Beanie level: Eunuch in drag

I know most people are getting bored with HPL by now, and there’s little interest in my rambling monologues…
but I kind of need to get these thoughts out of my head. feel free to ignore

For me this story is all about love. Just love, pure and simple. That of lovers, but also the love of a fan, of a parent, of a sibling, of a friend… even when it’s neither pure, nor simple.

Art is also a manifestation of that love; straightforward for mum’s art or the photographer’s last piece, but less obviously so for Ryan too. RG described his paintings as his means to receive love, which he lost when seeing the bubbles and recovering the memory of him being abandoned. DM is giving him back painting by returning to him the certainty of being loved. And it is all beautiful.

And I love DM’s insistence that art is valuable in itself – for it makes people’s internal worlds richer, facilitating this kind of emotional connection. Not to forget an honorable mention for Ryan’s 3-piece black suit; now that’s a true piece of art. 😛

HPL also gave me one of the most balanced couples in recent memory, people who individually are strong, smart and emotionally intelligent, yet still are better together. So often romantic stories as pitched as love fixing whatever is wrong with the hero/heroine, rather than two people who are perfectly fine on their own, but who still chose to share their life together. I like the show’s balanced take on love much better – there’s a lot of give and take in their relationship, a union of equals.

I especially like the recent developments in that the story quietly subverts traditional gender roles. Ryan is the vulnerable one, the one who is struggling and who needs protecting. DM is the doer, the one who rages against the world (clenched fists included on request) to protect him. And I find that kind of awesome.

About the last two episodes: I thought narratively it was close to perfect, although some things worked much better than other in execution. Mum’s emotions did not hit the right notes for me for some reason; Ryan’s responses on the other hand hit me straight in the gut. When he sees SA at his door and it finally hits him that this kid that he was reluctantly growing fond of is actually his brother and you can see how the realization completely shuts off his brain… that was powerful. The couple interactions lost a bit of the rawness and realness of last week (probably the cost of live shooting, with the media attention their skinship got last week and filming going straight down to the wire), but there were some moments that were done really well, like DM coming to find him at the gallery and the very last scene. When he kneels in front of her to hug because he’s so overcome with feeling… that “I love you” came at a perfect moment and the buildup to their taking the relationship to the next level was very well done (although I did not completely love the way to was shot, and found the editing a bit choppy). Still…the writer hasn’t put a single wrong step yet and I am looking forward to see how is going to wrap it all up.

[Told you it would be long and rambl-y…]

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    You are absolutely spot on. I am enjoying the quiet and intimate ways that Ryan and DM are strengthening their understanding and trust and bond. I am enjoying the lack of drama and histrionics which I think keeps the relationship aspect real

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    This.

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    Well for me mum didn’t show right emotion when she meets Ryan, but she had me cry when she saw her own paintings with sadness.

    Agree with you that I also like the gender reversals in here, and also their relationship, they feel like much a real person than kdrama character

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    I love our main couple, but I have to admit that their “perfect dialogues and reactions” seem a little not-humanely-possible. I WILL, however, take their great way of communication any day. It’s so refreshing when characters act with love and logic, and toss stupid easily-solvable misunderstandings aside!!
    Bravo!

    As for the mum: nope. her story makes sense, and I know she didn’t lie. But I still don’t buy it. I refuse.

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Though I don’t say much about it these days, HPL continues to be my happy pill.
I love the relationship between Ryan and DM, from the pettiest to the most swoon-worthy.
The pacing has been very good so far. Hope they keep the momentum going until the very end.
My favorite bit this week was DM getting mad at him for going through stuff all alone instead of sharing it. That I’m-so-worried-that-it-shows-as-anger felt extra real somehow. Their gallery sleepover was cute as well.

Despite complaining about the knew-each-other-as-children troupe in the past, I’ve decided that here it’s not that bad. It reminds me of Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind in some way: “even if we forgot each other once, because I am who I am, and you are who you are we are bound to still be drawn to each other “, character as destiny of sorts. Because DM and Ryan are who they are, they belong together. And that’s that.

PS: walking back home this evening I saw a bunch of kids making huge soap balloons in the park.
Thought of HPL and that made me happy.

