Review: Day 1 of KCon (Or why I didn’t attend Day 2)

Note: Hey Y’all. Muenchabench here.  Exciting news here at the eastwest dram comm blom blah – a new blogger to the site!! Bringing some clout and actual television know-how. She has been slaying DVR’s and fighting for television truth, justice, and the dramaland way for many moons.  So before I delve down deep into some Pocahontas/Wind the Winter Blows references, I will just say, “Welcome Caitlin!” and look forward to getting to know her and her blog postings (such as this) in the coming weeks 🙂

KCON

KCON looks great on paper. A two-day festival where fans of Korean pop culture can meet each other, attend panels, buy fun souvenirs, and watch concerts. It’s bound to be a great weekend, right?

No. Just… No.

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Robin Williams: A Voice for Every Generation.

Note: This retrospective will be strictly told from my POV, especially in discussing my age in comparison to his filmography. (which always seems weird and self serving to make someone’s death about yourself, but can be an almost universal reaction for situations such as these.) So if you’re not a Gen Y’er (ages18-28) this may make even less sense then my usual ramblings of nothingness.  Promise the next posting will be filled with more cheer, back hugs, and presumably Koreans.

mork and mindy

Back in western pop culture mode, unfortunately it’s in reaction to the horrible news of Robin Williams untimely passing. Girl‘s Hanna Horvath once said that she could be the voice of the her generation. Well apologies to Hanna and her severe case of narcissism, but a voice well known to my generation (especially my youth) is none other than Mr. Williams.

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I Watched So You Don’t Have To: June Drama Premiers – Savvy Trot Gunman

Joseon Gunman Trot Lovers

So this last drama cycle should be deemed a  disappointment, with no crazy successes (MLFTS), cult obsessions (SLA), or even so bad/crazy its good (God’s Gift, though for a couple weeks Doc Stranger was vying. Then the complete suckiness took hold).  So with the next cycle gearing up, I figured I would try watching the first weeks worth and deduce the critical and popular reaction.  Then three months later we can all see how wrong I’ll be, Yay!  I will try to keep everything organized so people can use this as a guide if need be.

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Bae Doona continues to be Wachowskis’ # 1 Korean, will be cast in Netflix Series

Well this seems… interesting. The Wachowskis, directors of such films such as Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and The Matrix Trilogy, are about to film a new series for streaming giant Netflix, presumably so they’ll still have jobs before the release of wackadoo janitorial space opera Jupiter Ascending. This film where not even the power of  a hobbit yearning Channing Tatum could prevent it from having a delayed release from this summer, to the cinematic garbage dump of February (though this does fit more thematically).

jupiter (1)So, they are partnering with Netflix to create  a science fiction/conspiracy thriller connecting characters from across the globe, which seem to be their motus operendi at the moment.  “Entitled Sense8, the story follows eight telepathically connected strangers who experience a shared vision. After their sudden psychic link-up, the eight (each located in different countries) are able to see and talk to each other with their minds. As they try to figure out how and why the event happened, a “mysterious” man tries to bring the group together, while another — the intriguingly named “Mr. Whispers,” seeks to kill them.” (Source Pajiba) Continue reading

Top 5 – K-Dramas American TV (or anyone else) Should Adapt

Answer me 1999 US korea fox

The Much Too Long Intro

When I collected data from blogs large and small for my drama ratings, the one constant became the consensus of Answer Me 1997.  I didn’t find a single negative review, and of the 30+ dramas I’ve seen it had the highest averaged rating with 9.3 (out of 10).  So it comes as no surprise that a drama that was so universally loved from the international community would be adapted for other audiences, yet I remain conflicted with the prospect.  According to deadline, Fox is very interested in bringing the Answer Me franchise stateside, honing in on the year 1999 and all that NSync/Brittany Spears/Backstreet Boys craziness that occurred.  On one hand, I’ve literally had the exact same thought when watching  AM 97′.   The BB VS N’Sync wars were raging during my elementary school years (of which I was always a N’Sync and JC girl), and so eerily paralleled the H.O.T.-Sechs Kies battles that occurred I even wondered if American music producers saw the Korean b-boy shenanigans and produced such fan wars here (cause I’m nothing if not a conspiracy theorist).

