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TV Review: Search Party

Image result for search partyTitle: Search Party (Seasons 1-2)

Genre: Comedy, Mystery

Episodes: 20

Created by: Sarah-violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter

Starring: Alia Shawkat, John Early, John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner, Brandon Michael Hall

Rating: A-


A lot of articles have described Search Party as the millennial Nancy Drew and that was pretty much all I needed to hear to start this oddball of a show.

Search Party is the type of dark absurdist comedy that I normally don’t get. The absurd is usually too absurd and the comedy too black for me to really enjoy. But Search Party, Search Party is something special and likewise wholly original from what I normally watch. It features Dory Sief, who at the beginning of the show, sees a missing person flyer of Chantal Witherbottom who went to college with her. Dory has only bumped into her once when she dropped her teddy bear while moving into college. But somehow Dory becomes obsessed with finding her believing Chantal to hold a greater purpose in life for her than running mindless errands for a rich, lonely housewife and coming back home to a loveless relationship with her boyfriend, Drew Gardner. She sets out to find Chantal, stringing along Drew, and her friends Elliot Goss, cliche in his flamboyance and Portia Davenport, ditzy and a little naive.

Search Party is a satire of millennials, of self-obsession, and of the social media that perpetuates this self-obsession. These themes are hidden underneath characters who seem harmless at first but as they are pushed to their limits, (especially in season 2 where they have to keep up with the repercussions of their actions in Season 1), they slowly show their true layers underneath. Although Drew is passive, in Season 2, we see him do whatever it takes to get the job he desires dragging down anyone and everyone he can; he reveals himself to be just as cunning and clever as the other characters. We cheer and clap when these characters are given their due but we also feel a little guiltily sympathetic. Although we know that Dory has an ulterior motive to finding Chantal Witherbottom whom she believes is in danger, we at first think it is either amusing or slightly absurd but we go along with it because what’s the harm? We laugh at the dry humor and the character’s harmless attempts at trying to find Chantal but it quickly devolves into something more sinister.

Our four main characters are incredibly unlikeable. They are entitled, selfish, and unapologetic and unaware of both.  When Dory announces Chantal’s death to her group of friends, Elliot immediately dismisses it but then pulls out his phone to tweet about his sorrow at her disappearance. It is a testament to this show that the moment is disturbing but also incredibly funny and oddly enough, relatable.

The show never demands us to like them as so many shows with despicable characters do.  But instead the show lays the onion on the table, and slowly peels back the layers one by one until the core character is revealed. You don’t have to sympathize with them and yet they are so oddly relatable without someone demanding that they be relatable to us. In fact, tragic backstories are never revealed so there’s not an automatic stake for sympathy. Their few moments of vulnerability are less touching than desperate and frustrating. The ending of Season 1 was incredibly satisfying, surprising, and most importantly, original from so many murder mystery plot twists.Search (1)

Even though this show is definitely a character study, the mystery is just as compelling and gripping especially in Season 2. In both seasons, the progression of the mystery serves to amplify who the characters already are. What will happen if desperate Dory does not find the answer she is looking for in finding Chantal? What will happen when the carpet of privilege and wealth is swept under Elliot Goss’s feet? I think Season 2 is actually better than Season 1 because the stakes are higher. Plot twist after plot twist is revealed. The characters do crazier things because the stakes are higher but their actions are so true to their characters. What’s also compelling is that the side characters including Julian, Dory’s ex-boyfriend who is very blunt, Chantal, ditzy and spoiled, and most notably, Dory’s and Drew’s next door neighbor, April who i certifiably crazy and unpredictable. It is great that they become so fleshed out as they inadvertently become more and more embroiled in Dory’s affairs.

Search Party does not fit the mold of the usual TV show I watch but it is incredibly brilliant in its portrayal of its characters combined with a sharp script and breakneck pacing, it is something I’m wholly glad I gave a chance.



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Reviews: A TV Show, A Movie, A Drama

For Beginners

Stranger Things season 2 was an inevitable thing considering the enormous popularity of the first season. As a whole, I think it succeeds but I have a few qualms. First of all, my feelings about the side characters are two fold. On the one hand, I struggle to see how they stand on their own throughout the season; I even question some of their significance such as Maxine’s stepbrother who is a dick for basically no other reason than being a dick. With that said, however, some of the success of Stranger Things is the fact that it juggles so many characters but gives each one their moment in the spotlight. It takes a while for some of the characters to show their true deal and sometimes I feel the side characters are just used to create tension in the plot like Bob.

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As conflicted as I feel about the side characters, I do like that the show continued to expand our core cast of characters with the exception of Will and Joyce. I wish Will hadn’t spent the entire season unconscious or confused or seeing visions. I think there wasn’t enough time for him to really develop as a character what with him being entirely missing in S1 and unconscious for much of S2. I also wish Joyce didn’t spend all season screaming. However, I feel as though the dynamics of the group are ever evolving in a good way. They are each trying to find their own identity outside of the group and because of that they spend a significant amount of time away from each other. Dustin discovers a new creature that he wants to keep despite the group’s skepticism. Mike is still trying to get Eleven back. Lucas is grappling with his feelings for Maxine. I’m very pleased with Eleven’s story arc as well even though the storyline with finding her mom was a little tedious. She finally figures out what her powers mean to her and how she wants to use them.

