C-Drama: Parallel Love (1st impression)

Parallel Love is a time travel drama, and I really love time travel dramas, so I decided to give it a try. It’s about a woman who is a company director that out of the blue goes back in time when she opens a door. Then she gets a message saying that she has to help a guy become president of his company or she will disappear forever.

The first episode is a little wonky. The door time travel happens really fast and did not make a whole lot of sense. And there was no explanation for why she had to help a random guy get a promotion at his families company.

Also, the female lead did not make a great first impression, on me, or on the male lead. She ran into him during the doorscapade, since he was going through it at the same time that she was. She knocked him over and he told her she should apologize for it. She didn’t. She told him she was late for something, but her speech about being late was longer than any apology I’ve heard so far, so it sure seems like she could have said she was sorry.

The female lead continued to annoy me – and the second lead when she came across him again as he was about to give an important speech at an important event. She bumped into him again, ruining his shirt right before he had to go on stage. And again, she didn’t apologize. The male lead was forced to improvise, but his efforts were ruined.

Of course, he turns out to be the guy the female lead is supposed to help make company president. That was predictable.

When the female lead goes to his company looking to work with him she doesn’t know he is the same guy she bumped into multiple times. But when she finds out and hears that she ruined his important event she continues to be rude to him and still doesn’t apologize. I am a strong supporter of manners so it made it really hard to like her all that much.

The female lead also seemed oblivious to common sense on more than one occasion. She spent a long time opening and closing the door that she time-traveled through, trying to go back to 2020, which she came from. But when the staff approached her asking her to stop she couldn’t make up a good story for why she was doing it and was kicked out so she couldn’t keep trying in the future.

The male lead is actually likeable. He has a dry humor that is pretty great. His only major fault is really the fault of the shows stylist(s) who gave him godawful clothes and very dated hair. The hair I could deal with. The clothes, not so much. His main flaw was being in a career position he might not have been ready for.

There is also a twist to the story where the female lead who went back in time ten years is living at the same time as her ten years younger self. I think this is the most interesting part of the story. My favorite scene was with her ten years younger self and her ex-boyfriend who had apparently dumped her ten years later. Both characters seem like they will remain constant in the story since the ex-boyfriend works at the same company as the ten years older version of the female lead who I assume will have to avoid him.

If the whole drama was about that I would really enjoy watching it, but the show is mostly about the romance between the leads and the first two episodes more than set that up. There were interesting scenes between them about a wedding they had to plan, which involved some petty theft by the leads. It was fun(ish) to watch. But the rest of the lead up to romance involved throwing every single drama trope at the wall. This included the leads falling on each other, pressing up against each other, the female lead having to stay with the male lead at his house, him carrying her, covering her with a blanket and seeing her with new eyes.

This is the reason I paused watching the drama for now – or forever because I couldn’t take it anymore. There were so many ridiculous, corny moments that I can’t even count them all. If I was given a dollar for every time I rolled my eyes during the first couple episodes I would be a thousandaire by now.

This show could get better. It’s pretty highly rated so far. I do think it will probably have an interesting business plot with a female lead who does some cool problem-solving. And the leads might even be good together, although I don’t know how that will work with the whole time travel problem. I am also interested to see what happens with the ten years younger version of the female lead. But is it worth watching the stupid uber predictable cheeseball moments that happen every few minutes to see the rest of it? That it is what I am going to have to decide and honestly, I am not sure that it is.

Th-Drama: 2gether (8.4/10)

If you haven’t watched a Boy Love (BL) drama but love dramas, you are missing out. Honestly, throw you pre-conceptions out the window. They are truly some of the greatest dramas out there.

I love them because a lot of them remind me of 90’s American high school and college movies like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You and Never Been Kissed. The kind that are so fun to watch and always have happy endings, but have mostly disappeared. Thai Bl’s are helping fill this void.

