This show ought to be right up your alley if:
(a) stories set in the 1930s are your kind of thing,
(b) you like the idea of Sohn Ho Jun getting to play romantic lead (if you’ve seen him in Go Back Couple, you’ll know he does lovely bedroomy eyes 😍), &/or
(c) you find Jo Bo Ah cute and charming,
..because this little drama special serves up all of that, and more – in just 1 hour and 5 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this little show, and I hope you guys will like it too.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
It’s the year 1937, and more young people are looking to marry for love. Soo Ji (Jo Bo Ah), a girl from the countryside with city girl aspirations, joins the marriage agency run by Joo Oh (Sohn Ho Jun), in the hope of finding a good love match.
Here are a handful of things to know, that I think will help you maximize your enjoyment of this little show:
1. Soo Ji can be played a bit OTT, especially in the beginning of our story. A slightly campy lens helps a lot.
2. Our story is lighthearted, and regularly serves up spots of funny.
3. Sometimes logic is stretched. Thinking of our story as a turn-of-the-century fairytale helps.
4. Show doesn’t delve too deeply into this, but it does make reference to painful events in history, specifically, the deployment of comfort women during the war. This juxtaposition of such a somber topic with our central love story might feel uncomfortable for some viewers.
STUFF I LIKED
Personally, these are the things that I enjoyed the most, during my watch:
1. For a little drama special like this, I’m quite impressed that the sets and costumes feel of similar quality to full-length dramas set in the same time period.
2. It really feels like we cover a lot of ground, even though Show only has a little over an hour of screen time to tell its story. I liked this. Everything felt quite nicely fleshed out, despite Show’s short running time.
3. Both our leads are likable and well-delivered, and our OTP shares good chemistry. The OTT treatment of our female lead is dialed down by the second half of our story, and Jo Bo Ah’s natural charm comes through a lot more. Also, Sohn Ho Jun looks dapper, and his leading man’s wistful looks at Soo Ji, while she’s clueless about how she’s making his heart flutter, are very endearing.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Of course I fully expected Soo Ji and Joo Oh to fall in love, but given that this is set in the 1930s, and so much was uncertain at the time, I wasn’t actually sure that this pair of lovebirds would get a happy ending.
I guess that did do good things for the dramatic tension in our story, because I was legit afraid that Soo Ji really would end up being shipped off as a comfort woman. Ack. 😧 Given that this was a very real event in Korea’s history, this possibility cast a distinct shadow over my watch, as I wondered about Soo Ji’s fate.
I appreciate the significance of Soo Ji choosing to take up the supposed posting to Manchuria, instead of meeting her Japanese suitor Yuto (Kwon Soo Hyun) again, for marriage talks. Clearly, she’s fallen enough for Joo Oh, to find the idea of marrying someone else, a distasteful and unappealing fate, even though, as a Japanese, Yuto represents security and safety.
I was really quite worried about whether Joo Oh would be able to rescue Soo Ji and the other girls from the train, since they’d already boarded, been locked in, and were being guarded by Japanese soldiers. But, thanks to drama magic and Show’s light touch, Joo Oh manages to rescue Soo Ji with the help of his father, and all’s well that ends well – at least, for this group of young ladies.
Soo Ji ends up going back to her hometown and reconciles with her father, with father and daughter even starting to run a small business together. We finish our story with Soo Ji confessing her feelings for Joo Oh, and as we leave our pair of lovebirds smiling shy, bashful, very endearing smiles at each other, I’d like to think that they do get a happy ever after together, despite the turbulent times they live in. ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Feels like a full story despite being so compact. Enjoyable and sweet, with lashings of funny.
FINAL GRADE: B++
WHERE TO WATCH: