If anyone is looking for a feel-good drama, I suggest checking out Surgeon Bong Dal-hee (2007).
Light but not fluffy, deep but not heavy, the drama is a pleasant blend of action, comedy, and romance. It does not make my Top 10, but I liked it enough to miss it when it was over. Certain scenes I even replayed ad nauseam because they made me feel all warm inside. Of particular note is a love confession where the three standard words aren’t even uttered.
The name’s Karl. Karl Go. Male lead character in Get Karl! Oh Soo-jung. What do you mean, you’ve never heard of my drama? Fine, I’ll concede that quality-wise we rank way down the pecking order in that year of sterling offerings, but I’ll have you know my drama boasts something that none of the other 2007 dramas can lay claim to.
A fat suit.
Sure, I looked like Barney the Purple Dinosaur in my fat suit, but is that my fault? Damned budget cuts eating into my prosthetic makeup and causing me to look like someone dunked my head into a tub of violet-red paint. Still, I was king of the kdrama fat suit and reigned without a rival for four heady years.
And then Romance Town (2011) came along. HE came along. Waaahhh!!!
This is the review that very nearly didn’t get written. For one thing, I very nearly didn’t finish watching the twenty episodes of Friend, Our Legend (MBC, 2009) (“FOL”), having stalled altogether in the early episodes at my first attempt. For another, I have such mixed feelings about this drama, I’ve found it hard to write a coherent review.
Initially, I was intrigued by what others said about this drama. “Heart-breaking.” “Hard to watch.” Most intriguing of all, “I loved it, but I would never recommend this to my friends.” With a dis-recommendation like that, how could contrary-me resist? My own reaction has touched extremes, from indifference to utter absorption. Though I gobbled up the last four episodes and was left speechless and emotionally wrung out, I can’t deny that the middle of the series was a slow hard slog for me with stretches of (dare I say it) boredom. I’d say, provocatively: I don’t love this show, but I recommend you watch it.
And why should you watch this?
Open Pack of Cards:
I like to think there is a loophole to political correctness. People turn a blind eye to potentially offensive stereotypical proclamations about an ethinic group if the negative blanket statement is made by someone about their own ethnicity. I’m not saying this should be condoned, merely that most people tend not to get their hackles up in these instances.
When I was a kid, my mother hated gambling. She hated it with a passion hotter than a thousand suns. It probably came from some sort of childhood trauma involving some family member that gambled away their life savings and ended up in a bad bad place. Or maybe not. Maybe my mom was just a goody two shoes.
Regardless of the reason, my mom would give anyone the stink eye if they asked her to play mahjong. She will tsk tsk at my father if he so much as touched a pack of cards. One day, my mom took me by the shoulder and told me: “Baby, no one likes to gamble as much as Chinese people like to gamble, and gambling will never ever end well. Promise me you’ll never gamble or marry a gambler.”
Do you subscribe to the belief that “you never forget your first love”? It’s a lovely sentiment, but in reality not always true. We forget stuff all the time, including poignant memories such as a first love. [Like, I recently forgot I was married with kids, and attempted to buy a ticket to Japan to stalk a certain shiny, crooked toothy-grinned, newly muscular, spacey fluff-ball, only to regain my sanity memory, right before I clicked the Buy button. Disaster and marriage counseling averted].
Memory loss nothwithstanding, do you still remember the first time you de-lurked? In whatever context, whichever forum, you typed the first tentative comments about a drama that moved you. Armed with that little ounce of courage in announcing your presence in the drama-verse, I applaud you. This review has been inspired by the devotees of dramas world-wide.
When you really love something, you pour your heart and soul into it. And it shows. I want to share with you such a drama. From the first frame to the last lingering shot, every detail is exquisite, every emotion is genuine. While not the best drama I have ever watched, I absolutely, unequivocally, love it. [I once wrote that I loved a drama so much I wanted to marry it and have its babies. I probably have a tendency to be effusive, and I don’t want to become the koala who cried wolf (every drama is the “Best Drama EVAR!!!”). I promise to fight my natural inclination to pile on the accolades, and try to be objective here].