TV Review: Something in the Rain/Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (Spoilers!)

People watch television shows and movies for different reasons, and sometimes, one does watch a mixture of things based on different reasons at a given point in time. Sometimes, we watch things to be entertained and to escape from reality, sometimes we crave more realism and would rather be confronted by the harsh realities of life, and sometimes we watch for both of these reasons, and that can also be applied to one’s reasons for watching a particular show or movie. However, when these two end up clashing in one television show or movie, and it depends on the way it is handled and executed, it could leave audience members with either a mixed reaction, or a strong or negative reaction to it. Based on the audience response to JTBC’s “Something in the Rain”/”Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food”, which is also now available on Netflix, the latter is exactly what happened to this well directed and well acted romance drama that was also Son Ye Jin’s comeback drama and Jung Hae In’s first drama as the male lead.

“Something in the Rain” or “Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food” is a romance drama written by Kim Eun and directed by Ahn Pan Seok (“Secret Love Affair”, “Heard it Through the Grapevine”). As mentioned earlier, this drama marked Son Ye Jin’s return to television after five years; and it also was Jung Hae In’s first ever drama as the main male lead.

The drama tells the story of Yoon Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin), a 35 year old single career woman who coasts through life; and what happens after she starts developing feelings for her best friend’s younger brother who also happens to be her younger brother’s best friend, Seo Joon Hee (Jung Hae In), after he returns home to Korea after working in the US for three years. The rest of the drama is character driven and explores the different stages of their romantic relationship with each other, the choices that they make, and how they deal with the society around them and the mounting pressure that is often placed upon them by society and parents. During the entire drama, while watching Jin Ah’s journey and the ups and downs in her relationship with Joon Hee, it would be good to keep in mind that the director, according to reports,  tries to explore and directly pose the question of whether what the main characters are experiencing is love.

Something in the Rain
Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

This drama was well directed and had great cinematography, particularly in the way they utilize lighting throughout the series. It was shot in a cinematic way, making it feel like an movie instead of a tv drama. Aside from this, based on articles and behind the scene clips, it seems that the entire process was highly collaborative between the actors and the director, which gave the actors more agency to try different things creatively to explore their characters more.

The acting in this drama  was top notch, from the main leads, all the way to the secondary and minor characters. Each character felt truly grounded in this universe that they lived in, and although we may not have agreed with them at times, they felt very real.

Pretty Noona Eating
Son Ye Jin as Yoon Jin Ah and Jung Hae In as Seo Joon Hee Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

Son Ye Jin was amazing, and proved that she still has what it takes as her performance was controlled, nuanced, and according to various articles, she had a lot of creative input in how she portrayed her character, which meant that she truly understood and embodied Yoon Jin Ah. This was also a great series for Jung Hae In to make his leading role debut, as he proved what a great, collaborative, and nuanced actor he can be. Their chemistry together was easy and amazing.

Aside from them, Jang So Yeon, who portrayed Jin Ah’s best friend and Joon Hee’s older sister, Seo Kyung Seon, was a stand out, as I saw her previously in “My Father is Strange”, and was blown away by her range here.

This drama has its haters, lovers, and those who stand in the middle ground due to how events unfolded for Jin Ah and Joon Hee. Many people were drawn to this drama because of Jung Hae In, and maybe others because of Son Ye Jin. However, I do applaud this drama for having the guts to try its best to show us the different stages of a relationship in a realistic manner, and in a way which made sense for these characters, whom I do believe, are quite unconventional when it comes to Kdramas as well. While there was a lot of cotton candy in the beginning half of the drama, the harsh realities of things come about in the last half, and they allowed their characters, with all their flaws to dictate what would happen to them next. So while not a lot of people will like how things turned out, I am glad that it was consistent with their respective characters, and it gave viewers to see a different way of portraying a relationship. However, this drama, and in particular, the last half of the drama definitely has rubbed people in the wrong way, but I think that in the end, the director succeeded in getting people to think and talk about love and what happens after that initial honeymoon stage, and how a couple tackles problems.

Aside from this, the director tried to make a statement about women and how society views them as well. Although how that issue was resolved didn’t sit well with me in the end, I can also see how this can also happen in real life, which, I think, adds to the frustration of the viewers.

I must warn those who do want to watch this drama though, that because it gets a little bit too real, the last half of the drama may be a little bit hard to watch, so I recommend pacing the last half with an uplifting or fun drama of your choice, and to let the drama simmer in your mind after the finale. I discovered that letting it simmer for a while allowed me to take a step back, get over some of my frustrations about the drama, and allowed me to see the message and the good things this drama was able to achieve.

Now, you know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers!

warning-spoilers-final

What is different about this drama is that even though we get frustrated at the way the characters react, behave, and make choices, on some level, the relationship that we were presented with, and how they reacted to their problems and what happened after is believable. Many, myself included, have gotten annoyed at Jin Ah and how she reacted to things, but after taking a step back after watching the finale and taking Jin Ah’s character to mind, she ended up reminding me of actual real life people who do take two steps back for every step of improvement they’ve done, and who end up becoming products of the environment that they were brought up in, and those who actually do have parents who are just as toxic as Jin Ah’s mother was.

