Nearly everything listed in my Netflix “recommendations” is a Korean romantic comedy! Huh? The Netflix robot says … “based on your interest in East Asia cinema” …
One of their suggestions was for a Korean TV series called “A Gentleman’s Dignity”. I’ve been following it on Netflix streaming. Turns out it IS pretty good. I recommend it for late-night viewing. (Which would be daytime in Korea?) The show is promoted as a “Sex and the City” only with Korean men instead of New Yorker women as the leads. Actually, I think AGD it is a lot better than SITS, because the characters are much more likable and there are more funny situations I can relate to.
The ongoing story is about four FORTY-something men. I like it because these are older guys. I can relate. “Older” meaning that they are experienced, they know what they are doing. They know what goes where– and why. However, they are not so old that they are NOT starting to complain about their prostates. They say in shape playing baseball, and argue with the lady umpires. (Imagine the sexual tension between an umpire and an ejected player.) The four friends are in the peak of their professional careers, they have the money, the attitude, and the dapper flair that puts THEM in command in this Korean Peninsula battle-of-the-sexes.
They date women about a decade younger than them. Not schoolgirls, but women in their 30’s that still look great in a tight mini-skirt. Pretty … sexy … leggy. I like that the show it is NOT marketed to teens.
Now these guys are not estro-American wimps. These guys know how to treat a lady, but they also know how to handle their women. Even in the unrequited love situation (one of the main plot points here) the man is still in control, and still has the upper hand. Also, if another dude invades THEIR woman’s space, they are quick to defend the DMZ of what is theirs, and – with the right amount of flirty posing — can stand down any aggressor. Yup. These dudes are always in control. Put it on my tab.
The scenes around urban/suburban Seoul really make you want to go there! Everything is upscale coffee-shops, bookstores, art studios, urban driving ranges, etc. Everything is clean. No bums. No litter. No crime. There are Korean “hip hop” boys bumming cigarettes however. One odd thing is that there is often product-placement for KFC – Kentucky Fried Chicken/Korean Fried Chicken. Often there is a scene where the characters meet at KFC, or someone brings a bucket of KFC, or KFC just happens to be there in the background. I wonder who sponsored this TV series?
AGD has got to be the least “gay” TV show ever. Not even close. Despite the ultra-hip, ultra-modern, sophisticated, cosmopolitan atmosphere … there are no gay characters. Very different from most American rom-coms. The ladies have no cliché “gay best friend’s” shoulder to cry on. Also, although these guys are very GQ, and very fashionable, there is nothing swishy about these ladies men. Well, they do “manscape” and they use all these facial care products, but that is only because that will attract more ladies.
There is plenty of manly posing. I mean … God, these guys are so handsome!!! … er … uh … um … er … I mean … huh … huh … Did you see that BIG GAME last night? Hellavuh game, hellavuh game. But I digress …
Technology is an important part of communication in the series. The cool dudes and their ladies are often texting each other on these big handheld phones, and they use that cute alphabet Koreans have. Have you seen Korean? It’s not exactly Chinese Kanji characters. It’s not Japanese Katakana. It looks like the “alien” alphabet they use if you look closely at equipment in the “Star Wars” movies. (The closest thing to Korean letters is the “Unown alphabet from Pokemon). Linguists have classified how hard languages are to learn. English and Chinese are up there, but Korean is regarded as the hardest language to learn.
One thing I thought was also odd — was that in spite of this being sold as “sex comedy” there is no sex. No nudity. It is one of those “white-sheets-pulled-up-over-the-lady-the-next-morning” type TV shows. That is OK, because the “sex” here is really all about the tension, and who holds the power.
There is a catchy theme song for the series, which will also link you to various clips from the show. “High High” by Kim Tae Woo. Oh, and you have to get used to guys named “Kim”.
Watch the first episode on Netflix, see if it hooks you …
I will also include this playlist of songs from the series linked here in another window. You will have Seoul-much-fun while you work on your computer and listen to this mix of Kpop.
Oh no … now Netflix really thinks I’m Korean … “because you liked A Gentleman’s Dignity” …
Starlight: It took nearly a year for me to find this wonderful series.