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Drama Hangout: Bossam: Steal the Fate

I asked myself, can Bossam: Steal the Fate make us care about a man who kidnaps widows for a living? It didn’t even take the entire episode for me to arrive at an answer. (Spoiler: Yes!)

The show’s title and central premise revolves around an old practice called bossam, where a widow would be kidnapped and married off to the person who arranged for the kidnapping. It’s not as awful as it sounds on its face though; due to taboos around widows remarrying bossam was a way to maneuver around the taboo and marry in relative peace.

In fact, the first episode opened with a voluntary bossam, with the widow bride-to-be waiting for her kidnapper to take her away. The widow (cameo by Ra Mi-ran) was “kidnapped” by a reluctant bossam-er, Jung Il-woo. Jung Il-woo is rough around the edges, but blessed with smarts and great abs fighting skills. There’s clearly more to him than meets the eye, and the references at a Tragic Past make me think that Jung Il-woo wasn’t always a lowborn ruffian.

When his right-hand man (Lee Jun-hyuk) convinces him to take on one last bossam, the promised fee is too big for Jung Il-woo to turn down, he has his family to think about after all. The kidnapping doesn’t go smoothly and things go from bad to worse when it turns out that their bossam client up and died in the middle of the night–plus the widow in question is no average widow, she’s a princess, Yuri.

There was so much action in these first two episodes: a sinister government minister, scheming and a faked death, and the start of a tragic love triangle. If Bossam manages to stay as fun and delightful during the next few weeks, it just might be the drama to break my sageuk slump.

Spoilers may be rife, so Beanie beware.

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Quick take: I'm a bit amazed at how many backstories they crammed into the first two eps. More later...

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I couldn't believed this 20-episodes sageuk had never compared to Mr. Queen, which was the same Joseon era periodical drama. Bossam: Steal the Fate had no humorous/comedic scenes at all and too much fictitious tragic stories with surprised horrible deaths unlike Mr. Queen.

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What do you mean by horrible deaths? The only death in the first two eps was faked. I definitely agree with you that Bossam is not as funny as Mr. Queen, but then again it's not sageuk fusion but more like a traditional sageuk. (And to be fair Mr. Queen also had its fair share of tragedy and death...)

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I don't see the need for comparison with "Mr Queen." Beside being set in the Joseon era there is nothing in common between the two sageuks.
It makes more sense to compare it to the "CROWNED CLOWN" since they share similar timeline and historical background.

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Mr Queen was a fusion, so that’s probably why it’s not compared to it. It’s also definitely more slapstick than this one. Unpopular opinion: I couldn’t get past the first week’s episodes of Mr Queen.

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I'm a self proclaimed sageuk geek and I couldn't get past the 1st eps either.

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I agree - I kept getting whiplash from the random slapstick scenes and ended up dropping Mr. Queen pretty quickly.

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i don't know why people automatically compare dramas with the same period setting when it's is just and the only common denominator of the show.

OK, fine. They may be referring and discussing the same stuff what-so-ever and even have the same character references but i am sure they are targeting different audience and presenting different story arcs...

It would be nice to appreciate the dramas as they are. It is the viewers' option to drop them if it happen to be not to their taste or bore them to infinity.

I have dropped a number even though they featured my biases and fave actors/actresses. I guess it boils down to the viewer's taste and drama preference...

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Mr Queen's first few weeks were slapsticky to the point of being unwatchable. I also dropped it but then ended up picking it back up (SHS and KJH are just that good).
I have no idea why you'd compare a fantasy physical comedy with a show like Bossam.

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Not all sageuks have to have humorous/comedic scenes. You can't compare Mr Queen and Bossam. Even though both were set in Joseon, Mr Queen is a fusion drama, mixing modern elements, soul swapping and mainly focuses on what happens in the palace.

Meanwhile, Bossam is more traditional, a love triangle as it's focus along with stories of the impoverished and the oppression of women.

Both are interesting in their own way and it's unfair to compare them.

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Bossam has SO much potential to be a truly memorable sageuk! If they focus on the 'impoverished" and the 'oppression of women" in the Joseon Dynasty (along with the romance ofc, its crazy how much I'm rooting for Bawoo x Sookyung even tho they only made eye contact), it could be one of the most original sageuks to date.

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Bossam manages to stay as fun and delightful during the next few weeks, it just might be the drama to break my sageuk slump.

I'm not interested this so it meant that I'm already on my sageuk slump that was started after the unexpected cancellation of Joseon Exorcist and I'm now took my first-ever indefinite sageuk hiatus.

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I like it so far! I hope it is more coherent than River Where The Moon Rises.

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I’m a little bit curious about this one... 🧐

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Join ussss @mmmmm! The OST tells me this will be a fun ride. It's quite modern-sounding.

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Toki you know I hatcheeee period dramas. But yes, something about this one is appealing I don't know what.

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I haven't started. How much tragedy is ahead of us? I need to be prepared.

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I was just about to say that if @mmmmm hates it then you will probably like it! We haven't actually seen any tragedy yet (it happened off stage and in the past). I think we can expect some tragedy if the timeline goes up to 1623... but not for the leads. I dare the writer to do anything to Jung Il-woo! *brandishes frying pan*

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I'm in the mood for a good sageuk.

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Because of your encouragement and I want to see if I can continue my opposite-complementary fate with mugyuljoie, I'll try the first ep.

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I think I'm liking the first ep so far. I'm still on the fence about this one though basically because it's a sageuk. But I LOVE the music choices! They did complement the show so well, and make the show more modernized. The music made the show lighter than most sageuks I watched.