Yet as much as I would love to have that rush of nostalgia bring me back to my old CD collection, bus-ride debates, and pop culture references I would understand in full.  I remain traumatized by the prospect.  Answer Me was a show that nailed its casting, from its stars (Seo in Guk  and Jung Eun-Ji being one my favorite drama couples ever) to the teenage ensemble, to the parents (ditto for Song Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa), in ways I’ve only seen one other show replicate (NBC’s Friday Night Lights).  But really the tone was the most important.  Not that it can’t be done (Freaks and Geeks, FNL, and Skins come to mind, though perhaps more serious), but when the people adapting AM are most well known for creating the 3rd Step-Up movie, its hard to tell if this is gonna become more about  fad-ish pop music instead of its fully-rendered characters.  All this is a precursor and inspiration for this weeks Top 5, because if a global audience can fall in love with a drama steeped in 15 year old Korean pop-culture, then adapting it for American audiences should prove resonant at least for those Americans aged 20-30??  But because I’ve already talked about AM at length , it will not be included in this list.  Mostly I will speak to American television as that’s what I know, but most of these choices seem universal for any TV market.  Also, it seems historical dramas and standard rom-coms wouldn’t really work due to the lack of Joseon eras and over-abundance of multiple season shows.  What’s more interesting (and provides more options) are shows Korean television should adapt, a future top 5 I shall be working on shortly.  But without further delay, here is number 5!

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Video

The Power of Friends: Political and Cultural Currency

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Like every other Game of Thrones viewer, I somewhat shamefully use a friend’s HBO GO password (equivalent to using someones Viki account) So along with getting my weekly dosage of swords, fantastical political hypocrisy, and the occasional dragon, I am also privy all of HBO’s content, which is their original programming plus movie library. Though I’m not really interested in watching last summer’s explody hollywood hits (sorry eleventy billion superhero films, apocalypse zombie flicks, and gigantic version of rock em sock robots, I’m just not that into you) I am a fan of political discourse in the form of rick rolling laughter and biting satire all of which shows real life political hypocrisy. Which is why I am such a huge fan of VEEP and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.

In short, Veep is an account of a fictional Vice President and her quest for power. Through the creative cursing and mile a minute dialogue, it basically tells the story of why American politicians and its Government can’t seem to get anything done and have lost all sense of soap_in_mouth_270integrity. A true testament to the show is when I watched with a couple friends, all of us dying from laughter, and in agreement with the shows take on the political machine. And yet, all us had differing political ideologies. So that’s my quick plug for that show, though if you do watch, have Dove soap* at the ready, because you will feel the need to put those bars in everyone’s mouths.

*Yeah I’m totally pimping out Dove like a drama does PPL for coffee shop XYZ. If only they would pay me. (wink wink) Plus, wouldn’t that be an awesome ad campaign – Dove, washing sailor mouths since 1925.

Speaking of friends and the not so friendly, the non-fictional comedic news program Last Week Tonight did a segment on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and how the Chinese govt. is flexing their censorship muscle. And boy are they putting alotta muscle on it, like literally trying to scrub the day from history. Anyways watch as host John Oliver has an interesting method to get the message across for China’s youth. (Hint. it involves 90’s NYC sit-coms)

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A Deep Dive into the Whimsical World of Award Shows, Representation, and Style vs. Substance

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Note: Apologies in advance, as this very well may turn into stream of conscious bout of rambling, much of which has already been said in various places here, but even if this turns into a glorified diary entry, I just need to organize my thoughts in whatever chaotic way this post turns out to be.  May I suggest gearing up for a light-hearted review of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (coming soon!) or below with a hilarious spoof of K-Dramas.

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