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a five month check-in

3 min

and the things I’ve been watching in the meantime

A Kdrama Update

I’ve been back on a Korean drama kick lately. I think it’s mostly because I very much am in the mood for romance novels, but I have no patience with reading at the moment. Though I guess that explanation makes a lot less sense when you remember that watching Korean dramas when you don’t speak Korean means there’s plenty of reading involved.

(Semi-elated: yes, I’ve finally caught up on season 2 of Bridgerton. It was fun! But I kind of wish the writing had done more for some of the characters, especially Edwina.)

Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of the Korean dramas I’ve been watching, all of which are on Netflix.

Her Private Life

What it’s about: A museum curator has a secret life as a fangirl that she has to hide from her new boss. But when she gets mistakenly drawn into a scandal with her favorite K-pop singer, her boss suggests that he should become her fake boyfriend.

If you want a cute romantic comedy that combines fandom, fake dating, and enemies-to-lovers, then watch the first 10 or so episodes of this show. I loved the way it explored K-pop fandom, combining both the absurdity and the sincere heart that underlies fandom in general. Unfortunately, the show only really manages that for the first 2/3 of the series. The last third is a sequence of truly stupid reveals, bringing in new plot lines about abandoned children and surprise siblings that makes absolutely no sense while having the audacity to be boring. Despite how much I hated the last few episodes, the characters and the way the show integrated fandom made it overall worth watching for me.

Business Proposal

What it’s about: A food researcher goes on a blind date on behalf of her friend with the intention of scaring off the guy, only to find that the guy on the other side of the table is the president of her company. Somehow, this ends with her becoming his fake girlfriend.

Like Her Private Life, Business Proposal combines fake dating and enemies-to-lovers and poor workplace relationship choices that only work because this is a TV show. Unlike Her Private Life, Business Proposal has no abandoned children except for in a small meta way thanks to a show-within-the-show. I will say that if the main couple weren’t played by such charming actors, I would probably have rooted against them because they both kept making choices that were frustrating in the same repetitive way. But even if they did end up being fun to watch, their best friends were the real heart of the show to me. One’s an heiress, the other is the secretary/best friend to the guy she was supposed to be going on a blind date with—I’m glad they got so much screen time, but I kept wanting more.

Crash Landing on You

What it’s about: A South Korean heiress paraglides her way into a tornado that ends up transporting her to North Korea, where she ends up hiding in the home of a North Korean soldier.

This is the big show that everyone who regularly watches Korean dramas talks about, and I’m finally watching it. I’ve got about six episodes left, and I’m obsessed. I’m most intrigued by all of the choices the show makes in how it portrays North Korea, which makes up a big chunk of the setting. I’m also intrigued by the fact that I know this show is going to break my heart, and yet I cannot look away. The writing, the twists, the characters—everything is perfectly designed to ruin me, and yet here I am.

Maybe the biggest compliment I can give the show is that I was watching it with my parents, and when I went to bed, my mom decided to skip to the last episode because they were leaving and she had to know what happened.

Some stuff I’ve made

Because I remember to send this newsletter out about once ever 5 months or so, there’s always a backlog of stuff. So for today, here is one new thing:

Tiny Matters: What is a memory?

My newest project is a podcast that I’m co-hosting with the amazing Sam Jones for the American Chemical Society. Every episode, we take on something that’s tiny but also huge and important. For this episode, we dove into memories: how they’re made, and also how they’re lost.


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