Also, EEK!


In this episode, a few plot points move forward, but more importantly, we dig deeper into the psyche of our three main characters. And what we uncover makes us feel ever increasing anxiety for them.

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Things get really interesting in this episode. Now that we’ve established the plausibility of the meeting of their souls, we return to our first thought when presented with the idea of a liaison between the two: Is not the gap between a mature and worldly woman and a callow young boy simply too wide?

Old enough to be your mother, Boy.

I like that the show focuses on their contrasting maturities and approaches to life. That’s probably what scuppers your mutton-and-lamb coupling in real life. Not the disapproving mother-in-law, not any incongruity in appearance (to be fixed by a hair-dye job), not even society’s harsh judgment (though there is that). Rather, sheer basic incompatibility.

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I’m continuing to relish Secret Love Affair, which is reminding me why I fell in love with K-drama in the first place. Secret Love Affair is recognizable a K-drama, with all the usual K-drama tropes. But Secret Love Affair is of such an outstanding quality, I don’t even mind some elements which are usually Pet Peeves of mine.

The pot is on the boil

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Episode Three was a WOW for me.

Falling in love with both feet first

I was blown away. I feel sucked into the drama of these people’s lives, even though I’m not sure what events actually filled one hour of air-time (actually, very little in terms of plot). But in trademark Ahn Pan Seok fashion, the tension has been ratched up a notch, without resort to cheap tricks. How does he do this? He gives us glimpses into people’s souls — what they do in the privacy of their rooms when no one is watching, what they confess to their confidantes when they are inebriated, how they react to set-backs; their disappointments, their unspoken yearnings and their brightest hope. Patiently and intelligently, the show is drawing us into inner lives, without being explicit or obvious.

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My Verdict: Very Promising.

Judging a book by its cover, or a television series by its first episode, is a risky business. But it’s not an entirely futile endeavour. A book’s cover can often tell you a lot about it, if you know what to look for. And so, I feel, is the case with k-drama. There are a few basic commonsensical rules: Pay far more attention to who is writing the script and who is directing, than to who is starring in the show. Don’t take the trailer too seriously. Try to pay little attention to the (usually clumsy) plot synopsis released by the network. But watch the first episode, and notice its tone. Is it frenzied or patient? Is it already incoherent? (think how it would be once it got into live-shoot…) Is it going for cheap thrills without making much sense? Does the show pay more attention to characters (good) than to dramatic events (not so good). Does it look thought-through, or just thrown together? Is the editing, storying and music soundtrack all hanging together, or feeling random?


The First Episode of Secret Love Affair was not an instant win. Compared to PD Ahn Pan Seok’s recent works, it didn’t have the charm (and tension) of the first episode of A Wife’s Credential (jTBC, 2012), nor did it have the awesome immediate drama of The End of the Word (jTBC, 2013). But I feel quietly confident.

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I should re-title this blog Annals of a K-drama Watcher in Retreat or something.

Still entirely, thoroughly, disinterested in current k-drama. Can anything awaken me from my stupor?

Why, actually, yes. PD Ahn Pan Seok can. If he is just fractionally on form, the uncompromising artist who crafted A Wife’s Credentials and The End of the World can totally rouse me from my k-drama ennui. I’m SO EXCITED. 17 March, baby. A Secret Love Affair.


But, wait. Kim Hee Ae? Is that you? That lovely, mild woman from A Wife’s Credentials? Is that really you? You look so… different… 0_0

Double hooray for Yoo Ah In, if nothing else he should draw in the fangirls and ensure that SOMEONE will be subbing this sucker, and maybe this time I won’t have to wait three months before I can watch Ahn Pan Seok weave his magic.

In the meantime, I’m probably going to continue keeping a low profile on current k-dramas (and hence, nearly zero blogging potential), while I focus on munching my way through legacy such as Shin Don. Which is, incidentally, by way of slow cook, as at Episode 21 getting way past “mildly interesting” to “simmering”. Nom Nom.

In other news, Pride totally fizzled out. Totally. By the end, smothered by noble idiocy and overkill-by-Kimataku (like, He’s So Cool So Why Bother With Sense or Characterisation?) I was wondering why I was bothering. Sigh. Very sad, it is.

What a unremitting grump I’m becoming! Soon, y’all will just be yelling at me, “Just stop blogging, already!”

Checking in again

Gah. I’ve been such a terrible blogger. My life has been a K-drama watching wasteland, and there’s a strong argument for not blogging at all, if I have nothing to say about k-drama. It is perhaps fitting, then, that my post picture is that of a drama not from Korea, but Japan.

Pride DVD

Why have I taken this long to watch 2004′s Pride? I can’t really say, but it is shame on my Kimutaku-loving fangirl heart (I fell in love with his voice in Howl’s Moving Castle, can you believe it). Well, partly I had to find decent subs (those on my store-bought DVD are well-nigh incomprehensible), which are well worth the effort. Anyways, now I’m all fired up and running on Pride, I’m one very very happy tv bunny.

Read on for witterings about Kimutaku’s perfection, the trainwreck that was The Heirs, thoughts on The Queen’s Classroom, and musings on Shin Don. And eclectic ranting about television generally.

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