The follow through on Bong-tae's asexuality is disappointing. Asexuality just means that Bong-tae has a minimal sex drive. It doesn't preclude the prospect of Bong-tae entering into a relationship with romantic feelings, it just means that Bong-tae can't get aroused very easily. Then again the main evidence we've been given regarding Bong-tae's condition was a test administered while he was watching pornography. Maybe Bong-tae just doesn't like pornography.
Of course "539 Yeonnam-dong" isn't supposed to be a documentary on asexuality, I just thought that would have been interesting is all, much like how the cyber crime investigations are interesting, because these are storylines we rarely see. It is, by contrast, difficult to get very excited about Bong-tae trying to work up the courage to approach I-na. That storyline was so predictable I was honestly hoping the drama would avoid it. We don't get enough platonic opposite sex friendships in television.
The other major storyline features Da-woon, who is apparently very popular with girls at his school, befriending Hye-ryeong (played by Lee Soo-min) who is hiding a terrible secret that is actually not so terrible. It's just that the girls at school are mean. That whole sequence was cute, particularly the climax where Da-woon's dad manages to do something helpful for once. Also it turns out that Da-woon's dad (and apparently Jordan) have been hiding an actually terrible secret from Da-woon.
These lapses into melodrama are a tad awkward mostly because the main cast in "539 Yeonnam-dong" is so large and the episodes so short we don't really have time to see all the characters most of the time. Soo-ri is limited to a brief section about dieting and how it leads people to pretend like they're not hungry when they actually are. Any substantial point ends up being undermined by the obvious product placement for some kind of dietary supplement.
Oddly enough it's not really explained what the dietary supplement actually does, since that would have made the product placement way too obvious. Presumably it's an appetite suppressor. Also there is a resolution, of sorts, on the whole aquarium storyline. This material is all extremely light, which I guess is fine, I just got the impression with the big confrontation at the amusement park last episode that "539 Yeonnam-dong" had plans to build up to something more dramatic.
Review by William Schwartz
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Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 10"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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