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King the Land: Episodes 1-2

The highly anticipated summer rom-com, Junho in Suits King the Land, is finally here! It’s got blockbuster stunts, the oldest of old school tropes, and enough marshmallowy fluff to stuff a sandwich. In short, it’s the rom-com 2023 has been looking for. But who am I kidding? This enemies-to-lovers tale reeled most of us in with a foxy face – and I promise there’s also enough tie straightening and wristwatch action to make it worth your while.

 
EPISODES 1-2

Yoon-ah in King the Land: Episodes 1-2

Well, it’s finally happened. The drama fates have aligned and given me the matchup I’ve been waiting years for: Junho is the male lead — and I get to cover the drama. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got the flirty dance pair from MBC’s Music Festival uniting on screen as our OTP. Our premiere week delivers everything it teased: light fare, feel-good fun, and Junho in designer duds with a pretty ‘do. And you know, that’s really all I want from it.

Our story opens in 2015 at the King Hotel. Our leading lady, CHUN SA-RANG (Yoon-ah) is interviewing for a temporary position, where she’ll get to clean butt sweat off the workout machines in the hotel gym. She’s poised and bubbly, with a can-do attitude and a relentless smile — even when the heel snaps off her shoe on the way in the door and she has to pop it into her pocket.

Junho in King the Land: Episodes 1-2

At the same hotel, but operating in another universe, our hero, GU WON (Junho), is parachuting to work. He jumps out of a plane and lands on the hotel’s roof with immaculate precision. The camera catches our lead at all angles, zeroing in on his coolness, as he drops his gear, straitens his suit, and walks along confidently — until, the phone call: he’s actually on the wrong building. Lol.

The introduction to our leads tells us everything we need to know about the drama’s humor. Our characters are flawed — and we’re meant to laugh at them. Whether it’s physical fumbles or over-confident flubs, these idols are here to entertain.

Junho  and Ahn Se-ha in King the Land: Episodes 1-2

In our first setup situation, we learn that Won is the heir to the King Hotel and his father has sent him to learn the ropes from the bottom up. We see him join a lineup of new interns in one of the hotel’s bureaucratic departments. No one knows who he is and he’s clueless and pouty as he searches the internet for how to use a copy machine.

But before we can write him off as just some chaebol dolt, we see him defend his fellow intern, NOH SANG-SHIK (Ahn Se-ha) when Sang-shik is blamed for a mistake that’s really their manager’s fault. It turns out that Won is a moral guy with a firm sense of justice who has no problem speaking up on others’ behalf. So when his backtalk gets him fired on the first day, he walks out — and takes his pitiful co-worker with him, offering him a full-time job as his righthand man. The spirit of the underdog is strong in this one, and I knew I’d love this drama as soon as I saw this scene.

Won’s life is not all rosy, though. Our first (and, so far, only) antagonist is his half-sister, GU HWA-RAN (Kim Sun-young). Won has been living in the U.K. and his noona would love to send him right back there. She already occupies a high position at the hotel and plans to take over someday. In her mind, Won is her competition – a truth their father solidifies by saying that either sibling could be his successor. And so, our central conflict is as tried and true as they come, even if Won doesn’t actually give a hoot about taking over the hotel.

Hwa-ran hands Won a room key and tells him to stay at the hotel rather than at the family home, which gives us the perfect setup for Won and Sa-rang to have their first encounter. Sa-rang is over the moon, having landed the hotel job, where she gets to put up with metaphorical crap from guests all day and then clean up their literal crap later.

Junho and Yoon-ah in King the Land: Episodes 1-2

On one occasion, she’s sexually harassed by a guest in the gym and we get to see our heroine’s gumption when she marches over to him and speeds up his treadmill until he tumbles off it and onto the floor. Except, there’s been a mixup. She spotted her target because of his t-shirt — but Won happens to be wearing the same one, and it’s our hero who’s toppled onto the floor instead.

After this brief meeting, our leads don’t cross paths again for another seven years. In the equivalent of a calendar flip, we breeze across time, witnessing snippets of Sa-rang and Won from 2016 through 2022. Sa-rang’s temp gig has become a permanent promotion to the lobby, where she’s the smiling face of the company. It was always her dream to be a King Hotel concierge and now she’s living out her fantasy, even earning the “best talent” award.

During this time, Won returns to London, completes an MBA, and lives an altogether Bruce Wayne lifestyle in a massive estate with a single butler. Sang-shik accompanies him abroad and becomes “Secreatary Noh” and the two develop a close friendship and brotherly banter. One day, Won decides to return to Korea after receiving a letter from an unknown sender. It seems there’s a mystery surrounding his mother, whom he’s never met, and he goes back to claim his place at the hotel and dig into the past – because it just wouldn’t be a proper tropefest without our hero’s childhood trauma acting up.

The next time our leads meet it’s in another horribly cringey scene, where Sa-rang is sent to Won’s room to grab his phone while he’s not there. She’s got a serious stomachache and can’t help but to use the toilet before she leaves. But (of course) Won returns and sees her through the transparent walls of his bathroom. He spins around, turning his back on her, as she yells, “Don’t look!” He responds, “I wouldn’t even if you asked me too!” And it’s this kind of baseline humor that drives the drama, and only works because it’s delivered by these leads.

To make matters worse, Won remembers Sa-rang from the incident on the treadmill all those years ago and demands an apology for both then and now. Sa-rang still thinks he’s the pervert who harassed her and refuses to apologize. Luckily, it’s not long before all this gets sorted and she realizes it wasn’t him, but the interactions serve to get these two all riled up and disliking each other – and also permit Junho some sultry stares that are meant to show contempt but somehow come off as seductive.

In one such angry interplay, we learn that Won hates fake smiles (also due to mama trauma, I think) and he tells Sa-rang not to smile around him — even though it’s company policy to be bright and cheery all the time. This actually gives Sa-rang a break because she’s tired of having to be inauthentic around him. She’s been smiling through gritted teeth, and now she doesn’t have to.

