First one out the gate…KD Review

Looking back on 2011…

After a year of recapping, you would think by now I would know more names of Korean actors, actresses, or drama titles, but it’s like water off a duck’s back. It doesn’t take that long for me to forget even the initials I used for all those characters over the past year. Of course I still remember the ones from my all time favorite dramas, but the rest is a fuzzy memory. I had to cheat like crazy for this post and Google almost every drama to get those character names. Pretty soon all the bloggers will be rolling out their annual “end of the year” reviews and they are going to be well written and articulate, replete with full names of actors, directors, writers, and some PDs so I wanted to get a head start on mine before the good ones come out. Obviously I will make up for lack of names with some pretty pictures.

To get started, even though this is a review, it’s not in my nature to tear apart a drama just to ridicule and mock it. I just don’t see the need to be so malicious about a drama that may mean the world to one person even if it was a total dud to another. It’s like this – these shows did their best to entertain us and for the most part, good or bad, that’s exactly what they did. We shouldn’t turn our backs on that effort by spouting out so much vitriol. No one forced us to watch them so why go around attacking them. If you ended up hating it, there is only one person to blame. Don’t subject the rest of the world to your negativity cuz it only ends up leaving a bad impression of the reviewer and not the drama itself.  One should never mess with diehard fans of dramas because they go into automatic protective mode for the shows they love.

If I learned anything about blogging this past year, it’s that you can never guess what people will fall in love with. There are some dramas that I covered on this blog that make me stare at it wondering how it got here.  But that just shows you that you never know what mood will strike you to pick up a new drama and embrace it – never wanting to let go from the first scene or throwing your hands up in defeat and dropping it midway through. I should know cuz I just described how I felt about some of these dramas.  If I stepped on any toes while writing this review, I apologize in advance. Obviously my subjective views shouldn’t matter too much so I hope it won’t stop you from checking out the dramas that you missed out on. Now that I got all that out of the way, let’s begin.

Can You Hear My Heart

It’s no secret by now why I love this drama so much, but way back then before the first few episodes aired, it was the one I wanted to drop cuz 30 episodes seemed impossible. No matter how many excuses I came up with to let it go, each new episode gave me more reasons to stay. After a while, I not only waved a white flag of defeat, but I set up tent and parked myself here on the weekends. I thought I had seen enough good dramas over the years to recognize greatness at first glance, but this one proved me wrong. It humbled me by showing me that you can’t ever judge a drama from the plot alone. What didn’t seem that interesting on paper turned out to be something no one could look away from on screen. These characters took hold of you and their story shook you up in more ways than you ever thought possible and it gently put you back down when it was all over. Like a little kid starving for attention, all you wanted to do was jump up and down begging to be picked up again just so you could experience that wonderful feeling once more. The crazy thing is no matter how many times you watch, it just gets better and that initial feeling of amazement never wanes.

Scent of a Woman

I started this drama with my heart on full alert that it will be put through the ringer since we knew from day one what was going to happen to her, but then the drama did something else to my heart. It filled it with hope and made me realize the power of unwavering love. This is a drama you can’t judge from the premise alone. It belies something much more meaningful and resilient – a love story so well told, you actually feel like you are going through the whole experience with them. It’s one of the few melodramas that I could watch over and over again cuz I know what the reward will be at the end –that satisfying feeling you get when a drama comes through and fulfills all that it promised along the way. Like a true friend, this drama holds your hand through the good times as well as the bad and never lets you feel like you are alone. It’s one of my favorites this year and if anyone still hasn’t seen this, trust me you will be thanking me later for this gentle nudge.

Best Love

Never saw either one of the leads in anything before this drama so GHJ and CSW were brand new actors for me. I had no bias for any of their previous work so it took some time to imagine them together. At first I didn’t see it – they just didn’t seem like a couple to me. But gradually, my eyes were opened as AJ changed J by affecting him. She got to him just by being herself. It’s like who she was and how brave she was to continue in a business that wasn’t very nice to her sort of chipped away at his bravado and insecurities. Her love was the chisel that finally sculpted and shaped the decent man J could be if he freed himself of the misconception that he was nothing without his clout of being a top star. That’s the kind of love story I can get behind – where the love they share empowers them to become better and stronger people. It didn’t hurt that this drama also had the cutest pair of dimples on the second lead. Laughing through tears is my favorite kind of crying and it happened a lot on this drama. But every once in a while, I found myself all choked up during the quiet wordless moments where one gesture was enough for my eyes to brim up with tears. When a drama can do that so often – it’s a keeper in my book.

Protect The Boss

I need to give credit where it’s due cuz I fell in love with this drama because of my readers. All of you PTB fans kept asking for recaps or encouraging me to give this drama another try after I ran away from Ji Hyun’s scary hair. Who knew that underneath that mop of curls beat the heart of a true romantic. Eun Seol never had a chance when Ji Hyun turned on his charm. It wasn’t just his love that was convincing, it was the sincerity behind it that made you go weak in your knees. There isn’t a single thing about this drama that I didn’t like. I love Ji Hyun’s father and grandmother for being such special kdrama characters that put their love for him above everything else. As for the secondary characters, I love Moon Won for fighting so immaturely with his cousin until one day he realized they would both be better off if they got along and the two of them proceeded to become the chummiest cousins around. Bromance is always welcome in any drama and a definite plus. They should also come up with a word for when two female characters hit it off too. When Na Yoon became best friends with Eun Seol and her roommate, I was floored by the comedy and delighted by this fun twist of circumstances. By then I should have expected the unexpected since this show broke so many kdrama rules left and right. With the perfect combination of humor, heart, somewhat plausible conflict, and a resolution that tied everything up neatly, there aren’t that many gaps in this drama to call it anything less than a winner.

Dream High

Some people love shows like Glee, but I need characters who speak and not sing what they are feeling. If any character suddenly shifts from speaking to singing, I reach for my remote. When I first heard about this drama, I was wary but a name I trusted was attached so I knew I would give it a try. To put it simply,  I loved this drama cuz of Kim Soo Hyun. He was the reason why I tuned in and why I hated having to drop it cuz of my busy schedule and why I picked it back up the first chance I got. In an interview, KSH said that he trained for months to sing before filming this drama. Can I just say, that training paid off in a major way. Second reason would be the music and talent behind all the kids and their devoted teachers. Each hour went by quickly cuz this isn’t a draggy show – everything moves at the right pace and it’s like watching a musical without actually having to see them break out in song and dance suddenly out of the blue. This was so good, it paved the way for YFFM.

