Follow-up on the “Countdown to Lee Min Ho”: The L.A. Fan Meeting Review

Cheryl and Jini survive L.A., the media, and the fans of Lee Min Ho

Starbucks coffee cups in hand, Jini and Cheryl set off on the I-5 Sunday afternoon for the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles to meet Hallyu star Lee Min Ho. The event, sponsored by Toyota, was a 4-hour extravaganza that began with an hour-long wait outside the hotel with excited, yet polite fans waiting patiently for doors to open. Jini and I arrived shortly after 2:00 pm. The folks at the front of line? Some had been there since 9:00 am, some since 5:00 in the morning. The doors were set to open at 3. This was a by invitation only event, 250 lucky ticket winners, their guests, a few VIPs and, of course, plenty of media.20130310-153652.jpgCheryl and Jini survive L.A., the media, and the fans of Lee Min Ho.

The media frenzy began with interviews of fans waiting in line (including those without tickets trolling for guests without friends!). Since gifts were allowed, they seemed particularly interested in what fans were gifting their beloved idol. Yours truly designed and hand knit a dashing alpaca scarf . We’ll just hope Min Ho actually sees it! Lol  Others were

Cheryl Jinibringing hats, college sweatshirts, etc.

Upon admittance to the event, we were handed given color-coded wristbands, our official NIF super secret agent badges and sent on three missions: Save Sohee (test drive a Camry – Jini drove), Find Solid Evidence

Nation Intelligence Force Agent - How official is this?
National Intelligence Force Agent – How official is this?

(Take a picture with Lee Min Ho in a photo booth) and a Code Hunt (scan a QR code to learn about Camry’s engine.) Completing the missions earned you stickers. The stickers gained you the raffle ticket needed for the prize drawings. Free sodas, juice and small pastries were served. Want to see Jini test-driving the Camry? (aka saving Sohee?) New camera – poor video, sorry! The Crystal mentioned below is also in the car with us!:

Next we were ushered to the upper level according to wristband color. Those at the front of the line had a different color from those at the back. I believe there were about 4 or 5 color sections plus a VIP section. Toyota welcomed us, presented a compilation of the “One and Only” series which was met with appropriate ooh’s, aah’s and out and out laughter.

20130310-181315.jpgTension built when Lee Min Ho was finally set to take the stage. Fans were somewhat taken by surprise when he entered from the back and walked through the crowd, affording many the opportunity to shake hands with the star as he made his somewhat arduous way to the stage.

Unfortunately, the sound quality in the room was abysmal. Even with the limited size of the venue and a polite, attentive audience, it was extremely difficult to understand the questions and answers by the MC, Lee Min Ho and the interpreter. Lee Min Ho was, however, charming, adorable and is, indeed, very good looking in person. He also looked extremely young!

Yes, his first word was “Hi” and the crowd went wild. The MC turned and said “Hi” in a similar fashion and feigned disappointment that his greeting wasn’t met with the same fervor.

20130310-180907.jpg
How to make you feel like a celeb

The raffle prizes? 2 robot toys featured in the “One and Only” commercials as well as a hug from Lee Min Ho and an opportunity to asked him a question, and 20 chances to go up on stage, get a hug from “Oppa” as well as a signed poster.

No, neither Jini nor I won any of the raffle prizes, but our new friend Crystal won a poster and a hug. (Yea! Crystal!) Still and all, it was indeed fun and exciting to be so close to an actor that I’ve admired for so long!

The event ended, somewhat abruptly, right after the signings at 6:45pm. Although fans were disappointed to see it end, I saw nothing but happy, smiling faces as we exited the venue and headed for the parking lot.

