Posted in kdrama

Backstreet Rookie (2020)

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Drama: Convenience Store Saetbyul (편의점 샛별이)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 19 – August 8, 2020
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00

Plot
Choi Dae Hyun runs his family’s convenience store. One day, Jung Saetbyul comes in to apply for a part timer in the convenience store. Their lives were never the same again. A beautiful story about family, relationships and overcoming life’s troubles and achieving your dreams.

Main Cast
Ji Chang Wook – Choi Dae Hyun
Kim Yoo Jung – Jung Saetbyul
Han Sun Hwa – Jung Yeon Joo
Ahn Sol Bin – Jung Eunbyul
Kim Min Kyu – Kang Ji Wook
Seo Ye Hwa – Hwang Geumbi
Eum Moon Suk – Han Dalsik
Kim Sun Young – Kong Bong Hee
Lee Byung Joon – Choi Yongpil

Review
There were so many negative feedback even before this drama started, but I wanted to watch this for myself before I judge this drama so that at least my opinion is actually based on facts and not just what i read in the headlines or articles.

Just from the trailer and the plot alone, you wouldn’t realize that this story is actually about family and personal worth. We have 3 main families here, Daehyun’s family, Yeonjoo’s family and the Jung sisters.

Daehyun’s family may be average/middle class but i think his parents raised him well. I’m not going to talk about the sister because i think her character was made to be more of a comic relief. Daehyun is sweet and sensitive. He works hard, supportive and willing to put his life and job on the line to protect his loved ones.

His mother is especially amazing. Even when she knew what happened to Daehyun and her husband, she sucked it in and accepted the money from Yeonjoo’s mother to be able to become the Queen of Insurance. Great performance by Kim Sun Young here, i could every pain that she must have felt. Likewise, the moving scene between the parents when they were eating chicken feet made me cry a lot. They may not be rich, but everyone has their own and no one has the right to trample on them. Likewise, i love that the family knows their value and didn’t let Yeonjoo’s family break them.

The only thing that i disliked is after all that Yeonjoo’s mom did to Daehyun – she told him to go back to Yeonjoo! WHAT!! i thought this was totally out of her character and was just created for a last minute conflict heading to the finale. And her reason is because she didn’t want Daehyun to become like her. Again, here are people who do not seem to realize and give Daehyun a chance to show them how great and successfull he can be. he doesnt need Yeonjoo’s money and connections. It didn’t matter to him at all. And again, it’s a lesson for use viewers – that it’s okay to be average and not yearn for money or success. What’s more important is doing things what would make you happy and not lose your self-worth.

On the other hand, Yeonjoo’s family is wealthy but looks down on people. The mom was really so terrible. Daehyun’s family has always been simple and never arrogant, and they did not deserve being insulted and humiliated the way Yeonjoo’s family did. and Yeonjoo’s behavior did not help. She may have loved Daehyun, but not enough to fully accept him. She lied partly because she didn’t want Daehyun’s attitude to change and partly because she is also embarrassed of him. That she can’t even trust Daehyun to not be a golddigger and that he is honorable enough that he will work hard to support her in the future.

Daehyun tried his best and gave it all for Yeonjoo but she just neglected his efforts. When she realized how bad Director Cho was, it was too late to see Daehyun for what he was – great guy that she was stupid enough to let go. And i’m glad she did, because Daehyun deserves a better girl, who will accept him and support him. And even after Yeonjoo is regretful and tried to begged Daehyun to come back to her, instead of repenting and being a better person, she resorted to the same tactics that Director Cho did to Daehyun, but attacking Saetbyul secretly.

Ugh! I didn’t like the end where she just decided to go to the US. It felt like she just ran away and didn’t even admit or apologized to Daehyun. Also the final scene when Daehyun’s mom schooled Yeonjoo’s mom was also not enough/felt too rushed. But i guess Yeonjoo’s mom will never change and what’s more important is showing Daehyun’s mom standing up for her family and know she is worth so much more than all the money that Yeonjoo’s family has.

