Co-posted at Still Just Alison
TV drama – 16 episodes
This is the hair shirt and barbed wire pants of K-drama – if you can get through all 16 episodes, you’re a better person than me.
The first kazoo in the dramatic symphony comes early on, when our heroine, after being cruelly dumped by her boyfriend, says plaintively “Am I so unattractive?” I’m sorry sister, but no amount of baggy clothing can convince us that you don’t have men lined up to win your favours. Either the casting director or the scriptwriter or both needed a good talking to, and perhaps a good slap, in order to win back their lost credibility.
The crescendo of crapitude is the use of the execrable “Stand By Your Man” as the theme tune – I was flinching after just a few episodes every time the damn thing played. Honestly, Korea is elbow deep in musical talent, so why couldn’t they find someone to write and sing something for the OST? It felt as though they were aiming for international appeal, but given that international K-drama fans also like K-pop soundtracks, it just looked as though the studio realised at the last minute that they’d forgotten about the soundtrack, and grabbed whatever was lying around.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s well-written (aside from the aforementioned glitch), and deals with serious social issues like sexual harassment and bullying at work, as well as the traditions and strictures of South Korean society. The acting is good across the board, and the two leads are excellent – when Jin-ah (Son Ye-jin) is bullied or harassed, you want to curl up and hide, and when Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in) slumps to the floor sobbing, you want to cry too. These moments are visceral, and very effective.
But despite starring the undeniably talented Jung Hae-in and the luminous Son Ye-jin, the story overall goes nowhere and is just too damned depressing, so the JOME Binge Index is so low that I simply couldn’t finish it. Maybe you’ll have more stamina than me – if you do, please let me know how it ends. Or maybe not, because I’m not sure I wish to know.
Alison blogs at Still Just Alison, where she writes about Korean drama, movies, music, and, very occasionally, things that aren’t Korean. But only occasionally.