Open Thread: Secret Love Affair Episodes 11 & 12

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I had to have this iconic scene headline our post today; it’s such a rare moment of respite, for Hye Won and Sun Jae.

Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question.

We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

Secret Love Affair OST – Book

In case you’d like to soak in the music as you read the episode notes, here’s Book again, which I feel features rather prominently, this set of episodes.

Just right-click on the video and select “Loop.”

My thoughts

Episode 11

At this point in our story, Hye Won and Sun Jae are coming to a moment of reckoning, and it’s hard to watch. It feels like the entire world is closing down on them, while they are both trapped, in their own corners, separated from each other.

This episode, the thing that I feel the most keenly, is Sun Jae’s loss of innocence, because of his relationship with Hye Won. In Sun Jae’s opening voiceover alone, as he ponders everything, while sitting at the window in his home, the sense of plaintive helplessness that he feels, is so clear:

“I never thought that my window was small up until now. But, it looks really small today. There’s so much that I don’t know. You were bowing to a car in the middle of a night. But I could only hide and watch. A big house with high walls. People in suits. I was scared because I had never seen anything like it.”

He sounds so young in this voiceover, doesn’t he? It reminds me all over again, that Sun Jae’s only 19, and completely inexperienced in the ways of the world; at least, the ways of the world in which Hye Won lives.

And while his relationship with Hye Won has brought him a great deal of joy in its own way, the price – of his innocence – seems quite high, to my eyes.

It’s a little startling, that this episode, we realize that everyone around Hye Won either already knows about her relationship with Sun Jae, or has deep suspicions to that effect. The thing is, up to this point, no one’s really confronted Hye Won in the traditional sense of the word.

Everyone’s just made their observations, and adjusted their approach accordingly.

It feels like quietly, while Hye Won wasn’t looking, the entire world’s turned against her and is targeting her relationship with Sun Jae. It’s quite unsettling to witness, honestly.

Of course, Professor Jo, being a longtime friend of Hye Won, doesn’t turn against her. It’s just that I felt a little thrown by how matter-of-factly Professor Jo refers to Sun Jae’s relationship with Hye Won. “Liking someone doesn’t mean you have to know everything about her.

We try to understand everything. Right now, she is one of the 24 pieces you played last night. The picture in there is the theme song.”

I suppose it really is as Lane said, in her comment on the last Open Thread, that this being a music university, everyone who’s worth their salt would likely have understood what Sun Jae had meant, in choosing the Brahms Intermezzo as his encore piece.

Aside from Professor Jo, and later, his wife Ji Soo, however, everyone else seems either out to drag down Hye Won, or stop the relationship, or.. just sit back to gloat over how the rich and powerful fall.

Young Woo’s snooping around to find evidence of the relationship, even getting her toy boy lover to get information out of Jang Ho, while she herself tries to pry information out of the fortune teller whom Joon Hyung visited.

Madam Han’s personally snooping around by testing Da Mi, at the tipoff from Madam Baek; even Young Woo’s driver tries to blackmail Hye Won via text message.

Plus, the secretaries and all the other staff appear to be gossiping about it as well. It’s all very unsavory, dog-eat-dog sort of stuff.

And in the midst of it all, Sun Jae strives to be the shelter that Hye Won needs, even though he, too, is powerless.

I think it says a lot that Hye Won sneaks out of Chairman Seo’s house, to “get a breath of fresh air,” even though she’s already in a precarious situation, and any suspicious moves on her part, wouldn’t do her any good.

Yet, she can’t help herself; when Sun Jae texts to tell her that he’s nearby, she can’t stop herself from going out to see him, even if it means undertaking even more risk.

What I do notice, though, is that while Hye Won would have tried to keep her true feelings from Sun Jae in the past, now, the moment she sees him, she tells him that she was out of her mind.

She says it in such a matter-of-fact manner, and the words come so easily to her lips, that it really reminds me of just how much Hye Won has removed her mask, in front of Sun Jae.

No wonder she’d saved Sun Jae as “Home,” in her second, privately held mobile. Home is where the heart is – and also, home is where we feel most comfortable. In both of these senses, Sun Jae is home to Hye Won.

I appreciate that Sun Jae urges Hye Won to put down everything and run away with him. Up to this point in our story, Hye Won hasn’t ever seemed to entertain any other option, but to stay and face the unpleasantness, and fight this fight. It feels quite refreshing, actually, to see Sun Jae be the one to tell Hye Won that Hannam-dong isn’t the universe.

Sure, Sun Jae’s suggestion may not be practical to Hye Won’s ears, but I just like the idea that Hye Won has a choice; that she doesn’t have to fight this fight, if she doesn’t want to.

Even Jang Ho and Da Mi visit Sun Jae, to tell him to stay away from Hye Won for a while. Both of them are from Sun Jae’s world, rather than from Hye Won’s, and still, this is their perspective, and their strong advice to Sun Jae. It really does seem like no one is on Sun Jae and Hye Won’s side.

What I find interesting, is how Sun Jae chooses to respond to Da Mi and Jang Ho, after hearing their advice. He doesn’t answer them in words; he answers them with his music – their music, since he uses the piano accompaniment played by Hye Won.

Essentially, in not so many words, it feels like he’s showing Da Mi and Jang Ho, at a very visceral level, just what he has with Hye Won. And the transcendental nature of the music moves even Da Mi and Jang Ho to tears, even though neither of them claims to know music.

And it’s immediately after being moved by this music, that Da Mi and Jang Ho leave Sun Jae’s home, essentially retreating from their mission – at least for a while.

This scene feels powerful to me, because it feels like a statement of how the connection between Hye Won and Sun Jae, is so transcendent, that even reason has to withdraw, in the face of its beauty.

At the same time, through all of this, the way Sun Jae and Hye Won continue to miss each other, is clear to see. The way Sun Jae seems out of sorts, whether he’s taken to his bed, or working to keep to a normal routine, tells me that he’s suffering from heartache, through it all.

And then there’s Hye Won’s conversation with Ji Soo in the car, which is so brilliantly done. I am grateful that Ji Soo is kind and non-judgmental, even though she knows about Hye Won’s relationship with Sun Jae. And, my heart can’t help but go out to Hye Won, as her well-practiced facade of fine-ness gives way to tears.

What strikes me, is just how much Hye Won crumples, in the face of her true emotions. All this time, she’s put up a strong and brave front, telling Sun Jae that she’s sly and manipulative, and basically will be able to handle all these crafty people who are closing in on them.

But in this moment, with her best friend, she breaks down as she admits that even in the face of all this, she can’t stop missing Sun Jae.

Oof. It’s hard to see Hye Won like this. 💔

Episode 12

I feel like this screenshot sums up a large part of the foundation of this episode; Joon Hyung trying to either reason with or corner Hye Won, while Hye Won tries to avoid it. It’s kind of excruciating to watch, honestly, although there is some momentary reprieve.

I believe that Joon Hyung means it, when he tells Hye Won that he doesn’t want a divorce; that it basically wouldn’t be acceptable, given his family background. At the same time, it’s interesting to see that Joon Hyung eventually hires a private investigator to tail Hye Won and gather evidence of her infidelity.

At first glance, this seems to contradict his statement, that he doesn’t want to divorce Hye Won, because most of the time, such evidence of infidelity is used in divorce lawsuits. It feels like Joon Hyung’s simply at his wits’ end with Hye Won, because she keeps dodging him when he tries to reason with her on this issue.

On the one hand, it could be that Joon Hyung’s so exasperated and provoked, that he’s changed his mind and has decided to prove her infidelity and divorce her.

On the other hand (which I personally think is more likely), it’s also possible that Joon Hyung’s planning to use this evidence as leverage against her – not to divorce her, but to get her to do what he wants, in terms of keeping up their show marriage.

At the same time, both Chairman Seo and Madam Han are putting pressure on Hye Won, to secure her undivided loyalty, and I feel like Hye Won’s basically trying to avoid making a commitment to either of them.

Chairman Seo can’t do anything about it, since he’s being held in custody, but you can bet your last dollar, that Madam Han’s not going to just sit there and take it, while Hye Won hedges.

I feel like through all of this, Hye Won’s efforts to get Sun Jae to leave for Germany are much like how, in action thrillers, when one character is stuck in a life or death situation, they urge their companion to get out while they can.

I think it’s getting to a point where Hye Won’s not so sure anymore, that she’ll be able to get out of this situation unscathed, but she wants to secure Sun Jae’s safety and future, while she still can.

Unfortunately, Joon Hyung seeing Sun Jae’s repeated visits with Professor Jo, doesn’t help the situation at all. I think it just makes Joon Hyung more angry than ever, because Sun Jae is supposed to be his student; the protégé who’s finally going to prove Joon Hyung’s worth in competition with Professor Jo.

And, instead of Joon Hyung, Sun Jae’s gravitating towards Professor Jo, in Hye Won’s absence. At least, that’s how it’d likely look, from Joon Hyung’s point of view.

Speaking of which, I thought that scene, of Joon Hyung looking through the glass panel of the door, was a great echo of the scenes of Sun Jae looking in on Hye Won’s world from afar. Joon Hyung may be part of Hye Won’s world, but he’s never truly felt part of the world of the genuinely passionate or talented.

This is him, looking in from afar, into a world where he wants to belong, but cannot.

Given Hye Won’s increasingly delicate circumstances, it really does feel like a reckless move, for her to go to Sun Jae’s neighborhood, and eat at the restaurant that he frequents, and then subsequently skip town with him, for what seems to be a spontaneous getaway.

From what I can tell, Hye Won finds it increasingly suffocating to exist in her world, particularly with everyone bearing down on her, and she keeps feeling the need for “fresh air.” That’s what she keeps using as an excuse, when she refers to her meet-ups with Sun Jae.

However, I do think that it’s becoming quite literal, for Hye Won. She feels most able to breathe, when she’s with Sun Jae, even when her whole world is threatening to implode on itself.

I do love the scene at the restaurant, where Sun Jae doesn’t say much at all, but simply sits down with her, to share her meal. The look of joy and contentment on Sun Jae’s face is a delight. It’s honestly sweet, that something so simple – sharing a meal with Hye Won – can bring him so much happiness.

I imagine that Hye Won skipping town with Sun Jae on the bus, is her concession to his invitation to essentially run away with him.

It’s nice to see that, given some time, the stress of the “real world” eventually melts away from Hye Won, and she begins to relax, during her time away with Sun Jae.

However, the wounds and regrets are deep, it seems, from the way she tears up while listening to Billy Joel’s Piano Man. It feels like listening to that song takes her right back to her college days, and dredges up a whole range of emotions.

I feel like part of it is Hye Won reacting to the lyrics, which lean poignantly meaningful, like “I’m sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place,” and “They’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better than drinkin’ alone.”

