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Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 18, 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

Lovely Runner: I feel the angst machine whirring into gear and honestly I could do without it, but what I appreciate about this show is that every time challenges rear up and happy days are thwarted by fate/time/Sol’s misplaced sense of heroism, things change direction and come back to center relatively swiftly. What’s interesting is this pattern that’s emerging where Sol’s actions to divert an outcome are literally the impetus for causing that outcome, and I’m hoping she and Sun-jae figure that out soon because that’s a heavy burden to bear. I’m very relieved that he isn’t just letting her dictate what happens and is taking an active hand in his own decisions, even (or especially) when they contradict hers, because girl could use a little help in that department. Curse those misleading visions! Meanwhile, I’m loving the budding friendship/bromance with Tae-sung, which reminds me a lot of the True Beauty dynamic that was so winsome — I don’t want the second guy to be hurt in his one-sided love, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for his side of the love triangle, either. I’d like to root for both Sun-jae and Tae-sung to have all of the happiness, without creating a winner or loser in these shipping wars. Look at me, being all mature after all these years.

Queen of Tears: Finally finished this, and it was a little bit exhausting. I found this show disappointing in many ways, particularly as the show came armed with a full arsenal of potential and was buoyed by a fantastic cast capable of carrying (and raising) its material. But ultimately, it felt like the writer — who has built her illustrious career on witty, sparkly rom-coms that elevated the genre in many ways — has arrived at a place of complacency in her career and is now reaching back into her old bag of tricks and redressing them in flashy designer duds rather than figuring out new ways to tell these stories. So while all of the emotional beats came at the right moments with the right music cues and right directing angles to elicit the right desired responses, those responses felt more perfunctory than genuine, and the story rang hollow much of the time. There was one point when I thought, “I swear to God if he gets hit by a car right now, I’m going to throw my remote at the TV… but no, that would be TOO obvious, not even this writer would do that now!” … only to have him subsequently hit by a car out of nowhere. I legitimately entertained the idea of throwing my remote but realized I liked my TV intact more than I liked being right.

Twinkling Watermelon: I’d been saving this for later, but I needed something to tide me over between new episodes of Lovely Runner and this drama has been an utter delight — full of humor, escapades, poignancy, and growth. I knew going in that this was about time-travel and the parents’ generation, but even so that early twist reveal setting up the premise made me laugh out loud in surprise — a mindf*ck worthy of Westworld. This drama deserves major kudos to the most perfect casting since the Answer Me series; for being mostly younger lesser-knowns, what an accomplishment in getting everyone to gel together and feel true to the story and the time. Young Dad was written and acted as perhaps the most endearing and emotionally sincere character I’ve seen in quite a long while and he made this series sing, in more ways than one. If I had to quibble, it would be at an ending that felt rather too pat to be wholly satisfying, because it was so perfect and fairy-tale-like in comparison to the slice-of-life exuberance of the rest of the series. But I’ll take perfect over unsatisfying any day, and watching how the son learned to appreciate his father all over again — and how the father grew out of his immaturity to become the awesome dad of the future — was an emotional journey worth all the tears and tugged heartstrings. Viva la vida!

 

missvictrix

Dare to Love Me: So silly, like OG K-drama candy. Despite the predictability and over-the-top humor (or perhaps because of it), I enjoyed this premiere, and thought it struck a nice balance to the madcap by adding just enough depth and character motivation to pull it together. And I really love L in this role so far; he has a lot of fun being meek and mannerly, but he also gets to be super swoony and fight bad guys.

 

mistyisles

Lovely Runner: I do not want this show to end, and I certainly didn’t want episode 11 to end. And while episode 12 wasn’t nearly as perfect, it picked back up again with the impromptu beach trip. In-hyuk is a treasure, and I cried laughing at the whole Sunny debacle (but also, I get it. I’d be just as despondent if that happened to my car). As for our lovely couple, I don’t even know where to begin — Sun-jae’s words about making his own choices even if he knows how it’ll end, the unique intimacy of Sol trusting him to look after her younger self without confusing her once she returns to the future/present, and of course Sol’s unwavering determination to fight tooth and nail to save him even though it means breaking both of their hearts (and mine) in the process. I desperately need a happy ending for these two, except for the part where this circles back to not wanting it to end at all.

 
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LIVE WATCHES
Atypical Family
Has been a bust for me in terms of its plot, and this surprised me.

Midnight Romance in Hagwon
Has been a bust for me in terms of tone, and this surprised me.

Dare to Love Me
Has been a bust for me completely (plot, acting, humor...), and I'm not particularly surprised about that at all.

Crash
The first episodes, frankly, were somewhat boring to me, and this really surprised me. They 100% cribbed the "Charlie's Angels" theme music in the first five episodes--but I don't think it's going to be as fun as all that. It's a far more gentle show, I think, than it seems and I'm going to give it the four-episode try.

Frankly Speaking
Was wonderful in its first four episodes but took a turn to the tedious and formulaic this week, which disappointed me. We are only halfway through, though! Fingers crossed for a course correction.

Beauty and Mr. Romantic
Is the only show airing right now that I'm authentically excited about, which, um, surprises me. We're in an amnesia-plot moment that actually serves as a narrative point. Crazy!

FROM THE RESERVES
Crazy Love
What fun! A traditional rom-com with a twist. If you don't like having your lead male be irredeemably self-centered and horrible in the first few episodes--no matter if he's redeemed by the end or not--this show is NOT for you. But, if you like a show that's about the real messiness of forgiveness, where folks can often do things for which forgiveness simply must be tantamount to forgetting, I recommend it highly! I really liked it.

ON DECK
Since I'm clearly in a place where my live-watch schedule is barren, I've got lots of time for continuing my binge-watching habit, both on and off airplanes (only four flights left this month!). Here's what's on my list now (having completed or tried and rejected all of the dramas on my last list)--please let me know your opinions on them!! Where should I start?
* Secret Royal Agent (srsly, is this any good?)
* Queen & I (I started this and it looks fresh for something from 2012!)
* Dinner Mate
* Zombie Detective

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I knew it was ringing a bell so I was thinking it was a Dukes of Hazzard/Blues brothers vibe but you are so right Charlie’s Angels is exactly the feel they have gone for with Crash.

