Flash Review: Handmade Love [Web Drama]

The thing that piqued my interest about this little web drama, is that I’d been told it’s a story about bringing healing to others. That immediately sounds potentially poignant and uplifting, and like just the sort of thing that might grab my heart.

To be fair to Show, I just wanted to let you know upfront, that everywhere I’ve looked, I’ve seen nothing but love for this little drama.

It’s just.. I didn’t manage to muster up true love for Show, despite my best efforts. However, given how well-loved Show is, I could well be the lone odd duck in the corner. So.. just because I didn’t love it, doesn’t mean that you won’t?

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Woven (Lee Soo Hyuk) is a god who has transgressed by touching a goddess’s coat, and he’s sentenced to punishment on earth, where he is to make clothing that will comfort humans and heal them of their pain.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS

There are 2 main things that I think would be useful to know, going into this one:

1. I feel like Show is more atmospheric than it is logical, and a good chunk is meant to be digested metaphorically rather than literally.

2. Show’s arcs tend to land pretty pat and convenient, largely because of Show’s short screen time.

I think adjusting your viewing lens to accommodate these two things would be helpful.

STUFF I LIKED

Show’s concept

I rather enjoy Show’s premise, in that it’s a quirky idea lined with pathos, with elements that remind me of Mystic Pop-up Bar and Hotel Del Luna.

I like the concept, that Lee Soo Hyuk, he of the otherworldly looks, is perfectly cast as our fallen god Woven, whose name sounds quite fitting for him, since it has to do with fabric, and he loves clothing, ha. Also, I feel like it sounds fairly close to “wolven” which has much a much cooler, edgier sort of edge.

Also, I feel like on paper, there are ideas that make this drama interesting &/or thought-provoking, like the lines that Woven and Sarang (Lee Su Ji) throw at each other, in episode 3.

[SPOILER ALERT] He says,” You knew humans so well that you didn’t even know that your boyfriend of 6 years was cheating on you,” and she says, “You can only go back to heaven if you console a human, but I think you will live on earth forever.” [END SPOILER]

Both statements hit a nerve with the listener, and I like the idea that this will likely provoke some self-reflection and soul searching, and hopefully, character growth.

Show’s pretty to look at 

The first thing that strikes me about this web drama, is how polished and luxurious everything looks. The clothes look good and well-made, but it’s the set and the furnishings that strike me as especially magical. I suppose that is good advertising, since, according to MyDramaList, this drama showcases the clothing, accessories and home furnishings of HANDSOME INC.

The Pretty is consistently served up, and this was a bright spot for me, even when I felt a little underwhelmed with Show’s other aspects.

STUFF THAT WAS OK

The acting in general

I hate to admit it, but by and large, the acting leans rather.. uninspiring, to my eyes.

Lee Su Ji’s crying scenes in particular felt awkward to watch, and I found her delivery a little.. hard and flat. As in, she gets the job done, but there is not much in the way of nuance, in her expressions.

Also, despite being the more experienced actor, Lee Soo Hyuk doesn’t quite pop for me either, in this show; I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s all in service of him being a languid god, but overall, he comes across a little bland and sleepwalky, to me.

Again, let me reiterate that I am in the minority, and most viewers seem to be perfectly happy with the acting of both our leads.

The growth arcs of our key characters

Even though Show is mostly made up of vignettes, where our tailor shop focuses on one client’s story at a time, I appreciate that Show takes some time to tease out the character growth of both Woven and Sarang.

For example, Woven shows more and more of his softer side, as we move through the episodes. Granted, this doesn’t actually land very organically in terms of showcasing character growth, but I think that largely has to do with Show’s short running time. With not a lot of screen time to play with, it’s hard to make a case that Woven is actually changing, when it’s possible that we’re just getting to know him a little better.

Again, something that I liked more in concept than in execution.

The mini arcs

I thought the mini arcs were reasonably solid, and I appreciate that Show makes an effort to not only focus on romantic love, but also delves into self-love and familial love. That felt like a nice balance, to me.

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

Park Seung Ji as Joey

I am definitely in the minority on this one, but Joey being played as overly bright, did not work for me. I think many viewers found Joey cute and adorable, but for me, personally, it landed as rather too try-hard. 😬

I generally found Joey too jumpy and theatrical for my taste, but this is clearly all very subjective, since so many viewers seem to love him.

The overly similar styling of female characters

I don’t know if anyone else struggled with this, but I found the female characters too similarly styled, such that I sometimes felt confused as to who I was seeing on my screen.

