Healer, more like STEALER (of hearts)

I’ve been catching up with the Wednesday-Thursday dramas these past few days but I keep returning to the ending scene of episode 14 of Healer. I think I must have watched it at least 5 or 6 times now. It’s perfect. When she cradles him in her arms and it’s not supposed to be sexy or suggestive, just – comforting. And when she wipes away his tears and his lips quiver… YOU CAN’T FAKE THAT SHIT OK. YOU JUST CAN’T. There are probably a ton of other dramas out there that have better writing, better directing, better acting but Healer just has this pull that I can’t explain. It’s to the point where when I’m not watching it, I’m thinking about it or re-watching bits of it or looking out for news and previews. But obviously it’s something many others feel since the comments about the show on Dramabeans always pass the thousands which, if you think about it, is just INSANE. The online fan fervour is kind of rabid, and even surpasses You From Another Star, which is so amazing to me since this doesn’t reflect at all in its domestic ratings. Just, what is it about Healer?! Magic, I tell you. I’m too lazy to make sense of all my feelings for this show so just watch the FMV and maybe you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s… Healer

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SQUEE. I said in my previous post that I marathoned 6 episodes of Healer last week, so I was a little wary that the next two episodes could dim whatever feelings I had for it. I’m glad I was totally wrong. I never watched City Hunter but I’ve heard that the vibe of the two shows are similar. Don’t really care for Lee Min Ho, so I don’t think I’ll ever watch City Hunter but yes, about Healer… I’m OBSESSED. To put it lightly. It’s got everything you could possibly want in a drama – action, romance, comedy, an intriguing plot and a cast of characters you care about.

It’s hard to summarise the main plot in a nutshell because there’s just so much going on but I have to say that so far, the writers are doing a good job of feeding us little bits and pieces along the way so we feel as though we’re one step closer to getting the full picture each time.

A decades-old incident involving a group of friends who ran an illegal broadcasting station brings together three different people — a mysterious errand guy with the codename “Healer” who happens to possess top-notch fighting skills, a reporter from a second-rate tabloid news website, and a famous journalist at a major broadcast station. On the journey to discover the truth and resolve the mystery from the past, they will have to deal with the conflict of truth versus faith and also a love triangle between them. (Source)

There. There’ve been various plot summaries online but I think the one above from Wikipedia best captures the gist of the story. I really like the way the story weaves together the past and the present so you see how all the characters are linked to each other. It feels intentional, and you get the sense that how they’re all in one another’s lives now is not exactly by coincidence. I love that. Dramas always rely too heavily on coincidence as a tool to move the plot forward that it makes me roll my eyes sometimes (looking at you, Pinocchio).

But what has me giddy the most is our main couple. I’ve never seen Ji Chang Wook in anything and thought Park Min Young was serviceable in Sungkyunkwan Scandal but together, these two are perfect. It’s not even that they’re exploding in chemistry, but their characters… they just work together. You understand why they fit each other so well, why each of them needs the other. It doesn’t hurt that Jung Woo a.k.a Healer is super awesome at his job but when he goes undercover as a reporter where Park Min Young’s character, Young Shin, works at, he adopts this meek, awkward persona called Bong Soo that’s hilarious to watch. Also, hey, classic Superman romance. I love how Young Shin treats Bong Soo like one of the girls, and as someone she can unload on, totally unaware that he’s actually the guy she has a crush on. I love their dynamic so much.

I have to admit though that a big, big part (well, at least for superficial ol’ me) of why Healer is so good is because of Ji Chang Wook. He’s got these biiiiig expressive eyes (god, those eyes) that convey so much emotion in each scene, and he’s always wearing these cosy-looking oversized sweaters that make me want to cry. Also, come on, he’s playing such an awesome character *heart eyes emoji* At times, he looks a bit like TVXQ‘s Changmin and other times, I see a little Lee Min Ho in him. And depending on hairstyle, he can also resemble ex-U-KISSDongho and Kai Ko. One thing’s for sure – pictures don’t do him justice. He’s one of those you have to see in action to really understand what’s so great about them. He has a certain presence that makes him so damn watchable.

