Wednesday, July 30, 2014

King of High School: What Were They Thinking? Ep. 13 - 14

 Episode 13:

High Points: President Yoo goes to visit Dad at the dry cleaners and Dad throws him out. Team Leader Kim and Manager Han find out that Soo-young knows the secret, and they make cute plans and a team cheer. Soo-young makes up with her sister, who admits Min-suk never liked her and next announces that she will date his tall friend. He looks stunned but he has seemed to like her before. Soo-young finds Min-suk's photo album and fights him over a naked baby picture, resulting in overbalancing and landing on top of him. Oops! Elf-boy (his name is Jin-woo) sees Dad and finds out that Hung-suk is Lee Jung-soo's son and may be dangerous. He meets Min-suk at the elevator in his high school uniform and calls him by his real name.

What were they thinking? Dad and Grandpa are clearly still mad at President Yoo for whatever happened ten years ago when Mr. Lee drove into the lake. (It looks like he accidently caused Mr. Lee's business to fail.) Pres. Yoo looks like he might want to make amends. He seemed to be looking fondly at Min-suk during their dinner, so why is he so mean to his own son? Soo-young seems to be trying to solve the age problem by having boundaries and waiting. Min-suk, obviously too lively and impatient for that, is pushing her pretty hard.

Episode 14:

High Points: We get flashbacks showing Jin-woo following Min-suk around and discovering his secret life. When he meets Min-suk at the elevator he threatens him but says he won't tell yet. President Yoo yells at Jin-woo for being cautious in business deals. He wants to try to have branches all over Asia. Soo-young takes Jin-woo to the hospital when he faints from swallowing pills with alcohol. Min-suk comes to watch over him. (We were trolled by a bed scene in the previews, but it turns out that it was the two guys in the bed, lol.) He answers the phone and finds out that the president is Jin-woo's father. Their dirty secrets cancel out. President Yoo sells a lot of his stock and signs the business deal about the time Jin-woo is finding out that the other company lied to them. Min-suk is called to meet the head of the other company and finds out it is his hyung.

What were they thinking? The managers who know the secret are going a little crazy, Jin-woo is getting suspicious, and his father is greedy and rash in business deals - which is maybe what he did wrong ten years ago. Hyung-suk (Min-suk's older brother) has probably been planning revenge all this time and set up President Yoo to go bankrupt.

Monday, July 28, 2014

King of High School: What Were They Thinking? Ep 11 - 12

 Episode 11:

High Points: Popcorn (ok, her name is Soo-young) leaves without a word and Min-suk follows, eventually getting her to stop and talk. She uses banmal and asks if he is really 18. Then she walks off in a daze and into the street, where Elf-boy grabs her out of the path of an oncoming car. She has a great pillow-fight with her sister and escapes to her hometown to mope. Min-suk is pretty much numb inside and not much good at school or work. Elf-boy's mother attempts suicide and he visits her at the hospital. He is learning to stand up to his father and threatens to reveal their relationship. Stalker (Yoo-ah) befriends Elf-boy and gets him to go to the hometown, where Min-suk walks in on him hugging Soo-young.

What were they thinking? When Soo-young asks Min-suk if he is 18, he says yes, which means he is really 17 because of the Korean custom of counting babies one year old when they are born. Kdramas are fond of noona romances, perhaps because they turn the hierarchical social system on its head. The squicky part is that he is still a minor. He sincerely loves her, though, and she fell in love with him not knowing he was young enough to be off limits. It is proper for her to avoid him and to break up because of the age thing, and also because her sister likes the same guy.

Episode 12:

High Points: Soo-young tells the guys not to make a scene because this is a small town and if she is in a scandal she won't be able to get married. Haha! Min-suk entreats her not to quit her job and she makes a big point of getting him to call her “noona.” Elfie tells his dad that his mom is in the hospital and takes Soo-young to visit her. Min-suk is badly injured in a hockey game and told he can't play sports anymore. He reacts by pushing himself to exhaustion and crying in the rain, watched over by his two friends and Yoo-ah. Only then does she tell her sister about the accident. Soo-young meets Min-suk as he is leaving school to go to work. He can hardly believe she is there, as he walks slowly closer and she throws her arms around him.

