There's a very good establishing scene starting out this episode wherein we see what it's like for Joon-ki, having co-workers with loads of fangirls. It's only natural for Joon-ki to feel deficient in this environment. And so begins a very weird storyline wherein Joon-ki is extremely slow to catch on to obvious hints that the current guest star is very creepy. This then naturally leads into Joon-ki's own behavior taking a turn for the bizarre.
Now granted, Joon-ki has always been a very weird character. Where Joon-ki has been unsympathetic is when he's the one who initiates the weird behavior. Joon-ki is far more sympathetic, and consequently funny, as a purely reactive character who is forced to come up with bizarre solutions to prompts he only just barely understands. Like the turtle. There you can even see that Joon-ki wants to complain, but is dictated by circumstance to pretend like the situation is normal.
Doo-sik's storyline also benefits from this element of sheer incredulity. What I especially loved is that when the problems with Doo-sik's behavior are explained, they come off as really obvious in retrospect, even though at the time I was just as stumped as the rest of the guys. There's also a good subtext here- which is that a girlfriend who gets mad at you and refuses to explain why is a girlfriend who you are probably better off without.
Contrast that to how Dong-goo and Yoon-ah deal with the problems that prevent them from kissing. I liked how even though Yoon-ah's reaction is insulting, Dong-goo trusts her enough to not be offended and just take Yoon-ah at her word. There's also the inherently humorous subtext of how a woman who has obviously had sex (note the presence of the baby) is apparently hopelessly ticklish. Though highly ironic, the situation is by no means implausible.
"Laughter in Waikiki" has become the comedy I had expected since the first episode- one where the problems faced by characters are perfectly relatable even as they are highly exotic. The sheer variety in situations is such that even a sequence about Joon-ki and Seo-jin stressing out over getting to dinner on time resonates fairly strongly. And yet for this variety, there are still plenty of common threads. Observe how bad romantic advice given by certain characters is consistent with their own relationship experiences- so Doo-sik's stupidity becomes a flaw, rather than merely being contrived writing.
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 18"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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