[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 31-32 Final 2017/07/18,
The final clean-up takes place pretty quickly. Really, once it's established that the right people were digging in just a little deeper, and that most of last time's cliffhanger was just a matter of dramatic license, there really isn't any direction for Gi-joon to go except for straight down. There is, naturally, also the gratification of seeing all the other villains brought in one by one and punished for their transgressions,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 29-30 2017/07/17,
Now that enough of the conspiracy has been brought to light, the only real outstanding question is whether Ji-hoon will be brought to justice. Ji-hoon has always enjoyed the most protection because of all the people who have benefited from the allegations against the former Queen, Ji-hoon's boons have been the most subtle and obscured. All the same, Queen Jungjeon needed some sort of high level ally. And attempts at making Pil-yeong and Woo the fall guys run into some obvious logical problems,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 31-32 2017/07/11,
The backstory revelations end up going down a lot better than I was expecting, because the emphasis is less on the danger child Woo's actions have on adult Woo's relationships, and more on the central character flaw both Woos possess- arrogance. I was somewhat surprised to see that even as a child Woo was considered an all-star at the royal court, but this is consistent with what we've seen from the very first episode. Woo may well have been thought of as a good potential match for Princess Hyemyeong even at that time,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 25-26 2017/07/10, Yoon Se-ah is very good as Queen Jungjeon. She's striking a very difficult balance- Yoon Se-ah is playing someone who is being a very fundamentally bad actor. Queen Jungjeon isn't using to anyone talking back to her, and is in constant panic mode, for all her bravado, that someone is going to find out that she is a fraud. Queen Jungjeon does manage to slow Princess Hyemyeong down a little bit with some key revelations, but we can tell just from the nervous way her haughty noblewoman laugh sounds that internally, Queen Jungjeon is freaking out,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 23-24 2017/07/04,
Even the romantic action in "My Sassy Girl - Drama" is light, as Woo makes a breakthrough in the investigation and proceeds to try and avoid telling Princess Hyemyeong about it. This predictably leads to a brief interruption in their giddy love affair, as she is mad at him. But don't worry- slowly and surely, bit by bit, they come to another understanding as Woo makes it clear that he is one hundred percent on Princess Hyeomyeong's side and isn't going anywhere,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 21-22 2017/07/03,
The larger conflict is once again put on the back burner. Prince Darhan has gone home, leaving Woo and Princess Hyeomhyeong to swoon over each other privately. I like Woo's sense of diplomacy. He can ask for pretty much anything from royalty right now, and rather than getting greedy, Woo is sensible and basic in his desires. Woo, and Princess Hyeomhyeong for that matter, are quite patient and more than willing to live life a single day at a time,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 19-20 2017/06/27,
By the end of episode twenty we get to the big exciting climax where Woo has figured out a way to expose a conspiracy. It's satisfying as expected, because even if there's no direct evidence implicating Gi-joon, his participation in the broader scheme can definitely be used to put his credibility into question somewhere down the line. But why did we need four episodes to get to this point? The conspiracy only had minimal exposition, and the remaining screentime has mostly just been about the love triangle,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 17-18 2017/06/26,
Prince Darhan (played by Chris) is the main dominant presence here, and the man's bad news. He's really nice. Really, I just can't get enough of the guy smiling good-naturedly and engaging Princess Hyeomhyeong with all these corny pick-up lines. Best of all, Prince Darhan tends to just ignore Gi-joon, and doesn't especially care about the pomp and circumstances of royalty. Prince Darhan is quite the charming guy, save for the problem of Woo being Princess Hyeomhyeong's actual love interest,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 15-16 2017/06/20,
While Woo and Princess Hyemyeong have made great progress in terms of finally discovering that Gi-joon is behind the conspiracy, there remains one glaring problem. They can't do anything about it. All concrete evidence of Gi-joon's activities has been successfully destroyed. While Princess Hyemyeong is right that she has to do something, Woo is also right in pointing out that their position is far too weak to actually challenge Gi-joon on anything right now,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 13-14 2017/06/19,
