Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

There’s no way he’s going to be hit by a car now.
Because that would be super lame and this show would officially suck…

5
9

Lord, now he’s wearing glasses.
Yoon Kyung-sang who?

8
0

Oh dear God.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to watch all of Lucky Romance now for reasons that are… not intellectual.

10
6

    It’s actually pretty impossible to watch Lucky Romance for intellectual reasons.

    I enjoyed this shrieky mess that this show was only because of this man!

    5
    0

    I did for similar reasons, but it’s definitely a trash drama. I’ll leave it up to you to decide good vs. bad trash.

    1
    1

      At this stage it’s shaping up to be not trash at all. Which means I’m now waiting to find out all the ways in which they completely screw it up and at what point.

      But as for Ryu Jun-yeol, it is a very rare thing for me to be taken by an actor. But I am gone, hook line and sinker. More even than my gentle giant, which is saying something,

      3
      1

        RJY was adorable and charming and kept me going in this drama. I hope we see him on our screens again soon. My problem was with the illogical actions that came with having a superstitious character that I didn’t relate to. But it was in the drama description, so I knew what I was getting into. I hope you keep us updated on your thoughts throughout the drama! (screenshots of RJY are much appreciated)

        0
        1

          Well so far they seem to be saying that she’s wrong – about pretty much everything. But since I’ve never seen a Korean show that came down on the side of anti-superstition I’m now waiting for them to undermine this message and ruin their drama.

          But RJY is… I’ll be in my bunk.

          1
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    i enjoyed this shows cause he was the best thing in it….

    0
    0

What on Earth am I watching?
Lucky Romance

10
2

Let\’s take bets on whether Jisoo gets the girl in My First First Love.
I put 10 bucks on not.

7
5

Me at episode 3 of My First First Love: this is paced as a standard 16-epper so why is it only 8 eps?
Me after googling: Damn Netflix, WAE??

7
8

    I literally just said the same thing to my daughter. Why break it into two seasons?!!! Stoopid Netflix.

    9
    1

      Yea. I had a gut feeling they are screwing us. Well. I will wait whenever 16 becomes available and then watch. The fewer people watching this may help
      Change their strategy??

      0
      0

    What??? So annoying. I think I’ll just wait till they release the rest a bazillion years later. What do they gain by doing this?? I don’t see how this necessarily benefits them financially or in viewership. I was so looking forward to watching the whole thing this weekend.

    4
    1

      I don’t understand it either. The work’s done and it’s not as if they sell advertising and want to create a buzz for a season 2. It was bad enough they dropped Kingdom after six eps when they could have waited for the full sixteen or twenty they’ve no doubt planned. I guess they think if they turn kdrama into seasonal shows it’ll make people more likely to keep their subscriptions long term. But they’re mostly just annoying me.

      5
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My First First verdict on My First First Love is that it has a real Age of Youth slice of life vibe. Jisoo is mostly doing his thing but since his thing is fun and appealing I’m not complaining.

8
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I’m not coming off hiatus, I just can’t resist spending the long weekend watching Jisoo finally get the girl+ (or not – it’s possibly against the law).

+can you have a hiatus from your hiatus?

9
4

While it might not seem like it, this has been a great drama year.

Coming into 2019, we had so many amazing high-quality dramas – the gripping, disturbing Children of Nobody, the dark satire of Sky Castle, the fluffy, marshmallow of My Strange Hero, and the sad but uncompromisingly original Light In Your Eyes.

Yes, we also had some huge disappointments like Encounter and some mindless generic dross as well. But the fact is that 2019 has been defined so far by originality, by bravery: by writers pushing boundaries and networks letting them.

So it may seem a strange time to take a brief hiatus. But when the current crop of dramas started, I realised that picking up shows just because they exist would lead to the same kind of burnout that last year left with me with 36 beans and barely a shred of sanity.

This is not just the Year of Dropping. It\’s also a year where I want to only watch the best (or the best of the worst maybe – I\’m still the Trash Lord when I\’m not the Queen of Snark).