And this is where the drama really shines. It has the typical things we might expect about a rich, educated guy colliding with a woman who doesn’t have a four-year degree, but it also digs a little deeper. Sa-rang has two best friends, that are also her housemates, and all three women work in the service industry with catty co-workers, egotistical bosses, and sucky customers. One, KANG DA-EUL (Kim Ga-eun), works in a duty-free shop, while the other, OH PYUNG-HWA (Go Won-hee), is a flight attendant. They vow to treat their employees better than they were treated when they move into higher positions, and there’s an undercurrent here about changing work standards and getting rid of outdated traditions.

The best part is that our hero is at the center of this move toward change. In another gratifying underdog scene, a famous actress staying at the hotel asks Sa-rang for a free upgrade to a suite. Sa-rang tells her it’s against their policy and the actress starts yelling in the lobby, demanding the room but refusing to pay extra. Won intervenes and Sa-rang is surprised when he tells her to call security and kick out “the nation’s mom.” Won doesn’t care who she is — she’s rude. Junho’s demeanor is everything here and I feel so satisfied every time he puts his hand in this entitled person’s face.

Junho in King the Land: Episodes 1-2

Our premiere week ends with Won and Sa-rang flying off to Jeju together to shoot a promo video for the hotel. It’s a live event and Won’s father reminds him that stock values are riding on the broadcast’s success. But, up to her villainous antics already, Hwa-ran switches Won’s interview questions minutes before the shoot, intending to sabotage him.

The more salient point about the trip to Jeju is that when Won sees Sa-rang strut into the airport, out of uniform and full of confidence, he already looks like a goner. She’s oblivious to his stare, but later, she has a moment of reciprocal awe when Won arrives for the broadcast with a strut of his own. And, with just two episodes down, the seeds of like have been planted.

Junho and Yoon-ah in King the Land: Episodes 1-2 Junho and Yoon-ah in King the Land: Episodes 1-2

I don’t know about you, but I can’t turn away. We were promised big budget summer fun and that’s what we got. But, I’m happy to report, it’s not exactly how it seemed in the trailers during all that endless promotion. I had the idea that Won would be a regular entitled jerk like all our drama heroes of yesteryear — only melting down once he affixed on the warm eyes of the leading lady. What we saw this week is that Won is a principled guy who uses his privilege to stand up for people who have less of a voice than he does. And his tiffs with Sa-rang mostly began because she accused him of doing something he didn’t do. This could go astray pretty quickly, but I’m hopeful we’ll get to keep our highly likable male lead just the way he is.

Apart from that nice surprise, we’re tripping over tropes in this drama and I can just feel a childhood connection at that hotel somewhere in our leads’ pasts. So far, the beats are visible from a mile away and the jokes feel pretty canned — and yet, it’s funny. Both Junho and Yoon-ah seem on the verge of laughter at any second, like they’re trying not to break character, and I can’t help but smile because they seem like they’re having so much fun. We could talk all day about acting abilities or script strength, but I’d rather just buckle in and enjoy the ride on this one — it’s an easy watch that’s also very easy to look at.

 
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The first two episodes were a disappointment to me. I didn't feel much for the leads or them together. The set up is also kinda snooze. The treatment would have made all the difference, but I don't see anything special about this. Having said that, I will still watch the next 2 episodes to see if the 'com' in the 'rom' is upped.
Right now, I don't really care for the side characters. The sister is the only one I am curious about. She is calmly menacing.

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Same here, but in my case, I dropped mid ep 1. Not enough time. Will probably binge watch this later as other beanies said.

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I was just like you after episode 1, but episode 2 sold the drama for me. Nothing boring, I laughed and enjoyed it. Felt so relieved... please give episode 2 a chance!

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Ep 2 is certainly better than Ep 1 - but it’s still rather lackluster. Their all-of-a-sudden infatuation in Jeju is the case in point. But I will continue to watch and admire Jun Ho’s prettiness.

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I'm sorry, I start on the basis that not being infatuated by Junho is simply impossible!!

(don't mind me, I'm just a devoted Hottest, hahaha)

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Our main lead seems perfect each other. They are gorgeous to look at :) I was disappointed by side stories . Her friend's doesn't seem enough to care for me. Hopefully It will improve at next episodes :) What kind of castle he was living in UK all by himself ??? :)

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lol yeah. That castle with a solo butler!! They could have just shown in live in the city or something enjoying his single life.
This was just so extra..

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There was not a solo butler, there were two maids waiting for him at the door!

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pfffft!! details!
Actually for a moment I thought it was a B&B since they said they will bring the refreshments to the room.

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It was to stress the comment he made to his sister that he was also "loaded." I guess the super rich need the status of owning an entire county to themselves.

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Ah yes the castle, that was way too much. A nice town house in London would have been a better choice. Castles like that… I don’t think a random chaebol heir could afford it.

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It was okay, not bad but not great either

I like Junho, so ill stick around till the end (unless it becomes really bad which i doubt)

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So far Junho has been cold, stiff and nearly expressionless. An emotional vacuum. I expect some witty banter from him otherwise it will be a one-sided yawn.

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The first two episodes were boring. I think there were parts that were trying to be funny but didn't quite hit the mark. Yoona is actually fine, but there isn't a difference between her fake smile and her real smile. I have already ranted on my fan wall about the lack of romantic organic chemistry. They literally manufactured it with her walking in the airport, even though she looks the exact same, just her hair down. The did the same for him walking to the interview, even though he looked the exact same with his hair up. I don't understand. I am really hoping this picks up for Junho's sake. Otherwise this drama is committing the one sin that should never exist for a drama, and that is being boring.

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I found episode 2 not boring, but entertaining. Episode 1 was actually pretty boring.
I can only agree with you about falling in love just by the looks, but I want to believe that the sincere apology of Sarang made Won change a bit, and the look in Won's eyes when he asked her to stop smiling, also made Sarang look more into him.
But also, you know I'm obviously biased (different kind of biases, though... you also know that!) and I have to agree the supposedly falling for each other is too soon.
But... who am I to blame any human being for falling for that man with that body, that voice and those suits? Who am I?????