Woo and Princess Hyemyeong are largely sidelined for these two episodes. Indeed, the big climax barely even features them at all. Instead, Choon-poong (played by Shim Hyung-tak) pops out of nowhere to helpfully identify what's going on at the butcher shop. It's pretty clear Choon-poong wants us to think that he's an idiot, when he is in fact one of the more competent characters in a drama where nearly everyone is at least of above average intelligence,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 11-12 2017/06/13,
It was only with these episodes that I noticed that the parents of the lead characters are also the principles in the related royal conspiracy plotline, and the parallels are noteworthy. King Huizong, like Princess Hyemyeong, is oblivious to the real threat facing the royal family, only seeing the surface level. Gi-joon, like Da-yeon, is very good at seeming nice and helpful when in fact his every action is mean-spirited and destructive. Pil-yeong (played by Jo Hee-bong), like Woo, is a smart guy with a good reputation who is struggling to figure out how deep this rabbit hole goes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 9-10 2017/06/12,
So I appear to have misread Joon-yeong's character. Apparently he's not Princess Hyemyeong's love interest at all, but rather the protagonist in the parallel storyline about trying to figure out who kidnapped Princess Hyemyeong and why. Joon-yeong has his work cut out for him. Not only is he dealing with an elaborate conspiracy far beyond his pay grade, but Princess Hyemyeong, the person who Joon-yeong is supposed to be protecting, isn't aware of the danger because as far as she knows the pawnbroker was acting alone,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 7-8 2017/06/06,
One of the better clarifications "My Sassy Girl - Drama" has been making lately is that there are in fact two Princess Hyemyeongs. The first one, the one that exists in the real world, quickly gets vindictive about perceived personal slights. But once the conflict is resolved, she is mostly willing to forgive and forget. By contrast the second Princess Hyemyeong, the one that exists in Gyeon-woo's imagination, continues her personal grudges forever, driving Gyeon-woo completely mad,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 5-6 2017/06/05,
The opening of the fifth episode is an extended replay of the last scene of the fourth episode- and it really is a perfect example of how good editing can turn a borderline unwatchable sequence into a genuinely entertaining one. We get a lot more exposition about why the pawnbroker is a bad dude who got what was coming to him. More importantly, Princess Hyemyeong gets some badly needed positive personality traits. She made the mess here, not as a consequence of her being a fickle psychotic, but out of a genuine concern for justice,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 3-4 2017/05/30, Oh Yeon-seo's central expression as Princess Hyemyeong is very appropriate. Even in pictographic form, she looks horrifically sinister. So all the time Gyeon-woo is talking about his efforts to try and meet her again, I'm just thinking to myself, do you really think that's a good idea? And predictably enough, upon finally actually finding Princess Hyemyeong, Gyeon-woo once again faces peril and disaster for no apparent cause,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Sassy Girl - Drama" Episodes 1-2 2017/05/29,
The first half of the first episode of "My Sassy Girl - Drama" consists entirely of an elaborate royal conspiracy. It involves nighttime, massive swordfights, escapes, a perilous childbirth scene, and is generally completely indistinguishable from a serious historical drama prologue. Then we flash forward ten years later and scholar Gyeon-woo (played by Joo Won) is trying to maintain balance on a boat while narrating about how cool and beloved he was back in China,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 20 Final 2014/12/27,
Hopefully you enjoy the romance between Han-cheol and Soo-hyeon, because that's what the last episode spends most of the runtime building up. In all fairness, of the myriad half-baked storylines "Modern Farmer" has picked up, this was probably the best one to devote attention to, on account of one of the main characters being involved. Also the whole imminent death thing. That probably should have been more relevant up until now,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 19 2014/12/20,
The exact details of what's happening with Yoo-na and her management company are exposed here. With this information, the story from that angle moves in about as predictable a manner as possible, once again mostly leaving our main characters right where they started. I suppose it's an improvement over the meteor storyline, since there's at least some brief discussion of backstory and also one nice scene where Yoo-na firmly gives Min-gi a piece of her mind,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 18 2014/12/14,
