February 10, 2014

                                         I guess I'm going into...

 The Korean television show,
 "You're Beautiful" was
 apparently quite popular,      WHERE_ANGELS_GO_NUN_FOLLOWS
 right up there with greats
 like "Coffee Prince".

   Actually, I think I was confused about
   that: I don't think it was that popular
   in Korea, but it inspired multiple
   differeent remakes in other countries.

   Anyway, A better name for it is
   "He's Beautiful": nun-in-training
   cross dresses as male to take her        The title "You're Beautiful",
   twin brother's place in a boy band.      has very little resonance
                                            with anything in the story.

The bit I want to talk                             The closest point is a
about here has to do with                          throwaway line, where the
the back-story of one of                           male lead's mother (a famous
the main characters...                             star of years gone by)
                                                   enters a room, and someone
                                                   greets her saying "Ah,
                                                   you're still beautiful."
Let me try starting with
an inverted family tree:

      Our heroine:                          Our hero:

      A young nun-in-training,              The lead singer/
      with a twin brother who               composer with
      is a singer about to join             the idol group,
      an idol group...                      "A.N. Gel"

     _________|________                    _______|__________
     |                 |                   |                 |

   Mother:          Father:              Mother:          Father:

   Folk             A composer           A famous         A composer?
   singer.          of songs.            singer.          Or unknown?


                             An affair,

  The foreground story of this
  cross-dressing comedy:                            (They do a fine job of
                                                    downplaying the
  The twin brother is hospitalized overseas,        insanity of this,
  his manager is worried he'll lose the slot        playing it broadly
  in the idol band if he's a no-show, and so        but not *too* boadly.)
  the manager hits on the solution of
  convincing his sister the nun to become an
  "A.N. Gel"-- She passes herself off as a
  boy to join the idol group, where she
  gradually becomes romantically entangled
  with the lead.

  We eventually learn that the nun's father and the
  lead's mother once had an affair in the distant
  past (I mentioned the insanity, right?)....

Getting the past events straight             It does seem that this
is a little difficult: the love              incoherence serves a role
life of this famous singer was               in the story, it creates
quite complicated-- she has a                an ambiguity in the
reputation for promiscuity.                  stormy love relationship
                                             of the foreround characters.
   And one of the main sources we have       Is there a possibility
   for this woman's sexual biography is      that they're half-brother
   her own statements, and it's hard to      and half-sister, with the
   tell how much we can trust what she       same father?
   says about it: all we really know is
   that she was involved with a married          The audience is supposed to
   man (while his wife was pregnant),            be worried (or enthralled?)
   and that caused a rift in that                that a brother and sister
   relationship, and then she was                is falling into an
   involved with some other man, and             incestuous relationship.
   bore a son by him, but ever
   afterwards she was obsessed with the             In the tradition of
   first man (the song-writer, the                  Oedipus, they're
   nun-turned-singer's father), and                 unaware of the details
   wanted to believe this was                       of their parentage.
                                                    I have a complaint about
   We don't seem to know much about                 this (a common one with
   this second man, the father of the               me, though no one else
   male hero.  He does talk on the                  seems to care): this is a
   phone a few times with his "father"              concern the audience may
   (who may or may not be his                       have, but it is not a
   biological father).                              concern of any of the
                                                    main characters: we know
      We're told that this woman had                more than they do.
      lots of boyfriends, and I have
      the dim impression that they
      implied that the male lead's
      father may be someone else (but
      don't remember in detail).

      I do remember the impression that
      everyone in this history seems to
      die (tragically) once their role
      has been played, but if this
      biological father has died, we're
      told nothing about it.

And now, here's what I think is
the interesting thing: given            Maybe this is a common solution
this tangle of relationships,           when incest looms in Korean soap?
the fans of this show seem to           "You're father is *not* that man!"
have concluded that the male            But it's not needed in this story.
main character was the product
of a rape-induced pregnancy.
                                              Perhaps there's another
       This is not stated in the story,       genre convention: slutty
       and I don't believe it's               women are always raped
       actually implied...  it looks          (punished by providence?).
       like an attempt at imagining a
       story more coherent than this                 A friend of mine who
       one actually is, perhaps an                   lived in Japan in
       attempt at sanitizing the                     the 80s described a
       biography of this woman...                    TV show she thought
                                                     of as "the rape
       There's very little in the story              show", where in
       that even hints at making this                every episode, the
       woman a sympathetic character,                same young women
       though.  I would've said that                 would hang around in
       the author's intent was "nasty                nightclubs and end
       piece of work".                               up getting raped,
                                                     and the same man
                                                     would step in to
  Indeed, with all the major                         save them, closing
  female characters in this                          with a finger-
  story, if they're at all                           waggling lecture.
  intelligent and capable,
  they're also completely evil.                      See what happens
                                                     to Bad Girls!