Beanie level: Jang Geu-rae

Just started watching Extra You and my bb baek kyung is t-r-a-s-h. oooo boi.

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Beginnings of Reflections are always the worst because where does one actually begin?

Firstly, I am so grateful that I am able to be an active spectator of the media I am currently consuming – essenBeginnings of Reflections are always the worst because where does one actually begin?

Firstly, I am so grateful that I am able to be an active spectator of the media I am currently consuming – essentially I have enough space in my brain to dedicate to Be Melodramatic/Melo is My Nature (Be Melo) and Graceful Family that I haven’t in the last few years. Graduation and job hunting will ddo that to you. I am also entirely grateful that Be Melo actually exists in this ever evolving dramaworld especially after reading director Lee Byung Hun’s thoughts about the drama’s lack of success in an interview. https://www.soompi.com/article/1350962wpp/cast-and-crew-of-melo-is-my-nature-share-thoughts-as-drama-crosses-halfway-mark

My personal review and RANT: !!! THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODES

There is something about Be Melo that really hits home. I think it’s the range of emotions the drama dares to explore every single freaking week. The last two episodes were particularly beautiful because of the portrayal of Eun Jung’s character. The therapy scene was actually heart wrenching especially after witnessing therapy in Kdramas used as a trope or abnormality. See:Coffee Prince, Protect the Boss, Another Oh Hae Young. I was elated to see it was being normalized, and actually deemed necessary for this character struggling with hallucinations. In fact, this entire scene unlocked Eun Jung’s character for me. I finally recognized her as a seasoned repressor, probably even before the death of her boyfriend Hong Dae. And as she sobbed in that therapy session, I almost cried along with her.

Even Jin Joo who has been portrayed as a sparky, witty, fearless and careless (I mean she loses her job by mouthing off to her boss and basically doesn’t care), hesitates to confess her feelings for the similarly ridiculous Beom Soo. But that hesitation is because of fear, the responsibilities of adulting and potentially because of her failed relationship with Hwan Dong. This for the first time the drama made Jin Joo feel real. Han Joo, our resident model career woman and single mom, finally verbalizes desire/want. She actively gives up picking up her cutie son to hang out with Jae Hoon. She essentially shifts from acceptance (creatively handling the bullshit of the patriarchy…oppa! scene ) and passivity (her handling the bullshit of her ex’s parents) to saying I want more, which in this case means romance/dating.
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On a smaller scale, we see Hyo-Bong’s partner and he expresses the reality of his character’s sexuality by vocalizing his strained relationship with his parents. Jae-Hoon curses his ex-girlfriend. So-Min has intimate moments with Min Joon. All the characters essentially shift from the original construction but they don’t necessarily grow. This shift is so subtle and seamless that I honestly did not fully process it until the episode ended. I honestly can only commend the writer/director not because I haven’t experienced a moment like this in dramaworld but rather because its delivery is honestly unmatched.

AND NOW THE GIANT BUT,

I have noticed that although all these emotions are happening on my screen, there is still a strange disconnectedness that forbids me from crying with the characters (not literally). There is a palpable distance that in this show that other slice-of-life T.V shows do not have. And it took me a while to figure it out. It because this show breaks the norms I think are conventional to storytelling.

Firstly, I recognized that there’s no overarching plot which usually gives me some kind of explanation as to why I am in any fictional world. Secondly, I also noticed that characters don’t have any background (except recently So Min and Min Joon) which usually gives me some kind of explanation as to why I should care about that fictional world. The lack of overall plot is somewhat expected in a slice-of-life show. Each day is more important than the beginning and the end. But overarching plotline no matter how freaking thin it is gives me something to look forward to because it involves all the characters and when its resolved has a sense of finality. See: Age of Youth (Mystery plotline), Misaeng (Will Jang-Gu Rae become a permanent employee?), Reply Series (Romance(s) plotline) etc. In Be Melo, I don’t really count any of the storylines as the overarching storyline. I guess the production Jin Joo’s drama could have been but it doesn’t include all the characters. The production of her drama is just a vehicle for an on-screen character study of Jin Joo and Beom Soo. I have no clue why Jin Joo wants to be a writer or really anything that anchors me to this story. Therefore, I really don’t care. For example, in this BTLIOF, Ji-Ho wants to be a writer and makes dramatic efforts to do so only to be rudely interrupted by the patriarchy – her dad as the main authority in her life and then later on disgusting co-worker. As cliche as these situations may be, I genuinely cared about Ji-Ho’s desire to become a writer because I know people who had been through similar situations.

