[Interview #2] "Answer Me 1988" Hyeri, "Deok-seon in shackles?" 2016/01/27, Source, Hyeri is a leading actress in her 20s. She found the perfect role for her in "Answer Me 1988" and that's Deok-seon.
She could easily become arrogant as she is one of the most wanted stars in the entertainment business but she's deeper than that. "I realized as I was in the middle of "Answer Me 1988" that the more I am prepared, the better the results are. So I think it's better to take the time to get ready for something instead of doing it in a hurry",...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 20 Final 2016/01/16,
We find out who Deok-seon's husband is, and you'll probably be surprised at the groom's identity in the grand wedding setpiece. Not that this is all that important. The main thrust of "Answer Me 1988" has always been on the powerful sense of community. This, oddly enough, is the most important part of wedding preparation presented here- the characters have to come to grips with the fact that they're leaving their parents' home, to start out on something new,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 19 2016/01/15,
The wrap-up for "Answer Me 1988" begins, as we close here with a sort of pre-epilogue. Nothing is fully resolved quite yet, and indeed, as the cliffhanger reminds us, most of the adult characters really aren't even aware of what's going on romance-wise. That's because the major setpiece is a love letter to the parents of "Answer Me 1988"- the ones who did their best for their kids, and each other, and who will always have a loving community in thanks for that,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 18 2016/01/09,
It's the little touches that makes all the difference in "Answer Me 1988". Pay close attention to the set design here. It looks like the characters are just hanging around in the same neighborhood and the same houses they were this entire time and yet somehow, everything looks a tad shinier. A tad cooler. Especially the characters themselves. Note how Taek very nearly appears cool and attractive now, even though he mostly acts the same. What's causing these changes? The haircuts? The beer? Or just...the nineties?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 17 2016/01/08,
The theme this episode is on pain, and how we recover from it. On the literal level it's just physical pain. Seong-gyoon is still smarting from his wound, and elsewhere other characters also deal with disabling accidents. But on the more powerful metaphorical level the main topic under discussion is emotional pain, as every potential romantic couple separates save for one. Then, one cute time slip montage later, we've jumped five years ahead to 1994,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 16 2015/12/26,
With this episode "Answer Me 1988" attempts to explain why its story, to the extent this drama has a story at all, moves so slowly and with so little apparent inertia. Somewhat paradoxically, the reason for this is that the characters are mostly doing all right. They're happy. And the surest way to risk destroying happiness is through radical change. Making a love confession requires courage, not because we're scared of rejection, but because we're scared that the possible potential change could be for the worse,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 15 2015/12/25,
Story has never really been a strong point of "Answer Me 1988". There's very little conflict to speak of, and what conflict we do get tends to be solved without much aplomb. Note how Seon-woo's reaction to the big emotional discoveries of the last episode is to...play catch with Taek's dad. Even bearing in mind the rather mild twist that comes out of that exposition, there's not really much more to that scene than what's right there on the surface,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 14 2015/12/19,
One of the nicer parts of "Answer Me 1988" is how incredibly even-handed the drama is with character focus. Part of this is probably just a necessity of production- if Deok-seon was actually the focus the way lead characters normally are I'd expect Hyeri would have collapsed from exhaustion due to overwork by now. Instead, her role here is subdued to a mild act of heroism while focus instead shifts to Jeong-bong and Mi-ok. In case you don't remember who those characters are- Jeong-hwan's older brother and Deok-seon's shorter female friend,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 13 2015/12/18,
Bo-ra helpfully narrates the theme of this episode at the closing. This is fortunate, since until that point I was at a bit of a loss as to what the title card, a linguistic variation on the title of "Superman is Back" variety show, had to do with the episode proper. We don't really get to see that much of men taking care of their families, unless you count Seong-gyoon's misadventures trying to fix household appliances back in the days before it was cheaper to just buy new. Indeed, one memorable sequence involves the entire neighborhood getting riled over a nonexistent crisis,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 12 2015/12/12,
