Monthly Archives: June 2009

I’ll Eat My Words

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I am trying really hard to exercise some self control in posting too much Lee Seunggi/Brilliant Legacy related.

Alas, I need to do this.

I’ll gladly eat my words. I retract what I said about not liking Lee Seunggi’s music.

Yesterday, I sit myself through the longest Lee Seunggi playlist I could find down at Imeem (here) and I realized that I came to a conclusion way too fast. While I stand by my opinion that I am not into his purely ballad songs, I have come to know that Ballad is not ALL Lee Seunggi is about. In fact, he has considerable amount of songs which have a more rock-ish/pop rock sound.

It turned out that I was mostly exposed to his remake albums which consist of perhaps 90% ballad songs, plus some of the title tracks from his actual albums, which are curiously also ballad. Therefore, upon listening his 3 full albums, I got confused. He’s got lotsa rock, why are his title tracks consistently ballad? Is this his way to establish his image as a balladeer? Well, I don’t know.

For the record, his songs are so awesome I’ve been listening to them pretty much nonstop since yesterday.

Here are some smokin’ hot performances:

credit: bedifferent2

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Junjin on his Relationship

credit: hwanyobiwgmfan

Thanks to JJ/LSY’s thread at Soompi, I am keeping abreast of JJ/LSY couple. Anyways,  this is the first time I see Junjin after he admitted his relationship. He had been in China, touring for his last concert before military service when the news broke out that he and his ex onscreen wife, Lee Siyoung are together for real.

Last week after receiving the news, I was ecstatic. But after reading a comment about this relationship possibly being a publicity stunt, I began to have my doubts, especially because to my knowledge, Junjin is pretty strict on his private relationship, especially the romantic kind. He was rumoured to have been seeing actress Jung Ryeowon and singer Shim Eunjin, but he never admitted it even when most fans already know about it. JJ had told stories about his previous girlfriends, but most of the time, it was in the context of past tense. I don’t think he ever comes out rightly and say that he has a girlfriend. He tends to ‘I had a girlfriend who…’ or ‘My ex was…’

So I do admit that it does seem strange for JJ to be admitting this relationship so openly, so publicly. His camp even said something about holding a press con at one point but then decided to opt out of it.

One of my thoughts is that he might actually be heading to a more serious phase of the relationship. Dare I say it, to marriage. And going public is one way to ease the public and fans in on his relationship.

After seeing the video, I gotta say that publicity stunt or not, I don’t care. Junjin looks great. He looks healthy and notice how he says I’m Happy like 3 times in the interview, haha. He is positively glowing and is just so giddy. His vibe is just different.

BTW, this is his expression after saying the name ‘Lee Siyoung’. Too cute!

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Newly Aired Dramas!

Finally I’ve found the time to watch all 3 new dramas I was anticipating: Triple, He Who Can’t Get Married, and Partner. This leaves Queen Seondeok, but heck, I am all tied up here. I am contemplating whether I should drop City Hall. It kinda just loses the fun and the charm for me. But anyways, I’m not to talk about City Hall now. New dramaassss yayness!

Here are my first impressions, from watching the first few episodes.

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Triple stars well, triple heartthrobs, Lee Jungjae, Lee Seonkyun, and Yoon Kyesang as 3buddies living together, all working in the same advertising agency. And Triple revolves around their lives as they find new loves, romantic in the case of two, platonic in the case of one. Lee Hana is the object of YKS’s affection, and is coincidentally the woman scorned by LJJ. Min Hyorin is LJJ’s stepsister who moves in with him. And Kim Hee is a long time friend turned friendlier of LSK.

I loved the first 3 episodes. There’s a relaxing vibe to the drama. It’s not because it lacks story development. Far from it. It might be a combination of the direction or music or the well eased acting or the general storyline. Whereas I would say that Brilliant Legacy is a high strung drama with chaotic disposition and fast moving streams (I’m not sure I’m making sense now), Triple is like a smooth sailing boat enjoying the sea wind of the summer. It concerns itself more on revealing each character inside out than with plotlines. They are both dramas that I greatly enjoy, but it is precisely because of the relaxed atmosphere that I am not rushing to watch Triple. I am enjoying it at a slower pace. This is like watching Return of Iljimae (which I desperately need to finish soon!), you watch some, savour it, and watch the next ones later. You’re not running around trying to finish it.

Bottom line is, I am continuing watching!