He was on an episode of Running Man (next on my to-watch list) and heard that his real-life personality seems to be a little shy and awkward, which just makes me all the more smitten. Apparently, he’s also good at sports and he can sing well. Which is just unfair. I really dread the day filming for Healer ends and he enlists in the army. He’s already mentioned that that’s what he’ll be doing and it utterly sucks because I want to see more of him. Nooo, don’t take him away from us!!! The ratings for Healer have still been firmly stuck in the single digits which is mind-boggling, but just goes to show that ratings aren’t everything. *proceeds to insert a series of Ji Chang Wook photos here just because I can*

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Anyway, I just got back from a week-long cruise to Port Klang and Phuket so that’s why I finally have wifi to catch up on all the new drama episodes I’ve missed during the week. While I was onboard, I finished the Korean version of Liar Game which for some reason, I’ve been putting off for weeks even though I thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes (probably because I got carried away with Misaeng and Pinocchio). As expected, it was simultaneously mind-blowingly good and confusing as hell. There was never a dull moment and it was kept at a concise 12 episodes, which I was very thankful for.

The game rules got a little confusing sometimes (ok, a lot of the times) and it also leaves you with a lot of question marks at the end. Yet, the show manages to wrap up in a way that keeps viewers satisfied, but also wanting a little more. It’s clear they’re setting it up for a Season 2 and it’s so exciting!!! I love that you end up doubting every single character’s true intentions throughout the show, anxious that they could jump ship at any given second. It’s full of twists and turns and a villian that is so baaaaaad, he’s almost good. Slow claps for Shin Sung Rok, I really can’t imagine anyone else honing in as good a performance (How did anybody take him seriously as the good guy in Trot Lovers?).

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Also, yes Ha Woo Jin is intelligent and sexy but Choi Sung Joon is a freaking adorable puppy that had me cooing everytime he was onscreen. I always were fond of puppies. My heart dropped when I’d thought he’d plunged to his elevator death, and then leaped again when he was wheeled out of his hospital ward in the last episode. Thank goodness.

2014 was said to be a bit of a bad year when it came to dramas but there were a few that stood out for me. My favourites after Misaeng, Pinocchio and Liar Game would probably be You From Another Star (Cheon Song Yi, MY HERO) and High School King of Savvy. The latter two would have made it to the top if it weren’t for their awful endings where it’s obvious that the writers wanted so badly to give viewers a happy ending (all wrapped up with a nice big bow on top) that they decided to throw logic into the wind. Seriously, a wormhole?! I’ll never get over that disappointment. And don’t even get me started on High School King‘s ridiculous ending. I would have taken a time skip anytime. Yeah, it’s overused to death but it made the most sense here. But noooo. “No, don’t go to Germany to further your studies so that you can increase your chances of getting a good job. Who cares if you’re 18 and still in high school and jobless with no future in sight? I have a job, I can take care of the both of us. Here’s a better idea: Let’s get married. Right now!” Wow. Yes. Brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of that?!

A charmed evening

Well, it’s almost three so it’s technically already boxing day, but nevertheless, Merry Christmas to all!! My family and I celebrated Christmas time last year in Chiang Mai and it’s actually been awhile since we spent it in Singapore. This year’s celebration was more subdued compared with previous years for some reason, but I’m not complaining. I spent Christmas eve having dinner with the fam and Christmas day at my grandmother’s, followed by a lovely homecooked meal of lamb shank and mash potatoes (see picture) at home. Simple, but enough.

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A few days back, I made the impulsive decision to buy a bunch of charms from Sophie and Toffee and they arrived just in time for Christmas, which was a lovely surprise! I really expected them to arrive much later, what with the busy holiday period and all, but my package only took like 2-3 days to get here since the day I placed my order. So, highly recommend! I bought about $15 worth of assorted charms, including various Mickey donut ones, a heart cupcake, My Little Pony, among others.

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My favourites are the Mickey and Minnie ones that came in a set, they’re so big and glossy! For now, I don’t really know what I’ll do with these charms since almost all of them don’t come with any screw eyepins to put a chain through or anything. Still, looking at them fills me up with such joy!!! I always were a sucker for cute things….

