Amour et Patisserie 没名字的甜点店 Ep 1(Recap)

I finally got around to finishing episode 1 of this beautifully shot drama and I am surprised at the range the drama seems to promise to cover. The camera work is wonderful; clear, focused, and smooth. The acting can use some work, but the effort shows. However, the editing, I have so much gripe with the editing.

Episode 1 

We begin the drama 6 months after the story began. We are introduced to each character as they busily catered to customers at a cozy desserts shop. The store is crowded and booming with business, but as Allen narrates, it wasn’t like this 6 months ago.


Six months ago, TianTian (owner, chef, and baker extraordinaire) sits in an empty shop with her one and only employee, Ah Lou. Along strolls Allen, a tourist new to the area. He inadvertently gets robbed (literally down to his boxers) and stumbles upon the Patisserie with no name while chasing his assailant.


The robber gets away, but Allen is left having to fend for himself when the two women think he’s a pervert.


They get the misunderstanding cleared up and Allen leaves to go to the Police Department to report his items stolen. The next morning, Allen comes back to the shop, much to TianTian’s dismay, and admits that he knows no one in Taiwan and used their bakery as his home address when he reported the robbery. So after much begging, TianTian allows Allen to stay at the shop while working for free as a busboy. The next day, the shop with no customers finally was graced with two patrons, only to find out it’s TianXing, TianTian’s older sister, who has brought along with her her new rich boyfriend.


TianXing is snooty to say the least, and calls everyone a peasant before leaving. TianTian was not happy about seeing her sister, and even less so at seeing that she has a new boyfriend. The ordeals makes her forget that she has to pick up her son from school, and she runs off to the kindergarten.


In the next scene, we waste about 15 minutes watching TianXing trying to cook for her boyfriend. She’s horrible at cooking and ends up ordering out.


Later that night, Allen and TianTian have a heart to heart about their situations. TianTian doesn’t answer any of his questions about her relationship with her sister, while Allen confesses he still needs some time to get his things in order and will need to stay at her shop for a while longer. He claims he cannot get in contact with any of his friends.


And in the next scene, we see another lone wolf sipping a glass of wine and calling a disconnected cell phone.


The scene fades out and we see that TianXing is waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up to go to Italy. However, an angry fiancee walks out of her man’s car and slaps TianXing straight across her face. The car drives off, leaving TianXing disheveled.

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TianXing, with her heart broken, decides to visit her sister’s shop and enlists the help of Allen (who just got his stolen bag back) and Ah Lou to steal her cheating boyfriend’s ring on the day of his wedding. The three succeeds and toasts to a plan well done.


However, TianXing gets way too drunk and has to be carried back to TianTian’s house by Allen. TianTian is visibly upset at the turn of events and chastises Allen for allowing this to happen. Allen smiles with an unreadable facial expression and retires for the night.

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With his belongings returned, Allen opens his ipad and finds that his mother has been trying to contact him. He lies that he is in Hong Kong and hangs up on her. (Well then, someone seems like he’s hiding a secret. And the Mama Allen looks like she’s rich!)


The next morning, a real customer finally visits the bakery and orders an item! Chef TianTian goes to a batting cage to vent her frustrations as her sister drinks herself to an oblivion. Allen spots TianTian at the batting cage and asks again about TianXing. Allen tells her that those who look fine on the outside and almost always trying to hide their sad insides, and TianTian thinks back to a previous break-up TianXing had and remembered that TianXing likes to cope by eating chocolate covered bananas.


TianTian goes home and makes her sister exactly that, a chocolate covered banana cake. And commence foodporn galore. This cameraman really knows how the hell to capture the most enticing angles of bakery goods.

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TianXing sees the cake and cries, thanking her sister. In reply, TianTian says “ShangBa” (meaning bitch), and we’re left with warm fuzzies feelings about their relationship. They’re definitely there for each other no matter how mean they might be.


At the end of the episode, we are presented with a silent, beautifully done wordless montage of how TianTian and her son stumbled upon the current Patisserie with no name. It was a raining night and the two was stranded in the neighborhood. A kind elderly man welcomes TianTian into his shop and insisted that she stayed the night while the rain does its thing. TianTian agrees, and cries.

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And this is the same man that TianTian visits today. He seems to have suffered a stroke, and TianTian brings him sweets to brighten his day. Then, we close the episode with Allen snooping around TianTian’s apartment looking for something.


