Just coz I miss him

In my head, one of the best period in binnie’s life is when he’s filming FOL.  It’s a challenging role and he knew he’s running away with it.  I’m beaming with a joy just knowing how he must feel fulfilled and satisfied as an actor during those 6 months.  He’s also in a blossoming romance….and a relatively low profile, under the radar, the blinding glare of the insatiable media, back in 2009.

I would like to think he’s also in a period of his life most fulfilling, serving his MS.  I’m so sorry his battalion lost a kin with an apparent misfire of his own rifle.  TT_TT  RIP.

His DongSoo has his (un)fair share of life’s rocks, and he must’ve persevered earlier on thinking he’ll make it through the end of his tunnel a better man.  Those glimmers of hope r the most precious heartwrenching things.  Just thinking of the earlier DS, or just seeing pics reminding me of his DS… tears me up.

I absolutely love every pic/snippets of him during this period,  living vicariously through his DS, walking the walk and talking the talk those 6 months on and off the set.  The gif of him and KMJ being the cutest dorky bros on bikes in the bts of FOL is …speechless AWWW!

[credit on pix; fr weibo]

I miss you my dear, 537 days and counting.  Stay safe and be your strongest.  MUAK


24 thoughts on “Just coz I miss him

  1. My most fav scenes in FOL is still the visit of that woman at the prison, his expressions was priceless…and ep 19…and i still think FOL is his best performance so far.

    I’m missing our boy a lot. Be safe, Binnie.

  2. It’s so interesting I went through the exact same emotions when I watched FOL the very first time. I screamed at my screen for poor DS to not make those fateful decisions, I wanted to stab both the JSs for disregarding DS’ feelings. I want to change their fate.

    But in subsequent watches, everything makes clearer sense. I know every difficult choice these characters made every step of the way and I can focus more on the subtle hints on the hows and whys they did what they did at that particular instant.

    And it’s so true and the brilliance of the writer/PD that at the end of our journey with the character, the characters are still true to their childhood selves though evolved to darker places, inevitable even for us in RL to recapture the naivete. I’m so with you in thinking DS is more like a fantasy for JS. He’s almost too caring, too sensitive, giving her too much when she’s already fallen for Jun Seok. She’s moved and she’s indebted to DS hugely, but it’s also a burden stressful for her to repay. She’s choosen JS instead of him fr the get-go and in the milieu of their intense brotherhood, it’s a disloyalty to put herself squarely in the middle of them, and she must’ve felt she’s not worthy of DS. In hindsight, she really did love DS, at least really really really want to in her rational head. But JS has to stake his claim in what’s ‘his’, and what he said to her shaked her back to their reality. First love is hard to overcome, esp when he’s showing her hope he’ll change for the better…even if it’s false hope.

    Sang Taek is there as the narrator, the square pants beacon of the group. His storyline is also significant in marking the turbulent transition Busan is going through in the early 90s, the mafia monopolized strata is weakened, economic crisis and civil unrest bubbling. Him being a reporter and with his world out of the microcosm the other 3 are in, gives the drama another layer of wt for me. But yes, SDY is clearly the weakest link in the acting department, his character is most vanilla out of the bunch and in the hands of another actor with a bigger screen presence, it may be even more powerful.

    I lovelovelove FOL, I’m so content and proud as a binnie fangirl he’s done sth as marvelous as this and him being sooo terrific in it to top it even though his DS is still giving me a heartache I’m never able to overcome.

    1. SDY’s Sang Taek seems so out of place among these other characters, like too “refined” and “pretty boy” somehow, for the rough and tumble of the place and period depicted. I get that it’s part of the ST character, the “good boy”, the studious one, but it’s like SDY is in some other drama than the rest of the casts (a sensitive coming-of-age story or something).

      While Dong Soo is obviously the emotional anchor, it feels to me like Jun Seok is actually the main character, if you want to base it on screen time and relationship with other characters. DS and ST have almost no contact after their school days. BTW, it’s really bugging me that everyone seemed so concerned that DS was going to do something to JS after the failed hit on DS, forgetting that 1)JS is also a gangster and 2)DS just killed one of his men. Isn’t it more likely that JS would order a hit on DS than the other way around? But everyone’s going around arranging for JS to leave and hide out and begging DS not to do anything. On a shallower note, how do you know this is a drama written by men? In a drama where there are THREE opps! pregnancies, there is almost no kissing scene at all, except for the forced-kiss between ST and Jin Suk.

      I remember watching Hyun Bin in MNIKSS and just hating him. Not the character, him, the actor, because I thought he was really bad. First of all, it was shown on Malaysian TV dubbed into Mandarin, and the voice for HB was just so grating. And then the acting, especially in the crying scenes, was just, !!!***? Especially the part where he’s telling Sam Soon about the accident, and she’s cradling his head, I thought, this actress is just giving it her all, and this guy can’t even cry properly. Who is this guy, some pretty boy idol-turned-actor who can’t act? (Let’s face it, he was really, really, very very pretty in MNIKSS, heh.) He got better towards the end of the drama, the scene with KSS’ mother was quite good. But then I watched Ireland and was surprised that it was made before MNIKSS. He was good in that, even though the drama itself is a bit weird. Hey, this guy can even break you heart when he cries.