I am glad that this drama didn’t shy away from showing us the reality of things when problems came Jin Ah’s and Joon Hee’s way, and I think that in the end, the choices that they made and how they behaved were very consistent to how they are, good things and flaws in all.

Jin Ah
Son Ye Jin as Yoon Jin Ah Image Source: JTBC Drama  Facebook Page

Jin Ah is a woman who has become passive, submissive, and is a follower because of the way society does look upon women being the peacemakers and especially because of her domineering and very judgmental mother. She is a product of her upbringing because she would rather say things, compromise her own values and personality, and not upset the boat so that her mother would be happy, and thirty five years of being like that is hard to change overnight. However, because of this, Jin Ah ends up enabling others, and especially men who just step all over her in romantic relationships and in the office as well. This has also caused her to be an expert at deflecting and diffusing situations right away, and lying so that no one would be upset at her, which, in this drama, ended up being a fatal flaw, especially when it came to her relationship with Joon Hee.

I think that Jin Ah was flattered and infatuated with Joon Hee rather than truly loving him with all her heart, and the early stages of their relationship was a reaction to the last failed relationship she had. There was also the novelty of it being a secret from others, and it was truly fun while it lasted. However, things became a problem once Joon Hee wanted to make their relationship more public and when they started confronting problems together.

Jung Hae In Joon Hee
Jung Hae In as Seo Joon Hee Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

For me, Joon Hee has always been the one who was head over heels over her, and is the one who is really pouring every inch of love he has into this relationship. He’s the one who’s willing to risk and sacrifice everything for her, and when he does lie to her, more often than not, it feels justifiable as he’s protecting her rather than Jin Ah’s lies, which she admits to, says she’ll never do it again and then does it again. It’s understandable why many deem him as too overprotective, but in Jin Ah’s case, it’s not hard to see why as she has a knack for getting into a lot of trouble if its not a work related matter. However, he does have his flaws- he lives in the moment, is temperamental, has a temper, and while Jin Ah withdraws from society to escape he tends to run away.

Pretty Noona winter
The Happy Couple Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

When the honeymoon phase was over, all the problems and incompatibilities started rearing their ugly heads in terms of their relationship. One of the biggest problems is their horrible lack of communication with each other, and especially when it came to Jin Ah. Joon Hee does show that he tries to talk about issues, but Jin Ah expertly deflects and acts like a teenager so that he can forgive her after they get playful with each other. However, he also doesn’t try again to talk about it after things have cooled down a bit. Although they do like each other very much, aside from the differing levels of how much they love each other, one big thing is that these two in the end were not truly on the same page. Joon Hee is willing to settle down with her already while Jin Ah, at the VERY end of the series is only experiencing TRUE INDEPENDENCE only now. She needs to find herself first before she can really commit to a real relationship. This was telling when Joon Hee told her that he wants to be with her forever and she responded by hesitating and forcing him to reconcile with a father who only reappeared now. However, I’m glad that she did verbalize that in the break up scene in which he gave her that necklace.

Many have gotten annoyed at Joon Hee for making that decision to go the States thinking and assuming that she’d go with him. I know that he feels that he was trying to help and save her, but at the same time, he should have cleared it up with her first.

Many have also mentioned that it doesn’t seem that Joon Hee did a lot of growing as a character. However, the way I see it, he had more of an established character and personality, and this drama was always about Jin Ah and her own growth as a person.

pretty noona ending
Back together again Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

Regarding the ending, I do think that three years was too much of a time gap, and even though I do know that it’s hard for people to change overnight, I would have liked to have seen a little more than just a few instances showing that Jin Ah had really grown up and changed, which would give us more tangible hope in their relationship succeeding a second time. I do, though, understand why they left things so ambiguous in the end, although it felt rushed. This way, those who want them to end up together will be happy, while those who are ambiguous and don’t like their relationship can also speculate that they might not end up working out again this time around.

In this way, I think that if the show was going for realistic, then I think that they did deliver, in a sense, because they did seem real in the sense that they were complex characters and that they were extremely flawed, just as real people are.

I did love the initial falling in love and honeymoon phase of their relationship, and I think it was interesting and good that they did show how a couple can go from being on cloud nine, to be mired in problems once that phase is over.

Kyung Seon
Jang Se Yeon as Seo Kyung Seon Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page
Kyung Seon and Jin Ah
Kyung Seon and Jin Ah having the time of their lives together Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page
Joon Hee and Seung Ho
Joon Hee and Seung Ho (Wi Ha Joon) , the little brothers Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

I was surprised that I did feel a lot for Kyung Seon and Seung Ho, who were wonderfully portrayed by Jang So Yeon and Wi Ha Joon, respectively. I loved Kyung Sun’s devotion to Jun Hee as a surrogate parent and older sister; and as Jin Ah’s best friend. I didn’t think much of Seung Ho at first, and then after discovering that he was suicidal due to his and Jin Ah’s emotional abuse, and how he actually tries to look after his sister, he won me over.

A lot of people were turned off by the mom, and I was too. However, unfortunately, I know that some mothers can be like this, and I know that there are some mothers who don’t know that they are actually emotionally abusing their children. This is why, when things get too toxic, it’s really time for the children to leave, for their own emotional well being as well. I do understand that in her heart, she really thought that she was doing what was right, but in the end, the execution and the way it was done wasn’t right, as at times, she ended up removing their own agency to do things and make decisions on their own.

