I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Winter Sonata: The Verdict November 6, 2007

The verdict was life’s too short to watch a kdrama you’re not that into, even if it would be good for your Korean. And anyway, a drama you *are* into would probably be better for your Korean because you’d actually be inclined to watch it! So I sent Winter Sonata back and am now waiting to see what Tiger Cinema will send me next. It’s never the next thing on my queue. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tiger Cinema. But they still never send me the next thing on my queue.

In the meantime, I’ve been rewatching My Lovely Samsoon, also known as My Name Is Kim Samsoon. The first time I saw it I thought it was about average, but I’ve now realized that you have to skip half the parts with Jung Ryu Won and all the parts with Daniel Henney, and then it becomes great. I know I’m going to make enemies among the Daniel Henney camp by saying so, but there it is. Virtually every time he appears onscreen the conflict goes bye-bye, and who wants to watch a drama that’s conflict-free and is all about being happy and cheerful and finding out where your mom grew up on Jejudo? Not me.

But when Kim Sun Ah (Samsoon) and Hyun Bin are onscreen, it’s amazing, especially when they’re together. Loads of conflict and sexual tension. Both of them can do more with a look than most people can do with ten sentences.

Also, the more I rewatch this drama, the more I like Samsoon’s outlook on life. She’s realized life’s not all romance and flowers and love rarely lasts forever. I love the way this drama ends, too. Oh, and it’s fun to watch the restaurant scenes and see how baking is integrated into Samsoon’s life and worldview.

So there it is. If you’re tempted to watch Winter Sonata, go watch My Lovely Samsoon instead. Just remember that on first viewing it may seem so-so, but on second viewing if you skip the Daniel Henney scenes you’ll appreciate this drama’s true greatness.

P.S. For the many of you who have been reading about the upcoming Korean film festival, I’ll probably be posting updates in the days preceding it and will definitely be blogging about it while it’s going on.

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A Case of Too High Expectations October 22, 2007

Filed under: kdramas — Raven @ 9:06 pm
Tags: , ,

Winter Sonata is the quintessential kdrama, right? The huge hit, the most popular kdrama ever, etc.? I should be blown away by it, right?

I’m not.

Granted, I’m only on Episode 4. And maybe part of the problem is that I’ve already seen bunches of kdramas that were made later and probably copied the classic, so I already recognize the tropes and they don’t seem fresh. But you know what it’s missing? A throughline. Er, aside from the obvious one of Bae Yong Jun and Choi Ji Woo falling in love and after many trials and tribulations ending up together, as I’m sure they will. Or else dying in each other’s arms or something. Or another heartbreaking possibility that I don’t want to say because it might spoil some of it for those of you who haven’t seen it. Or one of them getting cancer. I swear, if somebody starts getting nosebleeds I’m turning it off.

Okay, I probably won’t turn it off, but I have to say at this point I’m watching it more out of a sense of duty (how could I not watch Winter Sonata now that I’ve finally gotten hold of it?) than because it’s compelling. And that makes me sad. I had such high hopes.

That was probably the rest of the problem.

P.S. Nobody spoil the ending for me, please.