At this point, however, Jini and I were pretty darned hungry having eaten nothing but a tiny pastry all day… Stay tuned for a review of our “layover” in Irvine on the way home…

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Follow-up on the “Countdown to Lee Min Ho”: The L.A. Fan Meeting Review

Cheryl JiniCheryl and Jini survive L.A., the media, and the fans of Lee Min Ho

Starbucks coffee cups in hand, Jini and Cheryl set off on the I-5 Sunday afternoon for the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles to meet Hallyu star Lee Min Ho. The event, sponsored by Toyota, was a 4-hour extravaganza that began with an hour-long wait outside the hotel with excited, yet polite fans waiting patiently for doors to open. Jini and I arrived shortly after 2:00 pm. The folks at the front of line? Some had been there since 9:00 am, some since 5:00 in the morning. The doors were set to open at 3. This was a by invitation only event, 250 lucky ticket winners, their guests, a few VIPs and, of course, plenty of media.Cheryl and Jini survive L.A., the media, and the fans of Lee Min Ho.

The media frenzy began with interviews of fans waiting in line (including those without tickets trolling for guests without friends!). Since gifts were allowed, they seemed particularly interested in what fans were gifting their beloved idol. Yours truly designed and hand knit a dashing alpaca scarf . We’ll just hope Min Ho actually sees it! Lol  Others were

bringing hats, college sweatshirts, etc.

Upon admittance to the event, we were handed given color-coded wristbands, our official NIF super secret agent badges and sent on three missions: Save Sohee (test drive a Camry – Jini drove), Find Solid Evidence

(Take a picture with Lee Min Ho in a photo booth) and a Code Hunt (scan a QR code to learn about Camry’s engine.) Completing the missions earned you stickers. The stickers gained you the raffle ticket needed for the prize drawings. Free sodas, juice and small pastries were served. Want to see Jini test-driving the Camry? (aka saving Sohee?) New camera – poor video, sorry! The Crystal mentioned below is also in the car with us!:

Next we were ushered to the upper level according to wristband color. Those at the front of the line had a different color from those at the back. I believe there were about 4 or 5 color sections plus a VIP section. Toyota welcomed us, presented a compilation of the “One and Only” series which was met with appropriate ooh’s, aah’s and out and out laughter.

Tension built when Lee Min Ho was finally set to take the stage. Fans were somewhat taken by surprise when he entered from the back and walked through the crowd, affording many the opportunity to shake hands with the star as he made his somewhat arduous way to the stage.

Unfortunately, the sound quality in the room was abysmal. Even with the limited size of the venue and a polite, attentive audience, it was extremely difficult to understand the questions and answers by the MC, Lee Min Ho and the interpreter. Lee Min Ho was, however, charming, adorable and is, indeed, very good looking in person. He also looked extremely young!

Yes, his first word was “Hi” and the crowd went wild. The MC turned and said “Hi” in a similar fashion and feigned disappointment that his greeting wasn’t met with the same fervor.

The raffle prizes? 2 robot toys featured in the “One and Only” commercials as well as a hug from Lee Min Ho and an opportunity to asked him a question, and 20 chances to go up on stage, get a hug from “Oppa” as well as a signed poster.

No, neither Jini nor I won any of the raffle prizes, but our new friend Crystal won a poster and a hug. (Yea! Crystal!) Still and all, it was indeed fun and exciting to be so close to an actor that I’ve admired for so long!

The event ended, somewhat abruptly, right after the signings at 6:45pm. Although fans were disappointed to see it end, I saw nothing but happy, smiling faces as we exited the venue and headed for the parking lot.

At this point, however, Jini and I were pretty darned hungry having eaten nothing but a tiny pastry all day… Stay tuned for a review of our “layover” in Irvine on the way home…

“Countdown to Lee Min Ho” Drama Review: “Faith – The Great Doctor”

Faith-the-great-doctor-aka-faith-32024424-1280-720Excitement builds. The countdown is concluding. Sunday, March 10th, I will meet Lee Min Ho, up close and in person. The car is gassed up. My wardrobe is selected. Cameras and phone are charged. Extra memory cards ready to go. Voice recorder in my purse. The final installment of the ‘Countdown’ will now commence.