I have to say I was so very happy about what happened between Nancy and Jonathan, my OTP of this show. I like that Nancy really got to shine on her own. It was somewhat marred by the fact that Steve did not get any closure from this but I’ll take it and hope he gets some more development next season. And let me just say, I did not know I needed Steve as an unwilling babysitter till now. I completely love Steve as a character this season. He is an incredibly funny character and he plays it just right.

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The cliffhanger was unsatisfying to me because I thought the entire season was about just this thing (that I won’t spoil). The plot continued to be compelling and it definitely got pretty gruesome at parts for a family show but I’m all for it. But side note, what is up with all the cliche one-liners? B+

For Beginners (1).png

Lady Bird is only one of a slew of coming of age movies that I’ve had the pleasure to watch in the past couple of years. It’s about a girl named Christine, or as she dubs herself, “Lady Bird”, in her final year of high school. I have to say it’s one of the most stylistically unique. It moves in vignettes and mere snapshots of Lady Bird’s life with no sense of beginning, middle, or even end. It just feels like you’re watching little video clips spliced together as she tries to figure out to get out of California and get into college to a school on the East Coast. She is misunderstood but that misunderstanding is as much a result of her own perception of herself as those of the perceived perceptions of her from the people around her such as her father, her brother, her friends, her love interests, and especially her mom. A hodgepodge of juxtapositions herself, she is romantic but crass, she is delusional but also very grounded in reality, she is an outcast but wants to fit in.

Image result for lady bird movie gif

She has a frustrating relationship with her mom and I like that they spend an equal amount of time focusing on all her relationships, romantic, familial, and friends.

No scene really begins with a clear purpose; no scene ends with a clear resolution. It could just be a clip of her and her mom shopping at the mall and then cutting to a scene of her at school. It is beautifully acted, often feeling more improv than scripted which is only a testament to the natural dialogue. Everything feels just well balanced. A lovely coming of age movie. A

For Beginners (2)

It is rare for me for me to have completed a kdrama and give it a B. Usually, I know it’s a B from the first few episodes and just quit it. You can see from my previous reviews of Descendants of the Sun, Age of Youth, Signal, and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo that I gave all of them A’s and if I didn’t, such as Tomorrow with You, I have already stopped watching by the 3rd episode. Despite the cons of the drama, I loved the poignancy of this drama and what it has to say about the institution of marriage. Ji Ho is a quiet, mousy 30 year old who wants to make it as a writer. She desperately needs a room while she is looking for jobs after quitting her first one as an assistant writer. She finds a room with Se Hee who just wants a roommate who will recycle and look after his cat and pay the rent so he can pay back his debts. They don’t ask for much from life, just a place to stay, food, and the ability to watch soccer games in their spare time.

Image result for because this is my first life cat

They fall in love, obviously, as one can only expect in a kdrama. This will not be the first time there is a marriage contract based korean drama nor will it be the last. It is, however, unique in many ways. Even though Ji Ho and Se Hee are the main characters, they are not exactly the type of main characters I usually gravitate towards and they are not charismatic enough to hold the storyline together. It’s a good thing then that the show focuses also on Ji Ho’s two best friends, Ho Rang and Soo Ji and interesting opposite studies on their own. Ho Rang goal in life is to get married, have kids, and be a good housewife. Soo Ji works at a big male-dominated company and dreams of becoming a CEO of her own company. The drama directly explores gender dynamics in a relationship such as proposals, sexual harassment in the workplace, and patriarchy in the family head on. The very subjects that Korean dramas never, ever, ever explore.

It’s even better that the drama does not take any sides on these issues but instead portrays the characters to the best of its ability and allows viewers to make their own opinion. It does not take Ho Rang’s side or Soo Ji’s side or even Ji Ho’s side although it could be said that it supports all these characters equally in their endeavors. On top of that, I will always support a drama that supports their female friendships. It asks us if she can live her life even if she doesn’t become her life-long career of being a writer. It tell us how complicated but how simple it is to love someone. And most importantly, it asks these characters what it means to live a meaningful life to them.

Image result for because this is my first life

The main reason for my B rating are the last few episodes. I think it’s a shame that the previous explored these issues so deeply and carefully that the rushed last episodes felt like a bow slapped onto an almost finished present. I was especially dissatisfied with Ho Rang’s ending. I think what hurt the drama was that the writers thought, as with all kdramas, that there had to be an HEA when it would have been perfectly fine and even more emotionally enriching to have a more ambiguous ending. However, its poignant moments and its thoughtful dialogue on what it means to live a meaningful life make this worth watching. B


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TV Review: Master of None Season 2

Image result for master of none season 2 poster

Title: Master of None

Season: 2

Created by: Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang

Episodes: 10 (S2)

Starring: Aziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, Alessandro Mastronardi

Rating: A



I’ve never seen a comedy quite like Master of None. I don’t even know if comedy is the right way to describe Season 2. It still feels like a comedy albeit in a very dry and sometimes satirical way but it’s barely even funny. However, it was definitely not afraid to push the boundaries of TV style and combined with its incredible sense of intimacy and its wise notes on relationships and connection, it comes out all the more unique and better for it.

We left Season 1 when Dev and Rachel ended their relationship and Dev makes the split second decision to go to Italy to learn more about pasta making. Right off the bat, we see a unique change in TV style. The entire first episode is shot in black and white, lending itself to old vintage films and the stereotypical romance of Italy. And subsequently it follows him as he goes back to New York to resume his acting career and his search to find a connection with someone. What continues to strike me about MoN is how much it meanders. There will be several scenes in one episode of him sharing good food with good friends. It’s most likely just them saying how good the food is. Usually, I hate it when shows lack focus and have no sense of where they are going but that aspect was oddly charming in MoN. It felt authentic and confident. It felt like a coming-of-age that just shows you how much you can grow and change even when it seems you’re a 30 some year old man who is adulting and suppose to have all your shit together.