These lines in particular make me feel like Hye Won could be thinking about the loneliness that her life entails, and what her life might be like, if she could leave her current life.

On top of this, I think there’s also the whole dynamic, of thinking back to her youth, when she hadn’t yet gotten sucked into the world of the rich and powerful. I feel like she’s probably also overcome with emotion, at the thought of what her life might be like now, if she’d made different choices, back then.

It’s all very plaintive and emotional, and Kim Hee Ae kills it, in showing us such a wide yet restrained range of emotion, on Hye Won’s face, as she listens to the song.

Judging from Sun Jae’s reaction, when he reminds Hye Won that she does have a choice, it feels like Sun Jae is tuned in to all of this going on in Hye Won’s heart and mind, even though she doesn’t spell it out for him in so many words.

Ahh. These two really are soulmates, aren’t they, for Sun Jae to understand where Hye Won’s heart is at, even though she doesn’t tell him?

It’s also nice to see Hye Won and Sun Jae enjoy a casual, laidback breakfast at the eatery in the village, and I do get a bit of a thrill at Sun Jae’s bold answer to the ahjumma, that Hye Won isn’t his aunt or mother; that they’re a couple.

And while it seems like a faint possibility, there’s definitely a romanticism to Sun Jae’s boldness, in sending out his resume to all the well-known piano teachers, and asking them to take him in, along with his girlfriend.

Even though the likelihood of any of them actually making Sun Jae an offer is dismally slim, there’s something assuring about the fact that Sun Jae really is doing everything in his power to protect Hye Won, and find a way for them to both leave Seohan, and be together elsewhere.

He is as serious about Hye Won as he says he is, and he’s putting his words into action, and that.. is heart-wobbling stuff, honestly.

At the same time, it makes me uneasy to see the private investigator going so far as to use a lint roller on their bedding, in order to pick up DNA samples. Yikes. Joon Hyung isn’t playing around, and this makes me nervous for Hye Won.

The other sign that Joon Hyung isn’t playing around, is the way he asks to speak with Hye Won, when she gets home that night. It’s clear that he’s teetering on the edge, because it honestly doesn’t take much, before he explodes.

I feel like if Hye Won’s feelings hadn’t been so invested, and she’d therefore had the capacity to be more shrewd about things, she would have been able to manage Joon Hyung better. After all, she’s managed his tantrums and volatility for years, before Sun Jae came into the picture.

But with her heart completely clouded with Sun Jae, I feel that Hye Won has become increasingly clouded in her thinking.

It’s heartwrenching to see how miserable both Hye Won and Sun Jae are, back in their places, both missing each other acutely. The way Sun Jae sobs into his pillow in the dark, after musing that he feels like he’s left his bride in someone else’s room, after his honeymoon, is so tortured and so full of anguish. 💔

However, it feels like there’s no time nor room for languishing in melancholy. Not only is Madam Han pushing Hye Won for evidence of the loyalty she’s asked for, Da Mi’s shown up at Hye Won’s office, to talk specifically about Sun Jae.

It just feels like one thing after another, for Hye Won, doesn’t it? It’s little wonder that she finds it increasingly hard to breathe.

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Georgia Peach
5 months ago

have loved reading everyone’s observations on these episodes. it’s amazing what a second watch has brought for me. it was niggling at me during the first watch, but being so awed by the awesomeness of YAI and his performance and the chemistry he had with Kim HeeAe..to say nothing of her performance…i have come to realize this is HyeWon’s story and SunJae is the catalyst for her to find out where she has gotten herself..and that’s in a very bad fix. she has certainly been used and abused by these people and she’d gotten used to the’ whipping post’. to use a term from BE…she was living with ‘bloodless’ people all around her. and then this Boy comes into her life…the stage is set for her to break away from her whipping post. Sunjae is just all about loving/protecting her. i guess we’ve all been saying this in a number of different ways. i marvel at how pd-nim and writer-nim have so carefully and meticulously plotted this out for us.( *wishing more dramas were as carefully written and directed*.)

my favorite two scenes in these episodes are..the stealing away scene and the breakfast get away scene. the first one i liked because of the way they had to pick their way through the rubble of the building to find a place of respite. such an excellent metaphor for their relationship…treacherous as they pick their way through the rubble of the abandoned building.. then to find themselves in the open space where they can share time. and SunJae’s unabashed answer to the restaurant adjumma’s question…’We’re a couple!” oh, the candor of untainted youth. who could question the affection SunJae has for his goddess?

note to BE…thank you for your comments starting with: My thought…difference between reality and appearances. totally agree. and, ya’ll, i’m lovin’ the Billy Joel. little did HyeWon know that her ‘piano man’ would appear so many years later and so radically change her life. but, oh, the sadness of unrealized dreams this song congures for HyeWon. would SunJae have also cried if he’d known the words?

yes. thanksgiving week here in usa…busy, but looking forward to the time when everyone is gone and the house gets quite to watch 13/14.

Lane
Lane
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

Happy Thanksgiving Georgia Peach and to everybody who celebrates!

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  Lane

thanks, Lane, it was a good. good day

BE
BE
5 months ago

Ridiculous for me to apologize again, but such is my life these days. I am gratified to see a more vigorous response to these two episodes than the previous two, although I guess that goes to show just how much tightening the screws achieves, and then, of course, there is the piano man song, which seems so aptly chosen. Perfect for the scene Hye Won recalls in which it was played, and that it is about a piano player. Not to mention that it was an antique when Hye Won was going to university, a hit before Seon Jae’s mother was born! Which also might give some information about the kind of joint she waited out Young Woo’s shenanigans back in the day in the USA, where just listen to that back story about her graduate school career, Hye Won already had it going on.

My big thought from these two episodes is the theme of the difference between appearance and reality. We the audience, like KFG, see what we see of Hye Won and Seon Jae, and yet every other character in the story, with perhaps the exception of Jo In Soo, have no real clear understanding of what has happened between Hye Won and Seon Jae or who they are becoming each of themselves, seeing only the lurid (interesting that the front ad for show seems to emphasize that as well as the show title), as if Young Woo’s extreme skepticism about human nature were actually the truth of the matter, while at the same time, the social mores and morals contain an implacable indictment as a result. And even Jo In Soo does not see what Seon Jae quite clearly sees: Hye Won is in trouble. This is not a matter of trusting her choices, or having her back. She is in trouble. And everyone’s take in the runaround of the Seohan Cheobol is similarly riddled with delusions, all of which leading to this hair on end tension our otp face, the runaround so complex in this case even we the audience are hard pressed to say exactly wtf is going on. All we know is everyone is after Hye Won’s hide.

There is an opening line in one of Hamlet’s soliloquy’s that to me hit Hye Won’s predicament on the head–“How all occasions do inform against me…” And nothing so much, nor so poignantly struck that home to me than when she reads Seon Jae’s plaint to his e-“hyung,” that he has just had his honey moon with the love of his life and left her off at some punk’s bed. On top of everything else, Hye Won loves–l-o-o-v-es–this kid, and she knows, feels it, she has just tore him up inside. Show is kind of like the piece of music Seon Jae played for Da Mi and Jang Ho…”is it supposed to be that sad?” “It will cut your heart out.”

I loved the scene in which they eat together in the little rice and sides joint where his mother used to cook. No need to talk, just to eat and be with one another–of all the scenes so far, that scene to me suggested the depth of their intimacy with one another. Just so comfortable and comforting, Hye Won bathing without having to do anything for him in his relish of her, his relish of the simple sharing of food. Just a terrific scene. How many times and in how many ways can one say: Yoo Ah In, Kim Hee Ae–you can tell me that there is a better enacted otp in K dramaland; you’d have to spend hours and hours proving it to me. Those two, alone and with one another. In the world of their drama, they are all alone, but the audience, we, we cannot stop rooting for them.

I do think as I stated in the post responding to the previous pair of episodes that it is important to not only see the crux of the plot as how their pure, soulful love, can survive in such a corrupt world, that is to see show from the perspective of the two of them involved with one another, it is also helpful to see the story of them as two separate individuals. Hye Won is someone who is coming to grips with a real, no bs, midlife crisis in which everything she has done from the time she was a graduate student in the US to the present has been in service of her ambition, whatever that took, whatever slime she had to bathe herself in and now it has all come into the filthy light because of the cheobol itself festering into a boil and more importantly, her encounter with this sweet hearted, talented beyond her belief young man. And for Seon Jae, the oldest story in the book, the naif, the innocent, the pure youth, young male energy in all its fecund glory, inevitably alloyed by the sewage of grown up reality, him stupefied feeling it for the first time consciously. It is as if show writers had these two interesting characters in mind from the get go and thought what forge can we place them in to temper. What will happen to these two if we set a chain of events off in this milieu–ah our story to this point.

The ideas are so strong in this show, the main characters so compelling, the story so romantic and yet conflicted on a high tension wire, and the execution so strong; show is simply episode after episode a tour de force. Again one can speak of how the musical themes enhance every scene, especially as the tensions rise, how the camera compositions and costume design (my goodness the contrast between Hye Won’s clothing and Seon Jae’s as a starting point–“she was rich girl, don’t try to hide it/ don’t try to hide it/diamonds on the soles of her shoes./ He was a poor boy, empty as a pocket/ empty as a pocket/ with nothing to lose.”) continuously inform the audience of substance. h
How every little thing is brought to the table–Hye Won confessing to Seon Jae that part of going to the tourist town restaurant away from the resort publicly for breakfast was in part because she wanted their love out in the open, or how Kim Chang Wan as Dean Min, proving there is no such thing as a small role, is so deliciously bloodless in every scene in which he shows up, Gil Hae Yun (I believe this role must have been the convincer for the casting director of Beyond Evil) portraying Teacher Baek projects a particular kind of scumball, white collar crook, all teeth and conniving–detail after detail after detail.

Have I posted yet in this set–I just love this show, simply a breathtaking homage to making art (even of a popular entertainment). Bravo one more time, and it won’t be the last.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

Nice use of the Paul Simon quote there.

Yes, one never knows what will happen when you find yourself in thrall of a full-blown midlife crisis. It’s like being a hormone-driven teenager all over again. Except with adult consequences.

J3ffc
J3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

My thoughts exactly! And a contemporary of Billy Joel, to boot….

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

@merij – what an apt description of midlife crisis!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

And I just 💖 reading your comments…

Had to break there for a bit but I plan to get back to this after the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving to those folks in the US! BE, I hope you are able to enjoy with the family. 🍗

Last edited 5 months ago by phl1rxd
BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Thanks phl1rxd. Tomorrow with daughters, their men, granddaughter, ex wife…and all their dogs. I have been assigned sweet potato casserole (gonna ramp it up a bit with chopped dried pineapple, St Elizabeth Allspice Dram (spiced up rum), apple cider, candied walnuts, bacon, and crumbly queso). I will be doing my best to secure all the love and sympathy I can wring from them all as the old man still recovering from surgery.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – that last line made me chuckle.

