It was the hottest issue here in South Korea a few days ago, because it is the first US remake of K-drama. This is based on 2013 South Korean medical drama Good Doctor 굿 닥터 (KBS) starring Joo Won as a doctor with autism and Moon Chae-Won as his senior doctor and love interest.
I read some international fans’ complaint about whitewashing on twitter, but Korean drama industry looks so happy for expanding their profit sources beyond Asian market.
Frankly speaking, I’ve never seen the Korean drama even though it was quite popular at that time. (Medical drama was not my cup of tea at all) However, this US trailer looks so great that I started watching the Korean version yesterday. I’m on episode 11 right now, but I’ve already cried 4 times.
In short, it is the story of an autistic doctor swept by severe hospital politics. It is painful to see the discrimination and prejudice against the protagonist, but it is also beautiful to see him get over the hurdles in his mind one by one. His pure and innocent passion makes the dirty power games put in the shade, and makes people root for him no matter what.
I wonder how the US version will describe the hospital politics. It will be interesting to see the difference between the two countries.
And these thoughts suddenly came up..
How can I be a good daughter to my parents?
How can I be a good wife to my husband?
How can I be a good mother to my children?
How can I be a good doctor to my patients?
Then, how can I be a good servant to my God?
I saw that, during fall, there’s going to be a tv show about an autistic surgeon. It’s a remake of a K-Drama, “Good Doctor”, so I decided to watch it myself and… god, it’s not bad, but there are some stuff that is so, so ableist it hurts to just watch and listen to it. Keep in mind that i just watched one episode for the moment, so maybe it gets better.
Long story short, they’re talking about “curing autism”, they’re infantilizing the character as hell (they’re even saying in the summary that he has the mental age of a 10 years old child, which is… awful to say), they’re always saying “suffer from autism” and they’re calling it a mental illness (which autism is not).
On the other hand, I really like the main character and I think the actor did a pretty good job playing his part so far. But all of this ableism is so hard to bear…
I really hope the remake get rid of this. In the trailer, they used functioning labels, but they never talked about “curing autism” and explicitly stated that autism and savant syndrome (which he both has) are two different things and that you can be autistic without being a savant.
So… we’ll see. For those of us who watched the drama entirely, what are your thoughts about it ? Do you plan to watch the remake ?
My Top 10 K-Dramas of 2013 - What's Yours? [Spoiler Alert]
2013 is about to end and K-dramaland has been kind in bringing us so many goodies this year. Below are my Top 10 favs on the year (my favs so it might not be yours so please don’t judge) :
The Book of the House of Gu
While the ending was a bit meh because WHY THE HELL did Lee Seung Gi have to be such a chaebol like person in modern Korea and all when it could have ended less cheesily but other than that I really enjoyed the drama. Suzy and Lee Seung Gi had great chemistry and the other characters were really well executed to, like Choi Jin Hyuk the forest god daddy and Yoo Yoon Seok as the possessed hyung. And god how much I love these two actors now.
This drama is amazing. It is still going on now (because it is those 50 ep super long dramas) but I am pretty sure I will cling on all 50 episodes. All the actors are superb and while I got a feeling Ha Ji Won and Joo Jin Mo are supposed to be the otp (because of the Ep 1 K-drama styled stare), I cannot help but love the chemistry and scenes between her and Ji Chang Wook (I love him but I am not being bias here). The puppy emperor is too adorable and right now there is more of a legit reason for the two to be together as they are both ally-less and alone in this freaky baddies infested court of intrigues. Like nearly everyone in this drama is up to something O.O I forsee myself going down with another ship after Reply 1994.