Following the fine tradition of saving the best for last, we end this Lee Min Ho series with “Faith” also known as “The Great Doctor”, Lee Min Ho’s latest and greatest drama, and for him, yet another genre conquered. This time we have a historical drama, or perhaps we should call it historical fantasy drama? Here’s a trailer for the series:

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10

Set in both the Goreyo period and the present day, ‘Faith’ is primarily a historical drama with a fantasy twist. Lee Min Ho stars as Choi Young, general of the king’s personal elite Woodalchi army. He is sent forward in time 700 years to find a ‘divine doctor’ to save the dying Yuan Princess (Park Se Young). Thinking he’s been sent to ‘heaven’, he retrieves plastic surgeon Yoo Eun Soo (Kim Hee Sun) bringing her back in time to save the princess and promising on his honor as a Warrior of Goreyo that he will return her to heaven.

Of course, things never go quite as planned.

A heavenly person is, of course, a far too valuable pawn to a newly crowned king. Securing his power in a country dominated by the Yuan dynasty in China, and threatened by other royalty in the family tree becomes the background plot upon which the drama is set. The story evolves as the king struggles to find (and keep) his place, the doctor struggles to return to her own time while falling for the charismatic Choi Young, and Choi Young struggles to not fall for the person he is honor bound to return.

Script/Acting: My rating 8/10

LMH dreamThe script is very well written, with few slow-moving moments, excellent characters (and character development), a nicely flowing plot line and a conclusion that made a satisfying, consistent and logical culmination to the story. Especially impressive was the continuity found throughout the drama. Many dramas begin storylines and metaphorical themes and then either lose track of them or drop them altogether. A perfect example is Choi Young’s figurative dream lake, used through the drama to steal a look into the man’s inner struggles and state of mind.

Faith-2I also found it refreshing that more than one major nemesis was introduced during the series. Threatening characters abound, so the source of menace shifts throughout as the drama while continuing to build on the dastardly devils already in play. Again, there was no loss of continuity, and the flow, to and fro, from one evil opponent to the next felt authentic and natural.

The mixture of fantasy elements was surprisingly well done, given the high level of supernatural elements added to the storyline: magical abilities, time-travel, etc.

The is one drama where I cannot really think of a single actor or actress that ‘dragged down’ the show. The acting was superb. Lee Min Ho gave a superior performance as the understated hero, Choi Young. Kim Hee Sun, as Doctor Yoo Eun Soo did a remarkable job of evolving from a hilariously irritating, Faith-5shallow, scared plastic surgeon to a brave(r), compassionate, and introspective woman. Her effusive personality was the perfect foil for Choi Young’s stoic character.  The chemistry between these two kept viewers drawn in throughout the drama.

Faith-6The development of the characters of the king and queen was also extremely well done. The parts were played by Ryu Duk Hwan as King Gong Min and Park Se Young as Princess Nogook. Again, wonderful chemistry contributed to the beautiful love story between these two.

Faith-3Amongst the good guys, a special shout out to Lee Philip as Doctor Jang Bin, the royal Goreyo doctor, and friend to Eun Soo. Lee Philip always seems to do a great job, but this was a particularly good role for him and Doctor Jang was one of the best characters in the drama. Word has it the story was changed when he incurred an injury to his eyes demanding eye surgery and his withdrawal from show. Sadly, his character was withdrawn from the last few episodes. Kim Mi Kyung is one of my favorite veteran actresses and she once again shows her inimitable style as Court lady Choi. I can only imagine she must have enjoyed this role – the first I’ve seen her employing swordplay!

The super-villain, Yoo Oh Sung as Ki Cheol, also with magical abilities (what great villain pledged sibswouldn’t have them?) was flawlessly evil while creating retaining characteristics that humanized him. His magical cohorts put in excellent performances as well: Sung Hoon as Cheon Eum Ja, the mystical flute player (who looks pretty darn good with gray-white hair, by the way) and Shin Eun Jung as Hwa Soo In, sexy fire-lady supreme. I could go on, and on, but suffice to say, there were many, many excellent performances and many well-crafted multidimensional characters! If I waxed poetic about every character I loved, this review would go on forever.