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The only tragedy so far was a groom's early departure to the afterlife. A blessing in disguise for our female lead.
The mother in law is the real tragedy but not for long 😂.

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Is this one on Netflix or Viu? I have checked both, but they appeared to be not on those platforms?

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Are you going to try it? It's on VIKI :D

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I don’t have a VIKI account 🙁. It’s sad that it’s an extremely rare case that I want to watch a saguek.

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It's free in my region. Try this link: https://www.viki.com/tv/37788c-bossam-steal-the-fate

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I have submitted my request. I haven’t tried VIKI before. Do you mean I can watch VIKI even when I haven’t registered with the site?

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@mmmmm Viki has the first two eps free, so if nothing else you can watch the first two to help decide if it's really that rare case or not.

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Thank you @lilyleftthevalley! Is your name a play on 'lily of the valley'? ☺️

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@mmmmm It is!
1) It's my favorite flower from my childhood as my Nana always grew a patch around her Mary statue in her garden.
2) As someone that has moved many times, although I have lived in many valleys, I always seem to leave them.🤭

(We bought our forever house a few years ago near the top of one of the hills in town, so I'll likely never live in a valley again. We have a great view from our front porch swing.)

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It's great to hear that you've settled down somewhere. :) I feel like moving is fun, but being able to settle down somewhere is one very good feeling. So now you can be 'lily of a hill' :D

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I couldn't agree more about the OST, the country beats S.K.-style song definitely grabbed my attention, and I am a die-hard Jung Il-woo and sageuk drama fan. I, too, think this will be a fun ride.

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I absolutely loved Haechi, which is the last Joseon era sageuk Jung Il-woo was in (and if you love traditional historical sageuks, I highly recommend it).

Anyway, the woman singer who sings the main OST songs sounds exactly like the woman who same the theme song, and other songs IIRC, in Haechi. I loved her unusual voice and sound in those songs, and feel the same about the OST in Bossam.

I'm really enjoying this drama. I think JIW really shines in these historical type dramas. When I first discovered Kdramas in the summer of 2018, one of the very first Kdramas I watched was Return of Iljimae, which made me a lifelong fan of Jung Il-woo. The next drama of his I saw was Haechi, which aired in early 2019, as his first drama after coming back to military duty. It was much later that I saw some of his earlier romcom type dramas. Viki or Netflix got Cinderella and the Four Knights, soon after Parasite hit the theaters, and so I watched that, despite finding it pretty bland, because of JIW and Park So-dam. His other early drama, Flower Boy Ramen Shop, was an immediate drop b/c I hate noona romances, and the teacher-student thing was gross. Sweet Munchies sounded good, and I did watch all of it because I loved Lee Hak-joo's character, Tae-wan, but the drama didn't sit right with me, and I never could really like JIW's character, with all the lying he did. And I didn't care for the FL either.

So, finally, this drama is back where I most enjoy JIW, although I had to get used to his slovenly appearance, and the bulky, working class clothing, that manages to hide his very fine, muscular physique! I love the chemistry between BaWu and the Princess Hwain. I'm not that familiar with Kwon Yu-ri (she was in Kill Me, Heal Me? I have zero recollection of her in that), but she's doing a great job here.

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Surprised at the lack of attention this show is getting. Perhaps everyone is experiencing sage-fatigue? Intrigued enough to check for eng subs a couple times and plan to continue watching (although I bailed on both Mr Queen and River Moon). Bossam's storytelling is solid and acting is as well. The child actor playing ML's son is very good (and cute as a bug).

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That little kid alone makes the show worth watching. And the story has unique potential. Acting is good too.

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The lack of attention is probably due to this being an MBN drama. Only a select few MBN dramas got popular.

MBN has tried really hard to promote this drama though. Jung Il Woo and Yuri promoted it on MBN news, on an MBN variety show, on BOTH their Youtube channels (even holding a cooking competition), Cosmopolitan photoshoot, a special Bossam episode with interviews of the main 3 leads. MBN released up to 5 previews before the premiere as well as BTS. And apparently Bossam promos were seen in the middle of a shopping mall? I think they're going all out for their 10th anniversary special drama.

It's just up to Korean viewers now whether to give this drama a chance. And when they do, I hope it gets popular by word-of-mouth at least. Their hard work deserves it.

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I think MBN must be pleased with the ratings for the first 2 episodes.

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Praying that it increases this weekend! I saw some Korean viewers comment that they tried to catch up to Bossam after the finale of Vincenzo was over. Which could explain why the peak rating (4.1%) for episode 2 was during the last scene with the 3 main leads. With Vincenzo over I hope the viewers watch Bossam next lmao but then again idk the competition for this weekend.

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This will be the first sageuk I'll finish watching in 2021.

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MBN is one of the smaller paid cable channels when it comes to dramas. A total of 5 dramas per year is the most they've had.
This is their first sageuk so I'm rooting for it to do well.

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Thank you @stroopwafel for this BOSSAM ‘Hangout’ post and first off I want to congratulate you on your professionalism. You chose the high road. As one of the images for your post you could have easily chosen to include a picture of the moment Ba Woo exposed his chest and abs to the dutifully shocked and impressed Princess Soo Kyung and Lady Jo. You declined. Well done.
I will have comments on the actual drama down the line.
Let me just say this on a technical level:
Jung Il-woo, watch out! Lee Joon-hyuk (1972) is trying to steal every scene he is in with you!