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If it were as quirky as all that, it'd be great, but the first case of the week was pretty dark, yeah? Maybe as the slapstick picks up because Lee Min-ki's character can't drive?? Here's hoping!!

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**Also, it wasn't cribbed in the first five EPISODES...it was the first five MINUTES!!! Eek! What a slip :)

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I think the ‘ghost’ theme for the new case will automatically make it a lighter theme.

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Start with Queen and I.

Yoo Inna reigned supreme in here, sealed herself as a drama queen.

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Aww I'm sorry it's been all misses and no hits for you with the recent dramas! Crash seems a lot more chill than I initially thought (and - as of yet - with less melodrama), which I like. I'm finding Frankly Speaking to be a calming and relaxing watch, which highly surprises me! Once again, SO happy you enjoyed Crazy Love!! For your new list - NOPE NOPE NOPE skip Secret Royal Agent!!! The ONLY thing I liked about it was L/Kim Myung-soo, and I don't think you're a fan of his, so... 😂 It was a waste of time that I should have dropped 😩 Have you seen Secret Royal Inspector and Joy? It's SO MUCH BETTER of the two Secret Royal Inspector dramas, and leagues more fun.

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Oh really for Secret Royal Agent? I trust you implicitly on that. I do like L enough (Numbers, a know 😉), but not as a big fan. The "Joy" one is Taec, right?

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I re-read my comment, and my reaction was pretty extreme - sorry! 😅 I was very frustrated with myself after suffering through that drama lol. You could give it a two episode try for curiosity! But yes, of the secret Inspector dramas, Taec's drama was SO MUCH more fun!!!

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No apologies necessary in the least!!! If that's how you felt, that really matters to me! I'll skim the first two as you say, but it's gonna have to really grab me.

In truth, and this is also for @jerrykuvira , I started Queen & I just to see if I could take the 2012 video quality--and it really DID grab me, so I know it's possible.

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@attiton if you're now willing to go that far back into the past, I'd also recommend adding Arang and the Magistrate to your "try it" list! I think it's the best fantasy-genre drama I've seen! The video quality is quite excellent for its vintage 😉

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@hopefulromantic I am. And for you I'll start pretty much anything (we match a lot). Could I ask you one thing about Arang, though? I know you know the critiques about it, because I've seen you sing its praises before--what are your responses to those critiques? Is it just about the type of shows one likes? Or are there plot contrivances that you simply forgive--I can do that too, but what I guess I'm really asking is...do you give standing to the haters 🤣?

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@attiton hmmm... that's a good question. I'm not sure I'll fully conversant with the critiques of the haters, but I can guess, and I can say that there are a couple of tropes that I'm generally not a fan of, but (A) this drama did them the best I've seen, and (B) I was fully satisfied with how they were handled. Another thing that I loved, without getting TOO spoilery, is that the drama followed the rules it set up, but also broke them in the nicest and most logical way? The ending made me cry while laughing (relief + happiness), so there's that, too 😁

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Secret Royal Inspector has the comedy on point Lee Yi-kyung, in supporting capacity. You don't want to miss him @attiton. Do you?

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How could I forget Lee Yi-kyung?? He was another bright spot in this drama 👍

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Yeah, I'm afraid that I don't find him all that funny??

**ducks incoming rotten veggies thrown by Beanies**

I loooved him as a ruthlessly hapless villain in Marry My Husband, though, and I think that was in part because of his experience comedic timing...

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I liked both Secret Royal Inspector dramas, and I agree that the Taec and Kim Hye-yoon one was better and more memorable. Bead Boy must not be missed!

I wish there were more secret royal inspector dramas where the characters can travel to different towns and punish corrupt local officials.

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I had such a blast last summer when I watched Crazy Love. I had no expectations at all and was surprised how I much I loved it and Krystal.

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QUEEN AND I aka QUEEN IN HYUN'S MAN is the best thing ever and I will live forever on that hill. ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE is fantastic too - arguably the best k-fantasy in terms of lore, some generally hated by international viewers tropes notwithstanding (they made perfect sense there, so I never agreed with "we wanted a different ending!!!" critique it got). 2012 was a great kdrama year for a reason.

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Oh, is The Queen and I , Queen Inhyun's Man? I didn't know that title.

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Yes, and apparently Arang and the Magistrate is Tale of Arang on Kocowa?? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on that...I have to RESUBSCRIBE to Kocowa 🥹

Actually, note to my BMR peeps:

Kocowa posts episodes of Beauty and Mr. Romantic hours and hours and hours sooner than Viki.

In case that matters to you...also Kocowa allows for watching at 1.25 speed where Viki does not.

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Hmm, yes, Dramawiki lists Tale of Arang as alt title for Arang andvthe Magistrate.

Both of these shows are classics worth watching at least once.

Differences that might be worth mentioning are that Arang has thoroughly better acting and script, it avoids exhausting the viewer by injecting the story with constant comedic bits (Yoo Seung Ho's scenes! 🤣 I sometimes skim through the show for his scenes! There are also many many meta jokes) whereas Queen resorts to constant crying and angst and pretty shots in the later half.
None ended very satisfactorily for me, but for fantasy dramas of those scales it is actually not logical to expect a perfect ending.

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It's Tale of Arang on Viki!!!

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Kocowa allows for watching at 1.25 speed where Viki does not.

😮

THANK YOU for the most useful thing I learned today, or this week, or possibly this year. I've sometimes resorted to the dark side for shows that are on Viki just to take advantage of +speed playback.

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Yes, quite a few older dramas have slightly different English titles on different platforms, idk why.

AATM had better supporting cast overall, but I wouldn't call QIHM exhausting... It was primary romance while AATM was primary mystery, so heavier melo in the former didn't bother me. Also, not to be that person, but I wonder what people who had the beef with those endings think of typical endings dramas get nowadays, huh? Just sayin'^^

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That's one of the things I definitely learned from watching Crazy Love and also Wild Romance recently...for now, at least, I am FAR more willing to forgive the faults of older dramas than the faults being presented to me in 2024.

The year is still young though!!! C'mon 2024!!! Let's do this! I mean the networks/platforms keep telling us that they have all of these pre-filmed dramas just sitting on the shelf--pick some of the novel ones! Viewership is already going down, so take a risk!!! The one who finds what we all want to see right now will get a HUGE REWARD!!!

