Cheese in the Trap

This was the first k-drama I watched. (Talked about in a previous post)

At first, I just thought the title had been poorly translated, but the intro features little blocks of cheese, a cat, and a mouse. So Cheese in the Trap it is. I decided to watch it because I was reading the webtoon it is based off of and saw someone had made a comment comparing the main male character’s looks to the drama. Once I knew there was a show, I started searching across the platforms available to me at the time. I checked my then go-to of Netflix first, but no luck. I checked Hulu next and found it! I was beyond excited.

It consisted of 16, hour long episodes. That’s all. Just one season. I was actually a little discouraged at first because that just didn’t seem like enough. I felt there was no way the entire story could be told in that short amount of time. I mean, in American dramas, hour long shows don’t often tell us much and we’re lucky to have a season long plot arc. These shows have sections of fluff and filler that can be missed with no real impact to your understanding of the story. K-dramas however, are not like that. Each episode is packed full of so much that if you miss some, you will be confused during the next episode. Also, there’s so much to them that sometimes, during the credits where they replay scenes from the just finished episode, I have found myself going: “Oh, yeah. I forgot that happened in this episode,” because there had just been so much going on you forget it’s only been one hour. This drama has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Because there is only one season, the writers knew exactly what story they wanted to tell and didn’t waste any time or space when telling it. It’s very refreshing.

Cheese in the Trap is the story of Hong Seol, a student just returning to college after some time off to save money for tuition. She has adorable and lovable friends who are beyond happy to have her back in school. She meets the enigmatic Yoo Jung and the foolhardy Baek In Ho who both help and hinder her at times. It is a story about growth and communication. It made me laugh numerous times, every time I’ve watched it. (CJ even really enjoyed it – and the only thing I can get him to watch with me on a somewhat regular basis is America’s Got Talent.) I was glad to see a female character stand up for herself in a relationship, stating that she can’t be the only one to make changes. All female role models should be that strong.

After finishing, I could not believe just how much I loved it. I followed Hulu’s recommendation and tried another. And then a third. The very few TV shows I still watched, I have basically abandoned. They cannot compete in content. This also led me to the discovery of k-pop and DramaFever. I am a happy girl lol.

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K-dramas

So, I started with the k-drama based on the books I was reading. LOVED it. Watched it a second time. Decided to try out another one. HULU recommended a few so I picked the first one. Thought it was also great. Found and watched a third which had the same main male actor as the second one. He wasn’t as happy in the third one and I missed his smile. So I watched the second one again (just the good parts). Now I’m watching the third one again.

Before you judge me too harshly, let me make it clear that k-dramas are only one season long. It’s not like I was binge watching multiple seasons or anything.

What’s so amazing about k-dramas, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Just like anything else, of course, k-dramas have their issues. First of all, they are in a different language. This poses a problem not because I can’t stand subtitles (honestly, they’re always on in our house anyway), but because you cannot multitask while you watch. It’s hard to do chores or even have a casual conversation when you are dependent upon reading to understand. This also means I have to know where my glasses are. I’m terrible about wearing them, but it’s a necessity if I’m going to be doing that much reading, especially at a distance.

I think the best thing about these shows is that they aren’t explicit. And I’m not just talking about language. Even though these shows are geared for an older audience, I am not afraid to watch them in front of my kids. I truly appreciate this fact. Many a show I have watched for multiple seasons  lost their way and resorted to a storyline that had lost its plot and I’ve given up on them.

Since k-dramas are only one season, they have a clearly defined story they wish to tell and they don’t have to resort to anything else. Plus, it feels like they always end. I mean, I know I’ve only watched three, but it feels like every character and story arc comes to some sort of completion by the finale. It’s a great feeling. No cliffhanger until next season. No unexplained storylines because of an early cancelation. Honestly, I think I prefer it. It almost feels like a really long movie.

I feel as though the silly little cons against k-dramas are far outweighed by the pros. I plan on watching quite a few more if you check my watchlist. Also, they’ve led me to some really fun music. And I have yet to come across a music video I had to skip because of content while we had dance parties in the living room.

So if you have the time and inclination (and you don’t mind subtitles) seriously, give it a try.

Russian Cinema Attempt #2

For my second foray into Russian cinema, I watched Dubrovskiy. Apparently it is based on a novel, but I had never read it or heard of it. Once again I found a version with subtitles and went for it.

Just like My Iz Budushchego, the exposition was quite confusing with the jumps between story lines. I felt like parts of the romantic plot were really forced. This made them awkward and borderline creepy.

After a certain point, I forgot to look at the cinematic aspects of the film since I had finally gotten interested in the plot. And then I was severely disappointed. At the end, I resolved to never read this novel as the adults acted like children and Vladimir proved to just be a TERRIBLE person.

I am very interested in watching more, but I feel like it is difficult to find the ones I want to watch, at least with subtitles; which at this point in my Russian study, is still necessary. But I will persevere.

Russian Cinema Attempt #1

Today I tried out Russian cinema for the first time. Still deciding.

My sister introduced me to a movie a while ago that was…well, okay. Having read the book, I was fully expecting the male protagonist to have a Russian accent. He did, but I was curious to see if he was actually of Russian decent or if he was just a good actor. So I turned to my old standby, IMDb, to look him up. I love IMDb. It is such a wealth of information. (and no longer do I have sit there going “Ah! What else is that person in?) But I digress…

Turns out this actor has only ever been in one American Hollywood movie. Everything else he has ever acted in has been Russian. So I decided to check some of it out. I thought he was a good actor and he has won awards for some of his Russian films. So today, I watched My Iz Budushchego. I watched it in Russian with the English subtitles.

So, as far as my one, brief foray into Russian movie watching, I noticed there was not much in the way of an exposition. Within the first seven minutes, there had been two fights I did not fully understand even though I was reading along. I eventually caught up. Kind of.

Once the main problem occurred, I really enjoyed most of the war scenes. Which is saying something since I don’t really like them in any movie. The rising and falling action kept me intrigued and there were even moments of good humor. The denouement – and I use that term loosely – was…weird. Obviously the movie ended but it was after an overly dramatic scene in/at a lake and a strange scene in a square the just felt awkward and I wasn’t really sure how they were supposed to wrap up the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and look forward to trying out some more Russian cinema to get a better view of it. I’ll probably stick to the same main actor though since I don’t really know anything about any other actors or directors in order to look up their stuff.