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I'm slowly getting through the 1st eps and so far I find it very interesting. I'm excited!
There is something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue 😂. Till 20 eps do us part Bossam 😊.

I'm not worried about Lee Joon-hyuk stealing the spotlight from a sageuk vet like Jung II-woon. He was great in HAECHI and he is in his element here too.

Now if I could figure out when the Daedong Law was implemented then we'd have a specific timeline otherwise we'd stick with (1608–1623).

 I'm not familiar with the Chinese classics but I'm liking the 2 drunken poems. I feel intoxicated from just reading it 😆

I'm going to sober up and return later when I'm more coherent.
Thankyouforthehangouthtread@stroopwafel. Ilupjoo.

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In fact many of the lines seemed to have a poetic quality. Was it the subbing or is it in the original? I'd love to know if it is intended.

JIW's character can recite poetry and play music, as well as fight like a ruffian. Mysterious indeed.

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According to viki's subs.

Yi Dae-yeop: May I pour you a drink?
Thank you for your performance. The poem which you recited before is like Song Kang's poem offering wine.
Do you belong to the western faction?

Ba-woo: I don't belong to any political faction.

Yi Dae-yeop: If you don't, why of all poets did you pick a westerner's work? Did you know all of the Confucian scholars here are northerners?

Ba-woo: I know.

Yi Dae-yeop: Then .. why?

Ba-woo: How else do I make all of you listen to me?
Why don't you accept a cup from me too?

Yi Dae-yeop: Yes let's do that.
    Let's exchange names. I am Yi Dae-yeop who lives in Jaedong.

Ba-woo: I am Kim Chae-seok from Cheonan.

Song Kang or Songgang is the pen name of scholar/poet/politician Jeong Cheol (1536-1593).  He was one of the leaders of the seoin aka westerners. Jeong Cheol served under King Seonjo, the current king (Gwanghae's) father.  Jeong  was later exiled by King Seonjo for suggesting Gwanghae  to be the crown prince.
Ba-woo doesn't seem to support the current king so I'm reluctant to say that he could be related to Song Kang but I like how he used the poem to ridicule them. The northerners are the current king's  supporters. 

More thoughts later...

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Bawoo says "What I trust less than a pretty woman is the King" so YEP he definitely hates the King.

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@farhana

Which makes it a bit challenging to figure out who he is based on in history.
I hope he is completely fictional.

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Thank you. He's clearly educated, not just picking things up from living next door to the school.

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As always thanks @kiara.This info helps getting into Ba-woo’s mind.
(O/T and btw, when Dae-yeob mentioned Song Kang my mind immediately thought of SK from NAVILLERA. Sorry.)
I actually googled “song kang poet” but came up empty.
Maybe you or @wishfultoki can clarify something. I am kind of embarrassed to ask so early in.
Since we are talking about the scene in the gisaeng, why exactly was Ba-woo summoned there? Just to break up the fight among the scholars? Was the booze and music used only to quiet them down?
I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. He has some kind of relationship with the head of the gisaeng house. I think I should probably watch the first two episodes again.

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@jorobertson dramalover4ever,

He is definitely a nobleman who lost his status due to the conflicts between these different factions.
A common man would not have been allowed the privilege to pursue a formal education in Joseon.

I'm going to guess that he is from the dowager queen's camp (Queen In Mok aka Seo Gung) based on his ill feelings towards the current king.

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,

I'm just going to guess that Ba-woo is well respected by those townspeople and it might not be his first time breaking up a fight at the gibang between the scholars.

I think the poem, music and the booze are symbolic and it's related to the chaos amongst the scholars.
I don't understand Korean to figure out the music which might have been written by Song Kang also.
I'm currently reading up on fermented rice liquors instead lol.
Soju, Makgeolli, Takju, Cheongu–What are the differences?
https://thesoolconnection.com/soju-makgeolli-takju-cheongu-what-are-the-differences/

The king is trying to implement the preferential laws for the benefit of the common people and it's causing an uproar among the higher class because they don't want to pay taxes.
Surprise? NO.

More thoughts later....

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An additional thought about Ba-woo. His father's anniversary is on the same day as the princess's husband. I suspect that is not a coincidence but some stroke of fate that already connects them. *narrowed eyes*

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@kiara
Since he knows poetry and can play the flute I had a sudden wild thought that he might be a musician. Or the son of a scholar. I've been looking up scholars killed for treason around 1617-18 but it's a long shot without knowing exactly when our show is set.

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@wishfultoki, @marcusnyc20, @jorobertson, @yulsakura

This is fun, thank you!

So far Ba-woo is fallen noble.
-clearly educated etc.
-definitely hates the king.
-well versed in poetry and music.
-goes by fake name Kim Dae-seok from Cheonan.
.........

The type of poetry that Song Kang aka Jeong Cheol was well known for is called gasa and soji.

Gasa (poetry) - a form of poetry popular during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. Gasas were commonly sung, and were popular among yangban women
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasa_(poetry)

Sijo - Korean traditional poetic form that emerged in the Goryeo period,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sijo

I highly recommend watching "THE JINBIROK: A MEMOIR of the IMJIN WAR if you are looking for more historical references.
I'm only at eps 2 and it has been very helpful.

Kim Gae-shi is also residing one of Jeong Cheol's poems to Gwanghae's father and Jeong also sang one of his poetry.

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@kiara you've restarted my investigation of sijo and korean poetry in general. Have you seen sejongculturalsociety.org.
They have a guide to writing sijo. I've tried, but I really need to write in Korean.
I also visit Brother Anthony's/An sonjae's
anthony.sogang.ac.kr
He translates all sorts of Korean sources including poetry.

Also unrelated but I always remember the bawdy song the King sings in The Frozen Flower which I read somewhere is the earliest recorded folk songs.
https://youtu.be/lFWIgToLukY

Not the elegant poetry you are tracking down though, but earthy and v ambiguous in that context.

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@jorobertson,

Thank you for the links! I haven’t seen the guide yet but I will check it out.

I found a clip of the King’s song and the lyrics. Could it be a poem written for his queen after she died? She was the one that he loved most. The movie is fiction so the song was for Hong-rim then.

Gongmin’s era is the most interesting to me at least. He was a renounced artist and the last reformists of Goryeo.
The common people’s voice/complaints were expressed through poetry and music.
“Green Mountain” is one of the more popular folk songs from late Goryeo. Byun Yo-han sang it in SFD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ4BR9pEhtA

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I don't remember that now from SFD, but it's so beautiful.

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I thought the mantra was "show, don't tell"?

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Lol precious, is that what convinced you to watch?

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😆

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I love this show so far.
Acting, and plot/story are fantastic. Jung Il-Woo, Yuri, Shin Hyun-Soo, Lee Jun-hyuk and Kim Tae-Woo, great ensemble cast!
And yes, of course the little kid... holy cow, he is amazing.
Like other beanie says, that kid alone makes the show worth watching totally!

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The premise got my interest, and the first two episodes are better than I expected! Jung Il-woo is always great at sageuk and the other casts are great too. Yuri is doing a great job especially considering this is her first sageuk.

I wonder if the princess has / had feelings for the brother-in-law, or it's only a one-sided love from him?

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My impression was that she cares for the brother-in-law (she waited all night for him to come home), but it is not clear if her feelings are romantic or just friendly. He is definitely smitten though...

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Yes, and the aunt also mentioned him and the nanny as the two people most precious to the princess. He is so so smitten, I feel like we'll still get a solid love triangle whether her feeling is romantic or not.

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I think they both have feelings for each other.

From the trailer it looks like he (Lee Dae-yeob) was tutoring the princess at the palace and they probably developed romantic feelings for each other.
Since she is the king's daughter, the eldest brother would be the most suitable (as in higher rank) over his younger brothers so she couldn't marry Dae-yeob even if he is the one that she loves.

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I was wondering about the brother order, which may have been a sub related issue. They made it seem like the eldest brother was the one with the military position, which I thought weird because how the heck did her family manage to marry off a second son to a princess unless maybe the first was already married by the time she was of age? I mean, there's that whole thing in some shows about how it's considered a mix of honor and misfortune because a son marrying a princess meant he couldn't serve in court. 🤔

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Dae-yeob seems like a nice, likeable guy so far. I'm already on the Bawoo x Sookyung ship (they have that chemistry and his adorable son loves her!) but I'm also rooting for Dae-yeob. He has it rough. He already lost the love of his life to his brother, then his father will try to get rid of her, and she is most likely destined to fall in love with another man. Poor guy.

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did you say Jung il-woo? did you say saeguk? (did you say abs?) i am all in! liked the first 2 episodes.

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The first two episodes were soooo good! Great chemistry between the leads, great acting from all of them, the bossam premise is interesting and unique, the little boy is adorable, the cinematography is beautiful. First sageuk I'm truly excited about after Mr. Queen. Can't wait until next week!

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I am not a fan of sageuk dramas. I know a little bit of Korean history and its cultural significance to portray its history and folklore in a formula. It recently came to me that sageuks are what old westerns are to Americans. With that old western construct in mind, I watched the first two episodes. I did not get caught up in the confusion and clutter of palace politics and unclear character family ranks to just concentrate on the main characters' story. It was surprisingly good. And the child actor is really good.

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The look in Kwon Yuri's eyes as she stared at Jung Il-woo during the fight scene was the most relatable thing I've seen all week. May have mentally shouted SAME GIRL, SAME!

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Lol. I blushed at her maid's comment as well.

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Ha 🤝

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Toki, the comments Lady Jo made when they ran into Ba-woo coming down from the Temple?
Maybe I blushed a little also.
O/T maybe (already!) but because of his status, Ba-woo’s clothing really does not do much for JIW’s good looks. And is so unattractive. The clothing is so baggy and frumpy (can I use that word?) that when Ba-woo opened his shirt during the fight scene I laughed out loud and thought well that is one way for JIW to get around the costuming he is stuck with.

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On the other hand, Shin Hyun-soo as Lee Dae-yeob looks great in hanbok. SHS is tall. 6’2”.
For some reason though (for me) his clothing is not accenting his height. He made a stunning entrance into the final scene of episode 2 which I will go back and take a look at again to see if one gets a feel for how tall he is.

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Yes, I meant Lady Jo's comments LOL. She really took a good look at him, frumpy clothes and all. Scandalous 😆

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He did look pretty good in yangban clothing in the gisaeng house...

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Yes indeed. Image 1 above.

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It is a serious sageuk set in Joseon which is not my cup of tea. As rule Joseon era sageuk have too much of politics / factions vying for power and little action.
I am on fence on this show but first two episodes were quite promising.

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Thank you for setting up this place to discuss this show @stroopwafel. If I had the time I'd write mini summaries, but I don't so I'll just write my impressions of Episodes 1-2:

1) I've always liked Jung Il-woo but I've never seen him look this unkempt and dirty, but somehow he comes across as more manly! Yes, that's my number one point. 😁

2) Yuri is doing a great job at playing the princess who's been constrained all her life and is dignified and gentle but who yearns to fly free. I think we all know that she will get a chance to stretch her wings.

