#Let’sTalk: BTS in the U.S. — is it helping or hurting them?

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As ARMY’s know, BTS has been doing a wide variety of interviews and activities since they’ve been in LA on Tuesday. They’ve actually done so much that I haven’t been able to catch up and keep track of how many interviews and shows they’ve done.

And I frankly don’t care to watch these interviews and shows that they’ve been doing.

The general consensus that I’ve been getting from their interviews is just how disrespectful and lazy these interviewers have been. They continually ask the same questions over and over again: who are your favorite American actors and actresses, who would you want to collaborate with, who are you looking forward to seeing at the AMA, how do you feel about performing at the AMA, etc etc. At first, a few of those questions isn’t too bad, but when you’re doing a bunch of interviews everyday of the week and everyone asks the same question, it can get repetitive, boring, mundane, and annoying. This isn’t even to mention the type of questions they get asked where interviewers try to pin down ARMY’s and generalize them as a crazy fandom who stalks BTS and does horrible things to them. I get it, there are those people in fandoms who are like that and will stalk their favorite idols, follow them everywhere, always know what their idols are doing, etc., but to ask BTS about that is just too much for the boys — especially since their relationship with ARMY’s is one that they heavily treasure, admire, and cherish. BTS doesn’t want people to be thinking that their own fans are crazy because most fans aren’t, but these American interviewers try to paint them out as if they are which is completely wrong and inaccurate. Thankfully, Leader RM was aware of this and clearly knew what he was talking about when he was translating to the members the question. He wanted to have the members share positive experiences and accounts of fan interactions with ARMY’s.

Also, interviewers have been treating BTS as if they’re just some one-hit wonder who just recently gained popularity a few months ago and are now promoting in the U.S., but it’s never been like that. BTS has been on the rise to stardom since 2015 with ‘I Need U’ and then really exploded with ‘Fire’ last year. 2016 was BTS’s year and so is this year and probably next year as well. They’ve been popular since two years ago and are still maintaining their momentum now so for interviewers to treat them as if they’re just barely starting and as if they’re just something that’s trending right now and will go away in a few months is so frustrating, invalidating, and discouraging. BTS has devoted 7 years of their life to get to where they are now. 7 years – 4 years since debut and 3 years of training. They put all their hard work and effort, their time, and literally their blood, sweat, and tears to finally achieve the success that they are at now so for interviewers to just treat them as if they’re just something big in the moment is completely disregarding the fact that they’ve been big for a few years now.

Also, can we talk about how the U.S. has been using BTS’s name just for the clicks and money? Like how the AMA’s now has merchandise of just pins and patches and are selling them for $40-$80? $80 just for a few pins and patches? Do you know what you can do with that same amount of money? Do you know how much food or clothing you can buy with that money? Do you know that you can donate that money to BTS’s ‘Love Myself’ campaign to help end domestic violence all around the world than for a couple of pins and patches? I know. I know BTS’s debut performance at the AMA’s is a huge deal. It’s a huge deal and is literally history. BTS is paving the way for future groups and artist to do the same. But AMA’s is just milking BTS and using their name at this point to profit off of them and make money. They obviously know how popular and big BTS is and what ARMY’s will do for BTS so they use their names to make money which is completely absurd and annoying in my opinion. And then I’m not even going to mention all the other interviews where the boys seem tired, bored, and frustrated because they keep being asked the same questions over and over again or are being put in positions where they’re being pit against their own fandom. It’s just ridiculous.

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Also, many people have been asking the boys if they plan on making songs and albums in English. Here’s my thought on that: the boys are Korean. Their ethnicity/nationality is Korean, they’re from Korea, they speak in Korean, and they sing in Korea. In no way are they obligated to meet the standards and expectations of other people who think that just because they’re in America they should have plans to sing in english. They never had plans to promote in U.S. in the first place. RM said this in a press conference after they had won the BBMA’s where he noted BTS is going to continue making music in Korea and record songs in Korean which is how they started, what they should be doing, and most importantly, what the boys themselves want to do. So why is it that when they’re in U.S. for just a few weeks to promote themselves and get their names out there, all of a sudden they’re supposed to be singing in english and be talking in english? When American artists come to Korea to have their concerts and hold some interviews or when American actors and actresses come to Korea to promote their movies, no one expects them to be performing or speaking in Korean. That’s the same way with BTS in America. They’re literally here just to perform at the AMA’s and do some interviews and radio shows here and there. They shouldn’t and don’t need to be speaking in english.

I know that some people have argued that the boys record albums in Japanese when they promote in Japan which I argue is completely different from their promotions in the U.S. Big Hit had plans for BTS to pursue advancements in Japan though while with the U.S., they didn’t. They took a few offers here and there to get the boys some more exposure in the U.S., but I don’t think they actually plan on having the boys actively promote in the U.S. music industry any time soon. They’re probably testing things out right now with the AMA’s and all these other interviews to see if it’s something they’re interested in, but Big Hit never had plans for the boys to make advancements in the U.S. Now this completely differs with Japan because their promotions were planned by Big Hit. We all know that K-Pop artists make advancements in Japan after their Korean debut. It’s the norm; it’s what we’ve seen in the past and it’s always been something that Korean entertainment companies make their artists do. Thanks to artists and groups like DBSK and BoA, this became possible and now entertainment companies capitalize on these opportunities. Because the Japanese music industry is so much bigger than Korea’s music industry, it would only make sense that they’d go there in hopes of gaining more recognition and exposure and therefore, put in the necessary work and effort that is needed to make that happen. You can tell that BTS didn’t plan on advancing in the U.S. music industry because they’re not 1) recording any songs or albums in english yet 2) the members themselves aren’t receiving any lessons on english hence why they can’t really communicate and if anything, are the ones teaching themselves english just so they can better communicate and interact with fans because they cherish and love all their fans. It’s different from Japan where they’re recording both old and new songs in Japanese, are receiving language lessons on how to speak Japanese, are doing concerts and fan meetings in Japan. It’s two totally different things: different countries, different music industries, different audience and populations, different promotional tactics, etc. You can’t compare them promoting in Japan to them promoting in U.S. It doesn’t work that way. If the boys themselves don’t want to sing and perform in english, they don’t have to. (Also, it’s not going to be anytime soon where Asian/Asian American artists, groups, and celebrities in general will be taken seriously in the United States and not be perceived as a joke but that’s an entirely new topic of its own).

These American interviewers and reporters aren’t even doing their work and research properly. This is America after all so I’m not really surprised, but as an ARMY it just upsets me because the boys deserve so much better. They came here probably very nervous but also very excited to be trying something new and to do something that they’ve never really done before and then here they are being disrespected, being asked the same boring questions a million times over, and being treated as if they’re just a one-time thing. These interviewers should either do their research, have ARMYs/fans interview the boys themselves, or just have the boys do the interviews themselves but be given the questions ahead of time. BTS should be getting questions asking about their music that is inspiring and socially conscious, about their ‘Love Myself’ campaign, about their inspirations in life to keep making music and doing the important work that they’re doing, and so much more. But here they are getting questions asking about dating, about times where their fans were crazy, or about getting compared to groups like One Direction and Backstreet Boys. Like seriously?! These reporters got their priorities all wrong.

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I really hope that if anything, their debut TV performance tomorrow at the AMA’s will make up for all the BS that they’ve had to put up with this entire week. I hope that the boys are still enjoying their trip and are having some fun in between their schedules and activities. I just want the boys to be treated with respect and love. I just want the boys to be safe and happy while they’re here. Is that too much to ask for?

