As if he wasn’t already a CF king in Taiwan and China, now that he’s the newly minted 2013 Golden Bell Best Actor winner, I’m expecting even more Vic Zhou goodness everywhere I go. I think between him, Ethan Ruan, and Bolin Chen, they’ve got the male Taiwan CF marketed cornered. Zai Zai made his first big public appearance after notching a win at the Golden Bell ceremony to attend the Winter kick off of Uniqlo Taiwan’s fashion line. Last year’s Uniqlo CF spokesmodels Ivy Chen and Bolin Chen have morphed into a slight older duo of Zai Zai and Patty Hou. This is actually a reunion for the two, having starred in 2008’s Sweet Relationship together as the OTP. I keep trying to finish Sweet Relationship since it has Zai Zai and is a remake of one of the classic J-doramas I love called Oishii Kankei, but every time I get tripped up by leading lady Patty Hou. I actually like second female lead Megan Lai much better in that drama in both character and performance. But it’s hard to argue that Zai Zai and Patty don’t look good together, and I actually think they look better 5 years later now then they did back in that drama days. I curiously peeked at the Uniqlo Winter line and aside from the obligatory puffer down jackets there seems to be a lumberjack vibe going for the guys and the color maroon is in. Neither of the trends pique my interest. I’m still giddy over Zai Zai winning and he’s expressed a desire to keep experimenting beyond his idol boy start and doesn’t have any plans to get married any time soon. I love how he glows these days, and the cheeky humor is in full force as he posted a picture on his Weibo right after winning showing his dog congratulating him on the victory. It’s adorable and I won’t try to describe it so check it out yourself below. Continue reading
Even as my enjoyment of Heirs/The Inheritors has been steadily increasing, I still think it’s much ado about nothing. But at least I’m having fun, which is inversely proportional to that other K-drama I am recapping which shall not be named. I said before that putting the leads into a high school setting renders everything relatively insignificant. That’s part of the fun of high school dramas, to soak in the amusing but ultimately insignificant things that happen to kids while knowing it’ll pass and there is a greater world and life ahead of them. I could see this drama as positing that Eun Sang and Tan are each other’s first loves, meaningful in a time of their life filled with great loneliness, but life reared its ugly head and they couldn’t be together. But perhaps that’s the set up for another drama, or likely a set up we’ve encountered in plenty of dramas already. Eun Sang fits the profile of a first love, while Tan could easily turn bitter and angry after losing her and he becomes Won v.2 until ten years later when he meets another girl to heal his scarred heart. But if Kim Eun Sook wants to make these two work in the present, she’s going to have to give them more to work with other than ineffectual sword stabs at Chairman Daddy. The big question at the end of episode 16 is whether Eun Sang left the country or is squirreled away somewhere in Korea but hiding from Tan. I personally would prefer her to have left and make something of herself in Buenos Aires as if sticking it to the old man that she can make lemonade out of lemons. If Tan can hold it together in the years while she is away and also become strong enough to battle his dad, then the drama can leap forward and show us the Heirs becoming the Rulers years own the road while all finding their measure of happiness. But Tan strikes me as very needy, and I doubt he’ll last long without Eun Sang. Between the two of them, she seems much more self-sufficient while he reminds me of a puppy that wouldn’t know which way to go without his beloved owner around. Wherever Eun Sang is, I’m hoping the drama also gives us more scenes of her being friends with Young Do. I find myself really enjoying those scenes a lot in the last two episodes. Check out the spoilers for episode 17 below, which are all we got this weekend since SBS didn’t show a preview for the episode after this weekend’s re-run episodes of Heirs. Continue reading
Some folks not watching Marry Him If You Dare (Mirae’s Choice) might be wondering in a rubbernecking sort of way how godawful this drama can possibly get even with a scant two episodes left. Judging from the just released stills for episode 15, there is plenty of room in drama hell left for it to go. Following in the wholly inexplicable pattern of releasing stills of Mi Rae and Se Joo, the latest pictures show them attending an industry party together all dolled up. Or at least they are supposed to be but frankly Se Joo looks like smarmy ahjusshi with the slicked back hair, too-gaudy earrings, and blue double breasted suit while Mi Rae looks like she would rather be cutting her toenails than being there. I’ve given up on this drama having any romance or comedy, but it’s actually hilariously brain dead for the writer to keep insisting on showing us interactions between Mi Rae and Se Joo when (1) Mi Rae always looks pained and awkward, and (2) of all the possible combos for the leads getting together, this one is by far the worst and most barftastic. Se Joo and Yoo Kyung makes sense as confidantes and she has the brains and street smarts to help him in life running YBS. Mi Rae and Shin make sense because she’s the sensibility where he’s all ego and principles, he toughens her up and she smooths his edges out. Heck, even Shin and Yoo Kyung make sense! He sees through her facade but understands her reasons while she isn’t in awe or cowed by him.