You’ve Fallen For Me

This is like the indie films that get overshadowed by the blockbusters airing at the same time. It never really got its chance to shine in the limelight, but the handful of viewers who saw its potential remained loyal to the very end and was awarded for their steadfastness. Aside from the music, I loved what this drama was trying to do. It just wanted a chance to tell its story and do it in a way that doesn’t use too many kdrama clichés and remain original. The only drawback was finding an audience with the right mindset to appreciate such endeavors. For those of us who fit that description, we got to enjoy an understated drama that showcased every talent it had to share and for a brief time, we all got to bask in their spotlight together.

49 Days

I normally don’t hold grudges that long. How many months has it been now since this drama ended? It’s been long enough where I should be able to put the ending behind me and move on to acknowledge how much I loved this drama for the first 19 episodes, but I am still not there yet. I refuse to admit there was a 20th episode. It was deleted from my memory that night. I fell for this drama months before it even began – the premise alone was enough to keep up my anticipation during that long wait. The sting of that betrayal on the last episode after months of recapping and translating still burns. I keep trying to recall all the great moments this drama had and how much fun it was to watch it, but it all comes down to that last night again. Ok I changed my mind – I do hold grudges longer than I thought. Ask me next year and I bet I can say more positive stuff about this drama.

Lie to me

Real life chemistry sustained this show and was the heart of the drama itself. The pulse was the viewers who fell for their charm and presence and came back for more each week. Once the drama ended, clarity set in and some of us wondered why we felt like we were waking from a dream like state – as if we were groggy from being entranced for so long. Months later and I am still wondering what happened. It’s like that drug haze never really clears when it comes to this drama. You have vague recollections of bizarre behaviors, crazy antics, and a whirlwind romance, but the only thing you know for sure is that you suddenly crave cola.

My Princess

I’m beginning to think there might be another reason why Song Seung Heon is called “hand towel” cuz you use towels and forget all about it. That’s what happened with this drama. I couldn’t remember anything about it and had to go back and look at my recaps to see if I liked it back then or not. Then I remembered two things about it that I loved all on my own – that song by Taru and the Roman holiday scene that lured me to do the recaps in the first place.  Beyond that nothing came to mind. This isn’t the kind of drama that you would call gripping or amazing. It’s more like watching a 16 episode CF. Two very good looking people are comical and amusing from time to time and they will probably keep you entertained enough to finish the series, but after you are done, I highly doubt you will want to start all over again. Maybe if you were on vacation on the beach and you had lots of cocktails. Yup – pretty sure alcohol could make this drama a lot more interesting, but then you would end up where you started cuz you wouldn’t remember anything again.

Dramas currently airing:

Ojakkyo Brothers

This one snuck up on me. I knew early on that I liked the drama itself to continue watching, but I had no idea that with each passing week, my love for this drama would reach heights reserved for my top three all time favorites. Episode 11 did it for me. After that I became a slave to this drama and I would do just about anything for it – even going so far as to kick CYHMH off my number one list to make room for this one. My love for this drama is going to extend all the way till next year and beyond.

Flower Boy Ramen Shop

I dreaded writing this one cuz I had high hopes for it, but my initial disappointment hasn’t dissipated.  I wanted to like it so much I tried everything – even watching it on mute. It got a little better, but I kept “pfft”ing through so many scenes so I went back to sound. The fact that Jung Il Woo look amazing in it clouds my judgment from time to time and keeps the flicker of hope alive that it will become something more than what it actually is on screen. So many people are in love with this drama so I was tempted to “drink the cool aid,” but the problem was I couldn’t swallow it cuz it’s just too sugary. There are only three things that aren’t syncing for me when it comes to this drama – the over the top fluff, how a 19 yr old could be that out of touch with reality and so clueless, and the lead couple’s age disparity. The first two are self explanatory so I will skip to the part that was the deal breaker for me. In the past, I didn’t think twice about younger guys supposedly falling in love with older divorced or single women on these dramas since the guys were usually in their mid to late twenties or early thirties. Those few years age difference was about the same as this drama’s, but as soon as Jung Il Woo’s character came on screen wearing a high school uniform, the doors of my open mind clang shut tightly and it wouldn’t budge after that. No matter how much I tried to pry it open using coaxing words like “you missed out on Return of Iljimae so you owe it to him to give this a chance cuz he looks so cute here” or “it’s just a drama, in real life they are only a few years apart and he is not 19,” all those words fell on deaf ears. The thing about a drama is that I have to believe in the possibility – I need to feel like “this couple was meant to be” in order to root for them to get together by the end of the series and I just do not see it for Chi Soo and Eun Bi. All I see is teacher intern and 19 year old kid.  At this point, even a time jump is too late so I am rooting for the tall guy to get the girl. I think Chi Soo needs more maturing to really get what it means to be with someone like Eun Bi.  I continue to watch this, but my facial expressions range from one eyebrow raised to frowns. Lately my head has been tilting to the side as well cuz I don’t get how this drama is going to end so I will watch this till it’s over. Mere curiosity trumps bafflement every time.