From a maker of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram – St. Elizabeth adds an important drying aromatic that doesn’t affect the drink’s texture. It also shines in the kitchen, as an ingredient in a meat marinade (it makes for an easy jerk chicken with superb carmelization), a finishing spice for a curry, or splashed into whipped cream for a dessert.

J3ffc
J3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

Thanks for advocating for this show, BE (and thanks to KFG, the founder of our feast, for slotting it in). Even my wife, who does not watch from me but can sometimes overhear from another room, remarked that “this one is different, isn’t it?”

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  J3ffc

Exactly right j3ffc – we are all grateful for Fangurl 💖 for creating a safe, positive and healthy community for all of us.

Lane
Lane
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

What a fantastic reaction you wrote BE. I don’t have a fraction of your eloquence. But I’d like to put in my thoughts (even though so belatedly — my real life interfered). This is the second Kdrama I’ve watched and after this show, everything was a let down. Ditto in everything you wrote about the story, composition, music, acting, etc. — I am amazed at how meticulous this drama was executed with every little detail seemingly well thought out, even though the casual kdrama audience might not notice. I bow to the director and writer and the rest of the cast and crew.

One thing I really loved about this drama is that they didn’t need to spell out in big letters the time jump (for example, two month later etc.) The writer/director expected us the audience to understand just based on the interaction between Sun Jae and Hye Won. Between episodes 9 (day after the consummation of the affair) and the time jump to episode 10 (Sun Jae’s concert), we could already see how full fledged this affair is going. The body language of the two, how Sun Jae has become so confident in touching Hye Won and the long silences between them spoke of how much deeper they are in intimacy and emotional connection. Same as Georgia Peach, I also loved the scene in the construction site where Sun Jae lead Hye Won thru all the obstacles to get to a safe place. I also see it as a metaphor. Hye Won has to go thru difficulties to cross over the morass that is the chaebol family. But she now had Sun Jae to to guide her over the obstacles. I love how tender and protective Sun Jae was with Hye Won. Even though he was upset with Hye Won’s request to stop communication, he held her and made sure she got down the steep stairs safely. Who wouldn’t love such a man, no matter that he didn’t have a penny to his name? One of my favorite scenes (and I have so many in this drama!) is also the scene when Hye Won went to the resto that SJ’s mom used to own. Yoo Ah In really killed that scene for me. He truly is a master actor in his micro expressions — his happiness combined with disbelief when the ahjumma pointed out Hye Won behind him, him trying to be nonchalant when he joined her but he kept breaking out into big smiles. Plus everything you said about that scene BE. And that Piano Man scene! Kim Hee Ae had to emote for the entirety of the song which ran for 2-3 minutes ? And oh did she deliver! My heart broke for her, her lost youth, the realization that she gave up her prime years in the pursuit of that something that she was now realizing as totally worthless, in the service of people only out to fully use her.

Hye Won is a consummate liar as she herself admitted. She is wily and thinks 10 steps ahead of the pack. But I wonder why when face to face with Dami, she was reduced to a stammering woman. Was it because of guilt that she took someone away from Dami? Faced with a much younger woman (who was infinitely more appropriate for Sun Jae even without the age factor), did all her insecurities rise up to overwhelm her brain? Does Dami remind her of what she won’t be able to give to Sun Jae — kids? a baggage free relationship that won’t be frowned upon by society? a future career untainted by an affair?

Today I saw in a Youtube video where YAI was promoting his latest project (Hellbound), he specifically mentioned Kim Hee Ae, director Anh Pan Suk and writer Jung Sung-joo and the rest of the ensemble. He said that he wanted to work with these artists again. Here’s hoping that the drama gods answer his wishes (and mine!)

KFG again I love your write up. Thank you for providing a space for me to unload my thoughts about this piece of art. To everybody here, I love reading all your comments. I found Secret Love Affair just last year, 6 years after it was shown. I am so happy for about this rewatch!

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  Lane

https://mydramalist.com/article/yoo-ah-in-and-ahn-eun-jin-in-talks-to-lead-the-new-netflix-series-the-fool-of-the-end

just an FYI. seems the writer of SLA has written a drama and our YAI will get his wish if he decides to take it.

and, Lane, i also saw the interview you mention. i’m in love with Chicago Typewriter. YAI mentions this as his favorite drama! he and the FL have great chemistry.. imo.. and they have a superior KKiss in this drama.
agree with your assessment of the confrontation DaMi brings to HyeWon. she knows DaMi is right…only her heart will just not allow her to let go of SunJae.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

thanks. but too long to wait.

Lane
Lane
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

I too loved Chicago Typewriter. Though it is not as tightly written as SLA here (this is such a unique gem), I liked how the mystery of the story unfolded. I literally was crying with a box of tissues at the end. It was a thoughtful piece with a great cast (loved the friendship plus the romance) and it had a good message too.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago

OOOOhhhh, the tears! Tears from overwhelming pressure. Tears from what might have been. Tears from having a first love. Tears of powerless and helplessness. The tears of youth and the tears of middle age. Youth doing what it can with hope and sincerity. Middle age using the wiles and cunning learned in the trenches of life. Oh, the ache in the heart…..

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

Oops. I replied to BE in the wrong box! But hi, GP!

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

well, HI!!! thanks for agreeing with my comment further down to EH…i value your opinion. don’t we just love this drama. sometimes i find myself wanting to go there with these characters and be their defender and support. ridiculous, right? it’s like Money Flower for me…the characters have become REAL people. LOL

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

Well, you had nailed it:

And they are afraid of this change in HyeWon. She is now unpredictable..she has changed drastically from the person who was ‘incapable of having a relationship’ to one who has now lost herself in the arms of this youth…not a man her age, but a boy! She is now dangerous…she knows too much..’.how can we trust her with our secrets??’.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

thanks merij1, you nail it too! HyeWon has always been a tool for these folks. they have never cared for her…well, only up to the point that they recognized her cunning and intelligence. and now she has found her heart in SunJae. hearts all aflutter….

ps…to anyone. i’m not getting an email notification for comments to my posts. i’m un-crossing the bell. what am i doing wrong? :/

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

At the bottom of each email notification there’s an Unsubscribe link. It’s easy to click on it by accident.

If you go to the top of the comment section you can re-subscribe. If you’re already subscribed it will tell you that. If so, try unsubscribing and then re-subscribing.

You probably already tried that, but just in case!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

thank you for this instruction, i would have never figured it out by myself. i did it and it worked.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

i also un-subscribed and then re-subed. hope it works.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

i actually did not even un-subscribed. i just found the subscribed, and voilà – click – and it’s working. i am getting the emails now. good luck to you.

JJ
JJ
6 months ago

Oh! And I found SLA is loosely based on a Japanese Film called Tokyo Tower from 2005. Has anyone seen it?

MariaF
MariaF
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ

I think the only similarity there is the 20 year age difference. But I’ve read somewhere that SLA creators still had to pay for the rights to use that plot.

JJ
JJ
5 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

@Maria F – Thanks for letting me know 🙂

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  JJ

makes sense.
by the way, i love your “OOOOhhhh, the tears!” comment!!!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

my “make sense” remark got in the wrong place – it’s in response to your “as to why no one says anything about YoungWoo’s nor Chairman’s” posted below.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

thanks eh. once again…i’ll hate to say goodbye to SunJae and HyeWon. One wonders if they (YAI and KHA) realize the impact this drama has had on people!?!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

i myself wonder so many times whether these actors, directors know just how much we admire them and live with them, sharing the joys and sorrows of the characters that they so masterfully present to us. it kind of would be almost a waste – if they do not know, although the actors, especially the well known and outstanding ones are put on pedestals without our help. o, well. when i was 15, i wrote a letter to one of the french actors which was full of admiration and love. i never wrote such letters again, since i never got an answer that i was expecting and waiting for. o well.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

surely, they must know. YAI seems so attuned and inhabits so acutely to the roles he plays … surely, those characters must come to him on occasion as they come back to us.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

I watched this interview clip the other day (although I don’t think his character from SLA came up)
https://youtu.be/r09Madk80Fo

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

loved it. thank you. and he did speak about SLA. he also spoke about HELLBOUND, that i just watched, at least the first 3 episodes with you ah in, and was curious to hear what he has to say about it.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – thanks a million for posting this link!

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

eh..go to youtube and look for…up close nd personal with Yoo Ah-in. it’s on a program called the swoon.

JJ
JJ
6 months ago

So I did some searching on the whole Billy Joel song and did not find anything compelling thats not already in the Story. I am wondering if the writer just happens to love this song and wanted to insert said song at this point?

Some people complained the whole song was used and was way too long. One person mentioned that the song is about the loss of ones dreams and feeling trapped. And specifically, they said this about the song – “ It’s a song about musical talent reduced to scraping a living, which puts the entertainer on the same level as his audience and forms a special bond.”

A couple things of interest though that I had forgotten is that the song gets played after Hye Won talks about her time in the States in the US. And she specifically names this song as what she heard when she was babysitting “crazy acting lady”. She points out to Sun Jae after the music has finished “You see how they say living is like that for everyone”.

Regardless of what the song means, I think both of them do a beautiful job with that scene as they camera is so close to their faces for almost the entirety of the scene. I think its profoundly moving as Hye Won cannot control her tears any longer. First, she let them go with her best friend and now she continues to crack her hard shell around her with Sun Jae.

eda harris
eda harris
6 months ago

everybody knows my sentiments toward this drama and i can’t get enough of it.
“illicit” as noted below by trent. yap, “illicit” by societal definition… the most important female writer of the 20th century, xiao hong (the pride of chinese women, and the country as a whole) once said at the end of her tragic life at age 31: ” if the pain is in the marrow you do not concern yourself with flesh wounds”. in this drama the marrow is in the moments of hw’s and sj’s existences meshed as one within the music that rips their hearts apart (as sj said), meshed in the 2 souls drawn to each other from the vast spaces of distant ageless universes, that lack awareness of the “illicit” norms and laws of human societies, and do not and can not care about “flesh wounds” – wounds inflicted by SOME members of this society. and although the drama does not let us into their lives 24/7, i do assume that they had more romantic/intimate encounters than just that one amazing scene that we were privy to. it is hard to imagine that they just hold hands and look into each others eyes a few more times, especially that hw tells her best girlfriend, responding to her question “what is the hardest thing on your mind right now?” hw starts bowling, saying that it is actually missing sj, despite all. that tells me that their mutual feelings have developed beyond just “holding hands” a few times.
and also, why is everybody so concerned about hw’s adultery, completely disregarding seo young-woo, of course it is not a secret that she has morals of an alley cat and is ethically challenged to say the least, but in reality, she OPENLY flaunts her boy-toy among other “unlawful” dirty tricks, and nobody says a word – is everybody just a hypocrite on a high horse?