Now, let’s go to the workplace issue. I like that they tried to address the whole #MeToo thing, but in the end, it felt like nothing truly happened as the consequences of the actions of the offending men didn’t really stick.

I absolutely loved the cinematography of the series, the use of lighting, and the slow mo montages focusing on all the sweet and happy moments these two had with each other. True their wasn’t a lot of food, but it can’t be denied that they did show us them going on dates and getting good food with each other.

As mentioned earlier, this was a perfect drama for Son Ye Jin to make her tv drama comeback and this proved that Jung Hae In is not just leading role material, but it showcased his professional work ethic and his acting range as well.

I think that this was a difficult watch in the last half because of the workplace issue, and because you just got increasingly frustrated with Jin Ah’s mother, Jin Ah herself, and an overwhelming sense that an explosion will happen in the end. Pace yourself with this drama, and if you can, pair this with a light and breezy drama as a palette cleanser. (Interestingly enough, one of my guilty pleasure palette cleansers is a wonderfully absurd drama with a heart all about food called “Wok of Love”, but it does make a wonderful pairing so I don’t get too mired in frustration and agony over “Pretty Noona”.)

In the end, this drama was a well crafted piece that may frustrate viewers due to the actions and choices that the main characters make that was pretty much consistent with their characters. Aside from this, it gets frustrating because it offers us a glimpse at the harsh realities in different stages of a relationship, especially when the flaws of the people involved are the same as theirs. This may not be a crowd pleaser, but it deserves some praise for trying to show things that other dramas may not be able to. However, if you are a fan of Son Ye Jin or Jung Hae In, this a wonderful addition to their bodies of work that you don’t want to miss. Just make sure to pace yourself accordingly.

Have you seen “Something in the Rain”/”Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food”? What did you think about it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Image Source: JTBC Drama Facebook Page

 

 

19 thoughts on “TV Review: Something in the Rain/Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (Spoilers!)

  1. I loved the old world charm, beautiful first half, very frustrating second half. The last scene was half baked with pathetic dialogues for the female lead. This could have had another episode.I’m head over heels in love with the male lead.. Hated the same song playing over and over again..But overall very realistic with fantastic supporting cast!

    1. Agreed, the first half was charming and amazing and then the second half was pull out my hair kind of frustrating, although I can see it happening in real life. Welcome to the Jung Hae In fan club! I fell in love with him earlier this year when he was in Prison Playbook, and then even more when I caught up with last year’s While You Were Sleeping! 😍

  2. Of all the reviews I read about Something in the Rain, yours was one of the most thoughtful and comprehensive.

    I am coming late to this conversation because I’m new to watching Kdrama. My youngest daughter encouraged me to watch Boys over Flowers when I was visiting her, and I got hooked. My second Kdrama, which I chose and watched on my own, was Something in the Rain. So I’m no expert. But I wanted to share some of my perspectives on this series as a mom of two girls in their 30s who are navigating life and love while I stand on the sidelines, watching. I am white, from a Western background; my husband is Chinese, but grew up in Calcutta, India. We recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.

    I stuck all the way through with Something in the Rain, perhaps because I’m a neophyte. Yes, a number of things in the show bothered me, top of the list my being subjected to “Stand by Your Man” every episode. In contrast, I found Rachael Yamagata’s music welcome, although I did think its use misplaced in a few scenes: I could accept it as background music in a scene between Joon-Hee and his sister Keong-Seo, because there was exceptionally deep familial love between them; in any scene with Keong-Seo and Joon-Hee’s deadbeat father (for instance, the uncomfortable car ride to the airport, with Joon-Hee driving under duress) it cheapened the sentiment of the lyrics.

    The constant use of lying to diffuse difficult situations made me wonder if my lack of understanding of Korean culture made me judge too harshly. Yes, the main couple got themselves into more trouble than necessary by resorting too often to lying, but it seemed everyone was lying or withholding truth: Yoon Jin-Ah’s father lied to, or withheld information from, her mother on a number of occasions; Ms. Yoon’s supervisor, Mr. Nam, claimed to have not received the request for promotional materials for a store, then shredded the evidence he had and threw all responsibility, even economic, on Jin-Ah; Keong-Seo purposefully misrepresented to Jin-Ah’s coworker (and presumptive romantic rival) Kang Se-Yeong, the high expectations of her and Joon-Hee’s parents for potential spouses, leaving out the fact that their mother was long dead, and their father had abdicated his role as a parent; Jin-Ah’s boyfriend at the beginning of the series, Lee Gyu-Min, hid that he was unfaithful to her while they were dating. Do people lie in real life? Yes. Do people who don’t usually lie, who usually live by a strong moral code, sometimes lie when they deem it a necessity? Yes. What bothered me is that no-one seemed to learn that truth has a way of coming out sooner or later, and that situations in which untruths or truth unspoken is used as a defense will become worse once the truth is revealed. It especially bothered me that in later episodes, after all Jin-Ah and Joon-Hee had endured as a couple, lies tripped off Jin-Ah’s tongue too easily. Some of the most truthful characters in this show were the least likeable: Jin-Ah’s mother never minced words about her thoughts, intents, or motivations; Kang Se-Yeong was upfront about wanting to snag Joon-Hee for herself; Jin-Ah’s ex-boyfriend, Lee Gyu-Min, once his deceit and unfaithfulness was uncovered, was brutally honest and unrepentant about it.