2Gether is about a freshman college boy who is basically being stalked by a guy that has a crush on him. At this point the lead is sure he is straight and can’t seem to get the guy to leave him alone. He tries a fake girlfriend and when that didn’t work, he and his friends decided he needed a fake boyfriend instead. It is a little unclear why they went this route or why they picked the guy did, but it was a plot point they had to forward, so I guess it’s ok.

The guy the lead picks to be his fake boyfriend is a school heartthrob who plays in a band but is otherwise quiet, cold and introverted. The heart throb repeatedly turns the lead down until eventually giving in.

The fake relationship turns into real love, as it should since this is what dramas are all about. BUT this evolution isn’t formulaic, which is something I really liked about this show. The person doing the running after the other is unique, and the story behind it and the responses they get are mostly unexpected. There is also some time spent on the lead character trying to work through whether they really like their fake boyfriend or if they are just infatuated with having someone so hot and sought after next to them,

I should mention that the fake boyfriend is PRETTY. Every episode he got more and more attractive to me. Some study found that the humans that people find universally attractive are the ones with symmetrical features and this guys are pretty perfect. The character also turns out to be adorably shy versus conceited so it is too easy to ship this couple.

There are reviewers out there who didn’t love this drama, but I think that it depends on what a viewer is looking to get out of one. I loved it. It was light-hearted, sweet and romantic, I didn’t get too invested in the second lead love triangles, and I ended the drama feeling even happier as a person than when I started it. THAT is what I watch dramas for.

I highly recommend giving this show or other BL’s a try because they really can be adorable and sweet and funny – basically the perfect pick me up. Love by Chance, 2 Moons and Scotus 2 are my fav, and 2gether just got added to that list.

K-Drama: Itaewon Class (7.9/10)

This drama had promise. So much promise. If you have ever read my blog posts you know that I love Park Seo Joon’s acting. I will ride or die for him if anyone questions his artistic talent. That’s why it’s hard for me to say that despite his acting this drama made me mad and I wouldn’t watch it again if you paid me.

The acting by Park and the rest of the cast was good. The production value was also high. And the beginning was interesting and made it seem like the drama would be a good one. These are the reasons why I have rated it as high as I have.

Here is a summary of the show from Mydramalist:

Park Saeroyi’s life has been turned upside down after he gets expelled from school for punching a bully and his father is killed in an accident. Following his father’s steps, he opens a pub named “DanBam” in Itaewon and, along with his manager and staff, strive towards success and reaching greater heights.

What the summary fails to mention is that this show is about revenge.

The first quarter of the show centers on what happens that makes the lead character Park Saeroyi want revenge and who he wants it against. And his crush on a girl that he gets to know.

The next quarter is about how he works towards getting revenge which involves opening a pub that he staffs with a motley cast of characters, one of whom is in love with him.

The third quarter is about his growing revenge success and the forth is the culmination of all of this.

I was fairly into the show, although not addicted until quarter three when I wanted to throw it out a window. Basically the beauty of Park Saeroyi, that made him worth rooting for was that he was ethical and principled and would adhere to his principles no matter what it cost him. He loyally loved the same woman for over a decade, he stood up for anyone he felt was oppressed and he chose people over immediate revenge.

Then all the sudden he threw that side of him away, except that I can’t tell if that was meant to be a moral to the story. It doesn’t seem like it. More like the writers had him transition to be an unethical disloyal, revenge over everything type person while pretending he wasn’t. I haven’t read the manga it is based on, so I don’t know.

Worse than all of this, the lead/second lead female was AWFUL. I don’t know if I have ever disliked a character more, outside of some really evil sageuk ministers or evil moms of chaebols. She was described as a sociopath, which seemed right based on her behavior. She was a fairly bad friend, bigoted, although she would eventually see the error of her ways, but only because of Park Saeroyi who she was in love with.

