Why Korean Soap Opera Sucks, Yet Popular_Part 1

This would be the best joke I’ve ever seen made about South Korean soap opera:

American Soap : Doctors cure disease, Lawyers handle legal stuff, Detectives catch criminals
Japanese Soap: Doctors give life lessons, Lawyers give life lessons, Detectives give life lessons
Korean Soap: Doctors in romantic love, Lawyers in romantic love, Detectives in romantic love

Mushy-gooey romance, tackiest and cheesiest lines delivered by beautiful young faces- are the essence of network TV soap opera. There is nothing wrong with it, though it surely opens up discussion if it is the only thing soap opera is about– which happens to a majority of Korean soap opera. Not only everything comes down to romance, but the route to the romance is nothing but identical. To cover up for formulaic plots and poorly written scripts, they depend more heavily on emotion.

1) Emotional. Emotional. Just Too Emotional.

2) Idol Stars and Degradation

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Psy Drops New Single ‘Gentleman’_Review Part2

Continues from Part 1. (also published in the Asian Correspondent site)

2) Adaptation of Abracadabra dance: Yes, it is that dance routine the Brown Eyed Girls rocked back in 2010. Gain rose as a new sex symbol for killing this super sexy, signature dance move (youtube link below– skip to somewhere in the middle, the chorus part). Psy explained [ko] few days earlier at his latest concert ‘Happening’ that he adopted the dance routine and reinterpreted it. I see this as kind of industry mutual back scratching– Gain gets international attention by appearing in Psy’s music video and Psy gets to tweak her routine– the most famous routine in South Korea to the point it has a nickname “시건방춤” (could be translated as ‘the freaking cheeky/arrogant’) since it always goes together with crossed-arms and big smirk and it would be extremely hard to find young Koreans would have not tried — at least once when they are alone at home.

3) Back to his root: Psy, starting from his debut song “Bird” back in 2001, has kept his uniqueness and invented his own genre, never losing his color for once– his music was so racy, explicit, yet fun that most of his songs were labeled as “inappropriate for young audience” numerous time, mostly club-themed and rocking the hilarious dance routines you cannot find elsewhere. People who known him from his early days, would never call this song as mere ‘continuation of Gangnam Style’. No, it is rather just another song of Psy that just sounds like Psy.

And it is adorable that he debuted his new single in Seoul, South Korea (during the concert) though I wouldnt call it a clever move, career-wise. Psy knows that whether he make another hit or wind up becoming the one-hit wonder, there is a loyal fan base who loves his music for years and losing them would cost him great deal.

I see the reviews are not that favorable, but Youtube hits beg differ– it seems Gentleman is not that big disappointment after all.


Psy Drops New Single ‘Gentleman’_Review Part1

Another mega-hit could be difficult, but well done indeed– especially under the enormous pressure and high expectations after the ridiculously phenomenal hit, Gangnam Style.

-Rising Fast: Only about 24 hours have passed since the music video’s Youtube upload, and it has already hit 19 million. There was even a brief time period yesterday (about 6 hours after the release), the Youtube hit count just could not keep up and stuck at 311 views, although everybody can see about there are already 250,000 likes.

1) Irony and Obviously Fun Elements

The beauty of Gangnam Style music video lies in its irony, so as the Gentleman, at least that is what it is aiming for. Psy himself explained in many previous interviews, that Gangnam video shows how un-Gangnam Psy’s character is, but claims to be Gangnam man (the poshest area of Seoul). Scenes of pulling pranks on female characters clearly were meant to demonstrate the irony of how un-gentleman the character is, though he kept shouting  “mother f**ker gentleman” (and yeah, that is what the “mother father gentleman” means, obviously.)

What I found bit disappointing is the intended ‘fun’ scenes were not that hilarious, and bit stale — once more strengthening the belief that this can never surpass the popularity of Gangnam music video which made even the most bored internet addicts hit replay multiple times.

Just the music itself, apart from the music video, is so Psy, and I personally like it more than Gangnam. While Gangnam was bit all over the place, (however the explosive chorus part compensated all those), Gentleman has very strong and distinctive underlying theme and the feedback loof and every elements are put together, and of course, addictive enough.

Review continues in Part 2 (also published in the Asian Correspondent site)

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Why Korean Shows Overuse Subtitles? I Blame Infinite Challenge

Many of my friends asked me why Korean shows use so many crazy subtitles. My immediate answer was because of audio issues– inaudible or incomprehensible audio. Then, it made me question myself, what has created the audio situation in the first place? It is not like every Korean broadcaster and entertainer have diction problems and issues in delivering messages.

I blame ‘Infinite Challenge’ which created its own genre of extremely realistic variety show, for trending the overuse of subtitles. After its success, its subtitle style has been adopted by other shows, which often, merely copied after its format, even though it is totally unnecessary. And many others, so, so many others, have followed the suit.

[…] What makes Mudo so special is its rawness. It lives in spontaneity that constantly shifts its form based on how the six (now seven) unruly members interacts to most unexpected situation — without a tight script. To stay afloat and survive, members needs great improvisation. For producers point of view, it is a very risky program that demands real courage from the producer. Things can get totally out of hand- and one could left with no show to air on Saturday 6 pm[…]

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