Oh, my heart…

libraryflirt photo ScreenShot2013-04-19at111933AM2_zps2e0f2f7d.pngI am so deeply, deeply in love with Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love. It’s like the drama creators looked into my heart and put all of my favorite things on screen, just for me. The sheer amount of flirty-flirty Crown Prince Lee Soon and Ok-jung get up to… I loves it!

Spoilers through ep. 4 below:

There’s flirty-flirty in a library (a library! love amongst book-love! oh show, have you been reading my diary?), flirty-flirty at a party, flirty-flirty in a washroom (much more romantic than it sounds — an open space filled with the flutterings of rich, colorful fabrics), flirty-flirty over swordplay, flirty-flirty in the woods… And both Kim Tae-hee and Yoo Ah-in are bringing their chemistry-creating A-game to their scenes. My computer screen melts whenever they make eye-contact.
washroomcollage photo washroomcollage_zps8d0e9dda.jpg

I adore a good romance. Honestly, part of the reason I’ve fallen so hard for K-dramas is that they do romance so well. And Jang Ok Jung is bringing the romance in spades. Every time Lee Soon and Ok-jung cross paths they meet cute. He’s rescued her in a variety of ways, from snooty party-goers to dangerous bandits. And she’s challenged his assumptions and wrong-footed him in turn. So it’s adorableness and gallantry, banter and sexual tension galore. All of the stuff I eat up with a spoon.

But! It’s not just a string of encounters between two star-crossed lovers — a self-indulgent repeating of romance-tropes. There is a strong story at work here. Both Lee Soon and Ok-jung are trapped in the confines of their station. And both are making a mighty struggle to break free. swordplay photo ScreenShot2013-04-19at114255AM1_zps42f61a03.png(I think that frustration and that struggle are what they both see and respond to in the other.) And I’m also adoring how cleverly the narrative is unfolding the intrigue and power plays underway.

Ok-jung wants to free her mother from slavery and free herself from her Uncle Jang’s clutches. Lee Soon wants to free the throne from Lord Min’s control (and corruption in general) and rule in a way that benefits his people. But Uncle Jang and Lord Min are formidable foes. And they each have their own agenda. Agenda’s that aren’t necessarily focused on our two main characters, but definitely require their being good little puppets.

Much of the power plays revolve around who will become Lee Soon’s wife. So our main’s aren’t the only puppets being played. And I also adore that the women coming in as possible brides are fully realized characters in their own rights. choicecollage photo choicecollage_zps4804916d.jpg(I love that In-hyun seems a truly good and principled person, despite her corrupt father.) That’s the reason I’m getting feminist-vibes from the storyline. The sisters aren’t really doing it for themselves (to misquote the famous song); it’s the Joseon era after all and their choices are severely limited. But they’re thinking for themselves — and I can see their thoughts and principles and desires shaking the strings of the men controlling them. (Certainly In-kyung nudged her father into accepting Lee Soon’s proposal, helping to cause the repercussions that decision will make.)

Though,  Ok-jung is fighting really, really hard to push the limits of her choices. In many ways she’s a modern heroine trapped in the past. pathos photo ScreenShot2013-04-19at115250AM_zpsc891402f.pngBut without the time-traveler’s knowledge that things will actually get better. Which makes her struggle that much more challenging and pathos-filled.

I am beyond eager to see the next episode. If this were a completed series I’d be forgoing sleep to watch it in its entire. As of right now, Jang Ok Jung owns my heart and I love it almost beyond the telling. The only question is how many times will I rewatch the episodes I do have before ep. 5 comes out?

(Super good news! The show is being recapped! Check out Koala’s Playground for her recaps.)

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12 thoughts on “Oh, my heart…

  1. Pingback: Oh, my heart… Jang Ok Jung, K-drama Thoughts | Yoo Ah In SikSeekLand

  2. I absolutely love your insight of this drama, Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love. A well written article which summarized how I feel about this drama. I love this drama so much that I actually subscribed the premium membership at DramaFever. I never bothered to do that until I became so desperate to watch the latest episode of Jang Ok Jung. Although it became available more quickly on Viki.com, I found their subtitles not to my like on this particular drama. I look forward to reading more about this drama on your blog.
    Pardon my English as it is not my first language.

    • Thank you! And welcome to the blog. 🙂

      Oh my gosh, JOJ is so, so addictive and I totally understand your desperation. Beginning Tuesday (because if I start Monday it just drives me mad) I start lurking around Dramafever and Viki like a stalker — waiting for whatever sub comes first. And then I’ll often rewatch the episode on whichever site came second, to get the slightly different subbing, and just the sheer pleasure of watching it again. 😀

      • Thank you for your warm welcome. It means a lot to me because your blog is the first blog I ever followed.

        I read a lot of other people’s comments on internet, but I have always felt uncomfortable to make a comment as English is not my first language. On CNN.com comments section, I have read so many rude comments attacking other comments’ English proficiency or spelling ability. Your blog came across to me as friendly. You write really well, yet you do not act superior to others who are not able to communicate in English that well. Your heartfelt review of Jang Ok Jung just made me really want to thank you for sharing such enjoyable review with other lovers of this drama.

        By the way, I really love your blog design, simple yet elegant, especially those pictures with lotus! I love “Trees with Deep Roots” very much, too. After I watch TWDR, I was so inspired that I went online to purchase books to learn Korean. I have always enjoy learning a new language, but I have never imaged that I would take up Korean. Life is like a box of chocolates!

        • Wow,thank you again! I’m totally blushing. 🙂 I was so, so happy to stumble across the opening credits in TwDR (I’d been looking for an image of someone writing with a brush but hadn’t remembered the awesome opening credits) and then had such fun playing around with the header and such, so I’m really, really thrilled you like it.

          And yes, comment sections on massive sites like CNN are troll-magnets, unfortunately. Some thoughtful and genuinely interested comments, but a lot of people who seem to enjoy insulting for insulting’s sake. I’m a terrible speller (I ♥ spell-check) and really bad at learning languages (my timid entry into learning Korean is so unlike me — it’s pretty exciting, actually) so I have such huge admiration for anyone who knows more than one language. Especially at a level like yours where you can communicate so clearly.

          I’m really glad you found this blog! And really pleased you’re following — it’s nice to have you aboard! I’ll try and keep on providing good reading. 🙂

      • O my god! I keep rewatching each episode from Wed to Sun while waiting impatiently for Monday to come! I think I’ve watched each episode 5x already!

  3. Pingback: Jang Ok Jung …or why my computer exploded | Creating Volumes

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