Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

I realized the other day that part of why I love Yong-sik in Camellia is that he reminds me of Go Dong-man, from Fight My Way, who may be my favorite male lead ever. I love the meathead puppy types because they are just so earnest and sweet with their feelings – I’m guessing the writer does too, since they wrote both dramas.

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I think the reason I enjoy Tale of Nokdu so much is its portrayal of women. They are strong, independent, capable of handling their own affairs, and everyone treats them as such. They aren\’t treated as if they\’re made of glass or less than. (Yes, the gisaengs are looked down on, but not because they are seen as weak by virtue of being women, but rather because of the profession they chose.) This confidence in the way women are treated by the story and the writer is a subtle thing, but it makes the whole tone feel refreshing. It\’s not seen as surprising that the women are so capable of running a society on their own without men. 

This is why I find Nokdu so interesting as a character. He doesn\’t treat having to dress as a woman as degrading in any way, nor does he ever treat the women as weaker or below him. Yes, he\’s awkward and nervous, and he plays a bit of a caricature of womanhood, but that is merely a means to keep his disguise going. Moreover, there is no overcompensation or irritating displays of manliness when he\’s alone or with Dong-joo. He\’s not embarrassed by his ability to learn the fan-dance in one go. He\’s not taken aback by women being assassins. He never looks down on the women, and while he\’s surprised by the way women socialize, he never seems to think that they aren\’t capable.

I think this works so well because of Jang Dong-yoon\’s portrayal of Nokdu. I noticed that even in the BTS videos Jang Dong-yoon doesn\’t seem overly self-conscious when he\’s dressed as a woman or try to make himself seem manlier to make up for his appearance. He\’s confident in his skin, just as Nokdu is, and that makes such a difference. 





(GIFs from setsmaker on Tumblr)

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    With a face like that, hell yeah, you can have allllllll the confidence.

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    I am jealous of his hair. 🤩 How could he look so good with his wet hair? Mine would look like a blob of drenched seaweed.

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    Well said. 👏👏

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      Thank you. I’ve been trying to parse out why this gender-bender feels so fresh since the genre isn’t new (though it’s rarer to have men dress as women) but I finally hit on it the other day and I just got the chance to write it out.

      Also, I may have needed an excuse to have these GIFs on my wall.

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    I’ve not started this (as I am a binge watcher not a live watcher) but that was very well said and makes me even more excited to see this drama.

    And those gifs do naughty things to me 😳🙈

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    Perfectly stated! I have said earlier that it’s portrayal of women is very refreshing from a saguek point of view. And he is also doing a damn good job!

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      Honestly, it’s portrayal of women is refreshing, period. I love that the focus is less on women as women and more on women as a community, if that makes sense? It focuses on what each can contribute and it never questions that, never tries to make the women appear to be “special” and “different” from other women just because of her skillset. Instead, it’s treated as an assumption that everyone has a skillset and uses it to the best of their ability, regardless of gender. The lack of commentary on gender norms makes you forget about gender norms after a time, if that makes sense?

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    *staples this to my forehead*

    YES TO ALL OF THIS

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      Also, I’ve loved JDY for a whiiile, but gosh dang, is he pretty

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        I think I’ve watched all his dramas except Mr. Sunshine. He has a very naturalistic way of acting and a lot of talent and I can’t wait to see where he goes now that he’s getting more lead roles. I think he has an eye for good projects and characters too, so I hope he keeps up the good choices.

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You know that thing where you psych yourself out over a thing and keep putting it off and then when you actually do the thing it was way less painful than you expected and then you feel kind of silly for being so anxious? We need a word for that. Taking suggestions in the comments.

Anyway, here’s the ridiculously catchy silly song I’m going to listen to while I recover from the unnecessary anxiety I create in my mind.

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    Something like the frog? As in the book swallow the frog first.

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    Pretty much my life. I feel like there is a word for it, but it’s not coming to mind at the moment.

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      I mean, anxiety is the word for it, I guess. But I feel like we can do better, you know? Like, there must be word for this in German. They have a word for everything. English is too basic. Do better English.

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    American-Taiwan Singer/Songwriter/Choreographer Van Ness Wu posted this on his Insta this morning 🙂 The shoes J-Hope wears in this MV is designed by Van Ness Wu via his fashion line “Peace By Piece” 🙂

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    I was typing a HUGE rant about KPop’s shameless and unapologetic appropriation of Black Hip Hop culture, but then did some more digging.