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BTS will be making their debut U.S. performance on the AMA’s with ‘DNA’ which starts tomorrow on November 19, 2017 at 5pm. Tune in or you’ll definitely be missing out!

[UPDATE] 

Finally seems like one of the interviewers did their jobs right! In BTS’s most recent interview with Zach Sang, he actually mentioned about BTS’s ‘Love Myself’ campaign that they’re partnering up with UNICEF to do, BTS’s music and what they’re actually about, and also how music transcends language (which is literally what RM preaches about all the time) and how it’s important that BTS continues to sing in korean where ever they are and where ever they go. The boys themselves looked super happy and excited to be asked new, refreshing, and important questions that actually matter and are relevant to them and many fans are also excited about the interview. You can watch the interview above!

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[Discuss Away!] Mad Dog episodes 9-10

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Holy smokes! Episodes 9 and 10 of ‘Mad Dog’ were so good. Neither one is my favorite episode out of the entire drama, but oh were they so so good.

Episode 9 was so intense while episode 10 was so soft I enjoyed the contrast in mood and tone between the two. I’m glad that Min-joon and the Mad Dog team are now collaborating with one another a lot more often to defeat the bad guys which they’re finding is not as simple as they thought it would be. The unexpected challenges and obstacles and people they’ve faced along the way makes things so fun to watch and I like how the drama is really grasping onto those opportunities of intensity and momentum. I also liked how the drama gave us some time to just breathe and relax with episode 10. The past few episodes have been so action-packed and intense that episode 10 gave us some adorable bromance between Min-joon and Kang-woo. Min-joon fed Kang-woo and helped him relive some parts of his life that he had been neglecting since his wife and son passed away while Kang-woo cared for Min-joon and acted as the older brother that Min-joon had been missing his entire life. I was surprised at how relaxed and calm episode 10 was just because it never seems like the drama stops running (maybe because it actually doesn’t even when you think nothing’s going on), but to give us scenes of Min-joon and Kang-woo spending time together while not having to worry about the villains was so nice to watch. I wouldn’t mind if Mad Dog continues with this vibe, but we’re halfway past the drama so things are only going to get even more intense from here on out. Please try to add in some bromance and romance between Ha-ri and Min-joon in there while you can Mad Dog!

I said in my last post about ‘Mad Dog’ that I had wanted better acting from our cast members. While that still does ring true, I think episodes 9 and 10 really showcased our cast members’ acting when their characters demand it out of them, such as Yoo Ji-tae’s character Kang-woo. Yoo Ji-tae really brings out his acting chops when it is demanded of him and we saw that at the end of episode 9. So far, he’s been taking it slow and has been doing little things here and there, but never really showcased his full potential. He gave us merely a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg in the last 8 episodes that in episode 9 when he was rushing to get his team members out of the greenhouse so they wouldn’t get caught, he finally unleashed some of his great acting skills that had I had been wanting to see and that had been missing from this drama. I wished his character would have been more demanding like this from the beginning of the drama so that we could have gotten more of intense and passionate Yoo Ji-tae all along. Why we’re barely getting this I don’t know why and it’s such a shame, but I’m glad that we’re getting something from him at least now.

This drama has a way of making you think that a lot of things are going on when really there isn’t. When I step back and pause and just think about what the drama has been doing the last 10 episodes, I realize that the drama hasn’t been doing that much. Yes, our Mad Dog team has been chasing after people and after the truth and getting themselves into risky situations so the entire drama is fast-paced, but overall the drama is quite slow. You receive little hints and answers here and there (of course without our protagonists facing challenges to get those answers first), but they come in increments. I like how this drama makes you think that there’s a lot going on when really there isn’t. You’re occupied and caught up in the moment and instead of dreading the drama and watching them get defeated time after time, they gain little wins here and there and there’s comedic timing to balance it all out. It’s nice pacing and maybe sometimes it is a little bit too slow for me generally, but the drama is nice to watch so I’m enjoying it.

I don’t think our villains are going to be defeated anytime soon but I do wonder who’s going to get eliminated first when this does happen. I’m quite sad that CEO Hong-joo has gone onto the bad side because I thought she could have possibly made a good partner with the Mad Dog team. I hope that she’s secretly either working for the Mad Dog team and just pretending to work with her father, but maybe she might actually be a villain which would be so unfortunate and kill any potential her character had in being interesting and multi-dimensional. I’m anticipating to see where this drama goes and how our villains are going to be defeated.

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All in all, I’m all in for more Mad Dog team collaborations and team-building! Let’s do this!

#Let’sTalk: Is all the fuss and fanwars about MAMA 2017 worth it?

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It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year where award ceremonies are quickly approaching which means endless fanwars and lots of arguing about whose year 2017 belonged to.

Over the general course of the past few weeks since the announcement of the Mnet Asian Music Awards and the release of details plus nominations for the award ceremony, there has been a lot of discussion, fanwars, and hate going around. I kind of just wanted to talk about MAMA itself and how it has created such a toxic and painful environment for many folks all in the name of money and profit.

I’m going to try to make this short as possible, but seeing just how controversial MAMA is this year and every year it might not lol. But my first point would be that voting for MAMA will not make a big difference. I’ve been into K-Pop for the past decade and just from my observations of Mnet in general, I can almost say that Mnet has probably already determined and selected who the winners of the awards for MAMA are (I say probably because I don’t actually know but I’m just assuming based on my observations). Just like how they’ve done with their other shows such as Show Me the Money, Produce 101 Seasons 1 and 2, YG’s WIN: Who is Next, they’ve already selected who’s gonna win ahead of time, but to earn more money and profit, they emphasize on this culture of fanvoting and tricking fans into thinking that their votes actually matter when it doesn’t so that they can get more money that way. Do you really think that MAMA is going to let fans determine who the winners of the awards are when they could potentially have entertainment companies paying them money under the table and behind the scenes so that their artists and groups could win certain awards? Mnet is getting money in many different ways and fanvoting is just one of those many ways. They’re not going to let fans have so much influence and impact in determining who gets to win an award or not. I’ve watched plenty of shows and seasons from Mnet and they’re just super sketchy, corrupt, and shady. Whether that’s bringing back contestants who were already eliminated into the competition (coughSMTM4cough), purposely editing episodes to make people look bad and for the purpose of creating drama on the show, or removing votes that they found “illegal” without giving some kind of explanation or criteria as to what they meant by “illegal votes” to the public, Mnet does things on purpose that they know will bring in more views and therefore more money. They can care less about the people, about the audience, about the artists and groups themselves — all they care about is money and if that means making someone look bad or editing shows and episodes in certain ways to create drama then so be it. Out of all the awards ceremonies and broadcast channels, Mnet to me is the least credible. I don’t find the work that they do professional or worthy at all, but it’s unfortunate that they’re smart in the way that they promote and market their shows or in the different ways that they come up with to make money and views which fans buy into and feed off of. Mnet knows how to do business, but they do business in such a stupid way and unfortunately fans buy into it every single time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mnet has already selected who the winners of MAMA are, but are just promoting this fanvoting culture to get fans to vote because they know they’ll get more money out of it. And in fact, that’s what I think they are doing.

