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.

K-Drama: Hi, Bye Mama (1st Impressions)

This is a drama on Netflix about a woman who dies and becomes a ghost. As a ghost she spends years watching her husband grieve and then re-marry, and her daughter, who was born the day she died, grow up. When her daughter is in kindergarten something happens to her and as a result the woman gets 49 days to come back as a human.

I LOVE this drama more than I can say. The main theme is grief and dying , but it is sweet and fun and funny – and sad.

Most of characters are torn about what they should be doing. The husband has a new wife so he doesn’t know how to properly communicate with either woman. His first wife, the main character doesn’t know who she should reveal herself too and how she can be a mom to her daughter when her daughter doesn’t know her and her stay is only temporary. She also has to save her daughter from some trouble. The new wife doesn’t know that the first wife is back from the dead, but meets her, a woman who looks like her husbands deceased wife who has an attachment to their child, and is not sure how to handle it. She is also having some trouble communicating with her husband and with the mean treatment that she gets from the other neighborhood moms.

There is also a cast of characters who are all ghosts that live in a crematorium together. They don’t want to go to the afterlife because they want to continue to be there – in spirit – for their living family members. They all interact with a shaman who can’t bear to make any of them move into the afterlife if they don’t want to go. Although they mostly drive her crazy.

This drama will make you laugh. There is a scene with a sliding glass door that makes me laugh every time I think of it, and so many other scenes that I laughed my way through. And there are great sismances and bromances that are enjoyable to watch. And NO villains, which is so refreshing.

This show will probably make you think about the value of life and how you will be remembered when you are gone. It might make you cry. I think I’ve gone through at least one box of tissues so far because death can be so unfair to the people who pass away and the people they leave behind. This is illustrated in the main story and most of the side stories that are told.

You may also end up addicted to this show. I am. It is so hard to wait week after week for new episodes because it ends on the best cliffhangers. I am halfway through it now and already know it will be going on to my list of favorite shows of all time.

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.

Best Songs from K-Drama OST’s

These are all of my favorites which I figured I should share with you 🙂


Favorite Song: “Stay With Me”

Singer: Chanyeul & Punch

2nd Favorite Song: I Miss You

Singer: Soyou


Her Private Life

Favorite Song: Almost all of them

Singer: Almost all of them

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Ryeo

Favorite Song: Can You Hear My Heart

Singer: Epik High ft. Lee Hi

Touch Your Heart

Favorite Song: Make it Count

Singer: Chen


Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Favorite Song: Double Trouble Couple


Man to Man

Favorite Song: Destiny

Singer: Park Bo Ram & Basick

Because This is My First Life

Favorite Song: This Life

Singer: Moon Sung Nam

I Am Not A Robot

Favorite Song: Do You Know Me

Singer: Stella Jang 

Oh My Ghostess

Favorite Song: Leave & Gimme a Chocolate

Singer: Park Bo Young & Jo Jong Sook

*Best actor sung K-Drama OST songs

Arang and the Magistrate

Composer: Kim Hyeon-jong

*Best instrumental K-Drama OST

K-Drama: Why I Dropped Encounter Halfway Through

I dropped the kdrama Encounter, despite it having some positive things going for it because I just couldn’t go on.

It was episode 9 when I dropped it, but I almost stopped during episode 1. This is because:

  1. Park Bo Gum’s hair. I mean way to take a generally attractive guy and make him look terrible.
  2. The scenarios that led to couple meeting were kind of ridic. Just too contrived.
  3. The leading lady is supposed to be this business mogul but she takes a sleeping pill then goes out in public. I mean what? Why? That’s really dumb. Then she loses her purse and doesn’t think to borrow a phone from someone to call the hotel *she owns* where someone would obviously come pick her up. Then she almost gets hurt because she’s tired and the leading man acts all helpful, but what if it hadn’t been him, the way she messed up she could have been a kidnapping victim or fish food by the end of the night. And then there is a missed connection because she ends up busy and can’t make an appointment, but she never thinks to call the place to say she’s running late. I mean my 8 year old could be a mogul if this is the level of attention to detail that they need to have.
  4. A scene at a beach in Havana where people are doing an entire dance routine in the background like Cuba is just one giant flash mob. It was just too eye rolling for me.
I am NOT a fan of this hair!