Thousand Day Promise

This may be the first time I continue to watch a drama for the peripheral characters. Every week I tune in to see whose turn it is to make me cry. Will it be Seo Yeon’s loving younger brother who puts his sister first before his own worries and concern for her well being or will it be her devoted cousin Jae Min who has been her guardian angel watching over her better than a father, boyfriend, and friend combined. His character redefines what it means to have a “pillar of strength” in your life when you need one the most and to top it off, he is easy on the eyes. Lately even Seo Yeon’s aunt, Ji Hyung’s ex-fiance, and his mother have caused my tear ducts to get a work out. Initially I was turned off by the lead couple’s love story since it stemmed from an affair. No matter how you look at it, Seo Yeon’s claim that he belonged to her first from when they were younger just doesn’t cut it for me. If that was true then she should never have let him go back then. Ji Hyung was already taken when she met him again a year ago. Stealing him from his fiancé for a year claiming dibs only works in her warped mind in her desperate attempt to cling to any excuse for her wrongful act. Of course it doesn’t help that I still don’t like Ji Hyung either for being the spineless jellyfish that he was all this time. You don’t claim to love one and marry another no matter what the circumstances. He was trying to juggle too many balls in the air that were bound to fall no matter how long he kept them up there. Now that he has finally done the right thing, I should cut him some slack but that residual resentment towards his selfish character hasn’t gone away. This drama is almost over and I am surprised to find myself wondering how this is going to end. Each episode showed a progression of her deteriorating condition and watching her struggle to maintain control has been fascinating. Never saw a drama before where the lead couple rode shotgun while the illness took over the driver’s seat. This is not an easy drama that you can watch more than once so I am going to finish it off praying for some kind of satisfactory conclusion that doesn’t leave me feeling depressed.

Man of honor

This is a funny one cuz since it shouldn’t even be a drama I am watching. On the first night it aired, I told myself I wouldn’t touch this drama again with a ten foot pole since I am allergic to anything remotely makjang. Then the fascination to see just how far they would take this got the better of me. I underestimated their full makjang capability cuz this drama does not believe in doling it out little by little. They like to douse you with it and give you only a few minutes to dry out and then soak you again. In Woo’s dad is supposed to be evil, but I find him more comical than anything. It boggles my mind whether the actor is actually terrible at acting or if this is his best version of playing maniacal. Either way, the end result is that I can’t take him seriously cuz of all his crazy facial expressions. There are certain dramas where you just immediately upon first glance sense that the main couple just looks like they belong with each other. Every scene they are in together or even during the poster shoot, they just click well. You just buy the idea that they are going to fall in love during the course of the drama just from looking at them. That didn’t happen in this one. At this point, I can’t picture her with anyone except with Lee Min Ho. But if I had to choose for this drama, I think Jae In looks better and seems more suitable with In Woo. I know – falling for the second character seems to be the story of my kdrama experience.

Every year there are a handful of Kdramas that create a wave of hysteria for a few months. There are the ones that cause quite a stir on the internet, but didn’t fare so well in the ratings war such as MSOAN and MGIAG and then you have the clear winners that no one can contest. Last year I was lucky enough to have taken part in the SKKS and SG phenomenon where people were eagerly waiting on pins and needles anticipating the next episode. The distinction and honor of being dubbed this year’s best go to some of the shows I covered on this blog. City Hunter, Lie to Me, Can You Hear My Heart, and 49 Days were the ones that left quite an impression on the internet, but the only one that is still ranked number one in weekend ratings in Seoul is OB. It seems a quiet unobtrusive drama packed more of a punch than people bargained for and some of us are still reeling from the blow and will be seeing stars for quite some time. As long as we keep seeing a certain pair of dimples, a duck pendant, caramel macchiato, and some kisses floating around in our dazed state, I doubt anyone will be complaining any time soon. :)

* Just to let everyone know why I left out Romance Town,WBDS, and City Hunter – it was cuz I never watched every episode. I feel like if I didnt finish the entire series, I didnt really earn the right to review them. I loved City Hunter towards the middle and end, but I wasn’t a fan of the first episode so I dropped it from the recap lineup. I picked it back up later cuz it was fun and easy to do quick recaps before YFFM. As for RT, I still have no idea what anyone’s real name or character names are. That’s what I do when I dont recap a drama – I watch the whole series without knowing a single name. I was just fascinated by the money and how it moved from hand to hand and changed everyone. Main reason why I even started was cuz of the grandma from Brilliant Legacy – total fan of hers. I didn’t even care about the love stories in RT at all. Hope that explains why they weren’t covered. :)

*****

Upcoming new shows recap idea:

I thought the crazy month of May was behind us, but now it’s back again. In the next coming weeks, all these new dramas will air: Wild romance, Bachelor vegetable store, Padam Padam, Feast of the Gods, and Moon that embraces the sun. On top of that, I still have dramas I am currently watching like OB, MoH, FBRS, and TDP. Now add up all those dramas and then add how many translators there are on this blog (just me) and what do you get? A very exhausted frazzled blogger who will be one show shy of a mental break down. So the solution? I am going to watch some of those new shows and decide if I like them enough to recap. If I do, then I am going to make a weekly post called “KD rundown” and add quick recaps for those shows that made the cut. It will more than likely include either a quick recap of Padam Padam or at least an explanation why they will not be coming up in the future if I end up not liking it. Only those shows that I love will end up being OB style full recaps with screenshots and all.

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47 comments on “First one out the gate…KD Review

  1. Laica says:

    I’m sorry, what do you mean by the “good ones”? I take issue with that label if you don’t include your own review in it!

    Thanks for the end-of-year review, it’s like getting a present way before I expected it. :) I completely agree with you about CYHMH, it’s definitely the only drama I’ve ever watched that actually gets BETTER the more you watch it. An amazing feat.

    And thanks again for introducing me to the treasure that is OB! I’m off to wait excitedly for today’s episode. <3

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    • Softy says:

      I know it sounds weird to say that but it’s true. I read stuff on Thundie’s, Blue’s, Fanderay’s, Dramabean’s and other blogs and I feel like my puny little recaps just dont measure up to any of them. They enrich the viewing experience by knowing so much about dramas and all the names of actors and stuff. Also, they watch way more dramas than me. I always have to cheat and look up actors when Blue or Thundie mention some drama I never heard of (there are so many of them) – I have no idea how many of their polls or contests I failed cuz I couldnt match anyone with their respective dramas. :)

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  2. ck1Oz says:

    Thanks softy. I wasn’t expecting this post.
    Me had a silly goofy grin on my face reading. I could be wrong but this year’s dramas stand out more for me than the previous. I wonder if it’s because they were all not the straight up rom com or the makjang we’re used to.They all taught us life lessons or principles that would enrich your life.

