Melancholia (2021)

Profile:
Drama: Melancholia (멜랑꼴리아)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: November 10 – December 30, 2021
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 22:30

Plot: A misunderstanding of the close relationship between a student and teacher led to a scandal that ruined the career of the teacher and the student dropping out of school. Four years later, both of them goes back to school to seek revenge and expose the corruption in school.

Main Cast:
Lim Soo Jung – Ji Yoon Su
Lee Do Hyun – Baek Seung Yoo
Jin Kyung – Noh Jung Ah
Jang Hyun Sung – Sung Min Jun
Shin Soo Yeon – Choi Si An
Choi Dae Hoon – Ryu Sung Jae
Woo Da Bi – Sung Yerin
Kim Ji Young – Kim Ji Na

Review:
I never liked math in school but this drama made math sound so beautiful and interesting. However, since I don’t understand all the theories and concepts (the formulas they were studying were too complicated!!!), the point of the mathematical metaphors about proving and errors went lost on me. Still, I loved the first 6 episodes when they were still in high school and we saw relationship, which at time, was purely student-teacher, blossomed. You can really feel how much they loved math. Seung Yoo had a traumatic childhood with scary father, and for the first time, there was an adult, his teacher who listened and encouraged him and made him want to love math again. On the other hand, Yoon Su is loved by her students. She is compassionate and makes learning fun and challenging. Of course, being young, it wasn’t a surprise that Seung Yoo fell for his impressive teacher. I thought going on a trip with a male student is wrong and Yoon Su put herself in scandalous situation, without thinking of the consequences or his fiance. When Yoon Su discovered a potential cheating during the midterm exams, the jealous female student together with her assemblyman father and the corrupt principal decided to expose Seung Yoo and Yoon Su’s relationship to bury the their own scandal.

Starting episode 7, the story moves to the present time (which is four years later). We learn that the school continues to be corrupt, with students still as spoiled and terrible as ever. Seung Yoo dropped out of school, studied hard and won a Lucifer prize, becoming a very famous mathematician, while Yoon Su hides behind a math clinic with very strict confidentiality clauses for its students. Turns out, both of them have been planning to seek their own revenge against the principal and expose the decades long corruption. Episodes 10 to 13 dragged with so many useless scenes, i wish they cut them and made the drama shorter.

Similar to 4 years ago, there is another brilliant student, Si-An, whom I loved. She may be an orphan but she grew up well, is smart, happy and is tough to stand against Jina and the bullies. I also liked Jina later on (she was a b*tch for most of the episodes) but she was actually nicer when she met Seung Yoo and Yoon Su. It was very had to like Yerin. Since high school until present, she always had this sour face and was too stubborn and to admit her mistake. Her scenes were also boring, she just kept “stalking” and making sad eyes to Seung Yoo and blaming other people for her life. Again, it was Seung Yoo and Yoon Su, who made her realize that she was being manipulated by the adults and it was time to stand up on her own.

This is the second time I saw Jin Kyung play the baddie and I love it. She is so elegant but that maniacal laugh is scary (but not Cheon Seo Jin level). I also found the feud between the sisters very interesting. They were both bad people – Jung Ah is supposedly worse that Yeon Woo, and yet I was rooting for Jung Ah to win over Yeon Woo.

I also loved Sung Jae. He made a mistake not being brave enough to defend Yoon Su during the scandal, but I’m glad he finally found the courage to be like Yoon Su and expose the corruption. I actually wished Sung Jae and Yoon Su got back in the end. I thought he was a nice guy.

The drama ends with another time jump (not sure how long) but Seung Yoo and Yoon Su meet again the same way they did years ago (through a math group chat). But this time, Yoon Su finally accepted Seung Yoo’s love and they kiss. I felt that the romance wasn’t needed in the story. They could have ended as best friends or teacher-mentor and it still would have been a great ending. But the romance wasn’t the main story.

Rating: 8/10

Search: WWW (2019)