It wasn’t really clear, minus his strong sense of ethics, why the ladies liked Park Saeroyi who wasn’t a great communicator and had one of the worst haircuts I’ve ever seen. And he didn’t disrobe like Park Seo Joon’s other characters have, so it wasn’t about his muscles. But they did like him – a lot. What is less clear is why anyone in their right mind would like this girl. She was a 20 year old running after a 30 year old, crossing serious boundaries to do it and being a godawful human the rest of the time. How any writer, director or producer thought that I would ship her with this guy or even root for her is beyond me. She is the kind of person that I cross the street to avoid IRL.

All I can say is that I ended this show after episode 14 of 16. Near the end of the episode I actually thought that I wouldn’t fault a guy for pushing Park Saeroyi into a street and in front of a speeding car. In fact, the show could have ended like that and I would have given it a better rating. That’s when I knew I was done.

I read the summary of the last two episodes, which helped validate that I made the right choice.

Drama Burn Out? Please Help

K-Drama, C-Drama, J-Drama, T-Drama, Th-Drama, A-Drama, UK-Drama burnout?

I am genuinely wondering if I am having drama burnout. I usually watch in the moments when I am home after a hectic day or week (which is every day and week) to relax and be entertained. I watch a lot of Asian dramas but really I watch shows and movies from all over the world. As long as they are interesting, fun and/or funny I’m in. I have a long My Drama List list of plan to watch shows, but somehow I haven’t been able to settle on a show. Maybe I am burned out or my attention span has become so small it’s invisible or maybe the shows I have left to watch just aren’t as good. I’m not sure.

This week has been a little crazy because I was sick and now I am working to make up for the work I didn’t do while I was sick and there is nothing I would like more than a great drama I can kick back too. Maybe one I can watch on the weekend since we have a house rule that Saturdays are lazy days where we don’t get out of our pajamas if we can help it. But I HAVE NOTHING TO WATCH 😲😲😲

I am currently watching one great Taiwanese drama which is a billion episodes as usual. I love it but am not always in the mood for it. I also have another half dozen shows I have been shuffling between that are varying degrees of good.

One show I want to watch is Itaewon Class, but I know if I start watching before the final episode I may get addicted and I am a complete fail at waiting patiently for new episodes to air, same with the Thai BL drama that is ending in March. So what else is there? New? Old? Asian? American? European? Australian? African? South American? Anarctican, I’ll even take that.

For reference my fav (type) shows are comedies al a Arrested Development, Coming to America and The Big Boss, competition shows and movies and dance dramas like Dance Academy and Dirty Dancing, slice of life dramas like Fight for My Way, romance such as This is My First Life and Some Kind of Wonderful, Romance slice of Life’s like Coup de Foudre, K-Historicals like Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Mr. Sunshine and Rebel and any good action movies with obvious villains and badass good guys/ladies.

If you have a show you recommend PLEASE tell me because I’m dying here.

TY,

Rachel

C-Drama: Ghost Bride (7.8/10)

I recently watched the show Ghost Bride, which is airing on Netflix. The preview was interesting enough to make me want to watch it.

Summary:

A young woman in 1890’s China is in love with one man from a very rich family, but his cousin who is dead forces her to marry him by threatening the life of her father. Her dad was especially dear to her because she had already lost her mother. The woman comes in contact with a policeman from Heaven who is after the ghost and they work together to try and stop him. During that time the woman ends up in some sort of afterworld purgatory and will die if she doesn’t stop the wedding from happening.

The best parts:

  • The actors were good
  • The special effects were great
  • There were some funny moments
  • There is a mystery whodunnit that wasn’t easily solvable
  • It’s a short drama (thankfully)

Things that were’t great:

  • The young woman had no empathy for the guy she was in love with or his cousin. I get that being forced into a ghost marriage will make you hate your fiance, but they guy, as bad as he was, actually liked her and clearly had a messed up upbringing. I felt a little sorry for him and thought he could change his perspective given some effort, but she clearly didn’t and preferred to see him rot in hell (not a figure of speech).
  • She was also forgiven for doing something that I thought wasn’t easily forgivable and she also jerked someone around in a way I didn’t like.

My recommendation

If you like fantasy and ghost dramas and good special effects than it’s probably worth watching, just don’t expect perfection.

