Sunday, November 4, 2012

Korean Drama: Love Rain

Should perhaps also be known by its driving plot synopsis: "Shit All Over Yoona Over and Over and Over (and Over)".

First, a little background.

I've been consumed by a small slice of k-pop for a year and a half now. I say small slice, because while there is a veritable cornucopia of k-pop out there for consumption, there are only five groups that I really listen to. In fact, they're basically all I've listened to since I posted about it back in June or July of 2011. Girls' Generation (aka "So Nyuh Shi Dae" as it's pronounced in Korean, often abbreviated as just SNSD) easily holds the crown, with T-ara, BoA, Wonder Girls, and f(x) all generally tied for second. There is no third place. There are also no Korean boy bands in the mix. I can say without hesitation that when it comes time to listen to something, I prefer hearing girls making beautiful sounds over boys.

Men making music have a place in my Google Music repository, but it's mostly hip hop. Hip hop has become harder and harder to listen to, though, as I'm just... worn out. When I get in a mood, and need to roll my windows all the way down and crank up something loud during a commute, almost any track from Red and Meth's Blackout album used to do the job, but now I'm finding SNSD's Paparazzi, Taeyeon/Tiffany/Seohyun doing Twinkle, or Taeyeon soloing Hush Hush (zomg...brb in 3.5 min) fits the bill even better. As a bonus, I'm usually in a better mood at the end of the Korean track than if I heard a bunch of Angry Black Man vs America.

There's something huge to be said for not speaking Korean, too. I just ... love hearing the noises they're making with their god damned mouths. I don't know how else to say it. I spent a little while where I looked up the lyrics, but find I actually enjoy not knowing (caring?) what they're saying, and just remaining unaware of the play by play / verse by verse.

There are exceptions, like Taeyeon being put on the spot to randomly perform something, and her just ... KILLING IT... with subtitles. The song actually starts around 3:00, but it's worth watching the buildup to just see that this guy is like "go. sing. do it." and she finally does.

This song is easily my favorite song on the planet right now, and it's a shitty YouTube. I've ripped an mp3 of the YouTube, and have it in my car / on my phone / on demand anywhere. I'm not sure if it's the fact that she just threw down and pulled it out of her ass on the spot, or if it's just because she's Taeyeon, and Oh My Muh Fuggin Gee She's Just Muh Fuggin Kim Taeyeon (!), but I would basically kill to have been in the studio when that was recorded. Hell, I'd likely kill for just a high quality version of it, minus the guy that puts her on the spot.

Here's me, in the black shirt and glasses, and here's you, offering me a Studio Quality Cut of I Have a Lover, As Sung By Kim Taeyeon During That Chin Chin Radio Session:


ANYWAY. This isn't a post about k-pop (fooled you, right?!). It's a post about Korean Television Dramas. If k-pop is the gateway drug, then apparently dramas are that blue shit they make on Breaking Bad. I began watching one a few days back, have been cracked out and staying up till 3am nights plowing through it after the kids have gone to sleep, and can say without hesitation:

Every wonderful thing I've said about k-pop in this post does not apply to the dramas. Love Rain, which stars Yoona from SNSD, is terrible. Yoona is a beautiful shining star of innocent awesomeness, but she gets so completely shit on over and over every episode to the point that the suspension of disbelief required to immerse yourself in fiction simply does not exist. In a blockbuster motion picture about space aliens, you go into the theater knowing that it isn't an actual documentary. You're presented with fantasy, and as long as the effects are believable (as believable as space aliens shooting lasers can be), you're able to enjoy the show. The fourth wall shatters when the effects are bad; you can tell it's just a guy in a rubber suit, or the green-screening was done poorly.

Love Rain features no aliens. We're meant to believe that Yoona is a woman on our present day planet Earth who would put up with being shit on by a douchebag repeatedly while remaining true to him. He doesn't beat her, it's nothing so overt... he just prances around in perfectly coiffed hair tooting his own horn and talking about how every woman loves him (his nickname is "3 seconds" because he can make any woman fall for him in 3 sec) while rubbing her face in it for liking him in the first place, which also comes to begin in such a ridiculous turn of events that -- again -- you can't believe that it would ever happen in the first place.