So if three out of four pairings are decent, why does the writer insist on shoving the sole lame one down our throats? Why? WAE? Is she a masochist? We have to be hurt before we’ll feel the pleasure? I don’t know, but the thought that Mi Rae accepted Se Joo’s proposal (I spot a ring on her finger in the still) leaves me with no choice but to draw the following conclusions. The drama tells us that a person can keep insisting on loving another, despite being told in no uncertain terms that the feeling is not reciprocated. That obsession can manifest in being “friends” just to stick around the vicinity, but it’s not really “friends” if one person carries a torch and then whips out a ring. The “friends” thing in the case of Se Joo is just a convenient excuse so that Mi Rae doesn’t run away from him. And Mi Rae? If she’s that weak she needs to lead a guy on that likes her by deluding herself that he’s just a friend, then she’s too pathetic for me to care about whether she can overcome all odds and find the career and man she loves. I suppose there is some karmic justice that pathetic Se Joo with his pathetic “I love you because you understand the lonely me” self wins the hand of the pathetic “I’m okay” Mi Rae because future Mi Rae came back and screwed everyone over. At this point, the only thing that could possibly entertain me in this drama would be if the ending was another future Mi Rae came back because this Mi Rae did marry Se Joo and it turned out to be a nightmare of a marriage and future, so she’s back to do it all over again. Ha! Continue reading
The current Fuji TV Fall Getsu 9 is Umi no Ue no Shinryojo (Clinic on the Sea) with Matsuda Shota and Takei Emi. It’s ratings are pretty ordinary and its predecessor Summer Nude with Yamapi, Karina, and Toda Erika (with a cameo role by Nagasawa Masami) didn’t exactly bring in the viewers either despite all the abtastic fanservice thrown in. Even a giant Yamapi fangirl like myself fell asleep watching that snoozefest. Despite Yamapi and Shota failing to deliver hits, Fuji TV is sticking with its tried and true formula of good looking young leading men and up next for its Winter Getsu 9 is the return of Matsumoto Jun to a time slot where he did deliver a hit with Lucky Seven nearly two years ago. When I heard his leading lady would be Ishihara Satomi, I penciled this one right in because I just adore her to pieces. I still haven’t watched the Lucky Seven SP aired earlier this year where Satomi guest-starred with Jun but I’m fairly certain they must’ve had good chemistry otherwise why toss them together again. This upcoming dorama is called Shitsuren Chocolatier (Heartbroken Chocolatier) and is based on an award winning manga of the same name. The story is about a young man who is in love with a girl since high school and tries to win her heart by becoming the best chocolatier around because she loves chocolates. Jun is the persistent chocolatier while Satomi is the girl of his dreams who breaks his heart with her rejection of his first love confession, which prompts him to go to France to become the best at the craft. I haven’t read the manga but Jun has been picking good projects recently, in addition to Lucky Seven’s ratings success his most recent movie Hidamari no Kanojo with Ueno Juri was also a hit with three weeks in a row being number 1 at the domestic box office charts. This dorama premieres in early January 2014. Continue reading
Like him or not, it’s hard to deny that everything Lee Seung Gi touches in the last few years seems to turn to gold. He gets great acting reviews even if the drama gets the ratings (Gu Family Book) or not (The King 2 Hearts), his singing career is on a nice steady schedule of releases, and his variety show gigs have been a series of great choices. Cable network tvN got an unexpected but well-deserved hit with Grandpas Over Flowers, sending Lee Seo Jin to herd four adorable cantankerous grandpas overseas to France and then Taiwan. Striking while the concept is hot, Na PD roped in Lee Seung Gi for the all-female version with his seniors Yoon Yeo Jung, Kim Ja Ok, Kim Hee Ae, and Lee Mi Yeon. Even if the names aren’t as familiar to the drama viewers, all the actresses are immediately recognizable as familiar staples of television in starring and supporting roles. Yoon Yeo Jung especially is quite familiar with fans of Lee Seung Gi since she played his mom the Queen Mother in TK2H. Nothing like taking your drama mom and her friends out on an overseas trip to make Seung Gi squirm. The Noonas cast visited lovely Croatia and the first episode aired this Friday after tvN’s other spin-off hit Answer Me 1994 (the original being Answer Me 1997). AM1994 has been setting new cable ratings records but Noonas appeared to be primed for its own success no matter what – the first episode clocked in a jawdropping average ratings of 10.5%. That is unprecedented, and actually built upon AM1994′s ratings of 9.2% for its episode. Noonas also beat every single major network show aired in the same time slot on MBC, SBS, and KBS. It goes to show that if you create a great program, the viewers will come, cable or no cable. I’m thrilled for Seung Gi and can’t wait to check out his version of this travel show since I loved Grandpas Over Flowers. Continue reading
