Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Greatest Marriage (최고의 결혼) Review: Episode 14 and 15

I purposely didn't write a review for episode 14 because I wasn't happy with how things were. And truth be told I've already said everything that needs to be said about this drama before.

The only new thing about episode 14 that worth mentioning was the few seconds during the mediation session at the court house. I love seeing the reaction from the female court officials when they hear about Park Tae Yun's behaviour.

I'm glad that there's at least people in this drama that represent our loathing for this loser and our disgust at how unfair the whole situation is for Cha Ki Young.

These view seconds turn out to be a glimpse of what is coming in the next episode.

Yes, episode 15 still has plenty scenes of the loathsome Park family and the spitefully narrow minded demonstrators. And no, there isn’t much change in our heroine’s situation. It still has Cha Ki Young in the worse situation imaginable. Correction, it’s actually worst than worse.

But, I really love episode 15.

It reminds me once again why I love this drama in the first place. It brings back my hope that it won’t go to the garbage dump after all. And that I don’t just spend 16 precious hours of my time for nothing.

How to justify my love?

First of all, most dramas are good or even great in their first half before going down the lane into the never to be remembered dramasphere. Some are consistently good until their very finale which then earn them the wrath of the biggest chunk of world population who has faithfully and lovingly watched them.

The Greatest Marriage first part although not to everyone liking is arresting, interesting and different enough to capture my attention. And despite the fact that its latter episodes make my blood boil and have me cursing left and right strangely enough I’m still watching.

What make me loose hope with this drama is the constant barrage of pain that I have to endure watching all the wrath worthy scenes on my screen.

Scenes that make me question the sanity of the writer for presenting us with these very unpleasant characters and the hard to swallow plights of our heroine, plus my own sanity for keep on watching.

But, after episode 15 I’m happy to note that the writers, the director and whoever involves in the production of this drama are not that crazy. They still know the importance of a good ending (which in my book means a happy ending).

For no matter how good a drama in the beginning and the middle is, a crappy ending will ruin it. But no matter how painfully boring or ridiculous the journey towards the end is, most of the audience will be very forgiving and understanding once they are given their reward in the form of a good ending.

Like it or not the ending plays the most important role in a drama. It could save or destroy it.

We still have 1 episode to go before the final judgement could be made. However, seeing how things are now I guess it’s safe to say that our ship is not going to sink after all.

Let’s have a look at what I love the most in this episode: Jo Eun Cha!

I’ve mentioned before that I fall in love with Jo Eun Cha and Bae Soo Bin the actor. This episode brings back all that love to the front. It reminds me once again what a great actor Bae Soo Bin is.

His role as Jo Eun Cha is extremely difficult. It’s hard for me to imagine other actor pulling it off with the kind of effortlessness he does. He is so perfect as Jo Eun Cha.

How to portray an asshole without alienating him from the audience? How to be a complete jerk but still get the love from female audience? How to make them root for you to end up with the female lead when you aren’t even romantically involved with her?

The answer is Jo Eun Cha.

The wrong answer is Park Tae Yun.

I have a feeling that episode 15 tries to make us more sympathetic towards this SOB.

It tries to make us more understanding towards Park Tae Yun although not necessarily to accept him with open arms. And certainly not to pair him with Cha Ki Young because that ship has long gone with the typhoon.

Unfortunately, it reveals nothing new about him. Him loving Cha Kin Young? No surprise at all. It’s been pretty clear that he loves her from the very beginning.

He accepted the offer from the TV station because he wanted to officially meet her after getting tired of being just a secret admire/stalker. He chose to live at her apartment building because that’s where she lived.

From episode one we know that he loves her and she loves him not. She likes him enough to have a casual relationship with him. But that’s it. He’s the one who tried to look cool by saying wanting nothing but sex from her and then went all crazy on her when she refused to share more than her body and what little time and consideration she gave him.

I think I would be more forgiving and understanding if Park Tae Yun doesn’t love Cha Ki Young. The fact that he does just make the whole thing worse.

If even love couldn’t stop him from ruining the life of the woman he loves, his own flesh and blood, and his own wife, he doesn’t deserve to get a forgiveness. Nor an understanding.

