Revised romanization: Pinokio
Director: Jo Soo-Won
Writer: Park Hye-Ryun
Release Date: November 12 – January 15, 2015
As a child, Ha-Myeong (Lee Jong-Suk) grew up in a family with his firefighter father, mother and older brother. Ha-Myeong and his older brother (Yoon Gyun-Sang) both possess higher than normal intellect and are proud of their father. A fire at a waste facility though destroys his family. His mother dies a short time later and Ha-Myeong ends up being scooped out of the ocean by an unknown man (Byun Hee-Bong).
The man that pulls Ha-Myeong out of the ocean is the grandfather of In-Ha (Park Shin-Hye). In-Ha’s grandfather believes Ha-Myeong is his eldest son Dal-Po, who died 30 years ago. Ha-Myeong is then adopted by In-Ha’s grandfather and his name is changed to Dal-Po. In-Ha and Dal-Po now live together as uncle and niece, although they are in the same age range. In-Ha has a Pinocchio Syndrome. Whenever she lies she gets the hiccups. In-Ha and Dal-Po get along well until Dal-Po learns that In-Ha’s mother (Jin Kyung) is the reporter that covered the waste facility fire that destroyed his family. Dal-Po tries to distance himself from In-Ha, but he also develops feelings for her.
Years later, Dal-Po and In-Ha’s family are now living in Seoul. In-Ha attempts to become a reporter like her mother. In-Ha meets her mother for the first time in years at a job interview for MSC Broadcasting Station. Her mother is the person giving her the job interview. In-Ha though fails the job interview. Her mother rejects her because of her Pinocchio Syndrome.
Dal-Po is now driving a taxi to support their family. One day, Dal-Po meets In-Ha’s mother and decides to become a reporter.
It has been a long time since I liked a Kdrama as much as I liked Pinocchio. The writer’s previous drama which also starred Lee Jeong Seok was a favourite of mine so I had high hopes to begin with. Add to the fact that I quite like Lee Jeong Seok’s acting and I don’t mind Park Shin Hye (we will forget she ever did Heirs which, ugh) and I was SO ready for this drama. Plus, the quirky nature of the female lead’s condition convinced me that the hijinks would be many and involve snerks. I got way more than what I expected and the drama was both uplifting and agonizing.
There are many things to love about this drama but what I most loved about it was the frankness and honesty in the relationship between Choi In Ha and Choi Dal Po. Of course, this honesty is spurred on by In Ha’s Pinocchio syndrome since she cannot lie but I didn’t realize how liberating it would feel to just, for once, have the hero and heroine simply speak things out as they are instead of mumbling and agonizing over things. When In Ha first becomes conscious of her feelings for Dal Po, she tells him because she cannot do otherwise. In other dramas, there would be many episodes wasted while both leads hid their feelings but nothing like that occurred here and it was SO AWESOME.
The next thing I liked about this was the family dynamics, the relationships between In Ha, her dad, Dal Po and the grandpa. It was so heartwarming and lulzy. Particularly where the grandpa keeps on breaking open and using Dal Po’s beloved piggy banks in order to bankroll a shopping and makeover for Dal Po. (And Dal Po cradling the broken piggy banks and crying later also provided the funnies.)
The less than happy relationships are also masterfully managed: In Ha and her mother, Dal Po (now Ha Myung) and his brother, Beom Jo and his mom. The gradual disillusioning of a child with his parent was poignant and effective.
The romance was well done. Park Shin Hye’s reactions to the actors opposite her usually make me cringe especially where kissing is concerned because she always seems to be in pain and hating the moment (and out of character) but in Pinocchio she was in character at all times and I’m happy to report that the kissing scenes were sweet.
The major themes of this drama included the power of media, revenge and family. Media is portrayed as a weapon to wield both for and against rich and corrupted people. Revenge–now this was interesting. The drama didn’t particularly say to forgive and move on but it does, I think, say that you cannot let revenge consume you. And family? Family is everything.
This “review” is scattered and cannot do justice to the drama but honestly, if you’re into Kdramas and haven’t watched this one yet, just do it. It’s fun, it’s sweet, and it makes you think. The dialogues are great, the acting is awesome. Entertain yourself!