That ‘WTF just happened???’ moment.

I haven’t been blogging lately because I got busy. Or lazy. Or both. :lol: But after finishing It’s OK To Be Not OK (the Netflix version of the title, which I am going to adopt for this write-up; the direct translation from the Korean title is Psycho, But It’s OK), I just feel that I have to write about it. Don’t expect a lengthy, romantic prose nor interpretations of symbolism nor anything like that. This is just me in my usual Agent P self, being shallow and all. :razz:

So here it is.

Mini-review: It’s OK To Be Not OK

***I’ll try my best to keep this spoiler-free even if, I think, I’m the last one in my universe to have seen this drama. But just in case, WARNING: There might be SPOILERS.

True confession: I was kinda afraid to watch It’s OK To Be Not OK (IOTBNO). I’ve been looking forward to it, being such a sucker for anything Kim Soo Hyun. However, I’m more of a binge-watcher. I have this thing about waiting for the original run to end – or at the very least, be on its last two episodes – before I start watching because I hate having to wait a week before I know what happens next. I painstakingly avoided looking at posts related to IOTBNO to avoid spoilers. Which is not an easy task, especially when the drama blew up. Nearly everyone on my social media feeds are talking about it, even raving about it as The. Best. K-Drama. EVERRRRR. It became more difficult when even Alden Richards, whom every move I follow religiously, is posting about it.

Eventually, it almost suffered the Meteor Garden Sickness with me. But mine was more of apprehensions rather than the usual, “everyone is watching it and I want to be different” sort of thing. What if I end up getting disappointed or shortchanged? I’m OK if it’s something like DOTS or CLOY which I didn’t mind at all if I ended up not raving about it. This drama has one of my absolute favorite actors on the cast, and is being fanboyed over by another one of my absolute favorite actors. To be disappointed about it would be devastating for me.

But, the other favorite actor, Alden Richards, is raving about it. Alden, who barely had interest in watching Korean dramas even if people are practically pushing him to watch one, is even Tweeting/Instagramming about it. What’s the big deal? So, despite being stumped with work deadlines, I started watching IOTBNO before the last episode was released.

Unlike my usual trend when watching K-dramas that interest me, it took me a week to finish the first 12 episodes. Yes, the work deadlines got in the way, but if I’m engrossed with a K-drama I usually devote a day or two to binge-watch and then just worry about cramming for deadlines later. :razz: (Don’t try this at home, kids. Pawang propesyunal po lamang ang nakakagawa n’on.) And then there’s the problem of my home internet connection acting up for a day or two. Still, I don’t usually let those things get in the way of my eagerness to watch a K-drama. For some reason, I was fine with watching IOTNBO one or two episodes at a time and not on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad nor boring. The pacing was just right, the acting was superb, and Kim Soo Hyun is drop dead gorgeous, I always end up muttering “bakit apaka-pogi mong bata ka?” at every close-up of his face. :dream: I’m just not getting the usual reactions that I see on social media as regards every episode of IOTNBO. To quote them American Idol judges, it’s just alright for me.

This part terrified me. Why didn’t I react the same way as they did? Why am I not shedding tears towards the scenes or episodes which, they said, were surefire tearjerkers? Am I really that dead inside?

Still, it didn’t dampen my interest and continued watching. For three reasons:
(1) The drama’s overall theme of the dark reality behind fairy tales;
(2) It tackles mental health issues, for which I could somewhat relate;
(3) Kim Soo Hyun. Of course.

And then, it happened. The end of Episode 13. The part that made me hit that ‘Pause’ button and yell, “WHAT THE F***?!?!?!?!” in full volume at 1:30 in the morning. :whoa:

After that, I simply could not stop watching. I binge watched until the end and finished just as the sun was rising this morning. It took me a good 30 minutes before I was able to sleep because my adrenaline level was so high, it took a lot of convincing myself to get some zzz’s first in order to stop myself from turning my laptop on and start blogging.

I finally understood what they were saying about this drama’s every scene being essential to the entire story. From Episode 14 thereon, I told myself that I should’ve paid more attention to the first 13. Every little thing was nicely wrapped up in the last three episodes. The writing was brilliant. The direction was brilliant. The ACTING was super-brilliant. I was stunned, amazed, to say the least. I don’t remember ever being floored by a K-drama like this before.

My entire experience watching It’s OK To Be Not OK taught me, first-hand, one of the lessons they tackled here: do not judge quickly without knowing the full story first.

===

Just a side note as regards Alden Richards and It’s OK To Be Not OK.