In the real world, work has gotten a bit busier lately and the next month I\’ll be quite busy. So I\’m taking a few weeks off from dramas, the site and rabbit.

I have stuff I want to watch that\’s not Korean dramas, stuff I want to write about that\’s not Korean dramas, and time I need to spend on other things for a little while.

So I\’m off and I\’ll see you when I\’m back.

Miss you already, Beans
LT

23
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Very very happy if you died
By Chingumode

Warning: This point contains spoilers but does not contain swearing and for that I should maybe get an award

I was going to start this post with a reference to my favourite drama. But since everybody knows what that is and I’ve written about it fifteen times before, all I’ll say is that I spend most of my drama-watching life hoping for something just as good and – more importantly – just as iconoclastic.

Not that I have a problem with the standard kdrama tropes: I’ll play trope bingo with the best of them. But every now and then, something comes along that is completely new, completely fresh, and that keeps me tuning in week after week.

Sometimes it’s because it avoids those tropes and sometimes it’s because it subverts them beautifully. My Strange Hero is a decent recent example of the former while the latter I found in a Manhwa called Happy If You Died.

During winter last year, this Manhwa was my delightful companion on the bus to work. Thankfully my human bus companions were more amused than concerned at me laughing so hard while I enjoyed the adventures of Luda, her romance with the kind and altruistic Kang, and her crazy attempts to save the life of her awful misogynstic boss, Baek.

Luda finds herself stuck in a time loop where she goes to increasingly insane lengths to save Baek’s life, ultimately failing and losing her own. Was Luda doing this because she was secretly in love with Baek? Because they would end up together? No, Luda was doing this because she didn’t want anybody to die – even if it was a man she hated.

The main plotline of the Manhwa is contrasted with one about her love interest, Kang, who risked his life to save a stranger who had fallen onto train tracks, eventually losing his life too.

Not that any of these deaths stay fixed as the time travel becomes more and more crazy and more and more complicated. At one stage it becomes clear the writer of Happy if you Died had written herself into a corner and needed to blast herself out of it. Which she does with panache. The ending of the web comic is pretty well perfect, taking its themes to a beautiful conclusion that remains true to the writer’s intent and (mostly) makes sense.

What set Happy if you Died apart was its themes around kdrama plots and tropes. At its core, this Manhwa was about the kind of masculinity and gender roles sold to us by Korean dramas. Chief Baek was a raging misogynist. His raison d’être and the reason he was so hated was because he believed himself to be so inherently superior to everybody – especially women – that he regularly lectured them on how to live their lives. And that “advice” was extremely sexist and patronising. Baek was the kind of person who would mansplain chopsticks to a Korean woman.

This character – the classic powerful, paternalistic boss – is regularly portrayed in dramas as an appropriate love interest to his subordinate female (once she’s “fixed” him of course). So the writer put his character in a storyline where the female lead had to “fix” him but then made that quest hopeless. Chief Baek had to fix himself. Most importantly, they contrasted his character with Kang – a second male lead who was just… nice. Kang was a man who had chosen to be nice. Not to get the girl or to be better for the woman he loved but just because he thought it was better to be nice.

And the consistent, unwavering love interest of Happy If You Died?
Kang.
Not Baek.
Kang.

Happy If You Died was a razor-sharp satire on the romantic fantasies sold to women by dramas. If you’re hard working, selfless and noble, a chaebol will take care of you. If you devote yourself to the boss, he’ll be successful with your selfless support – and eventually become your husband too. If a man is badly behaved, arrogant and cruel, it’s your responsibility to fix him and to not be too judgemental or upset about his behaviour during this process.

This kind of storyline is exemplified in Jugglers: a 2018 Korean drama about a selfless and hardworking secretary who reforms – and then marries – her rude and inconsiderate boss.

This drama’s final conclusion is that men succeed with the help of a good woman. It’s his role to be successful and hers to support him both at work and in the home. It’s a philosophy that reduces women to servants. He works in the world for himself, she works for him.

