used to be a Sewing Blog – Now KDrama

Posts tagged ‘kdrama’

New Project…Maybe…Potato Star Recap – Intro

I think I’m going to recap the kdrama sitcom Potato Star. I haven’t fully decided yet and even if I start, I make no promises that I’ll finish it. It is at 107 of 120 eps and I’m only on Ep 70.  But I decided to start with introductions of the main characters etc.

Background/Why I Started Watching

Rich man/poor woman, living together, disapproving parents, mustache twirling bad guys, birth secrets, amnesia, poop jokes – it pretty much has all the Kdramas tropes. I don’t drink, but I think you’d get sloshed playing a kdrama drinking game in just 1 ep. (OK, maybe one week of 4 eps)

Why did I decide to start watching this? Well, 1st I didn’t realize it was a sitcom until I was a few episodes in. Else, I think I would’ve said “Pass.” but the real reason was the cast. Some of my favorite actors are in it, so I had to try.

I’ll tell you something, it wasn’t because of the Plot. I knew nothing about the plot (side note: I seem to enjoy dramas more when I don’t know what to expect). I think I thought it was about a metaphorical star (celebrity) and something involving potatoes. Nope, there is a real star (well, asteroid) that is shaped like a potato.  I won’t say anymore about that right now.

Differences between US sitcoms & kdrama sitcoms

This is my first Kdrama sitcom (I’m not counting Vampire Idol cause I don’t think it was a normal Kdrama sitcom), and it really is eyeopening.  I don’t really like US sitcoms (well with a few exceptions, e.g., Hogan’s Heroes), but this isn’t really what I think of a sitcom.

A couple differences:

  • Length. It is almost as long as a US 1 hr show because they don’t have to make it shorter for commercials.
  • Plot complexity.  The sitcoms I grew up with were the ones like “Cosby Show” and “Full House.” You know the kind, all problems are fixed in 30 minutes (including commercials), the kids were also the center of show.
  • Saccharine. I liked “Full House” as a kid, but even I knew how saccharine it was.  My sisters and I would try to guess when the “aww” track would start playing.  The Dad said something touching or the baby did something cute, cue the “awws.”   This fakeness is probably why I don’t like sitcoms, now. There is nothing saccharine (especially involving the kids) in this show.
  • Callbacks/Continuity. I wasn’t expecting how often the past was brought up.  Either a throw away line referencing something, or a plot that I swore had been dropped would get mentioned.  One ep in particular had a 30 minutes & done plot, but a dozen or so eps later, there was a line referencing it. A major plot line got reintroduced many eps later, and then dropped again, but I expect it will be brought up again. This happened continually. US sitcoms would bring people in (or issues) for one ep and then they’d never be heard of again, or “facts” regarding characters would be changed completely to fit a later plot. I’m not saying there aren’t some plot holes; there are, but you definitely feel there is method to the madness/overarching plot.

Stuff I like about it

  • Even tho most of it is totally exaggerated, you can get a feel for some Korean cultural aspects, that you can’t really see in romcoms. Like the importance of New Years bows to kids (bows = money).  I love learning about cultures so I love learning little things or seeing things that fill in the holes.
  • The cast. They are really awesome. I think I’m going to dedicate a whole post to them.
  • MinHyuk. I love him. And the actor (I’ll look up his name later) did such a good job of playing a 6 year old in a adult’s body.
  • The couples. Ok, not so much Julian and Mina – they’re kinda annoying. But HongBerg & JinAh are so cute. (Kinda remind me of the DaGuen DaGuen couple from Gag Concert)
  • It’s fluffy. I like fluff. I know I won’t have to go too long without some funny or cuteness.
EDIT – I will not be recapping this because they ruined the ending.

Accomplishment or not?

I was updating my watched list, and realized that I’ve watched 50 Korean shows to completion in about 11 months. Now granted, some of those on the list, I plan to complete. But since I’m not counting my rewatched dramas, ditched dramas, or non-Korean dramas, I figure it equals out.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this “accomplishment.” On the plus side, my knowledge of Korean has grown exponentially since Twinkle Twinkle (which is on the completed list just because it has a special place in my heart as my 1st kdrama), but that isn’t saying alot. In fact, it isn’t saying anything. I knew absolutely nothing about Korea or Korean except how to recognize the written language (Thanks to my childhood Gideon Bible, I can recognize John 3:16 in a ton of languages). While watching Twinkle, Twinkle, I remember wondering (very briefly) if it was some type of North Korean propaganda show.

Yep. I knew nothing.