I also realized that I genuinely don’t care about any of the other characters in the show because I don’t know them, though I understand the essence of these characters. This creates a devastating effect. Because I don’t care about Jin Joo, I don’t care about Beom Soo as he becomes the subject of her affections (though its shown the other way). I also don’t really know why Beom Soo is obsessed with this script apart from its different/witty. I don’t know much about Eun-Jung apart from her grieving and in extension, I don’t care about Hyo-Bong because she’s the subject of his concern. I also don’t know anything about Hyo-Bong apart from the fact that he’s gay/queer. This also applies to Han-Joo and Jae-Hoon but less to So-Min and Min-Joon because the show at least throws gave me a morsel of background with that cute high school flashback scene. I was soooo thankful.

The overall effect of the writers decision produces an undesirable nonchalant which I can’t help but pay attention in such an emotional drama. I am unable to root for any of the characters because I am not tethered to them in any sort of way. They are’t black, white, gray or contradictory characters. They just kinda exist in this world. Which if its intentional, then its meta-meaning is soooo bleak. But if its not, then I am curious as to why the director/writer made these decisions. Essentially my heart is warm and cold at the same time. I am enveloped by the drama but not submerged. It’s basically a collection of memories I get to witness as an acquaintance not a friend or family member. This world is full but not bursting. Important but seemingly insignificant. I’m sadly longing for more. I will still watch every single episode. Okay RANT OVER!!

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    A rant for Melo (and a good one)! Comment this on the series review! Hehe

    Unlike you, I felt a connection with some of the characters, especially Eun-jung. I think the context provided by the show really matters, and in my case, I can relate to her because we are similar. Feeling disconnected but finding a show wonderful is still a valid emotion, as I had the same case with My Ahjussi and with Bae Ta-mi lacking any background in Search WWW.

    I’m looking forward to Melo Suits Me every week because of its unpredictability (the previews trolled me so many times) and because of the excellent dialogues and creative decisions that the writer, director, and editor decides to put in the show. I think the lack of mystery and plot makes this somewhat heavy show (that isn’t really heavy due to the right use of humor) a fun and enjoyable watch because you watch it for the characters and what they do in their lives rather than for the “plot” itself (that is once gone, makes the show a filler and noble idiocy festival).

    Also, we need more Hyo-bong.

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    Thanks for the nice rant! I think this explains why I dropped this on second episode after giving it some chances. I felt like you said, characters were dramatic but not really fully there. And I could tell this was where the drama was headed, lots of dramatic and repetitive scenes, lots of drinking and budding, and eating, but no real information that humanizes or makes them interesting, just like so many other kdramas.

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    This is one really good criticism for the show. Probably the most constructive one I have read. Unlike you, I am completely submerged. That is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t tend to think on all the points you mentioned but I totally agree with them. This show is character driven not plot driven. But unlike other shows with an ensemble cast that had fleshed out characters and a plot to keeo you hooked, it only relies on our relatability to the characters. I am none of the girls. They are not like me but the situations they are in is befitting me and my age. While I do think their pasts were given to the audience in the first episode and it was enough information for us to know, we don’t know exactly where they are headed. I see an open ending to this show because it’s depicting life. It is just showing their day to day struggles as 30 somethings. And that makes me think, is it always necessary to have a plot. A beginning, clikax, ending and twists in between may make a show worthwile but a story about day to day life might just be equally worthwile as one that we have been used to seeing. We are so used to a formula that if stories deviate from that we feel uncomfortable because it is a new territory and I have also disliked shows in the past that had no clear plot or characters but I think Melo is doing good in this regard compared to many while taking a fresh take on storytelling.

    Either ways i loved reading your post and as liarsong said, you should post it in Be Melodramatic’s episode 2 to 8 summary here on DB so that people who echo your views should be able to relate, if they watch the show later in time.

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      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I wrote it out of frustration. But I’m really glad the style of storytelling is challenging my structure loving brain in a totally fun way. I think one more reason for the disconnect is because my life experiences just don’t match (I’m not close to being in my 30’s). The director apparently watched it with a bunch of 20 year olds and they just didn’t get it. lolol. It actually feels like a millennial show.

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        I’m in my early twenties actually but as once before discussed on the fan wall, not all people in their 20s, 30s or i really think every age bracket have the same experiences. So it is completely fine to be not able to relate. And regarding hyo bong i guess they had to replace the actor on a short notice because the original one had a scandal. The show was already shot quite enough, perhaps they scrapped some of his story?

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I really miss the dramabeans podcasts. Anyone else??

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    i am confused.. so i recall we got javabeans post a few months back.. but is she still associated with this site?

    GF i think is completely out. ..

    It’s just new set of stakeholders altogether right? And the business model totally gearing towards becoming the one stop shop for american audience+ international

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BE MELO……is my new favorite drama.