      I’m not a big fan of Snow Queen, the whole “dying of a fatal disease” stuff is not really my thing. I only watched it once, and I thought his performance was okay for such a cliched storyline. I really like him in Worlds Within, though. The romantic storyline was boring (frankly, I was more invested in the older couple’s love story, that seems to have more at stake), but I really like Ji Oh’s relationships with the other characters – his frenemy relationship with the arrogant sageuk director, his complicated relationship with his parents, with his juniors etc etc.

      I also watched Come Rain Come Shine recently, and I think it is a testament to how good HB’s perfomance as this infuriatingly passive character was that even though he is so very, very fetching in it (the hair, OMG!), I am totally on the wife’s side. If I was married to someone like that, I’d probably leave too (even though he looks like Hyun Bin, and he’s so gentle, and god, that smile, NO, Mr Director, you can’t distract me with the pretty). He’s not even passive-agressive, just incredibly passive. All the pretty in the world can’t make up for that.

      Can’t wait for him to come back from military service and watch what he would do next. I even watched the training documentary without sub, heh. Actually, he’s not in it very much, which is good. It should be about the marine, not about him. The other trainees seem so young, some of them like children, almost. I feel for them more than for Hyun Bin, really, he’s 29 years old, and with his schedule he’s probably used to being apart from his parents and family by now, but some of the trainees look like this is the first time they ever leave home. I wonder how their parents feel watching it at home. (I wonder if they asked for individual consent from each of the trainees depicted in the documentary, or it is a blanket consent, the marine wants the tv station to film this, so whether you want your face all over tv or not, it will be there. Some of the shots and interviews seem incredibly intrusive and in-your-face. I guess Hyun Bin would be used to that, but pity the other unsuspecting trainees.)

      1. MNIKSS, Ireland, WW, SQ, SG….

        lol, I’ve personally jabbed binnie over his crying scenes in MNIKSS many times even as a loonie fangirl of his. That crying scene in 7 doesn’t bother me as much,I figured he’s this stunted child/man who has never opened up, let alone getting any release in the extreme of crying on some ‘fat’ lady’s lap. It was the later crying at elevator in one extremely high strung scene that left me stabbity. Tbh, first couple eps of MNIKSS, I find him average looking and hard to believe he’s the lead. It’s by that JeJu trip in ep7, the pouring of hearts that I see some promise in him and his samshik. Imho he’s decent in MNIKSS, very objectively, there’ve been way worse acting jobs as the typical cold princes in Kdramaland before and after Samshik. But without my subsequent Ireland watch, which imo was his most brilliant acting job till FOL, I won’t be here. There are a few scenes in SQ that are very memorable and he’s terrific in them, but all in all SQ is not my cup of tea just on the old fashion cliches and terminal disease trope alone. It had maybe 8 decently written episodes, some quite good, but gosh where’s the originality!?

        WW is underwhelming for me just because I LURVE writer Noh, very very VERY much. I blame it on the unimaginative directing. I have no complaints of binnie’s acting, but he didn’t elevate the material enough either as he did brilliantly in SG. He OWNED SG, his JW is nth but a silly sexist pain in the behind in need of psych help and no ounce of endearment without the HB treatment.

        You are wise to not touch MFL, he’s close to awful in it, I block it out, in denial it ever existed.

        1. Re: MNIKSS, Ireland, WW, SQ, SG….

          “He OWNED SG, his JW is nth but a silly sexist pain in the behind in need of psych help and no ounce of endearment without the HB treatment.”

          Yup. I wonder what it would be like if Jang Hyuk had played JW instead. I’ve only seen him in Chuno, and he’s all manly machismo in that. I bet JW’s mysogynistic assholish tendency would be almost impossible to ignore in that case. It got to the point where I almost felt bad for liking JW, like I’m being a traitor to my gender or something. Objectively speaking, the character should be avoided like the plague, but the way HB played him made him almost endearing. Even the dreaded amnesia subplot was okay in the end because 21-year-old JW was just so darn funny.

          I notice in interviews that HB usually said something like he’s glad he played JW because the show and the character “received so much love” from fans. No mention that he’s glad he played it because it’s a great character,
          or it’s a great drama etc etc. So different from his interviews for FOL where he mentioned he really, really wanted to play DS even though people around him told him not to (because of the inevitable comparison to JDG I suppose). I guess we can read between the lines what he really thought of those two characters.

          Agghh, I really want to watch Late Autumn, but Korean art house movies don’t usually make it to our shore, for some reason only Korean ghost stories seem to make it here. And it’s to early for the movie to be online. His English is not too bad, is it? I’m dreading it a bit, after the Snow Queen debacle, heh. It’s actually not that bad in SG. Come to think of it, it wasn’t that bad in MNIKSS either, who knows what happened in Snow Queen.

