Monthly Archives: May 2010

Lettuce Love, part 5a

A bit late for the Ssangchu Anniversary, but oh well. Part 5 will cover episode 18 and 19.

Episode 18 starts with Hwang Buin going to Japan! OMO, is she going there to make sure hubby is behaving? Cos I know if I were her I would, having a hot hubby and all.

The whole moment Hwangbo is waiting in SS501’s apartment, I am getting nervous with her. I just want to fast forward to AFTER they meet because I’m afraid Hwangbo will be humiliated if Hyunjoong and the gang greet her with less than a warm welcome. Sure enough, their reaction is of surprised and confusion. Which is justifiable, but I do wish they would exercise their “variety show” reaction instead to make all of us happy. And I don’t think quips of “You’re wearing my slipper!” or “We got a stranger’s luggages” are necessary. When they realize Hwangbo only cleaned Hyunjoong’s room, they want her to clean theirs as well. What, you think she’s the maid? Sorry, SS boys, but you just lost a point for that.

But don’t worry, things get better. Hwangbo and Hyunjoong cook ramyun together and the first thing Hyunjoong says is “Why did you come?”. Err, okay, so I meant, things get worse before they get better. Another point lost for Hyunjoong.

But things really do get better. As the boys eat, they all start talking and they warm up to Hwangbo and vice versa. After lunch, they play a game of Rock Paper Scissors to decide who does the dishes. This is one of the highlights of this episode. I think this is the point where we see both Hwangbo and Hyunjoong start showing their intense desire to win. When Hwangbo wins against Jungmin, who just won 2 games, they look genuinely thrilled at winning. The first real happy moment of the episode. Although Hwangbo eventually loses to Hyungjoon, I think this moment breaks the ice anyway.

After dishes, Hyunjoong and Hwangbo are talking and the former wonders why nobody says thank you for the meal. And the next thing you know he yells at the members and drags them back to the dining room to say thank you, lols. Okay, SS, I’m grudgingly releasing back half a point for you guys. This time it’s cute when the guys ask for her to make them another meal the next day. Alternatives range from Tonkatsu to Yangnyum Chicken (I vote for the latter, YUMMY!). Ahh, man, now I’m craving for some chicken now.

Time for a date! The first time this episode aired, I remember thinking that this, by far, was my favourite moment of the Ssangchu couple.

Hyunjoong comes out wearing a Winnie The Pooh costume, complete with the head, much to the amusement of Hwang Buin. She (and I) wonders what is wrong with him, stating that if he were to wear that, she would walk far away from him. Which prompts Hyunjoong to ask if he is embarrassing her (DUH!). Tho I think they can be embarrassing together seeing that they BOTH just started to dance. With the Pooh costume! In the middle of the dining room! LOLs.

I don’t even know why I’m surprised when Hyunjoong actually goes out with that costume. I remember before the episode aired, there were pictures of them dating floating in the internet, and I was like WTF seeing Hyunjoong with this wardrobe. I thought he lost a bet or something, hahah.

I LOVE LOVE this next part because this couple makes something as simple as going to the market fun.

Hwangbo and Hyunjoong visit what looks like a $1 Store and check out some of the weird stuff they have. They start playing around with afro wigs and taking pictures. Hwangbo finds a really pretty feather boa, which I wish she actualy bought! At some point, they both starts dancing. With afro wigs. In the middle of the store. LOLs, mental couple.

When they get home the SS501 prepares a small party for them, which in all honesty washes out some of their good intention because they basically call Hwangbo “Old Like an Aunt” like 2 minutes ago. Yeah, Hwangbo is like 85 or something.

To be fair, I think it’s very thoughtful to prepare a little welcoming party. From love cocktail to congratulation letter, it was a sweet thing to do. I just wish editing team would have been as thoughtful. They didn’t have to air the Aunt part. It was mostly to make the show funny. What could have been a really nice memory for Hwangbo is marred by that little thoughtless remark. And what could have been a really heartwarming scene for us viewers, just loses that impact that should have come from this sincere gesture.

