In Appreciation of Han Gong Joo in ‘Angry Mom’

Red Queen

Red Queen

In kdramas, we’re often introduced to characters who seem completely flat or altogether too real. This is more noticeable when it comes to the 2nd leads and their personalities are flattened to the point of being almost a caricature of a human. In Angry Mom, a 16 episode drama currently airing on MBC, we have Han Gong Joo who seems to hold all of these features at the same time. (Watch Angry Mom with English subtitles.)

Go Soo Hee gives Gong Joo depth as a comedic sidekick and gravitas as a caring human being looking out for her friend. Ms. Go has an uncanny knack for this as seen in her role as Kim Jang Mi in Sunny.

Angry Mom is a story about Jo Kang Ja who finds out her daughter is being bullied at her prestigious high school. After finding her daughter collapsed on the street, bruised and bloodied, Kang Ja decides to enroll in the school herself to take on the bullies. To get the correct paperwork in order, she visits her old friend Han Gong Joo who runs an adult nightclub. At this point, we learn than Kang Ja isn’t the average kdrama mom. This is a mom with a criminal past. A lady who was considered ‘iljin‘ in her teen years, a term, I’ll define loosely as a ‘thug’. Continue reading

For the Love of Kdramas

The Moon That Embraces The Sun (해를 품은 달 - 2012)

The Moon That Embraces The Sun (해를 품은 달 – 2012)

“Why do you like Korean stuff?” That question is often said with a note of disdain and isn’t necessarily an easy one to answer. From childhood, I watched TV shows and movies from other countries, usually without the help of subtitles. In my teens, right after Video One or Request Video would end, I would flip to channel 18 to watch an Asian drama. It was usually a historical drama from China or Korea, depending on the day of the week. I didn’t know what was being said, but the stories were easy to follow, the acting was terrible and awesome at the same time and the costuming was peak.

Most (American) people I know don’t like watching subtitled thing media unless it’s from a European country. They give reasons I’ll never understand. I feel it’s a good way to learn culture and language. When I was around 15 years old, a friend from the mosque got a new sister-in-law. She came to America not knowing a lick of English. In the next few years, she was fluent in English AND Spanish. Why? As a Libyan in Southern California, people are quick to speak Spanish to her. As a hijabi in America, she needed to be able to confront the ignorant, “Speak English!” attacks. She watched telenovelas and day-time soaps. Granted, everything she said sounded like there was a plot twist coming up, but at least she could communicate. Continue reading