    I disagree with some reviewers that Yoon Jin-Ah, in her story arc, did not grow as a person. She was a complex person with some intractable faults like resorting to lies to smooth things over (at the moment, but paying dearly for it later), redirecting conversation to avoid hard subjects, or resorting to being cutsie to sooth another’s anger. But she went from being a doormat girlfriend to learning what is most important to her in a relationship, and finally living by that realization even if it meant she disappointed the expectations of her parents, society in general, and her boyfriend after Joon-Hee. She went from being Ms. Tambourine at work to standing up for her rights as a female worker, even when she was abandoned by other women in her workplace. The show did not depict a huge victory in the sexual harassment story line, but (fictional) CoffeeBay top boss Mr. Jo stated that Jin-Ah had won her verdict, and company personnel liaison Ms. Jung said that Jin-Ah had become famous for it (unfortunately, to the point of her probably being deemed unemployable by other corporations). Jin-Ah was promoted into exile in the company, and the perpetrators of her sexual harassment retained their jobs and did not seem to have learned a good lesson from the whole experience: that take on the sexual harassment subplot is probably too true, at present, but this show offers hope because small steps add up to larger results. If I were to cry “unreal” about the ending of this particular story line, it would be about CoffeeBay keeping on troublesome employees after Jin-Ah won the verdit. If she gained infamy because of this case, so did the company, and it would not reflect well on an international corporation in the MeToo age to seem complicit in her sexual harassment.

    As for the love that developed between Joon-Hee and Jin-Ah, I found it charming at first and frustrating as it developed (or, rather, lacked development). Could I believe that romantic love can grow between a young man and a somewhat older woman? Yes. The older we get, the less a few years’ difference makes. Were these two actors believable as lovers? I certainly thought so. What I didn’t understand, and thus was frustrated by, was why they had so much difficulty communicating if they had past history as childhood friends. It was repeatedly stated that Keong-seo and Joon-Hee were frequent visitors to the Yoon household, almost family. Jin-Ah’s mother gave them a safe place to come for food and for friendship, in the absence of their own parents. Can I believe that Joon-Hee’s absence of three years during his first work assignment in the USA might make Jin-Ah view him differently than she had when he was just her younger brother’s best friend? Yes. There was more than three years separation between them, if you count the time Joon-Hee spent doing his Korean military service, which is mentioned in the show. I would assume any young man would change a lot, for better or for worse, when living through military service and a long-term assignment in a foreign country. So I suppose he might feel like a stranger, at first, to Jin-Ah after a long separation during critical years of his physical and emotional development, but their deep history would still be present in their relationship, and it wasn’t shown at all. My theory is that it was the deep history that made Joon-Hee, a noted womanizer, fall so hard for Jin-Ah. It is not likely any other woman he met would have known his parents as she did. Joon-Hee and Keong-Seo both had gaping holes torn in their hearts by the death of their mother, and it is fully understandable they’d emotionally lean on Jin-Ah, who knew them before and after their family blew apart. She and her brother, being lifetime best friends of Keong-Seo and Joon Hee, more than any other of their peers would understand the core of their being that was that love and loss; between the two Yoon siblings, Jin-Ah was more emotionally available. During the show, whenever anyone asked Joon-Hee “Why, of all people, Jin-Ah?” all he could answer was “Because she’s Jin-Ah.” I don’t think even he knew why he was so strongly drawn to Jin-Ah, other than his initial impression that she was pretty. In contrast, on several occasions Jin-Ah was able to clearly outline mature reasons why she appreciated the attentions of, and loved, Joon-Hee.

    Was Joon-Hee looking for someone other than his sister, whom he tended to take for granted, to fill that mother-shaped hole in his heart? Perhaps, but the writer of this series made it clear Joon-Hee thought he was Jin-Ah’s protector. Although that viewpoint didn’t sit right with me, I can imagine a young man of his background having such thoughts. As is common with someone who’s suffered the loss of a loved one, he may have blamed himself (no matter how wrongly or illogically), and wanted to prove that he could protect this loved one. He hated his father for abandoning him and his sister, and wanted to assure others, and himself, he wasn’t that kind of man. His unrealistic promises of always being there to keep Jin-Ah from hurt, his inability to accept her autonomy, are signs of an unhealthy mindset. His frequent claims that he’d stay with Jin-Ah–no matter what–lasted only until he decided, without consulting her, to flee to the USA. If she had agreed to go with him, living an isolated existence without any other family, friends, and no job, it would have been like he locked her away in a castle tower. She was wise to see the personal cost of her going to the USA for his sake, and resist it; this was the decision of a mature person, no matter how painful the decision was for her to make and stick to. And I don’t understand why Joon-Hee decided at that time in their relationship to bring them to a pivotal choice: his best friend, Jin-Ah’s younger brother, grudgingly supported the relationship; her best friend, his older sister, chose to look past her objections for Joon-Hee’s sake; Jin-Ah’s father was okay with the relationship; Joon-Hee’s father was pleased about the pairing; Jin-Ah’s mother still vehemently opposed the relationship, but everyone else saw her as being unfair, and Jin-Ah had finally gotten out from under her mother’s roof and direct control. So why flee just when most obstacles to their relationship had been neutralized? I think Joon-Hee couldn’t deal with the concept of Jin-Ah developing independence, rather than being dependent on him. Even though he’d set in motion his return to the USA before he learned of her signing an apartment lease, Joon-Hee knew Jin-Ah would be moving, and he did not accept her reasons for not wanting to move in with him directly from her parents’ home. He could not support her desire to try being independent, during which time they would have been free to visit each other at their separate homes as much as they wished. His ego was hurt, and he turned that into rejection instead of choosing to support her as she grew as a person. His following through on his hasty commitment to move to the USA didn’t have to end the relationship, in these days of video chat and accessibly priced air travel (if you time it right and look for bargains). A reasonable, committed, patient couple would have worked out a timeline for visiting and testing the waters for her possible move to follow him, instead of laying down an ultimatum. But that would have been a different, less dramatic story…and in real life people do make rash mistakes in their relationships based on bad feelings of the moment. So yes, even though I hated that they broke up after all, I applauded Jin-Ah being strong and believing in herself, and saw him as inflicting unnecessary pain on himself.