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He Who Can’t Marry is another new drama. Ji Jinhee is this 40 year old genius and successful architect who pretty much knows nothing apart from his work. He’s got no friends, he sucks with women, he’s brusque and borderline rude, and he lives alone, yet he doesn’t particularly mourn it. He likes his situation and is in no hurry to make changes to it. Uhm Junghwa is a bit like the female counterpart. She’s a spinster doctor and have been living and eating alone. But unlike JJH who is unapologetic, UJH is actually insecure about herself. She wants to get married and ends her spinster days. Yoo Ah In and Kim So Eun are like antithesis of the above two. They are young, they are hip, they are easy going, etc. YAI is JJH’s assistant at work while KSE is UJH’s newly acquired friend.

Despite the mixed reviews I read, I actually really really enjoyed the first 2 episodes. It probably helps that I haven’t watched Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, the original Japanese version. Hearsay is that Kekkon is so well made that any drama following that would have it hard to reach such high expectation. Well, as someone who is totally neutral, I say I like HWCM. It’s got comedic chops, and while JJH exaggerates a little, the comedy in general is pretty contained and well executed. I find UJH to be my favourite in this drama. She’s very very natural, but she acts her character really well as she gives depths and new realms to the supposedly drabby doctor. YAI is sooooo CUTE! Apparently he’s 23, but he so looks 18! He and KSE are like playing dresses here. I think it would’ve been fine if they just play their age, college students who are interning.

Definitely continuing watching!

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Now, let me express my deap seated affection for Lee Dongwook. OMGAAAAAHHHH!!!! Wookaaaa!

Alright. Partner is about the lives of the lawyers in a medium sized Lee Kim lawfirm. Lee Dongwook is the playboy hotshot troublemaker lawyer who, despite his childish antics, seems to hold a well hid depth. He lives easy lives and likes it that way. Kim Hyunjoo is the single mother ahjumma lawyer who moves to Seoul and to Lee Kim lawfirm in pursuit of her career. Lee Honey is a fellow femme fatale lawyer at Lee Kim and is having an affair with married man Choi Chulho who is coincidentally, LDW’s older brother.

(This is an example of cheating that doesn’t annoy me. It doesn’t pretend to portray this pure and unadulterated love, which is innocent and blah the blah the blah blah. When it doesn’t make pretensions of being good, I totally don’t mind. City Hall, Lovers, Happiness (oh man, Happiness pissed me to hell!), and the likes, annoy me in essence because the writer romanticized cheating into something of a true love. Am I being too narrow minded?? Perhaps.)

Speaking objectively, I am indifferent about episode 1. It was nothing impressive, borderline boring even. It was jokey one minute and suddenly serious the next. It probably is confused about which direction to choose, super serious law drama or lighthearted comedy. But I have to say that the acting is pretty solid. CCH is serious and while I’m craving for his comedy, I am aware that he is playing a straight laced character here. LHN is pretty impressive for a newbie. She’s got a really good vibe about herself and generally carry herself and her character well. LDW playing a funny character is such a breath of fresh air. He is adorable and so totally pinch-able. I’m loving the new character he’s playing. He’s a lot more lively. KHJ’s the best acting so far. Like UJH in HWCM, KHJ is just natural. She’s subtle in her delivery and while this drama doesn’t necessarily require tough acting, KHJ is the total star here.

I am continuing, but threading in carefully.

Good Ol’ Ranting

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Alright, because I am ridiculously addicted to Brilliant Legacy, I will keep on rambling on and on about the drama. There is no particular reason why the cap is that cap. I’m trying to find a good reasoning, because I don’t even like that scene all that much, but simply because err.. Hwan and Eunsung’s bodily contact!! That should be good enough reason.

So, episode 18 rolled around. Fakely Dead Father still cannot find Eunsung. Lost Brother is still yet to be found. Now, I do agree that it’s been going on long enough but really, admittedly, these two stories are perhaps among the biggest ones in the drama. If they are solved, not much else can be shown on screen. Think about it. They are like the root to everything. BL would just be done when these two are done. The war of the inheritance would be moot too because then Eunsung would have no reason to exact her revenge as she will have her brother back, at the added plus of having a father again.

The only thing left is probably Hwan and Eunsung’s romance aka TOW SM’s Wrath and Cries of Betrayal, but where’s the fun in just having that until episode 28? (Or is it 26? Or 24? I still have no idea how long this drama goes till) Because of this issues, I am accepting that these two stories will probably go on longer, perhaps even until a few episodes before the end.

What has been nagging on the back of my mind, however, is not how draggy they are but how…downplayed they seem to be.