The Jung sisters had a tough life. Even when they keep taking hits, Saetbyul continued to be a good person, and it’s all because of her dad. The dad may have passed away but he made an impact not only on the sisters’ lives, but also on Jiwook and Daehyun’s lives, which is amazing. Eunbyul may come off as a selfish brat, but i also realized how tough it must have been to grow up without parents, with no money and continued pressures from her school mates. I’m glad that her dream of being an idol came true, and all her hard work started to pay off. Maybe she can help Saetbyul this time around, with money and generally jsut to not be such a trouble maker.

More than following Daehyun around and wanting to be with him, what i appreciate most about Saetbyul is that she is one tough and mature lady. She may be young but she grew up early and is hard working, just like Daehyun. I think Saetbyul was even more mature than Yeonjoo, who is supposedly older and wiser.

A lot of people were uncomfortable because she was too young compared to Daehyun, who is supposed to be 30, but I’d say other than education, they are almost on the same level. They understand each other. They support each other. They can even tell what one is thinking even through their own funny gestures. As they say, age doesn’t matter. I see this no different from a 25 year old woman falling in love with a 40 year old guy and this happens in real life.

I think it just feels weird seeing Saetbyul (and Geumbi) wearing high school uniforms. But the story starts 3 years after when they first met, and Saetbyul is perfectly of legal age at this point. And all through out the show and even in the last episode, the drama was sensitive enough not to show any kissing scenes or anything sexual. They were usually more hugging and holding hands, yet still showed how pure and romantic their love is.

Also, i loved that every time Saetbyul feels down or doubts herself, Daehyun is always the first to tell her that she is amazing. That she is enough and she has done a lot at such a young age. I was sad that Saetbyul did the noble idiot thing, but I could understand why. She felt so grateful for Daehyun’s family for taking her in and she didn’t want to be the one that betrays and causes hurt to their family, esp the mom. I wish there a scene between mom and Saetbyul for mom to apologize for what she said though.

And I was honestly expecting a time jump, especially when Daehyun said he is willing to wait for her when she’s ready. But it was episode 16 and they had to rush the ending, which is okay although it felt rushed and everyone wrapped up so quickly.

The other problematic that non-viewers hated was Dalsik’s character. i personally loved The Fiery Priest so i have a very soft spot for the actor, Eum Moon Suk. Likewise, i can see that the humor from the Fiery Priest carried over into some of the scenes and dialogues, although less laugh out funny. I think the Eum Moon Suk’s pairing with Seo Yehwa was pure gold! Yehwa as Geumbi was so funny and charming, although OTT sometimes.

A lot of people are saying Dalsik’s character totally disrespected black culture, but Dalsik never tried to be black in the show. He never acted black except for wearing the dreads and the Jamaican clothes. He loves Marley and he is writing a webtoon about a reggae boy. To get into character, he dressed up like one so he could feel the emotions of the webtoon he is writing about. I heard instances where actors/actresses do the same thing, so that they can get into character. and after he finished writing the webtoon, he changed his whole appearance. Likewise, how many of you have fangirled/fanboyed so much that you copied your favorite person’s/character’s clothes, mannerisms, interests? Aren’t we all the same? Some people even go to the extreme and do plastic surgery to look like their idols.

As for Geumbi and Dalsik, at the start, they provided a lot of the gross and funny comedy, but there’s also a lesson to be learned here. They only looked at each other’s appearance and hated each other. But once they started talking to each other, they realized how much in common they have. And we do that a lot of times. If we can get past the biases that we have, it will open us to a lot more great opportunities that we would have missed because we focused on not learning more. Just like how people immediately crossed this drama off their list without even giving it a chance.

And turns out Dalsik’s family is actually rich! Even wealthier than Geumbi’s family! But despite that, Dalsik was never arrogant. He wanted to make it on his own and didn’t used his family’s wealth to get ahead. That’s another lesson right there folks!

