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[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Man-Hole"

2017/08/19

Do you ever come across a drama which is "bad", but in a good way? A drama which is a big mess, but one that is self-aware and wears its identity proudly? "Man-Hole" is this odd type of drama and whatever it lacks in production, story and character quality it makes up for in zaniness and pure, glorious fun. Perhaps we have something nice here after all.

"Man-Hole" is a surprising series in many ways and while there is definitely a romantic element slowly budding here, I would say that it is more of a comedy for now. It is difficult to feel invested in a couple which does not exist outside the mind of the man-child who demands that it does. Bong Pil (Kim Jae-joong) is an immature, neurotic mess who wants to win over his woman as a prize for his feelings. Enter the cruel puppet masters wielding the temptation of time travel.

Pil and Soo-jin before her weddingPil's friends after he is knocked out

When I think of "Man-Hole" I think of campy, wacky, unadulterated fun. It is difficult to describe a show as unique as this any other way. The series is embarrassing and proud of it, which makes its silliness deliberate and therefore an asset, rather than a flaw. Four episodes in and while there are glimpses or introspection from the lead and possible maturing as well as more traditionally somber and suspenseful moments, "Man-Hole" is still just a slice-of-the-weirdest-life type adventure with built-in unlimited potential for time-related hijinks.

I say unlimited, because of the way the rules of time travel in the drama work. The fact that it even has them is a big plus for me. Without giving major spoilers about the series, we essentially have the potential for many different scenarios ahead. Our mysterious firefly-camouflaged aliens who control the time travel element are smart enough to have created a fail-safe for when someone like Bong Pil makes major blunders and yes, you did read this sentence correctly and no, I am not on drugs.

Soo-jin cherishing the camera Pil gave herPil emerging from the hole

The drama is campy enough to have extremely cartoonish elements and as much as I personally enjoy those, they do at times become a bit too much to handle. From Pil's constant flailing over his plans to the nearly cardboard cutout supporting cast, there is little development to speak of and I do wonder if the series can or even plans to develop its story and characters past the cheap, albeit often enjoyable comedy.

Of course there is the romance to consider as well. For now, everyone is in unrequited love with others and while the two leads have or at some point had feelings for each other, Pil has a lot of maturing to do. These characters sorely need development. Be that as it may, if you need something unabashedly light and fun and if you manage to connect to this drama's brand of crazy, you will probably enjoy "Man-Hole" as much as I do.

"Man-Hole" is directed by Park Man-yeong and Yoo Yeong-eun-I, written by Lee Jae-gon and features Kim Jae-joong, UEE, Jung Hye-sung and Baro.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

Watch Episode 1 on KOCOWAtv

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