What were they thinking? Soo-young wants Min-suk to call her noona because it creates distance and makes her an authority figure over him as a younger person. He resists because he wants her to see him as a man on the same level as she is. Everyone is maturing. Elfie is dealing better with his dad, telling him about the hospital but not begging for a visit. Yoo-ah realizes that it doesn't help to push herself on a boy who doesn't care about her and that the only way she can help him is to let him have the person he really wants. It's interesting that she doesn't argue with unni about moving. It's the hierarchy thing again, with unni having the right to make decisions. Soo-young is dithery when not sure of herself but firm when she is. She is kind to Elfie but takes no guff, runs the household but does everything she can to keep her mom and sister happy, and endures heartbreak in setting Min-suk free until she finds out that he really needs her. When she hugs him he puts his arms around her hesitantly, not sure what she intends. Then she lets go and explains and it is so fulfilling the way he hugs her again so tightly as though he will never let her go.

Friday, July 18, 2014

King of High School: What Were They Thinking? Ep 9 - 10

 King of High School: What were they thinking?

Episode 9:

High Points: Back at hockey camp, Min-suk has to do a million squats and then collapses on the ground giggling. CEO Dad asks Director Nam about Lee Jung-soo's chauffeur; he's seen someone like him lately. Elf-boy discusses investigating Min-suk with Director Nam and then gets Team Leader drunk and pumps him for information with no luck. Min-suk and Popcorn spend Saturday sightseeing on an island having a great time. When they get back she asks if he really likes her. He flips his arms open and she jumps in like she was pulled by elastics. Elf-boy breaks into Min-suk's office to look at his computer and finds an email from Hyung.

What were they thinking? Popcorn heard that boyfriends on trips finagle an overnight stay. She worries that Min-suk doesn't like her since he isn't like that. He convinces her he is crazy about her, which he is. He'll do anything to see her, even if his coach punishes him. Lee Jung-soo seems to be Min-suk's real father, who is dead. The chauffeur is Min-suk's adopted dad, who CEO saw on a bike. What does CEO Dad know about them?

Episode 10:

High Points: Before Elf-boy can read the email, Min-suk reads it and deletes it. Then Popcorn walks in on Elf-boy right when he is on his knees begging his dad to visit his mom. When she leaves work she sees him have an accident, and since he is obviously shakened by it, she drives him home. But when she hands the key back he grabs her and kisses her. Meanwhile, Stalker gives Min-suk an expensive pair of skates, hardly registering it when he tells her he likes another girl. Guitar-guy tries to keep the assistant manager from going out with Tall Girl, until she gets annoyed and complains at him. Then he kisses her, and we have a new romantic couple. An argument between Min-suk and Elf-boy erupts into a business reception and they fight it out and knock down tables. Popcorn takes Min-suk out and patches up his face. The next day there are parent-teacher meetings at school. Popcorn goes to see Stalker's teachers and walks spang into Min-suk in his student uniform.

What were they thinking? The ending to episode 10 is tense. It is the focal point of all the previous episodes. Everyone who has thought about how unstable the relationship is, or how the hyung can do this, or how Min-suk can keep up the charade, or how the sisters will feel, has been thinking about this point: when everyone starts to find out. Because we all knew they would; it was inevitable. We've been holding our breaths waiting to see what will happen, and now we will get to see. The rest of the show will be the fallout of this moment.

It's not funny to see a man impersonate a businessman. But a high school kid? It's the juxtaposition. We all know how calm and sedate a businessman should be, and when he starts to ignore protocol, and run, and ride freight carts into a presentation, it's weird. We know Min-suk is acting like that because he's a kid, but the people at work don't know it. The secretary falls in love with her boss, and she is expecting him to be finished with his education, have a job, and be ready to settle down and raise a family. The 18-year-old isn't prepared for any of it. That is what the contradiction and the tension has been about, the fun and the anxiety. Now we are going to see how it resolves.

The story has been excellent so far, and we are counting on the writer to have thought everything through and have something awesome in store for us. How people handle the shock, and what kind of excuse the hyung has for doing this, is going to make or kill the show. The prelude at the start of Episode 1 gave a glimpse of the secretary helping the kid manage his two lives. It will be fun to watch them doing more of that. What's going to happen? None of us have any idea. That's why this show is so good. It isn't predictable. So we are waiting for Monday. KOHS FIGHTING!!

King of High School: What Were They Thinking? Ep 5 - 8

 Episode 5:

High Points: Grandpa gets lost and Popcorn is helping him look for his house when Dad comes and finds them. Min-suk discovers that Elf-boy is behind Popcorn getting fired and confronts him belligerently every chance he gets, including getting into a fight at a company picnic. After having been very demanding for attention, Stalker-girl finds out Popcorn, her unni, got fired and touchingly cleans the apartment and does all the laundry. An employee makes Elf-boy cringe when he sticks a pen in his face to sign a paper.

