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Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 24, 2024)

So, what are we all watching this week?

What kept you reaching for more (or agonizing when there was no more), and what made you want to throw your remote through the screen? Time to weigh in…

 

javabeans

Hello friends! I know these things don’t usually come with intros, but it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been here and I wanted to take a moment to make my reintroductions. I’m not sure how many people still remember me, but even if not there’s something comfortable and familiar about being around these parts again. Loooong story short: These past five years (*gasps at the math*) have been overtaken by real life and responsibilities and sometimes even working with dramas as part of official real-life responsibilities, which has been both thrilling and exhausting. I took a step back from my drama-watching activities for a bit, needing time to unwind and detox, and in recent months have been dipping my toes back in the waters. It’s been great fun jumping into the backlog of shows I’ve missed in their initial runs, rekindling my love of this genre and these stories, and now I have all these Thoughts and Feels again! It’s such a lovely thing to feel like you’re rediscovering a dormant, joyous part of yourself. With that said:

Marry My Husband: Thoroughly enjoyed this show, particularly in the way it took a fantastical webtoony revenge-romance premise and found the small human moments to give it a poignant sense of groundedness. Yes, it’s about time-traveling and revenge and the invisible hand of fate, but it took care to develop real emotional and character development, such as our heroine’s personal journey of self-discovery and some glimpses at twisted psychology in her arch-frenemy. The first ten episodes were perfection, and it stirred that feeling of fluttery excitement that only comes once in a blue drama moon, and had me entirely obsessed — this drama literally got me through tough weeks, and I’d find myself replaying favorite moments in my mind during tedious tasks and arduous work meetings. Episodes 12 through 15 veered somewhat south of perfect, and I was reminded once again not to jump the gun in making definitive judgments, and also to be extra appreciative of those rare shows that maintain their excellence through the very end. That said, this show had earned such goodwill through the first two-thirds that I was happy enough to close one eye to the makjang excesses of the Villainess Who Couldn’t Stop Herself and the Villainess Who Couldn’t Act. (One of those things was plotularly interesting; the other was decidedly not.) I was gratified when the ending sequence brought us back to that muted, heartfelt introspection that had made the earlier half such a standout, and all of the characters’ various endings felt fitting. (I wish we’d gotten to those endings with a bit more nuance and finesse, but am I going to look a gift prison sentence in the mouth? Nope.) Last but not least, the drama gave me newfound appreciation for my new dramaland boyfriend, Na In-woo, whose performance had me beelining to the internet to see if he’d fulfilled his military service yet and subsequently wailing to see we’re gonna be losing him soon. Well, one helluva way to leave your mark before the long goodbye!

River Where the Moon Rises: In a totally unrelated, entirely random and coincidental (*cough*) turn of events, I also started watching River Where the Moon Rises, which had been on my watchlist since it premiered and immediately hit the skids with that whole… unpleasantness. *waves vaguely in Jisoo’s direction* I’d tuned in briefly at the time after hearing that Jisoo’s unknown mid-show replacement was a pleasant surprise and filed away the name Na In-woo as one to watch. So I picked this one up again recently out of curiosity, and found him indeed doing a commendable job amidst challenging conditions. This drama started off epic and beautiful, and I’ve always been a fan of reimagined folklore and fairy tales, so I’m enjoying the reinterpretation of the story of Princess Pyeonggang taking the bumbling fool On-dal and turning him into an upright hero. It has a bit of a King Lear feel, with the princess being wrongfully turned out by her hotheaded father and proving her loyalty despite it all with her stalwart husband at her side. Also, I’ve seen so many Joseon-era sageuk dramas that I feel like many of them are starting to feel samey, so it’s refreshing to get one set in Goguryeo times, which often comes with a grittier, freer vibe. Still, I’m about halfway through and the early grandeur is sinking into a more mundane, procedural feel and that takes away quite a lot. Maybe it’s a fault of the pacing, or the writing, or all the reshoots that had to be quickly captured in the wake of all that… unpleasantness… so I have some patience for the dip in production quality. But it’s definitely not a brilliant or premium sageuk. I’ll probably chip away at the rest of the episodes — I do want to watch On-dal’s transformation into valiant general — but I’m finishing this one for Na In-woo more than the plot.

The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract: If I had to plot this drama’s trajectory, it would be a straight line pointed in a gentle but unmistakable downward direction. I was sucked in by Bae In-hyuk’s sweet devotion in ye olden days (and mildly gutted when they offed him so early — I get that it was a necessary part of the plot setup, but still, it hurt) and that got me through a lot of episodes when Modern Bae In-hyuk was mostly an uptight jerk without enough other charms to mitigate the effect. (His dimples aren’t that magical.) It tried my patience that he took his sweet time mellowing out and Lee Se-young couldn’t carry the romance alone, although she more than did her part in making the one-sided effort. There were elements that were enjoyable, like the gorgeous modernized hanboks and Lee Se-young’s fish-out-of-water moments as the Joseon lady in modern Seoul. But ultimately it felt lacking in tension or drive — the chaebol power plays and family strife seemed straight out a cliché playbook, with acting to match. I feel like this drama was Rooftop Prince with fewer hijinks and Signal with less rescuing and Queen Inhyun’s Man with less romantic chemistry, wrapped up in a flaccid bow of a nonsensical ending. (Why jump through all these plot hoops to set up a convoluted time-travel problem and then just… ignore it… to bring the couple together with barely an explanation because it was too hard to make it make sense?)

