You From Another Star (getting grumpy…)

grumpy faceI’m up to episode 17 and… I’m not sure I’m up to finishing this one. Which makes me sad! I wanted to like this drama so, so much. It’s about aliens! And Song-yi is awesome! And yet… *sigh* I’m going to whine a bit (or maybe rant like a crazy woman) and spoil a lot, so read at your own risk. [Spoilers through ep. 17 below. Also, not much in the way of screencaps because, grumpy.]

Song-yi is awesome and she has pulled me through some moments that seemed custom-made to annoy me. That whole thing with Min-joon coldly pulling away from her, because he’s going to have to leave anyway (and… I think he’d somehow convinced himself he was threatening her safety? I don’t know — none of it made sense to me…) filled me with do-not-want. Especially after Lawyer Jang did a complete turn around and began pushing Min-joon to drop Song-yi like a hot potato. After being adorably pleased that Min-joon was making an emotional connection with someone. It made no sense and was needlessly cruel, as the Noble Idiot trope so often is, and it made me grumpy.

But then we got that lovely montage of Song-yi remembering all the drunk dialing and texting and utterly shameless clinging she’d done the night before. That was hilarious and made the nonsensical character actions worth it for me. I was still confused about Min-joon’s motivations, and I’d pretty much washed my hands of Lawyer Jang, but Song-yi made it all better.

Thing is though, now I’m getting annoyed with Song-yi. Her character is so passive! That got driven home in the last episode when everyone else on God’s green Earth was running  around trying to solve the “just how psycho is Jae-kyung” mystery, including the previously adorably clueless Hwi-kyung, and Song-yi… went on a date. She still doesn’t know that Yura’s suicide is being questioned. And it’s her career that got torpedoed because of Yura’s death. It’s her life that got threatened more than once because she saw more than she should have. And yet, Song-yi remains blissfully clueless.

Which, I’d probably be okay with that (you don’t automatically suspect murder when someone dies) if Song-yi had her hands full getting her career back on track. But, as far as I can tell, she’s not really focused on that either. She said she was going to use the bit part Se-mi got her out of spite to rebuild her career. But I’m not seeing it happen.

I’m not seeing Song-yi be a good actor (signaled by her acting a scene that impresses the crew at least, even if the director is being a stinker). And I’m not seeing Se-mi being a bad actor (struggling to get across the right emotion, maybe with Song-yi pointing out to Min-joon what she’s doing wrong). Instead it seems like Song-yi’s star status was just handed to her when she was little and now it’s been passed to Se-mi, talent and craft need not apply. queen bees(Which, by the way, just does not happen. A child star doesn’t simply segue into an adult star. That transition is hard and many have crumbled in the attempt.)

It’s a view of acting that I find really, really frustrating (it’s easy! anyone can do it! people who are big stars just got lucky!) and it undercuts Song-yi as a person. At this point I’m not even sure she wants to be an actress. Her pain seems to be more derived from no longer being a star rather than no longer being able to practice her craft. (Which, the big star with no talent is not an invalid route to take, but it would require her to be tons more media savvy, which is the opposite of how the drama set her character up.)

Instead, it seems like Song-yi’s main purpose in life is to be in love with Min-joon. That’s all she can handle, apparently. Of course, Min-joon gets to handle being in love with Song-yi, and managing her career (he’s been more proactive about it than she has, which is so, so frustrating), and taking on Jae-kyung.

And another thing! Why does Hwi-kyung get to remain friends with his unrequited love while Se-mi has to lose her unrequited love entirely? Why does the man’s love turn him selflessly noble while the woman’s love turn her into a conniving bitch? And why does Hwi-kyung get to catch the clue-bus while Song-yi remains ignorant? *grumbles*

So… yeah, I’m just not feeling it. Does it get better? Does Song-yi become more involved in her own life? Or is this just the way the story’s being told and I should quietly let it go?

