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cross-posting from tumblr:



If for whatever reason I never get to have my final say about Nice Guy, could I just co-sign misterX's final review? I'm tempted to bring the entire thing over and highlight every part I want to emphasize, bold, underline, comment on, but he wrote a 3000-word review, half of which I want to highlight, so... this will have to do for now:

[S]ometimes that normality can be something a lot more personal, something that isn’t tied to any social norm or standard but is instead made of the most pure, liberating of feelings. [...]

It’s called happiness.

When people dream of having a normal life, that is what they really mean. They want to be themselves, free from the debilitating demands that wearing their great little everyday masks puts on them. They want to be the purest representation of their inner self. Innocent. Unsoiled by the shadows that life forces upon them, and basking in full light. What you see is what’s beating inside, nothing more and nothing less.

That these very words became the coda to a drama which spent most of its running time dealing with frail masks of duplicity I found very striking, and not only on a superficial level. Taking a “and they lived happily thereafter” out of context and somehow suggesting it was a sort of tacked-on ad-hoc panacea to satisfy the visceral whims of an undemanding audience would sell short the aspirations of a writer (and the cast and crew she guided through these twenty episodes) who never strayed off the greater path she walked on from the beginning. [...]

This is a labor of love done in record time, showing that it’s not really the live shoot that’s killing this industry’s output, but the lack of motivation in pursuing quality to the very end, even if it doesn’t immediately translate into additional ad revenue or rating points. A labor of love that couldn’t possibly work without some of the most passionate acting seen this year. [...]

Yes, this drama is not perfect. You’d hope that almost the entire third act was re-written, all the ancillary detours that led nowhere dropped entirely, that the way Lee delivered her message was just a little more plausible. But I’ve learned to value imperfection when compensated with sincerity. I’ve learned that, especially in an environment which sees “normality” as playing it safe and doing everything it takes to get that ad revenue and export contracts, someone still out there writing “normal” shows should be praised. Normality that is full of real themes; real storytelling in its purest, most innocent form.

And for that, I can only say one thing.

Thank you. I’m happy.

ETA.

Must add that I found his personal recollection of PD Kim Jin-Won's late father, actor Kim Heung-Gi, incredibly moving. I do hope PD Kim knows that many of us not only recall his father, but also appreciate that his spirit lives through his son's work.


Gromit: dainty
Posted on 2012.11.03 at 12:12
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The 2nd half of this year's like a repeat of last year, where I'm spending the majority of my time on tumblr rather than LJ for blogging. The only difference is that last year was all about Downton Abbey on tumblr (though S2 quickly took care of that) and Tree With Deep Roots on LJ. Nice Guy has a much wider, younger audience and interacting with k-drama fans on tumblr has been a novel experience of some sorts. From a purely technical viewpoint, the changes at LJ plus (and I don't know if it's just me or if everyone's dealing with the same problems) the incessant spamming are souring me on the platform. I suppose it's only a matter of time before tumblr goes the way of Facebook, where changes have less and less to do with user interests.

Long story short: Hi, friends on LJ. :) Still alive, do miss the interactions...

re: Nice Guy, Maru, Eun-Gi, ... so cross-posting this from tumblr. (I promise to get to the replies later today, sorry about that.)


Every now & then, I see people asking 'is he using her or is he in love with her?' and, after the hundredth time, it starts to get a little annoying because it feels like there can be no in-between. Because while he may not be in love with her the way she is with him, it's not 100% fake on his part either. Believing that it's all fake might be easier for someone like Jae-Hee to swallow, and maybe it's the only way she understands relationships--manipulating emotions for personal gains--but what goes on between MR & EG is much more complicated and much greyish than that.

I don't think, for instance, he flew all the way to Japan with the sole objective of getting back at JH. I think he genuinely wanted to help EG save the resort, JH or no JH (though that accidental eavesdropping of her threat made him more determined, because if anybody knows what JH's capable of, it's MR). I think he wanted to help EG, because it meant something to her, because her memories of her mother were tied there, because this is the same guy who risked his neck trying to rescue the doll that was her only token left of her mother. It doesn't matter that it wasn't motivated by an armful of love for EG, the way that might have been the case with, say, someone like Joon-Ha. He did it because he felt a kinship to her plight, and he did it without expecting anything in return, ie. there was no 'rubbing hands with glee', 'she'll be eternally grateful to me, forever and ever' calculation behind his decision. He just did it, without any sentimentality.

