In what has to be the weirdest gimmick yet, "Laughter in Waikiki" presents us with the character of Chang-ho (played by Kim Byung-se) whose main trait is that he gives endlessly complicated and pointless rambling answers to mundane questions. Does that really count as a joke? Boring the audience to death with nonsense? That sounds like the exact opposite of a joke. Which I'll admit, on a conceptual level, is an interesting if obviously stupid idea.
The emerging romance between Joon-ki and Seo-jin suffers from a similar issue. Joon-ki thinking of Seo-jin too much as a little sister is a decent enough idea. But visualizing this by having Seo-jin's normal actress suddenly be replaced by a child version who creepily speaks in the adult version's voice...well, just like how Chang-ho's boringness simply causes me to be bored, Seo-jin's creepiness simply causes me to be creeped out.
Elsewhere Doo-sik tries to help Soo-ah study on exam questions so she can get qualifications for a normal job. What we're supposed to get from these scenes is that Soo-ah is a terrible student. What I ended up thinking was that none of the stuff Doo-sik is quizzing Soo-ah on is at all relevant to her possible career goals. Which I think is more a commentary on modern educational systems than Soo-ah necessarily being a bad student. Recall that Soo-ah had plenty of money before a series of horrible accidents caused her to lose it all.
Why can't Soo-ah just get back into modeling again? Also why did she trust her money with the random new boyfriend instead of investing in Dong-goo? Well, the second question is fairly easily answered. Because Dong-doo is an idiot, who is motivated over the worst possible reasons. Dong-goo now has a job in his preferred career path, yet keeps obsessing over Joon. The big Gonggi battle, in addition to being childishly motivated, also suffers from poor editing- at one point the game goes backwards in time. Also the rules aren't explained.
Anyway, are we supposed to dislike Joon? Because he seems really nice, which is an indisputable improvement over Dong-goo's borderline psychotic jealousy. The guy even brings the guest house some business, which they badly need. Maybe? "Laughter in Waikiki" has been so inconsistent about the financial problems of the main cast I have a lot of trouble keeping track. It would help if the main cast members themselves expressed much concern about their fiscal well-being.
Review by William Schwartz
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Laughter in Waikiki" Episode 12"
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