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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 37-38


We're nearly to the end of "Strong Family" and the main remaining conflict is office space arrangements. You know, that's one of those things corporate likes to do to try and affect change is to modify the office culture somehow. I got uncomfortable just looking at those new digs. I mean really, imagine being one of the people having to sit in the middle of those tables. It would feel like someone is always looking over your shoulder. Which I imagine is a feature, not a bug, in the system.

The overall commentary about office culture is pretty good. I also rather liked how everything was being rationalized in terms of "because this is how the Americans do it", when in fact only some American companies run this kind of office set-up. Not always successfully. In what I can only assume is beautiful serendipity, today's Dilbert comic features the titular character musing about how they need to change back to the old cubicle system without looking like idiots.

In the context of "Strong Family", though, what's really interesting is that the office organization schema is not merely reset at the end of episode thirty-seven simply because Cheon-il happens to feel uncomfortable with it. Whether that system fails is beyond the scope of Cheon-il's life. The decision Cheon-il has to make is, does he really want to adapt to a completely new and obviously uncomfortable way of doing business, or does he want to take a strike at something new?

It's way, way too late for "Strong Family" to be attempting such a dynamic plot shift but whatever, the minor moments are enough of a highlight I didn't mind so much. I like the suspiciously upbeat proprietor of the covered wagon bar. This guy's business model relies on good customer service way more than the standard restaurant. Also, the whole scene at the bus stop was just plain adorable. Mostly irrelevant, granted, but adorable nonetheless.

While the small jokes in "Strong Family" are never brilliant or anything, they do tend to succeed in making me smile more often than not. Father/daughter comparison shots are always great especially in cases like this where they don't really look alike. And who doesn't love the occasional moment of interrupted romance? I am also looking forward to the inevitable reconciliation between Ra-yeon's family and the next door neighbors, when their relationship was never more than obligatory rivalry to begin with.

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-bon, Kim Ki-ri and Lee Ho-won.

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