November 27, 2012

Seoyeong My Daughter – Episodes 9-10


Episode 9 – In this episode of Seoyeong My Daughter, everybody gets an education. Mom (Kim Hye Ok) gets a lesson on marrying for money from dad (Choi Jung Woo). Sung Jae (Lee Jung Shin) gets a lesson on acceptance of reality from Seo Yeong (Lee Bo Young). Hah! How ironic is that!?

Fittingly, Lee Seo Yeong gets a lesson on the consequences of fibbing – from everyone. Kang Woo Jae (Lee Sang Yoon) gets a lesson on what parents say versus what they really mean. You’d think a guy as smart and as old as he is would not be so surprised.
Woo Jae sits on mom's bed with a bag of food he has brought to cheer her up; MORE…

November 24, 2012

Seoyeong My Daughter – Episodes 7-8


Episode 7 – Seven episodes into Seoyeong My Daughter, the s-word is finally mentioned! But is it Seo Yeong (Lee Bo Young) who calls Woo Jae (Lee Sang Yun) a stalker? No, it is not. Never mind that he shadows her bus on a 4 hour drive, then skulks around in the shrubbery, eavesdropping on an extremely private moment. And how did she not notice his SUV creeping up a deserted country road behind her?? Maybe it was a hybrid in electric mode?
Seoyoung weeps on the bus, while Ujae's SUV hovers just outside her window; MORE…

November 14, 2012

Seoyeong My Daughter – Episodes 1-6

A young man slow dances with his smiling mom in front of a white grand piano;Episode 1 – Seoyeong My Daughter is off to a rip-roaring start! Fractured families, unhappy marriages, financial woes, health emergencies, and a couple of photogenic strangers who somehow keep crossing paths in a city of 10 million. All in the first episode, which ends with them stubbornly glaring at each other. Can romance be far behind?

November 10, 2012

Seo Yeong My Daughter – Watch With Me!

Lee Bo Yeong as Seoyeong in functional student dress;The new family drama Seo Yeong My Daughter is airing in the time slot previously occupied by My Husband Got a Family. This is a hard timeslot for me to resist. I did something else for one weekend, but episode 3 caught my eye, and now I’m going back to catch up.

It isn’t just the timing that works for me, however. The title character (Lee Bo Young) is smart as a whip and tough as nails. She’s versatile, too. We’ve already seen her in a red curly wig, gussied up like a clubgirl, and in her more usual outfit of baggy men’s shirt and slacks (such indifference to fashion is downright edgy for a Korean drama heroine) as she works her way through law school. Lee Bo Young is obviously up to whatever challenges the role might throw her way. I’ve seen her before, in the relentlessly histrionic 2006 melodrama, Queen of the Game, but I didn’t recognize her. She actually looks younger in this role.

In case the title didn’t clue you in, this is an all too familiar struggling daughter/loser father tale. However, Seo Yeong has impressed me more with her resilience in one episode than Da Ran did in all 20 episodes of Can Love Become Money. And don’t even get me started on Damo’s fatalistic Chae Ohk (I have not, however, abandoned Damo – it’s just been a busy week. Episode 8 recap is coming soon).

Has this become the KBS feminist drama timeslot? If so, 괜찮아요. It’s about time we see some roles for women that have the depth and development that is usually invested only into the roles for men.

At 50 episodes, I won’t be doing recaps. Instead I’ll post thoughts every few episodes and see how that goes. Check it out, and join me!

Related posts: My Daughter Seoyoung – Episode Reviews

July 1, 2012

KBS Drama Specials - Korean short drama reviews

KBS regularly airs short dramas with 1-5 episodes under their “KBS Drama Special” umbrella. They used to be buried in late night/weekday day timeslots, but KBS World recently added a Saturday afternoon timeslot that makes them more accessible to working viewers. I’ve reviewed a couple of these previously – For My Son and The Most Glorious Moment in Life. Here are some others:

Amore Mio

This 4-episode drama is a great partner to Love Rain, for a grittier version of the same era of Korean class struggle and political unrest. Jeong Woong In delivers a fabulous dual performance as his younger self, and as a present-day dad, in the most convincing portrayal of the same character at different ages that I’ve ever seen. The youthful character was so unsympathetic that I stopped watching the drama after the first episode. [It aired in January, before I’d caught on to the Kdrama convention of showing characters at their worst before transforming them.] However, I came across the series again at episode 3 and got pulled back in to the story.
Jeong Woong In and Dana walk away from a confrontation with a man from their past
True to the title, there is a romance at the heart of Amore Mio, and the requisite supreme self-sacrifice for love, which Jeong Woong In sells well. There is also violence – be warned. If you are only interested in Kdrama as entertainment, you may find Amore Mio too raw, but if you want a window into 1980s Korea, check it out.


Crossing Yeongdo Bridge

My memory of this one-episode drama is a bit hazy, but I thought it was a well-acted story about a troubled father-daughter relationship. As often occurs in Korean dramas, drinking is semi-recognized as an issue without really being understood in its full implications as alcoholism. Deals somewhat more frankly with sexual matters than many dramas.

Park Hae Sol, Maiden Detective

The quaintly Victorian title of this drama caught my attention – when’s the last time you heard the word “maiden” in casual conversation? It sounded promising – young woman uses psychometric gifts to solve crime. Psychometry is a favorite with Koreans, though here it’s more like aura-reading.

Alas, this 4-episode drama was so slight that it wasn’t even worth recording, much less staying up late for.


Strawberry Ice Cream

I watched this one-episode romance last night (new to me, but it was a re-broadcast of a 2011 drama), and appreciated the writing as well as the acting. It’s a sad but ultimately hopeful story of a woman who doesn’t fully appreciate her boyfriend until after she breaks up with him, and has to come to terms with some major guilt and regret. Eom Hyeon Kyeong carries many scenes without dialogue, and ably projects emotion that could have easily become maudlin or repetitive in the hands of an actress with less range. Kim Yeong Hoon also delivers a nicely understated performance, as the boyfriend who “gets” her, even when she is not at her best. Their chemistry is charming.

A language note may be useful to non-Korean-speaking viewers of Strawberry Ice Cream. Korean sentences don’t necessarily include pronouns. KBS World helpfully adds them to the English subtitles, but that’s a little confusing for this drama. Just bear in mind that the Korean sentence translated as “I miss you” literally means “want to see,” without any specifics about who wants to see whom. Also, questions are formed by simply making a statement with an upward inflection at the end – there is no rearrangement in the word order. This means that the exact same sentence would be used to express “let’s meet,” “I miss you,” and “do you miss me?” Other sentences are similarly flexible.

Drama elements can seem a bit heavy-handed in the KBS Drama Specials – perhaps because they are packing a series-sized story into a smaller number of episodes. Nevertheless, some of these short dramas are of high quality. Don’t overlook them just because they are aired outside of primetime.