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Odds and Ends: Ineffectual villainy

javabeans: So what was your week like?

girlfriday: I guess busy and drama-filled. The usual? What about you?

javabeans: Well, we recorded a podcast that should be up by the time this posts, so I got to listen to our voices over and over for hours on end. You know how there are people who supposedly love the sound of their own voices? I’m not one of those people.

girlfriday: Not to mention that would make you super vain. Does voice count as a vanity thing?

javabeans: If you can find a way to be in love with yourself because of it, then yes, it counts.

girlfriday: I can barely listen to myself the once.

javabeans: It’s just a weird brand of surreal to hear yourself in a form that isn’t… you know, yourself, in the moment. I don’t know how the celebrities get used to seeing themselves in various media. And then every time I wonder why we don’t do more podcasts, all it takes is editing one to remember why.

girlfriday: If we stopped rambling it would be much easier, but I don’t know if we know how to do that.

javabeans: Sometimes after a while, I get into a zen state of mind and it becomes some other annoying person I’m editing, rather than myself.

girlfriday: Like an out-of-body experience?

javabeans: It would be the most boring out-of-body experience ever, just sitting there listening to two people talk instead of doing something interesting, like spying on celebrities or traveling to far-flung locales. I mean, what would you do with that superpower?

girlfriday: Is there really much you can do with that superpower? Am I corporeal? Do I get to touch or taste things?

javabeans: No, I suppose not, which means no sneak-hug-attacking your oppas.

girlfriday: Then what’s the point, really.

javabeans: It would just let you be nosy? Sure you can’t do a whole lot with it, but it’s still a power! You could join Dr. Horrible’s Henchman Union and be like Moist, always ready to dampen things. Or in this case, reading over people’s shoulders or whispering random crazy ideas into their ears.

girlfriday: So just hang out and be haunty?

javabeans: Ooh, I’d do that. Haunt people and make them think I was a ghost instead of just astrally projecting myself. I think that would mean I’m using my powers for evil rather than good though.

girlfriday: Yes, but then you could join the Evil League of Evil.

javabeans: And wouldn’t you really rather be effective at being evil than ineffectual at being good? Sure I’m evil, but I have follow-through.

girlfriday: Exactly. This is maybe why the universe has not granted us superpowers. But really, if dramas have taught us anything, it’s that having powers sucks and it makes you mopey and burdened with saving humanity.

javabeans: Mostly because those people are noble, though. I’m pretty sure I could get over the burden of nobility and concentrate on saving myself. I’m going to freeze myself into a popsicle in front of a wormhole, aren’t I.

girlfriday: It’s a possibility.

javabeans: Though if I could choose to be a drama villain, I’d pick a cooler one than Evil Faith Guy. One who lived in an era with toilets and showers.

girlfriday: So… somebody’s mother-in-law?

javabeans: One of the really rich ones. I think we’ve been over this before, haven’t we? What can you do, you can’t change who you are.

girlfriday: I always have trouble picking good villains because there are so few interesting bad guys in dramaland. It’s like giving your villain some relatable human traits might make you too sympathetic and the world might implode.

javabeans: And giving your heroes and heroines a dark side might make them somehow less relatable, rather than way more interesting. When I see those sweet Candys, even when I like them I’m still wondering, “Why don’t you feel real emotions? Nobody’s that good.”

girlfriday: There is a very thin line between innocence and stupidity in dramaland.

javabeans: Which is why we call it the Noble Idiot. I don’t trust anybody who says they’ve never felt schadenfreude before. Even if you don’t know the definition of schadenfreude, you have felt it.

girlfriday: Yeah that’s just a lie.

javabeans: Maybe that’s why I like Lee Bo-young’s characters—they’re not really concerned with people thinking they’re sweet. And then she feels like a person who might exist, and therefore someone I’d like to be friends with.

girlfriday: She has the best brand of sass. It’s conceited but lovable, and when she acts annoyed, I truly believe she’s annoyed.

javabeans: Just watch, when we get our chance to write our drama (you know, in the fictional alternate universe where we do that), everyone will be so twisted and flawed and far from normal that it’ll be its own brand of confusing. Like the director who refuses to give you a master shot and only focuses on slanty angles of eyes and chins.

girlfriday: Then we’d better hire someone else to add the nice.

javabeans: Good plan, ’cause I sure don’t want to be in charge of the nice quotient. Maybe Jang Nara will be free?

 
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Oh. My. God.

That's it. You guys just HAVE to write a drama now.Being the ones who know exactly how we drama-addicts react to characters, you would come up with some exceptional story! I am totally invested in this. Please oh please do it!

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Fingers crossed

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Yes! I'm with you...
JB and GF, you should do that scriptwriting and directing for good quality drama *crossing finger*

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Yes, agree with that, DB recappers should start writing script for new dramas. I love flawed characters.