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19 thoughts on “You From Another Star (getting grumpy…)

  1. I think that Hwi Kyung didn’t wanted Se Mi to suffer because of him that’s why he tells her to stop liking him. After all he had a 10(?) years one side love for Song Yi, and it’s not like he will stop all of a sudden, there is also the thing that he knows how it’s to have a (painful) side love on someone so that’s why he wanted her to stop liking him. It’s more like Hwi Kyung wanted to protect her from that pain.

    “(..) the woman’s love turn her into a conniving bitch” well, the difference between the two is that Se Mi kept wanting to make Song Yi guilty because Hwi Kyung didn’t loved her where’s Hwi Kyung who didn’t put the “guilty” tag on someone else as a reason why the person he likes didn’t liked him back- still nothing noble about him, but she was a bitch… ehem ehem.

    • I don’t see how any of her actions merit the “bitch” label (and that label should be obliterated from existence IMO, but that’s another story).
      It seems like the real issue here is that she was supposedly being too assertive and unaccommodating (hence the reason why she’s portrayed as deserving of all the blame), while Hwi Kyung got off easy because he’s a man.

      • “bitch (slang)
        – noun. a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, especially a woman.
        – noun. a person who is submissive or subservient to someone, usually in a humiliating way.”

        Hwi Kyung didn’t got off easy “because he’s a man”, it’s just because the difference between their actions. As I already said it, Hwi Kyung didn’t blame others nor used chicanery against others, on the other hand, Se Mi did both.

        To be honest, I don’t understand why people are complaining about Hwi Kyung “getting off because he is a man” but there are no mentions of Se Mi’s schemes against against Song Yi? She didn’t had any “real reason” to hate Song Yi.
        Thinking too much from a feministic perspective isn’t healthy, but that’s just my personal opinion.

        • Let’s not get too involved in the word, “bitch” — it can be an offensive word to some, so I do regret using it because it distracts from my main point. I think “malicious” or “selfish” can work just as well and can help keep the conversation on point. 🙂

          I definitely agree that, within the show, Se-mi has brought all her unhappiness onto herself. (If she’d confessed to Hwi-kyung in high school, how much different would her life be now?) And I actually quite like Hwi-kyung and the path he’s on. He’s adorable and sweet and is finally waking up and taking some action.

          But outside the show… I wish it was going in a different direction. I wish Song-yi was taking more action, too. (Though, per Snow_white’s point below, this is me missing what the show is actually focused on.) And I wish Se-mi wasn’t so one-note. That her resentments towards Song-yi were allowed more complexity. (Though again — it’s not the point of the show. Basically, I’m wanting YFAS to be a different show. Which… that’s my own issue, of course.)

          On a totally different note, I can find looking at things from a feminist — or female-centric — view very enjoyable. Actually — part of the reason I love k-dramas is so many of them are telling stories from a woman’s perspective. The bulk of writers are women (which is so not true in the States) and I love it. I don’t always agree with what the stories are saying, but women aren’t a monolith — we all have widely different points of view and different tastes and that’s awesome. 🙂 And the cool part about blogging, is hearing viewers’ different points of view. We might not always agree, but that’s what makes it fun. 😉

      • And you know, I don’t think Se-mi was too assertive. (I agree with your, “supposedly,” in other words.) Her meeting with the director and agreeing to shift into the lead role was perfectly legit and did not make her a bad friend as far as I’m concerned. Lying about it was a mistake. And then there was the “I never liked you anyway” confession. (Which I honestly had a hard time believing because… seriously? for 10 years?? Who can maintain that kind of lie without snapping?) I might have been more forgiving (might have) if Se-mi was reveled as truly manipulative and self-serving — a formidable foe for Song-yi to face off against. But she’s really not. She’s just kind of… there. (Though, I do think the show expects us to hiss at her whenever she comes on screen.)

    • All your points are true. To be fair to the show, the difference between Hwi-kyung and Se-mi and the way they love is sharply and clearly defined. Hwi-kyung is honest — he loves Song-yi and Song-yi knows it. While Se-mi lied about her love and covered it up. So, in-show, it makes sense that Hwi-kyung is able to grow while Se-mi pretty much wallows in her pettiness.