With two weeks left in its run, Heirs/The Inheritors is on such a tight live-film scheduled I’ve seen BTS pictures of filming where the footage is aired the next day. I’d love to see some spoiler stills for next week’s episodes for a hint as to whether Eun Sang left the country or not. Lee Min Ho was snapped by a fan filming outdoors today which gives some clue as to what to expect. I’ll discuss what I think after the jump. The kiss scene in episode 16 has been getting very mixed reactions, some love it while others were completely underwhelmed. I belong to the “it doesn’t totally suck” group, because objectively it doesn’t suck since there was lip movement from both participants, plus Lee Min Ho was trying his best to gnaw on Park Shin Hye‘s lips. But her body language in that kiss was abysmal. Despite her lips participating, her body language screams “I’m scared out of my wits!” Fans in DC got a hold of the shooting script for the kiss and it’s a pretty funny read. Her last kiss with Yoon Si Yoon in Flower Boy Next Door, albeit less passionate, was much more in mutual synergy. Oh well, it doesn’t both me too much since I really wasn’t expecting something all that memorable though it does seem like a waste of a prime opportunity for Park Shin Hye to shed her “can’t kiss onscreen if her career depended on it” reputation. I love her but she really needs lessons, preferably a hit two birds with one stone kind where she starts dating a great guy in real life and they kiss a lot in their relationship and she gets all the practice she needs. With the 2013 dramas soon to wrap up, Heirs has now vaulted to the top of the list as commanding the most money for selling its overseas airing rights. It’s already been sold to 13 countries and many more are already in talks. I’ll be surprised if this drama breaks Lee Min Ho’s top-selling K-drama Boys Before Flowers. It’s got some buzz but nothing compared to the hysteria and pandemonium during BBF. Continue reading
I’m fairly certain Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter-actor Leehom Wang is talented and considered handsome in some quarters. I wouldn’t know because I don’t find him the least bit handsome or his projects interesting. With my disinterest I had to play catch up understand why he was the hottest topic in the Chinese entertainment pages for the last few days. Leehom has been plagued with being gay rumors since his debut and those rumors turned to pretty serious evidence for the last two years that he was dating Chinese classical pianist Li Yun Di. They met performing together at the 2012 Lunar New Year show for a major Chinese network and apparently it was love at first sight. Since then they have been photographed watching a movie together (Life of Pi), posting pictures of the two of them hanging out alone or with respective family members, seemingly holding hands behind A Mei in a picture when they visited her new nightspot, posting romantic cryptic Weibo messages that the other would seemingly respond to hours later, and on and on. Both guys have emphatically stated they are totally NOT gay and just really good friends. Then this week the hellgates opened on what might be the most ridiculous revenge breakup in the history of entertainment dating – or those two guys seriously have a psychic connection in finding girlfriends. Leehom went first and posted a Weibo shocker – a picture of him with a girl he introduced as his girlfriend, a grad student at Columbia. Hours later, Li Yun Di posted an update on his Weibo of a picture of a girl that he said was his girlfriend, a grad student at Columbia. And no, it wasn’t the same girl. Magically Leehom and Yun Di both happened to find pretty Chinese-American grad students at Columbia, not to mention revealing the relationship on the same day! What are the odds? C-netizens went crazy and said that Leehom dumped Li Yun Di to go straight, and in revenge Yun Di flashed a similar background girlfriend to go tit-for-tat. Leehom has since raised the stakes and a day after revealing his girlfriend he then revealed that they were actually legally married already having registered as husband-and-wife. I watched this all while holding back my snorts of laughter and shaking my head at how makjang if all felt. Continue reading