chicago typewriter

K-Drama Full Review: Chicago Typewriter

I have included ‘Chicago Typewriter’ on my Top K-Drama Picks for 2017 because I was blown away with how the story was knitted to a blend of real and imaginary emotion on a premise of switching timelines.

Here is my full review published at hellokpop.

 

Chicago Typewriter Ep 2 Musings and Summary

So the other half of premiere week gave a much more elaborated background of the past timeline.  I have a slight issue on what the catalyst is for the time transition though.  You see I’m used to incense sticks, talisman or subway to transition to a past setting, but that we cannot seem to grasp yet in the story.  The narration as what I’ve mentioned last time is easy to follow, but the rules that are being introduced felt like coming from nowhere.  I mean are we going to have a ghost hunting party here?  Dear Drama, I signed up for you so please give me a good run for the next 4 episodes.  Please enlighten me and polish the time element execution because I’m close to saying that Chicago Typewriter is a story of a best selling novelist who seems like Disney’s Beast with enchanted objects in his house serving him.  *chuckles
Chicago Typewriter Episode Recaps
01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
Chicago Typewriter Episode 2 Summary
Se Ju tries to process how the girl in his dream becomes his life saver now as Seol trembles as the flashback jinx when she is holding a gun emerges.  The assailant senses her faltering and attempts to attack her, but she subdues him no sweat with her martial arts skills.  She orders Se Ju to call the police and they came to get the crazy stalker.  
Se Ju’s critical mind is suspicious of her connection to the attacker so she tries to explain how she entered the door and how the dog led her to the place.  She mumbles how she is feeling dizzy but he refuses to talk inside so she eventually faints in his arms.  She wakes up happy realizing she is at Se Ju’s guest room and gets up to find her way to the main door.  Seol is amazed at his extensive book collection and enters his writing room when the door opened as if it was inviting her.  She spots the typewriter and as she reaches for it, flashbacks of a woman who looks like her living in another era plays in her mind.  
Se Ju appears and escorts her out just as she is about to get a glimpse of the man she was about to kill in her epiphany.  Seol stops herself from furthering her excuse that the door just opened as he blabs on why doors just open for her magically.  He lets her eat while he works on his writing and she furtively beams for that amazing fan girl moment.  He shatters her illusion by telling he is sitting there because she might wander around and not because he does not want her to eat alone.  He quips that he still suspects her and replies that he did not bring her to the hospital not because he cares, but he can’t be in the gossip section of newspaper too because he is already filling it out all the sections well.
 Seol pouts how cold he is as a person but responds yes to his question if she learned shooting since she had a great form from the early debacle.  She refuses to answer why she stopped shooting as people tend to stay away from her whenever she told that top secret.  He mutters he would never learn it then and urges her to go home when she is done eating.  Seol offers her help in typing his rough draft to call it even for letting her rest and breaking his Tiger Woods golf club.  She goes through varied emotions while typing the story as Se Ju is amused at her reactions.
Seol types in silence while Se Ju observes him, and we go to a deja vu of the two in the same scenario bickering about her typing speed as she whines that his poor handwriting is slowing her down.  1930 Se Ju (let’s call him that since he is not yet introduced properly) falters on his bike and hits a hay stack so he threw his writing at Yoo Su Yeon to rush it to the printing press.  He bribes her with money so she hurries to follow his command only to throw his writing back at him and escapes with his bike.  She mentions how she told him to write valuable writing only fuming the writer helpless and in hays on the ground calling her name to go back.
We go back to present time and Se Ju asks if she was in a strange feeling too like time and space collapsing to which she nods exclaiming that it felt like an earthquake, and on cue an earthquake erupts only in Se Ju’s house so they cower beneath the table snapping at each other scared at what is happening.  The shake stops so they motion to get up but the mystical cupids in the house shuts the power down so they stay at their position as Seol takes advantage of the darkness to move closer to Se Ju.  He asks her when they supposedly met before, but before she could answer his publisher arrives looking for him.  He coaches her to escape before that man finds out that they were together and rushes to divert his attention.
Se Ju argues with his publisher on giving money to the assailant but the latter is insistent that if the rumor mill catches on how his novels inspire criminals it will have a negative impact on them.  Seol gropes her way out but she screams in pain after falling on the ground disrupting the two’s conversation.  Se Ju pretends he did not hear anything and shouts at his publisher so he can forget the scream while Seol gets up dizzy from her fall.  
True to the publisher’s words, the assailant’s Se Ju novel inspired crime hits the news in the morning as Baek Tae Min’s mother smirks on how Se Ju creates criminals and makes innocent person looked bad just like what he did to her.  Tae Min counters how it was not Se Ju’s fault that the culprit based his crimes on the novels Se Ju wrote.  He leaves his mother and she goes to where her husband is who was busy checking on the news about his estranged son – Se Ju.  Tae Min’s father denies having a son like Se Ju and replies how they already test it with DNA, but she retorts that test like that can be manipulated.  She blabs about why Se Ju built his mansion in the neighborhood so he tells her to stop her obsession as it is not doing good to their children.  He walks away knowing their conversation will not go anywhere and meets Tae Min who informs him that he will be working in the same publishing house as Se Ju.
Se Ju cannot seem to focus on his writing as he recollects Seol and the woman from his dream.  He heads out to notify the keeper of his mansion’s ground to take out the deers he just capriciously requested recently blaming their sound as the reason why he cannot write efficiently.  Se Ju’s bad day continues as a known third-rate reporter writes a scoop on how his recent novels are based from the culprit’s letters that he has been sending to him in the past three years.
 
