Hoya leaves Infinite 2017/08/30, Source,
Infinite's Hoya decided not to renew his contract after seven years with the group. He posted a handwritten letter on his Instagram on the 30th, saying, "I am sorry to have worried everyone with this sudden news,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 39-40 2017/07/03,
The final two episodes of "Strong Family" are surprisingly anticlimactic. This is appropriate, considering the only problems the titular family has ever dealt with are fairly small in scale, and thus necessitate similarly small scale solutions. The closest we get to a real setpiece is the bit where Choon-seop is trapped in the wardrobe. And in that case, the unnecessary drama is entirely what everyone realizes that they should be trying to avoid,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 37-38 2017/06/26,
We're nearly to the end of "Strong Family" and the main remaining conflict is over...open office space arrangements. You know, that's one of those things corporate likes to do to try and affect change is to modify the office culture somehow. I got uncomfortable just looking at those new digs. I mean really, imagine being one of the people having to sit in the middle of those tables. It would feel like someone is always looking over your shoulder. Which I imagine is a feature, not a bug, in the system,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 35-36 2017/06/19,
The climax to episode thirty six is a school concert that I had mostly forgotten was even a plot point until it pops up, and which as usual just goes into the usual father-daughter bonding. More than the catharsis I actually somewhat perversely liked the general low quality of the performance. It's about the level of musical talent that would be expected from normal high school students, which is quite a contrast to the usual overly high production values that tend to accompany such storylines,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 33-34 2017/06/12,
Contrary to my previous expectations, it doesn't look like "Strong Family" is building up to any particularly strong climaxes at the workplace or anywhere else. Cheon-il is obsessed with telekinesis in episode thirty three and basketball comic books in episode thirty four. While I do admit the simple visuals of these scenes are pretty good (Park Hyuk-kwon always has great facial expressions really), without the proper build-up of tension, "Strong Family" currently looks to end about as anticlimactically as it began,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 31-32 2017/06/05,
The plot is very fractured over these two episodes. We get a lot of brief jokes that seem like they're going to lead to broader themes, although they stop almost as soon as they start. The closest we get is the bookend of episode thirty-two, which I admittedly thought was pretty funny because of course Cheon-il's dream world looks like a high school theater stage set. If you haven't had dreams like that, I don't know what to tell you,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 29-30 2017/05/29,
The romantic subplots in "Strong Family" are really good in how they relate to each other. We have Ik-hee going through the adolescent awkwardness of a teen romance where no one knows what they're doing, Jeong-min being generally giddy about a relationship that will most likely end in marriage (because of her age), and then Miss Jo contemplating a late lifetime romance. Incidentally, Choon-seop (played by Nam Kyung-eup) is my favorite love interest of the bunch. The man really rocks his late fifties facial hair,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 27-28 2017/05/22,
Cheon-il is having one of those days, as what first seems like a sneaky ploy by an adorable child to get spending money soon morphs into an elaborate conspiracy that leads to police involvement. And then disengagement, because Ra-yeon somewhat sensibly decides that this is not the kind of problem that the government should be involved in unless absolutely necessary. That's the main joke in episode twenty-seven, is just the brief glimpses we get of the temporarily altered family dynamic,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 25-26 2017/05/15,
Romantic appearances are the main element at play in these two episodes of "Strong Family". First in the twenty-fifth episode we Ra-yeon ponder that all-important question- are you living with the person that you love? Then in the twenty-sixth episode we get the somewhat ominous implications of what happens when the answer to that question is no. And with that, another implication that these questions are constantly asked on a regular basis and never really go away,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 23-24 2017/05/08,
The South Korean Presidential Election is today, you might have heard. I bring this up because the twenty-third episode of "Strong Family" is an obvious nod to this fact, as the lead characters engage in the kind of political campaign that people who don't know anything about politics come up with. Which is to say, that rather than talk about why they want power, Cheon-il and Ra-yeon simply come up with elaborate tactics that fail to convince anyone that they even understand what the position they're campaigning for even does,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 21-22 2017/05/01,
Cheon-il has just about completely disappeared from his formerly prominent position as main character. Yes, the center of the twenty-first episode does revolve around a questionable decision on his part. Overall, though, Cheon-il doesn't even really get any particularly noteworthy scenes. The main standout involves his own boss Seok-moon panicking over the prospect of spending a disproportionate amount of time waiting in sheer boredom,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 19-20 2017/04/24,
