I have to do my due diligence and tell you that down below you may find some mild spoilers on the following dramas: Run On (up to ep.10), Pride and Prejudice (ep.7), and The Life of Saya. Of course, I say go ahead and read anyway since I am easily, like, three years behind everyone else. 😅
(And psst, if you missed an earlier Drama Addict Diary, you can find all the hundreds of past editions here!)
Run On got too good so I stopped watching it.
Like LITERALLY no sooner had I posted my grumbly last Diary, and grumbled about it on the Yak we recorded last weekend, it suddenly got gut-wrenchingly good.
DRAMA WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME EAT MY WORDS LIKE A SILLY GOOSE ESP WHEN MY FRIENDS TOLD ME IT WAS GOOD AND I WAS A SILLY GOOSE
HOW DO YOU WRITE THIS GOOD WHAT IS ACTING LET GO OF MY HEART
I WANT TO GO BACK TO A TIME I DIDN’T HEAR THAT CONFESSION SO I CAN HEAR IT AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME
I also think writing and talking it all out so intensely last week got me to engage a little differently and a little more deeply with the show. Like combing your hair to get the tangles out and then suddenly it’s a shiny waterfall instead of brambles. But thinking is hard so I don’t really want to do it too much.
What? Oh, sorry. On task, right. Got you. Episodes 10 and 11. They got really, really good. Let’s start with:
Young-hwa and Dan-aH:
- How intense is it when Dan-ah breaks Young-hwa? SO INTENSE. And all this silence filled with the weight of nothing left unspoken until it fills up the all the spaces and suffocates us all but we love it.
- Also how thick is her hair??
- And she lies to herself that she doesn’t care and then knocks back a handful of jelly beans like they are beta blockers (they are, it’s medically proven by drama science!).
- Which is 100% understandable given the gaslighting she also has to swallow: look at how Dan-ah keeps having things taken away from her, not because she’s incompetent, but because her brother is, so things she’s done and achieved are just given to him to make up for his uselessness. It’s like being simultaneously worthless and priceless?
- Give the lady her jelly beans, she has earned them AND NO SHE DOES NOT NEED TO SHARE WITH NOPPA.
- “Noppa” is short for “nope not oppa, in this case literally”, even though he really wants to believe he is, the feckless gubbin.
Seon-gyum hearts Mi-joo and also puppies:
- “Yesterday, I watched Jerry Maguire.” Even I wanted to go watch Jerry Maguire before I started writing this just so I could say that yesterday, I too watched Jerry Maguire even though he probably doesn’t deserve it.
- But if Tom Cruise inspired that incredible, gorgeous confession, it might be the first thing he’s done in decades that I don’t hate.
- What really gets me about the way Seon-gyum speaks is how it’s like he’s choosing not just his words or how to say them, but there’s an extra beat where he’s keenly taking in how each word lands in real time. Like a live-shoot/ratings interplay, but one word at a time. It gives a cadence to his speech that just makes my heart hurt in a good, good way. Represent, Seon-gyumie. Represent. 😭
- The immediate return to Awkwardlandia post-confession, huhu
- Followed by them talking about their jobs and oh my Mi-joo well that is way too real. Like, literally in the same ways: looking up words I already know, listening and listening to the same line 50x and still unable to make it out. Forgetting how to grammar and covering real wastes of airtime for a pittance. It’s real, friends. Don’t do it if you don’t love at least some part of it, otherwise all that’s left is resentment.
- At one point in my notes, I have written “omg she is me” but I have no idea, a week later, what it refers to or even whom. You’d think I’d learn to take better notes after the LJS fingernails fiasco.
- HE TELLS WOO-SHIKIE TO CALL HIM HYUNG
- BUT ALSO CAN’T LOOK HIM IN THE EYE SO LOOKS SHEEPISHLY DOWN TO THE SIDE WHILE HE MUMBLES IT
- And Netflix subs just translate away all the lovely subtleties of everything he says that makes this moment so 😭. Sad.
- And he is still writing his journal 😭😭😭
- I was thinking about love letters starting two seconds ago when I tried to give this section a clever title like “the love letter of Seon-gyum” (yes it isn’t clever after all, is it 🤣) but then I was waylaid by imagining what kind of love letter Seon-gyum could write. It would either be:
- Laconic and unrevealing, or:
- Concise, yes, but every word a tiny, glittering star of his inner truth that will leave you crying because it hurts you with the unique perfection of its expression
- Like his confession.
Okay all you Run On believers, you can stop laughing. O me of little faith. Repenting as we speak.
Since I have quit dramas
forever for five minutes, I spent one day lying facedown on my bed mewling, one day doing my Korean speech homework (there’s a prize, guys, and I want to win it!) but actually just chatting to my new K-drama friends instead of coming up with fun grammar ways to explain Jane Austen (YES MY SPEECH IS ON JANE AUSTEN AND WHY SHE IS JJANG AND ALSO THE PAIN OF GENIUS), one day thinking about reading a book…and one day actually reading one. Or, you know, starting to read.
So you know Jessica Jung wrote a book? It’s called Shine, and it’s about a Korean-American K-pop trainee. I’m on, uh, Chapter 2 so I’ll have to report back, but I’m tentatively interested since you can’t really get more authentic than SNSD. Wait, what do we call them, SNSD or Girl’s Generation? Idk, halp.
Anyway, this is the year of K-pop novels apparently! K-drama novels already took off a couple of years ago, and I cannot lie, I really enjoy the deliberate application of tried-and-true K-drama tropes to the literary form, especially in a meta-kind of way. (See: Maurene Goo etc.). Our friend June Hur also has her second novel coming out soon, Forest of Stolen Girls, and that’s MURDERY BOOK SAGEUK.