Thai-Drama BL: TharnType vs. Dark Blue Kiss

I should tell you all that I might be addicted to Thai Boy Love (BL) dramas. This is mostly because really good ones remind me of American romantic comedies from the 90’s like She’s all That and the Amanda Bynes ones from before she started talking to walls and other inanimate objects (Sorry Amanda, I hope you got some help β™₯). The first Two Moons Series got me hooked and the show Love By Chance won my heart.

Unfortunately like any good drama binger I have seen almost all of the good BL’s out there and have to wait impatiently for more. This time I waited months for two of the newest BL’s to finish airing since, in my opinion, marathons are the only way to watch these. Both finished their runs in January and I watched TharnType first than Dark Blue Kiss a week or so later.

TharnType is a prequel sequel, the characters were first introduced in Love By Chance, but the story is meant to take place before the stories in Love By Chance occurred. Dark Blue Kiss is part of the Thai Kiss series. The first one of these is on Netflix and is possibly the worst Thai drama I’ve ever tried to watch even though the cast members are all great. This show was followed by Kiss Me Again, which was better, although not great and included the gay love story between Pete and Kao and also the love triangle with second lead Sun, a sweet, hardworking coffee shop owner with a godawful mustache.

The first surprise in TharnType was that they recast Type. Tharn was only mentioned in Love By Chance so this was the first casting for his character. I don’t know why the producers didn’t just cast the original Type, who is a BL vet, but I’m sure they had their reasons. I thought nuType was pretty cute until he did this shifty eye thing when he was mad, the same one that my mom does. Associating a guy with my mom is a surefire way to stop finding them attractive lol. Tharn on the other hand looks like a Thai Ken doll, which I was not too into. He also looks like he is 30 when he is meant to be a young college student. What redeems him is that he looks 10x better when he smiles, has abs of steel, and Mew Suppasit Jongcheveevat who plays him does a pretty excellent job.

The second surprise, which I did not welcome was thatthere was a little too much less-than-consensual activity for me in the first few episodes. Enough that I almost stopped watching the show, but ya know… drama addiction made me want to see it through. Luckily the non-consent stuff ended once the guys became a couple, but note to Thai directors: you should all look up the hashtag #metoo and recognize asap that it’s not necessary to add this stuff to your shows. It’s creepy not sexy.

Dark Blue Kiss on the other hand had a plot that was mostly PG-13 minus some make out scenes, one in a pool (that I am putting on my bucket list to re-enact on my first opportunity ;). It centered around Pete and Kao’s three year relationship and how it was effected by Kao staying in the closet and Pete ‘s anger management issues. It also focused on Sun, who was unlucky in love in the last show and his brothers hotheaded rebellious friend Mork. I liked how the last show set them up as a possible future couple, and it was the main reason why I watched this one. I was pleasantly surprised that someone had the actor who plays Sun shave off his mofugly mustache for the sequel, which made him look so much better. Mork is just adorable. It’s probably because I used to love a bad boy with a heart of gold and still love characters like that.

I really liked how all the couples on both shows seemed to enjoy each other’s company. It wasn’t a stretch to imagine the characters as couples. Tharn and Type had crazy chemistry and the actors did a great job of seeming in love. The actor who played Tharn did a break up scene that I think deserves an award. He managed to perfectly portray the heartbreak that most of us have felt at least once in our lives after a rejection from someone we loved. Sun and Mork were very cute, although there were a few scenes where Mork was trying to get some space and Sun wasn’t letting him which made Sun look codependent. They were meant to be cute, but it didn’t feel that way, more like they need to have a chat about personal space. Pete and Kao were the hardest to root for. I couldn’t have done it if they weren’t so cute together when they were happy. The problem was that Pete was too jealous and Kao was too cowed to stop Pete from being a jerk and had to resort to lying to him just to keep the peace. I wouldn’t consider that a functional relationship.

