As expected, Ji-na is able to pull through the presentation like a Champ. And as mostly predicted, "My Unfortunate Boyfriend" continues with a tonal shift toward the subdued. The transition has been nearly seemless. It's pretty unmistakable here that character actions are dictated by personal motivation rather than a desire to make things wacky for the sake of being wacky. Ji-na's actually pretty consistently uncomfortable here as the target of an elaborate dating scheme.
It's been awhile since I can recall seeing a romance where the main obstacles are internal rather than external. Ji-na does not like Tae-woon that way. Well, she doesn't exactly like him as a friend either. But Ji-na's attitudes are almost entirely the result of how she's perceived publically. Ji-na refuses on general principle to entertain the possibility that Tae-woon is attractive, because his personality doesn't match her preconceptions of what attractiveness should be.
In this context too, Hye-mi continues to be a very sympathetic foil. Hye-mi has zero interest Hee-cheol, the debonair executive. She knows and loves the person that Hee-cheol really is. And it's for this reason that Hye-mi can't just directly confess her feelings- she's scared of losing that person. Hye-mi's rivalry with Ji-na is, in this sense, borne mostly out of desperation. Hye-mi can't just let herself be upstaged in the eyes of the person she cares the most about.
"My Unfortunate Boyfriend" tends to be fairly broadly drawn in terms of these romantic comedy tropes. The drama continues to impress me mainly by just taking such an honest personal view of the situation. None of these characters are really all that complicated, nor do they try to be. Tae-woon and Ji-na, for very different reasons, just want to get through the day's challenges without being destroyed somehow. This day-by-day challenge gives their characters a sense of immediate motivation that's a lot more compelling than if they were drawn in a more elaborate way.
And also the jokes are funny. I feel kind of silly writing that as a bit of an afterthought, but there's not really any complex punchlines here or anything. These characters are funny mainly because they're so easy to sympathize with. Even when acting antagonistically, none of the principle characters are ever all that mean. They try to be helpful and negotiate. Which I think is probably Ji-na's really dark secret. Even if she wants to do the cutthroat corporate thing, deep down, her personality really isn't that different from Tae-woon's.
Review by William Schwartz
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] "My Unfortunate Boyfriend" Episode 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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