Quarantine viewing No. 7: The World of the Married.

Random Thoughts from watching The World of the Married, for which I will try to make it as spoiler-free as possible for those who haven’t seen it or haven’t finished it yet and don’t want to be spoiled:

1. This drama revolves around three words: Men. are. trash. :idea: Coincidentally, just the day before, I also finished watching a drama series that revolves around the concept that guys just date girls for the experience; if they want to be in a serious relationship, they’d choose another guy. (Then again, said show is a Boy Love drama.)

2. Anything broken – trust, for instance – can never be brought back to what it was before.

3. In a family conflict, it’s always the kids who suffer the most.

4. Some viewers are shipping the lead female character with the second lead male character and want them to be together in the end. For me, after seeing how things unfolded in her life, it’s better that she remained single. I mean, who says that a woman should have a man beside her to make her life complete? Of course, I’m a single woman who feels complete despite that fact, so my views are certainly different on this matter.

5. Having said that, I’m happy that in the end, this drama showed that women could be perfectly ok even if they’re not in a relationship. In fact, the ones who are single seemed to be happier. ;)

6. Marriages don’t always last a lifetime, but chismosang kapitbahays (gossiping neighbors) are forever.

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I’m often asked if The World of the Married is any good. My answer is: yes, it’s good. The pacing is just right, and the ending will make you feel shell-shocked that it’s over (which could be good or bad depending on how the viewer takes it). But have your hypertension meds or anything that makes you calm in handy, just in case. Otherwise, don’t blame me whenever you feel like strangling a character or two every episode. :aargh:

This drama featured some prolific acting performances, but two of them really stood out for me. One, of course, is Kim Hee Ae who plays the lead character Dr. Ji Sun Woo. She literally carried the entire thing from beginning to end, and carried it with style. :clap: The other one is Jeon Jin Seo as Dr. Ji’s son Lee Joon Young. The kid was able to effectively portray the inner turmoils of a son caught between his warring parents with so much restraint and maturity in his performance. Not once did he over-act. By the end of the final episode, you just want to adopt him to protect him from all the crazy-ass adults around him. It helps that he’s very cute, too. :hihihi:

Not sure if I can recommend this, though. There are viewers who watch K-dramas to relax and de-stress. If that’s your agenda, this won’t help at all.

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Quarantine viewing No. 4: Hyena.

There’s always that one moment when someone recommends something out of the blue, you decide to check it out with no expectations whatsoever, and you end up with a pleasant surprise. Hyena belongs to that category.

Out of the many recommendations from various friends, two people mentioned this K-drama to me: one is a colleague who said that she and her daughter liked it; and another from a friend from the K-entertainment (and at some point, Alden) fandom who bravely described it as, “better than the popular ones”. This second one piqued my interest. I know her taste. She won’t recommend something that’s not, at the very least, interesting to watch.

Another factor: Joo Jihoon is in this drama. I’m still on Joo Jihoon Fangirl Mode after Kingdom 2 and the Along With The Gods movies (I’ll devote a separate blog for the movies I saw during ECQ) so Hyena really should be next on my list.

The premise might not sound too attractive for the general viewing public. The story is about lawyers, so the automatic reaction is, “legal drama = too serious = BORING.” At least, that was my initial apprehension. First of all, it’s not a serious drama in the sense that it’s actually a comedy to some extent. Half of the scenes are light and oftentimes cute. May kilig factor rin, but not in the usual Rom-Com fashion. It’s Rom-Com for adults. No pabebe kissing here, folks. :naughty: Which should be expected because, hello, Joo Jihoon AND Kim Hye Soo. If you’re familiar with their work, you should never expect to see dead fish kissing in Hyena.

