Saturday, June 2, 2007

Running Kdrama Notes: Major Spoilers...Major

Since I can't keep everything on my little "side notes" section, I thought I'd start a place marker for the kdrama I've watched.

"The Book of Three Han: The Chapter of Jumong". Fell in love with the characters by the end. Cried at significant character deaths. Thought the ending - as historically accurate as the writers could be in the virtual absence of historical documents - was perfect. That's not to say the drama didn't have holes, but I'm finding in all the kdrama I watch, I become more invested in the characters than the story line. Song Il Guk was superb.

SIG's acting was surpassed however by Kim Myeong Min as Jang Joon
Heok in
"The White Tower". Set in a teaching hospital in South Korea it is the story of drive, power and friendship. Not a particularly sympathetic character, KMM is positively exquisite at the end. I watched the series to see who this poseur was who beat Song Il Guk for the best actor award. I'll admit that I was bitter.

There was so much about this series that frustrated me. What I realized in the end though, like with the other kdramas I've watched, I'm far more drawn to the characters than the realism of the story. I was so moved by Jang's illness and how he handled it. I cried for the last half hour of the episode - best moment - where Jang was dreaming he was operating again. It was so telling of the character. His life was in that operating room. It was the place where he felt most confident, whole, beautiful, loved and flawless. He was good and he knew it, he saved people's lives, his team loved him, the students admired him, even the other staff who despised him had to admit his gift. I saw all that in his face while he imagined the surgery, as he watched the students stand for
him before he began, it was where Jang was at his best. Then he awoke and his hands started to tremble and his reality now was that he was going to die.

Oh, as an aside? I had dubbed Dr. Yeom as Dr. Winy Cry Baby. Watch the show, I think you'll appreciate my reaction. I later discovered however, that Dr. Winy Cry Baby kept a fun bunch of toys and prizes under his hospital garb. He is now "Dr. Yeommy" in my book.

Pardon that divergence. Anyway, I understood Dr. Jang's refusal in the end to repent - in his mind his operation was flawless - he had nothing to apologize for. We even heard on trial that the small mark that indicated cancer in the man's lungs was not of a sufficient size to retest for cancer, so still, in his mind, he did the absolute best he could have done under the circumstances. He died absolutely certain he had done the best he could. Personally, if he had stuck to that I think he would not have been convicted of malpractice. It got all complicated and convoluted when he started to lie about it and forced others to do the same. I understood it, (I didn't support it, but I understood it) - it was all about the ends justifying the means - he had to make the hospital more successful and he had to become more successful and if he had to perjure himself and force others to do the same, it didn't matter. Not an admirable trait at all. But if I may, the apple didn't really fall far from the tree, did it? It seems to me that the entire hospital had no problem manipulating data to serve its own ends - lying to Jang about his illness and the extent of his disease - changed his charts, doctored x-rays and cat scans, handed him tissue samples from another patient, encouraged those around him to lie, even Dr. I'll Always Take The Moral High Ground Choi lied to his friend when Jang looked at him right in the face and demanded the truth. Jang wasn't the only liar in the series.

KMM totally deserved the best actor award, far and away over Song Il Guk. It was an exquisite performance and one I'm likely to remember for a long time.

To date, my favorite show was
"My Name is Kim Sam Soon". Started watching out of desperation with "Emperor of the Sea" having just ended. Startled by the seeming unattractiveness of the lead (Kim Sun ah) and the young looks of Hyun bin, I didn't expect much out of this series and was just going to use it as a space filler. Ahhhh, but chemistry again weaved its heady magic and I was pulled in.

I have to say it right now, that I hated .... HATED...the character of Yoo Hee Jin. Perhaps a tribute to the
actress, or a credit to the writers, but I found her obscenely selfish and self absorbed - even a the end when hot hot Henry told her that his dream of going overseas as a doctor was about to come true - and would she make the dream complete and come with? She told him he should wait for HER to become a doctor. I hope you will all forgive me for calling her "Cancer" throughout the series.

But that was not the overarching reaction to the show. I loved KSS and HJH, I loved their journey and I loved that they finally come together in the end. I also loved that Cancer got her heart broken. Heh heh heh.

Oh, and I've since seen that Kim Sun Ah is a stunningly beautiful woman (and woooooof, Binny is just smokin'). So kudos to KSA, the writers, and the makeup team. A fabulous series that I have watched and re-watched. Much beloved.


alodia said...

Discovered your blog with your soompi siggy... Love what you said about MNIKSS... really it's just something special... so special that no matter how much I tried doing a review I simply can't find the right words... so i just ended up appreciating nice reviews written about it. Thanks
- alodia

Anonymous said...

Hm, I found Jumong to be rather boring, distracting, and rather unoriginal. Maybe I wasn't getting much oomph from the acting and the script wasn't as clever as it could be. Additionally, lighting and everything T_T. Does it happen to get better after ep. 30 or so? I think that is where I stopped.

E said...

I thought the relationships and the chemistry of the characters were superb - that's what kept bringing me back. Agreed it was long, but I thought the ending was perfect.

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