(If you missed it, catch up on our interview with her!)
My speech idea was actually inspired by my current drama (re)watch, Pride and Prejudice, which has nothing to do with Jane Austen or her novel, and was originally titled Lawless World. How did it end up being called Pride and Prejudice? Nobody knows. Maybe my rewatch will make it clear though so far it hasn’t and frankly I fully expect it not to. Actually I wonder if it was once meant to be significant since an actual physical copy of the book turns up in Episode 1—like maybe a crucial piece of evidence is hidden between its pages or something—but then they just forgot about it or couldn’t be bothered.
My new and current theory—as in I literally am coming up with it as I write—is that both the pride and the prejudice describes Yeol-mu’s (Baek Jin-hee) boneheadedness about Dong-chi (Choi Jin-hyuk), who she insists is a killer.
Case Study 1
Dong-chi: *was there*
Yeol-mu: You are the culprit!
I did not make this up.
Case Study 2
Dong-chi: *knows how long is left on the statute of limitations*
Yeol-mu: Aha, I’m right, you did it because only two people know the statute of limitations! The victim and the perp! Since I am the victim, you are the perp!
I also did not make that up.
Sherlock is proud. Deduction and logic at its finest.
To be fair, it’s not her fault she’s written that way. But at least Choi Jin-hyuk is asking my questions for me, though I don’t understand why he is still so taken with her. Unless it is her waist that fascinates him, as it fascinates me. It is constantly distracting me with its impossible smallness. How is a human waist so ridiculously narrow!
The other annoying thing is that I’ve reached the point where rather than saying, “I like Choi Jin-hyuk’s character because he is sensible, wurp wurp” and calling it a day, I am instead grumbling about the male lead getting written as a sensible and superb, if overly cocky, human being while the female lead leads with her waist (okay fine I am just overly distracted by the waist and wanted to wedge in the pun, and hereon pledge to leave her lovely waist alone). Why does he get to be great at his job while she has to be incompetent? Also fridge, meet logic: how did she even become a prosecutor carrying around all those logical and deductive fallacies?!
Okay so she said something in Episode 7 which 100% absolves her of everything I have complained about above and also wiped the smirk off Choi Jin-hyuk’s face
but why do I feel like I have been through
exactly this same process before 🤪
Okay for real, despite complaints, this still went on to become one of my most appreciated thrillers of the 2010s, if the fact that I’m rewatching it isn’t testament enough.
I admit the tone is weird and mixed up in the first few episodes, like it’s trying to be funny and dark at the same time but instead of coming out a smooth blend, it is a zebra. It makes it a confusingly bipolar watch at the outset because it bounces mood from romcom to sitcom to jokey cop-show, before being suddenly overtaken by a deep sense of bleakness which eventually goes full-blown noir. It makes its lightness jarring. But it’s also a far stronger show once it leans fully into its melancholy and moral ambiguity. And the madness that is Choi Min-soo.
I can’t quite tell whether I like Choi Jin-hyuk or not anymore. I used to a lot (because of Pride and Prejudice, and my fave, Tunnel, and earlier works I enjoyed him in) but lately I felt like I didn’t really like him…but I don’t know where that came from. I watched an unmemorable episode of Rugal (fell behind but officially quit that once I heard it was a trainwreck), and a few minutes of Zombie Detective (zombies r still not for me 😱), but I was downright annoyed when he turned up in Mr. Queen as Shin Hye-sun’s former self. Why?! I don’t know! I also have been resenting him for occupying Shin Hye-sun! Why?! That’s 100% Shin Hye-sun!
Look, I don’t know. But I guess it doesn’t really matter. 🤣
There’s one thing I find endlessly entertaining in this show: Lee Tae-hwan plays a young paralegal and housemate to the main pair. He’s basically a giant teddybear of sweetness and he’s instantly sweet on Yeol-mu. The show never actually focuses on this, yet it’s there the entire time: Lee Tae-hwan starring in his own private drama which is like a cute law office romcom except he is the second lead and I don’t want to tell him because he is too sweet to hurt. Kyahhhh!
And then something bad happens to him and he is the saddest little peanut in the world except he’s huge which makes it even sadder because it is practically against the laws of physics for someone so big to be so sad. Also he loves, loves, loves this teeny tiny kid (that’s baby Kim Kang-hoon who is also huge now but was the tiniest little mushroom then) and I’m 100% sure that that’s real adoration, not scripted.
Does he just instantly love tiny things because he is huge?
A few months ago, Anisa, Paroma and I returned to an experiment: recording an audio commentary of us watching an episode of a show together. What that basically means is we watch something, talk over it (and each other) the whole time, and record it hopefully for your enjoyment. 😅
What was the show? This:
We were pretty shocked to find out that, for some reason, City Hunter doesn’t seem to be available on any of the official streaming providers anymore. It used to be on Dramafever, and I was pretty sure it was on Netflix even until recently (did I make that up?). So is it in license limbo like the rest of the Dramafever catalogue?
Anyway, we wouldn’t let that stop us from getting our commentary to you. So it’s been safely recorded, but I just came across a beautiful with-credits version that I never got to watch and seriously feeling like it would be worth the rewatch just to watch that opening play twenty times. (Yes, you have guessed correctly: I did not need that excuse ever.)
Friends. Nomads. Countrypeople. This time next week, for better or for worse, we will have Sisyphus. We will be either disappointed or elated, there is no in-between.
Until next time, then.
PS. I have not watched any more LUCA. I have not lost interest, I have lost steam.