Friday, September 09, 2011

La drama mala, la drama buena

    I have no idea if I even make sense. I don't know Spanish, except for few useful words like cerveza, mi corazón and some other random words picked up from Muñeca brava that was once aired here. Yes, I have watched that. I watched many things in life. On D-A we had very avid discussion on Worst Kdrama Endings Ever. Almost all our discussions there become at some point fervent, even violent and abusive. Let's face it, we eradicated all 13 years-olds there and we can speak our minds without restrictions, but within some standards still. I am very tolerant person when it comes to drama endings. There are two kinds of dramas - those I'm emotionally involved with and those I just watch because I have some time to spare, or they are purely nice to watch (vide: Protect The Boss). And although I'm completely indifferet toward the latter group, I'm more nitpicking when talking about the former.
So I've been asking myself lately - what exactly is this good ending? What makes a good ending? And the answer is banally simple - personal preference.

   And before I try to elaborate more, one thing - I'm an adamant admirer of the tragedy. Don't know when this started, maybe when my first cute kitty died, I don't know. Comedy and fluff is good, but it doesn't move me. And my masochistic nature likes to be torn, broken and shattered to pieces in order to get the cathartic experience. Bring it on, perfect-broken-men: Kim Namgil and Park Shihu!
   49 Days is hated all around because of the main character's death (oops, spoiler). But it's not like we didn't know it, throughout the drama there were scattered hints that she was the last person that Reaper would lead to the Elevator. And this drama says something more than usual Kdrama, this is why it perhaps is not easy to swallow like another rom-com. It says that you have to live your life for more than just yourself. You are not a centre of the universe. Even without you in this world sky won't crumble, people will live on. So live in a way that others will remember you. This drama has perfect ending for me.
   Then I was thinking about any drama with bad ending for me. That would be I Need Romance, because it screwed up what might have been the most liberal and open Kdrama I have seen. Instead, it followed the usual path. And I invested a lot of time and love in that drama, so I felt a bit cheated. 
I usually don't go miaouling around about the less-that-satisfactory ending. I take it in a holistic way - this is a creation. It was someone else's idea and they did what they did. I may be annoyed by some characters in family dramas (like Ju Young's Mother-in-law in A Thousand Kisses, gods, I hate the woman!), but I won't stop watching it, because I know they HAVE to be there for the sake of the plot. So I don't complain over things I have absolutely no impact on. I may complain over cast, acting, music, things like that. But I don't complain over text. 
   It's the same with books. I may like it or not, but I don't question WHY some author did something to his/her characters. It is entirely the author's universe and he had every right to do it. It was his/her decision. I may only like it or not, but I don't question it. I may slate the way of doing that, language or technique (like the latest version of korean story Woodcutter and the Nymph, where the Nymph was more of a nymphomaniac, but the entire concept was nice, I just didn't like the language) but not the plot.
It doesn't mean I'm just blindly following the story and gods-forbid criticize anything. A lot of things bugs me in Kdramas, but this particular post is not about that.

   I think my tolerant approach to dramas was sculpted by Goodbye Solo drama. This is a dark tale about ugly faces of people. I hated every character here, I couldn't sympathize with anyone, and I wasn't at first satisfied with the actions and ending, but then I had the epiphany. I knew this drama was just as it should be. Changing the ending or characters would mean changing this deeply human (not-interesting for many people) story of few "friends" into another fairy-tale with ending made just to please the audience. Maybe this is why this drama made some waves among bad western viewers and less strong in the homeland? KNG surely has some unusual choices.

   I deviated from the main point, but I'm a deviant so I'm allowed to do it. Right.
Bad drama for me is that kind of drama I can't connect to the characters or I lose the interest in them. When I shrug and think "so what?", that's the final moment. Other than that, oh and inaccuracies in sageuk and taeha drama, I'm pretty OK with everything. 
The other thing - for some death of the main character is equal to bad ending. As I said that on DA already, I don't see death of the character as  the bad ending. Some characters just are fated to die, and some die by sheer accident. You know the movie One Night at McCool's? Yeah, at the end of the movie the only one person survives the shootout and what? Oh do see it, or you may watch just the trailer. The scene is there. It happens. You may cheat death, but you don't escape it.
I bet Un will die in Warrior Baek Dongsu. Along with half of the cast with their tempo of killing characters off. He has big "sacrifice" sign along his forehead, just above his sad eyes.

   Nowadays Kdramaland changes rapidly. There is still lingering "second lead" syndrome, but it's been changing lately as well. Still some annoying fillers and cliches are present, but we have dramas that start with divorce, that deal with gay people, and The Princess' Man PD's brave decision to cast transgender Choi Han-bit.
Let's see what future brings.