A Little Love Never Hurts : Mid Run Review



Hello. This is a Korean in America. This is a review of the first half of the Korean drama, "A Little Love Never Hurts", after watching 32 episodes of its 50 episode run. This is a follow up article of my initial review article.  Here is the link.

P.S. Please go to Amazon when you want to purchase anything via any of the ads on the blog. It does not matter which one. I get some referral $ from it.


Introduction
"A Little Love Never Hurts” was on the top of my Korean drama watching list for a while. While it eventually got pushed down by a cute alien drama,  I still enjoyed it. However, sadly, it doesn't seem to be immune to the Korean drama sickness of the second half crash and burn. While this phenomenon is common to all Korean drama types, it hits long running family dramas the hardest.

The second half crash and burn phenomenon is caused by two main factors. First, Korean drama tends to tell serialized stories without a strong sense of story structure. It is a weird hybrid of telling a serialized story using an episodic approach.



Second, the stories the shows have in the beginning of their runs are not very intricate nor deep. At the short end, the stories are the length of a short story or novella.  At opposite end, they are the length of a 2 hour movie. Thus, it is not surprising that they run out prematurely before the end of the show.

With family dramas that run for about 50 episodes, this phenomenon is more serious. Family dramas tend to compensate for this by having multiple stories running in parallel to each other. However, it does seem that 25 episodes are about the limit for this approach.  Another approach is to deliberately segments parts of the plot for latter episodes. However, this creates an unnaturally flow to the story.

The show, "A Little Love Never Hurts", uses both of these approaches and suffers for it.



What were great about the first half
If you look at this show as a whole, "A Little Love Never Hurts" is not really special. It is a typical family Korean drama about the dynamics of families. However, the families and their members of "A Little Love Never Hurts” were somewhat different from what you would expect from a Korean family drama.

A typical Korean family drama tries to exploit family dynamics for fun while phrasing the Korean family system. So, it focuses on reinforcing existing social structures while making fun at it at the same time. Thus, a typical Korean family drama never really goes deeper than portraying controlling parents or bad/ungrateful children. It doesn't look at the fundamental structural problems.

The best thing about the first half of "A Little Love Never Hurts" was that there was a serious attempt to look at the family members and how their family dynamics hurt and is stilling hurting them while placing the audience on the same level as the characters and not looking down from a high and mightily position.

Yes, there were still typical family drama cliché elements in the show such as the "twice married father".

However, they were not in the forefront during the first half of the show's run. So, I had hopes that they would stay there although they were constant reminders that this show could go south like many other Korean family dramas.

And yes it did.


Crashing and burning up Korean drama style
After episode 20 or so, you get the feeling that the characters and their relationships were either going nowhere or actually devolving into some cliché form. The only exception was the old twilight romance which seemed to be progressing at a consistent pace.



The second daughter's affair relationship just fizzled out without any point.

Well, there was a point!
People who can't stand each other should stay together for their children.
Is this an after school special?

Leaving aside that it is a really 'out of nowhere cliché' conclusion to the story line, the story line doesn't really influence the second daughter's character. She didn't learn anything really if you think about. For her character, the whole story line was just a waste of air time since the core of the character is her daddy issues.



In contrast, the first daughter's story line does have longer lasting effects compared to her sister's.  Her character has somewhat changed from the events in the storyline.  The problem is that the execution was handled poorly and the conclusion was abrupt.

The trigger incident is like something out of a bad Romance comedy and the conclusion is the same. So, the character's changes seem rushed and forced. This is really odd since there was more than half of the show's run to execute it better.



Now we have the young former couple...
When talking about those two, you have to calculate the actual flow of time in the show. While it seems longer, only about 2 or 3 months has passed since the start of the show. This means that the young female is thinking about marrying the chef character about 2 month after breaking with a long term boyfriend.

Can you say rebound!



I'm not sure if it is just forced writing or deliberately done to justify the couple getting back together. It may be both. I just hate that the young female character devolves into a passive character after basically stating independence from being just a support role to a nobody boyfriend in the beginning of the show.

She had so much promise as s character but now she has less presence then belle from "Twilight".



With the young male, I actually like his new relationship as it does seem to be developing at a steady pace in spite of some forced writing.  However, I fear this is because it is a doomed relationship.



If so, it would be ironical.

In regard to the troll "twice married father" and his family, the less said the better. They are the most cliché family drama characters. However, the show seems to think the opposite. It is giving them increasingly expanded roles.


Why?
The main contributing factor to this decline other than those that can contributed to the genre itself is that the show is actual not more insightful than its counterparts. It does not have anything deep to really say about the issues as it doesn't really understand the issues.

It cannot provide any solutions.
It can only show us the issues.



This can be glimpsed from the 'son in law' character who is the shrink. For his profession, he is the clueless in regard to people's behavior. He is just a nice guy. As a result, it took me a long time to recognize that he was a shrink. The show did not really emphasize it and my subconscious could not comprehend it.

He is a disgrace to his profession!

Anyway, not having a solution in itself is not something to condemn the show with on its own since just showing the problem has merit. The problem is that the show doesn't have the courage to leave it alone. "A Little Love Never Hurts” tries to force an awkward happy ending on to a situation that It spent hours trying to illustrate that the situation is a mess.


At this point in time
"A Little Love Never Hurts” is at an interesting point in its run. Most of its plots which ran from the beginning of the show are being concluded as they run out of steam. But you now that the show was saving two huge plot points centered around the twilight couple.

I have issues with how the decision to segment out these plot point for the latter half as a huge story bomb. Not only does it make the plot flow disjointed it is too family drama cliché for my taste as it is so artificial.

The question is would I keep watching the show or drop it like many Korean family dramas before it.

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At this point I'm leaning 65% towards dropping the show as it is becoming a huge disappointment.

Grade: 65% dropping 35% keep watching

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