Additionally, I don’t think MAMA is dumb enough to let some groups and artists go home empty-handed. They’re obviously going to hand out awards to the groups with the biggest fandoms. So for popular groups like EXO and BTS, Mnet is probably going to give them some kind of award. It might or might not be the Daesang, but they will not let the bigger and more popular groups go home empty-handed because Mnet knows that doing so will lead to a lot of backlash and hate which they do not want because that means less money for them in the end. Let’s say that EXO and BTS do not win any awards at this year’s MAMA. That means fans will be mad and will boycott MAMA or not return the next year which means less money and revenue for Mnet which they do not want. Instead what they’re going to do is give different groups different awards so that everyone is satisfied in the end and therefore will return again the following year to vote for their favorites which means more money for Mnet. I can’t say for sure which award EXO or BTS or IU or TWICE is going to win, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to win some kind of award because they’re the bigger artists and groups right now in the K-Pop industry. To make them go home empty-handed is probably one of the worst and confusing decisions that Mnet can make at least from a business standpoint and perspective.

I know there’s been a lot of fanwars as to who’s going to win for MAMA and therefore a lot of hate and bashing for other groups going around. There’s always fanwars in general in K-Pop which I think is unfortunate, a waste of time, and super toxic. I think the concept that fans have to understand is that the K-Pop industry is always constantly changing, evolving, and growing — meaning that your favorites will not be at the top forever. There will eventually be a new group who will take over and come out on top. But that doesn’t discredit the achievements, successes, precedents, history, and trends that your favorite group might have set and accomplished when they were a top group during that certain moment. Your favorites might not be the most relevant now as they used to be back then, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t successful or that they didn’t set trends and precedents or that they didn’t help pave the way for future idols and groups of K-Pop. Hell, DBSK is not relevant now as they used to be back then, but they will always be remembered as legends because of the many doors they opened in both Korea and Japan to the idols and groups who debuted after them. The same can be said about other 2nd generation groups like SNSD, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, SISTAR, f(x), SHINee, BEAST/Highlight, etc etc. Many artists and groups from the 2nd generation are now either not as active as they used to be or have disbanded, but you can’t deny that they all left a mark in the K-Pop industry in their own ways and contributions. Currently, we’re now in the phase of K-Pop where those in the 3rd-generation are the most popular. Groups who debuted in 2012 and after are the ones who are the most trendy, most popular, and most relevant within the K-Pop industry. They’re the ones who you see the most often on variety shows, they’re the ones who are headlining different concerts and festivals, they’re the ones who are the most talked about. Groups like EXO, BTS, TWICE, Red Velvet, Black Pink, etc. are the groups who are the biggest right now and they’re all from the 3rd generation. This proves my point once again that new groups will eventually replace your favorites and that popularity doesn’t last forever. It’s useless to engage in fanwars about who’s the popular, about who’s the best group, who’s at the top because in a couple of years it’s not going to matter. No one thought that DBSK would break up and divide into two different groups, no one ever thought that Wonder Girls would disband since they were so successful with constants hits like ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Nobody’, people didn’t think Big Bang or f(x) would be as inactive back then because they were going so strong in their careers respectively. But fast forward a few years now and they’re each doing their own things and are pretty much inactive. Once again, your groups will not be popular forever. In the case of MAMA, it’s not going to matter who won which award at MAMA. And even if your bias group doesn’t win at MAMA, it’s not the end of the world. Your favorite group will still be alive. Your favorite group’s career will still thrive even after MAMA. MAMA isn’t even that credible of an award show in the first place so I don’t understand why so many fans get so caught up in all the fanwars, voting, and competition. It’s useless and it’s not worth your time. I used to be all about this life too. Trust me. I used to vote all the time for my favorites, watch all their shows, watch all their MV’s endlessly, and did whatever I could to support them. But after a while, when you’ve been a fan of the industry for so long and you slowly start to gain a better understanding of how everything works, you realize that you shouldn’t take K-Pop too seriously. You realize that there are other things to better invest your time in. You understand that fanwars are useless, that voting is useless, that K-Pop is not all rainbows and unicorns like how you originally thought it was. Maybe fanvoting does play a role to some extent in determining who the winners of the awards are, but it’s not everything and fanvoting is not the biggest factor that Mnet is going to let determine who wins the awards or not. Yeah, you can vote as much for your favorites, create a thousand accounts to vote for your favorites and whatnot, but at the end of the day the ones with the most power and influence here is Mnet themselves and they will get to decide who they want to win which award. And also, if there’s anything worth talking about when it comes to MAMA, it should be the fact that things were a lot better when MAMA was MKMF before switching itself to MAMA. People actually cared about the performances and music than the awards and competition at that time. MKMF > MAMA.

So don’t bash other groups, don’t put other groups down, don’t say or do anything hurtful just to prove that your group is the best and is the most popular because in a couple of years all of this will not matter and your group will not be the most popular forever. Just like everything else and all the other groups before, one’s popularity will not last and there will eventually be a downfall. Learn to appreciate what you have while you have it by supporting your favorites, listening to their music, buying their music and albums, going to their concerts if you can, and not engaging in fanwars and arguments with others. It’s unfortunate that nowadays fans don’t understand that though and that K-Pop has become more about competition, music charts, and popularity than the music itself because it shouldn’t be that way.

You have to remember that K-Pop is a business at the very end of the day and that this industry is all about making money and profit. Yes, it’s great to have a special relationship with your favorites and to be able to listen to their music, watch them on shows, and “get to know them” as a fan, but they are profiting off of you and so is their entertainment company. So once again, don’t take K-Pop too seriously and don’t devote all your effort, money, and time into it especially if it’s so toxic and negative for you. K-Pop can be fun, but it can also be stressful, demanding, and time-consuming. It’s ultimately up to you as to how you want to spend your time, energy, and money so if you wanna vote for your favorites for MAMA go ahead, but learn to be wise and smart in how you use these things because before you know it, that time that you spend on K-Pop arguing and engaging in fanwars is time that you are never going to get back. So use your time wisely while you have it and spend it on the things that actually matters and will be relevant 10 years from now.

[Discuss Away!] A Witch’s Court episodes 9-10

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Why can’t our protagonists win? Why do they keep on getting defeated by the villains in this drama? Why our own good guys going against each other? Why are our two leads arguing and fighting each other? Ahhh, this drama makes me stressed, scream, and want to pull my hair out, but it makes me stressed in a good way.

The stakes keep getting higher and higher and the drama gets more and more intense, but that’s what I love about this drama. I’m enjoying how the Ahn Tae-gyu and Baek Min-ho case within the past few episodes have been directly tied to Ma Yi-deum, Yeo Jin-wook, as well as Mayor Cho Gap-soo. You’re no longer having a random sexual assault case assigned to our main two characters and watching them work with each other to solve these cases while also watching them struggle with their own respective issues in life. The drama has actually gone in the complete opposite direction with our two leads being directly tied to the heavy and complicated case that also involves other powerful individuals like Mayor Cho Gap-soo. Now that the case is connected to our characters, the stakes are so much higher and everything is so much more risky. I’m particularly afraid for Ma Yi-deum who we all know is persistent, strong, and powerful, but often times her decisions and actions can do her more damage than good as we saw with episode 10. As much as I love and root for her, I do think she needs to realize that her recklessness and stubbornness can result in consequences which is what she hopefully learned once Chief Prosecutor Min resigned. She says things and act before thinking and if there’s anything I want her to learn, I want her to know that her actions and words can be hurtful and not only affect her but also those around her. Hopefully she’ll learn to be more careful next time she wants to do or say something.