The things this show has going for it are:

  1. Park Go Bum’s famous smile, which he flashes thousands of times in this drama
  2. A sincere seeming romance
  3. Some likable supporting characters
  4. Great acting by the “villains”

But despite all this, I just couldn’t take it because:

  1. The plot is basically older rich women and younger poorer man which is good with me, although I can’t think of a k-drama that has pulled this off, so please let me know if you can think of one. The thing is even though the couple seemed sincere I just couldn’t root that hard for them. I am probably being unfair here and too hard on the female lead (versus male) but she just didn’t seem all that appealing to me. She was way too serious i.e. no fun and had “mom hair”/”professional bob” and her smiles all seemed forced. As a result, she seemed basically sexless to me, definitely not a lady who could steal the heart of a younger man.
  2. There were many factors in the way of the couples happiness and by episode 9 I realized that the show was more emo doom and gloom then sunshine and light. I wanted something happier and wasn’t invested enough in the couple to continue.

And speaking of Park Bo Gum, I just happened to google for something, I won’t say what, and came across this hilariousness from 2018:

LA Times Writer Mistakes Park Bo Gum And Song Joong Ki For A Gay Couple

He saw their Domino’s ad and thought they were the cutest couple.

I mean in his defense, I would have thought the same thing. Especially if I saw the other ads < click to here to see them 😂😂😂😂😂

K-Drama: Her Private Life (1st Impressions)

I didn’t expect to like this drama as much as I do. I am not much of a fan girl, so I didn’t think I would relate to the plot. But I have been excited to see how Park Min Young and Kim Jae Wook are together. Her drunken scene in What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim is everything and who doesn’t love the Waffle Guy in Coffee Prince. And Robin’s post about the show got me hyped enough to start watching while it’s still airing instead of waiting til it ends so I can binge the episodes if it’s addictive. And now I cant’t wait for next weeks episodes.

So far this drama has just the right amount of comedy, intrigue and chemistry. I have not been able to guess episode to episode what would happen next with the leads, the gallery they work at or with the idol the leading lady is such a fan of.

I’ve enjoyed it a lot so far. The only things I am not a fangirl of (get it ha ha) are the dramas incorporation of love triangles and misunderstandings, which may have enlarged the script and increased the show count, but aren’t, in my opinion, adding anything beneficial to the plot. That said the show so far is great and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

K-Drama: Cunning Single Lady (8.5/10)

This is one of my favorite k-dramas.

When I first read the synopsis I was so-so on it. And the name didn’t help. Luckily MDL rarely does me wrong. Most viewers seem to have similar opinions as me on shows so I can trust most of the ratings and reviews. And the reviews for this show were good. I am actually rating it higher than they did because it checks all the boxes on the things that I think make up a good drama. I rate it 8.5/10.

Basically if you ignore the plot summary and read mine instead it may sound better:

Young couple gets married with the expectation that the husband will work in civil service and the wife will be a homemaker. Except the husband decided to start his own business, which forces the wife to support them both until she can’t take it anymore. After a series of events, she divorces him and tries to work her way out of debt (accrued while supporting him) and poverty. He is heartbroken and thinks his wife broke her promise to stand by his side, but his business succeeds and he becomes a sad single* successful, wealthy businessman.

The ex-wife who is still struggling learns of his success and decides to get revenge, but its hard when she still deep down loves him…

The plot is good, but what really makes this drama is the cast. Lee Min Jung who plays the ex-wife is fantastic (Note: She is currently one of my favorite actresses). Joo Sang Wook who plays the ex-husband is adorable, so adorable, even when you want to kick his character, you also want to smile at him i.e. his ex-wife’s dilemma becomes every viewers dilemma, thanks to his performance. And the supporting lead is none other than Seo Kang Joon (one of my favorite actors and cause of my 2nd worst case of second lead syndrome in Cheese in the Trap).