One of the best medical K-dramas in a good long time and Joo Won was played the role of an awkward genius young doctor with savant syndrome perfectly. The background to his character made the drama all the more interesting and perhaps brought the idea of helping people in a medical drama without being that cheesy (because his character has more reason to stop people from dying and to believe in it stubbornly). Moon Chae Won was also great and jksjkdnslkakncklas it’s just a drama that I would highly recommend. It just makes me feel fluffy inside :)
I Can Hear Your Voice
I had my doubts when I first started because it had the oh we met when we were young thing going on but I think the age difference yet opposite to what you expect in the maturity of the characters really got my attention in the get go. Lee Jong Suk portrayed his mind-reader role really well and I like how the story made his use of it for justice less forced on like what you would expect from a show with a super power possessing lead. Lee Bo Young nailed the playful immature and at times condescending public defender who grew to care for others like she used to while keeping the sassy attitude. Also kudos to Kim Sohyun who played Lee Bo Young’s counter part really well, allowing the growth in the character to be all the more realistic. I also admire the work done for Lee Da Hee’s storyline as most second female leads get demoted to the love ruining villainess and cunning master of manipulation without much explanation or some really unrealistic back story. But this role had development and a reasonable story too so YAY! Also, this drama had one of the better K-drama endings in the year to boot :D
Nine: Nine Times Time Travel
So I heard an American Version is being made and I am not surprised. This drama was that good. Unlike the overused back in time model used by many dramas already, this drama actually had a murder mystery for us to follow, with the hero’s love life being tossed back and forth in the most gut wrenching ways possible with every change he makes to the reality keeping us on our toes. This was a great breakout role for Lee Jin Wook who portrayed our cold city man time traveller extremely well while bringing out his emotions at each discovery and change with ease. Jo Yoon Hee was also a pleasant surprise (for me because I never watched anything with her in it before) and her role as the cute but tough journalist was a breathe of fresh air from the pretty poor girl or stunning idol heroines as of late.
Queen of Ambition
Seriously, this drama is so melo, it made me have my doubts in humanity. If North Korea hates Kim Tae Hee for Stairway to Heaven, someone needs to smuggle this drama there and they will discover that things only get worst with Soo Ae. You think she will kill an old man? NO. She tells him his missing son is dead. You think she will blackmail someone with proof of dirty secrets? NO. She does that with so much skill she can out pwn a manipulative CEO with blank sheets of A4 paper. She is that good. And there is Kwon Sang Woo, whose amazing acting brought the hero, the man blinded by love now out for revenge, so believable to the point when he was really out to get her, you are scared of him too. Basically you have two amazing actors on a show down of wits and life ruining. Splendid stuff to wet your pants from fear but also cry your eyes out for our poor second male lead of TVXQ‘s Yunho and second female lead Go Jun Hee who involuntarily gets stuck in the mix.
One of my favourite dramas of the year no doubt. While it was not super dramatic like Queen of Ambition or good at mystery as Nine (why you drag this hubby mystery for so long…), this was one of the best slice of life coming of age K-dramas ever. The emphasis on friendship and growing up together as a family was done fantastically, giving time for all characters to flesh them out into people that seem so real that we cannot help but love (maybe not to Yoo Yoon Seok’s love line though, oh well he left the show with all the woman who watched the drama dying to marry him) Go Ara was also really good, kicking all the critics away with a slipper (say that in Masandialect XD) as the epic Na Jung who grew from wild girl to mature woman. Jung Woo also broke out as the reliable and manly Oppa for all Korean women (who will trash your house).
Korea and its school problems have been touched on in many dramas but School 2013 has to be the most direct one of all. Apparently, there is even more work done in Korean schools now against bullying because of the success of the drama. And of course other than great acting from Choi Daniel and Jang Na Ra, School 2013 won’t be so great without the famous bromance between Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woobin, which led to a real life bromance off screen (and speculations that the two are a gay couple)
Oh betrayal. After watching Queen of Ambition and Secret, it really makes me wonder if that many people go to jail for their loved ones in Korea. Isn’t it guaranteed they will betray you and leave you to rot in there? Isn’t that the point? Oh well, I won’t complain since this drama is so good and this is needed to get it going! Ji Sung was AMAZING (wow you and your wifey are a on roll this year ;) ) and Hwang Jung Eum did such a good job. And Lee Da HeeAGAIN (you killing these second female lead roles girl) wowed me. Now thank you, Bae Soo Bin for doing so well in reminding me yet again that power ruins people in K-dramaland.
The Sun of My Master
The smartest drama of the year - seriously a female lead who sees ghost and a male lead who by touching her stops that from happening; THE PERFECT FORMULA FOR ENDLESS SKINSHIP OPPORTUNITIES!!! Now add in Kong Hyo Jin as the ghost seeing girl and So Ji Sub as the guy she must touch - BAM! Fans = dead. Ok, just to ensure we kill a few more fangirls, let’s also add in Seo In Guk and give him a super hot role and let Infinite's L be mini So Ji Sub! Other than an wonderful storyline, that’s enough reason to watch it, but seriously, watch it for the story XD
What’s your Top 10 K-Dramas of the Year? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and may the drama sharing begin (and the road to more excuse for holiday procrastination!)