Beanie level: Water maid

Posting separately because editing my previous deleted the photo! 🙁 From left to right: Tsundere Self-Appointed Machiavelli; Final Boss; A Very Cunning Puppy.

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Currently my kdrama intake (Romance is a bonus book, Crowned Clown, & The Last Empress) is interrupted by this really amazing, feminist, and complex Chinese drama called The Legend of Hao Lan. If you like flawed anti-heroes and anti-heroines, swoony AND dysfunctional romance, court politics done right, fab costume, and really confusing Chinese warring state history, this drama is for you! (I guess I revealed too much about myself with that description) Copy&paste with slight edit from my rant on soompi (there\’s barely anyone watching and discussing on soompi or anywhere else, so here\’s to hoping that my incoherent rant will get more beanies to watch!).

Note: this is NOT a harem drama. There are wars, politics, and women being boss in and out of the Inner Palace!

First off, this is a really feminist drama. The women in the show are constantly smarter than the men, and do not hesitate to use their brains and beauty for survival and desires. Even a \”bad\” character like Princess Ya has real moments of connecting with Hao Lan on the basis of being a woman in a shitty era. Hao Lan constantly asserts her own will in her decision, and always maintains a balanced view on gender equality. To her, being a strong woman doesn\’t mean you have to lose your femininity or deny real physical differences between male and female. I just love all the discussions between the characters, male and female, about gender roles and the restrictions that women suffer in that era. Hao Lan said (I paraphrased): \”I decided to love myself the most. So whether it\’s Yiren, or Lu Bu Wei, if a man doesn\’t treat me right, I\’d leave.\” That self-esteem and self-respect! This, in contrast with all the other women in the drama who let themselves ruin their lives for terrible men, is ever the more amazing. Not to say that one shouldn\’t go all in for love, but a lot of these men really, really didn\’t deserve it.

Second, both male leads in this drama are SO flawed (I mean, everyone in this drama is, but considering they\’re the \”main\” roles, I find it fascinating that they\’re neither \”good\” nor \”bad\”. They are both just men, often extraorinary in their abilities, know how to fight for what they want, are ruthless yet conflicted about it). I think everyone is on the Hao Lan – Lu Bu Wei ship, and it is a very compelling romance, but for some reason I really eat up the Hao Lan – Yiren romance. He\’s so swoony! And a total puppy for her! I have this stupid smile on my face when I watch their scenes, only to become even giddier to find out later that Yiren is no less manipulative and cunning than Lu Bu Wei, even if in a different way. He made certain political choices that he knew would hurt her feelings, and then turned around to abandon everything political just for her. It\’s so fascinating!

If I have any complaint, it would be…people die so often in this drama -_- don\’t let yourself get attached to anyone but the three leads, I suppose! There\’s literally no law and order anywhere, anything and everything is based on hearsay LOL Almost makes me want to write a fantasy palace drama where the from-the-future character brings a recording device to record everything everyone ever says! Maybe it will reduce the number of deaths!

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    @kimbapnoona @Jenmole I wrote an essay T_T Jen are you watching this??

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      You have me at “really confusing Chinese warring state history”!! 😂
      Just finished the first episode this evening and the pacing seems to be really fast moving!

      I do remember some Beanies talking about watching Hao Lan in either the OT or WWW thread, and hopefully more Beanies will join in on the fun!

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        They definitely drag some and then rush through some LOL but I always watch if there are conversations between female characters. They pass the Bechdel test with flying colors, which, considering the fate of a lot of these women and the time area, is AMAZING. The drama gets REALLY good after Hao Lan gains her footing and begins her partnership with Lu Bu Wei! The first few eps might be a bit frustrating but don’t worry, she’ll win soon!
        Ooh I’ll have to keep an eye out for the next WWW thread so I can rant more hahaha thank you kimbap! <3

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        oh! I thought this was the one you were talking about with @egads the other day!

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    ooh. this sounds interesting. i might check it out! *added to watchlist*

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    I have this on my list to check out. Still working on The Story of Ming Lan. I’ll try to peel myself away from Ming Lan tonight to check out the first episode.

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I can’t write so here’s a great Love song medley for everyone. Love, Feb-veryhardtospellmonth-uary

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At work everyone is talking about \”You\” and how \”it\’s trash tv but I love it\”. This really makes me wonder what makes a show \”trash tv\”? Again the parallel here is The Last Empress. I guarantee you that the people who make these shows don\’t set out thinking \”Hey, let\’s make a trash TV show.\” Someone\’s trash is another person\’s art? The Last Empress\’s plot relies heavily on the viciousness of real-time, public persecution through social media. If I was a better debater, I would write an essay on how that it\’s a deep drama with social commentary on how the public court is the only law that we live by now. But I won\’t – I want to, but I don\’t need to. Same with \”You\” – half of the plot revolves around social media (with a different angle from TLE), and how obsessed we are with it. It\’s also a story about love and murder – which is like many other shows out there.

