Flash Review: A Jaunt [Drama Special]

As promised, I’ve been poking around a little more in short-form dramas, to bring you guys quick reviews on some of your drama options, when you don’t have a lot of time to spare.

Beyond web dramas, I’ve found myself gravitating towards drama specials for my quick drama fixes. The great thing about drama specials is that they tend to offer more emotional resonance and narrative heft than the average web drama, despite also have shorter running times than regular dramas. At least part of the reason, I think, is that web dramas tend to cast mostly rookie actors, while drama specials often boast a cast that’s made up of more experienced actors.

I ended up really liking this particular drama special, and I’d say if you have an hour and 4 minutes to spare, this one is well worth a look.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

A lonely elderly lady Yeong Ran (Son Sook) strikes up an unlikely friendship with fruit vendor Soon Cheol (Jung Woong In), who regularly parks his truck outside her house.

STUFF I LIKED

1. I really like the idea of finding friendship in unlikely places, and it was very heartwarming to see Yeong Ran and Soon Cheol connect as friends, despite their very different backgrounds and personalities.

2. In line with what I mentioned earlier, the stronger acting chops of our cast makes this story pop, and is, I think, what makes this land with an emotional resonance that’s often a challenge for web dramas.

3. As Yeong Ran tags along on Soon Cheol’s drives into the country, we get to see a nice amount of pretty scenery.

4. I like how Show manages to go even deeper than friendship, and manages to draw out a sense of kinship between Yeong Ran and Soon Cheol. By the end of the hour, I believed that they are family to each other.

STUFF I LIKED LESS

I can’t say I truly disliked anything about this little drama special, but here are a couple of things that are necessary elements to our story, but made the watch a little harder.

1. Both Yeong Ran and Soon Cheol have poignant backstories, and those involve entitled and belligerent family members. This wasn’t fun to watch.

2. There is a stretch where Show feels rather dark and sad. This was quite hard to watch too.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

I hafta say, I am just so relieved that Yeong Ran didn’t succeed in her suicide attempt, and lived to smile another day.

I can’t blame her for making the choice she did, because her sons are awful. I wouldn’t believe that they’d care for me either, if I were in her shoes. But if she’d succeeded in committing suicide, what would that have done to poor Soon Cheol? He would’ve been scarred for life, at the thought that she’d laid out money and food for him, before taking her own life.

I’m much happier with Show’s chosen ending, where we see that Yeong Ran’s moved into a nursing home, and has activities to keep her busy, and people around her to keep her company. Most importantly, I love that Soon Cheol visits her regularly and takes her on his fruit-buying trips, so that they can enjoy the journey together. In a context where their actual family relationships are not bringing joy to their lives, I am very much comforted that Yeong Ran and Soon Cheol can find company, solace and solidarity in each other. Truly, you don’t have to be blood-related, to be family. ❤️

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Bittersweet and poignant, but also, thought-provoking, warm and hopeful.

FINAL GRADE: B++

TEASER:

WHERE TO WATCH:

You can check out this little drama special on Viu, Viki or Kocowa.

32 thoughts on “Flash Review: A Jaunt [Drama Special]

  1. Pingback: Flash Review: Be Positive [Web Drama] | The Fangirl Verdict

  2. BE

    I just finished watching Queen Seon Deok in which Jung Woong In plays his lead support role with such over the top and lecherous, hammy bravado managing to keep a crooked grin and tilted head, not to mention slightly nasal phrasing for sixty two episodes; the face is the same but one might hardly recognize his very understated, contemporary, warm and humane, everyman fruit vendor in this.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Year In Review: 2020 | The Fangirl Verdict

  4. jossie+rocks

    Started to get weary (some girls we do get weary) of long-form Kdramas. Thought I’d lost the love, but then I discovered KBS Specials and shorter dramas and I’m back on board. Stories can be told with heart and mind without 6 out of 16 episodes being awful angst. I hope this is a glimmer of the future tense. Maybe 40/50 ep dramas have a niche – like afternoon soaps of my youth.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Aw, that’s great that the drama specials are working well for you, jossie! 😃 I feel you, I’ve had drama fatigue and each time, I always wondered if I’d lost the love for dramas. 😅 Happily, it was always just a phase. And you’re so right, some of these little drama shorts can be really great. ❤️

      Reply
  5. BE

    i like the way you somehow in reviewing this and all the time convey your own feelings watching this, your personal reactions to the characters, while simultaneously doing the work of making a critical work. I really cannot think of any other critic that so seamlessly combines the two.