The publishing house office is in ruckus as the news goes viral and the publisher answers to calls denying the allegations citing all Se Ju’s mails are monitored.  Se Ju arrives at the office and discusses the issue who is getting out of their hands and why he was kept in the dark that those letters were really received by the company.  The publisher reasons how they just shred nonsensical letters and reaches a conclusion of a possible informant and remembers the woman who saved Se Ju last time.  Se Ju walks out muttering he will finish his deadline and eavesdrop on the office workers gossiping about the reality of the rumor and how ghost writers are really working under him.  He lets them know of his presence shutting them up on their lowlife prying.
Se Ju heaves a sigh as he drives to confront Seol who is at a vet clinic worrying about the dog that just disappeared.  Tae Min walks to the clinic calling Seol’s name which surprised Seol so he explained that his cat’s name is the same as hers.  She introduces herself as Jeon Seol and he heads out once his cat is safely tucked in his arms.  Seol’s vet friend confirms that he is indeed writer Baek Tae Min and she smiles how he also lives in the neighborhood.  She sees him unable to drive his car out because of another car blocking his way so she offers help with her do-anything-errand service and starts looking for the owner of the illegally parked car in a cute megaphone.  The owner apologizes upon hearing the announcement as Tae Min thanks her for the help.  She asks him for an autograph instead of paying for the service to which he gladly obliges.  
Seol gets a call from Se Ju asking her to meet him so she heads to the meeting place excitedly.  They met at a gym and she mumbles how his dating preference is a bit odd.  He corrects that it was not a date and go straight to business confronting her if she told the media what transpired with him and the psycho assailant on the night of the attack.  She is surprised that he still suspects her and denies it sternly.  She snaps at his baseless accusation and demands the reason why he even thought about it.  He answers her that three people only know what happened that night and she has the highest probability of blurting it.  He adds how he would have understood if she admits and apologizes for doing the deed, but then it was also his fault for not doing anything about it.  He warns her that he cannot forgive her twice so she hits her patience point and chides how ungrateful he is and how when he reaches a dead end in his life, no one will be there to help him.  He proudly replies how he will not reach a slump nor will there be a day that he will ask help from other people.  Seol marches to his direction and slams him on the ground angrily muttering how she should have not saved him and vowing that she will not save him again in the future. 
Seol sobs ending her 10 year fan girl pledge on Se Ju.  She officially declares it with her friends as witnesses for her fan girl break up.  Se Ju visits the psycho fan and learns how his sister might have reported it to the media.  He feels bad suspecting Seol but is enraged when the psycho fan insists on their unique connection of having been abandoned by people.  Se Ju threws incriminating words at him so he fumes madly at his unreasonable claim.  Psycho fan vows that he will make him die through his writing as the police subdues him.  Se Ju heads to Seol’s house and is answered by her friend’s psychic mom who informs him that Seol is wandering around and she is taking care of the customers in the mean time.  He motions to leave but she strings negative emotions lurking around him and heeds him to survive a looming danger that will happen to him.
Se Ju struggles to write because of the recent stress he is getting.  He wakes up to answer his publisher’s phonecall and orders him not to watch the news or go online in the mean time.  He learns that the culprit committed suicide and left a note blaming him for everything.  A sea of reporter waits at Se Ju’s gate when he opens it and remembers his last conversation with the psycho culprit.
After a month, nosy Reporter Song spots publisher Gal Ji Suk and sniffs some scoop on how Se Ju is reportedly having a slump.  Ji Suk denies it and bribes him with money while answering a call from Se Ju.  He heads to his prized writer and was told of the doctor’s diagnosis of PTSD on him.  Ji Suk drags him to his writing room and forces him to write.  Se Ju shouts at him to stop if he will not help him write.  Ji Suk takes that note and suggests hiring a ghost writer until he recovers from his slump.  Se Ju orders him to step out and shuts his blabbing by telling him that he will write and hand the manuscript to him before the deadline.
Ji Suk summons his connections looking for ghost writers while Se Ju attempts to write to no avail.  He clears his table out of frustration as Ji Suk meets with the ghost writer.  Se Ju falls asleep and goes on his recurring dream of his doppelganger.  This time a new character appears while he is at a bar writing for his upcoming deadline.  His friend wheedles him to disregard work and they end up dancing on the floor with Su Yeon.  
Ji Suk of course wakes him up again to check on the manuscript and bargains about the ghost writer again, but he declines and hangs up the phone.  Se Ju picks his broken laptop and sighs.  He peers at the typewriter and flashes of his dream appears as he is about to touch it.  Then we see the trio coming out from the bar drunk and silly and singing happily.  Se Ju is perturbed on the sudden vision but quickly ignores it to carry the typewriter on his table.  He sighs and preps up to write but no letters can come up from his creative juice.  He gets a cinnamon stick to calm him down but throws it and finds his cigarette case.  He fumbles for a lighter and sees an antique match on the ground.  He lights the match and as the flame flickers he gets another vision scaring him to the hilt.
He leaves the house and drives to a rainy road thinking if he is crazy or has gone crazy already.  He debates if he will just end his life since a writer who cannot write is non existent anyway, but his other mind reminds him of all the effort he made to get to the top.  He skews to avoid a deer on the road which leads to his car hitting the roadside gutter while refuting his initial wish since he has not yet decided if he wants to live or not, but the car crushes and rolls on to a cliff eventually.  Se Ju leers at a frame coming to the car’s direction and calls for help.  He gasps when Seol’s beaming face appears remembering how she promised to not help him when he will face a grave danger again.  He closes his eyes as she raises a shovel and motions to smash something.  At that same moment, a man enters Se Ju’s writing room and starts working using the old typewriter.