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    Mine too – happy pill, I mean. I am enjoying the total lack of histrionics in Ryan and DM’s relationship. I am happy to watch the BE a couple. Learning the ropes so to speak – what each other wants and needs and fulfilling them as and when necessary. I enjoy the fact that they are learning to trust each other implicitly, rely on, give support, encourage, be sensitive to each other and not react selfishly — and the list goes on. I hope with all this build on the relationship – that it will continue to withstand whatever reveal that is about to come with regard DM’s Mom.

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midnight monologues

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A man who looks at you like that (exhibit A), has a sense of humor, and takes pictures of his dog in his spare time (exhibit B) = no brainer.

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#a HPL a day keeps the shrink away
I\’ve also collected the longest list of gifs ever with this show: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/silentlurkingbluey

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I have the vague suspicion that HPL has ruined me for future romcoms (possibly dating too). DM and Ryan are too cute and adorably domestic in their wrist kissing, tv watching, noodle making ways [love the symbolism of the in-for-the-long-haul version of ‘wanna eat ramen before you go’]. And the cutest bit: SH bumps into Ryan in the elevator and the first thing he asks is “where is noona?”.
Can we skip the drama bit? I for one would be happy to see PMY and KJW adlibing their way through the rest of the series…
PS: The past two weeks have seen a spike in my use of words like ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’… Missing the vocabulary to describe these recent developments. What is cuter than ‘uber cute’?

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    Are they even acting at this point? 😭
    I’ve never shipped anyone so hard.
    I would pay to watch them peel potatoes together. I bet they’d be able to make even that sexy 😫

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      The scene in episode 11 where Ryan was teasing Doek Mi about what she had posted about Shi An, looked so natural, especially for Kim Jae Wook. As if they weren’t acting.

      I’d totally ship them to date in real lie

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        I agree that scene where RG was teasing DM was not acting–the rapport between the 2, that hearty laugh, DM giggling …it all looks so real. Reminds me of hubby teasing me about all my kdrama bias (only hubby isn’t as good looking as RG😂)

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    I feel the same way. I am completely in love with KJW’s Ryan Gold – what a perfect, kind, sensitive, lovely, beautiful man – and I love him with PMY. I can’t recall every loving a couple as much as I love them, or seeing a more believable romantic relationship.

    I’ve now seen PMY in dramas with three of my very favorite actors (LMH in City Hunter, JCW in Healer, and PSJ in WWWSK), and while she had great chemistry with all of them, her chemistry with KJW is like actually watching a RL couple fall in love, and start a relationship that you just know is going to last forever.

    I can’t believe that I – who generally sneer at romcoms – am so in love with this drama that I have watched every episode at least twice, and some (9, 10) even more times, just because the chemistry between KJW and PMY is pure magic.

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    yes to this and all these comments.

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    Comment was deleted

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Even more thoughts on ep 11, last scene
Ryan wakes up from his nightmare and runs straight to her looking for a safe haven. Then sees her face brighten up like 1000watts lightbulb at the sight of him and can’t bring himself to spoil her mood… So he just smiles back. But DM picks up on the undercurrent of unhappiness, runs after him and gives him the hug that he needed in the first place. He gives into the sadness and allows himself to cry. Knowing that as long as they are together it will be ok.

These two set some impossibly high standards for what a healthy romantic relationship looks like…

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    And in addition to all that, Deok-me doesn’t force him to talk about it. She gets that he’s not ready to share that part of himself yet and she still stands by him and gives him the unconditional support he needs. She knows he’ll get there in his own time.

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      I absolutely LOVE that she gives him space to share it in his own time, and just steadily supports him! 😭

      It also really shows how much she trusts him, because i think any other k-drama girlfriend would have taken his silence as an offense and a sign of him keeping secrets.

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More thoughts on ep11:
DM+Ryan = ❤️; the honesty, open communication, how they are completely in tune to each other’s feelings all that is serious relationship goals.
I’ve decided that my most favorite thing about ep11 is DM’s “grr he’s so adorable that I can’t even stay mad at him properly” face. Closely followed by the elevator scene (the entire hand gesture sequence with DM saying hi and Ryan’s thumbs up was epic; I’m gonna keep the gifs to rewatch when I’m in a bad mood). I also love how they cannot stop laughing even when officially fighting (too good to not keep NGs ?) And Ryan + mum… And Mum+Shindy…
OK – I loved all of it.

