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22 June 2020

K Drama Review: Something in the Rain (2018)

I had to revise my watch list because Oppa is now on the K drama bandwagon too. He also wants to watch Song Hye-kyo and Son Ye-jin shows so I had to adjust. :D


After re-watching CLOY, we were supposed to finish watching Worlds Within first before moving to another drama. But on weekends, we also get K drama time in the afternoon when we let the little boy use the phone. We cannot watch Worlds Within on the TV downstairs. So we had to find something on Netflix. We were choosing among Descendants of the Sun, Full House, and Something in the Rain. I can't remember why we ended up with Something in the Rain but it was really a wise decision.


I usually rush writing a review right after finishing a show because I want to read other reviews and see if they share my sentiments too. Never mind if I'm super sleepy already. However, I respected Something in the Rain so much that I opted to write my review the morning after I finished watching it. I want to have time and a clear mind when I do this because I have so much to say.


Oppa has such low EQ that he read reviews about the show while we were watching the first few episodes. He read that the first half was okay but the last half was meh. I came across some CLOY reviews that briefly mentioned that SYJ redeemed herself in CLOY after a disappointing performance in Something in the Rain. So we watched this show with caution. We tempered our expectations. But after watching it, I'm so glad we didn't mind the reviews. I guess this is proof that I'm doing the right thing - read the reviews after watching and forming your own opinion about the show. That way, you won't be influenced by others.


Story


Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Something_in_the_Rain


Something in the Rain is about Yoon Jin-a (SYJ), a woman in her mid-30s who is in a relationship with a jerk lawyer, Gyu-min. She works for a coffee company and she still lives with her parents. She has a very close relationship with her bestfriend, Seo Kyung-seon (Jang So-yeon). Jin-a eventually breaks up with Gyu-min. 


Meanwhile, Kyung-seon's younger brother, Seo Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in), a 20-something guy, returns after being assigned to work in the US for 3 years. Joon-hee is also a close friend of Jin-a's younger brother, Seung-ho. Joon-hee and Jin-a work in the same building and they become closer until they fall for each other. They have a lot of cute and happy moments when people were not yet aware that they were in a relationship. 




Eventually, however, when people find out that they're together, their relationship becomes complicated. Jin-a's mother strongly objected to the relationship. She didn't like the fact that Joon-hee was much younger and was like family to them. And she hated it that he came from a broken family - his dad cheated on his mom and has remarried, while his mom died when he was young. To Jin-a's mom, family background was everything. Joon-hee wanted to save Jin-a from the stressful environment she was in (her family, her job), and he decides to ask for a re-assignment to the US to take Jin-a with him. However, Jin-a refuses to go with him. They break up but they eventually find their way back to each other. 


Cast/Characters


The CLOY review I read said SYJ was disappointing in Something in the Rain. I beg to disagree. This show was proof to me that SYJ is a very good actress. When I closely associate an actor to a particular character (like SYJ's Se-ri in CLOY), it's usually difficult to associate him/her again with a new character. But I found it very refreshing to see SYJ in a totally different light. She was wonderful as rich girl Se-ri in CLOY but she was also amazing as the average, middle class Jin-a. It was nice to see a more "normal" and relatable SYJ. She's cute when she's happy but she's also very pitiful when she's sad. She had more intimate moments here compared to CLOY and she handled those scenes with class too. I look forward to watching some of her earlier shows too to compare if she's always been this good or if she's evolved into a better actress through the years. 




I loved how the character of Jin-a developed throughout the 16 episodes. I didn't agree with some of her decisions like riding a car with her crazy ex Gyu-min or how she was not upfront with Joon-hee about some things (blind date, signing the lease, being asked to move out). But I was proud of her evolution as a person from someone who was always game (to the point of her bosses sexually harassing her and for her to be labeled Ms. Tambourine) to one who stood up for her rights and didn't back down and run away from her problems. I was disappointed that she didn't pursue filing a case against Gyu-min after he almost killed her when he sort of abducted her. But Oppa says that  must have been part of her character development. She let things slide before but after going through that, she became braver. 


I didn't agree with Jin-a when she said she wanted to continue dating Joon-hee while also doing the things she wanted to do. I respect her desire for freedom and independence but once another person's involved, she should have realized that she's supposed to make some sacrifices too. She could have handled this in a more mature way, I guess. 


