There’s so much things I want to say about Oh Hae-young that I don’t need to watch the latest ep to HAVE things to say. Besides the “person-in-the-shadows” theme I dealt with last week, Oh Hae-young uses another very strong motif in its narrative — that of “opposites”.
1. Sound and Silence
There’s Eric as Do-kyung, who literally is the strong-silent type. Not juz in appearance, but also in his profession, his personality. He is a great listener, a trait which is exceedingly useful in his career as a sound producer, since he pays attention (whether he wants to or not) to sounds which we usually ignore.
In contrast, Hae-young is so…noisy. Do-kyung’s unintentional recording of her daily on-goings in the adjacent storeroom reveals she likes to potter around…and talk to herself while at it. Hae-young herself admits that Do-kyung’s silence, and non-judgmental stance, somehow makes her talk even more. So much so that she reveals deep, dark secrets to him: like how she was the one who was thrown aside before her wedding day (and not the white lie she maintains — that she dumped her fiancé). Even her bestie doesn’t know the whole story.
Interestingly, there’s another couple who is silent-chatty: Hae-young’s parents. Her mum (Mdm Hwang) is the exact replica of Hae-young. She is more talkative than her (very silent) hubby (and quite eccentric like Hae-young), and is always the one who entertains his younger sis while he watches TV. However, that doesn’t mean Papa Oh doesn’t care about his wife or his sis. On the contrary. I think he pays only 50% attention to the TV, while the other 50%, he listens to his wife/ sis’ conversation. So that whenever he hears his (rather bird brain) sister overstepping her boundaries, he immediately switches off the TV to restrain his wife from whacking her.
And that is why Do-kyung is good for Hae-young, and vice versa. These 2 will grow old like Papa Oh and Mdm Hwang.
2. Highs and Lows
Oh Hae-young does a fine balancing act between being a tear-jerker and a laugh-until-you-cry comedy. It’s apparent from ep1. We have Hae-young who does really absurd stuff like smiling at her silly laughing toy, crazy dancing to vent off her frustration, falling off a bike and unknowingly hitching up her skirt revealing her panties…and then before/ after these usually comedic scenes are instances where Hae-young is ruminating over her “failed” life. And these memories are far from funny. They really are hurtful. Such as Tae-jin brushing her off as someone he can’t even stand to see eating, being overlooked and bullied by her boss at work, and schoolmates making snide remarks behind her back.
So at one moment, I’d have tears pooling at the corner of my eyes, only to have the next scene like Hae-young tumbling in the most clownish way off her bike and publicly displaying her undies. (then i really cried…in laughter) The background OST helps too — we have Ben crooning the super sad Like a Dream only to have the music wind down in the most off-tuned way when Hae-young does another eye-rolling thingy.
3. First or Second
Most obvious (or subtle) is Oh Hae-young‘s switch of the first/ second lead. In the show, Hae-young is the second fiddle, whose only presence is supposedly to “support” Pretty Hae-young, display how great, gentle, kind, beautiful, blahblah she is. Much like how a vase will display a bloom of exotic flowers. You don’t see the vase, you only ooh over the flowers.
Unfortunately, Pretty Hae-young is THE supporting cast in Oh Hae-young. She enters the show late — so late that I kinda relegate her to one corner of my mind and even now that she gets her own storyline, I still can’t “engage” properly with her character. Ok, so I am sympathetic to her running away from her wedding cos of a Godzilla Mother-in-law. But that’s all to her. I don’t feel like rooting for her, even at this stage in Oh Hae-young (we are already near half-way mark, btw). I’m more interested in how Do-kyung deals with her, in the status of Pretty Hae-young as his “ex”. Plus how Hae-young finally realizes that she doesn’t need to play a vase to Pretty Hae-young — she is a pretty bunch of flowers herself.
(and oh man, juz watched ep7. be prepared to die of diabetes)