    I loved this. Moment one, gosh being old, the first thing I thought while watching, how wonderfully Son Sook enacts what it is to be old in the first few moments of waking. And how wonderful as an old person to feel vindicated, to feel seen, by that enactment.
    I still have my wits about me, fortunately, but recently in describing to my endocrinologist a symptom I have of absent mindedness when my blood sugar is high (and I have always suffered from absent minded professor syndrom since the time when I was young), the first question she asked me was had I been tested for dementia. Sheesh, is there anything scarier than for an old person to be asked that by a doctor, anything more likely to send up one defenses, even when there is no real basis for such a suggestion, unlike the case of Yeong Ran.
    Both actors were quite good, but Son Sook moment after moment after moment was pitch perfect. Now I have seen her in My Mister in which without even speaking a word, she was terrific, talk about how to act using facial expression, and this, a speaking part, not to mention the lead; I’m blown away, want to see her in other things.

    I think back to the scene in My Mister when Son Sook as Li Ji-An’s grandmother via sign, groan, and body language is telling Li Ji-An how precious the connection between people when the relationship is real, how it should be treasured. That was what was depicted in this between Soon Cheol and Yeong Ran.

    Thanks for sending me in the direction of this.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Aw, thanks BE for your kind words! 😃 You are so very kind! ❤️

      I’m so glad that you ended up enjoying this one; it really is very nuanced, and I thought the way they portrayed Yeong Ran’s loneliness was quite restrained and subtle as well. And yes, I agree Son Sook is excellent in this. If you haven’t seen k-movie I Can Speak, that one’s worth a look as well, and Son Sook does have a role in it, albeit not as the protagonist. The protagonist is Na Moon Hee, who is another amazing actress. 🤩

      PS: Sorry to hear about your unfortunate conversation with your endocrinologist! If you’re at all interested to find out how to lower your blood sugars in a healthy way, I do personally find Dr. Berg’s YouTube channel very informative. You might find this video helpful:

      Reply
      1. BE

        Thanks for the movie tip. This pre Christmas week not much time for watching or binging (started Hot Stove and Be Melodramatic–dropped the Ring–last week and so far like both, but do not really have time to binge on anything for the next week). A movie would hit the spot.

        Type 2 diabetes has been a twenty year long deal with me. I have researched it back and forth. I was vaguely aware of the cortisol morning spike but not the cause, This has been a stressful year for everyone in the US, except for those living under rocks, between Covid and the political volitility, not to mention the isolation. Fortunately, I am about to get one of those sensor systems that allow one to scan without poking oneself at any moment one’s blood sugar. I had a sample and in combo with my insulin pump I had the best week of blood sugar control in maybe fifteen years. My previous experience has been that I get a new regimen that seems to work for about 3 years and then everything goes haywire and it takes about 3 months for the new regimen to kick in. I am extremely hopeful that the ability to check my blood sugar and respond at any moment in the day will provide a steady state situation. The only problem is that injected insulin tends to lead to weight gain and weight gain exacerbates the problem. But I am at an age in life where being medicated is a fact of life, the body an ever increasing collection of minor but chronic aigoo, but It could be far, far worse.
        For me, honestly, the biggest problem, is the hit on my pride as up until a couple years ago I lived an extraordinarily active life and now I can hardly recognize and correct typos. As I said to a friend, I used to think of myself as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but nowadays, I have become that item in the drawer you’ve misplaced–where is it? 8>) Ah, in another drawer entirely. Thank you for your concern.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Hi BE, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been living with Type 2 diabetes for such a long time. That must be a frustrating experience. 😔 I’ve been following Dr. Berg for some time now, and one of the things he talks about a lot, is the healthy approach to a keto diet, and intermittent fasting. I’ve seen many commenters report that, using Dr. Berg’s approach via his videos, they’ve either reduced their medications or reversed their Type 2 diabetes. Many people also report weight loss as a positive side effect. I personally was becoming insulin resistant and got on keto and intermittent fasting on the advice of a good friend, and am now all better. I still do intermittent fasting (2 meals a day), and have a diet that mostly consists of healthy keto, and am doing great.

