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20 10월, 2007

No More! Never Again! Gouge me eyes out!

Okay, so it may be a bit unfair to describe them as execrable, but honestly I don't think I could watch anymore Chinese-language dramas. This is a tirade against a few Mandarin ones I've seen so far. The problems are many and my patience is short so;

The Women (or rather, girls. 'Cos it seems that anyone over the age of 21 is a fun-hating bitch just waiting in the wings to make our poor sweet young innocent's life miserable and steal their man/true love/future breadbasket, whilst looking fabulous rockin' a designer suit and looking like they actually have something to do. I'm twenty f... something gosh darnit, what did I do to deserve this!!)
They tend to be really, young, naive, uncomplicated girls. They lack finesse and are good girls with good hearts, plucky even.They are sooo shhweet. They also tend to be poor ( not middle class, just straight up poor) and working some menial job. These lovely girl just couldn't make it through school cos they were just plain ol' stupid. Just one thing. No a couple of things. They tend to be vapid. They, for all intents and purposes, are educationally stunted about the age 12 and have suffered from the longest adolescent akward-stageitis as a collective. Their bevy of loyal, equally retch inducing friends all drank from the same poisoned well. The 1980's valley girl and whine is reborn in Mandarin with the same fashion sense, albeit with no money, no malls to overrun and a serious case of filial piety. Education, personal growth and reasoned thinking is seemingly anathema to these creatures. On the contrary for these girls clear, reasoned, methodical thinking seems to be what's wrong with the world today. We must feel!! In short, they are retards of the first water. I'm surprised some of the girls have something between their ears that enables them to communicate with people, as it seems all they can do is pout, cause chaos and say the word ker ai (as an aside, the Japanese say kawaii, sound a lot alike I wonder if they have the same etymology) which means cute. Blech.

Yes i know they are characters and aren't real. I guess they are meant to appeal to a certain demographic, chiefly anyone young enough to think that Girls Aloud is the pinnacle of music. But seriously, when one is rooting with all my might for the Baroness Schrader type characters (also known as the villainesses) you know there must be something wrong. What makes the bad girls so awful you ask? Well, they work and actually earn the money used to keep themselves in a style I would like to be accustomed to. They actively used their brain cells. They do stuff like, I don't know, think. Usually any form of female frontal lobe use is portrayed as evil, scheming whore who will do anything to steal the man but these women actually plot and manipulate quite well. They wear clothing that don't look like they were rescued from a burning pile the teletubbies rejected. They've got goals and are working towards them. True, that might involve running roughshod over a few people and shoving your future mother-in-law down the stairs, but you do need to break a few heads (or eggs) to make an omelet, right? They also happen to suffer ( a freaking hell of a lot!) from unrequited love, or lose their man to the pure soul cos obviously career oriented women are ball-busting harpies.

The Men
Portrayed as heartless bastards who can only see the bottom line and how it affects their business, and are supposedly obscenely wealthy. We also have obscenely wealthy bad boys who have nothing better to do than torment the afore mentioned doe-eyed beauties, whilst wearing a leather jacket. Nothing more to be said, really. Oh yeah, majority have fantastic head of dead sexy hair that falls across the face just so.

Sigh. Oh, where do I begin? Is it the countless voice overs? The zooming into the face for a reaction shot. Is it constantly flashing back to an occurrence only a couple of seconds ago? Nay folks, it is all that and more. I have a litany of complaints about the production, but i will leave it to a couple and chalk the rest to low budget. Here are the highlights.

Somewhere the writers seem to have gotten the idea that the posing was too much for the actors. They said, "You know what? Instead of some actual semblance of emotion or acting from you, we'll just write you a voiced over, internal monologue bit where we'll explain everything that is supposed to be going on in that itty bitty mind of yours so you don't have to worry your wittle, oh-so-photogenic head 'bout nothin'!". We then get a lovely high angled shot of someone's damnable fringe (or bangs) and moue, accompanied some long, unnecessary mind sapping exposition that ultimately either explained what just happened, was going on or what will happen next. The supposedly tense, exciting music kicks in. Exciting, to be sure.

Nothing says startled quite like zooming in to someone's face. We can't just zoom in once, no, no, that wouldn't give the viewers time to fully absorb the gravitas of the moment. Twice, feels a bit too uneven. Third time is the charm. To reinforce what just happened, we flashback to the occurences of a few moments ago, be it the voiced over internal monologue. Or a the slo-mo "you just missed each other walking down the same hallway" coincidences. Or someone tripping and falling. Or someone brushing by and stealing something. The list goes on and on. In fact, there doesn't seem to be one moment that is not overladden with syrupy emotion. I won't even talk about bad sets, lighting, camera work and the like. I can't. It would be too depressing, and also i have no bloody clue about my word count limit here.

Lastly, The Acting
An unbelievable amount of mugging goes on in these shows. Any emotion apart from dead seems to require the efforts of both facial muscle groups at the same time. The women whine incessantly and pout. The men are one barrel and a tricorne hat away from a Captain Morgan pose in every scene. Where anyone with a modicum of sense would tell him "boy, you better stop with that sh*t you are a grown-ass dude. Man up!", it seems they are encouraged in such manly behaviour. I think it is supposed to make women swoon. Few make the jump from television to movies, as it seems TV is the wasteland for every second rate acting hack that looks good. That may be a bit harsh but man, can't stand them.

I can see why the hallyu wave swept the rest of Asia, if I had to watch these here steaming piles of turd constantly, I would at least want to watch the better produced (read: more money well spent) crying-jag inducing dramas from Korea. I will never again watch more than the first episode of a bad drama. My psyche has been damaged enough already. The end.

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