Top 5 – Secret Garden References

Secret Garden parody collage

Much too long intro:

Secret Garden was my gateway drug into Korean pop-culture, stemming from randomly watching it on Netflix. I fully embraced the crazy, the repetitiveness, the odd couple(s), and the ridiculata.  It wasn’t till months later I started watching dramas regularly, so I really had no idea of just how crazy popular it was both in Korea and world-wide.  But once you watch three dramas in a row using the Secret Garden OST, suddenly the 8th billed actor is getting their own starring roles, and you see articles from the WSJ on Hyun Bin’s return date from the military, one begins to think that this show might have had some cultural impact.

It will be interesting to see if such similar phenomenon will occur with My Love From the Star, which IMO has been the next drama that enraptured world and provided gangbusters ratings.  Thus far MLFTS has sold out lip-stick, opened drama based-exhibits, and made Jeon Ji-Hyun (and chicken with beer) more popular than what was thought not possible, but I feel it’s star will fade faster then SG.  Mostly because there is so much more material rife for parody with SG.  Simply put, the humor from SG came from a mix between laughing at it, as well as with it, whereas MLFTS has decidedly less mockability.  This may seem like a total take-down, but it’s not my number one drama for nothing.  It’s much easier to remember Gil Rae Im and Kim Joo Won walking at a turtles pace in tandem then even a well-crafted joke or one-liner.  Which is why I took note of the many, many times Korean shows payed homage to the body-switching phenom, and before you can say “but the cheesecake, that was some other bitch” here is number 5.

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Top 5 – Instances of Soccer being used in K dramas

This edition of top 5 is taking its cue from the beautiful game, which will be having a moment in this upcoming little known tournament sponsored by the Football Is Forever Always group.  So in order to spread the word, this post will be dedicated to the times when futbol, putbol, chuggu, voetbal, bola sepak, and yes even soccer became apart of K-dramaland.  Apologies to those who watch K-dramas to avoid watching the thirteenth repeat of a Bundesliga match highlight reel, but unlike 95% of Americans, I can’t get enough, so anytime I can share soccer and its culture I will partake! In fact, during a study abroad trip around Europe several years ago, my go-to small talk “in” was bringing up 2010 cup in South Africa, which did become a problem upon reaching the Netherlands and talking to the Dutch…

6b788__71403042_dutch_gettyBesides the fact Europeans were shocked an American girl wanted to discuss the unfairness of Ghana’s heart wrenching loss to Uruguay (I’ll never forgive you Luis Suarez), it proved a great ice breaker.  Which is also why if I suddenly dovetail into some soccer related story that snowballs into the last match of my high school career, just ignore.  Sometimes you never know when soccer team nostalgia pangs will hit, and when they do, I’ll just remind myself of the good ole days..

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Now onto the list!

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Top 5 – Character names in K-Dramas

What’s in a name? From what I gather,  traditional Korean names are composed of family, generational, and individual syllables. Often with literal meanings (like intelligent, beauty ect) as opposed to more meaningless English names.  Which is to say that when naming people in Korean dramas, writers can give plenty of information about the character just by the name he/she goes by.  Here are some of my favorites:

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