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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Short" Episode 3


As we know, Ho-yeong and Eun-ho are motivated to win largely through spite, or in their more sympathetic moments, as a kind of ploy to maybe impress Ji-na. While those do not seem like very good reasons to be on the national short track team, Hoon manages to come up with an even worse one. He wants Eun-ho to win for the sole sake of family honor. Which in addition to being arrogant, is also strategically questionable. You can't just assume that Korean short track athletes are the best.

Nor is it correct to assume that they're particularly young. Watching actual Olympic short track events on television I have observed that, by Olympic standards at least, the top players encompass a fairly wide age range. Given that "Short" was created explicitly to promote short track ahead of the Olympic games I guess this means the drama succeeded in its goal of making me more interested in the sport, even if I was motivated largely by a desire to fact check.

Once again this does not especially matter in the context of the drama, which is the story of Ho-yeong and Eun-ho slowly coming to the understanding that as teammates, they are good at motivating each other. But this is only true in the context of pure skill. Sportsmanship dictates that to win by any other means is dishonorable. Because the goal of a race is to figure out who's the fastest. If someone has to cheat to win, then they are not really a winner at heart.

While this moral is perfectly serviceable overall, it is taking a surprisingly long time for "Short" to get through what is by any standard a pretty basic plot. Writer Kim Jung-ae has to resort to some fairly goofy clichés at this point in order to pad the runtime. Family debts? Hitherto obscured backstory? What makes these especially goofy is that none of the young lead characters know what is happening.

Obviously they will find out eventually, and once we get to that point, it's just going to more of this sportsmanship stuff. The more generic "Short" becomes the less interesting the drama is overall. So I guess it's fortunate that this is the penultimate episode. With only one to go it's not like the drama is going to get catastrophically awful. At worst the proceedings will probably just be predictable.

Review by William Schwartz

"Short" is directed by Kim Young-min-II, written by Kim Jung-ae, and featured Kang Tae-oh, Yeo Hoe-hyun, Kim Doyeon, Park So-eun, Noh Jong-hyun and Yoo Ha-joon.

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