Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Windy City Jumps the Shark

Okay, Windy City totally jumped the shark today with the whole loan shark business. The manager goes alone to a loan shark on company business? And gets beaten up? And is found by his mistress? Give me a break!

This hasn't been a great season of Korean dramas. So many started off well and went stupid or boring: My Precious You, The Iron Empress, Again My Love, Good Bye Solo. Even The Road Home has quickly become tedious and now I'm just left wondering who's going to get leukemia because someone always get leukemia in the Land of the Brain Dead Dramas (that horrible drama You Are My Destiny had two cases of leukemia!). I really had high hopes, too. But did we really need characters getting beat up by homosexual husbands and keeping pregnancies secret? And yet another rich brat? Again, My Love also seemed interesting, and then it just got hysterical, just like My Precious You. Even the acting is just too much. About five years ago, the height of bad acting in the US was that clenching of the jaw — yes, every time a character got angry, the actor clenched his or her jaws like some kind of pantomime. Now, in Korean dramas, any time a character gets angry, it's that camera shot of him or her clenching the fist into a tight little ball of fury. Don't the producers think the music is enough anymore? Because it used to be that every time someone got angry on screen, the angry music came on. Or the lust music or the sad music. Windy City is the worst offender in the music category. Like the romance between the manager and his young, pathetic subordinate isn't gross enough, they have to go and add that nauseating music on top of it. Ughhhhh!

Now my rant is over, I should mention two dramas that I think are working. Both, interestingly enough, take place in the last century, My Dad Loves Trouble and Splendor of Youth. The backdrop of My Dad Loves Trouble is the Korean War, but it's not about war at all. It's not even a drama but a comedy, about a young girl who has the most obnoxious, irresponsible dad in the world. How can you love a dad who only cares about himself, abandoning you and your family in the middle of a war so he can go off and have a good time? The girl decides you can't, until her father does something pretty splendid to regain her faith. Splendor of Youth is a drama and is much harder to encapsulate. It takes place in the 60s, in a small town, focusing on several families who are bound together by a rivalry between bus companies. Most of the central characters are young, thus the title, but the drama isn't Gossip Girl. Family is really its interest. And while there are rich girls being bratty, the characters are a tad more rounded than the typical dramas, so the stories more interesting. There's even gender exploration, girls beating up thugs, boys sewing clothes for girls. All in the 60s!

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