I have included ‘Chicago Typewriter’ on my Top K-Drama Picks for 2017 because I was blown away with how the story was knitted to a blend of real and imaginary emotion on a premise of switching timelines.
So the other half of premiere week gave a much more elaborated background of the past timeline. I have a slight issue on what the catalyst is for the time transition though. You see I’m used to incense sticks, talisman or subway to transition to a past setting, but that we cannot seem to grasp yet in the story. The narration as what I’ve mentioned last time is easy to follow, but the rules that are being introduced felt like coming from nowhere. I mean are we going to have a ghost hunting party here? Dear Drama, I signed up for you so please give me a good run for the next 4 episodes. Please enlighten me and polish the time element execution because I’m close to saying that Chicago Typewriter is a story of a best selling novelist who seems like Disney’s Beast with enchanted objects in his house serving him. *chuckles
Chicago Typewriter opens up with a lot of snappy story projections. We got a glimpse of the main characters – an eccentric reasonably proud writer and a jack-of-all-trade legendary part-timer who almost became a shooting olympian, if not for the trauma of seeing her past life sniping and killing someone whenever she holds a gun. We were also presented with tidbits of their past timeline history. It is not giving me the hook yet, but I like how the narration tone is not confusing me so far given that we might be going to shifting past and present timelines. I’m not supposed to say a lot since I am on my Day 1 here. But anything with swerving timelines is something that I really buy.
Chicago Typewriter Episode 1 Summary
A famous writer Han Se Ju goes to Chicago Illinois for a book signing event after his recent successful novel. There he unlocks the mystery of a haunted typewriter made in 1930 Gyeongseong. Strangely enchanted by the typewriter he found, we delve to Seoul circa 1930’s where his past self also a writer chats with a charming girl about a gun coined as Chicago typewriter. The coffee owner breaks his trance and he offers to buy the typewriter from him, but he refuses mentioning he paid a hefty amount for that in an auction. When the cafe owner woke up one night to the sight of moving objects in his cafe, he was forced to send the typewriter to Han Se Ju following the message written on the paper inside the typewriter.
The package is commissioned to be delivered by Jeon Seol, an avid fan of Se Ju who is a famous part-time job worker. Seol heads to his house and marvels at the extravagance. She is known to be good at almost anything. Whatever she puts her mind to she does not have any problem succeeding. Se Ju refuses to open the door and orders her to leave the package. A stray dog approached Seol as the door opens. Seol thinks the dog is Se Ju’s and follows him to the main door.
She rings the door bell and Se Ju politely acknowledges the package. She explains how the door opened because of his dog. He fusses when she reveals his dog entered the house since he does not have one because of his allergy. The dog-from-nowhere checks in the house and was about to eat the USB stick of Se Ju’s writing materials. They plead for the dog not to do it but he munches on the bone shaped USB stick.
They chase on the dog who ran away and Seol successfully tame him. The neat freak writer learns the dog pooped the USB so he asks Seol to email the files to him and reformat the computer which he gives to her after. Se Ju is fixed to the idea that she is a stalker and cites the usual lines he got from his psycho fans which typically starts on we have met before.
Se Ju dreams of him a vintage setting talking to a girl. His dream is interrupted by a phone call from his publisher discussing business the minute he answered. He cuts the chat quickly by responding how he is always on time with his pendings.
Se Ju works on his new novel materials and bumps with a familiar face from his past he was not happy seeing. They head to a cafe and his orphan background was revealed as he hinted on an unpleasant experience he had with the man’s family when he was living with them.
The next day Se Ju denies getting the dog when the vet clinic notified him through his secretary. Seol tries to appeal by going at his house that night, but his recent stalker related happenings made him deny her request so Seol and the dog heads home.
She stops at a sandwhich store and remembers when Se Ju was just a struggling writer who frequents the sandwich store where she was working and incessantly writes on his notebook. Just then the dog sensed a danger and barks at her to follow him.
At Se Ju’s house a stalker fan confronts the writer and blames him for making him kill the people who made life harder for him. He claims that Se Ju sent a message to him from his recent novel but gets enraged on why he killed the character whom he thought to be him. The light flickers in the house as Se Ju is in a gun point.
