Right away we start out with a reckoning. Dong-goo rather sensibly demands an explanation for the elaborate web of lies Joon-ki and Seo-jin have devised to ineffectively avoid publicly acknowledging that they have a relationship. Even granting that the characters in question are all adults, and owe each other no explanations, what Joon-ki and Seo-jin did was very hurtful. But then Dong-goo chooses to have a temper tantrum and any ambiguity in that situation is lost.
The obvious moral take is that Dong-goo is letting his pride over the situation rule his material needs. Unfortunately the escalation doesn't progress naturally. The first incident with the baby cage is resolved cleanly without any concessions, and the next mess Dong-goo gets into was his own stupid fault. Only dumb luck made it so that Joon-ki was even in a position to fix that problem. None of this addresses the core issues.
Which is a shame because the core issues are interesting. I liked the explanation Dong-goo gave for his defiance. The surprise joke afterward was also good, as was the natural progression to how Dong-goo's attitude has changed not entirely for the better. The overall set-up was just quite weak. The jokes in "Laughter in Waikiki" tend to flow entirely from the situation, rather than character actions, which hurts a lot of the impact.
The lack of follow-through is evident in a lot of the drama's writing. Observe how with the model Soo-ah and Joon-ki hire, at first the joke is Soo-ah's obvious personality change when they meet the guy, which is only obvious to us because we know what Soo-ah is like. Then we learn that the model is a bit of a jerk. Then we find out that he has smelly feet. So instead of personality conflict, we get a lot of effort being made to avoid the smelly feet.
That's really not much to go on. Once again, the humor relies entirely on self-sabotage and characters making fools of themselves rather than subtlety, layering, or porgression. There's little to no character development in "Laughter in Waikiki" even as we come into the last episodes- which is symptomatic of how the drama is more about gags than it is about story. If only the jokes were funny, that might be forgivable, but the laughs are too few and far between. Which I suppose is still better than there not being any laughs at all I guess.
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 16"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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