3) I must have watched too many sageuks because I thought the way the show glossed over the political strife and nobles' resistance against Gwanghae's reforms was perfect. It left enough unsaid to create suspense (like what happened to Ba Woo's family?). But it gave enough background without needing more explanations or court discussions. Instead, we have the story of the kidnapped princess as a wildcard, which is already causing political mayhem.

4) The drama has taken a well-known moment of history that's been portrayed before in dramas like THE CROWNED CLOWN, but dispensing with the court scenes. I personally don't mind court scenes because I like to cheer whenever the king scores against scheming ministers LOL but most viewers seem to dislike them nowadays.

5) The plight of widows is a refreshing take on Joseon society. We know women had a tough time in general, and even more so noble women whose husbands died. It's pretty telling that Ra Mi-ran's cameo was about a "willing bossam", because it paradoxically gave her more agency. Instead of being a perpetual widow at the mercy of her in-laws she could marry again and run her own household. From the looks of it the women were not abducted without their knowledge and participated willingly, which is why Ba Woo was so confused when the maid starting screaming "thieves!" as he ran out with his bundled up princess.

I will see if I can dig up some sources on widows in Joseon. For now, I'm a happy camper.

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After reading the comments, I'm all in. I'd love a hangout for each set of episodes though.

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I hope so too. I'm in for the long haul.

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Toki I'll buy you time to do a SQUEE-cap. Just put "The Long Ballad" on hold, problem solved LOL.

There is so much history behind this show but they are keeping it simple that it doesn't matter if you know anything about it or not.

1. I don't mind a Han river bath scene after a dramatic fall from the cliff of non-doom. No amnesia please.

2. I love the opening scene and her drawing. Awww she secretly hope to be bossamed.

3. I love how it went straight to the main story and the politics is kept to a minimum. Well done 👏.

4. What's a sageuk without politics. They go together like bread and butter. I'm the only idiot who enjoys it.

5. I love Ra Mi-ran's cameo because it shows that some of these widows were willing participants.
This writer did his/her homework 👍.

Here is a good article based on the Annals of King Seongjong (1469-1494).
"Prohibition Against Remarriage of Women"
http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/ps/korea/neoconfucian_reform_women.pdf

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I can't put THE LONG BALLAD on hold right now! I'm on episode 42 kyaaaa 😂😂😍

1. I'm with you. No amnesia please. I assume you didn't watch the final minutes of RIVER WHERE THE MOON RISES? Don't.
2. She's actually pretty naughty under the demure demeanor.
3. I could watch Lee Jae-Yong scheming any day. Love him since JUMONG. That pointy hat makes me dizzy though. I've always wondered about the meaning of those tiered hats.
4. Two idiots.
5. Ra Mi-ran had me ROFL with the way she asked to be carried away.

Thank you for the article. I will read it when I stop fangirling over Hao Du and run out of subs for the LONG BALLAD. 😎

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LOL I can't blame you. I watched the subs and all of the other eps without subs so I'm done.

Lee Jae-yong is one of my fave sageuk veterans. He has been fantastic in every sageuk. We understand his character even if we don't like his survival methods.
As for the pointy hat, I think it's to keep the head cool?

I dropped "Court Lady" so I have no Chinese show to watch next week. I think "Bossam" will take over my life until another good historical drama comes along.

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Man, am I late to this bossam thread, but I had to comment after you mentioned court lady. I dropped that too, lol! I'm glad Bossam was a delightful surprise. Seconding everything y'all said.

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I watched The Imperial Coroner, which was an interesting, very fast-paced drama about a young woman who is a coroner in what I imagine is a Tang Dynasty fictional period. The production is obviously low budget, and the young actors are mostly unknown, but even as rookies, they are charming and play their roles well. And they seem smart and competent, which is always refreshing. I like both the first and second leads very much. It has an overall story arc that deals with a past rebellion, and the power struggle for ultimate control between the emperors and the eunuchs. I recommend it.

I dropped The Long Ballad at episode 30. I'm sorry, but if you are going to take a role where there is romance, then do your job. I refuse to support any actors who stick no kiss clauses in their contracts, and then turn around and take romantic roles. I wasn't really expecting a romance between the two leads, as they clearly have destinies that are not compatible, and one or the other would have to pretty much give up their identity to be with the other. However, that being said, if the PD and writer are going to stick some romance in, then don't hire someone who forces you to do a fake kiss. As the (obnoxious IMO) famous Judge Judge said in the title of her book as a judge, "don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

And WTF was the director for Forever and Ever thinking when he cast no-kiss Allen Ren in a drama that is ALL about the romance? I saw the trailer, and it's a JOKE. "Kisses" that turn into hugs, fade outs, or kisses on the forehead every single time. Ridiculous.

I need a palate cleanser - can't wait to see Dilraba and Yang Yang, who has the professionalism to deliver when he's cast as a romantic lead, in their upcoming drama.

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I put Rebel Princess on hold weeks ago (at episode 45). You can do it for this!

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Well, what to do? My husband wants to watch this one too—but on the treadmill. It would have been nice to watch it with him, but guess I’ll just see it on my own! I have to finish the first couple episode ms still, but I like what I see so far!

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Yes we need all of the MY COUNTRY crew back for BOSSAM.

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Ok. Yes I’m officially hooked. I love JIW’s sad eyes. LOVE I tell you. And I’m so invested in the Princess’ relationship with his son. Omg, I cried when he petitioned his dad to not sell his “mom.”

