Haven’t done this for a looong time but

I was just surfing channels a couple of days ago and saw “Jugglers” on the guide along with the word Premiere!  Hmm… I did remember that this was coming up, but I figured that even if it was the same drama it would have no subtitles – well I was wrong! And I like the fact that it’s not a delayed showing either which means I can watch in real time and avoid spoilers, so why not? I will use a bit of patience and pace myself a bit.

I used to subscribe to KBS but then they changed to same day programming and removed all subtitles so I had to drop it.  Thankfully at that time DF and Viki filled the void. I imagine that there must have been real pressure on our local multi-cultural channel from the non-Korean audience to provide this so I’m happy to have found it.

I also found the Filipino version of My Love from the Star but it’s a pale imitation of that excellent drama.

#baek-jin-hee, #choi-daniel, #jugglers

Feel Good to Die – My impressions

Well, after reading Robin’s thumbs up review, I pushed this one up my list and dug right in. I always try to check out his (Kang Ji-hwan’s) dramas and Robin is so right, he hasn’t really made the best of choices in recent times but I’m not giving up on him!!

I’m at Ep 22 and am really loving these shorter episodes. It feels like they are just flying by, the premise was intriguing, and I love dramas that have storylines intriguing enough to want to check out. This one was no different. How bad does he have to be and what does he have to have done in order to make another person wish the worst possible for him I wondered?? And is it so farfetched to think that there are such bosses out there who treat their employees in such a horrible way?

Well, let me just say that he would probably give me nightmares too, LOL! He seems to have no humanity in him at all, but, while I wouldn’t want to work under him I can respect his intelligence, his drive, his efficiency if nothing else, and surely such a character has only one way to go, and that’s up and up and up????

My next question then is, what will be the trigger for him to actually begin the change at all? I love it when a drama makes me curious enough to ask questions!! I don’t know if I will be completely satisfied with the resolution at the end, but I have enjoyed so many moments so far. There were scenes where the reason behind his actions are not the reasons that everyone assumes them to be and I find that refreshing, after all I don’t think I would enjoy it half as much if his path was easy!

I also am enjoying her (Baek Jin-hee’s) portrayal, and you’re right Robin, this actress comes across as strong, determined, kind and resourceful and she does it very well, and I like the fact that they sort of mirror each other in a way, both are on a journey to self-awareness but for totally different reasons. I also like that they’ve given the secondary characters, on the whole, substance and they are not just fillers sitting at the next desk. There is something so satisfying about watching a “work” family in progress isn’t there?

#baek-jin-hee, #feel-good-to-die, #gong-myung, #happy-if-you-died, #kang-ji-hwan

Feel Good to Die – Series Review

Feel Good to Die was my final present of 2018, so I’m a little tardy in writing up my impressions of the series, but I hope you wont dawdle in giving this show a look-see as it was consistently amusing and well-produced.

Those of you who know me well know that I’ve got a major soft spot for Kang Ji-hwan, even if some of his more recent choices haven’t always lived up to my expectations (pick better drama, Ji-hwan-ssi, please!), so the teasers I saw leading up to the premiere had me cautiously optimistic. One in particular had me giggling in anticipation – his character, a punctilious department manager chastising his failing subordinate belittles the worker, not so funny in real life, but the way Kang Ji-hwan used his voice to create an over-the-top jerk was perfection. I wanted more. And I got it. His Marketing team leader Baek Jin-sang was all that I hoped* for, and more, when it came to being the perfect company man running a tight ship, all the while being generally oblivious to any need to coddle his team. He is perfectly aware of their weaknesses and strengths and, in his own way, thinks he’s challenging them to up their game and do their work. He knows, for example, that Baek Jin-hee’s character Lee Roo-da is just marking time, keeping her head down and trying to work well enough to stay gainfully employed. With that attitude she’s not going to become a star employee in his book any time soon.

