Week Round-up: “Hello! Miss” et al…
Since last week was the week of many finales, that makes this week the (very busy) week of many premieres. Help me, I’m drowning in dramas! This week alone, we have the premieres of: Que Sera Sera, Hello! Miss, Witch Amusement, Thank You, Devil (Mawang), H.I.T… Seriously, I don’t know where I’ll get the time. I’ll make the time somehow. Maybe most of the shows will suck so I don’t have to feel bad about dropping them.
There was no new episode of Que Sera Sera today (boo for televised sporting events!), but I do have ONE related goody for you (much thanks to yeohweping and ay_link!):
(Theme) SONG OF THE DAY
W & Whale – “월광” (Moonlight, or Moonrise): Main theme song to Que Sera Sera. Can’t you just picture Eric strutting down the street to this song? He’s not at all my type, but I can’t deny he IS one sexy man. [ Download ]
“HELLO! MISS” (aka “Hello! Baby”)
I was really looking forward to the new KBS Monday-Tuesday drama Hello! Miss (헬로! 애기씨), and probably like most other people, it’s because of its star, the sparkling LEE DA HAE, who was made a household name by her star turn as effervescent Yoo Rin in My Girl. Since then, she’s been seen in numerous CFs, but this is her first drama in just over a year and everyone’s curious to see her back on television.
It’s also because of Lee Da Hae that I think expectations are high for this drama. I was mildly disappointed by the first hour, but the second more than made up for it.
(By the way, this drama is being subbed in English by WITH S2 — go team! I’m not going to be recapping Hello! Miss, as ripgal is doing a lovely job over at soompi. And I’ve got my hands full…)
You know, I’ve been seeing a lot of comparisons between Hello! Miss and Witch Amusement, which is a bit odd because they aren’t ratings competitors. They’re also on different stations (KBS and SBS), and don’t share the same writer or director, which are usually the instances when the “A is better than B!” and “No way, B is totally way more bester!” arguments tend to come into play. Maybe the comparison is to be expected; both are bright, fun romantic comedies. Also, perhaps both are contenders to be the next big My Girl-like offering — which Lee Da Hae starred in and Witch Amusement‘s director directed.
In any case, I’d rather people not compare the two, since somehow, fans seem to put down the other series when praising their favorite. I like both, and I don’t want to put down either one.
Anyway. A note on the title — it can be read as Hello! Miss or Hello! Baby. The Korean title reads “hello aegisshi” — “aegisshi” is the southern pronunciation for the word “agasshi,” which means “young miss.” Agasshi is a generic term that can be used on any young female, like ajusshi is for men. In this case, though, Su Ha is referred to as Aegisshi as a respectful title, akin to “young mistress” as she is the owner of her historical home, Hwa Ahn Dang. Her loyal family and neighbors refer to her as Aegisshi while other young ladies are simply agasshi.
Also, the word “aegi” means baby and “sshi” is the suffix attached to names to make it Mr. or Ms. (so therefore, “Ms. Baby”). Normally, I wouldn’t think the wordplay is significant enough to comment on, but the KBS official website uses the URL with “hellobaby,” which indicates the pun is intentional.
Like I said, Lee Da Hae is the big draw, and she’s adorable in this (not to mention a beautiful, and realistic, cryer). She’s much more na�ve and childlike than Yoo Rin was in My Girl, so I don’t buy the argument that she’s replaying the same character. Su Ha is delightfully incongruous with her surroundings, and that makes her endearing. It also definitely evokes the protective gene in her leading man, LEE JI HOON. Normally, on a purely superficial level, I wouldn’t be drawn to Lee Ji Hoon… He isn’t my idea of traditionally handsome, and I can think of better-looking actors out there. But, I am totally in love with him in this series. Usually I look at the leading males with a detached eye of appreciation as eye candy, and I root for their characters to get the girl, but with Lee Ji Hoon’s character Dong Kyu, it is LOVE.
For instance, Su Ha, being the sheltered country girl that she is, calls cell phones “hand telephones” (sohn jeonhwa), and instead of laughing or making her feel bad, Dong Kyu adapts and calls them sohn jeonhwas as well. He even buys her one, and how does he program his “name” into her phone? “Please Sell Your House”! (Since he’s trying to convince Su Ha to sell to him.)
Another moment of cuteness to look forward to: In previews for Episode 3, Su Ha becomes annoyed with Dong Kyu (동규) and nicknames him “Ddong Kyu” (똥규), where “ddong” means poop. In a clip where she talks to a dog, she decides to name him Ddong Kyu as well, which is both immature and adorable. (Because! She has a dog named after him! Even if it’s meant to be an insult!)
As for the second leads, HA SEOK JIN is very good-looking and plays his conceited model role with enough humor to make him funny rather than annoying. I wish I could say the same for YEON MI JOO, though, playing the “natural-looking (but not natural) beauty” Hwa Ran. Formerly a fashion model, Yeon Mi Joo made her acting debut in last fall’s SBS drama Lovers, playing a supporting role as the conniving assistant/secretary Yoon. Neither role (in Lovers or Hello! Miss) is very demanding, and she’s not necessarily bad… she’s just got no range. She’s like a robot stuck in its “bland and snooty” setting. And her English is embarrassing.