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(Again, cap has nothing to do with anything other than how hilarious this scene is)

So anyway, back to topic. I’m mostly speaking about Eunwoo’s story here. Eunwoo’s been lost for most of the duration of the drama. As a viewer, I know he’s okay and in more or less capable hands. He’s not starving on dying. But Eunsung does not know that. For all she knows, EW might be lying beside a dump somewhere, on the verge of death. He might be sexually violated or physically abused, especially since he’s not exactly a normal kid. There are numerous scenarios that would realistically shake ES’s conscience throughout the 16 or so episodes.

But what we’re seeing right now is that ES, god forbid, slowly forgetting that EW is gravely lost. Okay, so maybe forget is not the right word, but the turmoil of losing a brother is being less and less intensely portrayed through ES’s actions, expressions, and thoughts. Perhaps, this too is a strategy to divert our attention from the fact that the EW story is getting long.

Again, I will acknowledge that if they really portray losing EW realistically, we would only be seeing a heroine who can only mope around, slowly going literally insane, and probably does nothing else. So I guess to fully portray it realistically would be a no go since ES needs to be lovable, but not pitiful, emotionally attuned, but not mopey. But still, I think throwing in a few simple scenes of ES continuing to distribute EW fliers, or looking him up online, or heck, just gazing into his picture and recalling a long forgotten memory of him, would have sufficed in convincing me that ES is still driven on seeking EW, not just on planning her revenge toward Evil Mother. It doesn’t need to be something dramatic or full fledged, short and simple is good, but the purpose is just to provide some sort of consistency. That ES is consistent in her love for EW. She’s consistent in looking for him until he is found safe and sound. That she hasn’t forgotten about EW and goes off doing other things.

It is starting to feel like ES is not being a good sister. I mean, she’s got time to cook for Junse and ride a bike with him, but she hasn’t even asked Granny about the progress in the search for her brother. Even as a viewer who pretty much knows Eunsung’s motive, I can’t help but feel she’s not owning up to her sister tag.

Seunggi-yaaahhhh…

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Lee Seunggi is one of those celebrities I respect more than I fangirl about. Well, fine, the word is along, not more than. I’ve got respect for him as well as fangirliness. Lots of it.

I have seen Lee Seunggi for a couple of years, but only fleetingly and from afar. I watched a little bit of him in some episodes of X-Man. I heard of his ‘scandal’ with Chae Yeon and his penchant for older girls/noonas (tho I think that was more for establishing his image as a noona favourite, plus that helped his debut song too, Because You’re My Woman) and I heard he sang ballads. That was it. Until I came to watch 1 Night 2 Days a few months ago and came to know Lee Seunggi and watched him more closely.

So, Lee Seunggi is a 22 year old singer/actor. His works as a ballad singer has earned him a few successful albums, his early song Because You’re My Girl is undoubtedly still his most popular song. On the acting side, he is currently one of the lead actors in my current obsession, Brilliant Legacy. I just kept thinking what if, what if, what if he didn’t back out of Return of Iljimae?? I mean, I love Jung Ilwoo in that role, but still I can’t help but wondering how different or not different it would’ve been if Seunggi had been Iljimae instead. Tho, to be honest, I don’t think he will fit with Yoon Jinseo because he would look too much like her baby brother.

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Anyways, I don’t know much about his discography because I’m not into his type of music. Ballad is just something I cannot grow into, or more appropriately: ballad is something I have grown out of. I do like some of his songs, like Father, Smile Boy, Let’s Go on Vacation, and the newest one Will You Marry Me. You can see that I like the more upbeat songs than his pure pop rock ballad songs. I really tried listening to his albums, and while I do find some stuff enjoyable, I’m not into his music in general. I had to accept that his style is just not for me. Just like I accepted how I would probably never like Shin Hyesung’s solo projects because they are mostly ballad albums. Even if I didn’t like his music, a lot of people do! Because he has a few pretty successful albums and he’s gotten a few awards too throughout his music career.

He debuted in 2004, when he was still 17. With his song, Because You’re My Woman, apparently he started the whole trend of loving noonas, younger guys fanboy over the older girls. Ever since this, he’s been known more or less as a noona favourite that it’s becoming a burden for him. In one of the episodes of 1N2D, he stated that he wished he had younger fans as well, not just the older girls. In another occasion,  he expressed that as he ages, his tastes slowly change from crushing on older girls slowly to younger ones. I think these days, his noona loving image might be waning away but it’s not fully gone yet. In an episode of Brilliant Legacy, they paid tribute to this aspect of Lee Seunggi as his character gets patted in the butt by two eager older ladies.  Hehe, I guess Seunggi would need to do a lot before he can fully get rid of that image.

