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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Miss Korea" Episode 18

2014/02/24 | Permalink

"Miss Korea" is moving into contrived territory. It's forcing its plot down a narrow path, warping characters and events in order to cater to the plot's endgoal. None of it feels organic save for Ji-young's precocious attitude and the adorable cast chemistry. But no amount of cuteness or swoon-worthy moments can save a drama from inconsistent writing.

Each character in the story is now working for (or against) the promotion of Vivi's lipgloss, the complimentary makeup product to the BB cream stolen by rival company, Bada Cosmetics. It is incredibly awkward to watch lipgloss be worked into every character's dialogue and even have whole scenes created around proving this lipgloss' superiority to the prevalent dark lipstick color of the 90s. The complete shift in focus from Ji-young's and Hyung-joon's personal growth during the difficulties of the IMF crisis to this hot mess is not to the show's advantage.

Ji-young has become a Hyung-joon worshipper. The admirable spunk she began the show with has returned, but it is now aimed at Hyung-joon in a scarily mindless way. This counteracts the positive message that her character portrayed for most of the show: Ji-young is a strong-willed woman who doesn't let people push her around, put her down and is learning to work hard for what she wants. Now she is at the figurative beck-and-call of Hyung-joon, making that financial independence she worked for useless. Credit is due to Hyung-joon for not abusing her mindless generosity, but the shift in her character is infuriating. I hope someone gives her a swift kick in the rear and wakes her up.

One of the strongest characters as of late is the former head of Cherry Salon, Yang Choong-ja (Hong Ji-min), who is a simpering, ambitious, ladder-climbing character. But she has remained constant through the drama and Hong Ji-min is so strong in the role that she deserves a bigger part. Perhaps one that shows how bottom feeders work to get to the top.

The other couple, Hwa-jeong and Seon-saeng, are an earnest pairing. Their romance packs a lot of meaning into it and is also quite adorable. They are surpassing socio-economic boundaries and personal insecurities to be together. They've had to grow up to be with each other, and that's a good message to send. A relationship takes growing and learning and that is exactly what this couple is doing.

I still contend that Lee Yoon is a useless character who is only used to cause change in the plot. His feelings for Ji-young have to be explicitly explained by dialogue because they aren't obvious in the direction or in past scenes. It's a trend in this drama, to have characters step up only when they're needed. They lack any development otherwise.

There are two episodes left for Ji-young to act like the strong woman she once was and for the show to sufficiently wrap up, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

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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