    Thankfully, J-Hope legally acknowledged his song is a remake of the equally popular original “Chicken Noodle Soup” by Webstar and Young B, released in 2006.

    More KPop artists should do that.

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      Agreed – definitely problematic, and has often bothered me. But I did notice that he acknowledged the roots of the song and gave credit where it was due, which I’m glad for. But yeah, a lot of K-pop needs to do better in that respect.

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I’m so happy AKMU is back! Their sound has matured and I love it. I love that they keep growing and evolving their sound. Mad respect to Lee Chan-hyuk for keeping up the writing during his military service. You can hear the influence on his writing.

I’m especially obsessed with this track, “A Fish in Water”. It reminds me of a sea shanty or an English folk song. It also sounds a lot like my favorite singer Frank Turner’s songs “The Opening Act of Spring” and “St. Christopher is Coming Home” but slower and more pensive. Turner often describes his music as “English Folk Punk-Rock” and this fits right into that. It makes me want to move my feet but it also makes me feel like I’m sailing off to sea. And the way their voices blend and separate – that also reminds me of the sea. Lee Soo-hyun’s voice also reminds me a lot of american folk/bluegrass/country singers like Allison Krauss or Patty Griffin here. Every time I listen to this song I hear another influence, et somehow they have blended all these together and made it something uniquely their own – and that ability is a gift. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two incredibly talented young siblings.

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    There’re parts which remind me of this song Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men. Maybe all that traveling and collaborations while filming Begin Again influenced her a lot.

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      Yes! This too. I knew there was something else. I was dashing off thoughts at midnight before bed and I knew I was missing something. That song also has a very English folk feel to it.

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    This was introduced to me last week and it has been on repeat since then. My favorite song though, is Chantey.
    But all of them are beautiful!

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      I was just giving the album a quick listen before bed and I ended up repeating this track about 5-6 times. But thurs album is their strongest yet. It’s thematically strong yet each track stands completely on its own well. It’ll definitely be getting a lot of play this fall.

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BEAN FRIENDS.

I have made it to the mythical rooftop room. I had given up. I was starting to accept my place as an errand boy. But today I was able to climb to the top of the tallest tower one final time and I was granted the leave to rest my wary feet.

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Gong Hyo-jin has been my #1 fave since my early dramaland days. I have watched every single one of her new dramas since I started this crazy journey into dramaland. I have never been disappointed by her roles or her choices. And I’m happy to say it seems that this streak is going to stay that way.

She has a gift for making me root for even the most irritating-on-paper characters and brings them to life from the moment she steps on screen. I loved her in the first episode of When Camellia Blooms. She was able to show a quiet strength and self-assurance while also being a timid (but not weak) person. It’s a gift to be able to balance that, and it takes skill to sell it so well in a first episode. But I am here for her Dong-baek. I can’t wait to see what this drama brings.

(Also, Kang Ha-neul is adorable and I’m pretty sure I could gush over him too, but that’s a different post for another day.)

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    From the character description, her character in Camellia reminds me of her character in Thank You. She was a strong single mum in that too.

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      That’s one of her older ones I have yet to see, though I really do want to dig into some of her older dramas and see more of her movies. She has a really good eye for strong characters and good stories.

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    Just about to press play. I think both her and Jang Nara have this warmth and quiet strength that they bring to their characters. At least the dramas over seen them in.

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      Yes! I love Jang Nara as well. Both excellent actresses with a good eye for scripts. I’m keeping an eye on V.I.P. next month pretty much because she looks so badass in it. I’m a little worried it’ll be just chaebol scheming and politics, but I was also confused by whatever the descriptions of Last Empress were and that turned out to be an excellent, albeit completely bonkers, ride.

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    I really love her Dong-baek. I have high expectation for this drama, and it seems that it managed to surpass even that. I can’t wait to see the next eps.

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    she is a favorite of mine, ok so who thinks\hopes that the body is that of the klepto waitress( sorry waitress)

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I’m 21 episodes into Le Coup de Foudre and I’m sorry I didn’t watch sooner. This moment really broke my heart, but at the same time, I think this separation was good for them. It allowed Qiaoyi to really grow into herself and gain confidence and open up. I’m not sure she could have done that if she and Yan Mo stayed together.

