The OTP Goes From Wedding Night to Farewell Hugs in Empress Ki

Well, that was one short honeymoon period even by sageuk standards. The latest stills from Empress Ki show the OTP of Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang having a farewell hug. Not sure how far and long the farewell is going to be but it’s definitely not giving the lovebirds any breather after their lightning speed proposal, engagement, and then wedding night from episode 20. Hilariously I wonder if this drama is trying to speed up the narrative and since we all know Seung Nyang marries Ta Hwan and becomes his Empress at some point. Is the point of the boating to cement the romance and connection between Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang quickly so that she can move onto Ta Hwan for whatever reason? And will the drama still go down the novel plot line of Seung Nyang and Wang Yoo having a baby together before she ends up married to Ta Hwan? I’m sure my questions will get clarified in the next few episodes but I’m hoping the pace remains as brisk as the last two episodes. I’m loving the recent Seung Nyang story line to pieces from all angles. Her attire is the best I’ve seen all drama long.

She’s back to dressing rather androgynous which suits her personality, but now her hair is this lovely pulled back waterfall that shows off her cheekbones and piercing eyes. Her hair also has the perfect half ponytail to show off Wang Yoo’s engagement hair pin to its full advantage. I also love how Seung Nyang gets back her own agency which has been missing since she entered the Yuan palace. She gets to make her own choices again – she chooses to reject Ta Hwan’s advances, she chooses to accept Wang Yoo’s proposal, and she chooses to consummate their relationship. She chooses to get back on a horse and shoot her arrows and protect her man and countryman all in fell swoop. She’s back to being the Seung Nyang from the early parts of the drama except now with more conviction and purpose in life. While I think Ta Hwan is a dithering lovesick fool and Wang Yoo is a rather boring upright leader, neither of whom are really all that interesting as characters, it’s Seung Nyang whose raison d’etre is the purpose of this entire drama and I’m thrilled she’s finally coming back to the forefront of all the action again. I also hope she gets more nookie with her hubby before she leaves him for the other dude. It’s a damn shame to have such a hot guy and not get in as much action as she can in the meantime.

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The Prime Minister Goes Rocker Punk to Retrieve His Errant Young Wife

It’s been a thumb twiddling week waiting for episode 10 of Prime Minister and I to arrive. That will also signal the drama heading into the second half of its run and I hope the narrative will not suffer from any whiplash attempt to infuse it with more angst to draw in viewers. That is what happened with PM’s predecessor Marry Him If You Dare, and that drama also had the most cringe-worthy blatant second leading pandering ever by releasing mostly stills with that character and the leading lady. This latest show showing In Ho helping Da Jung out with her stuffed animal frogs in the rain worries me despite my happiness at seeing anything new with Yoon Si Yoon in it. I don’t need to see In Ho stuff from the drama featured because we all know its going nowhere. The first point is that Da Jung doesn’t like him that way, a point which is vitally important though that exact same rationale didn’t seem to fly with folks who kept on second leading shipping in MHIYD. Once again, if the leading lady has no feelings whatsoever of the romantic stirring for a character, it’s safe to say her choice ought to be respected.

The second issue in PM is that Da Jung is married to Yul. I love to see In Ho try some ridiculous “I’ll wait for you until your marriage contract is up” proclamation, because then I’ll be tempted for Da Jung to tell him that she’s going to make her marriage to Yul a reality including jumping her hot husband in bed because she’s fallen in love with him. Thank god KBS released a new OTP still shortly thereafter which makes me all giddy because wuri Prime Minister is finally changing out of his suit and cardigans and showing his attitude in a leather jacket with spikey hair. PM has genuine stakes aside from In Ho’s crush but episode 8 and 9 seemed to emphasize it more than I think it deserves to be addressed. Let’s hope episode 10 has the guy realizing he likes Da Jung enough to want to protect her and then everything else can be left to life to sort out. KBS released some new shiny production stills and one jumped out at me showing Yul washing dishes while Da Jung seems to be happily teasing him. Judging from their outfits this scene was supposed to be after their ramyun eating scene but clearly was cut. I’m wondering now what else cuteness this drama has been withholding from me. I will be a very angry Koala if PM doesn’t show me every scene of Yul and Da Jung giving their marriage a real shot whether that involves bedroom flirting or date night swooning. Continue reading

Video Previews for Episode 10 of In A Good Way

I can stare at Liu Chuan all day long, especially when he does his intense staring at Jia En all day long. I don’t think Lego Lee is anything like Liu Chuan in In A Good Way, in fact he’s probably more of a Ren Wei than any other character. But what makes his portrayal of Liu Chuan so perfect other than his gorgeous looks and athletic prowess all being put to good use is that he has the most soulful eyes. He says much with just a glance and then speaks volumes with a piercing stare. There are bits of episode 9 that I glossed over when recapping since it’s not in the dialogue so let me fill in the blanks. I think Liu Chuan was going to confess to Jia En when he rode his motorcycle to the tea house but ended up being pulled into helping Ren Wei out of his class report bind. Cheng Ren Wei, once again an unsuspecting foil. When Bai Xue got up the courage to confess to Liu Chuan, it likely pushed him to own up to his feelings which has been pulled through the ringer after Jia En’s near danger experience. Liu Chuan wasn’t chafing to confess but the timing felt right except it turned out all wrong.

