My two favorite things: books and dramas

…shows I’ve live-watched have all used books as central plot points. I suspect that there are a few reasons why Korean dramas are more likely to show books than American television shows. One is probably how they’re created: In America, most series are written in a collaborative process that involves teams of people. Something as personal as quoting from a specific book seems unlikely to stick—what are the odds that everyone involved would know…

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My love affair with Love Affair

…with the Kims. She’s their servant just as surely as the celery-stick toting maid is hers. I predict that Korea’s birth rate will spike nine months after this episode aired.(Could SLA be a government scheme to raise the population?) Boning up on the piano. When information about this show first started to come out, the word “steamy” was always prominently displayed. It made me chuckle—steamy? A Korean drama? Surely not.  I’ve be…

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From zero to hero (and back again)

…cret Love Affair is a perfect storm of awesomeness. The script is so low-key and wonderful that I want to watch episodes again and again to mine for details that I missed, while the director’s creative vision of a dim, obstacle-filled world is giving the story an intense, atmospheric resonance. Leading this parade of excellence are the show’s actors. Only four episodes in, they absolutely own their roles: Kim Hee Ae is perfect as crisply efficie…

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Navel gazing and sweeping generalizations: Watching drama as an American

…des are unheard of in America. (That’s why, right?) To a girl from the boondocks, city life as it’s shown in Korean dramas is nothing short of astonishing. (To give you an idea how different my area is, around 600,000 people live in my entire state, which measures 9,000 square miles. Seoul’s population of 9.5 million people is squeezed into 233 square miles.) Through Korean dramas, I’ve witnessed something like real city life for the first ti…

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Expectation and Fulfillment in Dramaland

…w focused so heavily on building romantic expectations that refusing to fulfill that expectation made the entire series feel somewhat hollow. I would have been okay with a series about her personal journey and individual development if the every episode hadn’t shouted “WHICH MAN WILL SHE CHOOSE???” “No, no, we meant for it to be a searing statement on women and romance! That’s why we spent the whole series buil…

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