I’m not just saying this because I’m his fan, he’s a fan of IOTBNO, and the drama is super popular: By the middle of Episode 1, I immediately thought that Alden Richards is perfect for the role of Moon Gang Tae. The entire character screams ALDEN RICHARDS. It actually screamed RICHARD REYES FAULKERSON, JR. to me, but I cannot elaborate, lest I be called feeling close or worse, overly delusional. Which, Agent P has always been from as far as the Rain era, so what the heck am I saying? :lmao:

Mind you, I had this thought way before Alden revealed in an interview last Friday that he became interested in IOTBNO because one of the GMA Drama writers recommended it to him and told him that he’s fit for the Moon Gang Tae role. Yes, I’m flexing something for which I have no proof, but remember which blog you’re reading. :glee:

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Quarantine viewing No. 5: 2gether, The Series.

I won’t be categorizing this as a review, because it’s not.

I wasn’t planning on watching another series after spending several sleepless nights watching Itaewon Class and Hyena. But this Thai BL (boy’s love aka. yaoi) drama called 2gether has been trending on Twitter for quite some time now, and I’ve been seeing some friends on FB who are posting about it. I’m familiar with BL, having watched some Thai movies and lakorns of the similar genre in the past. In fact, my first foray in the world of Thai entertainment – and my introduction to Mario Maurer – was the movie The Love of Siam, a film that is often cited as the first LGBTQ-themed movie that was accepted by mainstream audiences in Thailand. Also, the yaoi concept is quite common in J-pop and K-pop. Therefore, watching a rom-com lakorn where the main protagonists are of the same gender will not freak me out anymore.

Well, I’m not freaked out. I was actually amazed that the concept of homophobia is totally absent in 2gether. This is a world where genders are practically non-existent. Everyone is totally fine with boys getting attracted with fellow boys. Girls don’t get depressed when they learn that their crushes are crushing on someone who is not a girl. (Actually, I was told by fan-friends that this is exactly the reason why the yaoi concept is accepted by East Asian fangirls. It’s totally ok for them if their male idol is being paired with another male because they don’t consider a guy as their rival. They can still go on with their illusions that their idol is available because no way that he’ll fall over a fellow male. But once their male idol gets involved with a female, it’s game over. Of course that’s not really necessarily true in real life, but you get the drift.)

However, as a single female who recognizes the existence of the LGBTQ+ community, I got depressed seeing all these good-looking men getting involved with each other. I mean, c’mon, females have outnumbered the males 2:1. Do we have to compete with the male population over the man of our dreams, too? :cry: :lmao:

If you want your dose of kilig, this one’s for you. The two leads, Vachirawit Chiva-aree aka. Bright as Sarawat and Metawin Opas-iamkajorn aka. Win as Tine, will provide loads of it. Assuming that you don’t frown over the fact that they’re both men, that is. Make that REALLY GOOD-LOOKING men. With abs and all. :drool2: The story is quite simple. It’s typical teen-age romcom, except that the protagonists are of the same gender. But as I said, their universe seems to be gender-less so just try to grapple with that concept if you’re not familiar with it.

My only problem now is, I made the mistake of starting with this drama while it’s still airing. The latest episode is Episode 9 out of 13, and I finished all nine in literally an entire day. The next episode is on Friday. Waiting for it is torture.

While waiting for Friday, I aimlessly clicked on 2gether-related videos on YouTube. Big mistake. I chanced upon random clips of Bright and learned that, true to his Sarawat persona, the guy can play a mean guitar and that’s really his voice singing in the drama. Charismatic guy, and musically-inclined. Deadly combination. I must stop researching before I get hooked. :err: As for his sexual preferences, he said in a recent interview that he has never been attracted to a man but he’s not closing his doors to the possibility. Regardless of whether he’s straight or not is not an issue for me. Remember: I’m a Ricky Martin fan.

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Train to Hanyang.

Mini-Review: Kingdom

I have been amiss with my K-drama viewing for more than a year. I simply don’t have the time, energy and attention span for it lately. However, Netflix released its first original Korean series called Kingdom, which is often described as a “medieval Korean zombie movie” or as some put it, “Train to Busan meets Game of Thrones“.

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones – yup, surprise! I’m one of the few – but I have seen Train to Busan and I’m a veteran of K-dramas. The plot seems interesting. And most of all, this series only has six episodes. It should be easy to binge watch on a weekend. I added it to my watchlist right away.