I’m kind of sad that the drama drew back on the romance because I was expecting them to spoil us a little bit more this week. Although I’m sad, I’m not surprised nor mad that they didn’t give us any romance. I actually think this week’s episodes made sense with the direction that it took and the decisions that our two leads made. Ma Yi-deum is so desperate to find her mother and receive closure that she’ll do things to benefit herself while Yeo Jin-wook is an all-around good guy who doesn’t condone and tolerate corruption. He wants things to be done in a fair and equal way and even if that means confronting Yi-deum who he has feelings for and possibly disagreeing with her, he’ll go for it. The decisions they made in episodes 10 were not out of their character which is why I wasn’t mad that we didn’t receive any lovey dovey scenes between the two. I’m actually glad that we got to see them full-on disagree with each other for once. They’ve had little bickers here and there before, but in the last two episodes they actually faced real conflict with each other where their own raw emotions and feelings were involved. While Yi-deum thought about herself as a daughter before her position as a prosecutor, Jin-wook only thought about his job which lead the two to disagree. I thought it was so interesting to see Jin-wook struggle to be the sole prosecutor assigned to the crucial case though. Yes sure, Yi-deum shouldn’t have done things that were illegal, but she’s a smart lady who gets things done and as we’ve seen in the past, Jin-wook works best when paired up with Yi-deum. Seeing him work alone and take on the case alone without Yi-deum could have also contributed to Baek Min-ho’s loss. Maybe they work best when they’re with each other and not apart.

I know that things were hopeless and that Baek Min-ho wasn’t going to actually win the case because he doesn’t have that much of a influential and powerful support network like Ahn Tae-gyu does, but does that really mean that you had to kill Baek Sang-ho? I totally wasn’t expecting him to die, but I could see why the drama decided to cut him off. It made sense because Ahn Sang-gyu needed to be saved and as long as Baek Sangho was alive, there was no way that that was going to happen so Sang-ho had to go in order to save Sang-gyu. It’s just so unfortunate though that he died and then that after Min-ho faced a punishment that Sang-gyu should have gotten. Granted, Min-ho did choose to hang out with him and whatnot, but he wasn’t the one who committed the murder so there should have been some justice for Min-ho. It just seems like things are so hopeless and like the villains are just continually winning. Baek Sang-ho getting murdered, Min-ho facing imprisonment for years, Chief Prosecutor Min resigning, and Ma Yi-deum giving up on getting revenge and justice for her mother. Could we not have gotten just one victory to balance out all the losses the last two episodes? It hurts watching the drama right now and I just want things to look brighter and better for our characters.

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However, with the return of Ma Yi-deum after a 3 month break, maybe things will hopefully start to look better. She’s rejuvenated from the small short break she’s needed and she’s ready to get herself and everyone else back on track. I’m excited for her return and I’m anticipating how things are going to be different and how things are going to turn out now that she’s back. And of course, I’m also looking forward to more interactions between our two leads. Less bickering and more loving please!

[Discuss Away!] Because This Life is Our First episodes 9-10

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Aww, this drama is really charming. ‘Because This is Our First Love’ hurts so good and this push-and-pull game between our main couple is so heart-breaking but in such a satisfying way. I love the little voiceovers of lessons and thoughts our characters get from facing obstacles in life and I love the relationship between Se-hee and Ji-ho even more.

This drama doesn’t have a lot going on, but it still manages to keep you engaged. Maybe it’s because you’re so curious and interested as to what’s going to happen to our main couple who married for housing purposes that you keep watching. Se-hee is so mysterious and you rarely get glimpses of how he feels about Ji-ho while Ji-ho continues to remain kind but honest and direct with Se-hee and it’s this dynamic between the two that is so charming and interesting. They’re honest with each other on different topics, but they also maintain a line of boundaries and respect between them because they came to knowing each other first as housemates before anything else.

The drama has been showing our main couple beautifully struggle with their feelings towards each other. They obviously have some feelings and affection towards each other, but hold back in fear that these feelings will go unreciprocated. We clearly see this push-and-pull game in the most recent episodes as Ji-ho considers her one-sided love towards Se-hee (again). Just when she thought she opened the doors to his mind and a piece of the wall to his heart, she discovers that maybe she really didn’t and she returns back to square one where she had started. But this is what I love about the drama. You never really know what’s going to happen and what Se-hee himself is feeling. This uncertainty keeps me engaged because at one point he’s grabbing Ji-ho by the hand and leading her back to the apartment and then the next he conveys to her that he really only needs her to help him pay rent. What do you want Se-hee? What is it about Ji-ho that you like? I guess this could also make things frustrating, but I myself am not frustrated. Maybe it’s because our characters are so consistent that anything they say or any decisions they make never feel out of line and that’s why I’m not frustrated even though I feel like I should be.

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We get development with our two side couples. Sang-gu and Soo-ji take the next step in their relationship by kissing by deciding to date each other. I thought it was so interesting that they themselves are caught up in a contract relationship. Yes, they like each other and want to date each other, but Soo-ji wants to sign a contract to make things official and clear. We see here that it’s not only Se-hee and Ji-ho who are bounded to a contract with each other, but that even Sang-gu and Soo-ji are as well. Maybe contracts are just a thing in this drama eh? Of course, Sang-gu can’t reject Soo-ji and goes ahead with what Soo-ji wants even though he clearly knows that it isn’t good for him. Despite their age and being adults, I sort of feel like Sang-gu sometimes acts like a young teenage boy who likes his crush so much more than she likes him. The way he cries over her, the way he’s always thinking about her, the way he dances in pure happiness and bliss when he receives kind comments from her — it’s so puppy love to me in a way and I think it’s adorable. He’s the CEO of this growing company and is successful at managing his employees and app, but struggles when it comes to love and Soo-ji. The irony of it all, haha. I have to admit, I did enjoy it a little bit more when Sang-gu was doing all the chasing and trying to prove to Soo-ji why she should choose him, but now that they’re “dating” it’ll be interesting to see how they’re like and if Soo-ji is really what Sang-gu wants to believe she’s like. I feel like he has this certain image and concept of her that he’s fantasized in his mind and he’s holding her to that image, but maybe with their relationship he’ll come to discovering that she’s not like who he thought she was all along and maybe the true challenge will be for Sang-gu to accept Soo-ji for who she is. I don’t know what’s going to happen to them now, but oh am I excited.

There was also growth for Ho-rang and Won-seok’s relationship. A relationship of 7 years turned into marriage once Won-seok proposed to Ho-rang. A part of me feels like he went ahead with this due to the guilt and pressure that Ho-rang placed on him and not actually because he wanted to marry her. I mean, I’m pretty sure Won-seok would want to marry Ho-rang, but just not at the moment because he’s still trying to get his life together. But because he loves Ho-rang and is willing to do anything for her, he proposed to her to make her happy. So while she’s happy in their relationship, he’s not and I’m afraid this is only going to do more damage than good to them in the future. It’s good that he’s given a second chance at success after the failure of his own app. He’s moved on to working with Sang-gu, Se-hee, and Bomi and from the looks of episode 10, it seems like Bomi might have a crush on him. There might possibly be a love triangle?

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Ooh, the drama also solved the mystery involving Bok-nam. Turns out he actually wasn’t a stalker and just a regular young adult. Haha. Poor Bok-nam. First he was misunderstood to be a stalker and then his motorcycle also got beaten up. Whether the drama decided to go through with that storyline or not, I would have been fine either way. Bok-nam is just an extra character who doesn’t really contribute as much to the drama now so I’ll be okay with him not having as much screen time. I just really hope he doesn’t try to intervene between Se-hee and Ji-ho to make things into a love triangle. It’s already as complicated between the two who are confused about their feelings and relationship with each other we don’t need anymore people to make things even more confusing.