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This is my new obsession. After two episodes our hero and his little boy are in so much danger. I hate having to wait to find out what will happen next. Will they part? If not, what will make them stay together. I'm already suffering for the budding love triangle. And how is JIW looking so good, so scruffy?

It always gets me when I realise that Jeoson was such a dangerous place for those without power. Live Up to Your Name stands out in that respect. Life is cheap. The lives of the poor people are easily dispatched.

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Just a thought.

Joseon was the definition of hermit kingdom so I think that the common people may have been content with the kind of life they knew.
Not every royal and noble lived freely like the common people so there are pros and cons to every class. It's just that dramas exaggerate a lot of the cons.

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I think we can actually draw some parallels with European history c. 1500-1800. Historians have traditionally focused on dynastic wars and politics so we get the impression that it's all about them and that common people were constantly oppressed and had no agency. But since the 1960s historians have focused more on other social groups and "popular culture". We find that life was indeed hard for those with lower social standing, but they were also less bound by certain norms and expectations. This goes for women too.

I like the way this show has taken up the idea of bossam and interpreted it as a way for women to choose a path other than that which was dictated by society. It sounds really strange and unacceptable for us to be kidnapped into marriage, but that's how they got around it.

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Toki, wasn’t Vice Premier Lee Yi-cheom ( the great sageuk veteran Lee Jae-young) sort of unaware that the practice of bossam was a fact a life? It seemed he was getting the whole thing explained to him.

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@marcusnyc20 cI don't know. It was a handy way of explaining to the audience though. It's kind of funny that the know-it-all minister did not know about the hush hush social practices around him. Maybe he hadn't considered it could affect his family before?

This reminds me. I am not sure about the status of the kind aunt (Myung Se-Bin) in the Vice Premier's home. She seems like a widow too and lives in a rather isolated part of the property. I think she will be an important character.

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@marcusnyc20 and @wishfultoki

If I remember correctly bossam was more common among the lower class and it was done in secrecy because it was illegal.
I think it was easier to get away with it among the lesser known people of society than the all high and mighty yangban.

That’s probably why the vice premier was taken aback when hearing about it.

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Thank you! I agree.

I enjoy reading the modern day historians’ reassessments of the historical records.
We wouldn’t have known about the likes of Jeong Do-Jeon who’s name was erased from the Annals by King Taejong.
Prince Gwanghae would have remained a villain even though he was a more capable ruler than his father and Injo.
I’m very curious to see what kind of Gwanghae we are going to get from this show and his relationship with Lady Kim Gae-shi who was his father’s concubine. We didn’t get to see her in THE CROWNED CLOWN.

I’m excited that this writer picked an unique topic for a change.

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A question for the sageuk sages: Has the practice of bossam been depicted in other dramas? The only one I could think about was Chuno, but in that drama the bossam was a side plot, not the main one. Both Bossam and Chuno are set in the same century, Bossam sometime between 1608 and 1623, and Chuno in 1648.

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I wanna know the answer to this question too. I'd never heard of this bossam practice before this drama but then again, I haven't watched THAT many sageuks.

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I haven't heard about it before but I have terrible memory. It was in CHUNO?

Jung Il-woo said it hasn't been often at the press conference:

“It felt fresh to take on the subject of bossam, which is a Joseon-era practice that hasn’t been done in dramas often. I also thought it would be interesting to participate in director Kwon Suk Jang’s first historical drama. I was curious about what a historical project from him would be like.”

“I did a lot of research into bossam, but there wasn’t a lot of documentation. The director and I spoke often about bossam and what it would have been like. We talked a lot about the kind of stories that could evolve from the concept of bossam.”

You can read more here: https://www.soompi.com/article/1466739wpp/jung-il-woo-and-girls-generations-yuri-talk-about-their-casting-in-bossam-steal-the-fate-and-why-they-were-drawn-to-the-drama

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MINOR CHUNO SPOILERS!

@WishfulToki, the two innkeepers in Chuno are widowed sisters, so each one secretly hopes to be abducted by General Choi. The elder one arranges for her younger sister to be kidnapped by the artist neighbor, but he kidnaps her instead, by mistake, and they get married. The whole side plot is played for comic relief, but it does shine a light on the plight of widows in Joseon.

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Thanks, I need to rewatch CHUNO! It's been a while.

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I completed my 8th (I think) Chuno rewatch a couple of months ago, and composed 2 piano pieces inspired by the drama.

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@snowflower. That's amazing! I love Chuno's OST. If you publish them on YouTube do share the links!

Actually, I play the piano so if you need somebody to play them I volunteer!

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@Snow Flower

Yes please do share with your fellow CHUNO fangirls.

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@snowflower, did you do the watch with fangirlverdict? I missed out on that, but doing the Money Flower one. And yes, please share your pieces! I also play piano as a hobby and improvised/wrote 5 pieces for the last sageuk I watched (River where the moon rises) because the BGM was lacking some real melodies in my mind! They’re on my wall. Would love to hear yours. Didn’t you write some music inspired by IOTNBO too?

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Here are my Chuno-inspired piano pieces. Written On Crumpled Paper is my attempt to depict in music the disabled wife of Commander Hwang and her sad and futile efforts to write a letter to her husband:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9anRpgE-ps

My other piece is called Sing Me...It is respectfully dedicated to Jang Hyuk and Kim Ha Eun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpHh2g7k1dI

@Ally, I did the Chuno rewatch at Fangirl's Verdict. I have written 17 piano pieces so far, all inspired by Korean dramas. 8 of them are for It's Okay To Not Be Okay.