I also loved the strength Jin-a had. Imagine how alone she felt when her mom asked her to move out, her colleagues were ignoring her because they didn't want to get involved in the sexual harassment case she filed against her bosses, she was kicked upstairs to a warehouse, her bestfriend hated her for hurting Joon-hee, and her boyfriend broke up with her. But she survived all of that. And she came out stronger and more mature. I guess that's something we all strive to be in our lives. 


Now, let's talk about my baby face oppa, Jung Hae-in. He is one cute and adorable guy. I thought I was over the boy next door type after committing myself (haha) to my very manly Hyun Bin oppa. But Jung Hae-in portrayed the character of Joon-hee so well that I can't help but love him too. 


Joon-hee started out really perfect. He was overprotective of Jin-a. He wanted to do everything for her. I felt his pain and frustration when he could not defend her because people were not yet aware of their relationship. As my friend put it, he was very manly. And so mature for his age. He was proof that maturity does not come with age. He was much younger than Jin-a but he was ready to take on the responsibility that came with their relationship. I'm sure the condescending words from Jin-a's mom hurt him but he chose to endure everything because he loved Jin-a. Any other guy would have ran away with a momster-in-law like that. But he fought for Jin-a and let those things slide. 




I loved how he went with Jin-a to her business trip because he knew the boss she was with was a pervert. How overprotective can you get? South Korea is a relatively safe place but he always drove for Jin-a when he can. Compare that with this guy whom I asked to pick me up from the airport when I came from the province by myself when I was 20. He made excuses and I had to go home by myself from the airport to Marikina at night in relatively unsafe Philippines. :D I can totally relate to how elated Jin-a felt when she told her dad that she loved that Joon-hee still wanted to protect her even if she's already an adult. 


I was amazed at how Joon-hee wanted to do everything for Jin-a. And how he happily and wholeheartedly wanted to do those things for her. Guys have the tendency to get tired of doing things for their girlfriends/wives after some time. I absolutely hate how little requests/favors I ask for are welcomed as inconveniences, that most of the time I just choose to do things myself. No, women do not want to be treated like damsels in distress but we also love being taken care of/pampered/cherished, etc. once in a while. Is that too much to ask for when that's the only thing guys are good for in women's lives? Haha. 


I loved how Joon-hee was so responsible. He asked Jin-a to move in with him when she was kicked out of her house and her budget was not enough to find her own place. He made arrangements to bring her to the US so she can escape the troubled world she had in Korea. Of course things didn't pan out the way he wanted them to. But I appreciate his thoughtfulness in thinking of ways to make Jin-a's life easier, better, and more comfortable. Although we know that the exact opposite happened to Jin-a. 


While he seemed perfect, I was also happy that the show did not make Joon-hee super perfect. I'm glad that they chose to show his selfish side when he broke up with Jin-a. I get it that he was hurt when Jin-a refused to leave with him. But it was immature and selfish of him to refuse to see her after that. Jin-a was going through a lot but he chose to leave her. They could have compromised. Perhaps he could have gone ahead to the US then Jin-a could have followed him after she sorted things out at work and with her family. But I guess that was also part of his character development. He needed to go through that to understand that he can't always save everyone from whatever they're going through. Sometimes, he has to let them deal with things on their own. 


I was telling myself that when my son is grown up enough to start dating, I will watch a K drama with him to teach him how to be a proper oppa. For now, that show will be Something in the Rain. I want him to be like Joon-hee - sweet, protective, kind, loving, respectful. But I also want to show him that love is not perfect. It may start out all sweet and rosy but things are bound to change. And when he goes into a relationship, his mindset should always be "am I still willing to stay once things change?" 



What made the show really nice and appealing to watch was the great chemistry between SYJ and JHI. They looked so cute. They appeared very comfortable with each other, never mind that SYJ was older and a more senior actor. They acted so well that made it easy to believe that they were really in love with each other. It was refreshing to see SYJ with a guy who was all out and carefree unlike the reserved and stiff Capt. Ri she got in CLOY. 