And that side of him, that side of Maru who smiles & says 'hi' to her doll on the porch swing, who takes notice of her late mother's wish on the plaque, who waits for hours outside her room... When we hate him for what he's doing to EG, for lying to her so coldheartedly with that ILY, for knowingly leaving her in distress when she was looking for him in the crowd... we have to reconcile that with that other side to their relationship, that part of him that is neither indifferent nor immune to EG.

I don't claim to have reconciled that myself. Those were some truly chilling scenes in the first half of episode 6, and without the latter half of the episode, I'd be more shaken than I care to admit. But take all of that, all that we know and learned about MR in six episodes, and it's still one and the same person. And you can't have one without the other.

So what did happen in the 2nd half of episode 6?

On the same night that showed him to be the most cruel he's ever been to EG, he also shared a part of him that I've never seen him do with anybody else in six episodes. To say that his scenes with EG outside his house, then in his room, were mind-blowing is an understatement, because I just didn't expect him to reveal himself like that, certainly not on the heels of what took place earlier in the episode. Okay, maybe I did a little, because whenever he's with EG, she brings out a side of him that you don't see with anybody else. I just didn't know how it would manifest itself this time.

His reply to her 'in vino veritas' confessions... I didn't see that as 'hey, sorry about that, tough luck, sh*t happens, deal with it.' I think he saw himself in her confessions, the lovestruck Maru who thought JH was his entire world. I think he knew better than anyone what she was saying and what she was going through, because he'd been there. And everything he told her... he was talking about him. Those happy days when you were in love... that's the nightmare you wake up from, that's the nightmare that lasts for an afternoon in an entire life, that's the nightmare you don't even remember dreaming. Those shattered dreams and illusions about love... that's his nightmare, and he was telling her she could survive it, because he did. It destroys you, but it doesn't kill you.

And on the same night JH bought out the bar in the hopes of seducing him... he spent the night with EG, taking care of her, watching over her, letting her sleep & rest in his own room. (Never mind cleaning after her vomit, I can't be the only one who noticed she was wearing a shirt too big for her, ie. his.) He didn't do any of this with any ulterior motive. He just did it because she needed his help, the same way he helped her again and again without expecting anything in return.

JH treated him the same way other women treat him. (Which angers him, and clearly brings out his worst side, in ways nobody else can because she should know better. She should know better, but every single time she misfires.) EG ended up re-defining for him what it means to spend the night with a woman. What it's like just to sleep side by side. What it's like to wake up to a smiling face and talk of mundane things tête-à-tête. When they gave us a little sneak peek of that conversation (just their voices, not the scene itself) at the end of episode 3 (misleadingly for the preview for episode 4)--"Have I told you how crazy I am about you?"/"You have."--it sounded so intimate, I couldn't help but wonder how it'd take place. What I got was beyond my wildest imaginations. It was such a mind-blowingly intimate moment for the both of them, I literally wanted time to freeze over. And I think the intimacy, the experience, spending the night with EG did get to MR because I've never seen him look that vulnerable with her. This man, who never averts his eyes and always speaks his mind, turned his face away every time she asked for the truth. And when he did open his mouth, he spoke from the heart. "Run away from me, with all your might." He literally willed her to walk away from him. He doesn't have the courage to end it himself (and I don't think his indecision is all about JH), but he doesn't want to hurt her either.

It doesn't excuse what he's doing, it certainly doesn't make it right, but it does tell us he's waging an internal battle with himself, and if his reactions to EG offer the slimmest of hopes it's not going to end in a blazing fire for everyone, then I'll take those chances. Because it's infinitely more interesting, riveting and emotionally involving than anything else I've seen in quite some time. And these characters, these actors make me want to hang in there.

Had a good feeling about yesterday, based on the reactions (portals, twitter, boards, etc.) & the real-time data, but didn't want to jinx it. Bet everyone on set (and the advertisers... 18.1% in Seoul? Dayum...) are over the moon this morning.

AGB Nielsen for Nice Guy episode 6:

Nationwide 16% (+2% vs. ep. 5)
Seoul & metropolitan areas 18.1% (+2.4% vs ep. 5)

+2% increase in one day, for both nationwide & Seoul? Dayum...

And in addition to breaking yesterday's records & widening the gap with Arang by 3.5% (nationwide) and 5.1% (Seoul) respectively, this marks Nice Guy as the highest-rated weekday primetime drama on any network. In six episodes. Ahead of Golden Time which just wrapped up.