Sometimes when we let a chance go it might never come back again, much like Liu Chuan’s two attempts at the Christmas dance to reveal he was 3631 were all interrupted and then he ended up never being able to admit it again and had to be bailed out by Ri Qi and Jia En’s understanding. Bai Xue nursed a crush for 5 years probably in part due to Liu Chuan never expressing any interest in a girl, a lack of urgency because there was no competition. So when Jia En bumbled her way into Liu Chuan’s life and his heart, Bai Xue might have avoided it if she confessed earlier and who knows if Liu Chuan might have reciprocated then. That is what makes Ren Wei’s honesty and perseverance in pursuing Bai Xue so refreshing when he’s surrounded by so many friends who keep everything inside. Episode 9 had a slight uptick in ratings but nowhere near breaking 3 yet so no chance to see Lego and Jay topless bike riding for the foreseeable future. The FB fanpage is thisclose to breaking 200,000 which means Lego will be performing a song he wrote himself for the fans soon. Until then, have the two latest previews for episode 10 and both reveal Jia En and Liu Chuan’s budding romance isn’t getting iced over by the “I hope the guy is not you” barrier. Liu Chuan even asks Momo for advice, and knowing how much Momo loves his Jia En jiejie, I think those two have many love cupids all around them. Continue reading

First Official Stills of Jung Woo Sung Facing Off Against Lee Bum Soo in Thriller Movie God’s Trick

Just feel all that heat cooking in the first stills alone from the upcoming Korea movie God’s Trick (God’s One Move). Short of Jung Woo Sung doing another movie with his best friend Lee Jung Jae, seeing him going mano-a-mano with Lee Bum Soo is just as good for me. Jung Woo Sung did one movie in 2013 and it was being the baddie in the box office winning thriller Cold Eyes with Han Hyo Joo and Sol Kyung Gu. In 2014 alone he’s got three movies lined up and the first is God’s Trick which is tricked out with a huge and fantastic supporting cast. Lee Bum Soo goes for the antagonist role this time and it’s going to be tantalizing to watch two leading men I love to pieces butt heads onscreen. This is the movie Lee Bum Soo was filming when he injured his left hand, a sad turn of events but one that still leaves me perplexed as to how he got injured since this is a movie about baduk (Korean for the board game Go) which is as inert an activity as any. Jung Woo Sung plays a blind man who enters a baduk tournament in his brother’s place and loses everything thanks to a seasoned grifter played by Lee Bum Soo. He goes to prison and vows to get back those who took everything from him.

With the help of veteran baduk player Ahn Sung Ki and polishing his baduk skills in prison, Jung Woo Sung comes out ready for a rematch with Lee Bum Soo. Recently red hot Choi Jin Hyuk will be playing Lee Bum Soo’s right hand man so will also be a resident baddie. Joining team good guys is Kim In Kwon as the attention diverter while Ahn Kil Kang is a woodcutter and reformed former baduk swindler. In this testosterone haven is Lee Shi Young as the lone female character and a sympathetic figure who supports Jung Woo Sung’s quest for revenge. Directing is the PD who helmed Lee Min Ki‘s movie Quick back in 2011. I find it hilarious that baduk can become an intense noir action thriller of a movie since its a very slow and methodical game with the objective of surrounding more territory than one’s opponent. The last time I saw baduk as a plot device was watching the King of the Heavens and the King of the Underworld play baduk in Arang and the Magistrate as a way to pass time and discuss the foibles of mankind vis-a-vis choice and destiny. Let’s just say even with the King of the Heavens played by my baby Yoo Seung Ho, watching all that baduk onscreen was genuinely sleep inducing. With this packed cast I’ll be watching God’s Trick no matter what but I’ll be impressed if the PD and screenwriter manages to make the matches tense and thrilling. Continue reading

Lee Da Hae, Park Min Young, and Kim Sun Ah All Switch Agencies in the New Year

Normally an actor or actress moves agencies is not really worth writing about but the recent moves of three Korean actresses merits a mention since it might have a big impact on their acting careers in the new year with a look back at their recent career trajectory. First up is Lee Da Hae (My Girl, Chuno, IRIS 2) who has just moved from her old agency Forestar Entertainment to FNC Entertainment which reps CN Blue and Lee Dong Gun among others. Forestar is currently in a heated fight with Jung Seok Won who is trying to break his contract with them so who knows what’s going on over there. Lee Da Hae had a terrible month of December considering she was also one of the handful of ladies alleged by netizens as part of the actress prostitution ring which was cleared up by prosecutors as all false attribution. FNC has a much bigger representation of musical talent but with the addition of Lee Da Hae in addition to signing Lee Dong Gun earlier this year it’s setting up a nice solid acting contingent. It’s also worth noting they worked together before in Sweet 18 though Lee Da Hae played the clingy second female lead and maybe being in the same agency they can work together again. Her star has been decidedly muted in Korea in the last few years and far from her high during the My Girl days. I think she needs to lay off anymore fixes to her face and just let her natural acting talent shine through. She’s really one good role and project away from reclaiming my good graces. King Kong Entertainment also recently lost two of its leading ladies - Park Min Young (who hasn’t acted in all of 2013 and in 2012 she did Dr. Jin) bolted in two months ago and recently signed with Culture Depot which is the agency that reps Jeon Ji Hyun, and Kim Sun Ah left this week after her contract expired but doesn’t have a new agency yet. Continue reading