 

missvictrix

My Happy Ending: I am no longer enjoying this show at all. It has neatly spiraled into something that is nearly unwatchable. There is no attention paid to the actual characters or emotions of the story. I am disappointed, frustrated, let down. But I will finish it. Because what if they do something crazy and surprise me with actual character development for Lee Ki-taek in the final two episodes?!

Marry My Husband: Complaints (*cough* Yoo-ra) aside, I loved this ending. I loved how magical it was, and how it took its time to show us a true happily ever after. The main thread of a happy, meaningful life carried through the drama in such a lovely way, and I actually found it quite moving to contrast the misery and isolation of Ji-won’s original life to the joy and connection she’s able to experience by the end. (Also, everyone deserves to be loved the way Ji-hyuk loved her.)

 

Dramaddictally

Marry My Husband: I caught up in time for the finale! And what a delightful trainwreck it was. Admittedly, I got a little less interested in the story when the Yoo-ra character became so central (and the drama was one episode too long for me), but they hit every trope at a breakneck pace and I couldn’t turn away. I feel like there was a good balance of light and dark (or happy and crazy) all the way through. And even though a little part of me wants to complain about a few things, I can’t bring myself to do it. Overall, this was exactly what I needed right now. Plus, Na In-woo — I wasn’t really paying attention to him before, but I sure am now.

 
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Live Watches
Doctor Slump: I swerve between finding it so real and relatable and finding it cute/unrealistic/adorable/ridiculous, but I’m not mad about any of it. To paraphrase Mr. Knightly: If I loved it less I could talk about it more.

Older Dramas
Perfect Marriage Revenge: Finished! This drama did just what I wanted, which was provide me with tons of fun throughout. Is it in my top 10 dramas of 2023? Nah. But I had a great time and I’ll remember my first makjang fondly. The truck of doom in episode 12 wins the award for least threatening ToD of all time. Moving that slowly and with that many lanes to swerve into, there was no way it could have hit them unless it was trying (which, to be fair, is not that unlikely) and I laughed long and uproariously. The only baddie I felt slightly bad for was Se-hyeok, who seemed like he had finally come to his senses regarding Yu-ra, only to find himself saddled with her for life. Ah well, sucks to suck I guess!

Sungkyungkwan Scandal: (up to episode 3) My latest oldie. I like Song Joong-ki best when he is steeped in snark and so this is shaping up to be my fav character I’ve watched of his yet. The ML and FL are slightly bland, but if they keep trading favors like this I can see myself becoming charmed pretty soon. I’m already at a loss as to how we can possibly have a happy ending, but that’s half the fun! Our king is also delightfully ambiguous at this stage.

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SJK and Yoo Ah-In had such great chemistry in that drama.

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They deserved the Best Couple award, too.😄

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Sungkyungkwan Scandal : one of my biggest SL Syndrom 😭 Yoo Ah-In was so good in this role and his character was interesting.

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I love your comment about Dr. Slump. I subscribe to that.

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SJK and YAI definitely stole the show in Sungkyunkwan Scandal - they were marvelous all the way through and I was impressed with how the show dealt with some pretty dark, serious themes under its light, fluffy surface.

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I still give SJK’s costumes the Best Hanboks Ever award 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

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His costumes were the most vibrant and eye catching amongst all the students there ....as well as his mischief.

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I loved SKKS. I haven't rewatched, but I think it was refreshing in that it took place in a school setting. I don't remember there being any young handsome princes or devastating family exterminations. I loved how the drama's dialogue/debates would reference Confucian classics.

The OTP was a little bland when comparing to other sageuk pairings but I liked how they were both nerds who had a more of a cerebral connection. I loved the SJK and YAI pairing the best though. They won a best couple award at the KBS award.
https://youtu.be/pnMGf7-98uA?feature=shared

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Thank you for sharing 🥰

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LIVE WATCHES
Marry My Husband
As did many, I loved the villains most. I would almost certainly recommend this drama to others, maybe even folks who've never seen a k-drama before.
FxC
I simply joyously watch this every week. That hero walk at the end of last weekend's episodes was everything!!
Queen of Divorce
I continue to find joy in the ways this show is switching up "which character is supposed to be behaving in what way." 2ML-as-ML, FL-as-ML, Villain-as-2ML…
Dr. Slump
This show continues to present traditional tropes with a wink, and then subverting them within that very same scene. It's started to become like a little game for me to spot the next trope they'll play with.
LYOL
Writernim has pulled me back in for the gripping finale!!
ON DECK
Bad Prosecutor and Sell Your Haunted House

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I really liked Sell your haunted House.

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Me too! 🙋‍♀️

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me there! There is no romance, but lots of fun and one of the more interesting-looking homes in kdramas.

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Me four!

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Me five!

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I cracked up with your QOD description because that's exactly how it looks to me lol !!!!

The trope thingy about DS - right? It's literally the game. They managed to turn even the umbrella trop on its head.

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Yup re: Slump. My favorite was after the hilarious shower head scene. Of course, Ha-neul needed to change out of those wet clothes into Jeong-woo's clothes (she totally couldn't just go downstairs for a minute 😂), a move that usually ends with the FL looking sexy in a button-down or something.

Not so this time!

When she came out of the bathroom in the frumpiest of sweats, I was all, "That's my show!!"

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Plus his reaction - almost, almost but thankfully not quite brotherly. Talk about turning a trope into something fuzzy and warm and oh so delightful...

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One of my favorite Jang Nara projects! Such a fun watch too.

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SELL YOUR HAUNTED HOUSE is one of the best.

