Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Princess

I've been watching "My Princess" this week and have found it completely charming - with one exception. Overall, kdrama is very enjoyable from my perspective and when I find a performance that can move me, it's even more memorable; primarily because I'm reading subtitles and I'm fighting an ingrained western upbringing that doesn't fully appreciate the thousands of years of Korean culture that is embedded in the writing, the cinematography, and the acting. Jang Hyuk, for example, never ceases to amaze me with the depth of his characterization and emotion - I don't think I can name an English actor that can surpass his gift.

When we get to bad performances, I try to be accommodating for the same reasons - I'm an ahjumma, I'm American born and bred - you don't get whiter than me. Occasionally, however, I find a performance that is so bad, it stands out. Readers may remember my review on Kingdom of the Winds and how I was in awe of Yeon's expressionlessness - I called her little Wooden Face.

In "My Princess" I've found another example. Oh Yoon Joo - the female antagonist - hateful and hated by everyone except Nam Jung Woo. I find nothing redeeming about the character - and could forgive that - sometimes the bad guys are have the most charisma and make the series that much better. Not here. I started to wonder if the actress had botoxed her face, since there was no expression, regardless of the situation. In fact, it's beginning to amuse me - I'm looking for something, anything, a wrinkle, an eye crinkle, an expression of wonder, or love, or anger, or pity, or indifference...and I get...well, I put together a little slide show of expressions for OYJ, and you can make up your own mind.

Just really, really bad. The actress that plays her - Park Ye Jin - is apparently in the next drama I'm slated to watch - Queen Seon Duk - I'll be interested to see how she does there.

Review should be up in a few days. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Princess

“When someone gives you something you thought he could never give, that’s when a person’s heart thumps.” – Seol


Correlation Chart

Well pinch me if this series wasn't the cutest darn thing I've seen in a long time. Predictable - sure. Kdrama must haves - absolutely. Happy ending - sweet mother, yes. None of that bothered me because I was charmed right through to my little toes with our main characters Park Hae Young and Lee Seol.

QuickPlot: Down on her luck adopted plucky gal, meets astonishingly wealthy, young diplomat fella. Gal turns out to be a gen-u-wine princess, fella is assigned to be her "I will teach you all things royally political" protector. A variety of personal and professional challenges later, he is fatally charmed by her cuteness, and she can't help but fall in love with his diplomatic hotness. 16 cutesydrama episodes later, happy happy happy joy joy joy!

When I said My Princess had kdrama must haves, I wasn't kidding. I actually started looking for them to make my warmth for this series turn in to downright affection. We had palace machinations, hospital scenes with a humidifier, drunk girl getting piggy back ride from rich man, evil girlfriend and an evil sister. We had a forgotten meeting between our two lovers when they are pre-pubescent and while there was no dramatic eye-cancer there was some heart disease. There was also a showing of two of my very favorite kdrama staples; poop jokes and the healing white cloth of life. (My all-time favorite is fatal constipation; you just don't see that often enough).

Kim Tae Hee was the absolute picture of plucky sparkle balanced nicely by Song Seung Hun who went from bewildered charm to captivated delight to head over heels in love. The other characters...meh. I think that Little Chef Gunnie was underutilized - so adorable - we didn't get much of him until the end. I liked Professor Glutton-for-punishment Nam, a guy that needs some serious therapy having deliberately entered back into a toxic relationship with B*tchy McBotoxFace. Come on Jung Woo - you are a smart good looking guy - you can totally do better.

My nits to pick? I have no idea what motivated Yoon Joo (B*tchy). Maybe I blacked out or something; but why so bitter? Why so absolutely hateful to everyone? B*tchy to the only people that had any affection for her – to Jung Woo, to her father, to Hae Young – and then after burning all her bridges, whined “How could you do that to me?” ------- Really Yoon Joo? Really? Was I supposed to care for the character in the end when she lost all of her prestige? I didn’t understand her at all and she was an expressionless annoyance from beginning to end. And she looked like she was 40.

I also thought the last two episodes could have been mushed into one. I didn’t need the agony of a two month absence and then the next episode’s agony of a two year absence. It all started to feel contrived and campy – ridiculous in a fluff piece, right? But I hadn’t felt that throughout the series until the end, having enjoyed the character and relationship development.

Ponder Angst – Not too much of the ponder here. We got some, but it was all going back and fetching some repressed memory stuff that was important to the plot. There was ponder toward the end that started to annoy and I had to ffw. 10 points

Love “ – “ Angles – Jung Woo is in love with Toxic, LS initially crushes on JW, PHY is initially in love with Toxic, but eventually falls for LS who in turn falls for HY. I'm giving out a half a point for adorable little Gunnie's crush all over LS, like a fluffy little brown-eyed puppy. 20.5 points.

Sizzle Ah, the sizzle. Our main characters definitely had the chemistry set out. It all seemed sweet and genuine, with some really stellar sizzle moments from Song Seung Hun. 15 points.

Physical Intimacy A good amount of nice kisses, wrist grabbing, and hugging. 15 points.

Tragic Heartwrenching Disease and/or Character Death from Same – Like I said, we have some heart disease, which in its’ strictest sense of the metric would be considered heart wrenching, but it's not stomach cancer, so I can really only give it 10 points.

Tazza Factor – Ahhhhhm, the tazza. Did the series grab my interest like a jealous oppa taking hold of my arm? Did it keep it there, panting for more like a dysfunctional Professor hugging his soulless ex-girlfriend? Doesn’t hit the level of Tazza, War of the Flower, for which this metric is named. This was a nice sweet series that I will recommend to ahjummas everywhere, telling them their nice teenage daughters can watch. I'll give it 10 points.

Going to the Beach – Nothing in the bonus round. We have flashbacks of little Lee Seol on the beach with her Dad - clearly homeless, and he makes it fun, but no suicide. 0 Bonus points.

80.5. Overall, I enjoyed this series and I will absolutely watch it again for some mindless entertainment. Not thought provoking at all, but charming and diverting; and sometimes that’s just what you need. - e

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