    Thank you for the recap.Gosh I just realised I worked on CYHMH, MP, DH, BL and MoH. Just as your experience on the drama and your blog/readers evoke memories. It is associated for me with you and the teams I was with now.Wonderful blog, you’re an angel softy for doing live streaming and all the many people who loved the show and worked so hard to get it subbed. It’s been a good year :-)

    Thank you. A toast to 2012!! May we find the 4th dimension or learn to survive on power naps :-)

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    • Softy says:

      It sure does feel like this year’s dramas were better than last year’s cuz of CYHMH, OB, SOW, BL, PTB, and YFFM. Last year it was just SG, SKKS, and MGIAG
      Hahaha I gave up on power naps – if I nap I dont wake up. In the beginning when I didnt do live recaps for OB, they were posted late for that reason – totally didnt wake up in time. :)

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  3. thundie says:

    I’m so happy that yours is the first one “out the gate”; you are going to be a tough act to follow, softy!

    Like I said in my email to you, I love how honest and heartfelt the whole review is and how you have captured so eloquently and succinctly the main draw (or drawback) of each drama. Also, your writing is so persuasive! You make me want to persevere with a couple of dramas that I’ve been struggling with; hopefully I will come to love them as much as you do.

    Thank you for everything that you do for the international kdrama community!!

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    • Softy says:

      You said in your email that you liked the main pic – guess what? You are the reason why I have that main pic cuz you taught me how to make headers and stuff. That was from a scene in PTB and I fell in love with it so I wanted to use it to make the cover shot. Thanks for everything you do for me and this blog Thundie. Everything works more smoothly here cuz you have my back.
      P.S. You do way more for the Kdrama community than me and you know it. If it wasn’t for you, a lot of us would be watching these dramas on our own and have no where to talk about them and that’s just not fun. Your blog is called “Prattle” for a reason you know -that’s where we go to do that. :)

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  4. feima says:

    Dear Softy – i love everything about you and your reviews ~ You are still one of the best! :D

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    • Softy says:

      Thank you for saying that. I keep a little list of all my favorite comments and praise to look at when I feel discouraged about not being able to accurately translate a scene so this comment will help during those moments. :)

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  5. nonski says:

    Thanks for the year-end drama review Softy!

    of the ones you mentioned, you’re no. 1 and soon to be replaced, CYHMH, is the only one i haven’t watched. it didn’t draw me but guess what, like your influence on me watching OB, i had just finished downloading the whole batch of CYHMH. i expect to watch it next week… and is expecting to be mesmerized as you are with this drama. clearly, after hearing so much about it here on cadence, i am excited and looking forward to watching CYHMH. i will update you on it once i have started.

    reading your review on these dramas brought back a lot of memories. on how we got hooked and feel in love with them. MP actually made me de-lurked and was like a fool during those times looking for anything to satiate my hunger. it eventually turned me into a smurf and became a db stalker. after reading your review and in retrospect, i could not find anything worth going back on MP. Dream High is my crack that time. More than MP, DH is like a breeze that passes by so easily but you can feel the coolness in your face. Maybe the reason why we come here is we often share the same view. I was thankful that DH came of to be un-GLEElike, and KSH is one of my fave, fave actors. so young and yet oozing with so much talent. as to the rest of the dramas, i can’t thank you enough for sharing us your talent, time and dedication, allowing us non-koreans to watch these wonderful dramas even without subs.

    just a little note on fbrs, i must admit, i was having the same difficulty with chi-soo and eun-bi’s age gap and also considering him being a high-schooler. i have a second lead syndrome in fbrs. really wishing they’d be the ultimate couple. tho, even if i did not get over it, i am still enthralled by JIW’s presence as well as the crazy chicken in fbrs.

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    • Softy says:

      I can’t believe you never watched CYHMH all this time.Hope you started now so you will have something to compare with when it comes to which drama is your fav this year. Thanks for always helping out CK during those live recaps and showing everyone where to get links and torrents. Also for all those great headers you gave me. I am going to redo the header page this week so it displays every header I ever got. :)

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      • nonski says:

        ikr! it was like huh? every time you guys talk about CYHMH and really from all that, i had decided i should really watch it. i am done downloading and hope to watch it soonest. seriously, i am already excited to start. just that rl just got busier this time of the year. and oh, no need for thanks, what we are doing here is nothing compared to your hardwork. really, how can someone like me who don’t know a bit of korean enjoy these dramas without your livecaps. thank you, hope to come up with better headers soon. just got my photoshop installed. *winks*.

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  6. Hamster428 says:

    I can’t get into FBRS either. I have the same problem with how he’s so removed from real life emotions and she’s basically falling for the looks (her spunkiness doesn’t feel real esp when she swoons everytime he comes at her). I just don’t find this drama genuine.
    I’m in love with OB right now and I’m really thankful for ur recaps! As for older shows, I liked Dream High, Secret Garden (1st half), City Hunter (1st half), and CYHMH. I thought the rest (modern only since I havent touched saeguk in a while) was at most average in either plot or crack or both.

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    • Softy says:

      It seems like we are in the minority about FBRS so I’m glad to have your company. SG is on cable these days and I have to agree, the first half was more amazing than the second. It did get a bit weird after they switched bodies, but by then I would have loved anything they did cuz I fell for that drama hard. So far it seems like SKKS will be the only sageuk I ever love. oh and the first six eps that Song Joong Ki came out in TWDR was amazing, but just his scenes.

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      • Hamster428 says:

        I liked Secret Garden even after the switcheroo. What I didn’t like was discovering it was another rich guy poor girl parent opposition story. And so I felt cheated *sad laugh* I also felt cheated by the way they wrapped up SKKS because they had made such a big deal about uncovering the essay/letter thingy but it just got swept under the rug at the end. Hugely BLAH. Ooh I might just dl the first few eps of Tree now that everyone keeps raving about SJK’s performance. I think the mousie is his latest victim.

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    • sleeplessinwgtn says:

      The May-December:Student/Teacher romance was used in Biscuit Teacher Cotton Candy and that worked for me. I fell in love with Gong Yoo again in that drama. But this FBRS can’t get into my good books. I watched it a few times and read recaps but they failed to appeal to me. Could also be because I’m not a Jung Il-Woo fan.

      I would have to set aside time to watch CYHMH – I’ve only read raving reviews on it but can’t get past the first episode.

