The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: I Need Romance 3

THE SHORT VERDICT:

I Need Romance 3 is like the milder, sweeter, slightly ditzy younger cousin of the older, more worldly-wise I Need Romance dramas.

While INR3 may look like its cousins on the surface – glossy & modern, complete with real kisses & sexytimes – at its heart, it holds dear many classic dramaland rom-com values about Romance and True Love. Oh, and the ditziness? It’s coz logic isn’t this drama’s strength, and there’s a fair chunk of stuff in INR3 that doesn’t actually make sense.

If you loved I Need Romance &/or I Need Romance 2012, you’d probably be disappointed in this one. Conversely, if you didn’t like the first two installments, then this one just might sit better than you’d think.

Oh, and there’s Sung Joon. Mmmm.

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17 Comments

Review: Miss Korea

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Quiet, low-key and unassuming, Miss Korea is the modest little drama that could.

What Miss Korea lacks in big plot movement, it makes up for with attentive character establishment and development, which gives this series its almost-but-not-quite slice-of-life, almost-family-drama feel. Populated by earnest characters who feel ordinary, real and likable, Miss Korea is the kind of show that one develops a slow but enduring affection for.

Another helpful thing to know: Despite its title and premise, Miss Korea isn’t really about beauty pageants per se. It’s more about how ordinary people muster up their inner mettle, to face seemingly insurmountable challenges; not only to survive, but to pursue meaning and happiness in their lives.

An underrated, heartwarming little gem.

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24 Comments

Review: Cunning Single Lady [Sly and Single Again]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A divorced-to-reunited rom-com that has flaws aplenty but manages to get the most important thing right: its heart.

If you wanted to count ‘em, you’d easily find a whole bunch of flaws and imperfections in Cunning Single Lady. But if you’re willing to look past all of that, you’ll find a good dose of cute, an endearing spot of sweet, and a heartfelt rekindling of a sincere love that never did go away.

Lee Min Jung and Joo Sang Wook turn in quality performances as our lead couple, and are the key reasons to tune in to this unassuming little show that turned out to be quite a bit more heartwarming than I expected.

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Review: Witch’s Romance

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A winsome little drama that is as charming as it is sweet, and boasts a good helping of fun on the side. Witch’s Romance may not be the most epic noona romance out there, but it’s certainly one of the most earnest and heartfelt.

While (almost) the entire cast is likable, it’s really the OTP that steals the show. Uhm Jung Hwa embodies cautious vulnerability beneath her strong, fearless veneer, while Park Seo Joon exudes a truly lovely blend of sincerity, earnestness and warmth. Individually, they deliver praise-worthy performances. Together, their chemistry feels so real and palpable that it sometimes leaps off the screen to knock you right over.

The writing falters at times and the execution is a little uneven, but with this wonderful, delightful puppy flashing this melty smile at you, it won’t hurt much, I promise.

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21 Comments

Pure Pretty: A Gong Yoo Birthday Tribute

It’s Gong Yoo’s birthday today, everyone!! And man, do I have the perfect present for him!

But first, some context.

Today’s post is actually inspired by resident sweetheart on the blog Evez. Yesterday, over in our Gong Yoo Squee Fest group on Facebook, Evez came up with the idea that we could each prepare a little something to post in the group today, in honor of Gong Yoo’s birthday. I thought it was a great idea and did a quick bit of photo-editing to prepare my little something to share with the group (I’ll tell you about that later).

And then, just an hour or so later, in another Facebook conversation, Evez happened to mention that she felt my posts have come a long way since I first started the blog, meaning, they’re now more robust than the shorter posts I used to do. (Aw. ❤ Didn’t I say Evez is a sweetheart?)

Well, that comment really got me thinking.

To be honest, I’d always felt a bit bad coz my k-love post for Gong Yoo is shorter and skimpier than my more recent k-love posts. And it’s not even coz I love him less, or think he’s any less awesome. I just posted about him first, simply coz he was my favorite. What injustice is this, right, that one of my favorites would end up with the skimpiest post? It just didn’t feel right. And it’s been niggling at me for quite a while now.

