Review – The Heirs
Well, I broke down and finally watched The Heirs. It was much better than I expected, but also a lot of what I thought it would be. Lee Min-Ho was rather charming as the aloof rich guy who turned into a puppy with love. Park Shin-He did what she does best – look adorable at all times, cry a lot, and seem vaguely lost. Kim Woo-Bin ruled as the school bully who finds his soft spot… by tormenting his first crush. And the rest of the large cast was entertaining, interesting, and engaging as the plot lines moved around from episode to episode… from America (how bizarre was that? Don’t break the 4th wall!) to elite private schools, and from the bedrooms to the board rooms.
It’s easy for me to be disengaged with these “super rich” dramas. I find myself with a growing lack of sympathy of their problems, but this show managed to keep my emotions in check by doing a very good job of humanizing these rich kids and forcing me to care about them. Quite a few of the side plots were very unique, including the awkward and funny friendship between the mistress and the mute housemaid. It was fun to see Park Hyung-Sik before he’d capped his teeth and really matured into the full-blown handsome A-List actor he is today. Tons of huge stars and exceptionally fine acting prowess saved what probably should have been a mediocre show and propelled it into a highly satisfying soap opera about young love between the economic classes.
I confess, I really liked it.
Overall Rating – 8/10 – Cinderella Hangs Out with The 1%.
Review – White Christmas (A Tribute to 90’s Angst)
In 2011, they gathered together all the young stars who could tear down a house with their acting abilities and threw them in a short, creepy drama together called White Christmas. They set the entire thing to late 20th century indie music… Primal Scream, Massive Attack, The Pixies, Alice in Chains, Velvet Underground… like a stolen mixed tape from my formative years. The plot is simple – seven students receive a threatening, confusing anonymous letter saying they’re all cursed and someone will die over the Christmas break. So they all stay behind, as the rest of their peers leave for the holidays. These stragglers linger in a huge empty school building isolated on top of a snowy mountain… desperate to discover what role they have to play in this mystery.
And at its heart, the show is a mystery. But it’s also an examination into a high pressure school system. It’s social commentary. It’s a therapy session. It’s an exploration of natural violence. It’s a story about people… and how they hurt and heal each other. And it is DARK, people.
I’ve had it in my que for months… saving it. Now that summer is coming to an end, I finally treated myself to dessert. And it was exceptionally tasty. Only eight episodes long but jam packed with mesmerizing performances, plot twists, and a startlingly original story. It’s on Viki – go watch it now! (and please when you’re watching it take note of all the bizarre conceptual 90’s-style photoshop artwork all over the walls in every room… cause… wow… so eerie… remember the doll heads?)
Overall Rating – 10/10. REDRUM! REDRUM!!!
Discussion of characters and SPOILERS follow….
Review – Uncontrollably Fond (of Melodramas!)
In which a romantic melodrama causes me to become very philosophical about life and spend too much analyzing a show as a microcosm of the problems of the world. But before we jump into that mess, let’s just say this was a cool melodrama with a bizarre plot line about justice and personal responsibility that I quite enjoyed. We had the battle between the economic classes, the battle between lovers, the battle between exlovers, the battle between spouses and extended families, and the battle for your life. Lots of little wars going on in this show with lots of little twists and turns to keep you entertained.
Do not be fooled by all the happy smiling faces in the promos and title images. It’s a melodrama, not a romantic comedy. I get very frustrated with viewers who want to criticize a melodrama for being a melodrama, with comments like “it’s not realistic!” and “why does she keep apologizing!” and “oh my god, I hate his hot and cold treatment of her!” I mean… what? What do you think a melodrama is? They’re sensationalist madness. They’re emotional rollercoasters. They’re a giant trainwreck and when you bought the ticket to ride it said, “WARNING: THIS TRAIN IS GOING TO EXPLODE, THEN IMPLODE, THEN PROBABLY RECONSIDER, HOLD ITSELF HOSTAGE WITH DYNAMITE STRAPPED TO ITS CHEST, CHICKEN OUT, START CRYING, AND FINALLY SETTLE FOR TURNING INTO A BLACK HOLE AND PULLING THE ENTIRE WORLD INTO ITS VOID. We hope you enjoy the ride.” Your ticket was very clear, my pretties. Melodramas don’t mess around with your reasonable business, go elsewhere if you want a fair shake down and rational decisions.
I am a huge fan of melodramas; it’s exciting, perversely, to watch everyone’s lives crumble to pieces despite their best efforts to keep it together with lies and manipulations. Oh, the drama! The drama, the drama. You will gasp and shake your head and bite your pillow and cry. Even the most stoic of viewers will probably melt down in ep 19 about 38 minutes in… if you have dry cheeks after that scene then I fear for the state of your soul. It would be stripped away of its melodrama title if it didn’t make you ugly cry at least once, though, so embrace the hard earned tears.
Overall Rating: 8/10. Broken Hearts Are Easier To Mend Than Broken Families.
Now for lengthy philosophizing and ranting and raving….