We’re back with a bit more to say on Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol, surprisingly! After its opening weeks, I was convinced the drama would have a satisfying but predictable trajectory that I could sit back and enjoy, but then it hit us with that Episode 5 reveal. Yes, that one, which you’ve likely seen all over the internet already. Paroma and I discuss our (controversial?) feelings about it, as well as everything else that happened in La La Land this week.
Anisa: I really wanted to talk to someone about this week’s developments, so I’m glad you’ve caught up!
Paroma: You know, I almost didn’t pick it up after the first 2 episodes. It was alright. Go Ara was cute. Lee Jae-wook was cuter. But it felt like something I could pass on. But then I read your review of the first four episodes, and went back in. And now I’m in squee-land.
Anisa: You know, it’s hard to define why this drama is so appealing, because there are a lot of mediocre parts to this surprisingly satisfying whole. For me, it’s a combination of the spirit of the drama, which is so sunny and optimistic despite the MANY dark things that happen just within Episode 1, and the chemistry of the cast (including the dog who plays Mimi). They just work. (And yes, it may slightly be the state of high, vibrating anxiety I’m in a week before the US presidential election.)
Paroma: It’s certainly working nicely as a stress buster for me. There’s something about a cast of characters landing up in a strange little town filled with people with problems and opinions that makes for a really satisfying watch when handled by the right writer. But I’ll be completely honest that what ultimately sold me on this drama was the reveal that happens in Episode 5. Are we going full spoilers? Cause I wanna go full spoilers!!
Anisa: YES, let’s do it! He’s a high schooler, what the fork?! 😂
Paroma: He is! And now the way he treats Ra-ra totally makes sense. There is a kind of innocence to his protectiveness towards her that is much harder to buy from an adult man in his twenties.
Anisa: I have to admit, I’d been scratching my head at the casting ever since he said he was Ra-ra’s age in Episode 1.
Paroma: They really don’t look the same age. But I assumed this was one of those dramaland suspension-of-belief things.
Anisa: Same. And Lee Jae-wook can play older, but here he really is playing eighteen. And it’s a testament to his acting skill that he feels younger than Ra-ra in a way that was a little confusing before now.
Paroma: He does! And before the reveal happened, at the back of my mind, I kept wondering why he was acting so… uncertain of himself. Like. A. Young. Boy. He’s in the cusp of adulthood at eighteen, so while his gruffness can cover a lot, it can’t completely hide his lack of experience. And how wonderful that Lee Jae-wook could make us feel this in his portrayal for four episodes before the truth was revealed!
Anisa: Boy’s got skills! This explains his puppy-like devotion, his bashful adoration, and also the incredibly alarming way his mother has been hunting him down. Which is way more understandable for a minor than a 24-year-old man.
Paroma: Right! His mother! I thought that poor woman was actually an evil step-mother trying to murder him before his father got back, so she could get his inheritance or something. 😂
Anisa: Right?! Instead she’s desperate to find her grieving and lost baby. Still too over-the-top, but way more relatable. But what do you think about how this will change the dynamic between the leads?
Paroma: It just made the dynamic clearer and a whole lot less problematic in my eyes. Before that episode, I couldn’t help but wonder why it was okay for this adult stranger to act so possessive and familiar with Ra-ra. I also couldn’t see the longing in his face and feel okay about it. ‘Cause from what I knew, he hadn’t known Ra-ra for long, and it seemed way too abrupt. But from a young adult boy’s perspective all of this made sense. He felt connected to her through music and what he knew of her life. That was enough to help her and protect her.
Anisa: So for me, I didn’t have a problem with his strong magnet-like pull toward her before this, because he never acted on that in a way that made her uncomfortable (the overly close inspection on her wedding day is the exception, and he got a nosebleed for that). I’ve also had a consistent feeling since their first scene together that the stunned first look he gave her was not love at first sight, but recognition. So I wasn’t put off by their instant closeness, because she was never uncomfortable.
Paroma: Oh agreed! But that’s where the age was the barrier for me. His behaviour was utterly comforting and sweet. It just became so much more believable from an eighteen-year-old. Especially one who would leave the safety and luxury of his father’s house and run away to live on what he could make because he was hurt and angry.
Anisa: That’s not something I’d thought about, but it’s true. And it balances well with Ra-ra’s sheltered, childlike way of encountering the world. In many ways they’re equal despite the age difference because he’s had vastly more experience of surviving “real life” than she has.
Paroma: Exactly! I can now believe that he sees her as an actual equal and not someone he keeps having to bail out and has to humour.