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      • Hamster428 says:

        You know I loved the Jdorama Forbidden Love where the guy was even younger! So I definitely don’t have a prob with the age gap issue either. It’s really the mental gap that makes me balk. Oh and I’m not a JIW fangirl either since his last two roles have been a little over-the-top. I do look forward to a more sincere approach from him like in Iljimae (sans identity fiasco) and maybe I’ll add him to the list.

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  7. Maqluba says:

    Hey Softy!
    thanks for that review! I just wanna let you know I definitely appreciate all your hard work on your recaps (especially OB since I cant watch it at the moment but my thirst for what-happens-next is still strong so I read your recaps to quench me:) I also have to thank you for giving me the push to watch CYHMH… the main lead’s bowl haircut was really what turned me off from watching it in the first place…boy was I wrong…it turned out to be in my top 5 kdramas of all time so I thank you for that!!
    I do however have to say you and I differ in the My Princess and the Heartstrings/YFFM department but like you said, everyone gets a different connection to dramas then others. To me, My Princess is one that I’ll remember for a long time (probably cuz I re-watch it so many times). It may not be drama genius but I felt like this when I watched it:

    man! FINALLY AN ADULT rom-com!! not a kiddie rom-com where they spend 14 episodes running around before realizing they like each other/confessing and getting all melo and sh*t b/c some third party tried to get in btwn them for the next 5 episodes!!

    sorry I just had to get it out lol… I just felt like MP was one of the few rom-coms that the leads hit it off right away and they knew it (even if they couldn’t act on it).. the typical kdrama problems were usually solved quickly (except the major one of course) so I didn’t have to wait around for one of the leads to realize stuff for too long… if not for anything else, this drama had the BEST one-liners this entire year (as well as the BEST soundtrack)
    “can you not be a princess and be my woman instead?” com’on! how do you not swoon for that?! (especially when its SSH saying it lol) or that part where he begs her outside her house? ah man its moments like those that make want to re-watch dramas even if the plot gets crazy lol

    So just a word about YFFM and I’ll stop writing this INSANELY long comment:) I could not get past the 1st episode.. I love indie and I’m always rooting for the underdog but this I. could. not. like. I really really wanted to b/c this was the couple I really liked in YB but the acting, the slow-ness, the non-plot-ness, all equaled out to boring-ness to me (I even got bored reading recaps!). if it weren’t for the adorable male side characters (the one who ate too much and the hottie who sang well) I woulda dropped the recaps as well :/
    I totally agree with you on all your other reviews (I really thought I was the only one NOT obsessed with FBRS for that exact same reason) but I haven’t watched Best Love past the 3rd episode so I think I might pick that up again now:)
    okay I’m going to stop typing now..thanks again!!

    Like

    • Softy says:

      Looks like we are in the minority about FBRS so it’s good to have company. MP’s OST was really good, but I guess cuz of all those other dramas that came after it, my memory of it got fuzzy. You should really give BL another chance when you have time. You might end up liking it. It’s true that YFFM might be hard to fall for – if it was a person it would be the really shy person who doesnt stand out so you dont notice that person right away, but once you get to know that person you realize his/her appeal.

      Like

  8. shonaz1 says:

    Have you tried watching “me too, flower” I think this one is doing better than all the other ones airing this half of the year at least on the weekdays. Nothing could coome close to OB. It is way better than the ramyan-flower one. And this one has a story.

    Like

    • Softy says:

      No not yet and it’s probably not going to happen for me. I talked about why in length on KDF6 if you want to know. So far for me, this year OB and CYHMH are knocking it out of the ballpark. Nothing comes close to those two. :)

      Like

  9. Subject says:

    I’m so happy that you decided to post it. for me, this gonna be the first and the last post i’ll read about kdramas 2011, cause it’s the only Blog i read anyway. so, thanks, Softy, for your hard work, your dedication, your recaps and your big heart that everybody can see while they read you.

    I can’t avoid but defend on “49 days” (it won’t take long, promise!): for me, 49 days have all elements that good drama needs. i saw hundreds kdramas, but i never saw something like that. it so opposite to what i’ve got used to by now. each and everyone of the character through self-discovery journey, non of them remained flat or incomplete. it full of humor, great dialogues, full of phenomenal chemistry between all of them and above all, you can’t say after you watched it that this drama not affected you, because 49 days gives a lot to the viewers.

    I’ll try to explain what i’ve seen in the ending, that may change your view about this drama. as Han Kang said in the end “Because we’ve shared this 49 day journey with these two people. we now regard every day as our final day, treasuring the act of living.” if that line doesn’t full of hope and understanding, I really don’t know what else to say. more then that, Ji Hyun got those 49 days as a present. she was supposed to commit suicide after her marriage and the discovery of the truth, but during the 49 days she found herself again, and closed circuit with all the people who took part in her life and even fell in love with Han Kang. if she had died without knowing how he felt about her that was even more sad. i LOVE the ending! i love stories that end in realistic way after the big plot of fantasy. deep down i believe that 49 days was the trigger for you as much for me to watch “Scent of a woman” and never regret it even if the end won’t end with her living, cause we all learned because of her to treasure life.

    * * *

    i didn’t see CYHMH yet, but after i read you, it’s my new project.
    i couldn’t watch Big love, cause i hate the main female (she ruined the viewing experience of “pasta”! and i can’t stand her!) but i’m recommends on “City hall” with Cha Seung Won and Kim Sun Ah – They are the best couple i ever saw on the screen so far!

    Thanks again, it’s a big pleasure to hang here with all of you!

    Like

    • Softy says:

      You are very convincing in your affirmation that 49 days ended well. Deep down inside I knew you were right, but the shallow recapping side of me wanted happiness all around with everyone living. If you ever saw my top ten list, I never dropped 49 days from it. I know it’s a special drama and that’s exactly why it didnt settle well with me at the time when the last episode aired. It’s like when you are so hopeful for something for so long and you get let down at the last minute. It takes you a while to absorb the shock and move on. That doesnt mean I stopped loving the drama itself. it’s just that it still hurt to rewatch it. But you are right – I needed SOW to help me move on and it did.
      You should read the other reviews cuz I can bet you money you will love them way more than mine. :)
      I can’t wait till you watch CYHMH. It will change everything you ever thought about Kdramas. The last time that happened to me was Coffee Prince.