In A Good Way Episode 9 Recap

Sorry for a bit of a lull with In A Good Way goodies such as preview posts. This week’s previews for episode 9 were beyond weaksauce since Jia En scenes were deliberately kept from it to maintain the illusion that our leading lady might actually be in real danger. Of course she wasn’t, but the concern Liu Chuan had that she was in danger dragged his heart out from its hiding place for the first time. It’s clear now that he likes her whereas she’s nowhere near consciously liking him back yet, and that differing level of emotional clarity makes sense from both their experience level and how they approached their friendship. Liu Chuan to Jia En was like a combination idol and confidante, but I guarantee Jia En affected Liu Chuan from their first interaction in the dorm room which explains why he went out of his way to help her time and again. As Ri Qi said, he’s known Liu Chuan for three years and has never seen him treat a girl the way he treats Jia En. By Jia En having a little tussle with danger, it helps Liu Chuan figure out his feelings but does nothing for actually spurring him to do anything. The closest he gets is asking for tea as a reward for helping to find her, which of course we all know what the giving of tea means on the CDU campus.

The writers are really laying on the Ren Wei Easter eggs in this episode, hinting by signs alone that something might happen down the line with him and Jia En. I wonder how that might even happen since Ren Wei remains so into Bai Xue he comes close to failing a class because of her. This episode really belonged to Bai Xue and she continues to develop as a girl who I can relate to and feel sorry for. She really is the female version of Liu Chuan, beautiful and good at everything with a lovely personality, but emotionally riddled with hang ups and insecurities. The way she nursed her crush on Liu Chuan for the last five years is exactly what I project for Liu Chuan’s feelings for Jia En if he doesn’t do something about it. I applauded Bai Xue’s confession to Liu Chuan but wished she went all the way rather than take off after being subtly rejected. I also don’t blame her for dropping the nuclear bomb on Jia En that the guy she likes turns out to like Jia En. Bai Xue said that in an emotional moment devoid of scheming or malice, and knowing this drama it might actually help Jia En and Liu Chuan down the line. I love seeing the characters continue to toggle school situations with their own emotional growth and the drama is doing a nice job of shining the spotlight in each episode on one or two supporting characters other than the OTP. The pacing is good for Liu Chuan and Jia En to slowly soak in each other’s company and awareness but the one narrative that needs a jump start again is Ri Qi and Xiao Wei. Please don’t let that misunderstanding drag on any longer because poor Xiao Wei needs more friends now than ever. Continue reading

Puff Guo Marries Heechul of Super Junior for We Got Married Global Edition Season 2

Okay, this I gotta watch. Season 2 of the Global edition of Korean variety program We Got Married is about to kick off filming soon and the casting has just been leaked. I watched the first season purely for the hilarity and cuteness that was Taecyeon of 2PM and Gui Gui (Wu Ying Jie) and those two did not disappoint in the least. I doubt they would ever date for real what with the language barrier and all though English and hand gestures worked plenty well during the pretend marriage. Gui Gui also laughs and aegyos a lot and that usually helps smooth over a lot of awkwardness. The Taiwanese media was the first to confirm Gui Gui’s pairing with Taecyeon way back when and now it’s doing it again by revealing yet another Taiwanese singer-actress is heading to Korea to “marry” a K-star. The lady in question is none other than popular girl group Dream Girls maknae member Puff Guo (Guo Xue Fu). And her future hubby is one of the most 4D guys on the planet and I can only be talking about Heechul (aka Kim Heechul) of Super Junior. In Season 1 of the Global edition the other male K-star was Lee Hong Ki of F. T. Island belonging to FNC Entertainment and I wouldn’t be surprised if the other male K-star in Season 2 also comes from FNC and is either a CN Blue or F.T. Island member. Puff is reportedly flying to South Korea as early as next week to start filming, which might put a damper on all the recent Dream Girls activity since they just released their first full length album 美麗頭條 (Beautiful Headline). Their first two were both EP releases though both did decently well on the charts. SM has already confirmed Heechul’s participation while Puff’s agency merely admitted to talks with the production but stopped shy of confirming her involvement though its pretty much a done deal. I’m hoping Puff knows some basic Korean phrases what with working with her Dream Girls unni Song Mi Jin for the last 3 years. If not at least she can fall back on her own brand of 4D silliness. I don’t know what sparks will fly when Puff marries Heechul but I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Continue reading