[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - Today I Grab the Tambourine Again" 2017/12/31,
Moon-sook (played by Park Hee-bon) is a bank teller. She doesn't have a full contract yet, but the time is fast approaching when the bank either has to offer Moon-sook a contract or just let her go. Incidentally, Moon-sook goes out with her team every month for a celebratory party at the karaoke bar. While this would be a great time to make a good impression, Moon-sook has no talent for singing. So instead, she takes tambourine classes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 16 Final 2016/10/25,
It's rather fitting that the relationship between Jeong-seok and Ha-na ends in much the same way that it began- with the two alleged leads making little meaningful contact with each other. It's rather telling how the romantic callbacks for these two kept referring to the same small batch of scenes, many of which were only a couple of episodes ago. Their love story is one with rather little cause, which makes it difficult to celebrate,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 15 2016/10/24,
At long last "Drinking Alone" has hit the point of serious self-reflection on the part of its characters- although for me this is too little too late. The grand output of Jeong-seok and Ha-na's relationship consits of a couple of decent dates at the tail end of Jeong-seok acting like a jerk. The way he keeps talking about "quality" is, I think, supposed to be cute but all it ever does is remind me how generally mean-spirited the man is,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 14 2016/10/18,
Generally speaking "Drinking Alone", has been pretty clear that Jeong-seok is not the most likable guy on a personal level. But time and again, the typical Jeong-seok just leaves me thinking, this guy is a jerk. No one likes him, for good reason. That by the end of this episode someone has finally gotten the courage to say that to Jeong-seok's face does not change how "Drinking Alone" is mostly an exploration of how Jeong-seok is a jerk who rarely ever gets punished for his behavior,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 13 2016/10/17,
At this point "Drinking Alone" is making a deliberate concerted effort to portray its characters in about as negative a light as possible. I can think of no other reason why Jeong-seok starts off his relationship with Ha-na by being a weird control freak, engages in some weird stalking of her, and then the episode concludes as if Jeong-seok has learned a serious life lesson. To most people this is just the bare minimum standard of being a decent partner,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 12 2016/10/11,
Jeong-seok has finally come to understand that he's a pretty big jerk. This is sort of acceptable. Jeong-seok then goes straight from that realization to stalking Ha-na. This is...not really acceptable. I'm just not a big fan of sexual harassment, is the thing here, and given how Ha-na does not have access to Jeong-seok's thought process, that's pretty much the only reasonable interpretation of his behavior,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 11 2016/10/10,
...I was kind of expecting by this point in "Drinking Alone" that some effort would have been made to make Jeong-seok's character sympthetic. It wouldn't even have to be full on sympathy. I would be satisfied if he was at least making progress toward becoming a better person but if anything Jeong-seok's behavior has gotten worse. As the bathroom scene demonstrates, Jeong-seok is willing to make a greater effort to be a jerk than would be necessary to fulfill the standards of basic decency,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 10 2016/10/04,
This far in I'm honestly a little surprised at how much I don't like most of the characters in "Drinking Alone". To write that I dislike them is probably a little harsh, but all the same, I can't come up with any good reason for Jeong-seok and Ha-na to be together. Shoot, I can't think of any good reason for Jeong-seok to be together with anyone. Does he seriously need to obsess about quality every waking moment? That was never a charming personality trait in the first place, and now it's just plain annoying,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 9 2016/10/03,
Jin-i gets a good chance for positive characterization quite quickly, as she's the one who has to wrangle a distraught drunken Ha-na somewhere the younger woman can sober up. Incidentally, I'm surprised Jin-i hooked up with her boyfriend at a motel when she has such a nice apartment. I'm less surprised that Jin-i and Ha-na's silly plan leads to an equally silly and comedic situation but what can I say, I'm a sucker for decent slapstick,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 8 2016/09/27,
Jeong-seok's dinner of choice has been getting incrementally more social. The nuances are a bit hard to explain but that food he's eating at the beginning this episode is generally intended to be eaten by multiple people, and we can see this reflected in the environs of the restaurant, which is very crowded and loud. Headphones or not Jeong-seok is out of his milleu. This is all a very effective symbolic representation of his warming up to Ha-na,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 7 2016/09/26,
The main particularly interesting aspect to Jeong-seok's character is the complicated way he drinks alcohol by himself, but "Drinking Alone" keeps undermining this by making him act weirdly lovey-dovey. What's worse is that Myeong, in additiion to being really nice, apparently has some pretty amazing abs. Surprisingly enough that scene isn't just eye candy. It's also a lead-up to a fairly impressive joke,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 6 2016/09/20,
Jeong-seok continues to leave me less-as-impressed as a character. It's not that he's a bad guy, or especially unlikable. The problem is he almost never actually does anything. Jeong-seok is, by his own life's plan, excessively passive, and he's also so successful that Ha-na can't even really approach him. This makes for a terribly unsatisfying romance, especially when more immediately pressing crises come up like Ha-na's inevitable embarrassing collapse on camera,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 5 2016/09/19,