The theme this episode is love- nothing too excessive. As usual "Answer Me 1988" is focused on the subtle nuances of living in a close community, and this manifests best in the exploration of the relationship between So-ra and Seon-woo. It needs to be noted, once again, that this romance has a fairly unusual dynamic because these two literally grew up together. For them, dating isn't really a "get-to-know-you" thing because they already know each other,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 11 2015/12/11,
Ah, Deok-seon. She's such a girl. Her friends too. I don't mean that as an insult- I'm just surprised watching "Answer Me 1988" and realizing how rare it is to see teenage girls on TV act like, well, like dumb teenage girls, in the same way that teenage boys can always be relied on to act like dumb teenage boys. And in the case of Deok-seon, this is exhibited with her puppy-like ability to develop romantic feelings for any boy she thinks will reciprocate them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 10 2015/12/05,
Similar to last episode, there's not so much plot here, especially in the first portion as "Answer Me 1988" sticks to situation comedy. After strong episodes, or more specifically strong scenes of strong episodes, it's easy to get a little annoyed at low-stakes action like but I just have to remind myself that adolescence is a slow-burn and it's not really reasonable to expect that every big storyline event is going to receive a proper build-up. Getting hit with revelations out of nowhere is a big part of the fun. I certainly wasn't expecting a loveline to form after the appearance of the Bubble Bobble Mafia,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 9 2015/12/04,
The first portion of this episode moves pretty slow. It's just a token variety of the usual simple character jokes and pop culture references that "Answer Me 1988" always uses as a placeholder. There's nothing terribly bad about this. The jokes are cute enough but the material is uninspiring. That much changes after the first commercial break, at which point an unexpected event results in Taek unexpectedly getting to spend quite a bit of time with Deok-seon,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 8 2015/11/28,
The various plotlines in this episode don't really coalesce into a good overall theme. If you want to get really technical there are two story points involving a secret boyfriend and a secret girlfriend. Although neither of these are really especially dynamic plot elements, except to the extent that the question is asked, what kind of boyfriend could Bo-ra have that we've never seen much physical evidence of his existence? The answer to that question being, well, not much of a boyfriend at all really,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 7 2015/11/27,
The main theme of this episode is about how to express love. The first half generally details the worst ways of doing this. We find out, for example, that with more contextual information Seon-woo's attempt at a romantic confession was actually kind of a stupid thing to do. Although really, given that he was acting on advice from Deok-seon what other outcome could we have been expecting? No wonder Bo-ra's face betrayed zero trace of emotion last cliffhanger,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 6 2015/11/21,
Taek (played by Park Bo-geum) is a Go prodigy who has been having a bit of a slump lately. I haven't felt much need to discuss Taek because, well, there's not really much more to say about the character than that. Taek's kind of an idiot outside of the whole Go prodigy thing but his friends and family love him because why wouldn't they? "Answer Me 1988" is dealing with a time period where it wasn't especially important that people fit into neat easily defined categories,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 5 2015/11/20,
Even though the young characters are the main billed actors of "Answer Me 1988", I frequently get the feeling that it's the parents who are the real protagonists of the drama. The conflict of this episode is a case in point- the three main storylines are about the worries mothers have regarding what happens to their children when they're not looking. This being 1988, there are good precedents for that. There weren't any "don't try this at home disclaimers" for silly stunts seen on television. A lack of cell phones made checking up at home difficult. And also there was the whole college student movement getting into fights with the secret police,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 4 2015/11/14,
Deok-seon wants to go to university. Her family is ambivalent about this. Which is weird to see because in the modern day this desire is so utterly banal that it barely even counts as a desire. In South Korea (and the United States too for that matter) everyone is supposed to go to college. It's not a factor that's influenced by such rational circumstances as money, career goals, or scholastic aptitude. As is usually the case with "Answer Me 1988", looking at the situation as presented in this drama mostly just makes me wonder why the world we live in today is the one that comes off weird in comparison,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 3 2015/11/13,
