I’ve been meaning to talk about Pinocchio, the Korean drama series I just finished watching. I started watching it around the same time I read Jellicoe Road (still wrecked by that book), and finished around the same time I finished reading it too. So a lot of what I wrote for No Room in Neverland was very much influenced by the mood of these stories.
It’s about a girl who has the Pinocchio condition, wherein she is unable to lie because it causes her to hiccup endlessly until she tells the truth*.
Despite her condition, In Ha decides to follow in her estranged mother’s footsteps to become a high-powered broadcast journalist (who is rumoured to go to any means to get her scoop, even if it means fabricating stories and twisting the truth).
After her parents’ divorce when she was a child, In Ha and her father go to live with her grandfather in the countryside, where she finds her “uncle”, this boy her age posing as her distraught grandfather’s son who died out at sea.
Going by the name of Dal Po, the boy has also recently lost his entire family – his fireman father died on the job and is accused by the media of sending his team into an empty building on fire, his mother took her own life following the incident, and his older brother is missing. While Dal Po harbours a crush on In Ha*, he also learns that In Ha’s mother is the journalist who accused his father of killing his team in the fire and left him an outcast for the remainder of his life.
Meanwhile, In Ha struggles to reconnect with her mother by sending her text messages she hope she would one day receive a reply to. On the day before she goes for her interview at the news station with Dal Po, she receives one. But the sender is not her mother. It is the son of retail tycoon who decides to apply for a journalist post to meet In Ha.
The show centres on Dal Po’s quest for revenge against In Ha’s mother, his search for his older brother, In Ha’s struggle to make sense of what happened 13 years ago, when the media misdirected the focus of the fire and laid the blame on Dal Po’s father***, as well as the mystery of why In Ha’s mother’s cellphone ended up in the hands of the heir to the retail conglomerate.
*Because obviously they couldn’t make her nose grow longer.
**Yes, of course Dal Po and In Ha have a thing.
But it wasn’t heavy-handed or overly sappy. The development of their relationship was natural and comfortable, not melodramatic with copious declarations of love. Think Wes and Macy from Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever rather than Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.
***This just goes to show how the media can warp public perception.
This show is just SO FREAKING GOOD. In terms of plot, subplot, character growth, character interaction, pacing, everything was perfect. Okay, it got a tad melodramatic at times, but every character has motive, agency, and flaws, and the antagonists come in proverbial shades of grey. This show is so under-rated compared to You Who Came From the Stars, which, while engaging enough to leave you hooked on every episode, didn’t bring me to tears and a hair-tearing state the way Pinocchio did.
The scene that particularly got me was the part where In Ha’s mother, the cold, aloof, successful news anchor
realises the devastation she wrecked on others, as well as her negligence of her daughter, while she was busy pursuing her career.
I tried so hard to stave off the ending, but as with all good things like Jellicoe Road, it eventually came to and end and now I’m in an existential crisis where I don’t know what else to read or watch that can fill this void in my life.
So I’m starting on It’s Okay, That’s Love, which centres on mental illnesses and the stigma faced by mentally ill patients. I also have Hyde, Jekyll and Me (which I’ll watch after all the episodes are out because waiting for a new episode each week is a bitch) and Kill Me Heal Me lined up. So please let them be good!
Reading material-wise, I’m reading Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, which I read when I was 14 but need to reread to jog my memory before reading the sequel, The Piper’s Son. Also, I’m still on Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo because dammit the trilogy must not end!
Have you watched Pinocchio? (If not, why haven’t you???) How did you find it? Do you have any other drama or book recommendations? I’d love to hear from you! :0)