Valid Love: First Impressions

To balance out my thoughts, I have invited Carole McDonnell, poet, essayist, reviewer and everyone’s favorite commenter from Dramabeans, to give her take as well. Over the years, her analysis proved insightful about every drama that interests her. She sees deeper into scripts, characters and their psychology than I ever can, and I enjoy trying on her opinions to see how they fit with mine. Everyone say, Welcome, Carole!

Spoiler warning: This post cover up to the end of Episode 4

Carole’s Intro

I’m not a fan of adultery. But I can understand it. And I can forgive it or even applaud it if it’s “valid.” I suppose one important question in any adulterous relationship — or even in any marriage relationship– is: “Is this love valid?” But this is the first time I’ve seen a drama title that placed that very important issue in the actual title. So, yeah, “Valid Love.”

Validity is often in the eye/emotions/feels of the beholder. Or it can be proven by a boatload of evidence. And it’s up to the writer and director to prove the validity of a love in such a way that will make our tripped moral sensors accept something the priggish side of us balks at. Let’s face it: there are a lot of married ahjummas out there who would find the idea of a hottie carpenter lover downright fun. But they — we– stop ourselves from getting into adulterous relationships. Thus, such ahjummas are inclined to judge someone in a happy marriage who has not put the brakes on her “invalid” attractions.

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The Hand Towel with a Pearl Earring a.k.a. Obsessed

colwithapearlThe Hand Towel was never simply A Man.

He’s much more; that’s why we’re devoted.

collage11collage22He’s been Art Director, Diplomat, Brain Surgeon, Thug.

Now I hear that he’s been promoted.

cthtHe’s A Colonel Obsessed and soon we’ll be blessed

to view him on a thirty foot screen –

from his brows to his toes and where the vein goes –

A Hand Towel we’ve dreamed of not seen.


Let’s cheer on our Man and wish the film well

(Though I doubt he’ll end up with the girl.)

No matter what happens Colonel Hand Towel,

Song Seung Heon is our own pretty pearl.

Posted in Poems, When a Man Loves | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Secret Love Affair: I Love Sun Jae ❤ Because of Schumann

What took me so long? Is that what you are asking? Here’s the deal. I struggled against Yoo Ah In’s portrayal of Lee Sun Jae for weeks, telling myself he really isn’t that good. It’s just me being impressed by the production and the writing. Sure, there were brilliant bits here and there, but I determined it was only Yoo Ah In in the reflected glory of Kim Hee Ae. I wasn’t going to be blinded by pretty, but remain completely objective in my assessment of this beautiful specimen of a man experienced actor.

HA!  The many moments of awe turned into a stream, then a river, then a deluge.

Finally under the weight of the vastness of awesomeness required to pull off that freaking Rachmaninoff concert, I caved. This isn’t a good actor playing a good role, this is YAI acting his fingers off in the performance of his lifetime. Linked here is a musician the same age as Sun Jae performing the same Rhapsody. If our guy was half as impressive as Danil, Hye Won’s enraptured response makes perfect sense.

I want to thank Schumann, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Lizst, Paganini, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky for inspiring the writers of Secret Love Affair. They gave us Lee Sun Jae, the personification of their love and passion for music. Not convinced he is a real boy yet – we will see how he handles the fall out from what he has done to Hye Won’s and our lives – but I still love him with all my heart.

Why do I love Lee Sun Jae as played by Yoo Ah In?

The first challenge the man had to meet for the entire 20 episodes to work is the piano acting playing. Think about how difficult lip-synching is because of the timing, and how poorly it has been executed in recent dramas. Now throw in a requirement to hit keys in exactly the right places making sure to match your back-up orchestra. He did this spectacularly. My jaw is still on the floor.


As far as the character himself, I choose this moment that YAI showed how firm a grasp he had on the part. In all his squirmy glory, he let us see Sun Jai’s bare naked soul, out in front for the jaded and tainted Hye Won to step on. He looked the lady of lies straight in the eye and called BS on her entire existence. “No, I am being sincere. I was reborn that day. You have given me a new life.” Neither knew then how those words would apply to both of them.

The same guileless face making a plea to be loved has to hide itself from the embarrassment of being laughed at. Doesn’t matter, though, he isn’t simply saying words to Hye Won, but staking his life.

This Sun Jae is whom I would protect with my life. Me and Da Mi out there killing a person to stop anyone from hurting him. How can he love so fiercely and unguarded? Why doesn’t he know better to protect himself?

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Dear Target: Is Wanting Better than Having?

gu1Dear Target People,

I return this defective product to you with a heavy heart.

About two years ago, I spotted this lovely green umbrella in your store. It wasn’t one of those little cheap ones, either. It had a nice handle, and the price was near $20. It made me think of all the good parts of spring showers and I considered buying it then.

gu2Back home, however, I had a reliable collapsible black umbrella that a guest had forgotten after a party. I never figured out whose it was, and had been using it ever since.