    As to the issue of Jin-Ah inserting herself into the broken Seo family dynamic, she did step over the line, but I think she was being wise. Was it no business of hers? I disagree. Joon-Hee was bringing a lot of emotional baggage into their relationship with his unresolved issues in regard to his father. Whether or not she did it graciously, Jin-Ah ripped the bandage off the unhealed wound of his father’s abandonment, forcing Joon-Hee to confront it, and presenting opportunity for defusing what would likely later become a time bomb in his relationship with Jin-ah. Such an elemental issue as parental abandonment cannot be ignored without affecting a person’s ability to interact with others. An instinct about this may have been part of what drove Jin-Ah’s mother to oppose the relationship, although it did appear her overriding desire was to have her children marry to improve their place in society, no matter whether it was accompanied by happiness.

    If a work of art makes me think, even if it makes me uncomfortable, I believe that work of art has done its job. Watching this show, even when I was squirming and/or yelling at the characters on the screen, I was invested. Kudos to the writer, director, and actors for that. The production values of this series were beautiful, except for the music track (and one song in particular). I will recommend to my friends that they watch Something in the Rain.

    1. Wow! Thank you for this very insightful review-like comment. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the show, and it is interesting to get thoughts on this show from someone more experienced than me, which makes me think that it would be interesting, just maybe, to re-watch the show with my lens adjusted by a bit, but it’s still too soon for me. I think that some points that you mentioned did bother me a lot, namely the lack of communication and the way Joon Hee reacted and fled to the US when she moved out of her parents house. I think that one of the reasons, maybe, as to why I wasn’t over the moon about it as well was because I had high expectations about this drama. But yes, the fact that it did bother me and did make me think meant that it did its job in making me question and think about things, although its one that I might not revisit anytime soon. Also, welcome to Kdrama-land and I hope you enjoy every moment you have here! I don’t know if this would be your cup of tea, but a recent drama that I just reviewed, “Watcher”, was one that also had that underlying sense of unease that I felt throughout the show and was refreshing for me as I love OCN crime thriller dramas. But it also made me think as well. 😀

      1. Thank you for your suggestion about the next Kdrama I could watch. Since I’m new at this, I’m hoping to expose myself to a wide variety of subject matter and genre, although I’m not too keen on superfluous blood and gore. I’m also wimpy when it comes to horror. Are there historical dramas that are classic that you think I should watch?

      2. Watcher was good, not too much blood and gore as compared to most OCN dramas, but if you compare how censored the violence is in kdramas it is way tamer that Western fare, I mean, they actually blur out knives and if it’s too bloody, they blur that too. Re horror, same! I’m a sucker for thrillers, legal dramas, mysteries and crime, so OCN’s fare is generally my cup of tea. I occasionally balance that with some romantic comedies that become my guilty pleasures, dramas that are my fun guilty pleasures, and nice insightful warm fuzzy dramas that give you life lessons and stuff. For historicals, I actually enjoyed Mr. Sunshine more than I thought I would, mostly because I find that period of time interesting as well. Chicago Typewriter switches from past to present, but I liked it as well. I’m looking forward to watching Nokdu Flower because of the premise and cast, and My Country because of the cast. Still have to find a great saeguk to sink my teeth in though. Some of my favorite more recent modern dramas set in the present day though include “Are You Human Too?” (guilty fun pleasure for me!), “Fight for My Way” (a coming of age rom-com that’s almost a modern classic for me), “Rain or Shine” (melodrama, but almost perfect in storytelling, direction, and acting), and “Familiar Wife” (warm fuzzy romance with a slight fantasy element that dishes out nice insightful lessons on love and life.) 😀

  3. I want to add that in the Finale, I found it believable that it took Joon-Hee’s reappearance to attend his former best friend’s wedding to awaken Jin-Ah to the fact that she’d fallen back into a farce of a relationship. She’d spent a lifetime trying to please others, including her parents, at the expense of her own feelings and aspirations. That kind of pattern–the inertia–is hard to break, without some other force to change the trajectory. Joon-Hee’s love for Jin-Ah, and hers for him, was the force that changed her life three years prior, and was the force again when he came back into her orbit. And can relationships that end without proper resolution be rekindled? You betcha. I’ve known of marriages that ended, and old/new relationships started after meetings between old flames that occurred at school reunions. Would Jin-Ah and Joon-Hee be successful as a couple once they got together again in the Finale? That depends on their commitment to communication and transparency in their relationship. I’d like to think they’ve learned a thing or two in the intervening years since they parted. But couples therapy might be a big help… That could be another series!

