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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 3

2014/10/25 | 774 views | Permalink

This episode firmly establishes that "Modern Farmer" is firmly entrenched in its own continuity. The whole gag with the deer last episode wasn't just a final one-off joke. It was an event with serious long-term consequences. Goodness that sentence feels ridiculous. Mostly because right after the huge angry lecture we're treated to the deer's wall of fame and why in the world would so many famous people have their photograph taken with this random deer?

"Modern Farmer" has quickly managed to build an effective balance between comedy and high stakes frustration. The development has been excellent ever since the main characters moved out to the countryside. On a basic level, the band is now facing direct, almost immediate consequences for their screw-ups, and their inability to learn from these mistakes is an essential plot point. By dumb luck the band gets a chance to get back into good graces with the rest of the farmers and Min-gi rebuffs it out of sheer spite. So unsurprisingly, fate intervenes to punish him for trying to figure out this farmer stuff all on his own.

The background of the setting is also fleshed out in a little more detail. Migrant laborers are introduced in mostly sympathetic fashion. The main joke appears to be that they all speak unusually good Korean, and are being bullied for their illegal immigrat status even though they're performing important, unwanted jobs. There's not much in this material so far as plot goes, but given that these people were only just introduced I'm willing to be a little patient on that front.

The characters by and large are very well-defined. Min-gi's cohorts don't obey him without question- they have their own motivations and limits to how much they're willing to tolerate farm life, and one of them nearly ditches the plan entirely before a really dumb reason convinces him to stay behind. Given that the whole farming scheme itself is a dumb reason this is all totally in character. It says a lot that the actual farmers in this drama are the ones with an actual clue- I like very much that they're not presented as dumb hayseeds.

As for the quality of the jokes...they're mostly hit, I think, although the humor tends to err on the crude side. It says a lot for the tone that an extended joke about feces actually manages to not come off as completely terrible, because this is a farm and this is just the kind of stuff that happens when a person doesn't have access to a toilet. Overall "Modern Farmer" is going strong.

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, Kwak Dong-yeon and Lee Han-wi.


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