[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sing Again, Hera Gu" Episode 7 2015/02/20,
The direction in "Sing Again, Hera Gu" makes the drama look like a music video. That's not necessarily an insult, it's just that realizing this helps me to understand somewhat why the plot frequently takes such radical terms. In music videos, no one really cares about situations being overly melodramatic because they're so short. Car crashes, lovelorn crooning, secret conspiracies- heck, most music videos only even have vague verbal references to their "story" at all, relying mostly on visuals. So why should an Mnet drama be any different?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sing Again, Hera Gu" Episode 4 2015/01/30,
So, the dark secrets regarding Se-chan and his separated twin brother are...not really explained that well actually. Well, sometimes people get babies confused. It happens. I mean let's be honest most babies look identical anyway. Actually I find myself wondering about their father...no, never mind. I don't want to know. If he's not in the picture that means he'll probably re-enter the story in a comically melodramatic way and "Sing Again, Hera Gu" is already constantly trying my patience with exaggerated tragedy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sing Again, Hera Gu" Episode 2 2015/01/16,
If I didn't know better I'd think this drama was deliberately trying to antagonize me. This episode has the exact same flaws and virtues that I discussed last time- except there's more flaw and less virtue. We have one really good, really fun song to start the episode out out. Then there's a big conversation about betrayal and the three characters not in the love triangle are almost completely sidelined as the whole episode turns into serious emotional drama about characters who have little defined motivation outside of childhood flashbacks,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Bomi's Room" 2014/06/08,
Bomi (played by Ahn Seo-hyeon) is a fairly typical ten year old girl. She hates school and would rather do silly pseudo grown up things like watching dramas on her computer. Her efforts are frustrated by a mean older sister, Eon-joo (played by Lee Yeong-ah). Eon-joo is quite a bit older than Bomi, and awfully bossy. A frustrated Bomi eventually agrees to a team-up with an unlikely ally in order to reign her sister in,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 16 Final 2014/03/13,
The drama dedicates most of its energy this time to resolving the crisis with Jin-hee- which isn't really that much of a crisis so the seriousness is a bit off-putting. It would seem that for all the hullabaloo about the danger posed, there's not really much here that's terribly interesting. Waiting for this plot point to resolve is rather tiring, even if at this point it's the only thing that could reasonably be called a narrative direction anymore.
Then that's all settled with and "Let's Eat" moves in to what has to be the most extended epilogue I've ever seen,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 15 2014/03/06,
Well, the question of the point this drama has been getting at has been clearly resolved. Within the first few minutes of this episode the ending is more or less clearly established. I mean, it's possible that writer Lim Soo-mi will pull another screwball out at that last minute, but I kind of doubt it. The big strength of "Let's Eat" has always been its ability to mess around with us in the moment, not get overly witty with the overall narrative thrust.
And there are definitely some good moments here. There's the brief but memorable evil team-up, which looks so outrageously staged I'm surprised Soo-kyeong even falls for it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 14 2014/02/27,
There's a sudden tonal shift in the first segment of this episode, as "Let's Eat" tries to be something akin to a horror story. It feels a bit weird, considering that for the most part this drama is a comedy so to all of a sudden have characters in serious physical danger is, well, a little off-putting. Don't we get enough paranoia in the actual scary shows? Especially since that guy's crazy face is just plain frightening, especially if the lights are out.
Then we get to the punchline. Yes, there is somehow a punchline that turns all of those preceding events into a comedic farce,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 13 2014/02/20,
I don't know how this drama is able to do such a good job consistently escalating awkward situations. Oh wait yes I do. Since when has anything become less awkward after a love confession? Sure there's the big romantic scene, the adulation, the culmination of a dozen episodes worth of sexual tension- but that stuff's not real. It's a desperately wishful fantasy. Thank you "Let's Eat" for crushing my spirits, giving a hard reminder of why people avoid making love confessions in the first place.
There's gotta be something else here to hook on to,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 12 2014/02/13,
Somehow I had failed to notice that Valentine's Day was this week. Thank goodness "Let's Eat" was here to remind me of all those wonderful emotions we associate with Valentine's Day. Like, the fear of rejection, the sense of crippling loneliness, the realization that you're going to have hurt peoples' feelings or everything is just going to continue to be weird and awkward. Oh wait, love? Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love? Gee, could have fooled me.
There's a real dark touch to this episode. At first I was kind of annoyed because Jin-I and Do-yeon are still engaging in their game of petty romantic one-upsmanship, but it quickly became clear that was the point,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 11 2014/02/06,
At the beginning of this episode we almost instantaneously get the idea that Soo-kyeong is a changed woman. She's just so bright and happy and cheerful and why is she wearing that ribbon in her hair she's not a child. And this is immediately questioned as being a bad thing. I love the sheer agitation in Soo-kyeong's attitude when the possibility that she's romantically interested in Dae-yeong is brought up.
I also love that the drama actually goes to the trouble of addressing this point, to the extent that Soo-kyeong is worried about what she has become,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 10 2014/01/30,
This drama is hitting the perfect blend of comedy, forward progress, and effective characterization. "Let's Eat" also benefits a lot from just being so self-aware. Note how Dae-yeong goes into one of his ridiculous food speeches on a regular predictable basis. This time he does one on a topic only tangentially related to food. And the other characters have started to notice when he's about to get into speech mode and react accordingly.