      1. It gave me pause for thought in the cemetery scenes in Something in the Rain when I saw the dates on the gravestone of the mother of Keong-Seo and Joon-Hee: I’m a year older than her. It made my heart ache to imagine my two daughters growing up without me, and reminds me what a privilege it is for me to still be in their lives, much as they roll their eyes at me and scold me for trying to mother them now that they’re adults. I get a kick out of being able to share my recent interest in Kdrama with them, since they watched Kdramas years ago when they were high school students. But since those days they’ve been too busy with college, jobs, social lives, and basic adulting to watch much of anything, so maybe my knowledge of Kdrama will soon surpass theirs!

  4. Hi,there. I have this habit of not only watching Kdramas (movies,etc), but also searching for the info on cast, characters and reviews. I also tried to know more about the actors &actresses who were on the shows. If I liked their performances, I would watch more of their old shows… I would say most Kdramas & movies are one of the best. After “Crash Landing On You” my respect for those people behind Kdramas and the like leveled up notches higher. At this stage, I’ve already watched dozens…

    Your review , in my opinion, was the best….comprehensive, positive, constructive and closest to my own thoughts. ..I didn’t like Jin-ah’s mother, too. haha. I liked Seo Joon Hee (Jung Hae In) more than Yoon Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin), because he was more reliable and more decisive. Both characters were immature, too. Who cares? Most of us were like that, too. There were scenes where I really dislike Yoon Jin Ah. Why did she endure the relationship with Lee Gyu-Min? Was it because of her nagging mother again? But the lead actors were really great; I was able to see the growth in their characters but still can’t figure out why Jin Ah resorted to lying…was she a chronic liar? Was it because of her not-so-nice mother? I really disliked her mother, hmppp… She was rude, condescending and irritating. Although I understood her explanations much later on. I liked her best friend, dad and brother Seung Ho , too. All the other characters did a wonderful job on this drama. I loved the realities of life shown including the workplace issues that was not clearly resolved although in one elevator scene, her boss told her in passing that she was the winner…I wondered how that happened. The break-up between Joon Hee and Jin Ah was relevant (no matter how petty the reason was) for their character to mature a little more and for the people around them to realize their guilt in meddling/crossing the line that led to the separation of the two lovers. Though the ending was ambiguous, it looked like a happy ending. I am a sucker for happy endings.

    Something in the Rain used soooo much OST that they became grating to my ear. But they were all good songs sang beautifully by a great singer. In most scenes, however, I thought that the music was so loud and distracting.
    But I loved the songs, nonetheless. Congratulations to Son Ye Jin and Jung Hae In! You’ve made the characters of Joon Hee and Jin Ah believable, interesting and alive…and worth knowing, with character flaws and all. Congratulations to all who made this Kdrama worth watching.

  5. hi elriss,

    your analysis of the story did filled many gaps that i felt while and after watching the show. It helped relieved many unspoken emotions that might have stemmed from past wounds that have been left unhealed, in your words, where uncovered . You are maturedly insightful, and has deep grasp of human frailties and strengths. thank you.

  6. I love all the plots except for the short ending/finale. I was hoping that both of them get married or something more convincing than just mere hugging in the rain.

  7. Hi, I am on episode 14, and thank you for the excellent write up the show because you expressed everything perfectly. I loved the first 3 episodes and then it got so increasingly frustrating I wanted to quit watching. I got so angry at the mom, so annoyed with Jin-Ah. But after episode 7 I finally caught on that this show is not really about romance. It’s exactly what you wrote, how the lead was raised and how she adapted in order to survive her suffocating world for 35 yrs. it shows how ppl sabotage themselves without even knowing it.

    The best and most telling scene was when Jin-Ah’s dad took her out for dinner and I thought he was going to support her but instead he was there to relay the mom’s message (which shows how the entire family is brainwashed by the mom). In that scene Jin-Ah’s dad is saying that children need parents to teach them to be proper and Jun-Hee is not proper because he didn’t have parental guidance.

    Jin-Ah replies that it is a parent’s duty to teach their children about love. She asks him “what is love?” And he was dumbfounded because he had no idea.

    That scene made me cry (even now thinking about it makes me cry) because it is true. Part of a parent’s duty is to teach their children about love. Love for others, more importantly, love for themselves. What is so sad is… how many are actually taught this??? We have a whole world of issues because this does not happen for so many people. Myself included. It took me 45 yrs to learn on my own.

    I only started watching kdramas this summer, so this one is my 6th show (all fluffy romances of course) At one point I thought this is the worse Kdrama possible, but only because I have yet to watch on with something real to say.

    Again thank you for your excellent analysis, I look forward to reading more of your work.

  8. I love your thoughts on the show “Something in the Rain”. You explained it well for me that I understand the ups and down of the story and the characters.

  9. Para Cele 그리고 Diana 도

    Mi análisis, muy personal.