Let me once again commend the beautiful camera work. The color is beyond vibrant and the zooms have such a clear focus to them. That little shop has such a quaint feel to it, and the food, the food… mmmm. The actors are fresh faced and new, and some of them tend to overact (like the actress playing TianXing), but their efforts show. Sandrine Pinna shows a level of nuance when playing TianTian, showing us her reserved nature yet also relaying her longing, her ponderment, and her depth. The actress playing TianXing is way over the top, and all of her scenes in this episode seemed like a waste of my time. She can definitely only improve from here on in, and her looks remind me of the famed HK actress Maggie Shiu. But really though, the directing for TianXing’s story was horrible. None of her scenes showed that she was really in love with her boyfriend (I felt like she was more in love with the idea of having a rich boyfriend), so her emotional heartbreaks make me scratch my head. Liu Yi Hao is wonderful as Allen, and his smile, those dimples, how can anyone doubt his sincerity. I love his conversations with TianTian and just how comfortable the two are with each other.

The backstory with TianTian and her adopted son is quite interesting, and makes me want to tune back in to find out more. The last scene where we find out how TianTian came to inherit her little shop has such a calm indie quality to it. (Perhaps this director should specialize on dialogue-free productions). I can understand what the writing is trying to do when setting this story up, and it makes me want to know more considering what it’s promising: Lost love, new love, sisterhood, motherhood, etc. There’s so much potential in this drama, and I can’t wait to watch the next episode, but the editing… The choppy scene to scene transitions give me whiplash. I hope that improves. It’s such a waste of the wonderful camerawork.

I will not be recapping since there are a couple of blogs out there already doing it, but I’m definitely going to be reviewing periodically.

The Patisserie with No Name (没名字的甜点店)

The last Taiwanese drama I watched was “Black and White” with ZaiZai and I was shown that Taiwanese dramas can be made with quality and good writing as well. Ever since then though, I have yet to be even remotely intrigued by a production from the Island, until now. I saw the trailer for “The Patisserie with No Name” and I’m planning to save this potential gem for after my Step 1 (Wish me luck). It’s going to be a feast after all of this drama starving. (Med School is tiring.)

The camera work looks amazing and the director really understands how food presentation works. If I like it, I’ll recap this during my off week. For now, au revoir.


P.S. We’re still alive! =D

Cheongdamdong Alice: My Version (and ending review)

It’s so interesting a concept to modernize and distort the Alice in Wonderland tale. The story itself is about a dream a little girl fell into and the dreamworld that astonished her. There are so many film versions of this classic tale, and to tell you the truth, like Se Kyung and Tommy, I don’t actually know how the story ended. Alice wakes up, but what of her dream and her encounters?

Ending Review

Cheongdamdong Alice stayed true to its Alice in Wonderland backbone and the ending was beautifully done. Some may say the writer overdid the fairy tale tie in, but I really liked it. It made us question the boundaries between dream and reality and whether what we live can be bridged by both these consciousnesses. While Se Kyung began the tale as Alice, wanting to find a white rabbit to bring her into Wonderland, she later realized, after all her adventures, that this Wonderland was but a dream and people wake up from dreams. Her dejected attitude mirrored that of all of us forced to wake up from a fantasy, and it left me wondering how Alice had felt when she woke up from her nap. Apparently there’s a version [in South Korea?] that had an epilogue with Alice’s sister relaying that life can be lived as a mixture of reality and livid fantasy, and thus, Se Kyung marries Seung Jo and continues to live in her semi-dreamworld. So that was how it all ended at face value, but what stuck out to me was the dreaming that Seung Jo did throughout the episode. It almost hints to us that perhaps Se Kyung was not Alice after all, but rather Seung Jo was our resident lucid dreamer taking the audience on a whirlwind adventure. Perhaps the Wonderland was not Cheongdamdong, but true love as projected by Seung Jo, and he had to slowly learn its trials, run through the caterpillar forests and battle against the Red Queen. I don’t know, but I’m glad I’m not the only one wondering what happens after an epic dream like that.

That being said, this ending was completely disjointed from the middle episodes. Everything from episodes 7 to 14 (maybe even 15) made no sense. We spent half the series trying to hide this “secret” from a man that we all thought had PTSD, and out of nowhere, just because he said he’s okay in episode 15, we all accept it and move on. There were so many storylines that were just dropped and not addressed further. Like, what of Se Kyung’s father’s bakery or his 1 year contract with Seung Jo’s father? It was as if the writer only had enough material for the first six episodes and needed fillers before s/he gave us this ending.