Su Ha’s friend Jeong Sook is pretty much a caricature, and I hope they dial her back a bit, because she can be really amusing. I just think it’s funny to make her someone who’s so clueless she’s racked up $30,000 in debt in pyramid schemes.
I also like the fact that for once, they’re not beating around the bush and have the lead guy already falling for the girl as early as the first episode. And the way Lee Ji Hoon plays Dong Kyu, I totally buy it, and wish him success! He’s so sweet and caring, and funny at the same time. As much as I’m a sucker for the typical ice-man-thawed-by-warm-hearted-girl story line (My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, My Girl, Full House), this is a refreshing change.
Official KBS site: http://www.kbs.co.kr/drama/hellobaby/index.html
It’ll be interesting to see how this will continue to fare against its time-slot competitor:
“H.I.T.” (Homicide Investigation Team)
MBC’s (also new) drama H.I.T. stars an actress I greatly admire, GO HYUN JUNG, made famous by seminal 1990s drama Sandglass (Moraeshigye), which still ranks as one of the most-watched kdramas of all time. She retired after getting married, went through a messy and unfortunate divorce, then came back strong last year in the funny, often-risque comedy-drama What’s Up Fox? But H.I.T. (Homicide Investigation Team) seems to be following the American trend for procedural crime dramas (I hear shows like CSI are gaining popularity in Korea these days), so perhaps it won’t compete for the same viewership as Hello! Miss‘s romantic-comedy stylings.
H.I.T. is performing very strongly in the ratings, perhaps appealing to those who are tired of the romantic dramas and find a well-produced, fast-paced police drama more to their liking. I had a favorable impression of the first episode, but I had a vague feeling of its derivativeness. Part of the reason I enjoy kdramas so much is because they’re so different and fresh, and provide a welcome new perspective from American television. H.I.T. is no doubt well-produced, but it almost has a very borrowed feel, rather than a homegrown Korean sensibility. (In contrast, Que Sera Sera feels both fresh and distinctively modern and Korean.) In the Korean television landscape, H.I.T. may be something new and exciting, but I’m not as easily hooked.
Official MBC site: http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/drama/hit/index.html
“DEVIL” aka “Mawang”
To be honest, I was really hoping Devil would suck… Not because I wanted it to fail, but because I cannot possibly add another drama to my slate. But I was met with a feeling of dread when I realized this show is good. Really good. Ack!
Another cast of up-and-comers, with JOO JI HOON coming off last year’s Goong, SHIN MIN AH from A Love To Kill in which she co-starred with Rain, and UHM TAE WOONG, younger brother to pop queen Uhm Jung Hwa and coming off an incredible run from his role in Resurrection (aka Rebirth), which garnered him wide praise. (Of course, to me, he will always be the handsome but possessive Ajusshi from Delightful Girl Choon Hyang.)
I may have to catch up with Devil later, after the other shows finish, but it’s definitely one worth watching. Unfortunately, it seems the three-way ratings battle between this, Witch Amusement and Thank You may relegate Devil to the backseat as the two simpler (in concept) relationship dramas go head-to-head. It’s hard for three good shows to gain equal traction in such a competitive Wednesday-Thursday timeslot; we can look at their direct predecessors as an example — Surgeon Bong Dalhee and Dal Ja’s Spring (both popular with single 20- and 30-something women) pulled ahead and left Goong S in the dust.
I hope Devil hangs in there, because the thriller is beautifully shot and photographed — amazing camera work and art direction; you usually see this kind of quality in films, not in television — and the concept is engrossing. Tarot cards, serial killers, and paranormal abilities? Come on! And unlike H.I.T., which is stylized in a very glossy, slick way, there’s a grittiness and earthy vibe to Devil that I really like.
Official KBS site: http://www.kbs.co.kr/drama/devil/
I’d intended to watch Thank You so I could add my thoughts to this post, but couldn’t spend enough time with the first two eps to have a valid opinion on it. I’ll only say that I was originally turned away from this drama because when you hear “cute child” and “AIDS” in the story description, there are certain things that must come with the territory, and I’m not quite masochistic enough to inflict that kind of pain on myself voluntarily.
However, by all accounts, the series has started off light-hearted and fun (see, they’re going to hook you in early… and then bring the PAIN!!). This will be actor JANG HYUK‘s first project back after his two-year enrollment in the army, and he co-stars with GONG HYO JIN and the child actress SEO SHIN AE, who will in short order win over your heart, then rip it right out. (Did I mention? Child! AIDS!)
But the show has started off with good ratings, and looks to continue in that vein. Well, you’ve been forewarned!
Official MBC site: http://ww.imbc.com/broad/tv/drama/thankyou/index.html