I am very happy to meet other musicians (pianists especially) who enjoy Korean dramas!

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@snowflower. Thanks for sharing! I particularly like "Sing Me". I admire composers so much. I can play what is written on sheetmusic, but I have zero creativity to compose.

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Since you're all talking about music, would you be able to tell me if the song that plays in the middle of ep2 is a pansori inspired piece, or a traditional song, or something else?

Barring this one song, I thought the other music choices for the show were a little odd, and I wasn't expecting those for a show that hasn't marketed itself as a "fusion Sageuk" (or at least, I didn't think of it as one).

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@pickleddragon, I was wondering about the song in Episode 2 too! I am not very knowledgeable about Korean music. The vocal style did sound like pansori to me, but I could be wrong. I don't know the name of the song. I hope it will be released. I liked Love Song which was played in Episode 1, when our hero and heroine cross paths under the leafless tree.

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@pickleddragon
Do you mean the song at minute 49? I'm no expert but it sounds like pansori-inspired. The voice sounds very familiar (like from another drama OST) but I haven't been able to find an audio clip. I hope they publish it soon.

Overall I think the OST is quite modern. Maybe it's not for everyone though. The use of drums gives it a folklore feel.

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@Ally, I did listen to your tracks and subscribed to your channel! I liked how you captured 5 very distinct moods. I especially liked the tension in Silla Spy! Great job!

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I subscribed to yours just now too! I can’t really call mine “compositions” because I haven’t written them down, and they are really free associations/improvisational pieces as I play and think of what might sound all right in the next 8 bars while being inspired by the characters or story!

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@wishfultoki @snowflower Yes that's the one at the 49m mark in ep2. Sorry I should have mentioned the timestamp in my earlier message. Thank you for confirming. Is pansori used commonly in sageuk OSTs? I've only watched a couple (of fusion sageuks), and all the songs I can think of from those have been modern/ pop-pish.

And yes, the ep1 song you mention was also memorable! That didn't feel like pansori though, more jazzy.

I'm waiting for the OST of these two songs to come out! Definitely keen to know more about the music. It's been a while since an OST caught my ear. ;)

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To my untrained western music ears it reminds me strongly of the pansori group featured in an ad campaign "Feel the Rhythm of Korea". Can be found on youtube under "2D 1N Incheon" because the variety team was featured.

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@jossie4cheryl Yes! there is definitely a similar sound. Leenalchi is the group, I remember reading about them some months ago, around the time the ads were released. It's terrific if it is them, and that they are getting more mainstream attention!: https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/the-korea-blog/pansori-disco-leenalchi-new-old-korean-musical-phenomenon-2020-gets-frustrated-tourists-dancing/

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I'm no sage but I have seen a lot of sageuks and this is the first time that the practice of bossam is being explored in detail as the main theme.  

 I love CHUNO and I did learn a lot about slavery but I forgot about  that bossam part of it.
Thanks for refreshing my memory. 

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050621. 19/ Snow Flower. " Has the practice of bossam been depicted in other dramas? "
I don't recall bossam in any that I have seen, but my all time #1 favorite, You Who Came From The Stars, began with a very young, just-married widow who was nonetheless being taken to the family of her dead groom.

I also seem to recall a drama plot where the young widow, living with the in-laws, was being coerced to commit suicide, to follow her husband. This was, (in the show, not sure about history), so the family could receive some kind of honor and reward for having such an "admirable, faithful" daughter-in-law.

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@drabea, I do remember the beginning of You Who Came From The Stars. The family was basically trying to kill the young widow just to claim the virtuous widow award. I can totally understand why some widows would choose bossam: Their choices were either to remain widowed and live with their in-laws for the rest of their lives, or commit suicide. A practice like bossam would have been perceived as a welcome alternative.

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Korean Women really got the short end of the stick.. pre modern Japan and China had Female rulers, Warriors, and feminine literary/art culture. The suffocating patriarchy that made women resort to Bossam made sure Korean woman were silenced before the early 19th century.

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I guess I was over the top ranting up there lol.

Anyway, before Joseon (3 kingdoms era, Goryeo) Korean women had more freedom and they were allowed to divorce and remarry. Mishil had several husbands in (QSD) for example.
When they get married they don't have to live with their in-laws or live in the same house with the other wives.
In SFD, General Yi Seong-gye's first wife lived in the family home at Hamju while the 2nd wife lived at the capital in her own house.
When the father dies, the inheritance is divided equally between the male and female siblings.
Korea also had female rulers during the 3 kingdom eras. Silla had 3 reigning queens.

Confucianism was all over east Asia so it wasn't just the Korean women that were being  suppressed. 

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Nokdu Flower shows women being kidnapped and forced into marriages in the late 19th century, but the specific circumstances are a bit different - there it wasn't specifically about widows and was often a class-based anti-yangban move. I'm interested to see where this show will go with this topic, as it hasn't really been delved into much in other sageuks I've watched

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I was actually surprised with the “Every night...” line. I know he is rough and crude (or at least pretending to be)so it’s in character but I just didn’t expect that line/implication in K drama.

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omg yes i was thinking of this too but i didn't wanna come off like i was a prude dfjdf maybe there has been a lot of lines like that, just that I didn't notice?

and how dare he say that to the princess BUT THAT LINE GOT ME EXCITED HELP I SHIP THESE TWO SO MUCH ALREADY

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Btw. I believe it was during that exchange that Princess Soo Kyung got off a “oho” that would have made Won-deuk (D.O. 10O DAYS MY PRINCE) proud.

