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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entertainers" Episode 1


Wow. I really like "Entertainers". It delivered the necessary introductory episode with panache and Ji Sung hit his character Sin Seok-ho right out of the park. Hyeri as Green, who doesn't look like she's just recovered from a very serious disease, it just as powerful as she was in career-maker Answer Me 1988. Kang Min-hyuk as the quiet, brilliant Ha-neul seethes with intensity. The world crumbles around these three characters, Seok-ho, Green, and Ha-neul, starting them on a journey that I'm intensely looking forward to.

The SBS drama came in at a decent 6.2% for its first episode, but what really made it work was the deft combination of humor, gravity, meta jokes, and swift setup. This world is one where Seok-ho is ruthless in his work, stopping at nothing to keep his company KTOP on top, including bribing, false promotion, splitting lovers, sucking up to investors, and more. His confidence and ego are so large that the fall that came swiftly and severely shattered him. Ji Sung played this so amazingly well. He transitioned between the false kindness and steely manipulation flawlessly. He revealed Seok-ho's warm, gooey center in his crumbling facial expression while his chin remained high. Really awesome stuff.

I'm so happy to say that Writer Yoo Yeong-ah (of "Like for Likes", "NO-BREATH", and "As One") once again shows her hand as a master of piecing scenes and emotions together in the most heart-wrenching way. I am a bit worried that this show may not dig deep enough like the films she is known for, but perhaps with the time for development offered by a drama that problem will be solved. In any case, the building of Seok-ho's selfish behavior and ego and his subsequent downfall was cleverly wrought. Even more so was the relationship between Green and her brother Ha-neul. The love between the two very different siblings is palpable and raw. There are wounds that run deep caused by death and tragedy. Those scars make it hard to function, especially for Ha-neul who seems to have been falsely accused of sexual assault. A story lies behind the reason he was accused and I have a feeling we'll be uncovering it soon.

Director Hong Seong-chang who worked on other entertainment dramas like "The King of Dramas" and the 2009 cult favorite "You're Beautiful" knows his way around entertainment dramas and it shows. Save for a few awkward cuts and the very strange opening, the episode was as fast-paced as a day in the life of an idol, his manager, or his CEO. We also got a pretty hilarious cameo from Jang Won-young who frequents Director Hong's works. A few meta jokes were also well-placed. For example, drama VIPs have been known to park in random places and not feel the repercussions; well this time, Seok-ho is called on his illegal parking job and just flashes an adorable hand heart. Epic. Also, Jung Man-sik dressed into raptastic clothing with his gruff looks and physique is great. Industry folks always try to dress like their younger counterparts - obviously, not all can pull the look off.

At the end of the episode both Ha-neul and Seok-ho are downtrodden, beaten down by life. It is music, Ha-neul's to be exact, that sparks a little something in them. They may not yet connect, but that ending scene where they're both moved after wandering is, well, wonderful. I can't wait for tomorrow's episode.

How about you, HanCinema fans? Did you love this episode as much as I did?

Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Entertainers" is directed by Hong Seong-chang and Lee Gwang-yeong, written by Yoo Yeong-ah, and features Ji Sung, Hyeri, Kang Min-hyuk, Chae Jung-an, Jeon No-min, and Jung Man-sik.


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