Chicago Typewriter Ep 1 Musings and Summary

 

Chicago Typewriter opens up with a lot of snappy story projections.  We got a glimpse of the main characters – an eccentric reasonably proud writer and a jack-of-all-trade legendary part-timer who almost became a shooting olympian, if not for the trauma of seeing her past life sniping and killing someone whenever she holds a gun.  We were also presented with tidbits of their past timeline history.   It is not giving me the hook yet, but I like how the narration tone is not confusing me so far given that we might be going to shifting past and present timelines.  I’m not supposed to say a lot since I am on my Day 1 here.  But anything with swerving timelines is something that I really buy.

 

Chicago Typewriter Episode Recaps
01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Chicago Typewriter Episode 1 Summary
A famous writer Han Se Ju goes to Chicago Illinois for a book signing event after his recent successful novel.  There he unlocks the mystery of a haunted typewriter made in 1930 Gyeongseong.  Strangely enchanted by the typewriter he found, we delve to Seoul circa 1930’s where his past self also a writer chats with a charming girl about a gun coined as Chicago typewriter.  The coffee owner breaks his trance and he offers to buy the typewriter from him, but he refuses mentioning he paid a hefty amount for that in an auction.  When the cafe owner woke up one night to the sight of moving objects in his cafe, he was forced to send the typewriter to Han Se Ju following the message written on the paper inside the typewriter. 

