Saturday, September 01, 2012

10 dramas to avoid (if you don’t want to hate Kdramaland for life)

   As always, everything is filtered through my personal experience, so it is more than obvious that some may find this post informative yet some others – heretical and start to track my IP just to know where to send a dead horse’s head. That’s fine, I’m prepared for that. Likewise, some dramas I love to bits other people may find idiotic, bad, mediocre, cheesy and – in other dictionary riches – unwatchable. I don’t care, I won’t stop loving them (sung along Van Halen’s Can’t Stop Loving You) just because others do.
Anyway, my All-Time (that is up to August 2012) Top 10 of Worst Dramas Eva!

   First three places should be taken by 1.Bury 2.Me 3.Mary, but I’m generous enough on this sunny day. Also, the order is completely irrelevant since it’s always hard to pin a drama in your Top 10. Whatever the category may be. I also have to defend my ignorant thoughts for not being able to discover any beauty and depth in these dramas below – most of them I just dropped, realizing at some point I’d rather separate poppy seeds from sand than watch any more of them. If they turned out to be marvelous dramas, let me know, I can prepare myself and finish them. And maybe even write a squealing post about how awesome they are.

1. Mary Should Stay in Hell (or on paper), known to the rest of our Voltarean world as Marry Me Mary (I’m not sure, really?).

It’s hard to describe where this drama sucked. But if I had to choose one aspect, I’d say – everything. From casting to lighting. I think I managed to watch around 4 episodes, feeling more and more nauseous with every minute of it? I hail thee who hath watch’d all 16 hours of it. (*tip to some units: use this drama to torture people, after an hour of a random episode, you’ll get everything. Guaranteed*) Plot… actually I have no idea about the plot, there was some indie musician (played by our truly loved and admired hyper-multi-awesomely talented yet humble like a blushing bride Princess of the Universe <sorry, Freddie>), some random girl, chaebol, some guys… Usual stuff a talented writer could make even a nice plot with, but here those were thrown together into a pot with a prayer: “Dear God, please make some drama out of it”. And God must have sick sense of humor because he did. A drama, in literal meaning. Plot was non-existent. Everyone sucked, Jang Geun Sucked the most, because I’m not sure if he was even acting. He was just an overly confident princess, behaving like cats in March in front of his shrieking eels, mainly bending, licking, and bending some more. Music was horrible, directing worse than It Came From The Sea movie. Only die-hard Princess of Asia’s fans could watch this. Normal people under two conditions – extremely drunk and looking for a bad drama to make them feel better (“see, my life isn’t that bad, this drama is worse!!”) or masochists trying to test their own pain scale. I can’t see how other could bear with such idiocy. My lovely bitch friend wrote an in-depth, extensive coverage of this drama here.

2. Boys Over Flowers

Actually I’m not sure why I watched full 10 eps of it and after that only skipped to Kim lovely Beom scenes. I was probably drunk. But really, 10 episodes? I have no self-esteem for the love of Kpop, most likely. Or I’m a masochist. The problem I had with this drama is not because of the army of kyaaidiots screaming “oppa saranghae!!” at permed Lee Minhot. I don't watch dramas in their company and I avoid their websites too. This drama was so clean and mathematically perfect it started to annoy the hell out of me. Sadly, this trend is now prevalent in most of the dramas. Sometimes I miss older ones, pre-BOF, where shirts were not tailor-made 5 minutes before shooting, ladies had no make-up sometimes, haircuts were not from Jean-Louis David and guys could look ragged and worn out. This is why BOF is on the list, it ruined the “natural feel” to dramas. Oh, plus BOF set the new trend too – why you need comprehensible plot if you have hot guys? Casting idols and hot-looking guys has never been that massive up to that point. And sadly, majority of them can’t act. Looking pretty and factory-made (oh, did I hurt your feelings?) is NOT the acting. Just sayin’…
Oh well, bad acting and plot ridden with holes more than a swish cheese is a big factor as well to dislike it. If only they could combine original with this, but put Kim Beom in place of that what’s-his-name guy that sucked big time and his chadō, and we could get a nice drama.

3. Iljimae

Damn, I watched it all. All. Have no idea how I could do it, but truthfully speaking, I don’t remember half of it. I started this because of “sageuk” and Park Shihu. OK, PSH was awkward as hell in this drama and seeing him so uncomfortable made me cringe every time as well. I enjoyed Ahn Kil-kang, as always, but here he played some overly manhwa-like character, so the enjoyment wasn’t that great. The plot was lost somewhere in the middle of thatched roofs and petals falling from trees, among forbidden love, torn families, birth secrets and some cringing from PSH.
Bad drama, bad, bad drama. Best moment? Arena, PSH beating the crap out of Junki, ep. 4. Muahahaha! Yep, I'm kinda violent.