Last comparison, Geumbi’s family and Dalsik’s family are both rich, but they grew up to be good people, vs Yeonjoo’s family who is also rich but treats people badly. Again, not all families and people are the same. So we need to treat each other with the same respect as we do for others.

Overall, i loved this drama because the characters are relatable and there are so many lessons to be learned/reminded of that we can use in our own lives.

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted in kdrama

My Unfamiliar Family (2020)

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Drama: My Unfamiliar Family (아는 건 별로 없지만) 가족입니다
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 1 – July 21, 2020
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:00

Plot
This beautiful drama is about a family who has grown distant over the years because of past misunderstandings and sufferings. Once the secrets are revealed and they start to confront the past and their fears, will this family be able to withstand the pain and grow closer? Or will the secrets further tear them apart?

Main Cast
Jung Jin Young – Kim Sang Shik
Won Mi Kyung – Lee Jin Sook
Choo Ja Hyun – Kim Eun Joo
Han Ye Ri – Kim Eun Hee
Shin Jae Ha – Kim Jiwoo
Kim Ji Suk – Park Chan Hyuk
Kim Tae Hoon – Yoon Tae Hyung
Shin Dong Wook – Im Gun Joo

Review

What a beautiful drama! To quote the mom, “What is family to you? Do you not know either? Have you never thought about it? Because I dont know either.” I think this was the main problem with their family. They didn’t know what it means to be family, not because they didn’t want to know, it’s just they grew up that way. I have always thought that the parents, both mom and dad, should be responsible for the family they created, and the children should also be responsible as part of that family. However, in this particularly family, they are so far apart from each other and I honestly would blame mom and dad.

I have no problems with Jinsook and Sangshik marrying because Jinsook was pregnant, because I can see that they were very much in love with each other for the first years together. What happened next is a big facepalm. Sangshik was always insecure that Jinsook still loves the babydaddy and is secretly meeting him and thus, he doesn’t trust any guy that Jinsook seems close to. Then an unfortunate accident changed his life forever when he decided to take responsibly for another family forever without telling his wife. Jinsook, feeling that Sangshik suddenly changed and became distant, start suspecting him of adultery, and bottled up her feelings inside. So the parents stopped communicating with each other, started getting bitter with each other’s behavior until bitterness turned to resentment and misery. All the while they never bothered to talk to each other!!! ARGH!!!

After 30+ years of this bad relationship, Jinsook’s finally had enough. She gather the 3 children and told them she is “graduating” from the marriage. Sangshik is angry, went hiking at night, got into an accident and almost died. When he woke up, his mind went back to when he was 22 years old – back when he was happy and he and Jinsook were very much in love. What a fantastic opener!

As Sangshik tries to reconcile the past Jinsook and the current Jinsook, they start to open up to each other. All the hate and anger came up and they start communicating. To be honest, I’m mostly on the side of Sangshik. I dont know if it’s because of the brilliant portrayal of the actor, that I couldn’t hate Sangshik even if i want to, but Jinsook’s character, although equally portrayed well, to me, came off as being very selfish. I know she also suffered a lot from Sangshik, but Sangshik honestly hurt Jinsook but was kind to the 3 children.

Jinsook, on the other hand, not only hurt Sangshik, but also unintentionally hurt the three children. She ran away with Eunjoo one day but eventually came back. She never apologized or explained to the family what happened; and just came back as if nothing happened. But that event changed everyone’s lives forever. Sangshik decided then that he will stop being her husband and start being the father of the kids and became a workaholic and depressed man who thought so many times of killing himself.

Eunjoo thought her mom took her because she want to kill her and left Eunhee, so the mom must have loved Eunhee more than her. She became resentful all the way when she was in college and she had to work her butt off to provide for the family, and the mom never even bothered to be grateful or appreciate what she has done, further driving Eunjoo to get married and leave her family behind. She also became very resentful towards the two siblings.

