I didn’t think I was watching that many dramas, but when you line them all up like that, the list has a tendency to feel overwhelming. The problem is, even if I’m not in love with a show, whenever the time comes to actually decide to cut it, I often find myself hanging in there out of hope or pure curiosity. As long as it’s got just that one thread of interest to string me along… It’s a sickness, I tell you! —javabeans
Currently recapping: Legend of the Blue Sea
Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim: I love jealous Yoo Yeon-seok! I rolled my eyes at some of the medical situations (some of which are starting to feel repetitive), but the solid acting and quirky characterizations keep me tuning in every week. Generally I zone out whenever a medical drama gets into hospital politics, so there’s a chance I’ll just miss a whole upcoming chunk of this drama—I mean, I’ll be watching it, but I won’t be watching it—which is fine by me as long as the performances keep doing what they’re doing.
The Man Living in Our House: I’m still watching this every week, and it’s cute, but after every episode ends I just don’t have any thoughts about it.
Night Light: Apparently Netflix got the streaming rights to this and now nobody can watch it, is that right? Well, it’s not right, since the show will end up with no international audience, and that’s too bad. I do wish MBC’s melodramas were prettier, visually; they have a tendency to look lower-budget than the other stuff airing these days. I’m not sure how I feel about UEE or Jin Gu’s characters yet, but so far Lee Yo-won is carrying the show with her icy, hardass mastermind character—she certainly pushes buttons like a boss.
1% of Anything: Ahh, contented sigh. It was such a low-key show, but I’ve never seen a dramaland couple look so into each other, and happy just to be together. I loved how Jeon So-min just buried herself in his arms all the time, in such a familiar way, and Ha Suk-jin’s unabashed beaming was adorable, like he was just too happy to care about being cool.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: This drama is doing a great job capturing the moment-by-moment moods and whimsies of youth, and it gives me warm fuzzies (and major secondhand embarrassment at her foibles). It was very, very strange, though, to see Bok-ju sneered at for being “ugly” and “not even a woman.” And while I can accept that she’s a tomboy who doesn’t know fashion, I can’t believe they’re asking us to believe she’s trying to lose weight. I know it’s acting, and it’s dramatic license, but when you ask me to believe that a stick-skinny model is being medically advised on losing weight, I no longer believe the show’s reality is my reality.
Entourage: There’s a strange dissonance between the sweet, naive-in-love personality that Young-bin shows most of the time (I find him likable, generally) and the irresponsible, capricious star tantrums he throws, like refusing to go to script readings just because he doesn’t wanna. (And after all he went through to get the movie in the first place!) I know that it’s how the American character was, but it just doesn’t work when you give the star a nice-boy, soft-hearted personality and then make him act like a diva.
This Week, My Wife Will Have an Affair: The Jung Yumi cameo was a nice touch; I’d expected it to be a cheeky reference and little more, but the show used it thoughtfully to move plot: We, like him, thought she’d represent a slice of bygone romance, a nod to rosier times, only to have her deliver the smackdown reality check he needed to hear. I can recognize that Lee Seon-kyun has been far from a perfect husband, but Song Ji-hyo’s frustrating repression has made it really hard to feel that sympathetic for her. Whenever they get me too exasperated, however, I remember to be grateful for Boa and Lee Sang-yub, whose dorky flirtations continue to make my day.
Currently recapping: Legend of the Blue Sea
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: Okay, this is weirding me out, but I kind of like Nam Joo-hyuk in this. It must have something to do with him flopping around with his gangly arms and pulling on Bok-ju’s pigtails like a two-week-old puppy. I hope he stays this way, because if his character grows up, my temporary amnesia about his past roles won’t last.
Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim: One of the things I like about this bizarre hospital in the middle of nowhere is the feeling of isolation, like the doctors hidden away there are our little secret; so I’m wary of what’s to come with all these new people invading our world. Plus, our couple hardly has time for romance as it is, and if these new interlopers get in the way of kisses, I will be very, very angry!
The Man Living in Our House: The cliffhanger this week was such a classic cop-out. Of course, I was still yelling at my screen, so it had the desired effect. The cute scenes keep me watching, but does anyone else watch this show and think: A real lawyer would’ve solved all of your problems by now?
Entourage: I want things to get tougher for the boys, and soon, because watching them just enjoy the high life is starting to wear thin when nothing of consequence happens. I do see some tough times ahead for Jo Jin-woong, so that’s something. Yay, hard times…?
Legend of the Blue Sea: I feel like I can normally judge whether a drama will be a crack drama by my mother’s reaction to it. Like most mothers, mine is a huge fan of Lee Min-ho, and since we were all in town for Thanksgiving, I watched the first two weeks with her. She’ll watch it, but she’s not bugging me to conjure up more episodes when there aren’t any. This is a woman who’s never used Hulu in her life, but who managed to find a way so she could finish Descended From the Sun without me (I have no regrets). So it does make me wonder what’s missing, and no matter which way I look at it, I can’t quite put my finger on it. I do wish we could just stay in the Joseon part of the story, though.
Oh My Geum-bi: Now here’s a drama I wasn’t expecting to be crack, but here we are. It makes me a little sad to see Oh Ji-ho hamming it up so much (General Tae-ha, where are you?), but he’s actually doing a bit better here. Or is it just that Heo Jung-eun is adorable enough to make up for everything? I want to know what happens to everyone in this story as of yesterday, and we haven’t even made it to the true tearjerking part of the show yet. I kind of wish we didn’t ever have to.
