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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 8


This drama is now deliberately straddling the line trying to see just how dumb its characters can act while still being basically sympathetic and creating a genuine conflict. It's like watching a high-rise tightrope walker. Sure, the fact that the drama has made it halfway seems to imply that it can do it the whole time- yet at any given minute I'm absolutely convinced it's going to fall down several stories and completely destroy itself.

As goofy as the storylines are, they're just barely real enough that I can't fault the humor or see it as out of place. A significant portion of the conflict is about asking women out on dates. It's dumb and silly- yet as difficult as it may be to believe, that's pretty much exactly what it feels like trying to ask someone out on a date. There is no non-awkward, non-potentially embarassing way to do it. It's this comedic void of never knowing whether or not she, the universe, or both, is really just engaging in elaborate mockery.

And this dynamic is entirely appropriate to the relationship between Si-on and Geon-Woo, because these characters can't even keep a straight face during working hours when they're supposed to be acting like professionals. So of course they're going to go through ridiculous "date or not a date" nonsense. Their dynamic actually makes the whole storyline a lot funnier than it deserves. Geon-Woo deliberately uses formal titles and tense when addressing Si-On during these romantic hijinx. Something he rarely ever does when they're actually working. It sounds grotesquely inconsistent objectively, but as far as these characters are concerned? Yes, it absolutely makes sense that they would talk this way in this context.

Movement on the main plot is deliberate and steady. Characters figure out inconsistencies and try to come up with the best way to follow up on them. It's this same sort-of competent sort-of-not that permeates the rest of the drama. Si-On's plan really shouldn't work for as long as it does, considering how much her stylish but completely inappropriate for work t-shirts stick out, but I can believe it does because the person Si-On is following is just as unprofessional and unobservant as she is.

On a final note, the fake lighter gun is starting to give me the creeps. Everyone keeps pointing it everywhere like it's a toy, even though it looks identical to a real gun. At first I thought it was just a one-off joke but now I'm worried that someone is going to secretly replace it with an actual gun and people are going to get hurt. As yet, I still can't decide whether this plot development will be horrible or hilarious, because the drama is right up there on that tightrope, and I don't know whether the next step is going to be another right one.

Review by William Schwartz

"Who Are You - 2013" is directed by Jo Hyeon-tak, written by Moon Ji-yeong and features So Yi-hyun, Ok Taecyeon and Kim Jae-wook.

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