    Para comenzar, hay que ver la serie teniendo en cuenta su titulo original coreano, que dice ya mucho:
    “Linda Hermana (Mayor) Quién Me Compra Comida”.

    (Su titulo internacional, “Bajo la Lluvia”, no nos dice mucho…)

    1. Es una relación de roles invertidos.

    2. Aunque no hay escenas sobre el pasado del chico, desde el principio se enfatiza y aclara él es un guapísimo “mujeriego” quien no dura más de tres meses en sus múltiples relaciones de pareja. Esto pudiera interpretarse como que “no ha encontrado a su media naranja”, pero me parece es que no ha aprendido a valorar a la mujer en lo general.

    3. Ella es simplemente hermosa, dejando asomar solamente la punta del iceberg de su personalidad. (Una probadita de su carisma). Ella no es buena, ¡pero tampoco es mala!. Ella simplemente, “es”.

    4. Además de los roles invertidos, esta es una relación tipo Pluto–Luna, donde es Él quien lleva el rol de la Luna: De acuerdo a la mitología, Cuando Hades (Pluto, en este caso ella) rapta a Perséfone (en este caso a él, a sus emociones), es llevada(o) al inframundo donde es ultrajada(o), violada(o), sometida(o). El objetivo, según la mitología, es que Él y sus emociones “mueran” (en sentido figurativo) para que al renacer regrese o resurja desde al averno hacia el mundo de los mortales presentándose ahora de una manera más consciente, más madura, habiendo aprendido a valorar lo importante, en este caso a la mujer en general. Pero, después de tanto dolor este aprendizaje podría él aplicarlo en una nueva relación de pareja con otra mujer. De seguir con la misma, se convertiría en una relación tóxica con una parte que ejerce el rol de (sutil) manipulador y otra parte es el sometido.

    5. Ella se queja mucho de “la mala suerte” que ha tenido en el amor pero en el fondo una mujer con tanto carisma (como ella) no sabe, no conoce, cómo relacionarse de otra manera; solo sabe dejarse querer ya que así es su naturaleza. Aunque no acepta del todo lo que la madre quiere imponerle, tampoco le desagrada esa parte de asociarse con un hombre alfa, de abolengo, seguro de sí, que la guíe, que la proteja, de buena familia y quién le eleve el estatus socio económico.
    Ella solo podrá respetar admirar, comprometerse y seguir a un hombre así.

    6. Pero también anhela un amor “bonito” que le ofrece el chico. Lo malo es que no siempre están todas las virtudes juntas en un solo hombre por lo que es obvio no lo admira lo suficiente, no lo respeta lo suficiente, por lo que ella nunca se comprometerá con él, salvo en su propia fantasía.

    7. La madre de ella hace un papel extraordinario, convincente; aunque sea una puerca.

    8. La hermana del chico es la única que ve el terrible peligro en que su hermano menor se ha metido al convertirse en novio de la chica, quién es la mejor amiga de esta hermana en cuestión.

    9. Mi teoría se valida en una de las últimas escenas con uno de los papales más cortos pero más claros que he visto en un K-drama: El último novio de la chica es un tipo déspota, pero muy exitoso y muy rico, quién le quiere (a ella) pero no es su prioridad: Ella reconoce que con alguien así, sí se puede comprometer, sí vale la pena.

    10. Por último, desde la primera escena en la explanada de las afueras del edificio donde ambos trabajan, ella se esta masajeando los pies por fatiga o dolor, al sentirse sola y necesitar de “un cariño” tiende una trampa egoísta y posiblemente inconsciente.
    Él inicialmente no muerde el anzuelo y se pasa de largo en la bicicleta.
    Pero se da la vuelta, regresa y decide vivir la experiencia por más dolorosa que esta sea.

    Tan tan.

  10. The K-drama “Something in the Rain” depicts a woman’s independent growth since her 35 years of age from several aspects and issues. Based on the Korean cultural background, love is an inappropriate case for a woman 5-10 years older than her boyfriend. The actor Jung Hae In, acted as Jun-Hui, plays a warm, wise, good-communicated, and mature role to influence the actress as Jin-A, acted by Son Ye-Jin, to know how to be herself. At Episode 16, the actor finally knows why Jin-A made her own decision not to go with him to the USA 3 years ago. She loves Jun-Hui very much, and therefore, while in reality, she wants to be independent. She “grows up” and chooses to be herself first. That is why the actor said twice he loves her. He helps her cultivate independent thinking that accomplishes a true love between them. During the process of finding true love and of being their own, both the main actor and the main actress confront some obstacles, or complicated situations, reflected by the script, including the social taboos: a woman’s obedience to her parents, to her male bosses and to the cultures or traditions. A love story from the appearance, reflects in fact, the issues of good quality of cultures and traditions of respecting elders, of being considerate of the family, and of being our own, especially for a female under the holistic team work of the script writer, the director, the producer, and the two main characters especially.

  11. Great review, really terrific and well thought through. And I agree with the comments of Elriss as well. Maybe I’m relatively new to K-drama, but this one swept me off my feet completely. The acting is so great, so realistic, and the story may indeed be too real for some. We have no perfect lead characters, but people struggling with their lives, making all kinds of foolish decisions, not communicating when that is what is needed. But how I love them.