      Like

      • tammy says:

        I feel the same way as you do with 49 Days. I still love it, but I still can’t watch it only because of the ending. I really expected a happy ending for Kang and Ji Hyun, because all earlier episodes hinted at that. When that didn’t happen I was so affected that until now I can’t still watch it.

        But even if the ending of 49 Days broke my heart to pieces, I am still thankful for it because I discovered Jo Hyun Jae ^^.

        Btw, thank you for all the hard work you put in recapping/transcapping Kdramas. Your writing style and your blog generates such positive vibes, this is such a peaceful place to enjoy kdramas.

        Like

  10. My2Girls says:

    Dear Softy,

    What a treat! If I hadn’t happened to scroll down I would not have noticed that you had snuck in this wonderful post. This post really couldn’t be more timely as I finally caved in and began watching CYHMH last night (I needed something to keep me going until I had my OB fix). I agree these child actors are hitting it out of the park. I had stayed away from CYHMH because of its length but I figured as I was now sitting around waiting in agony for the 35th!!!!! episode of OB that maybe I could enjoy a show that had a mere 30 episodes. You are the reason for my coming over to the dark side and watching these longer format shows. Your constant OB cheerleading coupled with your brilliant recaps were my downfall (waves fist).

    As for the post itself I say well done you! I agree with almost all of your assessments. I find it fascinating that you went into watching Best Love not having seen either lead before and I agree those dimples could ruin my marriage. But I must side with Subject (commenter above) in that I feel that 49 Days was really a brave show for the final episode and I think they gave us the only ending that would stay true to the world that they had created. Though I am more partial to happy endings I felt that the ending was life affirming and that the sadness was warranted and not forced. However the lovely thing about Kdramas is that we all don’t need to agree. After all I have a dear friend whose favorite Austen novel is Northanger Abbey! We all have our own tastes. As for the other dramas I adored Protect the Boss (I especially liked the friendship that formed between the first and second lead women) but was really lukewarm on YFFM – so again to each his own.

    I can’t thank you enough for all your marvelous work this year. I hope that you get as much satisfaction out of doing this blog as we get reading it.

    Happy holidays!

    Amy

    PS I miss the snow!

    Like

    • Softy says:

      Hello Amy
      omg I can’t believe your friend loves Northanger Abbey – she might has well love Mansfield Park then. My favorites will always be Sense and sensibility, P & P, Emma, and Persuasion – in that order. I finally got around to replying to your question, but instead of a separate email I decided to reply where you asked your question so you can go over there and read it anytime you want.
      The snow was sort of freezing on my page a few times so I decided not to have it over the weekend during live recaps. I will resume it now. :)

      Like

  11. Fanderay says:

    I am soooo excited that you’re excited for Padam Padam! I love “watching” dramas with you and even if you don’t recap it I think it’s going to be a good one for discussion.

    I cracked up at your comments on My Princess because I started drafting my 2011 review and the first thing I wrote about MP is that I don’t really remember anything. I guess it really is forgettable!

    I loved reading this, and find your 49 Days grudge pretty amusing. What i always remember is Episode 19 tearing my heart out and stomping on it. At least Scheduler’s story delivered the way it should!

    Like

    • Softy says:

      Actually you watch way more dramas than me so it’s more like I go over to your blog and read about how you felt about it. :) I still havent seen what’s up or padam padam. I really want to shorten it and call it PP but it sounds weird – they should have come up with a better title or at least one that didnt both start with the letter P. :)

      Like

  12. InLove says:

    Thanks for the early review :)

    I’ve been watching FBRS and I thought it was the funniest thing when at the end of the first episode they revealed that he was high school student. Hilarious in my book especially with Eun Bi calling him Oppa. It’s weird he’s in high school, but then again I’m also watching Man of Honor despite my complete incredulity when it comes to fauxcest. I just don’t. get. the. appeal. It automatically makes the leads kinda yucky as Young Kwang is at the end of episode 11 which I just finished. But I’m suppose to be talking about FBRS.

    FBRS is definitely over the top sugar, but it’s a good counterweight to Thousand Days Promise for me which I am also watching. I like how every episode has a theme to it and it plays out in a comedic way for each of the characters. I also love that Chi Soo fell for a girl from watching her sparkle (aka sweat, haha) while playing volleyball. Now I have a soft spot for sugar dramas. I loved Playful Kiss mostly for the character Oh Ha Ni and didn’t mind that almost nothing happened in it although FBRS has a lot more going on than Playful Kiss did.

    I really enjoyed 49Days, ending and all. I think it’s just one of those endings that you either love or hate whatever your logic behind it.

    City Hunter was a good dose of drama crack. I was excited, but confused and annoyed 3/4ths of the way through. So many emotions from one drama. Exhausting.

    Lie to Me I was excited about because of the leads, but once it started I became ambivalent. I also had trouble reading about it on the internet because there was a camp of people hating on such an innocuous drama and it was hard to avoid that talk. It was just too negative for me. Baby Faced Beauty was like Lie to me also. I was excited for the return of Jang NaRa, but something about the show was off for me. It was a very run of the mill type of drama, nothing that exciting, or fun or memorable, although the OTP was sweet.

    The Princess’ Man = Saguek Crack! My love of Park Shi Hoo is reignited! Watch it. Marathon it. Just do it, don’t think about it. Sleep later or never.
    The Duo was bromance crack although not as good as the The Princess’ Man. It was a solid saguek though.

    A couple of other 2011 dramas I really enjoyed that did not get much attention from the Blogs:

    Royal Family
    The minute I saw that poster with Ji Sung holding a teddy bear standing next to this divine looking woman in a fuchsia dress I knew I had to check out this drama. It was basically a revenge drama, psychological thriller / character study with large doses of corporate intrigue and….murder. Muahahahahaha! Loved it. Wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea though.