Guess what: it’s not the weekend, and I had planned on popping in just a couple of episodes last night until I fall asleep. I ended up marathoning the entire thing and slept at 2:30 in the morning. :sleep:

Kingdom has all the elements of a classic sageuk (Korean historical drama): the political intrigue, the lies and conspiracies, the power grabbing, the prejudice among classes, the violent resolution to anything. Throw in a horde of zombies in there and literally, all hell breaks loose. It’s brilliant how the screenwriter and director were able to fuse these two plots seamlessly. I even find it hilarious that there’s discrimination among classes even among the undead. Only on sageuk, folks! :lmao: This isn’t just blood and gore and mayhem – don’t worry if you’re watching this for that, though, there’s a lot of that in there, too – it also has a story. A very familiar story to those who have even the slightest knowledge of Korea’s history and culture. I won’t go into too much details so as not to spoil it for others.

Acting wise, the entire cast delivered. Joo Jihoon is simply perfect as the Crown Prince Lee Chan. He’s no stranger to royal characters; remember his breakthrough role of Shin Goon in Goong? But I think Joo Jihoon has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of acting here. Every scene he’s in is believable. Even his moments of PTSD looked painful to me as a viewer, but in a good way.

I think I’ve only seen Ryu Seung Ryeong in movies where he played an evil palace official, and I’m not surprised. He has mastered the art of playing one.

I’m kinda disoriented seeing Bae Doona in a role where she wore a lot of clothes. :hihihi: She has always portrayed strong female characters, but her role here required her to be strong, but with a timid quality of a peasant during the Joseon era. I think she nailed it.

But the best part of Kingdom for me is its production values. The cinematography is just gorgeous. :arrow: Joseon-period Korea looked so beautiful here. The royal costumes looked elegant. I even saw some Tweets noting the hats that the characters wore. You know, fighting zombies in fabulous hats and all that. :lol: There’s authenticity in the costume design. It’s not like in other productions where we see stuff like the clothes still looking immaculate after a fight scene in the mud.

Most of all, I was fascinated at how the director choreographed, framed and shot all the zombie swarm scenes. The exciting chase scenes gave the adrenaline rush, but nothing beats those quiet attacks that are both eerie and haunting at the same time. You’ll find yourself staring at the screen no matter how squeamish you are at all that blood and gore.

As for the story and screenplay: viewers who are not so familiar with Korean period dramas might find the slow-burning presentation of the plot and characters a bit too lengthy. I mean, we won’t see actual zombies until the end of episode 1. But as I’ve said, the story is essential to this zombie series and it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about how things became what they are. What I love about Kingdom is, it knew exactly how to make its audience thirst for more. It will leave you wishing that it had 20 more episodes. Or at least, a Season 2 that’s just right around the corner.

(Image credits: Netflix)

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Not like it used to be.

Hi! I’m Agent P, and I’ve just been addicted to online TV.

Yes, I am slow. :lol:

It started when my local cable provider sucked big time. Coincidentally, Globe offered to upgrade by net connection at home and threw in this lovely contraption called an Android box which allowed my not-too-smart TV to connect to the internet via WiFi and let me install these lovely streaming apps and watch it on the big screen. Since then, I dropped my cable subscription and signed up for everything that’s available in my country: Netflix, iFlix, HOOQ, Fox+, with YouTube and Viki thrown in for good measure. Thanks to these apps, I was able to update myself with the latest on K-entertainment. I haven’t really plunged myself back to the world of K-dramas, though; too much commitment for that. :P But I have been watching a lot of Korean variety shows and music clips, so I’ve been a little bit abreast with the latest trends.

Nowadays, I’ve been literally hooked on HOOQ. True confession: the only reason why I signed up on HOOQ is because they have Alden’s drama series, Victor Magtanggol, on their line-up. :hihihi: However, I discovered that HOOQ has a vast collection of classic Filipino movies and TV shows as well as a good number of indie films. It’s the classic movies that had me deciding to continue my subscription after the free trial period expires. Finally, I can watch those movies any time I want instead of waiting for it to be aired on Cinema One or PBO. I have practically the entire roster of Regal Films movies from the 80’s on my playlist. :hihihi:

Which brings me to this anecdote. (Damn, I sound so random. :grin: Then again randomness has always been my blogging style, so whatever.) One of the first old Pinoy movies which I watched on HOOQ is Ten Little Indians, released in 1982 and starring William Martinez; Herbert Bautista (now Mayor of Quezon City) and his two siblings Hero and Harlene; and the WEA Twins. (How classic is that? :lol: )

I just remembered seeing it at a movie house when I was a little kid and remember crying buckets over it, so I checked it out.

I got the shock of my life.

The movie started out just like a typical Regal movie in the 80’s (although this one was actually released by Good Harvest Films, a subsidiary of Regal). William’s character was a mentally-challenged guy who has fantasies of being a cowboy who hates Indians (as in Native American Indians). At one point, while in his cowboy fantasies, he kidnapped a bunch of children and their teacher, because they wore costumes as the ten little Indians for a school program. That alone is reeking of political incorrectness.