So then my brain put two and two together (or in this case, one and one, heh), and I hit on the idea of doing a proper, full-on post for Gong Yoo, in honor of his birthday. Wheee~!

Are you ready for your present, Gong Yoo-sshi? Coz I’m ready to make it allll up to ya.

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Discovering: Park Seo Joon

Everyone was right.

So many of you predicted that once I started watching Witch’s Romance, that I would start swooning over Park Seo Joon just like everyone else. Heh. Y’all are so right.

To be honest, before I started watching the show, when I saw all the photo spreads and stills of Park Seo Joon that came out along with Witch’s Romance, I had my doubts. In the stills, he looked rather.. well, ordinary to me. Nothing about those photos made me sit up and take serious notice, really.

Ha. Watch me eat my words now. Coz I’ve been lapping up Witch’s Romance, while happily nursing a brand new fangirl crush on Park Seo Joon (melt~).

Better late than never, right?

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9 Comments

Review: Two Weeks

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A stage swiftly set with strong stakes; a capable cast; deft execution. Two Weeks has all three and is one tense rollercoaster ride from start to finish.

Two Weeks has quite a few narrative pieces to juggle, what with life-and-death literally hanging in the balance, emotional baggage the size of a small country along for the ride, and a poignant, heartwrenching-heartwarming father-daughter relationship blossoming at its core through it all. Admirably, the show manages to deliver it all in a way that feels satisfying, well-paced and coherent through the very end.

The entire cast is pretty excellent, but the stand-out is Lee Jun Ki, who truly is mesmerizing as our resident fugitive daddy on the run, finally faced with a reason to live that is bigger than himself: his little girl.

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28 Comments

Pure Pretty: Yoo Ah In

…And it’s time for another Pure Pretty post, you guys.

Looking back on my recent posts, I noticed a distinct pattern. It appears that every 3 reviews, I feel the need to fangirl for a bit, whether it’s a k-love post or a Pure Pretty post (or several Pure Pretty posts, heh). It’s entirely unplanned and unintentional, I promise. I’m beginning to think, though, that this is just how my brain is wired.

I can focus on relatively more serious stuff like reviews for only so long before my fangirl side rears her determined head and demands (*pounds fist on table for emphasis*) some quality fangirling time.

And so I bring you Yoo Ah In, boy-man chameleon extraordinaire. Come gaze with me, y’all.

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45 Comments

Food in Kdrama: An Obsession?

Today’s post is inspired by a conversation with blog regular INTJ.

After I posted my review of Let’s Eat, we realized that our respective experiences of the show were like night and day, to put it mildly. While I enjoyed the drama a lot, INTJ did not enjoy the show. At all.

I’ve understood for a long time that as viewers, we all respond to dramas and actors differently. A drama that one person loves to bits could be completely meh to someone else. And, an actor that inspires love in one person could inspire irritation in another. We all approach the world with our own filters, after all.

What gave me pause for thought is a follow-up email that INTJ sent me after our initial thought exchange on Let’s Eat. In it, he mentioned that he’s heard people around him say many times, “all Koreans do in their movies is eating.”

Well now. I’d never seen it that way before. This piece of information definitely made me think. And that, well, brought about a bunch of thoughts.

Given that INTJ’s mentioned several times before in other comments that he’s deeply interested in learning about the differences between cultures, I thought it apt to share my perspectives in a post.

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33 Comments

Review: Let’s Eat

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A charming little drama that uses food (lots and lots of food) as the means to bind individuals together into a community.

Let’s Eat hums to a completely different rhythm than dramaland’s typical rom-coms, and possesses a sensibility that toes the line between slice-of-life and manhwa-esque. And in spite of some gaping flaws, it somehow works. Characters and relationships start to pop as we get deeper into the episodes, and by the time you reach the end, it’s likely that you won’t want to say good-bye.

And if you’ve ever wondered what it means to “eat deliciously,” which is the literal translation of 맛있게 먹고 (otherwise generally translated as “enjoy your meal”), you’d quickly find your answer – and your role models – in this show.

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