Ga-yeong (played by Song Ji-hyo) is a slowly aging career woman who spends her free time at a carnival style shooting gallery. Ga-yeong is not actually very good at gun based carnival games, yet keeps trying to win the big prizes anyway. So right away "Drama Stage - The B Manager and the Love Letter" has a pretty good metaphor for Ga-yeong's love life. She is very bad at finding romance, yet persists in trying to do so out of sheer desperation.
Pathetic as Ga-yeong is, she actually has a fairly healthy amount of self-esteem. One potential suitor with borderline magical powers over scene ambience is promptly dropped once Ga-yeong realizes the guy is a total fink and doesn't even try to hide it. Ga-yeong won't give a second look at a guy who can't even manage a decent first impression. For all her constant failures, Ga-yeong is a woman who remains positive that good romantic luck has to be just around the corner. Somehow. Somewhere.
Then her prayers are answered in the form of a love letter. Unfortunately Ga-yeong's assumptions about said letter are obviously wrong, mostly because "Drama Stage - The B Manager and the Love Letter" has already made it clear that Ga-yeong does not live in a happy magical romantic fantasy world. Ga-yeong is a victim to her own wishful thinking. Which actually makes her oddly endearing, because what lonely desperate person hasn't desperately chosen to interpret basic kindness in that light?
That Song Ji-hyo, especially in that red dress, is so ridiculously attractive that it beggars disbelief she would have trouble finding a boyfriend actually helps intensify these ideas. Because while Ga-yeong obviously looks adorable to us, the drama, set as it is from her point of view, is constantly emphasizing her more awkward and dorky features. Take that early ambience scene. Director Yoon Hyun-gi could have made it look romantic.
Instead? It feels like Ga-yeong is being taken for a ride. The brief hopeful moments only makes the crashes into reality that much harder. It's little surprise that Ga-yeong is even more seriously taken in by the love letter, which is by nature completely interpretative. But don't think "Drama Stage - The B Manager and the Love Letter" is all doom and gloom. The drama has an extremely good sense of humor, and there's as much emphasis on Ga-yeong's recovery as there is on her naivity, allowing for a fairly upbeat ending.
Review by William Schwartz
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Stage - The B Manager and the Love Letter""
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