          So he was really bad in MFL? I wasn’t interested in it because of, you know, the dying-of-a-fatal-disease thing (holdover phobia from the popularity of Winter Sonata, Autumn in My Heart and Stairway to Heaven over here, although that trend has receded in recent years, the TV station tends to buy more light-hearted fares now, the My Girl, Full House and BOF’s of the world).

          I’m really glad I found your post, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of place where people discuss FOL in detail. Even the thread in soompi is pretty light on content. I will definitely watch it again from the beginning in the future. Although Episode 19 has been in repeat-watch mode for a few days now, heh, replacing Episode 17 of SG.

          1. Re: MNIKSS, Ireland, WW, SQ, SG….

            YAY! I’m glad you stop by and chat with me on FOL and binnie! ^^ FOL is so criminally unwatched and extremely difficult to discuss.

            I do like JH, but I find him better at roles that r within his comfort zone, and shockingly, horribly swarmy/ineffective in some of his outings(in Tazza esp). He’s terrific in Chuno, but I can’t picture him doing justice and able to play up the naivete, the cute of the 21yo JooWon. Those scenes floored me of binnie’s sheer brilliance of how difficult I find playing down the age for actors.

            I maybe be too harsh on MFL, try it out, afterall it’s just an hour or two. One thing for sure, it makes me appreciate how far he’s improved! I doubt you’ll like. Tt’s a blatant tearjerker, so he has to cry a fair share of amt and he’s more cringe-inducing than MNIKSS.

            GOSH!! What are you made of, gf?!?! you can loop FOL19?!??!?!?!?????????? O_o@_@o_O That episode was my darkest hour in dramawatching history, I’ve only watched it 3 times and was soooo depressed and affected for days/WEEKS after each of those.

            There’s a FOL DC out there, no subs, but it’s told in a linear timeline. It’s so intriguing to watch and I actually loved it more than the original aired MBC version. It’s like it’s stripped of all the ornamentation in spiffy cinematography and movie making tools….and just let the story and acting simply present itself. GLORIOUS!

            1. Re: MNIKSS, Ireland, WW, SQ, SG….

              “YAY! I’m glad you stop by and chat with me on FOL and binnie! ^^ FOL is so criminally unwatched and extremely difficult to discuss.”

              I wonder if the “unwatched” part is somewhat related to how hard it is to actually get a hold of it. I couldn’t find the DVD at all at any of the shops here, and most of HB’s work are available here, even Ireland, (at least it was when I bought it, I haven’t seen it in the shops lately, not a hot seller, probably). You can still find plenty of copies of MNIKSS and Snow Queen in the shops even now, and Secret Garden is already available too. I could only find one working torrent link to download FOL, but there are so few seeders and with not-so-fast internet connection, it took me more than a month to download all 20 episodes. Talk about the torture of anticipation !!!

              BTW, do you know how the nick Binnie came about? Is it
              1) just a cute fangirly nickname
              2) something people actually call him in real life
              3) the ‘nie’ part is a Korean suffix, like JuWon-ah or DongSoo-ya

              I’m curious because I just watched his 2009 fanmeeting in Japan (not subbed, of course, but who cares, heh) and there were video messages from the three guys in FOL, and SDY actually called him Binnie! At first he said “Binni(e) fanmeeting”, and I thought maybe the ni(e) is a possessive pronoun in Korean, meaning “Bin’s fanmeeting”. But then later I’m pretty sure he said Binni(e)-shi, which he wouldn’t if the ni(e) is a suffix, right? Like they wouldn’t say DongSoo-ya-shi, it’s either DongSoo-ya or DongSoo-shi if it is more formal. Couldn’t understand what he was saying, of course, he said “weight training” in english and then something something else and how it is “himdorosu”, so I guess he was saying they had to go through difficult/hard training for the drama. Oh and all three said they miss him (bogoshipta, right?).

              Now that I have run out of HB’s work to watch (still waiting for Late Autumn, not interested in MFL and the taekwando movie), I’m reduced to watching things like interviews, so pathetic 🙂 I loove the Taxi interview, so grateful to soulsrebel for providing a translation for the first and second episode. He seemed so happy, laughing and smiling all the time. Although there was one moment in the second episode that I thought was awkward, when he was talking about taking on the role of DS, and how almost everyone around him told him not to do it, but he said he thought even if he receives criticism for his performance, how much criticism could there really be? But the female host leaned towards him and said “you did receive a lot of criticism” and laughed (I guess she was joking? not really sure), but HB didn’t laugh or smile at all, and said he took the criticism positively. (Credit for translation to soulsrebel.wordpress.com). I felt sad for him there. Did he really receive a lot of criticism for Dong Soo? I thought FOL was just ignored, not panned by critics. Were people comparing his performance unfavourably to JDG?

