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Dramas in retrospect: Good vs. bad

December 20, 2009
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When I think back on dramas I’ve seen, I usually find myself feeling either sentimental or nauseated. Weird reactions? Let me explain.

For some dramas, I can’t help but remember all the really good moments. Even if it was generally a terrible drama, if there was some redeeming factor about it that prevails, that’s what will remain in my heart. For other dramas, I can only remember the depressing and disheartening. These might include some I originally counted as favorites!

I wanted to go back and list five for each feeling–just for the heck of it. The good and the bad. I chose dramas I originally rated three stars or higher in “lovability.” I didn’t reread any of my old reviews for reference. Also, these are in no particular order. Have fun!

Good

  • Smiling Pasta: Tw-drama: Smiling Pasta This drama actually got me started on making this list. For some reason, whenever I think back to Smiling Pasta I just remember all that was wonderful about it. It was actually a so-so drama and there were so many times I almost gave up on it, but I just think back to the cuteness. Isn’t that odd? I especially think about it this time of year, because two years back I finished the last episode while giving myself a pedicure on the last day of the year. Random good times. Obviously I’m not a party girl! Anyhow, I really liked a lot of things about this drama when it comes right down to it. There was way too much drama and dragging on and annoying family etc., but if you cut all that away I loved it.
  • My Girl: K-drama: My Girl My Girl is pure comfort food for me. I honestly want to watch it again right this second. Although I recall spaces of this drama that were extremely irritating, I loved it so fully. The good outweighs the bad by so so much. All I think of when I remember My Girl is that wonderful feeling of being completely drained and happy by the end of the drama. Something that makes you that emotional is awesome.
  • Soulmate: K-drama: Soulmate I think I know why I liked this show so much. Well, I do, but it might sound abstract to you. When I was watching it, I felt warm and fuzzy all over. I absolutely ADORE the idea of “fate” and this drama played with the idea so much. It might be cheesy to say this, but I really connected with it. What I really appreciated was that Soulmate didn’t just get me with the fluff, but also with some hilarity and poignancy. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but I will always think of it as “ahh.” Just… good.
  • Love Shuffle: J-drama: Love Shuffle I got so many recommendations for this series. SO MANY. (Sixteen to be exact!) And with very good reason, let me tell you. I almost can’t even remember what was particularly enjoyable about this drama because I know there was a lot that was on the verge of being “eh.” Still… the heart and soul of Love Shuffle is amazing and I was so into it. I inhaled this show and it now sits with me as a good watch. “Yay panada!”
  • Nodame Cantabile: J-drama: Nodame Cantabile This will always be a feel-good drama for me. It was one of my first dramas, actually! I was following someone who was recapping the anime (which I was watching as each episode came out) and said person started talking about the live-action in such glowing terms that I actually DROPPED the anime for the J-drama. Nodame Cantabile is so light-hearted and adorable, but it also knows audiences well enough to realize that such things need to be balanced by deep emotion and character growth. You should also be fully aware that this series had an incredibly long two-part special (that was not a giant recap! New footage all around) and now they’re enjoying movie releases. Loooove it. That should say a lot about how great it is.

Bad

  • Gokusen: J-drama: Gokusen Oh my word, this drama was the pits to watch. Do not want do not want do not want! I can’t believe I even watched the second RIGHT AFTER! The only thing that was amazing about this show (and the sequel–who knows about the third because I haven’t seen it!) was the students. A+ for them. But good GRIEF, every time I think back to Yankumi (you only remember the names of the great and the truly horrible) was atrocious. I clearly did not hate it this much when I saw it originally (because I was naive!), but looking back I truly feel nauseous. Why? The formula! I hatehatehate formulaic dramas. THEY ARE THE WORST. Who wants predictability? I think the only thing that was intriguing about the first series was the possible student/romance thing going on (between Yankumi and Matsumoto Jun’s character lol). If you read my review you’ll wonder where this is coming from. I’ll tell you: TWO YEARS OF REGRET. I will never get that time of my life back!
  • Why Why Love: Tw-drama: Why Why Love I now understand the title. I do. Why Why would you ever love this drama? Sorry, it had to be said. I have never experienced anything so bizarre before. It had so much potential, but it wound up feeling like a rehashing of Devil Beside You, only alternate universe style. It was so soap-opera. When I think back on it all I can remember is feelings of incredulity. I know I liked it okay while watching it, but now I just feel tired out when I remember it.
  • My Name is Kim Sam Soon: K-Drama: My Name is Kim Sam Soon One word: exhaustion. I’m ready to be barraged with hate for disliking this show, but really… I wanted it to be so so good because of all its acclaim, but all I got was supreme disappointment. This is because of all the abuse and cheating that everyone must have blocked out. It’s just depressing. And self-sacrificial love. Noooo! MUST NOT HAVE THAT! Daniel Henney was sadly the best character in this drama (because he was true to his original person) even though he hardly acted. I don’t think I disliked MNIKSS so much at the time of watching it, but thinking back and can’t remember anything good. Sorry.
  • Yamada Taro Monogatari: J-drama: Yamada Taro Monogatari Oh boy. This really wasn’t a horrible drama, but it all goes back to formula! I honestly felt that this show would have been so much better without a “moral of the story” at the end of every episode. Please no. The acting was wanting too. Nino was pretty ace, but his character was completely lacking to begin with. I just wanted so much that this drama couldn’t give me. Wah!
  • Densha Otoko: J-drama: Densha Otoko This drama takes the cake for making me nauseous. I don’t really know why, but it has ever since a few days after finishing the last episode. It was really enjoyable to watch, don’t get me wrong. I liked it quite a bit at the time. But now I just feel sick when I think about it. Maybe there was too much going on in it? Maybe I could relate too much to the awkwardness? Who knows. Or maybe it was just that there WAS so much to be embarrassed about, and I hate embarrassment. I guess it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I can say without a doubt that it really was a good drama, but I just don’t like thinking about it anymore.