A harder turn toward serious romance this episode sours me somewhat on "Drinking Alone". It's mainly an issue of Jeong-seok being too ridiculously passive to be plausible as a romantic lead. What's more, Ha-na is such a cipher I'm actually hard-pressed to see why Jeong-seok should like her romantically at all. Now, Myeong, he has a very good reason to like Ha-na. She's his teacher. What more reason does he need?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 4 2016/09/13,
The main problem with Jeong-seok repeating his proper drinking rules all the time is that it becomes easier to see the flaws in his thinking. Jeong-seok's happiness appears to be entirely dependent on other people not showing up and annoying him. So he has to live like a hermit, except that Jeong-seok's job literally just involves talking to people and his hobby necessitates going out to public places. And even at home Myeong is hanging around being an annoying little brother,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 3 2016/09/12,
Ha-na (played by Park Ha-sun) is the obvious foil to Jeong-seok. Whereas Jeong-seok is an antisocial jerk who is nonetheless high on the respect chain in the teaching profession, Ha-na is the exact opposite. She lacks much in the way of authority or reputation, and is in point of fact not much older than the students she's supposed to be instructing. If Jeong-seok is a reminder of how our betters can be rude and snooty, Ha-na shows us that simply having a title does not necessarily make a person competent,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 2 2016/09/06,
Now that the basic shock of the premise has worn off "Drinking Alone" isn't quite as interesting as it was initially, although there are still plenty of moderately engaging bits. The production team appears to be sticking with the format of framing each episode around Jeong-seok pointedly enjoying his quiet peaceful meals. This is more a point of comparison than it is a matter of plot, because the absurdly stressful situations that pop up at work really are best dealt with via silent time alone,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 1 2016/09/05,
Jeong-seok (played by Ha Seok-jin) is an educational lecturer of wide repute. He despises people. And bizarre though this may seem, "Drinking Alone" does not seem terribly interested in disagreeing with him. When Jeong-seok describes how wonderfully ideal it is to spend an evening drinking by oneself, there's a real Yoon Doo-joon quality to how absolutely devoted Jeong-seok is to this idea of good food and liquor. It's just that, in stark contrast to Dae-yeong of "Let's Eat", Jeong-seok does not believe this is a sentiment that can or should be shared,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 17 2015/06/01,
To further emphasize the way "Let's Eat - Season 2" is moving into conclusion mode, there's actually more character relationship montages than food porn sequences this episode. What makes this particularly weird, though, is the two of the chaarcter relationship montages appear to be ironic. It's like writer Lim Soo-mi is explicitly telling us- no, as a matter of fact, these two particular storylines never actually went anywhere, and the only reason these characters are waxing on romantically on the subject is because they're just kind of lonely,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 16 2015/05/26,
Last episode was such a huge flash in the dramatic department that "Let's Eat - Season 2" was more-or-less fully destined to let itself down this episode, if only because of the disappointing reality of characters having to face consequences for their actions. In light of everything that's happened there's not really much to do except sulk in front of the police and hope that eventually everything manages to take a turn for the better. Everyone else is just trying to stretch the plot out. With food porn, when possible,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 15 2015/05/25,
The tonal shift this episode is to serious drama- we're not looking at anything super-weepy or anything, but the immediate reactions of the characters are fairly appropriate. While Jeom-i has never been a terribly important character, she's always been friendly and likable in her own way. And this was just in dealing the other residents of the building. There's something humbling about realizing that Jeom-i actually has an actual family- and that of course, every other character has an actual family too. That they don't talk to as much as they should,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 14 2015/05/19,
As if to reprimand me for doubting its seriousness, the mystery plot of "Let's Eat - Season 2" ends on a pretty shocking cliffhanger, particularly so coming right after a super cute date sequence. Not just shocking, either, but overall well-integrated, because the mystery plot and the main Soo-ji plot share one important commonality. Both are being interrupted by unnecessary snooping. Of course Jeom-i is snooping- that's what old ladies do. But why is Soo-ji so obsessed about Dae-yeong's imaginary girlfriend?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 13 2015/05/18,
No, nobody is actually moving around dead bodies in briefcases. Again, "Let's Eat - Season 2" might have fooled me on that point except that the first season of "Let's Eat" tried to pull the exact same stunt. Although admittedly the question of what's going on with all that money is a pretty potent one. It's not really all that interesting compared to the question of how Soo-ji is planning to manage all her financial affairs. But it's decent as far as subplots go,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 12 2015/05/12,
Contrary to what was implied by the preview, Dae-yeong and Sang-woo actually just start out by discussing their problems like adults and giving honest answers. It feels absurd for me to be surprised by this- of course that's what non-crazy friends do in that kind of situation. It's just...you know, the wacky plotting of television dramas is usually more prone to contrived misunderstandings. Writer Lim Soo-mi is above all that, though. She focuses on the important stuff in life. Like balancing checkbooks,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 11 2015/05/11,