\”Trash TV\” to me is when the creators don\’t put much thought into it or don\’t have a story to tell (example: The Bachelor; is it great reality tv? Yes. Does it make my skin crawl because of the way they treat women? Also yes. Is there a story or purpose? LOL LOL Arguably there is a lot of thought put into how much editing is done). The coherence of \”You\” and the strength of the characters in \”The Last Empress\” are not things we easily find in TV these days. Not everything needs to be \”Mad Men\”(GOD WAS THAT SHOW DEPRESSING -_-), & I would love it if people separate \”shows I don\’t like to admit I watch because it\’s not prestigious\” from \”trash TV\”, \”sensational/campy TV\” from \”bad TV\”.

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    Not everything needs to be \”Mad Men\”(GOD WAS THAT SHOW DEPRESSING

    🤣🤣🤣 I still cannot believe I semi-binge watched shows like Mad Men and Six Feet Under, but I think I had stronger constitution for bleakness when I was younger.

    I agree with everything you said, N. When my husband asked what kind of show TLE is, I told him that it is cray to the max, but I am in no way hate watching it. I am actually enjoying it with much with love. There is definite so much ingenuity and creativity in how this writer keeps pushing the boundary of makjang and redefines it. It is no a small feat to make a show like this plot coherent, delivers a clear message, at the same time so much fun and accessible to the public.

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      Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever hate watched this! It’s been pure 100% entertainment since episode 1 for me. Granted, I don’t take it seriously and I honestly wouldn’t care if all of them died, but the writer is so freaking talented I’m impressed a million times each episode!!

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        THIS! (well I’d prefer for lil sis and JNR to stay alive!) But the writer manages to surprise us again and again, and I feel like I always understand why these people do the things they do (including SETTING A FUCKING BIRD ON FIRE), so to me that’s great writing 🙂
        (*footnote: maybe not Hyuk’s attempted jump in the water, but then again he HAS a penchant for the dramatics so it’s still on brand!)

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          LOL!
          What else could we expect from the guy who goes out with a mask a la Phantom of the Opera, honestly.
          I don’t want JNR to die anymore, I want her to continue on her way to becoming mama jr!! I like noona’s idea of her catching up to RH’s evilometer, after all, that’s why I loved him and Snake together!

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So many feels for The last empress. I think it was unfairly judged as a \”so bad it\’s good\” kind of show. If you think about it (which you\’re really not supposed to with this show), it\’s actually very tightly written in terms of dramatic development and emotional payoff. Do the characters act based on logic that doesn\’t belong in our reality? Sure, but THEIR logic is consistent and is explained. Are they interesting characters you enjoy watching, whether they are being brought down or winning? Absolutely yes! There were many moments of very clever directing like Ari\’s hilarious voiceover of Empress Dowager, or amazingly campy gun draws, or super satisfying and well-paced multiple one-uppings scene after scene within just 5 minutes. This show to me illustrates how wonderful entertainment can be when it\’s diverse. A show can be \”good\” in so many ways, and this one is definitely *good* not because it\’s bad. It\’s just that good!

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    Oh, I’m 100% sure this show knows exactly what it’s doing. I don’t think any of this cast would’ve signed on if it were truly the mess it appears to be on the surface. It’s actually brilliant, and it’s honestly going up there as an all-time favorite drama.

    Yes, it’s absolutely bonkers.

    But it’s also a commentary both on the genre and how you can use tropes and cliches and still have great and enjoyable end product. All the characters are so well realized that sometimes you don’t realize that actions they took five episodes ago make sense now. Early on I wrote about how Hyuk is a lonely creature; I think his newfound obsession with Sunny and his turning on Woo-bin are a total sign of that. His loneliness is all consuming to the point where he isn’t really capable of having normal relationships with anyone. I think So-hyun was the closest he came. He sees people as possessions and it’s totally going to be his downfall. The cute? Sure, it’s awesome and I love SSR for it; but at the end of the day the thing that makes me stay is the complexity of this character and his total unpredictability.

    I could probably write a dissertation on the complexity of all the female characters here too – Sunny, Snake, Mommie Dearest, Granny Empress, Nanny, Hello, Princess So-jin, Ari – they’re all brilliant and interesting in completely different ways.

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    lol..yeah.. definitely not a BOF.. its good but its bad.. or as you said.. its good because its so bad 😛

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Really loving The Crowned Clown! It’s one of those rare saeguks where both the romance and the court intrigue are well-done. Too much dumb politics, you’ll have a boring show, too much fluffy romance and you have no stake (e.g. Moon embraced by the sun, Love in the moonlight). It’s also one of those instances where there’s no acting hole, and the main couple is neck to neck in acting gravitas.My only minor complaint is, I don’t know what tvn’s game is by making the eps so long…but that means I can split up the eps to watch over 4 days 😛 Hope this show keeps up the quality till the end!