Dev gets a gig hosting Clash of Cupcakes (a satire of cooking shows) and while it pays the bills, he struggles to find emotional fulfillment from it. Similarly he tries to find fulfillment in his relationships as well even when dating in the social media world is messy, weird, and overly complicated for its own good. In the first episode he meets someone who he has a connection with but unfortunately gets his phone stolen and cannot contact her again. In a standout episode with a wonderful editing style, Dev is on a date with someone he met on a dating app and he asks the question “How many siblings do you have?”. She answers and then the scene seamlessly cuts to several other first dates he’s had answering the same question conveying the rote dryness of first dates but also the feeling of euphoria when you have found someone you have an automatic connection with.

Many of the episodes focus on Dev’s pursuit of love but it also doesn’t gloss over his friends’ lives as well. In another standout episode and probably my favorite one of the entire season, was “Thanksgiving” which chronicles some Thanksgivings in Dev’s life from 1990-2017 which he always happens to celebrate at Denise’s house with her mother, aunt and grandmother. The growth that Denise goes through in this half hour is something else. Her relationship between her mom and grandmother, her relationship with Dev and her relationship with her girlfriends are all flawlessly woven throughout this episode. They have definitely shown an original coming-out story. When Denise comes out to her mom, it is so intimate and emotional but it is not an all consuming event. It does not feel like an ultimatum, a do or die, but an expected confession made in a diner. Even if you don’t like this show, I guarantee you will like these two episodes.

As with Season 1, Season 2 eventually starts focusing on Dev’s relationship with this one woman that he has a connection with. It does deal with infidelity and I was worried it was going to fall into cliche territory but, without giving away spoilers it didn’t. I think most of that has to do with how Dev’s and Francesca’s relationship progresses. It wasn’t obvious, at least to me, who Dev’s “Rachel” was going to be this season. I think it sometimes veers into Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory but it’s still respectful to its characters and their point of view.

Still from Master of None's season 2 on Netflix

I love the show’s ultra dry humor that you sometimes can’t tell is suppose to be funny or not. The show also an ode to the place he resides in which is the one and only New York with all the celebration of the diversity that exists in NY. These 10 episodes span from half an hour to an hour and a half flawlessly stylizing its cinematography to match the tone of each episode.

He has made so many relatable observations about what it’s like to live in the modern world. It’s really the uncertainty that Dev feels that really carries this show. The uncertainty of his feelings for Francesca and when he knows it, the uncertainty of how to continue a relationship with her, the uncertainty of his friends’ romantic lives (shouldn’t they be married by now? they wonder) and this uncertainty over this need for a connection with someone amidst the superficiality of small talk and the like. At the end of “The Dinner Party”,  Dev and Francesca are taking an Uber back to their respective places and after Francesca departs, we spend 3 minutes just on Dev as the Uber takes him home with only the sound of the car as noise and a curt “bye” as the only piece of dialogue. It is instantly relatable and fiercely intimate at the same time.

MoN was, if anything, even better than Season 1 because it was discusses the same topics of Season 1 but expresses them in riskier ways that just work. It’s a must watch.


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Mini TV/Movie Reviews: Animation

So I’ve noticed I’ve been watching a lot more animation lately. Usually, animation is not something I normally gravitate towards especially animated TV and anime but there are always exceptions (See Voltron: Legendary Defender). I do tend to like animated movies more just because there are studios like Disney and Pixar that are always making really good content but even then I usually they don’t have quite as much emotional impact on me as they seem to on other animated fans but again there are exceptions (See Zootopia). And the ones I’ve seen recently are as expected a hit or miss.

Tangled Before Ever After (TV Movie) & Tangled: The Series

Starring Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi|Disney Channel | Currently 4 episodes released

Image result for tangled the seriesI’ll admit I was pretty excited but also really hesitant about watching these two. I didn’t know how well the 3D CGI would translate to 2D. The movie animation was absolutely stunning and I was worried the TV show would lose a lot of the feel of the original. But I was totally surprised. At first look, the 2D looks juvenile and a little sloppy but after watching it, it is absolutely stunning in its own way. The background and scenery are so bright and vivid but really detailed at the same time. They look like drawings in a picture book. It also helps that the voice actors for Eugene and Rapunzel are the same as in the movie and they do an equally good job in this one. The TV movie and TV series take place after the events of the 1st movie but before the Tangled short film where Eugene and Rapunzel get married. The first few episodes that have been released follow Rapunzel as she learns how to be a princess after being locked up in a tower. The relationship between Rapunzel and Eugene is just as cute and cheesy but there are worse things to show in a relationship than being cheesy. It is very healthy and respectful and I do like that they are getting separate storylines as they each figure what they want to be. There’s also a new character that’s introduced, Cassandra, who is Rapunzel’s lady-in-waiting and she’s awesome. She’s fearless and adventurous and a great foil for Rapunzel. She has an interesting hate relationship with Eugene which is fun. The storylines aren’t terribly original and I can forgive that because the show is very clearly targeted towards very young children (8-12) but they are refreshing in many ways and just solid storytelling. Fun and easily bingeable. I have a feeling shows based on popular Disney movies are going to continue being a thing in the upcoming years. I am particularly excited for the Big Hero 6 show coming out this Fall (again 2D) and the voice actors for most of the original cast will be the same which is exciting.


