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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 11

2013/11/23 | 1027 views | Permalink

The theme of this episode is unrequited love. For the most part this is a self-conscious focus taken by the characters. We now have two couples who are pretty clearly in requited love now, but spending too time on them is just kind of boring. Who wants to look at happy people when it's so much more fun to just stir about sullenly in the depths of misery?

Hae-tae gets a focused personal plot for once, although it's not really a love plot so much as sheer lust. Yeah, the camera gets pretty heavy on the male gaze for the scenes involving Hae-tae's crush- but it's forgivable considering that's the way Hae-tae sees her. The mixed emotions we get from actor Son Ho-jun here are great. He's constantly vacillating between joy that this woman is actually paying attention to him versus disbelief that she's actually paying attention to him.

This episode focuses on a lot on the importance of belief and willpower in being able to get romantic relationships moving. Na-jeong seems to have finally realized her dream of getting a real date with Rubbish, and the drama deliberately put a lot of doubt on whether Rubbish is actually going to pull through or whether his motivation is the same basically selfish, self-motivated stuff we've seen so far. Even when this question is clearly resolved the implications don't really go away.

It is, after all, spring. It's been months since all those dramatic incidents of the last episode happened. And while Sam Cheon-po and Yoon-jin are clearly a couple, no one else really seems to be trying to seize the day. The problems with this tight-lipped emotional attitude are obvious. A blow-up nearly happens at the dinner table when Sam Cheon-po starts accidentally revealing secret plot information, probably because he assumed that after a few months this stuff was already out in the open by now.

Not like Yoon-jin is necessarily better in that department. I really like how these two share some of the same flaws- yet at the same time realize that these flaws are bad things and will get very aggressive in trying to prevent one another from messing things up. There's an intimacy in these reactions that seems lacking in all the other romantic hijinx we get this episode. Of course, there's a different kind of intimacy on display elsewhere- that's probably one of the more interesting questions of the drama, is not which man Na-jeong marries, but rather how all of them are still able to remain friends in the present day in spite of all these intertwined lovelines.

Review by William Schwartz

"Answer Me 1994" is directed by Sin Won-ho and written by Lee Woo-jeong-I and features Go Ara, Sung Dong-il, Lee Il-hwa and Jung Woo.

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