Happy if you Died set out to critique this in a brilliant (and admittedly hilarious) way.
Chief Baek doesn’t need to change to gain the love of a good helpmate. Chief Baek needs to change for himself. The female lead needs to learn his life and his behaviour is not her responsibility.

In that, it completely subverted the standard tropes for a certain kind of kdrama.

Baek thinks the only reason Luda cares about saving his life is because she’s in love with him. Baek is wrong. Baek thinks Luda would rather date a man in a higher social and professional position than nice-guy Kang, even if that man is horrible. Baek is wrong.

When I heard that they were making a live adaptation of Happy if you Died, I was half excited and half terrified. Because any drama based on this text would either be the best, most-subversive and most iconoclastic drama since that show I don’t need to name or… not. And that made me very nervous.

Was it possible for this particular Manhwa to be adapted properly in 2018 or would the writers panic and try to twist it back into a form familiar to kdrama viewers, thereby missing the point?

When the first few episodes of Feel Good to Die dropped, I tentatively tuned in, hoping against hope that the adaptation would be faithful to the original text. Luda had become Lee Roo-da but the other character’s names were the same.

So what did the drama version do with all these trope busting characters and scenarios?

It reinstated them. It actually took characters who were satirical criticisms of those tropes and turned them back into standard kdrama tropes. And all this without any irony whatsoever.

Instead of being a satirical subversion of a Korean office drama, Feel Good to Die became another version of Jugglers. From scene one, it became obvious that this would be a show about a hardworking woman surviving in the corporate trenches while caught in a love triangle between a Chaebol and her tsundere boss, whom she would eventually end up with.

Which is fine if you’re a fan of the genre but it’s the antithesis of what Happy If You Died was supposed to about. Lee shouldn’t need to learn a Very Important Lesson from the loops – unless it’s that she’s not responsible for Baek’s salvation. They took a critique of the genre, turned it back into the genre and then called it an adaptation of the critique.

But where the adaptation truly falls down is in the character of Kang. Making Kang a bored entitled chaebol was the one change that was almost offensive in how tone deaf it was. In the Manhwa, Kang was a character who had already gone through the journey Baek was on but for reasons that were entirely his. He’d needed no external stimulus – no divine intervention – to change. He’d done it because he had decided that that was how he wanted to live his life. In Feel Good to Die all of Kang’s narrative purpose as a counterpoint to Baek was gone.

I don’t know how the rest of the show unfolded, although I could guess. We’ve all seen this show before – it was merely the latest iteration of a standard office drama. I only made it to episode 3, had a very public tantrum and then decided to pretend that the much-anticipated adaption of Happy If You Died had never happened.

Maybe one day they’ll adapt this amazing Manhwa into a live-action version and it’ll be glorious. Until then, I would be Happy to Die if that means I got to be in a time loop where I could stop this travesty of a show being made.

18
19

Watch The Light In Your Eyes everyone
Your sunbae has spoken
Quickly before you get spoiled!

18
16

Why is Gong Hyo-jin crying?

a) This drama got extended
b) She read next week’s script
c) She’s actually laughing because she’s secretly responsible for SJS and Ziggy’s haircuts

#MastersSun

17
6

This cold, rainy long weekend
#ChiefKim

14
2

How’s that year of dropping going, Chingu?
I hear you dropped Cray Cray at episode 8?
How does that feel?

17
16

    … why do I suffer again?

    1
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    It wasn’t worse than Great Seducer/Tempted. I don’t regret watching Jin Goo. I should’ve used ff more often though.

    3
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    I dropped My Strange Hero and I have no idea why…I did like it a bit…especially the villain guy…

    2
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    I’m a dropper who became a finisher because of rabbit watches. I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

    4
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    Strangely I prefer to finish a mediocre drama instead of dropping it in the middle. I don’t feel liberated when I drop, I feel empty. But the drama I dropped this year and felt immediately free was Feel Good to Die. I resisted until ep 8 but I couldn’t take it any more.