Other characters I loved include:


  1. Kyung-seon. Jang So-yeon was the rat's meek and timid wife in CLOY. It was refreshing to see her in a more feisty role here in Something in the Rain. I felt how torn she was between Jin-a and Jun-hui, but how eventually, blood prevailed for her. I knew she loved Jin-a but I also felt that she didn't think she was girlfriend or even wife material, especially for her brother. 
  2. Geum Bo-ra. She started out a bitch who was against what everyone was saying. But she proved to be level-headed and a real friend to Jin-a. She was there to support her all the way. 
  3. Jin-a's dad. I loved his quiet, steady, and reassuring presence. I knew he loved Jin-a and he supported whatever decision she made. But he also loved his wife and he wanted to help her. He knew where both Jin-a and his wife were coming from. I just wish he was bolder in supporting Jin-a. 
  4. Seung-ho. It must have weirded him out that his bestfriend was seeing his elder sister. But he chose to accept the relationship anyway. I loved how he still looked out for his sister when he told Joon-hee not to hurt her. And I also liked how he warned Jin-a not to underestimate Joon-hee because he does not believe in second chances. He might have appeared indifferent but I knew he was genuinely rooting for them. 

All the other actors were perfect for their roles. Even Jin-a's mom. She was annoying but that must be because she's a really good actress. I understood her point but she just really crossed the line. She was disrespectful and showed absolutely no class at all. It was ironic that she wanted a guy with a good family background for her daughter but she was being very disgraceful. 


Jin-a's boyfriends, except for Joon-hee, were all annoying too. I don't know why she attracts jerks. :D


Music


One review Oppa read said the songs were overused and annoying. Again, I beg to differ. I loved the music, first of all, because they used English songs that I can understand. I love the Korean music they use on other dramas too but I was just able to appreciate the songs more here in Something in the Rain because I knew what they meant. 


I won't say they were overused. Perhaps they could have added more songs to appease those who felt that the songs were being played repeatedly. But I was fine with them. Just like in other K dramas, the music helped set up the mood and gave me the feels the show wanted to convey. 


Oppa said that some songs were not used in the appropriate scenes. I suspect that if we analyze the Korean songs in the other dramas, we might find the same thing too. So that won't really bother me that much. 


I loved how they used the same songs for the sweet and cutesy parts when Jin-a and Joon-hee were just starting out then they transitioned to a different song when their relationship became more complicated. 



What I Loved


The thing I liked the most with this show is how they tried to depict love accurately and realistically. People might like the love story in CLOY better because it was bolder. Imagine having to cross borders and defying the law for love. If that's your idea of love, then yes, you're bound to be disappointed with Something in the Rain. But if you want some real talk, then this would be the show for you.


As I mentioned above, this drama shows us how love develops. It starts out exciting. It makes your heart flutter. But at some point, things will plateau, or even go downhill. It will become boring. You'll feel sad and alone and neglected. That's why they say love is a decision. Only those who can withstand all of those will stay and only then can you say that it's truly love. People around you will make things harder and complicated and it's up to you to decide if things are worth it. In Joon-hee and Jin-a's case, they tried to endure it but they eventually succumbed to the pressure.




I loved how the drama showed us that sometimes, it's best for two people to be apart for them to realize that they really can't live without each other. I know both Jin-a and Joon-hee tried to live separate lives and be okay. I was glad it was not too late when they realized that they really still wanted to be together.


Another theme I loved was how the show tackled sexual harassment in the workplace. I'm sure this issue is not only prevalent in Korean society. I believe women all over the world experience this at some point. Unfortunately, it gets swept under the rug, especially in conservative societies like Korea. I found it really brave and bold for the show to talk about it. And I loved how Jin-a's character evolved from a victim who had no choice but to go with the flow to one who's at the forefront of fighting against sexual harassment. The only thing disappointing for me was how they did not allot sufficient time to show what actually happened to Jin-a's assailants. Sure, we find out from her conversation with Mr. Jo that Jin-a won but he also seemed to imply that the assailants have not changed despite the verdict and we even see Mr. Kong still working with the company. For complex issues like this, I think the show could have made a bolder statement by showing what the verdict was and depict some sort of humiliation for the assailants. This could have helped the cause more and hopefully, help convince others to come out. With the way they handled the issue, people might be hesitant to fight because they highlighted more the hardships that Jin-a had to endure for standing her ground, without clearly showing how justice was achieved. But still, I commend the show for discussing this.


