This Week in K Drama 10/12/2013

I really need to name this MY week in Kdrama-THIS week indicated a comprehensive review, which this its not, just my meandering thoughts.

Good Doctor Final Episodes/Final Thoughts-

I liked this show.  It’s not great, but it was entertaining. Why did I watch it?    It had an acceptable cast and I wanted to see what they were going to do with a doctor with autism.  Why did I stay?  Peter Pan and the Lost Boys (Si-on and the kids). I have not been a fan of Joo-won.  Let me rephrase that:  he is not my cup of tea when it comes to the tingles.  I tried watching Gaksital but it was a no go for me, and why is whole other blog post.  I started 7th Level Civil Servant, and we all know that despite the great cast and plot, it was a hot mess of what the fuckery defies logic.  My point being I have had limited exposure to Joo-won and I liked it that way due to all of the squeeing “my oppa” fan gurls.   All that said, you can now add me to the list that think he’s got acting chops.

Cons:  The show had some early issues with cheese:  seriously over acted and silly drama surgery scenes.  The second half had some drag.     Not sure where they wanted to go with the autism.  They wanted a romance, but were afraid to go there.   They advertised a love triangle, and did not go there.  The characters were not allowed any sexuality, and this was a cop out. Dr. Cha-this character had strengths and I think is for the most part is a strong female character, for k drama land.  My crits in this character development is that while she totally accepted Si-on, she was turned into almost a caricature /stereotype of a pushy Korean girlfriend.  She pushed the relationship, she wanted to show him off as a status symbol -hot-doctor- to her friends as much as she wanted to promote acceptance of a person with autism in society as “normal.”  I said in weekly comments that I really kept expecting her to drag him out shopping and demand, with aegyo, for her to buy her a designer handbag!   This is a simplified focus on a negative aspect of the character because I think it is important to note that while she was an empowered female character, she was “put in her place” with this stereotype.

One of my peeves with the show was the beatification of Si On.  The show was pretty in your face with the pro life, that every life is valuable, message.   However, to imbue Si On with sainthood (the almost supernatural ability, the visions, and that he was “saving’ everyone with his presence) was a bit too much for my liking, as it negated the power of showing a person with autism functioning at a high level career.

Pros-The Peter Pan theme/influence was introduced early on in the series.  Si-on was the boy that did not want to grow up (this is also a Con; because it negates the reality of autism but I however feel the other parts of this influence outweigh the negative).  The more important aspect of the Peter Pan aspect is the need for family,  by blood or happenstance or by choice.   This was a quite beautiful part of the show, as the cast members each found some sense of family with each other  (this was the positive reason for Si-on as the Saint, informing the lives of those around him).   I do not think I need to name this because PP was an influence not a main theme, it was not a strict application of PP to the show,  but I will briefly note-we know that the children were the Lost Boys,  Si-on was Peter,  Dr. TEN and the Hospital Heiress were Mother and Father,  Dr. Cha was Tink (the jealous possessive Tink) and Wendy combined,  Gangsta Nurse was Nana, and In Hae was Tiger Lily and also Tink (the bestie and vulnerable Tink).   I think we can say many of the political aspects invoked Hook, Smee, and the pirates.  Kudos to the drama makers for just throwing it away by incorporating the play into the drama.

Si-on’s character was totally charming from the genuine heartfelt parts to the quirks to the weird to the petty to the awkward to the smirks and the scoffs and learning to lie.  Love love love this character.

Palli Palli!

Heirs Epi 1 and Epi 2

The 2nd epi was better than the first, we move along a bit.  I have interest in the plot and Kim Tan’s character.  I am not a fan of Woo Bin but I think the character will be entertaining.  I am way more interested in Kang Ha-neul’s character than anything at this point.  I think the mothers are more interesting than the girls.  I think Young-Do should just seduce his potential step sister and that would solve a lot of problems.   I smell chemistry between Kim Tan’s Mom and Hot Gummy Daddy.  Maybe if he got laid he would chill out and stop with the being a total dick.  I do not know what is going on with Kim Patriarch but the whole thing with the wife and mistress is a hot mess of dysfunction, and really who is okay with living like that?  Ugh.   Really was not expecting homoeroticism in the second epi.