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Never said endings are better nowadays 🙂 But for myself I always prefer to know beforehand to lower my expectations for shows that are very much loved and praised. That way I can enjoy them a lot better.

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@attiton I'm officially taking back everything not nice I ever said about mid-2010s kdramas... they were still far superior to whatever we've been getting lately!

@midnight fair, but other people's subjective opinions on certain dramas endings are just that - someone else's subjective opinions. It doesn't make said dramas objectively worse - or better. I rarely ever ask for more than factual spoilers because I know that my tastebuds are built differently and what is great for others may not be so for me and vice versa...

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I had to look up Queen and I since I am not familiar with that title. Since I now know its Queen InHyun's Man, I highly recommend it. I love this drama too. Its worth every minute spent on it. The behind the scenes drama was also worthy of its own.

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I'm still sad things didn't work for their couple, but from a cynical standpoint that behind the scenes drama would've make a great romcom plot - with a different ending, ofc. Are there no daring kdrama writers left that would try it?

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I would love to watch a romcom with that plot that has a happy ending. But maybe with real life costars marrying like Hyun Bin - Son YeJin, Yeon Jung Hoon - Han Gain, Ki Tae Young - Eugene, etc it makes the storyline too real life?
But we still do get kdramas wherein top stars date someone from the industry like Sh**ting Stars, Greatest Love and Beauty and Mr Romantic, or top stars with non-industry guy, Star's Lover.

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Are there no daring kdrama writers left that would try it?

...Is my question today!! 🫢

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@jillian yes, I think the biggest "flaw" in this concept is that both parties are celebrities, which is probably not that relatable to viewers, nor is there any huge class difference that kdramas so love to put into their romcoms for additional conflict and/or social commentary. Ofc there are other ways to dramatize such story additionally - make one of them a rookie and other nation's first love veteran or something like that. Overall, I think there isn't enough of the plot for a drama - movie would be better. Which means no need to over-complicate things too much. Probably. It's not like anyone offered me money to make a full script draft of this, so I better stop here before things get out of hand)))

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Zombie Detective was so fun and wacky! I think the FL in it was a little hard to warm up to in the beginning, but keep going so you don't miss out on this gem!

Secret Royal Agent: I think I liked it better than most people. A lot of korean sageuks are quite stationary and often take place in one city, but this one had characters travelling all over the place and being outside and visiting other cities, which I felt was refreshing. It's more slapstick so the characters are more three-stooges humorous than intelligent.

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Zombie Detective is frickin' AWESOME. Choi Jin-hyuk's deadpan delivery of the internal monologues are some of the funniest lines in kdrama, period.

I loved QIHM - and found that the back-half crying didn't seem so noticeable on rewatch - but I love me some timey-wimey elements and tend to focus on those, so that may make it more palatable for me than for other people. It also has a 2ML/ex-boyfriend who I thought was hilarious but others are allergic to him.

I want to try Arang, but it has Shin Min-ah and I've only seen her in HomeCha and a few minutes of some melo thing, and she's the Queen of Aegyo and I loathe excessive aegyo so I'm fearful.

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To my memory, there's very little aegyo in Arang. She was excellent in Arang - I liked her best there compared to anything I've seen her in!

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Ex in QIHM was hysterical indeed, if sometimes annoying. It's a pity that his actor apparently didn't stick to dramas after the show, being originally a theater performer - such flawless comedic timing is rare.

I'm backing @hopefulromantic here - there isn't much of aegyeo from SMA's character in AATM. She plays like two roles in it - its complicated - but neither is cringy cute, despite each of them being very different from another. It also has one of the more - how to put it nicely? - restrained performances from LJG whom some people love to fault for excessively emotional acting. Together they make a very cool - as in seriously badass - OTP actually.

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How come no one told me that the ML in QIHM/Q&I was 우리 Pil-seung-i from Beauty and Mr. Romantic???

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT MYSELF?

I think I need to hang up my Beanie Badge.

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@attiton uhm... a) I don't watch that drama, b) it's been 12 years, it's natural that people talk about his role from so long ago less, 3) I thought everyone already knows... Sorry.

P.S. I watched quite a few of his other works after QIHM and didn't like much any of them (except one utterly trashy movie where he was a loony villain, but it was so ewww and mind screwing I'd rather forget all of it). There, I said it. *hangs head in deep shame* It's fine tho, I will still adore him as Kim Boong Do forever!

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After QIHM I was on the lookout for Ji Hyun-woo, but he's been in so many things that don't otherwise interest me for one reason or another that I've started to lose hope. Kim Boong-do will live forever, though.

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Shin Mina showed tons of AEGYO in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, but she was so young then, it suited her and her character!

she has matured nicely, even she admitted that she was too immature and egotistical in her early 20s...

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Seconding the love for Zombie Detective. And Arang, of course.

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Zombie Detective is great.
Absurd, of course, but everyone involved commits to it, and it works. Choi Jin-Hyuk proves a great exponent of K-deadpan.

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You are right about the amnesia plot point in BEAUTY AND MR. ROMANTIC- this is the first time that I have ever seen amnesia used for a narratively and dramatically useful purpose instead of just a gimmick. I normally hate the use of amnesia as a plot device, and I do not believe that I am alone in that. This is the first time that I have ever been in favor of it in a story.

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if you don't mind me asking, what do you mean about MIDNIGHT ROMANCE? is it too heavy? too light? cobsidered giving it a go (for the actors tbh) and would love to hear thoughts

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Of course! First, I should note that a lot of thoughtful commentator-beanies are really enjoying this and/or are BIG fans of the writer. So, I think you should try it ;)

But for me, I felt that I could "tell" that they're going to dwell on the difficulties and oppressiveness of the Korean educational system as the main "villain" of the drama--and I find that super-depressing. I don't like watching it played out that the "way to get ahead" is to study harder/pay more money/memorize more. Yuck.

Crash Course in Romance dealt with this at a level I could handle and not get all squicky, but even there I had to mentally sort-of-pretend that it was about "fame" rather than "education."

Tl;dr: Too heavy on a topic that I find distressing without much hope that the drama would be about forging a better world in which education isn't about oppression but instead liberation.