    3
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      Of the dramas I dropped this year, none of them were dropped for being mediocre. They were bad (MOA, Devilish Joy), a type of show I know I won’t like (Clean with Passion, She Was Pretty), or ones in which I suddenly realise I don’t care (TCC, RIBB).
      I don’t mind mediocre. Mid-week a mediocre drama is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

      Feel Good to Die doesn’t exist and I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      4
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        The ones I count as really bad or not for me I only watch the first or second episode and stop. But I don’t call that dropping because I’m only testing them. Dropping is when I am doing my best to accept and endure for many episodes, but I can’t take it any more from some point. There are very very few shows in this list of mine.

        1
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          Hmmm I’m thinking that I count many dramas I have finished as bad too. But I didn’t drop them because they weren’t torturous. Devilish Joy? Very bad but ff is your friend. Feel Good to Die? A special kind of torture made in hell.

          1
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      Same!!!

      1
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How can he break my heart everytime in exactly the same way?
#INAR

15
2

Happily Never After: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride

My Name is Jisoo and I am worthy of love.

I wrote that on a post-it note on my mirror and look at it everyday
If I read it often enough, maybe I’ll believe it’s true.

I am deserving of love!

I don’t mean it in a creepy Incel way, of course. I’m not angry at the world nor the many women – many many many many women – who have rejected me. They deserve their happiness. I just want to believe that one day I’ll get a piece of that happiness as well.

After all these years, I sometimes feel as though the universe is trying to tell me something.
Why do I always fall in love with the wrong person?

It started when I was seventeen. I fell for a girl in my high school but she turned out to be a 34-year-old mother of a girl my own age. A mother! An Ahjumma!
I remember the first time she tied my shoelace, I never felt like that before. But then I found out the truth and knew it could never be.
My feelings didn’t change, of course. But I also knew it was impossible. I knew it.

Fast forward two years and I had gotten my life together and was a perfect student at en elite school There was this whole thing where I took up cheerleading for some reason, but that’s not important. What matters is that now the object of my affections was my age. No secret identity. No future step daughter I had to call Chingu. But she still never looked at me. Instead she went and fell for my best friend and all I could do was watch. The two people I love most are happy, that’s all that matters. But, still…

The whole thing must have affected my subconscious because I had a series of terrible nightmares where I was a prince in the Joseon era in love with my brother’s woman. I even got to marry her but she still never loved me and then she died. Seriously. This was getting to be a problem.

After some thought, I decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. But I hadn’t done it long before i discovered my feelings for a childhood best friend who turned out to have superpowers. Turns out I’d unknowingly been in love with her for years and also that she had super strength. Those were two large revelations to come to terms with.

I should have worked out my feelings earlier because by the time I realised she’d already chosen her man – a genius games designer and improbably-successful CEO who looked like he was in a boy band. There goes that.

I’m not ashamed to admit I’m starting to feel like there’s something wrong with my life. Like it’s deliberate in some way? Like life is a drama and I’m an actor being perpetually cast as the second male lead. It seems like I can’t get a part-time job or go to the hospital without being reminded that girls always choose the other guy and are happier for it.

Is this my life?

Pining from the sidelines as everyone else gets their happily ever after?

Not even able to be bitter or angry about it because I know they made the right choice?

I do want love, I do want company, I do want to grow old with somebody.

I do want what other men seem to get handed to them – almost as if they are the stars of their lives and I’m just in a supporting role.

I am Jisoo.
I want a happily ever after.

Author’s Note: This is the next instalment in the popular series: Things DB didn’t publish

24
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I know my job is just to snark at everything, be meta and make our characters break the fourth wall, but I do have some ideas for the rest of the drama.
What kind of ideas, you ask?

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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    I’m just saying that if one of our characters turned out to be an immortal being struggling with his man pain who needed skinship to keep living, I wouldn’t argue.

    4
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      This description reminds me of…

      4
      0

      Can i vote second lead for this? That’s why he’s so devoted to the ML and his dog

      3
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      This is ridiculous. I love it.

