The sketch comedy moves more even-handedly into hit-or-miss territory. Some of the jokes are funny and others are not so funny. That's a bit of a simplistic statement but then "The Lover" is a bit of a simplistic show, however much the voiceover tries to add pretension to the proceedings. I frequently get the impression that the production team comes up with the sketches before the voiceover, since it's rare for there to be a unifying theme. Or at least a normal theme. As far as I can tell the main obvious theme here is set decoration.
No seriously, look at the random props that are being used to hold together individual scenes. It's like the production team just tossed together a bunch of random stuff that was either in their homes or just floating around in their heads. It's hard to think of any other reason why one apartment features a plethora of beauty products, another a bunch of random figurines, as well as a sight gag that mainly just demonstrates how South Korean supermarkets sell lots of strawberry related food.
There are some connecting plot points, but they only appear through two or three scenes. I thought the "Answer Me 1997" bit was going to be a recurring premise for every household, but nope, just two of them. Incidentally, Seol-eun and Hwan-jong don't actually show up this time. They've always been the couple with the least amount of screen time, but what exactly are Ha Eun-seol and/or Park Jong-hwan doing instead of showing up on set?
I did like the opening sketch, and the mild callback to that premise. Essentially, people who have been in a relationship for a long time have the ability to communicate without words to some extent. This is something most of us have noticed at some point or another, but "The Lover" takes it to kind of a ridiculous extreme. Mostly I'm just impressed that Oh Jung-se and Ryu Hyun-kyung were able to properly time that scene at all, given that they had almost no cues.
Do-si and Doo-ri are really the best couple overall here, which is kind of odd given they tend to be the ones most likely to roll up into petty fights. The pregnancy scare sketch was also relatively decent, although it remains a mystery to me why we're only just now getting around to it. "The Lover" often comes off as a bit amateurish- not wholly a bad thing, because serious committed effort can take even a mediocre production a long way. Even so, the drama still isn't at its best.
Review by William Schwartz
"The Lover" is directed by Kim Tae-eun-III, written by Kim Min-seok-II and features Oh Jung-se, Ryu Hyun-kyung, Jung Joon-young, Choi Yeo-jin, Park Jong-hwan, Ha Eun-seol, Terada Takuya and Lee Jae-joon.
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] "The Lover" Episode 10"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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