Rating:
Average user rating 3.6
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More First Impressions: Cats, Pigs, and Grapes

Rather than calling the current drama drought a Coffee Prince withdrawal, I think it’s more of a general late-summer ennui type thing. Summer’s winding down, it’s (really, enervatingly) hot, and some of us working stiffs don’t have much vacation to begin with other than the odd three-day weekend like the one we just had (by the way, “Working on Labor Day, how ironic!” jokes are NO LONGER FUNNY. I must have heard that at least three times yesterday. Please find new ways to express recycled wit, thanks. While you’re at it, please fix this whole global warming thing too. Indian summers suck. Especially when they come accompanied with random rolling blackouts. Although, to digress upon digression, “The Rolling Blackouts” = best band name ever. I’m pretty sure the actual band sucks, but their name is gold.)

Getting back to the point, my search for a decent drama continues. I may have found one, but this post isn’t about it. This one is about one bust, one popcorn drama, and one question mark.

(Random) SONG OF THE DAY

Apls 애플스 – “Give Me a Chance” [ zShare download ]

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First off, the currently airing KBS family drama GOLDEN AGE FOR DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW. I don’t tend to watch generic family dramas because I find them, well, generic, but as this one stars two actors from two of my all-time favorite series (Lee Soo Kyung from Soulmate and Mr. Sexy Hot Bedroom Eyes aka Kim Ji Hoon from Flowers For My Life), I wanted it to be better. If not good, then at least watchable.

 
Because I’ve seen both actors do much better work before, I’m disappointed that they’re in such a blah show. It’s not a horrible drama, but it’s definitely more like the kind you leave on in the background while you, say, do the dishes. Or sleep. To be fair, the moments between them are cute —

Lee Soo Kyung can be adorable without being annoying, perhaps because she embraces the silly (see Exhibit A, to your left) and goes all-out for the joke without playing it self-consciously. But the bummer is, there are only about five minutes between them in the first episode. I seriously considered watching the drama merely to fast-forward to the moments between the couple, but I have my limits, and I’ll just have to content myself with watching whatever they both choose to do next.

As for the pig reference, the official website is covered in pig drawings and icons, perhaps because 2007 is the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac, in which each sign comes around every twelve years. Furthermore, it’s the fifth cycle of the pig, making it a once-in-sixty-years phenomenon (and Korean culture celebrates turning sixty as one of the largest milestones of one’s life, alongside hundred-day birthdays and turning twenty to mark adulthood), so 2007 is the year of the Golden Pig, supposedly lucky. So the drama capitalizes on drawing comparisons between that and the “golden age” for daughters-in-law, as the Lee Soo Kyung character will become the daughter-in-law (historically a beleaguered position in Korean households) once she marries Kim Ji Hoon. Er, at least, I assume from the setup.

(Judgment: Pass)

 

Next: TVN’s currently airing cable drama THE GREAT CATSBY, based on a popular, acclaimed manhwa series of the same name.

This one piqued my interest purely by its title — I wondered what its connection was to Gatsby, which isn’t necessarily a novel I loved (I know, travesty, but I’m not a fan of American writers of that era) — but I appreciate literary allusions all the same. If the manhwa borrows from Gatsby at all, it does so very loosely. I was further interested after seeing that its main two characters (Catsby and Hound, which are nicknames — the original characters in the manhwa actually are animals) were played by singer-comedian MC Mong and budding actor Kang Kyung Joon, whom I really liked as the resident bohemian from sitcom series Nonstop 5.

Personally, I tend to think that a drama that’s based on an original work feels a little different from a regular drama — for instance, Hana Yori Dango or Coffee Prince. With the former, my opinion changed after finding out about the source material (I grew less critical of some elements that struck me as weird or out of place). With the latter, my opinion stayed the same because the drama was so successful at embodying the new form without relying too heavily on its prior one.

Catsby definitely felt different after finding out it was a manhwa adaptation; initially it felt boring and meandering (Catsby’s a loafer with a successful girlfriend, who leaves him after six years to marry another man, and is helped along by his faithful friend Hound). It also explains the recurring cat motif. It clocks in much shorter than normal dramas at around 45 minutes, but it’s not quite funny enough to be called a comedy.

Plus, I find MC Mong kind of bland in the role — hapless and nondescript. He’s not a bad actor (especially considering he started out as a singer, then had bit parts on sitcoms and variety shows), but when he’s not being the gag man, he doesn’t exactly pop with presence.

Here, he’s overshadowed by Kang Kyung Joon, who’s better at both the dramatic AND comedic beats, ironically. Kang Kyung Joon is still somewhat green as an actor, and he still has to work on polishing his skills, but he’s definitely got potential — young, tall, good-looking, and funny — and a charismatic screen presence. (Although I could do without the pornstache.)

(Judgment: ???
Perhaps may watch a few more episodes, but it’s purely because of Kang Kyung Joon.)

 

And last: last summer’s Yoon Eun Hye vehicle, THE VINEYARD MAN.

 
I hadn’t gotten around to watching The Vineyard Man before because there was always something I wanted to see more, but now that there’s a lull, I tried it out. When it first aired last year, I remember hearing comments of how much improved Yoon Eun Hye was since her debut in Goong earlier that year. Watching this now, I’m struck with how much she’s improved in the time between Vineyard and Coffee Prince. That doesn’t mean she’s bad in The Vineyard Man, but she hadn’t yet put herself completely into that role in the way she threw herself into being Go Eun Chan more recently.

Anyway.

 

 

The premise is straighforward — opposites attract; horribly unsuitable woman forced to do an activity she first hates and then falls in love with (I’m guessing) — and the picture above pretty much perfectly encapsulates the conflict at a glance. She’s materialistic (but lovable), and he’s an irascible country bumpkin. (Oh Man Seok does a really great job with the southern accent, and it’s jarring to see him play this uncultured, rough character so convincingly after I just saw him play a polished, cool sophisticate in Hyena.)

As for the developments that are set into motion to bring our main characters together, those are fairly predictable, too. Because they’re so obvious, I found myself impatient with the first couple of episodes, because I wanted them to hurry past the inevitable to get to the actual start of the story. As a romantic comedy, The Vineyard Man may not seem particularly inventive or new, but it’s entertaining enough.

The series actually reminded me at first of another of last year’s summer dramas, the disappointing Kang Ji Hwan–Han Chae Young romance, Exhibition of Fireworks. That drama started off as frothy, light-hearted fun, but degenerated rapidly about halfway through to a messy puddle of bad acting and weird character schizophrenia. But, I hear Vineyard Man gets better as it goes along, so maybe there’s hope yet.

And, if anything, once the story moves out of Seoul and to the vineyard, it looks like there’s a lot of gorgeous scenery to take in.

(Judgment: Will probably keep watching at a leisurely rate.)

 

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i watched the vineyard man and honestly... you can start at episode 5 and be just fine with knowing what's going on haha. and really, it's better to start at 5 lol... the first couple episodes are very boring!

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"Kang Kyung Joon is [...] young, tall, good-looking, and funny — and a charismatic screen presence. (Although I could do without the pornstache.)"
... and with that, she's back, that javabeans - sassy, jazzy and full of lovable snark! I'm half expecting to see a few more screencaps of other actors with the comparable facial hair attributes (LBH? just kidding!!!!, mumbles "sorry" to his fans out there, just kidding!!!!). I have to admit, slightly disappointed that there's still no comment on Alone in Love.... but hey, that's life. Indian summers? Would be nice to have if there's actually real seasons here. Right now, i'm just asking for some rain - the kind that's more than just enough to dirty my car. Global warming: well, that's another (long) comment altogether. Oh, yeah - the year of the Golden Pig. Supposedly a good sign for a girl? Now that's a good compliment to pay any lady if i've ever heard one: "Oh, so you're a Golden Pig?"
Have fun on the writer quest for your next muse! In all honesty, Javabeans, it was very nice to see another post on dramabeans.com today. Sorry everyone for the rambling up there!

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Yeah, the Vineyard Man had a really awkward start (in my opinion), but it gets better along the way. Some of the episodes I just kind of...boredly sat through, others were pretty amusing/fun to watch. Kind of gave you a lukewarm...feeling...hahaha It could've been better though. My mom said that the book is a lot better than the drama.

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Nice caption. I find the animals and fruit rather boring but not your blog. If you still can't find any drama to your liking, do repeat of your favourite and animate it. Well, that's how I kill time..hahaha. Cheers!