Search-_WWW-2019

Profile
Drama: Search: WWW (검색어를 입력하세요: WWW)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 5 – July 25, 2019
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 21:30
Plot
This drama tells story of three beautiful, successful and strong female directors in the web portal industry: Bae Ta-Mi, Cha Hyeon and Song Ga-Gyeong, as they compete to be the best web portal company and balance their professional and personal lives.
Main Cast
Lim Soo-Jung – Bae Ta-Mi
Lee Da-hee – Cha Hyeon
Jeon Hye Jin – Song Ga-Gyeong
Jang Ki Yong – Park Morgan
Lee Jae Wook – Seol Ji Hwan
Ji Seung Hyun – Oh Jin Woo
Review
Wow! I loved this show so much I binged watched in just 4 days. I was blown away with everything and can’t think of anything I didn’t like.
Web portal vs Government
This topic of this drama was very timely and important since more and more users are depending on web portals to get real time information. I didn’t realize that’s how these web portal companies work and how powerful they can be with all the information they have. Reminds of the recent Facebook issue and all the discussions on political agendas and fake news that is being experienced around the world. Interested to hear more about real time keyword search and how web portals can actually delete these keywords if needed. I love that the drama showed various sides of the story, there is no right or wrong way, and we need to learn to consider all options and that big companies have the responsibility to manage the information, esp if it will have a significant affect to the people. I also liked the working style of Barro vs Unicon. While I liked that Unicon is more traditional, I liked Barro for being more open and where each individual’s opinions are considered. I also would love having a boss like Brian and maybe Tammy – they are good people to learn from. As for the evil mother-in-law, I have always seem to watch the actress play pitiful characters so was surprised to see her be so effective at being cruel and manipulative. So glad she got what she deserved at the end.
Women empowerment
I love that the story focused on three very different but equally confident, successful and gorgeous career women. Society has always demanded that when women reach a certain age and status in life, women should be married with children and if you’re single, it seems that there is something wrong with you — like you are too career focused or too intimidating and that you have such high standards. There is nothing wrong with aiming high and not wanting to be married and have children. Each one has different choices in life and there is no life that is more fulfilling or worth it than the other. I liked what Tammy said to Morgan — why is it that when a women decides that she doesn’t want to marry, she has to explain her reasons and it’s considered as abnormal? This is so true. I’m not sure who started this whole, “you have to be married with kids or else you’re not a woman or not fulfilled” thinking but this has to stop since it just puts pressure on women, which does not happen to men. Not that I’m saying that being a married career women is wrong either – in fact I admire these women and I have a lot of friends who juggle career and family and do it so well. I just mean that single women can also thrive and be happy with or without a love life and no one should belittle them for not wanting to reach their dreams and career goals.  Likewise, I loved the support/friendship that these women have with each other. They may argue/fight/disagree but these women check each other when one is crossing the line, comfort each other when one is down and support each other when necessary.
Relationships
I also love that their personal (love) lives were secondary to the story. It’s nice to see that they have good support and interests outside of work. Tammy, Ga Gyeong and Hyeon’s romances were all different but I also love them.
Tammy and Morgan’s relationship was the most realistic and relatable. They tackle the usual issues about the age gap, differing values and I was happy to see it “resolved” in the end. I agree with Morgan, it’s too early to think about the future and the end and they should instead focus on the present. But my practical and mature self agrees with Tammy, why start something when you know it’s going to end? Why go through the heartache? Life is so short, if not being with each other is just not making you happy, then why not just be happy together? Even if years from now their relationship ends, it will not be useless because they would have had many wonderful memories and moments together and that is something you can never get back. As each person grows older and people’s habits and likes change over time, maybe Morgan will realize he doesn’t need marriage to be happy or maybe Tammy may realize marriage may not be so bad at all. They won’t be sacrificing anything if their opinions change naturally.
Hyeon and Ji Hwan’s relationship is the total opposite of Tammy and Morgan. I felt it was too childish/unrealistic/fantasy-ish but I don’t mind. I thought they were too cute. It was like every fan girl noona’s dream to meet and fall in love with their favorite Korean actor/kpop idol, even though they are younger (haha. PSJ or CSW for me!). Hyeon is fed up with all the cheaters and Ji Hwan is such a pure soul/puppy and they are perfect for each other. I love that Hyeon looks so fierce at work but so giggly and girly when she’s with Ji Hwan. The same way that Tammy may be tough and independent at work but becomes a cute lady and dependent when she’s with Morgan.
Ga Gyeong and Jin woo’s relationship was the saddest, yet one i’m most optimistic for. Theirs was a marriage of convenience and they were almost strangers for 10 years. And when they both took a stand and divorced, it was only then we saw a glimpse / glimmer of hope that maybe, when you take out KU Group, Unicon, and the pressures and just put them together in one room, maybe they can start over just as a man and a woman. I didn’t expect that Ga Gyeong will resign from Unicon but I think it was the best decision she has made — she finally got her wish to disappear and live her own life. most especially away from her parents (who I nominate as worst parents of the decade!!)
And everything else!
The fashion (I loved all of their power suits!!), their makeup (Hyeon’s lips, Tami’s hair, Ga Gyeong’s eyes), the cars, the soundtrack, the shots. New “oppas” to add to my endless collection – Jang Ki Yong and Lee Jae Wook.
Overall, I would say this is one of the best dramas I watched all year and I’m glad I’m closing the year with such a great feeling!
Rating: 9/10
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