 

 

The package is commissioned to be delivered by Jeon Seol, an avid fan of Se Ju who is a famous part-time job worker.  Seol heads to his house and marvels at the extravagance.  She is known to be good at almost anything.  Whatever she puts her mind to she does not have any problem succeeding.  Se Ju refuses to open the door and orders her to leave the package.  A stray dog approached Seol as the door opens.  Seol thinks the dog is Se Ju’s and follows him to the main door.

 

 

She rings the door bell and Se Ju politely acknowledges the package.  She explains how the door opened because of his dog. He fusses when she reveals his dog entered the house since he does not have one because of his allergy.  The dog-from-nowhere checks in the house and was about to eat the USB stick of Se Ju’s writing materials.  They plead for the dog not to do it but he munches on the bone shaped USB stick. 

 

 

They chase on the dog who ran away and Seol successfully tame him.  The neat freak writer learns the dog pooped the USB so he asks Seol to email the files to him and reformat the computer which he gives to her after.  Se Ju is fixed to the idea that she is a stalker and cites the usual lines he got from his psycho fans which typically starts on we have met before.  

 

 

Se Ju dreams of him a vintage setting talking to a girl. His dream is interrupted by a phone call from his publisher discussing business the minute he answered.  He cuts the chat quickly by responding how he is always on time with his pendings.

 

 

Se Ju works on his new novel materials and bumps with a familiar face from his past he was not happy seeing.  They head to a cafe and his orphan background was revealed as he hinted on an unpleasant experience he had with the man’s family when he was living with them.  

 

 

The next day Se Ju denies getting the dog when the vet clinic notified him through his secretary. Seol tries to appeal by going at his house that night, but his recent stalker related happenings made him deny her request so Seol and the dog heads home.

 

 

She stops at a sandwhich store and remembers when Se Ju was just a struggling writer who frequents the sandwich store where she was working and incessantly writes on his notebook.  Just then the dog sensed a danger and barks at her to follow him. 

 

 

At Se Ju’s house a stalker fan confronts the writer and blames him for making him kill the people who made life harder for him.  He claims that Se Ju sent a message to him from his recent novel but gets enraged on why he killed the character whom he thought to be him.  The light flickers in the house as Se Ju is in a gun point. 

 

 

They brawl and race to the gun as the light fades in the room, and when the light comes back, Seol intently points the gun to the intruder as Se Ju recalls the woman he has been dreaming lately who is the subject of his new novel.

 

 

The Two Hearts of Pyo Na Ri

jealousy_incarnate-p1

And the winner of 2016 kdramaland’s “Best Love Triangle” goes to “Jealousy Incarnate”!!!  *chuckles

Sure, there were a lot going on in “Jealousy Incarnate” that sometimes the sporadic mini plots did not equate well to its overall make, but the eager and vibrant cast made up to that missing push the story failed to achieve.  Honestly the safe ever-after ending failed to complement those strong moments of the lead cast along with the story conflict they had to face together hilariously and painfully.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the sweet ride and the endearing couple who tackled the friendship defying love chase.

jealousy_incarnate-p3

Pyo Na Ri harbored a 3-year one sided love towards Lee Hwa Shin and has been working her stint as a weather forecaster.  She chanced upon Hwa Shin again in Thailand where he was assigned after an expose’ revealing his older brother’s business corruption.  He was denounced by his family but made the most of his occupational exile by presenting highly successful news probes.  When Hwa Shin came back to the TV network news room to work on his goal to become a News Anchor, he begins seeing Na Ri at a different light.  Just as he has acknowledged his feelings for her, he learned that his best friend, Go Jung Won likes her too and eventually dated her.  He tried so hard to resist his growing feelings toward Na Ri to no avail and his breast cancer did not help him at all as she insisted on staying by his side while battling with the treatment.  Hwa Shin’s resolved inevitably broke down and he set loose to claim Na Ri’s heart even if it will hurt his best friend.  Hwa Shin’s move confused Na Ri’s heart as she learned that he is loving her back three years too late.  Torn between two men whom she both love, she broke up with Jung Won so as not to strain their friendship, but the two cannot seem to find a way to exist not having her by their side so they agreed to live in Jung Won’s house so Na Ri can date them to help her decide whom she loves more between them.  Na Ri’s long lost first love emotions eventually resurfaced and she was forced to deliver the sad news to Jung Won of her choosing Hwa Shin.