Conceptually, this drama was fresh and original, but it pains me to see it not reach even half its potential. There were so many trajectories that the story could have taken, so many issues to explore regarding the trials between the rich and the poor, and yet, poof, nothing. We began the series with such a hard hitting message about the professional suppression of the poor by the rich and a middle class woman wanting to change her path in life, and yet, we didn’t get to explore her professional development at all. Se Kyung was never looking for a white knight. All she wanted was access, and we all know Seung Jo did little protecting anyways, so I’m confused as to where that story line came from. I wanted the tale to take on a spin, and I wanted to see an unabashed woman, pushed to the edge, take action, and yet I got 7 episodes of crying and typical drama filler. AND goodness, I was upset with how one-dimensional Yoon Joo’s husband was, and his lack of romantic love for his wife, because seriously, if you didn’t even at least like her, why the hell did you put a ring on it.

The beginning was so good, and the concept is so golden, it pains me for it all to end unexplored, so here is how I would have wanted the story to run…

MY version

At the end of episode 6, we were at the pojangmacha where Se Kyung and Seung Jo almost kissed. They both obviously knew they liked each other, but it doesn’t make any sense that Seung Jo would acknowledge it so quickly and so willingly. Considering how he was dumped the last time, AND seeing how he was trying to heal, it would be more sensible that he would be the one holding out. We should spend some time exploring the rich/poor issue and how Seung Jo believed that hard work can take you anywhere. If he had discovered that his father had bought his painting in the middle of the series, their father-son relationship healing can take on a more gradual and realistic progression. Se Kyung would be there to help him as well, but incognito. She wouldn’t know about Seung Jo’s millionaire status because she needs some character development too. She can keep working as his pretend stylist while helping him out with his emotional development. She’ll try to avoid her feelings in the name of “going black,” but she’ll just like him more and more.

Seung Jo will be battling his world views on hard work and prosperity, and Se Kyung will tell him otherwise, show him otherwise. SJ will tell her that he’s a runaway Chaebol heir with no fortune but debt and this skewed view of the world. They’ll learn to trust each other, and Se Kyung will show him the cafe that Tommy frequents and tell him about In Chan (because SJ would ask). SK, with her experience as the stylist of the CEO of Artemis on her resume, will get a new designer job, and she’ll grow to become really good at her craft. SJ will recommend her, and SK will learn that maybe, just maybe, hard work does pay off a little bit (because really, it’s half and half, connections and hard work). She’s not completely over her “going black” quest, and she’ll score a super rich CEO and go past chapter 4 of Yoon Joo’s diary, (all of this by episode 9, because come on, there’s really not that much story).

She’ll tell SJ, and SJ will be jealous, but can’t do anything. He’ll struggle with his demons, reconcile with his father, and SK will face her potential in-laws. Her snotty potential in-laws will give her a hard time. Her relationship with the CEO is business, pretty much like Yoon Joo and her husband’s, and SK does research before every date to impress the rich man. She’ll hide her family and her background from the guy, admitting only that she went to a top university and decided not to study abroad because she believes domestic fare is more patriotic and will be trendy soon; and here we get to explore her relationship with her family. (I never got the feeling that SK ever appreciated her wonderful family. In my version, she would.) She’ll feel exhausted and use SJ as her confidant, glancing longingly at him, explaining to him that love can’t feed even kittens, and drunkenly tell SJ that she’s fallen for him and can’t love her CEO (Episode 12).

Yoon Joo will be there with SK, coaching her but reminding her again and again that love is but an obstacle in this game and not a co-inhabitant in their version of Cheongdamdong. Tommy will be amazed at SK’s skills and ask to collaborate with her. Tommy will try to set In Hwa up with SJ as per the original. SJ will refuse to marry In Hwa, therefore having another falling out with his father. Cha Il Nam will then begin to notice that his inability to take his son’s feelings into consideration keeps driving them apart. In Hwa’s family will find out about Yoon Joo and SJ through this matchmaking and blame everything on her. Yoon Joo’s husband will kick her out unless Yoon Joo uses her connections with SJ to grab a business deal. She’ll leave gracefully like she did in episode 16, having understood that her time in Cheongdamdong is over. Meanwhile, SJ will tell SK his real identity, and she’s the one who then refuses to see him having been lied to. Yoon Joo meets with SK, and she gets to be the one that says that the Wonderland was but a dream. This conversation gets SK thinking, and while she’s having dinner with her CEO, she reaches an epiphany and breaks up with the rich man. Commence looking for SJ (Episode 13).