But since it’s a legal drama, it requires a lot of focus and concentration from the viewers, especially those of us who heavily depend on subtitles. I lost count of the number of times I had to hit ‘Rewind’ because I mistakenly checked my phone for incoming messages and missed a crucial line or two. And in this drama, every freakin’ line or two MUST be understood because you will miss the plot twist, you’ll end up asking yourself WTH just happened. Each episode is filled with that, and you must remember everything they said, who appeared in what episode and how did they fit in the story because it will all come back again at some point in the series. They won’t even help you with the usual repeated scenes in flashbacks which are, surprisingly and a pleasant one at that, quite few here.

I know it doesn’t sound attractive right now (of the ayokong mag-isip variety), but I sometimes think we need these types of dramas that stimulate our brains. Especially when we’re on quarantine.

Anyway, I’m amazed when I did my research and found that the writer is a rookie (although Hancinema listed two projects and her first one was another legal drama in 2015). :shock: I can’t believe that a rookie can come up with something as polished as this. She probably has a legal background, given that her two dramas are both about lawyers?

I also read that Hyena was first offered to Song Hye Kyo, who declined it. I’m glad that she did. :razz: Don’t get me wrong, I’m an SHK fan. But I simply don’t think she’s fit for the role. She could be feisty (see: Full House and Descendants of the Sun) but still a bit… sweet? On the other hand, Kim Hye Soo is just PERFECT for this. She’s a great actress, she’s sexy – at age 50, no less! – and she has electrifying sexual chemistry with Joo Jihoon. Well, both of them, individually, have electrifying sex appeal, regardless. It just blended so well on this drama.

As for Joo Jihoon, what can I say. That man has now entered my list of competent Korean actors who are not just pretty faces. The guy can really act. :clap: Such a dashing debonair, too. When women swoon over him, you just understand why. That innate Royal Aura still works even if it isn’t a sageuk drama.

Viewers of Kingdom would be delighted to know that the actor who played the bumbling Beom Pal is in this drama, too.

So. Dare I follow what my friend said and say that Hyena is better than the popular ones? I say, HELL YEAH.

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Quarantine viewing, No. 1: Crash Landing On You.

Since we’re still on Enhanced Quarantine brought about by COVID-19 and I do have a lot of time on my hands, I’ll be writing a series of blogs on what I have been watching while stuck at home. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep my word on this. I oftentimes get lazy, ya know. :hihihi:

Side note: I initially thought that this should be No. 2 since Kingdom 2 is No. 1, but I realized that I technically binge-watched Kingdom 2 before the quarantine started. Therefore, this is really No. 1.

Mini-review: Crash Landing On You

***SPOILER ALERT***, although I really might not need it. I think I’m the only one left in my universe who hasn’t seen CLOY. :lol:

Continue reading →

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Kingdom 2 and COVID-19.

Random Thoughts On Season 2 of Netflix’s Kingdom:

***WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS***

1. I’ve hardly been watching Korean dramas lately, no matter how popular it is. K-drama viewing requires focus; it’s not just something I can put on while doing something else. Because, you know, subtitles. :razz: However, I made exception with Kingdom Season 2. I’ve been waiting for this for ages. And since it’s only six episodes, it’s quite easy to binge-watch.

2. Right after the first 19 minutes of Episode 1, I quickly paused Netflix and posted on social media that the first 19 minutes alone is so worth the long wait. It’s THAT good. :arrow: The excitement, the thrills, the cinematography – OH. MY. GOD THE CINEMATOGRAPHY – and that last frame when Prince Chang and his cohorts were able to escape the zombie herd. That’s more than enough for me to say that I’m fully satisfied.

3. But wait, there’s more! You think they slowed down after that? No! Never! Right at the beginning of Episode 2, we see the backstory: Apparently, the resurrection plant? Was a biological weapon that they used to win the war against the Japanese. Which eventually backfired against them and wrecked havoc towards the entire kingdom. Sounds familiar, isn’t it? Wasn’t that how COVID-19 was said to have originated from?

