Odd and Ends: Occupational hazards
girlfriday: You know, I never thought recapping would be back-breaking work, but as it turns out, it can literally break your back.
javabeans: Or in other cases, your hip. Apparently my body decided this week that it was done enabling me to sit for hours on end watching dramas… in that it refused to let me sit.
girlfriday: Which is kind of necessary for the recapping. Is it a sign from the universe to stop recapping so much?
javabeans: Maybe it was. Of course, rather than stop recapping, I just decided to stop sitting, which was starting to become excruciating. I jerry-rigged myself a standing desk situation, because right now the only positions I can hit are completely vertical, or completely horizontal. Nothing bendy.
girlfriday: That’s a sad story. Also a funny visual, not to laugh at your pain.
javabeans: Laughing is better than crying. But it’s hardly like I’m the only one with creaky bones. I feel like every winter, we’re asking each other for home remedies and painkiller recommendations.
girlfriday: Yes, I’m an encyclopedia of ways to kill muscle aches. You know it’s bad when you’d feel so much better if you went to get a massage, but you don’t have the time to go get a massage.
javabeans: You know, I used to think that tiredness would always be the thing preventing me from recapping more — as in, you work until you can’t keep your eyes open any longer. However, age is finally catching up to both of us, because now it’s the body that’s the first to give out, whether it’s necks, shoulders, backs, eyes, migraines, or asses.
girlfriday: The hardest part is that any sane person would just cut back on the amount of work, but we happen to really love what we do. Sometimes I wish I were a lawyer.
javabeans: No you don’t. Don’t lie.
girlfriday: Okay, I really don’t. It’s just that hatred for my job would come in handy right about now.
javabeans: When dramas are your passion and your job, it’s really hard to enforce self-discipline and tell yourself to walk away, because it’s also the thing you’d do for leisure when your job is done.
girlfriday: This is actually the downside of getting to turn your hobby into your work. Not that I would trade it; it’s just a thing we have to learn to manage.
javabeans: We’ve tried to step in to be accountable for each other, but that just makes me feel like a hypocrite when I tell you to walk away, and then keep doing it myself.
girlfriday: You’re the worst at that.
javabeans: I won’t argue that, except am I worse than you? Really?
girlfriday: This week we really hit the breaking point — javabeans was in so much pain she had to recap standing up.
javabeans: Standing up was no problem, but not being able to sit at all was a nightmare. Still, you had to recap Secret Door, so I think we’re even. Okay, I recapped it too, but you got the episode where I was yelling at my screen, “Oh my god why are you so boring.”
girlfriday: Omg, it was SO BORING.
javabeans: That drama isn’t doing well and nobody’s watching it, but we have actually enjoyed recapping it for the intellectual exercise. However, this week really tested our limit because it felt like it was actively making all the most boring choices, and then if those were too interesting, swapping them out for even more boring choices.
girlfriday: If such choices even existed. I mean, Secret Door is pretty dry to begin with, on a good day. We like it because it has stellar acting (and we actually do like the politicking), but it’s not sexy.
javabeans: Not even a little. I don’t need my dramas to be super titillating, but on the sexy scale we’re maybe at glimpse of ankle, or lacy wrist cuff. No payoff, basically. It’s such a shame since Lee Je-hoon and Han Seok-kyu are so amazing.
girlfriday: I know, and I can think of a million ways this drama COULD have been amazing. It really does break my heart because Lee Je-hoon is THAT good in it.
javabeans: Oh my god, if he weren’t in this drama we… wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place. We would’ve been out after Episode 1. The really puzzling thing is, you take this dark, gory, scintillating, mysterious slice of history… and THIS is what you do with it? You have to work really hard to make Sado boring.
girlfriday: AND YET… we have Secret Door.
javabeans: Where your secret door is either a metaphor or a freaking LIBRARY.
girlfriday: Okay, that library reveal did crack me up though. The thing is, I did actually like the show until the time jump (in Episode 14), and then everything went to hell… no, snoresville. Hell would’ve been more exciting.
javabeans: The drama isn’t BAD. I’m going to keep watching it even though we’re dropping recaps — it’s more that recapping was getting frustrating, and timing-wise, things just came together this week to push us toward the decision, even though we hate dropping anything. If it had only been an issue of a drama turning yawny, we would honestly have just stuck with it. But with actual physical impediments cropping up and a really busy slate, it seemed the wise thing to do.
girlfriday: That’s the rub with all drama recapping schedules — we’d love to be able to make decisions about shows in a vacuum based on how good they are, but it’s actually far more about timing.
javabeans: It’s a lot like love that way. The thing is, we may have recapped thousands of episodes but I still take every show as a learning experience, and try to let that inform future decisions. For instance, I don’t necessarily regret taking on a 50-episode weekend family drama because I actually learned a lot from covering You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin… but one of the things I learned was that I won’t do another 50-episode drama.
girlfriday: And here I am thinking that 24-episode dramas are too long.
javabeans: They are long. But I always think that I can find a way to get around the length issue. Like, for instance, there were 123 episodes of High Kick 3, but I reasoned that they were very good, and short, and recapped in capsule format… yet that is also another format I will never do again. It’s just that you never know until you try.
girlfriday: The thing we actually have to learn and re-learn every single time is where the limit is, how to keep recapping a show that’s gone downhill, how critical to be without being unproductive, and how to find the positive angles that keep us going.
javabeans: Right. On one hand, covering shows that we don’t love does add diversity to our voice, and it’s not a bad thing to have more critical commentary. On the other hand, as the person breaking down on a weekly basis, it’s too much work to put so much time and effort into something that doesn’t give me enjoyment. So just as a natural process, over the years I’ve gravitated towards shows that make me happy. Because who wants to actively court things that make us unhappy?
girlfriday: Crazy people?
javabeans: That’s a bad argument, because can you really say you’re not crazy?
girlfriday: Well no, not after we’ve just given everyone proof of how crazy we are. You’d think it wouldn’t take that many years of recapping to come up with: Do what makes you happy. But better late than never?
javabeans: See, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
girlfriday: Go fetch!
javabeans: Fuck you.
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