…And another one on my drama plate bites the dust.
I’m not in a dropping mood or anything, I swears. I promise that there are dramas that I’ve finished and liked, even. I just haven’t finished writing the reviews (they’ll come, honest!).
I really wanted to like Ho Goo’s love, and even stuck with it for 10 whole episodes, hoping that it would hook me properly at some point. 10 episodes into Show’s total of 16, though, I realized that this show simply wasn’t working for me.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like all of what Show had to offer. In fact, there were a couple of things that I found pretty promising from the get-go.
WHAT WAS PROMISING
Choi Woo Shik as Kang Ho Goo
I must say, Choi Woo Shik is perfectly cast as Ho Goo. He makes Ho Goo an adorable beta male who’s sincere and earnest, and always wanting to believe the best in people.
Kudos to Choi Woo Shik for preventing Ho Goo from coming across as pathetic, even in pathetic-looking situations. He plays Ho Goo with so much heart that Ho Goo’s sincerity consistently keeps on shining through, even when he behaves in bemusing ways at times.
Im Seul Ong as Byun Kang Chul
I thought Im Seul Ong did a solid job of portraying Kang Chul’s two very different sides; the cold aloof successful guy, vs. the vain, petty, insecure man-child that he is when his guard is lowered.
While I found Im Seul Ong’s portrayal a little too extreme on either end – I found him too cold when he was being aloof, and I found him too OTT when he was being comedic – I did appreciate him for adding interest to a narrative that I otherwise had difficulty engaging with.
In particular, I found his confusion over his feelings for Ho Goo very amusing. I found the crossed wires between Ho Goo and Kang Chul hilarious and painful to watch at the same time, and enjoyed Kang Chul’s horrified reaction whenever his heart raced for Ho Goo.
It made me laugh, and honestly, it’s thanks to this arc that I actually stuck with Show until episode 10.
Other than our two male leads, here’s a handful of other, more minor things that I found promising:
- Ho Goo’s losery friends (Choi Jae Hwan and Lee Shi Un) are perfectly cast. Together, they make a very fitting trio of misfits.
- There’s some fun meta in the beginning of the show. Like Lee Sung Min’s cameo in episode 1 as his Chief Oh character from Misaeng. And the sly nod to Healer, in the fantasy parkour sequence from the same episode. And then there’s the very nicely woven-in shout-out Min Do Hee’s Seo Tai Ji obsession from Answer Me 1994. I thought these were fun little touches.
- Show tries to weave meaningful themes into its narrative, like the idea of things looking pretty from afar, in episode 2.
- The arc between Ho Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung) and Kang Chul seemed rich for the mining.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
There’s actually a bunch of stuff that didn’t work for me. There’s also one Major Offender, which eventually became the straw that caused this camel to quit.
Here’s a quick rundown of what the other things are, before I get into the main thing that didn’t work for me.
- UEE’s and Choi Woo Shik’s chemistry feels more platonic than romantic. Which is a bit of a downer considering they are the OTP of this show.
- It’s a full 7 episodes into Show’s total of 16 before it feels like the story’s setup is complete. That feels rather inefficient, to spend almost half of your total screentime in setup.
- There are times when the timelines are confusing. Like in episode 3, where we skip back and forth several times in the timeline. There were distinct times I literally had no idea where we really were, time-wise.
- The gross nature of the humor. I mean, I know Korea has a penchant for toilet humor, but seriously, showing us in unrelenting detail, Kang Chul’s secretary Gong Mi (Song Ji In) squeezing her giant zit?? That is definitely grosser than toilet humor. Way to stoop to a new low, dramaland.
The main problem, though, was that The Funny that Show intended just never quite landed for me. I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t manage to laugh at about 90% of Show’s Intended Funny.
[MINOR SPOILER ALERT]
In episode 5, for example, Show’s Intended Funny included:
- Ho Goo’s family talking in gestures for an extended period of time,
- Ho Goo bawling that the baby’s been born with a cord stuck to it,
- Ho Goo getting kicked by a sleeping Ho Kyung, and
- Kang Chul being extremely vain and in-yo-face in court.
I tried multiple times to adjust my lens, to help the Intended Funny land better, but no dice. It didn’t work.
What made this even trickier, was the fact that Show was essentially attempting to balance the heavy subject matter of the struggles of single-parenthood with the campy humor, cartoony effects, spoofs, and odd & zany side characters. But the juxtaposition was a very uneasy one for me, especially since I didn’t find The Funny very funny at all, if I’m being honest.
Looking back, I think I’d prefer it if the show had gone for a more understated approach. Or maybe even treated the heavy subject matter as a full-on melo, with some lighter arcs thrown in, like in One Warm Word.
THE FINAL DECISION
In the end, I didn’t hate what I did see of this show, and with just 6 more episodes left before I reached the end, I even considered whether I ought to just hang in there to see it to its conclusion.
It’s just, I had the feeling that even if I did hang on to see it to the end, that I’d probably end up giving this show something like a C+ as a final grade, for the simple reason that I never felt genuinely connected to it. Ultimately, 6 more hours of my life for what felt like a C+ drama (at best), just didn’t feel worth it, for me.
Sorry I didn’t love you enough, Ho Goo. Don’t cry too much though, ok? After all, there are people out there who really do love you. I just don’t happen to be one of ’em, is all. *patpat*