Romantic appearances are the main element at play in these two episodes of “Strong Family”. First in the twenty-fifth episode we Ra-yeon ponder that all-important question- are you living with the person that you love? Then in the twenty-sixth episode we get the somewhat ominous implications of what happens when the answer to that question is no. And with that, another implication that these questions are constantly asked on a regular basis and never really go away.
But these episodes aren’t as dour as I make them sound. They’re actually quite lively as they get into difficult questions of what love is and why it works, while still maintaing the cuteness that is the hallmark of “Strong Family”‘s comedic style. The recurrence of sillier one-off jokes actually helps to reenforce the point that yes, sometimes love is existential angst, and other times it’s just getting overly obsessed about dumb stuff like age differences and other times it involves meowing. That’s all love.
Ra-yeon’s obsession with appearing, for a time, to be in perfect marital bliss with Cheon-il also goes into appearances and how, for most people, the understanding that they are understood as being loved is just as important as feeling that love directly. That’s how everything with the rumor mill works. Ik-hee even manages to get a good parallel here, because of course the rumor mill is a big thing in high school too, and Ik-hee being an idiot high school student, is not always the best at communicating with her boyfriend.
The only real major flaw I can pinpoint here is that the guest conflict in the twenty-sixth episode seems underexplained. Yes, I know that eventually we get the full story on why these two are on the outs all of a sudden, but even so, divorce seems harsh in that circumstance. For a housewife to want to work again, on its own merits, that seems like a big enough change on its own given without necessarily having to dive into more radical steps.
And if there was more of that negotiation ahead of time, then the apparent resolution of the ending just seems callous. Eh, maybe I’m just being oversensitive because there’s a child involved. Overall, when it comes to the main characters we’ve been watching this entire time, there’s an almost perfect synthesis of using the wide variety of character relationships to address the same basic questions of love and perception. I liked this pair of episodes very much.
Review by William Schwartz
“Strong Family” is directed by Choi Moon-seok, written by Jin Yeong and features Park Hyeok-kwon, Park Seon-yeong, Kim Ji-min, Eom Hyo-seob, Park Hee-bon, Kim Ki-ri and Hoya.
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Strong Family” Episodes 25-26″
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