I know I’m critical about Hyunjoong and SS501 in this episode, but I think it doesn’t hurt to be nice. On Hwangbo’s part. I remember a friend saying that she thinks Hwangbo is putting too much effort into this. I didn’t agree with her at the time, but I think I can see her point. Just like SS501 calling Hwangbo old is unnecessary, Hwangbo cleaning their dorm is too much. Not only it’s an invasion of privacy, but she also positions herself not as a wife of the oldest, but as a housekeeper. She should have stopped after cleaning the dining room. That was enough.

Having said that, I do admire Hwangbo’s courage to come all the way to Japan for the show. It’s just that we know she was faced with a lot of negative comments back then and if it is true that Hyunjoong really doesn’t know about her coming, then this is such a brave move on her part. She doesn’t know how Hyunjoong would react, how the rest of the group would react. It’s such a vulnerable position that I respect her for taking a plunge.

Lastly, Happy Anniversary Ssangchu couple!


Hot Potato Seesaw Concert

Undoubtedly the hottest news of Kim C this week is the fact that he’s leaving the show 1 Night 2 Days after 3 years to focus on his music and his career. This is a really brave decision considering that 1N2D is the hottest show at the moment and has been for a while now. Kim C himself has admitted that variety shows is rewarding financially and not only that, through the show, he and his band became more known to the public. Even if people don’t know Hot Potato, chances are they know Kim C, that quiet member on that famous show.

I did not hear any rumour of Kim C leaving which is why when I read the news, it was doubly shocking. The thing is, he is the one member whose appearance outside 1N2D is the rarest. With Kang Hodong, Eun Jiwon, MC Mong, Lee Sugeun, and Kim Jongmin, they all have at least one other show aside from 1N2D. And Lee Seunggi, dude is EVERYWHERE. But Kim C? Other than 1N2D (and previously Invincible Baseball), he comes out pretty much once in a blue moon, during promotion time. Currently, he is also doing a stage play called Sanai Watanabe, but most of us international fans are not privy to that.

All I kept thinking is how can we see Kim C in the future without this weekly dose of appearance? I realize that given Kim C’s reason of leaving is to further himself in music, this is a pretty selfish thought. But I’m sure many Kim C fans think that way. And to be critical here, I wonder, how would Hot Potato fare without the constant exposure of Kim C through the show? When Confession was first played in 1N2D, I read messages that asked who is the singer of that song. Without 1N2D as one medium of promotion, how will Hot Potato do?

Coincidentally, Hot Potato was having its Seesaw concert right this weekend. It seems like a good opportunity to hear confirmation from the person himself. But I wasn’t sure if he would even broach the subject. Plus, even if he did, there’s no guarantee I can understand. Language barrier sucks. And man, the first thing I saw when I got to the concert hall was a bouquet from the 1N2D team.

Anyways, the concert was held in Samsung Hall of Ehwa University. Compared to the venue LIG Arthall for the Indie Series concert, this is a bigger place. But still, by big I mean around 400-500 people. Too bad they didn’t give out the concert rundown like last time because I honestly can’t remember the order of the songs or even ALL the songs sung. The concert was packed and last time I checked tickets were sold out. What remains the same is the proportion of gender attending the concert. I can say, it was probably 90% female that Kim C actually singled out the few men in the audience to sing Confession.

The concert started around 6 with a little video from Seesaw MV and the band actually dressed up for the occasion! They all came out wearing suits. Even the mohawk drummer (always my favourite) put on a white ensemble which was mostly hidden behind his drum sets. He’s got an amazing energy, this guy.

If you’ve listened to Seesaw, you know that the majority of the album consists of instrumental numbers. And amazingly, they brought along a team of string players to cater to the sound. They even start with an instrumental, W Theme, if I’m not mistaken, with Go Bumjoon playing the melodies.

Because I can’t quite give chronological song performances, I’m just gonna put up the songs that I THINK were played.