Given that the main characters of "Modern Farmer" have just slipped into major financial difficulties, now doesn't really seem like the best time for these guys to engage in goofball comedy. The entire middle portion here is a plot retread from "Golden Tower", except with substantially higher dramatic stakes. Consequently, what seemed funny in "Golden Tower" just comes off as cruel here, not to mention generally pointless. I really need to note that given all the wiggling they do in the car, it beggars disbelief that they couldn't just open the door and step outside,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 17 2014/12/13,
As I suspected, the Hyeok-sik storyline is done. It is referenced a few times, but mostly all this does is establish the fact that Yoon-hee acted correctly in trying to prevent Hyeon-seok and Min-ho from becoming aware of each other's existence. From an ethical perspective I'm frustrated that the situation is being treated in such black-and-white terms. But from a narrative perspective this turnabout is even worse than that- it firmly establishes that Yoon-hee isn't getting any character growth. A woman who makes a difficult, flawed and albeit correct decision can learn from that experience. A woman who's the martyr in the face of an obvious villain can't,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 16 2014/12/07,
It would appear that the Hyeon-sik conflict has been resolved. I hope I'm wrong about this. But the ending gave me the distinct impression that the purpose of this plot point wasn't to explore the contradictions in Yoon-hee's character so much as it was to provide more fodder for the love triangle. I've never particularly liked the love triangle in "Modern Farmer" and this is one of the reasons for it. Yoon-hee has issues with communication and relationships, and we're not seeing any character growth on this point,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 15 2014/12/06,
Hyeon-sik (played by Lee Jae-woo) is not aware of the fact that he has a son. Moreover, the flashback that details his separation with Yoon-hee clearly establishes that they're both coming from understandable, sympathetic ground. At the time anyway. In the present, Yoon-hee's unwillingness to come clean about the current situation is terribly frustrating. While she's correct in stating it's no one else's business, Yoon-hee really doesn't have the right to withhold information like this. Not considering the way her son's been acting lately, and the fact that Hyeon-sik has once again taken an interest in Yoon-hee apropos of nothing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 14 2014/11/30,
The plot is mostly filler here. We do get a resolution to the whole musical storyline, but I got the distinct impression that this whole narrative movement was specifically designed to bring one character to the rural township. Not that I'm complaining. The cliffhanger promises that next time we're going to get a clear answer to a mystery that's been dogging this drama since the early episodes, and especially lately given Yoon-hee's weird attitude to male friendships and bonding,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 13 2014/11/29,
The cliffhanger turned out to be a bit misleading- that was an artificial conflict and it looks like pretty much everyone involved knew it too. Once that's settled it's on the new storylines this week. The big event right now, surprisingly enough, actually involves music. This is really the most direct opportunity that the band members have had to use their trained skills in a helpful way. Although initially at least they're mostly just being the ones rude enough to state explicitly what's already obvious to everyone else in the room- that no one in the farm community has any musical ability at all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 12 2014/11/23,
Two new characters arrive on the scene this episode. One knows that she's a bit of an imposition, but is in such a miserable state right now that it just can't be helped. The other knows that she's a bit of an imposition, but doesn't really have the personality type to actually care about any of that stuff. While these two never meet, the parallel is an obvious one. Mostly all of this is just a vehicle for jokes, though,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 11 2014/11/22,
By this point "Modern Farmer" has picked up about a dozen subplots that I can see, and this episode helpfully adds even more. I'm not complaining, exactly, since none of these stories are all that bad. It just gets kind of awkward having the drama so crammed full of plots that some of them get at most one short scene of exposition. We never do find out how Gi-joon got out of the closet. Seemed like a wasted opportunity for a joke, personally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 10 2014/11/16,
Perhaps I was a little hard on Soo-hyeon. Like Min-gi, while she seems pretty rough at first, it's pretty clear that the woman's not a monster or anything. Just a little self-absorbed, and understandably so given the very personal threat to her well-being. But oddly enough Soo-hyeon's not especially arrogant. Note the surprise and even gratitude she shows at being helped out by people who have just suffered from her abuse. Soo-hyeon is learning, bit by bit,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 9 2014/11/15,