I knew nothing of the language. In fact, I can tell you the very first word/phrase I learned in Korean, and it wasn’t “I love you” (사랑해). It was “because of you” (너 때문에). My Princess – she kept repeating in while sitting in the old-timey car. (still not sure what all those scenes were about – will probably rewatch My Princess to figure it out). Now I can sound out words, can read about 100 words, can understand a bit more, and have even watched unsubbed shows. I really want to learn Korean well – the first non-Western language I’ve ever had any interest in, but also interestingly enough, the only language I’ve ever really accomplished anything (well other than ASL, and I’ve forgotten most of that). I think I’m able to learn Korean easier then Spanish, French, Portuguese, Latin, etc because English doesn’t get in my way. I don’t see a word and think of the English definition or spelling and if I do, it is probably right (a loan word).

I knew nothing of the culture. Korea (this sounds really really bad) was if I thought of it all–the other big Asian country that wasn’t Japan or China. Yeah, that’s bad. China (everyone knows China) and Japan I knew slightly (I had a brief obsession with Bento boxes a couple years ago). I also knew a little bit of the culture of Japan because of my work and just my general nerdiness, but Korea – never really crossed my mind. Now I know (comparatively speaking) quite a lot for someone from “Nowhere, Va.” In fact, I find myself doing Korean specific things w/o thinking. When I was super obsessed, I found myself standing when my boss entered my cube and had to restrain from bowing my head too. Now, I find I use 2 hands to give things. But I’m weird in general, and if anyone noticed my new quirks they just think I was “being Karen.”

I knew absolutely nothing of the history, except some very tiny bits and pieces that I hadn’t forgotten from childhood history lessons on the Korean War and of course, TV shows. So basically absolutely nothing. Now I find myself doing research on Queen In-Hyun and wondering if the Annals are available in English.

I’m sure there is alot more that I knew nothing of but now I know something and I know enough to know how little I know. I’m looking forward to one day (this year maybe) going to Korea and learning even more.

So while, watching alot of TV isn’t an accomplishment, I think the side effects of learning (at least in some aspects) a completely foreign (no pun intended) culture makes it at least not a waste.

And more importantly, Korean Dramas gave me the escapism I sorely needed during a rough time in my life. (and a secret desire, to call that special someone (no, I don’t have 1) Oppa – even if that is just creepy in someone my age.)

KaeKae (here’s to 50 more)

kdrama Little list song

I love Gilbert & Sullivan, and this is my guess at a kdrama version of “The LIttle List” song from the Mikado


As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of kdrama people who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!
There’s the daddy who think his son hasn’t got a clue
So he hits him till his eye is black and blue
All chaebol Halmonis who think they run the show
And TaeMu whose killing skills are low,
And Sena — well that’s all I have to say!
They’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed!

OLD LIST – Kdramas I’ve seen

I’ve moved this to a page.

Why I started watching Kdramas

In July of 2011, one of those “If you like this you might like this” appeared on Hulu. a show called Twinkle Twinkle – I had just watched “Switched at Birth,” and they thought it was similar.

I had never heard of it, so I tried it. I was surprised by the subtitles. I’m not sure I even knew it was Korean they were speaking at first. But I became addicted. I watched “all 10” episodes over a weekend and was surprised at the way it ended. Months later, I found out that there were many more episodes, but Hulu didn’t have them at the time. I made the choice not to watch the rest – I didn’t want to get sucked in again.

Well, I got another one of those “if you like that, you will like this” and started watching My Princess. Really liked it; and then it happened again. This time “You’re Beautiful.”

“You’re Beautiful” turned me into a total kdrama addict. It is my favorite Kdrama; and my 2nd favorite show (Doctor Who is #1)

BowTies are Cool

At the same time, my family was going thru some really really difficult times, and I found Kdramas gave me the escapism I needed to escape from the real dramas of my life. They allowed me to stop thinking about bad things and think about fluffy stuff. (more on this later)

While watching You’re Beautiful, I Googled like I had never Googled before. I was trying to find out more about this show, these actors, and about Korea TV and Korea in general.

Let me tell you how little I knew about Korea. I could recognize the written language thanks to the various John 3:16s in my Gideon Bible as a child, but that was it. I remember wondering while watching Twinkle Twinkle if it was set in North or South Korea. Yes. I was that ignorant. I quickly realized that it couldn’t be North Korea, but I did wonder about it.

That is my confession, and here is another. When people ask me if I watch North Korea TV, I tell them “No!” and act shocked; I conveniently forget my own ignorance. Literally – I have forgotten how ignorant I really was. I think I am too ashamed to remember.

