...So apparently, even though the first episode of "Something About 1% - 2016" was pretty close to an hour, subsequent episodes appear to be only thirty minutes. This requires a change of strategy when it comes to reviews, since a single episode lacks enough content for a full review. But it also requires more managed expectations. "Something About 1% - 2016" is aiming fairly low in the narrative storytelling department.
In contrast to more standardized half-hour dramas, though, the focus in "Something About 1% - 2016" is fairly compact. It's all about the relationship between Jae-in and Da-hyeon, even as Da-hyeon continues, throughout the second episode, to be fantastically unhelpful when it comes to moving the plot forward. This reminded me somewhat of "Lucky Romance", except that since Da-hyeon is rejecting Jae-in to his face, we do at least get the pleasure of watching the leads interact.
Consider, for example, how Jae-in reacts to Da-hyeon's rebuffs with relatively little sense of personal indignation. Now that he has a better idea who Da-hyeon is as a person (stubborn mostly), Jae-in can simply view her as a problem to be solved rather than an actual negotiating partner. This is where the contract comes up. Whatever ridiculous things Da-hyeon asks for, Jae-in can easily provide, and he knows it.
Da-hyeon only very slowly realizes just how serious Jae-in is when he acts promptly in fulfilling her terms. Or maybe it just seems like it, because from Jae-in's perspective, "Something About 1% - 2016" is about actually solving the Da-hyeon issue, whereas from Da-hyeon's perspective, she seems to just be hoping Jae-in will go away at some point and leave her alone. This is naturally completely unrealistic, and constantly leaves Da-hyeon with no choice except to strongly rebuff Jae-in's advances even as she knows that they are fake and also knows exactly why he is doing them.
While Da-hyeon generally lacks agency as a character, it does strike me as noteworthy how in a drama that's explicitly about class conflict, it's the rich guy who acually wants something. The more normal person is fine living a vaguely pathetic life where she obsesses over a random idol singer. Then again that's a pretty common dynamic in these kinds of stories, so I suppose the real unique dynamic is once again how Da-hyeon comes off as kind of slovenly and immature. If Jae-in is teaching Da-hye what it's like to be seriously romanced, as of yet I have no idea what she's supposed to be teaching him.
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] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 2-3"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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