fullsizephoto759151

While I did not fully rave on “Jealousy Incarnate”, there were a few strong scenes that lingered in my mind after watching it.  That cute Hwa-Shin-Jung-Won bromance was so quirky, I can bottle it for my PMS days.  I love when rom-com dramas focus on the love story conflict, and what a way for “Jealousy” to present a love triangle that did not feed on angst or misplaced and incomprehensible obsession of second leads.  Instead it gave out a nice fight between the lead man and second lead who equally deserve the heroine.  I don’t know why the finishing kick delved to career drama because I already claimed my closure when Na Ri reverted to following Hwa Shin again, but the latter had to restrict himself out of respect to his best friend’s grieving heart.  I don’t know if I can label it as a bland extension or a last-minute attempt to add embellishment on this romantic cake, but I sure did find it pointless. They should have settled to fan service and then zipped it with the chirpy wedding.

fullsizephoto758867fullsizephoto764204

The facile interaction of the main trio, prior and after the love conflict, felt hilarious on one side because they were acting like high schoolers in justifying the situation they had and even resorting to that cohabitation settlement to help weigh in where each of them stand.  

photo756292

But that just show how we do unreasonable things when we are too consumed with rationalizing the love we felt. The romantic entanglement amused the girl and the woman inside me because the story clearly depicted how much a woman’s faltering choices affect decisions to commit in a relationship.

f8e72145a4377236c5abe3f8fd6cd92e

Na Ri was firm on her initial stand that she loved both men at the same time, but was just not sure who she loved more, until she got the realization or rather fear of losing Hwa Shin since she can’t contain the growing jealousy anymore. There was no definitive punch on what direction or lesson the story wanted to impart since halfway through it, even the characters seemed not to know where they were heading. That’s mainly the reason why I was disappointed in it. Acting and interaction wise among the cast members, it has great potentials, but the plot did not propel a lingering effect after it ended.  The only consolation I got was the supporting cast who were busy and engrossing with what’s going on around their own stories as well.  

fullsizephoto761418

I think it would have been safe as well if it went to a shorter run because the kind of narrative it circled to was not that complicated to begin with. Though there were a few heartfelt and emotional scenes I really enjoyed, the stagnant progression and dormant conflict made my heart veer away from liking Jealousy Incarnate as a whole.

gong-hyo-jin-and-jo-jung-suk-star-in-the-sbs-drama-jealousy-incarnate

If you are a Jo Jung Seok or Gong Hyo Jin fan, it is bearable to watch but there’s nothing special to look forward to.  -abbyinhallyuland

jealousy_incarnate-p3

The neighborhood of the 90’s youth: Reply 1988 Korean drama Series Review


Reply_1988-p2

They say that as you age along, you get more sentimental as you look back on what has happened in your life. Sitting on this neighborhood drama set between 1988 – 1995 made me reminisce the good old days of endearing family love and friendship full of memories and laughter. “Answer me 1988” pays homage to the irreplaceable bliss of being young – of our young dreams and our young love. It gives you a trip to memory lane when technology hasn’t taken over the world yet— when friends meet up at a house to watch movies, to eat and to chat and when romance comes true by heartfelt love declarations, stolen kisses and warm hugs.

reply-1988

Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make the viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.

reply-1988-park-bo-gum-go-kyung-pyo-hye-ri

 

