I like the storylines where Joon-ki is forced to do weird stuff for the sake of his acting career. Because actors do really weird things, compared to other jobs. The whole executive meeting where everyone has to brainstorm ideas for the first pitch is great, because we could tell they were going to come up with something weird. Just not that kind of weird. Although it's a letdown how after all that practice we never actually get to see Joon-ki do that very strange first pitch.
Elsewhere, we finally find out what kind of product Soo-ah is actually trying to sell on her online mall. The product is very peculiar, impractical, and generally terrible all around. Which doesn't necessarily preclude its financial success. But the sheer absurdity of the visuals is such that I was somewhat disappointed by the conclusion to that storyline. We've seen Soo-ah do so many things so well that the entire online shopping mall is a bit of a weird niche.
Of course "Laughter in Waikiki" is not really trying to sell us on Soo-ah's designs actually being good. They are, in the meta sense, designed to look terrible so the male characters can feel uncomfortable wearing them. On a more emotional level, Doo-sik's willingness to support Soo-ah's designs when he obviously doesn't understand them is a strong sign of how he is actually a really good guy. Just not one that has any idea how to communicate.
The jokes are really the more critical element though, and there's a lot of good repetitive slapstick, especially in the second half. Now, when the running gag for Joon-ki is increasing paranoia, that's very good. With Dong-goo's storyline it's just kind of good. I like the generally oddball personalities the male characters meet in their chosen career fields, because we see how time and again they are forced to deal with extremely strange behavior out of politeness, which forces them into the role of straight man.
That kind of characterization is an immense relief after all the time "Laughter in Waikiki" has spent making its characters act excessively wacky. They're far more charming when making a genuine effort to act like a good person, only to be foiled in increasingly elaborate and non-intuitive ways. Such characterization also makes their occasional jumps to maliciousness that much more surprising. Last episode had that idea going on too- fans can get pretty crazy.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Laughter in Waikiki" Episode 19"
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