‘Drinking Solo’….Let’s Eat 3
Every episode of ‘Drinking Solo’ opens with Jin Jung Suk drinking alone, feasting on a variety of mouth watering food (as the camera so carefully zooms in and shows us.) In the background his voice explains the reasons and the rules he has set for himself for drinking solo every evening, (which we later learn is a result of betrayal from his seniors and annoyance of sucking up to them.) This sets whole theme of the drama; focusing on the act of drinking alone at the end of the day, reasons varying from a tiring yet satisfactory day to a broken heart.
As a college student, studying away from home, I would advise you not to watch this drama for the sole purpose of the unattainable desire it creates in you to eat all the food they showcase. I must have consumed a number of boxes of cup noodles the week I watched this show, just because that is the closest I can get to Korean food.
Set in the background of an institution that tutors and prepares students for the civil service examinations, we get two distinct groups of characters — the teachers and the students, and most of the first half is spent in establishing their characters, their growing relationship with one another, and the love triangle(s) that ensue. It is only towards the end of the season is when the pace picks up, conflicts are arised and sorted out.
This isn’t to say that the show doesn’t have its moments. As most tvN dramas, they are heart warming, relatable, and most importantly, make us care for the characters. One instance would be when instead of Jung Suk and his conspicuous display of a food opening the episode, we have Hana slurping long strings of ramen with kimchi, and a can of beer. Instead of classical music, Urban Zapaka’s ‘I don’t love you anymore’ plays in the background, resonating with the heartbreak she experienced that day.
Another wonderful scene was when Hwang Jin Yi’s boyfriend breaks up with her over a text after ignoring her calls for the entire day. As anger and a sense of shame falls over her, she gulps down a shot of soju and cries. At the same time, Min Jin Woong is sitting in his apartment after performing his mother’s funeral rites, and along with him is Kim Won Hae. One desperately misses his mother, and the other refuses to go back home to his nagging in laws. In other scenes you would see they quarrelling and arguing, but here they sit in the messy, dim lighted apartment and quietly share a beer. Such small moments of melancholy hits us harder, as they are few in between all the fun and laughter.
My favourite character of all was Kim Dong Young, who was excellent as the cheapskate student. As a person who was out of all the love triangles stories, he was aware of everything the viewers were aware of, and not the characters themselves. So it felt like he was one of us, watching the drama unfold in front of his eyes.
Drinking Solo has its heart in the right place, and even it isn’t for the plot line, you can watch it for the lovable characters, the food, the relatable student life situations or that satisfactory click of opening a can of beer that plays out throughout the show!
Originally published at peelingmandarinoranges.blogspot.com on May 5, 2017.