Twenty-six months ago, when I was ‘asked’ by WordPress to give my newly minted blog a name, I thought for several seconds and decided on “Of Pensive Prattles and Oxymorons.” The three resident lizards in my room rolled their eyes in collective derision and snorted so loudly I must have heard them because I lopped four words off the original and settled for a pithy name that still makes me self-conscious. Since young I’ve never enjoyed being under any sort of spotlight; naming my blog after my cyber moniker violates the very tenets of thundieness.
I started the blog thinking I would just gather, like one grasping at wind, my scattered smatterings of k-reviews and first impressions that I had written over the years. Nothing too long or literary. Everything as breezy as possible, especially in the writing.
What the lizards knew all along, and which I learned all too soon, was that I could never write breezily. In the time it took me to write the first three paragraphs of this post (two hours), a snail would have completed one lap around the block, even stopping to chat with other snails and exchanging such morsels of gossip as “Passed Daisy on my way here. Poor thing got run over by some kid on a bike. Your shell’s looking spiffy, I must say.”
In short: I can’t publish a post if I’ve not edited it a hundred times over. It’s anal, I know. (It’s also a lousy excuse for not being prolific with the prattles.)
But for today I’m going to try something different: write an
incoherent unstructured and barely-edited post that’s a smorgasbord of k-related witterings. Everything mashed together and served pell-mell. Hang on tight.
Sangdo is the only drama I’m watching at present. This being all of ten years old, I doubt any of my friends have it on their radar. I don’t blame them; in the ocean of kdrama-related images on the Internet, my search for Sangdo screencaps yielded just a meager handful. I guess ten years ago people mostly watched and hardly screencapped? But Winter Sonata aired just a few months later (in 2002) and look at all the WS captures still floating around today.
The Sangdo leads are Lee Jae-ryong (Goodbye Solo) and Kim Hyun-joo (Insoon is Pretty); the supporting cast includes the likes of Jung Bo-seok, Na Moon-hee, Lee Soon-jae, Park In-hwan and Lee Hee-do. A sterling ensemble bringing to dramatic life the true story of Joseon’s greatest merchant, Im Sang-ok. On the surface this seems like a typical rags-to-riches story, with Sang-ok and his family suffering much hardship in the early episodes. It’s extremely well acted (Lee Jae-ryong is gold); my only gripe so far is how easily some of the plot complications are resolved. Okay, another gripe: that thirteen episodes in and I still have no idea who’s making up the other half of our One True Pairing. Is Kim Hyun-joo’s character going to be Sang-ok’s love interest or will it be Kim Yoo-mi (who, by the way, looks much more beautiful here than in 2008’s Scale of Providence, although the acting’s also a lot more wooden in this earlier outing, alas)? At the risk of incurring MisterX’s wrath (because he thinks Sangdo is rather awesome and ranks it fifth on his sacred Top Ten Bestest Sageuk Ever! list), I know the drama is about one man’s journey from reluctant interpreter to great merchant but I also want it to be really sweet and romantic à la Jejoongwon. Don’t disappoint me, Show!
(One day later)
Okay, scratch that bit about Sangdo being the only thing I’m watching these days. Last night I checked out the first episode of New Tales of Gisaeng. Been meaning to watch this ever since Michael (the one and only Michael who recapped Secret Garden for this blog) told me three weeks ago that he and the Assorted Gems Soompi ‘gang’ (dramaok, hjkomo, etc.) were all watching NTOG and asked me to drop by the NTOG Soompi thread to say hi.
Well, I’ve not popped over to greet the gang at Soompi yet because I’m 20 episodes behind and don’t want to read any spoilers, accidentally or not. But I watched Episode 1 and fell off my chair when I realized in the opening scene that this was no sageuk. To think I thought all along that it was set in Joseon times!
Ep 1 of NTOG breaks the record for most number of characters introduced in a kdrama’s opening episode; it didn’t help that some of them (especially the younger cast members) could pass as twins and triplets, so alike did they look. But by the episode’s end I did manage to slot all of them into the right places and families. I’m smart that way, bwaha! (And yes, it’ll kill you to be humble? *bonk*)
Not sure yet who the leads are because Ep 1’s all about setting up the different (and still rather confusing) stories and connections. There’s a girl who’s a classical dance major; she’s beautiful and regal-looking but perhaps poor. Another girl looks like her, is much richer and a curious mix of inferiority and superiority complexes, has her way with an outwardly-stern-but-all-tofu-soft-inside granddad, and somehow causes a woman who’s been standing and observing her outside the house to burst into tears. Intriguing. Then there are two young men, also similar-looking. One of them is cold and broody and hates dogs. He comes home one day and sees the first girl in his house, all decked out in traditional finery and dancing so exquisitely she takes his breath away, literally. He can’t stop thinking about her. He also can’t stop thinking of ways to kill Andre, that Papillon that his father loves like a firstborn. The other guy hasn’t shown signs of broodiness or animal loathing yet. He comes home one day and spies a thief on the roof. A chase ensues. Far away (or maybe not), young women repose in a modern gisaeng house, their bodies lined up like men in an army barrack. They sleep soundly and prettily.
NTOG is 50 episodes (like Sangdo) and if I’m smart I should stay far away until someone tells me it’s a must-watch. But since I’m so out of the loop nowadays with everything k-newsy and k-twittery, I have no inkling whether NTOG has gone to pot with thirty episodes still to air. Well, I did enjoy the first episode and will approach the second with cautious optimism. At least I’m watching something current!
According to a couple of friends, King Crack (aka King Geunchogo) has become King Crap. I don’t know how or when that happened, since I stopped at Ep 7 two months ago. I caught a glimpse of Ep 30-something last week on KBSWorld and saw that Gam Woo-sung had traded in his Bichon Frise hairdo for something equally unflattering. Sigh. Is he already King or is this another Queen Seondeok where the princess takes forever to get crowned ruler of the land? Go ahead and tell me because I’m not planning to watch any more of the series. Sorry, Mr. Gam. You know I do like you.
Serendipity told me last night that Flames of Ambition has ended and that its
three most ardent fans prostrated themselves before Jung Ha-yeon, offering to him their cat, sister, and husband (respectively) in the ultimate act of worship. Okay, I made the last part up, but the prostrating part is apparently true although I’ve not seen it. No, don’t tell me how FOA ended or if anyone died; I’m fully planning on catching up with this someday.
Jung Il-woo is in 49 Days? Wow, no one told me! (Hello, the whole world knows, dimwit.) Adding this to my must-watch list. (Voice of conscience: You didn’t do the same for My Fair Lady.)
I watched five episodes of Golden Bride last month. And learned last week that X calls GB a “horrible, horrible show.”
A few years ago I stepped into a CD store in the mall and heard an unfamiliar song wafting from the store’s speakers. It was a duet by singers I didn’t recognize; the male sang in Chinese while the female sang in Korean. No idea what they were singing, but the song was admittedly rather nice, with a catchy melody that stayed in my head even after I had left the store.
Fast-forward to two days ago. Mr. T called me over to his computer and said, “You’ve got to listen to this.” Well, what did I know, it was that same Chinese-Korean song. And the male singer was Jackie Chan! How did I get by all these years not knowing the man could carry a tune? And whence came that song? A movie called The Myth, with Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-sun as leads!
The MV makes me laugh (for all the wrong reasons), but who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it, like my Mr. T did. Thundie checking out, for now. Toodles.