4. Heading to the Ground.

I’m proudly confirming I watched 1.5h worth of the episodes. First two, and I said to myself: “You’re not even Yunho’s fan”.  Meaning – I don’t have to put up with bad drama just because I like someone. Yunho’s acting here was even worse than the worst comical Japanese acting, and it’s pretty rare. Plot was just made up to allow main character play “from zero to hero” guy without any deeper traits of his persona visible (or deeper acting whatsoever). They could cast any given football player and he would do exactly the same job, except for that he’d be “less pretty”. So, after one and a half of the episodes, I don’t remember much, and I bet there is nothing worthy to remember anyway. Coming-of-age drama, you say? Well, screw you, I didn’t even see the decent angst in there. Yunho may be the greatest guy in private, but he sucks big time in acting. Immensely.

5. Legend

Fantasy sageuk!! That should answer all questions on why I started this. After first episode I knew it was a mistake, so I happily dropped this, never to return. The acting was so horrible I couldn’t bear to watch anymore. I like legends, myths and all that, but damn, if acting puts me off, I can’t do much about it. Lee Ji-ah is not the best actress out there, to put it simply

6. Triple

The Voice! Figure skating! What else a girl needs? This drama turned out to be a borefest for me. Not even the man who melts all women’s hearts and really nice OST could make me go through it and I dropped it happily when I started to think: “What the hell is going on and why I don’t care?” And I liked other Lee Sun-gyun’s dramas without any problem no matter of the character he played. OK, not watching Golden Time, because it’s a medical drama.

7. Baker King Kim Tak Gu

Uhm… I list here a drama that had 50% ratings in Korea. Like I care. I started to watch this because Kim Namgil-nim mentioned that his family watched this and not his drama (kkk…). But Bad Guy is, for me, better than this one. Makjjang dramas are very specific, they are like normal drama but intensified million times, they are fueled not with gasoline, but thermonuclear energy on the verge of critical mass. I managed to watch up to 20th episode and had enough. Everyone was hysterical, everyone cried twenty times an episode, threats, begging, accusations, and suppressed words were like daily – nomen omen – bread here. I can put up with such only for those I love. I really can. Here, nope. So for me BK finds its place among worst dramas I’ve seen and I seriously advise not to watch it, unless you really know what you’re doing.

8. Mischievous Kiss

I watched only the first episode, but I’m a “first episode girl” anyway and… how to write it so not to insult anyone – well, this drama’s first episode was horrible. I don’t mind mindless fluff and some fitzy-mitzy rom-com, but for cliché’s sake, make it a little bit more coherent. And cast some who can act, even a little. Kim Hyeonjung may be nice guy in private, but he damn can’t act. If I think Shisus acts better it means something, and I base my keen observation not only on the amount of “abs scenes” but also face expressions. And we know Shisus has tons of those. Poor The Table probably two. But still, this drama is a masterpiece comparing to Bury me, Mary.
So, avoid this thin, but teen targeted drama if you don’t want to chase unicorns.

9. Winter Sonata

Oh, Ethlenn, you will go to hell for such blasphemy! The drama that started all Hallyu fever, drama that made thousands of Japanese middle-aged shufu cry and sob while seeing such painful, yet heart-filling story! I do understand where the popularity of this drama came from: presenting the life unreachable to “common women”, showing guys who are ideal on every level, in every aspect, who are as far from mundane husbands as possible.
I’m not the middle-aged shufu who needs dramas to escape from parasitic husband. And this drama was simply boring yet overdone with plot at the same time. It might be the generation gap that lies between me and the original target of this series, but I couldn’t feel the same amount of admiration and cult-like behavior towards Yon-sama. Let’s be honest, there are better actors than him.
Watch if you want to go through “Season dramas” (4 in total) or watch series that triggered Hallyu in Asia, but don’t expect fireworks. In my opinion, thee are better classical series out there.
This drama might be the reason why some people (usually even those who didn’t watch this one, or don’t watch Kdrama in general, except for maybe 5 series) call all K-ones as typical. It has all of the motifs and props that are scattered over few dramas at once. This is “condensed” version. But it’s not a typical Kdrama at all. Other point – this one was out in 2002. While some people have hard time to get this – time really plays a big factor in making movies/music/dramas etc. 10 years ago audience wanted to see stories like this, nowadays, it prefers something else. Kdrama develops, for better or for worse; it may not be the tempo some are expecting (remember tv stations restrictions on certain social issues, please!) but some may even find it too fast or even quality-deteriorating. *End of digression.

10. Placeholder for next Jang Geun-suck's drama.