Apparently Hwa-ran's makeover is permanent, and along with it comes a personality change to something more bright and outgoing. I've heard that a change in personal dress can affect such an alteration, so I'm not too upset at "Modern Farmer" for upsetting continuity like this. It's just I liked her better the way she was before is all. Even in this episode, by far her best moment is leaping around the field at light speed to catch some grasshoppers,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 8 2014/11/09,
The conflict takes two main forms this time. First is the natural crisis arising because Han-cheol rather idiotically decided to help Soo-yeon with her obviously suspicious nighttime skulking about. It's kind of am ambivalent situation. Han-cheol really should just get a clue and take no for an answer, but Soo-yeon is reluctant to push hard on this point because if pretty much any character aside from Han-cheol finds out what she's been doing they're actually going to investigate further,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 7 2014/11/08,
This episode moves into obvious romantic territory, as the number of potential couples is clearly defined as five. I can't remember having ever seen a drama before that had five potential pairings, all given roughly equal weight in terms of storyline presence, but here we are. Far from being crowded, though, "Modern Farmer" actually makes a pretty good go of it because the five romances build on each other with different explorations on attitudes toward love,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 6 2014/11/02,
The writing here initially moves into really, really short sub-plots. Remember the scene in the preview where Min-gi sets up a boxing match between children? There isn't any extended focus on that. He gets the idea, organizes it, and before we've even realized what's happened everybody's back at Yoon-hee's house going over the lessons learned. "Modern Farmer" is so rapid-fire with narrative shifts that this episode feels a lot longer than it really is. The episode also gives the impression that much more has happened than actually did,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 5 2014/11/01,
In an odd shift, this episode starts out with two jokes that aren't really very funny to us watching at home, but are obviously funny to the characters that tell them to each other. This is actually better than it sounds, as it signals a new, effective trend regarding characterization- the guys in the idol band and the actual farmers are starting to relate to each other on a personal level. There's only really one fight this time, and unusually, the slip-up this time was actually a fairly understandable one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 4 2014/10/26,
There's a bit of a lag in plot this time. The athletic games have been identified as a key sticking point, but the progress characters make toward success there or even a basic understanding of what's going to be happening is pretty limited. This is a training episode with surprisingly little actual training. I suppose this is intended as a set-up for the idols' likely loss- they have nothing going for them but relative youth after all. But the parallel is...hm....,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 3 2014/10/25,
This episode firmly establishes that "Modern Farmer" is firmly entrenched in its own continuity. The whole gag with the deer last episode wasn't just a final one-off joke. It was an event with serious long-term consequences. Goodness that sentence feels ridiculous. Mostly because right after the huge angry lecture we're treated to the deer's wall of fame and why in the world would so many famous people have their photograph taken with this random deer?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 2 2014/10/19,
When last we left off, Min-gi (played by Lee Hong-ki) had finally convinced all the old members of the band to team up on his scheme to get rich by farming. This includes Kang Hyeok (played by Park Min-woo), who quite literally showed up at the last minute. At the beginning of this episode Min-gi is clearly agitated by the presence of this interloper, mostly because he hasn't figured out yet that his terrible plan will require as many helpers as he can find.
If the first episode was vague on this point, the second episode of "Modern Farmer" clears everything up,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Modern Farmer" Episode 1 2014/10/18,
The drama gets immediately to answering that all-important question- how does a band of idols end up working on a farm of all things? I'd just as soon not ruin the answer to that, since the basic explanation of the premise is by far the best part of the episode. Suffice to say, it has less to do with how these specific idols are bad people as it does wth the entire idol band format in the first place. The story here isn't just a gimmick- "Modern Farmer" actually looks like it has something to say in terms of famous lifestyles,...More
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