    I loved the chemistry. The broad smile on Joon Hees face when his umbrella trick works and he gets to stroll around with his girl to be. Man, do I feel his joy. Jin-Ah who is so very much in love that I feel it through the screen. How she runs to Joon-Hee, jumps in his arms and smothers him with kisses. Her facial expressions that speak volumes (just watch her trying to break the uncomfortable silence in the bookshop). Or watch her face during the red umbrella episode: why a red umbrella? What is this? Has this arm around my shoulders meaning, or not?. I had to check out Korean color symbolism to understand that this red umbrella is quite a bold move from Joon-Hee).
    Anyway, I read somewhere a statement from mr Jung that the director wanted them to use real emotions. I believe they succeeded, so much that I can’t imagine that this play did not in some way have effect in RL. Can you really shake that kind of acting off so easily?

    But that is only the first layer. On rewatching, I noticed there are a lot of hidden messages, usually from discussions with side persons, that add to the depth of the characters and might easily go unnoticed when watching the series somewhat superficial. Jin-Ah at some point in ep 3 gives the short version of her life to a shop owner: “Don’t assume that I have an easy life just because I’m young. I’ve been betrayed and hurt. Then, when I find consolation in something, I pull myself together, But I eventually sink back into despair again. Despite that, I still try to find hope “. Well, that about sums it up. And what we’ll see in the rest of the series. I mean, sink back into despair again: isn’t that where she is at the end of ep 15? But there is more. From small statements we learn that she dated a lot (and passionately, as the pictures show), but never fell in love. Why does her brother call her an alcoholic? The emotional abuse he mentions, had probably gone on for about 15 years or so. And so on.

    That is btw why I can understand her character flaws. How she has trouble being honest about feelings (except when she records a message for Joon-Hee, in the safety of her bedroom). I mean, OK, she’s 35, but her emotional coming of age only starts just now. I read in a lot of comments elsewhere that Jin-Ah does not develop as a character. I don’t agree. Her development in the relation with Joon-Hee is by no means straightforward and does not show much progress. I get the feeling that the function of the harassment arc was not so much to show that problem resolved in itself, but to follow Jin-Ahs development. From doing everything everyons wants from her, to tricking her bosses into a bromance movie, forcing an excuse, and going on with a case even when all female coworkers abandon her and false evidence is created against her. My, has she come a long way!

    On rewatching I noticed that Joon-Hee also has some strange character traits. He can be slightly dominant and possesive. Take the dinner scene, where he once again “rescues” Jin-Ah from her ex BF. Think of what he knows as he arrives, and his explanation in the aftermath. His action looks, but was not chivalrous, He was forcing decisions on Jin-Ah (or couldn’t stand someone else touching her). This rescue was not about Jin-Ah. It was about him. The American ultimatum also doesn’t feel right. Although Jin-Ah suggested something of the kind, his ultimatum was out of place and about him, not about her. (And Elriss is very right in pointing out that this whole America thing could have been handled differently, but nvm). On the other hand, it is great how he appears at the wedding of the brother. What is he doing there? He was not invited! So whatever he may say, he was there just to see Jin-Ah.

    And then the ending. I read a lot about it being rushed, being an add-on for viewers (like me), who want a happy ending. That it doesn’t follow from what happened before. That there should at least have been serious and deep adult talk, so we can be assured that they’ll behave as responsible adults from now on. While this may appear to be the case at first glance, after some thought I see this differently. I mean, come on, deep adult talk? We know our characters by now, don’t we?

    “Bad timing” was the problem at the start of their relationship (the hands and popcorn during the movie, later in the car), and Jin-Ah finally makes the move Joon-Hee doesn’t (which is a bit of a problem: Joon-Hee feels he’s a loser (even though he’s a player with a near 100% score) for not making the first move). In the final chapter we see timing is still the problem. Some near misses when they walk around the office, unlucky communication from Jin-Ah and a sulky Joon-Hee in the bookstore, a drunk Joon-Hee at a time he had to be sober and therefore once again says all the wrong things.

    At Jeju Island, finally the timing is right. And I love what happens next. I mean, how much time has passed since the confrontation in Joon-Hee’s room? Listen to her voice, as she asks “What now, do you want to fight more”. I mean, that guy took a plane to get to her, at least a few days have gone by, and she reacts as if their last confrontation was just minutes ago, as if he had ran after her after his emotional outburst. That is a conscious move towards him, to give him an opportunity (her second move, the first being she holds the umbrella over the both of them this time).
    And where the conversation seems to be about umbrella’s, I hear something else, in the code of our characters. Joon-Hee comes because he is triggered by her unconditional declaration of love on his phone. The umbrellas were their physical declarations of love. The red one a declaration of his love, the green one her request of a new start after the blind date. Never to be thrown away. He does not want any other umbrella – not any other girl. He wants his. Jin-Ah. And this time, she persists that he gets out of code and speaks openly. He has to make the move this time. He has to take her hand this time. OK, he takes her as a whole and throws her over his shoulder, but nevertheless.

    I read the director wanted to explore the question of “what is love?” In part the answer is given bij Jin-Ah on the phone recording. But in this ending scene, I feel something else as well. That love is not only something that happens to you, but also something you choose. A choice you stand by and hold on to. Whatever happens. And that is why i’m sure they’ll be alright.

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