Sunday, October 12, 2014

TDrama Review: Just You

The Gist: Chen Liang Liang (Puff Kuo) loses total control of her life when the house she is renting is foreclosed and bought by Qi Yi (Aaron Yan), who simultaneously buys out her company - becoming her land lord and boss in one fell swoop. All hope for an alliance is broken when Qi Yi immediately bans office romance, cancelling the engagement of her best friend Kate (Katherine Wang) and coworker Alex (Tan Zhen-Gang) who are afraid of being fired. In an effort to make Qi Yi overturn his decision, Liang Liang plots with Kate and their friend Princess (Ashi Lin) to make Qi Yi fall in love with Liang Liang. This proves difficult at first, when Qi Yi is controlling and cold and Liang Liang can't do anything right. Yet, as they work out their living and working situation, Liang Liang realizes that Qi Yi is just trying to fulfill his dream of reuniting his family in his childhood home - the house in which they both now live. As they both start to develop real feelings, prodded by the friendly rivalry of new work acquaintance Dean (Dean Fujioka), things get topsy turvy when Qi Yi's ex-fiancee, Jia Yu (Lyla Lin) shows up out of nowhere, determined to win him back.


1. Dat Chemistry

It's a Taiwanese Drama and yes, the physical intimacy is so adorable! I read one review before watching this show off of a random recommendation on Hulu, which basically said it was unoriginal, but the skinship was excellent. Oh boy was that true. While you may not get some of the steamy scenes you get from other shows, the small moments between our leads just had me smiling like an idiot. Qi Yi's hand in her hair, pressing foreheads together, a hug here and there, it was all just plain warm. Their chemistry jumps off of the screen and while it doesn't have that fiery tumultuous feeling to it, there's a beautiful sense of growing together while they are essentially building a life together. When Qi Yi says that Liang Liang is family, you really feel it. It's true, not just empty words. I'd say in this aspect, it's pretty original. I've never seen a show develop a romance quite like this, with the feeling of trust and family in the center of it. This is the show that Personal Taste could have been if it was done well. They handled the cohabitation delicately and perfectly.

2. Problem Solving!

Thank you Good Lord for Qi Yi. Every time the two of the leads fought and Liang Liang sprinted out, I thought for sure the scene would cut ahead and wait for the two to make up later. Every time, I was wrong as Qi Yi chased after her in that instant and brought her home. It blew my mind to have a protagonist who really isn't willing to let things lie. I could count the number of times that Liang Liang and Qi Yi went to bed angry on one hand. Additionally, Liang Liang's control on her jealousy is amazing. I would have clawed Jia Yu's eyes out well before the end of this series and while Liang Liang stands up for herself, she also doesn't forsake a potential friendship. She's a real treat.

3. Dean

Team Dean for life! I am so happy to not have a full blown triangle with Dean. He is the most mature character I've seen in this situation. Think Rui from HYD, but better. Dean immediately thinks of his friend's happiness before his own and doesn't ever put up a real fight for Liang Liang. Which is good, because we have enough crazy time from Jia Yu. Dean is pretty much like Gaze's cupid, who is working tirelessly to fix up his friends. Which, once you get Qi Yi's back story, you can see how much he needs Liang Liang. *SPOILERS* for how matchy matchy this story gets, it's a bit of a bummer we couldn't find Dean an adorable little chick.

4. Family Love!

Usually a strong romance and the power of friendship make a show for me, which Just You definitely has, but the family aspect was definitely new and wonderful for me. When Liang Liang's parents come to visit and you can just see the longing on Qi Yi's face, my heart just ached. I appreciate the time we spent with Qi Yi's dad, which added to the life building between our leads. Qi Yi has complicated family issues and when their two families finally collided, I was just plain excited. I think Qi Yi's mom had some things to work out, we'll touch on that in a minute, but the dynamic was fantastic. LOVE IT.

5. Pacing/Crisp

I will never again say that Taiwanese dramas are lower quality because this drama was beautiful! If the names were changed and I turned off the sound, I could have totally mistaken this for a Korean Drama. It was beautiful. The one review I read said that this drama was 6 episodes too long, which I was somewhat expecting out of a 21 episode show, but I really didn't feel that way. I think the 2nd/3rd episode took a little too long to get Qi Yi to soften up towards Liang Liang, but I powered through the rest of the show and could have watch the whole thing in one sitting. Honestly, if this was any shorter, I would have cried. I need more!

6. The Goldfish.

Just watch it. You'll understand the power of the goldfish. Love it.