SK looks for SJ, but SJ had shut off his phone to avoid his father’s calls. SK goes to the art gallery to look at the painting that SJ drew (the one his father bought). The painting’s gonna somewhat look like the path Alice took in Wonderland. She starts tearing saying the end of the path in the painting isn’t real, but it’s what’s standing in front of it that is (Dude, super deep, I totally just thought of it). She has this deep conversation with SJ’s father who also happens to be at the art gallery after having been rejected by his son, and they both just linger there. SK starts to tell him that when Alice left her home to go down the rabbit hole, she never looked back, and she kept becoming smaller and smaller to get through Wonderland, but really, what she needed to do, and what she did at the end, was grow bigger, and go back home. They both reach epiphanies, and totally have a bonding moment (Episode 15).

SK will find SJ in the airport trying to leave the country because he feels dejected having lost 1) his rekindled relationship with his father and 2) SK because he couldn’t learn how to trust people. SK will pull him out of the line… and the rest is history. We’ll spend the remaining time tying it all together with OTP cuteness. (I never understood why the last two episodes can’t be just filled with happy.)

(…Pictures are work in progress)

Dear Episodes 7 and 8 of Cheongdamdong Alice, I hate you

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You’d probably understand how pathetic my social life is when you find out how upset I got at two episodes of a Korean drama. But that feeling of getting to know all of these characters and flying on an emotional high because you didn’t think a story so sweet can exist, and then getting shot down in a matter of minutes is … crushing, to say the least. The last few episodes of CCD Alice (eps 3-6 to be precise) were like crack (as described by hartofseeker). I couldn’t stop thinking about the story, replaying scenes of PSH and MGY’s interactions over and over in my head. I re-visted soompi forums (which I don’t usually do), and I would constantly check the internet for potential previews, BTS (Behind the scenes), and rewatching my favorite scenes incessantly. All of this while studying for finals. I had anticipated that a nasty angst-filled twist will follow, but I thought the authors would handle it better.

Spoilers ahead…

1. that effing kiss

CheongDamDong Alice ep8_7 CheongDamDong Alice ep8_6I was all for PSH and MGY to kiss. Their chemistry at the end of episode 6 was so right, and a kiss would’ve sealed the deal. It would’ve been an expression of how they mutually felt towards one another, a confirmation of sorts. But when it finally happened, it happened at such a bad time and at such a cost to both our characters. It confirmed nothing except that Seung Jo (PSH) is the most adorable man-child in the world. It made us love him even more, and definitely at the cost of starting to dislike our heroine. Seung Jo was squealing like a little girl and tormented at his misreading the signs. He worried that perhaps he did not take Se Kyung’s feelings into consideration. He worried that he might have been too forceful and my goodness, his scenes with his cute doctor friend made my heart keel over. I knew he’ll get hurt, I knew it was coming, but damn it I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fast forwarded through the scenes because I couldn’t take the build up. I couldn’t sit through and watch how cute and in love he was, knowing that he’ll be emotionally crippled in the next scene. So my question is, what was the point of that kiss except for us to hate Se Kyung even more? Is that what you want writer-nim?

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2. se kyung

Why is it that I hate her now. I love Moon Geun Young so much and she must be doing a great job at her role, because my love for the actress and distaste for the character is making me bipolar. So what is Se Kyung’s deal anyways? I thought she was going to become an unabashed gold digger. She was going to pursue what she wanted, and as she’s recited numerous times, if you go black, go all the way black. I hate how she’s dilly-dallying between two extremes. Now that I think about it, I really don’t understand her character. I was just too in love with MGY, I totally disregarded Se Kyung. I personified MGY’s earnestness onto the heroine, not having considered that perhaps, she’s not suppose to be a smart, confident, and brazen girl trying to make her way into a different social tier. Perhaps she’s suppose to depict the growing stages of someone learning to become manipulative and self-hating.

