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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 8

2018/02/28 | Permalink

The normally broad storylines of "539 Yeonnam-dong" are condensed into just two this time. Bong-tae's confrontation with the mysterious masked villain is comically anticlimactic, as we end up lingering on Bong-tae still tied up for a moment and feeling a little ridiculous at the lack of drama. Going forward Bong-tae makes no progress in any kind of relevant investigation, instead running across a small child who happens to be I-na's daughter Chae-won.

Chae-won is very well cast- the girl almost perfectly captures I-na mannerisms and attitudes, just in the limited context of a small child. They both have the same fundamental grouchiness, yet are unwilling to go too far in attacking people. I especially liked the mother/daughter duality in the scene where Bong-tae proves that he's a police officer. I-na and Chae-won have almost perfectly matched facial expressions there, the first scene where they're on the same page.

All of this appears to be intended to set up Bong-tae and I-na as a couple. On one level this is disappointing, because I like the generally platonic way "539 Yeonnam-dong" deals in human relationships. But on the flip side I'm kind of mildly curious how any such relationship could be encouraged when Bong-tae appears to be a legitimate chemical asexual. Well, then again, if there's any woman who's not interested in sex, it would probably be I-na.

The other storyline of note involves Tae-yeong's grandfather arbitrarily demanding that Tae-yeong get married. The cliché is, as expected, not terribly impressive, even when it is self-referentially discussed. Besides that the sheer predictability of the storyline is enough to provoke a fairly indifferent reaction from me- at least Soo-ri's technically unrelated trip to the clinic was a little surprise. I guess I was a little surprised to find that throughout that whole experience, Tae-yeong wasn't actually trying to make Soo-ri jealous, there was just a lot of unfortunate timing.

Is that the difference between a situation comedy and a situation drama? The former involves people being actively mean-spirited, whereas in the latter they're trying to be nice and just failing for whatever reason? The understated nature of the jokes in "539 Yeonnam-dong" prevent it from being laugh out loud funny, although the generally relatable nature of the characters make up for that. I actually prefer learning about their backstories to seeing serious plot progression, since every new tidbit fits in just a little better with what we already know.

Review by William Schwartz

"539 Yeonnam-dong" is directed by   Min Yeon-hong, written by  Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shinSeo Ji-hoon, Lee Yeol-eum,  and Kim Sun-young-III.

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