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interesting insight.
As a person with HEAVY test anxiety who fought through higher education with undiagnosed ADHD, this topic feels very close to home. What I want from this drama regarding this topic is not a change in the macro level, but the idea that teachers can change students lives by showing them how to handle studying and find their own path in the system (CDrama THE HOPE is a great example if this)

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ONGOING
Lovely Runner - I don't understand why Sol can suddenly share a lot of things she couldn't before. Nor do I like her choice - the whole point of last week was for her to stop doing that! But I still love our OTP - they are very k-drama-y but still feel real and incredibly sweet.

Frankly Speaking - Both the confessions (of sorts) were so great. The blowing-out the sparkler was cute. I knew Woo-ju would end up a contestant but I don't mind because the leads are just so simple and sincere together.

Chief Inspector 1958 - I liked the interplay of history with the cases. Hope the finale stays strong.

The Atypical Family - I hate everyone except I-na but I'm still weirdly intrigued by the show as a whole.

STARTED
Dare to Love Me - This was awful. No redeeming qualities at all. I'll probably keep watching.

Crash - Quirky and funny. The parking lot accident scene was hilarious. I'm in.

Uncle Samsik - It's basically telling us of the same time period as Chief Detective but with a more macro focus. Found the retelling of the events leading to the coup (even with the barely covered-up names) pretty fascinating. Sent me on a Korean history Wikipedia spiral.

C-DRAMAS
Completed To the Wonder - The depiction of different cultures in Xinjiang was interesting and beautifully shot. The story also touched on several important issues but with a light hand - laughed quite a bit and then cried too (that poor horse 😭). Recommended!

Will start Joy of Life (Season 2) today. Woohoo 🥳.

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LMAO @Dare to love Me.

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🤗

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I know that made me laugh out loud too as I was not expecting the ‘I'll probably keep watching’ at all🤣

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Ditto.

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I've been seeing screenshots from To the Wonder and it looks stunning. Thanks for the review!

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Dare to love me: 😂😂😂 I probably will watch too. When it’s bad it’s really bad but surprisingly L is doing well here. I do wish they cast a different FL. Her OTT acting is a bit hard to watch (for me). And also I don’t see any chemistry between these two.

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It was SO bad. Starting with that weirdly racist fight in the beginning, just downhill all the way. I'm mainly just curious if they are going to address any of the problems of that feudal village in any way...

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I just started watching To the wonder thanks for recommending.

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There was a weird delay in being able to add JOY OF LIFE 2 to our Viki watchlist but it is finally on there and I have informed my wife accordingly.

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Currently Watching
Carry Sun-jae and Run: 🏃‍♂️‍➡️❤️ I didn't think it would be possible to top last week's confession and kiss, but IT DID! Every week is a slam dunk to the heart.❤️
Im-sol: "If I go back tonight, don't cry, ok?"
Me: 😭😭😭
...and Sun-jae: "Sometimes you make choices even though you know the outcome."
Me: 😭😭😭
You guys, I just love this drama (and 우리 Sun-jae-ya~) SO FLIPPIN' MUCH. Next week looks brutal, though 🥲

Frankly Speaking: 👨‍💼🔊 While I miss the over the top zany comedy of week 1, I'm fascinated by the sweet character study this is settling into. There's something really calming about the ML and FL's cameraderie and attraction. This show is SO CHARMING!!! SML is two-faced and has a scary smile, though.

Crash: 🚔💥 Of the recent premieres, I chose to try out Crash! Its brand of action and humor isn't going to be for everyone, but I'm loving it so far! The opening sting operation was hilarious! But also: TODs on steroids and angsty back-stories. I like the characters, and I think this might be Mad Dog's fun cousin. If you liked Numbers, Flex x Cop, or Extreme Job, you might like this, too.

Mr. Queen: 👨‍🍳➡️👸 (1-2) My mom loved it, Beanies love it, but I still hadn't seen it, so I started it last weekend! I knew it would be fun and funny (and zesty and spicy!), but I didn't know it would also have impressive fight choreography and that I'd get IMMEDIATE SLS for Na In-woo 😭 The last two sageuk premieres just didn't work for me, so I'm glad I have this gem to enjoy! I'll be watching slowly, as a treat.

In other news...
My mom enjoyed Wedding Impossible and liked the ending. She tried Strong Girl Nam Soon and said "the ML is cute and sweet," but dropped it because the side plots were "so lame," and watching "felt like work and I don't care." She RARELY drops dramas, so that says a lot. Now she's enjoying W: Two Worlds. Oops - I forgot how disorienting and violent the opening scenes are 😅 But she forged ahead and says it's exciting and unique! But also, "it's getting absurd" and "the plot isn't making as much sense - how did she get back into the cartoon?" So it's a bit of a mix 😂

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Loving mom’s reviews🥰 I can’t believe you didn't save her from the disappointment of Strong girl Nam Soon especially if she had got trapped in watching to the bitter end if she is not in the habit of dropping. The first few episodes of Wedding Impossible were so good just thinking back on them makes me smile.

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Haha I did tell her preemptively about Strong Girl Nam Soon, but she wanted to try it anyway! I'm glad she decided to drop it! She really enjoyed Wedding Impossible and laughed quite a bit 😊

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May I also be your mom for a moment (as IF I could be as awesome as that woman)??? I'm worried about you live-watching LR!! I'm over here on the sidelines praying it won't break your heart, but why doe everyone keep bringing up different tragic love stories all the time in the comments???? Hopeful!!! Be careful!!

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Aww thank you Seon-ha!! 🥰 I'd like to think that my HB experience hardened me (Lol as if 😭) to be about to handle sad endings... I've been back and forth about doing a two-week pause for the last four episodes, but sometimes I think it's easier to just take it as it comes? The funny thing is, regardless of the outcome, I think it will be beautiful either way. We'll see.

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Have to know how to use the FF button for Stong Girl. Have her only watch when the cute and sweet ML is on screen and she might change her mind.
So glad you are liking Mr. Q. It only gets better👩🏻‍🍳🥘🍚

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Live watches only this week

Lovely Runner
Still enjoying my laugh out loud extra cute time travel story. I can’t believe we only have two weeks of fun left😞

Frankly Speaking
Still a fun watch despite the reality tv format. I am hoping they will confirm the child’s secret skills and the identity of his mum rather than drag it out.

Dare to Love
I quite like this easy watch rom com.

Crash
Loving this misfits crew working a case of the week. It’s funny whilst covering some serious issues.