This is one of the few stories where I really buy that they were falling in love at such a young age. They both bring out the best in one another in such gentle ways, through supporting and believing in one another. All the couples on this show are that way, actually, and I love it because it shows that the best way to love someone is to support them and push them to be their best selves. That’s such a strong foundation and because of that I really can understand why Yan Mo was so hurt by her rejection.

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    I watched the first 2 eps of Le Coup de Foudre and seemed like it could be good, but the skipping around to all different times and the odd interview type format was throwing me off and kinda annoying. Everyone says it’s great so I probably just need to stick with it.

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      I really like the skipping around personally – I like that we know the endgame of the story and then get to watch it develop. But if it did annoy you, stick with it, because it’s less used in the middle episodes. They mostly just use a scene or two from the present to highlight the story in the past that they’re showing.

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    Omg, I love this show so much!!! Especially the first episodes. They are so cute and so awkward, I love it. And yes my heart totally broke for these two during the separation and sometimes made me angry, but I loved them. The music is also amazing, I might end up posting some. Glad to hear another beanie decided to watch it! 😊

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I started Le Coup de Foudre and it’s so sweet and I love the relationships between the characters. It reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favorites, Answer Me 1997, in that respect.

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    I’m stalled partway through, but not because of the show. I just add to many dramas to my plate and then have a hard time finishing all of them.
    I love the sibling relationship here and Zhao Guanchao.

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      Yeah – I’m pretty sure that September is going to be adding at least three new dramas to my watch list, but I had some free time this weekend and it looks like Graceful Family isn’t playing next week, so I figured I could watch this in the meantime. It’s so easy and light and sweet, and I wish I’d watched it earlier.

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    The Zhao family is the sweetest family ever! This drama made me crush on Guanchao when he’s on Big Bro mode 😍

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Is anyone watching Graceful Family? I’m loving it – the female lead is 100% chaotic good and I adore her. I can’t wait to see where this story is going after the end of episode 4.

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    I want to start. Saw some clips on insta and looks fun!

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      I was intrigued by the clips I saw on viki’s youtube. So glad I checked it out. It’s the right balance of predictable drama (chaebols, murder, political machinations) and interesting characters who elevate the material. It’s also nice having the smart chaebol be a woman who takes charge for once. The women in general on this show are absolutely brilliantly written because even the ones that are total stereotypes (like the stepmom and the mistress) feel fully fleshed out and real. But the two female leads (Im Soo-hyang and Bae Jong-ok’s characters) are especially great since they have a lot of ambition and are intelligent and take charge easily. It’s actually really refreshing in a way.

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        A female Chaebol sounds great! thanks for writing about this show. Definitely watching this evening. Am losing interest in most current dramas and wanted something new to start. Started ‘The great Show’. This will the other one. Good thing Viki has completed the subs!

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    i was wondering about this! i may check it out now 🙂

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      Definitely recommend – it’s a predictable plot in many ways, but is made infinitely better by by the good writing, acting and direction.

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        oh awesome! i don’t mind predictability, if it’s enjoyable and skillfully done. thank you thank you!

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          I won’t lie, I turned it on fully expecting to only half pay attention but I was engrossed from the first episode. Im Soo-hyang has a gift for just disappearing into her characters and making them feel real from the get-go.

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    I’m watching and each episode has been brilliant.

    Im Soo-hang handles her role masterfully. I like the fact that it’s chaebol in-fighting for a change, with no real candy character (maybe the ML?). I’m also enjoying the various twists, e.g., the entire prison storyline. Then that awesome twist with Hal-abeoji at the end of episode four happened. I’m so looking forward to episode five tomorrow.

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      I’m wondering if we’re going to get a Yong Pal part deux/do-over – there the chaebol female lead becomes power hungry and turns into exactly what she wants to destroy. Granted, I dropped that drama three episodes from the end because it just became a hot mess and relegated freaking Joo Won to the sidelines. Kim Tae-hee was good, though. But I feel like this could go that way, or it could go the predictable way of her taking over and cleaning up her family’s mess. I’d honestly be happy either way just because this show is so good so far. I feel like the writer here has an endgame in mind, so hopefully the plotting stays tight and the story and characters keep on track and it pays out.

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    Actually, both the female lead and the head of TOP, are strong ALPHA females. If they were on the same side, …

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      For sure. I love all the female characters because it’s such a well rounded set of female characters and even when the character seems like a stereotype they still feel like a real person.

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    I’ve been wondering about this one. I keep on reading positive things about it.