          I found this playlist (I think there’re 23 short videos in this list) of Dr. Berg’s videos which are specifically about Type 2 diabetes, I really hope you’ll find this helpful!

          Sending you hugs, BE! ❤️❤️

          Reply
          1. BE

            Thanks K. Never was much of a snacker. But I will say this In my forties, I kept my type two at bay with excercise, serious aerobic, hour on the cross trainer at high speeds daily. As this went on I found swimming, even at much slower speeds, was a miracle worker (unfortunately shoulder arthritis has rendered those half mile swims three times weekly impossible and back and legs no longer capable of high speed aerobics). I cut down on desserts, limiting them to fruit; otherwise, balanced diet–protein, carb, and fat at about the healthy normal ratios. About fifty, that no longer worked and I began taking meds, which worked, albeit having to change them every three years or so, until my last couple years teaching, in which all that seemed to go out the window. Really, I think my worst period in some ways, always tired and so on. I read a lot of books, on line stuff, and one person seemed to provide a different solution than the rest, which was go ahead and eat carbs, but go cold turkey vegan. I tried that with phenomenal success for about three years. Now, I generally think one thing about completely altering one’s diet is that it shocks the metabolic system, whatever the diet.
            My good fortune with eating vegan lasted again about three years, and I must say once I got over my egg and cheese addictions, I was happy in every way with it. But after three years, my blood sugar went haywire again. Since that time we have tried so many different regimens until the only place to go was injectable insulin, and now the pump, and soon the sensors which allow me to hour by hour fine tune things.
            While folks claim to understand Type 2 diabetes, insofar as I can tell, no one has gotten more than a generalized handle on it. Certain things help. I am sure this fellow’s advice along with regular exercise (pull aways from the table are not enough exercise, imo) is excellent as prevention goes.
            I am very fortunate in that I have no eye, kidney, heart, or foot problems, the worst symptoms associated with the disease. My worst symptoms are fatigue, difficulty with concentration on hard topics, absent mindedness, sometimes shortness of temper. Except for fatigue, these symptoms have plagued me since I was a boy, and so high blood sugar only exacerbates my kleishas (Tibetan demons of neurotic behavior).

            My experience has been because science has only come up with some things that seem to work with many suffering from it, leading to widespread variation in terms of treatment, and because it seems so idiosyncratic from person to person, each individual has to find what works for them and be flexible. I might after the new year try out Keto to shock my system a little. And I really appreciate all your concern and passing on these videos.

            Reply
          2. BE

            Just realized I had a book by this guy in the diabetes section on my bookcase. I probably read it about ten years ago, then. Ah, what that high blood sugar has done to my memory. 8:{)} –the eight because I wear glasses, the business around my mouth, my moustache and beard.

            Oh and hugs…my daughters growing up stayed with me during the summer months. All summer when we hugged one another, and all three of us are huggers, I’d tell them we were putting our hugs into the hug bank for the long part of the year when we lived far away from one another. Lord knows, this year when even the faintest touch can seem a wonder, everyone needs to make withdrawals from the hug bank. I am putting yours away for a rainy day.

            Hugs back at ya. Save em up for when you really need one; they’ll be there waiting for you.

            Reply
        2. beez

          I’m not really following this thread, but I’m so glad that something made me open this particular email notification. @BE- so sorry to hear about your struggles with diabetes. But I wanted to just add my well wishes for you and to comment that I too have followed Dr Berg and his advice has been very helpful in dealing with M.S. and other issues. Stay hopeful and be blessed!

