KoreanTV: Sageuk Advice

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Dear Korean TV writers,

Your depiction of palace intrigue is boring. Vapid people who have no valuable life skills, such as cooking or building things, trying to kill each other for the fancy chair with the dumbest plans, ever. *yawn*

You might want to talk to your filmmaking cohorts for some plot and character improvements. Or just see a few films. Here, I can recommend two: “Fatal Encounter” for excellent plot and counter-plot with a king who is actually an interesting person; and “The King and the Clown” for some of the most captivating depictions of people surviving (or not) the varied experiences of love and trauma in the brutal environment of monarchy. I have about zero interest in palace intrigue, but thoroughly enjoyed these films despite that focus. Perhaps you could get some hints.

Also, I’m sure there was more to life in historic Korea that what went on in the palace and how people managed to even move in those get-ups. How about tales of how a village sustains itself? Or real stories of relationships amongst average people and how they were challenged by the limitations of the day? I mean just showing me how a blacksmith business operates from day to day would be more interesting. Educational, too! You could work your way through all the professions and have a lifetime worth of series without having to repeat the same tired setting and plot over and over and over.

As long as you’re sticking with the whole royal palace thing, though, how about some more focus on the massive neck muscles the women must have had in order to carry around that 400-kilo headgear? I’d like to see the workout regimen. Plus, those lethal-looking metal bars worn at the back of the head, should be wielded as weapons. Unwanted pass from someone? No problem, I’ve got this pointy 3/4 inch metal shank I can whip out in no time. It’s decorated with flowers and birds so that your last vision is at least pretty.

I think we should bring these back in style. Women could use them on public transportation. See how many men grab asses or press themselves against unwitting women. One or two news stories where the public supports the defensive stabbing by hairbar and I’d bet we see the end of sexual harassment on trains and buses. As a bonus, We’d get spare room since anyone sitting next to us would have to beware of any quick turn of the head ripping their carotid artery. (No wonder there was no hugging in Joseon.)

I will say, we’re doing it wrong here in the modern West. In Joseon, a palace riot only takes about 30 people. They can overrun the palace guard and army in a matter of moments. Now, those are some superheroes! Here, thousands can take to march with zero effect on the power structures. Those Joseon rebels just have to coordinate 30 people to push simultaneously and when that gate opens, the entire military might of the country is brought to its knees. It must be a magic gate. Yeah, yeah, that’s it! Dear writer friends, that was tricky how you made the magic gate concept so subtle. It’s taken me a while to figure out. I’m into you, now.

Anyway, thank you for all your efforts. Please know that my suggestions are well-intended, as you’ve kept me thoroughly entertained in these housebound months.

With great appreciation, Allison Nevitt


from FB post 12/10/16

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