What were they thinking? We find out that Popcorn had a warning dream just before her father died, so it's a talent. She also thinks she remembers Min-suk's dad. What connection can they have? Min-suk is increasingly upset over the way she is treated, finding an outlet in physical exertion. She is annoying to a lot of viewers because she is gauche and slumps and wears frumpy clothes. But being scatterbrained and less experienced than most women is why he likes her. They are pretty much at the same social level, and can connect; if she weren't like this, we would have no story.

Episode 6:

High Points: Min-suk hires Popcorn as his secretary and she does well, even chasing after him on a scooter to catch him for a meeting. Team Leader gets after Min-suk in the bathroom, who says he can't be caught and threatens to quit. Elf-boy overhears them and later meets CEO Dad in the elevator and tells him about his mother's bad health. Min-suk warns Popcorn about Elf-boy, but the elf is being nice to her. He finally meets up with her in the neighborhood and pulls her into a hug. “Give me ten seconds,” he says.

What were they thinking? Elf-boy becomes suspicious and investigates Hyung, finding out he was in Germany two weeks ago, after he started work in Korea. Dad is getting suspicious too, because he sent Hyung a package which was returned. Min-suk is becoming more irritable, but he doesn't know why until he figures out maybe he likes the girl and hugs her to find out.

Episode 7:

High Points: Elf-boy visits his mom in rehab and we get a flashback of his dad throwing things and knocking her down. No wonder she's alcoholic. Going on a weekend retreat, Popcorn gets left at a rest stop. Min-suk and Elf-boy drive back to get her and fight over whether she sits in the front, so she decides to drive and let them fight it out in the back. So. Funny. One of the men plays guitar, but no one pays any attention except a tall girl who takes him aside to listen. When they get back, CEO gives Min-suk a ride and admits his wife and two kids are busy and don't care if he is a workaholic. They see Min-suk's dad go by on a bike and CEO thinks he is familiar. Elf-boy asks Popcorn to spy on Min-suk and she says no. He has a broody shower scene. Min-suk finds her crying and takes her face in his hands and kisses her.

What were they thinking? Elf-boy's informant says that Hyung is an aloof perfectionist, nothing like Min-suk. He is definitely suspicious but his attempt to use Popcorn as an informant fails. Min-suk doesn't see him as a threat yet except over the girl. How does CEO Dad know Min-suk's dad?

Episode 8:

High Points: Min-suk tries to talk to Popcorn but she runs away from him and avoids him at the office. He promises to leave her alone and tries to cope by running, over-eating, and careening down the hill in a shopping cart. She doesn't recognize him at all and calls him a hooligan! She dreams of him bungee-jumping and sure enough the next day he hurts his arm at training camp. Elf-boy's mom comes to visit his dad at work, they fight, and Dad has her thrown out. Popcorn and Min-suk look for each other and he comes up behind her in a back-hug. Then he lifts his sling over her head and does a thorough job of kissing her.

What were they thinking? Popcorn is uncomfortable about going from one man to another so quickly, but decides she likes Min-suk. He throws himself with a huge amount of energy into everything he does, including falling in love. Elf-boy is furious because he is illegitimate and his father wants the connection kept secret. It's hard to know whether he is starting to like Popcorn or only wants to use her.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

King of High School: What Were They Thinking? Episodes 1-4

King of High School: What Were They Thinking?

Episode 1:

High Points: We see Min-suk in the preview playing Businessman and then taking off for school. He's a hockey ace who fights with the opposing team (his friends, Merry and Pippin, have to haul him away), is absently benign to the stalker girl with a crush on him, and tender with his senile grandpa who steals chocolate. He meets a drunk girl eating popcorn who borrows his phone.

What were they thinking? What episode was that preview from? It can't be literal because he couldn't really change clothes in the revolving door a la Superman. Is it just an impression, and not a peek at the future, like the similar scene at the beginning of Queen Inhyun's Man? And what about Hyung? He calls his dad to say he's coming that day, after having been gone eight years, and then suddenly changes his mind. His luggage was on the plane, but he doesn't come. What did he find out?

Episode 2:

High Points: Torn between hockey and subbing for Hyung, Min-suk ditches the bus and jumps the gate. When he calls his friends later, Pippin thinks fast and calls him “Mom” to fool the team captain. He meets the elf-prince director and has to fake knowing about the company, and comes across Popcorn-girl and has her fetch food just to see if she remembers him. (no) Stalker-girl follows him to work and chases him up the stair where he holds Popcorn's mouth shut with one hand while keeping Stalker out the door with the other.

What were they thinking? Elf-prince seems a little jumpy. He's probably been beat up. He flinches when CEO Dad waves his glasses too close. CEO Dad seems harsh anyway. It's interesting that Min-suk trusts Hyung and is following orders and keeping things secret from Dad, even though Dad seems perfectly trustworthy.