The opening scenes are, rather innocently enough, about how girls like boys, but don't really know anything about them. That's the problem with having a peer group that also consists of teenagers. Everybody is equally clueless, but not everyone knows that they're equally clueless. This also leads to embarassments like Deok-seon's bizarre use of makeup. That's not a process which can or should be hurried. A pity the older So-ra is too busy being aggressive to offer much useful advice to her younger sister,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 2 2015/11/07,
Seong-gyoon (played by Kim Seong-gyoon) is kind of the goofy uncle in "Answer Me 1988". Aside from doing a ridiculous dance at regular intervals Seong-gyoon also tries to show off how happening he is with modern technology by buying a camcorder. Ah, nostalgia, how sweet it is to remember that people used to consider having their every waking moment caught on camera to be weird. Seong-gyoon isn't a dork, the man's just so ahead of the curve that everyone has confused him for a dork,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 1 2015/11/06,
The real unspoken hero of the "Answer Me" series has always been whoever is in charge of the background designs. It could not have possibly been easy to pull together that much obscure eighties merchandise. Did the production team actually find this old Hidori stuff lying around somewhere, or did they have to custom order it? Everything looks so new and fresh, which makes sense because in 1988 this pop culture was both hip and relevant. Not so much today,...More
[Interview] K-pop star, Hyeri turns into advocate for young part time workers 2015/04/11, Source,
Decent treatment for young part-timers!
Hyeri (pictured, Lee Hye-ri), a 21-year-old member of K-pop girl group "Girl's Day", has got new nicknames thanks to her new commercial to call for decent treatment for young part-timers. In an e-mail interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on Tuesday, Hyeri expressed her feelings about the commercial series, saying, I hope the campaign can contribute to make a society where employers treat part-time workers like their own daughters and sons. This is the first time for the K-pop singer to express her thoughts on part-timers poor treatment after starring in "Albamon" (a domestic part-time recruitment site) commercials that have made known the minimum wage issue,...More
Hyeri to Be Honored for Minimum Wage Battle 2015/03/27, Source, Hyeri of girl group Girls Day will receive a plaque of appreciation from the minister of employment and labor for raising awareness of the minimum wage. She receives the award Thursday. In a recent commercial on job portal Albamon, she reminds employers that the minimum wage in Korea is W5,580 (US$1=W1,102),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 20 Final 2015/03/26,
The marriage ceremony at the beginning of this episode is an obvious symbolic representation of how Seo-jin and Robin will inevitably merge- it's the spiritual idea of two people becoming one. This notion has been alluded to a lot in the script lately, and it's here that "Hyde, Jekyll and I" finally pulls this idea off. There's only really fireworks in the literal sense. The main important aspect of the presentation here is subtlety,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 19 2015/03/25,
The tone this episode moves toward deathbed melodrama of all things. It's not exactly unprecedented. "Hyde, Jekyll and I" has been pretty consistent about treating Robin as if he is his own person, and not just an extension of Seo-jin's personality. And even if Robin himself is willing to accept that premise, that doesn't make the oncoming reality of his own "death" any less painful to bear. Nor does it make matters easier for Ha-na,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 18 2015/03/19,
Up until this episode, the tacit understanding has been that Seo-jin is the real person and Robin is the interloper. But Ha-na's declaration flips all of that on its head- now everybody thinks that Seo-jin is just a facade put on the for sake of the family corporation, and that Robin is the real dominant personality. It's a turn of events that would have driven Seo-jin insane at the start of "Hyde, Jekyll and I". But bizarrely enough, here, he actually seems kind of happy about it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 17 2015/03/18,
Seo-jin has made a major psychological breakthrough in terms of realizing his own general unhappiness, and how this directly relates to the way he's been acting like a jerk to everyone. Here's the problem. Seo-jin is the son of a jerk chaebol, who continues to be a jerk chaebol. While the other characters are happy that Seo-jin is doing better, no one particularly likes the man that much. In one particularly pathetic scene Seo-jin has to kill time at home, with little else to reflect upon save for the fact that his only real friend is in jail,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 16 2015/03/12,