In episodes 9 and 10, we witness Ji-ho continue to question what her role is in not only Se-hee’s life but now also in his family’s life. She knows that she’s Se-hee’s tenant, but is she also his wife? How does he feel about her? What does he think about her? Does he possibly like her too? Ji-ho also interacted with Se-hee’s mother and family in episode 10 and she realizes that maybe she’s not as important to him as she thought she was. She’s just kind of there. She helps pay rent with Se-hee and then she’s left to be the good daughter-in-law with his parents. But is that all how Se-hee and his family views her? It seems like she’s desperate in a way to prove herself to them that she’s more than what they think, but at the same time she doesn’t want to and she’s not okay with having to put forth more effort to do that. Just like how Ji-ho has been doing with Se-hee’s family, it seems like it’ll be his turn to now interact with her family. I’m so excited to see a stoic and awkward Se-hee interact with Ji-ho’s strict and patriarchal family.  Maybe Se-hee will learn a few things about himself and Ji-ho during this time and things will become a bit more clear for confused and puzzled Ji-ho.

Also, I’m really curious as to what happened between Dad and Se-hee that their relationship is so sour. Why doesn’t Se-hee seem grateful for his dad and how his dad wants to buy him a house like he promised he would? Why do they seem so distant and why does Se-hee seem like he doesn’t want to have to do anything with his dad? I’m so intrigued by this aspect of their relationship that doesn’t seem like a father-son relationship at all. Something must have happened in the past for them to get to this point. The drama also hinted at a possible past marriage that Se-hee himself was involved in. If it is true that Se-hee was formerly married, this could explain for his iffy behavior with Ji-ho and strict relationship with his father. What happened to Se-hee for all these changes to happen?

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Oh and also, Se-hee’s new haircut is so cute. Lee Min-ki looked adorable and handsome with both haircuts so I’m not even complaining about the new hair. He’s looking great :’)

1 Night 2 Days dedicates a special episode to former member Kim Joohyuk

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I’ve never struggled watching an episode of popular Korean variety show 1 Night 2 Days and in fact, I always managed to finish each episode quickly and then go back to re-watch my most favorite episodes because of how hilarious and entertaining the show is. But with the most recent episode of 1N2D, it was difficult for me to finish. It was even difficult for me to start the episode; I hesitated to watch the episode, but I eventually managed to gather enough courage and go ahead and watch it.

The most recent episode of 1N2D was a special episode dedicated to the late and former 1N2D cast member Kim Joohyuk who recently passed away last week in a fatal and tragic car accident. Joohyuk was a member on the popular variety show from 2013-2015 and then eventually left to focus on his career as an actor. Although the actor did leave for a variety of reasons, the show and cast members never forgot about him and always mentioned him at every chance that they got. Kim Joohyuk had left the show, but he had never been forgotten and it was as if he was still on the show because of how much the members talked about him even after he had left. But unfortunately Kim Joohyuk left us permanently on October 30 when he passed away in a car accident. In celebration of 1N2D’s 10th year anniversary, he had even recorded a special message to the show congratulating them on the success of the show. It’s unfortunate and heart-breaking that he’ll never be able to appear on the show again and that his final moments arrived not too long after he recorded the message. In dedication and honor of Kim Joohyuk and the amazing and wonderful work that he did while he was a cast member of 1N2D, the show aired a special episode with special scenes focused on him and his journey as a cast member. The episode ends with messages that each of the current members (excluding Yoon Shi-yoon/Dong-gu) left for Kim Joohyuk, with many of them in tears and speechless.

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It probably wasn’t a good idea for me to watch this episode at 2am in the morning. I couldn’t sleep afterwards because all I could do was cry and think about Kim Joohyuk. While watching the episode, it didn’t feel like he was gone. It didn’t feel like he was gone from both the show and this earth. It still felt as if he was alive and as if 1N2D was just airing a special episode for Kim Joohyuk for the heck of it. There were times throughout the episode where I would laugh at the silliness and ridiculousness of the members and how funny they were, but then there were also times where I would stop and I would tear up knowing that it’ll never be like this again. It was so bittersweet: all the cast members and staff were so happy together when they were filming for the show so you’re happy seeing them happy and having fun filming for the show, but then you get sad and depressed knowing that Kim Joohyuk is now gone and that you’ll never get to see them like this again. It’s one of the most ironic, bittersweet, and conflicting feelings in the world.

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All of last week was such a sad week for me in general. I cried for three nights straight upon hearing about Kim Joohyuk’s passing. I cried upon watching videos of his wake and his funeral, upon reading the instagram posts of those close to Joohyuk and how much he impacted their lives, upon reading news about how Jung Joonyoung didn’t know about Joohyuk’s death yet at that time due to Law of the Jungle filming, upon reading fans comment about his passing, and then I cried again when I heard that Jung Joonyoung had been given the news and that he was sobbing uncontrollably. I was concerned for Joonyoung, worried that he might be too harsh upon himself for not having been there for his Hyung and not being able to attend Kim Joohyuk’s wake and funeral. My heart broke into a million pieces watching videos of different celebrities attend Kim Joohyuk’s wake and funeral. Some came as co-workers, some came as entertainers, some came as long-time friends, and some came as family — but they were all there to respect, visit, and pay their goodbyes to Kim Joohyuk one last time. Seeing people’s reactions and face expressions before entering the room absolutely broke my heart. Faces of grief, of mourning, of disbelief, of fear, of uncertainty… those emotions are so real and raw and everyone who walked through those doors all felt the same way. Everyone was so sad. Knowing that Cha Taehyun stayed the entire time and didn’t leave the wake and funeral broke my heart. To him, the cast members were like his kids; they’re his family members. He loves, supports, and cherishes each of them so so much. He always laughs at their jokes, actions, and comments and he’s always rooting for them no matter what. He makes them feel good about themselves and he’s okay with not being given the spotlight as long as the cast members receive the attention. He’s okay with not being put first and for Cha Taehyun, he was able to witness Kim Joohyuk shine in 1N2D. So to go from seeing Kim Joohyuk almost every week to never being able to see him again, I can’t even imagine how him, any of the other 1N2D members, or any of Kim Joohyuk’s family members, girlfriend, or loved ones must feel. It is truly so tragic and sad.

And I was sad as well. I couldn’t stop crying the first 3 nights after his passing and I even started writing poems to help me process and cope with his sudden death that affected me quite heavily. I’ve also been listening to many different songs to help me process my feelings and emotions. I’m doing a little bit better now, but watching the recent 1N2D episode dedicated to him is making me feel a bit shaky again. I went from watching episodes of Kim Joohyuk every week to now never being able to see him ever again. I miss him a lot and even though I was just a casual fan of Kim Joohyuk’s, he was such a genuine, kind, and caring person and he really loved all his family and friends. He loved everyone. And a part of me feels sad that his time ran out, that he was cheated, and that he had to leave so early… because he deserved so much more. I hope that he’s reunited with his parents and loved ones and that he’s at peace now. I hope he’s happy. I hope he was happy while he was alive here on earth and I hope that he’s happy now in his new home.

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I’m going to miss Kim Joohyuk for a long time and honestly speaking I’m not sure if I will ever truly get over his death. 1N2D Season 3 made me so happy and provided me with so much laughter and joy. I went from watching every episode every week to re-watching and marathoning all the episodes again because I couldn’t get enough of the show. It’s crazy when you think about how impact someone you’ve never even met before and who didn’t even know you existed has made in your life. It’s crazy how much love and joy can transcend beyond just your TV screen and beyond the borders and boundaries of this world. Kim Joohyuk was a talented, genuine, and amazing person and he is going to be dearly missed. Thank you for all that you’ve done Kim Joohyuk. You’ve worked so hard. You can finally rest now.

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You will never be forgotten.