I liked how the show depicted women as more useful than men during the episode where Jin-a's mom was brought to the emergency room. The waiting area was filled with men while the women were up and about helping the patients. I also loved how Seung-ho did not perpetuate male dominance when he still helped Jin-a set the table even if their mom told them that one person setting the table should be enough. Hooray for gender equality. These might be little steps/things but I believe these were bold and important statements for a conservative and patriarchal society like Korea.


According to Oppa's research, the show was also hailed as bold for talking about a relationship between an older lady and a younger man. Apparently, this is also considered taboo in Korean society. It became even more complicated because the 2 persons involved treated each other like family. Being in a relationship with a considerable age gap myself, I've never really understood why this is such a big deal. As I mentioned above, Joon-hee showed us that maturity does not come with age. It's all about one's mindset. If two people love and understand each other and they can co-exist, why should we care? Morbid as it may sound, the only thing I'm worried about in being in a relationship with a big age gap is the possibility that the older person might die earlier, leaving the younger person all alone. So if this is really a big deal in Korean society, I'm glad that the show tried to normalize it.


I liked the family relationships here. Kyung-seon and Joon-hee. Jin-a with her dad and brother. They might not have said it a lot, but they deeply and truly cared for each other. Jin-a and her brother were always bickering but when he found out that Gyu-min was harassing Jin-a, Seung-ho stepped up to protect his sister. Seung-ho even went up against their mom when she was going overboard. I hope that Jin-a's mom became a better person after all the things they went through.



On the issue with Joon-hee's dad, others might have hated how Jin-a handled this and she might be accused of meddling with his personal affairs. But that's something that happens in real life too. When we love someone, we try to think about what's best for the other person. Perhaps, Jin-a wanted to see Joon-hee have some sort of a relationship with his dad. Yes, maybe she should not have acted on her own and she should have consulted Joon-hee first. But she meant well. And perhaps this experience will teach her to back off and she'll realize that there are some things that she cannot decide on her own. Over the years, I have learned that there are some things Oppa will always be stubborn about. Of course that does not stop me from trying. I will still ask and try to convince him but when he tells me no sternly, I shut up. It's enough that I tried. If he ends up regretting not doing what I asked him to do, then it's on him. I just respect that there are some decisions concerning his life that only he can make.


It might have been subtle, but I also liked how the show hinted that pressure from school, society, and the family can push others to commit suicide. We know the Korean entertainment industry has been battling with this issue for some time now. I guess this might also be true for some kids. It's a nice reminder of how we should be kind and respectful towards each other because we don't really know what everyone's going through.



This drama was also a nice reminder of how parents should treat their kids. Yes, a parent will always look after his/her child's welfare. But there are some boundaries we have to respect. Kids are not commodities that you can control. Teach them, raise them well, and trust that you did well and they'll make the right decisions eventually. They will make mistakes. But it's not for you to say from the get go that they're wrong. Let them learn. Unfortunately, as a parent, I know this is easier said than done. But things have to be that way. I'm blessed to have parents who cared but who never stifled us in any way. I will always remember with fondness my father's advice when my siblings and I were starting to have relationships, "be good, but if you can't be good, be safe." That's the kind of parenting we have to strive for. We should equip our kids with physical, mental, and emotional strength to deal with whatever comes their way. And having said that, I know I have a loooooongggg way to go on this aspect.


The sweet moments of Joon-Hee and Jin-a were filmed really well. It's as if you're watching a music video when the 2 are having their romantic scenes.


I loved how the show used umbrellas of different colors to show the progression of Jin-a and Joon-hee's relationship.



Red, the first umbrella they shared, stands for passionate love.



I researched and apparently green, the second umbrella they shared, can symbolize growth, which was probably ominous because we know things were about to get rough for them.



And finally, yellow, the last umbrella they shared, symbolizes freshness, positivity, clarity, optimism, and enlightenment - things that we all hope they learned from their time apart.


I'm glad how the show tried to tie loose ends but they didn't force everyone to have a happy ending. Yes, Kyung-seon and Jin-a were civil towards the end of the show but they were not as close as they were before. As Joon-hee said, things have changed and you can't really expect things to just go back to how they were before. I just hope Kyung-seon and Jin-a's relationship will improve further.


What I Didn't Like


While I welcomed the appearance of Joon-hee's dad (one of the directors in Worlds Within), I hope they built it up a bit more. It was just odd that he arrived all of a sudden after telling Kyung-seon that he didn't need them in his life. Was he on a business trip? It just didn't make sense if he just went there to see his kids.