Eunhee thought the opposite. Her mom left her because the mom doesn’t love her, and only took Eunjoo (although she didn’t know what happened). She only felt resentment towards her mom and wondered what was lacking of her that her mom loved Eunjoo more than her. She is such a sweet and sensitive lady, but she became less confident and afraid to go for what she wants because she things she is not worth it.

Jiwoo, the youngest, grew up with such a tense environment – fighting siblings, silent parents that he wanted to run away because he doesn’t want to turn out like his father. He wanted to be free of his own family. He grabbed the first opportunity that he can and got completely scammed.
So yes, between the two, I think Jinsook was the worst parent than Sangshik.

What’s worse is the parents let the children grow up that way. It was only in episode 15 when the mom finally had enough and scolded her children’s behavior, something she should have done years ago. She is the mom. She has the right to tell her children when they are acting up or wrong. But she didn’t now and now she is getting angry and wants to be free of her children and do whatever she wants. The minor thing that i didn’t like about this drama is how in the end, the mom didn’t seem to fully apologize for what happened. Sure, she talked and opened up to her children individually, but she always made it look like she was the victim. that she suffered all this time for them. But not being accountable for why her children were like this.

But I could also understand her. She just wanted to get away and be free for once in her life and not taking in all the problems and bottling it up. So yes, I didn’t mind that she left the family for a solo trip for a year. I thought it was a great idea and you can clearly see when she came back, she looked so peaceful and happy.

And to Sangshik, it was definitely wrong to hide the accident from his wife and making her misunderstand. Maybe if he told the truth years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. They might still be happy and their children are not traumatized by their childhood.

I loved that Sangshik and Jinsook were able to rediscover their love again once they were able to talk about their issues. They looked so happy, especially in the end when they decided to let their adult children live their own lives and they live on their own too 🙂

Eunjoo was one of the saddest characters in this drama. She finds out her husband is gay and she is not her father’s daughter. All her past resentment as mentioned above, no wonder Eunjoo grew up cold. I love that her voice is like honey but her words are sharp like arrows shooting (to quote Eunhee). I disliked her character at first, I knew she was a direct person but you can be direct without being tactless or hurting other people. But as we find out what happened to her, I grew to understand her and what she went through. She mellowed during the last few episodes, when she learned to accept her family and other people’s “faults” and differences. I hated her husband for hurting Eunjoo, but i loved how they wrapped up their story. In the end, they will always care for each other because they were family once. I also loved the relationship between Eunjoo and Eunhee. Two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Yet, they are sisters and they are now able to lean on each other.

I was surprised to see Kwon Yul in the last couple of episodes. I thought he was just a cameo but surprised he ended up being the friend that Eunjoo needed. He looked so handsome and adorable with his sunshine-y personality and cute smile. and he is like the male version of Eunhee!

My favorite characters in this show are Eunhee and Chanhyuk 🙂 I loved them so much. From the time we see them fighting while the cheating boyfriend looked on, until they finally told their feelings for each other. It took almost 14 episodes of push-and-pull that I almost gave up on them. Eunhee kept friendzoning Chanhyuk and Chanhyuk not doing anything when he thought he missed his chance. I’m so glad that Eunjoo finally spoke to Chanhyuk and told him that Eunhee thinks she isn’t worth it that’s why she pushes people she likes because she thinks she wont get them anyway. Because of that, he finally found the courage to speak up and tell her what he felt so long ago, especially when he confirmed that Eunhee has always liked him too! (Hello, almost everyone in their college circle thought they will end up together except them!) I just love the friends to lovers trope!