So...last episode was the big climactic psychological brawl between Seo-jin and Tae-joo. Now that that's been resolved, what is this drama about exactly? To be entirely honest, I was kind of expecting this to be the last episode where everything just sort of wraps up, having forgotten that "Hyde, Jekyll and I" is in fact a twenty episode drama. In that light, it would seem we're heading into extended wrap-up mode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 15 2015/03/11,
The emphasis here is less on physical danger than it is on mental gymnastics. To date, Tae-joo has always been able to backpeddle his way out of failures because he was always watching from some secret compartment somewhere. Here, he has to directly negotiate with Seo-jin over the terms which will decide who was truly at fault for what happened at the kidnapping so long again. And the dramatic impetus ends up hinging on one question that to date hasn't really been addressed- why does Tae-joo even care in the first place?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 14 2015/03/05,
The police in this drama really aren't very competent. I haven't felt it necessary to discuss that aspect so far since there's so much else going on, but it's kind of unavoidable here. Tae-joo inexplicably manages to make a getaway and further his psychological schemes even longer. Which is unfortunate. While the whole Tae-soo story arc has certainly been interesting it definitely drags here, making me wish "Hyde, Jekyll and I" had at least one other meaningfully built up subplot,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 13 2015/03/04,
Tae-joo's decision to use Hee-ae as bait last episode was a pretty clear admission that he was willing to bet everything on his current psychological theory. As a result, his current attempts at backpedaling this episode just come off as kind of pathetic. Hee-ae barely even tries to argue with him this time. If Tae-joo isn't willing to accept Robin's decision as evidence that Seo-jin is seriously psychologically damaged, it's clear that nothing will ever get through to the man,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 12 2015/02/26,
While the psychological element was interesting in the initial introduction, in this follow-up episode the concept kind of drags. We're really just looking at the exact same character exploration as last time- Tae-joo schemes and rationalizes to himself about the best way to get revenge on Seo-jin. I rather suspect this is the real reason he's kept Hee-ae around for so long. Tae-joo has to argue this point with her if only to convince himself that he's still on the right track,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 11 2015/02/25,
Tae-joo has progressed from physical deathtraps to mental ones. It's an intriguing change of pace actually. Tae-joo has, just like us, witnessed Seo-jin going through undeniable character development. But Tae-joo is unwilling to admit that Seo-jin's mental state may be complicated somehow- so he instead comes up with rather elaborate logical justifications by which Seo-jin can still be the bad guy. And therefore, Tae-joo can still have his just revenge. No wonder Hee-ae looks so panicked. There's two mental patients at risk of relapsing here- three if you count Robin,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 10 2015/02/19,
This episode's surprisingly drawn out considering almost the entire runtime is just dedicated to Tae-joo's deranged revenge scheme. Seong Joon puts in a pretty good performance here. The man might be crazy, but he's crazy in an extremely logical way, and it's fun watching him stare at Seo-jin and Robin with just a kind of perplexed expression. Even though Tae-joo's desire for revenge is no less than it was before, at this point he's at least curious enough to see how this all plays out,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 9 2015/02/18,
Now that Tae-joo has been outed as the true villain, "Hyde, Jekyll and I" has become substantially more cohesive. In the first place I've finally figured out what Seung-yeon and all the other corporate blokes are supposed to represent- not actual villains, but mild patsies. Their concerns about proper company management are in fact mostly reasonable. The Seo-jin / Robin conflict, and the inability of daddy Myeong-han to appropriately resolve it, are what's created the power struggle,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 8 2015/02/12,
The mystery inexplicably becomes the most interesting part of the drama this episode. The answers we thought were so clearly delineated at the cliffhanger quickly become complicated by a glaring inconsistency in the suspect's story. "Hyde, Jekyll and I" manages to take story cues from "Doctor Frost" of all places, and quickly proves that it was the latter drama's execution of the elements that fell flat. As it turns out, subtle psychological manipulation can actually be quite the persuasive red herring,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 7 2015/02/11,
