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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 5-6

2017/12/13 | 435 views | Permalink

We still have so few characters that most of the jokes are just a variation on how Min-gyoo is too dumb to realize that Ji-ah is not a robot. Honestly, I'm surprised that I haven't gotten completely sick of that yet. Maybe it's just the way Yoo Seung-ho plays Min-gyoo so sincerely, his stupidity is actually mostly pretty believable. The things Min-gyoo believes a robot can do are just so ridiculously inconsistent, yet we can see in his warped mind that there is a consistent logic to his assumptions.

The best part is how Yoo Seung-ho transitions from lonely person deserving pity to callous jerk, without even so much as a change in his tone of voice. Disproportionate handsomeness notwithstanding, Min-gyoo is a pretty convincing shut-in nerd. Look at how Min-gyoo consistently shows more empathy toward robots than he does to actual people. Is it because he has more personal contact with robots, or because the robots are better at following his orders than people are?

So the jokes are funny, if low-brow, and Min-gyoo is pretty intriguing. Everywhere else progress is limited. We do get one pretty good flashback that's immediately noteworthy because it shows Ji-ah being disproportionately happy and it also explains the origin of AZ3's ridiculous uniform. But in long perspective even this scene is relevant mainly because of how it relates to Min-gyoo. He literally throws away happiness, and the crew of scientists must desperately recover it in secret under the fairly reasonable assumption that Min-gyoo wouldn't just give it to them.

While "I'm Not a Robot" has the trappings of a magical romance, the more realistic aspects of the drama's production are troubling. At one point we see straight-up labor protests happening in the background that are even briefly commented on. These are dark moments I'm not quite sure what to make of. Is the implication that Min-gyoo allows this to happen because he doesn't care enough about people in order to find a halfway resolution?

Because really, in this economic environment, it's very hard to feel sympathy for a guy who can literally buy anything, even a fully functional android, yet stiffs less economically disadvantaged people on technicalities. Can a mere robot teach Min-gyoo how to love? Phrased that way, the premise actually sounds fairly insulting, so I suppose it's for the better that it's Ji-ah, rather than AZ3, who is teaching Min-gyoo how to tolerate the failures of others.

Review by William Schwartz

"I'm Not a Robot" is directed by Jeong Dae-yoon, written by Kim Seon-mi-I and Lee Suk-joon-I, and features Yoo Seung-ho, Chae Soo-bin, Uhm Ki-joon, and Park Se-wan.

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