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AZN TV started airing the series THANK YOU tonight (sept. 4th)
The subtitles are different from S2 and i'm finding them a nice change for some reason. but as i've mentioned before you can REALLY begin with ep. 3 - eppies one and two are foundation, but melodramatic....at ep 3, once they're on Blue Island = are just lovely to watch. the little girl playing Lee Bom, continues to amaze and entertain - Jan Hyuk's transformation by the end is exciting to watch. this version includes some nice animation at the beginning and end.

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I have finished watching Thank You and find it heart warming. I like the child actress that played Lee Bom. Her crying scene were very good, very convincing, better than some actors or actresses. Just finished with The Devil and find it rather hmmm .... well just say that I'll watched it once and never again. Starting on The Vineyard Man ... all just because Javabean's been talking about it ...

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i watched vineyard man before kbs, although yes as predictable as it is. i liked it coz it was a big change from the typical Eun Hye. Man Seok was so different to. That accent so hard! hahaha well, its somewhat amusing in a sense. I like the conflict though, the thought of giving up ur life in the city and whatnot. It made for a good thought. im one to say Eun Hye's acting has surely changed a lot, and i see her more in Eun Chan. But to think how stressed she was after this one and she became all tanned too. hahhaa hmmm.. i watched the start of Golden Era also, its ok. I love the leads, but the story is a bit slow in a way. well, i hope it gets better. I lost the cable channel that showed that so oh well, i guess dl time. oh yeah, i know about the golden pig thing. before the chinese new year my parents made a big deal of the whole thing. its so funny, tradition marks these certain years but i like it in a way and it makes good sense too.

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Dear Javabeans
In last two nights I watched first three episodes of the vineyardman.
When I watched it I asked my self that someone that finally concluded that Yoon Eun Hye can play Go Eun Chan role, probably had hard decision and big risk because of her previous girly roles, but indeed her role in Goong aka Princess Houres as first step is more girly, hre role in the vineyardman at the next step is somewhere between her girly role in goong and her boyish acting in Coffee Prince but still absolutely different from both of them. (You can watch differences clearly.)
I think this is good drama for watching, specially because you talked about it.
Than You dear Javabeans.

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Well I'm glad to hear that the Vineyard Man gets better, I've just started ep 5 and it's taken me over a week to get that far. It's been pretty boring so far. My new fave drama is Punch which has a pretty unique storyline in girl boxers and it also stars the ever so hot Joo Min Mo, so double thumbs up.

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Keep up with vineyard man, you won't regret it! It is amazing once you get around episode 5. Though the first few episodes are kind of draggy, they are necessary to watch to understand the rest of the show! YEH is an amazing actress and, like you said, it is great to see her grow.

I look forward to her next roll (which is rumored to be Goong 2, but I was pretty sure she said she wouldn't be working with that company again).

-Jamie

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i am a YEH fan and so i watched VM as well but i have to say, i had to push myself to finish it hahaha no offense.. i think the story and acting (and the scenery!) were great but the big drawback for me was -- i wasn't into OMS (sorry..).. suffice it to say i was proud of myself when i finished it (at last!).. if only to see YEH and her funny antics :)

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In not watching "Thank you" you really miss something... At least try the just first episode and you will see how it's a wonderfull drama. Have a nice day

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In not watching "Thank you" you really miss something... At least try the just first episode and you will see how it's a wonderfull drama. Have a nice day

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heya dramabeans!
i've been a diehard fan of yours for a long time...though i've never posted my appreciation of it..well here is a long overdue serving of adoration! i worship the ground you stand on! this webpage is my shrine! i love reading your screen caps and comments so much i use them as my entertainment source rather than the drama! (as well as the fact that my download limit is used up but still...)
anyway thanks so much for continuing to post such hilarious reviews!
if ure looking for a good drama i recommend Hwang jin yi! unless you've seen it already..
neway starting watching a few episodes and its very good!

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Vineyard Man is entertaining, I definitely recommend you to keep on going with it.

