I really enjoyed Im Se Mi in 2020’s True Beauty, where she plays a feisty, candid older sister to Moon Ga Young’s female lead, so I totally perked up, when I saw that she’s the female lead in this little drama special.
On top of this, I also liked the idea of Im Ji Kyu being her male lead. Essentially, both of them have played so many supporting characters, that I just liked seeing them be the protagonists of the story, for once.
In the end, this does turn out to be a rather pleasant hour of drama. It’s low-key and down-to-earth, yet still sweet and hopeful. That’s not bad, right?
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Two insomniac neighbors (Im Ji Kyu and Im Se Mi) find unexpected company and solidarity with each other, when their similar routines cause them to meet often.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. Our story starts bickery.
I personally found the initial bickery stage a little strong for my mood, but it does settle relatively quickly into something more amiable, so hang in there.
2. The relationship development can feel startlingly fast,
..but I think that’s mostly because Show doesn’t have a lot of screen time to work with.
STUFF I LIKED
1. It’s nice to see Im Ji Kyu and Im Se Mi in lead roles, for a change.
I may not have picked them out of a lineup to star opposite each other as an OTP, but I’m pleasantly surprised by how well this pairing works. Their chemistry is low-key and earthy, and it works well, for this story.
2. Their struggles are relatable.
I’m sure many of us would be able to identify with the core struggle that our leads, Young Jae and Yoo Jung, grapple with, of having to balance their desire to chase their dreams, with practical things like finances, security and family and societal pressures.
3. Lee Dae Yeon as Yoo Jung’s Dad.
Dad is, hands-down, the warmest, sweetest character in our story world. I love how he loves Yoo Jung unconditionally, and wants to protect and shelter her, and give her the space to pursue her dreams.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
The moment when reality comes crashing down on Yoo Jung, is when she overhears Dad talking with Mom (Hwang Young Hee), and realizes that her presence is essentially doubling the household expenses, and Dad is opting to delay knee surgery that he needs, so that he can continue working, in order to protect Yoo Jung and her dream.
That’s a hard thing to hear, and I can see why this would cause Yoo Jung to look at everything differently. She’s no longer in a happy bubble where she thinks she can afford to pursue her dreams, with no one suffering for it, but her.
Now, it’s become clear that the price of Yoo Jung’s freedom is a lot higher and more complicated, than she’d thought. I can understand why that would galvanize her into changing her outlook on life.
Suddenly, the life that Yoo Jung’s been leading is no longer defensible, because of the cost that it exacts on her parents (basically, if she cares about Dad, she’ll do something to make his life better, right?), and along with streamlining her life to be more socially acceptable, she chooses to nip things in the bud with Young Jae as well.
After all, it is true that Young Jae, with his own situation where he’s struggling to get paid as a freelancer, is not exactly adding any kind of security or stability to her life.
The whole “let’s sleep together once” thing turns out to be pretty farcical, and I couldn’t help giggling ruefully at the fact that Young Jae’s racing heart at the sight of Yoo Jung, has been because of his energy drink addiction.
Ha. I can’t say I totally didn’t see that coming, with the way he was chugging those things.
Admittedly, I did feel somewhat suspicious of the new job that Yoo Jung gets, but since Show doesn’t dwell on it, I think it’s supposed to be at least somewhat legit?
I quite liked the callback to the claw machine as a motif. Earlier in our story, Young Jae had essentially said that you never know, that things could work out, in the end; that even though you lose 9 times in a row, you might still be able to win the 10th time.
And Yoo Jung, remembering that, puts it to the test, at the very same claw machine. It’s a touch and go sort of metaphor, to be sure, but it does work in the context of our story.
It is true, that as Yoo Jung and Young Jae chase their dreams, that there is a high chance of failure. At the same time, there is still that glimmer of hope, that they might achieve the dream yet.
Show leaves us on an open-ended note, but I like that ultimately, Yoo Jung comes around to the idea that just because life is hard, it doesn’t mean that she should be afraid to dream.
And I like the idea that while happiness itself is full of ups and downs, that these two dreamers who love each other, are willing to go through the ups and downs together, as they continue to live with passion and hope in their hearts.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
A little farcical, but sweet and hopeful at heart.
FINAL GRACE: B
WHERE TO WATCH: