Jan 17, 2015 | 16:58 PM EST

‘Pinocchio’ Provided Well-Crafted Social Commentary Under The Disguise Of Romantic Comedy

BY Adrienne Stanley

“Pinocchio” concluded on January 15 with an uplifting ending for protagonists Ha Myeong (Lee Jong Suk) and In Ha (Park Shin Ha). In Ha and Ha Myeon became effective reporters, after discovering the evil nature of the drama's villain. As Seo Bum Jo (Kim Young Kwang) succinctly put it, “Bad is bad, good is good.” While he was initially portrayed as a lukewarm mama’s boy, Bum Jo held his ground to help reveal the truth regarding his mother’s pervasive manipulation of the media and government officials.

Viewers will miss the adorable romance between Ha Myeong and In Ha but “Pinocchio” provided substance beyond its cutesy premise. Beyond the lessons of morality which were presented, audiences were provided with the chance to witness Park Shin Hye deliver a more mature approach to her on-screen relationships. She replaced her persona of the doe-eyed ingenue with the role of a complex, speculative woman.

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On the surface, “Pinocchio” concluded with two strong female characters, Song Cha Ok (Jin Kyung) and Park Ro Sa (Kim Hae Sook), battling for their dignity and prized accomplishments. The drama initially portrayed Ro Sa as a kind, gentle woman who happened to wealthy. In the end, she was more nefarious than Cha Ok. Ro Sa defended her materialism and greed throughout the series but in the end, her Bum Jo meant more to her than any of her possessions. Stripped of titles and baubles, both women realized what meant the most to them, their children.

While it was a subplot, the relationship between Ha Myeong and his adopted family, was resolved through similar methods. Ha Myeong held significance within the household since he entered as Dal Po but Gong Pil (Byun Hee Bong) was willing to relinquish his hold on his as a son once he discovered the true bond between Ha Myeong and In Ha.

“Pinocchio” placed great significance on the profession of journalism, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of the job. The pursuit of truth through journalistic integrity was one of the prevailing themes of the drama. Media manipulation within Korea is common practice, particularly when conglomerates are in control of major networks and news outlets. The drama examined tragic events like the warehouse fire but also looked at issues of civic responsibility like injuries due to icy streets.

“Pinocchio” tackled sensitive subject matter through the multifaceted perspective of victims, their family members, and the ways in which the media sensationalize current events. Even the cameo of Lee Joon as an idol facing a scandal surrounding improper use of Propofol, provided interesting context within the drama. While it was briefly interjected into the storyline, it harkened to the recent drug scandals faced by actresses including Park Si Yeon.

The writer-director team of Park Hye Ryun and Jo Soo Won provided unique perspectives of corruption, particularly in their analysis of chaebols or morally bankrupt officials. Their insight was what elevated “I Can Hear Your Voice” to its status as one of the most nail-biting K-Dramas in recent years.

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