Jae-in (played by Ha Seok-jin) is a hotel manager who is very well-tuned to making sure he is running the best high-class hotel possible. Jae-in is less accomodating to his staff, or people in general really. Through complicated legal shenanigans Jae-in's eccentric grandfather Gyoo-cheol (played by Joo Jin-mo-I) tries to bully Jae-in into marrying ordinary schoolteacher Da-hyeon (played by Jeon So-min), for silly reasons.
Initially I had trouble getting into "Something About 1% - 2016" because so much of the set-up is so utterly rote. It was less that the drama was explicitly bad and more that writer Hyeon Go-woon seemed to be going through a checklist of which story elements were necessary for the whole arranged-marriage-turned-true-love plotline to function. It should come as little surprise, for example, that Jae-in and Da-hyeon do not like each other when they finally first meet.
What's interesting is that the blame for this ends up falling more on Da-hyeon than it does on Jae-in. She spends almost the entirity of their conversation being really rude. This in spite of the presence of a third character, Hyeong-joon (played by Kim Sun-hyuk), Jae-in's friend and lawyer who does most of the actual talking. Da-hyeon is the kind of person who can be nice to her students, or even to injured people she finds by random chance, but doesn't seem to like talking to actual people. Observe how Da-hyeon's main hobby is being an obsessed fan to idol Ji-soo (played by Baek Seung-heon).
This creates a subtle but ironic twist. Gyoo-cheol thinks that he's doing Jae-in a favor by setting the young man up with a good woman who will set him straight. But in reality Gyoo-cheol's overly rosy impression of Da-hyeon's personality is an ill-begotten assumption based on how his only contact with her was in a circumstance loaded to show Da-hyeon off in the best possible light. The ultimate effect is that while Gyoo-cheol thinks he's being a charming cupid, Jae-in knows that Gyoo-cheol is being an overly romantic idiot.
For all that, though, Jae-in still has to go along with Gyoo-cheol's scheme, and that's where "Something About 1% - 2016" leaves off. We see Jae-in about to approach Da-hyeon alone, again, on his own terms, since having Hyeong-joon around the first time obviously did not help. Overall there's just barely enough intriguing flourishes in "Something About 1% - 2016" to leave me curious about what's going to happen to these characters next.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episode 1"
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