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    I started it over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised. I hope the female lead stays a strong character. So far she’s pretty refreshing.

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    Thanks so much for the recommendation!! loving it.. Love the entire chaebol family and all the caricatures.. Just got to the part where she goes to jail. And totally loved the way she rubbed on prosecutor’s face and faced it bravely. Atleast there is someone who knows never to trust TOP’s word.
    The eldest son and youngest bonding over gansta talk was hilarious.
    Can’t wait for her to start fighting head on.

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      Yay! I’m glad you like it – I loved the jail storyline. I loved how badass she was after she got over the shock of her arrest. That prosecutor was an asshat and deserved getting kicked down a notch or three.

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I have some Let Me Hear Your Song thoughts. I am loving this show – it has I Remember You vibes but is also totally its own thing, and it feels like the writer has an endgame in mind.

(In comments to avoid spoilers)

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    It seems pretty obvious after Tuesday’s episodes that Kim Ian’s death has to do with some sort of corruption within the symphony/college. But the bigger question in terms of the story is why do we care?

    Why do we care? Because I think the next potential victim is not our mysterious hero, but rather our spurned violinist, Ha Eun-ju. It seems like she’s got a bone to pick and she’s slowly but steadily moving into the crosshairs of whoever is pulling the strings. The comment that bitchy flautist made (something along the lines of “we have ways of dealing with you people”) stood out to me. That implies that people who make waves have been dealt with before – maybe someone like Kim Ian? It seemed more than just a passing comment regarding her power/privilege over Ha Eun-ju. But more than that – it’s clear that there’s something shady going on in the power structures of the musical institutions here.

    First: Kim Ian – what did he know? What was so terrible that they had to kill him for it? It had better be bad – political corruption? Manipulation of leaders? I hope the reveal is worth it. I think that he, like Ha Eun-ju decided not to just sit pretty and take it, but to speak up. And that got him killed.

    As for Ha Eun-ju: first off, I love her. She’s a boss bitch in every sense of the word. She is excellent at her job, and she knows it and owns it. She’s mean, but she’s not deliberately cruel – she merely calls others out on their shit. And her hair is fabulous. (Can we talk about this for a minute? I love the fact that she doesn’t have the sleek shiny hair of a drama actress, but rather, this slightly rough textured wave that reminds me of my own hair once upon a time. It’s refreshing.) But anyway, she is obviously fed up with the machine that insists on holding her back if she doesn’t comply with its corrupt demands. I worry that she’s gonna get herself hurt. Those ending scenes of her talking to Jang Yoon’s father seem like they spell her doom. I think she’s actually a simple woman in what she wants: to play violin, teach, and have love. That actually isn’t unreasonable. She works her ass off to be great, it isn’t just handed to her, and she knows she deserves the recognition and is willing to fight for it.

    Finally: they can’t be spending so much time on Yoon Mi-rae for no reason. She’s not just an angry, overlooked secretary. She knows everyone’s sins. She has more power than anyone, and she’s learning how to wield it – that was clear after that interlude at the cafe yesterday. Now, what side she comes down on in the end is the question. Is she going to take the power or is she going to see justice? She’s been doing the dirty work for so long that she occupies a moral gray area now. I’m genuinely curious as to where this is going.

    Anyway, I have to go to work but hopefully I can be more coherent later.

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      If Ian is JY’s brother, he is the son of wealth and power… which means either the father or someone more powerful had him killed. Right now, the most “powerful” figure we’ve seen so far is JY and KI’s father…

      And a comment on our heroine… so, someone like the man in the hat stalks you, breaks into your home, threatens you, and then tells you that you are a murderer…and you pay attention, and give credence to his claim??? Oh, come on…

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        Except that Kim Ian was raised by his mother. And he doesn’t (publically) share a name with his father and brother. And it seems as if he were estranged from his father – so it could be that no one knew he was his father’s son. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t matter who killed him, because they just think they’re killing a pianist, not the son of a powerful man. Remember, it wasn’t even commonly known that Jang Yoon (or whatever his real name is) was Kim Ian’s brother. I kind of wonder if their mother has something to do with it since it seems like she’s famous too. It could be something to do with her as well.