Bottom line:  There are too many stories, too many characters. It’s choppy, the scenes are slapped together, and the pacing is crap.  It’s got some fun set up for the future -high school as hell, and the dream catcher aspect-all these disillusioned young people their whole lives in front of them, without dreams.

A good cast of characters keeps things lively.  The problem is this show just has too much to do.  After two episodes, we should at least “know” one character.  But we really do not, and we haven’t even really met everyone yet!   I like that it went abroad for part of it, even though the execution is not great, some of the scenes are lovely, and it illustrates that the world is a big place with lots of experiences and opportunities to explore.

This show, from its first announcement, got a lot of negative attention, from casting, to the writer.  I’ve been rather appalled at how much hate this show has generated.  Some of the crit of the first 2 episodes is deserved, some of it is not.  And much of the crit and blame is going towards the writer and Lee Min Ho, whether deserved or not.  I particularly find it disturbing that the writer is being blamed for the hiring of crappy American actors.  I find it hard to believe the writer had much say in that.  Another thing I find a bit harsh is that Lee Min Ho is being criticized for having poor English pronunciation, and being criticized for even trying to speak English.  One of my small issues with k drama is that in many dramas, someone is always returning to Korea from another country, often the U.S., and to prove it, the actor speaks a few lines of English, after arriving back in Korea.  Often the actor has little practice with English.  You know, it’s perfectly acceptable to speak Korean in a Korean movie, especially when the actor is not proficient with another language.  However, in Heirs, the characters are in California.  Kim Tan is living in California, so it makes perfect sense for the Korean cast to speak English, even if they have heavy accents.   People that immigrate rarely speak without an accent, so I find this crit, actually it’s worse than crit, its mockery,  mean natured.   I find it mean and ethnocentric all around to make of fun of people for having accents when they speak another language anyway.   I mean really, do native English speakers think that they speak other languages without accents?  However, it is interesting that while LMH is castigated for having an accent, the comments I’ve read about Park Shin Hye is that her attempts at speaking English are “cute.”

Me personally, I find LMH speaking English kind of hot.  It’s okay with me, and it would be cool if he would say my name.  Ha.

Kim Tan, he’s a deep one.  He’s a thinker, but he’s disassociated, he feels helpless.   I find him a combination of Logan and Duncan from Veronica Mars.   I said in comments with Caitlyn that the show has a bit of a VM feel to it-minus Veronica and being really clever- with these disillusioned, cynical, young people who live quit charmed lives and think the world should be just as they like it, and are pissed that they have to deal with any obstacles, like imperfect parents and gasp, responsibilities, but do not want to do anything about it, they live with the status quo.

Eun-sang:  The Candy label is getting thrown her way.  I think this is interesting, and based on her not being rich,  because, no, not yet, we cannot label her that yet.  She’s not earned it.   Girlfriend is not the bright hardworking long-suffering Candy.   Eun-sang is hardworking and suffering but she’s not doing it with a smile on her face and the song “Tomorrow” on her lips.  She tries to pay Kim Tan for everything, which is someone who understands the value of work and money, and of independence, and what it means to be indebted to someone-nothng is ever free in this world.   Conversely,  she’s indicative of the modern youth, that think they should have exactly what they want, because you know, they want it.    Hard work sucks and life isn’t fair, and she knows it and she’s having a pity party moment in her life.  Is it attractive?  No.  I too at first view found her very annoying with the whining and bitching.  I still think she’s a brat and way selfish for her attitude towards her mother. However, looking at the poor me part, you know what, we all have those moments when we hit critical mass.  Many of us have the loser sibling that is not doing what they are supposed to do for family issues.   We must remember the Korean culture and older siblings are supposed to be responsible for the parents, and even the younger siblings,  so she has a huge chip on her shoulder towards her sister.   The question is will she suck it up and become a strong empowered character we can respect if not like, or will she become a submissive damsel in distress that needs saving from poverty and well, everything, going forward? The seeds are there, she understands hard work, she understands life is not fair, and she’s not a complete doormat or helpless.  Do I have any expectations that this character will be progressive and different?  No, absolutely not.

I’m not going into each character, too many and too early days. I  made initial commentary on some thoughts the home page on weekly commentary.  I will say the engagement with Kim Tan and the mean girl is super contrived.