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And so, Christmas passed like any other day for me… I spent it eating, talking and in between it all, even found time to catch up on dramas. Look at me effectively multi-tasking! I watched all 6 released episodes of Healer (Verdict: So good! So exciting! Also, Ji Chang Wook!) and once that was done, I finally finished Misaeng (YES? YES!). First of all, Siwan is an absolute revelation. I’ve never seen him in anything except the two eps of Expect to Date alongside BoA, so I’m really seeing him in this new light. Of course, it has to be said that the acting is spot-on from all sides (soooo well-casted) but Siwan is especially perfect with his delicate features and a stature that makes him almost…frail-looking, completely embodying Jang Geu Rae from head to toe in both body and spirit. Slow claps.

Whenever I watch a movie or a drama, I’m the type to get so emotionally invested that these characters’ lives’ start to feel like my own… Whenever they get beaten down by life, it’s as though it’s happening to me, so I always leave each episode of Misaeng feeling so, so drained, but with that little twinge of hopefulness that the drama somehow always manages to lace in. This drama is so ordinary, but yet… so extraordinary. There are really no words to describe how incredible and special Misaeng is to me (and I’m sure, many others too), and even though I don’t think I could stand a rewatch, I will never forget all the feelings it made me feel. Easily one of my Top 3 dramas.

I hope everyone’s had a lovely Christmas! And even if like mine, it passed like any other day, if you consider it a day well-spent doing things that make you happy, then that’s all that matters! Christmas doesn’t have to be large, noisy gatherings filled with an obscene amount of food; if you spent it by yourself or with a few of your loved ones, hey, that’s okay too. It’s all about how you look at it (I mean, look at me getting all giddy over a couple of charms that have exactly zero use). Happy Christmas.

K-drama ramblings

Now that I’ve finally watched the first four episodes of Good Doctor and Master’s Sun – both of which I’ve been meaning to check out for awhile – I can try and weigh in on both dramas. This post will probably be mostly incoherent and will contain spoilers because I’m just vomitting out all my feelings about both shows onto here.

GOOD DOCTOR
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I started with Good Doctor just because right off the bat, it seemed like the type of premise I’d enjoy. I’m a total sucker for a good underdog story and a hero you can easily root for and want to see succeed. I was going to paste the synopsis from DramaWiki but I’m not entirely comfortable with the way they’ve described our autistic lead as someone with the “mentality of a 10-year-old”.

While I admit that my knowledge on autism is limited, what I get from Joo Won‘s portrayal of Shi On (which I find so fascinating just because he’s so completely immersed in his character) is that rather than someone who thinks like a child, it’s more like the way he processes information and expresses himself is different from what is seen or deemed normal by society’s standards. For Shi On, it’s using medical lingo instead of simply going, “I’m hungry,” or “I care for him”. And most of the time, even though he does have feelings, he’s lacking a way to express them explicitly and even when he tries, his actions are often misinterpreted and perceived in a negative manner.

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That’s why as a viewer, it does get aggravating to see Shi On constantly being pushed around in the hospital and belittled because of his illness since so many people are prejudiced from the start (though being doctors, you’d think they’d be a little more open-minded or knowledgeable about it). Thankfully, there are a few people around him who are inherently good, who either treat him as an adult or go out of their way to look out for him.

This drama reminds me a lot of Baby-Faced Beauty, which is another workplace drama where the heroine is great at what she does but doesn’t get the opportunity to showcase that and is instead treated like crap most of the time. But what made me drop that drama was how extreme the bullying got and I felt like there was not enough good moments where she could rise up to the occasion and prove all the baddies wrong for the show to be satisfying. So it ended up being mostly frustrating and difficult to stomach since it was essentially episode after episode of things going horribly wrong and people piling the blame onto her.

What I like about Good Doctor is that despite all the baddies that are commonplace in most workplace dramas where oversized egos are the driving force behind most if not all of their actions, at the end of the day, I just really want to see Shi On succeed and make everyone go, “I was wrong about you.” We’re with him 24/7 so we see him for who he is, his motivation behind becoming a paediatrician and because of that, I want him to achieve his goal of becoming one.

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Even though all the plotting in the drama can get exhausting because it’s just your typical plotting to take over the company stuff blah blah blah, it’s Shi On I’m watching for (I just want to shower him with all of my love u_u), and the heartwarming moments when they’re able to save a sick child and the intense, exciting moments when the patient’s on the brink of death and we don’t know if our team of surgeons will be able to pull through and save him/her. And one of the things that gut me the most about the drama is Shi On’s backstory with his older brother because every time they flashback to the childhood scenes, the acting is so spot-on and their relationship was so enviable and great, it really gives added insight to why Shi On’s so set on wanting to save sick children and gift them with the opportunity to experience a good life and grow into adults — something his older brother never had.

