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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Lover" Episode 11


The transition between opening monologue and opening sketch is actually fairly smooth this time. The joke, to the extent there's a joke at all, is simply that even when living with another person, while they're at home with you, you can still feel lonely. Smart phones are the obvious culprit. There's just something so imminently sad about a grown man who would rather look at pictures of cars than actually go out and do something with a car. And his girlfriend.

Beyond that the sketches are just the usual blend of hit and miss. I forgot that technically speaking the relationship between Jin-nyeo and Jeong-soo is supposed to be a secret- which is appropriate, given that they themselves have a hard time remembering. The simple childishness in their relationship is always cute. I especially like how Jeong-soo screws up the interview most likely because he failed to realize that at home Jin-nyeo doesn't always act her age.

Not all of the callbacks are good ones. There's yet another section emphasizing a bizarre sexual battle of wills between Jin-nyeo and Seol-eun. I didn't like that joke the first time it showed up and time hasn't made it much more amusing. Maybe it's just because I'm a man and I take umbrage at the notion that we all turn into slobbering perverts the minute tits and ass make an appearance. Although for the same reason I did laugh at that one recurring reaction shot.

Maybe too much credit isn't warranted there. To date the closest "The Lover" has ever gotten to an actual plot has been the are-they-or-are-they-not-gay storyline between Joon-jae and Takuya. And with one episode to go I doubt this is going to resolve all that convincingly. But in all fairness "The Lover" is less a normal drama and more a sketch comedy with a recurring theme and a non-infinite runtime. At best the story has always been a bit of a novelty.

And that much can certainly be fun to analyze on some level. I found the whole Cine21 sketch bizarre not so much because of the dialogue but because the production team apparently felt the need to edit out the Cine21 logo even though those are obviously Cine21 magazine back issues. The weird part is that they only do this in close-up. Look at the magazines on the coffee table, and they aren't redacted. What was that all about? Did Cine21 actually ask director Kim Tae-eun-III to airbrush them, or did she just not want to acknowledge the inherent product placement?

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.

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