Episode 3:

High Points: Min-suk's routine of showing up at school, jumping out the window after roll, and going to meetings and inspections at work takes its toll and he collapses at home. Stalker-girl threatens Pippin and Merry to find out where he goes. He gets sympathy only from Grandpa, who cutely plays cat's cradle with him. He discovers that Popcorn has a crush on Elf-boy and makes them both annoyed by throwing them together, not knowing she was already rejected. He gets stuck with doing a presentation and only arrives in time from his hockey game by riding a freight cart up to the stage and making a dynamic entrance.

What were they thinking? Hyung sent in money for hockey, so he's still alive. We get a flashback to the first time Popcorn-girl saw Elf-boy. It was at a movie theater, and he was crying. She thought it was the movie, but it was likely his private life getting to him.

Episode 4:

High Points: Merry and Pippin follow Min-suk to work. Elf-boy sees them so Min-suk claims they are selling something and throws them out. That evening he tells them the truth, and they go on a high-spirited shopping spree with his company credit card. A rival company's boss takes them drinking and Min-suk's dad gets to feed them hangover soup the next morning and hit them upside the head. Elf-boy accuses assistant manager Sam Gamgee of selling out to the rival, but Min-suk defends him until it is proved that the problem was hackers. Stalker gets appendicitis.

What were they thinking? Popcorn-girl dreams of bungee-jumping and the rope coming loose, and the next day she is fired. Is there an element of paranormal to this drama? How big a part will it play?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Three Days: Yelling at the Screen

Having  been busy watching something else, we didn't watch Three Days when it aired. It did, however, feature one of our favorite actors, Yoochun. So when I read a review that the show was good except for a draggy part in the middle but had a good ending, we decided to watch it. Let me just say that we found ourselves yelling at the screen just about every episode.

Episode 1: Someone is threatening to assassinate the president. We knew that was the plot. However. Something that gripes us in any show is when a character Goes Off Alone into a dangerous situation. Come on. In real life you would get backup first. So easy to be deep-sixed when you are alone. DON'T GO! But yes, Yoochun goes alone at night into a house following a lead, and the Lady Cop goes traipsing around alone at night in the forest. Climbing that power pole. AHH!

Episode 2: The president goes to a country villa, and an EMP bomb goes off, which ruins all electronics within range. A lot of confusion and shooting. Yoochun get framed for shooting the president, which puts our perfectionist security guy at odds with the law. The security Team Leader is a traitor. We get the old Pause and Stare for the Camera bit. Why do Yoochun and Lady Cop stand out in the road staring at a truck careening towards them? MOVE! He did it in Rooftop Prince as well.

Episode 3: Yoochun runs around the villa, a police station, a train station, and a train,  just ahead of the guys who are trying to catch him. He figures out that the president fooled everyone and snuck out on his own. We get Cop Lady Going Off Alone to a deserted house in the woods and Security Lady Going Off Alone to search the bad team leader's office. NO NO! By and large though, this is the good part of the drama, reminding us forcibly of a Jason Bourne movie.

Episode 4:  We are saved from the Go Off Alone problem by the Don't Shoot the Leads rule. The Security Lady doesn't get shot; she is tied up and left to escape, a la Man From Uncle. Yoochun fights quite a lot of guys at once (HURRY - WATCH OUT - ohh) and is saved by the Magical Placement trick: he gets arrested, but out of all the cop cars available, he is put into the one driven by our friendly Lady Cop. She sneaks him the key to the handcuffs and he gets loose.

Episode 5: The Team Leader is trying to kill the president because he set up a mini-invasion by the North Koreans. The Prez is on a bus that overturns and he lands in the hospital. We get to YELL at the screen as Yoochun is chased through the corridors with a gurney, only to find that -WHEW- he was a decoy. Lady Cop had the president. This is one of the times we thought Show was dumb but turned out to be smart after all. We also get to YELL at the president when he insists on getting out of the ambulance to confront a shooter.

Episode 6: Another shooter tries to kill the president in an elevator. He is arrested and taken by one (1.0) agent outside, through a mob, to a car. WAIT! DON'T GO OUT THERE! It doesn't do any good to yell. The shooter is predictably killed. Is this called Gross Stupidity or Lax Security? The worst instance of Going Off Alone in the whole drama is committed by Cop Lady when she goes into a deserted mall to meet a "witness." Yeah. I thought so, too.

