It would seem that Kkeut-soon knows exactly how pretty much everything works. One simple declaration and that's all it takes to change the expressions on her family members' faces from mildly hostile bewilderment to adoring affection. If Kkeut-soon is in any way bothered by the fact that this about-face is obviously a result of her willingness to solve problems by literally throwing money at them, she certainly isn't showing it.
Not everything that's easy though. Dong-seok remains suspicious, although for the moment he's less troubled by Kkeut-soon as he is by Joon-hee (played by Lee Jung-hyun). Joon-hee awkwardly and not all that convincingly tries to explain that she's really just a generic jerk rather than a woman with more ominous motives. Whatever Joon-hee is actually hoping to do, it's rather gratifying watching Dong-seok just toy around with her. If Joon-hee wants in on this family, she's going to have to get used to the abuse.
As far as humor this is the best "Family Outing" has managed to accomplished so far- basic comeuppance jokes. Once again it's all perfectly workable, it's just not terribly outstanding. I do hope we get to see more of ajumma gangster at least. The combination of her outfit and mannerisms was just so weird. Like most of the comedic elements in the drama, she's obviously designed for gags, there's just no real sense of delivery.
There's some sense of emotional character development, at least, as Dong-seok takes Kkeut-soon out for a day on the town where she notes how little anything has changed. In the last fifty years, in Korea? I get that not everything can or should be "Ode to My Father", but still. Her attitude in the present mainly just makes me wonder how Kkeut-soon's husband coped with her absence. That much looks to be information we're going to find out later on, when individual family members start to get actual character arcs instead of just being general background noise.
For what it's worth, my opinion of "Family Outing" has raised slightly. Whereas before it was bland, now the drama just feels lukewarm. There's a few decent laughs sprinkled in here, and I can still mostly distinguish who is who in this very large cast. The main thing I can't figure out is, well, what's the point? Nostalgia? Romance? Mending of relationships? Whatever we're driving toward I hope "Family Outing" manages to establish it soon.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Family Outing" Episode 2"
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