Answer Me 1994: Episodes 12-13 Thoughts
From the position of someone squarely on Chilbongie's side, episodes 12-13 were pretty painful. I've resigned myself to the fact that these writers and I will never see eye to eye on the romance front. In 1997 I was on the tiny ship for Shi Won and Yoon Jae's brother, and of course in 1994 I again boarded the second-lead love train. However, at least for 1997 I could understand the fan adoration for Yoon Jae, even if I found his romance with her unoriginal and boring. By contrast, I don't get the fan love for Oppa at all. Yes, he was cute back in episodes 2-3 before Chilbongie showed up, but how does one watch all the sweetness of Chilbongie and all the idiocy of Oppa and still somehow support the latter? I can't understand it, and because of that the Na Jung-Oppa scenes leave me fuming rather than resigned.
My key reservation with this (seemingly final) pairing is that I fail to see the romantic chemistry between Na Jung and Oppa. Yes, they had a decent kiss scene, but everything else about them has screamed platonic friendship rather than passionate love. She adores him like a puppy, while he seems to similarly regard her like a cute pet. Additionally, their banter scenes reaffirm the sibling-esque relationship, and I'm personally not convinced of their seemingly smooth jump from family to more.
Aside from this, I have no taste for Oppa as a leading man. He grosses me out in just about every scene, from the trash-filled car (notice the banana peel in that scene when he's driving her) to the dipping liver in sauce (seriously, I would have stabbed him if he did that with me). The idea of kissing a guy who shoves who knows what into his mouth everyday just physically disgusts me, and I can't fathom the fan love for him. What has he done in the past ten episodes to warrant this? I recall nothing except blank-faced stares and a rehash of all his gross habits.
As I've also mentioned previously, my regard for Na Jung as a character similarly goes down when she's being stupidly lovesick, which she spent much of these past two episodes doing. If this is going to persist for the next 8 episodes, I may as well give up this show. I wish I were invested in her happiness independently of Chilbongie, but truth is I just don't care much for her as a character and find her annoying at best, ignorant and callous at worst. I especially am not ok with watching her break his heart continuously. At the very least, she should have the decency to stop stringing him along. What's with the continued one-on-one meet-ups and hugs when she knows exactly how he feels about her?
I think at this point we're going to have to give up the CB-NJ parade, unless these writers miraculously grow out of their set-pairing minds. Note though that I still haven't fully given up this ship - darn them for throwing in Yogi Berra to manipulate me to stick around. Even though it's rationally over, we can't forget the number of dramas that did result in a last-minute romance turnaround, e.g. Hotaru no Hikari. I don't believe these writers are really willing to go there, but that's the bitter way of this series, feeding on residual hope. I still enjoy the other aspects of the drama, but given that the entire premise is built off this disappointing love triangle, am consequently left feeling like a large chunk of the joy has vanished with Chilbongie's chances. Crossing my fingers for some ninth inning recovery...