Bitch Talk: My Favorite Things

Here are my top three favorite Asian tearjerkers when I want to detox from work-related stress.

I just let it all out in one big sobfest.

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1. Save the Last Dance for Me (2005)

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This site did a good synopsis: Save the Last Dance

It’s the only kdrama with double amnesia that I would tolerate. While suffering from amnesia, the rich city guy met the poor girl at her pension in the country. They fell in love and married. When he regained his memory, he forgot the girl. She followed him to Seoul and hung around him, taking on menial jobs, waiting for him to remember her. He thought she was sticking around him because he reminded her of her “dead” boyfriend.

I skip almost all the episodes but Episodes 14 and 18 are my Kleenex moment.

Rating: 4.5/5 tissues

2. Wanida (2010)

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One of my favorite sassy girls is Wanida. I like it that she’s strong enough to take the flak from her mother-in-law and her husband’s girlfriend. Yup, you read that right: her husband has a girlfriend. lol.

It’s an arranged marriage. The guy’s from an old rich family who needed money quick and the girl’s father is the loan shark who wants to marry her off to him so she can have raise her social standing. Of course, the two hated each other on sight but went along with the wedding. They were supposed to live separate lives. But pretty soon, everybody began falling in love with Wanida, everybody except for his mother and his girlfriend. These two made life hard for her but also comical for the viewers. I thought it was fun watching those occasions when they harassed Wanida because she proved herself to be spunky, determined, resourceful and mischievous. You slap her, she slaps back harder.

The guy realizes that he’s fallen in love with his wife just as his rich father-in-law decides to remove his daughter from the evil mother-in-law’s company. He tries to stop her from leaving but gets detained at work. He follows her to her home and begs her not to divorce him yet until he’s settled his issue with his girlfriend.

I know it sounds bizarre: wife versus girlfriend. But as I said, their union was for convenience only and they were planning to separate anyway.

This was a fun lakorn to watch. It helped, too, that actor playing the husband wasn’t bad-looking. His character was such a push-over whenever his mom and girlfriend guilt-tripped him, and a stick-in-the-mud whenever Wanida tried to make him have fun.

Episode 14 is my Kleenex moment.

Rating: 3/5 tissues

3. Reply 1997 (2012)

In Episode 12, the girl jokingly/cruelly begs to be given a ring from the guy who’s been crushing on her for years…YEARS!

Guy: You’re really so cruel. How can you ask me for that?
Girl: Why not? I’m too stupid to know why not.
Guy: Because I like you. I’m really into you. (awkward silence) I’ve been at your side since we were born. We’ve seen each other everyday. I even remember your first period. But I still see you as a woman. The first day of high school was the first time I thought you were pretty. After that day, I always gave you a hint. I liked you. I wanted you to like me. But you didn’t notice. Fine! Maybe you had only ever seen me as a friend so I should confess. So I told you to meet me after the college entrance exam. I told you to meet me at the school playground at eight. That it was my D-Day. But my older brother said, ten minutes before, he told me…he liked you. What should I do? There are only two people I love. One is my older brother who gave up everything for me. And the other is you. It’s you…but…my older brother likes you. A lot like I do. What should I do? What do you want me to do? I said what do you want me to do?

Then, they’re interrupted by a friend. When that friend leaves again, they pick up the conversation:

Girl: YoonJae-ah, can we just go back to being good friends again? Like you said, we’ve always been together since we were born. I’m not that smart. You know that. But I do know that you’re the friend who means the most to me. So…you’ll still be my friend, right?
Guy: If a man, if he tells a girl who doesn’t like him…like a pathetic fool…if he confesses everything, it means he never wants to see her again.

Then he stands up and places a small box in front of her. It’s the ring that she’s been whining for. He walks to the door and opens it.

Guy: A friend? Are you kidding me?

(I’m not sure. I think he might have even cursed in Korean, “Fuck that!” but the subbers opted for a clean version.) He closes the door.

