[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 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] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 16 Final 2016/08/30,
The true ending to the huge fight is a slight improvement to what closed out the last episode, since it at least involves proper use of the artifact. But overall I still felt a pretty strong general sense of emptiness at the close of "Bring It On, Ghost". A few sympathetic encounters with his mother can't change the fact that Hye-seong did some pretty horribly evil things, spiritual posession or not,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Bring It On, Ghost" Episode 2 2016/07/12,
Hyeon-ji discovered last episode that by kissing Bong-pal, she was able to recover some memories. Given how Hyeon-ji is helplessly wandering the world of the living as a ghost with nothing better to do, it is unsurprising that Hyeon-ji wishes to explore this unexpected development further.. However, Hyeon-ji is a teenage girl before she is a ghost, and rather than simply tell Bong-pal her motivation and ask for help, she decides to act weird and clingy for no good reason,...More
[Spottoon Review] Cat and Dog Drama Dream Cast! 2016/02/07, Source,
The webtoon Cat and Dog is set to be made into a drama this year on MBC and it's time to starting dreaming of the perfect cast to embody these characters!
The plot centers around an brooding actor named Seul Woo and young girl named Young Woo who were arranged to be married when Young-Woo was just a baby. Now all grown up, the time has come for their marriage to take place even though they are essentially strangers and total opposites of each other,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Splash Splash Love" Episode 1 2015/12/13,
Dan-bi (played by Kim Seul-gi) is a normal high school student who, after some brief exposition, ends up thrown into the Joseon era where King Lee Do (played by Yoon Doo-joon) is desperate for knowledge, specifically of the mathematical variety. As time travel set-ups go this is in fact one of the better ones- Dan-bi's high-school level education may be of little obvious practical use in the present day, but in the distant past this fundamental knowledge legitimately makes her one of the smartest people alive in the world,...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] "Make a Woman Cry" Episode 11 2015/05/23,
This episode opens up with another dumb rich person argument...of course. Well, they're not all dumb. I find I'm liking the Eun-soo / Hyeon-seo conflict. A well-to-do mother wanting to keep her son from getting involved with some woman without a pedigree, that much I can easily understand. Eun-soo no doubt has an inferiority complex about marrying into wealth. But there's just something awfully petty about Eun-soo trying to keep Hyeon-seo from hanging around Kyeong-tae. You pay no mind to that boy, he's from a lower economic class,...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 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 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 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
Hit Muk-bang Themed Drama "Let's Eat" Returned For Second Season 2015/04/10,
CJ E&M's hit Muk-bang (eating scene) themed drama "Let's Eat" has returned to the small screen for a second season. Its premiere episode was aired Korea's general entertainment channel tvN on April 6. Hailed as one of the country's popular cable TV dramas in 2014, "Let's Eat" has propelled the "Muk-bang" (eating scene) TV trend. It is a romantic comedy about a single guy who loves to browse his favorite foods on the blog site called '"Let's Eat"' to relieve stress from work,...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
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Bomi's Room" 2014/06/08,
Bomi (played by Ahn Seo-hyun) is a fairly typical ten year old girl. She hates school and would rather do silly pseudo grown up things like watching dramas on her computer. Her efforts are frustrated by a mean older sister, Eon-joo (played by Lee Young-ah). Eon-joo is quite a bit older than Bomi, and awfully bossy. A frustrated Bomi eventually agrees to a team-up with an unlikely ally in order to reign her sister in,...More
CJ E&M Launches New Reality Show "Share House" on Food Lifestyle Channel O'live 2014/04/28,
As nation's demographic changes, singles-targeted TV programming booms in Korea Asia's leading contents company CJ E&M has launched the new reality show Share House on its specialized food lifestyle channel O'live. Over 12 episodes, nine celebrity singles from different backgrounds will get to know each other, forge bonds, and grow to become like family as they live and eat together in a chic, stylish shared house in the suburbs of Seoul,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 16 Final 2014/03/13,
The drama dedicates most of its energy this time to resolving the crisis with Jin-hee- which isn't really that much of a crisis so the seriousness is a bit off-putting. It would seem that for all the hullabaloo about the danger posed, there's not really much here that's terribly interesting. Waiting for this plot point to resolve is rather tiring, even if at this point it's the only thing that could reasonably be called a narrative direction anymore.
Then that's all settled with and "Let's Eat" moves in to what has to be the most extended epilogue I've ever seen,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 15 2014/03/06,
Well, the question of the point this drama has been getting at has been clearly resolved. Within the first few minutes of this episode the ending is more or less clearly established. I mean, it's possible that writer Lim Soo-mi will pull another screwball out at that last minute, but I kind of doubt it. The big strength of "Let's Eat" has always been its ability to mess around with us in the moment, not get overly witty with the overall narrative thrust.