Cinematography: My rating 9/10

Great stunt fighting. Cool, magical special effects. Gorgeous settings and stunning scenery. Fabulous costuming. Music meticulously cued in to the scene and action. A beautiful musical score was created for the drama. As stated above, the fantasy elements were incorporated seamlessly. Although I read there were budget cuts during the filming of this drama, they are not evident in the cinematography.

Music: My rating 7/10

Although I tend to focus on the vocal pieces featured in dramas, the instrumental pieces accompanying them are often excellent as well. The musical scoring for ‘Faith’ was really well done. The vocal pieces, while not in my all time “Top 40 Hit List” are also nice.

Probably my favorite ballad: ”Carry On” AlI  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=949mw-0VLoQ

”Because My Steps Are Slow” Shin Yong Jae (4MEN) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9Y4xw-F64A

”Bad Person” Jang Hye Jin, MC Sniper  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuT9-G-qOFg

”Teardrop” Younha  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiA5cvvQmz4

”Look At You” Seong Hoon (Brown Eyed Soul)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ZBZ_CCeXA

”Wind’s Song” Young Joon (Brown Eyed Soul) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXqYwdAQnq4

”Love” Rumble Fish  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w-ttHQCp0g

”Because It’s You” One Piece  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qJw-5dXcSE

Overall Charisma: My rating 9/10

There are so many emotionally draining scenes. If you need cathartic release, you’ll definitely find it here. With so many good characters to follow and so many great storylines that mesh surprisingly well without getting messy or tangled, the overall charisma for this drama is very good. This is not a series that tires you out or is difficult to follow. The chemistry is so good between all of the actors that everything seemed to gel.

Overall, “Faith” is definitely my favorite of Lee Min Ho’s dramas to date and, I feel, his best effort in dramatic performance. It has action, fantasy, drama, romance, and mystery. It has me thinking like a kid again – what superhero powers do I wish I had? 😉

Happy Drama Watching!

Faith romance

“Countdown to Lee Min Ho” Drama Review: “I Am Sam”

IAMSAM~1Less than a week remains to the big event! I’ll be heading to the Legendary Park Plaza Hotel for the 4 hour Lee Min Ho Fan Meeting event Sunday, March 10th.

And now for something rather interesting. Many may have never seen this drama as it is one of Lee Min Ho’s earlier works. Viewers beware: there are some really bad copies out there on the ‘net. Drama Fever has is a good source. I originally watched on a channel that mixed up sections and left out entire portions…

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 7/10

The stage is set in a high school with standards a bit below average. The focal homeroom classroom is comprised of most of the miscreants of the school as well as a few of the smarter and middle-of-the-road students. Mr. Jang is the mild-mannered, painfully awkward homeroom teacher seems to actually care about them all. Enter the gangster’s daughter, an off-the-wall personality who has no interest in home-schooling and little aptitude for it. She meets Mr. Jang and decides that perhaps attending the local high school might be fun. The amusement begins.

The official trailer:

IASLeeMin Ho Script/Acting: My rating 6/10

Yang Dong Geun was a bit weak as the leading man, Teacher Jang Yi San (“Sam”). His lumbering, stammering character lacked the charisma to be truly appealing. Still, his unbelievable optimistic, uncomplicated character makes for really hilarious lines: A teacher, remarking about yet another teaching quitting due to incorrigible students: “If it weren’t for the weapons, that female teacher might not have quit.” Teacher Jang (in a droll voice): “Yes, but the fact that they could make weapons means they’re really intelligent, right?”