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hmmm tricky. reading your summary gives me a feeling none of them will really stick. and while i'm tempted to try out the vineyard man (love EYH to bits!), and while this may come across as totally superficial, i think i'm not just really feeling Oh Man Seok. Hehehe. I'm such a girl. But seriously, i need to at least be attracted to the leads to appreciate the drama! Just finishing off soulmates (which i am absolutely in love with) so that ought to keep me busy for a while. looking forward to any more analyses you might have on other potential dramas... :D

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so right on your take on exhibitions of fireworks..OMG!! their love story was blah...especially considering the potential it had...the writters let me down there, and so did the actors...Han Chae Young should never ever cry unless she's truly in pain, because those scenes had me laughing my tail off instead of feeling somewhat sympathetic towards her...
anyhoo,
me too i noticed the improvement in Yoon Eun hye's acting from the vineyard to the coffee shop... this girl is really working hard on her skills...
don't let go of vineyard man yet, though its completly previsible you will enjoy it more in the coming episodes...
people me too i'm searching hard for something watchable, it seems coffee prince really raised the bar, now i expect greatness!
right now i'm watching "hello! miss" which our dear java helped subbing (YEAH!!!! Good job javabeans...), but my interest for the story itself is starting to die out...so anyone know anything good?
Javabeans and you fellow commenters if its posible can you list out some of the memorable dramas you've watched, because i'm really on a dry spill here...
i'll be waiting...

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lolo, don't waste your time! i pushed myself to finish "hello! miss" and i wish i didn't haha. especially after "coffee prince"... "hello! miss" would be very very disappointing.

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the vineyard is the only one out of the three you mentioned that i knew. lol, i had finished that earlier this year, and it turned out pretty alright. mind you it is no coffee prince, but yoon eun hye's acting was pretty good in it. and i fast forwarded to through a lot of the beginning episodes for the same reasons you go impatient with them. but the later half does get better (i swear on it)

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Did you just say... "pornstache"? Sul-ma...

(snort)

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I kind of like the vineyard man. I guess i don't know much about Korean dramas, but i liked it okay. I thought it was a little more down to earth than coffee prince. It really reminded me of Thai lakorns (i think that's how you spell it). And i do enjoy watching light dramas more than many other types of dramas. It was not so funny that I'd laugh my ass off at every scene, but it was okay. I guess it does it better later on, i didn't have troubles with the beginning, it was slow, but i enjoyed the filming of the scenery and everything during that part.

I liked the filming techniques they used in the vineyard man. The scenes were very pretty.

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Like everyone has said the first five episode of VM was a drag but it gets better. Very simple drama but I have to say this is drama where I find YEH as a very beautiful girl. I mean she was cute in Goong but she looks so beautiful in this series, maybe because of the hair that's why but I collected a lot of fanmade MVs of this series and almost all of her shots where pretty and to think she became so tan and had allergies while filming it. The storyline is so so but the her and OMS managed to pull me in till the end. I also like that it has a satisfying ending.

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so i finally finished "alone in love" and i'm pleasantly surprised...
the ost was good...
the acting surperb...
the dialogue magnificient...
the ending...well you'll see ^_^

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I agree with you on a few points there. Even Fireworks which you threw out there, I had watched that when I saw Han Chae Young was in it since I had just come off of watching Choon Hyang but I barely got through it and have blocked much from my memory. Most of my problem was with the male lead and the lack of chemistry between them. I was probably spoiled because there was so much chemistry in Delightful Girl Choon Hyang.
As for Vineyard man...it was kind of boring to me (not as bad as Fireworks, definitely). The acting was fine but I just walked away from it feeling as if it was one big cliche. I'm glad I saw Coffee Prince and got to see YEH stretch her acting talents because I don't think she was able to do that in Vineyard Man.

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I'm watching SBS's How To Meet a Perfect Neighbor right now, and it's really good. I started really enjoying the drama at episode 4 and now i'm obsessed with it. Bae Doo Na's character is really endearing and there are some really cute and funny scenes throughout the drama. I think it's worth trying out! =)

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I am currently watching 'The Vineyard Man' and I totally love every episode of it. The first two episodes in my opinion wasn't really that boring, in fact, they are pretty hilarious. I love the breathtaking scenery of the vineyard. A must-watch, I would say. Way better than Goong S (no offense), while I was watching that show, I just can't wait for it to come to an end. With this show, I can't wait for it to end...so that I can watch it all over again!

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Finally I have finished watching The Vineyard Man. It is a satisfying drama and I really like the whole set up of it. Mind you I have read the comments here first before I started watching it, I thought I might just have to skip the 1st 5 episodes, but I didn't. I didn't find it boring or slow. To me the 1st 5 episodes were the introduction to all the characters of the show and I enjoy the sceneries and the development of the story.
Thanks Javabean for comment on this drama that lead me to watch it. I seriously finished it in two days and find it most satisfying after CP. You are right YEH has definitely improved from Goong to CP and am looking forward to her next project. I like the OST too.
Now I'm wonder what I'll be watching next ??? Any suggestion Javabean???