So now Seo-jin's motivation is to...help the circus out? I guess that works. It has very little to do with anything he's done so far but whatever. At least he has a goal now. Too bad the other characters still hate the circus for some reason. I mean, geez, you let just one gorilla out on a murderous rampage, and all of a sudden nobody wants to honor their contracts! Likewise, while it's nice to see some actual villains, it's also way too easy to see things from their point of view,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 6 2015/02/05,
...For whatever reason, I was expecting the cliffhanger of the last episode to have more impact on Seo-jin than on Ha-na. Seo-jin doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who receives that kind of compliment very often. And from Ha-na's perspective she's already practically dating Robin. Isn't liking a guy kind of a precondition to dating him? This really shouldn't come off as some sort of big revelation, and I'm rather confused as to why every character here insists on treating it as such,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 5 2015/02/04,
Disappointingly, very little of this episode actually takes place inside the house, as most of the runtime is dedicated to Ha-na and Robin going out on dates. In a sort of counter-intuitive way, "Hyde, Jekyll and I" is mainly managing to explain why these kinds of cute romantic moments really need better context in order to function correctly. Seo-jin is the only character involved in any actual plot, and his main motivation is just to avoid contact with Robin,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 4 2015/01/29,
Seo-jin still hasn't learned his lesson. Once again the man tries to solve his problems by fiddling around with contract negotiations. To be entirely honest I'm sick of all the contract discussions, so I'm hoping the end of the episode honestly foreshadows that Seo-jin is going try to find another way to deal with Ha-na. There's just something terribly annoying about this drama having something as interesting as a circus only for us to never actually to get watch a circus performance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 3 2015/01/28,
All right, I'm on to this drama. Ha-na exists less as a character with her own distinctly designed motivations as she does a plot device intended to provoke Seo-jin's conflict with Robin. In terms of spectacle Ha-na is also important because two people are necessary to have bright colorful escapades around an abandoned amusement park. There's an awful lot of stuntwork here for a drama that's allegedly supposed to function largely as a romantic comedy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 2 2015/01/22,
Why did it have to be a criminal invesigation? I'd just as soon pretend the entire final sequence of the first episode didn't happen, but that's pretty much impossible when "Hyde, Jekyll and I" is outright insisting on turning the invasion and attack into a serious plot point. Much is made of the missing cameras, but what about the missing people? No one saw this guy come in? There wasn't a guard? How do we go from a completely filled lecture hall in the middle of the day to absolutely nothing?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 1 2015/01/21,
While watching the first episode of "Hyde, Jekyll and I", mentally I frequently found myself wondering how exactly this drama was pitched. It's less a coherent product than a bunch of apparently random fashionable tropes. Hyeon Bin is in it, so let's use a concept vaguely similar to "Secret Garden". Product placement is popular, so let's set it at an amusement park. Dramas about mental illness are in vogue, that's good. Also "Mr. Go" is on retainer, so either we put him on screen somewhere or he'll just be a drain on the budget,...More
Korean history boom among K-Pop stars 2013/05/25, Source,
Theres an app about Korean history. Lets use it together. (2PM member Hwang Chan-seong)
Today is May 18. On this meaningful day, Im studying Korean history about which I need to know more. (Kara member Han Seung-yeon)
Search democracy movement. I hope my fans are well aware of our history! (B2ST member Yang Yo-seop)
Korean idol starts are studying hard their history. Around the May 18 pro-democracy uprising, more idol celebrities mentioned about history study. Certain idols teach their fans how to study Korean history. For example, 2PM member Lim Seul-ong posted on his twitter account, Theres no future for the people who forgot their own history, while BIGBANG member Taeyang twitted, Ill remember those who have become part of the history,...More
Skimming through Paju Book City 2013/02/03, Source,
Are you a book lover who is looking for something unique to do in Korea? We invite you to Paju Book City, a parallel universe filled with book cafes and more than 250 publishers. Many of the publishers have attached shops selling their books at steep discounts off the retail price,...More
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