Tag Archives: Life Is Beautiful

Dear kfangurl: What are some shows that are not set in the big city?

Ushahin writes:

So, I’ve been looking through all the kdramas that have really helped me feel a bit better since the start of the lockdown. I found I am really craving stories that are set somewhere other than a large metropolis like the one I’m currently stuck in. So, something relaxing and contemporary as opposed to historical and action/suspense oriented. The last one I really loved was Racket Boys; for both characters and settings. Before that I watched When the Weather is Fine and found it soothing mostly based on the atmosphere. I’m having a hard time finding more though. Your recommendations have never once let me down. Can you help?

All the Love.

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Flash Review: You’re Pretty, Oh Man Bok [Drama Special]

I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but I really do enjoy a good family drama. The best ones give me such cozy, heartwarming feels; it’s like getting wrapped in a fuzzy, floofy blanket, as you sink into the feels. (My all-time favorites are Life Is Beautiful and Ojakgyo Brothers, in case you’re wondering. Father Is Strange and Five Enough are very solid too.)

I just don’t watch them much anymore, because they tend to be upwards of 50 episodes, and that’s a lot of drama hours that I could be using elsewhere. 😅

..Which makes this little drama special quite perfect, in my opinion. I get all the family drama feels, but in a compact little 1 hour and 11 minutes. Win and win, I say.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some underrated gems that need more love?

MC writes:

Another idea for a Dear Fangurl post – would you want to do a list of shows that you love but are often passed over or neglected / underrated? Cos every year there are so many new shiny shows but there are so many good ones that pass under the radar because of low ratings or are older etc. This could be a love note or shoutout to them.

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Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about slice-of-life dramas and why we like them?

Yin writes:

First of all, I am an avid fan of your blog and am so grateful for your detailed, thoughtful reviews of various Korean dramas. You probably don’t remember me, but I loved The Third Charm and posted once on your blog using the handle “erstwing” about how much your review of the show resonated with me.

I have a question about genre that I was wondering if you might address/discuss on your blog one day. What do you make of the label “slice-of-life?” What are some “slice-of-life” Korean dramas and what makes them so? Based on the shows you have reviewed, I feel like you enjoyed this category of dramas, and thought you might have some wisdom to share. If you do enjoy “slice-of-life” dramas, what are some reasons? The label is used a lot in Kdrama discourse, but unlike other more established genres like the melodrama and the rom com, “slice-of-life” seems to be much hazier as a concept. I even did some research into American analogues and/or antecedents, but haven’t been able to find anything meaningful. Full disclosure: I am a college professor and my current research project investigates the slice-of-life genre in Korean dramas. I’m teaching in the US but I am actually from Singapore, so your blog is literally close to home for me. 🙂

Thanks again for all your insights and for the time you’ve generously given to cultivating this Kdrama fan community. 🙂

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Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas that would make my day better?

Make! My! Day! ❤️

Confession: this Dear kfangurl post wasn’t actually triggered by a Dear kfangurl question. It just made sense to group it with the other Dear kfangurl posts, coz that’s where the other lists on the blog live, heh.

BUT! This post was triggered by a conversation with my friend Jan on Twitter.

Basically, yesterday, Jan had remarked that she was looking for a Kim Ji Suk fix, and I’d suggested 20th Century Boy and Girl, in which he is the sweet, perfect boyfriend. Less than 24 hours later, Jan’s super happy with the drama suggestion, and her tweets are filled with happy spazz, and she’s also said that this was the rom-com she’d been looking for.

..Which got me thinking. With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe some  – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.

That’s why I’m here to help. 😀

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Dear kfangurl: What are some romance dramas featuring regular guys?

Today’s post is inspired by Jesse!

In the course of one of our chats scattered across the blog, where I was trying to think of dramas to recommend to Jesse, I’d suggested Romance Is A Bonus Book. He’d ultimately sounded quite happy with this suggestion and said that he would probably check it out soon, but, he’d also said this, about the first time he’d considered watching the show:

“I remember at the time that I came across the show in a search awhile back, I saw the word “success” (as in Cha Eun-ho is a successful author) and completely lost interest. I didn’t want to see successful characters! I wanted to see losers and average Joes, because that’s who I could relate to at the time. I wanted to see love interacting with unremarkable people so I could nod and say, “See, Jess – it happens. Just you wait…”

..And that made me realize that Dramaland’s been so focused on creating everygirls and everywomen to give the female viewers (traditionally a majority) someone to identify with, that it’s forgotten that our growing number of male viewers would also appreciate an everyman to identify with. So I set about coming up with a list of dramas featuring regular guys – instead of the usual chaebol prince, or requisite geeenius – as romantic leading men.

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Dear kfangurl: What makes a kdrama addictively re-watchable?

Healer: so cracky, for so many reasons.

shorterthanparkboyoung writes:

Dear kfangurl, what makes a kdrama addicting enough that I want to rewatch at least 10 times?
I’m kinda in the middle of a tough transition period at the moment and I found myself going back to rewatching all my favourite dramas – Healer, My Love From Another Star, Because This Is My First Life, Fight For My Way and Suspicious Partner, but with the FF button when it came to the “evil chaebol” or “bad guy” bits. But when I decided to try a drama that I hadn’t watched but was on my list, I kept dropping them half way. What is it in the above dramas, which I believe you loved as well after reading your reviews (which were amazing btw), or any general drama that makes me come back to these again and again?

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Flash Review: VIP

This is honestly the show that I didn’t think I’d be interested in, like, at all, when it was first announced, but which ended up sucking me in literally right away, with its mix of emo angst and mystery.

Much thanks to my Twitter pals who gushed about this show’s cracky quality, because that’s honestly the only thing that piqued my interest enough to get me to check this one out. I mean, the synopsis “a couple whose lives fall apart while they work at a department store on the VIP Management Team” just didn’t sound all that interesting to me, y’know?

And so color me very surprised and very pleased, when I quickly found myself slurping this one up as a priority drama among the other dramas on my plate, sometimes even watching episodes back-to-back, which I rarely ever do anymore. What. An. Excellent. Surprise.

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Flash Review: Father Is Strange

You know a show’s gotta be Quite Something, if it’s luring me out of the writing-hiatus-cum-drama-rut I’ve found myself ensconced in for the last couple of months.

I literally just finished watching the last episode of Father Is Strange today, and liked it enough to start poking around to craft a review right away. Considering that 1, Father Is Strange is a 52-episode family drama, and 2, I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired on both the writing and drama fronts, this is a Big Testament to how likable I’ve found this show and its characters.

Even if you’re not usually into family dramas, I really do think you might like this one.

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Review: Feelings [Neukkim]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

One of the original trendies that helped to start it all, Feelings is as much of a nostalgic treat for seasoned viewers, as it is a novel peek into Hallyu’s beginnings for newer viewers.

An easy breezy story with a timeless appeal, Feelings follows a group of young people as they navigate the journey to adulthood, wrestling with classic questions of evolving identity and purpose. Of course, youthful impulsiveness, angst & good ol’ hormones intensify and amplify their emotions to a distracting degree. Because honestly, at that age, isn’t it really all about feeeelings?

The show’s 20-year vintage shows; the drama’s production values, writing and acting all veer on the side of earnest and a little clumsy. But the retro awesome, from early 90s hair and fashion, to the novelty of seeing established stars in their early years, makes up for it all.

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