        As for our heroine – I think she gets a bad rap. She’s trusting, and a bit naive, but I don’t think she’s stupid. And why shouldn’t she trust creepy ol’ bucket hat? As far as she knows he’s been more honest with her than anyone else at this point – even her sister has been lying to her. I also think creeper dude genuinely thinks he saw her kill Kim Ian, but I don’t think she did. And I don’t think she 100% trusts bucket hat, but when you’re traumatized you’ll grasp at anything to make sense of what happened to you. She herself doesn’t fully believe she killed him yet.

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          Yes on YY.
          Remember how much she’s been through recently, let alone in the past year? She’s doing better than I frakking would after having found out so much so quickly and been on such an emotional roller coaster.
          If your memories for now seem like you killed him, and the guy you like thinks you may have killed him (and is terrible at communicating his feelings otherwise) and your cousin has tapes that potentially point towards you killing him and a new connection to the past no matter how shady says you killed him, can you really blame her for jumping to what for now seems the logical conclusion? She may not fully believe it yet, but I would 100% be doubting myself after that much and so is she. But even despite all his she still wants to go out and find the truth no matter what, which is incredibly brave of her.

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            👆 This.

            Like, I was just happy she was trying to find to find the truth instead of turning herself in without any basis. And to me it seems like she’s even though she is trusting, she knows better than to believe both anyone’s word or her own memory as truth. I think what makes her such a remarkable character is her conviction and the fact that the truth is somewhere in this mess, and she wants to keep searching for it even if it hurts her in the end.

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            Yes! I like that she’s willing to find the truth no matter the cost, and that the show isn’t treating her as if she’s okay with this either. Twice now she’s been asked if she’s okay and she replies “no, no I’m not”; you can feel the stress and anxiety she’s under, the turmoil they’re both facing. *Reasons why I think this show is secretly brilliant but am apprehensive about its second half nonetheless haha*

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    I loved to watch it 🙂 I love such revenge drama with good ending ..like SECRET LOVE with JI SUNG OPA the best revenge drama ever 🙂 and Let Me Hear Your Song is a must watch drama too 🙂

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I finally started Rookie Historian and I think this is the most I’ve ever liked Shin Se-kyung. Her previous roles often fell flat for me as I found her to never have the same charisma or presence as her costars; but here she completely embodies her bold, sassy historian character and absolutely shines in the role.


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    Same for me too. In her other roles, it’s like she hates the drama. Maybe she just has resting bitch face or something but in the other roles she seemed annoyed to be there and her heart wasn’t in the acting. Like in The Girl Who Sees Smells…it was the cringiest romance I’ve ever seen because it looked like she really did not want to kiss the male lead and she was being forced LOL

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      I mean, to me she was always like, aggressively fine. She could do exactly what the role wanted her to do but there was never that extra spark – something that she alone could have brought to the role. Here she brings the role to life – it’s not just a character but a person . I don’t know if this is genuine improvement or just that she connected with the material better or a good director, but whatever it is, I’m enjoying it.

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    Maybe it’s her choice of drama that makes us hate the drama and by extension, hate her character? I remember hating Blade Man and Bride of Water God so much

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      I don’t know – I mean, she was also in Six Flying Dragons and Tree With Deep Roots, both generally considered some of the best historical dramas. I’ve only seen the former and she was just fine in it, but like I said above, she wasn’t bringing anything to the role, and her acting paled in comparison to those around her. The problem isn’t that she’s a terrible actress, it’s that she is a bland one – she’s serviceable in roles, but I have never understood why she is a leading lady when there are actresses who do a better job and elevate the material they are given.

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This lovely GIF was the first thing that greeted me when I opened my laptop tonight, thanks to past Snarky being too tired to save it and close the tab.

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OK y\’all, realtalk: how cute exactly is Rookie Historian? Because I need some cute and I\’m debating starting it but I\’m not super into historical dramas that get caught up in political/palace machinations, but I can overlook it if the cute is abundant.

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    I think there is enough cute with main leads, side kicks and historians.
    I am usually not into palace politics either, but so far the show has kept that to a minimum. It’s interesting enough but not overwhelming.
    Go for it!

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      It looks like it’s pretty light, but I’ve had a hard time getting into historical dramas. I do like a few: Arang and the Magistrate is a personal favorite. I also love the more straight historical dramas like Six Flying Dragons and Bridal Mask where the story centers on the politics so they’re not just background noise. But so many fusion romantic comedies seem to end up focusing on palace politics in the second half and I just can’t.