Created by Guillermo Del Toro | Season 1: 26 episodes | DNFed: Episode 7 |Netflix

It’s very clear to me from seeing Pacific Rim and now Trollhunters that Guillermo Del Toro has such an imaginative and epic visionary style but I wish he paid as much Image result for trollhuntersattention to his stories. The world of the Trollhunters is riddled with interesting trolls and troll lore. The city that the Trolls reside in is beautifully animated (in the same CGI as Tangled) but as beautiful as the animation is, the story is lacking soooo much. It is overly cliche with by-the-book humor and one-note characters. It has the bare bones of an underdog-turned-hero story. Our hero, Jim Lake, is living in the suburbs with his doctor mom. He is kind of the outcast of the school and is bullied by the blonde-haired jock at school. His best friend, Toby, is the fat and lovable sidekick who is obviously fodder for a bunch of fat jokes. And to add on top of this mountain of cliches, he has a crush on one of the girls at school but of course does not think he is good enough for her attentions. But he’s a special snowflake so he finds this jewel and turns out that he is the savior of the trolls. Do you see where this is going? Much like the Kaijus and the Jaegers, the Trolls are extremely well-designed and varied. I really wanted to like this show because it seems like a show that I would like but 7 episodes in, I just couldn’t get past the bland storytelling. I’ve heard it gets less cliche as it goes on with the side characters getting their own development separate from their association with Jim but I don’t have enough patience to stick around.

Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Directed by Makoto Shinkai | Based on the manga: Your Name by Makoto Shinkai

This is one of those unfortunate instances where I’m wondering if everyone is watching the same Image result for your namemovie as me. I won’t deny that the animation and directing is beyond gorgeous. Much like Hayao Miyazaki’s films, the animation is hyper realistic and detailed especially in its scenery. But the storyline falls so flat for me. I think my biggest problem with the story is the fact that they were trying to insert 3 whole storylines into 1 movie which was too much and each storyline suffered because of it. What I thought I was getting was a body swapping storyline and eventually a romance but then halfway through, that sort of changed and went into more fantastical explanations for why this was happening that felt contrived. And to be honest, I didn’t really need to know why the body swapping was happening. And because of this deviance in plot, the characters never get past the stage of typical high school teens. In fact the things that happen when Mitsuha and Taki switch bodies are completely forgotten the next time they go back to their own bodies which makes me wonder how the fuck they could fall in love. And the parts where the relationship is being developed is filmed in a montage which is just annoying. This might just be me, however, I don’t like “they are bound by fate” storylines but I still felt like these storylines were not integrated well enough and felt like they were totally separate storylines. And then that random plot point at the end??

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And at the end, I just didn’t care about these characters and I was just bored. There are two reviews that explain my thoughts in a more well-written manner, however be warned they both contain spoilers.

Review #1 | Review #2

Let me know if you’ve seen any of these and what you thought of them (especially Your Name). And if you have any animated recommendations for me, I’d love to know 🙂


tv review

TV Review: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Related image

Title: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Written by: Yang Hee-Seung (Oh My Ghostess)

Directed by: Oh Hyun-Jong

Country of Origin: South Korea

Starring: Lee Sung-Kyoung, Nam Joo-Hyuk

Episodes: 16

My Rating: A

All gifs are not mine; most come from

It was honestly a travesty to me when I was watching this beauty of a show that it had very poor ratings and didn’t do very well domestically most likely because it was up against Legend of the Blue Sea.  And honestly I have to ask, why?? It has its flaws but honestly, this show has so, so much to offer. Based on South Korean Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Jang Mi Ran’s personal life, it is essentially a coming-of-age (is anyone surprised, I love CoA) as Bok Joo navigates university and love and friendship. This drama just made my heart feel so full, there is no other way to describe it. It also sounds cheesy but I felt so happy as I was watching as if I was stuck in my own little world with these adorably genuine characters that I grew to love.

As light as it is, it is sad that this drama couldn’t have casted a heavier girl to play Bok Joo as this is a show about weightlifters for heaven’s sake. It especially hurts because throughout this drama,  Bok Joo is insecure about her being overweight, not because she thinks needs to change but because she feels she won’t get a guy because of her weight and people around her constantly tell her that she’s perfect the way she is but the fact that they casted a really skinny actress sort of undermines those statements, sincere as they are. It’s sort of like falsely complimenting someone on what they’re wearing and but then telling them you would never wear it yourself. However. However. I think this drama’s heart is still in the right place. These are the top five reasons you should be watching this lighthearted but hard-hitting drama.

  1. The OTP

Ladies and Gentlemen, this OTP. This OTfuckingP. Forget W. Forget Legend of the Blue Sea. This couple should have won that Best Couple Award on the MBC awards. On all the network awards tbh except kbs because ya know. But this couple is everything. And the reason they work so well together for me is because this is one of the few dramas that truly knows how to execute the hate to friends to lovers trope. Because long before they even realize an inkling of their feelings for each other, they already do so many of the things that lovers do for each other. They genuinely like talking to each other and can go out and have fun with each other but they’re also each other’s biggest cheerleader.