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Lol, listen I 100% get falling for him in the suit, but why wait after the 5th time she has seen him in a suit, just do it the first time. My first comment about the drama was about him I'm the suit, so I noticed, she sees him in person, how could she not.

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Stupid dramarules…

Maybe she falls not for suits but for more informal clothes.

Just in case anyone has any doubts, I just fall for him. Period 🤣🤣🤣

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Personally I think his suits are extremely boring (if you go for formal, choose double breasted please), I vastly prefer that last sports jacket his assistant wore. Of course the looks of both guys are … different :)

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I thought the same. I've seen more dashing men in suit. I think Junho looks better in casual outfits.

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Just inserting my two cents to say I love seeing the double breasted suits, crisp shirts, elegant ties AND the watch. It's a costume trope I NEVER tire of. Maybe because we don't get to see it that much these days when casual clothes rule... all day.

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After the first two episodes, it is obvious that this is certainly not an artistic masterpiece, but I was well entertained and had fun. So just what I need on a Sunday evening to prepare for the new working week. Light entertainment with great looking actors (Junho in suits is to die for) and a plot that doesn't require much thinking.

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The first episode was slow and uneven - the beats need to come faster from now on. There’s too much lingering on every starry-eyed moment and too much time spent setting up quick laughs; for example, there’s no need for three nightclub scenes, although the way the first two set up the kiddie club is mildly funny. Yoona’s phony smile is almost but not quite as irritating as expected, but at least the drama has the self-awareness to poke fun at it, which redeems it a little. Junho’s character has a weird split personality, played broadly for laughs in the intern and hotel scenes and then all melo-serious in the family-feud bits both before and after the time lapse. The prolonged, worshipful treatment of his chaebol strut is so over-the-top it becomes boring instead of funny or swoony (although the focus on his hands is no problem at all, none). Overall, so far, it’s King the Bland.

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King the Bland😂😂😂

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@elinor: You said it. I hope the (almost) self-awareness persists and improves.

I liked the jabs at the pervailing toxic work cultures but systemic change has often been resisted/thwarted by the chaebols so it is ironic to say the least that a 2nd gen (?) chaebol is presented as a free-spirited rule-breaker. Rolling my eyes.

I know so many were/are looking forward to seeing Junho in bespoke duds and whatnots so this isn’t exactly a rebel with a cause.

And, because I’m not a crank, I do appreciate Junho looking so ridiculously put together even if the grooming is over the top.

And, we could do without the annoying sound effects. That UK pile was hilariously over the top. I wonder if it was CGI as it just seemed absurd. And, for verisimilitude, I wish a little more English proficiency was required for Juhno’s character who had supposedly spent more than a decade in the UK.

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@reply1988 and I were having a wee giggle about the portrayal of England as flash cars driving through central London with lots of landmark cameos, and then suddenly arriving at the Harry Potter-Downton Abbey-Bridgerton version of England.🤣 In my humble opinion, a capable butler would have learned Hangul by now, but perhaps he doesn’t have as much help as he needs to maintain Junho’s pile, and he’s run off his feet most of the time. You have piqued my curiosity, though - I’ve never heard someone use the term ‘pile’ outside of the UK!

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My dear@mellowarmadillo; As you should have a wee giggle!
My usage has been influenced by English and Scottish friends and BBC shows over the decades😊
And, haha re the magical zooming around London. If only, right?

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The UK scenes were peak comedy for me. Is it even possible to drive through those areas of central London in a sports car without CGI? 😂

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They were comical for sure!

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I have driven through central London in a sports car (and all kinds of different cars -absolutely no CGI involved!) I worked there for the best part of 35 years and very late at night the only thing to hold you up on the roads is traffic lights. It would take me anything up to 2.5 hrs to get to work for 6pm in the rush hour but only 50 minutes to get home in the early hours. However, zooming around risks automatic speed fines triggered by cameras which are everywhere, fines for driving in bus lanes, fines for stopping in no stopping zones, fines for driving in low emission zones, fines for breathing, fines for living, fines for having the temerity to own a car ... and that's on top of the congestion charge which if not paid by midnight on the day you drive through the central zone also attracts an automatic fine. I expect Jun-ho's butler was attached to the phone and internet 24/7 dealing with all these hazards while he was off joyriding around.

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@kaddicted: I love knowing these bits about you! You are not Q right? (Sorry for my lame joke🥹

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@kaddicted, I am now rather intrigued by your line of work, where you arrive at 6 pm and come home in the wee hours of the morning! Theatre? Hospitality? London’s very own Batperson? (I don’t want to assume gender here - we know what happened last time there was confusion over gender!😁)

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I was a flamenco dance fighter.

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No .... but if that had been a career choice at the time I might have gone for it.

I worked for a big international law firm in the 1 square mile old City of London, close to all the old tourist spots like St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, etc. We had many aviation and shipping clients around the world and there had to be a core group of people present in the office outside normal business hours in case of disasters, emergencies, etc. (like the current drama over the submersible lost around the wreck of the Titanic, and the time constraints involved). When disasters happen, relevant people need to be contacted, woken up, alerted and packed off to wherever necessary and the office has to be functioning 24 hrs a day in case of such disasters.

I drove to work and back because there was no public transport after midnight and I couldn't get home otherwise. But many's the time I got caught up in something and forgot to pay the congestion charge online before midnight and got fined. (Also fined for nipping into bus lanes to turn left, and every other outrage invented to torment the motoring public). Lucky Jun-ho, he can afford all the fines, including parking fines outside Harrods and other Knightsbridge stores where all the rich foreigners park their gold Lamborghinis and then throw away their tickets. Some have diplomatic immunity, some just have unlimited amounts of money and don't care!