It was weird that Joon-hee's phone suddenly played the voice recording of Jin-a while he was packing to leave for the US. Of course I'm glad that this happened because it prompted him to go back to Jin-a but I want to know how it happened.


I wish the show extended some of the later scenes. Maybe they could have cut back a bit on the cute and sweet parts during the first half to make room for the more serious stuff in the end. It would have been nice to linger on the scenes where Joon-hee asked Jin-a to move in with him and when he asked her to be by his side forever. Or even their reconciliation. It was quite sad for me to just see the show end with the 2 of them on the beach having sweet moments together. Yes, I'm glad they got back together. But the practical part of me want to know what their plans were. Are they settling in Jeju? Is Jin-a joining Joon-hee in the US? Simple stuff but those things matter to me. :D


One other thing I noticed in this show was that the characters barely slept. Joon-hee and Jin-a would be out all night until the wee hours of the morning but they'd still manage to go to work early the following day. Not that I really didn't like this. I just wonder if this is how Koreans live. :)


So...


Over all, I loved this show. Oppa says he even prefers this over CLOY. I'm inclined to agree with him because I just find this show more relatable and realistic. We won't all fall in love with a North Korean soldier who will cross the border to protect us. But we all have a fair chance of falling for a Joon-hee who will do everything in his capacity to care for us.


I know that most people loved the first half but hated the second half. I don't see why though. Did they just want to see the sweet stuff but not the bad ones? Some parts appeared to have been stretched but I felt that that was the general tone the show wanted to project. It was slow, they took their time, and honestly, I was fine with it. I even felt that some parts could have been stretched even more.


I loved it because the drama showed us the natural progression of relationships - how Joon-hee and Jin-a could not get enough of each other that they'd keep on opening and closing the elevator and the door whenever Joon-hee brought Jin-a home. But when they began having problems, they'd just have a cursory goodbye and go their separate ways. As I mentioned above, that's how love really is. I'm glad that the show did not sugarcoat things to create unrealistic expectations on its viewers. I partly blame these dramas for how people tend to demand too much from their relationships. If you see all these guys giving piggy back rides to their girlfriends and being at their beck and call or if you see girls who are just so submissive to their manipulative and abusive boyfriends, then kids might expect the same from their partners in real life. But the sad truth is, what we see in these dramas are far from reality. That's why I would recommend this show to anyone who wants to know what love really is. It is not always easy. As I said above, love is a decision - whether or not you want to stay and whether or not this other person is worth all the trouble.


I also loved how perfect Save the Last Dance for me was for this show. Although they broke up and tried to live their own lives, Jin-a and Joon-hee found themselves in the process. And in the end, they saved their greatest love for each other.


In a way, I'm glad that the show didn't end super perfectly because that would help me move on a bit faster. I was once again very invested in this show that I felt so bad when Joon-hee was sad. If I'm this affected, I wonder how much more difficult things must be for actors who have to live their characters for months.


Not sure what we're watching next but it will probably be some Song Hye-kyo show. The Hyun Bin watch list has to wait a bit longer. :D


P.S. I read some reviews and I acknowledge that my review might not have been that in-depth. I agree that Jin-a’s lying was problematic. And I realized that Joon-hee also had manipulative/possessive tendencies. However, I would like to be more lenient with Joon-hee and give him the benefit of the doubt that he was still young and inexperienced. He was probably insecure that he was younger. It didn’t help that Jin-a’s mom was very condescending towards him. I just hope their time apart helped them grow and fix themselves. It would have been nice to see a glimpse of this growth. Perhaps half or a full episode could have been allotted for this. But having said all of these, I still liked the show. The characters and their conflicts were realistic and relatable. My conflicts with Oppa won’t probably escalate into a national issue like the one in CLOY but it can involve bits of lies or disagreements on plans and preferences. So yep the issues here are still closer to my heart. 


Oppa must really love this show a lot. He’s watching it again allegedly to listen to the lines more closely. I’m not sure if it’s Ye-jin or if he can truly relate to the show because he used to have a noona who bought him food. 😝


Oppa says...4.6, but bumped to 4.8 because of SYJ


Noona says...it's a 4.5. :)

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