Uncle Samshik
Who knew a drama about historical politics could be such a fast paced intriguing watch but I really like it and I am looking forward to the final episodes when they drop in the week.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon
I will see how I feel after these two episodes but it is looking unlikely I will stick with watching and will follow with recaps instead.

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Yeah, the child does have secret skills! What do you think they are and why aren't they more a part of the ongoing plot???

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Maybe the doctor will end up assessing the child as well. He seems to be very empathetic and can ‘hear’ how people feel. For such a young child I am not sure where those skills come from and the fact they introduced Woojoo’s mum looking at and interpreting the cards with him I don't know if they will bring that back with him having a link to maybe his dad’s spirit if his dad died…

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What’s your theory on the child?

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Well, what I WANT is for him to be a delightful, sprite-like plot device. I want him to be like a fairy in a Renaissance play that serves just to show up the human folly of the mortal characters. I want him to make little sense in terms of "actual reality" but with that being the case, his character can then (as if from above) demonstrate the importance of empathy and listening...as well as truth-telling as an art not a science or a fixed set of rules.

It could also be the case that he's a child who simply knows how to read the room and we're to imagine what it will be like to grow up with such insight and need to change to suit the adult world--that said, he knew not to tell the harabeoji's secret to his wife...

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Wow love that idea. I know it sounds bad but I was wondering if they would go with a brain tumor that gave him the skills and he would have an op and would lose the skill. He grow up as a normal little boy adopted by his step dad and maybe end up with a less busy mum as the family spent more time together maybe running their own business because the current work load is too much and the work environment too competitive and negative. Maybe he would have a baby sister and family with uncles and grandparents that adored him.

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Wow I love this! What a great analysis... so far, he's popped in and out of the narrative like Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream! I'm leaning toward him not being the FL's son, but rather the son of her sundae. But the laissez-faire parenting is disorienting, regardless of who his family is.

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Lol "sunbae," not "sundae" 🤣

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I'm intrigued by your comments on Midnight Romance, which I haven't started yet. It's giving me the same sudden lack of interest feeling that I had with QoT, which I also didn't end up watching. 🤔

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It seems to have split the beanies some love it some are indifferent. I am in the indifferent camp as the music is annoying me it takes me out the drama every time with flashbacks to Something in the rain😞

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Oh no on the music! How could they not have fixed this?! That may be the deal breaker for me on watching this one. 😢 I watched many sections of SITR and OSN on mute so I didn't have to listen to the soundtrack.

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Ok the way to see if you can do it is to watch the opening credits as that is the song that has been playing the most. I looked it up as the words seem to indicate it has been written for the drama apparently it’s released 2024 but the sound is from 60’s. The band is called The restless age and they have two songs on the sound track so far.

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@Reply1988 Thank you for that tip! I'll give it a try 🙂

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For those two shows and especially SITR, I naively assumed that the production couldn't afford more than a handful of OSTs and that was part of the reason they were played to death, but now it looks like it's a deliberate, repeated choice by Ahn Pan-seok. I wonder if his thinking is that some people love it and some hate it, but either way it gets attention? Or if he just likes the heavy-handed repetition and doesn't give a damn what the audience thinks?

On the flip side, there's the way Beyond Evil did it: it only had 3 or 4 OSTs with vocal tracks, but it had an extensive instrumental OST with multiple character- and situation-specific themes and an overarching, cohesive feel that really enhanced the spooky, suspenseful, and occasionally comedic scenes. If you have a restricted OST, I much prefer that approach.

Anyway, that's enough feedback for me to decide not to start Midnight Romance - thanks!

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I think that I am with Elinor on MIDNIGHT ROMANCE. I have not started it and probably will not. Too many shows- we have to pick and choose.

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Only 2 episodes and I already hate that song 🤷‍♀️

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I love One Spring Night. It has all the same feels of that drama, so far, so I'm sticking with it.

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Me too. Loved One Spring Night. Heard about the end of Pretty Noona before watching it and decided to give that a pass. Started Midnight Romance but it was feeling a bit formulaic. Younger guy who knows what he wants. Ambivalent older woman who is drawn in by his emotional openness and single mindedness. Who wouldn’t want that? Starting to feel a bit manipulated. But really all shows manipulate. I could be wrong. I often am.

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Crash: This was so much fun. Let’s please stay fun.

Dare to love Me: Nope, lol. Hated the first episode and was bored by the 2nd. So, it is a drop for me.

Lovely Runner: I hate the characterization Im Sol. She is exhausting for me. She keeps making decisions without thought thinking that she is going to save Sun Jae. It makes this drama a chore for me to watch. I’m only watching to get my bean at this point. This show has so many parts of it that have potential, but then they waste time on stupid things. Sigh.

Frankly Speaking: This is like my balm after the drama of Mon-Tues dramas, lol. It is fluffy, kind, wholesome, and adorable. It isn’t super funny, but the rom is roming and that is really fantastic.

Uncle Samsik: I like it well enough. I think it is now getting to the juicy part. We know all the players and the set-up is there. Let us see what they do.

The 8 Show: I saw the first episode and it didn’t mind it. I started the 2nd show, can see where it is going and I have no desire to watch anymore, lol. It isn’t bad, but I think I need the headspace to watch it and I am simply not in it.

The Atypical Family: This was a drop. Worse forced romance EVER. Terrible People. The only good spot is I-Na, and unfortunately, she isn’t enough to keep me.

Chief Detective: Aww we are at the end. Hopefully it is a good send-off.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon: Excited for the rest of this. I enjoyed the first two episodes.

Bridgerton Season 3: Will watch the first 4(I am still so annoyed by this, lol) this weekend.

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Re: Frankly Speaking - "It isn’t super funny"

I think I'll keep this in mind when I'm watching this week's episodes. Comedy hardly strikes a landing for me. And this one is not striking it at all.

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The "rom" is "romming" 😂

This is true, but with the addition of all the new contestants and loves and stuff, I'm starting to get confused about who's playing what role (like in a real variety show), and that is a bummer.

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None of the contestants made an impressions. Sadly the one person that did left 😅

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I completely agree--why didn't she stay to compete directly for the ML's love alongside our (hopefully quite villainous) 2FL and our FL??? Isn't that what "variety shows" are about??

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Lol, she was kind of fun, but it looks like the 2FL will be our new villain, sigh.

