So, my “thing” about Bu/Pu obviously has nothing to do with traditional Korean culture.
It has to do with Viki. It has to do with the fact that “young Korea” is very Western, “out-Westerning” the West with K-pop and the manufacture of incredible cars and the production of lines of clothing and accessories that rival England, France, and Italy, and European-style restaurants, pâtisseries, and boulangeries that rival those of Europe.
My favorite “foreign” film of all time has got to be Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi with Sharukh Khan and Anushka Sharma. A lot of its sweetness and charm and a lot of its heart-grabbing tears come from geeky Surinder scheming to win the heart of his wife who ends up as his wife in a VERY arranged marriage.
His process of transformation from geek to hunk (with the aid of barber friend Bobby) is hysterical. When he emerges as a cool dude wearing blue jeans, cowboy boots, a flashy shirt, aviator sunglasses, and a wild mop of shiny black hair, you can tell that’s who he truly wants to be–bold, confident, and totally there for the love of his life.
And in the scenes where Real Love is working in both their hearts, and they are both praying to be worthy of each other, the movie becomes a timeless storie; it shows rather than tells how important values persist and transform throughout generations. We may be modern and cool and ashamed of being thought out-of-touch, but Real Love doesn’t, as the saying goes, give a toss.
The number of jokes in K-dramas on Viki about poo, about farting, about having to go are innumerable. (And I have read several places that constipation of the kind complained about was not an issue in Korean culture until the introduction of Western . . . cuisine? . . . during the Korean War.
As for the “eternal triangle,” you have to remember that, in the process of discussing any story development . . .
when there isn’t any story yet . . .
when there aren’t any characters yet . . .
when they don’t have names yet . . .
when nothing is written in stone . . .
when nobody has committed to anything . . .
It’s all just concepts, ideas, food for thought.
And the reality is that . . . every good story I can think of that has stayed with me has two males who are bound together in one way or another by the love and concern of a woman.
Day Five of Tihar is Bhai Tika, right? Sisters show their appreciation for their brothers. It’s rooted in cultural, historical, and genetic realities in a lot of palces across the world.
The most foundational of which is, in order to maintain genetic diversity in human populations, it has been the case since the dawn of time that communities send young women out to be brides of sons, and they welcome young men in to be the husbands of wives. And in this situation, if a girl has strong older brothers, she’s more likely to be respected by the family that she marries into.
Plus, a family with brothers AND sisters ends up (in my view) being more socially at ease. Guys with sisters are not quite as clueless about women as guys who have no sisters.
And who are the peacemakers in families? Mothers.
A Nepali family I knew about ten years ago, very recently arrived in the US and managing to deal with culture shock fairly well, invited me for a meal (oh, major yum), and I discovered that the mom was the absolute rani in her home, in charge of seeing that her kids were properly prepared every morning with books, papers, pens, pencils, signed forms, whatever they needed.
She prayed to Laxmi, Parvati, and Saraswati for their success; she prayed for her husband’s success at work and favor in the eyes of his supervisor and boss; she took care of her mother-in-law; she cooked meals to stuff a whale for her family . . . and she absolutely bristled when I told her what modern American women thought of how she spent her life.
She was “old-fashioned,” but she was absolutely loved, honored, and respected. Her two sons especially treated her with respect because if they screwed up . . . oh, dear. The yelling, the finger pointing, the “how can you do this to our family” and so on.
The point is that one can be, I think, modern and timeless, silly and solemn, spiritual and earthy. That’s life. And jokes made in love never harm; they heal and bring together.
And it is the interplay of men and women, of human beings, in a variety of relationships–family, school, marriage, work, even just interactions in passing, that are at the heart of every human story. Otherwise, Viki would be all about cooking . . . robotics in industry . . . how to harvest seaweed for making gimbap . . .