Sunday, August 19, 2007

K-Drama: Thank You

Really good. It’s a little hard for me to be glib about this drama since I just finished it and was very touched. I can say overwhelmingly that Jang Hyuk as our male protagonist was incredible.

I was not immediately captivated by JH. But as the series continued, I got lost in the character of Min Ki Seo. The change from cold, hard and embittered gradually melted into warm, giving and beautiful.

Quite briefly, it’s the story of a whole village of flawed individuals primarily motivated by fear. Fear of AIDS, of being alone, of loss, of life, of death, and love. While the finale was left open ended, I like to imagine that it ended happily ever after. Just like I like ‘em.

Repeating themes: People who sleep in cars, eat chocopies, and run away. Every other day.

Now that I’ve moved a little away from some of the emotion, let’s get to the review, shall we?

Ponder Angst – 15. We had ponder angst. By the ocean, in their cars, during the ferry ride (when they weren’t vomiting something white), after the ferry ride. But it did not annoy me this time. Had I not been forced to ffwd through some of the angst, it would have gotten a 20.

Love “ – “ Angles – 12 – A triangle. Choi Suk Hyun doesn’t know he’s little Bom-ah’s Dad. Figures it out, wants back in, just in time for our hero MinI will never practice medicine againKi Seo to enter the picture sewing people up. They both fall in love with little Bom-ah as well as her mom Lee Young Shin. Young Shin is conflicted and pulled in like 7 different directions. It’s messy for just the triangle.

Sizzle – 15 - You know, the leads had some chemistry, but not a lot of sizzle. All the heat goes to JH for being so darn achy and beautiful. I was impressed and loved it when he was on the screen. When he wasn’t on the screen, I wanted him back. Oh, ummmmm, Jang Hyuk in the shower? Six pack? Szszszszszszszl baby!

Physical Intimacy – 10 – we had actual kissing (no tongue), inferred sex and hugs.

Tragic Heartwrenching Disease and/or Character Death from Same – 20 - Holy cow! This series started off with cardiac arrhythmia, graduated to pancreatic cancer, AIDS, and a severed femoral artery which led to amputation. We had Alzheimers, depression, fainting spells, pneumonia, near-death internal bleeding, blood transfusions, physical and emotional breakdowns. Had they included constipation and anorexia they just would have been showing off.

Going to the Beach – I gotta give 10 in the bonus round. There was a suicide attempt, ”at the beach”. Depression wanted out of this mortal coil. Alzheimer tried to stop Depression by offering to kill himself, also via ocean. Depression pushes Alzheimer down in an effort to complete her task, rendering Alzheimer an immediate floater. Depression starts screaming, someone saves Alzheimers, however, he dies in his sleep the next night after delivering chocopies around town to make everyone happy. Depression lives, much to her chagrin.

Annoying tics? Well, we had another Dr. Whiny Crybaby, a la White Tower, which was tolerable, but the effing nurse! Not a patient walked into their clinic that she didn’t throw herself across their prone chest and scream “What are we going to do?” Just slap her already. I also thought someone should have just chained little eight year old Bom to a wall. She ran away countless times, once causing her mother to collapse from exhaustion and pneumonia. Another time, a limb or something fell on Momma causing internal bleeding that nearly killed her. AND THEN THE BRAT RAN AWAY AGAIN. Nail the kid’s shoes to the floor. Someone. Please.

I was also disappointed in the subs. I’ll say up front that I have nothing but respect and gratitude toward those who take their precious free time to translate these shows so dopey anglos like me can watch kdrama. And up to about episode 8, I thought the subs were fantastic. After that, I think names were spelled with a Chinese flair and the translations were quite poor. Toward the end, I was certain I was missing significant aspects of the program. My friend dramaok’s name was mentioned as having translated a song. That made me happy.

A score of 82 just isn’t enough for this series. I’m giving it another 10 points for the emotional impact (What? It's my review. I can add points if I want.). I found “Thank You” to be well written and well acted. JH expressed more with his eyes than words could have transmitted. When her neighbors stopped YS from moving to Seoul, I cried. When JH looked at YS near the end, his face full of love and yearning, willing to accept what she was able to give, I wanted someone to look at me like that.

So “Thank You” gets a 92 on the E-score. I don’t think I’ll watch it again in full just because it took so long to get to happy. I was captivated though and was sorry when it was over. I won’t look at chocopies the same way (the Korean brand for Moon Pies ) and I think I might say thank you a whole lot more.


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