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I appreciate not particularly caring about the other couples. It means they are background. I prefer our OTP being it!!!

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I don't mind the lack of comedy, especially when they tried and it didn't land for me, so I'd rather they just not be funny at all. Lol

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Was wondering if B3 was going to come up. I will not watch until I can watch all!!

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Yeah, if my friend wasn't coming, I would wait until June to watch it all. I complain about it to everyone who will hear me, lol.

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Gotta get that bean! 🤣 Hang in there, you only have 4 more hours to go!

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Flex X Cop: (Up to episode 11) This is a really fun procedural! I already know to be disappointed by the brotherly betrayal and the ending that anticipates season 2, so I think I’m ready to just enjoy this for what it is. I find Jin Isoo much less annoying than I was expecting, and the smoldering but understated chemistry between Jun-young and the forensic pathologist is amazing.

Somehow, I am only watching one thing right now. My partner and I started a rewatch (for me) of Like Flowers in Sand this week, and we are planning on watching Uncle Samshik the minute he is available, but other than that, I’m just working straight through a binge-watch for the first time in forever. Of the currently airing dramas, is there something I should definitely pick up next? Lovely Runner is on my radar, but I can’t decide if I should wait for it to finish before starting…

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FxC Season Two needs to be ONLY about Jun-young and Ga-hee. Seriously--I would love for everyone else just to stay friends. Oh, our best and most glorious maknae (sorry @zindigo, that's the expected spelling!!) can also find his match--make it a noona romance just for the ratings?

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This is the first season 2 I actively wished for, and then when it was announced, I was like WHOA 😮 Their team is the best and I need more of them!!!

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Lol, the beauty of DramaBeans is that everyone does and says things their own way... and we still all get along 😉

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Wait I thought the adorable Kyung-jin already had a girlfriend! Don’t tell me they break up!

I admit I’m a sucker for romance, so I don’t mind everyone pairing off, but you’re right that this is an instance that I think I would be equally happy if they didn’t.

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Oh heavens, don't fret...there's no spoiler in my comments...just forgetfulness. I remember now him saying he has a girlfriend, but we never meet her, I don't think??? Let's have it!! 😘

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We see her suuuper early on and probably never again, but she does exist!

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I just remember thinking, “Yes. It makes sense that he is the only person on this team who has a romantic partner.” 😂

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She made an apparence at the beginning. The actress was his costar in the drama Cheer Up! and made a cameo in Flex.

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FLEX X COP has the best smoldering understated chemistry couple ever. You wonder just when Jun-young will finally wake up and do something about it.

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Fingers crossed for season 2!

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You know its love when he doesn’t complain about getting into the car🤎🤎🤎🫰🏻

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Frankly Speaking - I'm disconnected from this for most of the time. But I'm sticking with this for Kang Hanna and Go Kyung-pyo.

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I don't know if this factors in cause it is not kdrama.

I also watched Bridgerton 3 Part 1 this week and I'm so glad I didn't get attached to Lord Debling from all the teasers going round. Cause goodness gracious, this man is not for Pen. It is not about him not proposing to Pen, he's unyielding and focused on his pursuits alone. He should go for Portia instead.

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Go Kyung Pyo has the most endearing sad face... he alone makes me want to watch it, tho the plot is not to my liking...

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Waiting for some dramas to premiere.

After a busy two weeks at work, I have come to sample some of Yoo Jae-suk's YouTube talk show, 뜬뜬 DdeunDdeun. I still miss the Korean network long-form talk shows but YT now has a wide variety of them.

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I kinda miss the earlier days of DdeunDdeun cause it was even more casual. It really was like Jae Seok just hanging out with his friends and now it's just more of a stop on the press circuit.

It's funny to say "earlier days" when I think the channel is not even a year old or maybe it's a bit of a year haha

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My wife and I finished CRAZY LOVE and we both heartily recommend it.

DARE TO LOVE ME is simply fun. FRANKLY SPEAKING is an even better show: Kang Hanna is perfect in it.

After completing her re-watch of WEAVING A TALE OF LOVE my wife is now well into WEAVING A TALE OF LOVE 2, which she really likes a lot, but has paused. Why? Because the newest season of OUTLANDER was now available and when she completed her watch of that show part 1 of season 3 of BRIDGERTON was available- which she started but discovered that she needed a re-watch of season 2. Such is the tortured path of drama watching- but now she has completed as much of Season three as Netflix will Currently allow so back to WEAVING A TALE OF LOVE 2.

Dramatically our weekender BEAUTY AND MR. ROMANTIC has been very well-paced, but it was with some trepidation that I faced the two-year time skip that occurred in the first portion of episode 16 – with our FL ‘afflicted’ by amnesia (Oh no, I thought). But in fact, for once amnesia was a blessing and not an affliction at all. The Halmeoni who unconsciously adopted her had not only paid for her medical treatment but for two years has showered our FL with all the love she never got from her despicable mom. Meanwhile, rather than simply leaving the side couples hanging we had seen the FL’s younger brother return to America- but as Mi-ra’s friend while her older brother had been dumped by our ML’s aunt. We have been told what happened during the two years: Our broken hearted ML threw himself into work and is now a successful director, Mira has been haunting the subway station where she met and fell for our ML in hopes of catching a glimpse of him (she is obviously at least as romantic as her half-brother) and our FL’s younger brother had to return to the ROK and then cut ties with his family, a better example of living his own life than was ever seen in the previous weekender. What does all this mean? That our writer has changed the format of weekenders. Instead of a long-drawn-out version of a standard K-drama with extra characters what we have instead is episodic in the truest sense: There was the initial 3-episode chapter from the FL’s childhood and then a twelve-episode chapter which ended in apparent tragedy and was really almost a complete K-drama in itself, which is why it moved so fluidly and quickly. With episode 16 we began a third chapter and the story actually picks up more naturally because the writer was careful in handling the side characters in preparation for the two-year break. Our writer has invented a new format for weekenders: A story told in chapters. Dramatically it is working. This new format may become the template for future weekenders.

JOY OF LIFE 2 is now available on Viki.

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My wife and I are also almost all the way through FLEX X COP, and I have begun to watch THE ATYPICAL FAMILY.

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So glad to hear you and your wife enjoyed Crazy Love!! Kang Hanna is wonderful in Frankly Speaking - she sparkles with Go Kyung-pyo!

