[Staff Spotlight] Get to know Saya
Explain your username (and/or avatar).
I picked this name years ago, when I felt Rather Serious and enjoyed its double meaning—“shadow” in one language, “swift arrow” in another. If you know Fruits Basket, you might recognize my avatar—it’s Shigure! At his happiest… which also probably means his perviest, ha. Though I don’t consider myself a perv, I do pretty much always look like an overexcited happy idiot.
What is the first drama that you watched (or the first drama that made an impression)?
You’re Beautiful, and I can’t even explain how much it was like coming home—like I’d lived all my life looking for that one show. I was surprised to find out recently that my sisters (who initiated me) had colluded to withhold it from me on purpose, “to save you from yourself.” I hate it when they’re right.
Name a job or two that you’ve had in the past.
I have a patchwork career of making kids cry, brutalizing other people’s writing, and forcing books on people whether they want it or not. And by now—because there’s no such thing as “doing too much” and sleep is overrated—there may be a podcast floating about, so if you come across it, I’ll be in the corner, crying with embarrassment.
Have you ever lived a moment that you thought belonged in a drama?
Haven’t we all? But none of the fun parts for me, sadly. Although someone did once tell me, “Take care of your health.”
What’s your favorite drama you recapped?
I want to make this a six-way tie, but if you force me to pick just one, then… Sassy Go Go. Recapping is a many-splendored joy/torture, and while it’s enough when a show itself is rewarding, when the fandom runs with it, it takes everything to a whole new level of omgyes.
What drama genres do you especially like?
I especially hate that you’re making me choose! Though I’m hungry for all the thrills right now, my taste runs quite broad. I love a good action thriller or revenge melo, fantasy dramas, youth dramas, romance, sageuk of every flavor… I’m really in the never-ending pursuit of the “full meal,” which is all about a story well told, regardless of genre. I need a show to have a gripping emotional core (feels are everything to me), driven by reasonable internal logic. My appetites shift from genre to genre, but it’s always the more basic elements that keep me watching: subversive plots, complex characters, heartfelt relationships—and a willingness to linger just a little (but not too long!) over the moments.
What drama genres do you especially dislike?
As a wimp and a lightweight, I assiduously avoid sobfests, undue violence, and anything that smells of horror. So imagine me, with my love of thrillers, pitifully trying to watch Ghost-seeing Detective Cheo-yong. (I tried, I tried so hard!)
Is there a drama character you’ve ever strongly identified with, and why?
The person who comes immediately to mind is Dal-ja of Dal-ja’s Spring. I have a weakness for unlikely heroines who hold their own: Dal-ja is uncertain, wry, self-reflecting, and just a touch insecure, but she learns not only to trust others and their feelings for her, but to trust herself. I half-relate to her, and half-aspire to her coolness: Dal-ja is definitively her own woman.
What drama character would you want to be?
Anything written for Kim Seul-gi. She has the BEST characters—scene-stealing and lolarious, all without the burden of being the lead. Also Lee Bo-young’s character in I Hear Your Voice, because that there is a woman who gives. No. Damns. The best kind of badass.
What was your major in school?
Biomedical Science, followed by Psychology/Psychology of Education. Super-dull stuff. (I lie: I loved school. I’m an unapologetic nerd and keep going back to dabble, though the idea of ever having to sit an exam again fills me with horror.)
What’s a random skill you have?
I’m a pretty decent teacher, and I know a few languages to varying degrees of proficiency. It’s kind of cool when you realize that you’re the reason someone can read a complicated foreign script.
Favorite non-Korean movie and/or TV show?
This is a tough one to narrow down when I have so many favorites. If I could only pick one, then it has to be the iconic Mysterious Cities of Gold, a Japanese-French collaboration (…dubbed into English by Canadians) from animation’s golden era. This show is my entire childhood, but even rewatching it as an adult, I find it intelligent, rich with humor and heart, and, at times, devastating.
Which Hallyu celebrity would you actually want to meet and spend an hour with?
Park Bo-gum. And then I would kidnap him and take him home to my mom, because a puppy in the home is worth six on the screen.
Which of the 7 deadly sins would be your undoing? (Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, or sloth.)
Oh, definitely sloth. While the upside of being an obsessive perfectionist is that you care about doing a good job, the downside is that you might just take forever doing it. We can probably throw in a little gluttony there, too, since all that obsessing makes you hungry… and I just discovered that I’m a hangry type—being hungry makes me snippy. Which I guess means that wrath takes third place?
Your favorite drama has an unholy alliance with your most hated drama and produces a mutant baby drama. Describe the plot.
Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim pioneers the first-ever personality transplant on one of his own doctors, Dr. Yoo Yeon-seok. Hearing of it, Dr. Lee Jong-seok seeks him out to perform the procedure on his girlfriend to save her from being blank and glassy forever. Teacher Kim tells him that this ain’t Pinocchio, and if he thinks he can turn a plank of wood into a real girl, he needs to go back to school. While Dr. Kang So-ra gets warm and cozy with the new and improved Dr. Yoo Yeon-seok, Teacher Kim offers to hook Dr. Lee Jong-seok up with newly single hoobae Dr. Park Shin-hye—they can go out for drinks and toast to new beginnings. “I do like toast,” agrees Dr. Lee Jong-seok.
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