You know what’s a most magical moment for me in a kdrama? When an unexpected scene comes along and stuns me with its sheer power or poignancy. I’m blown away by the intensity of emotions, both on the screen and felt by me. I feel my hair standing (in a good way).
Two nights ago I experienced such a spine-tingling moment. It was Episode 3 of You’ve Fallen For Me. After the opening scene (which I replayed ad nauseam; watch it and you’ll know why), I could barely keep my eyes open. The episode felt plodding, shrill in parts and snail-paced in others. The jerky camerawork which had plagued Episode 1 was again making my head spin. Two female characters (both long-haired and self-absorbed) I wanted to slap silly. No, it didn’t bode well.
And then it happened.
Family Honor (2008/2009) is many things: family drama, romance, comedy, thriller, Go-Stop manual. Its themes are myriad as well: relationships (parent-child; sibling; stalker-stalked; just name it), culture, tradition, revenge, recycling (not of clichés or plot devices but discarded bottles and sundry junk), redemption, coupling.
Of the last you need a notebook to keep tabs, because there are so many couples in the drama you keep wondering when it’s going to be great-grandpa’s turn; surely the writer’s not going to leave our beloved patriarch out of the dating game when everyone else is either hitched or ditched-and-hitched? That’s not fair, is it? After all, even the youngest in the family (Dong-dong; ten years old) has to ward off the advances of a girl who likes him so much she beats him black and blue.
My favorite drama at the moment is Assorted Gems (aka Jewel Bibimbap, 2009/10). I think about it constantly, replaying selected scenes (especially of the lead couple) whenever I have the opportunity. A few sighs and giggles later, all is well again in my kdrama world.
About a month ago, when I was mulling over my nominations for the 2009 Editors’ Picks at Dramabeans, I was torn between Gyeongsuk, Gyeongsuk’s Father and Assorted Gems for best ensemble. In the end I picked the former simply because I had watched all of it.
I’ve now caught up with the 38 episodes of Assorted Gems which have aired so far (16 remaining) and know without a doubt that it’s the best ensemble of the year for me. From the oldest characters to the youngest, I love them all. Allow me to introduce some of them to you.