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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 33-34


Contrary to my previous expectations, it doesn't look like "Strong Family" is building up to any particularly strong climaxes at the workplace or anywhere else. Cheon-il is obsessed with telekinesis in episode thirty three and basketball comic books in episode thirty four. While I do admit the simple visuals of these scenes are pretty good (Park Hyuk-kwon always has great facial expressions really), without the proper build-up of tension, "Strong Family" currently looks to end about as anticlimactically as it began.

Which is of course with the production simple ethos and the situation comedy standard, I know. Still, I'd rather been liking the subplots and am disappointed that there progression so perfunctory lately. Mrs. Jo and Choon-seop go on dates in the park. Sometimes there is a third wheel accompanying them, and sometimes there is not. Jeong-min and Gwi-nam act sad and have flashbacks because they're not together anymore. That's about it.

Ik-hee's storyline manages to have a bit more in the way of teeth, because in that case it's supposed to be anticlimactic. Ik-hee is breaking up with her boyfriend and being a bit icy with her best friend, and overall just tryin to avoid drama in an inherenty dramatic situation. I like how Ik-hee solves her problems just by having direct straightforward conversations. Even if she does so reluctantly, or is approached by someone else rather than approaching herself, the point is, she's learning and becoming an adult.

That all is a bit at odds with the adult plotlines which, while amusing, can sometimes come off as childish. I did like how Ra-yeon's latest short term goal has her teaming up with neighbor come archnemesis Seo-yeong (played by Jung Si-ah). I rather like their relationship. Yes, it has always been defined, somewhat unnecessarily, by stark competition. But Seo-yeong is nice, and seeing two women with that ridiculous hair style is a lot more fun than just watching one of them be embarrassed all by herself.

That Seo-yeong's son is at the centerpoint of the plot with Ik-hee would also add a nice touch of permanent resolution, since the two families with no actual direct conflict would have to reconcile somehow if their kids were dating. All the same, Strong Family" has been about these simple episodic plots from the very beginning. I'm not expecting any drastic changes from the formula at this late a date.

Review by William Schwartz

"Strong Family" is directed by Choi Moon-seok, written by Jin Yeong and features Park Hyuk-kwon, Park Sun-young, Kim Ji-min, Uhm Hyo-sup, Park Hee-von, Kim Ki-ri and Lee Ho-won.

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