Cheon-il is a good guy. One of the big riddles of "Strong Family" is that most of the time, Cheon-il has no idea how or why he is being a good guy. Sometimes the expectation game is not his fault- as is seen with the opening conflict, sometimes the more obviously beloved behavior of other people is what makes Ra-yeon start to overthink things. Elsewhere, Cheon-il's determination to see the worst of life is his biggest weakness. Poor Cheon-il. He just doesn't know how to read a room,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 17-18 2017/04/17,
For the first time, Cheon-il uses his tracksuit for its intended purpose- as workout clothes, in anticipation of the big company athletic competition which he ends up taking far, far too aggressively. I was a little disappointed that Cheon-il's training montage is just general athletics. It would have made for a much funnier overall joke if Cheon-il had been taking mixed martial arts lessons and his performance on the field was a result of his mis-applying those skills in the wrong context,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 15-16 2017/04/10,
The two main conflicts this time are, for episode fifteen, the question of how to best spend vacation time, and for episode sixteen, the question of how to deal with incrementally chaotic financial situations. As is usually the case for "Strong Family", the conflicts are defined by their relatively minor scope. These are the sorts of issues normal families have to deal with on a regular basis, so the problems are quite easy to discuss,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 13-14 2017/04/03,
A lot of the story in "Strong Family" is very low key. I know that the central plot of the thirteenth episode was Ra-yeon trying and inevitably becoming frustrated with her attempts to fit in to a more high class mom clique. I also know that the central plot of the fourteenth episode was Cheon-il's rather creepy fixation with the person who lives upstairs and generally irritates Ra-yeon with constant cigarette smoke. Beyond that, though, what we have are a lot of very small plots with frustratingly little development,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 11-12 2017/03/27,
After a couple of fairly strong episodes last week about lost dreams and obsessing over the teenage daughter's boyfriend, "Strong Family" is on weaker footing here with a storyline about annoying relatives refusing to leave the house because they're too busy gambling and annoying interns not knowing when to be quiet and stop pestering the regular employees. Or I don't know, maybe it's just me that thinks this is weaker ground, since I've never had to deal with those specific problems personally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 9-10 2017/03/20,
One factor of "Strong Family" that I rather like is the way it takes on people's imaginations. See, we are limited by personal experience. So when Ra-yeon runs across an old friend by chance, she starts thinking about bygone dreams from past years. Such dreams are inevitably painted in a fairly fantastical light. We're inclined to think of acting in terms of the polished final product we see on screen, not the rather monotonous and perfection focused process that goes into it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 7-8 2017/03/13,
I've been coming to accept that "Strong Family" is rather hopelessly mundane. It's just a story about an idiot dad who's always trying to desperately to be cool and failing, in various degrees. But it's because Cheon-il is always making that effort that he's an easy guy to root for. It's also still reasonably amusing how Cheon-il does occassionally manage to solve problems by accident, or says stuff so stupid that it wraps all the way around to being funny again,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 5-6 2017/03/06,
Baek-il (played by Bae Yoo-ram) is Cheon-il's brother, who around the house wears a matching, and equally ridiculous looking blue tracksuit to match Cheon-il's red one. Don't get too used to him though. Baek-il is an obvious temporary guest star, there to remind us about the importance of having dreams, even unambitious ones, in your early thirties. Which does thematically tie into the overall idea of "Strong Family", which is that you can extraordinary simply by being extremely ordinary,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 3-4 2017/02/27,
The direction in "Strong Family" is fairly unusual for a situation comedy. Observe how the camerawork is always in close quarters. We're always getting a clear look a the expressions of the various characters, yet never a clear overall glance of the rooms that they're in. The lack of emphasis on set design is odd considering the production team keeps reminding us that there's a fourth wall- by having characters talk directly at us,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 1-2 2017/02/20,
Late night situation comedies are apparently all the rage these days, which is where "Strong Family" comes from. It's a fairly standard set-up. There's the dad, Cheol-il (played by Park Hyuk-kwon). He had ambition once, but now sits around the house in a goofy red tracksuit on his days off. There's the mom, Ra-yeon (played by Park Sun-young), who struggles to feel pretty in an ugly world. There's the daughter, Ik-hee (played by Kim Ji-min) who desperately wishes she was special. And that's what they all fight against. The encroaching dread of normalcy,...More
[Orion's Drama News] New Year, New Dramas 2017/01/07,
Another year gone, another batch of fresh dramas approach. I hope 2017 has made a promising start for you, readers and let us all hope it will be good on the drama front as well. This week I talk about "The Perfect Wife" and the upcoming shows of jTBC before sharing my usual news summary,...More
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