In no particular order:

  • 4th album: (basically the first 6 songs in the album) 따르릉, 도마뱀 (Lizard), 비 눈물 (Rain Tears), 생각 (Thought), 수학이 좋다 (I Like Math), and 소라를 줍는 여정 (Journey to Pick up Shells).
  • Seesaw album: Seesaw Main Theme, W Theme, 고백 (Confession), 빈방 (Empty Room), and Seesaw.
  • 2nd album: 맛좀 봐라, *maybe* 풋사과 (Green Apple), 아이러니 (Irony), 잡담 (Gossip/Chat), 서울 기러기, Bless Me.
  • 3rd album: 봄바람 따라간 여인 (Lovers Who Follow the Spring Wind), 좌절금지 (Frustration is Forbidden), 청춘 (Youth).

Some of the highlight performances are:

  • Journey to Pick up Shells, simply because this is one of my favourite Hot Potato songs. This is the first singing song they played, which was a little baffling actually cause this is a somber and slower song, definitely not one to up your energy. But nevertheless, it started strong IMO because I just love this song, hehe.
  • Confession, I’m surprised at the amount of popularity this song manages to garner. It’s not SNSD popularity of course, but for such a low profile band, this is pretty huge. But it’s a fantastic song to start with! Audience sang along to Confession together and this is the moment that I stopped feeling bad about his exit from 1N2D because Kim C looked really happy. His love for music is obvious and if he leaves to do what he loves, then I’m glad.
  • Remember I said about the band wearing suits? Well, halfway the concert, Kim C took off his suit (in private, mind you) and changed to a little white Tee. The Tee he actually wore to the Indie Series concert (unless dude has multiple stocks of that Tee). So in the end, he performed in just Tee and pants, as per usual, lol.
  • To be honest, I couldn’t understand most of the talk time. Kim C did not specifically talk about 1N2D, but he did mention that he wants to always make music with Hot Potato and that they have a long way from here, or something like that. I wish I recorded this so someone can translate it.
  • It’s so funny to witness fangirlism in a Hot Potato concert. Yes, you read right, Mr Casanova’s got admirers. I was sitting next to 3 girls who were so…responsive, lol. When everyone else was clapping, these girls were clapping AND dancing in their seats. They were giggling when Kim C came out and when everyone started standing up (nearing the end), these girls were shakin it and jumpin up and down.
  • 맛좀 봐라 seems to be Hot Potato’s favourite Encore song because it gives Kim C a reason to get wild on stage, hahaha. Despite his gentle  image on 1N2D, I think Mong is right. Kim C’s the wildest of em all. Rocker dad and all.

This concert was a lot of fun. Kim C’s talk sessions really reflect himself. Singers usually keep the talks upbeat and full of encouragement. But Kim C’s talks are quiet, sometimes awkward, and retrospective because he really does take his time to think before speaking. The room would just fall silent as audience waits for Kim C to form his words.

And Kim C is bashful whenever someone yells out praises like ‘You’re so cool’ or ‘You’re so handsome’. But he doesn’t say thank you to those, but he would playfully reply with stuff like ‘You guys are such fools’. But the recent appearance of Hot Potato in Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook and the latest 1N2D episode prove otherwise because he basically concludes that he’s NOT bad looking at all, lols.

The atmosphere was so different than Indie Series concert. I heard that the Indie concert was sort of shoved in their way so I guess they were just performing because they had to. But in this concert, the energy felt so different. Kim C seemed to be wearing his happy pants (and I believe dude was chugging down beer on stage too, lols); he smiled a lot and engaged the audience more. I’m sorry for the choppy write up, and I can’t say any more than: It was an awesome show!!

Oh My Lady, Ending

This picture is I think what the drama is really all about.

I wrote what I wrote based on a misleading presumption that Oh My Lady is a 20 episode drama. And it was only several days ago that I realized it would end this week, which really took me by surprise. It’s hard to say where my presumption even came from. I guess it’s just the fact that the drama still has a lot of potential development, or the fact that the romance had been pretty much hanging in the air without resolution.

