Just Bananas About: Week of 7/11/16

I literally finished the American drama, The Good Wife, a few days before the Korean remake began.  The dangers of looking forward to a new show is that you’re just not sure what you’re going to get but so far, I’m optimistic about the drama.  I will say that the drama makes me think a lot about the original American series as there are so many similarities.  There are some differences as well but the characters are generally the same and even seem to have the same backstories which I’m not totally against as long as the story is compelling.  And so far, it’s been pretty compelling.

Lee Tae Joon (Yoo Ji Tae) is a prosecutor who gets sent to prison on corruption charges after news of his sex scandal breaks.  As his wife, Kim Hye Kyung(Jeon Do Yeon) goes back to work as a lawyer to support her kids.  She ends up working at the MJ Law Firm run by Seo Myung Hee (Kim Seo Hyung) and Seo Joong Won (Yoon Kye Sang) who are siblings.

Not only does Hye Kyung have to prove herself as a savvy lawyer, she is also up against fierce competition with other lawyers.  These lawyers are not only young and hungry to succeed but Hye Kyung not only has her family to support but she must also face the public scrutiny of being Tae Joon’s wife.

Hye Kyung was able to get the job at MJ through Joong Won whom she attended law school with.  I love that Myung Hee is skeptical of Hye Kyung’s skills as a lawyer but decides that the best way to prove herself by taking on a pro-bono murder case.  She might have gotten to a bumbling start but I think she proves that she is an effective litigator.

Obviously, one of the most interesting things about this drama is the relationship between Tae Joon and Hye Kyung.  I’m intrigued at how calm she seems on the surface, even though she’s put in the middle of Tae Joon’s corruption scandal.  I’m also intrigued how the drama shows Hye Kyung’s point of view on the smallest of details when the scandal breaks.  From focusing on a loose thread to the fact that he doesn’t take his shoes off when he races home to explain the scandal, it very much shows what kind of a person Hye Kyung is more than anyone else.

Hye Kyung is all about control and order.  It’s interesting that Hye Kyung has a dream about setting up breakfast for her family and it looks perfect like a magazine spread.  However, as she tries to gather her family to the dining room table, the pot is suddenly empty, her kids are watching news about their father’s scandal and she walks into her bedroom to find her husband having an affair.  Her perfect world has been shattered and she suddenly finds herself, her identity being displaced.

She does a very good job in trying to keep all that in.  However, the one person she allows to see her true self is Joong Won.  It’s clear that the drama is trying to establish that Joong Won’s feelings for Hye Kyung is more than platonic.  We’ll just have to wait to see where those feelings will lead this relationship in the drama.

However, that connection between the two is not lost upon Lee Joon Ho (Lee Won Geun).  It doesn’t seem like he cares much about Joong Won and Hye Kyung’s relationship but he seems more concerned about how their relationship will affect his career.  He comes off as nice and helpful but brewing underneath there is a cutthroat lawyer who will do anything to succeed.

The relationship I’m looking forward to the most is Kim Dan (Nana), the investigator, and Hye Kyung.  That was the thing that I loved in the original series and something that I missed as the seasons went on.

I have to admit that I was also concerned when I heard Nana was taking this role as she’s new to acting.  I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the first two episodes.  Nana is often criticized for being unintentionally cutesy to the annoyance of other women.  If you saw the episodes where she was on Real Men: Female Soldier Edition, you understand where I’m coming from.  However, it’s exactly that quality that makes her uniquely suited for this role.

I was also impressed that the Korean drama was not afraid to get into Dan’s personal life.  Kalinda Sharma, in which Dan’s character is based on, had this ambiguity about her sexual preference and I hope in the short 16 episode for this series, we’ll get to explore that side to Dan’s backstory.

The jury still seems to be out on Tae Joon’s true character.  The original American series was never black and white about their characters but they also had 7 long years to develop them.  It makes me wonder if Tae Joon is going to be the drama’s antagonist, as the scenes featuring seem to be setting him up as a dark and corrupt character.  However, I love that he is convincingly manipulative as that makes him such an interesting character.

Despite that, the cases depicted in the drama seem to be thought-provoking and timely.  I was especially taken with the case in the 2nd episode which seems like a case that was ripped from the headlines even though it was probably written before the outbreak of this scandal featuring a celebrity.

No matter what happens in that case I love that this episode touched on themes of sexual assault and rape and the women who report these incidents.  In my opinion, I happen to believe that it doesn’t matter if you’re a prostitute, hostess, stripper, escort or any other type of adult entertainer.  No always means no and I think it’s important that this episode explored that because it was reported that the women in the real life case were afraid to come forward because of their job they had and the fear that no one would believe them.  The case isn’t taken as far as the victim in the drama winning their case but I liked that she was cleared from charges of blackmailing.  It’s these types of stories that make me eager to see what other legal cases the drama explores.

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Last night’s King of the Masked Singers seemed to offer a lot of surprise guests.  If you haven’t caught up to yesterday’s episode, there will be spoilers ahead.

Not only do we have a new King this week but the new contestants this week seemed to do a great job in confusing the celebrity panelists.  First up, there was Chessman whose skills as a dancer and sweet, mellow seemed to make people think he was a young idol.  Shin Bong Sun thinks of Poppin’ Hyun Joon while other think of former MBlaq member, Lee Joon.  I love that Yoo Yeon Suk thought of Solid’s Lee Joon.  Not only was Solid’s Lee Joon’s voice very deep but he also wasn’t a classically trained dancer.  They also threw out names like 2PM’s Jun Ho.

Surprise, surprise.  Chessman turns out to be Boom whose name has come up quite often on the show previously every time they encounter a contestant who is vivacious and silly.  Boom is often credited for coming up with the idea for this show so it was about time that he made an appearance.  This time around Boom stayed calm and quiet so no one guessed it was him.  I was really surprised to find out that he has such a decent voice.  I knew that he started out as an idol singer but it was always overshadowed by his 4D personality.

Another contestant known as Yut Seller came out and seemed to capture the audience with his deep, charming voice.  Unfortunately, Kim Gura tells everyone that he saw the contestant standing by a nice, big van and with a manager wearing a hip hop snapback and concludes that it must be a big hip hop artist.  That description throws everyone off.

It turns out that the singer is none other than Actor Lee Jae Yong, known for often playing a lot of villains in dramas.  He’s been acting for about 34 years and he recently reached a mid-life crisis in which he finds some relief by singing and he’s even formed a band in which they occasionally tour festivals.

Kim Gura immediately asks about the van he saw him with.  Lee Jae Yong responds that the van has nothing to do with him.  Hahaha.  I’ve known that Lee Jae Yong has a great voice but even I was surprised to see him when he unmasked himself.  I sincerely hope he keeps singing and wouldn’t mind listening to an album by his band.

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