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His stint in 1 Night 2 Days, arguably the most popular show around, helps cementing his status as a popular celebrity. With strings of Commercial offers coming at him, the show makes him hugely famous despite the fact that throughout 2008, he hasn’t had much activities in music or acting. In Summer 2008, he released a single, some sort of OST to 1N2D I guess, filmed a few CFs, and spent the rest with occasional performance and his school. As I was saying, he was supposed to take Return of Iljimae, but he withdrew because of filming conflicts with 1N2D. Effective, in 2008, 1N2D was his only big project. Even so, with that steadily gaining 20% up episodes, his popularity was not going anywhere.

Now school. Seunggi finished his undergraduate study in International Trade and Commerce in 4 years, and I believe he’s doing his graduate school right now, tho I am not sure what field he is studying. Let me reiterate, he finished in 4 years. Heck, even ordinary people can take more than 4 years. Keep in mind that during those 4 years, he released about 3 albums, did dramas (Seven Princess and Nonstop 5), various other TV works, and did performances. But he had time to go to classes and passed the courses. Perhaps being a celebrity, he was given special treatments here and there, but I still think it’s pretty amazing. And looking at his major, it’s not the kind that celebrities usually take like Theatre and Film and stuff like that, this is actually something that requires you reading stuff out of textbooks, articles, etc. On top of graduating on time, he is now pursuing graduate school too. Seriously, the guy’s a marriage material, I’m telling you.

Oh, and he’s in that little known drama called Brilliant Legacy. No, the drama did not just score 36% on its latest episode. It’s just a drama people barely know. The more surprising thing is, Seunggi can actually act, quite well too. He’s got a great screen presence and he’s pretty natural at acting.

Now, let us go over why Lee Seunggi is someone to admire (and marry!). He’s got a pretty successful music career. He’s been in popular dramas with magnificent ratings (heard 7 Princess was a rating monster too). He does well in the education department. He plays a bunch of instruments, duh. He’s got a great voice. He’s not doing the whole drinking/smoking/drugging lifestyle. He’s an okay actor (with lots of room to improve).

In short, dude’s a great catch. If you can bear his near obsession with hair and skin care, you’re good to go. The problem is, catching him is probably near impossible. Whoever grabs this guy will need to share her mirror time and her hairdryer.

The Brilliant Brilliant Legacy

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I’m hopelessly addicted to this drama. I never thought I would like it this much, actually. It’s not even halfway through the year, but I can promise you, this is one of THE dramas of 2009. With ratings steadily reigning in the 30s%, this is the number 1 drama in this particular timeslot.

My last obsession, Boys Over Flowers, even while watching, I was fully aware that what I was seeing was not quality product. A lot of acting faux pas, a lot of ridiculousness, illogical turns of events, etc. I think I was basically watching for Lee Minho, who admittedly, WAS the best thing about this drama, despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to be advancing with his acting career, choosing to milk all he can off his Goo Junpyo charisma through countless of endorsements.

But watching Brilliant Legacy, I actually do feel like the drama I’m seeing is actually good. Of course, perhaps in a few months, while looking back, I would think differently, from more neutralized eyes, but speaking about now, Brilliant Legacy is IT. It helps because despite not boasting any particular super awesome element, Brilliant Legacy also has no glaring flaws. The acting is okay, nobody really sucks that he/she ruins it for anyone else (like Kim Hyunjoong and Park Soojin did in BOF). The direction is bland, just so so, but it’s not that obvious because the writing is pretty solid and it can overshadow the direction. Scoring is not exceptional, but it is appropriate enough, it’s got more instrumental pieces.

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The characters, save for the Evil Stepmother, who is played beautifully by Kim Misook, are likable. True, there’s that one dimensional issue with the characters, but so far, the issues are being worked on as the characters are showing more dynamics. Eunsung is becoming more gutsy. Hwan is relatively a lot more mature. Junse is less perfect and nice. Seungmi is more defensive. Even Jung and her mother are actually hilarious to me now.

I am surprised at how much I like the writing, it’s got that dramatic vein still, but more than that, I like how everything is controlled and well paced. No sudden shift of plots or personalities, everything is in place, the changes are made with exquisite touches at the right time. How Hwan goes from hating Eunsung point blank to seeing her real self and liking the kind person she is. Vice versa, Eunsung never shows interest until Hwan shows that he’s more than just a rude and spoiled a-hole. Not to say that the writing is perfect, the fake dead father and the lost brother story are being dragged to hell, but aside from that things are going well.

