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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Flirty Boy and Girl" Episodes 1-6

2014/11/07 | Permalink

The exact rules behind the game show that makes up the central conceit of "Flirty Boy and Girl" are never gone in to any great detail. But it's pretty clear that the twelve contestants have an obvious goal in mind- marriage. Barely a few minutes into the first episode there have already been multiple marriage proposals. Wouldn't that kind of thing have a bit more emotional heft if it involved characters we actually know something about? That would be the logical way of going about it.

"Flirty Boy and Girl" isn't about such quaint notions of reason. Its characters group of people who are so totally desperate to find an emotional connection that they'll resort to whatever courtship tactic necessary however ridiculous it looks. Sure they might look crazy, but what if this time the nutty tactic actually works? It's all in the romantic comedy playbook, and there's plenty of potential partners in case it doesn't work out with the first one.

The characters don't even really have names- they're much easier to distinguish by number, because that's what the dating game is. If your first date doesn't work out this month, try the second one, or the third one, or the fourth one, or the fifth one, or the sixth one. That's not even an exaggeration, in the context of the drama or in real life. Trial and error is the only way to find a mate these days, so just do it really really fast and hope for the best, since it's not like any one strategy is more likely to work than the others.

That speed is what makes "Flirty Boy and Girl" such an effective madcap satire of the modern dating scene. By design, everyone has to work as quickly as possible. Director Yoon Seong-ho has found an almost perfect story to fit the web drama format here. There's easily enough material here to justify stretching an individual episode out to the hour long standard necessary for TV dramas, but in most cases they have to finish in fifteen minutes. Consequently, the sense of panic is palpable.

It's rare to see romantic storytelling that's so realistically artificial. Note how the romantic gestures lean toward bravado when the characters are in groups, and have better pretensions of romance when it's just one couple alone. It's not that either display is more legitimate- it's all based on the context of the situation The competitive aspects of the story take on really weird dimensions as a result. Technically speaking no one has to "lose" the game. There's enough men and women that everyone can pair up. It's just, do they want to?

That's probably the most interesting subtle dimension on display here. It's really not clear whether any of these characters would put that much effort into the courtship process outside of the game show context. One couple pairs up with no apparent passion simply because it's less work. One character later on admits to a fondness for body pillows. It's never totally clear how many of these people are actually enjoying themselves. It's pretty nutty stuff- which makes "Flirty Boy and Girl" a comedic joy to watch.

Review by William Schwartz

"Flirty Boy and Girl" is directed by Yoon Seong-ho, written by Kim Ji-soo-V, Lee Eun-jeong-II, Lee Ye-seul, Song Hyeon-joo, Yoon Seong-ho and features Seo Jun-young, Park Hee-bon, Jo Han-chul, Lee Chae-eun, Lee Joo-seung, Seo Yi-an and Ahn Jae-hong.

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