Ooohh… it’s getting better and more interesting.
(I am jumping straight to what happens on episode 4 and thus far and my thoughts on them, so it goes without saying that spoilers are everywhere.)
Two weeks in, our main leads are already falling for each other. And while the guy (Lee Jong-seok) has been nursing the crush for years now and hiding the feelings quite well thus far, the girl (Park Shin-hye) can’t because well she can’t lie. She’s the titular Pinocchio, a fictional syndrome suffered by a fraction of population who will hiccup when telling a lie.
The syndrome may be a curse to her but if it speeds up the confession, ain’t that a blessing in disguise for us viewers? I mean, they are living under one roof, it’s impossible to avoid bumping into each other and awkwardness from ensuing they have to deal with it sooner than later right? Aand, the show can’t possibly give us angst so early in the series, can they?
Will their uncle-niece legal status matter? Because aside from In-ha’s mom as Dal-po’s nemesis, i don’t see any other factor that will keep them from being together. No, i don’t think Dad is against it either. It is natural for a father to be protective and possessive of his daughter and wants the best for her, but if only Dal-po let him finish what he meant to say…
Back to In-ha’s mom, Song Cha-ok, who is just hateful as a person and a reporter. She is a mother but doesn’t keep in touch with her only daughter for 13 years whatsoever — she even hugs her just for a show(?!) before coldly says she’s too busy to miss her. Augh~ In-ha thinks highly of her all this time and rebukes those who speak negatively of her mom, i wonder if that statement changes the way she views her. And there’s she as a reporter who’s willing to do all sorts of things to make sure she gets the best shot and coverage even if that means distorting the truth and driving the subject over the edge. She says it is okay to lie since it uncovers the truth but she’s known for exaggerating things — wearing mask to imply polluted air, kneeling so flood level appears to be waist high when it’s ‘only’ knee high, and buying brand new kids shoes to pass off as the victim’s for a sob story — i don’t know if such blatant lies are allowed.
She was also the most pressing and judgmental back then it is easy to hate her and media at large for their subjectivity, insensitivity, and coldheartedness. They all put the blame on Firefighter Dad, reporting him purposely driving his team into fire and running away afterwards just based on the plant manager’s and a Pinocchio’s testimonies. Even guiltlessly snapping away the spot where Mom’s last note and Ha-myung’s shoe* were, at which she reported as an action due to inability to cope with police investigation and criticism, as if they deserved to die. I am not sure if her character is redeemable.
(*will we ever know the letter’s content or how little Ha-myung survived the fall? Or maybe the details aren’t necessary?)
My blood would boil too — every time i see her bitchy face, upon learning that she is In-ha’s mother (back then), and when the tragic incident is used as case study for the hopefuls to debate on. Aren’t they supposed to discuss how they would report it instead of arguing who’s at fault? But they argue anyway, until In-ha brings up the Pinocchio witness and his not-based-on-lie testimony and deems nobody’s at fault, an opinion that causes Dal-po to snap and bark at her. This is the second time he ‘betrays’ her.
It is interesting to note that he likes her enough to support her dream to be a reporter and end up willing to become one too, partly to prove that a Pinocchio can be one, despite his abhorrence toward media (I still don’t find that driving force believable or make sense though) yet when it comes to the fire case and that particular sketchy journalist, even she can be the target of his rage. The wound hasn’t healed yet — he lost dad, mom, and older brother that he pretended to be Grandpa’s son because he needed a father — and they rub salt into it by stating that the media and the Pinocchio aren’t at fault for misinformation and consequently destroying his family. On top of that, turns out Dad has been gone all these years? I feel your pain, Dal-po…
We know from the beginning that Dad didn’t make it and thus wasn’t the man the Pinocchio witness saw as him. But the now-separated brothers didn’t. We know that they’re clinging to empty hope — it’s fine even if dad turns out to be a coward like how the media portray him, because that means he is indeed alive, and that’s all that matters to them. They believed in the Pinocchio’s words too that when the real truth surfaces, it hits them harder. Dad was innocent and Mom took her life for nothing.
Will Dad’s name be cleared now? Will Dal-po seek to get even with those who wronged them?
It dawns on Dal-po now why Pinocchios can’t be reporters. Just because they don’t lie doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth. They just state what they think and believe is true, like how the witness thought he saw Dad crossing the street thus not hiccuping when telling so. Public readily accepted their words — the Pinocchio’s and media’s — as truth when it wasn’t. Perceived truth. Words can kill and thus the need to speak responsibly.
In-ha isn’t upset that Dal-po attacks and outs her, but for not taking her side… which spurs the realization that he’s more than just an uncle to her. The new hairdo does the trick, perhaps? She successfully denied liking him twice, so third time’s the charm? XD
I am liking what i see thus far — the setup and characters. Media, truths, and lies. While expected to publish only the truth, often we see how subjective and partial they can be. What is truth and how you sift one out when data can be fabricated and facts can be made?
Dal-po’s specs are quite standard — brainy, princely, and gutsy — whereas In-ha’s sass and spunk are refreshing traits from the roles i’ve seen Park Shin-hye has done before. Although In-ha still lies from time to time and gets outed immediately by the infallible hiccup, the syndrome also propels her to speak her mind and i do hope her outspokenness remain intact and consistent till the end. How many times we’ve watched strong, bold heroines become spineless mid-series onward?
As for the second leads, Pinocchio is the first project i see Kim Young-kwang and Lee Yubi in, plus they haven’t had that much screentime yet, so i have little to say for now. Chaebol Beom-jo, the unintended recipient of In-ha’s messages and photos all these years, joins the blind audition to cross path with her. The credentials behind that smiley face are yet to be revealed, and while he clearly likes her, he’s still all smiles with her liking someone else at the moment. How will he turn the tables? Will he tell her that he’s ‘mom’? Sasaeng Yoo-rae has shown signs of pettiness and snarkiness i bet she’s gonna be a zealous and persistent competitor in near future. Let’s see~
On the bright side, i am lol-ing at how the show delivers tropes differently. There’s this necessary transformation from ugly duckling to pretty swan (Lee Jong-seok is pretty, ‘kay?), undergone by the male lead, forced to him by Grandpa. How adorable is that? He may be the eldest in the family, but he sure has great sense of style. I am not the only one amused by him flipping through latest issue of men magazine and instructing the stylists to give Dal-po “dandy block cut” in ash brown color and “charcoal-gray color, minimal two-button suit, solid color tie, [and] black wing tip lace-up shoes” to complete head-to-toe makeover. Hee.
Aand, isn’t it great that the stunned one is Dad? In-ha is too, though she’s more pleased and approving than the standard slack-jawed in awe. He is also the one having weird toasty imagination of the two being together. It’s gettin’ hot in here too.
[nobody’s complaining if the before and after are like this, right? XD]