Review: Heart to Heart (tvN, 2015)

Heart to Heart 2015 poster

Premise: Cha Hong Do suffers from a crippling form of social phobia which causes her to blush uncontrollably. When her grandmother passes away, she is forced to venture out into the world to fend for herself, and meets and falls for a psychiatrist with issues of his own.

Only in a K-drama can a story about a woman suffering from social anxiety who ends up falling for her suicidal psychiatrist be affecting, engaging, and if you can believe, relateable. While Heart to Heart requires a hefty suspension of disbelief and frequently takes whimsical flight, it’s emotional core remains grounded, and anyone drawn to romances between unlikely oddballs and dysfunctionals will find this a warm delight.

Furthermore, while this isn’t the first rom-com to feature protagonists with mental conditions, it feels fresh in a way that makes it stand out among the crowd. A lot of the credit for this goes to PD Lee Yoon Jeong. If you’ve seen her work in Coffee Prince, you’ll recognise her gift for bringing a script to living, breathing life instantly, with sets that feel warm and lived-in and music that gives the show a bona fide sonic personality.

If you can’t tell yet, I’m a fan of her work, and after an absence from dramaland, I think her return with this drama is a triumph of sorts. Not many can pull off whimsical and playful effortlessly. Just about every trendy rom-com released over the past couple of years are examples of feigned, try-hard quirk of varying degrees of success. Continue reading

Review: Oh My Ghost (tvN, 2015)

Oh My Ghost Poster

Premise: A lusty ghost possesses the body of a meek mouse in order to get closer to a celebrity chef, and gets more than she she bargained for. 

romantic-comedy that’s a bit of an odd duck, Oh My Ghost has many strengths that far outweigh its considerable weaknesses. With a tinge of a macabre and melancholy, this is a show that ultimately satisfies despite a few missteps, thanks in no small part to some very strong lead performances.

With a premise straight out of The Master’s Sun and spliced with a dose of Coffee Prince, you won’t be in unfamiliar territory. Also coming hot on heels of the recent crop of split-personality dramas, OMG puts a different spin on that trend, and with a murder-mystery thrown in the mix, it’s a minor miracle the show is a lot less scattered than it sounds on paper.

The plot revolves around a trio of characters: heroine Bong Sun (Park Bo Young) is a mousey, meek ghost-seeing kitchen helper with a big crush on her boss, cocky Chef-on-the-rise Kang Sun Woo (Jo Jung Seok); the titular ghost is Shin Soon Ae (Kim Seul Gi), who spends her days possessing women in order to lose her virginity in a desperate bid to resolve her ‘grudge’ and transition onto the next life. The plot kicks into gear when Soon Ae takes over Bong Sun’s body when she thinks she’s found the right man to sleep with—Chef Sun Woo. Continue reading

Yong Pal: A Cautiously Optimistic Crush

(Mild spoilers for episode 1 – 4) 

There comes a time in every live-watch experience when you’ve decided you like a show enough to commit to watching it all the way through, a time when your heart wants to leap headlong into full-on crush mode, but your head tells you to stay cautiously optimistic because you don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment.

This is the state I’m in with this show now, my friends. I want to crush so badly on Yong Pal. SO BADLY. Because there are a heck of a lot of reasons to.

First, there’s this:

Kim Mi Kyung Yong Pal ep 1

Kim Mi Kyung! Nobody told me she was in this drama! I still have so much residual affection for her Ahjumma in Healer that I literally squealed when she appeared on screen as the head nurse in Yong Pal’s hospital, and being all very Ahjumma-like towards him to boot. And I was like, thank you so much show for not just giving me Kim Mi Kyung but for giving her what looks like a pretty great character as well. She’s going to be his moral compass, possibly his surrogate mother figure. I AM EXCITE.

And then there’s this magnificent creature:

Yong Pal ep 3 Cynthia Park meets Tae Hyun Continue reading

Oh My Ghost: Midway Musings (Episode 1 – 10)


Isn’t this a curious thing? If I hadn’t let procrastination get the better of me, this post would’ve turned out quite different. First, it would’ve been much shorter because I haven’t really had all that much to say about the show as I’d been watching casually. Until last week that is, when Oh My Ghost became a whole lot more interesting. Like, A LOT more interesting and now I’m eager see how everything going to play out.

So, yay procrastination!

This isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed the show thus far, quite the opposite. It’s just that what I’ve enjoyed most about show seemed to only emerge occasionally. Because oddly for a rom-com, I’m not particularly invested in the “rom” part of the equation (I know! I must be crazy!) though I do enjoy it, and I don’t find the “com” all that funny. I’ll get to the romance in a bit, but the comedy, since we’re on the subject, just isn’t what the show does best. It puts the heavy-lifting squarely on the shoulders of its actors, in which case an actor like Park Bo Young can pull off because she can effortlessly make whiny aegyo seem charming, while an actor like the guy who plays sous chef comes off as grating, like a flapping, squawking duck.  Continue reading

How to Make a Korean Drama: Lessons From My Favourites

What happens when you are out of ideas for a post and have been sitting on some reviews? You steal from  get inspired by an article elsewhere and apply it to K-drama!