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@kaddicted, the world does need more flamenco dance fighters, so perhaps a career change? 💃🏻⚔️

That’s very interesting! I didn’t realise that firms were staffed 24/7, but the timely example we’re living through makes it clear why it’s needed. (I’ve been on tenterhooks hoping the passengers are rescued.🫣🤞) In such a case, who would a firm represent? The submersible company? Or the individuals on board? (Sorry I find these things fascinating, especially since I keep wondering who will foot the bill for all the rescue costs, but feel free to ignore my endless questions!)

I hope you were paid more when you had to work antisocial hours, and that the firm also covered any fines and late charges. (Really, the congestion charge system should automatically give you 24 hours to pay, or we should have those automatic toll thingies that sit on the dashboard, but I suspect the system is not sophisticated enough!😅) Rare is the person who lives in the GLA and hasn’t been done in for accidentally driving in a bus lane - it’s especially infuriating because it’s not always clearly marked. I daresay the system is just set up to make money for the council. Parking tickets are probably their own line in the budget forecasts in Kensington and Chelsea.🤣

Were you happy to leave after 35 years, or do you miss having your very own Jeeves and a country pile to return to?😉

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I'm retired now so all my flamenco dance fighting will be strictly on an amateur basis.

As for who lawyers represent in maritime and aviation disasters (or any disasters involving a carrier and passengers) first on the scene will be representatives of the carrier to interview surviving crew, any witnesses, deal with officials from whatever country it has happened in, establish a link with a local law firm if one does not already exist, manage information, field approaches from the media and generally shield their clients while determining what exactly has happened. In these situations someone is deemed to be at fault, because these industries are highly regulated but no information on that will be offered until the cause is established.

In the current disaster with the submersible, it's not an established industry, it isn't regulated, and all on board (apparently including the CEO) are basically adventurers who knew exactly what the dangers were but did it anyway. I'm guessing that whether they are rescued or not, lawyers for OceanGate will have to unravel it or enlist the help of a larger firm specialising in disaster litigation should anyone decide to sue (it's possible OceanGate do not have a fancy firm of expensive lawyers). It's a small specialised company, the CEO may be lost forever, and public opinion will probably make it difficult if not impossible to continue.
I would think their insurers will be paying out for the loss of the submersible, and possibly the US and Canada may present them with a rescue bill, although I'd be surprised. Rescue is rescue, however reckless the behaviour of those finding themselves in peril. It's a very unusual situation, a bit like volunteering to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Just who is at fault if you don't survive and should you sue the barrel maker?

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Junho spent one week in UK filming those scenes. I just hope there are more we see in flashbacks, but I can only say it felt like a total waste of budget, as all those scenes could have been filmed perfectly with CGI... Vincenzo got SJK in Italy and it was ok.

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The part where the sports car is driving on Westminster Bridge did look like CGI. The castle is obviously real, though; I think it’s Ashridge House in Hertfordshire. The exterior looks similar at a glance and the statue of Edward VI under which Go Won and the butler talk matches up. Pictures here. I agree it's a huge waste of budget if those few minutes are all we ever get. At least the crew got a nice visit to England?

Also I promised myself not to gush too much but sad-eyed Junho in a leather coat with that wavy hair down over his forehead should be illegal.

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Darn it, my link doesn’t work. Let’s try this: https://www.ashridgehouse.org.uk/ Click on Visit Us then Gallery.

Also, who else looks for the uncredited European/North American extras that are in practically every drama? I’ve already spotted The Red-Headed Guy, the Loud-Voiced Businessman, and a couple of The Horsey Blonde Women at the hotel and airport. That could be another k-drama treasure hunt.

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They are unlikely to be actors as they are so baad!

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Ir was no CGI. Believe me. I’ve seen the BTS photos leaked by fans.

And I can only agree on your last sentence. Ilegal, this man should be illegal.

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You know your thieving landed aristocracy abodes! I’ve been dragged to see Chatsworth and Blenheim, and my BP shot up. Whether modern or historic, these estates and mansions have always been obscene. I know I sound bitter but we all should have ongoing class resentment against these bastards.

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Elinor, I have long been fascinated by the English speaking actors. Originally, I believe most were US military or English language teachers, but no longer. I think your Red-Headed Guy (known in my family as What the Hell?! Guy from I am Not a Robot) is John D. Michaels. Great interview with him here: https://www.platform-magazine.com/onscreen/john-d-michaels
Explores issues of acting in a foreign language show.

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I wish a little more English proficiency was required for Juhno’s character who had supposedly spent more than a decade in the UK.

But he was lost in his castle for much of it trying to find the front door. It was the same for me when I lived there.

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Touché mon amis!

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😄😄😄😄😄😄

I used to stop off at Chatsworth whenever I was nearby to buy cheese at their farm shop. I'm sure I remember reading they encouraged the locals to use the grounds for picnics long before the house was opened to the public. The previous Duke before the current one married one of the Mitford sisters and I believe his brother (killed in the war) married one of JFK's sisters.

I am a mine of useless information late at night!

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was that the Mitford sister married to the fascist dude? Trivia like this is not useless!

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Sorry! Clearly no longer can pass reading comprehension! It was another Mitford sister.

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Lots of Mitford sisters ...

Nancy was a novelist (The Pursuit of love, Love in a Cold Climate, amongst others), Diana was married to the fascist guy (Oswald Mosley) and was interned in WWII for most of the war due to her affiliations, Unity was obsessed with Hitler and went mooning after him in Germany like a groupie. On hearing England had declared war on Germany she shot herself in the head (and survived). She was sent home in a medical transport but was "odd" for the rest of her life. Jessica, also a writer, was a communist and eloped with Winston Churchill's nephew, running away together to fight in the Spanish civil war against the fascists, which caused an international incident. Deborah married the Duke of Devonshire and went to live at Chatsworth, Pamela seems to have been the only one not addicted to the limelight. She married and went off to live quietly in the countryside. The only brother, Tom, was killed in WWII.

