Tag Archives: Reply 1994

Review: Mad For Each Other

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The great thing about Mad For Each Other, is how robust it feels. Despite its short episodes and overall shorter running time, Show manages to feel like a full story, with fully fleshed-out characters, and a nicely teased-out main loveline. Plus, it manages to also say a few thoughtful, thought-provoking things about mental health, the lingering effects of trauma, and healing as well.

Jung Woo and Oh Yeon Seo are really excellent in this, both separately and together. Individually, they manage to make their flawed characters sympathetic and endearing, and together, they spark very effectively, whether our characters are fighting with each other, or learning to get along.

Altogether fresh, heartfelt and quite satisfying.

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Dear kfangurl: Are there dramas with sympathetic second female leads?

Sharbani writes:

Hi KFangurl

My observations have been (and this may be a generalisation based on the 80 or so K-dramas I have watched) that most male second leads are presented in a way that engenders sympathy. So, by the time the series have ended we are actually rooting for them to find love!! I know that there are exceptions but they are a rare breed in drama land.

In contrast, most female second leads are presented in a more negative light – possibly a throwover to the ‘vamps’ of earlier times! I know going into the reasons for such portrayals needs a lot of study of human society and the status of women and have probably been the subject of a lot of research! But my question is simple – Are there any dramas that present the second female leads in a positive light?

Hope you are well and staying safe! Your blogs continue to be my first port of call before I pick a new drama to watch so thank you!

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Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas where we can learn about Korean culture &/or history?

enapeters writes:

Hi, kfangurl, thanks for your amazing and detailed drama reviews. I’m currently watching Mr. Sunshine, and although I’m not loving the OTP, I have enjoyed learning about the time period in Korean history when the show is set. I’ve learned so much about Korean, Japanese, and U.S. relations at the time, and it’s fascinating! Similarly, when I watched Crash Landing on You, I loved seeing the different perspective of North Korea so much that I started getting really emotional thinking about the separation between North and South Korea. I was wondering, what dramas have you seen or recommend where you felt like you were getting a new or better understanding of history or culture?

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Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about single season vs. multi-season dramas?

Entropyenator writes:

Hi KFangurl,

Absolutely LOVE your blog and best of luck in your journey to keep writing!

Two questions for you I hope you can help with, though they are sort of related:

1) Why is it so rare for kdramas to get more than 1 season?

2) What qualifies a kdrama to get a second season?

To explain a bit, I just finished Vincenzo (so amazing, SJK, JYB and the rest of the cast were brilliant, even if the logic got…stretched in some bits) but SJK’s interview right after the finale seems to indicate it won’t get a second season despite very very good ratings.

This seems to be the norm for kdramas–save very rare exceptions like Hospital Playlist and Age of Youth/Hello My Twenties. So what gives? Is it a different industry/culture thing? I do admit that I am based in the US, where, as long as a show doesn’t completely flop, getting at least 2-3 seasons is incredibly common.

Looking forward to your answer!

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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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Dear kfangurl: Do you have difficulty seeing an actor in a different role?

Elaine writes:

I have a Dear kfangurl question to ask! My question is whether you’ve ever had a problem watching the same actor in a different role, because you have such a strong impression of him/her in the first show you saw the actor in? Asking because I just started watching K dramas last year, and i started with highly rated ones like Crash Landing on You and Healer, where the OTPs are so smashing that I was reluctant to see the actors in other shows as it would feel to me almost like they were cheating on their original OTP! Lol.

So far I haven’t “repeated” any actors besides Lee Jun Ki – I first saw him in Arang and the Magistrate and a few months later in Flower of Evil. But to me that felt ok as his performance made the two characters feel completely different. It probably helped that his Flower of Evil character was supposed to have antisocial personality disorder so has flattened emotions.

But now almost a year after watching Healer, I’m watching Park Min Young in Her Private Life and I keep getting flashbacks to her Healer performance, especially when the two characters overlap on certain traits like optimism, pluckiness and sunny smiles. It’s probably a personal quirk but I do wonder if anyone faces this issue too! For now there are so many dramas out there that I can avoid repeats of actors but soon it won’t be an option! Ha ha.

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Flash Review: The Final Match [Last Match]

I put The Final Match on my watch list mainly because it’s one of the classic grandaddies of Hallyu.

Not only did it take audiences – fangirls, in particular – by storm when it aired in 1994, its presence can still be felt in dramaland nowadays, when, every so often, it gets referenced in dramas. Case in point: Answer Me, 1994, which not only played the famous rousing riff from The Final Match’s OST, but also mentioned characters from the drama by name.

I knew I had to watch this show, if only to acquaint myself with the drama that created the waves that it did, way back in the day.

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Review: Answer Me, 1994 [Reply 1994]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Despite its flaws and indulgent streaks, Answer Me 1994 is a lovely little show that’s peopled by likable, bubbly characters that not only feel real, but also feel like they’re real friends with one another.

The characters and their relationships are the shining jewels crowning this show, and together, they shine so brightly that it’s not hard to overlook the occasional uneven writing, the consistently bloated episodes and the dreaded Who’s The Hubs game that Show inherited from its predecessor Answer Me 1997.

Far from perfect, but still So Lovable.

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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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