          Reply
          1. BE

            Hey thanks beez, but as you know if it is not one thing as one ages, it’s another. You still have your lovely skin, and my eyes are still somewhere between teal and green. On this site, however, listening to all the lady chatter, I guess my biggest lament has to be that it has been about forty years since I had a body like the boys in Chuno. &#]–the cockeyed, twisted nose, & stiff smile emoji.

            Reply
  6. CarpControl

    augh, this sounds like my poison … ‘bittersweet & poignant’! <3
    thanks kFanGurl….you NEVER fail with your recs 😀
    recently, these short format dramas have been giving me life…. Just completed You Drive Me Crazy because of Kim Seon Ho (left a comment for you on the ITWY comment section)….and Page Turner (in honor of newly released stills of Kim So Hyun & JiSoo’s new saeguk)….
    So far loving the idea of short dramas… guess I found something to watch tonight! 🙂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      That’s so cool that you’ve been enjoying short format dramas lately, CarpControl! 😃 Sometimes, the short length can be so liberating, coz you know you’re not locking yourself into a 16-hour watch! 😄 I hope you’ll like this one as much as I did!

      PS: I don’t know why, y’know, but I did watch You Drive Me Crazy some time back (probably in 2018 when it came out), but I didn’t take to it. I think I found the female lead quite unlikable. 😝 I don’t know if I’d feel differently about it now, but I remember feeling quite perplexed, even as I finished watching it..! 😅 Thank you for thinking for me, though.. that’s so sweet of you! ❤️

      Reply
      1. CarpControl

        oh no!….if you hated the FL in that, then you’d hate to have me as friend! 🙈
        I guess the reason I took to it, was because I could see myself exactly in the FL’s shoes, and it felt kinda like a deja vu to an autobiographical level! 😭😬
        Somehow, You Drive Me Crazy is also a reason why I jumped into ITWY (and loving it!) ^^

        Hoping to love this as much, but kinda worried since the ML is the bad-guy in Empress Ki! 😛

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Ahaha, naw, it could’ve totally been a mood thing, or the way the characters were presented.. I think I didn’t care much for the male lead either, if memory serves. I’m in the minority on this show, so it’s quite possible that it’s more me than the characters themselves. 😝

          Also, I LOVED In Time With You, so if you’re loving that too, I guess that neutralizes your observation regarding You Drive Me Crazy? 😉

          Jung Woong In’s great at playing the bad guy.. but he’s also very good at playing a regular guy. I loved him in Prison Playbook (which you should totally put on your list, if you haven’t seen it! 😃)

          Reply
  7. MC

    This looks great just that I’m (still) watching I Hear Your Voice and he’s just too creepy in there. Too strange to see him as a regular guy! Maybe I’ll come back after a suitable break! 😂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Ooh! Yes, I can see how this might be a problem if you’re also watching I Hear Your Voice! 😆 He played a VERY different character in that! Yes, I do think coming back to this one after a break would be the better way to go.. Incidentally, I do think you’d like this one, MC! ❤️

      Reply
  8. BE

    The lead actress in this is the same woman who played Li Ji-An’s grandmother in My Mister. I will try to find this.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      I think you mentioned that you signed up for Viki Pass? If so, the link for Viki that I’ve included under Where To Watch, would work for you, BE! 😀

      Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          That’s weird.. I used my VPN for a US location, and Viki shows it’s there, with Viki Pass.. 🤔

          Edit: Oops, I just rechecked, and it’s available for Viki Pass Plus. Sorry about that! 🙈

          Edit 2: If you could use the Opera browser’s free VPN and select Asia as your region, you’d be able to watch it for free on Viu, BE! The link is under the Where To Watch section! 😃

          Reply
            1. kfangurl Post author

              Oh, it’s under the title “2020 KBS Drama Special” and you need to click on Episodes, and this drama special is episode 7! 😃

              I’ve linked both the Kocowa and Viki relevant pages in the review. 😊

              Reply
              1. beez

                Ahhhh. Thanks BE. I’m very far behind in my reading of comments on The Verdict. I can barely find time to check the Chuno thread everyday right now.

                Reply

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