The impetus is obvious. We're supposed to feel sorry for Yoona, and cheer from the sidelines for her happiness, but I'm torn between wanting to slap the douchebag for being a douchebag, and slap Yoona for putting up with it. I guess this is me, being a man, not understanding why women want to be shit on by the "bad boy". In typical love story fashion, you need a spreadsheet to keep track of the love dodecahedrons, where guy A and B both like girl X, while girl Y secretly likes boy C, but is stuck dating boy D, who longs for girl Z.

All of that said, I'm not the type to read half of a book and just stop reading it. I've watched 14 of the 20 episodes so far, and will see it through to the end. Maybe my next post will be how it was all worthwhile, but I doubt it. I know for a fact the reason I continue to even put up with it at all is because Yoona is so amazing that every second she's on screen everything else becomes secondary annoyances, buzzing about in the periphery.

Prior to starting this series, Taeyeon was my clear and away favorite member of SNSD. She's the strongest singer, easily, and ... well... is Taeyeon. Yoona is closing the gap, though.

I'll let you know if the ending works out any better, but unless the last scene is homeboy getting shanked in the gut and bleeding out in the gutter... Korea weeping at her loss, me cheering on the couch that he's finally dead... then I think we can chalk this one up as a loss.

Maybe seeing it without subtitles would have helped, that same way I enjoy their music... having no idea what's actually going on.



Tristan Francis said...

Iso what got you into kpop in the first place?

Did someone help you cross the great divide between Nippon and the mainland?

Also have you managed to get to Seoul at any point?

And is your wife ok with a threesome with Taeyeon?

PS for your hip hop

and for your 어머 너무 귀여워 ^_^

Rich said...

it was actually a random tell in Trade that got me hooked on kpop... someone suggested 2NE1, but fell in love with SNSD in the "you might alos like..." sidebar. I've never actually been to Korea (yet), but yeah... win the lottery, stop in Japan, buy a house, drop off the wife and kids, go to Korea, buy another house for myself, full time Taeyeon stalking new profession.

The wife probably wouldn't fly with a threesome, but likely wouldn't hold a twosome against me ;)

Hyuuna rules, hands down. Her own version of Gangnam style is off the hook:

And I already know (and love) T-ara. Davinchi is good, downloaded a bunch of their stuff (3 albums?) specifically from that one song (love it), but never really got into them.

T-ara's newest album, Mirage, is HAWT. Sexy Love Robot Version, gogogo:

Tristan Francis said...

Yeah T-ara is the best. I actually got to see them in a rehearsal about a year and half ago while I was in Seoul.

I met up with some people from Teamliquid (starcraft website, maybe you've heard of it? it's pretty big but not related to wow whatsoever) to go see the finals of a starcraft tournament. One of the guys from Singapore said he had an extra ticket to see T-ara at a music show so I said sure.

It ended up them singing Roly Poly ( about 15 times with makeup fixing breaks in between.

Not quite what I expected but it was free. I think they looked better in person than they do in the videos... It made me understand how a horny 16 year old kid could get obsessed with some kpop girl pretty quickly.

Also you tend to get tired of kpop while you're in Seoul. Random popular kpop songs are pumped through every clothing and cosmetics store like cheap cologne in an Abercrombie & Fitch. It starts to wear on you. But Seoul is still a pretty awesome city.

If you manage to arrive there without selling one of your kidneys for a plane ticket, your money goes way farther than in Tokyo/Osaka.

Mary said...

I really love their tandem. Jang Geun Suk ♥ Yoonah

Anonymous said...

I'm watching this too and while Jun seems like he's crapping all over Ha Na, deep down he really likes her but maybe in an immature way, he is unable to express that feeling so he plays the game with her. You can see as times passes that he softens up to where he finally shows his true feelings. Their parent's story in the background is also intriguing and their kids seem like polar opposites.