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Completed
Killer Paradox : Enjoyed every minute of SSK on screen!! Overall, a well directed stylish show but derailed a bit after ep 4. The show ended with a possibility for Season 2, but not sure if there is content for that.

Knight Flower : Enjoyed the drama overall and there was not one bad episode. The show kept the script tight with 12 episodes. One of the most fun and entertaining dramas this year, so far. Lee Jong Won has a new fan!

Marry my husband : I would have been ok to drop this earlier, but I stayed to know the ending. I usually like PMY in dramas, but for some reason I thought she was miscast here. Her acting did not vibe with the show and she often stood out for the wrong reasons. The villains were the ones who held the show together and Su Min was such a complex character and the actor did a great job bringing the character alive.

Ongoing

Doctor Slump : The angst hit us sooner. But I liked how they arrived at this point. Both leads need time to heal and grow before they can date. Ha-Neul is a wonderfully written character and PSH is going a great job here - be it comedy or emotional scenes.

Shop for Killers : On Ep 4.

Queen of divorce I am here for On Min Seok and Kim Sun-young.

Ready, Set, Love (Thai) I enjoyed the first 2 episodes. It was fun. At Ep 5 now, and it is a bit draggy and predictable now. But I do appreciate all the representation in the show and so far it is shown respectfully and not for jokes.

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Lee Jongwon has 2 new fans, count me too :-)

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Make that 3!

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I think PMY was really good the first 2 episodes. The glamorous wardrobe later on wasn't a good choice.

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Some of her later clothes, not all caused, some bad flashbacks to "Love in contract".

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Blue! I deleted my RSL comment because it really belongs under you or Lapis. You’re right, by the finale it ran out of steam—surprising for a six-episoder. But I sure had a sweet ride for the most part through this zany show. Thanks for the fun recco…and my intro to the other Blue. 😀

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Waeee!!! I read it at the gym and came back to reply and its gone!!

Glad you watched! Yeah, the show does embrace its silliness but overall I think it got many things right. And I loved all the bright colors that some frames looked like pop art (Even their drinks were brightly colored!!)
The problem is the actors are so green, they can't carry any emotional scenes. I thought the actor playing Chanel was ok.

Also, thai drama PPL's are a different league. They go all out on PPL.. Nothing subtle about their PPL. I laugh every single time.

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Because I’d rather chat about it with other watchers than post it by my lonesome self!

Totally agree re the acting. And the plot, so many holes. But it still worked, almost till the end. I think that tho it had so many insane elements (Hunger Games meets The Bachelor meets American Ninja and those silly Japanese reality game shows I used to watch as a kid), it had all the classic rom-com tropes to make it comforting.

And I was pleased by the sly digs at gender and class as well as the wonderful LGBTQ+ rep. But that’s secondary, mostly, it was just fun.

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I am most of the way through the second episode of READY, SET, LOVE and do not know if I will continue.

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Completely agree with you about PMY in Marry My Husband. Her performance left me cold and uninvested after a while. Additionally, found the chemistry to be lacking with the ML.

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I liked PMY better in Healer and her other shows. She looked too skinny, I know it was for her role as a cancer patient, still ... and her character, well, I could not understand some of her decisions and behaviour. The show was good till the 10-11th episode.

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First welcome back Javabeans, HUZZZAH.

Marry My Husband: It came, it began, and it ended badly. The blandest couple to have ever blanded, and that is a shock because PMY has chemistry with everyone. I didn’t believe them at all. The best parts were Song Ha Yoon and Lee Yi Kyung, They both brought it and were must better as antagonists than the protagonists were as protagonist. PMY brought her best acting when acting against both of them. I got my bean, but SIGH.

Flex x Cop: I loved the cameo this episode. She was great, lol. This show continues to be great fun, but I see that coming to an end soon with his memory coming back, meh. I feel the anst and I am sorry it going to ruin such a fun show.

Captivating the King: Speaking of angst. Here is the King ,if you will, of ANGST. Here we go.

Doctor Slump: Oh look more angst, lol, but this one makes far more sense than the other one.

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I thought I was the only one who found the leads bland in MMH. Even their kisses did nothing for me. I didn't warm up to Na In-Woo, he always looked like the second male lead to me. Even when happy he looked kinda sad.

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No, you were not. He really looked sad or partially constipated, lol.

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Yes, I’m also with you both in not connecting to his character with the perpetually perplexed face.

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Oh dear heavens, someone fnally said it. Thank you!

Marry my husband has the blandest couple of them all. I tried. I truly tried. I wanted so badly to like it becasue it seems to be the of the year and the couple getting all that love - it was awful. The show is good in other ways, but the main couple is so meh that I keep ffing their scenes.

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Lol, a complete charisma suck. I could not see what other folks saw.

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I guess we found the one guy who could repel PMY’s chemistry-fairy powder.

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LOL!!!!!

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My wife and I both agree with you about DOCTOR SLUMP. The angst actually makes a lot of dramatic sense here and is even consistent with the mental health situations of both of the lead characters. This is what I call smart writing.

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I... am in the other camp. I was really charmed by Na Inwoo and his Jihyuk. 😌🙂
(I also think that after violent Minhwan Jiwon needed a gentle Jihyuk.)

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That is the beauty of kdramaland, there is a 'boy' for everyone!

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COMPLETED
Knight Flower - Everyone's already said everything that was great about this show - good story, great performances, lots of humour 💕. It's interesting that nearly all my recent favourites have been 12-episode dramas 🤔.