Top i am samMany of the lesser characters were over-played, over-acted – and sadly not really in a fun, campy manner. The second female lead, Teacher Shin (Son Tae Yeong) was also too inane, weak and one-dimensional to be appealing. I think many of these characters are meant to be funny or goofy, but somehow miss the mark.

The saving grace for this drama was a cast that sported some really great actors and actresses. The talents of these few carried the show and made the drama worth watching despite the issues. Park Min Young (City Hunter’s Kim Nana) performs in her first real lead as Yoo Eun Byul. It is easy to see why she became a rising star thereafter. Her performance is sweet, funny and memorable. T.O.P also made his acting debut in this drama and his dark brooding character fit him well. Lee Min Ho, while not a leading character, became a scene-stealer whenever on-screen as Heo Mo Se, the heart-throb son of the principal. The following clip is one of the silly, but fun scenes:

iasTOPCinematography: My rating 3/10

This drama is from 2007, but even forgiving its age the feel is rather low budget and simplistic cinematographically. Really bad special effects open the drama and set the tone for a lower-than-standard quality. Episode 1 features a few really strange scenes. Although the gangster dad is small in stature he unrealistically lifts and tosses a man across the room in one scene and in another, fires a shotgun putting a smoking hole in his study door. That in itself wouldn’t be odd, except Yang Dong Geun reacts as if a loud rapport has gone off next to his head yet the gun shot was miraculously silent. Hm. (Yeah – I replayed it a few times to be sure I didn’t miss something!) Shortly thereafter there’s another silent explosion and Park Min Young oddly and very unrealistic flys across a room. Sound effects and action are not the forte of this drama. In fact, leaving them out altogether might have been a real improvement.

Music: My rating 5/10

The musical scoring was limited but somewhat cute. The main track, “Only Me” has kind of a 50’s-ish beat that works well with high schoolers getting into shenanigans.

“Only Me” Paran  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw2mfC1w2Fc

“I Do” Genie  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs9FXpUyn_8

”Love You” Byul aka Star  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWI24X64ASI

Overall Charisma: My rating 6/10

I am glad I had the opportunity to see this drama, although one viewing will probably be enough. (OK, it’s actually twice since I had to re-watch most of it on Drama Fever to see what I missed the first time around!) It’s worthwhile to see some of these top stars early in their careers. While the plot line limped along at times, in general, the story was worth following and several characters captured my attention.

Happy Drama Watching!

ias couple

 

“Countdown to Lee Min Ho” Drama Review: “City Hunter”

Anticipation builds as the “Countdown to Lee Min Ho” continues. March 10th is coming up soon! I see no has has come up with any great gift ideas. Thanks. :-/

CityHunterPoster“City Hunter” is Lee Min Ho’s big Action Drama, proving that Romantic Comedy is not the only genre for which he is well suited. City Hunter, the modern day Hong Gil Dong, righter-of-wrongs, dark hero and wounded vengeful soul, is the hero of an action-packed Korean adaptation of the Japanese novel by Tsukasa Hojo.

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10

The story begins with high impact action and drama and seldom slows down. The drama literally opens with the Lee Yoon Sung’s difficult birth and goes on to tell the story of how the country’s highest officials betray his father and his father’s fellow elite soldiers. Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho) is kidnapped as an infant after his father’s death by his father’s best friend, Lee Jin Pyo (Kim Sang Joong) and is brought up as part of an elaborate revenge plan against the government. Episode 1 is jam-packed and lays down a sound foundation for the storyline that follows.

The adorable love triangle between Kim Nana (Park Min Young), Lee Yoon Sung and Prosecutor Kim Young Joo (Lee Joon Hyuk) is pure entertainment. In the beginning, Young Joo manages to stay one step ahead, much to Yoon Sung’s frustration. The acrimonious relationship between Yoon Sung and Young Joo evolves and matures throughout the episodes into an complex and interesting connection. The interaction and development of their characters is one of the better side stories seen in recent dramas.

