Monday, April 21, 2014

K-Drama Long Lost Family

                Having watched numerous k-dramas and sometimes K-Pop I admitted that sometimes similar faces appear and I have difficulty to differentiate. K-dramas are known to have formulas to keep viewers interested, but nothing more interested than birth secrets. Whether it was baby swapping at birth like Autumn in My Heart (2001) or title-relevant drama titled Birth Secret (2013). And here I list some great actors and actresses whom I found have similar faces, familiar features or posture that  people may mistakenly seen as family.  These actors and actresses are well known in South Korea and even some fans admitted that maybe they somehow related as family.

Long Lost Brothers/Sisters
11. Kim Jae Won/Lee Jong Suk

When I watched first episode of School 2013 and watched Go Nam Soon I am stunned at the striking similarities between Lee Jong Suk and Kim Jae Won. I automatically compare his face with Kim Jae Won and even browsing at their pictures. They both have oval, white, almost pale face. Not to mention their killer smiles that will kill every fan...  Their drama characters ranging from high school boys to lovely Joseon guy but they always look cute and handsome and awesome. I even foresee Lee Jong Suk will have similar career path with Kim Jae Won. Only to be more famous and internationally and domestically acclaimed.

22. Yoon Eun Hye/Park Shin Hye

I have known Yoon Eun Hye first, naturally, from her roles in Coffee Prince (2006) and I Miss You (2012). I also admit that I don’t even know Park Shin Hye face and just knew her name though Park Shin Hye also famous star. I just realized their uncanny resemblance through Running Man episode when she had been guest with Lee Seung Gi. From there I believe Eun Hye and Shin Hye are long lost sisters who happen to have different last names. YEH and PSH have similar facial expressions and features. They both known to be lucky worked with some most famous and handsome actors in Korea. YEH with Joo Ji Hoon in Goong/Princess Hours, Gong Yoo in Coffee Prince, Kang Ji Hwan in Lie To Me, and most recently with Yoochun in I Miss You. Whereas PSH already worked with Jang Geun Suk in You Are Beautiful, Yonghwa in Heartstrings, Yoon Shi Yoon in Flower Boy Next Door, and has worked with LEE MIN HO in Heirs. How lucky they are! Maybe the only glaring difference between them is their ability to do on-screen kiss. While YEH is famous to create hot kisses, PSH is known notoriously bad at kiss and maybe well like cardboard.

33. Choi Siwon/Go Kyung Pyo

Who else think that Siwon and Go Kyung Pyo look like brothers? Or who else got tricked by GKP when he impersonated Siwon in Saturday Night Live that featuring Super Junior? At first I don’t see any resemblance because they sporting different hair styles. But when I looked at SNL episode I almost got tricked by Go Kyung Pyo who playfully danced and acted like Siwon. They have similar heights and postures and at a glance people are easily not noticed their differences.

Long Lost Aunt/Niece and Uncle/Nephew
11.  Lee Young Ae/Moon Geun Young

Have you ever watched Dae Jang Geum/Jewel in The Palace (2003)? Ever since I watched that drama I always get bothered whenever a drama depicted their hero/heroine young self who doesn’t even look like him/herself. Dae Jang Geum was great and the actress that played young Jang Geum was not bad but they don’t have any resemblance on facial features or body postures. I wished at that time that the young Jang Geum will be portrayed by Moon Geun Young because their resemblance. Though when Dae Jang Geum aired I don’t know MGY, I just know she is the actress who played young Eun Seo in Autumn in My Heart. Now, 7 years after Dae Jang Geum aired on my national TV station I know the answer: they indeed are look-alike. Just see at the promo pictures of MGY latest drama Goddess of Fire, Jung Yi (2013). She worked as royal potter that served royal palace while Jang Geum worked as royal physician. They have similar hairstyles, clothes, and accessories. Being long lost Aunt and Niece is possible right?

22. Bae Soo Bin/Yeo Jin Gu

They have similar looks, similar intense and charismatic eyes and they both really a hoot!! I realized their similarities when I watched Yeo Jin Gu first time in I Miss You as young Han Jung Woo (the adult role played by Yoochun) and watched Baek Soo Bin in 49 Days (2011). Same as above point, I cringed at almost non-existent similarities between Yeo Jin Gu and Yoochun and hope that someday he will play the younger version of Baek Soo Bin. BSB and YJG both can play as fierce and strong man but also can act as a man fall in love and smile stupidly for the woman they love. Last but not least, they both adorable as an oppa or noona killer!!

34. Baek Young Joon/Kim Hyun Joong

Many k-drama viewers and fans already know it. I just want to make sure in this list they won’t go unnoticed. They look alike the most when they have long and blonde hair like Kang Jun Sang/Lee Min Hyung in Winter Sonata (2002) and Ji Hoo in Boys Before Flowers (2009). They have same sad face and longing eyes, looks that melted every woman heart. Funnily, they became close and having hyung-dongsaeng relationship after people noticed their resemblance. In an interview KHJ told the audience that they really close and BYJ even seek potential date through him.

