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"I'm a Guy and I Watched Goblin in One Weekend"

Exactly like its titular character: unforgivably lonely yet shining in everything else.
IMAGE tvN ART Clare Magno

You must be asking yourself, "Why the hell would I listen to a dude on which Korean drama series to watch?"

Well, guys have feelings, too, you know. While you won't see most guys sharing clips of memorable scenes or giving unsolicited commentary on disappointing parts via Facebook (although I'm not most guys, he he he), we have our own ways of expressing fandom and appreciating stuff that are normally associated with the opposite sex, albeit more subtle—like following the actresses on Instagram, despite not being able to understand a single word on their posts.

Apparently, this part of the Korean wave is one of those ~*THINGS*~ that makes us tick.

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In my case, I watch K-Dramas to cope with the stress of everyday life, due to its predominantly light-hearted subject matter and execution, not to mention all the dreamy actresses involved. Full House (Song Hye Kyo), The Vineyard Man, and Coffee Prince (Yoon Eun Hye) are easily some of my all-time titles, while the coming-of-age favorite Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) brought me back to the genre recently.

Yet ironically, unlike those I've just mentioned, the series that I'm about to talk about presents a storyline where all the overall comedy factor could do is basically stretch an obviously tragic plot.

PLOT

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Goblin (or the Guardian: The Lonely and Great God) tells the story of an immortal being (played by Gong Yoo) who is faced with the worst possible dilemma. Having roamed the Earth for almost a millennium (939 years, to be exact) as a powerful deity, the Goblin must find the only person who can pull the ethereal sword out of his chest that has pained him forever—the Goblin's bride, 19-year-old troubled student Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun).

THE TRICKY, SAD PART

Breaking the curse of outliving his loved ones, which meant seeing generations of them die, is as good as ending his very existence. If that isn't depressing enough, supporting characters like the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook), Sunny (not Sun Hee, LOL, played by Yoo In Na), and Yoo Deok Hwa (Yook Sung Jae), among others, will enter the ill-fated couple's lives to animate, orchestrate, but really, only complicate their seemingly hopeless love story.

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As much as Goblin was about the romance between Eun Tak and the Goblin, the most effective pairing turned out to be the bromance between Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook, both as actors and their characters.

You don't even have to watch the behind-the-scenes specials (yup, I did that) to witness the innate chemistry that they shared, especially when throwing lines at each other. This aspect was crucial in setting up the major development of the Goblin and Grim Reaper's relationship.

Our main girl may not catch your fancy at first...until Go Eun breaks out a smile that can light up the whole Quebec. A lot of Korean idols can pass off as actresses in terms of look, but few are genuinely interesting and equally talented like the multi-awarded thespian. Eun-tak's stubborn and sweet demeanor can easily grow on guys who watch the series and remind them of first love. Try not to gush over the first time she tells Gong Yoo, "Saranghae!"

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PROS

What separates Goblin from its K-Drama counterparts is the complex yet easy-to-follow story progression. Despite the never-ending subplots (like backstories of the ghosts) and twists, these elements didn't stray the real issue from the main narrative and even reinforced it. Kudos to creator Kim Eun Sook (Lovers in Paris, Secret Garden) for being able to employ her screenwriting prowess in this mythological adaptation.

CONS

If there were a few things that I wasn't too fond of about Goblin, though, one was the drawn-out emotional scenes. Maybe girls will appreciate extended cuts where Gong Yoo looked like he was shooting the music video for "Winter Is Coming," but count me out. The directors could've gone with more banter or addressed the next matter that I'm going to point out.

Another total letdown for me was the poor ending that was given to some of the important minor players. I felt that Eun Tak's least favorite ghost (Park Kyung Hye) and the show's main antagonist, Scholar Park, (Kim Byung Chul) were too important to the plot to have weak character resolutions. This was noticeable, considering that majority of the cast were done ample justice.

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Scholar Park isn't pleased, too. LOL!

Like most of my girl friends, I found myself rooting for—or as hardcore K-Drama fans would say, "shipping"—the Sunny and Grim Reaper tandem. Their contrast in dispositions (he is naïve, she is tough) was the perfect take-off point on how things unfolded between this amusing couple. The OST "I Miss You" was tailor-made for the love team and their status; plus, it almost brought me to tears when played alongside their parting sequence. #NoShame

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Shipping Sunny and the Grim Reaper also had to do with my lingering aversion towards the futility of Goblin and Eun Tak's situation. To put things into a harsh perspective, seeing the tragicomedy slowly materialize was like living in the biggest false hope, without a happy ending given the dire circumstance. One way or another, Eun Tak has to fulfill her unfortunate purpose, with him not being able to do anything but perish helplessly.

SHOULD YOU MAKE BABE WATCH IT?

Guys will find Goblin worth checking out not primarily because of the action and fantasy elements. Personally, I almost didn't make it past the first episode after it appeared to be the same-old periodic drama in the first 30 minutes.

Instead, guyswill get hooked because of how almost seamless every detail, development, and character was mapped out. Just when you thought that you already know a particular face full well, the show reveals the part that he had played in one of the Goblin's past lives. As such, the end of each episode promises another emotional rollercoaster in the next one. And based on my years of watching experience, no male human being alive is safe from Eun Tak's infectious grin.

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With the K-drama clocking in at the usual 16 episodes (one hour and 15 minutes each), binging on this with your significant other over the weekend is actually doable. But only carry on if your boyfriend doesn't mind getting soaked with tears or hurt when you start playfully hitting him while laughing.

Goblin is a mixed bag of heavy and light moments in their most extreme forms, so overblown reactions are fairly common. Rather, if you want to see your partner in his most vulnerable state or vice versa, this series is the right one for you.

If you want to see your partner in his most vulnerable state or vice versa, this series is the right one for you. 

Goblin is exactly like its titular character: unforgivably lonely yet shining in everything else. The star-crossed love story is perfect for hopeless romantics who have no problem kidding themselves about forlorn romance and still get away with it.

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Watch Goblin on Viu or every weeknight on ABS-CBN.

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John Paulo Aguilera
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Bulletin
A community page where you can share your feels and show your skills! Learn more here

"Today, I Won"

I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.

When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.

For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.

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After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.

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It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.

To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.

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Juliana Rebong 7 hours ago

Why our high school barkada is the best?

Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.

Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:

1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.

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2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.

3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.

4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.

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5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.

6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.

7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.

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