JJ
JJ
6 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – WOW! This is beautiful, Eda ❤️

MariaF
MariaF
6 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris: Beautifully written.

I agree that there is no way SunJae and Hye Won had just one night together.

He came to her house the following day and drove her to his apartment. And that scene after the concert: they didn’t even bother to go the after party, because they wanted to be alone together. Also, when Hye Won told SunJae that they weren’t going to see each other for a short while, she couldn’t have been talking about not seeing him at school: she was his teacher there. So she was obviously talking about a different way of “not seeing” him.

Hye Won and SunJae are having an affair. No wonder Joon-hyung needs a double doze of sleeping pills.

Different people want to catch Hye Won for their own self-serving reasons, but I thinks everyone also wants to see Hye Won fall from her “high horse”. Especially the chairman’s daughter. Hye Won has been lecturing her for years about her affairs, and now she wants to prove that Hye Won is as disgraceful as she is. It doesn’t even occur to the daughter that these two people have real, deep feelings for each other.

It’s really fascinating to watch how their bond is strengthening, but we can already see that it’s very unlikely SunJae is going to tolerate Hye Won’s business dealings or to be a male version of a side piece.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

i have found it interesting that after HyeWon’s bold move toward SunJae when she dresses in his clothes…that each intimate encounter has been at SunJae’s prompting…as when he draws her to himself in his room and onto the bed downstairs, when they go to the side stage and they lay on the mats on the floor, and again in the hanok b’n’b he leans in for a kiss as they sit on the floor.

MariaF
MariaF
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

@georgia peach : I agree with your observation! That’s what I’ve been saying before: it’s like creators of this show are ashamed of showing her in a moment of passion. As if she is above it, or something.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

that may very well be the case…however..i have thought that it plays into whole ‘secret’ theme of this drama. also it would be contrary to this character’s character…what with her control over her emotions. and it could also have lots to do with the conservativeness of Korean society. you’ll not get a ‘cougar’ of a woman that is sophisticated..it’s the Yong-Woo’s that are aggressive.

MariaF
MariaF
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

Hye Won kissed SunJae, when she wanted to stop him from going after the blackmailer. And then there is that scene in episode 14 (no specifics). It seems Hye Won initiates intimacy or physical contact only when she wants to deflect SunJae’s attention from some problem.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  MariaF

It’s Kdrama sex! 😆 It’s like when a young couple finally has sex in a drama and that’s it – one and done. When we all know that in real life, once young lovers finally break through all of the sexual tension that they’ve built up – they’re like “bunnies” for 3-6 months. Kdramas makes it seem as if that “finally” is enough and then the physical side of the relationship turns into an old married Korean couple. (I’m using that “old married Korean couple” because I’ve heard so many Korean-Americans talk of how their parents act as if sex happened only enough for their children to be conceived and never again afterwards.) But Kdramas leave clues for sex and we’re to assume that what goes on among healthy normal adults who’ve just had sex for the first time is happening but off screen – at least in pre-2020-prior-to-Netflix-Kdramas.

Georgia Peach
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

EH…as to why no one says anything about YoungWoo’s nor Chairman’s dalliances is that HyeWon isn’t one of them. They have privilege and rank and what they do isn’t wrong in their eyes. It’s the height of arrogance to say someone else is doing wrong when you are doing the same or worse. And they are afraid of this change in HyeWon. She is now unpredictable..she has changed drastically from the person who was ‘incapable of having a relationship’ to one who has now lost herself in the arms of this youth…not a man her age, but a boy! She is now dangerous…she knows too much..’.how can we trust her with our secrets??’.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  Georgia Peach

Yes, this is how I see it as well.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago

Speaking of the fortune teller, has anyone been able to figure out what her illegal activity investment is?

At first I thought she might be providing a money laundering vehicle for Russian or Chinese officials, mingling their stolen cash with Korean money.

Then I decided it must be some form of insider trading, which would fit better with her nickname.

I’m assuming the nickname is not literal, but rather way of describing her seemingly magical way of predicting the stock market.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Madame Baek must be an insider trader. The money laundering bit seems to have to do with the institute and shell companies, of which Young Woo’s new enterprise, as well as at least some of Lily Han’s investments serve for the ever unstated whatever the Chairman is actually making his killing at. One must remember too that Hye Won has to put the investments in her family’s name, or at least some of them. It seems like Hye Won’s astute caution must be the thorn in Madame Baek’s side because she probably wants in on these investments via Lily Han, and like Young Woo’s lawyer husband views Hye Won with extreme suspicion as a powerful rival in the Seohan cheobol.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

That sounds right.

Hye Won using her family’s account for illegal activity on behalf of others was one of the more stressful moments for me in this show. It suggests she is too caught up in her love affair to continue to think clearly while swimming with sharks.

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Is it any wonder Hye Won always has to lay down?

J3ffc
J3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

Being simple-minded, I admit that I sometimes gloss over some of these details and just remember that “bad people are doing bad things, and bad things are going to happen to the people we like”. Sort of like Hitchcock’s McGuffin: the thing itself is not what’s most important, it’s what people do about the thing that matters.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  J3ffc

i think this being my fourth watch is the first time I have had the ability to pay closer attention to Seohan, but I am doing so because, I also am seeing show, not just from the perspective of our otp as a couple, but how they affect them each individually.

Trent
6 months ago

I’ve been waiting for that iconic scene to show up, since it seems like fully half of the promo pics I see for this show are of that one.

It’s interesting to me that, up until our couple flees town for a night together in the inn, they’ve actually only slept together once. At least, just the once that the show has revealed to us. Are we meant to imagine that there have been other liaisons kept entirely off screen and unreferenced in any way? It’s fine either way, but if I’m correct, it really is a bit…disconcerting how everyone is just suddenly treating it as basically a given that there’s an illicit relationship between our couple.

And now we begin to see showing of teeth, the bite inherent in one of my favorite Maturin quotes: “I am no friend to adultery, which surely promises more than it can perform except in the article of destruction…” We are starting to see the noose drawing tight, and I imagine the next couple episodes are going to be nigh unbearable.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

There really are two elements to the show that remain a bit blurred–the first is what the heck the Chairman and his gentlemen in suits make their money at really, and the second has to do with the passing of time. The fact that the rice and sides shop owner knows to nod to Seon Jae Hye Won’s presence indicates she has been there enough times to be recognized in relation to him (or it is true perhaps Hye Won has told the lady to nod in her direction just this time).

But Trent we are looking at an offense that can lead to civil lawsuits, and at the time remained a felony even if not always prosecuted. We are looking at a society in which never mind being miserable, a man would bring up how not just he but his family would be shamed by a divorce. This is a misogynistic culture and a misogynistic subculture, and the women are thinking a bit like the antelope in the Red Bull commercial that they do not necessarily have to run faster than the lion, just faster than the other women.

Everything in this show is heightened. I do not actually remember there being any such scene in the show as the one you refer to in the promos. But Hye Won is unknowingly vindicated when asking to keep her bedding separate because they could be stoned (straight out of the Bible that) when her husband’s man gives definition to the concept of a fine toothed comb.

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  BE

I probably wasn’t very clear, I was just referring to the scene captured by the image that KFG posted at the head of these episode notes, the one of the two lovers sitting at the threshold of their room at the inn, relaxed and contemplative the next morning. It’s a kind of lovely shot that conveys a lot, and I can see what it shows as one of the images representative of the show.

You’ll get no argument from me about the magnitude of the danger with which they are flirting. I feel sometimes like a combination squeaky wheel/wet blanket in the face of all the ecstatic commentary about what a pure and beautiful love our OTP shares, and I’m all…yes, but. That’s all well and good (and it is!): I appreciate the essential relationship that stands at the heart of our story and the connection across the gulf of age, class, power differentials, etc…BUT I also maintain that the connection wouldn’t have nearly the force or the unique flavor that it does without the intensely oppositional framework in which it takes place.

BE
BE
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Of course, but the oppositional framework, ie, the corruption inherent in S. Korean class culture riddled with family histories of criminal behavior and how so many, even academics contribute to that and hypocrisy of its mores are in this show, at least for me, more clearly exposed than in a the whole raft of dystopian and satirical k dramas put out year in and year out. Hye Won and Seon Jae give us the real stakes of such, how it stains the most complex and intelligent of women, the purest, most talented and innocent of young men, and how it cuts your heart out to see it thus enacted. Show is of a whole, and to take out any element would be to miss its larger point—the human dilemma—how to live righteously in a world brimful of everything but righteous if looked at with a hard eye.

JJ
JJ
6 months ago

Just beautiful KFG, Just Beautiful, sigh. Thank you for this beautiful sentence “……of how the connection between Hye Won and Sun Jae, is so transcendent, that even reason has to withdraw, in the face of its beauty.”

The second watch of SLA is so difficult because of the cast of characters surrounding them, they are so unpleasant and unlikable. Ugh.

I always wondered why the Writer-nim picked the Billy Joel Song for this moment. We have all this beautiful classical music throughout the Show guiding our emotional journey, then we have this Song from Billy Joel. An amazing song as well just different. Why is this song here? What does the Show want to tell us now? While its a very popular song in America sung in many a bar with many a friend, I wonder how this song has been received in other countries? Sung in a bar with many a friend? 🙂

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ

I too thought the Billy Joel song was an odd choice. But I’m not a fan of his music.

When we first saw SLA my wife and I discussed this and decided they wanted a pop song from back when Hye Won was still innocent and picked this one mostly for the name/subject, not the music per se.

Last edited 6 months ago by merij1
JJ
JJ
6 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– I Love this song 🙂

I went to search for some theories out there and some say each person mentioned in the song relates to a character in the Show! Hmmmmm…..

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  JJ

I will await your analysis with bated breath.

JJ
JJ
6 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– LOL!!! As you said on Patreon – “one cannot dispute taste” 😉

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  JJ

The first person who ever said that to me said it in Latin. And then translated it for me. So I believe it’s a very old phrase.

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  merij1

I went through the same thought process in the time that it took Hye Won to spell out B I L L Y J O E L and for the song to come up (for a moment, I was like, NO WAY are they going to do a Billy Idol song 😁). I did predict which one it would be. Agreed that it is as much do to the title as anything (although I will keep my mind open pending the results of JJ’s researches). I’m a middle of the road Billy Joel fan – like some of his stuff, other stuff not so much – and this song was on my bad list for a long time due to it being overplayed so much when it came out. But, y’know, I gave it a fresh listen a couple of months ago and came to a new appreciation of it being a really well-constructed pop song. For some reason, the waltz time and harmonica give me old timey vibes that somehow excuses some of the harder-working rhymes (Davy/Navy, etc.), and the lyrics fit the topic well. While I’m still not a big fan of the tune, I can see why millions of people do love it.