ONGOING
Queen of Divorce - Kang Ki-young and Kim Sun-young together were fun.

The Chaebol-Cop Show - Good set of episodes. Had a random thought that the Butler Ahjussi might be sus 🧐.

Sejak - The show's fatal flaw is Hee-soo as a character - I don't understand her revenge logic and just can't root for her. Everything she does is just 🤦‍♀️.

Doctor Slump - I was pleasantly surprised they resolved the court case so soon but all the happiness had me waiting for the other shoe to drop. Which it did 😔.

C-DRAMAS
Completed Amidst a Snowstorm of Love. Low-stakes sweet romance.

Also completed Judge Dee's Mystery. ZRY's guest role was definitely the highlight. I think they could have ended on the Heiyan case with some more details of the epilogue/ scenes from Season 2.

Paused Always on the Move. A bit too melodramatic for me right now. Might try out White Cat Legend, which is gaining some praise from viewers.

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I love this 12 episode trend. It is just right. I am waiting for the one cdrama to take me out of my cdrama slump. Where is the 'Meet yourself' of 2024??

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If you find that drama, please flag it on here because that will be a joy to watch even if it is 40 episodes.

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I did like The Hope quite a bit but it definitely wasn't a healing show in the vein of Meet Yourself but then hardly anything is...😅

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I will be interested to hear what you think of WHITE CAT LEGEND--it definitely caught my eye.

I a DAYS aways from the ZRY episodes of JUDGE DEE and I can hardly hold myself together waiting for them to drop. So good to hear that you enjoyed his performance.

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Will definitely try out White Cat Legend over the weekend then!

As for Judge Dee..., I have to warn you that the amount of ZRY we got was way too little compared to the dayyssss of waiting 😔.

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Thank you for the warning @miso2019.
ANY time is too short for a ZRY project in my book. 😅

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Agree completely on 12 episodes. 80% of dramas would be so much better if they were 12 episodes. Writers really have to work and think about the story to fit it in instead of wasting time with tons of flashbacks to fill time!! Even shows that I love , Business Proposal, was perfect with 12

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Yup. I now have the same reaction to 16 episode shows that I used to have with 18 or 20 episode ones - "will they really have enough story to fill the time 🤔".

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Current watches
Dr slump

Queen of divorce
This week’s episode should have been called fair weather friends as every one of the villains was dropping their friends like hot potatoes when they felt like it. This week had the best of the Scooby-Doo gang’s comedy capers.

Between Him & Her
Key word to sum up my experience of this week’s episode: Confused.com

Our love triangle - webdrama
It would have been good as a quick binge watch. It’s not as good as Love Playlist, A-teen or Best Mistake which all had multiple seasons to improve. Hoping the crew and actors get more opportunities to grow.

Eye love you
Half way point misunderstandings on both sides.

Completed
Extraordinary you rewatch

Book club:
Peach Blossom Spring - Melissa Fu
An epic tale of a widow and her young son as they travel the country trying to stay alive during the second world war and later the internal conflicts in China. They have few items that remain constant apart from an ancient scroll which holds valuable life lessons represented by the traditional scenes it depicts.

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I loved it in QoD when they ran away from the cop cars, scurrying like clowns, with the FL in 5-inch Kelly green heels 🤣

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🤣 they really are so on point until they are not. Every week there is some scene after their mission impossible effects where they look like bumbling fools the best one was the telling off by the cafe owner. I almost expected them to be forced to kneel with their arms in the air like school kids!

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Lol! But the truck arrived with the scene stealer....

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Oh I'm waiting for good subtitles for EyeLoveYou.

There was a cameo from Hyunul, he's the leader and guitarist of the cute band Hifi Un!corn from FNC Entertainment.

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I'm watching it on Netflix, the first 2 episodes are available and every Thursday thereafter.

It's super cute, but I find it a bit concerning that ML tends to not listen to FL as she sets boundaries, at least up to the very end of ep2. Hopefully it gets better. It's my 3rd Jdrama ever, so I'm not sure if it's cultural and it's supposed to be endearing/romantic.

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Lucky you to be only a couple episodes behind, it’s coming 10th March to Netflix in my area.

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Oh I started an "Extraordinary you" rewatch too! But why I am so happy that I did what you did idk kkkkk ☺️

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A few beanies have been mentioning over the last few weeks so it was in the ether so probably came to mind for both of us at the same time! It was good to watch it again now as I recognise more of the actors. It’s the same with my slow Producers rewatch I didn’t know any of the actors when I watched it the first time.

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Yes the moment I saw dohwa i screamed "omg it's one of "secret romantic guesthouse" scholars, I know him" and then I recognized Rowoon's servant playing as a teenager and I was so happy I know them.

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LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE (Ep 42-43) The sudden changes in script direction continue with poor execution. The writer has written herself into many corners. This week there was some attempted clarity but it is difficult to see through the months of pond scum. All the mothers continue to be horrible human beings. Their children are oscillating emotional wrecks. The surprise plot twists have fallen flat. This week I am also seeing more overacting by the cast.

HOUSE ON WHEELS 4 (2022) (Ep. 1-2) I forgot about this series. Season 4 was the last one. Seong Dong Il, Kim Hee Won, and Kim Ro Woon were the hosts. The guest was Kim A Joong who had previously worked with Dong Il and Hee Won. The setting was the West Coast on Wonsan Island, a place that I had heard about since it recently opened its isolation from the mainland by a bridge and tunnel system. It still only has 4,000 residents and it is basically a seafaring/fishing place. After visiting the seafood market, A Joong suggests a fisherman’s snack: sashimi and cup noodles. For the rest of the time, it was a seafood feast of various dishes. It was a relaxing series to watch; luxury camping experience with strong elements of nature.