It always warmed my heart when Bok Joo would feel insecure about other boys not liking her because of her weight but Joon Hyung would always tell her, without hesitation, that she was pretty without any sort of romantic connotation. And when Bok Joo would pray for Joon Hyung to win his swimming competitions. Ugh, the feels <3. Usually when the hate to friends to lovers trope is used, drama writers will skim the friends part or skip it altogether to get to the love part. But allowing Bok Joo and Joon Hyung’s feelings and relationship to progress organically, it just feels so much more believable and more importantly, gives me a sense as to why they are together. Not to mention, that Bok Joo and Joon Hyung have some of the best chemistry ever.


Their hugs and the way they lovingly and playfully touch each other, as friends and as lovers, are some of the most natural and realistic I’ve ever seen which only sells their love even more. Remember, writers, hugs can be just as swoonworthy as kisses if done right.

Their relationship is so interesting to watch and they’re always butting heads and there’s always conflict but their love and support for one another is so admirable and something that honestly, every on-screen and off-screen relationship should strive for.

2. The OTP’s family and friends

In a lot of Asian families, the concept of “tough love” is almost always practiced where harsh discipline equates to love. When it comes to a lot of parents in Korean dramas, it mostly consists of yelling and then when something tragic happens to the parent (usually dementia), the child will inevitably apologize for being a bad daughter or son. Even in Reply 1997, family dynamics usually consisted of the dad yelling at Shi Won nonstop only pausing for the more sentimental moments. Although I understand this is a cultural thing, I still found it really refreshing that WFKBJ detracts from that formula. Bok Joo’s dad and Joon Hyung’s aunt and uncle verbally show their love. Bok Joo’s dad would always defend Bok Joo calling her cute and even though she was a troublemaker, if anyone else said so, her dad would immediately shut them up. Joon Hyung’s aunt always showers him with smiles and harmless jabs. Maybe it’s the Western culture in me talking because usually Asian families don’t express their love so openly but nevertheless I still appreciated it because it felt like a combination of Western and Asian parenting. But the parents never felt like overly eccentric and cutesy parents that sometimes Western sitcoms have. You can always see that they will support their kid 100%, but they had their flaws and their “I know what’s best for you moments”. I think it’s always nice to see nice parental role models who aren’t constantly yelling at their kids even if it’s for their own good. We get to seem them struggle with parenthood and realize that they are people that make mistakes as well and so they are just as beholden to their kids as their kids are to them. And speaking of supportive network, there’s also two friends that Bok Joo spends most of her time with and they are such friendship goals. Nan He is fun and flirtatious while Seon Ok is no nonsense and practical and they both provide a humorous foil to Bok Joo.

I also found the dynamic between Jooh Hyung and his roommate so amusing and hilarious. Although I did feel bad for him because Joon Hyung kept ditching him and relying on him to make up cover stories. Even though this drama had a realistic quality, it still retained a certain magical/fairytale quality because even though this drama showed the deep-seated conflict behind every family you know that not everyone has such a supportive group of friends and family that love you so much. Sometimes it is just so nice to see TV friends and family unconditionally support Bok Joo especially when she is this age and she’s undergoing a lot of changes and discoveries about who she is. Not everyone has that and it’s nice to see that maybe this is possible. Joon Hyung’s brother is the sweetest and most caring cinnamon roll to grace any TV show and he gets his own little storyline and it was so cute. I also loved the interactions between the coaches and the weightlifting team.

3. The “bitchy” second love interest

I was watching Witches’ Castle last month (not by choice) and of course, there’s the heroine and then there’s Hee-Jae, the lady with the bright red lipstick, who has to fulfill the role of hysterical second love interest who will do anything to get the man she’s supposedly in love with. I’m sure long-time kdrama lovers know this trope well. There’s another love interest–usually pretty–who will do everything, legal and illegal, to get back with the main love interest. Usually this sexist trope just inspires a lot of girl-on-girl hate and is suppose to amplify how great the main leads are but instead just seems contrived and melodramatic. And in the end, she goes to jail or something so viewers can feel vindicated. I was afraid for a time that the writers were going to trap Si Ho into this despicable trope but I should have trusted them because the trajectory of Si Ho’s character was just beautiful.


And even the fact that she stubbornly tries to make Joon Hyung like her even though he clearly has no residual feelings for her is an extension of the way she wants to fit everything under her control not the fact that she just has to be that way because it’s needed for extra drama. She struggles with controlling the things that are uncontrollable in her life like her parent’s impending divorce so she turns to controlling what she can (like her eating habits). Yet she continues to compete in professional gymnastics even though she doesn’t even know if this is something she even wants to do. I truly felt for her. Throughout the drama, she struggles to find where she belongs, to be comfortable with who she is. Her last competition scene in the drama brought tears to my eyes. I was just so happy that her character was given the dignity and respect that she deserved.



Surprisingly the thing that kept this drama from sailing off into a bubble of permanent happiness was how little angst there was. Everything happened so organically and plot twists happened at just the right time for it to feel hard-hitting. These characters felt so real because they weren’t dealing with earth-shattering drama but just your normal everyday school drama. And yet the everyday drama felt important from Bok Joo buying a hairclip to impress the boy she liked to the rivalry between the weightlifting team and the gymnastics team, everything really capturing that time in youth where these little things felt important. That’s not to trivialize them but to revel in them. Sometimes the best part of your youth was just spending time eating with your friends while your dad cooks really awesome chicken for you.