Still was surprised to hear the whole darned song, though. I will admit to partly entertaining myself with reading the Viki-commenters whining their way through it.

During the scene, I was first thinking that it was too bad that Sun Jae, with rudimentary English at best, isn’t able to appreciate the lyrics, but then again, maybe that’s another subtle example of Show demonstrating the togetherness (although it took him for-ever to take that second earphone) the couple share with through music but at the same time there is still a gulf between them.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Billy Idol would have been so much better! More attitude, to reflect her earlier self before she joined the ‘suits.

Last edited 6 months ago by merij1
j3ffc
j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  merij1

LOL….redubbing the scene to “White Wedding” would be hilarious.

JJ
JJ
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– HYSTERICAL – 😂😂😂 – “White Wedding” – 😂😂😂

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– White Wedding – a classic!

eda harris
eda harris
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

i also never ever cared for billy joel, but somehow in this context, being a part of the whole and inserted into this particular scene, it made sense to me, and i must say, i somehow surprisingly enjoyed this scene and the song itself, for the first time in my life. i guess, right time, right place equals right choice. as i said, i live WITH this drama and IN this drama.
in general, the music in this drama, more than most of other dramas even by the same director (something in the rain and watching now one spring night) is the most organic and supportive of the whole story, characters, and just all together beautiful, touching all the strings of your own inner soul’s instruments.

JJ
JJ
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– Finally had time to do my “hard core” research 😉 I didnt find much, but I did a separate post. Thanks for the tip about the Comments as I read them as I went back to watch the scene. People sure can be very funny at times.

j3ffc
j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  JJ

Thanks for checking!

Su San
Su San
5 months ago
Reply to  JJ

About the song choice of “Piano Man:” It was a surprise to find that piece in this Show, but I don’t think it was irrelevant….

*Musicians who don’t “make it” in the classical world often crossover to the entertainment world (Elton John studied music at London’s Royal Academy of Music, although BJ isn’t one of those pop artists).

*At this point in the Show, the possibility of “running away” together still seemed like a plausible path for this couple so the “man, what are you doing here” lyrics seemed appropriate considering SJ’s applications to study abroad. He is extremely talented, yet, he possibly could have to give up classical studies for another muscial career path (lang Lang from China was a classical pianist who is now an entertainer) to be with HW. SJ is HW’s piano man 😉

*Since it was a song from the non-classical world and they were musically running away or taking a break from being in that world–just like eating breakfast in the village rather than an upscale restaurant-so it sorta fits in that regard.

*Additionally, choosing this song was also a way for HW to expose another side of her musical self (music outside of the classical realm), her musical studies (in the USA) and her musical world-liness (knowing about music from abroad).

What are your thoughts?

JJ
JJ
5 months ago
Reply to  Su San

@Su San – Ohhhhhhhh, I love it! What you wrote is the best I have seen and will suggest they be regarded as canon 🙂

Thank you makes so much sense!!!!

I had looked up if Billy Joel had a classical music background though and found that only his father was a classical pianist even though Billy Joel did takes lessons.

Ahhh, I forgot about SJ applying to study abroad….. I had been wondering what happened to Lang Lang so funny you mentioned him.

Ohhhh, I love that they were musically taking a break 🙂

The only thing I would add is I thought her tears were about the loss of her younger years and her sadness over where her life is now at with her work. I think her tears are also over SJ now and the possibility of taking him away from his classical path to be with her.

Thank you so much Su San, this was AWESOME 🙂

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  Su San

for hw it was more of a sentimental recollection, a throw back to her youth. i think she was lost in a sense of nostalgia and guided by it as memories flooded her current consciousness, something that can be remembered but never reclaimed. i think it was also a way to share with sj a part of her self from the times that she was his age approximately, as sharing ones past is an important way to get even closer to the person that one starts to develop a new intimate connection.
i personally do not believe that either sj or hw would be willing to move outside of the classical realm, at least not in the near future, as both are completely grounded and invested in classical music, and the value of it as their primary connection.

Paulina
Paulina
5 months ago
Reply to  Su San

@Su San – I love your comment. It is an interesting possiblity. After all, great music is alway great music and we shouldn’t be ‘culturally prejudiced’, as Nigel Kennedy has put it. Have you heard of him pulling out of a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in September because they didn’t want him to include Hendrix with with Chineke!? 🎻🎸😊 Here is an article about it: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/sep/20/violinist-nigel-kennedy-cancels-concert-after-classic-fm-stops-hendrix-tribute

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  Paulina

paulina, thank you for this article. breaking barriers and raising awareness in all aspects of life is what it is all about, including but not limited to the korean society, which is this director’s exposure in all three of his work, – secret love affair, one spring night and something in the rain. i have not seen any other of his work, but intend to.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda_harris Goes almost without saying, but be sure to report back when you do!

After reading @Timescout’s recommendation (“it’s a satire and rather hilarious in places”) I searched my email notifications for SLA director Ahn Pan-seok’s Heard it Through The Grapevine (2015, which puts it just after SLA and just before Something in the Rain) and discovered that it’s one of Beez’ fave shows, and that it’s been on KFG’s long list of shows to watch for a very long time. Also, I see it’s currently available on Viki, at least here in the US.

Here’s what @Beez said on August 16, 2020:

@Old Listener – you might like I Heard It Through the Grapevine (or as I liked to call it – What Happens After Candy Gets her Chaebol).

The two young people are very good people but because of the trope (the only trope in this show) that she is from a lower middle class normal family (destitute in the eyes of his family) and he is from a stodgy old money family and you get to see their married life. It’s a dark comedy and also gives a different view of Korean life. We often see the poor family, and we often see the super wealthy in dramas.

But his family is a family we’ve not seen before in Kdrama. They’re wealthy but because they’re a family of generational lawyers (not a conglomerate) and the money is not flashy or shown being used extravagantly. But there seems to be a specific set of manners and etiquette (all of which I didn’t understand) the poor young wife must navigate living with her in laws who are dismayed to realize she’s actually smarter than their pampered son as the two youngsters both study for university.

It’s difficult to explain because it’s a slice of life drama as well.

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

” be sure to report back when you do!” merij1, will do, totally.
ok, so seems like “heard it through the grapevine” is pushed to the top now, ahead of all the other “urgent” needs, and will be my next watch.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

hi merij1, i am watching heard it through the grapevine, episode 7. no question, this is THIS art director, although from a different angle, but same sensitivity and artistry, down to his signature shots of a dark wall when moving from one topic to another (i found it specific to his way of expressing something). so, if you did not get to watch it yet, i think you would enjoy it. i do not want to give any details, but so far i enjoy it thoroughly. it’s light, sometimes funny, sweet but potent in the way korean society is portrayed (again). i would say go for it.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Excellent. Please confirm you still liked it when you’re done. (Lol reference to SitR there)

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

i am a pretty loyal fan, and a fiercely loyal person in life, so there is no much chance that i will dislike it. i hope you did understand that i still like something in the rain, that has never changed, unlike your experience. actually, i am now rewatching it,(to compare with one spring night and i must say, i can not wipe off the constant smile from my face while watching it, except of course the last few episodes. but i really do not remember a time when i would probably need physical therapy to my face, as it is totally frozen with this smile. the main couple’s interaction is simply a pleasure, and i am not willing or able to dismiss it for anything.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

I certainly remembered that! And I too intend to rewatch SitR this next year, for the reasons you suggest.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

hei, “that’ ma boy”! sorry to address you so informally, i kind of feel after all our discussions and arguments, we became sort of friends, sadly on paper only. but do rewatch. i’ll await to hear from you if anything changes in your feelings about this drama.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Of course we are friends! The very best kind.

FYI, my other friends call me Meri. Either that or MJ.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

nice to meet you (although on paper again). i posted this comment and got scared that you might get it the wrong way and get offended, i was already preparing my apologies. i am glad you got it the way i intended it! and almost telepathically, i was thinking, hei, what’s your name, it seems to me almost stupid and definitely superficial to call everybody by those funny few letters and numbers, but that’s me, i am still not used to this. but i was reluctant to ask such a question, thinking that this might be improper here. glad you read my thoughts, and it was just today!
so my friends call me NATASHA, just because i am originally from russia, and my friends thought that i look like natasha from movie “war and peace”. in my younger years, i used to dress almost exclusively in antic dresses from victorian and 20-30’s dresses and hats. so i can understand why they saw me as such a character. and this name got stuck to me, although my real name as you can see, is eda.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

That’s funny. I would have suspected Natasha was a Bullwinkle reference. (Natasha and Boris were the Russian villains in that early 1960s cartoon.)

There was a similar common first name used in places like NYC to refer to stereotypical Russian femme fatales hunting for wealthy husbands. I can’t remember which name it was, but it was a similar concept to referring to privileged suburban white women as “Karens.’

You’d think Svetlana would be the more obvious choice, no?

Anyhow, Meri is an abbreviation of my “first” name and J is the first letter of my family name.

I can’t remember the last time anyone offended me, so no worries on that!

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

you did make me laugh. first of all, i have no idea about this cartoon you refer to, (was not around for it) and second i am hardly a villain. then, i am no femme fatal (o, well, may be just a little, isn’t every woman semi-femme fatal? at least in her secret soul? may be?), and definitely never hunted for a wealthy husband or wealth in general (may be that was my mistake). anyway, i am not complaining, my gipsy life was quite interesting and adventurous.
but what about svetlana? where did you get this idea? it is a very common name, mediocre at best, and not considered as representative of a special russian name. natasha is more used as a symbol, if you wish, of a russian tsarist era name.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Svetlana, only because it is so common a name.

As for Boris and Natasha, omg, you have to look them up!

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends was a super popular TV cartoon here in the US, from 1959 to 1964. It appealed to both children and their parents, due to the quality of the dry wit. Rocky was a smart little squirrel and Bullwinkle a not-so-smart but lovable moose.

This was at the height of the Cold War, so Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale were cast as Russian spies. It was all very camp., At the very least, you need to look up their images, which were the equivalent of memes back in the day.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Hello Merji, I couldn’t resist and had to add this quote from R&B;

Bullwinkle: You just leave that to my pal. He’s the brains of the outfit.
General: What does that make you?
Bullwinkle: What else? An executive…

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

So true.

Which bring up my own variation on this classic:

If you can’t do, teach

if you can’t teach, consult

if you can’t consult, write a book about consulting

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Lol – I have, in essence, done all three!

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

I’ve yet to write a book. Plenty of papers on how to consult, though!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

merij1 and seankfletcher, guys, you really entertain me! thanks are in order.
anyway, i did it, i did it. i looked up this cartoon (i usually not a great lover of cartoons, there were a few french cartoons that were very smart and artistic, so i liked them)but i did even watch a few episodes of R&B, and saw the character of natasha. ya, i could relate, the only thing in common that i find is her accent, although my accent appears only very late at night, when i am very tired, but even then, it confuses people, because by now, because i had to speak a few different languages, the accents are all mixed up, creating kind of a salad. makes peoples life difficult, trying to guess where is my accent from.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

It was just campy fun. The Natasha character looked like a mashup of Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmations and Morticia from the Addams Family.