During my frantic Googling, I learned about subbing sites (because I thought the ones on Hulu weren’t as good as the ones on youtube). Recap sites (still am a addict). Learned about Korean culture and why when I heard Oppa or Unnie a different sounding name appeared on the screen. (I swore I thought the sister’s name in My Princess was Unnie.) I also learned about Dramafever, Viki and Crunchyroll. Those 3 have taken turns being my favorite kdrama site, right now Dramafever is in the lead. (Edit years later: WOW. I had totally forgotten that DramaFlu was my favorite site. I stopped watching DF years ago (except for Running Man) when I realized their subs were often inaccurate)

I also discovered kpop – because of looking for English translations of my favorite song ( 말도없이 – Without a Word) I wanted to sing it. Not really that into kpop in general – but love HongKi.

I decided I didn’t think the singable English versions out there in YouTube land were that true to the actual meaning, so I decided to learn Korean. Yes, that was basically my motivator for learning the language. I now have a small vocabulary consisting mostly of Words from kdramas, and when I feel especially studious, I check out my Korean textbooks or watch Busy Atom Vids on YouTube. (he’s great). But my Korean learning goes very slow.

In the months after I found Kdramas, I became so obsessed (pretty good word for it) with Korean, Korea, and Kdramas that I realized my friends and family were sick of me talking about it – even on FaceBook. So I dug up the Twitter account I had created (& never really used) long before to find out about PotterMore. I just wanted to be able to talk about Kdramas without people having to listen. And funny thing is people (not just spambots) started listening, I guess I thought it was my message in a bottle and so was surprised when someone followed, retweeted or replied to me. I started realizing more and more how big the Hallyu Wave is. And I found so many people to follow. The first 4 were the cast of You’re Beautiful – No, I can’t read their tweets, but I can look at the pretty pictures.

I am quite honest in what Kdramas I am interested in – happy endings and preferably happy beginning and middles too. I get Makjang in real life, I don’t want to watch it.

BTW – Spy Myung Wol was my 1st disappointing Kdrama, but I still was eager to watch to see what happened next. My addiction now has slowed somewhat; if I don’t like it, I won’t finish it. I will read the recaps or the subs instead. and sometimes I just read the recaps because I don’t like how it ends.

I also have started reading kdrama fanfic (read reg fanfic for years) and if I could figure out how to get Captain Picard or Buffy in Korea to meet Go MiNam and the gang, I would write one too, but I am not that clever. (please steal my idea and post a link to your story in the comment)

I am now also watching my 1st unsubbed Kdrama – not because I understand enough Korean, but because no one is subbing it, and I love Vampire Idol. It also helps that it is slapstick so you get a pretty good idea what is going on by the action on screen.

BTW – this is kinda weird. I think that was the only time I watched Switched at Birth and it was the hidden instigator for my kdrama addiction. (I actually watch very little American TV now, Fringe, Grimm, Once Upon a Time is about it. funny, American TV: If it isn’t on Hulu I don’t watch it, but I will search and search for a subbed version of a kdrama that I want to see (That Fool, Me too Flower, & Bad Family all come to mind)

Vampire Idol Recap – Ep 1 (without subs)

I am going to recap Vampire Idol based on what I understand. Please keep in mind, that I haven’t been able to find subs for this series yet, so I am going based on my limited understanding. And also DramaBeans excellent review of the 1st 3 episodes gave me a starting point.  Please go here and read it, and look at all the lovely pictures.  And then read everything else they have because it is really really good stuff.

A Long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…oh wait.  In what looks like Dr. Who’s purple vortex is a planet inhabited by vampires.  (Apparently called Vampirutus).  These vampires used to be like our vampires, but they switched and became peaceful and drink blood from little bottles instead of from a pulsing human neck.  No, I don’t know where they got the humans to feed from either or where they get the blood now.  Maybe that is discussed, but I don’t know.

The narrator talks about 3 vampires.  One has super hearing when he sticks his finger in his ear.  (Kinda like Mork NaNuing) His name (title?) sounds like Gabriele Lance.  The next looks like he is supposed to be very intelligent – and his name/title sounds like Gabriele Genius.  The next guy wears a silver mask with a bat on it and seriously kicks butt.  He gets blood on his face from the guys he is fighting licks it, and his eyes go blue.  (What is it with Korean vampires and Blue Eyes?) And he goes to get his vampire drink on the old fashioned way – thru the jugular.  His name/title sounds like OohKaRee Peduah.  (BTW, these three are all pretty boys.)