It’s also really funny and the humor mostly consists of the characters finding themselves in awkward situations but it just worked instead of coming off as forced. Yet as non-angsty and light hearted as it was, that doesn’t mean it shied away from devastating parts of a coming-of-age story from mental illness to filial duty etc. From familial relationships, where Joon Hyung reconciles with his mom who abandoned him to the struggle of finding what you want to do with your life but falling out of love with it and trying to find what you were meant to do instead. 

5. The visuals!!! The cinematography and editing!!

Despite the contemporary university setting, I found myself loving this world that Bok Joo was in. This was helped by the bright, saturated color palette and the solid, minimalist color blocking. It just gave the visuals a sort of airy feel.

I also never thought I’d say I liked watching eavesdropping scenes in a K-drama but here I am loving those scenes mostly because the camera was showing the scene as less of a plot device than a way to reveal character emotion. And the editing was so great. It effortlessly cuts from a happy, top-of-the-world scene to a more emotional, grounded scene that simultaneously makes you feel both happy and sad. I loved it. It never self-indulges on a particular storyline for too long and even the smallest side characters get a storyline that never feels intrusive. This is even more impressive because sometimes the side characters would get a small storyline in the middle of the drama that would still feel satisfying. Not to mention that the drama comes with such a sweet soundtrack ranging from rock to the usual piano. Listening to the soundtrack while writing this makes me so emotional already.

It probably seems to redundant to mention that all of the acting was so natural and impressive. Nam-Joo Hyuk is effortless in conveying multiple emotions in one look. And just to add a cherry on top of all this, mah bae Lee Jong Suk made a cameo as a character from W in one of the episodes ❤ and it was brilliant. It made me a lot happier than it probably should have.

This drama is quite literally the perfect pick-me-up for those days when everything is going wrong, but it doesn’t have fluffiness to recommend, it has a touching story about a weightlifting girl who tries to find her place in this world. As always, you can watch this drama for free and legally on or



Book to Movie Review · movie reviews · tv review · Uncategorized · What I've Been Watching

What I’ve Been Watching: Winter 2016-2017

Because I always seem to do these in big groups, I thought why not just do seasonal wrap ups of what I’ve watched; winter meaning November-February (so far). As always, I will be listing all the movies first and then TV shows. I have links to my reviews. I decided to do something different this time and rank them from my least favorite to favorite of the season. So least favorites are at the top, favorites at the bottom of that specified list. I also added a letter rating to each. And sorry for being the most inconsistent person ever, these wrap ups always look different every time I do them. If anyone is interested in talking spoilers,  leave a comment tagging spoilers or hit me up on my Goodreads or email me at or you can even message me on Tumblr =). 


Image result for ms peregrine home for peculiar children movie poster        Related image

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Fantasy, Family Movie, Book to Movie Adaptation | Director Tim Burton| Review

Overall, I was pretty disappointed; it was just so uninspiring. It seems that for every one great Hunger Games movie, we have to get at least 50 duds. D

Me Before You

Romance, Melodrama | Featuring Emilia Clarke, Sam Clafin | Review

I was also pretty meh about it. It wasn’t totally horrible thanks to the cinematography but I didn’t expect much and I got pretty much exactly what I thought I would get. No tears were lost in the process of watching. But maybe a good Valentine’s Day movie..if you have a bottle of strong liquor with you. C

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Wonder Woman: Animated Original Movie (2009)

DC Comics adaptation, Animation, Children’s | Director Lauren Montgomery, Written by Gail Simone

Because I’m freaking obsessed with Wonder Woman now, I thought that I would try and watch some of the movies. Sadly, this was just ok. But Wonder Woman was so well-animated as a person like girl crush alert. And she is just so badass. Steve Trevor, however, was just weird and a womanizer in a creepy and annoying way. If you take away all the lines he says about creepily flirting with women, you’d only have around 3 lines left. It’s pretty good for a TV movie but nothing great to rewatch or seek out if I hadn’t already had a predisposition to WW. B-

The Dressmaker (Australia 2015)

Historical Fiction, Revenge, Comedy-drama | Featuring Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth

This movie tries hard but ultimately does not sustain itself in my opinion, I mean this movie has won a bunch of awards. Kate Winslet is good in it and so was Liam Hemsworth but they are not enough to carry the whole movie. It also hosts a cast of quirky side characters that are not odd enough to be quirky and not interesting enough to be compelling. The story itself was also way too linear and simplistic to warrant such a long movie. It could have been cut in half. The ’50’s costume design was a feast for the eyes though. B-

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantasy, Family Movie | Director David Yates, Written by JK Rowling

So I finally got to watch this and honestly I was a little disappointed. I think it’s because there was no sense of urgency throughout. Grindelwald was mentioned at the beginning of the movie and then not again until really the end. There were just so many loopholes and inconsistencies in the magic system (why is everyone so careless about doing magic in front of Muggles, excuse me, No-Majs) it didn’t really even feel like the wizarding world sometimes. But it was so much fun getting to learn about the different creatures (can I please get a Niffler) and Eddie Redmayne is always great in whatever he does; he is such a precious cinnamon roll as Newt. I can’t really see anyone else as Newt. The other characters were good (how sweet is Jacob??) but the romances were kind of boring. I say that but the ending made me tear up a little. I did NOT think they would go there. Also, petition to open a Jacob Kowalski bakery please and thank you. And after watching this, I’m wondering how they have enough material to sustain 4? more movies. B

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Train to Busan (Korea 2016)

Post Apocalyptic, SciFi, Zombies | Director Yeon Sang-Ho Featuring Gong Yoo | Review