              1. Re: MNIKSS, Ireland, WW, SQ, SG….

                Logistically, FOL has nth ‘Hallyu’ about it other than binnie/SDY’s attachment. It is no satisfactory romance, it went through the stupidest censorship of MBC with the mosaics with the obvious and necessary gore and violence, nth easy to grasp on in plot and development…and it has abysmal ratings, rated 19+…all contributed to it being hard to find in the regular dvd store. It has a gorgeous DC J cut but it’s more in the art/indie production than a good escapism offered by the majority of Kdramas out there.

                And, we would all agree it’s not an easy watch. I’ve deterred some drama chingus in watching because I know it’s not going to appeal to them and the trauma I’ve experienced tagging along DS’ dark journey of doom is soul crushing.

                I think the nick of Binnie is purely fr the international fangirls post MNIKSS @Soompi! haha at least that’s my take on it. I’ve asked SeReNiTy personally and see what she says about it. The J obasan fans (ie binnie’s meal ticket) loved the nick and has been calling him since. SDY has a substantial fandom in J as well, so he must be well aware of his castmate’s cute nick. Just my guess.

                MY memory of that clip is very vague, do u mind linking me to it?! Binnie did train extensively in boxing for his role, I recall they lived and breathed in Busan for a good 6 months and it must be such a brotherhood, esp considering he’s worked with KMJ before in Ireland, imho his true breakout role.
                It can also be the hardship of him slaving over his Saturi. PD Kwak, KMJ are both Busanites, and knowing binnie too well, he’s not a genius in the language department. PD Kwak did record every line of DS and made him play it ad nausum to get it pass PD’s extremely high standard. I think a lot of criticism is towards his Saturi and the movie being so extremely iconic, so anything deviating fr it is bound to attract criticisms, and there are a lot of ‘deviation’.

                I think JDG’s DS is not the same as HBinnie’s DS. JDG’s DS is in a bolder shade of grey and much better at unleashing his inner turmoil, whereas HBinnie’s DS doesnt even have that channel and has to keep everything boiling, bubbling and torturing inside, eating him alive. Also it’s HB’s style of acting, he lacks a showiness that the majority of the audience is so accustomed to, almost to the point I want to slap them of the laziness to go the extra step in grasping the inner contained turmoil of DS and traded it to wanting every emotion served up on a plate to them. TSK!

                I dun think it’s panned by critics, but sadly with the machinations of the biz, binnie headlining the extremely highly anticipating, pre-shot drama and it not bring in the respectable rating, even if it’s no fault of him AT ALL, will be accounted on his ‘success’ or here a source of criticism. It was also snubbed sooo sooo painfully at the stupid MBC drama awards, I’m still RAGEYYYYY!!!!

                So how do u like Ireland?! I can never pass on a discussion of it.

                1. Ireland

                  I’ll preface my thoughts on Ireland with this: the first time I watched it, I promised myself I would never watch it again even though I had gone to the trouble of buying the VCD (well, it was on sale and really really cheap, but still, money!) and I thought Binnie is much better in it than in MNIKSS. It was the incest-not-incest storyline.* Seriously, in this day and age, in a country more developed than mine? Two words, people. DNA TEST. I’m sure the local hospital in South Korea could provide one, heck, the one LNY was working in could probably do so in a jiffy. Go ask BYJ’s father in Winter Sonata, he got one as well. I’m sure it’s deliberate on the writer’s part to provide conflict! emotional trauma! etc etc, but I just felt that these people (LNY and KMJ) are idiots who deserve every suffering coming their way. And maybe this is affected by my feeling towards the incest-not-incest storyline, but I found the chemistry between LNY and KMJ, ummm, pretty weird and creepy. And I didn’t feel like that with BYJ-CJW in Winter Sonata after the “big reveal” (to be fair, maybe that’s because part of me already suspected BYJ’s mom is a big fat liar) or even with SHK-SSH in Autumn of My Heart (technically, it’s not incest, but they were raised together as brother and sister for a long time, if something like that had happened in real life, I would find it really disturbing).

                  *My friends thought I was obsessing too much on the incest thing. We should just accept it as a weird, unexplainable quirk of Korean drama writers, this fixation with incest (honestly, what is that all about???), the way we accept that in American shows, the hero is almost always a middle-aged man, and even though there is usually a hot young guy running around, all the female characters in the show would ignore him completely and just chase after the old guy (I’m looking at you, Without a Trace and House). Actually, I don’t think that second part is inexplicable at all, from what I’ve read, unlike Korean drama where most of the writers are female, most of the writers in American shows are male, probably middle-age themselves. So they are probably just playing out their real life fantasies on the tv screen.

                  But I did watch it again, for Kang Gook. I think the best part of Binnie’s performance as KG is that even though the character could have come off as just a “nice guy’ being wronged by his wife, it was more complex than that. There’s fault lines and personality issues running through this guy as well, and Binnie sold that very well. I watched Ireland the first time with two friends and even though both of them were already pretty hardcore Binnie fangirls by then (I wasn’t yet, this was not long after watching MNIKSS), we all agreed that LNY made the right decision to leave him. There’s some quibbling about how much of that decision is affected by her relationship with KMJ, IMO, in the end, not very much, I think she would have ended her marriage with KG at some point even without the presence of a third party.

