The queer case of A Piece of Your Mind

The last time I watched Jung Hae-in was in Bride of the Century and man, he is awkward in that drama. Not very bad, but he is obviously not used to the camera (that is after all his debut drama). The last drama of Chae Soo-bin that I enjoyed is Sassy Go Go. She played the villain in that drama but gave a very compelling and layered portrayal of a villain. I tried and dropped all her dramas after that (including I am not a Robot, Strongest Deliverymen and Where Stars Land). I am glad they starred together in APOYM and this drama is their best work so far, at least for me.

As per usual in my case, I started this drama because I loved the premise; an AI programmer met a classical sound engineer and a story of unrequited love. I am a fan of classical music and I never watched a female lead that works as sound engineer. Sounds refreshing enough for me. After watching k-dramas for 20 years there are very little surprise for me anymore in term of plot. I seek for dramatic realism and sometimes engaging plot. Also, I love the unrequited love trope, bring me the ANGST!

Why I love this drama is beyond me. Is it the timing when it was aired? Is it because I live-watching it instead of binge-watching it? Is it because of the cinematography? The directing? The production design?
Or could it be because all of the above? I do think it is the combination of the above.

What really pleasantly surprised me is how very quite this drama is. There are small pool of characters and there are very little crowd. There was almost no crowd at all. The characters always seem to be walking and strolling in an empty street and walkways (and even overpass).

The characters! I could write long paragraphs about the characters because this is a character-driven drama. You have to care and try to understand the characters to enjoy the drama. Some people said there is almost no plot (which is true!) and suggest the writer to add more plot into the drama. I am glad there is almost nothing added other the journey of Ha-won and Seo-woo in overcoming their grief (it could also be due to the episodes cut, I am pretty sure they cut some plot regarding the company, AH Laboratory). Maybe the reason I love this drama is because I could relate to all the characters, I am a Kang In-wook who runs away from all my problems, any confrontations and never own up to my mistakes (could be the reason I just cannot hate him). I am a Moon Soon-ho who wants someone to pick me up when I am sad without doing anything. I am Seo-woo who is trying to overcome a grief of losing a friend and the many regrets that come with it, and also dealing with the uncertainty of life. Among the leads, the character that I can relate the least is actually Ha-won. But the scientist part of me do relate in the way his work, always curious and attentive about his surrounding, and throwing away papers on the floor while studying and working (I literally did that!).

The unrequited love in this drama is refreshing, there is no annoying character due to it. Though Ha-won is a tad obsessive but that issue is also confronted (so glad for that!) and there is a happy kind of unrequited love, I never realised that. I love the classical music in it, I discovered a cello sonata due to this drama (I should listen to more cello pieces, there is so much depth in the sound of cello) so yay! Classical music is LIT!

The ratings are dismal and I kinda ambivalent about it. Dramas that I love always tend to be in the low to average region. Maybe because I usually love a slice of life with little makjangness and entertainment value in it. The ratings though cut the episodes and it inadvertently disturb my drama watching, there is so many what-if that accompanies the episode cut. I can watch more Ha-won and Seo-woo interactions but will it become draggy? I always find k-dramas struggle to fill the 16 episodes with the exception of My Mister.

As always, there is no perfect drama, and there is no work without flaw but I hope I will always love this drama even after 20 years similar to the All About Eve. For those people who want to try this drama, it is not meant to be consumed but savour, please refrain from binge-watching and watch it when you are in the mood for something intriguing and do engage some curiosity in the actions of the characters.

Nirvana in Fire (Wow!)

When you cannot let go of a fictional character: Lin Shu (Xiao Shu)/Mei Changsu/Su Zhe

For his brevity, humour, wittiness, endless strategic planning==; and sleeps, sidekicks and a damn! very understanding partner.

In a Good Way

Because I love writing my opinions without needing to validate and cross-referencing with anything. Let’s just say this is a therapy from scientific writing.

The drama starts solid, might have been too slow because my brain goes very fast to know what’s next and fizzled out at the end so I spend plenty of time skipping the staring and the uninteresting characters which is funny as I wrote this because I love the characters. There are no jerks and there are no bitches. Everyone is so likeable and understanding. There is very little angst and it really tells the journey of these college students in a very relatable and realistic way and I love it for it.