Jessica wrote a very entertaining biography of her eccentric family called 'Hons and Rebels', poking fun at them all, including herself. One anecdote that sticks in my mind demonstrates how hopeless the upper classes could be without their servants. One day, the cook had to go somewhere and left Lady Redesdale (their mother) detailed instructions about heating up a casserole or something similar. Put it in the oven at such and such a time and then after an hour it will be ready in time for dinner. To Lady Redesdale's disappointment (and her daughters' glee) it came out totally uncooked because the instructions hadn't explained she needed to turn the oven ON before putting the dish in!

Chortle!

It is a hoot to read and well worth it if you can get your hands on a copy.

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@kaddicted I’m jumping in here as you are obviously the person to ask a question that’s bothered me for years: is Hons (as in Hons and Rebels) pronounced with or without the H? Not that I imagine many people say it at all but I’ve always wanted to know! I’m sure I’ve watched at least one British tv show about the Mitfords but I sure can’t remember 🤔

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@bbstl ordinarily "Hon" is short for Honourable so the H would be silent, but Jessica explains that in this case it was some in-joke from their childhood and related somehow to Hens or Huns (I can't really remember). It's many years since I read the book but the title should be pronounced "Hons" with a very definite H!

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@kaddicted Thanks so much! that’s just what I guessed, it’s great to know for sure! Not that I’m in danger of ever meeting any Hons 😉

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I love your précis of the Msisters! I have to read that autobiography.
That anecdote is superbly awful!

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Hahahahhaah! This got me giggling LOL!

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@kaddicted Replying here because there was no option above.
I know you can zip through the city in a sports car if you really want to (fines and all) but it just seemed absurd. He went there to study but then he's out there living the high life. What PhD student does that? 😂

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I would say in England, probably all of them if they get the money and the opportunity. 🙂 Have you never seen the drunken scenes of students at Oxford and Cambridge leaping from bridges into rivers?

I'm also thinking he could pay someone to do his work and take the exams for him,
if he took some time off from the car.

But England has totally lost the plot these days. It could do with some of the oldfashioned manners and restraint we were once known for!

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You defo win the renaming competition! 😂

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I love your use of “defo”. Reminds me of one of my favourite students who used to use it too.

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Aww thanks. My friend used to say it all the time and I've found it's a timesaver when typing 😂

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I was very pleased when I saw Kim Jae-Won! I really like him since I saw him as the young Cha Seung-Won in Our Blues and in Nineteen Otters.

For the rest, if I like both lead actors, I never was super fan and the whole struck by their beauty thing didn't work on me.

It's hard to like a guy who can't even make a simple copy... The whole thing about him being super rich was not funny not like in Gaus Electronics.

It's an easy watch and I will continue it.

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After Stealer, I'm looking forward to seeing Kim Jae-Won again! He's such a cutie and has a really charming presence!!

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I can't recollect. What role is Kim Jae-won playing?

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The colleague of Oh Pyung-Hwa in the airline compagny. The one who helped her with the vest.

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ah!! yes! thank you! he was cutie. Hope they don't make him weird or anything and have a proper arc.

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Bae Hyun Sung from Gaus Electronics played better chaebol than JunHo. Not everyone can do comedy.

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I watched the first half of the first episode... and paused. It hasn't clicked with me yet, but on paper, it has all the elements I should like. But the interactions feel artificial (I LOLd at the FL's friend group reminding me of a Disney Channel original movie version of a friend group??), and Junho just seems grumpy... I think this one will work better for me as a bingewatch, so I'm going to catch up later!😁👍

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@dramaddictally thanks for the weecap, like you I am just glad to have a proper rom com on the screen. I feel like Business Proposal was the last one, Sh**ting stars was much funnier but it had a couple of darker storylines that took away from the fun, safe, no brainer watch and I am hoping that this one will avoid going down that road.

The Downton Abbey style Stately home showed just how much money he has to throw about, he must love the cold as those houses are a nightmare to heat. I am grateful for the light watch as I have nothing on the week days to live watch and the next batch to drop look heavy on the thriller/tension inducing elements.

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I hope King the Land stays lighter, and stays a true rom-com! There are too few of them it seems. I think this will make a really fun bingewatch later when I'm in the right mood 😊

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It already went dark, those fake smiles are trauma personified, especially to service workers. I’m joking but I’m kinda not,
seriously the brief flashback of the ML’s fake smile trauma was lowkey scary. Now I get why people don’t like clowns 🤡

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I'm also here for the fluffy. The fact that there is not a murder around or a serial killer is good enough for me.

... because we all know I'm not here for Junho...

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@reply1988 Yes, we finally got a light watch!

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Thanks, Dramadictally. I get the feeling I'm gonna enjoy the ride more for this beanies' section. Sultry is as sultry does - love it, unnie. Your writing lifts my mood for this show. I hope they don't do full-on c-drama style where the side characters get equal mileage. The tuna head scene wasn't so funny. I like my tuna head; good thing they did not waste it. While many in the northern hemisphere may need a breezy lightness in the show, we in the southern hemisphere look for some warmth and good feels. On board for the ride...for now.

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@merry 🫶

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I was bored too. I am curious about the evil noona, but that's about it.

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I've been looking forward to this drama since the leads were announced but the first two episodes didn't hook me in as much as I'd hoped. It got better in ep 2, but the flow and pacing of the ep 1 just felt jarring at times. And I wish the leads got to interact more, because that's when the drama shines the most for me.
Apparently the PD used to direct variety shows but I haven't found the comedy funny, especially the toilet humor which I just skipped entirely.
I'm here for Yoona so I'll keep watching and I'm hopeful the show will get better as it gets into a groove.

By the way if anyone is interested, there's a webtoon being released along with the drama that serves as a prequel and sequel for the main characters. It's also titled King the Land and the art is super cute.

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Thanks for the webtoon info I could not find out how to access it in English.

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There is no way to access it in English so far.

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Thanks, that’s a shame.

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There's no official translation as far as I know, but there's a fan translation that's up to date. I won't link here but the translator group is called Little Cactus Scans.

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Thank you 😊

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I'm enjoying it so far. It's like an oldschool drama but with modern production values. I do wish it aired on different days than See You in My 19th Life, though.