Ugh! His parting shot is as good as Rhett Butler’s goodbye in Gone With the Wind. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Rating: 3.5 tissues

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What are your top 3 tearjerkers?

13 Comments On “Bitch Talk: My Favorite Things”

  1. Hi PM3! I am with you on the first one! I was aware of the predictability of the story, but STLDFM still moved me. Credit goes to Eugene and Ji Sung’s amazing chemistry and Ji Sung really nailed the amnesiac, aloof, cold towards the heroine character. Also, I’m a sucker for a good romance story. So that part when she comes to the city and he doesn’t recognize her, that hurt so bad. I think I still have to finish the last few episodes so your post might make me do it finally.
    Also, the Korean version of ‘100 Million Stars falling from the sky’ was one real tearjerker. I don’t think I will ever go back to watching it, but the last several episodes were absolutely devastating. You may watch it for Seo In Gook’s raw and emotionally intense performance. He was so good at it. Jung So Min too.
    And one other drama which I really liked is an old favorite of mine, ‘sang doo let’s go to school’. The drama had a sad story, to begin with, Rain’s daughter had cancer I think. But when I thought they were going to give us a happy ending the plot takes a completely opposite turn. Imo they could do without a tragic end, but the drama in itself was really good. It had a lot of content and rain, gong hyo jin were so cute together. Plus old kdramas are gold..I firmly believe hehe. They are less frivolous and solid with content. There is no fluff.

  2. Oh..except R”eply 1997″, I don’t think I have ever heard of the other two dramas. “Save the last dance for me” sounds interesting. though I don’t know if I will be able to find an English subbed version somewhere.

    I think the drama where I cried the most is “Marriage Contract”. I really liked it, though I kept crying gallons of tears as I watched it, especially towards the end 😝

  3. I don’t usually go for sad endings in my entertainment, but I don’t mind watching melodramas if they have a happy ending. Do Save The Last Dance and Wanida ultimately have a happy ending? I’ve heard about Marriage Contract, but is it ultimately a happy ending? I’ve seen Reply 1997, so I know the ending there.

    That being said, if you need a serious cry, then I’ll recommend Korean film “A Werewolf Boy”. (It’s currently available on Viki, and I think it’s available at the “other sites” if you can’t get Viki. It used to be available at Netflix, but I’m not sure if it still is now.) I cried buckets during this film. Have to say Song Joong Ki and Park Bo Young were amazing.

    Off topic but if you liked Reply 1997, I’ve heard Chinese drama “When We Were Young” (2018) has that similar “reminiscing about our school days vibe” and it’s been getting a lot of buzz. (Bonus for @packmule3-I’ve heard the ending is bittersweet) It’s currently available at Viki. The english subbing is all dome but I’m waiting until the editing is a little further along before I start watching in earnest. Here’s the link if anyone wants to check it out:
    https://www.viki.com/tv/36358c-when-we-were-young

    If you like a Thai drama with a spunky heroine, then I’ve got to recommend my all time favorite Thai drama “Prissana”(2000) starring Tik & Taya. Fantastic show all around. It’s a historical drama set in the 1930’s, and it’s based on a novel that has been called “Thailand’s Pride & Prejudice”. Yes, the production values are pretty basic but totally worth seeking out. You can check out the MDL page for info about subs:
    https://mydramalist.com/9840-prissana

  4. @Table122000: “Marriage Contract” has a bitter-sweet ending, they all do get together as one big family in the end, which was very heartwarming. However, we know that death will eventually come, but when it will happen is left open, and thankfully they don’t show it onscreen. So I was ok with the ending, but you can take a call based on what you prefer 🙂

  5. Thanks for the info on Marriage Contract @Phoenix. It’s good to know that the drama doesn’t actually show any death onscreen, so the open ending can leave a little room for the viewer to make up their own ultimate ending, I guess. I’ll have to check it out as contract marriage/relationships are my favorite trope/chiche.

