September 27, 2022


Art and Entertainment

Love, death, and questioning the need for 18-episode dramas

Beans of Wisdom: Love, death, and questioning the need for 18-episode dramas

This week in Beans of Wisdom…

Ji Chang-wook makes his return to dramaland in If You Wish Upon Me and hopes are high that the drama will actually be… good?!

Latebloomer puts it like this in comment #3:

[…] These episodes were very warm, even though there was violence, threats of more violence, a suicide attempt, homelessness, and ever-present death. I felt like a lot of the warmth emanated from Sung Dong-il, even when his character was reading the riot act to Gyeo-re. I’m happy Ji Chang-wook finally found a role in a drama worth watching. […]

To which javinne quotes back what are are all thinking:

“Ji Chang-wook finally found a role in a drama worth watching”


So true. And that is the reason why I wanted to watch this show. I am excited for what it comes

And lapislazulii agrees in comment #9:

[…] Already had to do a double take when our ML coming out of prison was just a regular criminal and not a lawyer turn mafia boss out for blood (the latest run of vengeful lawyer shows had me believing the latter was the norm 😂). But jokes aside, I’m reeled in hook, line and sinker after our premiere week! JCW plays tortured and depressed so well, just the expressions in his eyes had me tearing up several times and overall the show kind of reminds me of a more mature/and darker version of the movie Up – not exactly in terms of plot similarities, but in terms of themes and the feeling I got watching. Which is a fancy way of saying I cried heaps already (I especially lost it at the persimmon tree bit at the end).
Despite the inevitable pain and heart ache this show is going to give me based on the subject matter, I’m in for the ride (armed with a box of tissues ofc). These types of shows, as sad as they are, also really help bring to focus the fact that the beauty of life lies in the fact that it’s not forever – and it helps press a pause button on the hectic hustle and bustle of day to day routines to really look around and cherish the present.

I hope the writing stays strong for this show, and that it’s a hit for JCW after his last run of questionable drama choices!! Fighting!!

And FormAnOrderlyQueue also agrees in another reply:

“JCW plays tortured and depressed so well…”. Yes, I have a feeling that he’s going to succeed here because this character is not a million miles from his Healer character – abandoned, alone, chip-on-shoulder, healing-to-be-done, absolute team player when he’s found the team he trusts. Many of his other characters have required him to do something different, and, with all respect to JCW, he’s missed the mark. Returning to territory where he has proven success was a smart move.

Though the Beanie consensus isn’t 100% love for the show yet, most seem to see/appreciate/be okay with what the drama is doing. And most importantly, what Ji Chang-wook is doing.

Here is dramalover4ever in comment #11:

Ji Chang-wook, welcome back. You are so expressively emotion laden: your cynicism, your vulnerability, your emptiness, your inner child, desperate for love. When the old man thanked Gyeo-re for taking him to the house and held his hand: such a simple act of gratitude, and this starved man burst into tears. The dam broke. A dying man had it in him, in his final moments, to say, thank you, and all the hurt, rejection, and bitterness crumbled. This is what I love about kdramas. They show the transformative gift of a life line that turns a person around.
Sure dying is not as clean cut as this. These are sanitised deaths. Dying is a horrible, breathless struggle out of this world, unless you are really lucky and you just drop dead on the spot. I don’t want to see anything approaching that in dramas. I’ve seen enough irl.

Moving on to dramas with happier subject matter (but lacking in cute dogs and their owners) we have Today’s Webtoon and the budding loveline(s?).

In comment #17 sunnysaturdays is all aboard, saying:

Team Junyoung all the way. “Are you *really* okay?” fully converted me. Junyoung falling for her is so hilarious. She’s not even the least bit interested in him Romantically. LOL. Poor boy.

And Toodlepip agrees, while calling out the drama’s fun trope reversals in comment #19:

[…] I love the flip over of tropes from ML to FL in relation to saving him from the scooter, lifting the heavy boxes and being completely oblivious to the heart flutters she is giving him. Hilarious.

Along with lapislazulii in comment #1:

[…] Do I spy with my little eye the hint of a LOVELINE (or TWO??)?? I was giggling like a school child when Jihyung was bamboozled by the idea that they’re might be something going on between Maeum and Junyoung and then squealed when we had the reversal of the usual ‘pulling someone out of the way’ trope and a flustered ML rather than FL. My conflict as to which one of the MLs I like better has intensified.

Meanwhile, FormAnOrderlyQueue points out why the pairing is more than just cute in comment #5:

I do like the relationship between Maeum and Junyoung: they so clearly help each other see the world from a completely different angle. The moment where Junyoung read the room so quickly when they went to visit the artists, and later explained to Maeum what she’d missed seeing and why that had led to her unwittingly insulting someone, was gold. And as other Beanies have said, having the FL as the confident, strong, but blundering-into-error character and the ML as the more emotionally intelligent, less confident character is a great move. I particularly appreciated how their colleague valued both their work styles, commenting that Junyoung’s reluctance to manage his own artist at this stage was not a sign of weakness but simply reflected a different tempo in his development. Beautiful little moment.