1. Start off on the right foot (Coffee Prince)

Coffee Prince ep 1 Choi Han Kyul steps out of the shower

Opening strong counts for a great deal. But sometimes a drama conflates ‘strong’ with ‘a lot’, and in a desperate bid to hook audiences throws every thing it can at the screen–a car chase here, a shower scene there, a flashback or three. All this frenzy of activity can seem disorienting and muddled instead of clear and assuring. In this light, I’m struck by how lean and efficient Coffee Prince‘s opening is. The first 6 minutes contains everything you need to know about the show in a nutshell. In quick, fun succession, the show introduces the two leads, tells us who they are, and even has them meet! We see Eun Chan zipping around on her motorcycle, and getting thrown out of the sauna when she’s mistaken for a boy–there’s our Candy (with a slight twist). Han Kyul is all playboy charm, toothy, bare-chested and sweet-talking (our resident man-child male lead). And with his brief glance at a photo and slight hesitance on the phone, we see our second leads, Han Seong and Yoo Joo, and get hints of Han Kyul’s complicated relationship with them. Voila! Characters, conflict and set-up all in 6 minutes. It’s a fabulous reminder of that old adage less is more. (For a recent example of the exact opposite, see the first episode of Warm & Cozy.)

Continue reading

Sisterhood of Blogging Buddies Award!

Sisterhood of the World_zpsqt7wixy7

I’m stealing this from KFangurl *smooches*. Thank you!

Okay, that’s not exactly what the award’s called but it’s what it feels like to me!

I’m catching up with a backlog of posts y’all! And as this one desperately needed to be written a looong time ago, first, I hafta say sorry for the delay, and second, thanks for nominating me!  I love you all! Let’s not dilly dally, and get on with it shall we?

First one’s from KFangurl!

1. If you didn’t have a blog, how would you be spending your spare time?

Since my blog hasn’t been taking up any of my time of late, I kinda wonder what I’ve been doing with my spare time. I mean, I must have some because I do do stuff. Like, eat. And cook. And sleep. Right?

2. Do your family, friends, and colleagues know about your blog? Why or why not? And if they do know about it, what do they think?

The hubs obviously knows, and after a brief period of looking at me funny, he actually became really supportive to the point of drawing up plans for (blogging) world domination. (I had to talk him down from the ledge.) A couple of others do know, but they’ve never seen the blog despite hounding me for the URL. They are amused by it, but that’s about it, and it’s not something I want to tell the world about. Dramas, and by extension this blog, are my lil’ secret pleasure thing :).

3. Have you met blogosphere friends in Real Life? If yes, what was that like? If not, would you want to, given the chance?

Yes! I met you and Nelly! IT WAS SO GREAT. Remember how we entertained the food court drink seller with our laughter?  MOAR PLEASE.

4. If money were no object, what gift would you give to a loved one (significant other, family, friend; you pick), and why?

Hmm… I’d suppose I’d give a whole bunch of money to my sis for my nephew’s education cos he’s a special kid :)

5. Since this is a sisterhood type of award, who’s your favorite female celeb (actress, singer, comedienne, doesn’t matter), and what do you love about her?

Hmm I don’t quite have a favourite, but I do really like Amy Poehler who is funny, talented (I loved Parks & Recreation) and especially because she’s a feminist and her work reflects that. Have you seen her youtube channel called Smart Girls? Its aimed at young girls, and it celebrates all kinds of girls and all forms of girlhood, and she even does an Ask Amy series where she gives advicee to girls who ask her life questions with great candour, sincerity and wisdom.

Continue reading

7 Things I Learned From Healer

Healer Ep 18 Young Shin and Jung Ho

I know what you’re thinking. It’s been months since Healer ended, and months since I last wrote, and my first post after a long hiatus is about…Healer? Haven’t I watched anything since then? Have I not moved on??

Well, short answer is yes and no. I’ve only managed to finish two K-dramas, TWO, a clear indicator that I’m having a spate of bad luck with K-dramas since those ended around the same time Healer did ages ago.

But this little K-slump of mine got me thinking about the last drama I was legitimately thrilled about. Plus, I wanted to give the show a decent send-off on this blog, which it never quite got for some reason, and I’m not going to pass up the chance to plaster Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young’s precious faces all over the blog again.

And…okay, fine. The true story is this post was already half-way written, and since I’m short of time, I’m going with the low-hanging fruit today.

So, I present to you my lil’ low-hanging fruit listicle :D.

1. Never ever underestimate the power of a crack drama

Healer Ep 12 Their hands touch

The Healer Handjob of DEATH

I haven’t been watching K-drama for very long (two years-plus now, according to WordPress), much less live-watching shows, but of all the dramas that I’ve watched so far, I think Healer was one that made me truly understand why these particular dramas are called “crack”.  I’ve been into dramas before, or at least I thought I was, but this “crack” business really is what it sounds like–a deep-seated need, a craving emerging from some previously unknown part of your body.

It was a perfect storm circumstance–my mood, a lack of other watchable fare, and an entire day drugged on cold meds that led me to Healer. And the funny thing is, I’m not quite sure why this particular drama fit the bill, though I do have a couple of guesses (see #2), but I do know it was all somewhat bewildering. What drove me to count the days, hours, minutes? To actually look forward to Mondays? To reblog the life out of every single gif on tumblr, giggling and swooning? To seek out fan fiction and, failing to find any, harass people to start writing some??! It was the crack I tell you. The crack made me do it.

And in the aftermath of a crack drama, like coming up for air after a deep sea dive, blinking into the sunlight after a swimming in a fog of subterranean madness, I hardly recognise that person. Who was nutcase Continue reading