                  There’s a fight they have probably early on, (sorry if my recollection is not so accurate, the last time I watched it was three years ago) when KG is insisting that LNY look for her birth mother. And she got mad and countered that she wants to live like a person first before meeting her mother. She doesn’t want to spend her whole life depending on other people; first her adopted family in Ireland, then her husband, and now her real mother.

                  1. Re: Ireland

                    Ahhhhhh, this is such a delightful read! ^^ I have a busy work day ahead, but please hang around, I lovelovelove discussing Ireland. And I must say I share almost identical thoughts of yours!

                  2. Re: Ireland

                    There has always been the obstacle of GREATEST LOVE THAT CAN NEVER BE in fauxcest in Hallyu since forever for me, it doesnt have any of the emotional punch for me as opposed to 90% of the Hallyu fanatics of the AiMH/WS/StH days. I still can’t fathom why the trope connected with so many across the board.

                    I have the same reaction of never watching it again after the last scene, just not as strong. I have many problems with the writing and directing. The only thing I love out of it is HB’s performance (not nec the character) and Kim Min Jung did a very solid perf with hers. The characters of LNY and KMJ are soo dysfunctional and asocial I don’t expect them to have the commonsense of a DNA test. And they are big wimps, I don’t think they want to face the definiteness of such. I’m more annoyed by the fauxcest in AiMH, blood is sth u have no control of, and it’s not apparent in getting the know someone to have a sense of their DNA profile, so I CAN picture myself falling for some long lost twin if I have no idea. With non-blood related siblings, the grossness is extreme, the bond u build growing up is brother and sister, unless u start being hormonal in your diapers, I can’t see how u can negate the pre puberty years of growing up at siblings then it switches to feelings btn a man and a woman once hormones arrive. That’s y it doesnt make it any less EWWWWW even if they r not blood related for me. I’m not good in compartmentalization what can happen in a fantasy KDramaland and real life, so I can’t process and feel for sth like AiMH/StH/WS…the likes. And I don’t want to think it’s a common RL fantasy of females (writers) to be romantic their siblings?!

                    I also don’t see much chemistry btn LNY with both the guys. You have to see her in Ruler of Your Own World. imo it’s her only effective performance for me. And I also forgiven Miss writer for the mess that is Ireland.

                    What hasn’t disappointed me in HB (except MFL) is how every role he inhabits is never 2D cardboard cutouts, they always have a crucial flaw, an imperfection that’s such a great juxtaposition with his perfect shell most of the time. I bet that must be the draw for him, to play out the human flaw in his characters, that is most intriguing in his profession. There is always an extra layer to them even as cliched as TW/DG in SQ. Why would he prioritize the death and dreams of his bestie over the love of his single MOTHER?! IF SQ is not as caught up in fairytaling, this can be an interesting facet to explore in TW. But as is, even as nonsensical, this gives TW/DG a crucial flaw, a complexity that makes the characters less saccharine.

                    Same token, I’m quite shocked actually after I’m done with Ireland in reading why most have fallen for his KK is because Kang is so ‘angelic’. That is just a very superficial surface of his, a slight scratch underneath, he’s as dysfunctional, maybe more so since he’s not aware of his failings. ‘Fault lines’ is such a right on description! I see him controlling in love, his hunger for it due to the deprivation as an orphan is an obsession that he’s so well wrapped in all the pretty bows and ties as true feelings. I do not blame him as he’s as inept in love as the others and he must’ve thought he truly loved LNY, but as a bystander their relationship is so slanted: caregiver and a dysfunctional patient of PTSD, a vacant in love vs an obsessed desire for some by any means.

                    I agree, I do see the intention in the writing what LNY sees in KMJ vs Kang Kook. In her strange marriage with KK, there is no spontaneity of romance, it’s a caring affection that’s asexual. KK needs her to be a rag doll almost, sth he can groom and care his way. In this existence, there’s a lot silently asked for her to conform. She’s forever an ‘invalid’ mentally for him, they will never be equals and that’s exactly what she felt with KMJ’s character: equals. No matter how weird they both are, how abnormal they r to the world around them, they’ve found sth organic, an ease that’s not judged by their baggages. With KMJ, she’s not asked to be anything at all, it must feel like she can finally breathe to her own beat.

                    1. Incest

                      Hah hah, if you only know the amount of hours my friends and I wasted analyzing the relative creepiness of those two types of incest. I want those hours back!! I think my strong feelings regarding the creepiness of the “actually related by DNA” incest is mostly due to the WON’T YOU THINK OF THE CHILDREN! factor. I know all the hysteria about deformed children etc etc is mostly overwrought and probably designed to enforce the incest taboo, but if you are going to bring a life into this world, why would you even take the risk?? TBH, if BYJ and CJW had turned out to be half-siblings in Winter Sonata, I think I would have been fine with them running away somewhere where nobody knows them to be together, as long as they resolve never to have children. I think you’re absolutely right that SSH-SHK relationship is actually creepier. (Weren’t you even slightly remembering her as a little girl as you are kissing that lip?? Ughhh). Plus, doesn’t it make you doubt the extent and nature of their love? I know we are supposed to buy it as some grand, romantic love, but I can’t help but feel that it is just misplaced affection from their interrupted bond during childhood. How much of that love is really romantic in nature, and how much of it is just nostalgic remembrance of a happier past?