      3
      1

        I also kind of want the FL to be an NIS agent, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that work what with her being in the public eye as a chaebol.
        I thought maybe she wants to make friends with the ML but doesn’t know how to, so she becomes good at the things he says he’s good at so they can have shared interests. She’s a perfectionist, so she ends up being better at martial arts and marksmanship than most agents.
        I like Hot Cocoa’s idea because now we can say she used to be an army general in her past life.

        What if….the four of them set out to find a McGuffin that’ll undo the 2ML’s curse so he can be mortal and grow old with them, but in doing so they cross paths with some Very Dangerous People. They’ll need the ML’s tenacity, the FL’s resources and both 2L’s investigative skills to survive . And along the way they heal old wounds (because I’m sentimental like that.)

        3
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      Hold on, does he need skinship from only his love interest to feel better, or can it be just anyone? Does he walk around holding his best friend’s hand, is what I’m asking.

      1
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        Anybody but because Korea is a culture where people don’t usually touch each other, this will be a stressor for him. Being in a relationship would be the easiest way for him to “feed”. But I’m thinking he has a childhood friend who offers themselves up for regular feedings.

        1
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          A skinship vampire. This is top tier kdrama material – it’s completely bonkers but I would 100% watch it.

          OK but @anothernicole @hotcocoagirl @ally-le I think we need a suitably tragic and trashy backstory for the ML. His best friend is an immortal vampire, but what is he?

          0
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            i thought you were calling me to find you a suitable tragic and trashy location and my mind went to the beautiful alley in…was it temperature of love? where they are out jogging at the beginning…in the most cinematically-shot alleys ever???

            ok wait, so the ML’s best friend is the vampire, right? And the FL is NIS?

            2
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            Ok, now this is going to sound crazy, but can we make the ML a normal guy with a normal past and a normal back story? There’s already so much cray-cray that we need to ground this thing. You lose the spark if everyone is paranormal, I think. I also think that the comedy can be this normal guy who is surrounded by supernatural beings and trying to act in that world, but still staying to hold on to his ordinary-ness.

            2
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            oooh yes totally with @ally-le on this. regular guy regular life in the midst of his craaaay friends.

            1
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          “Tragic and trashy location” made me giggle. That alley can be the designated Brooding Area.
          Yes, the 2ML is the vampire, the FL is NIS and the 2FL used to be a reporter. What if the ML’s tragic backstory is that he was saved from the brink of death as a child by black magic, and the price he has to pay is that he dies and comes back from the dead at random times? And when his best friend (who can never die – thematic juxtaposition) asks him what it’s like, he claims not to remember anything, but he gets a haunted look in his eyes.

          ChinguMode, you’re probably getting so many notifications. Mianhe. I hope this is trashy enough to make up for it.

          1
          0

Winter is coming

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    I finally finished Kingdom and it is good, really good. This was no season 1 though – it was very much a mid-season cliffhanger and it’s a bit disappointing that the show won’t continue until next year. I have some thoughts about the way in which the show is using zombism but I’ll keep them to myself for now. I’m sure others are more qualified to talk about Confusionism, the maintenance of the status quo, and the mandate from heaven. But I wish the show was more of a critique of feudalism, which is where I thought they were going in the beginning.

    Something rotten may be in the heart of Denmark but it isn’t the exploitative system, it’s those who will take power from the ones who are “supposed” to rule.

    But as I said there are others more qualified to expand this argument. For now, I’ll just ignore the subtext and concentrate on the fact it’s a good, cracking story with strong characters and excellent production.

    3
    1

      I loved it too. And was very annoyed by the six episode season. We still don’t know where this show is going, given that it’s fiction and not accurate representation of historical events I will be interested in the Prince’s growth and if he questions the status quo.

      2
      1

        Such an amazing show but season 1 was pretty much only introductory. It set up questions – gave us ONE answer (the zombies are affected by the temperature not daylight) and then *poof*. I watch kdramas for the exact opposite reason – a concise story with a direction, told in one go. Well this is still a kdrama minus the told in one go. 😰

        2
        1

I’m not watching I’m Not a Robot again. That would be crazy.

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18
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Netflix Australia really has just added I’m Not a Robot and Angry Mum so I may never leave my house again.

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18
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