The story seems to always be the same: it's hard for most people to accept tragedies of the past, and that is probably the reason why tear gas going at 24 frames per second like 화려한 휴가 (May 18 ) and 태극기 휘날리며 (Taegeukgi) still gets made. But the best way to remember the legacy of a past tragedy, while at the same time erasing at least a little bit of the residual pain, is black comedy. Bong Joon-Ho is the perfect example, with his 살인의 추억 (Memories of Murder) and 괴물 (The Host) speaking wonders about the power of laughing -- however dry it might be -- in the face of adversity. Im Sang-Soo is another, brilliant case, while the new kid on the block, Park Gwang-Hyun of 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome to Dongmakgol) added a welcome "North Koreans are people, too" spin to the proceedings. But how about TV? 경성스캔들 (Scandal in Old Seoul) did try to offer another side of the colonial era, far removed from dichotomies painting you either as an independence fighter or a traitor. But, sure enough, it eventually returned into the warm and smelly embrace of trendy drama tropes. But fear not, because we finally have a contender.
경숙이, 경숙아버지 (Gyeongsuk & Gyeongsuk's Father) started its life in theater, getting two encore runs thanks to its tremendous popularity and Jo Jae-Hyun's leading role, but it was peculiar that its TV adaptation ended up being produced by Hong Seok-Gu, he himself one of the most talented alumni of the Dramacity canon. His was the brilliant black comedy 저수지 (Reservoir) from 2007, which is a good appetizer for this, but even those well acquainted with his work will be surprised by this little gem. With Jung Bo-Seok playing an irresponsible, selfish prick of a father leaving his family to save his bacon during the Korean War, and super-talented Shim Eun-Kyung playing his daughter Jo Gyeongsuk, this 4 episode special mixes very dark and wicked comedy with tragedy in such a breezy, eclectic way that you wonder if you're really watching a Korean TV Drama, particularly considering how polished all this looks. Family love during the Korean War has never been this intelligent. Nor this funny.