                      Ohh, I saw you at Hyun Bin’s thread at Soompi! Well, you must have always been there anyway, just that I haven’t had time to read any of the stuff on the thread from before I joined, and I don’t think I’ve seen any post from you since then. I think I would have remembered the nick, heh. It’s quite memorable :)Sorry if I’m wrong. I’m jesse12 BTW, who have been polluting the thread with my long, uninvited thoughts for weeks now 🙂 Probably boring the heck out of the others, except for The_Joker and SeReNiTy, who’ve been very kind. Didn’t want to mention it there since it might seems inconsiderate to others.

                    2. Re: Ireland

                      Sorry, just to clarify something, I meant I didn’t want to mention it there, because don’t want to make it seem like a newcomer claiming kinship with old-time posters to get special treatment or something. You are welcome to do whatever you want, of course 🙂 Re-reading that sentence makes it seems like we are in a secret relationship that I want to keep secret or something, LOL! I comment/post at political blogs/forums sometimes (don’t ask. It’s a bad habit I’m trying to stop), and people can get really, really touchy about stuff like that over there. (What, just because you know this person and that person your opinion is so much better than mine?!) And you know how it is with politics, how easily things can get heated up and blown out of proportion. Although sometimes I think the shipping wars in celebrity forum/blog can be even more heated and out of control, hah hah.

                    3. Re: Ireland

                      lolz I’m very laidback myself and I don’t mince words, so I dun realize anything one way or the other even with your clarification! 🙂 I’m bitchy and vicious when I’m annoyed so a public forum when heated is not my thing. We have our handles here and there, I guessed who u r there and I respect ur privacy. I know SeReNiTy for years and we r pals.

                      I was mookie there, crazy poster. I bit some heads off, I disliked certain things there + mods get on my nerves and I’m too old to be ‘disciplined’ so I’ve stopped posting. Nth against the posters there, you guys are a lively, thoughtful bunch, interesting convos going on but open forums have trolls, fact.

                2. Ireland, continued

                  I thought that is a pretty good description of the dynamic in that relationship – he’s comfortable that she depends on him, that he’s “taking care of her”. She was fine with that dynamic in the beginning because she really did need to be taken care of at that point after the trauma she suffered, but at some point, like most normal person, she would have wanted to stand on her own feet.* And because of his own background and life story (not so tragic as LNY, but pretty sad nonetheless), KG has his own issues as well (I call it “the protector/guardian syndrome”, it’s quite common in Kdrama, GRI’s director in SG has it too. “I’m doing this for your own good”, “I just don’t want you to get hurt”, that kind of thing, although in Phillip Lee’s character, because we don’t get any backstory on why he is like that, he just came across as condescending and paternalistic, rather than a complex character). And that dynamic is unhealthy for both of them.

                  *We had this discussion about whether she could be accused of “using” him in the beginning. Like “she was fine enough taking all that care and protection and depending on him when she really needed it, but now that she doesn’t need it anymore, he’s thrown away to the side”. But my friend pointed out that in a way, you could say that he was “using” her too, to fulfill his needs to play the guardian/protector role. Hmmm, I don’t know, I’m not sure if I would chalk it up as a draw, the “using” – if we want to call it that – seems more prominent on her side IMO. I just think regardless of who is more at fault in the beginning, the marriage is obviously an unhealthy thing for both of them at that point, so probably better for it to end.

                  The KG-KMJ relationship is probably my favorite part of the drama. Bromance! I actually think KG and KMJ have better chemistry than KG-LNY or KMJ-LNY. Or maybe that’s just my bias against the actress (I haven’t seen her in anything else before or since, so I’m just talking about her performance in Ireland). I get the impression from reading things on the internet that she’s supposed to be this really great, quirky, unpredictable actress that the unwashed masses like me don’t really know how to appreciate. (Some people even blame Binnie for having zero chemistry with the great LNY). But there is just something so weird about her performance, I don’t know how to explain it. There’s this British film critic Mark Kermode, he has a very popular film review podcast from BBC, and he has a phrase for describing movies (usually indie ones) he found annoying : “quirksome to the point of irksome”. That’s how I feel about LNY in Ireland, that her performance was quirksome to the point of irksome. I don’t think it’s about the character, aside from the total stupidity of not getting that DNA test ASAP (and you a doctor, too. Isskk, isskk, iskkk), I actually thought the character is pretty decent, in a way, probably a stronger woman than GRI in SG.

                  What do you make of the ending? I’m quite surprised by all the speculations on theories about it – LNY dies etc etc. When I watched it, I thought it was just showing the four main characters being at peace about where they are at that point, maybe things will be different in the future, maybe they won’t, either way, they are content with their lives now. Or maybe I was being too simplistic, heh.

