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Operation: Proposal [Review]

4 Feb

Operation Proposal

stars-2

So, this is the first show we discussed in our Facebook group — in fact it inspired the name, Operation: Kdrama Chat. It was a really frustrating show to watch, but that made for a great chat along the way as we shared opinions, commiserated, and sometimes disagreed.

Warning: This review may contain spoilers! Proceed at your own risk.

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Me Too, Flower! [Review]

16 Dec

stars-4

There are many things I loved about this drama. I loved the main couple and how they were together, I loved the quirky psychiatrist and his odd methods of getting Bong Sun to open up, and I loved Bong Sun’s relationship with her rookie partner and how she dealt with his crush on her. I just wish that the writers had given Bong Sun and Jae Hee a better plot to frame their romance. Just when we’d see how cute they were together, they’d be yanked apart by the over-the-top machinations of Hwa Young. I’ve seen that work in other dramas, but here it felt clunky.

The characters, for the most part, were fleshed out in three-dimensions, even though they sometimes acted a little cartoonish. Bong Sun, with her temper and depression; Jae Hee with his guilt toward Hwa Young and his secret phobia; Tae Hwa with his out-of-the-box psychiatry and his own painful past; Kim Dal with her material girl pretensions with an eventual conscience; even Maru with his crush on Bong Sun. All of them were a little more than you expected, which is why I was so disappointed in Hwa Young. I think they tried to make her more, but she ended up pretty much a one-dimensional evil antagonist, and that was so frustrating when the character deserved better.

This is very rewatchable, which is what I base my ratings on, I just had to knock it down a star because it didn’t live up to its full potential.

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Playful Kiss [Review]

5 Nov

There is a heart to this show that kept me watching even when I was annoyed by the storyline. Our heroine, Oh Ha Ni, is very adorable and not the smartest kid in school, but she’s really persistent, which is a good thing because our hero, Baek Seung Jo, the smartest guy in school, runs hot and cold in his interest in her throughout the show.

Kim Hyun Joong, who plays Baek Seung Jo was the b-lead from Boys Over Flowers, and he’s not the best actor, which makes sense because he’s a singer in his day job. It works to a certain extent here because the character is supposed to be really book-smart, but not socially smart. Oh Ha Ni’s attention revolves around him and she fully admits that her goal in life is to be near him however she can (e.g. if he wants to be a doctor, she’ll be a nurse; if he wants to be a pilot, she’ll be a stewardess).

I wish she was a little more independent by the time the show ended. The epilogue they did showed that she helped him loosen up as well, so it worked a little better toward balancing them out as a couple. But it wasn’t quite enough for me to put it on my re-watch list.

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What’s Up Fox? [Review]

15 Oct

I’ve been trying to figure out why I didn’t love this drama. Because it has all the elements that I *should* love, and so many reviewers with similar tastes loved it.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to two things. First, the secondary romance with the younger sister, Joon Hee, and Byung Gak. It started off so weird and stalkery that they’d need to have a really awesome storyline for me to buy the happily-ever-after. And they didn’t. That wouldn’t have been enough to make me rate it downward if I’d loved the main romance, but I didn’t.

Which leads us to the second thing. I enjoyed the initial interactions between the main leads. I liked that Chul Su just went all out in trying to win her over. I had a small issue with them not laying enough groundwork for me to believe Byung Hee’s change of heart towards Chul Su, but if I like a romance enough, I can fill in the blanks, so that wasn’t much of a problem. And I liked how they were as a couple once she did change her mind. She was so cute with her shyness around her new love, but then she’d get exasperated with him and be herself again. It worked for me.

What was the real issue for me may be due to a cultural difference and not so much a failing of the show. It was their family’s reaction to the romance. I expected them to be upset and try to keep them apart, but the fact that Byung Hee was a grown woman of 33, her mother locked her in her room, and she couldn’t just climb over the table and go her own way just killed it for me. I know she accepted what her mother was doing out of respect, but I think that’s where the culture clash came in for me. I love my mom and my sisters, but if they *ever* locked me in a room over decisions I’d made as a grown woman, I’d have a hard time forgiving them. So, more a knee-jerk reaction from me because of where and how I grew up than a problem with the story itself.

I was bugged as well, of course, by how Seung Hye messed with Chul Su’s army enlistment. I think that one would have upset me more, but by that time it felt like it was just adding insult to injury.

I’m a little sad that I can’t rate it higher because they had some really good things to say about staying true to yourself and not just doing what others expect of you. But in the end it wasn’t enough to bring it back for me.

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Queen In Hyun’s Man [Review]

15 Oct

I loved this show. The chemistry between the leads was amazing, the writing and direction were spot on, and they did a good job with the time travel. There may be some small holes in the time travel — I haven’t taken the time (and probably won’t ever) to go over every detail and nitpick, but for the most part they stuck to their own internal logic for it, and that works for me.

I don’t want to give any spoilers here, so let me see what I can say that keeps it vague enough. On the romance, what I liked so much was the teasing, flirty romance. That, even though he was a serious scholar, he had a sense of humor. She’d mess with him a little when she was teaching him about the future by telling him things that weren’t quite right, but he caught on and teased her right back. Also, when they were talking about serious subjects, she’d fall back on the fact that she wasn’t very smart, but he never thought that and, in fact, called her out on it in one episode.

I loved the smart writing. Every time I thought I’d see it fall into the regular drama tropes, they’d surprise me by going in a different direction and keeping the story flowing smoothly.

The direction was great, too, for the most part. I did get a little dizzy with the camera swaps (I don’t know the technical term, but it’s when they were switching back and forth between characters in the same scene) in some of the really tense scenes — I think they could have toned it down a little and still kept the right feel. But for the most part it was wonderfully done.

All in all, a very good show. It’ll go in my top favorites from now on.

NOTE: I found some posts at Idle Revelry that really dig into the layers of the show. There are spoilers at that link, so I’d recommend you read them after you’ve watched the show.

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Boys Over Flowers [Review]

15 Oct

I’ll preface this by saying it’s one of my favorites. The story is a mess, the plot doesn’t always stay on track, they play the theme song *way* too often (I still twitch when I hear the opening to it), and the b-lead is not the best actor (and I love him anyway), but all that said, this was an awesome, cracktastic show. They threw in all the usual soap opera stuff — evil mom, secret revenge plans, kidnapping, amnesia. Lee Min Ho as Jun Pyo was awesome, though, so between that and the romantic chemistry I finished it a very happy camper.

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