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Sparkles is a great word for her in this show. She is one of my favorite actresses for a reason.

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I was prepared to drop Beauty after that depressing ep14 (horrible Mom, Oppa not fantastic either, seemingly bleak future ahead.... not what I want from my weekenders), but your description may pull me back, the show is turning out to be different than what I feared.

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You might want to hang in there just to see if this new template is a workable model for future weekenders.

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Chief Detective 1958: 8.5 Splicing in history adds a lot to the show but is probably more meaningful to Koreans who know more of the background and who live in the results of that history.

Missing Crown Prince: 7.4

Lovely Scammer The Atypical Family: 7.5 I keep wanting to drop the "The" and insert a space "A Typical Family". This show is going to require some mental acrobatics now that 8 Show has conditioned me to think of Chun Woo-hee as Chaotic Evil.

Crash: 7.6

Dare to Love Me: __ Haven't started it yet.
Midnight Hagwon: __ Haven't started it yet.

Lovely Runner: 6.5 Ep 11 - Did anybody not see the Condom Catastrophe™ coming as soon as the guy said he had a bag of them for the other guy who was getting married? And in view of S.K.'s low birth rate, aren't condoms as wedding gifts a bad idea from a national wellbeing point of view?
Also, buy only quality non-tearing shirts and plastic bags.
Ep 12 - Probably unpopular opinion here, but I'm not a very romantic soul and I thought they wasted too much time on boring silliness. Locking the father in the bathroom... which bedroom/tent to sleep in... drowning that car... Don't they know the only approved ways to destroy a car in Kdramaland require either ToD or FHoD (Falling Human of Doom). And outside of Kdramaland, who keeps a tent in their living room?

Uncle Samshik: 2.05 For those who aren't getting enough history from Chief Detective? Guess I am getting enough because I wandered away at 20:55 of ep 1.

Frankly Speaking: 8.0 What if their dating show went all 8 Show?

The 8 Show: 4.88888888 Bean⌚ It was only 8 relatively short episodes, but I think they should have stopped at 5. They were going in circles too much. For the talent show in ep 3, 2F could, ya know, Just Dance. If you don't know what I'm talking about, https://asianwiki.com/Lee_Joo-Young_(1987)

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Lol @ Falling Human of Doom 😂

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@lordcobol. You and I might be the only ones old enough on this site to know just how ridiculously unreal that car scene was, because the one thing we learned from commercials in the 1960s was that the VW bug floats! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz7qxQcRYl4&t=12s

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Yes- but not indefinitely- eventually the Bug will sink too.

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LOL FHoD!

I really like Atypical Family, but your mention of wanting to insert a space to make it "a typical family" - LOL- reminded me of how I thought the family wasn't really that atypical. Of all the dysfunctional families in kdramas, this one isn't that atypical.

The bathroom scene was probably a way to resolve the feud of the two families, but it lasted so long that I wondered if there was some screen-time contractual obligation for the actor.

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i had a hard time watching Chun Woo Hee in The 8 Show also... i was just getting to a point where i thought we could trust her in The Atypical Family - but now i'm skewing back to suspicious because of the initial intent.... shouldn't have watched that awful 8 Show, i hated it. pure unadulterated violence, gore and meanness in a Pee Wee's Playhouse set...

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The May drama glut has arrived. Help!

Lovely Runner (through Ep. 12): Sol and Sun-jae are as sweetly squee-ful as ever, but gosh, it feels a bit like we're going in circles at this point. Sol hasn't evolved away from her theory that the only way to save Sun-jae is to push him away, no matter what he says, feels or does. I'm kind of ready to leap to the present and see how things shake out.

Frankly Speaking (through Ep. 4): The OTP have lots of appeal as kind, regular-seeming people (truth-spewing curse aside). But I have concerns about the reality show storyline and the love triangle, two of my least favorite devices/tropes.

Midnight Romance in Hagwon (through Ep. 2): I like the leads and their conversations. It's like watching a pair of dancers or, at times, sparring boxers. I appreciate the insights into the educational system as well but hope that the show's balance still tilts toward the titular romance.

I Am Not a Hero (through Ep. 4): Interested but not emotionally invested. We'll see who ultimately ends up using whom. In a different show, Yi-na's talent would be pyrokinesis and everyone would have to watch out. As the innocent in a minefield of morally dubious characters, I hope she's treated well by the script.

Beauty and Mr. Romantic (through Ep. 16): Best use of amnesia in a long time -- maybe ever -- has given the FL freedom from her abusive mother and a new, carefree outlook on life. Given the rapid pacing of this show thus far, it surely won't be long before the ML starts to find this new production assistant oddly familiar. Also rooting for fun interactions between the adorable and principled Ma-ri and Do-jun.

Dare to Love Me (through Ep. 2): A cute watch when taken as lightly as the FL wishes to be treated; otherwise the existence of the Joseon village becomes quite the downer. Are the residents (especially the women and laborers) living there of their own volition? It'll be hard to reach a HEA without confronting the entrenched inequality that the ML seems oblivious to thanks to his gender and class.

Missing Crown Prince (through Ep. 10): Might consider dropping, except that it doesn't take long to watch with fast-forwarding. The plot is kind of bonkers, so I guess that's why I'm still around.

And then there's Joy of Life 2 and Bridgerton 3. There are literally not enough hours in the day.

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Lovely Runner (Episode 11-12) - Mood: C-
I mean, we just barely escaped noble idiocy last week only to charge into it this week. Also, there is a marked uptick in filler scenes: there was only the secondary couple to worry about previously but now we have a voice crack, a car loss or even a random stuck in toilet arc that I hope isn’t a precursor to the OTP being step-siblings. Lol, I’ll laugh if that’s the final drama.

The Atypical Family (Episode 3-4) - Mood: D+
They had to make the FL somewhat palatable for the eventual OTP romance, so of course she’s not truly heartless and she only scams because her adoptive family are 2D antagonists needed for the setup of this narrative. But Moon Woo Jin has finally grown up enough to be part of a love triangle! Sadly, it seems like his job in this project is to look really pretty.