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HPL#11:
DM and Ryan continue to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.
I like that the show saved enough time for them to actually be in a relationship properly.
Sindy’s getting adopted by DM’s mum is adorable.
Also really looking forward to some Ryan-SA bromance; SA’s blue eyed adoration is just too cute. Want them to hang out more.
As usual, EG is the only fly in the ointment – declaring your undying love while completely ignoring the object of your affection (her words/feelings/wishes/opinions) with the same breath is not cool, bro. No means no.

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    This is why I hate Eun-gi – he’s so selfish in his “love”. It feels more like a kid who’s mad that someone is playing with the toy he never really liked, and now he’s mad because someone else is happy with it and he isn’t. If he really cared for Deok-mi he’d see how happy she was with Ryan. Also, the fact that he basically told her no one will love her once they find out she’s a fangirl was pretty much the most horrible thing he could have said to her. I pretty much want to punch his smug face every time he’s onscreen now. Like, dude, this is not a competition – she chooses who she chooses, that’s it. You don’t get a say.

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HPL got me in a really nostalgic mode… the what could have been mood.

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Mid-run HPL thoughts:
EG’s macho episodes are really my only quibble with this show.
Ryan is one of the the closest to perfect (smart, sensible, sweet and considerate) main leads and humans I’ve seen in kdrama land. The way he intuits DM’s state at all times… how he respects her boundaries but also cannot tolerate the nonsense… I just love him to pieces. DM is also adorable, I love her wisdom, and how she combines the smart competence with the silly girly bits. I really really love them together: their ability to openly talk about stuff, the way they laugh and are willing to be silly together, and how tactile their relationship gets once they finally acknowledge their feelings (so very in character). But I have also come to love most of the secondaries (even like EG when he acts as a proper brother rather than a jerk). I even liked DI’s directness when she pointed out that the reason why DM was so easily affected by her half-truth was because she did not trust Ryan’s (and her) feelings. She is the sometimes unpleasant voice of reason rather than a true villain. Same for Sindy – I am growing attached to her and her mother’s brand of silliness. And the gallery staff and their reaction to being stuck in the shitstorm of DM and Ryan’s relationship are hilarious. Basically love the lot of them.

I also really like the picture the drama paints on fangirling, be it the good bits (as a source of joy and support when real life gets hard, a social community, and a way to channel one’s creative impulses), the bad bits (how it can become a crutch and an excuse to hide away from the real world) and the extreme bits (the stalking, and violence, the completely unreasonable behavior). I like its show-rather-than-tell approach to the whole thing. It does it without judgement and in a way that resonates with me.
Bonus: the art references have my hobby-painter self spazzing.
Overall – I’m really glad I’ve picked this up.

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HPL10: That’s what early dating really feels like, the can’t-keep-hands-off-each-other, smiling-at-the-drop-of-a-hat, so-happy-that-it’s-gushing-out-through-every-pore feel… Also just when I thought we’re back to cliche misunderstandings Ryan goes out and sets things straight properly. Really really love them. And my new most favorite thing: wrist kisses.

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I\’m not going to say much about HPL#9 to not spoil it for those who haven\’t watched yet. I\’ll just say this: whether they\’re happy or sad, in harmony or at each other\’s throats DM and Ryan keep being uber entertaining. Stop hogging all the cute you two! Leave some for us lonely mortals as well! [spoilers in comments]

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    *I did not think I would like this separation phase, but I was pleasantly surprised. Watching the two of them mourning the loss of something that they never quite had helped drive across how much they feel for one another (DM’s black outfit the morning after was very much on point).
    * her getting mad at him for his (imagined) rejection and everyone teaming up to take her side was hilarious [Bff finally behaving like one! ] So was Ryan’s baffled response to all this out of the blue aggression.
    *Ryan + parents interactions are still one of the show highlights for me (how cute was that knitted doll, mum’s adorable).
    *I liked that what brought him back to her was her alter ego. And I loved DM for finally confronting him with her feelings, and the two of them finally returning their lines of communication into their very efficient usual state. [that kiss looked just as good as any of her fantasies, even though i disliked him having his hand in the pocket at the beginning]

    What I am missing now is some fun hyung donsaeng interactions – the two of them have such potential for hilarity but there hasn’t been much of that going on the past few eps.