And there are definitely some good moments here. There's the brief but memorable evil team-up, which looks so outrageously staged I'm surprised Soo-kyeong even falls for it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 14 2014/02/27,
There's a sudden tonal shift in the first segment of this episode, as "Let's Eat" tries to be something akin to a horror story. It feels a bit weird, considering that for the most part this drama is a comedy so to all of a sudden have characters in serious physical danger is, well, a little off-putting. Don't we get enough paranoia in the actual scary shows? Especially since that guy's crazy face is just plain frightening, especially if the lights are out.
Then we get to the punchline. Yes, there is somehow a punchline that turns all of those preceding events into a comedic farce,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 13 2014/02/20,
I don't know how this drama is able to do such a good job consistently escalating awkward situations. Oh wait yes I do. Since when has anything become less awkward after a love confession? Sure there's the big romantic scene, the adulation, the culmination of a dozen episodes worth of sexual tension- but that stuff's not real. It's a desperately wishful fantasy. Thank you "Let's Eat" for crushing my spirits, giving a hard reminder of why people avoid making love confessions in the first place.
There's gotta be something else here to hook on to,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 12 2014/02/13,
Somehow I had failed to notice that Valentine's Day was this week. Thank goodness "Let's Eat" was here to remind me of all those wonderful emotions we associate with Valentine's Day. Like, the fear of rejection, the sense of crippling loneliness, the realization that you're going to have hurt peoples' feelings or everything is just going to continue to be weird and awkward. Oh wait, love? Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love? Gee, could have fooled me.
There's a real dark touch to this episode. At first I was kind of annoyed because Jin-I and Do-yeon are still engaging in their game of petty romantic one-upsmanship, but it quickly became clear that was the point,...More
Exploring the Isolation of Modern Korean Society and Food as a Medium to Connect, CJ E&M's Recent Drama "Let's Eat" Records Hit Ratings 2014/02/13,
- Connecting with a new generation of viewers, show has ranked as one of nation's top two cable programs among 20-49 year olds in each of the 11 weeks it has aired to-date - Show has also propelled the "Muk-bang" (eating scene) TV trend in Korea where viewers, inspired by scenes of characters enjoying delicious meals, hunt down these foods in real life Seoul, Korea (February 13, 2014) - Exploring the isolation of modern Korean society and food as an important medium to connect, CJ E&M's [http://en.cjenm.com] recent drama "Let's Eat", starring actress Lee Soo-kyung and Yoon Doo-joon from K-Pop group BEAST, has been a hit with a new generation of Korean viewers. According to Nielson, the drama has ranked as one of the nation's top two cable shows among 20-49 year olds in each of the 11 weeks it has aired to-date. The show has also propelled the "Muk-bang" (eating scene) TV trend in Korea inspiring a food craze as viewers passionately watch and hunt down the foods they see on episodes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 11 2014/02/06,
At the beginning of this episode we almost instantaneously get the idea that Soo-kyeong is a changed woman. She's just so bright and happy and cheerful and why is she wearing that ribbon in her hair she's not a child. And this is immediately questioned as being a bad thing. I love the sheer agitation in Soo-kyeong's attitude when the possibility that she's romantically interested in Dae-yeong is brought up.
I also love that the drama actually goes to the trouble of addressing this point, to the extent that Soo-kyeong is worried about what she has become,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 10 2014/01/30,
This drama is hitting the perfect blend of comedy, forward progress, and effective characterization. "Let's Eat" also benefits a lot from just being so self-aware. Note how Dae-yeong goes into one of his ridiculous food speeches on a regular predictable basis. This time he does one on a topic only tangentially related to food. And the other characters have started to notice when he's about to get into speech mode and react accordingly.
The music deserves special mention. It really sells the food porn- makes it seem somehow majestic and noble when in reality I just remind myself- this is food. It's not that amazing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 9 2014/01/23,
Like the title card says, this episode is all about Soo-kyeong's mother. On a basic level we're just taking a look into Soo-kyeong's psyche. A lot of the habits that we've seen so far as being quintessentially Soo-kyeong appear to be inherited. Soo-kyeong's mother is similarly hostile to the people around her, interpreting mild irrelevant actions as enmity. So naturally she responds in kind.
This creates an interesting dynamic with Soo-kyeong, as she appears to simultaneously be emulating and rebelling against her mother by refusing to emphasize the things in life that mom thinks are important,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 8 2014/01/16,
Hak-Moon seems to be on a mission to do everything possible to sabotage any hope he has of ever scoring a relationship with Soo-Kyeong. It's hard to make any other sense of his actions. Yeah, you saw her a couple of times with this other guy. But she's not going to like him less or you more because of an increase in stressful aggrandizing behavior in her life. Does this guy even have a plan?