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    I was just debating what show to pick up since I have nothing on my hands.

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    The length is exactly why I can’t seem to pick it back up, even though I really liked the first 2 eps!

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    The acting is good, and the politics dont bore me… (yet). Yeo Jin Goo is amazing as both characters that you forget he plays both. Lee Se Young is so elegant as the queen. but be careful…. it gets dark at the beginning

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    If it helps, the running time actually keeps getting shorter each episode. 😀

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Watching “You” (on Netflix, an AMAZING satire & thriller) this weekend and reading the weird & fervent following for the main character who is a sociopathic psycho stalker, I’m very much reminded by our conflicting feelings towards His Royal Hotness of The Last Empress LOL We apparently were supposed to see PAST his face TO his murderous behaviors, not the other way around!

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    I love his responses to the tweets! I’ve only seen a couple episodes so far but I like it! The creep factor increases as you go through. I felt soooo sad for the books in Ep 3!

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    His responses are amazing. Haha

    I had no plans to watch You, but maybe i could try it sometime~

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    I’m currently watching this show (only 2 episodes left) and it’s amazing!
    Penn Badgley is nailing it

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there was some confusion about the time for The Last Empress rabb.it watch, but it is 7pm EST (New York time) today, Sat & 11am EST Sun (tomorrow). I\’ll post the link here 5 minutes before, join us!

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How could you hate this adorable murderous puppy? See more of his face with us @ 4pm PST! I’ll post the link in a reply 5 mins before we start for those who have to use rabbit on mobile! @kimbapnoona @natzillagorilla @justme @egads @bammsie @stpauligurl @katakwasabi

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Last Empress Rabbit watch 9.5 hrs from the time this is posted! @kimbapnoona @natzillagorilla @justme @lordcobol @jenmole @egads @bammsie @stpauligurl

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That\’s it folks, I quit. I quit MoA. The number of characters I care about is dwindling so why bother -_-

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Unpopular opinion: MoA writer should learn from LastEmpress writer on how to write female characters. LastEmpress has all flavors of evil, most are women: they\’re smart, they have their own desires and wants separate from the men (even if their desires include \”staying young forever\” or \”rule the world\”), they kick ass, and they slap & kill people (yasss queen!). Really reminds me of one of the best shows in 2018, Killing Eve. LastEmpress is ridiculous, but it\’s not trying win an Oscar. It takes great characterization and writing for us to laugh and mock the characters but at the same time firmly believe in them and root for them (yes including rooting for them to carry out that murder, or rooting for them to go completely insane). I\’ll keep on watching MoA because HB hasn\’t been in any watchable drama for me for 8 years (and Secret Garden while watchable was also a hot mess), but I also won\’t stop lamenting the gigantic waste of his talent in this drama (oh and I guess PSH too but she has plenty of other good dramas for us to watch and erase our memory of the terrible character that is Jung Hee Joo -_- )

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    I think that’s popular opinion here that Last empress is way better than Moa! Because they don’t discriminate!
    I love Last empress way more and Jang nara is my hero, she is using her brain now and its fun. I enjoy her pulling hair of Yu ra so much, sword fighting is so childish afterall!

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    Not an unpopular opinion, and you’re right about the female characters in Last Empress. Some of them (okay most of them) may be slightly of their rockers and batshit evil crazy, but they are smart, self-motivated, and are definitely not just there as tearful window dressing.

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    Tagging my fellow rabbiters so we can sing praise for Empress together! Remember next week 7pm EST (GMT -5) on Wednesday and Thursday @justme @kimbapnoona @lordcobol @stpauligurl @egads @natzillagorilla @bammsie @hotcocoagirl @amilia

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@kimbapnoona @egads @natzillagorilla,@jenmole, @justme Top Management continued Sunday 4pm PST, episode 9 & 10! Just a warning that I will be replaying that fanfic fakeout beginning multiple times 😀 Please tag others if you know they\’re watching! This is by no means a perfect drama, but it\’s so CUTE and the music is so good, just the perfect pick-me-up we all need before Monday comes!

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https://lets.rabb.it/0Iq2PBncZR Top Management surprise screening! 🙂 Hop in with us!

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https://lets.rabb.it/xqKNimFvXR hop in! Top Management ep 4, 5, 6 streaming now!!

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Just leaving it here. Top management 5pm PST this Sunday! Will also post rabbit link here for folks!

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No word on other songs in Top Management but this NEW song was released. Jaemin of High School Rapper fame, song prod by Gray! SO GOOOOD!

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