Subsequent trips brought me near the green umbrella, but I passed by it without putting it in my cart. I imagined walking along the Main Street of my town, going up to buy ice cream under my umbrella. 

gu3My daughter needed a slip for her prom dress, my son’s several dozen or so pairs of white socks now grey needed replacing. Nodding in greeting to the green umbrella, I thought of Christopher Robin and his feint to fool the bees in the Hundred Acre Wood. School supplies list purchased. Thanksgiving time and new water glasses. Pictures of romantic kisses under the umbrella as a privacy shield. …Sigh…

gu4Last minute Christmas shopping for my nieces. Travel kits for a trip overseas. How sweet a stroll down the Seine would be with my parapluie verte.  I ignored its liveliness reminding myself I didn’t need it. I stuck with the trusty old one for now. Soon. Soon, I told myself.

gu9Before taking my new college student up to her dorms last summer, we purchased sheets, lamps, towels, pj’s, and toiletries galore. A new start for her, and a new reality for me. This was the time to buy the umbrella I loved. So I did.

gu6Somehow it got lost in the side entranceway, because I had forgotten about it all winter. Polar vortex indeed. We didn’t see above freezing temperatures for months. Finally, the rain arrived and its persistence wore away the piles of snow in my driveway and lawn.

With much anticipation, I took the tags off my green umbrella. Changed my puffy coat for the trench, and stepped outside to greet the milder weather.  With an unsnap and a click on the release button, I headed towards the car. Then, disaster. Before it was even opened, one of the metal thingies snapped. Instead of hope, I held disappointment.

groundThis, you can have back. I learned a lesson. Sometimes it is better to want a thing than to have it. Ultimately the dream of it can’t match the reality, especially if reality is not what I am after. I should treasure the fantasy as a gift itself.



** Update **

I took my umbrella to Target and they replaced it no questions asked. Now all I need’s a plane ticket to Paris!!  🙂

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In a Good Way: Prelude to a Kiss


This scene may deceive the casual observer into believing that these two are concentrating on their studies, but In a Good Way junkies know that every nerve on Liu Chuan’s body is attuned to every movement Jia En makes. The need for her drove this man across campus through the rain just so he could breathe the same air. He is that besotted, and I love him for it.

relief In a Good Way is taking its sweet sweet, and I do mean sweet, time in hooking up our OTP, awesome Liu Chuan and awesome Jia En.  We get a lot of pre-kiss interaction which I am a complete sucker for.   I am not talking about all the swoon worthy thoughtful discussions they have had teaching each other about life. Not Liu Chuan’s admission of how important Jia En to his happiness, either.

confessssssssI’m just talking about the accidental touching moments.

Mostly it is our manly hero reaching out for the girl he is falling in love with since we girls would NEVER initiate skinship, right?  (She did dress his wound and blow on it, though, making Liu Chuan jump out of his skin, poor thing, but I suppose it was all innocent on her part.)

nurese(And without realizing it, Jia En has already made her tacit confession.  They showed Liu Chuan accept the red tea she offered, but we didn’t see him drink it, did we? How very cruel of them!)

redteaIn addition to those, the creative team brings us the requisite scenes that hit all the right romance-inducing buttons. Continue reading

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In A Good Way: I Love Liu Chuan Because I Breathe ♥


iamjesboyfriendallrigh(Title chosen by trotwood.)

A Taiwanese drama currently airing, In a Good Way, features a lead male who makes watching the episodes a breathless experience each week. Liu Chuan, played by Lego Li or Lego Lee, 李國毅, has been around since 2006. His d-wiki page doesn’t list a lot of dramas, but he has recorded music, and appears often on variety shows to increase his visibility.

LC1I love Liu Chuan because I am a living person who can see and hear and feel.

Why is he so very very awesome?

To start, I will let Bai Xue, one of his admirers on IAGW, describe him for you:

“He’s an outstanding guy. Knows haw to have fun, and studies well.

books Continue reading

Posted in In a Good Way, Taiwan Drama | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Beautiful Days: Lee Byung-hun in 2001 – First Impressions

mysteryI have only begun this drama, Beautiful Days, and I am not sure how much I like Lee Byung-hun’s character, Min-chul. I really really like Ryu Shi-won’s character, Sun-jae.

These two screen shots were within seconds of each other in Ep 6. If this is a contest based on looks, there is no, well, contest.

Beautiful days1But damn, if LBH isn’t a beautiful 31 year old man here.

It’s so unfair to have these two guys going after the same lead girl, Yon-soo, played by a genuine, warm, beautiful 26 year old Choi Ji-woo.

jcwwwww Continue reading

Posted in Beautiful Days, First Impressions, K drama | Tagged , , | 13 Comments