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I understand that this game is about manipulation and cunning, trying to find yourself a rich man, but the moment you start emotionally stabbing someone you love, you’re a lost cause. You’re just hurting yourself more than anyone else. The hurt MGY relayed to us felt so real, and yet, it made me angrier when I realized she was going to use Seung Jo not as the white rabbit, but as her goal in Cheongdamdong. Listen to Yoon Joo! She said not to mix love and business. If you’re going black, go all the way black. My goodness, how is it that I am connecting with Yoon Joo now. She’s the only sane, intelligent caricature left in the drama. Her advice to Se Kyung was golden. Her words to Seung Jo were even better. Seung Jo, I love you, but as a man, as a lover, if you want to stop the vicious cycle of getting hurt, you need to learn that not everything is black and white. You have to learn who you are, what you are, and how your baggage will ultimately always destroy the women you love. Learn to deal with your father first. Grow, and then venture out into the drama dating scene again. (Because if this was real life, Mr. Cha, I’d protect you. lol)

My goodness, how is it that I’m relating to Yoon Joo now. This drama, I swear.

3. tommy hong

Tommy Hong Ep 8

Really now, a misplaced cellphone? I thought this drama was fresh and thought through, but a misplaced cellphone? This is how you will break up our OTP? Tommy Hong, you did not grow on me at all. I can’t like you in any way. The disgust that I felt when he poured soy sauce on Se Kyung has multiplied. I can’t believe he’s the second lead, if he was the villain, it’d be more believable. Does he even have any designer talents? Because all he ever does is matchmake rich people. (Does anyone besides Seung Jo have any talent in this show? Come on, this is suppose to be about how smart talented people can’t make it because of social circumstances. Show us your talent.) What is Tommy Hong’s role in this entire story? There’s so much angst already, and even without him, Sk and Sj have so many problems of their own, mostly owing to lies they both told.

4. In Hwa’s hair

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I really have no real problem with In Hwa at the moment. I don’t see her as a threat, and I love a woman that’s confident and is not afraid to put herself out there. I can’t say I love her because I really don’t care about her… but my goodness, am I the only one that was a little appalled by her hair style?

Misc happy thoughts…

Now to save this post from being too negative, here are some of my misc thoughts:

1. Dr. Dong Wook

This is definitely a drama. Let me tell you that the director of our psychiatry clerkship looks a little looney himself and nothing like Dr. Dong Wook here. Goodness, if only real physicians look like this, I’d be even more glad I chose medicine.

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2. The bromance trio

Haha, they’re a riot when they’re together. Why don’t they have awesome girlfriends in Korean dramas… or maybe just awesome friends of both genders, ya know, like in real life. Huh, how about it writer-nim? Can we love the women in the show again? Please stop antagonizing them.

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Crush: Kim Ji-Hoon


The only reason I even have a twitter account was because I discovered Kim Ji-hoon in 2010 and immediately fell in love. He posted quite frequently before he went into the military, and even though I didn’t understand a lick of Korean, I became a follower. (I pretty much stopped using twitter too because he was gone). Back in college, I had planned to save enough money to fly to South Korea to welcome him back to society… but I guess things didn’t work out. Lo and Behold, 2012, and he’s out of the military! AND… he’s signed up to do an awesome project. I am soo excited about the next installment of the Flower Boy franchise: “The Flower Boy Next Door/ My Flower Boy Neighbor.”

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This is their xmas promo

This is such fluff, but fluff that knows it’s fluff is the best. I can’t wait. The cast includes Park Shin Hye and Yoon Shi Yoon, two of the most promising young actors in South Korea. (Park Shin Hye’s performance in Uhm Tae Woong’s Cyrano Agency really won me over. She can totally do mature if she wants to.)

Flower Boy Next Door_BoysHappy Holidays!

Cheongdamdong Alice (Review) 청담동 앨리스

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Source: Soompi

This drama is beyond what I had ever imagined. Lackluster promos, a cliche poor girl meets rich man storyline, and an OTP pairing that was 9 years apart somewhat repelled me initially, but boy were we trolled. Whoever was doing the marketing for this show must have known that people will tune in no matter what for Moon Geun Young and Park Shi Hoo, and thank goodness I adore MGY enough to have been able to catch this drama. I’ve LOVED every episode and am currently obsessedwith it…

Careful, spoilers ahead.


