별난 며느리 (The Virtual Bride)

12 Episodes
A Raemong Rain Production
Timeslot: Monday and Tuesday Evening, 10:00 PM
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Format: 1080i Dolby Digital 2.0 – 65 Minutes
Runs from: 2015/Aug/17~Sep/22

WITH 김다솜 (Kim Da-Som) as Oh In-Young; 고두심 (Go Doo-Shim) as Yang Choon-Ja; 류수영 (Ryu Soo-Young) as Cha Myeong-Seok; 곽희성 (Kwak Hee-Seong) as Cha Dong-Seok; 김윤서 (Kim Yoon-Seo) as Kim Se-Mi; 박웅 (Park Woong) as Cha Joo-Bok; 김성환 (Kim Seong-Hwan) as Cha Il-Gu; 백옥담 (Baek Ok-Dam) as Lee Ha-Ji; 김보연 (Kim Bo-Yeon) as Jang Mi-Hee; 기태영 (Gi Tae-Young) as Kang Joon-Soo; 손은서 (Son Eun-Seo) as Cha Young-Ah;

CREW Production Director 이덕건 (Lee Deok-Geon) B-Team Director 박만영 (Park Man-Young) Main Writer 문선희 (Moon Seon-Hee) 유남경 (Yoo Nam-Gyeong) Executive Producer 김동래 (Kim Dong-Rae) Chief Producer 박기호 (Park Gi-Ho) Producer 김종연 (Kim Jong-Yeon) 윤재혁 (Yoon Jae-Hyuk) Director of Photography 이승현 (Lee Seung-Hyeon) Lighting 조기남 (Jo Gi-Nam) Editor 김충열 (Kim Choong-Yeol) Music 최철호 (Choi Cheol-Ho) Art Director KBS Artvision 이경미 (Lee Gyeong-Mi) Assistant Writer 지윤미 (Ji Yoon-Mi) 하상은 (Ha Sang-Eun) Assistant Producer 유호준 (Yoo Ho-Joon) 박경민 (Park Gyeong-Min) 

RATINGS
AGB Nielsen Nationwide
HIGHEST: 6.00% (08/17 - E01)
LOWEST: 3.70% (09/21 - E11)
AVERAGE: 4.72%

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FIRST LOOK

At the tail end of 2008, writing a year-end review for the now defunct subbing group WITHS2 (does any “old timer” out there still remember those days?), I suggested that the continued lack of diversity and the industry's tendency to seek flavor of the month frivolities to please the ever weakening remnants of the Korean Wave would have led to an inexorable consequence: audiences at large would abandon the industry's output altogether, and we would soon be subjected to stylistically and thematically monochrome dramas, all more or less looking the same and targeting limited, minute demographics (the dishwashing horde that turns on the TV as background noise and will only pay attention if histrionics are involved, and teenage girls in Asian communities around the world and their penchant for perpetual escapism). Fast-forward seven years and, go figure, the rare weekday drama that manages to crack the 10% is generally something that bravely defies the “all the roads lead to makjang” mantra, awaking dormant demographics that only come back for something that isn't a "Korean drama;" everything else leads a pretty miserable existence, having to pay for overly generous headlines in the realm of yellow journalism, and forcing the usual suspects to engineer ingeniously complacent flights of cheer-leading fancy to fuel their purveyors. What a wonderful world.

The latest, perhaps inevitable craze has become a thinly-veiled white flag on the industry's part, masquerading as an attempt to create an all-new “hybrid” – that is, a cross-pollinating mix of drama and variety elements. It could be an interesting concept if this were the early 90's, and both media were vying for the attention of a humongous audience. But today, with variety becoming the new flag-bearer of media exports to China (Hallyu's only remaining, and perhaps final mecca) and dramas struggling to register a blip on the radar of public acceptance, it sounds like desperation and hardly a level playing field. Even then, similarly media-blending 프로듀사 (The Producers) did at least try somewhat intriguing meta-industry dynamics before familiarly reverting to the usual trendy drama shenanigans. This show doesn't even bother.

Blame it all on choosing Lee Deok-Geon, if you will. Whereas Pyo Min-Soo at least tried to take his star-studded show seriously enough to wait a few episodes before plunging into the nauseating charms of kimchi dramas, the KBS daily makjang mainstay makes it painfully obvious from the first instant that what we're going to witness will only amount to a lazy coupling of the usual daily drama dynamics (conservative upper class “clan” needs to marry off their precious eldest, so here's the ditzy modern girl vying for a chance to create tons of turmoil on her way to romantic epiphany) and something akin to 우리 결혼했어요 (We Got Married), complete with quirky subtitles telling us how to feel -- they courteously spared us the laugh track, though. He doesn't even waste the proverbial two episodes to let his scanty audience know what this show will be about: there is a hair-pulling scene after about 90 seconds, everyone acts a couple of pitches higher and hyper than they'd need, and our lovebirds literally experience love at first fart – flatulence becoming a recurring trait of Kim Da-Som's characterization. Boy, that's so funny.

With the possible exception of Ryu Soo-Young, this cast is not going to set the world on fire – coupled with the usual array of fine veterans who are doing little more than cashing a check while sleepwalking through their roles, chief being Go Doo-Shim and Kim Bo-Yeon. As for our leading starlet, the Sistar member might be slightly improving, but she still is desperately limited to farcical tripe like this, while people like Son Eun-Seo and Baek Ok-Dam (slightly underrated, particularly considering the bad stigma she got thanks to her aunt, makjang queen Im Seong-Han) probably deserve better.

It's a shameful display of random histrionics, gags spelled out in capital letters as if targeting a crowd of borderline senile viewers, annoyingly repetitive toilet humor and predictably ham-fisted directing. And most damning of all, it's as if KBS – which only 7-8 years ago was throwing out there in this very timeslot mastery to the tune of 한성별곡-正 (Conspiracy in the Court) and 얼렁뚱땅 흥신소 (Evasive Inquiry Agency) despite recording the same 6-7%, showing what a real public station should be known for – was completely prostituting itself for the sake of grabbing the last few breadcrumbs of attention this derelict station can muster. What could they possibly have to lose in trying to change the paradigm and go back to quality? Why waste time with something so conspicuously throwaway?

These are not dramas, they're despicable excuses to remain relevant. Utterly despicable.

ACTING GRADES

62 류수영 (Ryu Soo-Young)
61 고두심 (Go Doo-Shim)
61 손은서 (Son Eun-Seo)
60 박웅 (Park Woong)
60 백옥담 (Baek Ok-Dam)
60 김보연 (Kim Bo-Yeon)
57 김다솜 (Kim Da-Som)
55 김성환 (Kim Seong-Hwan)
55 김윤서 (Kim Yoon-Seo)
53 곽희성 (Kwak Hee-Seong)
50 기태영 (Gi Tae-Young)

comments powered by Disqus