Before I start, I want to introduce a guest writer, a co-author if you will. Hey, if Thundie can do it, why can’t I? Seriously, C.J. Park is my favorite cousin. Yes, I say that to all my cousins, but she really is the one. She and I grew up together, so she embodies what Korea means to me, namely gim-bap (rice wrapped in seaweed), jjim-jil-bang (Korean public sauna), and no-rah-bang (public karaoke place), you know all the things in life worth living for. I left out so-ju (Korean liquor), I know, but still I think it sounds better than baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet. I absolutely couldn’t have written this without her. The vast majority of the asterisks in this work are from her, not to mention her indispensable help with many conversations that I’ve had a devil of time catching. So, please give a warm welcome to a new addition to the Thundie’s family, CJ!
Oh, and only because I’ve always wanted to say this: With collaboration of C.J. Park, Michael and Thundie Incorporated is proud to present the world premier of…
The Gentlemen’s Dignity
I have watched five episodes of Athena. I could have easily managed more, if my pesky work schedule hadn’t cut into my k-drama watching time. And I haven’t slit my wrists yet. How can this be, when I’m not a big fan of shoot-em-up so-called spy thrillers and couldn’t get past even one episode of Iris? I have discovered the key to enjoying Athena in all its glory, and the key is in grasping a paradigm-shifting truth about the show.
This show, you see, is not set on Planet Earth at all. But rather, on Planet Athena. Planet Athena may look a lot like Planet Earth, but do not be deceived. Beneath the surface, Planet Athena is light-years away from Planet Earth.
As a service to humankind, I’m issuing this Idiot’s Guide to Planet Athena. With this Guide, you too can navigate Planet Athena untroubled by puzzlement or headdesking.
Once upon a time, there lived a man called God.
He was also called Peter Pan, Michael, Boss, Choi Kang-ta and Show-off. Of the last it was unclear who bestowed it on him; perhaps it was someone who couldn’t stand Michael’s endless posturing. Or the fact that the guy possessed an insane number of skills, conquering with uncommon ease even the sky and sea. He could be a bird, he could be a merman!
Due to a prolonged bout of allergic conjunctivitis (non-contagious, but oh, so annoying!), I’ve not been able to do any writing. (My eyes didn’t like my last blog piece, on Chuno, and staged a mini mutiny, causing me to look like Dracula’s bride for days. That also explains why that review feels truncated; it was just too painful, literally, to continue.) Who knew the new constant in my life would be eye drops and daily pleas of “Go away, pollen!”?
I’m still watching dramas, albeit at a snail’s pace (and on the TV rather than computer; it’s kinder to my eyes that way). A few days ago, I started a drama that several pals had been raving about last year; I instantly liked what I saw.
A Kim Min-jong standing unseen outside the room of his beloved made my heart ache for some reason; I know I’m going to root fiercely for this couple. I hurt again when Iljimae (Jung Il-woo) met his real dad for the first time and was unceremoniously rejected, a second abandonment. The first rejection led to him becoming an unwitting seafarer (or riverfarer, to be more precise). In a scene so picturesque it was like gazing at a watercolor painting, our wee Iljimae floated down the river on a basket before he was rescued. I had to pause to take a screencap, so transfixed was I by the beauty before me.
How many Korean dramas do you know that are named after animals? And a carcass-loving, bone-crushing one at that.
Like most people who watch K-dramas, I feasted (and sometimes choked) on the offerings from the three main Korean TV stations: KBS, SBS and MBC. It never occurred to me that I could sample other cuisines until a good friend raved about a certain cable drama and even offered to translate it for our fansub group. So that was how I was introduced to Hyena (tvN, 2006).
Likened by some to Sex and the City, Hyena subverts the premise of the famous American version by having four men (Kim Min-jong, Oh Man-seok, Shin Sung-rok and Yoon Da-hoon) in the lead roles. The drama is frank, funny and smart. Okay, the honesty and humor can be rather risque at times and we don’t even have to wait a whole episode to see a few bed romps.
But you know what? The drama isn’t just about sex. Far from it, in fact. It’s about (male) bonding and falling in love, friendship and family, trust and forgiveness, hopes and fears. You’ll laugh often, but prepare the tissues because you’ll need them. Sometimes you may even find yourself crying and giggling at the same time.
So yes, I love Hyena. Not the spotted version roving the plains and scaring the birds with its blood-curdling laughter, but the one that I savored for sixteen episodes, smacking my lips all the way. Come revisit the first episode with me.
What “altercation” was Teddy privy to in this scene?
Read on for more Hyena teasers >>>