The story revolves around Han Se Kyung, an aspiring fashion designer who was trained domestically (S. Korea). She is having a hard time finding work since all the luxury fashion brands only want to hire foreign-trained (read: Parisian) designers. She is hired by GN Fashion as a rookie and later finds out that the wife of the CEO is her old high school nemesis, Yoon Joo. Yoon Joo toys with Se Kyung and thus their friend/enemy relationship blossoms.

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Meanwhile, Se Kyung’s current boyfriend, In Chan, is running around selling defective Artemis (a brand) bags in order to try to pay for his mother’s cancer treatments. Their sob story ensues as In Chan breaks up with Se Kyung because of poverty. Se Kyung tries to help and gets in contact with Artemis’ CEO to prevent Artemis from suing her ex; there she meets Cha Seung Jo (better known to the Cheongdamdong society as Jean Thierry Cha). Their paths cross, and after In Chan takes Se Kyung’s money and ditches her to go start a new life in Germany (I know… why Germany), Jean Thierry becomes increasingly curious about Han Se Kyung’s back story having become enamored with her hard working attitude. Ironically, au contrare, after all of this, Se Kyung realizes her attitude about life sucks and wants Yoon Joo to give her the secrets on how to marry a rich man. Through their encounters, Se Kyung becomes Jean Thierry’s personal stylist, and the viewers get to watch with angst as MGY and PSH’s chemistry melts our computer screens.

What I love:

I love that there is a twist on the typical hard working girl meets rich guy story line. Rather, it’s literally a story about trying to marry rich. She’s looking for a rich husband. That is that, there’s no “working hard and accidentally meeting a rich man that decides to fall in love with you because you’re so sweet, innocent, and loving” baloney. No. This is about a woman that’s tired of not being able to make it because of her birth. She’s tired that no matter how hard she works, she cannot get ahead because of her lack of connections and wealth. It’s about the harsh realities of a field that caters to the 0.1% of the population. She deems it unfair, and she wants in. I love that about the writing. Why can’t a girl want something better for herself? Why can’t she find a lover that just so happens to also have a couple billion dollars laying around? Why can’t she live comfortably and not have to witness the daily tears her parents shed because of economic disparities? While the real world is not so clearly dichotomized, I am loving how our protagonist is not afraid to pursue what she wants. (Holla for a unabashed female lead!! Excited already).

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Secondly, I am loving Jean Thierry Cha. This here is a man that needs very little to shoot beams of happiness through his smile. Yes, he’s petty and weird. Yes, he holds grudges and has got daddy issues. But his genuineness makes up for it all. He was hurt, but he still wants to believe that pure love exists in this world. His child-like sincerity makes me adore him. He’s a little eccentric, but gosh, that makes me love him even more. (Not to mention that megawatt smile PSH comes with, phew, girl friend here needs to keep a defibrillator on hand.) I can’t wait to see more of him in the coming episodes.

The supporting characters are amazing. Let me give kudos to So Yi Hyun for that freakout scene in the car (Ep 6). This woman is so good at relaying to the audience her anxieties with the fidgety batting of her eyelids and the subtle lip biting. She’s got so much depth as just the second lead. While Tommy Hong has yet to reveal his brilliance to me thus far, I’m waiting to see what the writers can do for me to help me understand and perhaps also appreciate his character.

What I dislike:

There does exist a gap between the poor and the rich in the world, but the way the story dichotomizes the rich and the poor makes the story a little less believable. While Se Kyung wasn’t living in abject poverty to begin with, the way the writers depict societal disparities is a little unrealistic. Also, does everyone know every other person in the drama? Why’s it that anyone that’s on the main list of casts is always somehow all connected? Is the world that small? But hey, whatev’s, it’s a drama.

What’s to come:

I can’t wait to recap some of my favorite scenes. I don’t have time for entire episodes, but there are some scenes that I found were so well done I just have to share!

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Am I the only one that noticed that PSH gulped during this scene? This add such detail to the entirety of the almost-kiss.

I Miss You Ep. 1-4 Review

So this drama has gotten a lot of press, both bad and good. But hey, bad press is still press, right? From finding a female lead to starting the adult portion shoot 1 week before its original premiere date, “I Miss You” had some trouble from the start. Now let’s be clear about one thing: I shamelessly admit that I’m one of those girls who watches drama for the pretty faces. Despite Yoochun’s mediocre acting skills, I still move my faces 6 inches closer to the screen whenever he comes on. I don’t even have to start on my obsession with Yoo Seung Ho (and his ability to kiss). And come on, Yeo Jin Goo playing little Yoochun? Who can resist that?