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I wanna love…I mean like arthdal but its not good. Each episode I think the plot will kick in and then nothing. It’s not bad, it makes sense. I’ll just rewrite in my head. Stay tuned folxs.

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    I really wanted to like it too. Now I’m mostly eye rolling and laughing my way through it.

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One Spring Night is such an emotional doozy. I love how it\’s dealing with complexity. All the men on this show apart from Ji-ho and his friends are trash. PERIOD. The casual abuse/emotional blackmail.

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Ep 2 of Arthdal slow build but I like it. I love our resident baddies, innocents, friendships, prophecies, and potential dramatic revelations (brothers), I\’m ready for so much more.

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    Also, I don’t know if anyone else noticed but I think camera movement is strange for this show. Like extra dramatic in untimely moments. I don’t know if its the editing or the music or the actual landscape itself but it makes the mood really uneven overall when it really doesn’t have to be. I feel like I’m watching three different pieces, story, visuals, and then music rather than one show.

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    Some questions, I couldn’t finish episode 1, it’s too confusing, or maybe I’m just too dense.
    1. There were two igutu babies on the show, are the both the children of Asa Hon and Ragaz’s? They’re both boys? So there will be sibling rivalry on the show…?
    2. Which one is Song joong-ki character? Is he the igutu baby on Asa Hon’s arm?
    3. What happened to the igutu baby taken by Tagon?

    Thanks 🙏🙇

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      1. Yes. Both were purple blood. So has to be a cross of Asa and Ragaz.
      2. The baby in Asa’s hand is SJK. She escapes with him and they eventually climb down the cliff and reach Iark.
      3. The baby is being trained. I think they are waiting for the scab to fall off so he can be brought into the Saram group and live as Saram.

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Arthadal. Despite the weird wigs and weirdly bad budgeted makeup (I did love the blue blood everywhere), I\’m so into it. I mean a compelling creation story with politics, envy, MAGIK and SJK.

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Three minutes into Arth and I\’m so intrigued.

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Gonna start Arthdal. low Expectations for the show, HIGH love for SJ. Lez GO!

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i just picked up meteor garden because i thought it would be fun pls lemme know if i should stop now…. the first ep feels like a disney show idk if im into that rn…

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EP4 of MoA…… goddamn its so beautiful to watch. i officially dislike PSH character. Energy actually leaves the screen when she\’s there. Was holding my breath the whole time. what r the rules???!

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I was waiting for the game world to intersect with the real world because DUH what else is supposed to happen BUT i didnt know that it was gonna happen like THAT. omfg. MoA is
mURDERS of alhambra

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Yalll…. MEMORIES OF ALHAMBRA is WILDIN!!!!

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Hot Take on Memories of Alhambra. Immediately after episode 1, I thought of W. Its like W with a crazy budget. Unique plot (hopefully). I\’m worried about PSH and the pacing. we\’ll see. Episode 2 letgo

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a few moments into memories of Alhambra and it already does not feel like a kdrama…… please please PLEASE dont suck

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Hi, yall. I\’m looking forward to the slew of new kdramas. Did anyone check out clean with passion for now? Thoughts, reactions, concerns??

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Also since I\’m musicing rn, can anyone recommend shows with great osts. Thanks.

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    Another Oh Hae Young, Cheese in the Trap, Secret Garden 😀

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    Goblin has a great OST! Not sure if you have watched it or not haha~

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    Chicago Typewriter. 🙂

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    Listen to the Secret Forest OST but do not watch the MV, it gives away too much of the story……..I recommend both the show and the music as top notch……there’s The Liar and His Lover, Seven Day Queen among this years shows, I strangely cannot remember anything from last year……From Older shows, I have always love Queen In Hyun’s Man for its OST and music

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    Misaeng 🙂

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    Goblin, Seven Day Queen, Chicago Typewriter, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, Moon Lovers, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, The Liar and His Lover, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

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    Jealousy Incarnate

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    I honestly don’t pay that close attention to OSTs, but these two have at least one song I’ve continued to listen to-
    High School King of Savvy
    Dating Agency: Cyrano
    Bride of the Century
    Marriage Contract

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    Bubblegum (if you like indie), The Moon that Embraces the Sun and Jang Ok-jung Living in Love (if you like instrumental OSTs)!

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Also anyone into Korean indie/dance/electronic or whatever should definitely check out 3rd line butterfly\’s newest album, definite bop.

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My kdrama lull happens at really weird times and is definitely not correlated to the quality of dramas showing in the moment. This is one of those times.

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    happens to me when i have a full social calendar or when i just feel like sleeping, or mostly during the summer when i feel like i should be out more

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