An issue with TharnType was the beginning, as I mentioned, was not great and there was a whodunnit mystery on the show which I didn’t like. It dealt with non-consent in a really flimsy way and the great unmasking was unsatisfactory because there was no straightforward villain I could hate. Some of the show is really immersing and the characters are well developed, but I would score it lower than most viewers have for the reasons that I’ve laid out.

Dark Blue Kiss is no Love By Chance, but it was better than I thought it would be. The show also had a whodunnit that I didn’t like very much. I didn’t hate the villain and it wasn’t clear what happened to them in the end. Overall though the show was cute, which is all I could ask for and it ended on a good note so I actually preferred it to TharnType.

K-Drama: Just Dance

I held off on watching this drama for YEARS because there is nothing I love more than a dance competition story. For instance, Dirty Dancing is my favorite movie of all time I also adore stories about kids who accomplish more than most adults expected of them. Especially when they are based on true stories. My very favorite is Stand and Deliver. Just Dance combines both so I was basically saving the best for last, or at least for a moment when I could reward myself.

Now if only I had known it would be a darker look at the human condition… I still would have watched it, but maybe I wouldn’t have been expecting lighthearted montages of dance practice and memorable lines a la Bring It On like “It’s already been broughtin.”

Instead, I think I went through a whole box of tissues while watching Just Dance. And that’s because it focuses on life in a small town full of what people in Seoul consider “hicks” where shipbuilding is the major industry. The lead, Kim Shi Eun is a girl with good grades and big dreams, constrained by her upbringing. She is the daughter of a widow whose husband died under dubious circumstances. Her mom continually tells her not to strive for too much, pushing her to graduate from her technical high school and get a job on the island.

I could relate so much to the lead. I was born to parents who have little in the way of ambition and though they love me, they have not been interested in assisting me in meeting my goals, which have always been loftier than their own.

My experience is also laid out in this show which lays out its theme very clearly in the last four or so episodes. The theme is happiness and whether it is tied to achieving dreams or simpler than that. Basically what does it mean to be happy, is it attainable and will it be lasting.

This is told through the stories of Kim Shi Eun who wants to get out of her small town and direct films and the ragtag group of girls who ended up on their schools Dance Sport team. Girls who were the children of people with big ambitions for them, no ambitions, alcoholics, grandparent guardians and parents who were worried that their kids would leave for the big city and never be back.

It was also about Mr. Lee the dance sport teacher whose purpose was to help as many girls as possible in whatever ways he could, although he was a supporting character throughout.

There was also a love story between the lead and a boy whose dad was her moms superior at work whose families had drama between them (because it wouldn’t be a k-drama if that wasn’t in it lol). In my opinion the lead boy was adorable. He was sweet and kind and loved the lead as much as any teenager could love someone. Kim Shi Eun, on the other hand was awful to him a lot of time. It is something I loved and hated about this show.

I really appreciate that Kim Shi Eun was not a typical character in a drama. She wasn’t particularly nice or fun to be around. She was sometimes depressed, an elitist, a bad communicator and made some really stupid decisions. I think this was a unique approach and welcome it for its uniqueness and its tru-to-life’ness. It was definitely better than having a lead character who the plot says is amazing but in actuality is not.

On the other hand I was basically yelling at the screen when she was at her worst. Even though I knew it was a show I was so mad at her for the way she would treat her friends and a boy who so clearly loved her despite all of her flaws.

Overall I really liked this show. The theme really resonated with me since I think we all struggle with what happiness is and whether we are truly happy, and if so how happy. I also liked the underlying themes around class and the issues facing people who are just trying to get by since as a single parent that has absolutely been me. It is also the vast majority of the worlds population.

The dance practice and competition parts were nice, but it really was more the glue that held the story together rather than the main theme. As a result, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the thing that kept me watching. I watched to see what would happen next with the characters, especially Kim Shi Eun, her mom, the boy who loved her and the outcast rebel Park Hye Jin who I would watch a whole show about on its own.