7. Ending Marathon

*SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY* So this show ends as if it has something it is trying to prove! The last episode has a double wedding, three engagements, and one pregnancy. Um, wow. It was like one thing after another, over and over again. You have to sort of just let it happen. It can seem cheesy if you're not open to it, but the whole thing just made me smile like an idiot. I found it all to be good fun. Ah, I love ending on a wedding, even if it's not our main duo. Besides, they were family way before the last episode. 

8. Best Confession Ever

*MORE SPOILERS* So it did take a little while for Liang Liang to finally confess, but the show makes the wait enjoyable enough that it's no problem at all. I loved both of her confessions. The first time, they're shouting at each other across the street and it was actually Qi Yi whose words had me moved. When he said "How could you change my life and just leave? How could you make me go home alone to a house meant for two?" I just nearly died. My heart melted. So that when Liang Liang finally breaks down to tell him that she loves him, still shouting across the street, I was literally squealing like a moron. Second, when Jia Yu serves up an ultimatum to Qi Yi and Liang Liang grabs her man, kisses him, and takes over the situation, I was so proud of her. I was cheering out loud (essentially, my husband thought I was a crazy person while I was watching this show). There's a lot of good confessions out there, but these are right at the top.


1. Ban on Romance?

I swear the ban on office romance just sparked all sorts of romance. Talk about counterproductive. Gaze if pretty much a match making agency. *SPOILERS* Thank god for Mei Mei. Without her holding out, everyone would have paired up too perfectly. Alex and Kate are a given as our initial couple. Obviously the romantic mess with Liang Liang, Qi Yi, Dean, and Jia Yu take up plenty of worker bees. The things with Shi Cui Xia (Ke Ya Xin) and Brother Bo (Xie Qi Wen) had me very skeptical at first, but honestly really grew on me. You pair that with the romances outside of the office - family things and Princess' storyline - it's a lot. Yes, this show ends up overly neat, but it was all so lovely that I can forgive it.

2. Who are these people?

Um. So how many people exactly work at Gaze? I thought for a while that there were about ten people that worked at Gaze, all of our main peeps. Then I started noticing random people wandering in the back or sitting in cubicles an then I noticed just how many unoccupied cubicles there really were. It just seemed weird that Gaze just like ignored half of their employees. Like when they went on the retreat, they only brought our main people. What were the other people doing? It was weird. But in such a minor way that it won't really detract from the rest of the story.

3. Crazy Town

Minor spoilers ahead. So I appreciate the level of resolution we got with Jia Yu because you do feel a little bad for her, but yeah wow is she totally insane. It's immediately unreasonable to expect that Qi Yi will forgive her when she bailed on him the day after he proposed and didn't say a word for three years! That's not something you ever get over. So when she acts all hurt, it's just totally whacko. Then when she goes all psycho involving Liang Liang and Jerry, I just rolled my eyes. In Qi Yi's defense, he really didn't waver until he was given a good reason to. I really was thrilled with the writer's for not making him wishy washy immediately when she showed up. Props to Qi Yi.

4. Too Many Coincidences

Every time Qi Yi's mom would walk right past him or his dad, I just groaned. Like out load, full blown groaning. I hate the just missed them vibe and when you meet that with the fact that her only friend is her son's ex-fiancee, it's just too much a coincidence. It never mentions how the two of them met and honestly, their relationship really irked me. I'm glad they had some support, but it was really asking a lot of me to believe the entwined messes of their lives. I was able to put my qualms aside, but I think it would have been a stronger show without it.


No hate for this show. Not at all.


So... I do not take it lightly when I say this show is IMO pretty much perfect. It's like they wrote this show for me. I could watch this show over and over again. I think - gasp - this might be my new favorite drama. I honestly think it is better than Hana Yori Dango (oh God! Matsujun, forgive me!). The quiet growing in this show just made me feel warm and happy. When I wasn't watching this show, I wanted to be and every episode surprised me in a loveable way. Qi Yi didn't treat Liang Liang like she was made of glass, but like a girl he loved and it was adorable. The family and life building just made smile. This was a real treat and I'm recommending it to everyone, even if it is not flashy or the most inventive drama ever. I really look forward to watching this show again soon. Ah, so warm. Love it. Love it. Love it.

Obviously, I had a lot to say about it. I could just go on and on, the matching sneakers, when Liang Liang almost drowned, when Liang Liang finally stops calling Qi Yi boss... there is no one favorite moment! SO GOOD.