Liu Chuan: He is the perfect seniors you met at the university. He is kind (real kind, not in a sarcastic way at all, because I met too many sarcastic guys at uni that I became desensitized to it), athletic, active in clubs, top-scorer, popular (with boys, girls and lecturers) and since this is a drama, he has a secret. Lol. Not as in double-personality or anything makjang, it’s just that he has an expectation to meet once he graduated. And that expectation is a huge one and something that he is reluctant to fulfil.

Jia En: She is a pretty normal girl, a dork, someone who strive to keep her grades, a thoughtful person, keen to learn, a filial daughter, someone who looks up to Liu Chuan (because he is oh-so-worthy) like her mentor, respectful to her seniors, and humble. She is a very, very normal girl and I love her for it. I find it hard to find a heroine like her in any dramas so I really enjoy her character.

2nd male lead: because I don’t care about him that I just cannot remember his character's name. He is the character that I find most unlikeable because of the amount of screen time that he gets. But he has one redeeming factor, his steadfast and straightforward love. And I think his character got the most character development in the story. So, I kinda enjoy his character in the latter half when the drama plot starts to fizzle out which is a shame because I end up not watching it that much.

Bai Xuen: She is the female version of Liu Chuan. They might be the mirror image of each other and the reason why Liu Chuan never consider her as a romantic partner. If it’s not because of the chemistry between Liu Chuan and Jia En I would have shipped these two because I always wonder what would happen when two perfect people are together. Why it never happens before in drama (because two positive charges repel each other)? An undramatic drama. That’s what it will be.

I love the ending (might not be a popular opinion). It is so realistic. Like the rest of the drama. 

Cheese in the Trap

Drama vs Webtoon vs Movie (in the order of discovery)

I love the Drama. It’s warm, fuzzy, and make my heart flutter, the shots are beautifully made and it introduced me to this story which I am forever grateful. Since we have three versions of this material and there seems to be plenty of comparisons on it I just want to add my two cents. This is my personal opinion of it so take it with very little grain of salt.

Characters:

Yoo Jung: Park Hae Jin is Yoo Jung. There is no doubt about it. Jung is warm and chilling at the same time. To be honest, I always thought it was a miracle that he fell in love with Hong Seol. He seems to be the guy that will always do the right thing and meets every expectation piled up on him. I have a feeling that if he didn’t meet Seol then he will marry anyone that his father chose for him, take over the company and just live a life like that, never really feel the need to reveal himself to anyone. Content but perhaps not so happy.
Drama Yoo Jung: With the materials presented in the drama, stalker, assignments and everything, I always thought that someone cannot live an adult life like that. I mean when you are a school kid, sure, you can go around backstabbing people and plot against other people demises but to do that as an adult is downright childish and cruel. But that is Yoo Jung, he has his child-like trait but he is also cruel to the person that use him as a leverage. He always allows a certain amount of pushovers because he do not want to be an outcast but he pretty much hides his true feelings all the time. He put on a different mask on every occasion and people that he met (I mean almost everyone did that too) but he also plots people’s demises!? I just cannot accept that. So, I always like the open ending of it (because it left so much room for imagination and my imagination can run wild) that Yoo Jung went somewhere else to discover himself because I truly think he cannot live like that for the rest of his life. He needs to know that his actions are wrong and the key to live a happy life is communication. No matter how trivial that sound, Say it! Out Loud! That you are not happy!
But then, I read other people’s opinions on why they hate the ending. It’s because they want to see the process of Yoo Jung discovering himself. That is a very valid opinion because he is the main lead after all and this story is about him and Seol manoeuvring their life and responsibilities.

But the thing I dislike the most about the drama is the controversies surrounding it. It starts to eclipse the drama itself but I do think the outcry is valid.
Movie Yoo Jung: They properly explain his struggle and dilemma and pretty much stays true to his character. Though the 2 hours movie is definitely not enough to show the complexity of his character well.

My interpretation of Seol: My interpretation of Seol from the webtoon is she has some steel inside her, playful and slightly awkward (as we all are during our university’s life).
Drama Seol: She is so skittish and when she did stand up it’s because of desperation. She is a complete pushover which makes it really hard for me to watch because it’s so real. Her struggle is real and Kim Go Eun acts that part to perfection. But she is also lacking the steel that I felt like a crucial characterization for her to be together with Yoo Jung. She always needs to be push to the verge first before taking any action and looking at her suffocates me so much.
Movie Seol: Oh Yeon Seo takes on Seol is closer to the webtoon. She has grace (perhaps too graceful) in her and some steel with a sense of humour and sarcasm that is Seol. I can totally see her be with Jung for the rest of their life (let’s admit it, I am a sucker for happy ending) because Yoo Jung is going to take over the company and he needs a partner by his side that can manoeuvre through the society with grace and wits.