His love is so toxic. So poisonous and completely disastrous that women kind should thank their fortune that they are not loved by Park Tae Yun. Seeing the kind of things that he could do to the one he loves, it gives me chill to think what kind of hell he’ll bestow on the one he doesn’t.

Not only he has the worst kind of love to offer, as a human being he is also the worst kind of man to spend the rest of your life with. He’ll never put your needs and your feelings into consideration. With him it’s always how he feels and what he needs first. Whenever things are not to his liking he’ll lash out.

Hyun Myung Yi states in her testimony that Cha Ki Young destroys Park Tae Yun. News flash: Park Tae Yun destroys Park Tae Yun and everybody else who is unfortunate enough to be in his vicinity.

He’ll blow his chances with Cha Ki Young sooner or later. Her being pregnant just speeds things along. With his personality it’s hard for me to imagine that Cha Ki Young could finally fall in love with him.

And it’s easy for me to imagine that he could impregnate a number of girls while he is still in a relationship with Cha Ki Young. One girl every time she upsets him.

If I may offer some advice to many young girls out there who are looking for romance/love this is what I have to say: ‘Don’t you ever accept a man who professes/thinks that he loves you but does everything that scorns that very sacred and beautiful word.’  

Don’t you ever aspire to change a screwed up man or dream of fixing him up, you shouldn’t waste your life and risk your happiness like that. Not when there are many more dependable, responsible and trustworthy guys out there. Ones who know the meaning of love and how to treasure it.

Park Tae Yun is a perfect example of what girls/women shouldn’t pick.

I couldn’t even bring myself to feel sorry for his pain. All I want for him now is to at least try to right so many wrongs that he has done.

This is my parting gift to Park Tae Yun : Do something that is good and right for once. Stop always putting yourself first before others and try to put the feelings and needs of those you think you love before you if you really love them.

There. That’s my part of trying to be fair.

Episode 15 makes me happy. It makes me look forward to watching the finale with the eagerness that I feel for its earlier episodes.

My favourite scenes are:
1.  Jo Eun Cha coming clean under the oath and telling all sundry that President Park tries to bribe and bully him.
2.  The sleeping under one roof scene between Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young.
3.  The private conversation between them when Jo Eun Cha asks her why she doesn’t give him a boot despite all that he has done to her.
4.  I also love how she proposes. It’s not the most romantic proposal there is, far from it. What I love about it is her realization that whether she likes it or not marriage is an institution that is still considered as a must in their society. And if she has to marry to make her life and her son’s life better, Jo Eun Cha is the best man for that job. I also love Jo Eun Cha’s response to her proposal. It shows that he understands her enough and cares enough not to immediately say yes.
5.  The sleeping under one blanket scene between Park Sun Nyo and Pedro (love this couple).
6.  The ajumas that come to volunteer for Jo Eun Cha’s campaign! Love them!

My expectation for the finale:
1.  Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young win their battle against the odds.
2.  A wedding or double weddings would end the show nicely and make me extremely happy.

No elaboration on the Park Family please. I couldn’t careless whether Park Tae Yun divorces Hyun Myung Yi or not. Or whether President Park still does his dirty business of buying people/officials every chance he gets.  

Oh, very well. I’ve tried to be nice to Park Tae Yun, now it’s time to be nice to Hyun Myung Yi. Although I don’t like her I think she’s entitled to get everything that she wants because she has slaved over in that family as their perfect daughter in law for years. And they love her. Plus she loves Park Tae Yun despite not wanting to admit it. Let the crazies stay together in a crazy house. The world would be a better place without them.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Upholding Justice through Capital Punishment

There are too many debates already about the pros and cons of capital punishment. Some people might have chosen to support the life sentence or the death penalty for reasons that may have nothing to do with the fundamental issue itself. But I believe most of those who join the discourse feel strongly about it. And they should be.

A human life is the most precious gift we have. It is our most valuable asset that is priceless thus its violation needs to be punished with the most severe punishment for justice to be served.

There is no real justice if the punishment is not delivered appropriately to the seriousness of the crime. There is no justice if the extraordinary crimes are given the same punishment as the ordinary or petty ones. 

If we compare various crimes committed by criminals there is nothing more hideous than the act of brutally taking someone else’s life. This crime should not be taken lightly. It has an entirely different nature than other crimes because in this case a reparation could not right the wrong.