I especially loved that he proposed in that wall where it almost started. All the 3 scenes – when they were younger, when Eunhee imagined kissing Chanhyuk and Chanhyuk finally kissing her were all beautifully shot, i want to go to that place!! 🙂
I’m happy when they got together and it was all worth it! (The amount of kisses they shared in the last episode made up for the long wait!) 😍

Overall, i really loved this drama. Despite the heavy storyline, i was able to bingewatch this show in less than a week! if you have time, please go and watch this amazing drama because I think each one can relate to the characters or situations at some point in our lives.

To quote the ending, “As complicated as I am, we have family”.

Rating: 9.5/10
Posted in ctwdrama

Triad Princess (2019)

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Drama: Triad Princess (極道千金)
Genre: Action, romance, comedy
Episodes: 6
Broadcast network: Netflix
Broadcast period: 2019-Dec-06
Country: Taiwan

Plot
The daughter of a gangster dreams of being independent and away from the shadow of her father. She runs away and finds work as a bodyguard of a famous actress, who is also the love team of her favorite actor!

Main Cast
Jasper Liu – Xu Yi Hang
Eugenie Liu – Angie
Chang Zhang Xing – Lin Gui
Hong Yan Xiang – Ding Ding
Cecilia Choi – Julia
Tsao Yu Ning – Eddie Chin

Review
Short but oh so sweet! I was expecting this to be a light cheesy romcom but was surprised that it also had a lot of heart! Despite only having 6 episodes and the super quick romance between Yihang and Angie, i totally believed in them and wanted them to be together!

Angie looked as cool when she is tough and fighting the guys, but then gets super cute and swoony everytime she hears and see Yihang. She wants to get away from her father’s strict rules and overprotectiveness by running away and trying to work on her own. She gets a chance to be the bodyguard of a famous actress, who is the love team of her favorite actor! I love that Angie is more than just a sheltered “princess”. She is actually level headed and willing to help someone in need. She yearns to have her own and be independent but how can she get away from her family and their lifestyle?

On the other hand, Yihang is so cute with his adorable dimples and wide smile! He is the actor known for his good looks but wants to be taken more seriously. He is starting to write his own script but the increasing pressure from media and netizen to have this “good guy image” is suffocating him.

There’s an instant connection between Angie and Yihang and they immediately fall in love. A little bit rushed but considering the drama had 6 episodes, they were still able to write the romance in a way that it was believable and you would root for them to beat the odds.

Angie is so sick of lousy boyfriends who always cheated on her so she felt disappointed and let down when Yihang publicly told everyone she was just an assistant when he just texted her a few minutes ago and he is ready to go public with them. I totally understand why Angie reacted that way, but i also wished she gave him a chance to explain. Between Yihang and Angie, Yihang had so much more to lose! And yet in the end he stopped not because he was afraid of his popularity but he was afraid that his fans and the public will bully Angie and treat her negatively. On the other hand, Angie didn’t think think of the possiblity that her family ties will bring him down and she only left when she felt let down. I thought if Angie really loved him and was as selfless as Yihang was, she also would have paused or tried to understand him.

I liked the addition of Eddie Chin as the fiance who seemed like a nice guy, but totally blew my mind when we find out he’s a jerk! Well, what do we expect? he’s the son of a ganglord in HK and is used to getting things his way.

I also liked the stories of the other characters –
– Sophie was like a b*tch robot but i cried when she said “i love morons”. I wished she would live more and be happier. She shouldn’t blame herself for an accident.
– I also liked Liu Yin and i hope she finds Hao Hao! I hate the ex, i can’t believe they expect to just throw him in the water and die. I mean, Yihang is still alive right? and Grr! that ending with Eddie teaming up with the ex is going to be bad.
– Ding ding and Gui were so funny and cute at the same time!

Please tell me there is going to be a season two!

Rating: 8.5/10
Posted in kdrama

Seven First Kisses (2016)

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Drama: Seven First Kisses (첫 키스만 일곱번째)
Genre: Romance, comedy
Format: Web drama
Episodes: 8
Broadcast network: Naver TV Cast
Broadcast period: 2016-Dec-05 to 2017-Jan-05
Air time: Monday & Thursday 10:00

Plot
A short drama about a NBSB girl who wishes to experience love for the first time and meets a beautiful angel who grants her wishes.

