Thank You

(thundie: I’m thrilled to introduce my second guest blogger, someone whose gifted writing I’ve long admired. Please welcome Serendipity!)

Hi, I’m Serendipity. Thundie made me an offer I couldn’t possibly refuse: an invitation to contribute to this fabulous blog. This is my first foray into the wonderful world of k-drama blogging, and to stay my nerves I am taking the advice I often dish out to drama writers – just write from the heart. So for my pilot review I’m attempting to articulate why I have been smitten by the 2007 k-drama Thank You (or TY in short). As I’ll be focusing more on the overall effect of the show than on plot, any spoilers there may be are quite mild.

So, come with me. Let us go on a journey.

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Sympathy for second fiddles

If you’re in the midst of watching Stairway to Heaven (2003) and are rooting for Han Tae-hwa (Shin Hyun-joon) to win the girl, don’t.

None of the guys in this post gets the prize they most covet: their beloved. Consider that your Wet Blanket Statement of the Week.

Not all kdramas feature a love triangle (or quadrangle). But for those that do, it’s almost a sure bet that the ones playing second fiddles will not emerge victorious. Still, that does not stop many of us from fervently hoping the tide will finally turn in our favorite second fiddle’s favor. Even after getting our hopes crushed multiple times, we still believe there’s a writer out there farsighted enough to write a different ending for the traditional loser. Haha.

This post is for all the second fiddles in our kdramas, who are left with nothing in the end but heartache. Most of the ones here I have loved ardently, a few I have heaped venom on. All of them deserve our sympathy. (Or perhaps not.)

Let’s start with my Numero Uno Detesto. (Excuse the mangled Spanish, but you get the gist.)

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Episode 1 teasers: Hyena

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 >>>

Two-word Sunday: Shin Sung-rok

In Hyena (2006), he was the guy who left his girl for a reason he could not reveal even to his closest friends. (That drama, incidentally, is one of the best offerings from Korean cable TV. If you’re below 19 years old, don’t watch it; if you aren’t, don’t miss it! Sweet, smart, funny, uplifting… I about floated out of my skin watching it.) In Thank You (2007), he again left his girl, this time not even realizing he had fathered a child with her.

Meet Shin Sung-rok, a theater-trained actor who’s at his best playing flawed and tortured characters. Known also as Rocky, he’s the second in our Two-word Sunday series. Enjoy!

Bring drool bucket… >>>