          Hopefully casting directors, writers and PDs across South Korea will notice and create the pair of long lost family in future dramas. With their looks and talents it’s hard to ignore them, right? Maybe somewhere in Dramaverse we will be able to see them act together, preferably in daily dramas with 50+ episodes so I can watch them every day and notice every similarities and differences.  

Source: various sources


                I know it’s not the most creative title, since I mostly create a pun on That Winter, The Wind Blows. The drama itself is pretty good. The casts are excellent, the directing and cinematography are well balanced and gorgeous. The story is straight up melodrama on chaebol heiress and conman fauxcest. But, the ending… makes my mind blows for a while. There are actually plenty of dramas airing in 2013 that have mind blown ending, unfortunately not in a good way. While it’s true we, as viewers, should look at the whole package, most of the times bad endings just enough to erase fond memories about said dramas. So expect lots of ending spoilers and maybe it’s best for you to have watched these dramas except if you’re okay with spoilers. 

1. Gu Family Book

This is a drama that maybe forgets the title. The title is “Gu Family Book” which is why I expected there’s some kind of journey to find said book or even the appearance of it. Alas, in the entire drama, we never knew the book, it never appeared before us, the hero even forgot about the book and never even care if he could find the book or not. Some could argue the other drama title is “Kangchi: The Beginning” but it doesn’t negate the very first title or diminish the existence of the book. Till the end, I wondered about the book and only get the hero waited for 400 hundred years to make reunion with his past lover in modern Seoul. I could accept the heroine death so why bothered to make her and the entire cast reincarnated, except the forever young half gumiho, and yet they cannot explain that damn book just because the hero said he didn’t need the book. Some people argue the relocation to modern Seoul actually for PPL (product placements). I kinda agree with it.

2. Shark

I feel bad for Kim Nam Gil. It’s for the umpteenth time he died in a drama or movie. I cannot fathom the importance of him died again in Shark. I mean, I know he’s antihero and he has to pay for his crimes. He also can’t be together with his lover because she’s already married so why they need to kill him?? Plotwise, there’s not much he can do. He’s already helping catch the villain and wrap up his business, so maybe the writer decide to pull some dramatic tension and wring our hearts by kill the (anti) hero. Or, maybe, because he’s a Shark, he needs to go back to ocean? Whatever, the endng left bitter taste to my mouth, heart, and soul.

3. Mirae’s Choice (Marry Him If You Dare)

I suggest we should change this drama title “Watch It If You Dare” just in case any k-drama newbie or anyone ever interested in it. It’s also the case when a drama forgets the title. I, as a viewer, expected at least Mi Rae choose one of two guys or choose being single or choose whomever she wants. Or, at least we can really watch her marry the husband. However, this drama succeeds at none. We just see Mi Rae turn back, look optimistic and positive and just there. It is the most exasperated ending I have seen. I left puzzled, confused, and unable to make coherent and comprehensive thought. The epilogue didn’t clear it either because doesn’t the writer forget that the characters live in parallel universe?

4. That Winter, The Wind Blows

It’s not so much confusing and mindblowing as the other 3. It’s just, I hope, we get more explanations on how we get to the ending. As long as I can remember, during two third of the final episode, we get to see the hero stabbed by his buddy and bleeding and there’s a lot of blood it could bathe him. Somehow, one year later, the second leads talk about flowers and the heroine go to a cafĂ© where she met the hero all fine and healthy. Because it is romantic melodrama and the ending set in early spring, we get the beautiful scenes of two people hugging and kissing in beautiful spring blossom. I get the point of happy ending of course, but how we get there is what bugged me. How Oh Soo even survived? Was Jin Sung help him and actually not betray him? How about Jin Sung’s family? Oh Young’s surgery? How she could find Oh Soo? So many questions, almost no answer.

5. Answer Me 1994/Reply 1994

It is actually the case when the losing ship (and shippers) could not understand the ending (me included). I love Reply 1997 and I also love Reply 1994 until I know who the husband and how the writer toy the viewers till the end. Actually, up until episode 10 I’m pretty sure Chilbongie will be the husband, based on the clues in 2013 scenes and their interactions in early 1994. But after episode 11, I sensed CB only going to be plot device. What breaks my heart the most is how so little character development for Chilbongie but the writer keep telling us that he’s one contender for Na Jung’s heart. But nope, Na Jung only consider CB as friend and her heart only for Trash Oppa. I can’t even watch episode 18, 19, 20 and 21 without bleeding heart. The only consolation for CB is his wife that introduced to us 5 minutes in the finale. What the hell?? I adore Na Jung and Oppa interactions, but I just hope they don’t make CB such a sad, pathetic character just because his one-sided love and his yearning for family.

