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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Miss Korea" Episode 11

2014/01/31 | Permalink

It's time for the "Miss Korea" boot camp and all the hard work, strict rules, hazing, underhanded dealings, loneliness and tears that it brings. The contestants, their handlers and a few vultures that hover around the competition will try anything to reap the benefits of the prestigious national event no matter the expense to those involved. The struggle to achieve a crown is belied by the glitz and glam of "Miss Korea".

The shiny appeal of "Miss Korea" is fueled by tears and by greed. Ma Ae-ri has involved herself in MIss Korea ever since she won it in the '70s, living through the contest vicariously through her contestants, unable to extricate herself from the twisted, vicious cycle. She an empathy-fueled obsession with remaining part of the contest and keeping it pristine - it seems like a way to justify how she suffered while participating.

Like in Ae-ri's day, the girls play as dirty as every to stay on top, trying to subvert the strict rules of the contest to come out on top. There is no short of hazing, especially towards Ji-young who is picked on for being poor and of no status. Seon-saeng said it best, "Girls are scarier than boys". They are underhanded and indefinitely cruel. Showing this on screen is what gives "Miss Korea" intrigue, and heart.

Hyung-joon finally sees how lonely Ji-young has been in her life and how much her struggling has hurt her. "Miss Korea" is an eye-opener for her and he's decided to be there for her now instead of running from her like in his past. She, in turn, is finally putting her heart and soul into something where she never made an effort before. This is where I'd hoped the relationship would go from the beginning, and finally has, after a very, very slow start.

Yoon continues to watch the relationship with jealousy and only throws money at her to win her. This character is so monochromatic that he could just be mentioned and still have as much effect in the show. He doesn't need screen time. It's a waste of Lee Ki-woo.

While "Miss Korea" may or may not be an entirely accurate portrayal of the actual contest, it does convey that beauty pageants are ugly, competitive and ruthless beings that require pain and tears. When pitted against each other in competition for large rewards, people turn desperate and do things they never imagined that they'd do. It forces people to reckon with themselves, just like Ji-young is doing.

Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy

Follow on Twitter @Raine0211

"Miss Korea" is directed by Kwon Seok-jang, written by Seo Sook-hyang and features Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Yeon-hee, Jo Sang-ki and Lee Mi-sook.

 

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