And then it gets uglier.

While in the mountains, cowboy and Indians eventually developed affinity with one another until they chanced upon a group of gangsters. The gangsters beat up the cowboy; raped the teacher in front of the kids (!); verbally abused the female children through sexual innuendos; attempted to rape one of the girls because the gangster wasn’t satisfied with the teacher (!!!!!) (there’s even a cringe-worthy scene where they were asking the girls’ ages and found the 8-year-old ‘too young’ while the 10-year-old ‘pwede na‘ Oh God that was disturbing); shot and killed one of the boys point-blank, in front of the others; and two other boys got killed so that the rest of them can escape.

I was thinking: if this was shown today, it would definitely be slapped with an R-18 rating. That is, assuming it gets shown at all. I’m pretty sure it will generate a lot of disapproving buzz from netizens who always find something to complain about.

And then it hit me: I saw this film when I was a child. At a movie theater. I don’t even remember who I saw it with, but most probably my cousins who were also minors at the time.

I don’t remember finding it offensive at all. Or did I even understand what was going on then?

Times have really changed.

===

Speaking of things that have changed…

I saw these from my social media feeds today.

1. Mr Weatherman’s fanmeets now have mandatory group photo ops with the attendees;
2. One Filipina Shinhwa Changjo was recognized by some Shinhwa members at an event in Korea. As in the members know her by face and name;
3. Shin Hye Sung wore a Penshoppe hoodie, given by a Pinoy fan.

I wonder: if I didn’t give up on the Kpop scene, maybe someday I’ll finally get my moment with my Korean idol? In 20 years, maybe? Most of my fellow Clouds got it at the 13-year mark…

This last paragraph is random as hell. :lmao:

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Boss Madam.

Backstory:

A few years back, I was a transferee at a new audit team and was super-delighted to know that this new team has a TV set in its field offices. Why? Because, at last, I wouldn’t have to wait for episodes of The Ryzza Mae Show to be uploaded on YouTube so that I can watch it. Yes, I was a staunch follower of Ryzza Mae Dizon ever since she won Little Miss Philippines in 2012 and became known as “Aling Maliit” on Eat… Bulaga!

The thing is, the TV sets were requested by my then-Team Leader because she’s addicted to the rival show (Be Careful With My Heart). But since Be Careful… would usually be aired at around 11:45am, we would catch the first 15 minutes of TRMS before she switches channels (at which, I would later on download the TRMS episode to watch it in full). Eventually, even she got smitten by Ryzza’s charms that Be Careful… was forgotten and the TV channel would stay until Eat… Bulaga!

Forward to the latter part of 2017.

I very rarely tune in to Eat… Bulaga! by that time, particularly during J4A; no need to ask why, I guess? I do remember tuning in one time during lunch at the office and found myself laughing my ass off at Ryzza’s antics as the new Barangay Jokers character, Boss Madam. :lmao:

I’ve known Ryzza to have that innate wit and comedic timing, and this segment is her chance to show to the world once again why she was tagged as the Phenomenal Child Star some five years ago. I mean, she did not have the distinction of being the youngest talk show host for nothing. She still has that charisma, and years of experience working with the country’s top comedians have honed her craft. :thumbup:

Boss Madam is already a hoot, as it is, with Ryzza Mae, Hopia and the TMB boys (Miggy, in particular), but you know, Eat… Bulaga! did not reach 39 years in the business by resting at their laurels. (I mean, they did have some lulls, but they always manage to bounce back.) It’s 2018, so it’s time to introduce new characters to spice things up. Enter Boss Madam’s driver, Patrick, and the new Executive Assistant, Kendall. Characters played, much to everyone’s surprise, by Alden Richards and his PA, Mama Ten. :shock:

Alden playing Patrick without much of a prior clue was already a surprise, but Mama Ten playing the Executive Assistant? To say we were stunned by the appearance of the “28 year-old stunner from Laguna” was an understatement. I can practically hear the collective “HUWAAAAT!!!” from the viewers, even those who are not Alden fans but are familiar with Mama Ten. And she played the role with so much flair. Those of us who are familiar with Alden and Mama Ten’s dynamics in real life are now looking forward to every episode just to see the role reversal, since Kendall is Patrick’s immediate boss in the story. We want to see Mama Ten bully Alden for once. :hihihi: Whoever thought of casting Mama Ten as Kendall is a freakin’ genius. :clap:

So now, I am once again locked down on my seat at the pantry every lunch hour to tune in to Boss Madam. And I’m not the only one.

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