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    I decided when I started it to skip the boring politics and keep the cute, the fun and the friendships. During the first couple of weeks I had to skip quite a few moments but for the last 2 weeks I had very little to skip, because the cute, fun and friendship is the heart of the show (as well as some heart-break, but they hurt so good) and the politics has become secondary (and I much prefer that), so I recommend it!

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      So, my thing is I don’t fastforward or skip (I may pay less attention at parts though). If there are boring bits I’m OK but I don’t want to spend half the drama not paying attention for like 5 scenes of cute. But this seems to have a good cute to politics ratio, so I may give it a shot.

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    You get 50% cute leads (30% Hae-ryung and 20% Rim) 25% cute secondary characters and relationships that grow and 25% politics. A pretty good ratio if you ask me.

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      That is exactly the kind of ratio I’m looking for! I’m thinking I’ll give it a shot this weekend.

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I went to a classical music concert for the first time in years last night, and it reminded me how much I love live classical music (but also, CANNONS, because it was a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with real cannons).

It also reminded me of one of my all time favorite dramas, Nodame Cantabile and how the music was a character of its own in the drama, and served to highlight the emotions of the story and add depth to seemingly shallow storylines. I love that the drama started off with the characters playing this piece together and ended with the same, bookending the story beautifully by showing how much they have grown emotionally while still remaining true to themselves.

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    ah, you’re going to make me cry

    I get so emotional now whenever i see nodame play. I miss this drama.

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      I know what you mean – the way these two love music is incredibly moving. I love it though, it’s one of the few dramas I revisit regularly and watch through beginning to end. It’s just such a lovely story, though I’m not as crazy about some of the movies in the middle. I did like the ending though – it felt fitting and very full circle.

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        I have watched the drama when i was 11 years old, the 2 sp too probably around that time, but i kind of always thought i had watched the movies, until i decided to watch Nodame again more than 10 years later. I cried sooooo much at the end. Like you said, it felt fitting and very full circle. It made me feel like i just closed a chapter of my life ? It was probably one of my worst post-drama depression… I watched it for the first time 10 years earlier, and finished it 10 years later, not so long after deciding to stop playing cello.
        It’s not the most “objectively good” drama, but i love it so much.

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    My cousin is taking care of an elderly musician with dementia. She’s like 86 years old and plays mostly Bach or Wagner non stop. She has to remind her nicely that it’s a bed time. I was like, that’s so wonderful!!! But maybe not. It reminds me of the movie Shine about David Helfgott. Geoffrey Rush was excellent and I would love to hear good interpretation of Rachmaninoff every day, it calms my soul. I don’t like robotic austrian school of classical music but some sort of music can handle that one as well.

    I loved the manga Nodame Cantabile more than those series but you can’t listen to the music unless you prepare it yourself.

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    This is on my watchlist since forever ago. I still need to watch it! I’m a season ticket holder to our local symphony and absolutely love it. My family doesn’t get me when it comes to classical music. EVEN NOW, as my son is practicing his piano and playing a Mozart Sonata–like a robot–it’s killing me.

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      Nodame is not perfect by any means, but it does hit the right notes emotionally for me. As for how I got into classical music – it was the first music I was exposed to, literally. My mother says that when she was pregnant with me she would get home from work and her mother and mother-in-law would start nagging, so she would go lock herself in her bedroom and play classical music loudly to avoid them. Neither of us play, but one of my closest friends is a composer and pianist, and I love going to see her play.

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    Are you watching I Wanna Hear Your Song? I’m a noob about classical music but this is beautiful and the way they use it. I believe that Beanies have mentioned that the actors are convincing as musicians also. Plus the conductor is beautiful.

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      Yes! Ans I am loving it, especially the use of music. It’s the same director as the Korean remake of Nodame, which wasn’t as good but I’m still fond of. I was thinking about it while watching yesterday too.

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    As a classical musician myself, this warms my heart to hear! I play the viola and have been greatly blessed with the privilege to perform with orchestras around the world! I actually played in Seoul last summer with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States and seeing people’s faces light up because of the live music is why I do what I do. Being in a crazy rigorous and competitive music conservatory makes it easy to forget that people outside of the classical music world can enjoy music in a way that sometimes even musicians can’t enjoy it. While we’re busy analyzing and critiquing and criticizing our music, there are people around the world who can be washed over with pure joy just because it’s music. Such a good reminder! Thank you for sharing. <3

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      Oh wow, that’s wonderful. One of my best friends is a pianist and composer, so I’ve seen her perform a few times and I know it’s competitive and tough business. I hadn’t been to see a proper orchestra play classical pieces in a while but I am blessed to live in a city where there are lots of free and cheap opportunities to see great music performed. The symphony orchestra here plays a lot of shows free in summer and there’s a major summer-long classical music festival, so the opportunities are abundant. I need to take more advantage, honestly. I’m more of a rock concert goer myself, but I love music and it’s such an integral part of my life, and classical music was the first music I was exposed to; literally – my mother says that she used to lock herself in her bedroom and play the classical station really loud when she was pregnant with me and wanted to avoid her mother and mother-in-law’s nagging.