Secret-It’s melo and histrionic and wow the two female characters are so plastic face it’s hard to watch them.   It is one of those dramas that you cringe and hide, omg not another trauma, and at the same time peek through your fingers to see what is happening.  I cannot say I like it but Ji Sung’s character is interesting.

Medical Top Team Epi 1 and 2- The first 2 episodes were good.  Heirs, take notes on pacing, hello.   I like the juxtaposition of the two male leads:  Dr. Kirk and Dr. Spock.  Both of these actors are friggin awesome.  And the characters are interesting too.  I particularly like that Dr. Spock made the decision to allow Dr. Kirk to operate.  Any other ‘cold’ administrator in any other drama would say no for liability issues.  I found this quite interesting that he too put the patient first.  Choi Min-ho, wearing more pink lipstick and bronzer than all of the doods on Heirs put together, but no one says anything about that,  is like a big cute but kind of weirdo puppy.  The female characters are not so positive.   Short hair intern is a self involved fuck up.  Dr. Thoracic is passive aggressive, one moment she’s smiling submissive, the next, she’s cold.  I know that the show was establishing Dr. Kirk as a genius type doctor, but they did it at the expense of the female lead.  Not cool. I also understand there was a need for conflict between the two, but I really was disappointed that they did it by making her look incompetent and making her the lesser doctor.  There was no reason they could not present her as just as brilliant a doctor, and still portray a rivalry to produce conflict.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Caitlyn Burton
    Oct 13, 2013 @ 08:40:20

    With the English, it’s more that… Min Ho really sounded terrible. That’s not meant to be a criticism as such, it’s more of an observation. When a character’s English pronunciation causes the [English speaking] audience to literally cringe every time the person speaks, that’s not a good thing. It’s understandable and unsurprising but still, not a good thing. I haven’t read the comments from people saying that he shouldn’t have been speaking English though. Those people make no sense, lol

    About Candy… yeah, I don’t understand why people are calling her Candy. Well, no, I understand it, but as you said, it’s wrong. She’s poor, but she knows it and she hates it and she’s always complaining about it. Definitely not Candy. I hope she at least progresses to a point where she’s not constantly posting Facebook posts about how she wishes she wasn’t working, lol

    I’m happy with how they’re introducing the characters. They have 20 episodes, more than enough time for us to get to know everyone. Actually, I’m hoping that the fact that there are so many characters means we won’t get the usual k-drama drag in the middle, lol. Considering how quickly the main couple’s relationship is progressing, I see a lot of angst in their future, which often translates to drag, urgh


    • randomsoju
      Oct 13, 2013 @ 10:23:04

      I think I am more forgiving on accents than a lot of English speaking people? I had no problem understanding anything he said. I have been told though that I can understand people with non American accents better than most. IDK, it may be because I live in an area where I am exposed to people from around the globe, and have had to learn to understand people from all over the world as part of my jobs, and also at university, we have a highly diverse population in both instructors and students. I however am not good with speaking other languages so I sympathize…empathize when I watch k drama and the actor has to say random lines of dialogue in other languages when it is obvious it is not a normal thing for them, because I know viewers that speak that language are going to skewer them. That is why I cringe every time I watch a k drama I guess, because non native viewers are so critical. Cause you know, English speaking people never butcher other languages, lol. My favorite English speaking moment in K drama is drunk Jin-ran on Flower Boy Next Door. That was just so funny and random.

      Yes, I can easily see the poor girl knee jerk assumptions of the Candy trope too. I actually find the wall posts complaining a bit of slice of real life, that was pretty funny, because people, especially teens and young people go on their walls and complain about things as if they are end of the world and other people are like, suck it and rub some dirt in it, if that’s your biggest problem, you are okay lol. I however have no confidence that she will not be a Candy tho. Even the female characters that start out strong, or at least different, in a drama usually end up getting pushed into a trope.

      I’m okay with take your time introduction also, I just think that it’s cut up and jerky and it could flow smoother, we got a lot of people thrown at us, and I do not even know their names. The problem is they will not use the 20 episodes to cover everyone! They will just drop loose ends and we will have to watch contrived conflict, like you said, over the main couple angst looping over and over. grrrr argh!

      At least we are being entertained….right? Maybe in the wrong way tho haha.


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