Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
So, what are we all watching this week?
What kept you reaching for more (or agonizing when there was no more), and what made you want to throw your remote through the screen? Time to weigh in…
Currently recapping: When the Devil Calls Your Name, Arthdal Chronicles
A Moment at Eighteen: This drama, and these kids, are killing me. I love high school dramas because for me, high school was a wonderful time when I had tons of friends, was physically healthy and involved in a lot of activities, and my whole life was ahead of me. The students remind me so much of myself, with all my hopes and dreams and insecurities, and I even had a teacher very much like Mr. Oh who could always be counted on for unwavering support or a kick in the pants, whichever was needed most. But the teenage years are also drama-filled and fraught with anxiety, especially when it comes to that first love nearly all of us experience during that time, and A Moment at Eighteen captures these feelings so well. I still haven’t seen this week’s episodes, but I’m looking forward to seeing how Joon-woo and Soo-bin navigate their very new, very tender relationship, especially in light of the other challenges they’re dealing with.
Thirty But Seventeen: I’ve had a little more time on my hands than usual this past month, so I finally had a chance to pick up Thirty But Seventeen, which I’ve been meaning to watch for a solid year. It’s well worth the wait! I have a couple of episodes left, but I was utterly charmed from the first episode by the characters and their strong, loving bonds with each other. Shin Hye-sun and Yang Se-jong are perfect as Seo-ri and Woo-jin, who were both frozen emotionally for thirteen years by the same traumatic event, yet they somehow managed to find each other after all those years and fall in love. Ahn Hyo-seop as Chan has a similar maturation arc, personified by his rescued chick, which is probably one of the cutest relationships I’ve ever seen in Dramaland. And Ye Ji-won is perfectly cast as Jennifer, the housekeeper with her own past to evercome. At the point where I am, everyone still has their traumas to face and conquer, but they have become such a fiercely loyal and loving family that I have no doubt everything will turn out okay in the end.
Currently recapping: Rookie Historian Gu Hae-ryung
Hell Is Other People: I caught the first episode with my sister and didn’t have time to watch the next because the scenes are so richly detailed, we have to pause every couple of minutes to point things out to each other. “OMG there’s a hole in the wall, I bet that’s a peephole.” “LOOK AT THE FLOOR! THERE’S A DOZEN USED DUCT TAPE CORES IN THE LANDING!” Terrifying cues aside, we were also genuinely laughing at the tiny details that remind us of our college bedspacing days like the patched up electric fan, overly chatty landlady, and awkward shared meals with more senior residents who intimidate you. I find it interesting that so far, at least from Jong-woo’s point of view, the rest of the residents are just weird. The most offensive person is the loud, obnoxious guy who bosses him around. In a normal dormitory drama, that’s the “villain” you have to deal with, but in this show, he’s an angel compared to the rest of the people in Eden’s Studio a.k.a. hell. That’s probably one of the scariest scenes to me, when the camera panned from Jong-woo sleeping in his room to Nam-bok muttering in the hallway to the Big Guy holding vigil inside his own room with a knife and a packed suitcase. If a strong guy like him is scared of Eden’s Studio, then what kind of forkery is happening in there?!
Be Melodramatic: Eun-jung… *drops to floor and sobs* Hers is definitely the hardest pain to get through. The fact that she seems the strongest person on the outside just makes the healing more difficult, because of course it’s harder to cure something you can’t see. And apart from the fact that she talks to her imaginary husband, she’s not prone to ranting, wallowing, crying, or getting drunk–things that scream “I NEED HELP” in normal adult friendships. She just… keeps functioning until she can’t. Which isn’t healthy! I’m thankful that she’s continually exposed to a person like So-min and I’m thankful for So-min’s simplemindedness. And I mean that in the most positive way possible. There’s a childlike quality to So-min that makes you drop your guard. The same way we keep answering children’s (normally considered) rude or very personal questions. There’s just nothing offensive about them. And if you’ve ever been around kids, you know they have a tendency to ask simple questions that cut through the bullshit and make you stop and reevaluate life. Which is exactly what’s happening to Eun-jung. It’s painful, but girl, we need to sanitize those wounds first and it’s going to heal and it may scar, but we promise life will be better than it is now. (Right, Show?)
Love Alarm: I am pissed that the one episode I got to watch this week is full of Gul-mi and her annoying rumor-mongering. Maybe I just don’t remember my high school days, but has anyone ever seen the “Hey, I’m ruining your girlfriend’s life and I’m a horrible person, so maybe fall in love with me instead” tactic work in real life? EVER? So why do some dramas waste a whole episode on it? I don’t know if there’s supposed to be something else to Gul-mi’s character or if it’s a failure of the writing or acting, but even with the idol trainee sobstory, she isn’t giving me conflicted feelings whatsoever. Unlike Jojo or Jang-go or even Jojo’s aunt–characters I sometimes feel bad for and want to change for the better. I wish we took some of Gul-mi’s screentime away this episode and focused more on Jojo’s reaction to being given “handouts” by Sun-oh instead. I love her conclusion to accept his kindness and see it not as buying her affection, but as a thing that someone who loves you wants to do for you. It’s a recycled conflict in the poor-girl-meets-rich-guy trope in dramaland, but Jojo’s reaction was surprisingly mature and I wish the show spent more time on it because it’s a healthy reaction that we need to be reminded of.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 31, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 24, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 17, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 10, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (August 3, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 27, 2019)