The ending to "Laughter in Waikiki" goes a lot better than I was expecting mainly because recent episodes have surged in quality. The immature, obnoxious Dong-goo who was always picking fights with Joon is gone. The more restrained Dong-goo we have now isn't just funnier, he's also a lot more introspective. Sure, he's a bit of a jerk to Yoon-ah's ex-boyfriend (played by Kim Jin-woo), but then by his own admission, Yoon-ah's ex-boyfriend deserved it.
I did find it a little odd how Yoon-ah's position regarding the father of her child changes from unreasonable (no contact at all) to reasonable (well he can at least come see his daughter) without commentary. I didn't mind so much, because this final plot arc is symbolic of Yoon-ah's character growth. As in, she's much better able to stand up for herself now than she was at the beginning of the drama, and is able to articulate her reasons.
That's not fairly deep character growth, nor has it been much in focus but hey, "Laughter in Waikiki" is a comedy. What do you want? The jokes were quite strong. Soo-ah has to carry the comic relief almost entirely by herself. It's to Lee Joo-woo's credit as a comedienne that this works so well. I love the subtlety in her facial expressions. Soo-ah spends so much effort pretending to not be crazy that the anesthesia scenes proves to be the perfect capstone.
Another honorable mention goes to the drinking parties, which showcase how the male characters and the female characters talk and act when the other gender is not around. Now in a context like this I can get behind the guys acting very silly because that's how they relieve stress. Their friendship is not always helpful, yet they find solace just in the act of conversation. The women similarly find value in commiseration over their problems with men.
Of course the real problems are just embedded in communication issues. Aren't they all? That's what makes it so satisfying when all of the final conflicts are resolved just by having the various characters listen to each other, affirm their sincerity, and most importantly express support for everyone else's life goals. That all is somewhat undercut by the epilogue which shows Dong-goo and crew finally making that movie. It is a really dumb movie. Also I was a little disappointed that wasn't Joon-ki's bald actor friend wearing that costume.
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 20 (final)"
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