Heard it Through the Grapevine – Week 1

I’ve already forgotten who the scriptwriter and PD are for Show before watching Episode 1, but remember immediately just minutes into the episode. Yes, Show is from the team behind Secret Love Affair, and while the mood is different, the style is definitely similar. The color palette is mainly brown, and the lighting is more dim but not dreary. The choice of background music reminds viewers that Show is a black humor social critique – quirky and light-hearted. The topic(s) that Show will focus on are however, nowhere light-hearted – teen pregnancy. We do skip almost the entire pregnancy part, and jump headlong into the giving birth, because what Show wants ultimately, I suppose, is how a stuffy and elite chaebol family gets turned upside down by two unexpected new family members.

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We first get introduced to the said elite family, the Hans, where Dad Han Jung Ho (Yoo Joon Sang) is a lawyer whose powers are so great that he influences the running of the Korean government. Mama Han (Yoo Ho Jung) appears to be easy going and kind, but is most likely highly insecure and we see her cracking under pressure of the unexpected events in Episode 2. Lee Joon plays the only son, Han In Sang, a high-schooler who knows of nothing except studying (well, he does know how to make his girlfriend pregnant so…), and there’s also a younger sister, Yi-ji (Park So Young), who seems to know of oppa’s secret girlfriend.

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Since Dad is a lawyer, it is unsurprising that the Hans wish nothing but In Sang to become a lawyer as well, and in order to acheive that, In Sang was sent to one of those study camps, which was where In Sang and his girlfriend Seo Bom (Go Ah Sung) had a night of farewell passion, despite Bommie’s initial insistance that they should stay away from each other till university entrance exams are over. I suppose puppy love and objectivity gave way to passion, since our young couple confessed to the Daddy and Mama Han that they should have restrained themselves. *giggles*

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In contrast to the stuffy and uptight parents, younger sister Yi-ji helps out together with the household’s chief maid, when Bommie suddenly gives birth shortly upon reaching the Han’s. The childbirth scene portrayed a stark contrast between the elites and the housekeepers, the (rich) old and the(ir) offsprings, where the former seek desperately to distance themselves from the situation and convince themselves that 1) Bommie has nothing to do with them, and 2) they’re actually just doing a good deed letting some unknown pregnant woman give birth in their house; while the latter took the matter in their own hands, and helped Bommie deliver a healthy baby.

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Bommie is a rather refreshing female character admist the usual Candy characters in dramaland. Since there’s another unwed mother character around in dramaland recently – Do Do Hee (UEE) from Ho Gu’s Love, it’s difficult not to compare both characters. While both girls read up and prepared themselves for the childbirth, I feel Bommie is more courageous and well-prepared for her age (Bommie is just a high school student while Do Hee should be in her early 20s). Of course, Bommie has her family with her throughout the pregnancy, but personality-wise, Bommie feels more mature and responsible. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind, which I believe will be an interesting contrast between her and In Sang.

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Back to In Sang’s parents, I wasn’t that disgusted by Mama Han when she tried to distance herself from the youngsters during the childbirth scene, but when she ordered for the separation of Bommie and her baby, and then her subsequent outlash at Bommie, I thought she’s a rather bad mother and cruel person. It’s also a very typical portrayal of the chaebol mother-in-laws, to whom grandchildren are forever more important than the daughter-in-laws. Of course, that’s not saying that she has acknowledge the baby as In Sang’s, but she’s definitely no different from the other chaebol mother-in-laws in dramaland.

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Judging from the preview of Episode 3, I can’t wait for In Sang to grow a backbone and stand up against his parents. It’s awesome that he acknowledges that he has to be responsible for his newly formed family, and it was also awesome that he declared that he loves Bommie very much, in front of her family, though I’m kind of worried that does he really know what is love and how he is going to go about protecting Bommie and their child, at this stage. Lee Joon really did a great job here, from being the innocent booksmart boy, right down to the nervous stuttering son/son-in-law portrayal.

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And I say, bring it on, Show, let’s poke fun at the stereotypical chaebols and social castes they so like to apply on everyone below them.

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