The premise of the drama is abut two teenagers from different worlds falling in love. Jung Woo (JW) is a chaebol, complete with an evil stepmother to boot. Soo Yeon (SY) is a poor girl with a father who was wrongly convicted and executed as a murderer. And overcoming all the odds, the two bond when they are being bullied by their classmates. The chemistry between Jin Goo and So Hyun is clearly there. Both portray the innocence of a first love exquisitely. When JW fixes the lamp and reaches over SY, a scene that will be mirrored by their adult halves, I can literally see the electricity shooting between their eyes. It’s all great and everything, BUT (and it’s a big but) I can never see Jin Goo with anyone else but Kim Yoo Jung from “Moon That Embraces The Sun.” I feel bad for So Hyun b/c she’s a great actress and I definitely see her as one of the top stars in the future, but that one drama will always cast her in Kim Yoo Jung’s shadow. Anyways…

So after some angry adults with inheritance issues wreak havoc upon our couple, we get to see some really emotional and gut-wrenching scenes. JW’s step-grandma and her son (aka Yoo Seung Ho’s role – Hyung Joon) had to escape from JW’s evil money-snatching dad and stepmother, and in turn for JW’s dad kidnapping Hyung Joon, the step-grandma orders JW to be kidnapped. Still following me? Basically, it’s an eye for an eye – kidnapping style. When SY gets kidnapped along with JW, one of the kidnappers rapes SY in front of JW’s eyes. WTF? I know…it’s pretty drastic for a kdrama. It goes to show the progress of entertainment and the degree to which it reenacts our society. The rape scene isn’t shown and all the viewers see is JW’s reaction to such a gruesome crime. This scene was another shining moment for Yeo Jin Goo. The mix of desperation, anger, and hopelessness in his eyes are conveyed SO effectively on screen and I gotta give him major props. I bet every single viewer was screaming along with him. It was also a great choice made by the director to focus this scene on him and have JW convey the moment when his whole life changed and would be determined by this act.

The drama started off weak, with lower ratings than expected, and I wasn’t really surprised. The first episode started off slow, with a lot of adults fighting and not enough cutesy love scenes to pull me in. Then in episodes 3 and 4, we were thrown into this angsty ocean where our lovers struggle to stay together and all the problems come rushing in at once. I’ve read the basic plotline – JW grows up to be a tough cop who chases down every single criminal to make up for his inability to protect SY in the past while SY grows up with Hyung Joon and Hyung Joon is eventually friend-zoned because we all know our leads will end up together. Hyung Joon and JW will probably fight at first to continue their parent’s revenge but then make up in the end because they realize they’re not that different after all. It’s very typical, I have to say, and maybe this is because there has been so many dramas lately that challenge the conventional love triangle/revenge plot like Arang and the Magistrate, 49 Days, and Princess’s Man. The angry adults are the generic plot devices made to drive a wedge between our leads and really have no functions other than that so far. I mean it’s a solid foundation so far and the kids have set everything up nicely. But I’m more looking forward to seeing what our adult counterparts will bring and how many obstacles they must overcome to play out this love triangle.

Runway Cop (Review)

I’ve been pretty hyped up about this movie ever since I heard about its conception back in 2011. It took me a while, though, to get around to watching it, but boy was it worth it. If you’re looking for a film with depth, swift execution, and stellar story, this is not the movie you’re looking for. If instead you’re looking to watch a comedy that will make you laugh out loud and catch live feed of Kang Ji Hwan’s fantastic abs, this is the jackpot.

You need to click on the image for the full size…;)


I began the movie expecting to see a male version of Miss Congeniality, and while there were some ogre to beauty makeover elements preserved, the story just wasn’t the same. While Miss Congeniality was more about Gracie’s maturation (at least to me), Runway Cop was all sorts of just slapstick. Great slapstick at that. I loved Kang Ji Hwan and his willingness to give his all no matter how ridiculous the scenario was. Whether he’s hanging at the edge of a bridge, edge of a truck door, or stuffing sausage into his mouth, Kang immersed himself in the boisterous actions. And that’s what’s so great about him as an actor. He can do melo, crying with a plethora of facial expressions; he can do anger, submerging his audience in the intensity of the scene; and he can do comedy, because he can let himself go and pose like an idiot without the restraints of a hallyu star. I. Just. Love. Him.