    Thorn Birds
    Definitely on the melodrama side of life, but this drama again a psychological character studies at the center of it. Namely that of Yoo Kyung, her mother Lee Ae Rin and their ‘scapegoat’ of choice Jung Eun. This was a drama about women and the twisted personal and familial relationships they have. I was really drawn to that. The eye candy wasn’t bad either – Joo Sang Wook and Seo Do Young (2 Oppa cuties in my book). It also had an important and uplifting message about family similar to CYHMH which is that family isn’t solely dependent on blood ties- sometimes you have to make your family with those you love around you. Very sweet, very true.

    2011 dramas I have yet to watch…need to figure out that space-time continuum thingy ASAP! These include Girl K, Deep Rooted Tree, Ojjakyo Brothers (I need to see what all the hub-bub is about :), and A Thousand Kisses (love all the leads in this one). I’m sure I’m missing something.

    Without a doubt though Can You Hear My Heart was my absolute favorite drama of 2011 and is one of my top 3 dramas of all time. I love it to pieces, recommended it to everyone who enjoys dramas. If you can’t appreciate this drama, I don’t trust your taste. I don’t really have anything else to add to how awesome this drama was that hasn’t been said before.

    I can’t believe 2011 is over! Ready for 2012 dramas :D
    Padam Padam, make my heart beat! I’m ready for you!

    Like

    • Softy says:

      I did what you did and watched TDP and then FBRS back to back so I basically went from crying my eyes out to still sniffling and going “huh?” through FBRS. My head keeps tilting to the side when I watch FBRS – I dont know why but there is a constant quizzical look on my face cuz I just dont get him. :)
      You sure did watch a lot of dramas – more than me for sure. No wonder your name is “In Love” – hey are you sure you arent my sister? cuz she watches a lot of dramas too and she watched everything you did.

      Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    I love reading your blog (I don’t usually read blogs but this one is a nice one)… I totally agree with you 100% I had the same feelings when I was watching these dramas… and I love your intro and conclusion… you are so positive that it’s refreshing (frankly I am tiered of reading negative posts/ comments/ articles that seem to fill the internet these days).

    Like

    • Softy says:

      Thank you for the compliment. :) I think people like my blog cuz I only do straight recaps or translations of their fav shows. That’s why I always hesitate in taking any credit for the number of hits and stuff cuz all of that is based on the popularity of the shows. I bet if I recapped shows like korean documentaries or something, you could actually hear crickets chirping over here.
      There are a lot of kdrama bloggers and viewers who are pretty harsh in their criticisms, but the sad truth of why I am more mellow is that I just havent watched enough dramas so maybe I am less jaded. Actually – now that I think about it – even if I did watch tons of drama, I believe in getting my point across without stepping on any toes in the process.

      Like

  14. missjb says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your review, softy! It very well written…. I must catch CYHMH soon…. Alot of people rave about how awsome this drama is….

    this is my 2 cent about some drama you have review:

    Protect the boss: i love this drama,too… It’s funny, It’s witty, It has strong female lead, which I loved, but I lost interest in the second half of the drama. But I keep watching because i love each character relationship

    Scent of a woman: Unlike many SoaW fans, I’m not into the main couple, Yes they are HOT and has good chemistry together, but I feel like YJ suit with Ji Wook better…. Their relationship is deeper…. But maybe it just me… But I love the main conflict they has offered… I love epi 13-15 so much… Goshh I cried alot!
    that make this drama become one of my favourite..

    Like

    • missjb says:

      continued

      49 days: I have the same feeling as you about the ending… I just want to believe this drama just have 19 epi…. I want to burn the last episode…

      FBRS: I love this drama so far, It’s witty, and have good storytelling that make this drama is good…. And actually the chemistry between Il Woo and Lee Chung Ah is awsome…

      Dream High: I love this drama to death…. I cried alot watching this drama i have no idea… It really resonate with me…

      Like

      • Softy says:

        Funny how you love FBRS and I happen to be watching it now on tv. The reason why I covered it in my review is that even though I have issues with the age gap, I still watch it. There are parts that just make me laugh out loud. Like tonight – C and E were having a moment and he hugged her, holding her head close to him. Right then, I just knew he would ruin the moment with some remark and sure enough he did – he asked “when was the last time you washed your hair.” Stuff like that cracks me up – the fact that his nose is so sensitive to smell and he just cant help himself from speaking bluntly when he doesnt like something no matter what’s going on at the time.
        Since you love dream high does it mean you are going to watch the second one too? I am cuz you never know – it might not be as good as the first, but since the same people are making it – how bad could it be right?
        Thanks for sharing your love of all these dramas with your headers. I really appreciate them. :)

        Like

        • missjb says:

          sorry for the mistype…. I mean, I love Eun Seok -Yeon Jae relationship better in scent of a woman then the main pairing….. Sometimes their relationship reminds me of my friend relationship with her boyfriend.

          As for dream high 2. I try not getting too excited about it. I know, usually there is no way the sequel will near as good as the first one. But I still trust the writers / PD team. I just hope they will bring something new and not exactly the same plot as dream high 1.
          as for headers. I’m glad you like them all. It’s my gratitude for you…

          Like

  15. nik says:

    Hi, softy!

    Really didn’t expect this post at all. XD Actually I really missed it. It was replaced by OB’s transcaps on Saturday night, so I really missed it. I knew about your post when thundie tweeted it, so thanks thundie! :D

    First, I like how you address the issue of ridiculing and mocking. We all know how hard they put through making dramas, so I too don’t think it’s right to do that. Though of course when I watch the dramas that aren’t really going to what I expected it to, I rolled eyes, grumble, and curse it to myself (49 days *shakes head* never curse that much at dramas). While it’s not wrong to express their opinion, I think choice of words is the problem. But oh well, I enjoy reading what other thoughts, weigh them and make evaluation myself in the end.

    Anyway, where is City Hunter’s review? :D You did transcap it halfway through.

    Out of the dramas you’ve watched over this past year, three of them I didn’t get to finish it. First, it was Scent of a Woman. I know, I was really crazy about it. But ever since CYHMH, I really don’t think I can take crying overnight well (eventho I know this doesnt make sense, but I still am paranoid of getting sick because of crying overnight. lol) and I’ve not been in best mood these past weeks. Must be the weather. My whole family are not in their best health especially my son. Well, anyway, I really wanted to finish Scent of a Woman but waiting for the right time to finish it. I knew it wont disappoint me (like 49 days did) I just need a right time. I’m not good with melo, so I’m saying away from Thousand Day Promise as well.