The surprising twists that develop in the last few episodes are worth watching for.

Script/Acting: My rating 7/10

City-hunter-cast (1)Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young worked quite well together as the main duo. Lee Min Ho successfully created a difficult character: driven for revenge, yet reluctant to kill, skilled at manipulation, deception and seduction, yet pure in motives and desires. While Park Min Young’s character did not require the same depth, the consistency of a well-acted part throughout drama was commendable.

My favorite giraffe from ‘Running Man’, Lee Kwang Soo plays Go Ki Joon, who is, as usual, a socially inept but loveable character. Seasoned, veteran actors galore are strewn throughout the cast as the 5 ‘villains’ and Lee Yoon Sung’s poor, pathetic mom and others. In fact, for the most part, this is an ‘all-star’ cast.

The story lost some of its energy in the last episode, as the last of the 5 conspirators is due to be brought to justice. I feel the problem is due in part to the fact that viewers empathize with this particular cohort and are loathe to see him brought down too far. Sympathies began to swing against our hero, at least for me, which made for troubled viewing.

Drama clichés spotted: dead parents; obligatory shower scene (really, who’s complaining?); in some respects it’s still a poor girl / filthy rich guy, but that’s certainly not the point of the drama; and is it me or is it becoming a thing for Lee Min Ho to wash and /or dry his woman’s hair?

Cinematography: My rating 7/10

City-Hunter-2Well-choreographed fight scenes, amazing action stunts, and cool settings (the Thai jungle?) all factored into to a viewing experience that proved worthwhile. The masterful use of lighting make many scenes more than memorable. And it’s not just Lee Yoon Sung who gets to fight with the bad guys and drop from high buildings – Kim Nana’s got some serious moves! Ninja girl!

Music: My rating 8/10

Lots of good music in this OST, including some really great instrumentals – “Nana’s Theme” being my favorite. It’s a soft, slow, piano take-off on “Cupid” (see below): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG-XOlQ2pcQ

As for the vocal pieces, we have:

“Sarang” Kim Jae Bum  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXUDGXl9mXo

“So Goodbye”  Jonghyun   (Yep, from SHINee)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LYjToGNKCQ

“It’s Alright”  Yang Hwajin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nRhz_DbEOs

Bouncy, cute and fun: “Cupid” Girl’s Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsIFTuYfysI

“Suddenly”  Kim Bo Kyung http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KStsjgqkAc

“Lonely Day”  J Symphony  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSXpZ-xAvAk

Great Ballad: “I Only Look For You”  Park Gyuri  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rFEdaJustw

“You and I”   Rainbow  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI2S6U9bvZo

“Can’t Stop”   Son Han Byeol  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3RZfVsXnz8

“I Love You, I Want You, I Need You”  Apple Mango http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QMwVksgu0I

“I Love You, I Want You, I Need You (Sweet Acoustic Version)” Goo Hara http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1Njid41Rp8

Various versions of “City Hunter” are currently available on iTunes.

Overall Charisma: My rating 8/10

While ‘City Hunter’ is not my favorite action drama, it is definitely a drama to put your must-see list. I give it well above average marks in cinematography, music, acting and script. The overall feel of the drama is also very good with the viewer anxiously anticipating the next episode, rooting for antagonist and protagonist alike, feeling angst over the inevitable unfairness of life. Heavy sigh.

However, despite the charisma, I found myself emotionally unmoved until the second to last episode. I’m not sure if the characters lacked the compelling nature required to really draw me in or if the script itself lacked the dramatic appeal or force necessary to command my emotional response. The ending is also somewhat weak in relation to the strength of the rest of the script.

That said, I have watched this drama three times, so the previous statements have not lessened the overall appeal for me to the extent that it has prevented multiple viewings!

And really, where else are you going to see Lee Min Ho riding an elephant?

Happy Drama Watching!

