Tag Archives: Misaeng

Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas where everything’s more realistic and not so pretty?

Lehar writes:

Dear kfangirl ,

I was watching kdrama clips and have been wondering. They all look so pretty, even one with jobs in which there is exposure to excessive sunlight and dust look so…. clean. Its all good adding to kdrama fantasy but are there any dramas whose leads look more like normal us…with common jobs and maybe cheaper clothes?

Maybe all I am talking about is more realistic dramas out there. I liked Another Oh Hae Young in that aspect and felt I was more into the story and scenes rather than their appearances.

Thank you for your time!

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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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Review: Run On

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Widely loved and well-regarded, Show boasts a cast of quirky characters, who learn from one another, how to grow as individuals and how to better live life, in the course of their relationships with one another.

To be brutally honest, despite my best efforts, Show’s brand of quirk never did sit easily with me, and I also never felt like I was naturally able to “get” these characters fully. However, on the upside, the pockets of healthy relationship dynamics, and the regular nuggets of wholesome wisdom that are sprinkled through our story, definitely sweeten the watch experience. On top of that, Show does offer some solid food for thought as well.

Not my personal favorite, but it could well be yours. Definitely a case of your mileage may vary.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some good dramas that aren’t romances?

rufflina writes:

Dear kfangurl, I have a question for you – can you recommend dramas that are really good and don’t involve romance? I have just finished Healer and really liked the love story there. When picking a new series I searched for drama that does not have romance on purpose because I did not want to “replace” the OTP from Healer with a new OTP right away, but I still wanted to watch something engaging. Two examples that come to mind are My Mister (thanks for recommending it! I loved it so much!) and Hot Stove League (which is the one I’m watching at the moment). I’m sure there are more. And thank you so much for this awesome blog! I very much enjoy reading your reviews before and after watching a drama (except for Someday or One Day. I stopped reading the moment you said that’s best and returned after finishing it 🙂 )

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Review: Hospital Playlist

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Warm, wholesome goodness dressed in hospital garb, Hospital Playlist is the medical themed drama that even the medical drama-averse can easily love.

Hospital Playlist checks a lot of boxes, for me. The writing and directing is assured; the cast is outstanding individually and together; the overall feel is balanced, with enough attention given to the cases of the day without losing focus on our key characters; the music is heartfelt and breezy, made even more special when performed by the cast.

The slice-of-life approach might feel meandering and slow to some, but in exchange, you really feel like a fly on these characters’ walls, in their professional and personal capacities. The long episodes might feel intimidating at first, but once you grow to love the characters, the length of the episodes become more of a boon than a bane.

I legit didn’t want this one to end; highly recommend.

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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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Review: My Mister [My Ahjussi]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This show is like its titular protagonist; both start out quiet, gloomy and unassuming, but over the course of 16 episodes, both reveal themselves to be beautiful, moving heroes who show us the power of kindness, and the grace of humanity.

Assured writing, tender directing, and outstanding performances from the cast all come together to make My Mister an absorbing watch that feels organic, real and raw. The OST, which is delicate, thoughtful, and ethereal in turn, is meticulously crafted and applied, and effectively lifts the watch to another level.

Dark and beautiful. And at the same time, warm and beautiful. A must-see.

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Flash Review: Producer

I’m very pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed Producer:

  • Despite not being so keen on its initial mockumentary style;
  • Despite its notoriously long episodes that run for at least 80 minutes each; and
  • Despite not being all that interested in Show’s premise to begin with.

I suppose I could call that a triple-whammy happy bonus?

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Are kdramas getting worse / “dumbed down”?

So recently, a couple of comments on the blog have combined to give me pause for thought.

And instead of just answering the latest question in the comments section, I thought it was interesting enough, and thought-provoking enough, to put it all in a new post, and see what you guys think.

Well ok, that, and the fact that as I chewed on my answer to the latest comment, I realized that there were just too many facets to the answer than I felt could fit reasonably into a simple comment.

Basically, the question is, have kdramas gotten worse / more “dumbed down” in recent years?

Let’s dive in together to take a look, shall we?

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Dropped: Ho Goo’s Love

…And another one on my drama plate bites the dust.

I’m not in a dropping mood or anything, I swears. I promise that there are dramas that I’ve finished and liked, even. I just haven’t finished writing the reviews (they’ll come, honest!).

I really wanted to like Ho Goo’s love, and even stuck with it for 10 whole episodes, hoping that it would hook me properly at some point. 10 episodes into Show’s total of 16, though, I realized that this show simply wasn’t working for me.

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