The company they work for is a division of a mid-sized chaebol run corporation, running a chain of chicken franchises. The CEO’s second son is tasked with running the division and he’s doing a fine job of doing a bad job of things, like making misguided investments and trying to find ways to cut costs to keep showing a profit. In Gyo-jin plays a mix of good guys and weasels and has fun no matter which side of the fence he’s on; this time he’s King Weasel and he lives it up. He’s under major pressure when his nephew is brought into the company “at the bottom” by the aging CEO who hopes he’ll become the next generation leader. Gong Myung is a little too much of a puppy dog for this kind of role, but he’s generally so earnest that I’ll give him a pass. He’s also brought in to be a romantic interest for the affections of Baek Jin-hee and provides a marked contrast to the more mature (and attractive, even if he is a jerk) Kang Ji-hwan.

Baek Jin-hee is one of those actresses that would be miscast as a simpering Candy-type, so I’m happy to report that she once again is smart, resourceful, decent, plain-speaking, and normal  (normal in her manner of speaking, behaviors… it’s refreshing) in terms of her age as Lee Roo-da. One minor note: she is always layered up to the max in her wardrobes; she reminds me of Diane Keaton in this regard. I think this is true even in summer dramas – could she have Reynaud’s Syndrome? But, I digress.

As for the plot… There are elements that put me in mind of Chief Kim, and that is a good thing. You have a workplace ensemble of interesting and diverse characters who work together (and sometimes work against each other) and reflect some real issues in the working world today – and not just in Korea. “Something” happens, however, to make Lee Roo-da snap, and take a stand against the frustrating rectitude of Baek Jin-sang, to the point where she wishes he would just die… and (no spoiler, really) he does. Shampoo, rinse, repeat, the cycle of Baek Jin-sang doing something infuriating sets Lee Roo-da off wishing him into the afterworld and boom! Wishes come true. The pair are stuck in this repeat cycle and it’s up to them to find out how and why, and what to do about it.

While there are moments I felt that the story could progress a little more quickly, I found myself chuckling at some silliness in every episode. The cast entered into the plot with energy and good humor – especially Kang Ji-hwan, who had to make his many demises look fun – but they don’t forget the need for balance. There are touching moments as well. All-in-all, I enjoyed this show and thought it was an entertaining change – a good way to wrap up the year.

  • My hope would have been for the more sexy Kang Ji-hwan to get some screen time. I don’t think he and Baek Jin-hee get to demonstrate any man/woman sexual chemistry, though they do make very good, intelligent partners.


#baek-jin-hee, #feel-good-to-die, #gong-myung, #happy-if-you-died, #in-gyo-jin, #kang-ji-hwan

First Take: Feel Good to Die

Now that I’ve plunked down money for #KOCOWA, I’ve been sucked into watching on-air dramas, like Matrimonial Chaos (thumbs way up so far), and what better way to scratch my Kang Ji-hwan itch than to check out Feel Good to Die. I was a little hesitant because I’d seen on SMS that he looked ridiculous and I was not having any of that nonsense, but I’d seen a preview in which he’s roaring at his direct report, played by Baek Jin-hee (who I also like as a female lead) and not only did he look FINE, but he was hilarious, especially the way he used his voice to exaggerate his tone. There was this particular “trill” that had me LMAO.

The premise revolves around the workplace shenanigans of a mid-size chaebol business, where Kang Ji-hwan is a righteous prig of a manager (the marketing department) and he annoys the Hades out of his staff with his correctness and nitpicky ways. Baek Jin-hee is one of his team and she’s trying to stay under the radar and just survive daily, but he manages to push her anger levels too high by insulting a heavily pregnant teammate that she wishes he’d just die. And he does, spectacularly, again and again. She’s caught in a time loop, of sorts, and until she can get him to do things better it’s “shampoo, rinse, repeat.”

Based on the article referenced earlier on workplace conditions, the things he says to the pregnant worker is probably one of the least egregious examples of poor management, but it IS one of the lessons he’s got to learn (I think).

Four hours in and I’m enjoying it. He may be playing a prig, but he’s a fine-looking one at that (how can he be 41?) and he’s having fun with the comedic aspects of his role. I think that there will be a change in his demeanor in the episodes to come that will be even more gratifying – or at least I hope so!

