Thursday, May 28, 2009



It hasn't even been that hot in New York, and last I checked, the Farmer's Almanac forecasts a relatively cool summer. Still, I came down with the first of my annual heat exhaustion attacks, which has put me in bed for the past week. Here is the view from where I am convalescing. George, the nurse-cat, has been incubating my feet. My brain, nearly useless, has been unable to focus on my new novel. So I've turned my attention to episodes of the Korean super drama, "Jewel in the Palace."

This is the story of Dae Jang Geum, the first and I believe only female physician to the King. The drama was described to me as a combination of Survivior, The Iron Chef and Harry Potter, with a little bit of Memoirs of a Geisha thrown in. This seems about right. Jang Geum is from mysterious but humble origins, which means her parents are ex-nobility trying to live as commoners. Jang Geum is talented and precocious, which means she manages to get her parents killed and then decides to seek vengeance for their deaths by penetrating royal society and rising up the ranks. Sick days are flying by. I am crying as characters die, and even occasionally feeling a little bit hungry over the food scenes.

The show is best watched for free on If you want to join, let me know and I can give you one of my remaining free invites.

"Jang Geum is talented and precocious, which means she manages to get her parents killed."

That's a bit harsh, wouldn't you say? You can hardly hold an 8 year old girl responsible for knowing the consequences of being proud of her father.

Dae Jang Geum is the best television drama I've ever seen, which is why I have a habit of dropping in to other people's blogs whenever they mention the story.

Your cat seems a bit disinterested in the story, judging by the closed eyes and the back-to-the-screen posture. That shows a lack of imagination on his (or her) part. A more attuned feline would see the universality of the story, and not dismiss it as a show about cooking, Korean style. A little prodding with your incubated feet might stimulate his (or her) imagination.

I'm being a bit silly, but I really do love Dae Jang Geum. The more viewers it has, the better. DramaFever is a convenient way of watching it, and many other Korean dramas. But watching it on a television screen is certainly preferable, if you can get hold of a copy, from Netflix, or wherever.

"I'll tell you this: no one can ever persuade me to give up. I'll never give up!" Jang Geum
Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful note, Chuck! I suppose Georgie is sleeping mostly because there was no food featured in that particular scene. Would you believe me if I told you that he perks up whenever the kitchen is on screen? ;-)

I'm with you--I really love this drama and am glad it's been so easy to access via DramaFever. There are so many good shows that aren't necessary on US networks, and I like that the internet has made them much easier to see.
Dae Jang Geum brings out the thoughtfulness in me! Perhaps Georgie responds to the theme music that plays over the kitchen scenes, either the intstrumental tune, or the "Onara" song of the palace maids. Dae Jang Geum has an excellent soundtrack.

I agree there are a lot of good things that don't get onto American television, in spite of our having a billion different channels. I just was introduced to Korean dramas about a year ago, and I find them far superior to most of our home made tv series. I really like their format of telling one continuous story, with a beginning, middle, and end, instead of the disconnected, endless series we have here. Far more satisfying and compelling, at least to my way of thinking.

And by the way, congratulations on getting your novel published. I know nothing about your writing, of course, but I know you need the perseverance and dedication of Jang Geum to succeed in that profession, as in any other.
Hope you are feeling better!
Yuzu-cha should be the perfect drink to go along with the TV show and it will help make you genki again!
(I am so trying to stay away from the TV in general...I am afraid to get hooked!)
all the best,
Yuzu-cha sounds perfect! I don't know that I've had any. In my next life I will live in a place where I can grow my own yuzu tree . . .
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