The usual giveaway for a native Russian speaker is the dropped pronouns, no?

For example, one of Natasha’s lines from R&B:

Boris, is Moose you said you killed in previous episode?

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

ya, i guess, i have sometimes these kind of “giveaways”, when speaking english. don’t know if you detected it. although, i myself do not notice it, (may be sometimes after it happens i catch myself) since when i speak with my russian friends, we speak russian and never any other language, so i do not hear them speaking english.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Nope. Never noticed tells in your writing!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

😅🤣😂

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Bravo Sean! Now watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

“Oops…wrong hat” 😂🤣😂

37AAE434-270A-4406-9308-07F85C463BCB.gif
phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – you-are-The-Man 🤣😅😁😆😂🙄😃🧨💥⭐⭐⭐

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

so hang on there, i just finished “one spring night”, and will give you a report as requested, as soon as i am done with the rewatch. where do you want to talk about it? we can chew on the heartbreak from the last few episodes of SITR, like the da-mi pandora box, but as with this one it has no chance of changing my feelings about the SITR, i love this drama, with all it’s flaws. and love this art director. sorry, merij1.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Actually we loved SitR until the end. Really, really loved it. That’s why we were so upset.

If you want to discuss OSN, we could do it in the comments section for KFG’s review. Or, if you’re on Patreon, in the Monthly Deep Dive Zone thread. JJ is a one-woman OSN fangirl onto herself, and she posts there quite regularly.

If you’re not on Patreon, then never mind. The downside of chatting there is that it’s not really set up well for dialogue; for example, no email notifications when people reply to you unless you were the original poster for that set of nested comments.

However an advantage is that it’s semi-private, so people there worry less about being spied on by rando strangers. In fact there are fans of KFG who only post there and not on this public blog.

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – For years I’ve felt like I’m the only one who ever watched I Heard it Through the Grapevine. Such an amazing show that gets so little credit!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

hei there, long time no see. glad to share in the awesomeness of this show. hope your tv survived the wrath on some of the characters in the rise of the phoenixes. i guess it is up to us both to spread the “gospel” of i heard it through the grapevine.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – I’ve been wanting to rewatch I Heard It… but I’ve been waiting for Kfangirl (or anybody) to recap/review it so that I could maybe learn more about the things that I didn’t understand at the time it originally aired. But now that you’ve said it’s on Viki, I might just rewatch it now. It aired on DramaFever and they were notorious for translating “the gist” with no details. I’m hoping Viki will have more literal subs plus their parentheticals that explain things that they know an “outside” audience might not get.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

ya, do it, rewatch it on viki, a then we’ll have to entice other people to watch it also, but best if kfangirl would include it in our group watching, it will be definitely worth it. did she ever tell you what she thinks of it?

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

She hasn’t seen it, and I don’t think she’s heard much about it (other than me raving about it).

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – I just queued Grapevine up on Viki. I am going to try to get to it this week (amongst the Xmas photo and video projects I got going on…)

Hard – Cold – Fact: There are not enough drama hours in the day.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– same here. I wonder if I could rent a wife?🤔 (Note I didn’t request a hubby because I actually need to get a lot of work done.) 🤣

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – ditto 😉- I also used to wish for a wife when I was working 12-14 hours a day over the course of 27 years raising two kids all alone. With you on the home repairs!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

this is truly such an interesting, such an educational and so meticulously executed production – it covers so many issues from different areas of korean lives at the top and bottom. i am surprised that nobody is excited about this show. this is a SHINING example of ahn pan-seok’s work, more encompassing than his other 3 i saw. although SLA will always be on the very top. i am on episode 12, still 18 to go, so i’ll be more than glad to discuss it then. i do have high expectations from this drama, and already a lot of questions.
but right now, may be you know this, why are the young couple, only 19, studying law and for the bar exam? while he is still in high school, it seems, and she dropped out due to pregnancy. are they going to become lawyers if they pass the exam, or is it to enter a prestigious law school?.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda I’m not exactly sure of the details and I thought that was because of the subs from DramaFever (a now defunct streaming app). But one thing I think I understood is that, apparently the rules were about to change in S.K. At the time, a person could become a lawyer just by passing the exam but the rules were changing that they would be required to go to law school first. Lee joon’s (forget the character’s name – In sang maybe?) dad wanted him to take the exam as a tradition because they’re from a family of lawyers who became lawyers by that method. (At least that’s what I think was going on.)

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

a lawyer at 19 or even 20? crazy.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – his parents are planning on micro managing his life so they think it’s a good plan. I watched the first 15 minutes of ep1 and the homeroom teacher (who is also micro managing ) withheld In sang’s letters for MONTHS said “If your parents know about these letters they’ll start micro managing you right now!”

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

the parents try to do it all the time, but once the son joins forces with his young wife, they become a force that is slowly taking over the parents’ powers. they are becoming formidable, and the young man learns to stand up to his father, inspired by his wife and the unfairness that he finds themselves in. at least this is how it looks to me now, from a third of the drama.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

but should we discuss it like this, if some other people will join the watch, and we are putting spoilers. what do you think, should we stop for now and wait for them?

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – hmmmmmm. There’s only merij1 but you’re probably right. Once he gets his watch going, maybe we should move to the Patreon Exchange thread?

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

i am not on patreon. i am afraid to add any other temptation to my schedule, i will be totally obsessed and lost in reading and responding . as is, my husband, the dog and the cats are already complaining, and i myself see it and although i enjoy it, i am forsaking other things in my life.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – I can relate. By the way, I tried to find somewhere I can watch Lost in 1949. Where did you watch it?

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

youtube. not computer, tv. i have roku, that includes youtube.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – it’s really pleasurable watching Bom turn the tables despite her young age and no experience with such complicated people before.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

totally.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

with an almost lightening speed bom discovers the true meaning of this house, their tricks, their needs and most important, at such a young age with no experience, she turns the game around, and learns how to MANIPULATE all the serving people, secretaries and most of all -the parents themselves. all of them are seasoned and attorneys even, but seems like they have no chance against her. the transformation is beautiful, satisfying, but also scary. scary for her soul, what will become of her? will she become like the parents? although she is proving to be not just smart, but also very hardy and hard working to achieve her goals. her relationship with in sang is adorable, and together they are a force to be reckoned with. i am starting episode 18. where are you in the grand scheme of the universe?

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – haha! I’m in mid- episode 2. Bom’s water just broke and all chaos is breaking loose in the Han household. But I cannot believe that Pompous Dad turned away the ambulance! That he would risk anyone’s life for his own selfish reasons – ugh! (I’d forgotten about that.)

I’ve got to run. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment. I just popped in for a quick look. I’ll check back this evening.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

i hope everything i ok with your health.

i have so much admiration for this 19 year old (child), but man, can he teach some men! to look all over for his little girl, his love, to get enough courage to bring her home (with one slip up in the river), but to stand up for her, to sit behind her while she is in labor – my god, that’s quite a human here in front of us, i am so proud of him!, not to many mature men would be able to handle it any better or even on the same level. to me, that’s phenomenal.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – about In sang – I agree.

I’m fine. Just a typical doctor visit. But my car broke down on the way home. Spent the entire afternoon until well into the evening getting situated. My dr’s office is in a nearby city so not close to home at all. Then the app for my insurance company to get road service wasn’t working. Calling the company was nerve wracking and I ended up cutting myself off but I was still mad at the company as if they did it! Totally illogical I know! 😆 But finally got towed to my mechanic and caught an Uber home. Do you have Uber in your country? (It’s a type of taxi service driven by individuals in their own personal vehicles.)

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda I’ve come to this place in the drama that explains…

20211205_192748_HDR~2.jpg
eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

yes i saw it but still can not comprehend how can a 19 year old or 20, become an attorney, and start practicing law??? seems like they will do the course in one year or even less, is that possible? also, i remember, that the father also was home schooled, but seems like he did go to a prestigious university, graduated top of his class.. see if you will get the same understanding.
another question i have, it seems like in sang is still in school. what school, high school? so he is doing high school and simultaneously working on a law degree? pretty insane.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda I’m not sure. I thought that In sang and Bom (whose name means “Spring” by the way) 😊 are Seniors in high school at the start of Episode 1. I guess they’re getting ready for the big college entry tests, etc. Except Pompous Dad wants In sang to avoid the college route if he can past the lawyer exam.

Pompous Dad believes In sang can handle being a lawyer that young because he plans on controlling every aspect anyway since In sang would be working at Pompous Dad’s law firm.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Sorry, KFG! 🙏

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

later, in sang explains that he met bom when they were in 11th grade, and i guess he’s now in 12th grade, and she dropped out. although, somewhere else i think they say she dropped out in middle school, not high. so i am really confused about this whole issue.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

@kfg – we were being careless because we thought nobody cares to watch this show. But we’ll cool it.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

sorry, kfangirl, i’ll try to do my best with my clumsy abilities in this department!
but… i would like to use this opportunity to entice you somehow to adopt this amazing drama that seems quite different not only from other works of this director (although you can definitely recognize his eyes, his voice, his abilities, his sensitivities..) but other kdramas in general (of course i do not have this extensive knowledge that you posses here). what i find different for example, is that the character development is so expansive, so rich in it’s progression – it’s truly a psychology trip. that’s just one aspect how the drama engages the viewer, although it might seem a bit slow, but never losing it’s march forward and never letting you drop the interest.
please, please, can we discuss it all together, with you?! somehow? i have no doubts it will generate a lot of interest, it’s worth it.
thanks in advance, and thanks again for what you are doing.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

actually, the way these characters in this drama develop and become more and more layered really reminds me of a classic style oil painting, with a gesso (a base) on the canvas and then multiple oil layers, and added colors and may be even altering some compositions until the entire painting becomes alive with depth and meaning. i am only in the middle of this drama, and it’s already so amazingly complex.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@kfg – Ditto! I second @eda harris’ request.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

yes!!!!!!!! thank you , thank you, thank you .

