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Hi Bye, Mama! is a pure emotional roller coaster (Review)

Hi Bye, Mama! was recommended to me by a friend who shares my same interest in K-dramas. This 16-episode series was full of tear-jerking moments that almost made the show unbearable to watch.

Continue reading “Hi Bye, Mama! is a pure emotional roller coaster (Review)”

Abyss: Murder Mystery and Love (Netflix)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

I am ready to tackle the Koren Drama called Abyss starring the extremely popular Park Bo-Young playing Go Se-Yeon and handsome Ahn Hyo-Seop as Cha Min. Abyss is about two people brought back to life but in different bodies by a strange alien object. Together they embark on a journey to uncover an elusive killer wreaking havoc in Seoul and of course finding love on the way. Wish me luck as I do a drama deep-sea dive and give my recommendation.

In terms of originality and storyline, I would give this an A for effort. Korean dramas, though recycled, reinvent the premise around the typical love triangle with new elements of history, fantasy or politics. This drama does a good job of combining several genres.

Sometimes the drama gets awkward in terms of musical cues that don’t add to the moments. Also, there are forced product placements that take away from the story. It ended up being distracting and making me frustrated.

Plus, the mysterious alien object called Abyss towards the end was explained away horribly. It was like the writers were trying to be too mysterious or set up a season two and do a big reveal later.

The supporting actors do deserve an award for their performance. They helped move the story forward. Lee Si-eon, who previously was in the drama W, played the police detective and he was unforgettable. He had moments with fellow co-stars Song Sang-Eun, who played his ex-girlfriend. They had chemistry and served their purpose.

But a relative newcomer with less than 5 drama’s released named, Han So-Hee had the best performance. She played Cha Min’s missing in action fiancée and quickly outgrew her role, capturing the screen when she had to deliver. Alas towards episode 13, her storyline was cut off and she was tossed in the proverbial character trash bin. She needed more time.

Ahn Hyo-Seop plays the younger hot version of Cha Min after he is brought back to life early in episode one. Infatuated with his new looks and motivated to win his fiance back, he takes advantage of his new life by partnering with Go Se-Yeon on a murder mystery. He was the typical
hot guy persona. There were no distinct personality or character traits. But, he didn’t have a lot of chances to extend his range of performance and a lot of times I was distracted by the sometimes confusing storyline.

Park Bo-Young plays the younger average or “ugly” version of Go Se-Yeon when she is murdered, but she is revived by Cha Min. Having rejected Cha Min for over 30 years, she finally admits her love him and they team up to find her killer. Park Bo-Young was a game-changer in the industry and a great addition to the project.

After watching Abyss, I would recommend it. I admit to binging a few episodes in a row, but it showcases the originality of Korean Dramas as America continues to consume its entertainment. We all love to be sucked into a fantasy with good looking people in unrealistic
situations and Abyss accomplishes that. So K-drama lovers, this can scratch your drama fix for now.

What you can learn from My First First Love about relationships (review)

When I began to watch My First First Love on Netflix, I thought it was cringe-worthy. Honestly, I did cringe multiple times. The main male protagonist (Tae-o was self-centered and the main female protagonist (Song-i) was whinny. Both characters were annoying. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get into this story. Once I reached the end of episode one, I began to see a story develop and it’s a story that we can learn a lot from.

Personal Growth

At its core, the first season of My First First Love is a story is about growing up and relying on your will versus depending on others to work through your issues with or for you.

There are sub-themes as well. The characters in this story deal with depression, selfishness (especially regarding their parents), the growing pains of friendship, and abandonment ( a lot of abandonment).

In this series, fathers take the forefront of parenting and are mostly stern. Most of the characters have a strained relationship or non-existent relationship with their mother. As a result of the difficult relationships with their parents, the main characters seem to struggle to find themselves healthily. They seem to go through a depression and only find happiness out on their own.

This series is very emotional at points. Especially during the transition from campy to serious. Characters deal with betrayal and misplaced anger.

For example, Song-i moved in with Tae-o (her best friend of 20 years) after she was evicted because her mother left in the middle of the night leaving her in a foreclosed home. However, she was reluctant to stand on her own feet willingly. She eventually began a romantic relationship with another man (a friend of Tae-o’s) and only moved out when he expressed his discomfort.

Song-i relied a lot on Tae-o at the beginning of the series. That fact is mentioned a lot. And before she was evicted and her mother ran away, she relied on her mother who ended up verbal asking not to be bothered.

Tae-o’s perspective is a little different. His main conflict arrives when he is faced with defining what his friendship means with Song-i versus a budding romantic relationship. He struggled with how to define the boundaries of his relationships. Plus, he had to come to terms with his blooming feeling about Song-i in the process.

Acceptance of Truth

Season two became a story about acknowledging one’s feelings no matter how painful they may be. At this point, both Song-i and Tae-o were in romantic relationships with other people. However, the relationship that they built of 20 years never allowed them to fully invest in their partners.

For example, Do-Hyeon (Song-i’s boyfriend) had to figure out what being with Song-i meant to him versus accepting that she would never be fully his. Was holding on to her worth being a nervous wreck all the time?

Ryu Se-Hyeon (Tae-o’s girlfriend) also suffered from this realization. However, because she was never truly invested in her relationship with Tae-o, she was able to let go.

There are several other examples of acceptance in this series. Both O Ga-rin and Choe Hun came to terms that being with their parents hindered their ability to thrive and be happy. And Tae-o had to accept this his parents made a decision that they thought was best for him and despite how hurtful it may have initially felt.

Power of Friendship

Lastly, friendship is a key theme. Through the entire story the friendship that Tae-o, Song-i, O Ga-rin, and Choe Hun have carried them through their tribulations.

In this series, the power of friendship encouraged each character to be better than they were before. Many great moments showcased the importance of friendship in this series.

The story of My First First Love may have centered around Tae-o and Song-i realizing their feelings for each other, but the overarching themes of relationships, self-worth, growth, and acceptance are what made this series worth watching.

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