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      Best and most amusing separation 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜

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        😂😂😂 yup best separation of a non couple indeed. 😘😘😘😍😍😍 so funny.

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          I forget about the uncouple thing , but it was character growing for deok-mi since she faced her fears of hurt and rejection head on .
          Go deok-mi Go and more kisses please 😍💝💖💜

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HPL: well that end of latest episode sucked but there were some good bits too:
1. Fantasy sequence and all… 30 somethings (and especially a female!) experiencing physical desire as a normal part of early romance is still so rare in drama land.
2. Clingy artist friend stood up for the couple and told EG off before finding out they were not actually dating
3. Ryan being Ryan , especially when he told EG that he is interested in DM because she is a good person
4. Even if they don’t know it, both are still in a very similar mental space
The bad bits: sabotaging second leads is a such an old school cliche to insert at this point in the story… at least they are both aware of being jerks (does that make it less or more wrong though?)
EG is right in that love is about sharing your secrets and making yourself vulnerable to another person; but he is wrong in not recognizing that they are doing that already (even irrespective of Ryan knowing about and fully supporting DM\’s fan-girling, they talk to each other openly about some really personal things; what they don’t yet know about each other is for lack of time rather than any barriers between them). I suppose that’s why that ending felt so wrong. Hopefully he stops her and they get to talk about it properly next week.
The show works best when the mood is primarily quirky, with thoughtful contemplative interludes as the cherry on the cake. Evil machinations and depressed pining don\’t suit this story at all

PPS: EG’s behavior is wrong because it is so obvious that she does not see him that way (and would probably be appalled by the idea); the fact that he treats her as an annoying sister in all other contexts except when Ryan is around pretty much confirms that he also knows as much.

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Haven’t been around in ages but HPL got me out of my work dark hole.
Things I like:
1. How respectful and mature the interaction between the leads is despite the crazy fan-girling shennanigans; that they understand each other at a fundamental level, don’t need words for it but openly talk about their issues regardless.
2. Families and what you chose them to be: I love her parents despite their weirdness and that they essentially adopted an extra kid (I’m uncomfortable about his one sided crush because they are so much like siblings in her mind); LOVED how moved Ryan was by her parents’ notes and gifts. I bet he never had someone to do that for him before… It’s like the hand holding thing – that he is so deprived of genuine affection, longs for it though got used to its lack.
3. The meta fan-girling: How Ryan is DM’s number one fan, and she is slowly becoming his.
4. The attitude towards same-gender relationships
5. That although he has been crushing on her for ages it\’s HER that makes the first step. Bonus: that blindfolded kiss was something else.
PS: when drunk she likes to hold hands, he likes to cuddle; that could so work.

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Waxing poetic about love or happiness or joy is too much of an effort for me this week. Physical pain has drown all such thoughts. The only idea remaining is Let’s get through the day and hope that it will get a bit better tomorrow. And since tomorrow is V-day, my immediate future holds at least some flowers and chocolate. Over and out.

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This one’s for my dad… the man who buys mum tuberoses on every anniversary… the one person who buy me flowers every woman’s day. I miss you extra hard today.
love, february

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Friday groove.

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Moments of joy
First snow
Cherry blossoms
Summer rain
Honeysuckle
Fall leaves on a sunny day
Paper lanterns
Tate modern and oolong cha
Chinese ceramics section at the British museum
Klee
Processions
Charring Cross, 1903
Aquariums
An empty white sand beach and the impossibly blue sea beyond it
Wind in the sails
Picnic in Central Park
Taiyaki
Kimchi jiggae
The smell of freshly baked bread
Tiny hands… tiny feet
A child falling asleep in my arms as I’m reading German kid stories (badly)
Chopin
A white cat
Love, February

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People as books… hiding entire worlds behind the covers… waiting for someone to open us up and see what’s inside.
Love, February

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