                  *Umm, the baby she’s carrying, that’s definitely KG’s, right? Too unforgivable if LNY and KMJ had had sex BEFORE GETTING THAT DNA TEST!

                  So that’s my two cent on Ireland, sorry it’s so long! Wow, I haven’t actually thought about this drama for a while now. Thanks for jogging my memory. I don’t think I want to watch it again from the beginning, but maybe I’ll take a peek at some of the great Binnie scenes – with the priest, KG-KMJ bromance. I’m actually rewatching MNIKSS now, just to see if I feel differently about Binnie’s performance. Really slow pace, though, just up to episode 2 so far. Maybe we can chat again after I’m done 🙂

                  1. Re: Ireland, continued

                    I’m also on the verge of rewatching MNIKSS, I haven’t done it in a LONG while, but it’s summer and nth celebrates the sweetness and vibrance of it like a MNIKSS rewatch, haha at least for us loonies! It’s almost like a pilgrimage for me.

                    Your discussion with ur friends are all very valid great points on the KK/LNY relationship, I would not use the word ‘using’ because I don’t think both of these characters are capable of a cognitive manipulation to warrant that. She needs him as much as he needs her at that time they met and they get married. It’s a codependent relationship, she needs him to take care of her in many aspects of her daily life, he needs the ‘gratification’ or ‘fulfillment’ if I can call that in being able to provide for her. In different ways, they both need to find their own individual footing in life (same with the other 2 KMJs!) the big ‘Who Am I’ but their isolation in this world fr their past trauma is too overwhelming for them to not crave for some kind of companionship. It’s a drug to them, and it fills the insatiable void they each harbored, It must feels good to have someone, anyone to hold onto, and whether the relationship is a true loving, healthy nontoxic one is too much to ask for, they don’t feel worthy.

                    KK is fascinating, he’s truly a good guy, BUT he is extremely aware of his good deeds and keeping tabs. In that outburst when LNY told him about her emotional infidelity, he aired out how much good he’s done to her and how dare she as if being good is buying him her gratitude that should be paid as dues in loyalty, or LOVE. It’s normal to feel that way, but it’s also very self-servicing esp for someone as over the top caring and giving and ‘angelic’ as KK. To him, the care and concern, all genuine, I feel, he’s given out are currencies in exchange for reciprocated love. A bribe, almost. And he hasn’t the notion of understanding, communication of the other party.

                    I thought the ending is decided vague and poetic but hopeful for all of them. Their circumstance may be more ‘tragic’ compared to where they started in the beginning of the drama but they’ve grown to know what love is, how to be in their own skins and thus how to be not in an isolation, holed off from others who can care and have normal relationship with them.

                3. Ireland, redux

                  It’s almost inconceivable to me that Hyun Bin was 22! when he played Kang Gook. Aside from Dong Soo, that is probably the most grown-up character he’s played. Kang Gook has his own issues, but he is not an emotionally immature man-child ala Sham Shik or Kim Joo Won. He’s a guy with a tough, responsible job he takes very seriously and a marriage he takes very seriously (it’s a messed-up relationship, sure, but even the messiness in that marriage seems very adult and grown-up, not petty jealousy or childish bickering). And Binnie pulled it off really, really well.

                  I’m really curious about the casting, though. Granted, I have not seen any of the stuff he did before Ireland, but my understanding is Nonstop is a sitcom and Spin Kick is about high school boys doing taekwando. What could possibly be in those performances that convinces the director that Hyun Bin could pull of playing a serious, grown-up man? Or maybe I’m overthinking it, it’s showbiz after all, he’s cute, that smile is a killer with the dimples, done, you got the part!

                4. Taxi interview

                  “MY memory of that clip is very vague, do u mind linking me to it?!”

                  I downloaded the taxi episode through torrent, but unfortunately I think I deleted the link after that. I can’t seem to find it again in Google, so sorry 😦

                  But I have the link to the soulsrebel transcript (it’s not an actual sub, just description of what is being said):


                  This is the relevant portion of the conversation on FOL:

                  Young interrupts and says how “friends” was so loved by fans cuz Jang Dong Gun did such a great job so actors of HB’s level wouldn’t have chosen to do that so there was a lot of talk (about why HB chose to do that project) like “did he need money suddenly?” HB laughs. She says since the talk about “friends” came out-she wants to ask about it. HB says a lot of people were opposed to me doing it –the people who supported this I can count with (less than) five fingers-which included people around me and everyone else- all those people combined- they all told me not to do it. Young: What was the reason?-cuz JDG portrayed the character so well HB: it was such a well received project (or was it “it was a perfectly executed project”) – it was a project JDG did so well on so whatever you do- you will be compared to JDG. Don’t do it- why are you doing it at this time? But I didn’t listen to all of that – I feel sorry for saying this and feel bad to those people who were thinking of me but when I saw “friends” in the movie theater- I really wanted to do it. That movie-the director that shot that-and that portrayal that JDG showed –if I chance for me to do that came around- how great that would be – that’s what I thought. And that chance came to me- it was right in front of me-so there was no reason to let it slip away so I said “ ok I will do it” – I decided right away. Even if I play that character and people criticize it- how much criticism will there be. Young interrupt and says “ you received a lot” and she laughs and leans on HB but HB doesn’t laugh and continues “ I did receive a lot of criticism- I did but – if I am going to be criticized I rather receive it quickly –that’s what I always think- when I get criticized for acting-instead of taking it as a minus –I thought it would return as a positive all the time –that is why I had less fear. Young asks the guy as HB’s friend- what did he say about it and the guy says I didn’t oppose it so Young says the guy was one of the five (who didn’t oppose).Young: so was there a time when you asked JDG? HB: there was-he was with me when I decided. He told me to do it. “Bin-ah- you should do it”. Young: oh he did?