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With LYOL the writer has simply lost the plot (literally and in its original nautical sense as well).

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Where do you watch "House On Wheels 4?"

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I really liked to watch the TV show House on Wheels.

It was nice to see their guests in a new environment.

It's sad that the season 4 was shorter because of the weather.

Seong Dong Il's food looked so good and Rowoon had so much pleasure to eat, I wanted to taste it too!

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OMG @Javabeans! Welcome back!!! This is amazing!

What We’re Watching
Current/recent:
Marry My Husband: I enjoyed this whole illogical mess from start to finish, especially the villains, the chef/little sister couple, the janky tattoo, and the cat. Although I have a few quibbles with which characters they chose to focus on, this is how you do an extended ending: plenty of time for the main characters’ happy and unhappy fates as earned, a bit of a reality check with baby-related exhaustion, only one unnecessary redemption arc, and lots of snowflakes and flower petals. I bet Ji-won and Ji-hyuk make a point never to have a glass coffee table in any of their houses, though.

I do have practical questions about kdrama proposals: so often the ML pops a ring box out of nowhere and says something like, “I’ve been waiting to give you this.” Have you, sir? For how long? Wouldn’t a box that big make a noticeable bulge? Wouldn’t people notice if a guy carried something the size of half a brick in his pants every day? Do Korean men’s trousers have built-in hidden ring-box pockets? Where? 🤔

Dr. Slump: I might drop this. The tonal whiplash is hurting my neck. I constantly want to punch the little brother and the FL’s so-called friend, and that can’t be good for my blood pressure.

Flex x Cop (ep. 3): I constantly want to punch Ahn Bo-hyun’s obnoxious chaebol character, so he’s doing everything right. Park Ji-hyun’s eyerolling, cynical-yet-still-idealistic sunbae is all of us. Much more fun than I expected/feared.

Older shows:
Jealousy Incarnate/Don’t Dare to Dream (ep. 19 0f 24): I still don’t like the FL, or maybe I just don’t much like Gong Hyo-jin, but Jo Jung-seok is just so damned mesmerizing (even when he’s being punchable) that he’s keeping me in it. The plot is starting to go in circles, though, and the show seems totally unaware of what a great job it’s doing demonstrating why workplace romances are so often a terrible idea. I sense a strategic late drop approaching.

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YAY for @elinor's FxC watch!!

Also, to be a total dorky downer (also admitting that I think about this a lot too), it is my belief that Korean people all have both Kopiko as well as engagement rings or sparkly necklaces always on hand in their car's glove compartments. No gloves. Just sugar-free caffeine candy and diamonds.

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I second this, Elinor!!! YAYYY for Flex x Cop!!! 🥳

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JJS was very good in this role! So convincing as an experimented and charismatic anchor!

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The ending for JI good! (making a pitch to hang in there!)

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*is

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Specific to the ring box in MMH, I asked “WHY?” when he said he’d been carrying it around. He was waiting for what? Waiting for her to propose first so he could tell her that was inappropriate? Phhtttt.

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“The tonal whiplash is hurting my neck.”

I strained my neck muscle yesterday, most likely from sleeping in a very uncomfortable position…but now I’m wondering if that was from watching this show. 😂 Agree completely.

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@javabeans 💙💙 So good to see you here!! . Seeing your name I almost thought it was side effects not having caffeine yet!!

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Same! Didn't register until I read the full thing in detail. Welcome back, @javabeans 🎉🎊!

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Glad I'm not the only one who had to do a double take. OMG, welcome back Javabeans! You have been missed. [Not technologically savvy, but throws confetti]

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YES welcome back @javabeans!!!!! My heart felt full reading every single word of your post. Sososo glad to hear from you! It’s wild how life and dramaland has changed, but your writing is as sharp and well thought out as ever.

If GF also posts eventually, I might combust in nostalgia and happiness.

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Gosh, indeed, the writing is so sharp with that tone of irreverence. I’ve missed it so much!

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I first thought the link was wrong and brought me to some old Javabeans' post. 😆

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If MMH wasn't the first drama on the list, I would have left the page and refreshed...

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I did! 😂 [dances the Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Show.] What a delightful surprise!

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Lol same here 🤣

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Same!

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Same here. I thought I clicked the wrong post! This feels so surreal...

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I gasped and squeaked! Glad to see you back in Bean-world @javabeans.

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Welcome back @javabrans!! Does this mean that @girlfriday will join soon too? Fingers crossed!!

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Knight Flower (Series review) - Mood progression: C- / C- / D+ / D+ / D+ / D+
Was it fun to watch? Yeah, I don’t hate it, but it’s tough to like it either. Was it also incredibly overwrought with an incredibly cliche historical plot? Also yes. The show spent so much time on the pointless tragic backstories and political machinations that I couldn’t really buy into any of the romances that the show teased for that happily ever after. It should’ve been a deep dive into the discrimination that widows faced (or in general, the societal roles or titles for women) or how class differences can hinder love (or in general, social mobility). But then of course missing oppa! I survived the murder of my parents! Yawn.

Marry My Husband (Series review) - Mood progression: D+ / D+ / D+ / D+ / C- / D / D / D
Despite sharing significant similarities with another revenge show involving time travel, I wasn’t really under any impression that this show would be a brainless makjang (the other show admitted to it outright). But unfortunately the 3rd quarter was a writing disaster that the story could never recover from. I didn’t really enjoy anything in the show despite the good acting.