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      Oh, but sometimes it looks like the musicians are completely in love and living some work they’re performing. Do you have a favourite piece or a composer?

      I literally didn’t listen to classical music until I was like 16. There my teacher of Aesthetics was playing Bach’s Concerto for two violins and Debussy’s first electronic symphony – interpretation of whales communication and I fell in love with it and didn’t quit since. My dream is to play piano once, but wouldn’t force my kids to do it just because I love it.

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So, I’m watching My First First Love right now and one of the things I really like about this drama is how the leads never say that they don’t see one another as a man/woman like most friends-to-lovers dramas do; instead they seem to recognize and acknowledge their attraction but also realize that the relationship they have right then is more important. I like how frank Song-yi was about it when Do-hyun asked her whether she’d ever had feelings for Tae-oh, and how she didn’t skirt around the subject or brush it off, but instead was honest but also clear that she was committed to the relationship in front of her.

I also like how the relationships that Song-yi and Tae-oh are in feel real and not just like they’re killing time until they get to the other. Though Tae-oh’s girlfriend is The Worst and an evil manipulative spoiled brat and I can’t wait to see the last of her. But Do-hyun and Song-yi are adorable, and I’m curious as to how they end, because I think they have genuine feelings and if it weren’t for Tae-oh I could really root for them.

But also, these two dummies clearly love one another and I need them together ASAP.

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I binged Level Up and I like pretty much every character in this kooky little show except the second female lead who’s a f*cking psycho. Girlfriend needs to let go, she’s acting like a child.

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    Spoiler request: Is it true there is little to no romance? *gasp* Do they become friendly colleagues?

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      I’ve seen all 11 so far, and nope. It ends tomorrow.

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      I bet it’s coming. But they are not forcing it. It’s is very gradual and starts with understanding each other.

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      It definitely doesn’t focus on romance, though the male lead clearly does like the female lead. I actually really like that it isn’t a straight romance, though I wouldn’t be surprised of they push it a bit more in the last eps. But overall it’s mostly focused on the work and the male leads emotional development.

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        This is cool. I would appreciate it if they leave it a bit open ended with a hint of romance.
        I really like how they got a bit close but still be professional at work.
        They both try to understand and respect each other.

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          Same. Especially because the make lead was so emotionally constipated that it feels like it would be rushing things to have a full blown romance at this point. I also love that his emotional growth isn’t tied solely to the female lead, and it’s genuine change from within. I’m always a bit wary when it’s on the female character to make the male character a better person.

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          Thank you both! I think I’ll give it a try. Understated romance + professional at work is something that I have been craving 😊

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I am thoroughly intrigued by Let Me Hear Your Song. It reminds me a lot of I Remember You in regard to the mystery element and the way it’s woven into the story. I was also surprised at what a strong presence classical music is playing in not just the story but the soundtrack too. I love the use of classical pieces to underscore the emotions. It reminds me a lot of Nae-il’s Cantabile in that why, which makes sense since this is the same PD.

Also, I love the leads. Kim Sejeong is really endearing in this role and making the character more likable than I suspect she was on paper. I like seeing Yeon Woo-jin in this kind of role that has both dark and light elements and allows him to show his range. I also love that the whole thing is a little bonkers, but it’s not a mess – it seems to know when to switch moods and there are no breakneck changes in tone. I hope this writer knows where they’re going with the mystery and the PD can keep up the strong directional elements, because it has the makings of an interesting drama.

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    I hadn’t realized that her memory loss was so recent and for a specific time. I think that makes it much more interesting. I was not expecting it to go so creepy at the end of the the first hour.

    Also, I don’t think I’ve seen ramen cooked like that in a store on a drama before.