Well of course not. That's because Hak-Moon's kind of dumb. Most people are, honestly, which is a big part of how the humor in "Let's Eat" is able to ring so true,...More
[HanCinema's Blog Reel] December 2013 2014/01/11,
Did you miss us? Catch up on all of HanCinema's drama and film reviews, previews, features, and box office reports for the month of December right here and now!,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 7 2014/01/09,
This episode answers the essential question- what exactly does Soo-Kyeong's life look like without the influence of Dae-Yeong? The answer...pretty pointless actually. As usual, she's stressed out and resorts to angry munching to vent out her stress. But in terms of the actual good stuff, the actual good food, it turns out that making bad with Dae-Young has substantially limited her access to it. Soo-Kyeong knows she's messed up- if not on the empathetic level, then certainly in terms of direct benefit.
The other people in her life make a poor substitute for a quality meal. We start out with Hak-Moon trying to pull off a Pretty Woman montage,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 6 2014/01/02,
Soo-Kyeong discovers an essential bit of information that puts Dae-Young's entire character into question, and the rather unconvincing way he addresses her complaints only seems to bring credence to the idea that he is, in fact, that guy who keeps running around smacking women on the head. This isn't something she just sits on either- Soo-Kyeong makes a direct effort to find the truth when she finds Dae-Young's response lacking.
And then...the drama just sort of subtly points out that maybe Dae-Young isn't a violent thug,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 5 2013/12/26,
I'm beginning to get impatient with the lack of progress in the actual storyline. For the most part "Let's Eat" continues to ride on its strengths. If you were hoping for more food porn this time around, don't worry, that shows up pretty much immediately. Jin-I appears to have discovered the secret that will make Soo-Kyeong do basically anything- just present the woman with food and she almost immediately starts salivating.
The trouble is that we already knew all this already. The episode writ-large just retreads the same basic jokes and set-ups of character-based humor,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 4 2013/12/19,
There's pretty much no plot progress this episode. Everything that could possibly shed some light on what the deal is with Dae-Yeong playing the knockout game ends up turning into a false start. The lack of progress on this front is a bit annoying, since it's the closest "Let's Eat" has to an actual plotline. Everything else is, for the most part, just character-based jokes along the same lines we've already seen.
We do get some relevant backstory about the history of Hak-Moon's interactions with Soo-Kyeong. I'm kind of amazed that he's known her for this long and yet still hasn't grasped the fact that she will do basically anything for food,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 3 2013/12/12,
I really like the attitude this drama takes toward Soo-Kyeong's misanthropic demeanor. A more typical narrative would be about Soo-Kyeong learning the joys of friendship. And sure, we get the occasional moment where she's glad to have met certain people in her life. But for the most part, Soo-Kyeong's interactions justify her attitude. It seems like Soo-Kyeong can hardly go a minute in her moments relaxing alone before some people-related crisis comes in and disrupts everything.
It was only this episode that I realized that co-worker Hak-Moon (played by Shim Hyung-tak) is actually supposed to be a potential love interest. That's how effective "Let's Eat" is at portraying events from Soo-Kyeong's point of view,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 2 2013/12/05,
We still seem to be in the process of getting to know the characters, so not too much exciting happens over the course of this episode. Soo-Kyeong has a dog that seems to be a lot more trouble than it's worth, managing to find ways to start trouble if Soo-Kyeong turns her back for even a minute. Jin-I (played by Yoon So-hee) is continuously bright, bubbly, and naive. To some people that might be cute, but it's easy to see why Soo-Kyeong is rather wary of her new neighbor. And Dae-Yeong (played by Yoo Doo-Joon) is possibly an axe murderer.
I'm getting the impression that this last bit is the twist that's supposed to make the context of this drama, because this part of his characterization is just so bizarrely out of nowhere that it's actually pretty easy to understand why no red flags are running up for Soo-Kyeong and Jin-I,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "She Gets Married Thrice" Episode 7 2013/11/30,
It turns out that in addition to all her other flaws the matriarch of the wealthy family is also an astonishingly bad mother. I don't mean that in terms of general abusiveness (that's already been well established) but how this woman manages to infatilize even the people she's supposed to like. It is, as is often the case with this drama, depressing to watch because it's hard to imagine this scenario could go anywhere good.
Fortunately, we're able to spend some time with the parents of our lead characters, and it's quite clear that they have much more sensible heads on their shoulders,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Let's Eat" Episode 1 2013/11/28,
The first important thing to know about this drama is that there's a lot of food porn. I was confused when it started because I thought I was watching a coffee commercial. Then actual characters show up. People who do not seem to actually like other people very much, but looove food. Lee Soo-kyung (played by...Lee Soo-kyung?) seems to have little interest in men except as a vehicle to gain better social access to better quality food.
Soo-Kyeong isn't exactly the most sympathetic woman. Her social life is low quality, but the main culprit for it seems to be her own bad attitude, as well as the fact that she clearly likes food more than she does people,...More
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