Saturday, September 4, 2010

CSI: Joseon Dynasty

Sadako. Hates. Reruns.
My former roommate Becky, who introduced me to the wonderful world of Asian Film and Television some months ago, told me that once I  get to watch one of their movies or TV series, I shall never stop.  "They're like bubble wraps.  Once you pop one bubble, you cannot resist popping another, and another, and another; and then the whole thing.  And you eventually become an addict.  Resistance is futile," she cautions conspiratorially.  And I'm like, "Nah.  I'm not really into movies with subtitles. So, I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna slide into that."  In fact, the last couple of Asian movies that I have seen were either for my critique papers in  Humanities class or those that my former dorm screened during its' monthly Friday Night Fright Fest.  The only Asian horror movie that I watched was Japan's The Ring (the American version was amusing) and it freaking creeped the beejesus out of me.  So much so that I wasn't able to sleep or look at the TV for several nights.  That Sadako lady is one scary mother.  *shivers*  Good thing it was Finals Week so I needed to stay awake anyway.  (Sadako - 1.  Red Bull - 0.)  

I had also been exposed into anime as a child (i.e Doraemon, Pokemon, Akazukin Chacha) and I had a major crush on Samurai X' Kenshin  when I was 10; but as far as Asian cinema and their television programs went, they did not really pique my interest.  I have poor eyesight so reading subtitles bugged me.

That changed in May when Becky; who is a music major, excitedly shoved a bundle of DVDs up my nose while I was having breakfast.  "You have to watch this Korean series -- Beethoven Virus!!  It's about an orchestra and the conductor is amazing!!  But he's a major jerk!  And then he falls for his first violinist who's on the verge of losing her hearing!  And there's this old man who has Alzheimer's. I know you hate subs but you'll like this I swear!! Where the heck's your remote?"  She was still mumbling breathlessly and unintelligibly as she fumbled my DVD player.

So, that was basically the start of my addiction to Asian cinema and television.  I particularly have a fondness for Korean dramas, especially the historical ones.  God bless the Internet and the advent of WiFi, I can watch these shows even if I'm in the middle of Harvard Square. 

Some months ago, I tried learning the basics of Korean through my good friend Mike who is Korean-American.  But Mike was totally useless and he kept insisting that he was already fourth generation.  And I'm like, "Yeah, so what?"  And then he would pout and grumble silently while reading Korean for Dummies.  Haha! Peace, Mike! :-) 

As this blog shows, I am already finished with my Queen Seon Deok fix.  I started watching MBC's Lee San or Yi San last month but man, oh man, that drama totally tested the limits of my patience.  It was like watching a documentary on yeast while being high on sedatives.  Hence, even if I found the crown prince's dimples cute, I abandoned Yi San after 15 episodes, and switched to the more-recent sageuk drama; Dong Yi.  

I'm so glad I decided to watch Dong Yi instead because even if it retains all the basic soap opera elements of a typical K-drama, the storylines are much faster-paced and secrets are being uncovered immediately.  Although it's not as ambitious, massive, grand scale, and as nail-biting as Queen Seon Deok; the schemes and counter-schemes are just as exciting.  Furthermore, it's hard not to root for Dong Yi  (Han Hyo Joo) -- a feisty, intelligent, and witty CSI agent/palace maid/musician servant/water girl all-rolled-into one; as she exposes and foils dastardly plots bent on overthrowing the kingdom; gains the trust of the king, and eventually captures his heart.  Whee!  I love fairy tales! :-) 

"Who are you?  Who, who, who, who?"

King Sukjong is played by Ji Jin Hee whom I've seen in Jewel in The Palace several years ago.  I noticed then that he has got to have the cutest and kindest eyes, but I was always distracted by his hat.  Seeing him again in Dong Yi, not only does he have the most gorgeous eyes, he has the warmest smile and the heartiest laugh ever.  

I'm now at episode 30 and so far, the King; after almost losing Dong Yi for several months, is starting to express his admiration and love for her (albeit awkwardly).  I love how he always acts so naturally whenever he's around our girl.  At one point, he is so smitten by her that he suddenly starts muttering incoherently about office spaces and other nonsensical stuffs. LOL! 

Ah, Cha Chun Soo, loyal best friend and resident tortured soul.  You poor thing.  Join me as I drunkenly sing, "If you could see that I'm the one who understands you.  Been here all along.  So why can't you seeee?  You belong with meeeee.  You belong with me."

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