Nevertheless, a reparation might be deemed as fair enough (not just) when the victims (those related to the victims) are willing to accept it and consider the monetary payment/other kind of payment as a fair punishment for the awful agonizing death of their loved ones.

But if you were the victim will you accept the money in exchange for your life and your last painful moments? Will you accept it as a fair punishment or exchange?

If I were the victim the answer is a resounding no. No amount of money will be enough to pay for my life nor for the painful way I die. Not when all I want is to live. To accomplish things I want to do and most importantly to make some preparation for my own hopefully peaceful death.

The reparation for murder is unjust because a life is exchanged for a certain amount of money when it’s perfectly clear to all of us that the victims would never trade their life for anything.

Not to mention how concerning and alarming the concept is. When one pays for the life one takes, what is there to stop and discourage some evil people from killing others? They could always pay for it later.

Taking human life has become a simple and easy thing to do. It is no different than other crimes. A life has become nothing more than another commodity that could be measured and replaced when it is actually priceless and irreplaceable.

There is something really wrong with this concept. But unfortunately this concept is acceptable because it is fair to some extend.

What I find appalling about this concept is the very fact that the living choose to favour the murderer (or is it money?) over the victim.

As a result some rich or powerful people could choose to hire a killer to kill whoever he wants to eliminate. If he is somehow get caught he could easily pay some more, this time to the victim’s family.

Other punishment besides reparation is even worse (at least with the money the victim’s family could continue their livelihood in some comfort and not hardship). What does other kind of punishment (life sentence) do for the victims and their families? Nothing.

A life sentence shows a blatant disregard for the life that has been cruelly and unlawfully taken. It shows no respect for the victims. It gives them no justice. It’s like shouting at those poor victims: ‘Once you’re dead you’re forgotten and don’t matter anymore. You’re dead so let us focus on the living even if he is your murderer he’s more important than you now.’

The victim is being killed twice. Once by his murderer and the second time by the failure of the living to honour the dead and to protect their rights.

With a life sentence the murderer will get to live his life for God knows how long. He can still see his family for the rest of his life. He can still do so many things that the victim can no longer do. The irony is he even gets people to support him. People who fight in earnest to keep him alive.

People who forget the gravity and the calibre of the offense done by the brutal act of taking someone else’s life. People who try forcing their view on someone else who has just experienced one of the most horrible experiences in their live. The victim’s family are the only ones with the right to forget and forgive.

I find it quite offensive for perfect strangers to decide for them.

Thanks God that will never happen here. Thanks God our sense of justice is not screwed by the misguided notion of protecting human rights. What human? What rights? The murderer who inhumanely slaughters his victims is not human. Human laws don’t apply to him.

The moment he forsakes his humanity by cold bloodedly taking someone else’s life he has stopped being a human and has forsaken his right to live or to be treated humanely.

The government needs to enforce capital punishment for murder and other extra ordinary crimes which include drug trafficking and terrorism (if it is up to me to decide I’ll put rape/child rape too here) because they are responsible to uphold justice for all. The living and the dead alike.

A strong law enforcement is necessary because the injustices create distrust, discontentment, rebellion and chaos. The failure to deliver justice could lead to social unrest in the society and a destruction of a country.

A very recent and horrible example is the massacre in Pakistan when Taliban stormed a school and wantonly took 145 lives, most of them were children.

A county could only prosper when its people trust its government to protect their interests/rights and only does what is best for them. A government could gain the trust of its people through just and fair policies and a good enforcement of the law.

When we are talking about the capital punishment it is important to remember:
1. The capital punishment is carried out for the benefit of the community as a whole.
2. The capital punishment is not and should not be about the defendants (their lawyers always try to do exactly that by presenting them as victims that should get public sympathy).
3. The capital punishment is about giving justice to those who have been cruelly and horribly robbed off of their human rights and dignity.

Justice demands the defendants to pay for their wrongdoing (pay in a way most suitable for their crime). What is the most suitable punishment for inhumane act of taking someone else’s life?

If you listen to your heart you’ll know the answer without having to be told. One doesn’t need to go to law school to know what punishment is the most suitable one for this kind of horrible crime.

In the wake of Jokowi’s refusal to grant his pardon to 64 kingpins that have been sentenced to death by the courts the debate about the pros and cons of the death penalty has once again resurfaced.