The ending was thus, pretty lackluster, from my standpoint.

Which is a little upsetting because I’d been enjoying the drama so much. But it is true that I place premium on a good ending, and I can’t deny that a lot of time, a bad ending leaves a bitter taste in my mouth despite a generally good run overall (example: Queen of Housewives, You’re Beautiful, etc). This is not to say that Oh My Lady’s ending was really terrible, but it could’ve been so much better.

Oh My Lady has been a really harmless drama. The characters are rational and brave, which by default prevent crazy dramatic conflicts from happening. Or at least solve them right away. And it has been enjoyable to watch something light and fluffy whose characters FOR ONCE don’t make your head pound in frustration. So yes, by K-Drama convention, Oh My Lady is pretty devoid of dramatic twists. Not much conflicts actually arised in the drama. But it is one drama that I enjoy every single episode without fail and if I, the kid with pathetic attention span, can enjoy it, that means it at least has considerable entertainment value.

But in the last 2 episodes, I felt that entertainment value only could not hold a drama. There has to be something in an ending that leaves you with a deep impression or that makes you remember it as a fond memory in the future. After watching episode 16, I was left without any strong feelings.

Usually, after a drama ends, I would either a)rewind and rewatch, b)lay in bed and think about it, c)feel depressed or d)curse to death. But this time, I just simply closed the window and went on to watch something else. That’s how flat the ending was.

After finding out that Oh My Lady would end this week, I didn’t expect any resolute romantic angle in the relationship of Kaehwa and Minwoo anymore. I didn’t mind the non-romance so much because like I said, the drama is mostly about Minwoo and his daughter Yeeun. Perhaps hints of feelings being reciprocated would be nice.

But otherwise, I’m good. Because my friend, that boat has sailed. It would really piss me off if they force anything romantic down our throat at the last minute when they have wasted 14 fricking episodes (or really, 8 episodes because Minwoo did drunk kiss Kaehwa in episode 6) with very little romantic development.

Oh, there HAS been romantic development during those 8 episodes, but it was mostly one sided on Minwoo’s part. Viewers barely got a sense that Kaehwa was at all interested in Minwoo. No, I don’t expect the mature lady to go all schoolgirl-type gooey over a little romantic gesture from a guy 7 years her junior, but writers, you NEED to show that she’s at least leaning towards him in THAT way. Subtlety only works when we can actually feel the undelying meaning behind it.

Thus, when Minwoo suddenly presented Kaehwa with a marriage proposal (OMG, K-Drama, will you stop with the whole idea that main couple MUST GET MARRIED in order to sail to the Happy Ever After Land?!), it threw us AND her out of the loop. In my head, I started accussing Minwoo for not wanting to experience the burden of being a single parent. And when Kaehwa actually responded in a manner OTHER THAN  ‘Where the fuck did this come from?’, I felt ridiculous for watching this drama.

The drama lost me officially when Kaehwa, someone who experienced failed marriage already, agreed to marry Minwoo in the same episodes!

I’m glad the couple got together, but a little rationality please! For a drama whose characters have always had windows of reason, this ending feels like an outlier. Good thing that the drama kept the fun, lighthearted tandem in place of pure dramatic romance, otherwise I would have rolled my eyes too much.

I’m fully aware that my misconceived notion regarding the drama’s number of episodes has probably made this opinion ten times more sour, but I can’t help expressing my disappointment here. But I think the fact that I left Oh My Lady quietly (no cursing involved, if you must know) is proof that the ending isn’t THAT bad. I just think that a little extension (18 would really be perfect) would have made the ending flow so much better.

On another issue, apparently Kim C is leaving 1 Night 2 Days. I can’t think about him leaving without wanting to cry. I’m all sorts of dramatic, but ARGH!

