Even at its most interesting "The Eccentric Daughter-in-Law" is completely centered around a gimmick- and the gimmick is starting to wear thin. Maybe that's just because not too much is done with the material that's very interesting. The chicken chase is funny, although the basic prompt of a variety show obviously intended to humiliate In-yeong really just calls attention to how the show-within-a-show in "The Eccentric Daughter-in-Law" isn't a perfect analog for actual Korean variety television.
The constant negotiations over how much filming can be done on the farm and where are amusing, if only because such negotiations must happen in real life all the time. Even on "The Eccentric Daughter-in-Law" itself, those chickens obviously don't live on the KBS lot. The producers must have gotten permission from someone somewhere in order to film these scenes, although the methods the real producers had to use probably aren't as elaborate as what we see with Choon-ja.
But once again Mi-hee takes up a lot of the runtime- and I'm still not at all sure why. Her scenes barely even have much of a story. The ex-husband element is kind of interesting, but mainly to the extent I'm curious how any man could put up with Mi-hee's behavior for an extended period of time at all. The way her son Joon-so (played by Ki Tae-yoeng is incapable of catching on is rather irritating. Choon-ja is also abusive to her real daughter-in-law Se-mi (played by Kim Yoon-seo). But at least Se-mi's husband Dong-seok (played by Kwak Hee-sung) acknowledges it.
Something else that's bothering me about this drama is that so far there's not much of a character arc for anyone. There's lots of plot flitting around relating to the variety show and the situation at the academy, but there's no real sense of urgency. In-yeong and Myeong-seok being worried about Choon-ja finding them alone together was the cliffhanger last time too. That's not the kind of repeated twist that's all that convincing.
"The Eccentric Daughter-in-Law" still has positive points, but I find myself getting impatient for more intriguing hooks than what we've seen so far. The preview hints at the prospect of In-yeong's tasting skills being put to greater use, and that's good. What's the point of having the drama set at a cookery if there's never any food? Hey, wait a minute, why haven't there been any meokbang jokes? That's exactly the kind of thing a real variety show would do, too.
Review by William Schwartz
"The Eccentric Daughter-in-Law" is directed by Lee Deok-geon & Park Man-yeong, written by Moon Seon-hee & Yoo Nam-kyeong and features Kim Dasom, Go Doo-shim, Ryu Soo-young, Kwak Hee-sung, Kim Yoon-seo, Kim Sung-hwan and more.
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] "The Eccentric Daughter-In-Law" Episode 4"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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