Featured

The Wuhan Syndrome and Itaewon Class

“I have a 15 year plan.”

Park Saeroyi

As the title of the blog suggests, I’m just another person locked in my house because the Wuhan Syndrome took a lot of us down. I like calling it the Wuhan Syndrome because the term Corona makes me uncomfortable. It would make anyone who has ever had the beer, uncomfortable.

I’m not a pro blogger but I feel like I need to share my thoughts during this time. I’m not sure how many TV series and movies I have watched in this short span of 20 days, but I’m losing track. This blog is to keep count. I have to know how much time I’ve managed to kill and how ashamed I have to be when I revert back to college studies again. So I’ll put up my watchlist here and share what I think of the shows I’ve watched till now.

The most recent one that comes to my mind is Itaewon Class.

I’m sort of a newcomer to Korean dramas and I watched Itaewon Class because it was featured on my Netflix recommendation list.

I have to say, it is a great underdog story.

The weak-to-strong trope works fantastically for it and the actors nailed their jobs. The male lead, Park Saeroyi, is a little cliche. The ones who had my heart during the entire show were were Jo Yi Seo (the sociopath who is also an Instagram model – I mean where else would you find such a combo?), Ma Hyeon Yi (the chef, who is transgender) and Seung Kwon ( an ex-convict who kicks some serious ass in the final episodes).

The story starts with Saeroyi, who watches a classmate being bullied and is unable to take it. He hits the bully, who turns out to be the son of the chairman of JangGa Corporation, the biggest food company in South Korea. Saeroyi’s father is employed under the chairman (Jang Dae Hee), so while Saeroyi drops out of high school because he refuses to apologize, his father has to quit his job as well.

In a further turn of events, his father is killed in an accident caused by the chairman’s son again. When Saeroyi finds out, he runs for revenge. He is about to kill the Chairman’s son but is stopped by the police. He instead is arrested for assault and is put into prison for three years. This is the beginning of the show.

I think the beauty of Itaewon Class lies in the fact that every character in the story is so humane. There’s no firm line between the good and bad, every person is shown as flawed, insecure and terribly committed to their own beliefs. There were times I loved Saeroyi, especially during the part when he first says, “I’m talking about the statute of limitations, I have a fifteen year plan.” It reminded me of the saying, “We overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year.”

Saeroyi, no doubt is the classic good hero who refuses to bow down, is kind through and through, but also never loses sight of his goals. I think the best turn in his character is when during the final episodes he says to the Chairman, “Do you think I’m a pushover? What profit is there in it for me?”
My mind then went, “Yes. Finally I see a businessman.” and I admired him. Saeroyi is lovable as are all “good” characters.

Coming to my first favorite though, is Jo Yi Seo, a 20 year old highly intelligent sociopath who has no care for the emotions of others. She’s socially inept so she doesn’t get people. She’s selfish and childish, but her growth is what made me fall in love. She falls for Saeroyi early on. What makes her a favorite is Episode 12, the final part when she recites the poem “I’m the Diamond” to encourage her colleague.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the scene where Ma Hyeon Yi walks up with Yi Seo’s voice in the background reciting the poem “I’m the Diamond.” The OST in the scene is to die for. If anyone of you is trying to run through all the discs to find that one song (I did), it’s called Stone Block (on Youtube) or Diamond (if you use Amazon Prime music). Another favorite scene is when the Chairman says to Saeroyi, “I can’t believe you’re the only one who wants me to live. I will play my final game for you.”

Episode 13 and 12 are what necessarily made this show brilliant

One special factor is that in Itaewon Class, nobody is forgotten. The child who is bullied by the Chairman’s son also has a story to tell. He’s traumatized and vengeful, but human at the same time. Another twist that comes in the very end, a rather surprising one, is delivered by Soo-ah, Saeroyi’s first love, when she becomes the root cause for the fall of JangGa Corporation. I did not expect it, and it made me so proud.

All in all, this show deserves a good 4.5/5 stars for delivering great entertainment and a solid storyline. Watch Itaewon Class for a plethora of emotions and a tonne of encouragement. For a second there, the show had me thinking: I’m effing starting my own company and I’ll name it Itaewon Class too!

Nevermind that.

So, this has to be the end of my “review”. These are about all the special things that I can remember about the show for now. Until later, then!

P.S.: I’m currently watching Kingdom. I’ve heard a lot about it, so the next update will probably be about it. Or maybe the I.T. Crowd. That one is hilarious.

Goodbye, and stay locked in ♥

The Syndrome Increase, Pride and Prejudice

“I don’t know when I began to fall in love, Elizabeth. I was already in the middle of it when I realized I had started.”

Fitzwilliam Darcy

I don’t think the lockdown is ending anytime soon. It’s hard to comprehend the situation when times are this trying, but here I am with the next promised post. The Wuhan Syndrome is ever increasing, and I have yet to hear any country report that the number of patients in their territory is declining. What can I say? It’s hard to predict the situation. Let’s hope for the best.