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On the bright side, as King the Land feels old and dated, at least we won't have to worry about serial killers because that wasn't a thing in the 2000s. On the not-so-bright side, the premiere week was boring.

I'm glad that Won has a friend, but this drama would've been more fun if the three of them, including Sang-shik, were interns, and Sa-rang figures out Won's chaebol identity. He can still be a prickly tsundere as a trainee.

The toilet scene was embarrassingly cringe. Doesn't he smell it? Why was he still standing in the bathroom? She wasn't even apologetic for using a guest's bathroom but got all defensive when he followed her.

Won staring at her at the airport and Sa-rang staring at him at the interview was unbelievable. I didn't like the time skip as I would've liked to watch Da-eul date her husband and have a baby.

But Episode 2, I found my reason to keep watching -- Kim Jae-won. How heart-fluttering is he!? So I'm just going to ignore the chemistry-less OTP and swoon over Ro-woon doing things for his sunbae/noona so Pyung-hwa doesn't get hurt.

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I was pretty surprised that was the OTP that perked my interest. Funny how our main OTP has such a huge setup with no payoff yet, but it only took a few seconds for our second OTP to give me the feelz. Ah, chemistry. Hard to predict.

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I'm even more invested in Da-eul and her husband Chung-jae than I am our main OTP. I loved Da-eul's answer to why would she give her number to a stranger, "What do you mean by 'stranger'? We're acquainted now." I think that their family would be so cute with sassy daughter Cho-rong who's embarrassed by her alcoholic mom and aunts.

The next time their sensitive sunbae forces Pyung-hwa to share a room, I need swoony Ro-woon to swoop in and save her.

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KDs at times really dig the scatological. It reminded me of this story I read about a SK’n Major League Baseball player in the US who was being interviewed in the locker room. When asked why he was not on form, he didn’t hesitate to say he had severe diarrhea. All the reporters started laughing, some in embarrassment but this player was so puzzled as to why. Maybe, it is far less taboo than in the West.

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Do they teach how to use copiers in England?

I only lasted halfway thru day 1, mostly because everyone who seemed to be an antagonist was the type of antagonist that I don't like watching -- strong evidence that the writer and PD are on the wrong page for my tastes.

Also, I could care less about the ML in suits.

And Yoona -- having watched K2, to me she will always be Miss Dances With Ramen. That was a career-defining moment, and not in a good way.

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Do they teach how to use copiers in England? No, we ask the butler.

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And the butler copies it all out by hand with a quill. Because we live in castles.

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And we have all the time in the world to wait.

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Are the rental lease by a year or monthly? asking for a friend.

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Just move in. Nobody will even know you are there.

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"And the butler copies it all out by hand with a quill. Because we live in castles." Jeez, this is so funny!!

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It is another drama where the characters make more sense in a webtoon than in a drama. A hero in slick suits, driving expensive sportscars is acceptable in a cartoon, but does not translate well for real people - it just looks like a car advert. I am sure the drama producers had no difficulty attracting commercial support with these two leads and they seem to make the most of it.

The jokes were a little too predictable and often not funny, but strangely enough, I was amused by the toilet scene even though toilet humour is not so much my thing. The use of the on-off transparency button was quite funny. Still, I did not understand that he stayed in the room!

I am also starting to like the two girl friends and the criticism of work situations, the manager being called out for snootiness and Lim Jae-won as knight in shining armour.

Choosing a light rom-com is a good decision for Junho and Yoon-ah after their last dramas. Please, PD and writer, make it now funny as well.

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When the three of them arrived in Jeju, how did Sa-rang and Sang-shik expect to fit in Won's two-seater sports car with all their luggage? Of course they would have to take their own taxi.

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Thank you for pointing that out because it made no sense that they were shown struggling with suitcases on their laps in the normal boot sized taxi but were going to fit into the sports car. I did wonder about the purpose of that scene and the point about the taxi driving fast, was he trying to keep up with the sports car when no one told him to?

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The taxi scene made no sense. They were carrying two cabin suitcases and one big suitcase... they would fit even in my super small trunk car.

But then, I'm not asking for logic in a drama in which someone is appointed Director on his first day of work and then dad organises a super selective dinner with all VIP clients from one day to another... anyway, dealing properly with time line has never been a thing in dramaland.

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May be there is a dead body in the trunk and a clue to a killer arc coming in ep 13?. At least we know it wasn't random at that point.

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A very, very, very standard rom-com story line (brooding, moody, lost chaebol heir finds a hard working woman with common sense = fireworks.) It started off with comedic elements (several taken from previous works) and packed a lot of information into the first hour.

Gu Won seems to the the second marriage/affair son who has “lost” his mother and feels disconnected with the rest of his family. His sister, Hwa-Ran, is the the typical ruthless yet competent director that stands in the way of his inheritance. Coldness seems to be genetic trait between half-siblings. Sa-Rang has her two support friends while Gu Won has only his intern Sang-Sik who comedically knows his role as gopher-quasi-friend. Who is Han Mi-so that brought Gu Won back to Korea after 7 years? His mother? We still don’t have any info on Sa-Rang’s family except she has a grandmother. The appointment of Gu Won as manager means more awkward encounters for Sa-Rang and more sabotage from his half-sister. Since this has old school tropes, I presume that he is the product of his father’s affair with a staff member. That is why he cannot stand fake hotel staff smiles. I also get the cringe birth secret vibe that our leads are related. So far, the pace and comedic timing has been good.

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Han Mi-So is Gu Won's mum.

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I feel like any modern kdrama with KING in the title is gonna be trash. I’m getting flashbacks to THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH (2020). Anyway I watched both episodes and well if you had a long day and don’t want to think, it does the job. It’s basically pretty with no plot and hey I’m a simple girl, I’m here to soak up the prettiness

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I'm curious about the title. King the Land makes absolutely no sense at all.