This drama is officially ON FIRE.

I want to inhale this episode.

I want to live in there & never, ever leave again.

I will embrace the emotional meltdowns but will never stop praying for some happiness in the end for my OTP because oh. my. god. these two... *urge to weep*

This drama is ON FIRE. Nothing went as I suspected but I couldn't care less because this was perfection.

Gawd, longest week-long wait EVER.


I'M GOING TO SLASH MY WRISTS!

:)

Oh. My. GOD....

Can't upload the video yet (besides, KBS will take care of that), so screencaps will have to do but OMG. I'm supposed to wait 22 hours for this?????????????????

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SJK: platform

Things that make my day

Posted on 2012.09.17 at 21:46
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Yeah, it doesn't take much to make me happy. :)

* I'm not the M/V type (it's not something I look for actively) but this fanvid for Nice Guy which I saw on tumblr is really lethal, I'm quite impressed:



* MisterX's 100-word review for Nice Guy (as of episode 2):
Go Soo, Jang Hyuk, Jung Ji-Hoon, So Ji-Seop, Won Bin. All charismatic actors Lee Kyung-Hee has worked with over the years, people whose physicality could more or less aptly convey the writer’s obsession with machismo. What Lee could never count on was someone who could add a sense of humane frailty to the equation, like Song Joong-Gi. His assured and nuanced performance and Kim Jin-Won’s textbook-like understated elegance are what set this show apart so far, to the point of taming down Lee’s most damaging instincts. Can this effect last though, considering how prone she is to derailing plots?


* And yes, he's back online @ http://vaultofdoom.wordpress.com/.

I've had some queries myself re: what happened to his old site & subs, but I think it should be obvious by now 'they' put the kibosh on his subbing projects. So please, don't pester him with requests, he can't help you there.

SJK: platform

Quick thoughts on Nice Guy, ep. 2

Posted on 2012.09.14 at 07:50
Tags: , ,
Did I say that I wanted to play in the shallow pool yesterday? Well, forget it. :) I may not be able to put together two sentences right now but I can't go gaga over looks when his performance is knocking my socks off. So many scenes to choose from, but the searing image for me is this moment right here:







He was in so much pain, I really thought he was going to throw up and collapse, even though I knew full well (having read the script) he was just struggling to stand on his two feet. But omg his pain, his pain... whatever defense mechanism he built for himself to survive all these years, she just shattered it in one night. And that was just the beginning.

What a remarkable episode...



That split second when he misunderstands what's happening?

I've replayed it many, many, many times. I don't even understand why I love it so much but I do.

rest behind the cutCollapse )

credits: fuckyeah-kdramas @ tumblr

SJK: platform

Nice Guy, ep. 1

Posted on 2012.09.13 at 10:16
Tags: , , ,


For the first time in my life, I think I actually understand what it means to watch a drama purely for superficial reasons. 'course, if the writing, the acting, the direction had been wretched, I'd either be going out of my mind or ditching it faster than you can say 'adios', but despite some problems, Nice Guy is far from a wretched entry (I'd give the first episode 7/10) and I find myself just wanting to stare at Song Joong-Ki than get all analytical. I'm not even listening to him (and this is coming from someone who thinks his voice, and delivery, is one of his best assets ever, even trumping his looks at times), I... let's just say I could spend hours just watching him, which, given what his character's like in Nice Guy, suggests mission accomplished. (I didn't feel this way with Tree With Deep Roots or Sungkyunkwan Scandal.)

But enough with embarrassing myself.

I think my problem with episode 1 is that it felt like it was still trying to find an equilibrium between Lee Kyung-Hee's melodramatic writing & characterizations and PD Kim Jin-Won's understated direction (which is also closer to Song Joong-Ki's own instincts as an actor). I was hoping they'd complement each other, but I don't think they've found a middle ground yet and it doesn't help that episode 1 moves very, very fast. But the follow-up eps. are meant to revisit what they jumped through, and if they can do that well and flesh out the characters more, I can overlook some of the problems in episode 1 in their desire to be where they wanted to be at the end of the episode. It's not a perfect fit yet, but I love what Song Joong-Ki and Moon Chae-Won bring to the table and I really need LKH to make the best of these two talents and their chemistry. I'm not as happy with Park Si-Yeon but... we'll see.


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