For this month’s review, the spotlight is all on Pinocchio!
Pinocchio has proven to be a popular Korean drama which features Lee Jong Suk as the male leading role and Park Shin Hye in the respective leading female position. Now, from the title itself, it would be easy to presume that a key portion of this drama contains a key trait from Pinocchio, a well-known children’s storybook character, the impact of lying. However, in this drama, rather than the familiar image of a human’s nose growing whenever they lie, in contrast if an individual suffered from the fictional Pinocchio syndrome, they hiccup and they will not cease until the person confesses their lies.
Pinocchio is a Korean drama which focuses on the news broadcasting industry and the kind of effect the news feed can have depending on how it is portrayed in a good or bad light, thus giving implications that any news reporter could either make an individual look like a hero or a devil. At the beginning of the drama, the family life of Ki Ha Myeong (Lee Jong-Suk) is explored with the father being in a respected position as a fire-fighter. A single promise between the father and his two sons, Ha Myeong and Jae Myeong (Yoon Gyun-Sang) is left unfulfilled as tragedy strikes when the father is called out to a waste factory where an explosion has taken place leaving the fire-fighters who went out to save lives, were met an uneasy and cruel end. All the while, the other aspect of the drama is raised to attention with the news broadcasting teams racing around in an attempt to catch all the live action, with the focus of what actually caused the explosion in the waste factory overturned in favour of placing the blame of the fire-fighters who were killed. There is a dark desire of retribution from Jae Myeong along with Ha Myeong—who later in the first episode has a character name change to Choi Dai Po after a the events continue to escalate to point where the mother of Ha Myeong, Jae Myeong and wife of the chief fire-fighter allegedly takes her own life. Soon after, the life of Ha Myeong is shifted into another direction, after being found by the loveable grandfather of Choi In Ha, Choi Gong Pil, who is said to have lost his memory and mistakes him for his long lost son who did not return from his trip at sea, and once he is officially adopted into the Choi family his life seems to change for the better. However, the happy atmosphere is compromised with Ha Myeong unable to forget his past and the explosion of the waste factory remains a constant theme in the drama as various sub-plots are looked into, with a few mentionable comical moments in each episode, not forgetting the bitter-sweet love triangle between Choi Dai Po, Choi In Ha and Seo Bum Jo which is discussed further below, as the true villain of the drama eventually come to light towards the end.
Characters and plot twists
From the start, the main antagonist is Choi In Ha’s mother, a news presenter who shows a lack of empathy with her daughter—whom she has not been in contact with over a long period of time, however viewers may be surprised towards the end of the drama series. Each character in this drama is explored within different sections of the twenty episodes and I often feel that in some dramas there are some people who are easy to forget or don’t contribute much to the plot itself, but I do think that all the characters were planned and constructed very well. The development of the childhood friend, An Chan Soo for example, showed the shift from an snobbish teenager to a matured police officer with an admirable quality of loyalty to Ha Myeong.
Throughout watching this drama, I always found myself laughing during the scenes with Choi Dai Po/ Ha Myeong and his adopted family, I found the character of the grandfather very amusing and enduring to watch along with the rest of the general family interactions. As bitter-sweet as the reunion was between the two main brothers, Ha Myeong and Jae Myeong, as a viewer I was happy to see them together again at last. And lastly, although the development in relations was slow and took the majority of the drama itself, we see the strained bond between mother (Song Cha Ok) and daughter (Choi In Ha) change in a different direction.
Plot in general
Pinocchio provides k-drama fans with a meaningful message, in which the kinds of news we see on a daily basis being broadcasted—can either be painted in a good or bad light and the kinds of news that should be discussed are often left in the corner in factor of bringing forth news that ‘sells’ or gains an increase in interest from the audience. I found this drama very interesting to watch as it took a different spin on how events reported by the news bulletin, it looks into how easy it is to believe everything that is conveyed through the news presenters and how much negative news can effectively ruin lives. The drama takes a dark approach that could possibly suggest that events in the press can be swayed, depending on the severity of course, with powerful figures in the background.
Yoon Yoo Rae
This character has demonstrated far too many over exaggerated gestures of reactions over the course of this drama, apparently this kind of behaviour is supposedly common in Korea with over dramatic reactions to the simplest of events. Though I do have to admit, I did find that Yoon Yoo Rae was starting to grow on me during the last half of the episodes as she becomes a somewhat relatable character in relation to the love triangle.
One too many filter episodes
I found this drama immensely easy to get into and it caught my interest, the first episode started off quite light-hearted but the situation quickly takes a turn for the worse and the onslaught of emotions generated from the characters made me very keen to continue watching until the very end. However, I could not help but feel that the main theme of the plot did waver as sub-plots were explored, especially with Ha Myeong and In Ha’s troubled relationship with periods of being together then breaking up and the cycle seems to repeat itself a few times.
Failed love triangle
It was made clear that Ha Myeong and In Ha was the main couple with no real competition, there was potential with Seo Bum Jo however with most dramas, the latter suffered a matter of unrequited love. He was most certainly easy on the eye yet that was not enough to draw away In Ha’s attention, especially with her inability to lie about her feelings—for Ha Myeong. So I did not find myself rooting for the other love interest, like I tend to do in most other dramas, the significance of Seo Bum Jo is not clarified until later episodes in the drama, making him somewhat useless in the beginning as failed shoulder to cry on for the love troubled Choi In Ha.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this drama, I liked the general flow and the development of characters, not forgetting about the supporting cast. If you’re patient with a somewhat slow romance, like humorous scenes especially with the comical Choi family antics and you have a soft spot for sad stories with a well deserved triumph to finish the drama off, then I would suggest you try watching Pinocchio and see whether this is your cup of tea!