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It made even less sense after knowing it was the VIP on steroid super duper exclusive part of the hotel. The CGI camera movements were vertigo inducing as it zoomed in on the fake people from the above and then actual humans took over.

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Except for the glorious Woo Dohwan as Eunseob. It was worth suffering through that.

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Woo Do-hwan was FANTASTIC and was the only saving grace in that drama. Eun-seob was adorable and seeing Woo Do-hwan switch between Jo-yeong and Eun-seob blew my mind 🤯

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I would have loved if Eunseob existed in RL. Woo Dohwan is the only actor who I would legit be sad if I find out is a horrible person in RL. I have a gorgeous friend who firmly believes all beautiful people are awful including him. He wildly exaggerates of course as he is nothing lime that but he thinks every gorgeous person has a metaphorical portrait of Dorian Gray which records all of their worldly nastiness.

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I love your friend’s theory like we can’t all be blessed in all areas so somewhere behind the scenes there is something taking the hit for the human side that is not showing up in front of people.

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I watched the first episode of KTL immediately after watching the first episode of "See you in my 19th Life" and this suffered greatly by comparison. I"m liking this for Junho in suits, but struggle to see any chemistry or spark between the leads, I'm not a fan of the bathroom humor in this context and find the main female lead kinda boring (agree with whomever commented about not being able to see any difference between her real smile and fake smile). This feels a bit old-school and not in a good way. I may watch this when I don't have anything else to watch, but I was hoping for this summer's "Business Proposal" and this ain't it.

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This is precisely why I watched King the Land first, it still suffered in comparison though, I just felt See you in my 19th life would be better, and I was right.

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The two dramas airing at the same time reminds me of the situation with "Our Blues" and "My Liberation Notes." It is inevitable that the two will be be compared.

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Agree--I was expecting a cracky, fun romance like Business Proposal or What's Wrong with Secretary Kim. Hoping for a better setup in episodes 3-4.

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They could have started this show about 50-odd minutes into the first episode, when Won is having dinner with his family (again!), because that's the point at which there was some bare minimum plot movement. Everything else was uninteresting set-up, all of which could have been flashback vignettes.

I'm concerned about how much filler there was across both episodes with repeated scenes, repeated dialogues and already a lot of music-swells-but-nothing-happens 😑. Still the leads are pretty and so is the show so I'm willing to be entertained. Please get better show 🙏.

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I actually knew from the very beginning this would get a lot of Dramabeans dislike, since there is a general distaste for tropey rom-coms on this site (totally understandable) and a very high evaluation of Junho (understandable given his looks--although I think he's somewhat one dimensional as an actor, but that's my personal opinion), the preliminary reaction being that he is lowering himself by working with YoonA and with this type of material.

But, despite the overall negative tone from much respected commentators, I am very much with @dramaddictally after the first two episodes. This was enjoyable and actually a lot better than I expected, given such recent disasters as Oh Young-shim, where I couldn't even make it past the first episode.

First, I have to give Junho credit for making fun of his previous roles and his looks--there were a few scenes that made me laugh just because of that. (Not just his model-like donning of his suits and watches, but also his sullen melancholy staring out of his UK estate, for example--almost as if he was a tragic Joseon monarch.)

Second, while this was no Business Proposal successfully satirizing the tropes, it is certainly self-aware enough that they are fairly well-handled. That means these first two episodes were unoriginal, but pretty competently done.

Finally, I did like the one serious theme brought out in these first two episodes, the indignities faced by those in the service industry, especially women, and the necessity of putting on a "happy face" even when the work is miserable. We'll see if that is developed any more, but even if not, I'll continue watching and hope it remains light, fluffy, and enjoyable to the end.

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@hacja: “he’s somewhat one dimensional as an actor”. Them’s fightin’ words!

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Please, take it easy on me--I am well aware of your ability to land rhetorical body blows! (Note I said "in my opinion" rather than way I usually put it: "objectively.")

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I’m here to save the day with a music video. Junho quite literally does some of his best face-acting here…I’m truly not joking. And he does it while (not-singing) and shooting guns.

https://www.dramabeans.com/members/parkchuna/activity/1410857/

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Added bonus: Bora’s Chicken King rides an electric bull for us.

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Junho and Taecyeon's acting skills--or lack thereof (@dncingemma, joking, joking!!)--aside, I am a big fan of the "Second generation" of kpop. At the risk of getting hatemail from the Army and Blinks-I prefer 2pm to BTS and Girls Generation to BlackPink. Probably the reason I like New Jeans is that they remind me a lot of Girls Generation.

In defense of my musical tastes, I'm really, really old, probably going senile, and have fond memories of the BeeGees.

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@hacja: You can insult Junho’s acting skills all you want. Seriously. I like him but am not a nutty fangirl!!😂😱

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@hacja: The youngins here have no idea who or what the BeeGees is but I (sadly or not) do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpqqjU7u5Yc

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I really don’t want to bloat this comments page further, but I just cannot help myself…NEWS FLASH:

https://www.kennedy-center.org/artists/g/ga-gn/barry-gibb/

Event to be televised this coming December 2023.

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@attiton: This thread has been so.much.fun and you have been a crucial contributor to it so please carry on.

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I LOVE the Bee Gees. I felt they weren't given enough credit. Those gentlemen knew how to write songs. Nights on Broadway is my favorite Bee Gees song from a very huge number of hits that span 50+ years.

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Now, now. Please don’t say you’re really, really old, because you’re not that much older than me. I, too, love The Bee Gees. And I’m still upset my parents didn’t allow me to go to their concert here in 1979. Just today I was looking at the iTunes summary of my most played songs over the last five years, and Too Much Heaven made the list every year.

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Haha! Face-acting. I’m dying here.

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Except for your evaluation of Junho as one-note (although I concede he may be a *smidge* over-rated, he can play at least three different dimensions, if you will--grumpy comedic, grumpy stoic, and grumpy romantic. But seriously, I think he's a genuinely talented actor), I agree with your summation.