You can watch the special episode dedicated to Kim Joohyuk here.

*For anyone who needs any support or someone to talk about his passing with, I am here for you.

**Also, I know that I said I would post recaps of his last drama ‘Argon’ soon. I haven’t been able to get around to it and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready yet so until then, I will unfortunately have to postpone the recaps. I’ll update this blog with the recaps when I’m ready. I hope y’all understand.

What Mary Thinks: A Witch’s Court

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Who knew that a drama about prosecutors investigating sexual assault cases would be just as nerve-wracking and engaging as it is charming? This drama is really pulling wonders on folks, hence, the strong and surprising ratings that it has been pulling in since the second week of its run.

Starring Jung Ryeo-won and Yoon Hyun-min, the drama centers around their characters Ma Yi-Deum and Yeo Jin-wook as prosecutors tackling sexual assault cases. They find themselves often working together to solve these cases and in between all of this are also conflicts that they two are dealing with in their respective individual lives. Annnnnd of course, our two main characters also happen to fall in love with each other as well.

When I first heard that ‘A Witch’s Court’ was going to be primarily about our main characters solving or investigating sexual assault cases, I was a bit wary and cautious. I wasn’t too sure how the drama was going to go about doing this. After watching the last 8 episodes, the drama has been carefully treading around this sensitive topic and for the most part is doing a decent job in giving us content and substance without turning viewers off.

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I think what I enjoy the most about this drama is the balance between your usual procedural investigation on the cases, but also the insights that we as viewers gain on the lives of our two main characters Yi-deum and Jin-wook. You’re engaged and committed to the characters because you know about them, what issues they’re dealing with in their own lives, and how they’re going about dealing with those issues, but then you also get to see them actually work and go after the bad guys and work as a team to beat the villains. Seeing all of this unfold right in front of my screen makes me excited, makes me care for the characters, and makes me want to keep rooting for them. I appreciate the context and background stories that we continue to get fed on Yi-deum and Jin-wook’s characters. I think this balances out really well with the investigations and had this drama just focused on the investigations, it would not have been as interesting and engaging for me.

Just like with ‘Because This Life is Our First’ and ‘Mad Dog’, it took me a few episodes to finally warm up to ‘A Witch’s Court’ and be committed. It wasn’t until the end of episode 4 that I decided that I was going to stay and watch the rest of the drama for sure. Witnessing Yi-deum dream about her mother and pleading for her not to leave in her dream just really hit me. Props to Jung Ryeo-won for playing such a straight-forward and non-emotional character with such emotions in that scene (funny story: I was actually watching this episode at like 1AM right before I was going to bed and after watching this scene I just felt so compelled to call my mother and tell her how much I love her and miss her. In the end I didn’t because… it was 2am by the time I finished episode 4 but omg, the feels were strong). Tears were coming out of my eyes watching that scene and it was so emotional and is probably my favorite scene yet in the drama.

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Ma Yi-deum is an independent, strong, and stubborn woman, but she knows what she wants and she’ll do anything she can to get what she wants. Sometimes, this doesn’t always work out or she gets in trouble for the things she does, but I love how persistent and passionate she is towards her work. Nothing stops her when she has her mind set on something and in the upcoming episodes, we’re definitely going to see this when she battles against Jo Gap-soo, the soon-to-be mayor who might have been the reason for Yi-deum’s mother’s disappearance. Things are going to get a lot more personal, serious, and intense and while I am totally all here to witness Yi-deum kick some people’s butts and finally receive the closure she has been longing for after so many years, it’s definitely not going to be an easy journey.

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(OMGGGG LOOK AT THE WAY HE LOOKS AT HER. IF THIS ISN’T LOVE THEN IDK WHAT IS)

Which is why it’s great that she has Yoon Hyun-min’s character Jin-wook as not only her partner in crime, neighbor, and co-worker, but also her support system. They’re each going through their own obstacles in life, but they remain as each other’s support system and network. We saw this in episode 8 when Jin-wook supported Yi-deum and took her home after she had a talk with Gap-soo at the rooftop of the building. Overwhelmed with emotions and feelings, she reached out to Jin-wook for help and he being the kind, caring, and supportive boyfriend person that he is,  he was willing to take her home and even wanted to hold her hand to reassure her that everything was going to be alright. I like how their relationship is slowly developing and it doesn’t feel rushed. I also like how their relationship is not the drama’s first priority and instead is given to us viewers in increments. I’m dedicated to knowing what’s going to happen to our characters and what exactly happened to Ma Yi-deum’s mother, but I also root for Yi-deum and Jin-wook as a couple because they work well together and balance each other out well even though they’re complete opposites. The next few episodes are going to be even more difficult for our two characters and I’m looking forward to seeing them be there for each other in the upcoming weeks. I’m expecting a lot more emotional and lovey-dovey scenes between the two. Hehe.

I also really like Jung Ryeo-won and Yoon Hyun-min. They’re doing a wonderful job portraying their own respective characters. They’re charming both individually and together and every time Yoon Hyun-min just stares at Jung Ryeo-won, I squeal and melt inside because it’s so darn adorable. I actually first discovered Yoon Hyun-min back in ‘Cruel City’ which is where I first saw him. I haven’t watched many things with him in it ever since, but his character in ‘Cruel City’ stood out to me that he was on my good side since that drama and so I’m glad to see him back as a male lead of a drama. The same applies to Jung Ryeo-won. I remember her most from ‘My Lovely Sam-soon’ because I absolutely loved that drama and it’s still one of my all-time favorites today, but I haven’t really watched her in anything ever since. But I also liked her because of ‘My Lovely Sam-soon’ so I have no complaints with her acting or character in ‘A Witch’s Court’ and I think she’s doing a great job.

Ultimately, the real question here is what exactly happened to Ma Yi-deum’s mother. It pains me to see Ma Yi-deum just investigating endlessly the disappearance of her mother just so that she can receive the kind of closure that she’s so wanted all these years. It pains me even more when she’s sort of halted any investigations on her mother’s disappearance because she realizes that she’s not really getting anywhere or because she finds herself at dead-ends. It’s so heart-breaking to see this and I really hope that Ma Yi-deum will be able to get down to the gist of what happened on that day that her mother disappeared. Knowing just how strong, loud, fierce, and determined Ma Yi-deum is, nothing’s going to stop her to get these answers and I am all here for that.

BTS to perform at the 2017 American Music Awards

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Wowow, look at my babies rising and soaring. Just when you thought they could possibly be at their peak, they continue to surprise you even more and make you even more proud.

It was confirmed by Big Hit Entertainment that BTS would be performing at the American Music Awards later on this month on November 19, 2017 in LA. This would mark their first U.S. debut performance where the popular boy group will be performing their latest title track ‘DNA’ in front of other popular American artists and celebrities – some that the BTS members themselves listen to and support.

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While this is great news in general, a part of me has mixed feelings about all this attention that BTS has been receiving. They’ve been getting a lot of love calls lately from different folks like Ellen DeGeneres, Desiigner, Steve Aoki, and the Chainsmokers just to name a few and while I appreciate and am glad for all the support, love, and interest, I feel like BTS is growing so much at such a fast rate. Granted, it took them 4 years to finally get to where they are now and they’ve worked hard these entire years, but a part of me also really misses those times when they weren’t as popular and in demand as they are now. Not only because this creates more concerns for me in terms of more schedules and activities which could lead to an increase in health concerns, but also because how genuine and sincere are these folks and news outlet about BTS? Do they actually really care about the boys and their music or are they just creating news articles and stories about them for clicks and money? As a fan who’s been there since debut, I’m glad and am so proud of my boys for working hard to get to where they are now. They deserve it and so much more, but I’m afraid for the outcomes and results that are to come out of this. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen next and I think I simply just want to enjoy these big moments as they trickle in one by one instead of it all happening at the same time.