Train to Busan lacks in anything substantial thematically but it was still a lot of action fun and the immediacy of the zombie transformation heightens the suspense into more good fun. B+

Mustang (Turkey 2015)

Contemporary, Drama | Director Deniz Erguven | Review

A quietly feminist movie about 5 orphan girls dealing with the restrictions of freedom and sexuality placed on them. A-

Wadjda (Saudi Arabia 2012)

Contemporary, Drama | Director Haifaa Al-Mansour | Review

Wadjda-A charming and feminist movie about a girl who wants to own a bike. A

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La La Land

Musical, Magical Realism, Romance | Director Damien Chazelle, Featuring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling | Review

Despite the simplicity of the storyline, La La Land boasts an inspiring color palette along with stunning technical visuals and two charming and romantic leads. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy and inspired inside and I love it for that. A

The Edge of Seventeen

Comedy, Coming-of-Age, High School | Featuring Hailee Steinfeld

I know this movie slipped under the radar among the giants of Oscar bait but that’s such a shame because it is a hilarious and honest coming-of-age movie. I know it seems like a teen comedy that doesn’t have much to offer but its authentic screenplay (these are things teens would actually say!!) and an amazing lead performance (Hailee Steinfeld) catapult it above the rest. The side characters have a kind of depth beyond their stereotype that is rarely seen in teen movies and the love interest is Asian!! Props to him for actually being a 30-year-old but looking like a 17-year-old. How is that even possible? It has a lot of heart and sincerity combined with really funny jokes. I love this movie and I’ll definitely be rewatching it again. A

Want to Watch:


Hacksaw Ridge


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Seven First Kisses (Korea 2016)

Webdrama, Romance, Contemporary | Featuring Lee Cho-Hee, Lee Jong-Suk (aka bae), Lee Min-Ho, Ji Chang-Wook, Kai, Lee Joon-gi | Youtube | Finished

I’m going to be honest with you; I only watched this short webdrama (available on Youtube right now) because Lee Jong Suk was in it. He is too precious. And I loved his episode the most. But other than that, it was so cheesy and ultimately boring. I actually watched this in twice the normal speed which made it more entertaining lol.  Watch it if you have some eye candy you need to see more of. D

Sherlock Season 4

Mystery | Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman | BBC, PBS | Finished | Review

What even happened this season??? What even is Sherlock?? C

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The Abominable Bride

TV Movie, Historical Fiction, Mystery | Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman | BBC, PBS

Half of my enjoyment of this was due to the constant references to Sherlock’s hat and the ever cool transition and text scenes. The other half was due to the costume design. The rest was sort of forgettable. Shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone that it couldn’t have been a ghost? And if it wasn’t obvious, it shouldn’t be so obvious to the audience. Also, the ending really rubbed me the wrong way. B

W Two Worlds (Korea 2016)

Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Romance | Featuring Lee Jong Suk, Han Hyo-Joo | MBC | 16 episodes | Finished | Review -ish

I mentioned this in my honorable mentions of my favorite TV shows of 2016 and all the reservations that I had about it after episode 9 came true. Awkward…It was so illogical, inconsistent, Oh Yeon Joo’s character just devolved into a pawn for Kang Chul’s emotional development, and the ending was so abrupt and unsatisfying. However, something about it still kept me watching though so I give props to it. And even at its messiness, I still found it to be incredibly enjoyable and suspenseful. B

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The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

Crime/Court Drama | Featuring Sara Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, John Travolta | FX | 10 episodes | Finished | Review -ish

A compelling, bingeworthy drama worthy of its hype and praise. A

Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2

SciFi, Children’s, Animation | Produced by Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos | Netflix | 13 episodes | Currently finished with Season 2 | Review of Season 1

Oh man, this show is so dear to my heart and makes me so happy. I think I liked the second season even more than the first. The animation is definitely better especially the landscapes. It also got more heavily anime in my opinion but that’s definitely not a pro or a con. It is the definition of fun at its most finest. I love each and very one of these characters to death and I will defend them till I die. I don’t think I can wait another year for the next season to come out.  For the record, I ship Klance and Shallura 😉 A-/A (for ripping my heart in shreds)

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Insecure Season 1

Comedy, Contemporary | Created by Issa Rae, Larry Wilmore | HBO | 8 episodes | Season 1 Finished

I love Insecure soooo much. It’s about the friendship between two black women, their friendship, and exploring the realm of dating, jobs and everything in between during their late 20’s. It is funny with a diverse cast and so well executed. The humor is sarcastically dry which is just my type of humor. It slyly explores race, gender, and sexuality in a natural and underhand way. It was pretty steamy for a comedy but only in the last episodes and only sprinkled throughout as part of the narrative (although this is a show on HBO so what did I expect). It feels a lot like a Netflix show because one story arc will just bleed into the next episode to make the season one giant story and I binge watched in two days. Excluding the one distasteful Asian joke, I can’t wait for Season 2. A

The Americans Seasons 1 & 2

Spy Thriller, Melodrama | Featuring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys | FX | 13 eps per season | Finished Season 4, Season 5 starts March 2017

Why didn’t I watch this sooner??? It is so amazing. An amazing combination of family drama and spy action and mystery during the Cold War. The main two leads are Soviet spies and was arranged to be married to keep up their spy covers. They move to the US where their next door neighbor is an FBI agent working for counterintelligence to capture spies.  I love it because so much attention is paid to character layering and the two main leads are fast becoming my new OTP even though their relationship so messed up. They often have to form relationships with other people, platonically or sexually or even romantically to get information they need. There’s definitely not as much action as I would like sometimes but it’s great anyways. A