At first, I found myself watching this drama as a Dramabeans community member first, LaurenSophie, individual viewer and lover of romance, second. And I quickly noticed that I was focusing almost exclusively on the drama's flaws or, more simply, moments when it was less than brilliant. This was not only unfair to the drama, but also, no fun. So I started again with the straightforward intention of letting it tell the story the way it wanted to, and silencing the internal (snarky) commentary in my head. I was thereby rewarded with two pretty entertaining hours where, like dramaddictally said, everyone seemed to be having a good time, and so I did, too.

The humor doesn't always land, and none of the characters feel like real people, but a) I wasn't bored and b) I like the leads together and c) the friend group is appealing and d) even though I don't have to think very hard while watching, I don't feel dumber, either. It's light-hearted, which isn't the same as being shallow, and I'm here for it.

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Ha Ha. Loved your shades of Junho acting. I first liked him in Rain or Shine, and that's the mix he brought to it. But he was also charming and vulnerable under all that grumpiness, and that's what knocked my socks off. And I thought he was totally unattractive. (I know, I know, what was I thinking? Was it the styling? That hair!) So not all of us got on the Junho train as @hacja said because of his looks. Now we have to see if he can bring on more of his grumpy-comedic game to KTL.

Other than that, I think you're both right about the key to appreciating this rom-com. Reset your expectations (and perhaps switch off a wee bit of your brain) and go along for the ride.

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I agree that he might be be a bit over-rated as most other idols are so mediocre that his competent acting stands out in comparison. He still has a long way to go before he becomes a versatile actor but at least he is competent, has presence and chrisma.

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@laurensophie: Bingo! Not feeling dumber is the key. I can’t afford to lose any brain cells as I am getting older and need everyone one of them!

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Hopefully all of the nay-sayers will do as promised and drop it so that future discussion can analyze discuss pros/cons of the story, character and some of the themes as you mention.

And really - when was the last rom-com with chaebol ML? Business Proposal? Maybe Crazy Love if you include cold/rich ML as an option. Meanwhile, there must have been 10 revenge dramas in the last year and although the plot twists may have been original, the end was the same.

I fell alseep watching 19th Life so I know which one of the two wins my watching priority.

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Settle down and don’t take it personally. You don’t have to read the “naysayer” comments. We are allowed to kvetch about what we don’t like as much as what we like.

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I do like the fact the FL is more herself with the ML, but is it really critiquing the emotional labour and forced smiles from service workers when she’ll likely marry the guy who owns the hotel? The guy who directly benefits from the ‘fake’ smiles?

Unless he revamps the hotel policy and allows workers to have RBF and many other rights and is no longer a chaebol, it’s hard for me to take any of the critique seriously. Particularly the sexual harassment being used as comedic misunderstanding, really tells me this is not a drama that comprehends workers rights in any meaningful way.

I’ll happily eat my words if the show does in fact address these issues tho!

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Well, I don't find too many kdramas or that address worker's rights meaningfully, so any show that highlights the indignities of service work and suggests the personal alienation that comes from forced cheerfulness deserves a bit of praise for that. After all, in the U.S. the very streaming service that is carrying this show is subject to a lengthy strike, so I don't expect a systemic critique of labor under modern capitalism from any show they carry, especially a romance.

And although after 2 episodes I do not think this show is profound in ANY way, I don't think the way it used sexual harassment for comedic understanding was dismissive. After all, the FL dropped her smile to forcefully respond, and ML was genuinely disturbed to be accused of it, repeating his denials to himself after the FL left.

Just as the vast majority of sageuks celebrate a patriarchal and monarchical system while featuring the brave heroine who "challenges" the status quo, so do 99% of chaebol romance kdramas glorify the rich, even as they make fun of them. So that just comes with the territory, I think.

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I agree you, I don’t think this drama is going to be special or going to revolutionise storytelling, it’s mediocre in my opinion and I’m fine with that. There have been plenty of chaebol romances and will continue to be.

It’s just the trend to be socially aware but remaining with the status quo that bugs me. One moment we get the complexities of ‘fake’ smiles then the next we immediately get Junho in luxury suits and driving sport cars. It just feels fake, I want to remain in the fantasy but the drama is doing it’s damndest to break the fantasy.

I disagree with the sexual harassment, because the guy who did the harassing got away scot-free. Wasn’t banned from the hotel, yes it’s realistic but this is a rom com, why introduce the storyline when it serves no greater purpose other than to show the FL speaks out against such behaviour and make the ML uncomfortable? Again the guy who did the sexual harassing is nowhere in sight and this weird storyline culminates 8 years after the incident with the FL apologising for the misunderstanding. I have know no idea what the writers were thinking when they wrote this storyline

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"(Not just his model-like donning of his suits and watches, but also his sullen melancholy staring out of his UK estate, for example--almost as if he was a tragic Joseon monarch.)" - hehehe! I felt that too. I don't know what warranted that melancoly look at this early in the series, but the uneven pace is a bit jarring. I am not sure if he wants to come across as arrogant, or entitled, or always angry, or disinterested - I just can't feel his acting pulse, yet. Ahn Heo-Seop did this beautifully in BP and it was so easy to catch his vibe right from the get go. Ditto with Park Seo Joon in WWWSK.

I definitely love the service industry set up and hoping that is given its due graph (something I appreciated in Run On, the back story of a translater was so very well done).

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Someone liked this comment and it brought me to this - a reminder there was no graph LOL! No graph, no plot, just two characters vacationing all through the drama. But hey, the makers stuck to what they started - an cotton candy romance - air headed and sweet while it lasts.
Ya you can tell, I can't get over the deception of Heartbeat.

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@hacja High five to all that!

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I enjoyed KTL! It gave me laughs and all ❤️s for Junho. It is a classic romcom and not apologetic about it. I don't mind the tropes. I have not been watching a lot of dramas lately but I watch to relax. I think it's gonna get darker but I hope it remains light.

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After seeing Sa-rang walk into the interview room in that manner, if I was an interviewer I know I'd hire her right away. Any other talks in-bet