Final Grade: A++

Sorry this was so long!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

KDrama Review: My Love from Another Star

The Gist: Cheon Song Yi (Gianna Jun) is a top star in Korea. When she moves next door to Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun), a centuries old alien stranded on Earth, it's an immediate clash of personalities. Things go from bad to worse when Min Joon ends up being Song Yi's professor. Yet, when Song Yi gets caught up in the death of another big name star, Do Min Joon becomes the support system for Song Yi. Things are further complicated by the brothers Lee: the younger Whi Kyung (Park Hae Jin) is hopelessly in love with Song Yi and the older Jae Kyung (Shin Sung Rok) is responsible for a number of crimes, including the murder that Song Yi is getting blamed for. While co-star Yoo Se Mi (Yoo In Na) is benefiting from Song Yi's hardships, she is still hoping for Whi Kyung's affections. As Jae Kyung looks to eliminate Song Yi as she tries to salvage her career, Song Yi and Min Joon get closer and closer.


1. Imperfect Leads

Song Yi is instantly unlikable - vain, prideful, mean, and just plain dumb. Do Min Joon is overly smart and cold, deliberately uncaring. It was nice to get some main characters that are actually flawed. Yes, Song Yi has a heart of gold and Min Joon is adorably protective, but it takes some time to break them down to get to their creamy, lovely centers. They had remarkable chemistry and so while it takes a bit to warm up to them, I loved them.

2. Song Yi's Brother

Yoon Jae (Ahn Jae Hyeon) was such a nothing character for the first half of this show that I was delighted and surprised when he actually showed up in his scenes with Min Joon. The blind adoration and blatant love he has for his sister's love interest, is 100% hilarious. These are some of the best scenes of the show and it had me laughing out loud. I could have used more of Yoon Jae.

3. The Alien Thing

I really worry about shows that have "a big reveal" because it's distracting to the plot development. Yet, this show didn't really dwell on the fact that Min Joon was hiding his alienness from Song Yi and allowed their relationship to develop unhindered. Once the reveal was made, I thought the show handled it deftly and didn't leave me feeling anxious or annoyed.

4. Kiss the Girl!

For someone who gets sick kissing people, Do Min Joon just can't keep his hands off of Song Yi. I love the amount of intimate moments we get with them and *SPOILERS* how about that red carpet kiss at the end? Dead on.


1. Time Limit

Ah! How I hate shows that start off with a time limit to the romance. This one starts off with Min Joon leaving for his planet in three months. What makes it extra frustrating is that he's been here for four hundred years. FOUR HUNDRED! And he has to leave now? That said, I think it was handled nicely with a happy ending that isn't too perfect.

2. Doppleganger

Ugh. I am so over the doppleganger thing. It had me pulling out my hair in Rooftop Prince. I wasn't crazy about it in this one, but it wasn't overbearing. At most it's frustrating because you don't know if Min Joon likes Song Yi for herself or because she looks like someone from a long time ago. I think the plot would have been a little bit better and more believable (well, for a show about aliens) if Song Yi looked similar to her, but wasn't played by the same actress. Just unnecessary.

3. Love Quadrangle

Poor little brother. Whi Kyung is so pitiable. He and Song Yi actually are a pretty good match and I firmly believe that he could make her happy. As much as I love our main duo, it's pretty obvious that Song Yi would have been happier with Whi Kyung. I was glad to see Se Mi grow into her own a little bit and shake off her unrequited love, but the threads between everyone is just so crazytown. I wish we could have gotten Whi Kyung a girl, so that I didn't feel so sad for him at the end.

4. Hospital...again?

There's not a lot about this point, but really, Song Yi is in the hospital like 35 times in the course of this show. It made sense the first time, then it just got to be overbearing.


1. Murder!

OK. I have serious beef with the believability of Jae Kyung as a character. His plans are just so unsustainable. You can't just kill off everyone you have a problem with and not get caught. That' not how life works! I also found the murder plot to be weirdly serious for an otherwise pretty light and happy show. Then when *SPOILERS* we get the news that Jae Kyung killed his brother, that was just way over the top. Who does that? Did I mention how sad I feel for Whi Kyung, because it is SO MUCH. I sort of had this feeling with Rooftop Prince too when the lead tries to kill his cousin because it's just such a weird mix of tones for a show like this. That said, the actor is rather delicious when he's playing evil and does it well. Oh and did we mention him locking up his wife in a mental institution? Who does that???


So.... I freaking loved this show. As many things about the plot as predisposed me to not like it, I just found it so sweet and just fun. It's not believable in the slightest, but who watches dramas for believability? The pacing was excellent and I watched the whole thing crazy fast. The action is fun and the love just has me sighing. It was great. Better than I thought it would be.

Final Grade: A+