The music deserves special mention. It really sells the food porn- makes it seem somehow majestic and noble when in reality I just remind myself- this is food. It's not that amazing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 9 2014/01/23,
Like the title card says, this episode is all about Soo-kyeong's mother. On a basic level we're just taking a look into Soo-kyeong's psyche. A lot of the habits that we've seen so far as being quintessentially Soo-kyeong appear to be inherited. Soo-kyeong's mother is similarly hostile to the people around her, interpreting mild irrelevant actions as enmity. So naturally she responds in kind.
This creates an interesting dynamic with Soo-kyeong, as she appears to simultaneously be emulating and rebelling against her mother by refusing to emphasize the things in life that mom thinks are important,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 8 2014/01/16,
Hak-Moon seems to be on a mission to do everything possible to sabotage any hope he has of ever scoring a relationship with Soo-Kyeong. It's hard to make any other sense of his actions. Yeah, you saw her a couple of times with this other guy. But she's not going to like him less or you more because of an increase in stressful aggrandizing behavior in her life. Does this guy even have a plan?
Well of course not. That's because Hak-Moon's kind of dumb. Most people are, honestly, which is a big part of how the humor in "Let's Eat" is able to ring so true,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 7 2014/01/09,
This episode answers the essential question- what exactly does Soo-Kyeong's life look like without the influence of Dae-Yeong? The answer...pretty pointless actually. As usual, she's stressed out and resorts to angry munching to vent out her stress. But in terms of the actual good stuff, the actual good food, it turns out that making bad with Dae-Young has substantially limited her access to it. Soo-Kyeong knows she's messed up- if not on the empathetic level, then certainly in terms of direct benefit.
The other people in her life make a poor substitute for a quality meal. We start out with Hak-Moon trying to pull off a Pretty Woman montage,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 6 2014/01/02,
Soo-Kyeong discovers an essential bit of information that puts Dae-Young's entire character into question, and the rather unconvincing way he addresses her complaints only seems to bring credence to the idea that he is, in fact, that guy who keeps running around smacking women on the head. This isn't something she just sits on either- Soo-Kyeong makes a direct effort to find the truth when she finds Dae-Young's response lacking.
And then...the drama just sort of subtly points out that maybe Dae-Young isn't a violent thug,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 5 2013/12/26,
I'm beginning to get impatient with the lack of progress in the actual storyline. For the most part "Let's Eat" continues to ride on its strengths. If you were hoping for more food porn this time around, don't worry, that shows up pretty much immediately. Jin-I appears to have discovered the secret that will make Soo-Kyeong do basically anything- just present the woman with food and she almost immediately starts salivating.
The trouble is that we already knew all this already. The episode writ-large just retreads the same basic jokes and set-ups of character-based humor,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 4 2013/12/19,
There's pretty much no plot progress this episode. Everything that could possibly shed some light on what the deal is with Dae-Yeong playing the knockout game ends up turning into a false start. The lack of progress on this front is a bit annoying, since it's the closest "Let's Eat" has to an actual plotline. Everything else is, for the most part, just character-based jokes along the same lines we've already seen.
We do get some relevant backstory about the history of Hak-Moon's interactions with Soo-Kyeong. I'm kind of amazed that he's known her for this long and yet still hasn't grasped the fact that she will do basically anything for food,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 3 2013/12/12,
I really like the attitude this drama takes toward Soo-Kyeong's misanthropic demeanor. A more typical narrative would be about Soo-Kyeong learning the joys of friendship. And sure, we get the occasional moment where she's glad to have met certain people in her life. But for the most part, Soo-Kyeong's interactions justify her attitude. It seems like Soo-Kyeong can hardly go a minute in her moments relaxing alone before some people-related crisis comes in and disrupts everything.
It was only this episode that I realized that co-worker Hak-Moon (played by Sim Hyeong-tak) is actually supposed to be a potential love interest. That's how effective "Let's Eat" is at portraying events from Soo-Kyeong's point of view,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 2 2013/12/05,
We still seem to be in the process of getting to know the characters, so not too much exciting happens over the course of this episode. Soo-Kyeong has a dog that seems to be a lot more trouble than it's worth, managing to find ways to start trouble if Soo-Kyeong turns her back for even a minute. Jin-I (played by Yoon So-hee) is continuously bright, bubbly, and naive. To some people that might be cute, but it's easy to see why Soo-Kyeong is rather wary of her new neighbor. And Dae-Yeong (played by Yoo Doo-Joon) is possibly an axe murderer.
I'm getting the impression that this last bit is the twist that's supposed to make the context of this drama, because this part of his characterization is just so bizarrely out of nowhere that it's actually pretty easy to understand why no red flags are running up for Soo-Kyeong and Jin-I,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 1 2013/11/28,
The first important thing to know about this drama is that there's a lot of food porn. I was confused when it started because I thought I was watching a coffee commercial. Then actual characters show up. People who do not seem to actually like other people very much, but looove food. Lee Soo-kyeong (played by...Lee Soo-kyeong?) seems to have little interest in men except as a vehicle to gain better social access to better quality food.
Soo-Kyeong isn't exactly the most sympathetic woman. Her social life is low quality, but the main culprit for it seems to be her own bad attitude, as well as the fact that she clearly likes food more than she does people,...More
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