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She made me so proud too but no one does "O-Ho" better than D.O lol.

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All I remembered about him and that show is this ‘Oho.’

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really... i thought Bossam was going to be about pork cabbage roll ups...
: D

the pandemic is affecting my brain - everything strikes a FOOD response....

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Let’s Eat... Joseon version! Wherein our Favorite foodie obtains a magical bowl or spoon and travels through Korean history enjoying delicacy’s and leaving girl friends in his wake

First up rare bagged Princess Bossam... sweet with a hint of spice!

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😅😅😅

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My first search hits of the word are actually what you described: Some Korean pork dish. So I was like? ok? 😅 🥬 🐷 🥘

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The name of the Widownapping practice was probably taken from the food... you would have to roll the woman up in something.

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Wow. I think this is the correct take! I haven’t checked it out, but this sounds very plausible. Thank you for the explanation!

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Now, I want to eat pork-cabbage rolls.

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You know what? At least we won’t have to worry about the “delusional cheating runaway wife showing up and getting possessive” Trope in this drama! I read where is sister shows up later but not another female wife character.

Who could compete with our drop dead gorgeous Princess who his kid already absolutely adores anyway?

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Yuri and Jung Il Woo promoted Bossam by doing a cooking competition on their Youtube channels and they brought the cast of Bossam as special judges. Cha Dol may have mentioned something that could be a spoiler. He asks "Will Cha Dol meet his real mother?" And the cast was shook at his bomb comment lmao

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I suppose but like I said there is no character like that in any of the cast listing that I have seen and she doesn’t appear on the character relation chart either.

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I am thoroughly enjoying this drama. Guess what I love the most about this drama is the son Cha Dol.

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Late to this hangout, but I was really impressed with the first week. It had a more serious vibe than I predicted from the first teaser, but still had a few lighthearted moments nicely woven in, which is how I like my sageuks (basically mbc in the 2000s lol).
- First time watching Yuri act and I was quite impressed. She fits sageuk like a glove. No small feat as some acclaimed actors in contemporary works are sometimes criticized for their sageuk acting/speech.
- I've only previously seen Shin Hyun Soo in Age of Youth and I almost didn't recognize him here. He too suits sageuks unexpectedly well; the whole look is A+ on him.
- I too will never tire of watching Lee Jae Yong in sageuks, especially as the head bad guy lol.
- I loved Haechi (yes, writer Kim Yi Young is back in my good graces- it doesn't take much in these last few years of good-sageuk draught - and i hope she doesn't take too long to return with another sageuk) and I loved Jung Il Woo in it, so I hope Bossam will get the attention it deserves. #JusticeforHaechi

Also, rather unrelated to Bossam, but after someone mentioned in the premier watch thread that KBS might be bringing their daeha sageuks back, I did a naver search and they are indeed planning one. Praying for the casting, writing, and ratings (so we can get more ~serious business~ sageuks). 🙏

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#JusticeforHaechi 😂 I liked it too!

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Very good points @sparks121. Going by paragraph:
1. The first teasers emphasized the comedic from what I remember;
2. My only Yuri drama is DEFENDANT. She gave a nice performance as an attorney but maybe was overshadowed by the cat and mouse moves of Ji Sung and Um Ki-Joon. I think in BOSSAM she is giving a great performance so far;
3. I didn’t recognize Shin Hyun-soo as a Yangban in the gisaeng. I loved him in TWELVE NIGHTS (2018) where he played a contemporary dancer. That is where I became aware how tall he is. Totally agree with your impressions. He looks terrific.
I was almost going to suggest maybe this will be a breakout sageuk role for SHS ala Woo Do-hwan in MY COUNTRY when I saw that he has previous sageuk experience in RULER: MASTER OF THE MASK (2017). MASK was one of my early sageuks and off the top of my head I just don’t remember his performance. Maybe because I was distracted by Kim Myun-soo’s performance.
4. Check on Lee Jae-yong;
5. HAECHI (along with THE CROWNED CLOWN) was one of my favorite dramas of 2019. It was great. Along with JIW’s performance I thought Lee Geung-young as Minister Min was outstanding. Then there was Kwon Yul etc.
6. Being still somewhat new to the world of sageuks I googled ‘daeha sageuk’. I found this article from 2015 quite helpful in defining terms relating to sageuks. So for people like me:
https://koreanhistoricaldramas.com/introduction-to-sageuks/

The one ‘daeha sageuk’ I have attempted or started is KBS’s JEONG DO JEON (2014) with 50 episodes. I am at a holding pattern after episode 41.

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You are not late. The party just started :).

Now I totally regret not finishing "SPLENDID POLITICS." The writing was good but the acting of the veterans were dragging and it bored me to death.

HAECHI should have been aired at a later time. COWNED CLOWN was at the height of it's run and viewers were not going to jump ship.

I heard KBS is planning one for the end of the year. I was complaining on another thread about how I'm miss those long sageuks during the holidays. Can't wait!

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My only disappointment was finding out the kbs sageuk planned is yet another taejong story, lol. Hopefully with the right cast and script it'll still be fun.

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Taejong again? *sigh*

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I want more Gwanghae dramas!

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@snowflower

Same. I have a soft spot for Prince Gwanghae.

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@kiara, my dream drama is about Gwanghae's reign and life. It would be written by the writer of Nokdu Flower and directed by the director of Six Flying Dragons. Adult Gwanghae would be played by Jang Hyuk, of course.