Once upon a time, there lived a man called God.
He was also called Peter Pan, Michael, Boss, Choi Kang-ta and Show-off. Of the last it was unclear who bestowed it on him; perhaps it was someone who couldn’t stand Michael’s endless posturing. Or the fact that the guy possessed an insane number of skills, conquering with uncommon ease even the sky and sea. He could be a bird, he could be a merman!
I recently met up with my (real life) first love. We have both moved on since those oh-so-distant days, and we are now friends so casual I usually forget that I once thought that a light would go out in my life if I never saw him again. And when I do remember I feel a little embarrassed. Nowadays, I even find him a little tiresome when I see too much of him. However, I don’t blame my younger self for having fallen for his wit, charm and mild eccentricity. With the benefit of hindsight I realise it was probably a good thing that things didn’t work out between us, but nonetheless I can’t regret the feelings I once cherished for him, which were real to me then and are now woven into my life’s story.
Delightful Girl Choon Hyang (DGCH) (or Sassy Girl Choon Hyang) was my first k-drama love. I no longer think it is the best thing ever, and if I watched it for the first time today I suspect I might find some plot contrivances tiresome. But it will always have a special place in my heart and I can’t regret the love I lavished on it. I thought it might be interesting to explore what made it so attractive to me at the time, what struck me then, and what qualities might endure (and endear) today.
For the past few days, a friend and I have been talking about dramas and why some mediocre ones move us, worming their way into our hearts despite decidedly lousy writing, directing and even acting. In contrast, an exquisitely filmed drama might wow us intellectually, but it does not make our hearts quiver in anticipation nor does it leave an ache that takes months to go away. Why do we fall in love with certain dramas when others scoff at it, giving it ratings as low as two out of ten?
Three years ago, stumbling upon an English-subbed Korean drama in the store was like tripping over a pot of cactus (the rarity, not the pain). The moment I saw one I grabbed it. (Buy in haste, peruse and regret at leisure.) So that was how I went to the mall for pet food one day and ended up coming home with Only You (2005).
When I finished the drama, I thought it just average fare, neither great nor terrible. Yet funnily, a couple of days later I itched to watch it again.
Was it the gorgeous scenery (the first two episodes take place in magical Venice) that had cast a spell on me? Was it because the main setting for the drama was a restaurant and I was (still am, oops!) partial to food? Or did it all really boil down to one reason: the male lead, who had eyes like pools and hair like a poodle… (Okay, the latter I exaggerate but wait till you see the evidence!)
A half-baked synopsis and coffee talk about hair and such… >>>