Until I get better names, I am going to call these Mork, Genius and Mask.  I am trying to come up with a clever collective name for the Trio, but I haven’t yet.

Anyway, this planet has a King, PaPaPa, who has a son, PaPa. (These are titles not names) There is a big ceremony where on the way all the girls (wearing dirndls !?) swoon over the prince.  Who is this short guy who reminds me of Dave Lister (from Red Dwarf) without the dreads.  

The prince’s name is: “Vampirutus Panyera Twilight Walakia Kunyaris Romania Blarantua Transylvania New Moon Tenios Bellanluci Breaking Dawn Draculu Oolala Eclipse Apalidia.”  This is a direct copy and paste from Dramabeans review because I am not about to try to figure all that out. Although, for those who can read Korean it scrolls thru the screen at a very fast clip.  

At the ceremony, the king puts his crown on the prince and the prince says his name (takes a couple breaths to do it and a few whimpers).  The queen (Mrs Big Hair) fawns over her son.  I think she and the king are talking about how attractive he is compared to the tall, dark and pretty Trio.  The trio look like they agree, and are sad they are ugly. Ha.  (poor trio)

Prince EtcEtcEtc gives his dad back the crown. And a steward’s (?) cell goes off.  To a song that we will hear a lot of “Girls Girls.”   Uh Oh.  Apparently, this is bad.  The KoreanWave isn’t supposed to stop at this planet.  The king breaks the video/holographic device and yells and then calls for the steward to be dragged off, by a flippin’ knight!  As he is dragged off, he opens his jacket and shows his Girls Girls tee, and chants a protest.  Everyone is shocked.  The queen pets the king to calm him down.  I think he tells the prince how evil the Korean wave is.  

After the king and queen leave (funny scene where the king/prince bump head) The prince wears a huge red diamond/ruby which apparently means something because he holds it and moans and groans.  Apparently he likes Hallyu, too.

Then Mork/Genius tell him they got him tickets to the Girls Girl’s concert.  But Mask is a party pooper and says he can’t do it. (I think cause he will get in trouble)  The other 2 agree, or it appears to me.  But then the Prince gets all happy and starts singing the song. so maybe they said it was Ok.

However, this scene is hilarious.  He is singing/dancing and is letting it all hang out and his backup singers (Trio) standing ramrod straight and sing in a complete monotone.  Seriously.  It is a kinda like combo of dirge/Gregorian chant. (You’ve got to see it)

Then you switch to the Girls Girls concert – which is WAY autotuned – something I can’t stand. One wears a very weird hoodie (all hood no shirt) – on stage.  She is white blonde.  apparently she doesn’t speak. How she sings I don’t know.  She also is a reverse Wilson – you only see the bottom half of her face and never the top half.  My guess is that she is going to be an alien or something. I’m gonna call her Blondie.

Scene switches to an entertainment guy (VPDaddy) watching them on TV.  One of the singer’s calls him.  Apparently, she is his daughter.  Explains the autotuning.  A delivery girl comes in and delivers food. She is going to be huge part of this.

VPDaddy is looking for someone. and goes to an apartment.  He is startled by a middle age lady wearing all kinds of face masks.  (I assume for beauty treatments etc.)  She kinda reminds me of Joan Rivers – I think she had more then her share of plastic surgeries.  

There is a conversation that I don’t get between Lady and Daddy.

Switches to a scene in the woods where a guy is getting harassed by gangsters. He gets a page that makes him all excited just before they are going to bury him alive.  Apparently, he knows about a diamond the size of his fist. Lead bad guy is interested until he tells him it is coming from space. He gets buried.

Back to the planet.  Genius tells (well shows him on an iPad thingy) Prince that they are going to go to Korea.  Drink fancy blood from little bottles, ride a limo to the concert and rock out in VVIP seats. (I just hope they don’t sing along)

The prince is concerned that Mask is going to start killing people, but Mask says he is Ok because he has his mask. (apparently it is a gas mask to remove the smell of humans or blood or something).  Everyone gloats cause they are going fool the parents. Better then round robin.

Instead of a space ship, they have energy sphere to ride to earth, but something goes wrong and they get all shook up.

Then the BuriedGuy unburies himself. (uses his hand for a periscope to make sure it is safe for him to get out).  Gets another page and is all excited.  I think he is thinking of that diamond.  He tries to sneak home, but he is caught.  by VPDaddy.

VPDaddy isn’t happy.  In comes the Lady wearing another beauty treatment mask, and she scolds BuriedGuy. He is all Mommmy (and hides behind her).  Apparently, he promises VPDaddy something. and then the show ends with some funny bloopers.