As if on cue those who like to consider themselves the only champions of human rights use this chance as an opportunity to voice their objection and condemnation to Jowoki’s decision.

Not that it matters.

This particular case (drug trafficking) aside (Indonesia has ± 4.5 million drug addicts which is almost equal to the whole population of a small country like Singapore – just imagine what happens to Singapore if all of its people are drug addicts; 1.2 million addicts are beyond saving/rehabilitation; 30 – 40 addicts die every day) the Indonesian population is overwhelmingly in favour of death penalty.

Some countries might have a miniscule number of petty crimes but we are inundated with news of heinous murder cases across the country where the criminals show no remorse for their horrific crimes. Not to mention terrorism.

As one of the victims of the terrorists’ attack (Kuningan’s bomb) I’ve come to a realization that although they may look like a human but they are not. God’s law doesn’t apply to them let alone ours. Clemency for these monsters is totally against the public sense of justice and righteousness.

What if we take the life of an innocent? 

Well, I don’t know how it is in other countries but here these kind of crimes are being investigated under public’s watchful eyes. All people related to the victims and the criminals are being thoroughly investigated.

There is absolutely no way an innocent is going to be accused and executed for thing he doesn’t do. Not for the kind of horrendous crimes we have here. Most of the criminals are caught not long after fleeing the crime scenes trying to hide themselves and destroying the evidences.

Despite the very clear and obvious facts found they are being given a chance to prove their innocents. The whole country can see and follow their movements before and after committing their evil deeds.

If I have to deliver the death penalty myself, I don’t think I would be able to do it. I’ll probably change my mind and ask for a life sentence instead. Why? Because taking someone else’s life is not that easy no matter how entitled you are.

But our inability to carry out some punishments doesn’t mean that we should renounce them. We should never renounce justice no matter how hard it is.

That is why we need our Government to do it on our behalf. When they do it, it is the enforcement of the law and not murder. And it is done for the sake of community as a whole. It is done to uphold justice and nothing more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Greatest Marriage (최고의 결혼) Review: Episode 13

This show is definitely not for those who love light, fluffy, romantic comedy with no fondness for melodrama. I wish I could stop watching it. But at this juncture I've lost that option.

At episode 13 the Greatest Marriage has finally become just another melo drama, something it was definitely not at its beginning. As crazy and painful the previous journey was I appreciate its ‘uniqueness’.

Now, we have a father who looks like he is about to die, a son who suddenly realizes the loves he has for his abhorrent father – blood is thicker than water after all –, a second male lead who turns evil because of his love being spurned (as if being loathsome is not enough) but hey, this is Park Tae Yun we’re talking about. He excels at going lower than your expectation.

But what I find most difficult to accept is a female lead who now become a damsel in distress (the kind of female lead that I dislike the most). Where is her strength? Where is her courage? Where is her brain and her sharpness?

Yes, love is a weakness. But it’s also a strength.

It makes you weak because you don’t want to hurt your loved ones or because you’re afraid of losing them. But it’s also the best source of power to fuel your fight against whatever obstacles stand in your way.

Being a chaebol doesn’t give you the right to do whatever you want to do. You’re not above the law. You might be able to buy some people and bend rules here and there to your liking but the world isn’t blind.

The Park family has money and power on their side, plus, crazy twisted minds to run amok amongst weak people who can be bought.

But, are the society as weak, blind, unjust and crazy as they are?  Is justice and sane people no longer exist?

Cha Ki Young’s fight against them is no longer one woman fight. She might be alone in the drama but the viewers are grinding their teeth in frustration and anger. I’m frustrated and outraged.

In this fight between the powerful against the powerless the outcome is inevitable. We know how it’ll end in real life but this is a drama so I refuse to accept the real life outcome.

I want a happy ending for my drama.

In case the show doesn’t understand the meaning of happy ending (since they seem to rejoice in throwing all those awful, painful, crazy scenes our way I’m afraid they don’t), here’s some suggestions of what will I call a happy end:

  1. Cha Ki Young wins the exclusive right to raise Cha Dan (that household should be banned from having children).
  2. Park Sun Nyo (the only member of Park family that I like) gets to leave her beyond crazy family and lives happily ever after with the best husband in that drama.
  3. Jo Eun Cha wins the election and is set for the next step to the Blue House.
  4. The rest of the Park family disappears from my screen in the last episode and I get my reward for watching this drama till the end in the form of happy scenes between my 3 Chas. Cha Ki Young, Cha Dan and Jo Eun Cha.
3 more to go.