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I have to agree with the last two comments regarding 'Vineyard Man.' As I was very new to the world of KDrama at the time the series aired in the U.S., I had no prior knowledge of YEH either through her career as a singer or her previous role in ‘Goong.’ What I saw when I tuned into the first episode of 'Vineyard Man' was a strikingly beautiful girl whose comedic talents were very well suited to the role she had been assigned. In this "fish out of water" series, Eun-Hye was able to show to me (as a novice to the genre and this particular actress) a character too captivating for me to want to speed up any movement of the story as I was perfectly satisfied by the depth of her growth from high maintenance, superficial city girl to a warm-hearted, hard-working keeper of the flame for her grandfather and the legacy of his country village.

As a male, just gazing upon Eun-Hye is enough to attract a certain amount of observation, but if I couldn't get myself to identify with her character and the positive transformations that she deftly displayed in progress, I'd have dropped this project and moved on. I never found myself bored, unaffected, or loathing any part this series. As one matures, one finds that life's events move in a certain order and that impatience is often the enemy of growth.

Growth, as mentioned so many times in earlier blogs, is certainly evident in the case of the hugely talented and ever popular Miss Yoon. As an unabashed and happily loyal fan, I worry far less about comparing one product to the next, or (at this point in time) turning myself away from her most recent projects in deference to a past that dooms the future if it remains constant (just ask Britany Spears!) Thus far, I've seen her as a sunny, unsophisticated high-school girl whose unaffected sweetness brought a stoic prince and an entire palace to his knees, (Princess Hours/Goong) a two fisted, sweet-faced tomboy who loses her heart to an unlikely hero (Legend of a Seven Cutter), a city mouse who falls for a country mouse (Vineyard) and, of course, as our much-beloved boyish beauty Eun Chan (who needs no introduction.) Skipping over any thread in the colorful fabric of our "young girl warrior's" career is depriving oneself of the opportunity to gaze into the eyes and the heart of this brightly glowing wunderkind. Spirits like this should be consumed in as large a quantity as is made available. I've been treated to seconds, thirds, and fourths, and I'm still hungry for more.

Stay as sweet as you are Yoon Eun-Hye. The world could always use a little more sugar!

P.S. Under no circumstances should any of you miss out on watching 'Thank You!' You will be a better person for having seen it!!!

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Looking for a good KDrama you might have missed? Take a look at HELLO, GOD from 2006 with Yoo Geon, Kim Ok-bin and Lee Jong-hyeok. Yes, these are not big names, which may be why the drama isn't all that well-known. Which it certainly deserves to be.

But if you want big names, one is, in fact,involved - Kang Eun-kyeong, the scriptwriter. She also wrote HOTELIER, GLASS SLIPPER, OH! PIL-SEUNG BONG SOON-YOUNG, and DAL-JA'S SPRING.

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I have watched The Vineyard Man again and I just love the OST. However I could not shake this nagging feeling that I wished for a better ending. I just wish that YEh's character should just dress better at the end rather than looking like some village ahjumah after all she inspired to become a fashion designer. Even with children along, she should kept her standard of being a designer. Maybe it is just me, but I just wish that instead of looking like a haggard 10 years later, she should changed her environment and people around her with her creative ideas and talents. Wishful thinking I guess ^_^
Yah can't have it all perfect everytime ... sigh

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i advise to watch alone in love....
actually, i wanna see how u analyse this drama

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@ manuroxs: thumps up... i think it would be good to see how our dear javabeans interprets it... i think the way she writes would mesh well with the feeling of the drama... *no pressure* lol.... give it a try

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Hello, I happen to have just browsed on 'the vineyard... ' synopsis on the web and found it uninteresting... not a new plot i would consider exciting so i never got to watching it. Now that all seem to agree the story doesn't take off until chap 5... well am just probably going to read on your reviews then. Honestly i'm not too fond of the guy who played opposite Eun Hye... i was really looking forward to see her on QSS... only for the reason that i'd like to really see her opposite Mr. Mun and see the same chemistry i saw when i watched them on a game show.

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wow! after princess hours and coffee prince your very great yoon eun hye im proud to be your big (great) fan!!!!!!!!!

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