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LOL! Are you ladies taking a page from Yoona's handlers in testing the waters to see if the world will be clamoring for a jb-gf scripted drama? Well, most definitely yes for me--I trust you ladies as much as I trust a Gong Hyo Jin show.

A bit off topic here, but if there is ever to be a Nodame Cantabile remake, I can't think of a better young actress than Han Groo for Nodame. Her 110 percent energy in Marriage, Not Dating is so much like Ueno Juri's Nodame. Maybe they'll even write in some piggyback rides by Nodame for Chiaki.

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You can be like the beanie sisters à la Hong sisters!!!

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I so agree about Candies of dramaland.. because who's that nice and considerate? But somehow I find Jang Nara so pitiful in FTLY. A kind soul. I'm not sure how long that will last but if there was anyone else, I probably wouldn't have the patience to go through another FTLY.

And Lee Bo Young is just awesome. She has an eye for picking a believeable character.

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I feel so bad for poor Mi-young in FTLY all the time, but she does have moments where her niceness asserts itself as backbone. just really nicely.

Like defending her hometown to the mean family elder in episode 6. That was pretty great.

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Evildoers are an expression of our baser desires within each of us.

While Jang Nara as the pure everywoman is the expression of what we would be if those baser desires were taken outside behind the shed and beaten with a wooden soup spoon. Not that I condone soup spoons for usage other than soup.

The ineffectuality of Evil, k-drama style, is that each of us has hope to love Jang Nara as much as I do.

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my mom would hit me with a soup spoon when i was younger lol

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Jang Nara in FTLY has no frenemys other than her jerky husband(who can't help it really) that make her life difficult, and stepmom is not a threat to her...
Not that she would other ways defend herself in anyway I suppose.

Always loved LBY!

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Best villainess ever, imho, was Go Hyun-jung as Lady Mishil .

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Yes.

Years later, she is still a topic of discussion at my house.

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Agreed! And best villain: Jo Pil Yeon from Giant.

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OMG YES to Lady Mishil and Jo Pil Yeon. I'll have to add Lady Choi from Dae Jang Geum too.

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I second the suggestion that you guys should turn to drama writing. Though maybe you'd have to become actual vampires to manage the time to do that.

(also, Arang! Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!)

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JB&GF odds and ends posts is always like disjointed ramblings that totally makes sense/hilarious.If you get what I mean

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Most Annoying Candy Evs: Park Shin-hye as Cha Eun-sang. *shudders*

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Actually, Cha Eun-sang is the only one of Park Shin-hye's characters that I really liked. Go Mi-nam was too ridiculous and Go Dok-mi was boring as watching paint dry or was that just the drama? Anyway, I really like Park Shin-hye as a person but I loved Cha Eun-sang because I could totally relate to her. She felt like me in some cases like wanting to go for what you want but being too afraid of the consequences to be fully invested. And I pretty much was Cha Eun-sang in High school, constantly ridiculed by my peers for being too fat, in her case she was poor.

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Seconded. Worst waste of her skills ever, and I say this as a fan who loved her as Go Mi-nyeo and Go Dok-mi. Literally all she has to do in Heirs is cry and look distressed.

She did have great chemistry with Kim Woo-bin though. Even if I shipped his and Kim Ji-won's characters together instead.

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Oh the villians! They are crazily one dimensional, i remember liking bong gu in king2 hearts.. As for drama writing I hope you guys write one because it would be a hell lot of awesomeness.
Always love lee bo young but her jang byun role was perfect

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<3

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"There is a very thin line between innocence and stupidity in dramaland."

So true.

Enjoying your Odds and Ends posts. Always fun! ..... Many thanks.

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Good stuff ladies.

Sighs. I'm not of fan of the Candys in Kdramas so rom-coms are basically not on my radar.

OTH, I really enjoyed watching Lee Bo Young portray her characters as she is believable and I like her brand of heroines. To date, I've only seen two of her dramas that were really entertaining and chosen completely at random being unfamiliar with Kland at the time. The first was Ballad of Suh Dong and then Harvest Villa. She's badass in both, which was a surprise since the first one is a period drama.

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Harvest Villa is so underrated! I liked her a lot in there. The only time I had seen her was in Save the Last Dance for Me, and I hated her character. But Harvest Villa totally changed my mind about her.

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Totally relate!!!
Not that i hate candy, I love them. Its just refreshing to come across a heroine that is human.
Like the twisted sisters in Greys Anatomy-Meredith and Yang.