Flex X Cop (Episode 5-6) - Mood: D+
I’ll take a win when I see one: 1) no love triangle (yet) and the consolation prize has already been prepared, 2) a slight hope that the OTP might be able to win over their adversaries in the reporter and the other team leader, 3) an arc about FL’s dad finding his passion once again. The problem’s the political drama and family history for the OTP: that keeps my hope down.

Doctor Slump (Episode 7-8) - Mood: D
I was so close to jumping in joy when the writer resolved the setup but of course we had to have the Kyung Min reveal since we can’t go without lame external drama. The show’s spending way too much time on filler scenes and it’s very absurd that Jeong Woo got to overhear Ha Neul’s private therapy session. And there’s more to Kyung Min regarding Jeong Woo, I think.

Branding in Seongsu (Episode 9-12) - Mood: D
With the show already halfway done, it really needed to have resolved the whodunit by this week if it wanted any chance of developing the fantasy side of things. Instead, they turned the body swap shenanigans into more uninteresting cliffhangers because well both kisses would be highly manipulative. There was hope about characterisation last week which dissipated.

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Just for kicks, I decided to review my current dramas for their memorable male characters after doing the same for the ladies last week. No surprise, I'll start with Lee Jong-won and Jo Jung-suk, who play romantic leads of completely opposite natures. In Knight Flower, LJW won the fandom with his upright and adorable soldier who places his lady love on a pedestal—and who can blame him? Whereas in Captivating the King, JJS plays our eponymous king, a man of complex and tragic circumstances who might murder his leading lady as much as worship her—and, also, who can blame him?

Speaking of murderous men, Lee Yi-kyung in Marry My Husband came to a fitting end. But for much of the series, he was a delicious villain who made me laugh (with/at him) as much as shiver in distaste—those close-ups of long, narrow and glistening teeth...all the better to eat us with!

A shout-out to Ahn Bo-hyun in Flex x Cop, who's doing a marvelous job of playing our fun, flamboyant chaebol lead with a sweet but deeply traumatized inner child. (Is there any other kind in dramas?) And I'm warming up to Park Hyung-sik in Doctor Slump, the more we see his contemplative, earnest side.

I can't help but give another shout-out to the leading men of Live Your Own Life. While I dropped the drama a long time ago, it's been fun reading the passionate claims of TeamTae-min vs. TeamTae-ho on the weecaps. As for whom I'd choose for our leading lady, I'd say get the heck out of chaebol city and live your own life!

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Your comment in the MLs of Knight Flower and Captivating The King is spot on!

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I’m just thrilled when dramaland gives me two such different swoony leads in one week. Beanie hearts can hold multitudes. 😉

(And keep the long hair LJW. And the beard JJS!)

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PHS needs to tone down his 'cutesy' act. He really is the best in emotional and quiet moments. I think the next few episodes is where he will shine.

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And honestly I hate the fact how much he is loved for his cutesy act. It's like there are two PHS fan universe and never the twain shall meet. Sigh!

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I think you’re right. It’s the Strong Girl vs Happiness camps. But hey, if we started with one in Slump, we have time to migrate to the second. Win-win!

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I for one can skip those cutesy stuff....and then bam! In comes the most cute confession scene of all times and I realise possibly he is one of the very very very rare actors who could actually pull it off and would not exchange him.

He was not this silly in SW at all. He was full of swag and arroagnce which really suits him. Minus that swag and arrogance, and I am like, please don't get typecast (and I still watch it and laugh like a loon).....
That bathroom scene though.....

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I will always defer to you @minniegupta1 on the finer points of the PHS oeuvre. 😘

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Lol thank you. I will take it as a compliment :D

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@minniegupta1

Happiness will remain (for me) his best romance drama he has done so far! What an irony that I found his best romance in a zombie drama.. lol.

I know I am being ageist here, his age now shows, so at times the cutesy act is a bit cringe. It was adorable in Heirs. Again, I am still not totally thrown off because its PHS. He still managed to make it look sweet for most parts.

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I think of the cutesy moments like the big puppy dog he is. From prior interviews it sounded like he found it stifling to play such a serious role as our blooming youth and he was excited to be goofy and laugh and have fun while filming Doctor Slump. So I guess maybe I just see that as the character being allowed to let his pent up inner self out with her his safe place. Imagine how stifling his family home must have been and how deferentially respectful he was with his mom when she left him to join his dad in the US on business.

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@mayhemf I adored him in Happiness but I also oved him in SWDBS. OBY remains my favorite work of his (I know, not the most popular choice, but I would do a lot to see an angst ridden character once more vs the cutesy ones) and he pulls off comedy with a serious face with an equal prowess, so I hear you.

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@minniegupta1 PHS and Junho are 2 actors I found to be different in each role they played. After watching Chief Kim, I went back to check Junho's filmography and was like "what, he was in Just Between Lovers?"!!

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I had seen him in Happiness first and then Strong Woman. I didn't realize he was the same guy. After watching Strong Woman, I liked him/was curious about him so I checked out his filmography and that's how I realized he was the guy from Happiness.

All that to say: I liked him in Strong Woman haha

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How many times I have read this - people not recognizing that they are played by the same actor barely three years apart. I didn't recognize him in Heirs because I started with him in Hwarang and then OBY. I could not even reconcile the fact that Myung Soo and Crown Prince Yi Hwan were one and the same person. He is incredible.