My interpretation of Inho: Explosive, reckless, I don’t give much a damn but do not hurt any girl in front of me because I have a childhood trauma of watching my sis abused when I was young and being helpless to do anything about it.
Drama Inho: Might not be a popular opinion but I do not like Seo Kang Joon interpretation of him. Let’s get this over this. I do not like his acting. That’s harsh but that’s the harshest I can be to him. He is a young and new actor then and perhaps is too pretty for Inho role. He tries too hard to be thug-like that I cringe when I look at him acting with the devil-may-care attitude. I kept on thinking he is ‘acting’ this part and my standard of good acting is when I can stop thinking that this actor is acting and the character really comes to life. With the amount of screen time that he gets I was hoping that he may settle into his character and rope his way into my heart but that didn’t happen so I basically skip all his scenes because he is the opposite kind of painful to watch to the drama Seol.
Movie Inho: I love him. He is endearing, slightly reckless, protective of his Noona and has chemistry with everyone in it. He looks great with Seol, Jung and Inha. He has this very convincing I don’t care swag (very important to me) and perhaps is less explosive and crazy than the original Inho but he makes a very believable Inho.

My interpretation of Inha: Bitchy, conniving, vain and loud.
Drama Inha: Lee Sung Kyung was not bad in it. I love her over-the-top actions (even when there are negative critics of her take on the character from the beginning). But I also realized of her limitation in acting the scenes. Her eyes are not convincing enough. Her eyes are not crazy enough. It was like she is pretending to be bat-shit crazy so that people wouldn’t step on her (not really bitchy crazy. That could also be her defence mechanism in her everyday life so I pretty much accept that). But yeah, her acting is definitely off. No offence to Lee Sung Kyung fans. I love her in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. She embodies the character well. I don’t care about critics saying her physique is not right and everything. She is an actress and a model. I wouldn’t want her to have a body of an athlete for a role and then struggle to shed off the weight because netizens can be downright harsh with body size. I want everyone to eat healthily and be happy with their body (okay, I’ll stop here. This is Cheese in the Trap).
Movie Inha: Man, what a difference a veteran can make. She is really crazy and vain and there is a shimmering violent inside her. Too bad she has very little screen time because I would have loved to see her confrontation with Jung and Jung’s father.

Eun Tak and Bora: Both are equally good in drama and movie.

This is getting too long.

Drama: I hate the second half. I want more Yoo Jung. Period.

Movie: There is very little time to explore everything and it may have cheated the viewers with the chapter thingy and as for me I watched this movie knowing what’s coming next and it really helps to put everything into perspective. Other than that, it was a very bland movie. I don’t know, I love everyone in it, but I don’t feel anything after watching it other than everyone acts really well.

I’ve got the feeling that the real villain in this story is Jung’s father. Jung, Inha and Inho are just three broken children who really want to receive love above everything else. They are just pretty much very normal because I do think everyone carries a trauma. Whether you overcome it or not, you live on, right.

Comrades

I miss my co-workers and fellow students who has gone through the same journey with me. Everyone has move on with their life while I am sill stuck in this place. My new year starts with a tremendous feeling of anxiousness and apprehension.

5 X 10

2018 marks 10 years of my journey with Arashi. It has been a beneficial one-way relationship. Thank you for introducing me to the Japan Entertainment. I can definitely say I know more Japan tarento than my own country's celebrity just by watching your regular shows. My Japanese has also improved a lot although I am nowhere near fluent.

Korekara mou, yoroshiku onegaishimasu~

W - Two World

My current obsession. I am literally a living ghost until this one ends. The feeeelss~~, the cliffhangers, the stakes is REAL! (or not since its a fantasy genre after all).

IOIL

Its Okay Its Love. Finding, meeting, believing and marrying the 'one' for you. Realistic character, solid acting, wonderful OST

AnS

Akagami no Shirayukihime

Aaaaaa... I could swoon on Zen all day. Haaa~~~

Its a very beautiful stories with great characters, great costume designs and more importantly entertaining plot.

Please, please check it out

Internshipp0~~

My first journal, I used to write more private journal in my diary and I check that the last time I update my journal is last year. It is such a waste. I've been keeping that journal for about 10 years already and it is such a great thing to see how much you have changed in 10 years. Really, you don't have to write about you day or anything like that, just may be your thoughts and major events in your life.

Note to self: Go and dig the diary