Archive | February 2022

The Undateables: More Matchmaking, Please

A sort of subset of Kdrama romcoms are those dealing with matchmaking agencies. The Undateables starring Namkoong Min (Awaken) and Hwang Jung Eum (She Was Pretty) is just such a one. For some reason Hwang’s characters always start over the top and then become normal. Not sure this makes the actress appealing, but it’s definitely a relief when the spastic humor stops. That being said, both leads are decent at comedy, though I prefer Namkoong in more serious fare.

Jung Eum, played by Hwang, is a former diving champion and now a matchmaker at a local dating agency. She’s not great at her job and through a serious of coincidences ends up getting Namkoong’s character, gallery owner and relationship expert, Hoon Nam to help her successfully breeze through a list of the agency’s most “undateable” clients. And of course the two fall in love in the process.

As a whole, the series was a fun watch and was very funny at times. The best parts were when the two leads were working on matchmaking other people. Sadly, this part of the plot was lost in other drama for awhile, but when it got back to that the show was more on track. Nearly all of the characters showed growth and change, which is always great to see, but some threads were dropped and never picked up again, like Jung Eum’s father’s ill health.

The minor characters were often hilarious, such as the prideful agency supervisor played by Baek Ji Won (Sell Your Haunted House), who to save face, bought a hideous pink jacket so expensive that she subsequently wore it every single day. The jacket itself almost became its own character, symbolizing both foolishness and stubbornness. The cutest couple was Oh Doo Ri (who had awesome style like Audrey Hepburn) and Kim So Wool (who has to be tracked via detective work), played respectively by Jung Young Joo (He Is Psychometric) and Kim Kwang Kyu (Pinocchio).

Another fun matchmaking drama is Dating Agency: Cyranro, although I didn’t care for the ending.

Weirdgorden, Episode Two

Author’s note: I ran out of time to finish this for today, so I’ll update it later this week. It’s a work in progress. Happy reading! –Pixie

Weirdgorden — The Store That Doesn’t Sell Anything

Episode Two

A busy street in a Midwestern City with snow on the sidewalks all around.  The store, Weirdgorden’s has all the lights on and the door sign is turned to Open. 

Inside we see Amy sitting at a table with a coffee and notebook in hand. She taps her notebook with the pen and stares at store clerks Charlotte and Larry, who are at the U-shaped counter unloading and cataloguing various soaps, lotions, and creams. 

Larry: Big shipment today.  You think Mr. Gorden’s branching out?

Charlotte:  Isn’t he always?  That woman is here again.  

Larry: I think she likes your coffee. 

Charlotte: (piling lotion tubes in her hand). She should, drinks enough of it. 

Charlotte comes out from behind the counter and starts organizing the bottles on a display rack.  When she’s done, Amy scurries from her seat to inspect the display while the clerks regard her curiously. 

Amy: No price tags—again!

Larry: (snorting) And why would there be, why would there be? (He stacks empty boxes and takes them through the swinging doors to the back. 

Charlotte asks if Amy wants another coffee, but she declines and returns to her seat. 

Charlotte: We close in an hour.  (She organizes fancy bar soaps in a pyramid on the counter. 

Ding! The door chimes as a husband and wife enter, the wife clearly dragging the husband.

Betty: See, dear, it’s a beauty shop!  Oh, just look at all these beautiful soaps and lotions!

Dave: Yes, hon. (He nods to Amy and Charlotte).  The wife’s looking for a gift for her mother. 

Charlotte: Ah, is that so?  (She smiles and goes back to her tasks)

Betty and Dave take some time choosing various soaps and lotions and Betty brings them up to the counter and piles them in front of the giant cash register.  Charlotte continues her tasks and Dave clears his throat very loud to get her attention.  All the time Amy scribbles notes in her notebook.  Charlotte reluctantly walks over to the register before looking hopefully at the door to the back room. 

Betty: The choices you have are so wonderful!  My mother’s in the hospital and they just do not understand beauty care, you know what I mean?

Charlotte: Oh, yes.  These are great items.  Imported, you know. (She looks at Betty expectantly, while Betty looks back equally expectantly)

After a minute with nothing happening, Dave clears his throat again, asking isn’t Charlotte going to ring up the items. 

Charlotte: (Waving a hand).  Oh, Larry’s already done that, dears.

Betty and Dave: Oh. Oh?

Charlotte pulls out a pretty store bag and begins putting the items inside.

Betty: How much…?  (But Charlotte doesn’t answer)

Dave:  (Whispering) Fifty, give her fifty.

Betty scrounges in her wallet for fifty dollars, but when she hands it to Charlotte, Charlotte laughs.  Amy stands up, watching closely. 

Charlotte: I don’t need your money.  Mr. Gorden pays me quite well, thank you. (She nudges the bag to the edge of the counter)

Betty:  Oh, but I have to pay for the soaps. 

Charlotte:  Pay for the soaps?  (She sighs)  And why would you do that?

Dave:  Look here, how much are all these items, anyway?  We want to pay for them and go on our way!

Charlotte:  We don’t sell soaps and lotions here.  Larry!  La—rry!

