Thursday, June 4, 2020

Look what my mad love for K dramas/tv made me do

I have been making more comebacks to blogging than kpop bands do. Been a long, long, while since I did any blogging now though. 3 years gap? Longest so far. This Ph.D. has been sucking out all my joys and hobbies slowly but surely. None of my old blogger circle seems active anymore either. So this blogging exercise is mostly a testament to my love for blogging, South Korean entertainment scene, and was actually supposed to be just a lengthy note to my Internet bebe/daughter Rashmi.

So here goes,

Dearest Rashmi,
Thank you for being the reason I've reopened this dusty ol' blog of mine. True, I'm embarrassed by most of my old posts now, but I love this blog all the same. xoxoxo

If anyone is looking for an intro into K dramas, I'll always recommend the series installments Reply Me 1997/ 1994/1988. My personal favorite from these is the 1988 series which had the most perfect depictions of good ol friendships amongst neighbors. The first installment went immensely popular in South Korea and made nostalgia and retro trendy. But mostly all these three shows became popular for bringing back the good old times where people talked more and were less distracted by internet. At the root of all these shows were human stories. The characters won your heart and then went ahead and broke your hearts with every other moment. The writer-director duo behind the shows are Lee Woo Jung and Shin Won Ho.
After these three shows and their success, they created Prison Playbook and Hospital Playlist (both also must-watch K dramas). As with the Reply Me shows, these stories were also heavy on human nature and how even the person you least expected was actually driven with goodness at their core.
Some have compared the Shin-Lee team to the Mike Schur and Dan Goor shows. But that would be taking away all the uniqueness and beauty that these too give us through their series. However, I agree that the heart warming and the feel-goodness is common among the two teams. But as K dramas are always shorter and end in a season (mostly 16 episodes), the feelings they cause last longer, and ache sweeter.

This post was mainly to talk about the writer and director behind these amazing shows.They both had their starting with a Korean reality show called "One Night Two Days". And boyoyoyoyoyyyyyy that used to be one epic programme. The two worked under Na Young Suk PD for the show. (Still running, but it got diluted after Na PD left, most of the main cast left, and the show hasnt been the same since).

One Night Two Days is unique and I haven't found anything similar to this show in American or Indian entertainment. Here's a summary on the show:
6 celebrities travel to a remote area of South Korea, show the unique and beautiful landscape, play games to win food/money/lodging/more comforts
Why it is unique:
1) The celebrities are not flops as is normally seen in reguarly reality shows, and included heavy hitting A-grade singers, and some veteran pop stars, and comedians.
2) The Director (Na PD) and the crew makes them complete races/tasks/games and if they lose, they either have to sleep outside, or do something embarrassing in public, or go without dinner/eat without sides/etc.
3) I cannot imagine stars in our country going through the embarrassments and ridicules these guys have been through for the show. And the crew includes the equivalents of whoever's the most adored guy in your country who is known for his sweetness? The most popular guy of them all? See what I mean?
Could you see the most famous celebs in any other reality show having to hitchhike penniless across miles (can you imagine the screams from the travellers who happened to be kind enough to pick up the dude when they realize who it is?)
4) An epic episode was where the cast got pissed that the crew got to enjoy great food while they had to starve after working so much (on the tasks) and challenged them to a game of vollyball (? can't remember for sure). And the cast wonnn!!! Which meant the 70+ crew were then annoyed with Na PD for accepting the bet. The losers had to sleep outside and boy it started raining on top of that. One of the assistant lightmen had reached late at night for his duty and was totally gobsmacked to see his colleagues and bosses all huddled in sleeping bags🤣
5) Or the episode where the director was toootally chill and told the crew to just drive to the destination on their own. That this trip would be zero crew and they just had to make sure to get footage on their own with the cameras provided. All the cameras at the destination home were already set up. That was bizarre and unheard of, but also led to a lot of silly moments.
6) I could go on, but I'm too close to this show, and too in love to be coherent.
And i'm trying to finish this post in one go.
All in all, this show used to be the most watched show with the highest TRPs in South Korea. Unlike egotistic celebrities who wouldn't let an atom of mud touched their holy selves, these guys cooked for themselves, slept under the stars in crappy tents, and instead of being shamed, they won everyone's hearts and became immensely popular.

Na PD is famous for being unpredictable and overall an evil genius. He has the Midas touch and every reality show he created after he left One nIght and Two days have also been mad successes. I wish I could drag everyone I know into watching this show. And also watch all the consequent shows he made.

For example!
The next show he made was Grandpas Over FLowers, then it became successful, he created the spin-offs Sisters Over FLowers, Youth Over Flowers couple of seasons each. The concept for these shows were, he came up with elaborate lies, basically tricked them all and got them to travel to a foreign country and fend for themselves through different tasks and games. They usually got a younger "porter", another celebritiy who also got hoodwinked into the whole shindig and who has to help the older gang.

So Rashmi! (If you haven't left already =P)
Na PD created a Youth Over Flowers show with the cast of Reply Me 1988 and they were basically kidnapped after the show wrap-up party they had in Phuket. The first episode of the show had the setup. Na PD meets with the director of Reply Me 1988/his former colleague and discusses how he has this idea. He then gets the managers of the guys to clear their schedule for two weeks post the Phuket-party (which was also basically a ploy i think) without the actors knowing! Then this evil boi walks up to them in Phuket and says all casual, "Let's go to Africa". I have skipped a lot of hilarious details here, but basically he actually kidnaps his cast for every show. It just gets more and more elaborate with each next season because just the sight of Na PD raises suspicion at this point for most celebrities in S.Korea now.

I wish we had such interesting directors and shows here..

But I'm truly, honestly, deeply grateful for Na PD and his One Night Two Days show on which my sister and I have had a million laughs and rewatch even now.

The saddest part is not having subbed episodes to all his shows at the ready to watch. So if any of you have randomly, accidentally, unexpectedly reached this post- and you are internet savvy plus got mad love for k-dramas and k-variety (both entirely different beasts)- and you have found sources- LET A GIRL LIIIIVE! aside the dramatics, please do share! <3

PS- Here's the list of all Na PD director/producer works worth watching (even though i haven't watched the entirety of his works, i can vouch for them with my favorite pocket-dress at stake).

But honestly, WATCH everything he or his team works on. They are all pure talent and love.

ok byeeeeeeeeee! (sorry for the high-on-teenage-energy sign off, but super excited about blogging after so long =D )

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