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I love Hong Sisters and even though Big was disappointing, there were still good parts that made it enjoyable so I was looking forward to Master’s Sun. I was excited to see Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub paired together because they physically look great together and Gong Hyo Jin seems to be the type to have a natural chemistry with all her male co-stars, and mostly, I was just plain excited to see So Ji Sub doing something more comedy-like since his roles are so serious all the time.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the drama but the verdict is: I love it! It’s right up my alley with a sizzling OTP and likeable lead characters. It’s breezy and fun and even though I understand the comparisons to Dating Agency Cyrano, I personally much prefer it because all! the! skinship! I like dramas with romance shoved to the forefront, but I think it manages what Cyrano failed to achieve, which is to make me feel invested in the characters and the development of their relationships. Like I’m really eager to find out just what Kang Woo‘s deal is (whereas I could actually care less about Master and his shiftiness and his whole gangster connection) and I feel like I’ve been talking about this since I watched the first episode but when on earth did Seo In Guk get so handsome??????? It’s the damn swimming movie istg but whatever it is, he is so fiiiiiiine and I completely understand why Gong Shil swoons each time he’s within sight.

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CAN U NOT???????

At four episodes in, I’m not yet tired of the whole one ghost story per ep thing (even though sometimes they can freak me out by popping out randomly), because there’s enough progress on the relationship front between our four mains that I’m kept engaged (and when Kang Woo straight up told our top star Yi Ryeong that she’s not pretty I just–). And really, I just love our OTP OK????? I love them together, I love their banter and their dynamics and just omG please get together already, thanks. Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub have so much chemistry together, I could watch entire episodes of just them interacting.

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Gong Hyo Jin is one of those lovely low-key actresses that’s so naturally likeable and endearing, I just can’t imagine anyone who’d not like her in Master’s Sun. When she’s being pouty and cute, I don’t find it to be grating or put on, which says a whole lot since my tolerance for that sort of stuff isn’t exactly the highest. I think there was this one scene I was watching and for a moment, I imagined what it’d be like if someone like Park Shin Hye was playing Gong Shil instead and I internally cringed, because just no. So Ji Sub’s character, on the other hand, isn’t all that different from Cha Seung Won‘s in Best Love, in that they’re both assy and full of themselves but it’s a character type I’m kinda okay with, because you just know once he falls in love, he’ll fall so hard, it’ll be laughable. And hey, it’ll make for more cute OTP moments so all’s good in my book!

My only gripe is that the basic premise is very very similar to the spooky rom-com movie Chilling Romance with Sohn Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki, about a girl who can see ghosts after getting into an accident, and they often keep harrassing her until she does what they request of her. Because of that, she’s not had a proper day’s rest and has altered her lifestyle completely and became a shut-in. But overlooking that, I love love love the excuses for skinship in Master’s Sun — like, how great is it that when she touches Joong Won, the ghosts instantly poof and disappear? And I also like the introduction of their contract of sorts, where she’ll use her “gift” (using this term very loosely here) to find out about the money he’s lost 15 years ago, and in return, she gets to touch his body for solace (her gleeful exclamation of “Then I can touch you and everything?” was adorable). It’s so great.

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Of Monstars and Men

I just finished watching Episode 10 of Monstar and I think it might be my favourite yet. I laughed, I cried, I giggled, I squealed… I just love this show to death. I love that the episode finally shone a spotlight on Eun Ha‘s problems and her tantrum about Se Yi taking away Seol Chan from her was one that I felt was completely understandable. Do Nam and Kyu Dong‘s friendship takes a turn for the better too and the soccer scene was the cutest thing.

Although I’m wholeheartedly onboard the Se Yi-Seol Chan ship, I get that there are people who are second-lead shipping, and I don’t blame them because Kang Ha Neul is so gorgeous *__* I think Ha Yeon Soo and Kang Ha Neul look super cute and compatible together, so I actually won’t be surprised if in a couple of months, they came out and said they were dating (one can hope!).

They recently did a set of Denmark Milk CFs and even share a smooch (or two!) in them. It’s all really cute and this is probably more expression I’ve seen on her face than all of the Monstar episodes put together.