But that’s not the only bit of conversation going on about the show. Others are annoyed by how the drama handled/is handling its the abusive side character, and others discuss the way the drama portrays the webtoon team overall.
Reply1988 shares thoughts:

I think the way the PD role is presented as so fluid that they want the two rookies to find their own way is just ridiculous. They have given them no guidelines and just give the impression if there is anything too dodgy then they will step in to deal with it and accept any collateral damage. It does show that this management approach is being used consistently whatever level their staff are at. They were all traumatised by the way the company was closed down but allowing someone to use unhealthy strategies to manage a difficult situation is not supporting that person or the company. The results justify the means is what leads to the CEO approach of using a sleeper in the team to close it down.
Why would they have assigned Junyeong to the worst mentor knowing that he would have to use the osmosis approach to learn. If they listen to his feedback on what he observed and they know he wasn’t directed to work on those areas by his mentor why is no one asking him why he is doing this and what he plans to do with the info.

Also the bullying and scam re the injury why is no one suspicious or dealing with these two and their unacceptable behaviour. What message does it give when they don’t talk with the participants about recording the incident but not challenging the bullies or supporting the person being bullied.

Ladynightshade elaborates:

Oh, and don’t get me started on the complete lack of training Ma-eum and Joon-young got. I swear to god I got more training from my supervisor back when I worked as a cashier at a supermarket. And you’re telling me they immediately got to work as producers?? This team would’ve collapsed within WEEKS in a real company setting. I get that this is a drama and we can’t necessarily expect every nitty-gritty detail of drudging and surviving in a corporate setting, but they should at least make it so anybody who has worked in an office doesn’t immediately roll their eyes at the sheer unrealism.

While lalla32 also agrees:

I dropped this drama for this precise reason… and I see the issue keeps being present. If you have a company that is failing you DO NOT let a rookie take care of your main artists and you only step in when it’s almost too late and she has made a mess. Can’t you just give her some advice BEFORE the disater? She know NOTHING of this job. The business part is just too unrealistic for me unfortunately…

Moving on to the Big Gigantic Twist from the penultimate week of Cafe Minamdang, we have some *ahem* discussion that becomes less about whether the twist was any good or not (spoiler: no) and more about how much more agony viewers must endure for the bean. One more week, folks.
Miso starts it off in comment #1:

So we finally get the ‘reveal’ that all of us had already realised in Week 1-2 🙄. Why is this 18 episodes??

At least I got a laugh out of the most-incompetent-cop-in-dramaland handcuffing a criminal to a pipe and wandering off so that the criminal escapes.

But the writer believes in equal opportunity so this week our ML gets to make bad decisions too with obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence yay 🥳. He was framed and sent to prison for 2 years for the same crime but it’s brushed aside in about 2 minutes now 👏👏

To which there is a boatload of agreement. pliplipli adds that:

I got used to the police being totally incompetent in this drama, but hanjun being dumb throughout ep 16 was more annoying than I expected lol didn’t even know this drama could still make me feel anything at this point

And Kafiyah Bello says the same:

“Why is this 18 episodes?” I was so confused. I was like, finally we are DONE, but alas, two more to go. SIGH😂😂😂

But the pain isn’t over yet for pliplipli:

I started watching ep 16 sure that it was the finale LOL I was so surprised when I noticed that they couldn’t end the drama there and then did my researched and found out this is a 18 episodes drama. my god……… why.

Nor for Sicarius either (or any of us?):

[…] I only found out on TUESDAY that this is actually 18 episodes and NOT 16, which is both incredibly painful and annoying to realise; I had enough juice in me to scrape through two more episodes and that was about it, and now you’re telling me I have to find in me the reserves that don’t exist, for another two of these things???? Dear LORD, help me.
That also thoroughly explains the nightmare that is this show’s pacing.

And then hmwtx sums it all up in comment #7:

No surprises here. Which is a shame, they could have made this whole thing so much more interesting. I guess what’s left is Han-Jun’s next session in the interrogation room, where he tries to keep his butt out of jail again. Something is buried in that file on Jae-Jeong, to give us a flashback or some help from the beyond, but in my world I’d prefer to see Auntie Im come in guns blazing for Do-Won, and take him out right after he takes out his brother (that guy I simply don’t like). At this point I couldn’t care less about “justice” or “redemption” or any of the romance stories… Just throw a grenade in there and let chaos ensue. At least that would be fun to watch.