Frankly Speaking (Episode 5-6) - Mood: C-
Not the Love is for Suckers trauma! But really, it is very difficult to get the show-within-a-show concept right, when you’re throwing in so many characters and caricatures and cliches all at once into a narrative. Honestly, it’s hard to say the writing’s doing anything right when the FL has now become a contestant. I do have a bad feeling things are going downhill?

Crash (Episode 1-2) - Mood: D+
The plot is pretty much a paint by numbers police procedural, featuring a low EQ, high IQ ML with trauma alongside a feisty FL who’s physical and reckless. The director seems to be a fan of gratuitous backward driving scenes and didactic PSAs (a repeat from Taxi Driver) but I guess there’s value in casting against type (except for Baek Hyun Jin, lmao).

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Taxi Driver had PSAs? I don't remember that.
I think I remember them using quotes or adages but I'm not sure.

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Kang Hanna has the acting chops to pull off being a part of the "Cast" in FRANKLY SPEAKING and given that she now has to compete romantically with the ML's 'First Love' maybe it even makes sense for her to assume such a dual row within the drama.

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A lot of shows but none of them really have my attention.

Crash This show is not really original. But I like the characters.

Dare to Love Me I need more time to make an opinion. Is it just a romance and I need to stop thinking or is it more than that and will show some interesting different points of view ?

Lovely Runner I still think the show will have been better if the depression of Sun-Jae was the "villain" and not a random guy who can be everywhere and whose intentions are still unknowns for now.

Frankly Speaking It's one of these shows where the lead has a job in the plot and after 2 episodes, he's doing something completely different...

The Atypical Family I think if the ML didn't have a daughter I could have forgiven his behavior but in this case, he's way too selfcentred.

Chief Detective 1958 This drama surfs on lot of themes but never treated them really in depth.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon It's the only drama I'm 100% invested in!

Uncle Samsik I watched the first episode and I had to read about this era because it's hard to follow just like this.

The 8 Show Pathetic characters thinking only about money are not the most interesting. I will try the second episode.

I will see if I finish Begin Youth and Chairman of Class 9.

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Totally forgot I watched Crash haha. I might need to be reminded to watch each week.

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I copy the list on the right of the page and eliminate the ones I don't watch and add the ones that are not on the list like Cupid that never made the list 😂

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I do this too. It is why I forget dramas not on the list.

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I know I would always forget some dramas if I didn't copy the list 😅

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@kurama I fear we are in the same place with our live watches. Everything's blah for me (too)!! I have BMR and you have Hagwon...but fingers crossed that the next batch is more our speed????

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I need a new drama by The Matchmakers' writer! One that makes sense with lovely characters.

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I agree about the depression part of Sunjae. This is something I'm Not a Hero does better for me (even with the daughter neglect, that's part of the trauma).
I also still don't understand why is the murderer so focused on Sol. Why Sol?

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I think the killer's obsession with Sol is supposed to be "unfinished business/the one that got away".

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Looking ahead to the remaining probable releases for 2024, I'm finding my list of dramas I'm interested in getting smaller and smaller. This year has been really disappointing on the k-drama front. Since my c-drama journey is still relatively new, I'm filling in with them for now, but I may be heading for an "all country" drama slump pretty soon. 😢

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Lovely Runner. I am still not *as* enamored or charmed as others are but there's many moments when I appreciate the actors and the characters. The start of episode 11 made me smile cause they just seemed so happy and wholesome. It's kinda infectious. It makes one wanna have a crush or be in love (the fun, fluttery parts of it). I liked seeing Sol, Sun Jae, Tae Sung, and In Hyuk together and it made me wonder WHY we ended this serial killer angle? I feel like maybe the same idea of Sun Jae "needing" to be protected could've still been told without the murderer cause there's PLENTLY of ways and reasons for an idol to be depressed and suicidal just as there are ways of them being victims of violence. Seeing the 4 of them together made me want a story that focused more on the four of them. It's irksome when I remember how threads may never be acknowledged or were kinda pointless when that could've been used some other way but that's just a peeve. It doesn't impede my enjoyment of the show. I miss the show about the fangirl and idol.

Dare to Love Me. I found the discussions in the comments more entertaining than the actual show. I'm not sure whether I would continue watching. I don't really want to but then I might be curious about what happens. I feel like the folks who like it, *really* like it so they would have a TOTALLY different reception to it than me. I think it's already fairly predictable. The most curious thing to me is how exactly does a Joseon minded guy fit in with modern society. It's hard for me to wrap my head around that. I think he's supposed to show all the "good" aspects of the philosophy/lifestyle but yeah, I don't know how to even understand it. Like even showing his wrist or collarbone was too immodest to him yet he can have a modern haircut. I'm kinda reminded of fanfic where folks just cherry pick elements they like and change the story according to their whims.

The 8 Show. I am so confused by all the smoking. I thought Koreans looked down on smoking so why would they accept/partner with a cigarette company for PPL? I appreciate the acknowledgement that women have periods and folks need to use the bathroom HOWEVER I could've done WAYYYYY less with seeing it. Just seeing those scenes made me feel as if I could smell it and nauseated me. I haven't laughed even though it's supposed to be a "dark comedy". I just thought of it as an interesting social experiment type thing. I also wondered what I would do in that situation. Which number would I have picked. Would I have just given up out of boredom and/or laziness. Which character would I be most like.

I watched reacters watching DOCTOR WHO (the modern era) for the first time and aww, it vaguely reminded me of when I first got into the show haha. I think I started watching the show during Matt Smith's tenure (the 11th doctor) but I had watched watched all the (modern era) episodes prior leading up to him (at the time,...

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...Doctor Who was on Netflix). It's nice seeing why I liked the show or seeing other perspectives that I would've never thought of or realized. Rewatching the show through the reacters reminded me of just how political or at socially conscious the show has been but I don't think folks really paid attention or acknowledged it cause it was white male doctor with often white companions amongst other white folks. (Granted, the show may be more overt about its messaging now)

Kinda reminds me of how people were critical of Jon Stewart when he came back to The Daily Show and accused him of "bothwayism" or something. Saying he needed to pick a side; it's us or them. And it's like uh, he had ALWAYS criticized *BOTH sides; he's genuinely doing nothing different.

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My first Doctor was Tom Baker 😉 You know, I couldn't knit when I was that young--but I can now...what an idea!! I think I'm gonna make a scarf, people!!

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Is it gonna be super long & multicolored? Haha

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