Congratulations to the Greatest Marriage for getting its highest rating with this episode nationwide. If I'm not mistaken 1.754 is considered very high for cable.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Greatest Marriage (최고의 결혼) Review: Episode 12

*Sigh. Take a deep breath.*

It's not like I don't realize this show increases my blood pressure. I've resigned to the fact that I'm actually watching a show that doesn't make me happy. However, this particular episode makes that realization acutely painful.

Had it filled solely with craziness, I won't feel this kind of discontentment. Had it filled only with detestable deeds/scenes I won't feel this upset.

Seeing snippets of what kind of life the thresome Cha Ki Young, Cha Dan and Jo Eun Cha could have together makes watching the kidnapping scene more unbearable. 

I’ve never resented the writer, director, PD, or whoever involves in the production of this drama before, but this time I do.

What they did in episode 12 is similar to inviting me to a banquet, let me have a spoon or two of the delicious meals and then flipping the table when the spoon hasn’t even left my mouth yet.

I’m royally pissed off because this episode makes me happy and angry almost at the same time.

The return of Pedro with his feelings for Park Sun Nyo still intact is one of the things that I really like. In a drama where all the male leads are basically assholes Pedro is like a perfect angel.

I love seeing how even when he’s in surrounded by tall, willowy beauties his eyes are able to catch Park Sun Nyo who is trying to get another look at him. The crazy sister is the luckiest woman here.

That scene is one of my favourites besides all the 3 Chas’ scenes.

Now, things that royally piss me off. No, not things, but THE THING that upset me the most. Jo Eun Cha. Yes, I’m telling you it’s Jo Eun Cha.

You might not be surprised if you’re one of those who feel like smacking him now and then. But I never hated him before and I still don’t hate him now, unfortunately, this time around he’s succeeded in making me really angry.

No. I’m beyond angry. I feel like sending him Pedro with another hard lesson.

He is saved by Hyun Myung Yi from doing the monstrous deed of betraying Cha Ki Young with what she values the most.

We don’t see him actually doing the bad deed, there’s always a possibility that he might change his mind at the very last minute (he did it once when he decided that instead of bowing at the feet of the senator’s wife by replacing Cha Ki Young with a new MC in her fashion show, he made a stand to use Cha Ki Young instead) and choose to defy President Park’s order, but I don’t care.

We’re already at episode 12, there’s only 4 episodes left. Jo Eun Cha needs to reform now, if he is ever going to.

It is extremely annoying to see how this Jo Eun Cha, who has gotten to know Cha Ki Young and genuinely loves Cha Dan could even entertain the thought of handing over his ‘son’ to that crazy old man.

If he wants to be a great senator or even a President he needs to have a backbone and fight for what he cares for. No matter how fake politicians are, they need to have something genuine as their cause. Something that makes people believe in them.

Jo Eun Cha’s perfect cause is Cha Ki Young.

President Park might make things difficult for him if he dares to defy him but doesn’t Jo Eun Cha realize that he needs to fight against people like President Park if he wants to win in the election fighting for Cha Ki Young’s cause.


And then there’s Park Tae Yun. The scumbag has returned.

I still don’t care about him. I still have no sympathy what so ever for his misery. He has created his own hell, so he should at least have a decency to live with it.

But, we’re already at episode 12. Isn’t it about time for him to grow up? To stop being a useless scumbag and be useful for once. He can die afterward for all I care.

But right now Cha Ki Young needs help. His crazy parents and evil wife are turning her life into hell. What right do they have to do that? Isn’t it enough that their own son destroys her life once?

It’s time for Park Tae Yun to wake up and do something right. For once. Knowing him, I’m afraid to hope. But, we’re already at episode 12 people! 12! Do something!

You can’t expect us to see exactly the same thing over and over again now do you?!

We need to see happy scenes, lots and lots of it. We need to feel good about something. We need to be rewarded after enduring all the previous episodes with patience and forbearance.

At least I do.