                  Credit to soulsrebel.

                  1. Re: Taxi interview

                    I watched the Taxi episode in C subs, I rem reading Soulsrebel’s interpretation of the convo.

                    hmmmm….I dun see it as serious as it’s put out. Young is being playful in her tone, and fr watching it myself (in C subs) the criticisms they are referring to is on him taking up the role. This is a very risky, lose-lose move by all calculation. I have to admit I didn’t hold out hope HBinnie will be able to make such an iconic role his own, I was just expecting him to be passable and not cringeworthy. Of coz I’m shamefully wrong. And it subsequently didn’t garner the mass popularity, that’s the source of criticism. His perf, fr the few who’ve seen it, r not criticized at all, there were decently credible reports on him nailing the role to everyone’s surprise.

    2. Just to add something else (I can’t seem to stop talking about this drama, it’s so good!), it’s really surprising that towards the end, I actually found Eun Gi’s betrayal more heartbreaking that the dissolution of the friendship between DS and JS, even though the story doesn’t really dwell on it too much. I understand why he did it, if I had to choose between my dad and my gangster boss, I’d choose my dad too in a heartbeat. (Although a bit naive of him to believe that the bald boss could and would keep his promise). But as DS becomes more and more alienated from his friends, Eun Gi is the only one by his side, who saw his progression. The frustrating scenes with his father and then his mother, DS’ hope of going to Seoul with President Min where people won’t think of him as a gangster, when he asked Eun Gi whether he’d stay with him to the end, etc etc, great scenes between the two of them, even though Eun Gi said very little. And his loyalty to DS seems real, (the bald boss had to resort to promising to save his dad from death row rather than just dangling money or position to secure his cooperation), even though I guess we can debate whether he first followed DS to the rival gang out of loyalty or because he was sick of being treated like crap by Doroco.

      As I was watching the “unfortunate event” in Episode 19 (what’s your policy on spoiler? Can something already shown before in Episode 2 be considered a spoiler?), I thought, well, at least Eun Gi is not the one plunging the knife, he’s just holding DS in position. Morally, the culpability is the same, but still, heh, I look for consolation where I can find them. I’m curious about a scene where DS is in the car and it’s raining outside, and he’s watching Eun Gi and the rest of the boys talking and showing a knife, I think. He had a weird expression as he was watching them. Does he suspect what Eun Gi was planning to do?

      1. o SPOIL SPOIL SPOIL! I don’t think anyone can follow out convo if they haven’t watched FOL. And, they are not my buds, lol

        It breaks my heart more with that relationship, as you said, at that point, he’s DS’ only confidante yet we understand why he has no way out but betray his boss, whom he’s indebted to (I rem DS was the one giving him a chance in the first place?!), he’s loyal and grateful and he genuinely admired DS, but it must be hard on him towards the end with DS himself is almost giving up on himself, transforming into a beast that has little resemblance to his former self. *SOB* In a way we saw it every painful step of the way of DS’ downfall and we can’t see a way out and it’s most logical that he…got killed, a betrayal in essence as we loved, we cried, we rooted for our poor poor DS.

        DS MUST have a premonition of his fate. The saddest part is he was absolutely nonchalant, nth left to live for really. Since he knew he won’t be calling for a hit on JS, it’s not hard to grasp he’s giving up his own life, BUT fr how cocky he’s after their meeting, he still had the boy DS in him, most vulnerable and trusting in the face of any form of love he’s so desperately vying all his life and he trusted JS would at least call off the hit as well…which JS did, but they both were too consumed in their toxic bromance to realize they were in a mêlée à trois with old snake Sang Gon. Gosh, this is still hurting me so bad! TT_TT

  3. Magician was magical!

    I guess different people have different opinions. But I LOOOOOVVVED The Great Magician! It belongs to the same self-reflexive, anti-illusionism genre popularised by Luigi Pirandello during the Post-Modern era. It marks a coming of age of the min guo drama genre. All the typical plot elements and stock characters are there and subverted one by one. Also notice that Sean Lau was made up to look like Yuan Shikai, but you end up totally loving him! And the bromance chem between Tony & Sean was wonderful! Convinces me that Tony is a greater master at onscreen bromances rather than onscreen romances.

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