Wednesday, August 4, 2010

crazy for dramacrazy

I rarely turn on the television set at home in Chicago, but whenever I'm in Japan I wind up watching television whenever I get the chance – it’s great for picking up the language and cultural nuances, and there are categories of shows that just don’t exist anywhere else. The insane game shows, the children’s programs about beetle battles, the myriad programs of hip young people moaning over delicious food... and the variety/talk shows that report on news stories or funny stunts with a panel of celebrity guests who watch along with you, their reactions visible in a little rectangle in the corner of the screen.

We just don’t have access to much of this in the US, aside from random youtube clips of the wackier stuff. So many thanks to Kianga for turning us on to, which makes hundreds of Japanese and Korean drama shows available to a wider audience… and with English subtitles!

Among these is Kimi wa Petto (you are my Pet), a comedy-drama that Andy and I've become completely obsessed with lately.Originally broadcast in 2003, the show is based pretty directly on a very popular manga series by the same name, which friend and fellow comics enthusiast Jeff turned me on to earlier this year, available in English in the US under the title “Tramps Like Us.”

The premise is this: Tall, successful, smart and beautiful, Iwaya Sumire seems to have it all... but her stature and status make her completely intimidating to most men, including her former fiancée and her boss, who treat her like crap. Angry, depressed, and lonely, Iwaya comes home one evening to find a teenage boy passed out in a box in front of her apartment, and struck by his resemblance to her childhood pet, she takes him in and nurses him back to health. Their relationship develops into that of pet and owner, while she navigates some crazy power dynamics with her coworkers, her landlord, her therapist, and her new love interest (!)

The show funny, sexy, odd, and completely addictive. It also offers a glimpse (albeit an exaggerated one) into some of the more unpleasant gender roles that are still at play in Japan. Not all women here are content to be cute and docile, and this show pries open those stereotypes while also showing how complicated it can be to operate outside of them. See for yourself HERE: Just scroll down for links to all ten episodes...

You can start with this one:

No comments:

Post a Comment