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He also, umm, looks very different in these two incarnations. I know which one I prefer. ☺️

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Oops. Hit send before finishing my thoughts. But I guess everyone knows all the fuss over his physical changes between those roles.

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@indyfan, I actually watched Hwarang and High Society before diving into Heirs (Lee Min Ho phase), and believe it or not, I still didn't recognize him! There's this one look he gives, you know, face down and eyes up (always the eyes), and he did it once and I was like, "Wait, is that who I think it is?"

Happiness ended up being the last one I watched because zombies aren't really my thing. Can you imagine it becoming a timeless popcorn favorite?

I have this funny memory from when I was just starting to explore k-dramas/c-dramas/j-dramas. It eventualy became a sobering experience. There was this one poster with a petite, frumpy woman carrying two gorgeous guys that kept popping up, and every time I saw it, I'd think, "Who watches these ridiculous shows?" Yes, it was SWDBS and Park Hyung-sik looked so stunning in that poster that it actually put me off. I lost count of how many times I scrolled past it. So yes, I was one of those people who associated prettiness with effeminacy, but boy, have my prejudices have bitten the dust! One episode of Hwarang was all it took to make them crumble like a rotten piece of wood. I stand corrected and humbled.

And that's why I recommend Hwarang as a starting point for most. It really drives home the message for discriminators like me, with style. And my PHS fan club invariably gets a new member lol!

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No one talks about Suits? He's so good in that one too. The scene he said goodbye to his grandma in epi 15. I still thought of that scene once in awhile and feel that heartbreak. He's so good.

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@waiki: Suits is my all time favorite. That grandmother scene and another one - the one in which he faces the druggie spoiled brat (anyone thinking of Marry My Husband here? lol!) and threatens to throw the bucket of drug filled alcohol at him? That swag! And the cockiness - I do think he outdid original Mike, and I love Mike Ross and not taking anything away from him, but PHS had very limited material to work with and he brought his A game. This series is the only one where I thought he 'prettiness' was a distraction (and he is without makeup, especially without any of that aweful strawberry gloss the make up idiots put on him). He rocked it.

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@Minnie, I love American Suits when I first watched it years ago. But too many seasons I didn't finished the series. I like the one season K-version. Definitely like PHS' Mike more than the original Mike. What's the deal with those lip gloss and why they insist on putting them on MLs? Yeon-woo in his cheap suit and bad haircut, still very handsome.

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Yup, very very handsome. I wish they would stop putting these awful lip colors on these naturally good looking actors. They do more bad than good.
I watched five seasons of American Suits and loved the K-version to pieces.

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JW is a bit too goofy at times, but he's also totally adorable when he's OTP silly. I don't think JW resembles MinMin at all. MM is arrogant/confident, full of himself but never silly, while JW is goofy and childish. I feel that he's doing the OTP facial expressions to fit the character but also set JW apart from MM.

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THANK YOU!! Finally someone said it. This is what I have been saying all along. This guy is not Min min at all, no two ways about it. He looks similar and as both characters played their real ages in both the series, the facial changes also set them apart.

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On LYOL- I still agree with the Shaman about UEE needing to stiff arm both TM and TH but I have to admit that TH has been growing on me lately.

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I have never seen a shipping war on DramaBeans. And I don’t think this was it. Or was it? In any case, it’s as close as I’ve come. Both sides have been INTENSE. It was fun watching it from the sidelines. But now it does seem Tae-ho is winning.

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When you speak of Team Tae-ho and Team Tae-min that is indeed a shipping war- or has been. But please note that we were very civil and respectful about it. Opinions were well expressed with cogent and well supported arguments.

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I am not watching LYOL but I vividly recall 2 DB shipping wars. Both were rather massive at the time (and I participated in both):
1. tvn’s A POEM A DAY (2018). The more traditional (I think) which guy (Min-ho, Dr. Ye) will get the gal (Bo-young).
2. JTBC’s ITAEWON CLASS (2020). Maybe less traditional which gal (Yi-seo, Soo-ah) will get the guy (Sae-ro-yi):
I personally shipped:
1. Min-ho/Bo-young
2. Soo-ah/Sae-ro-yi.

Oh happy days. As I recall, of the two the ITAEWON CLASS shipping war might have been the more intense.

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"Oh happy days." 😂 I love your reaction to Shipping War memories. Well, we didn't participate in LYOL, but I'm sure dramaland will throw us more opportunities in the future. I don't mind intense as long as it's civil as @oldawyer said of LYOL. (Famous last words.)

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@indyfan, civil is always the way to go.
Lol, however during the APAD run iifc our DB recapper @saya did intervene in the comments and ask us to maybe lower the temperature.

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Ahn Bo-hyun is doing such a nice job with a pretty stereotypical character - it looks like he's having fun, and that makes him more fun to watch!! 😊

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It really is so much fun. I know we all mentioned Castle but I also get Miami Vice with all the flash. Let’s hope it doesn’t forget the fun amid the sudden flare up of Male Trauma Syndrome, Chaebol Variant.

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Flex x Cop: 7.5 Not great, but entertaining.

Dr. Slump: 6.5 They were doing well until the Noble Idiocy at the end of day 8 cost them a couple points. Park Shin-hye is totally nailing some parts of the show. When she is happy I'm happy, when she's freaking out I'm laughing, but when she is sad I'm bored.

Captivating the King: 6.5

Knight Flower: 7.5

Goryeo Kitan War: 4.0 Who needs Khitans this week when Goryeo has Goryeo?