This episode opens up with an extended mountain hike- that naturally ends with food porn. I'm surprised "Let's Eat - Season 2" doesn't do this more often really. Just have a completely random datelike activity end in food porn because that's what the viewers wants. But then again, Soo-ji never really pays attention to food because she's too head-over-heels with Sang-woo to actually notice her first love in life. With Dae-yeong, though, food and petty arguments is what they're all about,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 10 2015/05/05,
The humor this episode consists primarily of callbacks- namely to the entire incident with the bike. The extent to which the characters are willing to tell ridiculous lies for reasons that don't really make much sense is the larger thematic point. Sure it's fun to watch everybody squirm in the near term. But in the long term, why are they lying exactly? What exactly is the end game for a bunch of relationships that are founded upon the idea of silly deceit?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 9 2015/05/04,
In a mildly genre-bending twist, last episode revealed that Soo-ji's goal of a relationship with Sang-woo was actually much easier to accomplish then was expected. So...what exactly are the characters supposed to do for the remaining ten episodes? It soon becomes clear that from this point on, rather than being about Soo-ji being terrible at romance, we're now going to get a story about Soo-ji and Sang-woo being mutually terrible at romance,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 8 2015/04/28,
Now that Dae-yeong has accidentally exposed the drama's premise to Sang-woo, there's not really any getting around the general sense of awkwardness. I like how Sang-woo seems generally perplexed at the idea that women would have any romantic interest in him. To be entirely honest I'm kind of confused on that point too, but then it's not like love is supposed to be easily understood or anything like that,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 7 2015/04/27,
The slow pace of the plot catches up to the characters here. I can't help but find it rather inherently amusing that Dae-yeong and Soo-ji are acting like they have all the time in the world to get her together with Sang-woo, when from the very beginning every single work meeting Soo-ji and Sang-woo have had has referenced the blind date that Sang-woo keeps trying to avoid. Well, that's the problem with romantic fantasies really. They're a lot more fun than actually trying to date,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 6 2015/04/21,
Soo-ji's incremental progress toward a relationship with Sang-woo here is foiled by...rental payments. Good, good, more absurdity. I mean it's not really that absurd. Pretty much everybody has to struggle with the rent, especially in the wake of a dumb impulse purchase. But this isn't the kind of real-life issue that normally shows up in dramas. Fiction tends to focus on concept rather than reality. Yet as "Let's Eat - Season 2" shows here, a lot of mileage can be accomplished just by watching Soo-ji squirm over the rent,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 5 2015/04/20,
The mystery of the person who lives on the roof of the building is resolved appropriately- with a revelation as to the very serious financial penalties involved in building an illegal add-on to an apartment building. All right, that's somewhat ridiculous- which is good, because self-ridicule is always where "Let's Eat - Season 2" has been at its strongest. Most of the characters are at their most amusing when their perception of reality is challenged by their own apparent cluelessness.
Except for Dae-yeong. He knows that he's clueless, and doesn't really care. Which makes it all the more easier for him to identify where other people are going wrong. I'm really kind of impressed at this point seeing how little Soo-ji understands of men. Every time the three leads of this drama are together it's just Dae-yeong hurriedly trying to run damage control before Soo-ji accidentally reveals how unattractive she really is,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 4 2015/04/14,
The main interesting thing to happen this episode is that the love triangle is established. Weirdly, the center of this triangle is not Soo-ji, which would make logical sense, but rather...well, nobody in particular because again, it's not clear whether Dae-yeong and Soo-ji are supposed to be getting together or not. Bizarrely, it's the platonic relationship between Dae-yeong and Sang-woo that ends up being the focus. Sang-woo doesn't appear to be gay. But at the very least, he's definitely queer,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 3 2015/04/13,
This episode jumps right away to the finer more important points of the plot- Dae-young teaching Soo-ji how to act like an attractive woman. I'm not sure which part's funnier actually. There's the apparently sexless Dae-young being a complete master of romantic interaction. And then there's Soo-ji not having the slightest clue about what he's talking about. She completely whiffs Dae-young's softball attempt to try and get her alone in the same general area as Sang-woo,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 2 2015/04/07,
The first season of "Let's Eat" only aired one episode a week. "Let's Eat - Season 2", by contrast, is airing by the more standard two episode per week schedule. And it's this episode I quickly saw one of the more obvious disadvanatages of the more standardized intensive drama schedules- it kind of messes up the pacing. Whereas the first season of "Let's Eat" had to accomplish basic facts rather quickly, "Let's Eat - Season 2" mostly just runs in place. There's a lot of filler here- and we've only just established the basics of the premise,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat - Season 2" Episode 1 2015/04/06,
Dae-yeong (played by Yoon Doo-joon) has been forced to escape from Seoul due to his usual bizarre habit of managing to obtain unwanted extreme emotions from women he only wants to know casually. While we get several memorable flashbacks indicating part of what happened, the big question of why he broke up with Soo-kyeong remains unresolved. Whether it will ever be answered is unclear- although the implication is definitely that it was an interesting story,...More
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