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Archive for April, 2014

Secret Love Affair is such an interesting show. On the one hand, it’s not cracky. Not at all. It’s not in the least addictive. Its pace is leisurely and at times — dare I say it — it’s not even particularly compelling. Sometimes I’m not even very sure what, if anything, happened in an episode. I don’t find myself rushing to gobble down the next episode. But when I do watch it, I like it very much. Not madly, but deeply. It has a stirring sensibility. And as ever with Ahn Pan Seok, it feels real to me.

What just happened?

I appreciate the way it is taking its time to explore all the awkwardness of an illicit affair, and an age-inappropriate one at that. It’s the realistic little touches that impress me. How Sun Jae’s youth is not so much a cool factor as something of a liability (what would he do or say next, in a moment’s unthinkingness? Eeps). Unlike the Mary-Sue manufactured noona-toyboy who is perfect (Oh, how Noona is SO cool to have snagged him!), in real life, lack of maturity isn’t always a cool or even desirable thing. And I appreciate that Sun Jae is not that mythical creature — the perfect toyboy who can do no wrong and who is going to solve all our noona’s problems and sweep her into heavenly bliss with one clasp of his young virile arms.

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WHOA!

Also, EEK!

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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Wow.

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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