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. 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. We get to see a nice amount of pretty scenery,
..as Yeong Ran tags along on Soon Cheol’s drives into the country,
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++
WHERE TO WATCH: