egotistic person. I cannot wait to see her transformation. It seems that Kang Tae really is someone good for her, I think they both can help each other heal from their past wounds.
One last thing to note from these two episodes: Butterflies (나비)
I still don’t know what that’s about, but if you guys have any theories, I am happy to hear them! All we know is that she used to rip the wings off of the butterflies, Kang Tae was horrified to see her do this when they were children, and Sang Tae has bad dreams about them because he claims a mysterious butterfly killed Sang Tae and Kang Tae’s mother. This honestly made me very sad since I love butterflies and we have been seeing a lot of monarch’s around SoCal this past month. I had a classmate who used to rip their wings too, back in the 1st grade. So this honestly brought back to mind some childhood trauma. I wonder what more significance these butterflies will have in the plot. I cannot wait for the next episodes, I really hope they are as detailed and wonderfully edited as these first two were. What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the first two episodes as much as I did, or did you find the drama to be slow? Let me know, I would love to hear what you guys thought about the premiere of: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!
Ugh so much potential, this drama had so much potential! But oh well, what is done is done!
Lee Min Ho and I have a long history. He was actually the very first Kdrama male lead I EVER watched. Back in January of 2012 my cousin introduced me to my very first Kdrama: Boys Over Flowers. Gu Jun Pyo was definitely not the type of man I was used to crushing on, those curls were SO not my style and I thought his outfits were over the top.
However, with time, I looked beyond it (haha) and ended up really liking Lee Min Ho and his acting!
When I heard Lee Min Ho was finally back from the military, and that he was going to star in a new drama, I was curious to see what type of project he had chosen. However to my disappointment, it wasn’t exactly anything new. Sorry Lee Min Ho!
I’m used to seeing him play very similar roles, and for once wished he would try something a little different. The King Eternal Monarch was a fantasy romance thriller, set in two parallel worlds, one being modern day Seoul in the Republic of Korea and the other in Busan in The Kingdom of Korea.
I don’t deny that the synopsis did seem intriguing at first but from the very first episode we were plagued with a hundred different things going on. We were introduced to our main characters and to the crossing of the barrier between the two worlds.
Let me tell you, a friend of mine from Singapore and I had been commenting on each episode after it came out, we couldn’t help but complain about how many plot twists there were and how we didn’t know how the writer could possibly resolve all the conflicts and answer all the questions by the end of this 16 episode drama.
In a very complicated way, the writer kept introducing us to new characters, people who existed in both worlds, so we were left sitting there trying to piece together who was who and with what purpose the villain, Lee Lim, had decided to take them from their original world and switch them to work for him in the parallel one.
I can’t deny that the visuals and cinematography were fantastic. However the editing in some parts was a bit choppy, I noticed that after the ratings were dropping, they must have either hired a new editor or put a sword to his throat because it suddenly got better, but by that time we were already half way through the drama.
The characters just felt so underdeveloped. Still wondering what Prime Minister Koo’s role was in this whole thing, I wish she had teamed up with Lee Lim and done something worthwhile but instead they made her go from a strong powerful woman, to simply thirsty for power, enough to kill her own double from the Republic of Korea. Lee Lim as well was one of the weakest villains ever. I would have liked more back story of his life, all we knew is that he was illegitimate, but what led him to becoming so thirty for the throne? The same with his previous relationship as uncle and nephew with Lee Gon.
Let’s not forget about the lack of chemistry between the leads. I don’t even blame them or their ability as actors, it was more the lousy script to blame. I’ve seen more chemistry between them off screen. I think only for like two episodes did I ever feel like the love between the two characters was genuine and real. I expected more emotions from them but the director too, didn’t do his part in guiding the actors.
Let’s talk about the good parts in this drama though, enough of the negativity.
My favorite part of this drama was discovering how different the parallel characters were from each other, take Yeong for example, in the Kingdom of Korea he was SUPER serious, very intelligent, well mannered, and stylish. Meanwhile his counterpart Eun Seop from Republic of Korea, was funny, goofy, lacking style and not the brightest tool in the shed. When the two met for the first time, it made for one very enjoyable hilarious scene. The actor who played both Yeong and Eun Seop definitely carried this show on this back, he was fresh, he was fun and honestly I wished he would have had more screen time.
