This blog started because I started to watch kdramas this past year and and fell into the deep end with its lovely story-telling and beautiful people. I started following another blog for interpretations and recaps of what I was watching. Through dramabeans.com, I found my writing voice again, and actually had a piece featured which may have been a highlight of my year! So, this is another piece I was writing for that site, but unfortunately missed the deadline, so I’m posting it here, as I wanted to document some first impressions I had of several dramas (or actors) I watched this year. Enjoy!
How appropriate that Dramabeans.com has asked us to write and contribute to this site the same year that I delved headfirst into kdramas and have yet to re-emerge from the deep. My full first year in dramas is probably similar to many of yours—binge-watching mixed with live-watching shows, foregoing sleep for emotional payoffs, and then regretting it the next day, how much regret dependent on my caffeine intake (and I rarely drink coffee). Everything and specifically, everyONE was new and interesting.
I had some difficulty deciding what to write about. Should I tell you about the dramas I watched in a didactic manner, telling you what I learned with each, or should I go more humorous, sarcastically picking apart each drama that had any degree of makjang-ness or gaping plot holes, or should I just go superficial and just tell you of all the brooding oppas/actors I fell for? And the winner is (oh, for the love of Pete)…brooding oppas, um, I mean actors!
I’m a sucker for sad, brooding male characters. And even more so if they’re tall, dark, and handsome. What is it about a guy that looks put together on the outside, but hurting and complex on the on the inside that gets to me? And it doesn’t even have to be the lead; give me any man whose back story is more interesting than just his pretty face and I’m hooked.
I started this year firmly in the grasp of Dokkaebi-oppa (and he will not likely die soon 😉 ) with his “sad eyes,” his many lifetimes of death and finally, his “sad love.” Gong Yoo in The Lonely Shining Goblin made loneliness sexy, not something to strive for, but something that if otherwise inevitable, can be lived with, dealt with, and looking amazing in a full-length coat while doing so.
Then there was Circle, with a pair of the most unfortunate twins you’ve ever seen. Each one gripped me and wouldn’t let go. From Yeo Jin Goo’s facial contortions and frantic sprints through the streets and corridors chasing anything and everything that would give him answers, to Kim Kang Woo’s desperate cries over losing his memories, his personality, being unaware of his past and therefore where he fit in the whole scheme of his future. Each episode was a cliffhanger for me, and I couldn’t wait to see my brooding actors in one more scene. And now, may I have my second season, pretty please?
Lookout was the dark horse that slayed me. I mean I had no idea I would live and die by the mere presence of these people on my screen. More specifically, I came for Kim Young Kwang, and stayed for Shin Dong Wook (who played step-brothers, each dealing in their opposite ways with the murder of their mother/step-mother by their father/step-father). But, who am I kidding, I also stayed
for Kim Young Kwang! His brokenness, revenge, and utter blindness to morality and ethics portrayed through every muscle of his face and body was riveting. How he carried himself, in those designer suits, made it that much more watchable. It pays to have been a successful model, I guess. *wink*
But oh-my-priest Shin Dong Wook stole the show for me! How he just oozed sex appeal through that black robe made me look forward to every scene with him. *double wink* Every word, every line, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, I held on to, like I was falling off a cliff. Little did I know that Do Han (Kim Young Kwang’s character) should have been hanging on to these words as well, lest he fall off his own cliff in the finale.
And then there was The King Loves, with another pair of star-crossed heroes. What started off as an epic bromance ended up with one of the most heated debates in netizen history, on who would get the girl, and made enemies out of complete internet strangers. But in the middle of this was poor Rin, who could never acknowledge his love for San while
Won was also very much in love with the idea of being in love with San. Im Shi Won played Won exceptionally well, but Hong Jong Hyun was perfection in this role as Rin and made a character that would not have even made me look twice at, into one that I sympathized with, analyzing his every move and subtle expression he made, and then rejoicing when he finally did get the girl. (And then made me watch everything else he’s ever acted in.) A drama which wasn’t perfect, but still spoke to my heart, in telling me that we may outgrow our friends, but never their memory.
And last, but certainly, not in the very least, was Because This Life is Our First, where Lee Min Ki trans-formed himself into a shell of a man: prickly, difficult to read and understand, and made the reveals into his past that much more shocking. That was the emotional payoff here. A man who showed little emotion, finally opening the flood gates and drowning himself in them. A man who served out a 12-year penance for his sin, refusing to love and to be loved. A show that showed me the power of words, with those unspoken as or even more important than those that are.
So, that was my year of appreciating all these actors and their talents. I still have a couple more to admire before this year is up. So, who was your favorite oppa, um, actor this year?