Oh My Lady, episode 7-14

I still can’t retract my statement that this is the IT drama for me at the moment. I’m enjoying Harvest Villa a lot and still following Personal Taste and Cinderella’s Sister.

The latter is trudging along. I’m finding myself with little motivation to watch Cinderella’s Sister after they killed off my favourite character. And I got pretty tired of watching the whole company acquisition scheming stuff. I still haven’t even watched episode 10 and today is already airing a new episode. I definitely will continue but that’s not the number 1 priority.

Oh My Lady is.

Again, OML isn’t an innovative drama nor is it very smart or funny or even romantic. But I find it terribly terribly refreshing because it is able to throw in a small scenes that are quirky and unusually funny. Plus, unlike any other drama, I actually FEEL excited about the upcoming Monday or Tuesday for a new episode and seriously count down the clock till I can watch it. I cannot say the same about the other dramas I’m watching.

The last 8 episodes get the plot going. Without me noticing, Minwoo (Choi Siwon) has come to accept his daughter and while I wouldn’t say he’s fully THERE yet, this is such a huge change from the earlier episodes. His change comes so gradually (perhaps my favourite part of the drama) that I cannot even remember when was it that he changed his standpoint against his daughter from an Oppa (same generation older brother) to an Appa (obviously a father).

I also love the fact that despite the plot progression, the drama doesn’t forget about Minwoo’s own progression with his play. They keep us updated by showing little scenes of Minwoo improving his dance routine, his line delivery, etc. Through this, not only do we see Minwoo’s determination with work, but we also see him growing up.

It’s hard to deny that one of the biggest draws (if not the biggest?) of this drama is Choi Siwon. He doesn’t pull the best acting or anything, but he is so charming in his delivery of Sung Minwoo that you just root for him. And I need to mention that dude is making lots of funny faces. Sometimes I think he needs to tone that down because it does start to get a little cartoonish, but his funny faces seriously make a lot of great moments in the drama. This one below is only one of the MANY examples.

Altough, I’m sad to say that Gyehwa (Chae Rim) is probably the one with the least character development. The thing is, she was a pretty established character from the start that it’s hard to think where else she would go and can go. Perhaps the only evolvement that Gyehwa went through is that she’s developed a stronger self assertion (sans the bitterness from earlier episodes) against her husband, which indicates that she’s finally moved on for the better. I wanted to see her succeed professionally and the drama is giving this a nod here and there by showing that like Minwoo, Gyehwa is exerting extra effort for her job now.

With regards to Shijoon (Lee Hyunwoo)/Jungah (Moon Junghee) marital woes, I went from indifference to interest and now I think I’m back to indifference. This is simply because I’ve gotten bored. I seriously cannot get behind Lee Hyunwoo at all and fast forward most of his scenes. It doesn’t help that he and Chae Rim have almost zero chemistry (I got through Dalja’s Spring because the other characters are a LOT stronger) and many of his scenes are with her so I just tend to overlook that. He has more chemistry with Moon Junghee but still, she alone cannot carry the both of them. IF only they casted a stronger actor for his role, I would have probably been more excited and Minwoo would get a run for his money.

For some reason, I find the drama getting better the last 3 episodes or so. They seem to incorporate fresher material. One example would be Byunghak, Gyehwa’s ex. He’s gotten a lot more humane and sympathetic. And it’s so funny that the drama is making fun of Yura (Park Hanbyul) by showing how vain she is. It’s the little things like this that I really like from OML.

One thing I do have to wonder is the romance, or the lack of it. At times I even start to doubt myself whether there will be a romance at all in this drama. I still can’t even say for sure that Minwoo and Gyehwa will end up together because they really downplay the romance. If the romance is there, it’s stewing EVER so slowly. Which actually is fine by me. I voiced my concern that they will change Gyehwa’s appearance to suit a superstar’s love interest and I’m glad they don’t. Gyehwa continues in her ahjumma vein and I’m liking that.

At this point, I WOULD like a romance because Chae Rim and Choi Siwon have great chemistry with each other.