      For me, the issue is really outside the show. Why is it so often the guys who get to play the selfless and noble second leads, while the women become selfish and conniving? Why can’t women use unrequited love as a means of character growth? So that I’m throwing stones at YFAS specifically is maybe a bit unfair, but they’re giving me a really stark example and since I’m already grumpy…

      • Unfortunately, that’s how Korean society is, thus a little part of it is portrayed in the Korean dramas as well.

        But there is also the part that, normally the women let their feelings eat them, and are more vulnerable towards jealousy to that’s why women in dramas are sometimes build as selfish characters who try to take revenge on others for their unrequited love.

        • Hmm… I think both men and women can let their feelings gnaw at them, rather than letting them out — or dealing with them in a healthy manner — and it’s more society that dictates which gender is allowed what.

          Like the pretty much universal requirement that women be “nice” and “pleasant” and not rock the boat even if something upsets them. Which is what Se-mi did (not expressing her jealousy of Song-yi, and not being upfront about her job offer) and it obviously didn’t do her any favors. (That’s part of the show I really do like. I love that Song-yi’s emotional honesty is celebrated and Se-mi’s putting on a front is shown to be a bad thing.)

          In the US, men are expected to not cry. (Boys are encouraged to hold in their tears at a pretty young age. “Don’t cry like a girl!”) And so they let sadness eat at them and then let it out with anger — possibly violence. Because it’s okay for a guy to be angry. And that’s not a good thing at all. Obviously.

          It does seem like — per k-dramas, which I totally realize is not a legit source so I’m out on a really shaky limb here — in Korea men are almost expected to stray (so many husbands with mistresses; and the apparently semi-legal prostitution that seems a normal part of the business scene) and women are expected to not. So I could see that, in Korean society, women are expected to more swallow their jealousy. Which wouldn’t lead to good things. Which… I wish dramas could show another way, be an example of a good way to handle an unrequited love. (Maybe an unfair ask on my part.)

          Wow! I… kind of wrote a thesis paper here. Kudos to you if you read the whole thing. 😉

  2. I think the drama is more about finding love and companionship as the two leads are lonely people….so Song Yi actually doesn’t find happiness in her career as much as in being with her man…that explains why she doesn’t give a damn about it later….

    It is Song Yi’s nature of being innocent and she is definitely not clever…but I love that she knows how to answer back and wears her heart on her sleeves…so not all heroines can be brainy…lol..

    Se Mi was always jealous of Song Yi….so it was not like she changed afterwards…

    Anyway….the thing that kept me going on with the show was the humour…and the couple…with some other adorable characters 🙂

    • *nods* Yeah — love and companionship is definitely the story’s thrust. Which… it’s obviously not working for me since I’m looking so closely at the side-stories. And that’s probably my answer right there. I have been enjoying the humor — that’s what kept me watching for so long, but the romance… not so much. 😦

      I will add, though — I do adore Song-yi’s brashness combined with her innocence. I don’t need — or even want! — her to become brainy. I just… wish she was more active with everything swirling around her life. (Though again, that’s me wishing she was doing something more than romancing because I’m just not interested in the romance, I’ve finally realized.)

  3. I dropped this at ep 10 because I could see where this was headed (and you pretty much confirmed this here) and the awesomeness of Song Yi wasn’t enough to keep me hanging in there. So sorry can’t help you decide to continue or not, but I have been known to say, oh sod it I’m almost at the finish line might as well carry on.
    I do remember saying to myself I want to see more of the joseon flashbacks coz those were the bits that were most interesting!

    • Yes, the “oh sod it, I’m nearly there” school of thought weighs heavily on me. Countered only by the, “but then I’ll have to write a review!” reminder. 😉

        • It’s the lists. They move from method-of-organizing to cruel-task-master with shadow-hidden swiftness. I cannot abandon the lists! 😉

          (Also, it’s the reviews that enable me to legitimize my drama-watching. Otherwise I’m just an escapist slacker. Just how my mind works. My cruel, cruel mind…)

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