This episode was all about parallels. Yeo-joo's complicated love life was likened to that of her flirtatious roommate's and to the characters in her gumiho story. Kei's desperation to hold on to Yeo-joo's was compared to a nail shop customer's dire need to win Yeo-joo's affections. While all of the comparisons were clumsily done, they made their point; they made the characters think about and reflect on their actions and their situations.
Yeo-joo has to deal with her burgeoning feelings for Kei and her lingering attachment to Alex; she does it badly. She kisses Alex, then proceeds to date Kei in earnest to try and forget about Alex. But watching her roommate flirt with a man who was not her boyfriend forces Yeo-joo to contend with her own actions. It's good to see her do something a little deeper than act on impulse. This is a situation many people find themselves in and I wish the show would explore it further.
Yeo-joo and Kei from Nail Shop Paris Episode 9
Another issue that was underexplored was the pressure that Korean society puts on women to be beautiful and thin. This episode's customer-in-need was a woman who was made fun of by her co-workers for being "fat and ugly". She can't be more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) overweight and she's not ugly. But because she doesn't fit the mold of beauty, her co-workers act like she's useless. It's horrible and it would be a great thing for the show to highlight and then denounce.
Instead, the production team turns this girl into a crazy, needy person, which completely undermines the "beauty" issue and how it damages self-esteem. The show brings up issues, like what is considered beautiful and bullying, but never deals with them. The issues are merely there to create conflict. Then, they are glossed over and put to rest. It's infuriating because these are huge points of social contention that deserve elaboration.
Yeo-joo from Nail Shop Paris Episode 9
Also, haracter inconsistencies continue with Kei and Alex and their growing feelings for Yeo-joo. Kei waffles between a prickly man of few words to a gooey man who can express his feelings with no difficulty. It's bizarre. And Alex, who only expressed romantic interest in Yeo-joo last episode, is now making bold declarations of his deep feeling for her. It's out of character.
Now that the show is nearing it's end, it's unlikely that any of this will change. I expect contrived conflict and a fluffy ending. I like fluff. It's soft and...fluffy.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] Nail Shop Paris Episode 9"
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