Queen of Divorce: 7.5

Love Song for Illusion: 5.0 I'm a few weeks late saying this, but next time you see a king who wants to marry a woman who already has a son, tell him to accept the kid as a stepson, NOT as his illegitimate bio-son. It would save a lot of trouble for his real son, plus sparing us this silly Bean Watch.

It's been a week of grim and determined Bean Watches (Captivating / Goryeo-Khitan / Illusion), but I've been spending some time on other things, including:
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A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry - https://acoup.blog/author/aimedtact/
a blog mostly about Greek/Hellenistic/Roman history. I especially enjoyed his playlist about how lame Sparta was.
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Adorea Olomouc, a Youtube channel that shows swordfighting done right, or at least far better than sageuks or Hollywood. If you five minutes to spare... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwHNzL9-zpg
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income taxes

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Devereaux's entire This.Isn't.Sparta series is brilliant. And Sparta as he describes it has some interesting parallels to Joseon society - not least how ideology was allowed to trump societal viability.

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Oh come on, your Lordship Cobol, be more merciful to Captivating The King! 🙂🌸

(I’ve already filed an extension. Sigh.)

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@lordcobol Ep 9 proved it wasn't noble idiocy in Dr Slump, quite the opposite. For once a character says - you might be wrong for me, so we can't be together.
I really really liked that.

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What... what.. what????
I think I need a minute... refresh... my reading glasses... refresh again... it seems to be true... JAVABEANS IS BAAAACK!!!
Wecome back @javabeans ! 😘❤️

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Slump
I'm happy I was wrong and we closed the Macau case so fast. I was also surprised by the direction of the show and although I don't like much the exposition fairy psychiatrist here (and some stuff around), I like that the show is not glossing over the deep problems our protagonists have. I didn’t expect to go from rainbows and unicorns to rain so quickly, but it brought depth I missed before. Plus Park Shinhye rocks, I think I have never enjoyed her performance this much - from the shower head fight when I giggled to the broken loneliness in pojangmacha when I wanted to hug Haneul.

Queen of Divorce
It is rather weak and I was bored to death with the cult case (and Kim Sunyoung is wasted here), but the interactions between the team keep me in... and then Oh Minseok. I mean I like Kang Kiyoung and I like his Prosecutor here... but... there is so much more chemistry between Sara and her ex-husband... and I'm torn. (And the writers maybe as well... are they rewriting the history of the events with the latest reveal?? 😁)

Chaebol becoming a team member, up to ep.6
I'm really enjoying this, the colors, the music and the humor included. Chaebol's use of power like calls to a bank, a shop or a travel agency (plus all the polite assistance) never gets old 😄. And although the shows are totally different, my enjoyment is similar to when I was watching Knives Out.

I also finished Marry My Husband, watched Kang brothers bonding in sauna in Live Your Own Life and I'm terribly behind with Unpredictable Family.

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Sigh. The sauna,

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but... there is so much more chemistry between Sara and her ex-husband... and I'm torn. (And the writers maybe as well... are they rewriting the history of the events with the latest reveal?? 😁)

Right??? Did the writer hear us and are now cancelling out murders from his resume, so we can go full on SML syndrome??? And doesn't help where she constantly goes 'Oh I know him', 'he is definitely telling the truth'...

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I don't think the makers saw this coming - Sara shines the best when she is with the ex hubs, and there is something - I don't know what - that makes me want to forget their past history and go back to being together (maybe he will have amnesia and everyone will forgive him because now he has become good...hey it's k-drama, anything can happen lol!)

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I want them together so badly, even if my brain says no...

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I have never been a SL lead person. I love KKY and want him to succeed as ML but I never saw the love-villain-syndrome to hit me ever! The villain in SW Nam Soon was so good and the ML was so bland that it threw the series off kilter for me and I stopped watching it. And here I am, tuning in to QoT just for the villain...sigh!

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LOL.. Every brain cell knows its wrong, but the heart wants what it wants!! Whenever he goes running to see her, all I see it 'sparks' flying. I am like 'just kiss already'.
Also, did her face drop when she saw his naked pics with the other woman? I mean, that's not the face of the woman who wants revenge??

Also, me thinks that if he had given her visitation right over the weekend she would not have wanted to avenge him even though he put her in jail.

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@mayhemf
hehehe! She is so busy chemistrying with her villain hubs that it puts the ML in the shade (and KKY is doing a lovely job, no problem there). In some scenes he looks like he is quite the prop. I think the characters are not written very well to be honest.

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I checked the date at least 3 times!

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@Javabeans
So... ehm... you also noticed that Na Inwoo kisses like he means it. 😁😊

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Dr. Slump and Knight flower. Usually I don’t seek out romcom but these 2 shows I’m currently watching are so fun, so entertaining with no cringy or OTT situations. When the humour is done right, it’s so addictive. Lee Jongwon may be one of a few actors who look more handsome in sageuk costumes. He’s sooo attractive here.

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* more handsome in sageuk costumes than in modern outfits (but I haven’t watched him in any other show, I just looked up his photos).

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He looks fine in modern clothes!! I am eagerly waiting for his next modern drama. He was the hot barista in 'Unfamiliar Family'.

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He looks great in "Golden Spoon." The drama overall, and his character's arc, quickly takes a major downturn, so exit after getting a nice long look at him in the first few episodes.

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Thank you for the advice!! I’ll do that.

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When they were both masked I was like, "wait, which one is the woman in disguise?"

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Me too 😂

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