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My favourite villains at the moment is the merchant family in Joseon Gunman. Compared to the cartoonish two-dimensional intrigue-spinning evil court politicians (who seem to be mandatory in historical kdramas :( they are so much more interesting. Especially after what we found out last episode! The dad is pretty evil, but is he completely evil and what an earth is his family's story?? The daughter is pretty cool but she watches how her dad does evil things. How much does she know and, woah, what happened to her?

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Seconded on Joseon Gunman! That's a father and daughter who have clearly been through a lot, and I actually wish they didn't have to be in conflict with our hero. Choi Won-shin especially, I find him touching.

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Thinking about effective villains in dramaland requires more thought for me than thinking about interesting hero/heroine characters.

Interesting characters:
1. LBY is just awesome in IHYV and GG14Days. I could really feel her characters.
2. Cha Dong Joo in CYHMH, chaebol son who is not a jerk for a change. He's sweet and caring too.
3. Cheon Song Yi in YFAS. Not Candy type, but a funny, vulnerable diva.

Interesting villains:
1. Go Hyun Jung as Mishil in QSD. No one ever makes me shudder like her in QSD
2. Ryu Seung Ryong in Painter of The Wind. Baddie who still has human heart, interested in arts, not really corrupted just greedy, and actually help the heroine in the end.

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The best kdrama villain so far for me is Prince Suyang from The Princess' Man. He made me gasp in disbelief at how far he was willing to go, but at the same time I was unable to hate him completely because he wasn't completely and utterly evil. It was surprising to see such a multidimensional villain in a kdrama. Though honestly, the reason he came off as so multidimensional was kim young chul's superb acting. In the hands of a lesser actor he wouldn't have been half of what he was.

The comments I've read on mishil's character over the years make me want to watch queen seon deok, but then I look at the number of episodes, and knowing that the show went totally downhill around ep 50, I lose the willpower to watch it x_x

I have to admit that it took me a while to warm up to lee bo young's characters in harvest villa and ihyv (those are the only two I've seen). They ARE awesome women, but the conceitedness really put me off in the beginning. They could be just as awesome without that particular trait (which I can't stand). But i shouldn't complain, at least they provide diversity, candies are boring as hell (they wouldn't be if there were fewer of them). The best female chars kdrama offered in my book are eun young from coffee house and especially oh doo ri from what's up. Oh doo ri was scary and awesome, and the kind of person I'd want to be friends with.

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CH had wonderful female chars and Seo Eun Young gets my vote for one of the best that I've seen in a Kland rom-com. Kang Seung Yeon struck me more of a girl friday than a candy.

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Absolutely. She was a typical candy only in the beginning, but she grew out of it and became quite awesome. Not eun young level of awesome, but still awesome. I loved her growth, her ending, and the message it sent.

Honestly, the reason I love oh doo ri so much is because she was the kind of unconventional, eccentric and cool character that is usually reserved for men only. The kind I would love to play if i were an actress. Eun young takes the cake as a "normal" female character, one that all girls can relate to, and even look up to. The only girls that can rival her in that sense can be found in period shows exclusively. At least from what i've seen so far.

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Another great period character for me is So Seo-no in Jumong. Even though she was an only child and was given the oppty to take over the family business vs having to marry, she rose to every occasion.

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Prince Suyang for sure! His character was not only evil but also interesting.
Imagine Mishil and Prince Suyang in a drama as the villain pair. :D

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yeah Suyang made a great villain - just human enough to be sympathetic, but awful enough that you just want him to be stopped at all costs. I think Choi Won-shin in Joseon Gunman is shaping up to be that kind of villain too - capable of awful deeds, but with genuine human emotion and depth in him thanks to his love and concern for his daughter.

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As far as twisted machinations go, I enjoyed watching Madam Jami and Yeom-Moon in EotS. Another terrific period drama.

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How's Shunji for you?

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learned a new word today, schadenfreude ! This calls for an evil laugh or Gun's laugh in FTLY. puuuhaarharhar...

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In total agreement with you on there being "a very thin line between innocence and stupidity in dramaland."

Ineffectual villany tends to be the general rule of thumb in kdramaland. It is indeed rare to have a villian that actually remains effective at being evil until the very end in kdramas.

In terms of interesting bad guys in dramaland for 2014:
Jung Bo-Suk as Seo Dong-Ha in Golden Cross

In terms of antagonists in dramaland for 2014 that were given "some relatable human traits" that to an extent make you "sympathetic" about toward them:

Daniel Choi as Kang Dong-Seok in Big Man
Seo Yi-Sook as Kang Seok-Soon in You're All Surrounded
Lee Soo-Hyuk as Yoo Jin-Woo in High School King of Savvy

The plotting between the two mothers - each trying to trump and checkmate the other in Bride of the Century was interesting to watch:
Shin Eun-Jung as Ma Jae-Ran and Kim Seo-Ra as Kim Myeong-Hee

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