Just Bananas About: Week of 3/6/15

At first glance, Heard It Through the Grapevine seemed like your average melodrama. Boy from rich family versus girl from poor family. Teenage pregnancy. But what’s delightful and hilarious about this drama is the way the story is presented and the acting.

Han Jung Ho (Yoo Joon Sang) and Choi Yun Hee (Yoo Ho Jung) are a wealthy couple with the whole world at their fingertips. They rule their existence through tight control of their kids and the staff around them. Han In Sang (Lee Joon) is their timid son who falls for Seo Bom (Go Ah Sung), a poor, ordinary girl.

The drama’s title and theme song, “풍문으로 들었소 (Heard it Through the Grapevine),” is a song from the late 70’s sung by Ham Joong Ah and the Yankees.  Viewers may recognize that Jang Ki Ha and the Faces covered this song for the movie, Nameless Gangster.  풍문 (Poong Moon) literally translates as rumor but for the sake of English colloquialism it seems “grapevine” was used to convey the same general meaning.

In Sang and Bom promise not to contact each other until after they have been accepted into a university but not before sleeping with each other. It results in Bom getting pregnant but instead of telling In Sang about her condition, she keeps it a secret.

That is, until he decides to seek her out. In Sang finds his way to her house, he meets her parents, Seo Hyung Shik (Jang Hyun Sung) and Kim Jin Ae (Yoon Bok In), and learns of the pregnancy all at the same time. It initially puts him in a state of shock but he quickly recovers to apologize and promise to stand by Bom and the baby.

He brings Bom to his home right away to tell them that he wants to marry her and raise their baby. Jung Ho and Yun Hee have mixed feelings of shock and anger and start to raise their voice but Bom’s water breaks interrupting them. It’s not only awkward to meet your boyfriend’s parents for the first time but to tell them that you’re pregnant with their child and then give birth in the parents’ bedroom would surely be preposterous.

Jung Ho and Yun Hee try to do their best to keep things under wraps but the rumor vultures are circling so it won’t be long before the secret is out.

On the other hand, Hyung Shik and Jin Ae worry about their daughter and her baby. Bom’s parents believe that In Sang’s intentions are genuine so they resolve to help the couple get married.

It’s interesting to watch Jung Ho and Yun Hee’s world crumble around them. They are all about control and putting up a front for others. At first, I wasn’t sure why the baby’s crying unnerved them as that’s pretty much what baby’s do. However, it’s because they had nanny’s to raise the kids.

Many viewers may see Jung Ho and Yun Hee and wonder whether there is any love in what seems like a business relationship between this couple. They are so good pretending that everything is fine on the outside without revealing the storm that’s brewing underneath.

However, I can see why they got together beyond the fact that they are chaebols. They have very similar ideals when it comes to success and family. At the same, I’m eager to see how In Sang’s choice challenges those ideals.  The kids themselves are accessories that complete the illusion of a family but really they’re just pawns to further the parents’ empire.

Under them, In Sang is a timid, pathetic teenager who is terrified of challenging his parents. Clearly, his parents haven’t prepared him for the real world, only the chaebol world.  It is hilarious to watch Lee Joon here because I’ve often seen him play strong… psychopaths. His constant sobbing pathetically is hilarious to watch but he’s been so good at keeping his emotions in check in front of his parents that it must be a relief for his character to finally be able to release it all at once.

He feels unloved but through Bom, he finds confidence.  What I love about In Sang is that despite his inadequacies, he seems loyal to Bom and wants to do the right.  He’s never had to outright challenge his parents before so this will certainly be a huge learning curve for him.  I can’t wait to see him continue to step to the plate to be the man that Bom and their child needs.

In some ways, Bom is more of the adult between the two of them.  Considering that her home has always been filled with love and that her parents were supportive and understanding of her situation, she’s able to approach the unplanned pregnancy and suddenly finding herself trapped at the In Sang’s parents estate with a good attitude.  However, I like that there are still glimpses of her still being a kid around In Sang.

I think when I first saw the trailer for the drama, it didn’t quite sink in as dark comedy.  Veiled with a melodrama-esque cinematography, the drama provided a lot of laughs in these first few episodes.  Now that In Sang and Bom are married, I can’t wait to see what married life will hold for them.  Also, I can’t expect that it’ll be too long before we’ll see the rumor become truth and how Yun Hee’s friends will view her.

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