Thursday, April 1, 2010

Television and Life

Ian and I are creatures of habit when it comes to television.  Once we start watching a show, we watch it every night, almost religiously, until we finish the season (or series, in some cases).  Due to our Korean IP addresses and the effect that IP blockers, like Anchor Free, have on one's bandwidth, we download shows and movies.  Stateside, we were vehemently against the practice (while hypocritically downloading all our music), but left with few alternatives we've pulled up the anchor, raised our Jolly Roger and hit the high seas.

The two shows we are watching right now are Gilmore Girls (we started with Season 1 and we're now on Season 5) and LOST.  Ian doesn't actually watch LOST because there's too much for him to catch up on.  So, every Wednesday I download the latest episode and watch it all by my lonesome.

Those two shows don't have much in common.  But, one link they do have is their Korean characters.  Both show has a set of Korean characters; in Gilmore Girls Rory's best friend Lane and her family are Korean and LOST has Sun and Jin.  Truthfully, the characters' shared attributes end at their nationalities.  In fact, both the actresses on Gilmore Girls (Lane and Mrs. Kim) are Japanese-American, while the LOST actors are actually Korean-Americans. All of that aside, living in Korea and knowing it's culture and people a little better than the average American joe gives these characters more depth at times.  They are more interesting or humorous to us than they might otherwise be.

In Season 5 of Gilmore Girls, Lane has moved out of her mother's house.  Her mother has taken in an exchange student, Kyon, and Lane feels replaced.  There are better interactions between Lane and Kyon, but this is the only clip I could find.  Later, when Lane tells Kyon that Mrs. Kim doesn't have all the special powers she claims to (that help her keep children in line, like smelling fast food on someone even after they've showered and having a machine in the television that reports what someone has watched) Kyon shows the same lack of critical thinking skills that our students do, much to our amusement and disdain.  Also, her accent is a lot like Julia's, our director, only slightly less obnoxious.

As for LOST, the show has made a few cultural missteps with its Korean characters.  I won't even attempt to explain the plot to you, but the characters' names have become an important piece of the puzzle, the "why are all these people even on this island puzzle."  The show has the characters wearing wedding bands (Koreans do not) and Sun takes Jin's family name, Kwon, after they are married (Koreans do not).  I originally thought that they shared the same last name as mere coincidence (there seem to be only about five Korean surnames), but last night's episode revealed her maiden name as Paek.

I know this means nothing to 95% of you; but since Korea isn't as accessible or well known as Japan (or even China in some ways), being a little more on the inside is a strange experience.  It seems silly to me to say this now, but never again will I mistake Korean, Japanese and Chinese.  They couldn't sound more different.  But, a year ago I'd be taking a stab in the dark.

What things in life do you feel you have an insider's take on?  How does it change your relationship with the media and entertainment?

Good night!


  1. Hey, everytime I really understand one of the more bizarre pop culture references on Gilmore girls I feel like an insider, though it may be because I've watched every season over 20 times. You think I'm exaggerating, but I am so not.
    Also, Lane is amazing! I always wanted a Lane and the band spin off.

  2. Medical shows. They almost never get the process, procedures, or protocol correct. Although I do think it is getting better. After all they got it right on Grey's Anatomy, surgeons almost always sleep around with the nursing staff and they do it at the hospital. After all no time to do it elsewhere you know.

    I love Gilmore Girls, I will have to get the series from netfix and start watching again.