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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 3


Jeong-ae (played by Kang Hye-jung) is a married woman and Yoon-i's friend. Her husband recently disappeared without explanation, and it appears that he owed money to gangsters. So Jeong-ae ends up struggling to find a job. She fails at nearly every single task she attempts, mostly due to inappropriate soft-heartedness. Eventually Jeong-ae becomes a secretary. I know this because it is in her character description, which oddly enough does not mention anything about her family or gangster debts.

Yes, that's right, "Jugglers" is unfortunately still setting up its own premise. Neither of the lead characters have any clearly defined goals more interesting than just doing their job. Although the weirdest part is how that big scene with all the crying that ended the last episode? It doesn't appear to have actually affected Yoon-i and Chi-won's relationship that much. They treat each other mostly the exact same way they did before that.

Yet in spite of the minimal character development, there is already discussion of a possible romance between Yoon-i and Chi-won. I would have thought Yoon-i would be leery of these kinds of conversations in even the most abstract hypothetical sense, considering that she lost her last job on account of such an accusation. Chi-won acts so asexually that such a topic is equally out of character for him. Although really, more than either of those reasons, a lack of chemistry between Baek Jin-hee and Choi Daniel is the real damper on such a premature storyline.

"Jugglers" is structured more like a situation comedy than it is a dramatic mini-series. We watch the characters go through various setpieces, none of which have any apparent long-term consequences. We're just waiting for the punchline. And since that punchline is almost always such-and-such characters responds to a mundane situation with excessive wackiness...well, the joke has worn thin. "Jugglers" really needs a straight man or two.

I get the sinking feeling that the production team has literally no idea what they're doing. As in, "Jugglers" doesn't even have a long-term storyboard. Screenwriter Jo Yong appears to be just making up the plot as she goes along, with the only central driving principles being that most of the characters are or will become secretaries, and also that Chi-won has a tragic backstory. Everything else is just embellishment via tropes that appear to be chosen at random. I mean really, living in the same house? Why?

Review by William Schwartz

"Jugglers" is directed by Kim Jung-hyun-III, written by Jo Yong and features Baek Jin-hee, Choi Daniel, Kang Hye-jung, and Lee Won-geun.

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