    2nd is My Princess, I wish I have something to love about this series except how good looking SSH is. I never get to finish it cuz just like you said, it doesn’t have that something that makes me want to grab hold of it. It’s sad cuz both is such a great actors and a good initial plot. What I remember about this series, is how I skip the rest of episodes and just watch the kissing in the plane part. >.>

    3rd is Lie to Me. My impression of this drama, is.. ‘sensitive’. It really has a strong fan base. I tried it 3-4 times to try and sit through an episode, but I just can’t. It’s sad cuz it’s my first KJH’s drama. And I never get to go as far as to get to see their chemistry (like others been claiming). I wish I could.

    And the rest, makes me feel nostalgic. Your review for each and every drama brings out all of the feelings and emotions I had while watching those dramas. That is why I love you. :D

    And I’m with you, with 49 days. Ep 20 never existed in my hardrive and yet it overshadow everything T^T All I can remember is how awesome Jung Il Woo as scheduler. I wish I’m good at writings so i can read back how awesome I felt while watching ep 1-19 of that drama. Lol.

    For me, out of few dramas that I watch and finish, Best Love is still at top for this year, Protect the Boss following close, CYHMH, and Dream High.

    Like

    • nik says:

      And 2011 is the fall of soft subs. *sniff*

      Like

    • Softy says:

      wow I had no idea you loved Best Love so much to rank it so high. what a nice surprise. :) Glad we share so many fav dramas, but then of course I knew we would. thanks for all the headers this year – I think you hold the record now for the most contributions. don’t forget about me next year too. It feels funny replying to you here and not through email. Hope your family feels better soon. :)

      Like

      • nik says:

        Yeah, I did! Who can beat the script, the metaphor and awesome acting in that drama?! And Mr. cutie dimple! Eeee! Everything is just perfect! :D

        Like

  16. Qua Trang says:

    Love your review, Softy! As for me, 2011 viewing experience has frozen since the ending of episode 19 of City Hunter (BTW, is there any special reasons to that you left it out of your review?). For few months, I just don’t care any more about any drama. The damage is huge!!! Until Protect the Boss draw my attention back to KDrama when I marathoning its 10 first episodes. Then OB comes in and it is the only KDrama I feels a need to follow right now! But from your review, it seems that I didn’t miss much, except for Man of Honor. BUT, the same as you, PMY is STILL KNN for me, so I don’t know if I should pick it up, knowing her Yoon Sung is not there.

    My own review: City Hunter, Protect the Boss and Ojakgyo Brothers top the board. They touched me differently and I don’t want to rank them. But the one affects me strongest and longest so far is City Hunter, so I think for me it is THE one on top this year. Some other good watch include YFFM, Dream High, and 49Days.

    Like

    • Softy says:

      Just for you I added the explanation of why I left out CH on the bottom of my review post. I picked it back up mostly cuz kcomments left so many great music videos and LMH just drew me in again. I swear he could sell propane and women would buy it even if they didn’t need it. All he would have to do is smile.
      How come CYHMH is not on your list. dont tell me you missed out on it. go read thundie’s review of it and you will change your mind. :)

      Like

      • Qua Trang says:

        Thanks, Softy for clarifying your position on CH. To be honest, LMH did a very good job and the OTP LYS-KNN is amazing. But the one I ship most is LJH/Prosecutor. But overall, the series is gripping, fast face, intense at time and fun the next minute. An hour spent with it just flew away!

        And yes, I know, I know. I left out CYHMH, possibly one of the best show this year! At first, I am reluctant as to pick up a long series. And as I read all comments and reviews about CYHMH, more and more, I feel reluctant. Too much tears! But I seriously thought of watching it and am still debating the possibility…

        Like

  17. blue says:

    Softy, this was such an awesome and heartfelt review, and a very tough one to follow! I can’t wait to see what 2012 holds!

    Like

  18. Celest says:

    Thanks for the year end review Softy! And I want to personally thank you for doing the live recaps of Can You Hear My Heart. This drama ended up being my favorite of the year and one of my favorite dramas EVER. However, since I am not korean, I ended up sneaking peeks at your recaps to spoil myself since I absolutely could not wait for the subs to come out. I feel like I keep repeating myself everytime I write about it, but CYHMH had some of the most amazing relationships to come out of korean drama that I’ve seen (granted I’ve only been watching for 7 or so years…). It absolutely touch my heart in ways that no korean drama has ever come close this year. Seriously, how could anyone not love Bong Young Gyu’s family? I found myself laughing with the characters and crying for them (Bong Ma Roo, I’m looking at you!). Seriously. Best drama of the year. Nothing even comes close for me.

    I smile at your thoughts about 49 Days because I loved that drama all the way, even at the end (though the whole sisters thing really didn’t need to happen). I thought Heartstrings was okay. I didn’t dislike it but I it wasn’t one of the best for me. What I appreciated about Heartstrings was the development of the relationship between Shin and Kyu Won. I also liked the classical vs. modern music plot line but that’s pretty much where it ended for me.

    Again, thanks for all your hardwork! It would be awesome to see Padam Padam on here. :)

    Like

    • My2Girls says:

      Celest,

      I just had to tell you that I couldn’t agree with you more. I just in the last week watched CYHMY for the first time and am completely won over by it. Everything you wrote is absolutely true – Best Drama of the Year!!!

      I also really liked your thoughts on 49 Days.

      Amy

      Like

  19. lyrayoo says:

    i seldom post here but..

    as what i said to my kdrama pal: softy , ockoala and dangermousie’s recaps and review are the most authentic to me. sensible , not the grand or egoistic one.

    beans be damned.

    Like

  20. Elaine says:

    thanks for the weekly recaps of OB sad that it nearing its end and for writing thi year end drama review,gosh i totally agree and have the same ideas on all your comment on the drama. so far among the 2011 drama my fave is scent of a woman for short episode dramas and then OB for long weekend dramas…hope that this year they would have far better dramas..keep it up!

    Like

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