21 March 2008

낭랑18세 Sweet 18

Title: 낭랑18세 Nang Rang 18 Seh
English Title: Sweet 18
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2004
Episode: 16
  • 한지혜 Han Ji Hye
  • 이동건 Lee Dong Gun
  • 이다해 Lee Da Hae
  • 박준혁 Park Joon Hyuk
  • 유혜정 Yoon Hye Jung

바나나 걸 Banana Girl - 엉덩이 Ung Dung Ee (Derriere)
Kwon Hyuk Joon's grandfather and Yoon Jung Sook's grandfather agreed on the arranged marriage of their grandchildren soon after Jung Sook was born.

The two grew up as complete opposites of each other. Jung Sook, now eighteen years old, is a rebellious girl with little aspirations in life. Hyuk Joon is a successful lawyer with a serious personality.

Kwon Hyuk Joon's grandfather insists that the two should get married. Although initially against the idea, Hyuk Joon and Jung Sook eventually get married to please the elders in the family.

I really enjoyed Sweet 18 but I couldn't relate to the Yoon Jung Sook character. She's too immature for someone who is eighteen years old, in my opinion. I also don't understand why she doesn't have anything that defines her: no hobbies, no future career prospects, no dreams, nothing.

I'm disappointed that Jung Sook is presented as someone who is bad at everything: studies, household chores, manners and etiquette, etc. She has a few redeeming qualities but these are overshadowed by her faults and shortcomings.

Her dream in life is to marry her first love which incidentally, turned out to be the man she is supposed to marry. The thing is, after marrying Kwon Hyuk Joon and making her dream come true, it seems that she has nothing else to do with her life. That's a sad prospect, I think.

I have nothing against women who just want to get married and be a housewife as well as a mother. I just couldn't understand why women would have to choose one over the other (profession versus family) when in this day and age, it is common to be able to have both and to do well in both.

Even if a woman has to choose, the main point is that she has choices and would willingly have both, if at all possible. I think it's rare to see a woman whose life revolves only on her husband and children the same way that it is unusual to see a woman whose life revolves only around her work.

What I like about the drama is that the two lead characters are not hung up on another person. There were other parties, to be sure, but the lead characters are not in love with them so the conflict of the drama is not about who the lead characters really love and want to be with. The couple's conflicts are about their differences, how to confess their feelings to the each other, how to clear up misuderstandings, and how to fulfill their family obligations.

Another source of conflict is Jung Sook's sister-in law, Kwon Sun Ah. She doesn't like Jung Sook and I understand her point of view. Her brother is an accomplished person and of course, it's natural for her to want an accomplished person to be her brother's wife. She comes around in the end and finally accepts Jung Sook as part of her family so everything ends well for everyone.

Sun Ah is irritating at times but she does have adorable moments. The scenes where she hangs around her brother's friend Jung Chan were really funny. She likes him and she's trying to make her feelings known without saying it out loud but Jung Chan is too dense to notice. I find these scenes awkward for her but I can relate; I don't think I'll be able to tell a guy I like him.

낭랑18세 Sweet 18