This Week, My Wife Will Have an Affair: This show reached a new level of pathos this past weekend, and I can’t help but wish that BoA would be in all the things. I absolutely adore Lee Sang-yub as an over-emotional wreck and love the side pairing, but I’m not sure what to think about the others. The visual gags involving Kim Hee-won’s utterly despicable character can be really funny, but at this point, they’re starting to wear out their welcome. (Also, I might scream to hear “La Promesa” again.) He’s the one puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit in this show, but maybe there’s a grander plan at play. I don’t think there is, but one can hope.
1% of Anything: I’m so sad this is over, because this show made me so happy. I also refuse to believe that Ha Suk-jin and Jeon So-min aren’t dating in real life. With chemistry like that, they have to be. Get on this, Dispatch!
Legend of the Blue Sea: I like it. It hasn’t quite hit the vein of crack for me yet, but with that absorbing combination of wistful and dreamlike, crossed with a wide streak of deliciously ridiculous, I know I’ll be here to whatever end. I think it hasn’t quite settled into itself yet—I found the narrative a little less cohesive in the first week, and the tonal shifts a bit jagged, but it’s drawing itself together pretty fast. I laughed out loud when I realized that in this universe too, kissing has consequences. I guess amnesia’s better than nearly dying?
Entertainer: I have a whole crop of shows I paused watching during a midsummer drama hiatus, but I’m trying to finish them now. But this shoooowww omg. I’ve been stuck on episode 15 FOREVER and I don’t even know if I’ve watched it already and it was that forgettable, or if it’s new and still forgettable. The show really kicked itself in the nuts when it traded in its bromance for the most unconvincing romance in dramaland this year. Or ever. Just, why? It is so bland, so terrible, that it almost ruined Ji Sung for me, with the visceral and incomparable pain of watching him romance a plank of wood. Shoulda paired Hyeri with Min-hyuk, that was cute, he was cute, they actually had chemistry! But she had anti-chemistry with Ji Sung. It is a chemistrical BLACK HOLE.
Master—God of Noodles: This one I did finish. Cryyyy. It was frustrating that this show lost its way in the middle when it dragged out the old people’s convoluted politicking, and the shift away from Myung really hurt the pace. But ultimately, what was weirder was that the show more or less stopped being about Myung—and you stopped caring about him—and focused on Tae-ha (Lee Sang-yeob) instead. He became far more compelling and heartbreaking, and if I was a little drippy blob of cryingness (lies, all lies!), it was because of him. That said, the show pulled off a satisfying, fitting end for villains, demi-villains, and anti-heroes alike—as bitter, dark and cynical as its beginning.
The K2: I can’t decide if I should give up and just drop this…does it get better? I thought Episode 6 was reeeally good, but then…Episode 7. I was so bored I was practically crying. With how much I love Healer, I so want this show to be good, but I can trick my brain only so much. Abs do not distract me!
Currently recapping: Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim
Legend of the Blue Sea: Now I want all my dramas to look as beautiful as this one does. I always feel a strong sense of wanderlust after each episode. I also kind of want us to move past the whole Ocean’s Eleven phase entirely, but I’m dreading the family angst slowly rising to the forefront. Sometimes I worry how much the show is leaning on Jeon Ji-hyun’s talent, but it’s probably best not to linger too long on those kind of thoughts. Let’s just spend the next sixteen episodes on mermaid land acclimation and kisses (the non-amnesic kind, please).
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju: I can’t decide who is cuter: Bok-ju with a crush, or Joon-hyung. I just want to watch them bickering forever. That or more Dad and Bok-ju time.
This Week, My Wife Will Have an Affair: I love how emotionally messy and tangled this drama is. I love how fearlessly the stories are diving into very complex psychological territories, and layering the character’s relationships with so much relatable hypocrisy, and human weaknesses. I love that this show illustrates that so many of our limits in life are drawn and conceived by our pride, and sometimes we can be helpless against it. I love that this show explores how difficult it is to be vulnerable and honest to the people that hurt us, or have the ability to hurt us, so we rather hurt ourselves instead.
Currently recapping: 1% of Anything
Legend of the Blue Sea: I started out very underwhelmed by this show, especially by Lee Min-ho’s character and his acting. The So Cool Women Swoon and Wallets Fall Open When He Passes, Amen routine really wasn’t working for me. But then again, I’ve never seen Lee Min-ho’s appeal personally. But Jeon Ji-hyun is weird and adorable, and while there isn’t much plot movement, the directing is lively, and the little moments between our two main characters are engaging enough to make this an enjoyable, if ridiculous, watch. (Seriously, the hypnosis gets more unbelievable each time I see it.)
This Week, My Wife Will Have an Affair: I started this for Lee Seon-kyun (who is predictably amazing in this), and in the hopes that the the titular assumption was a misunderstanding on his part. Alas, for both him and me, such was not the case. Even though the show is executed very well, and seems to have some interesting things to say about marriage and relationships, I alternate between soul-crushing despair, hair-pulling frustration, and killing rage when I’m watching this, so I’ve decided to leave it to those with stronger constitutions.
Shopping King Louis: I binge-watched this when I was feeling sick these last couple of weeks, and it was absolutely the perfect medicine. How can you not fall in love with these adorable, naive, selfless puppies? The cuteness was cracktastic, but what I loved the most about this drama was its message about how love creates a family, even among those who at first seem to have nothing to bind them together. (Also, where can I get a Louis of my own?)
Oh My Geum-bi: Geum-bi is the most precious little muffin. If she wanted to, she’d make a better con man than him. I don’t notice Oh Ji-ho’s acting because I’m too busy cooing and clapping at how sassy and self-sufficient Geum-bi is. Even if I know this show will make me cry during the holidays, the tears are worth it just to watch her being a boss at life.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (November 19, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (November 12, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (November 5, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (October 29, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (October 22, 2016)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (October 15, 2016)