Overall, Just Dance was pretty depressing, definitely not the Christmas cheer I was expecting, but it was because it was so realistic. This show was also interesting, sometimes funny, unique, thoughtful, and very, very smart. If you don’t mind that it’s not sally sunshine than I wholly recommend it. Sometime soon I will be watching the original documentary the show is based on, assuming I can find it with eng subs.

K-Dramas Have Me Nostalgic for My Most Romantic Date

Since most of the dramas I watch have some sort of romance in them it got me thinking about some of my past romances.

My very best date was with my former fiance before we were engaged (I dated him after too but that’s a story for a different day). We were living in California and I was living in a small town filled with apple orchards and berry fields while I saved up to go to Europe.

It looked like this only it was eggplant and claret and the top was ruched.

That day we dressed up. Him in a suit and skinny tie. I wore a purple dress reminiscent of a ballerina costume, backless with a strap that went around my neck and a floaty skirt. We made a really gourmet dinner (my ex loved to cook and bake and had hoped to open a bakery). We packed it in a basket, along with a bottle of wine and headed to a really cozy park nearby where people rarely went on weekends since there were only picnic benches, trees and a small art center, which was closed for the day. We spread out a blanket on the picnic table and ate there.

As the sunset filled the sky my ex put on music in his truck which was parked close to the table and asked me to dance. We danced for the next hour until the sky was dark and a chill was in the air. Then we drove home full, drowsy and completely contented.

That was my best date so far. Here’s to hoping I get more like that in the future.

Breaking: Love with Flaws actor Cha In Ha, 27, passed away today

Rest in Peace Cha In Ha μ°¨μΈν•˜

In Ha who is known for acting in a number of K-Dramas (k-dramagraphy below)was found dead in his home today. His cause of death is still unknown and police are investigating.

He was 27, born July 15, 1992.

This is a statement from his agency (via Soompi)

Cha In Ha’s k-dramagraphy (via MyDramaList)

Here is an interview In Ha did in 2017. He seems like such a sweet and intelligent human being and he deserved to be here with us for whole a lot longer. 😒 😒 😒 .

My thoughts go out to all of his family, friends, colleagues and fans.

Thai-Drama: Great Men Academy (8.6/10)

Y’all I highly recommend this show. I had no idea what to expect when I started it, and to be honest, during the first episode I wasn’t sure if I should keep watching. This is because there was strange mix of the realistic, girl wants campus hero and gossips with her girlfriends -and fantastical – she finds a unicorn who grants her a wish, to be with her crush, but the unicorn puts its own spin on it and turns her into a boy.

Thank God I pushed through to episode two because I got to watch a show that I really enjoyed.

Summary:

The main character Love has always been a fan of the popular guy Vier of the famous Great Men Academy but has never had the chance to meet him. One day, she sees the mystical unicorn rumored to fulfill wishes and wished for her love for Vier to get a chance. Unfortunately the unicorn interpreted her wishes in a different way and Love wakes up to find herself… as a guy? (c/o of MyDramalist)

What I enjoyed:

The actors were great

The plot had a little of everything: thoughtful moments, comedy, fantasy, action and romance.

The way the love story played out was both unexpected and very sweet. I won’t tell you what made it unexpected, but I will say I have been hoping so hard that a drama would do what this one did. And it worked!

The story was engrossing and dealt with some interesting dilemmas and ideas around love. The main one was about the capability to love someone no matter what gender they are since the main character transformed back and forth from a girl to a guy. It’s a very Thai theme that I appreciate since I wholeheartedly believe that #loveisloveislove and that everyone deserves to be loved.

What I didn’t like:

There were some moments where I was confused about how something happened, mainly about the unicorn wishes and a contest that students participated in and would have liked some more clarification.

Freaking love triangles. I hate them. The heartbreak of some second and third leads – or sacrificial lambs as someone once ingeniously called them – made me sad.

Random Trivia:

The cast is part of a company created ensemble group 9×9 that also stars in Family We Trust.

Overall:

This drama is fun and interesting and it’s easy to root for the lead. I give it two thumbs up.