Currently Watching: 

Tomorrow with you (Kdrama)

Powerless (NBC comedy)

The Crown (Netflix show on Queen Elizabeth)

Secret Love Affair (Kdrama)

As always if you think I would like something based on what I’ve watched, let me know!! I’m always down for recommendations. 


tv review · Uncategorized

Spoiler Discussion: Sherlock Season 4

So as of the 20th of January, I have caught up to all episodes of the BBC Sherlock including the mini 7 minute episode on Youtube and The Abominable Bride. So unless there actually is a secret fourth episode (I wouldn’t put it past them) I’ll only be discussing Season 4, the three released episodes. SPOILERS.

I don’t know why the hat thing always gets me everytime LOL


Imagine my surprise when the show actually decided to focus on Mary this episode, a little bit out of the blue but interesting nonetheless. But I knew there was something suspicious about Moffat & co. suddenly giving a female character her own agency..and I was right. so Mary died and for what. Oh right, for more angst between Sherlock and John and for John’s angst. This was just poor decision making. We know that however sure and confident Sherlock was in thinking that he could protect John and Mary, it remains that Sherlock was not at fault for this. If Sherlock had done something himself to John like I don’t know, put him or Mary in danger purposefully for the “game” then John’s anger would make sense but it just feels anticlimactic. And, of course, this is also marred by the fact that John himself couldn’t confess his “affair” before she died so of course he felt guilty. Btw I didn’t even think that John could cheat. I don’t even understand why they put that plotline there. Plotwise, this episode was so plot twisty and not in a good way? Like the six Thatchers mystery was actually about Mary? It just felt like they wanted to add more and more plot twists on top of the other just for the sake of plot twists. Like a USB drive? Really?

Also, fanservice anyone?

Sidenote: I need more Sherlock babysitting Rosie. They are too precious together.


I’m kind of sad that Mrs. Hudson didn’t have a bigger role in this series because she is THE sass queen.
John: Can I borrow your car sometimes?
Mrs. Hudson: no
She is literal comedy gold. Sherlock just keeps getting better and better with their on screen transitions. It’s honestly a work of art. I loved the part when Sherlock and Eurus (apparently) are trying to deduce the mystery in a dark street and Sherlock is deducing it all from a worn note. That that part is my favorite scene should tell you how much I’m nostalgic for the old deductions of Seasons 1 and 2. Everything else was kind of just a mess. For one, Culverton Smith. He’s set up to be the mind blowing bad guy in this episode but he comes no where near as compelling as some of the villains of Season 1 let alone Moriarty. And the only reason why he was compelling was because Sherlock’s mental state was in a fragile state itself. And as the episode wore on, I found myself not caring whether Culverton had actually killed anyone. Maybe I just have no soul. Idk. And of course the fact that Sherlock even cares that Culverton is a despicable human being is kind of laughable because Sherlock has never cared how inhumane a villain is. All he cares about is if “the game’s afoot”. You can say he’s changed but has he really? Especially when you consider the fact that just last episode, he was considered as the godfather for Rosie and he was texting during the baptism and all these microaggressions. And then in the end, it turns out that John’s therapist is Sherlock’s secret sister?? I actually did not see that coming.
Sidenote: So do the CDs labeled “Miss Me” Moriarity’s? or Mary’s? I’m really confused about that.
So throughout the these 3 episodes, we’ve been teased with Miss Me? which by this point just felt like a gimmick, like the creators didn’t know how to hook the audience without Moriarity. I felt like screaming at the TV when Moriarty came to talk to Eurus and I assumed he was still alive but then the text said 5 years ago. And in the end, he didn’t even really have that big of a part in this whole scheme which completely ruins the point of teasing us about him all this time. I don’t get it.
I thought the tests themselves were really interesting. The sort of mind games that only Sherlock as a show can pull off. I actually really liked the whole Sherlock getting Molly to say I love You even though once again, the show decides to disrespect and emotionally manipulate Molly for Sherlock but it was interesting to see Sherlock break down like that.
Remember when everyone was freaking out when they saw this in the trailers? Good times.
It would have also been pretty interesting if he was forced to call Irene because I suppose she would have been far less susceptible although Molly is the far more emotional option.
It would have been really interesting to see Sherlock shoot Mycroft but I suppose that’s out of the question. I love it when Mycroft says “Brother mine” it is so endearing.
The ending was kind of anticlimactic. I just wanted more. The whole well thing was anticlimactic because obviously John was not going to die at this point. It’s hard to believe Sherlock feeling this gutted maybe because we never got to know yellowbeard and never really got to know SHerlock before he was an adult except for snippets from Mycroft. But the fact that Sherlock repressed these memories kind of proves that the creators didn’t know how else to fit the whole eurus storyline in without Sherlock knowing about it. And that ending felt a lot like a series finale. A very, very rushed one at that. So I’m not really that satisfied.
Sidenote: Sherlock’s parents that appear at the end were actually Benedict Cumberbatch’s real parents. I thought that was cute.
At this point, I don’t want a Season 5. I had a glimmer of hope that Season 4 was somehow going to improve on Season 3 but it actually regressed sadly. But Sherlock, despite its flaws, always manages to entertain me so I’ll always come back. I’ll just come back with a lot of reservation.