Episode 7: We find out how big a conspiracy this is when security cameras get wiped, and Cop Lady gets her report challenged and is suspended. Jason Bour- uh I mean Yoochun has an intense fight in the elevator and another in the hall, only to catch Chairman Bad Dude burning a secret document. He runs at him with a gun shouting, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." The Don't Shoot the Leads rule is invoked again, and they let him go.

Episode 8: Lady Cop Goes Off Alone again and is caught by a North Korean Major who knew about the submarine plot. Yoochun rescues her and the N.K. Major decides to help the president. Yoochun takes him through a car chase and into a hotel for a press conference. We YELL again at Lax Security. It looks like they will be caught - there's no good reason for the baddies to talk instead of shooting. But Show surprises us again with the Decoy Trick and the prosecutor as a witness. Only - why didn't they record this and arrest Chairman Bad right there? Show now gets repetitive.

Episode 9: The N.K. Major starts to speak at the press conference and pauses. NO NO! SPIT IT OUT! Sure enough, the power goes out and he is kidnapped and killed. Ah! You can always tell. Why don't they just say it quick before anyone can do anything to them? They should have arrested Chairman Bad here too. But no. There are more episodes. Jason Bourne and Girl Friday break into Chairman's office to get at his computer. BTW we have now exceeded the three days.

Episode 10: Cop Lady has trouble downloading files. GET OUT! GET OUT! Yoochun lets himself get caught to give her more time. He sees Security Lady with Chairman Bad, they have a little talk and then Chairman totally lets him go again. Yeah. So likely. Cop Lady escapes by hiding in an air duct. Real handy, these big air ducts in movies. Next, Security Lady steals some papers and reads them while paying no attention to her surroundings. WATCH OUT FOR THAT CAR! Ahh... she gets hit and they steal the papers.

 Episode 11: The president goes to see Chairman Bad twice - TWICE. They trick him, but they don't arrest him. Why didn't you record the conversation? AHHH, I can't even. Keeps making same stupid mistake. A mole in the prosecutor's office sends fake cops to "guard" Secret Service Lady in the hospital. They try to kidnap her but Cop Lady steals their gun and fights them. You Go Girl! When Security Lady wakes up she tells them that the papers were a report of stolen dynamite.

Episode 12: The president restricts foreign investors so they can't profit from a run on the banks. Chairman Bad goes crazy and wants revenge if he can't have money. They stop the dynamite plot, but the last bomb knocks down both Yoochun and Cop Lady. They must teach yelling in first aid training in Korea, because that's what they do in dramas: 1-check the pulse, 2-shake the patient, 3-yell. The President goes to see Chairman Crazy in an empty stadium. HEY! How secure is that!?!

Episode 13: Not very. They foil a sniper. Yoochun gets a buddy to guard Cop Lady. She goes to the hospital to visit Security Lady and lets him leave. NO NO! ARGH! More fake cops (they never learn) kidnap the ladies. The president wants to go talk to Chairman Crazy AGAIN. What? Yoochun says he'll go. WHY, PEOPLE? They rescue the women, but Prez calls Crazy and arranges to get shot. He's been depressed, wanted to resign, now it's a death wish. Some president.

Episode 14: AH! We thought Show was majorly stupid, but it was being smart! A SWAT team takes out the sniper and arrests Chairman Crazy! FINALLY! The Prez makes a trip of condolence to the town where the N.K. sub was. Meanwhile, the prosecutor interrogates Crazy. Wait a minute. Don't they always have two-way mirrors so other people can witness the interviews? AHHH! The policeman in the room is one of Crazy's goons and stabs the prosecutor. At the same time another EMP bomb goes off and the president's group is attacked.

Episode 15: The president's security people try to get him out of the area, make a stand in a couple of different places, and go down one by one. Cop Lady catches the prosecutor's office mole in Seoul. Yoochun comes late and meets an agent he knows and we are all: CAREFUL! DON'T TRUST HIM! Because he is the blue house mole.  Crazy is in town with bombs and one of them goes off. It's majorly annoying to have him so single-minded when even his boss told him to quit and wait.

Chapter 16: The president gets a ride from a kind ahjumma. They find a bomb and he looks at it while Crazy thumbs his detonator. RUN! Lucky it was a different bomb -whew. Chairman Crazy calls the Prez to meet him on a bridge. What, are you crazy? I mean the Prez. Yah, he is too. DON'T DO IT! The townspeople are being evacuated in trucks and the ajhumma sees one of the bombs on the truck with her. Why doesn't she recognize it? TOSS IT! Yoochun says there are four bombs, but two blew up, the Prez has one, the ahjumma has one, and there is another one on an oil pipeline. Want to know the ending? -SPOILER COMING- Crazy blows himself up. Good. Go watch the real Jason Bourne.