I mentioned that the next blog would probably be about Kingdom, the Korean Netflix Original which was very well received by the audience. I have to say though, the number of zombies in the show got to me. I got through season 1, but I have yet to pick up season 2 back to back. I needed something lighter to watch which is why I picked up Pride and Prejudice instead, the 1995 mini-series. Kingdom will have to wait for now.

I’ve been delaying watching this 6 episode mini version of Pride and Prejudice for long. I have to admit, it is a masterpiece. I love the book by Jane Austen to pieces, in fact it is one of the very few romance novels that I adore. I watched the movie starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen (2005 version) long back. It was refreshing, but now I can safely say that I loved this mini series way, way more.

For one, the characters stay true to the story. The performance of all the actors is plain brilliant, especially Jennifer Ehle who played Elizabeth Bennett. Her expressions are everything you imagine when you read a character like Lizzy on paper. She’s plain awesome.

It’s also superb how masterfully everybody nails their character. Be it Elizabeth’s father, who is not only hilariously nonchalant, but also indifferent, sarcastic and highly intelligent. Or Mr. Collins who is funny and ridiculous, stupid (as Lizzy puts it) and obnoxious. It goes to Austen’s writing to be able to create such diverse, entertaining people in her story but the actors in this series put the entire book to life. There couldn’t be a version better than this, in my opinion.

Pride and Prejudice begins with the Bennett family talking about their neighboring estate being let at last to a Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bingley is rich and therefore, as Lizzy puts it, “A single man with a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” The entire neighborhood assumes so and see him as a potential groom to their single daughters, as does Mrs. Bennett, Lizzy’s mother.

Though in the book this dialogue does not belong to Elizabeth, but is the opening line instead, I have to say it suits her perfectly. Not long after, we get to meet Mr. Darcy the male lead who is proud, arrogant and easily gets on the wrong side of Elizabeth on their very first meeting. They meet at a ball where he refuses to dance with Lizzy, claiming that she’s tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt him. “I’m in no humor to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men,” he says.

Colin Firth, who plays Darcy had me laughing with this dialogue. Even more adorable was Elizabeth’s reaction when she repeats the same dialogue to her sister Jane in a makeshift Darcy voice and laughs about it. It’s a scene not mentioned in the book, exclusive to this series and it was mighty cute.

The story progresses fairly in accordance with the book. Usually, my favorite characters end up being the ones who are not the main leads, but with this series, I beg to differ. Lizzy and Darcy are delightful together, and I can’t imagine one without the other. They’re both so independent and have such individuality about their characters that it is hard to not love them. Theirs is a slow love, which goes through a few enjoyable trials while they learn more about each other.

I’d say the story is both logical and romantic, which is strange because usually one doesn’t accompany the other.

One of my favorite scenes is when Mrs. Bennett is complaining to her husband how after he dies, the Lucas’s would push her out of her house since their is estate is entailed. Mr. Bennett stands up with a smug smile and responds, “Let us not think of such gloomy thoughts, my dear. Let us flatter ourselves that I might outlive you all.” It’s a scene that had me laugh out loud.

For one, I liked the actress who played Lydia as well. She was outrageous and well, fifteen. She did a great role in playing what was considered inappropriate back then. I also liked Charlotte and Caroline Bingley, especially the latter who pulled off perfectly the role of a lady who was full of herself and yet never really got on my nerves.

The surprise element in the story is of course how ardently Darcy falls in love with Lizzy first. For me, the story is also brilliant because it is so subtly hilarious. For example, at one point, Darcy is looking wistfully at Lizzy but she freaks out and asks his friend, “Why does Mr. Darcy keep staring at me? What do you think offends him now?”

A lot, a lot of funny scenes if you’re a fan of subtle comedy along with great chemistry. Pride and Prejudice, the miniseries is one that would fully satisfy every hopeless romantic out there. Everything about it is perfect, but you’ll have to bear with the dialogues if you’re not a fan of old-school English.

I’m nobody to rate a classic, of course but as a reader and audience to the show I would rate it a happy 4.8/5. The 0.2 in deduction because I would have loved it if more of Darcy’s character was delved into. I knew Lizzy’s thoughts, but Darcy’s side of the story remained foreign and subject to others’ interpretation of him. Doesn’t mean I didn’t love him. Lizzy and Darcy are a couple I have crushed on way back since high school.

And I think I feel Darcy in my bones when he says his classic dialogue, “I don’t know when I began to fall in love with you, Elizabeth. I was already in the middle of it when I realized I had started.”

To two hundred and seven years of the classic, and twenty five years of the excellent series ♥

Until later!

P.S.: Next up will probably be Kingdom. Stay locked in.

Goodbye ♥