[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sing Again, Hera Gu" Episode 9
By William Schwartz | Published on
As much as I enjoy parodies over the inherent absurdity involved in scripted television, I'm not sure "Sing Again, Hera Gu" is really in any position to be giving lectures over what constitutes comically bad writing. The big dramatic event this episode ends up turning into a rather petty, dumb scam that accomplishes very little except making Hera feel somewhat ill. For the record, an incident like this would probably provoke an investigation by the trade guilds. There are very serious regulations involved in who's allowed entry onto a set.
But I'm used enough to this drama's tone by now that I don't actually mind the ridiculousness so much. Partially this is because there's much better balance. The far more interesting scam this episode involves Henry Chen Tao coming up with a convoluted scheme to "confirm his true feelings". It's fortunate that his normal personality is so upbeat that all of the various manipulations comes off as mostly plausible.
As for the main love triangle...eh, honestly there's not much I can write here that I haven't already written before. It bears repeating- as far as direction goes, "Sing Again, Hera Gu" looks less like a drama as it does a music video. Any time the sad music starts up, that's exactly the kind of imagery the drama is trying to evoke. And yes, it might be ridiculous and melodramatic, but so what? That just comes with the territory. They do have to fill up the OST after all.
I do like the continued hypocritical social commentary, by the way. As it turns out, all dramas are just an elaborate scam to improve the career profiles of the people involved in creating them. "Sing Again, Hera Gu" is no different in that regard. Jin Young explicitly joined this project to raise his acting profile. And Henry isn't even really acting, he's just pretending to be himself.
That's not the point though. The question here is, are they having fun doing it? Are we having fun watching them? And for the moment, I'm willing to answer yes to both questions. The soundtrack and cast are both going strong. While this episode undoubtedly lacks the intriguing thematic resonance of the last one, I find I'm willing to cut "Sing Again, Hera Gu" a lot of slack in the artistic department as long as the drama remains generally enjoyable and not mind-numbingly stupid. In the end, sometimes, that's really all you need.
Review by William Schwartz
"Sing Again, Hera Gu" is directed by Ahn Joon-yeong and Kim Yong-beom, written by Je Yoon-sin, Jeong Soo-hyeon and Sin Myeong-jin and features Min Hyo-rin, Kwak Si-yang, Jin Young, Henry, Park Kwang-sun and Yoo Seong-eun.
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. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.