What do you think? Let me know if you can relate or if you think I’m crazy!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2009 2:35 am

    Have you seen Alone in Love? I saw it on crunchyroll and really liked it. It’s more realistic than your usual K-drama. I can imagine myself watching that again. I watched the first episode of Kim Sam Soon but it didn’t catch my interest. I’m wondering what a good j-drama or chinese drama to start with would be.

  2. December 20, 2009 2:40 am

    I haven’t! I will check it out now that you’ve mentioned it πŸ˜€

    You should try watching “Nodame Cantabile” for a J-drama. I wasn’t joking when I said I liked it! I even got a lot of my family members to watch it and they became obsessed haha. “Hana Yori Dango” and “Nobuta wo Produce” are also pretty fun.

    If you haven’t seen any Taiwanese dramas (I haven’t seen any Chinese so I can’t recommend any) a good one to try would be “It Started with a Kiss” or “Devil Beside You.”

  3. December 23, 2009 12:29 am

    i agree with you on ‘smiling pasta’! ^^ the plot’s rather lame but somehow i find myself liking it. And of course, it helps alot when my fav Gino is in it XD
    For me, the drama I’d love to watch again and again is taiwan’s meteor garden ^^ I dunno why it leaves such a deep impression in me but it never fails to keep me captivated.
    Some dramas are really fun to watch, like ‘you’re beautiful’ and I love it immensely while watching it. But it just isn’t enough to make me want to re-watch it
    ^^

  4. December 23, 2009 12:35 pm

    I think I’m a bit surprised you didn’t put Boys Over Flowers on there. Or maybe Dream or Iris.

    Oh yeah, I’m planning on doing a K-Pop Fanfiction Forum, all I need is a name:
    http://nynyonline.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/that-k-pop-fanfic-forum-yeah/

  5. February 19, 2010 10:17 am

    *Pops outta nowhere too months after this post was made*

    I find it pretty interesting, our taste in dramas totally clash. Most of the ones you find good, I find bad. Most of the ones I find good, you find bad. LOL.

    Smiling Pasta was such an adorable show, I agree! It really was. Full of flaws, but all that puppy love makes up for it. The thing that irks me the most was Ah Zhe and Rita. I could not follow their character developement, but whateverrr.

    My Girl, I had fun watching it, kind of. To be honest, I barely remember much of it. I just remember being very frustrated with this drama -and there was one line the girl said at the end that killed the entire series for me. “I promise I’ll never lie to you again.” (?)Something like that. At the elevator. That scene was so cheesy, but not adorable-cheesy, it was like, cringe-cheesy. And on top of that, I felt as if she was throwing her personality out the window to be with this guy. I like characters to stay true to themselves throughout, and won’t change for anyone. Also, I remember her being kind of “strong” at the start of the drama, but she was actually really weak. D: I mean, everyone has their limits, but she cried. and cried. and cried. and omg. ;_;

    Soulmate, I started it, and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. It was a snore for me. I don’t believe in destiny, maybe that’s why I couldn’t dig into it.

    Love Shuffle might just be the strangest drama I’ve ever tried to watch. I enjoyed it, will continue watching it… but not any time soon.

    I didn’t like Nodame Cantabile, but it did keep me entertained.

    Gokusen, is THE most predictable drama. ever. Once you’ve watched one episode, you’ll know what happened every other one. But I had a blast with Gokusen. Maybe it’s because it’s the second drama I’ve ever watched (and it didn’t take much to amuse me back then. Everything was new to me), but I still, to this day, like rewatching this series. The friendship, Yankumi, the eyecandy. *sigh* I love it all.

    Why Why Love was okay. I wouldn’t say it was ‘bad’ but it wasn’t one of my favorites either. It was okay to watch, and the brothers relationship wins out on it all. ❀ haha.

    My Name is Kim Sam Soon is one of my favorite kdramas. It's not all love and fluff with some magic fairy dust.. it's a very realistic drama. I loved it. Not the ending, but almost everything else. LOL.

    Yamada Taro Monogatari, tried one episode and couldn't take it seriously. I tried.

    Densha Otoko… never watched it. Probably never will. (read the manga /nerd. but the plot wasnt all that appealing to me.)

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