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

dear kfangirl, i understand and that is all i wanted. please do not concern yourself with my potential disappointment, there can be none, you do so much for us, that there is only gratitude. i do believe (no, that would be arrogant of me) i HOPE, you will fall in love with this drama just like some of us. and then, “the sky is the limit”. thank you again for taking us in consideration.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thanks @ kfg although I’m not really hopeful. No one’s heard enough about it. I’d finally given up on finding anyone to talk about it with. So glad for @eda harris. 👍

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – In Ep1

spoiler
Bom said that she and Insang were seniors and then informed In sang in her letters that she had to drop out of school, would take the GED and then take college exams the following year
[/spoiler]

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

– I’m surprised and delighted that you quoted my recommendation for @eda harris. I’m still desperately waiting for @kfangirl to watch and review I Heard It Through the Grapevine because, despite it being one of my favorite shows, I didn’t understand about a quarter of it! The lifestyle depicted is just so foreign from what we usually see in Kdramas.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

this show was already on my list, but you pushed it to the top, so thank you.
each korean drama has issues that are just baffling to me, as a society collectively and certain characters in particular. and the more in depth productions expose all those, like the works of the director of secret love affair, something in the rain, one spring night and this one. it is difficult to understand the lives of the koreans in this “insanity society”.
so let me share with you the synopsis of korean society in the dramas as seen by me: (not in particular order of importance)

the alcohol consumption is through the roof. i would recommend to change the expression “the drunken sailor” to the “drunken korean”. (observation: they are not obese though, and do not get too drunk, usually – how?)

they do not display any warmth to each other, even when very close. their greetings are polite but extremely remote, even between parents and children, siblings or other family members and close friends, and i am not even talking about people with romantic connections. how do they restrain themselves when a hug or close touch is almost a human instinct? i do not believe they are that icy cold.

they are in a habit of heating each other, regardless of the relationship. are they THAT primitive? and public flogging is still a punishment accepted there. uff!

they are totally slaves to whatever other people will think of them or say about them. they live their lives in other peoples’ heads, even if those heads are full of ugliness, nasty imaginary rumors, or simply empty (what will they say about us???)

draconian attitudes to single parenthood, divorce, separation. and adultery was still a criminal offence till not long ago, what is different between stoning a woman who is suspected of adultery in sharia law in Islamic religion and supposedly more educated, more intelligent, more progressive (relative speaking) society of the koreans? or are they?

another feature of a primitive society – parents still choose for their children a spouse that they like, but their daughter or son does not even know the bride or groom in many cases. and children are supposed to accept it. not much difference from the poor afghany women. yikes! how do the young generations go along with it, isn’t there a limit to filial respect or devotion to one’s parent? are they ok with loveless marriages for ever?

love is not a consideration in any way, form or shape. and even is some dare to fall in love and admit, they are looked upon from above, dismissed as a nuisance. are they still human? even animals display LOVE.

from what i see, there is a lack of middle class, or the dramas mostly do not concentrate on these? there is mostly very rich, and very poor. although they talk about capitalism in korea, they are very far from it either, as capitalism relies on the middle class a lot.

and then there is this little flaw (i would call it ) in korean dramas – at least a third or even more of a drama is dedicated to the characters, major and minor, slurping noodles. one time – ok, two times – ok, three – we got the message, but is it just a filler for those dramas, to make them longer? they constantly portrayed eating, as if it is a major habit or what ? they can be right after dinner, they will still go out to have a bowl of some noodles. again, no obesity, pretty amazing.

some of them, especially the ones that are not from the more affluent, but sometimes even those, still sleep on the floor. tradition or lack of money to buy a bed? and isn’t it uncomfortable to sleep on a hard floor?

and last, the make up artists in these dramas seem to not believe in make up – let’s just take hae won’s face always oily to an extreme. i never seen it like this. and she is not a single case. also, the pimples, i noticed in korean and chines productions, sometimes to extremes, especially on men. example: in kill me heal me ji sung has pimples in some episodes, that look like a volcanic eruption is ready to happen. (and i love, love ji sung), but can’t they do something about it?

i am sure i will have more to add to this list, but that’s it for today. o, a question. i am confused between LIKE AND LOVE. sometimes when they confess love, they only say “i like you” , but it totally seems like i “love you”. what is it then? does anybody know?

we are trying to learn a lot about the koreans, but it is confusing.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – I wonder too about all the drinking. I know it’s true and not exaggerated (employees are almost forced to go out drinking after work) but I’ve also read American articles that talk about “the Asian flush” caused by drinking. So I wonder if it’s the type of alcohol in S. Korea that allows for so much consumption without everyone becoming drunken idiots for the night or worse – mass alcoholism.

I don’t think they’re “icy cold” because that’s just their cultural norm. It may seem cold to us but I can vouch that most Koreans don’t believe in public displays of affection (although it’s loosening up some. Not necessarily a good thing imo). 

“they are in a habit of heating each other, regardless of the relationship. are they THAT primitive?” quoting eda 
Again, I think it’s cultural. I think you’re referring to how friends may playfully hit each other (and how parents do go off on kids sometimes). If that’s what you mean, that’s in my culture too so it just makes me laugh when I see it because, for me it’s like – “they do that too!”

I’m very old fashioned so I don’t believe those attitudes regarding divorce, adultery, etc. are all that bad (although they shouldn’t carry such harsh penalties as they do/did in S.K. (c’mon now, they don’t literally stone offenders in S.K. although the verbal abuse and public consequences are very harsh) but life was better, imo, when we (Americans) tried to adhere to societal mores). (We’ve lost our ever-lovin’ minds here in America.)

I feel you on the matchmaking marriages although, it seems to work well in India (according to some Indians although. Of course, I don’t know what the entire country thinks of it.) I just know that now that I’m in my 60’s, and look around at all the absolutely terrible, horrible relationships – that doesn’t happen as often when your parents know the young person’s parents and that child’s background growing up. Is he reliable? Good grades in school? Been in any trouble at school or with the law? So there are some good things about parents making matches. And in Kdrama conglomerate families they do usually give the “child” 5 to choose from. 😆 When I first began watching Kdramas, I would trip over twenty-something’s saying to each other -“Let’s go. The adults are talking and will discuss it.” And the whole caring about if the family likes the person. At first, I would be outraged. “You’re marrying her/him, not their family!” But having faced having a horrible in-law, I can totally relate! It affects the entire family. And the way Korean families are so tightly knit, I completely get it now!
 But now, I wish my society would recognize that young people really don’t know what’s up and 26 is about the right age for their brains to have fully developed (that’s science!) enough to start making life decisions. 😆

I agree that Kdrama characters are unnaturally thin. I’m never forget going to an authentic (and expensive) Japanese restaurant with my Japanese exchange coworker and other co-workers. She ordered noodles and once she started eating them, I literally felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t eat because of the sounds she was making. Someone else at the table remarked on the noise she was making and she said “It’s polite in Japan to make noise so the cook knows you like it”. Sure enough, the chef came out and thanked her for enjoying the noodles so much. (This was bit a small place and yet that’s how loud she was that he heard her in the kitchen!) While that has nothing to do with what you said, it just reminded me of this incident and how different other cultures are. 🤔🙂

The oily face was a HUGE trend among older actresses (30 and above) at one time. I don’t know about the pimples on Ji sung or others but they definitely have on makeup. Too much for the men, in my opinion. I’ve noticed for more serious dramas they minimalize it. For example, compare Ji sung in Kill Me Heal Me and Defendant. He looks so much better (more handsome) to me in Defendant although I’m sure he had on foundation but the eyeliner and the lipstick are gone, gone, gone! Yay! But usually I marvel at how clear and what good skin Koreans have as a whole to stand up to those close ups! Even knowing they’re wearing make up, it’s still like Wow! Baby skin!

I used to wonder – a lot – about the 좋아해 (I like you) vs 사랑해 (I love you) but I’ve come to accept that characters say 좋아해 when first revealing they have romantic feelings. You’ll note that after things heat up, or they meet opposition and become closer, that changes to 사랑해.

Forgive me for being in an opposing view on almost everything but I’ve been studying and, when I can, asking Korean-Americans about these things since I began watching Kdramas in 2012. I consider myself a Koreaboo (even though I know some consider that term an insult. I embrace it. 😆) But I don’t know anyone that I could bother with so many questions that I have about …the Grapevine series because the questions are so many that I’d be taking up so much of their time unless they have watched the show too. 😔 That’s why I’m hoping someone will recap it episode by episode.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

I don’t have time at the moment to respond to so many observations in any depth, but I will say I’m often the lone voice expressing annoyance with K-drama scriptwriters for not realizing how their portrayals have begun to influence the rest of the world’s impression of South Korea.

Some of these things you mention are presumably true of the culture at present in SK. And some were true in the past but are rapidly changing.

Whereas some of the portrayals I find most annoying are presumably just TV-writer tropes, with no connection to the real world of SK, past or present.

Imagine if all you knew about the US came from watching certain of our ridiculous TV shows.

If I were to rely on K-drama for my anthropology, I would be forced to conclude that people there are too self-absorbed to share critical intel with loved ones or partners, even when doing so puts those loved ones at great risk.

And that they are habitual liars (so-called white lies) and habitual cowards, who after deliberately misleading their friends or prospective OTP lovers, stick their guilt-ridden heads in the sand to continue to allow these loved ones to act on seriously bad intel until a shared enemy gets the opportunity to be the one to expose their dishonesty.

Many K-writers also have this bizarre notion that thinking strategically — or even thinking beyond the moment — is not an ability that should be associated with those who are pure of heart. So the bad guys are portrayed as super competent and the good guys are portrayed as absurdly incompetent, acting only from hormonal, teenager-like emotion and persevering in the end only due to the magic of destiny.

Do I think people in SK are actually like that? Thing is, I don’t really know, do I? If these were portrayals of a single character on a single show, I wouldn’t be inclined to draw a broad conclusion. But when they repeat, over and over and over, how can I not?

K-drama has now joined K-pop as cultural ambassador to the rest of the world. So if only for that reason, I wish the writers would up their game a bit. They are so lazy at times.

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
beez
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

@eda harris – American shows rehash stuff too. To the Korean gaze it seems as if Americans have these huge grand romantic gestures and romantic kisses all the time. 😆 There’s probably other stuff that we do that we don’t even notice because it is so typical. I could be wrong, but I believe that the way we see Koreans constantly clinking their glasses, even if there’s water in them (something Americans never do as its considered bad luck to today auth water) – I think they got that from us and over utilize it. Likewise, when they shake hands and just as often use the left hands. That one makes me scream at the screen. 😆

We should ask KFG to do a post and ask everyone to contribute western tv tropes to see how we might appear to Asian viewers.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

that sounds like a truly interesting project. and just that you know, i think that american production also exaggerate in many ways, and that is why i lost interest and am not watching ANY american stuff. europeans are much better, but i am so busy with the koreans and chinese, that i can not spare a moment for any other productions. sad state of affairs for me.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

merij1, lots of questions. should we leave it for tomorrow, or another day? seems like you are busy today.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

Yes, my gal claims more of my time on the weekend.

