My wife watches more tv than I do, and every once in a while, she ropes me into something that has enchanted her.
That’s how I discovered Lost, House, The Killing of Rosie Larsen, Rubicon, American Horror Story, Downton Abby and Homeland.
And now, Smile Again Donghae.
Smile Again Donghae is a South Korean soap opera that’s centered around the main character, a former professional ice skater cum celebrity chef named Carl Laker aka “Donghae”.
The story follows his efforts to locate his father, and the various intersections, twists and turns of his life along the way.
There are more characters than I’ve given you in that little synopsis, and each contributes to the depth and richness of the story.
Needless to say, the show is nothing but drama!
There are three aspects of the show that we find extraordinary.
First, every single character’s hair and clothing are ultra stylish in a way that somehow look simultaneously real (unlike most American shows) unpretentious and luxurious.
Second, the program is ultimately about family and it perfectly captures the intricacies of family dynamics (like favoritism towards particular children) and intrafamilial power struggles in a way that almost anyone can relate.
Third, the characters’ use of mobile phones are completely integral to the sophisticated plot twists, schinanigans and scheming that keeps the viewers literally on the edge of their seats.
All the characters carry a phone, and each episode involves calls, texts, ringtones and alerts, and the story effectively uses phones to build drama and suspense.
I haven’t been able to figure out exactly what kind of mobile devices the characters use, but they’re definitely rocking the ill joints!
Some look like iPhones. Others are the slide-up/out Qwerty-style. And still others are old-school clamshells or flip phones.
But one thing is certain, Smile Again’s use of phones and the way they depict the characters and people interacting over them, is spot on.
If I must be honest with myself, I’m only using this ‘phone talk’ as a way to justify talking about this damn soap opera – I’m hooked!
If you’re not up on Smile Again Donghae, I strongly encourage you to tune in.
It comes on daily at 9:30 pm on WMBC-TV (which is Channel 18 on Verizon Fios in Northern New Jersey).
The show is also available on YouTube, if you want to cut to the chase and bring yourself up to speed.
And even if you don’t, I will (continue to watch shamelessly).
Smile Again, Donghae!