“Countdown to Le Min Ho” Drama Review: “Personal Taste”

The “Countdown to Lee Min Ho” continues. My second confirmation e-mail has arrived with more details regarding the event. My guest must be at least 18 years of age, which takes daughter #2 out of the running. Sorry, Ali. Cameras allowed. Gifts allowed. Suggestions anyone?

So, on to another fun Lee Min Ho drama: “Personal Taste” aka “Personal Preference”, a hilarious romantic comedy where Lee Min Ho is mistaken as a gay man. As if!

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10

personaltaste1Rife with misunderstandings of every sort, “Personal Taste” is a romantic comedy with a different twist. Jeon Jin Ho is a talented architect with a fastidious, difficult personality and a tragic past. Park Kae In is a sweet, naive and rather awkward woman who also sports a tragic past and has a knack for attracting people who use and continually abuse her trusting nature. The two meet multiple times under less-than-friendly circumstances and shenanigans ensue when Jin Ho finds himself in need of Kae In’s resources – namely her home.

Script/Acting: My rating 8/10

Lee Min Ho and Son Yeh Jin worked quite well together to create a captivating and likeable couple. Her warmth coupled with his stoicism, her innocence combined with his worldliness, her happy-go-lucky nature meshed with his driven personality create a yin/yang pair that works remarkably well from the beginning as they befriend each other.

taste3Jung Sung Hwa as No Sang Joon is an absolute riot as Jin Ho’s business partner and “lover”. His overplayed ‘gay man’ act steals many a scene. He and his “Unni” buddy, Young Sun, Kae In’s best friend played by Jo Eun Ji fashion an off the wall couple that add the requisite comic relief.

2AM’s Im Seul Ong pulled off a great debut in his first drama as part of Jin Ho’s staff. As Kim Tae Hoon, the goofy, love-sick office boy, he ardently pursues Hye Mi (Choi Eun Seo) who is equally ardently chasing Jin Ho.

While the script is an original departure from the standard drama formula, many customary clichés remain intact. Included is the requisite drunken piggy-back ride, the accidental shirtless (and more – oops!) viewing, the Kpop idol cameo, parents who have died, people who think with their emotions instead of their brains. Sigh.

Less well-developed was the character of Jin Ho’s mother’s, who’s sympathies swing dramatically to and fro with little to substantiate the  histrionics.

Cinematography: My rating 7/10

The artistic style of the opening scenes fading out into watercolor stills was a pleasing addition. The director also made great use of non-traditional camera angles for a few conversations. Other than that, the cinematography was standard, but adept.

Oh – and Lee Min Ho’s wardrobe rocks. Really.

taste10Music: My rating 8/10

The music for this drama was especially well chosen and enjoyable.

Can’t Believe It – Younha   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzILD68udIA

Dropping Rain – Kim Tae Woo  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcVXZTohyx8

My Heart is Touched – SeeYa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5zdC1mZrC8

You’re My Wings – Kim Tae Woo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIAt6bF5HBQ

Making Love – 4minute http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ_SA4zLsZE

And my personal favorite:

Like a Fool – 2AM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-fX9JMbLTU

Overall Charisma: My rating 8/10

personaltasteMistaken intentions are the norm throughout the drama.  Angst, unavoidable pain inflicted on people who trust in you, a bitchy woman that you really love the hate – all elements present and accounted for.

The real charisma lies, for me, in the sweet love that develops between the central couple. The romance is delightfully engaging, if somewhat implausible at first. The characters are developed with the complexity of a woven tapestry – each thread leading skillfully to the next detail, meshing with each other to create colorful exchanges and eventually, a couple-picture. The acting skills of Lee Min Ho and Son Yeh Jin played no small part in this active weaving! Oh, and this drama also sports my very favorite marriage proposal.

Alas, if only real life were more like the dramas. But gorgeous, perfect men who bring home the bacon, kiss beautifully and tenderly, and do the laundry really don’t exist, do they?

Happy Drama Watching!

PersonalTasteWhy we watch