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    I wasn’t planning on checking this out but if you say it has the same vibes with IRY, I might watch the first few eps

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      IRY is one of my favorite dramas and I was getting those vibes from the teasers so I’m glad the actual drama has them too. It feels the same in the sense that the leads are connected by mysterious circumstances and yet it still can be lighthearted and fun. I don’t think it has quite as heightened a sense of horror vibes as IRY, but it was only the first week, so that can change. I felt by the end of ep. 2(/4) that this show is not gonna pull its punches regarding the central mystery.

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        It’s one of my faves too! I love that about IRY, there’s that mystery but it wasn’t just THAT. There’s romance but not really 😆 I’ll watch the first few eps when time allows

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          IRY was such a unique drama in the way it played with genre and had such a solid story. It was also perfectly cast in every role – Seo In-guk and Park Bo-gum as the brothers was an amazing pairing and Choi Won-young never fails to impress, whether he’s a skeevy husband, a sweet dad, or a psychotic killer. And obviously Jang Nara did her thing and was wonderful and sassy and badass. I also loved all the dummies in the precinct. And I still can’t get over them killing the adoptive mother – that really made the story feel like there were real stakes. I kind of hope that this drama can go there too and get that dark where it needs to. It’s definitely going to have romance but it doesn’t feel like the main focus.

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Damn. Jang Na-ra looks amazing here. I love her in a badass role.

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    What drama is this?

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      VIP, her new one with Lee Sang-yoon. I think it starts in October.

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        Ooh! You’ve got me intrigued. Jang Nara taking on a badass role? About time.

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          I feel like she has done a few badass roles already – Oh Sunny in Last Empress was a boss (though it took a few episodes) and her character in I Remember You is one of my personal faves. I even think her characters in One More Happy Ending and Go Back Couple were pretty badass since they both took no shit from anyone. I especially loved her character in One More Happy Ending because for all she looked materialistic and superficial she was really strong and was not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for her clients and friends.

          Jang Na-ra has a gift for making characters layered and strong and real which I love, and every performance of hers that I’ve seen seems to bring out an unexpected strength in her characters. She truly is one of the few actresses I’ll watch in almost anything because sometimes the performance seems cut and dry on paper but when she plays it, something new happens and its got a life of its own. I wasn’t sure about the premise of this drama but because of her I’ll likely at least check it out. (Though also a bit for Lee Sang-yoon and Lee Chung-ah.)

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    She looks gorgeous and fierce !

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    I saw the teaser! She looks amazingly fierce!!

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Signs I have Go Go Squid! on the brain:
I just saw the word “Gun” in my notes and wondered for a moment what Han Shangyan had to do with my case.

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    awwww!! I love this GIF!
    he is gunning us down with that look!

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      He has so much sass in him despite the cool aura he gives off. I may be a little smitten…OK, more than a little. But seriously, more smiles for this boy – he’s too cute when he’s all enchanted by our little Squid.

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        He has too many of these diva looks! I was looking him up on twitter yesterday and I LOLed at the gifs I saw!😂

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          Seriously. I found this GIF after like 1 minute of searching tumblr. When I have more time after work I will be going back for more.

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        I loved how he sauntered and almost pranced when he walked down the hotel hallway after getting Squid set up in her hotel room.
        I had to replay that a few times…

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          Same. Basically anytime he smiles warrants a rewind though. I’m not caught up (thanks for dropping a week early Veronica Mars) so now I’m relishing the cute while I wait for the angst to play out and then I’ll binge.

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          Operation make girlfriend happy success! 😂

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    Gun is solely God Gun now. He © it!

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    He is so good at grumpy face I am surprised at how mobile his expressions are.
    Still in love with his cheeks.

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      His expressions in general are great. I love how much more open he with his emotions when he’s with Xiao Mi and All, and with the K&K kids and how you see his body and expressions relax. He really nails the way this character is very closed off to those he isn’t comfortable with, which I love. Plus, his smiles are so cute. As are his sass faces. I just generally love his characterization.

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    😂😂😂 You are not alone. The last thing I did before going to sleep last night and first thing I did when I woke up was refresh Viki. Hahaha

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      Thankfully I’m a bit behind, so I’m not obsessively checking the subs. I have a lot going on this week and I’m behind on all my dramas so I’m spacing it out slowly – though I am catching up faster than I’d like. Plus I want to get through the breakup angst really fast so we’re back to the cute again.

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Y’all are the best, thank you for always being there when I’m having a rough day.

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