They brawl and race to the gun as the light fades in the room, and when the light comes back, Seol intently points the gun to the intruder as Se Ju recalls the woman he has been dreaming lately who is the subject of his new novel.
And the winner of 2016 kdramaland’s “Best Love Triangle” goes to “Jealousy Incarnate”!!! *chuckles
Sure, there were a lot going on in “Jealousy Incarnate” that sometimes the sporadic mini plots did not equate well to its overall make, but the eager and vibrant cast made up to that missing push the story failed to achieve. Honestly the safe ever-after ending failed to complement those strong moments of the lead cast along with the story conflict they had to face together hilariously and painfully. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the sweet ride and the endearing couple who tackled the friendship defying love chase.
Pyo Na Ri harbored a 3-year one sided love towards Lee Hwa Shin and has been working her stint as a weather forecaster. She chanced upon Hwa Shin again in Thailand where he was assigned after an expose’ revealing his older brother’s business corruption. He was denounced by his family but made the most of his occupational exile by presenting highly successful news probes. When Hwa Shin came back to the TV network news room to work on his goal to become a News Anchor, he begins seeing Na Ri at a different light. Just as he has acknowledged his feelings for her, he learned that his best friend, Go Jung Won likes her too and eventually dated her. He tried so hard to resist his growing feelings toward Na Ri to no avail and his breast cancer did not help him at all as she insisted on staying by his side while battling with the treatment. Hwa Shin’s resolved inevitably broke down and he set loose to claim Na Ri’s heart even if it will hurt his best friend. Hwa Shin’s move confused Na Ri’s heart as she learned that he is loving her back three years too late. Torn between two men whom she both love, she broke up with Jung Won so as not to strain their friendship, but the two cannot seem to find a way to exist not having her by their side so they agreed to live in Jung Won’s house so Na Ri can date them to help her decide whom she loves more between them. Na Ri’s long lost first love emotions eventually resurfaced and she was forced to deliver the sad news to Jung Won of her choosing Hwa Shin.
While I did not fully rave on “Jealousy Incarnate”, there were a few strong scenes that lingered in my mind after watching it. That cute Hwa-Shin-Jung-Won bromance was so quirky, I can bottle it for my PMS days. I love when rom-com dramas focus on the love story conflict, and what a way for “Jealousy” to present a love triangle that did not feed on angst or misplaced and incomprehensible obsession of second leads. Instead it gave out a nice fight between the lead man and second lead who equally deserve the heroine. I don’t know why the finishing kick delved to career drama because I already claimed my closure when Na Ri reverted to following Hwa Shin again, but the latter had to restrict himself out of respect to his best friend’s grieving heart. I don’t know if I can label it as a bland extension or a last-minute attempt to add embellishment on this romantic cake, but I sure did find it pointless. They should have settled to fan service and then zipped it with the chirpy wedding.
The facile interaction of the main trio, prior and after the love conflict, felt hilarious on one side because they were acting like high schoolers in justifying the situation they had and even resorting to that cohabitation settlement to help weigh in where each of them stand.
But that just show how we do unreasonable things when we are too consumed with rationalizing the love we felt. The romantic entanglement amused the girl and the woman inside me because the story clearly depicted how much a woman’s faltering choices affect decisions to commit in a relationship.
Na Ri was firm on her initial stand that she loved both men at the same time, but was just not sure who she loved more, until she got the realization or rather fear of losing Hwa Shin since she can’t contain the growing jealousy anymore. There was no definitive punch on what direction or lesson the story wanted to impart since halfway through it, even the characters seemed not to know where they were heading. That’s mainly the reason why I was disappointed in it. Acting and interaction wise among the cast members, it has great potentials, but the plot did not propel a lingering effect after it ended. The only consolation I got was the supporting cast who were busy and engrossing with what’s going on around their own stories as well.
I think it would have been safe as well if it went to a shorter run because the kind of narrative it circled to was not that complicated to begin with. Though there were a few heartfelt and emotional scenes I really enjoyed, the stagnant progression and dormant conflict made my heart veer away from liking Jealousy Incarnate as a whole.
If you are a Jo Jung Seok or Gong Hyo Jin fan, it is bearable to watch but there’s nothing special to look forward to. -abbyinhallyuland