  6. Go for it, @Table122000😊 “Marriage Contract” is a very heartwarming drama about relationships and leaves the message in the end that it’s all about seizing happiness in this moment. They end it like..No one knows how many days or months or years they will have together, but whatever time they have together will be filled with happiness. Really liked that positive message😊

    Also, if you love the contract marriage trope, hope you have checked out ‘Because this is my first life”. Another understated but beautiful romance between two difficult and introverted individuals. Another drama I like.

  7. Oh, that is good to know, @Phoenix. I will definitely have to watch Marriage Contract. And yes, I have watched Because This Is Our First Life and I really enjoyed it. Lee Min Ki & Jung So Min were fabulous together- so much chemistry! And some great kiss scenes too! Also liked the other couples as well. It’s a great drama all around.

  8. Here are my two favorite Korean tearjerkers, one in each category (historical and contemporary):
    Chuno- the main character loses his family, property and status. His face is disfigured and he is separated from his sweetheart. He spends 10 years searching for her while living in the fringes of society. He does find her, but then things get even worse.
    I am Sorry, I Love You – the main character is abandoned by his birth mother, by his adoptive parents in Australia, and by his girlfriend. He gets shot in the head while saving the girlfriend, and one bullet is stuck in his brain. Knowing that his days are numbered, he goes back to Korea to find his birth mother. He does find her, but things get complicated.

    Every time I am dealing with personal problems, I think about the things these characters had to deal with, and suddenly my problems do not seem that bad.

  9. @snowflower,
    Chuno sounds ghastly!! Did the lead at least have a happy ending with his sweetheart? Or did he die as well?
    But I get you when you say that watching these sad dramas make you appreciate your life better. Our worries and fears can be relative. You hear a sad story and you’re suddenly happy with your lot (or if you’re a meanie like me, just happy that somebody else is worse off than you. lol)

  10. SPOILER AHEAD!!!

    Alas, no happy ending in Chuno. The sweetheart ends up falling in love and marrying somebody else. (To her credit, she thought that the main hero was dead and she mourned him for 10 years). This new guy is involved in some political stuff, so a lot of bad guys are after him. Main guy sacrifices his life so that the sweetheart and her husband can escape to safety. Main guy dies in the arms of the Second Female (who is in love with him). He acknowledges her feelings and apologizes for being mean to her, then asks her to sing him a song. She does sing a song, but he never hears the end of it.

    I am not a very good writer, so this summary sounds kind of lame. The drama, however, is very powerful and emotional. The excellent acting and the memorable soundtrack make it a must see for anyone who appreciates a good sageuk.

  11. Ooohh. I feel for the second female. If this was written today, the second female would have been the lead. She’s the one with the more tragic unrequited love story because the stupid main guy only had eyes for the “Love of his Life” while he could have had a good life with the second lead.

    I just reviewed the cast and Jang Hyuk is one of the actors I find attractive because he’s so INTENSE.

    Oh JiHo is also handsome although I haven’t watched any of his shows.

    Jang Hyuk: I watched a bit of “Beautiful Mind” and “You’re My Destiny” and a couple of his appearances on variety shows.

  12. @packmule3 If you want to see really intense and yet magnetic Hang Hyuk, watch “Money Flower”. He is completely mesmerising in that..he’s scheming as he is bent on revenge and we know he is bad, but we can’t help but fall under his spell.
    I’ve watched “You’re My Destiny” too and I thought he overacted a bit there to make the character seem eccentric. But he is undoubtedly a good actor. “Chuno” seems interesting, but I don’t think I can take all that heartache.

  13. Jang Hyuk is REALLY INTENSE. Nobody else does crying scenes like him. And Money Flower is another masterpiece I’d recommend.
    Chuno is my favorite drama so far (I have been watching kdramas since 2012). The Second Female lead is probably my favorite female kdrama character. In fact, I took my user name from her…

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