Answer Me 1988 tells the growing up years of five childhood friends living in a same block as they go through their studies, dreams and life. Relying to one another, the friendship circle’s families were also entangled as one big family thriving happily and harmoniously in the changing times. Sung Duk Seon the only girl in the friendship circle belonged to a family of five with a scary sister she always bicker with and a younger brother who doesn’t look young at all. They live humbly with his banker father’s salary which has been immensely diminished due to his kind heart always extending help to people in need even sacrificing the finances meant to be spend for the family. Choi Taek is the son of a clock repair man who is also a widow. They live quietly amidst the crazy families surrounding them. Choi Taek was a Baduk prodigy but since not having a normal life, he was often sheltered by the people around him because he was kind-hearted to a fault and didn’t bother much about the cruelties in life. Kim Jung Hwan grew up not being wealthy but in a stroke of luck, their family won in a lottery and became rich overnight. He has one brother who didn’t run out of a new hobby to try in his life as their parents worried about him not being able to secure a normal career in his prime. Yoo Do Ryong was the easy go lucky and the dancing machine of the group. He craved for his busy mother’s attention and was scared of his teacher-father’s scolding. Sung Sun Woo assumed taking care of his mother and little sister when his father died young. He was a model student and the most responsible in the group. As a trademark of the “reply franchise”, the drama will also give hints on the main love couple that will blossom in the story. But out of all three Reply dramas, ’88 was the most discreetly conceived and it took the last two finale episodes to finally reveal who the lead girl married. 

s0iZSoN

tsksreply-1988e002720pko_cn04563300-28-41

One of the many things I loved in this show was the genuine on-screen bond of the cast giving life in the best possible imagination of the sketched characters in the story. There was no passerby among the cast. All have contributed to an almost perfect depiction of how uncomplicated life then. With neighbors living up to become a functioning support group with their fellow parents whose dreams were mainly directed to the well-being of their children and of children who were pressured to chase their dreams so as to make their parents proud. That is definitely not the case today with the internet controlling human interaction. People will choose to just browse on the superficial social media status of their family and friends than to take time to catch up with them in person.

large

2ef203f8edc730a703e42adfcf84501e

Another wonderful feature evident to all Reply-dramas would be the building up of the romance which has been fixed in presenting a love triangle and would always break the viewers’ hearts as they want both guys to get the same girl they were chasing. I was Team Taek-i all throughout. Who wouldn’t fall for Taek-i’s puppy face? I just really go for cute nerds who are clueless in life but advances strong when the situation required them to go for their one great love and Taek-i rose to the occasion by waiting for the right time and seizing the moment without looking back. Jung–hwan had his fair share of sweet moments capping up with that heartbreaking love proposal practice which Duk-seon never realized to be what really was in Jung Hwan’s heart.

hyeri-ryu-jun-yeol

But the one great love lesson learned from JungHwan-Dukseon-Taek love triangle is to not blame timing or fate for your one great love to happen. Taek-i braved the odds and defied a 20 year friendship and sealed every love he had for Dukseon in a heart-stopping kiss because he wanted to know right at that moment if there is just not a chance but if love was really there for both of them. It’s not just knowing that love is there, it is being in absolute certainty that both of you feel the same way.Reply_1988-012

I only have the very best things to say for the neighborhood I grew fond watching, for the childhood buddies who defined lifetime friendship and for the sincere love that bloomed from the purest friendship and memories.  Reply 1988 was a great spectacle to seal K-drama parade of 2015 and I can only hope that the writer won’t get tired of delving on nostalgic premise like this.

CYMERA_20151116_202201[1]Reply_1988-001

Reply 1988 is on my top 3 dramas for 2015 because of its brilliant use of sweet melancholia and sending the followers back to their very own youth, like it did to me. It made me want to pay a short visit to the street I grew up with and reminisce the times when I hang out with my childhood friends to play traditional local games. It made me glad that most of my precious memories were not digitally induced as is the case of the youth nowadays. And it reminded me to still go for the purest romance I can ever have that won’t make use much of the world- wide web and social media.

Reply_1988-006Reply_1988-013

The ever present humor, the love stories and the amazing neighborhood are surely a quick relief for life stress. Reply 1988 is a strip of mementos any person with a euphoric youth can relate to. I strongly vouch for this drama if you have a weekend to spare. –jediprincess ♥♥♥

e9e97bfee487106af7d045983d3dadfbtaek

P.S Images Source Asianwiki