I know a lot of people are into Eunsung and Junseh, and while I do agree that Junseh is all sorts of wonderful, I am just too in love with the chemistry between Eunsung and Hwan. I remember the days when Eunsung/Hwan’s arguments had no romance vibe whatsoever. They were just pure anger and fury, from both sides. Then Hwan became more aware of Eunsung, he started to miss her when she wasn’t around; he started to gravitate toward her. Eunsung got in the game rather late. She was much more friendly with Junse and had no intention to humour Hwan more than what she needs. But slowly, her initial aversion for Hwan shifted as she came to see how Hwan worked really hard to change for the better. A person who never learned to apologize all his life, apologized to her sincerely.

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Look at that scene above. Compare that to how he used to manhandle ES, pull her by the neck, crush her belongings, etc. This caring side that he used to only show to Seungmi somehow appears when he’s with Eunsung. We are reaching steadily toward the peak in their relationship. I am so looking forward to it.

Junjin/Lee Siyoung: CONFIRMED!!

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You will not, WILL NOT, believe how ridiculously giddy I am over this news. Junjin and Lee Siyoung was one of my favourite couples from the ex hit variety show, We Got Married. They were part of the newer generation couples. They started appearing on WGM at the start of the year but then got booted off unceremoniously about 3 months later without even filming any sort of goodbye episodes.

Their stint in WGM was not without controversy. In the beginning, this couple was all about fighting, not the loud kind like Seo Inyoung and Crown J used to have, but this really tense and uncomfortable kind of fight. Siyoung hated how Junjin tend to joke around too much, while Junjin was not happy with how Siyoung’s taste differs so much from the usual girls. For example, Siyoung’s first love is Gundam toys, she was such a laid back person that she would just shoot their segments in sweatshirt instead of getting dolled up like most other females. Their first episode was full of awkward silences, their honeymoon was a total disaster, and people were getting ready to give up.

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Slowly, they got better. Siyoung became more accustomed with Junjin’s jokes and Junjin got used to Siyoung’s straight-forward and unconventional manner. They began to have more laughs and more things to talk about. They found out their commonalities. They have such a fiery winning streak, they love competition (reminds you of a certain other couple, huh?), and they will always outdo each other. Heck, they even wrestle each other (so much skinship, that time, haha)!

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Their last few appearances were so much fun to watch. Not only they had amazing chemistry together, they also had no qualms about showing their developments. This is not to say that they were showing off, but they just weren’t hiding their relationship for the sake of the camera. If normally, Siyoung would get pissed over Junjin’s constant clowning, she now laughed at his antics and enjoyed the attention instead. Junjin, who used to bug Siyoung about doing the housework, about cooking, and about her beloved Gundam toys, now accepted her ways and became more understanding. In one of their hilarious episodes, Junjin even won her a Gundam stuffed toy from the amusement park arcade. Give and take.

After their stint in WGM, Junjin and Siyoung collaborated. Siyoung lended her voice for one of Junjin’s tracks, Like a Fool, in his newest mini album. She also starred in his Video Clip for Hey Ya. Fans have been speculating because they have been spotted wearing couple golden band and the same white couple cell phone. It’s such a great news that fans have been correct all along.

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As a fan of Junjin personally, instead of being all jealous or whatever, I am actually really happy that he’s found someone. It’s such an added plus that this someone is someone I totally adore. Also, I know it sounds pretty corny, but I feel like having a certain privilege because I have observed their beginnings through the show.

This news also gives me unbelievable hope that the show was well, NOT all show. Things like real feelings actually got involved too in the process. For a while now, fans of the Ssangchu couple have been speculating about their relationship outside the show. I’ve been feeling a little out of it these days because the discussions sometimes (okay, ALL TOO OFTEN!) take such a ridiculous turn and it just isn’t fun anymore trying to gauge their clothing or supposed sign to each other and stuff like that because there are just not enough evidence to go through. I’ve been writing fanfictions because it is one way to a)keep the faith alive and b)some sort of painkiller because of the lack of worthy news. But the news that Junjin, Hwangbo’s best friend no less, is actually involved with his WGM partner, makes me hopeful that what we see in the show might just be real.

Who knows, maybe right now Andy and Solbi or Crown J and Seo Inyoung are actually a respective item.

(BTW, isn’t it funny? Junjin is Hwangbo’s best friend, and Hyunjoong and Siyoung were costars from their Boys Over Flowers days. Isn’t it destiny or what?)