Life is Beautiful

If you have 63 hours to spare and would like to spend those hours watching something that puts a smile on your face and a lift in your steps, instead of 3-4 shorter pieces whose collective mediocrity makes you prefer chewing rusty nails as a more humane form of torture, I have a drama to recommend to you. It is one of the best family dramas that I have seen.

Slipping under many people’s radars last year, either because of its genre or because its length made one think thrice before committing, Life is Beautiful (SBS, 2010) is about second opportunities. It is about starting anew with hopefulness that today will be better than yesterday. It is about opening your heart to embrace the strange and the different, no matter how strong your creed or deep-seated your insecurities. It is about family sticking together, through all of life’s ups and downs. It is a drama so heartwarming you forget the chill outside your window, yet it is not so cloyingly sweet that you feel three cavities taking root. It is, above all, unwavering in its realism and optimism.

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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 >>>