Is this drama also a romance? I don’t know if Baek Jin-hee will find true love with him or not, but they’ve introduced Gong Myung (who was so charming in Drinking Solo) as the grandson of the CEO who finds her fascinating. He’s already stated his interest so he’s probably doomed to SLS already, or should I say, once again. He’s cute, but he’s no Kang Ji-hwan!

#baek-jin-hee, #feel-good-to-die, #gong-myung, #kang-ji-hwan

Jugglers – Final impressions

I thought that once the drama finished airing in Korea that the final few episodes would be made available on Viki within a few weeks, but sadly that was not the case! It’s very annoying to try and figure out when a show will episode will be released to the mid-tier subscribers like me; there doesn’t seem to be any sort of pattern. 😒

However… I finally had the chance to finish Jugglers in between Olympic events and I’m happy to say that this is a charming story that addresses office romance and office harrassments in a fairly realistic and balanced way. While Choi Daniel doesn’t always connect with my limbic system, he is very credible as an intelligent and progressive businessman, and cute in a non-overboardy way when he falls for the dedicated and positive in a non-Candy way Baek Jin-hee. She is adorable and while her character is efficient and warm she’s never saccharine.

The villains of the piece are never so dangerous that you’ll be tied up in knots watching this once it gets to the angsty portion of the program, and you know what? Sometimes that’s a good thing! I recommend this for those times when there’s enough drama in real life and you want a lighter, less intense romance.

#baek-jin-hee, #choi-daniel, #jugglers

So I went down my list and chose Missing 9 as my next drama

I’ve seen about 4 episodes so far. It’s a little bit all over the place but in an interesting way so I don’t mind.

The main story focuses on a musical group called the Dreamers who were on their way on their private plane to an event. The plane had issues and crashed into the sea (btw I had to close my eyes during those scenes or I’ll never get back on another plan again!!) The first episode opens with the fact that – after 4 months – one survivor was found and was coming home – our heroine, who was a stylist for our lead singer (and hero). The problem is she doesn’t remember anything that happened and why she’s the only survivor. Hmm… intriguing. Little by little, via flashbacks, we all learn what really happened but they are pretty stingy with the info.

I like the way they slowly introduce all the back stories and sketch out their characters. Our hero is the spoiled little star who has fallen down in luck and is treated with contempt by his group – seems like they blame him for the death of another member and his career tanked. Our girl is the usual industrious and earnest girl who hasn’t been able to find a job and is determined to hang on to this one – difficult as it may be. There are other shady characters who have their own agendas – and now a murder is also discovered…

It’s definitely got the Lost vibe to it – no doubt about it and truthfully some really funny moments (surprisingly). Our star is really such a good actor that he can do drama and comedy equally well. And he wouldn’t be my first pick to be stranded on a desert island with! It’s also got some plotlines that make me laugh they are so unbelievable but hey, it’s easy to go with the flow in this environment.

Enjoying it so far…

#baek-jin-hee, #jung-kyung-ho, #missing-9

Jugglers – First Impressions

A drama about a secretary who wants to help her boss become a leader so she can gain a higher ranking amongst other secretaries doesn’t exactly sound like a great premise for a drama in this day and age, does it? But of course, there’s more to it, including a role reversal where she becomes the “boss” at home (landlord) and things get a little livelier.

Baek Jin-hee, who I have liked in dramas like Pride and Prejudice, has a very intelligent appearance — she’s no Candy type — and she makes this fairly conventional story pretty successful so far (6 episodes into it). Choi Daniel, who I’m okay with, is good as the grumpy, reserved boss with “a past”… or actually “pasts, plural.”

I can see where this is going in a lot of areas, but it’s a fairly low angst (to date) type of story, kind of the way Go Back Couple was. While you’re watching it things are interesting and the main couple is pleasant and it just putters along, not exactly challenging you, but entertaining all the same.

This is on Viki, and the show is still airing so the subbed episodes are available on a staggered release to those with the premium subscriptions first.

UPDATE: Well, I finished this and found it to be fairly predictable and generally pleasant entertainment (damned with faint praise) from start to finish. My initial impressions held throughout.

#baek-jin-hee, #choi-daniel, #jugglers