Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday the First: Boys Over Flowers

We’re talking about first Kdramas here  – the programs that lure us into the enchanting cauldron of witchcraft that is the Korean Drama Fandom.

Wow, I’m enjoying crafting metaphors for this more than I thought I would…

No matter what you choose to call it, something about Kdramas seems to force you to remain in front of your computer (or the TV, if you're cooler than me). But I’ll go in-depth into that phenomenon at a later date.

Admit it; we are obsessed. We want to share the obsession with our friends in order to have someone within the immediate vicinity to debate over plot points, fangirl over second-hand embarrassment, sexiness, or sheer cuteness – I’m looking at you, Lee Jong Suk. I’m fortunate enough to have friends whom also watch Kdramas, but I also wish that I had the ability to convince my less Asian-biased friends to jump into the magical, seemingly inescapable pot of Kdramas.

We can briefly mention dramas when a part of a conversation relates to one, but we need to reveal some of the reasons why THIS drama or THAT drama is the one that fits as the hypnotizing – or at least eye-opening – first Kdrama.

So, let’s get started with what was my first Kdrama; I’m sure that this was the first for many others as well.

Now, this post is just my personal opinion about what about this drama made me stick around. But first, I’m going to tell the uninteresting story of why I started the first episode at all.

After I began to become a bigger and bigger fan of K-pop, I thought what any rational fan of anything would think: “If I’m going to be a K-pop/[insert franchise/genre] fan, I might as well learn about Korean culture and media.” Now, I’m sure that’s the natural progression for most K-pop fans (or Kdrama fans as well, I guess, if it’s the other way around). However, I wasn’t ready to watch all of the Kdramas I had bookmarked on my laptop.

Because the episode lengths scared me. So I started with movies.

So, I watched Sad Movie (and let me tell you, it certainly was sad at the end), and then I watched The Crucible (or as it’s known on Netflix, Silenced). Then I watched The Man From Nowhere; okay, now I’m rambling.

Anyway, right around the time I began watching bits and pieces of 200 Pounds Beauty, I decided to start a Kdrama. Out of the ones that were bookmarked at the time, I wasn’t sure which one to start out with, so – and I kid you not – I just flipped a coin.

*me* Hello, Boys Over Flowers, how are you?

*BOF* Well, Pamela, I’m going to initially annoy you in the first five minutes because of Geum Jan Di’s facial expressions; but after you turn away and go on with your life, you won’t seem to be able to forget me, even with just those five minutes – and nothing else – to go by.

*both* And so it began.

But what about the other people out there who have no interest in watching Kdramas, and who just want to stay in their little American/British/French/Spanish/[insert nationality here] bubble? What about the drama might possibly convince them to watch one? And what makes Boys Over Flowers an adequate choice for that first taste of South Korean television?

Well, let me start the official list.

1)  It’s popular…amongst Kdrama fans...

(Yes, this is a picture from KCON 2013 that I looked up, but it’s still applicable…)
Need I say more? Most of the current viewers of Kdrama have at least heard of and likely watched this drama. This’ll give the prospective viewer less validity in saying that “no one’s seen this show.”

2) There are so many clichés/standards introduced within the 26 episodes that most other dramas are more frustrating/easier to withhold frustration/easier to award creativity points to.

-Car accidents/amnesia

-Douchey rich-boy male lead falls for poor female lead that ends up being a doormat.

-intrusive parent that tries to break up Rich-Boy and Poor Girl

-repetitive soundtrack (Note: this really annoyed me at first, and I thought that it was just a lack of musical originality. But when I was told that this is normal practice in Kdramas, I was able to sit back and enjoy – yes, enjoy – most of the music. I still have “Paradise” on my phone because I like it.)

-Second. Male. Lead. Syndrome. *cue cross-cuarto-computer-catapult* (Yes, I did just include the Spanish word for “room” just to make the alliteration work.)

These are just a few of the clichés and standard practices in the Kdrama world that are conveyed in Boys Over Flowers. By watching the series, you are introduced to most of the ones that are vital knowledge for any avid Kdrama viewer. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing that if you watch it later on in your Kdrama experience, it will just seem like tens and tens of commonplaces that have been done millions of times instead of a learning experience.

3. Them.

One of my early thoughts that persisted throughout the series was this: these boys look good. (Personally, I thought Kim Hyun Joong and Kim Bum looked the best, but that’s just me – and it honestly has nothing to do with the Goo Joon Pyo Poodle Hair.)
I do have to say this, though: “Yo, what’s up, bro?” That is Kim Joon’s most significant legacy from playing the role of Song Woo Bin. But that’s just me.

4) The crazy writing, the wooden acting (*cough* Kim Hyun Joong *cough*), the ‘meh’ soundtrack integration, and the moments that make you want to throw your computer across the room allow whatever you watch next to have a higher chance at seeming somewhat good or great.

For me, it was Playful Kiss; and I think it’s obvious why – or for whom – I chose this. It’s implied by the man in the picture. His acting seemed to improve a little…or maybe that’s just because he chose a role that fit, and even relied on, the overall lack of expressive acting expertise that some overlook just to watch Kim Hyun Joong for over 16 hours.

 5)  Despite the crazy writing, the wooden acting, the ‘meh’ soundtrack integration, and the moments that make you want to throw your computer across the room…it’s kind of cute.
There’s just a certain…something…that makes so many come back for more.

And yes, I do realize that these all contain Lee Min Ho – it just turned out that way. I didn’t plan it, but this is what happens when you search “Boys Over Flowers cute scenes” on Google Images.

There, *sigh* all better.

This may or may not be of any help to anyone...

Disclaimer: Pamela is not responsible for any arguments, addictions, loss of social lives, increased understanding, or ridicule that may result from this post.


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