OST Tune of the Day:She - Elvis Costello (Featured on SBS’s History of a Salaryman)
History of a Salaryman began today and this song played as Yoo-Bang (Lee Beom-Soo) admired Yeo-Chi (Jung Ryeo-Won) from afar. I don’t want to give anything away, but the lyrics of the song are more than perfect for the scene.
She may be the face I can’t forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song the summer sings
May be the chill the autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day
She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
The smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem inside her shell
She who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
But I’ll remember till the day I die
She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough in many years
Any drama with a kickass heroine that’s smart, independent, and NOT whiny/bratty/grossly cute is automatically in my good books.
But there’s been no one else like Jung Ryeo Won‘s Baek Yeo Chi in History of a Salaryman (2010). Nope, no one else has come close.
The first thing we learn about Yeo Chi is that she swears alot. ALOT. Alot alot. She swears without inhibition, and spurts profanities like prose. She may look the dainty, prim and proper lady, but she is totally not. Not only does she swear, she’s extremely rude, impulsive and not afraid to get her hands dirty (in a largely innocuous immature way).
What I love about Yeo Chi is not just how cool and different a heroine she is, but also how layered her character is. It’s funny because Yeo Chi is actually not the sharpest tool in the shed, and she is supremely spoiled and bratty, being the granddaughter of an extremely huge chaebol owner and all.
However, despite her brash demeanor, she is extremely senstivie about peoples’ emotions, and she may start off naive, but she learns her lesson very quickly, and she learns it well.
Yeo Chi’s character has the greatest growth throughout the drama, going from immature rebellious teenage princess to disillusioned angry determined young lady and finally to sensitive, intelligent, much more mature woman, all the while retaining her quirky honest direct charm and her ability to swear (she just controls it better haha!)
If 2011 was the year I fell off the deep end of the Korean television industry, then this year has been one in which I kinda came back to my senses.
There are a lot of things to love about dramas - the humor, the sincerity, the way even the trendiest of trendy shows places emotional resonance above everything else, plus gratuitous noodle shots and fart jokes galore.
But there are also a lot of things to dislike about them - the same recycled characters (often played by the same actors!), the same recycled stories (often relying on sexist, privileged tropes to salvage plot derailments!), the lull from episode 6 to episode 10 when the plot falls apart and the live-shoot system wrecks your otherwise awesome show… And 2012 was the year these things became more noticeable to me, enough so that I couldn’t get past them.
2011, I marathoned everything. I watched multiple episodes a night, stayed up late, crashed through shows one after the other like a dope fiend. 2012, I watched a lot more (JESUS CHRIST LOOKIT THE LIST), but I watched it critically, with less tolerance.
Padam Padam. I cried so hard, I started laughing. And then I cried more.
I loved them:
History of a Salaryman. Even tho the plot meandered quite far, and the two leads never kissed on screen (MOTHERFUCKERS), I hearted that foul-mouthed heroine and her beta male hero so hard.
King 2 Hearts. This would have been in my top 2, but then everything QIHM and nothing hurt. Also, the lack of good english-speaking actors to play key roles really, really hurt a story revolving around international politics.
Reply 1997. Really, super great, could have been in the very top, except for all of the time wasted on the whole creepy older guy falling in love with the younger sister of his dead fiancee story.
Shut Up Flower Boy Band. Worst name. Best teenage dreamers in a band, learn important lessons about life while having emotional struggles show ever.
I liked them ok, enough:
I Do, I Do. Kim Sun Ah gave me serious Lesbian Feelings, but lesbi-honest (har har), the show was just ok.
Pasta.The chemistry between the leads, and Gong Hyo Jin’s ability to play the nicest, sincerest female lead in the history of the world (without resorting to teeth-gritting cutesy-ness) made this a show about love and not about misogyny.
What’s Up, Fox. Pretty good noona romance. I spent a little too much struggling over whether their one night stand was entirely consensual. I wish the show had been able to portray an erotica-writing, witty, awesome thirtysomething heroine as capable of having of a one night stand with a younger dude, without needing to make her black out drunk to do it.
Seriously guys, Gaksital is so overrated. Plot holes, formulaic structure episode to episode, miraculous overnight healing from sadistic torture, paper-thin female lead who only existed for hero’s development, and on and on. For me, these issues moved from minor irritants to impossible to ignore, story-interrupting problems.
I should have liked them and didn’t:
Ghost. Great first episode, but this is apparently the kdrama Face/Off and nope.
Iris (and Athena). I think my ability to willfully disbelieve and suspend all sarcasm, irony, and logic only extends to romantic comedies. Dropped halfway (both).
My Sweet Seoul. Mr. Obviously Perfect for Her is so obviously obvious (mature!, smart!, hides a dark secret and has painful inner pain!), I couldn’t stand it. Dropped halfway.
Sign. Episodic, boring. The lead ends/starts each episode bulging his eyes out, yelling about the sanctity of scientific CSI practices and I can’t even what. Dropped around ep 4-5.
Vampire Prosecutor (1). I’m not a huge fan of episodic mystery television (Law & Order). I like more plot and VP1 simply did not have it. Yeah it was slick, and yeah it was explicit (for violence), but it was also super formulaic – 2 min intro of someone dying mysteriously, 40 mins for mystery of the week, and 5 mins of overarching vampire plot.
Wild Romance. It was just a badly written, badly plotted show, honestly. But I tried not to let that get in the way of enjoying it.
I Need Romance 2012. Barely made it through the first episode.
Rooftop Prince. Worst villains, terrible mid-season slump, and an ending that made me WTF forever (they are not the same person! the entire fucking show was about how they were not the same person! then he wakes up from a coma and just, what, happily ever after while everyone in the past is dead and or lonely forever?!). WTFF.
Shows I haven’t been able to finish but can’t admit to dropping just yet:
Dalja’s Spring. Whoa man, did this slow down so bad. I keep trying to at least get to the first kiss or something, but I’m on ep 12 and it is like pulling teeth while watching molasses pour while doing something else really slow.
Harvest Villa. All of the quirky, not enough of the heart.
Haeundae Lovers. The male lead is a jerk and the female lead is playing wide-eyed naive sweetheart SO HARD that I hate her.
Killer Girl K. Surprisingly not engaging, for a 3-episode show about a teen rebel who takes on a drug lord, sees her mother killed, and then gets trained by a secret society to be a super spy crime fighter (maybe). Or, everything Mfred ever thought she wanted and now has and isn’t that interested in.
Nice Guy. In episode 1, the three leads were simply too baby-faced to be up to all of these vengeful shenanigans. By the end of episode 2, I loved each of them and their evil, twisted hearts. Episode 3, I’m not sure I can handle the heartbreak of the upcoming amnesia story.