I like the characters in a Cunning Single Lady, which were well developed, was absorbed all the way through and really happy with the end, which is all I can really ask for out of a drama. These are also the reasons why I recommend it.

*Bridgette Jones reference 🙂

K-Drama: I’m Not A Robot (9/10)

Robot Aji-3

I recently watched the Korean drama I’m Not a Robot which was cute, witty and compelling. I give it a 9/10 for these reasons and because I think it was perfectly executed.

It wasn’t technically flawless, but as a rom com with a generic formula that added in its own variables, it was thisclose.

It made me happy, made me laugh, and made my heart a little sad during the inevitable moments of conflict. The writing was good, and the leads were great.

The story is about a President of a company (yes, the oh so popular Chaebol) who is planning to demo an AI robot. Except the robot short circuits before the AI team can get it to him and in order to try to salvage the business the teams leader talks his ex girlfriend who the robots features were modeled after into pretending to be the robot.

The girl is not a fan of her ex-boyfriend or the Chaebol and has her own reasons for agreeing to the plot. Of course hijinks, drama and romance ensues, especially since the Chaebol has an allergy to people and can’t touch them with the exception of one. There is also a business related plot towards the second half of the series that is fairly interesting.

Special mention goes to lead actress Chae Soo Bin who did a fantastic job. Note: She has been good in everything she’s in, this included.

If you are one of the 5 k-drama fans who hasn’t seen I’m Not a Robot yet, you should watch it ASAP because you are missing out!

Choosing a Drama

Decisions, decisions…

Choosing a drama is a lot like deciding what to eat for dinner or where to go on vacation. There are a lot of variables and in the end it’s usually about what I’m craving most. Some days a light, fluffy romace is the best thing on earth and other days something with more depth or comedy is up my alley. In this vein, I thought I would share with you all my steps for choosing a drama.

  1. What am I craving? i.e. what type of drama am I in the mood for. Whatever it is I am a happy ending girl, so anything I watch has to have that.

2. My first choice is usually Chinese. The irony in this is that Korea has more dramas and they’re generally better and there are good Thai and Filipino dramas too, BUT, I’ve been learning Mandarin so I try to find c-drama’s whenever possible so I can practice.

3. Does the plot sound good?

4. What rating does it have on My Drama List, since I’ve found that the ratings and reviews are usually on point (with a few exceptions). I try to stay at 7.7 and up unless I really love the plot and/or the actor/actress so I don’t waste my precious time.

5. Is the lead guy even remotely attractive >>> because I’m superficial I have a hard time watching romances where the guys are not my cup of tea.

6. How many episodes is it <<< Since I have to plan how I spend my precious time

7. Can I find it eng subbed

I dont know if anyone else uses this method, but it works pretty well for me.

K-Drama: Bring it on Ghost (9.2/10)

Lately I’ve been trying to watch the dramas whose summaries didn’t really do it for me when I first read them, since I’ve recently learned the life lesson that they are usually much better than they seem like they’ll be.

This is why I finally watched Bring it on, Ghost, plus it’s directed by Park Joon Wa who is a gift to us all.

I adored this drama. So much.

As part supernatural thriller, part mystery, part romance, part comedy with some action sequences and dysfunctional family dynamics thrown in it stayed interesting until the very end. And sweet. And funny.

I didn’t think I was much for the supernatural type stories, but this one was so much fun to watch.

The friendships and romance all grew organically the way they do in the very best dramas, the ghosts were both funny and scary,and the actors were all great in their roles.

Lead actress Kim So-Hyun is everything good. Funny, sincere and a badass, and omg is she pretty. She’s looks like a doll.

Kim So-Hyun

Actor Ok Taec Yeon was good too. And his black suit was on point!

I also love Kang Ki Young’s acting, in this and anything he’s in.

If you’re like me and the plot summary didn’t float your boat when you read it, give it a chance. I promise that you won’t regret it.