I also enjoyed the Court Lady’s role, she was funny and caring, and also had a secret past, which I WISH would have been explored more. Again, I can’t help but be left wondering if this story would have been a better one in book form or in a full length film, but certainly the 16 episodes didn’t quite do it justice.
Episode 16 left me wishing the writer would have written a better script, because for once the drama seemed fun. I loved the idea of them visiting different time periods. I longed for a final episode where we actually got to see Eun Seop/Nari and Yeong/Seung Ha finally getting together and having at least one romantic scene but we didn’t. We also never saw Lee Ji Hun and his mom finally living a good life. There’s also other unanswered questions but what can we do now?
At the end of the day, this drama was enjoyable, but not overly memorable for me. I look forward to seeing them in other projects, and I know the writer will learn from her mistakes, because truly this could have been a better drama, it had all the potential.
My Rating: 3/5
SO LONG THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH! OFF TO MY NEXT KDRAMA ADVENTURE!
So here’s a little backstory of my relationship with Kang Ha Neul as an actor, I first saw him in 2013 when he came out in the drama Heirs, he didn’t catch my attention, his acting was quite forgettable, and I thought he was just some random new actor that I would never see again in another drama.
I then saw him again in Angel Eyes, but the drama was so awful I couldn’t finish watching it, and I honestly forgot he was even in the drama! (My sister had to remind me).
I later watched him once more in Scarlet Heart Ryeo, however, I completely detested his character, perhaps it was because I was more intrigued by bad boy with a mask Mr. Wang So. Regardless of the reason, he didn’t wow me with his acting or his looks. I told myself I would never watch another one of his dramas.
Back in 2019, I kept getting suggestions for the drama When The Camellia Blooms, I read the synopsis and it didn’t seem my style, I saw that Ha Neul was the lead and remembered how much I didn’t like him in Scarlet Heart, so I completely avoided the drama. That is, until my trip back from New York this March. I had just parted ways with Crash Landing On You and wanted to download a drama to watch on Netflix with my sister on the 6 hour flight back home to California.
After having seen clips on the drama on Instagram, I decided it didn’t look too bad and I would give it a chance.
MY BEST DECISION EVER, and it could also be YOUR best decision too.
If you haven’t seen that gem of a drama, I highly recommend you do and soon.
There’s a reason why Ha Neul won Best Actor at the 56th Baeksang Art Awards, there’s also a reason why When the Camellia Blooms won Best Screenplay and The Daesang Award.
You can only truly understand the reason if you watch the drama for yourself.
Kang Ha Neul plays the opposite of your stereotypical Kdrama male lead, so it can be hard to accept that type of male lead at first.
His character has an accent, he’s not very book smart, he’s not a chaebol, he’s not super pale skinned in a suit, with lip tint. Rather he’s presented to us as a normal dude from a small town called Ongsan who loves justice, can fight really well, and is just plain goofy but with a big heart.
His smile throughout the whole drama will leave you with heart eyes!
The way his character treats the female lead will leave you craving that kind of love and respect and care.
The script is really one of the best ones I’ve seen in Kdrama world.
It’s a very heartwarming story of a single mom, a woman who has been living independently almost her whole life, but lacks self-esteem and courage, but through the trials she faces in Ongsan and the friends she makes along the way including our charming male lead, she prevails and comes out as one the strongest most relatable female characters in Kdrama world.
As much as I LOVED Hyun Bin in Crash Landing On You, Kang Ha Neul just really showcased a new wonderful side of his acting abilities. He brought this wonderful character Yong Sik to life and changed the definition of “dreamy lead”. We learned that a dreamy Kdrama lead just simply needs to be a man with an extremely good heart and personality, no need for the money, extravagance, and extremely stylish looks or superhuman abilities.
Kang Ha Neul is now of my TOP favorite actors. I’ve watched his variety shows and have come to love his personality too. He’s definitely my kind of man now, my apologies to Ha Neul for judging him so harshly before!
Here’s a stupid edit I made of us during my spare time today after finding out he won best actor. I would CERTAINLY cast HIM as my male lead in the story of my life with ZERO HESITATION.