Tuesday, June 12, 2012

K-drama Rama

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of J pictures and crafts on parade to share with you my latest obsession: Korean Dramas. Or as people who truly understand call them, K-dramas.

Friends, they are AMAZING! If you are my facebook friend, you have probably seen my effusions on there. Now you get to read more of them here since I just finished one and have that energetic happy, hollow feeling akin to what you feel after reading a truly fantastic book.

Lil' Sis introduced me when we visited in Seattle (I still need to post about that. Sister, send me the pictures of the tree sweaters. Yes, readers, sweaters for trees) and since we were quarantined from an infectious case of pink eye, we indulged in what netflix had to offer us. I will also tell you we watched all the available episodes of Downton Abbey. IT DOES NOT EVEN COMPARE TO KDRAMA AWESOMENESS! And trust me, I pretty much adore anything British. Double the adoration for 18th Century.

I feel a little isolated in my fangirldom because it seems like no one knows what I'm talking about. I am even isolated on the internet since everything about them tends to be in Korean or poorly translated English. I know I'm not the only one watching them, since there was a very clear reference in The Office, episode:"Turf War," minute 20 (youtube has failed me on the clip, but Husband recorded it to show me since he couldn't believe I wasn't the only American out there watching these shows). My cousin also told me NPR ran a piece on Kdrama's rising popularity, although I have yet to find it.

Now I'm a little afraid my exuberance will give disproportional expectations. Despite being labeled in the "foreign film" genre, you should know these are almost pure fluffy chick flick. I put them in the Amanda Bynes category. Predictable plot, handsome fella, happy ending. (Although I think it takes a minimum of 20hrs to start finding the actors attractive. Maybe less if you have an Asian fetish) If you prefer original plot lines, this may not be the genre for you. Now if you still aren't sold yet, let me give you a few reasons to indulge.

1) They are clean enough to recommend to your grandmother. And I mean my apron-wearing, perfectly curled hair grandma, not the lovely quirky one who could tell you a few stories of what happens when you live out of your purse on a Greyhound bus for two weeks. There are zero sex scenes and the music builds dramatically to a kiss on the forehead or a touch on the shoulder.

2) They have a fixed number of episodes. Like a telenovela, the story is written to begin and end in around 18 episodes. That means the plot doesn't require some of the ridiculous turns employed to keep seasons fresh. And you thought the 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice was a long chick flick. But really this is a good thing people. Imagine if Gilmore Girls was distilled into one excellent season. You could happily watch as Loralai and Luke fall in love without suffering through Max Medina. Of course there would be the on and off again with Christopher, because there is still 20 episodes.

3) You will pick up on a little bit of Korean. Lil' Sis and I have become somewhat snobby in our translations since we've watched enough of these. "Aigoo" doesn't actually translate into anything but we can tell you when it is appropriate to use it. I may write a whole post on this, including Oppa versus Hyung.

4) You will laugh hysterically at the random bits of English they throw in, like "yeah, boy." My favorite is "fighting!" which is always accompanied with a fist pump. It also made me realize that we do the same sort of thing here when we say "oy vey" or "Cest le vie" or "Ciao" in conversation. Then there are the truly fabulous parts when the storyline calls for a character to use their true English skills on a telephone call or something. Then Korean subtitles layer on top of the English ones. You can tell who can actually speak English and who memorized a few lines. Best accent award goes to Im Joon Soo in Mystic Garden who holds multiple conversations and sounds like he's from California.

5) You get to play what I like to refer to as The Korean Fashion Game. You try and decide if what a character is wearing is in style for Korea in general, a fashion forward ensemble, or just universally weird. Do all men in Korea wear half-sleeved cowl neck tops or is it because he is supposed to be a pop star? Are the Koreans thinking WTH too? I try not to judge too harshly. I love to wear bright red lipstick. Open any magazine and I will show you multiple examples of the daring lipcolor, but my friend still asked if I was going for a Lady Gaga look. I'm sure a Korean girl could ask the same thing. Do all American women wear bright red lipstick? Just movie stars and models? Or is this girl just crazy? I need a Korean exchange student to be the judge and help me tally the score.

6) The music! Again, there are bits of English mixed in. There are my favorites, "Hello Hello You Shiny Boy" and "Lovin' Ice Cream." Unfortunately they tend to get stuck in your head. Trust me, getting a song stuck in your head without knowing any of the words, just random sounds, is worse than the Brady Bunch.

Oh look, they are even on youtube! Enjoy!

And I found the song from City Hunter that I legitimately like. Of course it may be a Pavlovian response since it played at the credits of every episode. You'll have to actually listen to it and tell me the truth. Is it catchy or just me?

Stay tuned this week for some recommendations on which kdramas to watch first


Katie said...

You might have me sold. I'm always looking for something new to watch!

Marilyn said...

I went through a K-drama phase a couple years ago. It didn't stop there. There were other other Asian shows I also watched. They draw you in with their cheesey happy endings! I look forward to seeing if we've seen the same ones.

Funny enough, Nora is the one to introduce them to me. Something about little sisters . . .

jeanene c said...

I don't dare start. I get addicted too easily.

Elena said...

I feel so validated by this post! I really do need to send those pics ... I'll get on that now

But first a few episodes of a Kdrama :)

Lauren said...

Okay I'm waiting for where to start!! In the mean time -- Dawson's Creek was recently added to instant play on Netflix, so I'll keep watching adolescent sex and annoying Aaron.


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