The story revolves around an undercover stint by the Korean police force in trying to catch some powerful Meth dealers. They suspect that a popular male model, played by Lee Soo Hyuk, is helping a bunch of mobsters smuggle drugs during fashion shows. A recent police infiltrate into the fashion scene, as a crew member, was murdered, and now they need Detective Cha to crack the case. Detective Cha, played by Kang Ji Hwan, is an overweight and dedicated officer that’s willing to put his life on the line in the name of justice. He lives at work, refuses to shower in the name of staking out, and loves meat. He is assigned the job and works with the fashion designer Go Young Jae, played by Sung Yuri, to lose weight and become more model-like. The two headbutts the first minute they meet but eventually re-kindles when they realized they were high school classmates. (I love the set up already, high fashion diva versus pushy stubborn detective). And thus, hilarity ensues.


The Bad 

It was so obvious that Kang was in a fat suit throughout the entire movie. I wondered why they needed him to be fat in the first place. Why couldn’t he have just been hideously dressed, unshaven, and smelly, without being 20kg overweight, I don’t understand. The transition was so not believable, because seriously, who can make such a huge transformation in 2 weeks without plastic surgery. And to top it all off, he was always stuffing his face when he was fat and screaming with his mouth full. I felt someone needed to be there to do the Heimlich Maneuver at all times. The editing and scene transitions were also a little odd at times. Some stares took too long, and some scenes were pointless. The villains were jokes and I’m definitely questioning how they even got so powerful in the first place. There was pretty much no character development and I’m still not clear what the models did to help with the drug smuggling.

The Good 

Sung Yuri’s diva designer was a riot. Her hand gestures still make me chuckle, and her crazy outfits are Lady Gaga level. But goodness, she can pull them off and make them look gorgeous while doing it. (Now I kind of want her pink dress-thingy-ma-bob.)

Her chemistry with Kang was off the hook and every time they were in a scene alone, which were a-plenty, I can feel the static electricity.

The fashion was definitely there, and the clothing that the male models toted at the runway were pretty impressive, especially what Detective Cha was wearing as the main piece.

Overall, it was a fun ride. Light, slapstick, and silly. I’d recommend it!

Crush: Park Ki-Woong

I’m still alive! We’re still here, I promise.

It’s been a while, I know, and I dare not upload a post since I haven’t had the time to actually watch a drama. While I’ve been reading recaps here and there, my schedule does not allow for the actual act of watching. (Sigh, I wonder sometimes if I made a wrong career move.) With that being said, I’ve been wanting to upload a tragic figure post about the characters in Gaksital. I’ve seen snippets of the show and thoroughly enjoyed the pace of the writing, even though the romantic angle of the story was but a dud. I absolutely loved Joo Won in it, and I am extremely impressed with his abilities to act out repressed rage, sorrow, and regret. As a person, Joo Won is ridiculously “aegyo-tastic (meaning cutsy),” which is a complete 180 degrees from his Gaksital character. Park Ki-Woong was also on a different level. I’ve seen him in other projects before, but this is the first one where I came to understand his full range and acting capabilities. He’s such an underrated actor.

Needless to say, I had a hard time picking who was the most tragic of the figures in the drama. It was just too hard. Do you pick the misguided hero who gave up the only friend he had to pursue an altruistic agenda after his mother was brutally murdered, and after accidentally killing his own brother with his bare hands? Or do you pick the anti-hero whose love for all peoples of the world was gutted after the murder of his brother and the betrayal of his one true friend for a girl he would’ve died and killed to protect? It was just too hard, and to add to it all, the actors were both fantastic.

But while Joo Won enjoys the spot light after several successful dramas prior to the Bridal Mask project, I’ve only ever saw Park in The Tutor Friend (2) and as a side character in Love and Marriage. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a setting that allowed him to showcase his abilities. I’m a little taken aback by the harshness, craze, and yet turmoil with which he was able to portray Kimura Shinji. He relays the darkness so well, and yet still propels us to sympathize with his twisted logic. (Fan girl sigh.)

I’ve seen him be the bumbling idiot (Love and Marriage), and he’s cute enough to do romantic comedy (Tutor Friend), but please, someone give this man a real meaty leading role. He is leading role material. He totally deserves more love, and so I’ve birthed a new segment call “Crush” to show my appreciation, and of course dying love, for him. Come on people, Joo Won isn’t the only one that deserves some loving!