4. At the 13:30 mark of Episode 2, I hit ‘pause’ once again and gave that awesome plot twist a freakin’ STANDING OVATION. :clap: :clap: :clap: Not only was it totally unexpected, especially at Episode 2. The execution was just fantastic. :clap: And I’m overdosing on the :clap: emoji. :hihihi:

5. Within all that fabulously-executed zombie scenes is the heart of the story: the Joseon-era political drama. It’s still classic sageuk with all the twists and turns, but still seamlessly weaved through all that blood and gore. I have to commend the writer for coming up with such a tightly-packed story that’s so fast-paced, yet leaving you wanting for more. Six episodes is just too short, ya know? We want more, and we want it NOW! (OK, maybe not now. SOON, maybe?)

6. Another reason why this drama works is the ACTING. Again, I’m amazed at how Joo Jihoon seems to have this innate royal aura in him. He could be standing in the middle of the crowd (living or otherwise) and you just know who to call, ‘Your Majesty’.

You know what? I could enumerate the entire cast including all the zombies and I’ll say they all killed it in the acting department. Everyone did so well.

7. One thing I love about Kingdom, especially Season 2: the strong female characters. :clap: Bae Doo Na’s Seo Bi is the calmest, most intelligent character in this drama. If everyone turned out dead (or undead) in the entire kingdom, she will be the only one who will survive. Meanwhile, The Queen turned out to be not just a bitch, but the Biggest Bitch Of Them All. Just when you thought her father Cho Hak Ju (Ryu Seung Ryong) is the main villain in this drama, nope, you guessed it wrong!

8. I wouldn’t want to end this review without raving some more about the production values. :clap: I just found myself with my mouth wide-open quite a number of times while watching. Amazing execution of scenes paired with brilliant story-telling + excellent acting, this drama was just top-notch.

9. Of course, since it was hyped during promo period, I watched out for Jun Ji Hyun’s cameo. She appeared in the end. Which means, there’s a Season 3 and she will be on it.

10. Apparently, Kingdom is more aligned with the COVID-19 pandemic than we all think. Other than it’s a pandemic that apparently started as a man-made experiment meant to be used as biological weapon and a lockdown is needed to avoid mass infections, it turned out that one way to save yourself from it is to take a nice, long bath. :lmao:

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“Goblin”, in bullets.

  • I’m using the above photo as my featured image, because those three made Goblin such a viewing pleasure. At least, for me. :grin:
  • I don’t remember the last time I actually lost sleep because of a K-drama. While I didn’t exactly do a marathon viewing because work and migraine got in the way :aargh: I know that if I could, I would’ve done it. It’s that engrossing.
  • This is one of those K-dramas where you kinda knew how it would end, but for some reason you want to know exactly how they would end it. You thought you already knew, but na-ah! There’s a twist in there, somewhere. This is what got me hooked for all 16 episodes.
  • I was never a fan of Lee Dong Wook – actually, if you search through all my old entries, you’d find that he’s the subject of one of the biggest rants I’ve ever written on this blog – but I find him to be super-adorable on this drama. :drool2: And at the same time, he delivered some pretty brilliant acting on some of the latter scenes. I won’t specify which is which for the benefit of those who haven’t seen it.
  • It’s kinda weird how Gong Yoo is not your traditional Korean pretty boy leading man, but he’s attractive in a lot of ways. His charisma here reminded us why everyone went gaga over him at Coffee Prince.
  • There were quite a lot of downright laugh-out-loud moments, and you would laugh louder if you’re familiar with the references. Watch out for the movie house scene. :lmao:
  • I share this observation with my niece: Gong Yoo doesn’t exactly nail the sageuk look. :neutral:
  • I’m familiar with the age gap issue that some viewers have with this drama. I didn’t quite mind because Gong Yoo’s character Kim Shin is 900+ years old in the first place, so he’s basically much older no matter how old the leading female character is. :hihihi: I did feel a little grossed out at the ending. :shutup:
  • One big factor that made Goblin work is the chemistry among the cast. They seem to have gotten really close and it radiated through the screen.
  • I absolutely love the OST.
  • I wouldn’t mind seeing Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook in another project together.
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