Finding You: Sentimental RomCom

It’s not often that I get into the sentimental stories, but Finding You starring Rose Reid and Jedidiah Goodacre was sweet. Maybe I just like movies set in Ireland and fiddling music, but I really enjoyed it and thought the banter between the two was fun. It’s also great to see the downside of celebrity and fame showcased. The acting wasn’t super great, but, boy, was the bad acting for the pretend dragon show fun. All in all it’s an inoffensive, sentimental romcom. I would now like to read the book, There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones. Also the “Cliffs of Insanity” a la The Princess Bride are in it. How can one not love that?

The life lesson in the story was mainly about holding grudges. What a waste of your life! What silliness to not even hear the other person out. How much one can miss out on. The silent treatment is a foolish, foolish human coping mechanism. but at the time, when we’re hurt, it seems reasonable, and then some just let it continue indefinitely. But we forget: We don’t know everything. We don’t know the whole story of the other persons actions and circumstances, perhaps only that they have hurt us. Finding out their side is sometimes vital to completely understanding the situation, for often it’s just that, a misunderstanding. And if both people aren’t communicating, well, lifelong grudges grow and fester. It’s just such a shame, but we’ve all been there and guilty of it. Anyway, it just reminded me how wonderful communication is. None of us–none of us–are mind readers. I can’t read your mind and you can’t read mine. This is so important to remember. Some people don’t even communicate to the other person that they are hurt and why, so the other person never really knows what happened. Some know they are being misunderstood, but have too much pride to clarify things or something. Anyway, it can all get to be such a mess and it’s a wonderful blessing when two people have a relationship where they can truly share and communicate with each other. What a wonderful thing.

Have a great Valentine’s Day and don’t forget to tell your loved ones that you love them! Everyone needs to hear it, even if they know it already.

It’s Groundhog Day…Again: Movie Memories

Growing up, we had several goto family movies that we watched. We favored other dark humor comedies like Better Off Dead starring John Cusack, and Clifford starring Martin Short (also The Breakfast Club coming of age story which is really not appropriate for kids, but TBS showed it quite often, so we had a censored version), but my personal favorite was: Groundhog Day.

What would you do with your life if you literally had forever? This is probably something humanity has wondered since death came into the picture at the beginning of the world. What amazing things could we do if we just didn’t die? Groundhog Day plumbs the great opportunity such a thing would present to a human, and also the great burden it would be to never die in a body and world so corrupted.

In what I think is his best performance ever, Bill Murray portrays weatherman Phil as he goes to the small town of Punxsutawney to cover their annual Groundhog Day celebration in which a groundhog, also named Phil, is consulted on whether or not we will have six more weeks of winter. This depends on whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not and is an odd tradition that we kids had never really heard of before the movie. It’s fun nonsense, I guess.

Although Groundhog Day came out in 1993, it is classic and has aged well. The themes in it are universal, the love story sweet. It has a timeless, everyday quality about it, with memorable performances not only from Murray, but Andie MacDowell (Cedar Cove) as Rita, and several character actors that populated a ton of Hollywood movies at the time. Phil has his worst day ever, stuck in the cold winter in a town he hates, and wakes up the next day to find out it’s not the next day: He’s reliving Groundhog Day again…and again.

How long Phil has to endure this time loop, we’re never told, but it’s long enough for him to become a piano virtuoso and learn French. It’s also long enough to learn the names and details of everyone in town on that day. At first Phil is frustrated and depressed that this has happened, but soon he realizes he can do whatever he wants without consequences. But as time passes, or rather does not pass, this has little appeal for him.

We see his sinister and manipulative side really come out in his romantic conquests, of which there are at least two, but there certainly could be more not included in the story, in which he learns whatever information about a woman he needs to get her to sleep with him. As the longest day ever continues, Phil actually falls in love with one of them, his charming, beautiful producer Rita. But Rita’s not as easy as the other girl, and Phil gets rejected far more times than a man could probably stand. He enters a dark phase in which he tries to kill himself repeatedly without success. This is dark comedy gold as Phil also kidnaps his groundhog counterpart, thinking if they both die this cycle will end. It doesn’t.

The cycle only finally ends with the vain, selfish Phil turns a corner and becomes a better person. Again, we don’t know how many Groundhog Days he goes through to get there, but it’s surely a lot, and through it all is a true love for both his fellow man and especially for Rita. It is heartwarming and wonderful to see him transform and amazing to see how Rita responds to this. He really sweeps her off her feet and does it all just by being a good, talented, unselfish person. He does the same good deeds every day even though he knows there’s ultimately no good consequences for him in a tomorrow that will never come. Punxsutawney becomes his home, the people who are there that day his family.

Finally, when Phil’s worst day ever has become his best day ever, and he gets the love of the woman of his dreams, then the cycle ends and he has a tomorrow. I always wondered what his life was like for him after all of that, and perhaps that would be some interesting fan fiction. It would also be interesting to see a modern remake of the story. As the name Phil is so oft repeated in the movie and some of its famous quotes, too, I always have a bit of sympathy for any guy named Phil on this day, because they perhaps get annoying people yelling the movie quotes at them. Ah, well, we all have our burdens to bear.

At once hilarious and endearing, Groundhog Day is wonderful writing and characterization and I’m sure will be something families watch again and again in the future. It allows us to dream, what if, and tells us, nope, such a journey would be far harder than you think it would. The love story is also great and I think the movie is perfect for Valentine’s Day. This was a time when Hollywood writers still believed that love and romance was true.