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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 12

2015/03/17 | Permalink

The mystery behind the parentage of Do-hee's baby is mostly unveiled, and with that the narrative function of her character can now be easily identified. Do-hee is a melodrama protagonist. She's a basically good person who has run into some outrageous misfortunes. Do-hee is trying to do the right thing even if her self-confidence is trying. It would appear that all of the scenes we've seen so far of Do-hee's emotional vulnerability were not the woman acknowledging her own flaws, but rather Do-hee just being too hard on herself in the face of emotional crises.

While it's nice to have this all spelled out, I can't pretend that I'm happy about these confirmations. As a melodrama protagonist Do-hee can't really experience character growth, because what happened to her could have happened to any of us. Do-hee's circumstances are not a result of her own personality. While UEE has certainly done good work giving Do-hee a vulnerable, human face, in the end I honestly just can't stand her abrasive attitude. Do-hee is conveniently surrounded by men with no other apparent purpose in life except to help her for no reason, and time and again she looks this gift horse in the mouth.

To be clear, while "Hogu's Love" is a melodramatic narrative, it most definitely does not have a melodramatic tone. This discordance is, I see now, the main reason why I've grown to dislike this drama so much. Actual melodramas clearly explain the situation at the beginning to build empathy with the characters. "Hogu's Love" has been using these narrative points as plot twists. And as for the jokes...

I don't find anything funny about Kang-cheol freaking out because people might think he's gay. I don't find anything funny about Ho-kyeong behaving like a stalker. I sort of find Hogu funny because he's just such a dogged gopher, but increasingly, "Hogu's Love" is explicitly saying that all its characters are, in one way or another, dorks on Hogu's level. They're all stumbling around rather stupidly, and at this point I'm just sick of it all.

As long as a production has a decent moral heart, I have a pretty good tolerance for ridiculous plot points. The issue with "Hogu's Love" is that its characters are realistically enough written and portrayed that script contrivances should not be necessary to move the story forward. Instead of character growth, we get this weird fantasy situation that lacks any of the urgency and stress serious life issues like this should have. Is the cliffhanger supposed to make me feel worried, that this bubble is finally going to pop? I don't know...but more importantly, I really just don't care.

Review by William Schwartz

"Hogu's Love" is directed by Pyo Min-soo, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Park Soon-chun, UEE, Choi Wooshik, Im Seulong, Lee Soo-kyung-I, Jung Won-joong and many more.

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