또! 오해영 (Another Oh Hae Young Ep.1)

One of my Korean students is a colorist for films and TV dramas. She worked on Signal, one of my all time favorites from TVN; Fabricated City, an upcoming film starring Ji Chang Wook; The Wailing (Goksung), currently breaking Korean box office records and Train to Busan, a film starring Gong Yoo which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. I mentioned her because she has worked on real life successful projects but as a colorist, she is often the last person the audience think about when they watch a movie or TV series. They are just as essential yet underappreciated as sound directors.

In TVN’s lastest hit series Another Oh Hae Young (Another Miss Oh/ Oh Hae Young Again) , Eric Mun plays Park Do Kyeong, a sound director. The more I watch him do his job in this drama, the more I appreciate the sound effects in the shows that I’m currently watching. So now aside from cinematography, I also pay more attention to the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind, the galloping horses,the clanks in an action-packed fight and the melancholic raindrops in an unspoken farewell scene.

Do Kyeong’s line of work totally matches his character : the listening type. And we rarely get to see sensitive guys in a drama.

Our female lead Oh Hae Young, works in the back office of a branched out restaurant/catering service company. While we often see the chef and the waiters, we forget about the committee that gets their creative juices flowing to give us innovative and satisfying dishes. So in a way, her job is also something that is not easily recognized in their industry.

Once again, TVN continues to offer something new by bringing us main characters who are passionate about their jobs but aren’t usually given enough credit since they work behind-the-scenes.

However, even though I thought Oh Hae Young would be an unusual kind of female lead since she was introduced as someone who called off her wedding the day before the actual ceremony, she turned out to be another brokenhearted woman just like Han Groo’s character in PD Song Hyun Wook’s previous drama, Marriage Not Dating. Good thing, Oh Hae Young is more endearing and relatable compared to Joo Jang Mi.  Hae Young tries to survive the brutal heartbreak while trying to look all nonchalant about her situation and saving whatever pride she had left.

By mere character introductions alone, I am convinced that Do Kyeong and Hae Young are made for each other but the drama presents a more complicated relationship between the two that’s beyond the typical ‘simple girl meets cool guy’ narrative. It is quite a revelation that Do Kyeong has committed an irreversible mistake which eventually led to Hae Young’s disintegrating life. It’s like some sort of domino effect after the shameful ‘wedding that didn’t transpire’.

This case of mistaken identity is a bit overdone and is actually a major plothole (I mean , why ruin a man’s life so hastily without even doing some background check and all.) but thanks to Eric’s careful handling of his character, we get to acknowledge Do Kyeong’s good side before being bothered by his flaws.

Seo Hyun Jin seems to have a lot in common with Oh Hae Young since she’s an attractive actress who’s been in movies and dramas for a decade but people have only been giving her attention now. It’s not that easy to recognize her out of the sageuk costume but at least I remember her in The Three Musketeers, another TvN drama that sadly failed to live up to expectations. The Three Musketeers didn’t get a go signal for a second season but things are currently going well for Seo Hyun Jin as Another Oh Hae Young continues to climb in ratings and is reported to have been extended for 2 more episodes.

The drama offers a combination of old tropes and fresh execution with its unpredictable story line that manages to balance its humorous and serious contents. The realistic leads and over-the-top side characters equally exist in one world. There’s also a touch of the supernatural aspect as we could see that Do Kyeong has the ability to witness a glimpse of what’s to come.

With the plethora of romcoms that we have seen through the years, kudos to Another Oh Hae Young‘s screenwriter, our heroine’s namesake Park Hae Young, for coming up with some entertaining twists for this often so saccharine and overwrought genre.

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