Main Cast
Lee Cho Hee – Min Soo Jin
Choi Ji Woo – angel
Lee Joon Ki
Park Hae Jin
Ji Chang Wook
Kai
Ok Taecyeon
Lee Jong Suk
Lee Min Ho

Review
Hmm… You can’t really call this 7 first kisses when there were no kissing involved! 😕

Very short episodes to promote Lotte Duty Free but i still enjoyed it. Every episode had a story and featured all our dream oppas –
– Lee Joon Gi is the childhood church friend for girls who like the boy next door
– Park Hae Jin is the handsome and cool boss for girls who want an office romance
– Ji Chang Wook is the sexy secret agent for girls who like bad boys and adventure
– Kai is the sweet younger boyfriend for girls who think age doesn’t matter
– Ok Taecyeon is the handsome chaebol’s son for girls who want to marry rich and be treated like a princes (but be prepared for evil MIL and pesky rich girl friend)
– Lee Jong Suk is the charming actor for girls who dream of marrying their oppas
– Lee Min Ho is the intelligent and serious travel writer for girls who love books and traveling

When Choi Jiwoo said, “You need to choose just 1 person and the story will continue.” Man, what a tough decision! Looking back at the stories and deciding which fantasy boyfriend i like, i will probably choose Lee Joon Gi’s character first, Lee Minho the next, Lee Jongsuk as the third 🙂

And I agree with what Soo Jin said, “What kind of reward is this if there’s no kissing?” HAHA! Oh well, at least she finds out that Lee Minho is the endgame 🥰.

Rating: 7/10

Posted in kdrama

She Knows Everything (2020)

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Drama: Miss Lee Knows (미쓰리는 알고 있다)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 4
Release Date: July 8-9, 2020
Runtime: Wednesday & Thursday 21:30 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)

Plot
Main Cast
Jo Han Sun – In Cheol Ho
Kang Sung Yeon – Lee Gung Bok

Review
The first two episodes were boring and confusing – i think partly because they were trying to make everything so mysterious and there were too many clues and characters to sift through. But once they start putting together the clues and revealing the secrets, everything started making sense. There were some scenes that were not necessary and 3 out of 4 episodes spent on suspects that were not the suspects that i wished they made the pacing much faster and more action packed. It also didn’t help that the colors were so dark and bluish and gloomy.

I also both loved and hated both leads – just when you thought they were the good guys – turns out they also have something to hide, although it made the story and the characters more complex. The twists in the end were partly unexpected and partly sad as we find out what really happened that night.

I didn’t like Miss Lee, she had this perennial frown on her face and she looked really suspicious. Plus, she is breaking the law by trying to undermine the police investigation I mean, wiretapping the detective, running into his car and taking the suspect away? I’m surprised she didn’t get penalize at all for her misdeeds.

On the other hand, i wanted Ho Cheol to win against Miss Lee and solve the case. He just looks so icky because he wore almost the same clothes the entire time and he looked so smelly (!!) Even when he looks so handsome, i dont think i can sit beside him. Plus he looks so weirdly tan and had too much movie makeup on. The shocking twist is that he is also a bad detective and he has been hiding a lot of things to stop the investigation (although it was later revealed to be somebody’s else doing too). I also can’t understand how he can be brothers with the other guy when they dont even share the same surname (this was also not explained). I like the resolution at the end, i thought it was the right thing to do although i was sad to see that way.

The ending where we find out who was the real killer was both expected and unexpected for me. Expected because after we exhaust all the possible characters and suspects, there was just 1 remaining person with the motive to kill. Unexpected because how the killer killed the lady was different for me.

Overall this mini mystery drama was interesting enough to keep you guessing until the end. Just try to not get too bored during the first 2 episodes.

Rating: 7.5/10