I’ve certainly not watched all of Ahn Pan Seok directed dramas but I’ve really liked all of those I have seen. His style is probably not for everyone as it’s much more contempletive and lingering than what is currently in mode. His dramas, at least those I have watched fully till the end, also contain some pretty sharp insights/critique to contemporary Korean life and they tend to have rather dry and biting humor as well. My fave PD Ahn drama Heard It Through The Grapewine was downright hilarous at times. Which is why I’m miffed that Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (aka Something in the Rain) turned out to be such an unsatisfying snoozefest.
I already had some doubts about the premise to begin with as all the promo material seemed to point towards a traditional romantic drama and those are usually not my thing. But I did hope it would be just the overall setting and Drama would cover other, more interesting things as well. Unfortunately it was not to be. After the first fiew episodes I already knew I didn’t much like this writer’s style nor where the story seemed to be going. Yes, they inserted topics like sexual harassment at workplace and interfearing parents in passing, but mostly it was just about the cavity inducingly sweet romance of Jin Ah and Joon Hee. And eventually I was bored out of my skull. I struggled to get through the episodes and finally by ep 10 I gave up. After that I just skimmed through the epis and watched the last two just to see how they’d wrap things up. Not that I wasn’t already spoiled for lot of the plot by then.
The start of the romance may have been full of puppies and unicorns but then things went pearshape, mostly because of Jin Ah’s awful harradin of a mother. Well, of course there were other contributing factors to the unraveling of the realtionship than just Jin Ah’s mom. Things were great as long as the couple was floating in their own happy bubble of love but once the shit hit the fan and reality set in, cracks started to appear. Jin Ah and Joon Hee never really had an honest talk about what they eventually wanted from the relationship. They both assumed, quite a fiew things actually, and that is never a good thing. Neither is keeping things from your partner or downright lying, even if with good intentions. Looking back, I think they might have ended up in the same place even without the family drama, though it probably would have taken longer.
I know it is a cultural thing but I just can’t relate to the way parent’s in dramas can meddle in the lives of their adult children. There probably are parents like that in these parts too but I’ve never met any, my own certainly weren’t that kind. Grapevine also had something of a similar conflict but it was a different type of family and the whole thing was much better presented. A more competent writer too, imho. For better or for worse Jin Ah is a product of her family environment. A weak father and a domineering mother who clearly favours the son and wants the daughter make a union that would benefit her, never mind what the daughter thinks. No parent of the year award for mommy dearest, even if they did mellow her out in the end.
So, in the end Pretty Noona was about a couple who couldn’t be because of parental objection, lack of certain kind of honesty and personal hang-ups. Or maybe it was just about Jin Ah. Not sure anymore. Everything else was just sort of… there. I’m sure Ahn PD saw something in the script worth directing it but I, for the life of me, can’t see what. Sure Drama was pretty to look at and I still liked some of the more quiet moments but somehow even the directing was curiously lacking of… well, direction. And lets not start with the ad nauseam repeating OST. *shudder* It is kind of funny that the reason Drama did not work for me wasn’t what mainly seemes to aggrivate many. Being familiar with Ahn PD’s earlier works I was expecting to see a drama populated with awful human beings and flawed main characters. I also had a feeling the romance would go sour at some point and other, less ‘sweet’ topics would come to the fore. I guess a lot of people were fooled by the promo material and the overflowong cuteness of the beginning, so they were not ready when the full drama ‘reality’ kicked in. Love does not necessarily conquer every obstacle in it’s path.
If the begining was a bore, the middle full on family drama… or just drama in general, the last two episodes weren’t actually too bad. I know there were people who truly hated them and the (non)resolution, but as I’d already ‘checked out’ of the narrative way before we got that far, I didn’t give a flying F. Sure, they took the easy way out with the ending but wasn’t that pretty much what the pair would actually do, based on their characters?