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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 1

2014/10/18 | 1077 views | Permalink

The drama gets immediately to answering that all-important question- how does a band of idols end up working on a farm of all things? I'd just as soon not ruin the answer to that, since the basic explanation of the premise is by far the best part of the episode. Suffice to say, it has less to do with how these specific idols are bad people as it does wth the entire idol band format in the first place. The story here isn't just a gimmick- "Modern Farmer" actually looks like it has something to say in terms of famous lifestyles.

Unfortunately every single other part of the drama's production is...less than inspiring. The comedy is the main immediate obvious problem. It's just too loud. Literally- all the main cast members attempt to sell the jokes by yelling as loudly as they can, and since most of the script is just character-based jokes, this means that we almost never see anybody using their indoor voices. Even with volume control this quickly becomes aggravating.

The jokes themselves aren't actually all that bad. The problem is that director Oh Jin-seok doesn't seem to have any concept of appropriate timing or delivery. Bizarrely, the best jokes are actually when the script gets ridiculously specific about comeuppance, such as one scene where a giant pile of manure quite literally appears out of nowhere to humiliate one of the leads. These moments are pretty essential, because otherwise I wouldn't even be totally sure whether "Modern Farmer" expects us to see the lead characters as being basically bad people.

Contrast "Golden Tower", which wasn't even a drama so much as it was an excuse for a bunch of comedians to come up with farm-related sketches. That drama managed a sense of balance between depravity and normalcy which so far is completely lacking in "Modern Farmer". It's trying way too hard with the sadistic humor, the result being the entire production has started off on the wrong foot.

To date, the only point about the drama for which I can feel the slightest bit of optimism is the fact that the characters are already so childish an repulsive it's hard to imagine they could get much worse. The background, at least, serves this point well. All of them ae leading basically miserable lives, mostly due to a combination of their own poor choices and the general indifference the world has to idols who have lost their popularity. But I still don't actually like any of them, and until this issue is resolved "Modern Farmer" is going to continue to be uncomfortable to watch.

Review by William Schwartz

"Modern Farmer" is directed by Oh Jin-seok, written by Kim Ki-ho and features Lee Hong-ki, Lee Honey, Lee Si-eon, Park Min-woo and Kwak Dong-yeon.

 

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