Sorry I skipped last week. I really need to get on this so I stop apologizing. Blech. (And stop making my Quick Takes post titles sound like a new anime.)
It’s been a strange week. My parents are visiting some relatives and are coming back tomorrow, so I’ve had the house to myself for a couple of days. It’s nice to have some time alone, but having them back will be wonderful.
I started watching (and may yet finish) this drama called Fated to Love You, which is apparently a remake of a previous drama. The premise initially was just kind of blah for me: a woman ends up pregnant after sleeping with a rich guy at a resort. Then Dramabeans recommended it as an alternative to Doctor Stranger , (which I don’t have the requisite emotional energy to finish) so I thought, “Eh, why not?”
What especially struck me about one episode were the pro-life element and the Catholic element.
Due to a very unfortunate accident, instead of sleeping with the man she came with, Kim Miyoung ends up sleeping with and pregnant by rich business heir Lee Gun. Being–I don’t know if I can call her a pushover or not, but, being overly-solicitous for others and concerned about the wrong things, Miyoung’s initial decision is to abort the baby. Lee Gun insists on going to the hospital with her, but finds that she’s gone without him, so he runs after her. He arrives during the ultrasound, and both of them are amazed by it.
Sadly, when it comes time to sign the paperwork, Miyoung signs it, as does a surprisingly reluctant Gun. All it takes to crack his resolve is his personal assistant (who is always following him around) handing him the ultrasound picture while he sits in the waiting room. He bolts and drags Miyoung from the operating room. (The only thing I don’t like about this scene is that they play his running for laughs: jumping over patients, sliding under gurneys. I felt that it took away from the seriousness of the situation for a moment.)
I’m glad that she didn’t want to go through with it, and I’m glad he didn’t either. I’m sad that she saw it as a viable option: she didn’t want to give the baby an “unblessed life” as the child of a single mother, or have the child be a “burden” to Lee Gun and his girlfriend. Children are never burdens, and life is always blessed because it is good. Children are always a good thing, no matter the circumstances of their birth.
What’s nice, though, is that when she found out she was pregnant, Miyoung went to see a priest though she’s not Catholic. (Turns out he wasn’t actually a priest but was playing hide and seek with kids and used the confessional etc. etc.)
That impulse, on her part, was agood one, and even though Daniel wasn’t a priest he did what any priest worth his salt would do: counseled her to tell the father of the baby, and prayed with her when she asked him to. (He also should have more strongly encouraged her not to have an abortion when he ran into her at the clinic, but no show is perfect.) A priest is shown as someone who has a measure of authority (as in being dependable and wise) and someone to be respected. Not some dithering flapdoodle or stern oppressor.
Neither of these instances means the drama is automatically good, but they encourage me to keep watching. So, we’ll see how it goes.
(And yes, apparently flapdoodle is actually a word. I did not know that.)
Perhaps I shouldn’t be quite so struck by this–but I’m continually amazed at how Christanity is sympathetically portrayed in Korean dramas. Not that it is promoted or always properly portrayed, per se, but it is present and not mocked, and religious characters tend to be good people. Heck, in one episode of Doctor Stranger I paused the video because I noticed that on a hospital wall–and not just a teensy portion–was a painting of the nativity.
It’s just so rare to see priests and the Church in general rightly and sympathetically portrayed in secular media. I hope that they continue to do so, and to do it right. (I’m not sure if the drama creators are under the mistaken impression that we worship Mary, or if devotion to Mary is popular in Korea, but we see statues of her more often than crucifixes.)
(You know, I think I’ll just keep typing things in parentheses, since I seem to be using so many asides today anyway.)
I also just finished a book called Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha van Leer. Cool premise: storybook characters are actually alive in their stories, and live in the book, waiting to play out their roles whenever Readers open it. However, Oliver is tired of being stuck in the book and wants out into the Otherworld. Luckily for him, Delilah happens to be obsessed with his book and is able to hear him talk. Cue impossible love story.
The premise is cool, but not new: Roderick Townley did it first with Into the Labyrinth (a book I very much enjoyed). The set up of the book was also neat: we alternated between Delilah’s and Oliver’s POV, as well as bits and pieces from the fairy tale Oliver belonged to. The occasional illustrations were nice, and the little illustrations in the margins added to the atmosphere of the book.
Here’s the but: the ending felt…blech. Oliver ends up sending someone else in the book to take his place so he can stay in the real world with Delilah. This someone else, Edgar, is perfectly happy to go. But no one talks to Edgar’s mother about it. No one questions whether Edgar doesn’t have, oh, I dunno, responsibilities and duties to his mother, or whether Oliver has duties and responsibilities to his fellow characters. The point that maybe Oliver should be content with what he has, and perhaps should stay in the book, is brought up but never seriously considered.
After an excursion into the book Delilah learns to be content with her life, but Oliver still desires to leave his book, and Edgar leaves the mother he treats poorly to live in a storybook. Delilah learns a measure of lessons about accepting reality–not in a cynical fashion, but as it is–while the other two don’t. And it goes ahead and ignores some important things like parents and other people. Not to mention that Oliver and Edgar look identical and I think he plans on impersonating Edgar, so deception will inevitably be involved.
But, that’s how it ends.
Which is sad, ’cause I liked the idea.
(And just for kicks, I’m going to leave you with some unclosed parentheses
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