Not gonna lie, there were times I mixed up these two female characters. 😝 I found their copper brown hair color, middle-parted, slightly wavy, shoulder-length hairstyle, and even the makeup color palette and makeup style a bit too similar. 😅 This was not helpful.

THEMES / IDEAS [SPOILERS]

Here’s a collection of the various themes and ideas that I liked, over the course of my watch:

E2. It’s a nice idea, that what Sarang wanted wasn’t truly revenge, but a fresh start.

E2. It’s also a nice idea that the clothes are only part of the equation, and the attitude of the wearer of the clothes is what completes the picture.

E4. “The belief I was mature in love was slowly gnawing at me.”

I thought this was a nice exploration of the struggle between being true to your feelings, and trying to appear chill and cool to your partner and to the world at large, which also has to do with respecting your partner’s needs and feelings. In trying to give her ex-boyfriend space and respect for his boundaries, Sarang ended up feeling lonely and neglected. That’s a delicate balance, and I feel like this would hit close to home for quite a few viewers.

E4. “When you indulge in self-pity, you naturally turn away from others’ pain. Even from your beloved one’s.”

This is also a valid observation. When we are in pain, we naturally only see our own pain. It takes an act of the will to turn away from our own pain, to see if the people around us are in pain as well.

E4. The sense of inferiority that the client felt, in response to his girlfriend getting a job while he remains jobless, is very real as well. As much as we advocate for equality, it’s hard to deny that men feel responsible to be good providers. Even though the client is presented as a boyfriend who is jumping to conclusions and ignoring his girlfriend’s feelings, his point-of-view is very understandable as well.

E5. The idea of looks versus talent. Passion vs. the bottom line.

E6. I like the concept of the client needing to face her younger self, and rediscovering her passion for acting, by interacting with her younger self. And, I also like that the reconciliation here, is not just with herself, but also, with her best friend from her past.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

I like that our final mini arc has to do with Sarang’s relationship with her mother (Seo Jung Yeon).

I much prefer this to a random mini arc about someone else. The fact that the relationship in the spotlight is personal to Sarang helps to pull our entire story together, and also, the relationship between a child and their mother feels like a universally important relationship which we can all identify with.

I’m glad that there is healing for both Mom and Sarang, as they finally have a heart-to-heart talk, after all these years.

The other thing that comes into focus, is whether Woven is making clothes for people because he has to, or because he wants to. I feel like Show could have gone either way, in terms of whether Woven chooses to return to heaven, or stay on earth, but I do like the idea that Woven has come to understand people and their emotions, so much so that he’d like to spend more time on earth enjoying these emotions, while making clothes to comfort the people who feel them.

I do feel like it’s quite rushed, to have Sarang and Woven embrace, with him thanking her for coming to him, though. Is that supposed to be romantic? I think that’s left vague for us to interpret as an audience. I personally prefer to think of the connection between Woven and Sarang as that of kindred spirits, rather than lovers.

All in all, I feel this is a reasonably warm and uplifting note on which to end our story, and I am not at all opposed to the idea of these three continuing to work together at the tailor shop, and finding joy and fulfillment in helping others.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Better enjoyed metaphorically than literally. Also better in concept than in execution.

FINAL GRADE: B

TEASER:

WHERE TO WATCH:

Here’s a playlist with all 8 episodes of this little show:

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
jisaab
jisaab
3 months ago

Yaaay I was really hoping you’d review this and I’m so glad you did!!

Coming to the review, I think I liked the show a bit more than you did, but I definitely agree with a lot of your points! The styling is a huge one for me. For a show so focused on fashion, I agree in that the looks for the women weren’t as diverse. I also found the mini arcs to be to convenient – i.e. in terms of the way they storyline went.

But overall, I still really enjoyed the show. I loved the messages and scenes of Woven, Sarang and Joey together. I found them to be an enjoyable trio. And I actually kind of grew to like Joey’s hyper persona LOL, but to each their own!

I think partially why I liked the show so much was because of the aesthetic – everything was so pretty and the music was lovely! I would’ve happily watched more episodes just to appreciate the sets/music LOL.

beez
3 months ago

@KFG – I’m pretty sure I’d ❤ seeing the clothes (I still feel like melty ice cream when I think of Goblin’s wardrobe) but I think I’ll just leave this as having read your review (and watched the clip you provided) as enough. Glad we’ve got you to do the wedding for us. . My watch list is too big for a side stop for this show (that doesn’t have any of my fav actors). 😉