[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 15 2017/08/21,
So Ha-baek and So-ah have finally gone off on their big car trip, and the purpose of it was to...have So-ah dish about her emotional problems relating to feelings of abandonment by her father. This much I can actually work with. It's a legitimately sad, emotional story, and I can easily see this being the final step of intimacy to be consumnated in a romantic drama, so it's all very appropriate for the penultimate episode. There's just one problem. So-ah's parental issues have never been a part of the conflict,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 14 2017/08/15,
Now we finally have it- the story behind what horrible crime Hoo-ye committed that makes everyone hate him. Unfortunately we've been waiting so long for this moment that the revelation largely comes off as a dud, and the entire crisis mainly a result of the various supernatural nations refusing to communicate with each other for no good reason. Mostly I just continue to feel sorry for Hoo-ye, who at least has an excuse for being maladjusted, unlike most of the characters in this drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 12 2017/08/08,
The extended opening is Moo-ra narrating to So-ah the story of how So-ah's ancestors came to be servants of the gods. So-ah's reaction to the story mirrored my own, which is to say, she has trouble understanding how any of this is relevant to the current situation. Mostly I'm kind of in awe about how So-ah's ancestor was able to negotiate his way out of the predicament so easily. Although then again, why the guy was in danger seems a bit underexplained, considering he didn't actually do anything to warrant dealmaking in the first place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 11 2017/08/07,
In the opening scene Hoo-ye reacts poorly to being incidentally fondled by So-ah and Ha-baek reacts poorly to Hoo-ye reacting poorly to being incidentally fondled by So-ah. This ends up defining their characters arcs for the rest of the episode, which mostly to boils down to angst. Oh no, thinks Ha-baek, I was mean and now So-ah hates me. Oh no, thinks Hoo-ye, I murdered all those people a long time ago,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 10 2017/08/01,
In a turnabout I can only describe as perplexing, not only does the amnesiac monk issue solve itself without Ha-baek's input, it also results in Ha-baek simply being given one of the artifacts. No effort appears to be required on Ha-baek's part for anything, which kind of begs the question of why he had to go the human world in the first place. The early episodes especially have the impression that Ha-baek was going to have to earn leadership by completing difficult tasks, possibly without being able to fall back on his godly abilities,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 9 2017/07/31,
So even though Hoo-ye has been built up as being this big sinister villain character because of his supernatural backstory, "Bride of the Water God 2017" promptly undercuts this by reminding us that Bi-ryeom is a genuinely malicious person (well, god, whatever) who's fine with threatening children. It really is a badly mixed message. If Moo-ra and Bi-ryeom are allowed to enrich themselves with supernatural connections, why is it so bad for Hoo-ye to do it too?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 8 2017/07/25,
So it turns out that Ha-baek's assertion that Hoo-ye is more than he seems wasn't just random jealousy apropos of nothing. The entire opening section of episode eight goes into deep backstory, wherein Ha-baek recalls an old conversation that had several important clues now relevant to the current situation. Personally, though, the millenia old flashback kind of makes me wonder- when was the last time anyone went to the human world to collect the artifacts?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 7 2017/07/24,
Even ignoring the issues with So-ah's personality, she's also an unspiring character on account of her sheer passivity. Time and again, rather than do anything constructive to assist in her goals or Ha-baek's, So-ah just gets unceremoniously tossed into life threatening danger and has to be rescued from her plight by another character with actual competence. Whether that competence is in the form of a gun, better driving skills, or literal magical powers, the effect is the same- So-ah just ends up feeling like dead weight,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 5 2017/07/17,
The more I watch of "Bride of the Water God 2017" the more baffling the worldbuilding becomes. Observe how Ha-baek, for all his general ignorance about how most of the human world works, apparently easily understands concepts like skateboarding, motor vehicles, cooking Western style food, and closed circuit television. Elsewhere, Ha-baek does not understand concepts like how it is a dumb idea to knowingly put yourself and others in a dangerous situation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 4 2017/07/11,
It's really uncanny how the more I see of So-ah the less I like her. For a sense of perspective, the last cliffhanger featured her being thrown off the top of a building by a crazy person, and getting her life magically saved by Ha-baek. Yet rather than respond with gratitude for this heroic, if self-interested act, So-ah gets right back to the usual negotiations. How in the world can we root for a story of unconditional love when So-ah insists on attaching conditions to everything?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 3 2017/07/10,
So right away we get a hint both of why So-ah's ancestors would agree to be the human guides for the Water God and also how they're punished should they refuse. Magic powers. And there really is something demented about the way So-ah is tortured for most of this episode considering that she, herself, works in psychiatric care. Soo-ah's only hope is to ask for advice from her eccentric friend Yeom-mi (played by Choi Woo-ri) and hope for the best,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 2 2017/07/04,
For all the brisk exposition of the first episode "Bride of the Water God 2017" doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get anywhere. We have to wait until the cliffhanger to even get a decent hint that Ha-baek and So-ah are going to start working together. Until that point it's just, Ha-baek wanders around the city like an arrogant idiot, and So-ah fails to solve her financial problems. What about Ha-baek's lost magic powers? Or the artifacts? When are we going to get to that?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bride of the Water God 2017" Episode 1 2017/07/03,
Right away "Bride of the Water God 2017" gets the essentials out of the way by clearly explaining its high concept fantasy plot. Every so often one of the natural god kings has to obtain the necessary artifacts in order to become emperor. This time, the aspiring god king is Ha-baek (played by Nam Joo-hyuk), who tends to spend a lot of time lying around and being sexy while not actually doing anything all that useful. Things do not go well when he has to go the human world to acquire the artifacts,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 16 Final 2015/12/15,
Well, third time's a charm. This epilogue ends up really actually being an epilogue, because this is most definitely the final episode of "Bubble Gum". The minor leftover plot points are, if not dealt with satisfactorily, at least dealt with in such a way that there's a sense of closure. Beyond that it's just more of the filler I've come to expect from "Bubble Gum", although except for the driving scene very little of it involves Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah being cute,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 15 2015/12/14,
At this point "Bubble Gum" seems satisfied with just existing. If all you wanted to get out of this drama was cute romantic scenes between Lee Dong-wook and Jung Ryeo-won, well, there's plenty of those lying around. What's completely absent is any sense of dramatic urgency. Even a visit to the wedding boutique ends up becoming a bit of a red herring, since nobody's actually getting married this episode and whole scene is mainly just an exercise in provoking memories,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 14 2015/12/08,
I finished this episode of "Bubble Gum" at a bit of a loss. Where is this drama even going anymore? I had to blink a few times wondering, was that the end? Are we done now? Because it really doesn't seem like there's anything left to do anymore. Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah are together. Seon-yeong's dementia appears to have kind of made her accept this I think? Also I'm still not totally sure who that fourth person is that they went to the beach with and there's only two episodes left,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 13 2015/12/07,
This episode is bookended by confrontations between Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan. The dramatic thrust, as usual, is that they take a long hard time to think about whether or not they want to go any further in this relationship. And of course, as Haeng-ah points out in the very beginning, Ri-hwan's actions certainly make it look like he worries about her as if she was a girlfriend, while verbally Ri-hwan insists that no such relationship can exist between them. For, you know, reasons,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 12 2015/12/01,
It's back to the characters in adult form for this episode of "Bubble Gum", and with that comes my general sense of ambivalence about the drama. Fortunately, we do get one very important fact established- what exactly is Seon-yeong's problem in regard to Ri-hwan getting together with Haeng-ah? Her reasons actually kind of make sense, and yet at the same time they're so horribly cynical that it's easy to see how this is a woman who once attempted to commit suicide,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 11 2015/11/30,
In a fairly radical turnabout, this episode ignores the present day adventures of Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah altogether, instead having the story take place entirely in flashback. I wasn't sure what to make of this creative decision at first, but upon further reflection "Bubble Gum" really did need the reprieve. The melodrama had become just about completely unbearable. At least in flashback mode there are decently long stretches of time between individual sad events,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 10 2015/11/24,
With this episode "Bubble Gum" firmly moves into ultra-sad melodramatic tragedy territory. To the credit of the production team it is a pretty slow burn. The opening scenes barely have any trace of melancholy, which is impressive given the generally dour nature of last episode's cliffhanger. The characters in general are taking Seon-yeong's erratic behavior in rather good sport. Although really, it's the new normal so why bother fighting it?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 9 2015/11/23,
The ambience in "Bubble Gum" is pretty consistently excellent. Director Kim Byeong-soo is consistently able to maintain a powerful dreamlike quality to the drama that persists so well, we're actually able to stay in focus pretty easily with Seon-yeong through the latter part of the episode as she slips forward and backward in time. Life as portrayed in "Bubble Gum" is less a series of concrete events and more a sort of continuum where life changes ever so slowly without anyone really realizing it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 8 2015/11/17,
I wasn't terribly thrilled with the somewhat contrived difficulties behind the Ri-hwan / Haeng-ah relationship last episode, in part because I wasn't feeling the chemistry. I've changed my mind on both points this time around. The first reason for this is Seon-yeong. As Ri-hwan's mother, Bae Jong-ok very effectively communicates the visage of a parent who makes a deliberate effort not to communicate. Seon-yeong acts like she has good reasons. But Ri-hwan is an adult, and she's still treating him like a child who needs to be protected,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 7 2015/11/16,
Now that "She Was Pretty" has ended its run, "Bubble Gum" appears to be trying to take the mantle of cute romantic drama with as little story progression as possible. It takes quite some time for us to finally get to some sort of conflict regarding the Haeng-ah / Ri-hwan relationship, and when we do that plot point ends up being implied incest. Which does make sense, considering how long Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan have been living like brother and sister,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 6 2015/11/10,
Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan have a very odd dynamic as lovers. They never really feel like lovers at all- they feel like friends who are making a self-conscious effort to act like lovers. Which is not a bad thing. Friends will put up with behavior that would be intolerable in a lover. And Ri-hwan, rather than sulk grumpily, is genuinely pretty good at having a fun time. But all of this can't erase the fact that the only real difference between Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan as lovers compared to Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan as friends is that whole ominous look down the alley,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 5 2015/11/09,
Late in this episode, a conversation is had regarding whether a kiss with a longtime platonic friend necessarily means that two are or can potentially be a romantic item. One particularly amusing part of the response is simply, if there's no romantic attachment, why did the kiss happen in the first place? This is the main essential question with which we should look at last episode's cliffhanger and this episode's aftermath. Why did Ri-hwan kiss Haeng-ah?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 4 2015/11/03,
Writer Lee Mi-na-I is so determined to not allow for any possible solutions to the character problems in "Bubble Gum" that even a straight-up fistfight accomplishes little more than maintenance of the status quo. From there it's on to grumpy people using slurred words to discuss their problems with same-sex friends. And this too has mostly the same effect. All anyone is able to say for sure is that they don't like anything about the current situation, with no real idea of how to change that,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 3 2015/11/02,
Haeng-ah is an unusual character in that the actions which best illustrate her personality are not the ones where she interacts with other people, but rather where she's by herself. Haeng-ah is a fairly good case of arrested development. For a long time she's been floating in this weird space where she doesn't actually have to answer to any kind of familial authority. Ri-hwan, after all, is not her real brother, so consequently, he can't really discipline her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 2 2015/10/27,
Ri-hwan (played by Lee Dong-wook) works in oriental medicine and is Haeng-ah's childhood friend- a position that has persisted in the present day. One part of their relationship that's really caught me off-guard is that Jung Ryeo-won and Lee Dong-wook don't really have much romantic chemistry. What they have is friend chemistry. This is very significant, because they do have romantic chemistry with the second leads in this drama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bubble Gum" Episode 1 2015/10/26,
Haeng-ah (played by Jung Ryeo-won) works in radio. Her life is kind of...generic. That's not necessarily an insult, it's just been awhile since I saw the first episode of a drama without some kind of obvious hook. As of yet "Bubble Gum" lacks much in the way of clear overriding conflict or even philosopihcal ideas. The most distinctive part of Haeng-ah is quite literally her overalls. Although really, a person can wear whatever ridiculous clothes they want when their job doesn't involve being seen. Believe me, I would know,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Nine: Time Travelling Nine Times" 2014/08/23,
There are a lot of issues with the Korean drama industry and the fact that new ideas can rarely escape the confines of the drama formula is one of the big ones. Romance is almost inescapable and overly melodramatic tropes and devices turning cliche are another such element. Even good writing cannot always escape those and often does not even try. 'Nine: Time Travelling Nine Times' is a series which had great potential and has many virtues, but it also has a few problems, its biggest issue being that it fails to incorporate a solid romance into its plot and goes cheap with its melodrama,...More
[HanCinema's Year in Review] Raine's Top Six Picks of 2013 2014/01/04,
It is the end of another year in K-dramaland and time to look back and count how many hours I spent watching dramas, running my drama blog, and working on drama-related projects. Since I watched twenty-eight 2013 dramas, recapped three and reviewed nine, and delved into past dramas, that would give me a total of,...More
Ji Hyeon-woo and Yoo In-na are in a relationship 2012/06/18, Source,
Actress Yoo In-na (30) opened her heart to actor Ji Hyeon-woo's (28) love confession. While she didn't show a response to his public love request, she accepted it and enjoyed a late-night date with her younger boyfriend in the end.
Ten days after the love propose on the 17th, Ji and Yoo were seen together in a park in Bundang, Kyeonggido. It seems their love from the tvN drama "Queen In-hyeon's Man" came true in real life. Their date was as sweet and romantic as the movie. They walked the park in front of her house, hand in hand. They made eye contact and laughed like people in love,...More
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