In terms of their performance at the AMA’s, I also do wish that BTS would perform any other title track other than ‘DNA.’ While the song is cute, bubbly, and a fun song to listen to, BTS has many other wonderful, stronger, and powerful title tracks to perform to. Most notably, ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ would have made for a great performance as witnessed at BTS’s performances at the end of the year award ceremonies last year. I would actually love to see something similar to BTS’s ‘BST + Fire’ performance that they had last year at MAMA. That performance was so iconic; it was straight up fire and that’s the type of stuff that I want to see at the AMA’s especially since it’ll be BTS’s first debut performance in the U.S. We wanna make this memorable and even though it will be memorable, I want it to be memorable with an even more memorable title track. Although it’s a shame that BTS will be debuting with ‘DNA’, I am just glad to know that they’re making their mark in music industries around the world. Having achieved most (if not all?) of the goals that they wanted to achieve with this last comeback, their next few comebacks will probably be much bigger and more successful. Who knows what is going to happen next time if ‘Love Yourself: HER’ was such a huge hit, having sold a million pre-orders?

I probably won’t watch the AMA’s simply because I don’t have a TV, but I’ll be tuning in on Tumblr and Twitter and maybe even catch a live stream of it somewhere. I wouldn’t want to miss this iconic and amazing moment that is both as meaningful for us as it is for BTS.

ARMY’s, are y’all excited for this?!

Source: Mnet K-POP @ youtube

What Mary Thinks: Mad Dog

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And onto the next drama! As I mentioned in my other ‘What Mary Thinks’ post on ‘Because This Life is Our First’, I am also watching ‘Mad Dog’ starring Yoo Ji-Tae and Woo Do-hwan.

Just to give some context into the drama, Yoo Ji-tae and Woo Do-hwan both lost loved ones in an airplane crash that happened two years ago. The drama basically showcases their journey into discovering the truth behind the accident and what exactly the cause behind it was. The drama involves a lot of dangerous missions, evil people, and insurance talk that I sometimes do not understand. But the drama itself isn’t so bad and actually does a decent job in keeping the momentum alive despite many things going on.

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Before the drama aired, I already knew that I was going to watch it. Woo Do-hwan who I first discovered in ‘Save Me’ and is now in love with and am keeping my eyes out for is playing a main character in this drama. I knew I could NOT not watch this drama. Similarly with Ryu Hwa-young, she’s always been my favorite prior to her acting career (when she debuted as a T-ara member), but her acting career has really taken off and she’s so charming as an actress. Since two actors that I liked were in the same drama (and the drama is also setting them up to have a love line with each other), I knew that I could not miss the drama. Granted, Woo Do-hwan and Ryu Hwa-young have probably become the sole reasons as to why I’m watching ‘Mad Dog’ at this point, but hey, sometimes you gotta make sacrifices and do things you don’t want to do just for some people. Here’s to hoping this drama will actually be worth it in the end.

I think I knew almost immediately that this drama wasn’t going to be what I wanted it to be. It’s action-packed, has multi-dimensional characters, showcases great teamwork with our ‘Mad Dog’ team, includes comedic scenes for relief, and so much more, but I think my issue with the drama is its editing. After watching the first week’s episodes, they felt a bit too choppy for me and I felt like the editing was rushed which therefore affected the tone of the drama for me. Had the editing and even filming was different and a little bit more slow and engaging, I think I would have been a bit more engaged as well.

That’s not to say that the drama is horrible though. I think that ‘Mad Dog’ has made some interesting decisions so far that I wasn’t expecting, but it’s full of action and there are clearly a lot of stakes at risk in pursuing the investigation behind the airplane crash. One thing that I was not expecting was Woo Do-hwan’s character Min-joon to NOT be on the same team as the Mad Dog team. In fact, I came into this drama thinking that they were going to be on the same team so when I watched the first week’s episodes and saw that they weren’t I was in total shock and disappointment. I know that Min-joon and the Mad Dog Team have their own ways in doing the investigation, but at the end of the day, they are both trying to get down to the details of the incident and what exactly happened which is therefore why I would love to see them all work together. I think episode 4 was such a brilliant and well-made episode in that Min-joon was actually working with the Mad Dog team to make some progress on the investigation and unsurprisingly worked so well together which I absolutely loved. Watching that episode made me want to see Min-joon join the Mad Dog team and made me think about how much potential is being wasted in the drama so far because Min-joon isn’t actually working with the team. It’s been interesting seeing how they have each been going about their own ways to get clues and hints and details to uncover the truth about the incident, but they would get so much more done and achieve so much more success if they partnered up and worked together. Unfortunately, neither Min-joon or the Mad Dog team feels the same way and have troubles trusting each other even though they’re moving towards the same goal. It’s such a shame and I really hope to see the two team up again to defeat the bad guys in this drama.

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In terms of acting, I actually think this drama has revealed some of the cast’s weaknesses. Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched all of ‘Save Me’ that I find Woo Do-hwan’s acting a bit awkward at times in this drama. Granted, he’s barely just starting his career acting so his acting won’t be entirely perfect, but I also do feel like maybe his acting in ‘Save Me’ was either better or the director did a great job in hiding his weaknesses (or at least with what I saw in that drama). Woo Do-hwan is very charismatic though and even though he can be awkward at times in ‘Mad Dog’, he still does a great job in portraying the mysterious, persistent, and often times conflicted emotions that his character conveys. I think even veteran actor Yoo Ji-tae is struggling at times in this drama compared to his other dramas and movies. Maybe it’s because his character doesn’t demand too too much from him that he’s not really emoting much or just simply doing much, but I do think he’s trying to work with what he got so there’s that. All the other cast members are fine with me and it’s not like their acting leaves much to be desired, but I also feel like stronger acting could have been the difference in making this drama a bit tad better for me.

I wished that we could have gotten in ‘Criminal Minds’ the team that we have in ‘Mad Dog.’ The Mad Dog Team all work really well with one another and even though you don’t get any background story on the other team members (similarly to Criminal Minds), the context into Kang-woo and Min-joon’s life does a good job in helping you understand why the Mad Dog Team have such strong teamwork or why they’re investigating the airplane crash the way they are. We should have gotten glimpses of Lee Jun-ki and Moon Chae-won’s characters in ‘Criminal Minds’, but what we got instead were just different cases each episode followed by your usual procedural investigations which didn’t leave a lot of room for excitement and team building. It’s such a shame because ‘Criminal Minds’ had everything going for them except that it just didn’t choose to get those things actually moving.

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‘Mad Dog’ isn’t my favorite drama currently and probably won’t be, but I’m satisfied with how things are going. I sometimes do get bored with all the insurance and airplane politics, but that’s what this drama is entirely about so I can’t complain too much about that. However, I would love to see Min-joon work more often with the Mad Dog team than by himself. He’s been collaborating with them a little bit more often lately, but they are still wary and cautious when around one another. Here’s to hoping that they’ll get rid of the trust issues and instead learn to trust each other and work together. Min-joon and the Mad Dog team are really going to need that trust and teamwork to defeat the big old baddies in this drama.

What Mary Thinks: Because This Life is Our First

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I’m back and hopefully for good. School, work, and college just in general has really been taking up most of my time that I haven’t had the time to just sit down, settle, and devote some time to this blog. So since it’s the weekend, I thought I’d return and update y’all with some posts of what I’ve been up to lately!

