Stop promoting a drinking culture, stop demonizing relationships

By now you’ve probably seen the news about Kang Ji-hwan being brought in on charges of sexual assault and no doubt this just makes you about as sick as it does me.

Our mutual disillusionment

The report is that he and two women returned to his home after a company event and continued to drink, whereupon the two women stayed the night at his house and later found their fellow intoxicant and host assaulting them as they slept. The women called a friend (not the police – why, were they concerned that the police would do nothing or were they looking for some other sort of advice/help?) who informed the authorities. He was still considered intoxicated when the police showed up. So drunk that he claimed to have no recollection of the evening’s events.

Things like this never look good for anyone involved, especially the accused, but also the accusers. And there’s plenty of shame to go around.

I’m not going to excuse Kang Ji-hwan for any misbehaviors; he needs to take his punishments as he ought. Excessive alcohol consumption at company events needs to be seen as the detrimental behavior that it is; it leads to any number of social and physical ills, such as alcoholism, liver damage, cancers, and impairment leads to poor judgment and decision-making liabilities too, drunk driving, sexual assault, loss of control, fights, even regretted choices (like sex when drunk), and many other damaging events. The causal effects of alcohol are both immediate and long-ranging (such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

As for “Miss A” and “Miss B,” they need to examine their choices too. I can understand the risk scenario; he’s a very handsome, desirable man and the prospect of spending time in his company so intimately could be very enticing. It seems that they went willingly to his house, but really, could they be that naive? Is it possible that they went to his home because they were not attracted to him or his fame? Of course, it’s always possible… Do women (and men) have the right to expect that they will not be sexually harassed or assaulted? Of course, but it’s also important to practice common sense by not exposing yourself to situations where something can go wrong. Why go to his house? Why continue to drink? Why not call for a ride home? The finger of blame and shame will point their way too; were they looking for some attention, e.g., social promotions, career advancement, or even physical/sexual relationships with him? Those are all valid questions in light of their poor decision-making, even if their intent was simply to continue a fun evening and light-hearted partying, with no thought to benefit or gain.

While they culture of “Drink ’til you drop” in South Korea (especially at mandatory company events) is certainly a key component in what transpired, there is another component that needs to be addressed: the puritanical mores that are imposed upon celebrities. The commandments are:

  • “You shalt not look with romantic and/or sexual intent upon another person,”
  • “You shalt not form romantic and/or sexual relationships with another person,”
  • “You shalt not flaunt any romantic and/or sexual relationship with another person,” and
  • “You shalt not have a marital relationship and/or committed sexual congress with another person.”

These are unrealistic and unhealthy. Fans that demand this level of sacrifice are not fans, they are deluded obsessive types who should not be encouraged. When an actor/actress/singer states that s/he lives for her/his fans alone and “doesn’t have time to date” they are sending an unhealthy message and I implore my fellow true fans to celebrate happy relationships a celebrity pursues.

It’s sad when a relationship doesn’t work out. Song/Song couple, it’s a shame, but divorce happens to the best and most optimistic of us, but life goes on and we can learn from those unhappy mistakes and grow. It’s not a reason to clamor for a sponsor to drop someone from commercial work; it’s just a sign that people are imperfect and the things you like about that person (s/he acts/sings beautifully, etc.) are still the same. Yes, if someone commits a serious crime, proven in a court of law, then it’s time to acknowledge that s/he is a flawed individual and make your own personal choice to step away from being a fan of that person, or equally to hope that s/he can pay for the crime and make amends and grow up (as in the case of drug misdemeanors).

This rant is over for now, but let’s hope that the discussion continues, as does an awareness of what’s needed to avoid circumstances that lead to dangerous choices, that can leave people vulnerable to predators, and to learn how to make more intelligent and responsible decisions.

#kang-ji-hwan

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