October 2021 Episode Guide
On 17 Carat K-Pop
Almond (RM’s Recs, Ep. 3): Gon has a tremendous amount of animosity towards Yunjae. First of all, Yunjae essentially takes Gon’s place during a family tragedy, adding even more strain to a tense relationship between Gon and his parents. Secondly, Gon is very in touch with his emotions and will do anything to mask them. He strives for the perceived toughness and apathy of Yunjae, who has a neurological condition that makes it difficult for him to interpret and express emotions and their associated behaviors. Yunjae is often the target of Gon’s rage, yet they manage to form an unlikely friendship. After Yunjae’s caretakers are stabbed by an unknown attacker, Gon is one of the main characters who fills their shoes, teaching Yunjae about the world and its many social norms. Their unique dynamics are further complicated as they endure public outbursts, a crush, “empathy training” that goes too far, brutal beatings, and a disappearance. Almond, by Won-pyung Sohn, tells a powerful, gripping story about neurodivergent people, the ways people cope with intense feelings, and what it truly means to be human and find a sense of connection. In this episode of “RM’s Recs,” I summarize Almond, break down the main characters’ many layers, share the most powerful quotes, and open up about the power of seeing oneself represented in literature in such a refreshingly nuanced way.
K-Dramas Past and Present: A brief history of K-dramas, a Squid Game primer, and an explanation of how and why Korean television became a massive hit globally.
Favorite (NCT Talk, Vol. 11): Some big revelations about the SM Entertainment Music Video Universe and NCT 127's role in it! Plus: an overview of each chapter in "The Story of Favorite"!
Attacca (17 Talk, Vol. 6): I point out the many ways SEVENTEEN reference past albums and music videos in their new album, Attacca, and in their new music video, "Rock with you." This episode elaborates on what I wrote about in two recent essays, which are just the first two in my SEVENTEEN essay series!
Epik High Prices: A theory for why BLACKPINK recently stopped accepting fan gifts, the Korean words just added to the Oxford English Dictionary, what went wrong with the BTS LA ticket presale, and more on the latest K-pop news.
ENHYPEN’s Dual Worlds: My new and improved guide to ENHYPEN’s music video universe shows how each of their intros, outros, and interludes come together to tell an intriguing story, how the mythological characters the band draws inspiration from fit perfectly with this comeback’s theme, and where ENHYPEN’s story goes from here!
Any1Harmony: Redone ratings for various K-pop albums, upcoming online and offline concerts, the best and worst of the Fact Music Awards, surprising statistics regarding the latest KCON:TACT viewership, and more of the latest K-pop headlines!
RM’s Recs, Ep. 2: Utopias: What would it look like to live in a utopia? Would it be a place where no one has to make any sacrifices or compromises? If so, how would it be possible for its inhabitants to coexist peacefully? Can there ever be a perfect balancing of individual and communal wants and needs? In this episode, I cover the plots and themes in several books that consider these questions and envision the "ideal" society. I then compare these different visions of the "perfect world" to the fictional town of Omelas, a place discussed in the episode titled "BTStudy Guide #2: Omelas" and overtly referenced in BTS's music videos.
Best New K-Pop, J-Pop, and C-Pop: September 2021: A ranking and review of September's twenty best K-pop, J-pop, and C-pop releases!
On How to Stan
Horror Movies: From the 1700s to the present day, this episode explores the evolution of horror movies and the history of monster imagery! The “zombie walk” that drove a political uprising, the rise of the Halloween-ready restaurant, and the ways Jaws changed Hollywood forever are just some of the many topics covered!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This episode looks at the many ways Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed television and the lives of its viewers. From inspiring “Buffy Studies” curricula to paving the way for the teen-centered shows that followed it, this show broke ground on many fronts.
Sources and Further Reading
Information about Almond and its author, Won-pyung Sohn
UNICEF’s reporting on the success of BTS’s Love Myself Campaign
More of UNICEF’s latest data and reporting
The albums Pitchfork recently re-scored and their reasons behind those choices
The complex, fascinating worldviews of Henry David Thoreau
The philosophy of Walden
The Korean words added to the Oxford English dictionary
Reporting on the “square dance repellent” device being used in China
Another example of China’s heightened scrutiny over and disciplinary measures surrounding fandom activities
The ways the rise of suburban living in the 1950s changed the American psyche
The ways horror movies changed in response to the events of the 1970s
Horror movies’ popularity at the box office, by the numbers
The “New Millennial” conceptualization of zombies
Better off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Posthuman
A guide to scary movie-themed restaurants and bars across the USA
The history of the horror genre
"'I'm Buffy, and you're history': Putting Fan Studies into History”
The allegory of Buffy
The ecology of Buffy
The national security context of Buffy!
The ways Buffy demonstrates the role of chosen families
More on “Buffyspeak”
A Buffy Studies bibliography