In terms of Korean dramas, I’m currently watching 3 dramas right now: Mad Dog, Because This Life is Our First, and Witch’s Court. I’ll write about the other two dramas as well, but I wanted to start off with ‘Because This Life is Our First.’

Out of the 3 dramas I’m watching right now, this one probably has to be my favorite. I came into the drama excited because I love Lee Min-ki and I missed him in dramaland so I was totally going to give this drama a chance. I didn’t know what I was signing myself up for though and I wasn’t so sure what to expect with this drama, but it’s been pleasant to watch and has been doing a great job in keeping me engaged and definitely interested.

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Just to give some context, Lee Min-ki plays Se-hee who works as a computer programmer for a dating app company. He has an apartment, but he’s paying for it through loans so he has to pay back the loans and that’s how he meets Ji-ho (played by Jung So-min). She on the other hand leaves her parent’s house where she had been living and volunteers to move in with Se-hee and help pay rent since she needs a place to live in. They quickly become acquainted with each other for their own individual purposes, but discovers through some obstacles and challenges that their marriage is not just based off individual benefits but that there might actually be some romantic feelings involved in their relationship (and that’s where the fun begins!)

I’m currently caught up with the drama and like I mentioned earlier, it’s actually been an easy, breezy, and pleasant watch. I had noticed how much buzz it was getting on Dramabeans and so I finally gave it a try when I had some time not too long ago and while I enjoyed the first few episodes, it wasn’t until episode 4 that I became sold. The beginning was a slow start and it was actually quite difficult for me to keep myself invested, but once I finished episode four I knew that I was going to stay and watch the entire drama. Thankfully the drama does a wonderful job in showcasing the growth of Se-hee and Ji-ho’s relationship from being just housemates to husband and wife and then to actually having feelings for each other.

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While there are many aspects about Se-hee and Ji-ho’s relationship that I enjoy like the little moments where they show their care for each other or how the bus has become their second home in a way, the thing that I enjoy the most about their relationship is how respectful and kind they are towards each other. The two always consider each other’s feelings before making decisions or saying things and maybe a part of this stems from them not having really known each other that long yet, but I also love the way that they each think about the other before making a decision. It’s those moments when Ji-ho recalls Se-hee’s comment about feeling uncomfortable that she holds herself back from saying things or the times when Se-hee reminds Bok-nam that Ji-ho is a grown woman who can make decisions for herself that I find myself rooting for them as a couple. Ji-ho doesn’t need two guys telling her what to do; she’s an adult herself and knows what she wants best. It’s so refreshing to see male leads like Se-hee respect the opinions of the female leads — another reason as to why I’m rooting for Se-hee (other than the fact that he’s played by Lee Min-ki who I have to add is doing a phenomenal job playing such a stoic and robotic character as Se-hee). All the more reasons to root for Se-hee and Ji-ho as a couple.

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I know that some folks were disappointed in the way that the drama had used Bok-nam as the second lead in that he wasn’t your typical second lead, but rather was made out to be a stalker/creepy guy. I don’t think he was intended to play a big role though; he was there only so that Se-hee could become aware of his feelings for Ji-ho. Someone or something needed to come along to make Se-hee realize that he does indeed having feelings for Ji-ho and that person happened to be Bok-nam. I’m actually okay with him not being the typical second lead; if the drama had just set him up to be a plot device just so Se-hee could be jealous and therefore fight for Ji-ho, I would be okay with that and that’s actually what I would prefer. I enjoy watching Ji-ho and Se-hee’s relationship develop that I would not want a second female or male lead to intervene with this so I wouldn’t be surprised if the drama decided to remove Bok-nam from the drama within a few episodes or give him less screen time.

I also really like what the drama has demonstrated with his character. So far, the drama is making him out to be a stalker of Ji-ho and whether this is true or not has yet to be discovered, but IF he actually turns out to be a stalker I think there’s something we can learn from this. Looks are deceiving and you should never trust a person just based on their looks. Often times we associate stalkers with guys who look old, evil, like outsiders, but Bok-nam is the total opposite here which is why no one is suspicious of him at first. His image contrasts greatly with what we’re used to when we think about stalkers and criminals and bad people so I appreciate the message that the drama is conveying through Bok-nam’s character.

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I’m just as invested in Sang-gu and Soo-ji’s relationship and their relationship is probably my favorite (although Se-hee and Ji-ho is really close up there as well). There’s just something about Soo-ji and the way that she builds walls to protect herself and then Sang-gu wanting to break down those walls and get to her that is so interesting to me. I love how Soo-ji carries herself in her workplace that is heavily male-dominated. She has to do things that she doesn’t want to do and has to put up with co-workers that she hates and doesn’t want to associate with, but as she mentioned in the drama, it’s not easy for employees like her who are at the bottom of the hierarchy to make decisions. She has no choice, but to partake in these kind of activities, meetings, and social gatherings — a message that she had to convey to Sang-gu because he just couldn’t understand why she would put herself in situations that makes her uncomfortable and powerless. Their relationship is a push-and-pull game and I like that they both each offer the other different perspectives and thoughts about life, relationships, and the workplace. I don’t doubt that Soo-ji does have some feelings for Sang-gu, but she has to be a lot more careful with the way she acts and what decisions she makes because it could really affect her and her work, hence, why she’s not as active in pursuing Sang-gu and reciprocating his feelings. I’m looking forward to the development of their relationship as well and all the other raw conversations they’ll have with each other about each other and their social status in society.

Ho-rang and Won-seok’s relationship is probably my least favorite out of the three. They clearly have miscommunication issues and Ho-rang is a little too passive aggressive to my liking. I also think her approach in wanting to get married and therefore programming Won-seok to act and think in ways that she wants him to is too much for me. I actually am siding a little bit on Won-seok’s side so far just because I think he’s being realistic. He’s not sure if he wants to get married with Ho-rang because marriage is just not about love. Sure, you need love to get married, but love is not sufficient enough for a marriage to last. Won-seok would marry Ho-rang because he loves her, but marriage is so much more than just love and Won-seok realizes that.  He’s openly relayed his feelings and thoughts about marriage to Ho-rang, but she’s not on the same page because all she can think about is marriage. She’s looking at things in a much more simplified perspective and I’m waiting for the day where she and Won-seok can just learn to be honest with each other on marriage. They should have a serious and honest talk about their relationship and whether or not they want to go through with marrying each other. 7 years is a long time for a relationship, but it seems like they’re on two different pages right now. How much longer will it take them to be on the same page?

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Other aspects about the show that I’m enjoying is Bo-mi (I was surprised to see her in this drama! Didn’t expect her to be in it). She’s such a breath of fresh air due to her comedic timing and humor and I just love how blunt she is with people. Of course, I can’t talk about this drama without mentioning Ji-ho, Soo-ji, and Ho-rang’s friendship. They’re there for one another and support one another with any problems or issues they’re facing and I like how even though they’re each so different individually, they work in such harmony and love when they’re together.

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Now that Se-hee is aware of his feelings for Ji-ho, I can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen from here on out. Is Bok-nam actually the stalker that the drama is creating him out to be so far? How will Se-hee and Ji-ho’s dynamic change with each other now that he knows he likes her? Will they transition from just being married housemates to actually being partners? What about Sang-gu and Soo-ji? Will he able to break down her walls and earn a spot in her heart? Ahhh, there are so many questions and not enough answers. While I try to patiently wait for the next episodes, I shall go and watch all the behind the scenes videos that tvN has been graciously gifting us with.