Sometimes it’s good to revisit, to refresh and renew. Things you liked before, you may have seen the light, may realize, ‘woah. What was this craptastic thing I once like and shudder suggested to others?’ There are also the things that you now love and because you’ve already proclaimed I LOVE THESE OTHER THINGS, it makes your love a dark and secret love. A love that, when someone else says, well, what about this one? This one is so much cooler than that one and you’re all, ‘but I love that one!’ they can side eye your list and go ‘uhhhuh. Sure you do.’ (While giving you the I know you’re just jumping on the popularity bandwagon eye roll.) Jeesh. Apparently, I am in an odd mood today and obviously, I have what the teachers would say an over-active imagination.
For a while now, I’ve wanted to redo my Top Five LGBT drama and movie list. I know it gets a lot of traffic and I shudder to think of that list, and those side-eyes I’m probably getting. Not that the entries were bad, it’s just that since I’ve been compiling the LGBT page I’ve seen so many more, that it needs, no, it must be updated.
And since I’m a big fat cheater, I’m giving you my top 10—but it’s okay, it’s my website, I can do things like that.
Hands down, feet down, mother flipping face to the floor this is, has been, and will continue to be my most favorite drama ever. The story of Phun’s and Noh just makes my heart go melt-melt thud. (And fyi, it is just Phun/Noh that makes my heart go like that. The rest can go fudge themselves. Well. Except for Mick, because he is just too adorable to say fudge off.) I like this show so much it’s possible that I recut it for my friends taking out all the girl plots (the ones that weren’t in the book) cut out the advertising, and added in the extra smooches I could find. Now that’s being lovesick.
Life Is Beautiful
Do you like LGBT dramas? Have you seen Life Is Beautiful? If not, WHY??? If not, go out right now (or after you finish reading this post) and fix that egregious error. The story of Tae Sub and his boyfriend (I know he has a name but they are so cute that we always refer to him as Tae Sub’s Boyfriend.) The story is a realistic portrayal (or seems it to me) portrayal of being gay in Korea. We have both ends of the spectrum, Tae Sub who has not come out to his family and is dealing with the internal struggle of that and Tae Sub’s boyfriend who did come out and having to deal with the external struggle with his family. This drama (or, perhaps I should specify, their relationship, as this is a 68 episode family drama) is totally worth your time. Long live Tae Sub and his Boyfriend!
This one is another cheat on my list as if you want to get technical about it, 7 Days is actually two separate movies, 7 Days Monday through Thursday and 7 Days Thursday through Sunday. This is a new addition to the list and pretty much one of the main reasons I wanted to take another go at it. Seven Days is one of those movies where you actually pause it because you don’t want it to end. Based off a manga this set of movies are slow, character driven and filled with teenage boy angst. You may a scream at your computer, WHY WON’T YOU JUST TALK TO HIM, but when you step back and realize why they are holding it in, and the fact that yes, this is just how teenagers brood, the show is an easier swallow. If you haven’t seen this movie, I really recommend you do. Unless you don’t like slow moving plots. Then you may want to take a pass.
And here we begin to hit the guilty pleasure parts of the list as I’m not sure from a quality point of view it’s the best thing out there, but it has a lot that raises it over its competitors (with more and more throw together and tossed up content all the time). This show has well thought out characters (well, main characters) an interesting plot, and a not often pairing of two dominant, strong willed characters coming together. You can check out my full review here.
Yep, definitely hitting the guilty pleasures now. Like Love in no way is a good show. The writing isn’t great, the acting is pretty terrible, and for a really rich person, An Ziyan’s dorm room is laughable. The desk, which is clearly a box covered in some gold fabric, actually makes me hoot every time — and this is why Like Love is on the list— the every time. I could not tell you how many times I’ve seen Like Love. There is something about this story and relationship which I really like. The fact that An Ziyan wasn’t even gay having only said so as a joke and yet ends up with the other guy anyway? Not sure why, but it always makes me go awwww… Now, putting the awwww aside—there is a Like Love 2 and word on the street is that there is a 3 coming, which there had better be a 3 because if they left Like Love where they did after 2, I’m going to be very upset. As of right now, I just try to pretend 2 never happened.
We’re back to the land of not just guilty pleasures but of actually legit good shows! This movie short (I think it rings in at a half hour?) is the second part of a 3 part trilogy. (You don’t really need to see the other parts. Well, you could watch the first one but I recommend skipping the third.) The story of this couple, separated by one’s military service is all sorts of adorable–so cute and squeeworthy that it almost makes your teeth hurt. On top of that, it actually has some actors you’ll be surprised to see, Lee Ji Hoon from pre-Signal and Yeon Woo-jin pre Marriage Not Dating.
Saving Mrs. Go Bong Shil
This addition to the list is a bit of a cheat as I haven’t actually watched the whole thing, but I’ve seen about half so far and in a 50 episode family drama, that’s almost 2 regular dramas. This is an interesting addition to the list as the character in question is a trans character and actress. Her storyline (so far) is quite the arc, boy runs away from home from a strict and abusive father, goes to Itaewon and transforms herself and creates a new life. When the main characters start invading her world, she has to finally face the people she knew and her father. While I HATED the dad, once they have it out and he starts to accept his daughter, his attempts to find her a husband are fairly adorable. From where I am still watching, she has a possibility of a romance with another of the side characters and I’m crossing my fingers that it continues to be a good and positive show. Side note, it has the awesome Mom from Life Is Beautiful, again being accepting and awesome.
Yes or No
Though there has been a big uptick on the gay dramas/movies of late, something you still don’t see a lot of are entries where the main couple are lesbians. Or in the case of Yes or No, a tom and the straight girl who comes to love her. This is a cute movie that follows a lot of the straight drama tropes, forced cohabitation, misunderstandings, parental pressures, but with an LGBT bent.
No Touching At All
LAUGH. Here’s an addition to the list that, while I love it, there are so many people who see it and roll their eyes. It’s possible it’s also affectionately known as “The Boring Japanese Movie”. This was coined by a listener of the podcast who couldn’t believe I kept recommending the thing. I like to think of it as a quiet character piece which is full of mood and angst. As I’m a big fan of quiet character pieces filled with mood and angst, this movie is right up there with 7 Days for me. Based on a manga I just want to give this guy big hug and that tiny little movement when he reaches out and holds the other guy’s hand at the end? Growth! Character growth! Ooey Gooy feelz!
Let’s end with a guilty pleasure, shall we? Takumi Kun, we can all agree is fairly terrible. Acting, production value, writing, all pretty much a WTF why do I keep watching this (again and again and again). I will give a caveat though Takumi Kun, based off a manga is a series of 5 movies where the lease actors were replaced after the first movie, so for your viewing pleasure, skip the first movie and instead go for an easily found fan made video where they took flashbacks featured in the other movies, deleted scenes, and bonus features to recreate the first movie with the correct actors and a story line that is more in keeping with the rest of the movies. (Feel free to skip movie 4 as well since it’s not about Takumi and Gi, I do.) Honestly, I’m not sure as to why I like the show so much as there are parts of (heck most of the entire plots) of the movies that drive me crazy, but the pairing has some smoking chemistry and I like the emotion they bring to the story. So. In summary, if you’re looking for high-brow social commentary, look elsewhere, if you’re looking to question your taste but have a good time, check it out.
So, these are my Top 10, LGBT dramas and movies. You can read my original list here. Or if you like, check out the list I’ve been compiling of Asian LGBT content. Now me? After talking about these shows, I feel a rewatch coming on! Darn it, which one to choose!?!?!
Got your own list of favorites? Don’t forget toot share!