6. Goddess of Fire, Jung Yi

Read the synopsis of this drama. It would say that this drama based on historical character, the first female potter in Korea, Baek Pa Sun. It’s fictionalized account of course but shouldn’t it follow the history a little? Hell, don’t hope anything remotely resemblance to it. I’m still mad at the unnecessary plot of Jung Yi cross-dressing, making it tries to copy Painter of The Wind but with epic fail. The story goes south and I don’t know how many pottery competitions happened in this drama. But the biggest blunder of all is to kill Tae Do right before the final episode. The real Baek Pa Sun went to Japan and married Kim Tae Do. Even the cast and synopsis admitted that the drama follows Baek Pa Sun’s life and eventually she’ll marry Kim Tae Do. I don’t know what the writer or PD think, but they completely forget the story and create their own story out of blue and kill Tae Do in the process. In the final episode, everyone but Jung Yi and Gwanghaegun is dead. Jung Yi and Gwanghaegun grow old but they also don’t end up together just longing and sighing. It’s the very definition of bad, sad, and screwed up ending. 

Any more suggestions on mind blown ending? Or are you having your favorite mind blown ending?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Drama Review: Heirs: He Who Wears The Crown, Must Endure The Weight (2013)

Rating: 6/10
The Cast:
Lee Min Ho         as Kim Tan
Park Shin Hye    as Cha Eun Sang
Kim Woo Bin      as Choi Young Do
Kim Ji Won          as Rachel Yoo
and many other actors that will be too much to be mentioned

The  Plot:
                Second son and the heir of Jeguk company, Kim Tan, exiled to California by his family. In California he meets Cha Eun Sang, daughter of the mute housekeeper in Kim’s family. They fall for each other while try to defy the social norms, classes, and society pressure.

                Starring Lee Min Ho, Park Shin Hye, Kim Woo Bin, along with up-and-coming rising stars and star writer Kim Eun Sook, you wold expect the drama can do no wrong. Wrong, actually. It spends 20 hours on mopey faces, endless angst, crazy second leads, evil parents, and Lee Min Ho’s fashion crimes. Anticipated by kdrama fans worldwide, Heirs crumble under its own weight. One of the main problems is because the cast, especially the main leads look nothing like high school student although the drama set in high school. Second problem, although it spends million dollars to shoot in California to show Kim Tan’s wealth, the writer and producers forget to spend the budget to improve actors’ English skills. To say I’m embarrassed watching Lee Min Ho speak English is an understatement.
Lee Bona - Yoon Chan Young
Third problem, Heirs promises everything and shows (almost) nothing. Is it because the writer tries to give social commentary on chaebol’s world and fail or the writer doesn’t confident of her story? I don’t know. The story seems half baked and seems hypocrite. So it’s okay for Kim Tan to do whatever he wants but not okay for his older brother? Fourth problem, music director messed up the music. The music and OSTs rather than enhance the show, almost make me died laughing every time the main OST being played. There’s nothing wrong with the main OST musically, Moment, sung by 2AM Changmin. But when you heard “love is the moment….” for a thousand times, you bound to laugh at the cheesiness. Also, I noticed Germany national song being played in background in episode 1 when the cast had family dinner. I was like, WTH? Is there no classical music good enough to accompany the scene? Fifth problem, Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang character. Kim Tan has tendency to be abusive while Eun Sang can’t stand the ground for herself. She’s too scared to fight against the injustice. It doesn’t help when Lee Min Ho looks sleepwalking, while Park Shin Hye is crywalking (she cried for about thousand times in the drama).
Choi Young Do <3
   Despite many problems, I confess I watch the show until the very end. One of the silver linings of this drama is Kim Woo Bin’s portrayal of Choi Young Do. Kim Woo Bin reminds me the very definition of Ki Hoon’s character in Cinderella’s Sister. “If he told me the moon is square, I would believe it.” KWB is totally charismatic actor that will make me believe everything he said… In Heirs he is the only person with gradual growth and most satisfying storyline. The second silver lining is Lee Bo Na and Yoon Chan Young, played by f(X) Krystal and CNBLUE’s Minhyuk respectively. They are cute together and provide comic relief, they also prove that love is indeed can break social barrier if your love strong enough. All in all if you’re fan of the lead, you may want to check it out, but if not it’s not worth your time except for few brilliant and funny scenes.

Life Lesson:
1. Don’t ever fall in love with chaebol. Your love is bound to be destroyed and most probably you’ll be sent to abroad in exchange to break up with the chaebol’s children.
2. If you have good fashion sense, send your CV to Lee Min Ho’s manager and/or management company.
3. If you can write and read Korean, go and write Heirs on your own. I'm pretty sure it's better than the original