The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Dear kfangurl: Is Korean Fan Culture Really Like What Is Shown In Dramas?

It’s been a long minute (literal years!) since my last Dear kfangurl post, but when the comment below popped up on my recently posted Her Private Life review, blog reader Yoona found the topic and my initial response interesting enough, that she suggested a proper post on it. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to explore the topic a little further, and so here we are.

Dolores writes:

“So I started watching [Her Private Life] on your recommendation, Fangurl, but there is something I wish you could verify for me. Are Korean celebrities really not allowed to date? How is it a scandal if two unmarried people have a consensual relationship? I’ve encountered this before in other kdramas, of course, but I can’t quite get a handle on how much of this is exaggerated. I mean, it can’t be real, right?

And the crazy fans…the crazy ADULT fans? Is this really a thing to this extent? Okay, we’ve all experienced crushes on celebrities, but what is acceptable at 13 is just not normal at 30… it’s the reason I had a hard time relating to the heroine in “Answer me 1997. ” I have a friend who has seen Bruce Springsteen perform over a hundred times, but she doesn’t stalk him or obsess about this personal life; she just really loves his music. So I can sort of understand this kind of excessive adoration, but the way fans are portrayed in Kdramas is so over-the-top it just doesn’t seem like that can be real.”

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Review: Her Private Life

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This is a show that pretty much lives and dies by the combined charm of and chemistry between its OTP. Park Min Young is lovely and manages to come across as both relatable and aspirational, while Kim Jae Wook shines in his first romantic leading man role, which just happens to be that of the Perfect Boyfriend with the power to melt you into a puddle on a regular basis. The interactions between our OTP are a big highlight, from the very organic skinship – ranging from sexy sizzle to absentmindedly agreeable – to the wonderfully healthy conversations that they regularly share; a precious rarity in Dramaland.

Everything else is pretty much set-dressing for the main romance, but Show does a very solid job of making that set dressing generally pleasant and appealing, with a nice handful of likable secondary characters, a very pretty collection of OST tracks, and a keen spotlight on the fangirl experience.

Yes, Show does have its flaws, but that usually poofs away quite nicely, whenever the OTP shows up onscreen. It’s like magic fairy dust.

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Flash Review: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes [Hundred Million Stars From The Sky]

You guys, this is possibly the one show that I ended up watching quite literally by accident.

See, even though quite a few of you had suggested this show to me, I’d put it vaguely on my list for “later,” and my track record shows that “later” often stretches into a black hole void of “maybe never,” mostly because there are just too many newer shows vying for my attention and I can’t keep up with it all.

The thing is, when I saw this available on Viu, I thought I’d click on episode 1, “just to see.” Well, whaddya know. I got sucked in within mere minutes. This one struck me as immediately engaging the way a classic melo like Winter Sonata is immediately engaging, and by the 30-minute mark, I knew I’d be following this one through to the end. In a drama landscape where a good number of dramas take about 4 episodes to get going in earnest, that’s skillz.

The question is, did Show manage to keep it up all the way through to the end?

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Review: Put Your Head On My Shoulder [China]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Coming from the writer of A Love So Beautiful, Put Your Head On My Shoulder is a cheerful campus romance that at once feels similar-but-different, when compared with its elder sibling ALSB.

Easygoing and cheerful, Show never gets overly angsty, preferring to serve up cuteness, kittens and rainbows via the burgeoning feelings and blossoming romance between an unlikely pair lovebirds. He’s a handsome science genius and she’s a bubbly warm accounting major with advertising dreams, which, yes, sounds totally tropey, but Show’s treatment of the pairing brings enough freshness to the table, to make this story feel far from tired.

Show does have its fair share of flaws, but overall, manages to be a shiny, happy, easy little watch.

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Flash Review: Well Intended Love [China]

Remember when LOTTTS of folks loved Where The Lost Ones Go, and I watched the whole thing, and still wondered what the fuss was about?

Er, I think I went and did it again, you guys.

For the record, lots of people love – like, really love – this show. This was recommended to me more than once, and came with descriptors like tropey, fun, but fresh. Now that I’ve watched all 20 episodes of this one, I’m gonna hafta say.. I think I just don’t get it. 😛

Like I said though, lots of people loved this one, so just because I didn’t love it, doesn’t mean that you necessarily won’t either?

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Review: Touch Your Heart [Reach Of Sincerity]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Light, frothy, and easy on the drama palate, Touch Your Heart is a fun little watch that ought to add a nice amount of cute to your viewing schedule.

Yoo In Na is the star of this show, with her personal charm making our protagonist earnest, adorable and very likable, pretty much regardless of the situation. Lee Dong Wook’s straitlaced lawyer is a great foil for Yoo In Na’s sparkly enthusiasm, and together, they lit up my screen as they bickered, talked and stumbled their way to True Love. Our drama world is filled with secondary characters who are mostly fun, and even the less fun ones grow on you by the end. A breezy, groovy OST that’s nicely employed to amp up the feels, is what ties this little ragtag package together.

Sometimes the plot goes off on a case-related tangent, but Show always brings it back to what’s important – the heartfelt, and the cute.

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Flash Review: The Light In Your Eyes [Dazzling]

Every once in a while, a show comes along that I feel grateful to have met. This, my friends, is one of those times.

I had very little idea of what to expect, going into this show, and I’m glad for it. Because, Show then had free rein to tell its story without having to work through any preconceptions on my part, and what a unique, affecting, beautiful story this turned out to be.

If you trust me enough; if your taste in dramas is anything like mine; if you haven’t seen this one; even if you don’t usually like dramas with a fantasy element – do make time for it. It is that special. ❤

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Review: Romance Is A Bonus Book

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A noona romance that isn’t actually all about the romance, and yet, it works, and so well too.

While I don’t think that this would sit as well with a younger audience, I do feel like this would resonate well with a slightly older audience, particularly if said audience is female. Show takes the premise of a divorcee’s struggle to re-enter the workforce, and makes it come alive with poignance and heart, while managing to slip a charming noona romance in there, to sweeten the whole experience. A capable cast and a lovely OST round out this drama’s strengths, and I also wanted to say, Lee Na Young is extra incandescent to my eyes, as our female protagonist.

Not a show that would work for everyone, but if it works for you, it works so well. ❤

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Flash Review: The Dude In Me [Inside Me] [Movie]

YouTube’s algorithm sure knows how to pique my interest.

I mean, when YouTube suggested this movie to me, I quickly sat up and paid attention. The idea of a movie starring Park Sung Woong and Ra Mi Ran, with a bit of Jin Young pretty thrown in sounded like just my kinda thing, and I promptly changed my Saturday afternoon viewing plans, heh.

Now that I’ve finished the movie, though, I will say that this movie’s a reasonably decent watch, but I did like it better in concept than in execution.

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Dropped: Ashes Of Love [China]

After 41 episodes out of Show’s 60, I’m finally calling it quits on Ashes Of Love.

Admittedly, part of my brain is a little reluctant to drop this one, because, “Loads of other folks loved this one! What if you’re quitting before it gets good again?” and “You’re already two-thirds of the way through! What a waste, of the 41 episodes you did watch!”

Try as I might, though, I just can’t muster up the interest to continue with episode 42, so it’s gonna hafta be the end of the road with this one, for me.

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