Last edited 5 months ago by merij1
eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

she comes first, do not ever forget it.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

first of all, thank you for sharing your views, i might not agree with you, but i do respect and value your take on things, especially on this topic as it seems you know about koreans and korea way more than i do (i do not know a single korean. chinese yes, but not koreans and i fell into the drama trap only since the pandemic. to me any information is valuable and a source of learning something.
it looks like there is a big difference between our views of societies in general – you say you are “very old fashioned”, i on the other hand am very modern, so to say. i have a very open mind, i am a free spirit, i value the free will that every human has above all, i value the right to choose, the right to make mistakes and learn from it, i am a fierce advocate for women’s independence, equality in society, and women’s rights in general, i even believe in usefulness of suffering – if it “will not break you it will make you”, and going through suffering will not just teach you but make you value that much more the moments of happiness. one thing i am not, i am not a fanatic, and i do not believe that there is only one truth and it is my truth.
so now i would like to examine some of what you are saying here.
alcohol consumption. do they import livers for liver’s transplant, since alcohol damages the liver, or how do they deal with that issue? the dramas do not mention it at all. also the asian flush is cancer-causing, and the dramas are mum on that either.

display of affection, and not just public, but in private also. it is almost like they are ashamed of affection, emotion? but it’s human, for god’s sake. a husband comes from a long trip, or even a war, they just bow to each other, no touch. a mother comes to visit her daughter, they just bow to each other. that is simply not natural, from ancient times people expressed their emotions, and a touch is very important. now i understand, not kissing or making out in public, but a HUG? is it really like this or way amplified in korean dramas? have you seen chinese productions, like for example movies of zhang yiou – it’s very different. so they are also asians.

beating up. you say not serious, culture thing, kind of a game. but let’s look at this drama that we both want to explore, in episode 9, the father, the esteemed lawyer is shamelessly beating up his son, who is studying law, married and has a child although very young. he does not just toy with it, he draws blood and by the sun’s screams we assume that this is far from a game. a few times earlier, when the in-laws are visiting, as per the rich family invitation, the father wants to beat up again his son, the father-in-law tries to stop him, and they fight a nasty nasty fight and hurt each other. and there are many cases like this. i look down at this, as uncultured , primitive expression of anger, annoyance, or simple dissatisfaction. and what about flogging?

i really do not understand your stand on divorce, adultery. it’s not that i like it and think it is a good thing, but sometimes divorce is the only solution to an abusive, deeply unsatisfying, loveless marriage, or do you think a person (man or woman) should stay in a bad relationship and suffer? many times children suffer in these cases also, including pets. many years ago i used to volunteer to help women rape victims and abused women – that was brutal, believe me. and my husband helped for many years, till today to help homeless people and find accommodations, shelters, jobs etc. for them – a lot of them women and children.
adultery is a different story, although it can happen, nobody plans it, but it usually does not happen if everything is good at home. and as they say, nobody should throw a stone into a glass house, as nobody is an angel. didn’t jesus say “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” aren’t most koreans christians?

match making. good thing you say? hardly. let’s take a look at the drama at hand. the father here jeong-ho was dating a rich beautiful girl when he was in his twenties. but she was not good enough for his mother, so she chose for him yeon-hee, a truly beautiful woman, a porcelain doll, a princess as they call her in the drama. do they have a good marriage by any standards? they seem to have it all, on the outside, except happiness. he still seeks affection of this other woman, she is jealous, and he avoids any intimacy with his wife. sometimes a matched marriage succeeds, but many times those are truly loveless connections, they can become partners, friends, coexist, but true passion, love , even for a short period is lacking. those emotions are precious, regardless how they end. that’s just life, and one needs to live it to the fullest. but that’s just my take on it.

the slurping of the noodles – i get it. but why do they incorporate so many scenes of eating, in ALL dramas? looks like fillers. any other explanation?

anyway, if it’s just us two talking about the drama, we’ll just have to use a lot of spoilers, and we should really get other people to watch it and join the discussion. beg kfangirl.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – you make very valid points. Of course, I don’t advocate for purple starting in abusive relationships, and parents should NOT, NEVER EVER draw blood from their children! I’m just saying that when things get to the point where certain values become worthless, and getting divorced is smoky about “I’m bored. I’m not happy” without seriously taking the time and effort to try to fix a marriage, then things become like the USA. It’s completely wild hedonism and mass shootings and school mass shootings almost two weeks. And that is not an exaggeration. I googled how many this year:
There have been 29 school shootings this year, 21 since August 1. A shooting on Nov. 30, in which a student killed four people and injured seven at an Oxford, Mich., high school, is the deadliest school shooting since May 2018.” https://www.edweek.org/leadership/school-shootings-this-year-how-many-and-where/2021/03

And the only reason that number isn’t higher is because schools have been closed because of covid 19. 😥

I’m just saying that we have a total breakdown of society (in the USA) and so as I look at Korean society and see them slowly “progressing”, it’s good as far as peoples’ civil rights (racism, LGBQT rights, me too movement) but I also see it inching toward where we’re at over here.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

“I’m just saying that we have a total breakdown of society (in the USA)”. yes, total agreement, and total sadness. USA is still the wild west, and the situation with guns and shootings is beyond abominable. i lived in quite a few countries, and this is nothing that exists anywhere else.

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

” I look at Korean society and see them slowly “progressing”, it’s good as far as peoples’ civil rights (racism, LGBQT rights, me too movement) but I also see it inching toward where we’re at over here.” not necessarily, i mean the breakdown of the society like in usa. it did not happen in canada, and i know it since i used to live there. it is only in usa, but i do not want to go deeper into this discussion (even that it is a topic that is very worrisome and often on my mind), since i promised i will not discuss politics on this site.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – part 2😊 I realize I got off track with my rant on life in the USA.

As for the eating all the time in Kdramas, this country was oppressed for a very, very long time until only recently. (Even in ancient times where the majority of the population were slaves. Which is why I see so many similarities with African-American culture (before this hedonism set in.) In cultures where food has been very scarce, food takes on other meanings. For Korean moms, food is a way to show love (this is very similar in African-American families.) I’m taking Korean language courses online and we’re taught that as often as you hear the basic “hello” greeting, you also hear “Have you eaten?” as a greeting.

So a mom who had not seen her child for a while, may not hug them in public but instantly asks “have you eaten?” And when they get home, she has already prepared their favorite foods. You best believe a Korean person expects this and knows this is affection. And physical affection is expressed via hugs and kisses in private. Although from what my Korean-American acquaintances tell me, the fathers are somewhat distant physically but they show it in other ways. They have told me that their dads do this trope that you’ll see in Kdramas that have little kids, where the dad takes his index finger and pushes the child’s forehead back onto the pillow and tells him/her to go back to sleep.

While that may not seem all that loving to us on the west, it’s not about how we see it. It’s about how they see it.

If I told you some crazy ritual from Africa or some other place where we’re not familiar with the customs and I said “the man brings the woman goat cheese, spins around 15 times until he’s dizzy, and the woman spreads red mud on the soles of her feet – and this shows their love for each other” – would you question it or would you accept that it’s a strange (unknown) place and that must be how they show love? (I only made up one of those.)

I accept the Korean customs because I’ve been told that’s the way it is. (Of course, the stuff seen on Kdramas must be verified by actual Koreans before I just assume that something’s actually a real part of their culture.) I had been trying to find out for years if Koreans actually sleep in their clothes or if this is just part of the prudishness of the censors. But I didn’t want to ask the question for fear of sounding rude. I did manage to ask and my Korean-American internet friend said that Korean parents don’t like to waste money turning the heart up very high and also the heat isn’t the way our furnaces work but rather only the floors are heated so sleeping in clothes and sweaters is common. They said that the clothes they sleep in are old clothes and not their current everyday clothes. Now, I’m very conscious that what one Korean-American says may not be true for all families. Because I get very irritated myself when someone thinks that because one black person said something, that it’s true for all black people. I do think this probably applies though because we see it so often. I’ve actually counted the number of times I’ve seen anyone in a drama sleep in nightgowns or pajamas! 😆 It’s always been newlywed couples who are gifted matching sets. And I’ve seen a few nightgowns in shows with conglomerate families who live in westernized houses (two story level) so the heat is also probably westernized.

But if you’ve never known public displays of affection (except I’m sure they see it in western movies now) – but that’s not Howe you or anyone you know has experienced affection, then the way you do experience it (at home) then it’s perfectly fine and not lacking anything despite how we outsiders view it.

If S. Koreans told you that your mom kissing and making a fuss over you is gross – that doesn’t make it gross in your culture. If a S. Korean thought “your mom doesn’t ask you very first thing if you’ve eaten, or make your favorite foods, you must not have experienced love.” That wouldn’t be true. It would be an incorrect judgment of your culture.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@eda harris – I should correct something. Not all African-Americans are living that wild hedonistic lifestyle but it seems like it because those darn rap videos are promoted and played everywhere with the barely clothed women and the glorified violence. So I’ve been on a rant and tangent because I find it so frustrating!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

this has been most interesting, and i thank you so much for taking your time to explain. i think i do understand it better. a little note here, in the drama we both share interest in, the rich family sleeps in pajamas, and the parents of the young woman who are poor, sleep in their clothes on the floor. they also sit on the floor and eat, but the rich people have tables like in the west.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – yup. If I recall correctly, the parts I felt that I didn’t understand had to do with the locking up of the young male lead in the house. But since then, I realized they were trying to make him study and they were angry that the female lead, whom they looked down upon, was actually smarter than their son. But without good subs, I just wasn’t getting the full nuance of things that were happening. And that’s how I know it’s a great drama because without being able to understand everything going on – it’s still in my top 10!

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

they actually first locked him up in a kind of studying facility, quite far from the house, and did not allow him even to visit his young wife and son. he was supposed to live there permanently, they even sent some of his belongings, quite a draconian heartless arrangement, right after his young wife (a teenager) gave birth and was almost in a prison-like situation in the parent’s house. but he escaped and had the guts to stand up to his parents. that’s when they gave up and instead locked them both up in the house to study.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris – I really do need to rewatch! I’ve got one more episode of the Chinese drama CrossFire to finish and then I think I will start…Grapevine. That way maybe you and I can find somewhere to continue this discussion. (Maybe here if nobody minds too much.) Or maybe KFG can share our emails with each other if that’s an option for you.

You know, the bad thing is, now that I’m finally cracking the code on the Korean language, I’ve begin to lose interest in Kdramas now that things have loosened up by way of censorship. After watching some of everything – I was a moderator for the Spartacus 2010-2013 forum. That show left very little to the imagination. – It must’ve burned me out because Kdrama was so refreshing. I could watch a show with kids in the room and if they were of reading age, there would only ever be innuendo on screen that they probably wouldn’t get anyway. 😆

eda harris
eda harris
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

i can see how your interest in korean dramas is somewhat getting less interesting or exciting to you, it’s almost like a “sugar overdose”. i can see it happening to me too, but not yet. so where would you go next? chinese? japanese?