Anisa: I don’t enjoy the element of him lying to her since the beginning, though. I really hope that will be cleared up soon. I don’t think Ra-ra will be that mad given what we know of her, but I also don’t want their romance to progress further than extremely fond feelings before she knows he’s a minor. Because as much as their dynamic works, that’s knowledge she has a right to. And I also don’t like that Dr. Cha is now holding the threat of a reveal over Joon’s head.
Paroma: Yeah, that’s giving me pause too. I certainly don’t want Dr. Cha to be the one to reveal things, so I hope Joon can make the confession himself.
Anisa: And good for Joon for pointing out his hypocrisy! Dr. Cha lies to Ra-ra ALL the time. I rolled my eyes when he declared to his ex-wife, “I’ve decided to be honest from now on,” and proceeded to tell her she looked awful.
Paroma: I’m not sure what the point of Dr. Cha is in this story. Aside from being a presence everyone except Sook-kyung resents.
Anisa: Yeah, he’s the one thing in the drama I find unnecessary and sometimes unpleasant.
Paroma: What do you think about the potential evil secretary angle? I can’t say it was unexpected, but they’d dropped the line on Ra-ra’s inheritance so quickly, I wasn’t sure it would be revisited.
Anisa: This is the writer of Shopping King Louis, so I’m sure the villain will come back around near the end of the drama as a sort of final obstacle to defeat in Ra-ra’s evolution as a person who can stand on her own two feet.
Paroma: Not to mention Terius Behind Me.
Anisa: Exactly! So it’s all very predictable, but I don’t mind. It’s part of the show’s throwback feel for me.
Paroma: At least this foreshadows a happy ending where both of them will be rich. That’s the best happy ending Dramaland can offer. 😅
Anisa: Bwahaha so true. I have more reservations about the stalker angle, though. Cancel my earlier words—there are two things I find unnecessary and unpleasant, and Stalker is #2.
Paroma: Agreed! He came completely out of nowhere is aside from a mild ramping up of tension, there’s no real reason for him to be in the story. Although I was very amused by Sook-kyung dragging him to the parlour to trim his hair. She does this with everyone she finds outside.
Anisa: It’s very sloppily executed, too. Is this the same dude that sent Ra-ra the hand cream? Is he dodosolsollalasol? Or is that Dr. Cha, as I’ve suspected before?
Paroma: I think it’s the harabuji! (Except he’d have to be Instagram savvy.)
Anisa: Oooh I never even thought about that! That would be far less alarming. But then there was the random dead body in the bay with Joon’s ID in his pocket. I just find all this cloak-and-dagger stuff a bit much in what’s otherwise a very enjoyable show.
Paroma: To be fair to the drama, this kind of annoying but eventful subplot is what allows the main story to progress at a slow and steady pace without the need to constantly throw drama in the relationship.
Anisa: You’re right. And it does provide a counterpoint to the extreme sweetness that is Joon and Ra-ra together, who might give us all diabetes if they had the exclusive focus.
Paroma: One of my favourite moments from this week was when Ra-ra listens to the little boy play and says with perfect sincerity that while she’s good, she’s nothing special, and that she’s known many geniuses like him growing up. I love the way she just accepts herself—limitations and all. Also, how every problem can be solved with a good night’s sleep.
Anisa: I agree wholeheartedly. I find her tendency to sleep when she’s under a lot of stress to be HIGHLY relatable. I have known the feeling of retreating to my bed because the world feels paralysingly too much to handle. And as I said in my review, the discipline that she’s learned from having to perfect a skill that she wasn’t naturally talented at makes her a much more interesting character, and provides a seed for future growth.
Paroma: That’s so true. Like you also said in the post, she’s actually much better prepared for the world than the privileged and hapless Louis, who didn’t even have a concept of gratitude for the help he received until well into the drama. You gotta like the girl for being aware of how fortunate she is, while also being brazen in her acceptance of all the help she can get.
Anisa: Ra-ra does need to work on understanding exactly what others are giving up for her, but that will come along with the realization of what it means to be a working-class person and how money (and its absence) actually torments people.
Paroma: Her job hunt seems to have given her some idea of this already. Though I wish she had to struggle a bit longer before a piano and a rent-free space to run an academy was just handed to her.
Anisa: Yeah. She is earning some income, but she still has no idea how much it actually costs to live, because all the basic necessities are covered, and whatever isn’t she just adds airily to her “tab”.
Paroma: You know when she tells Dr. Cha that if he was the one cleaning while she was playing away at her piano, she would feel obligated to go help? Whereas with Joon, she can just keep on taking advantage of his kindness without that guilt? While on the one hand, I understand the comfort level this example was supposed to imply with each man, on the other, I feel like Ra-ra would have adult-ed faster if she had ended up obligated to a man like Dr. Cha.
Anisa: Good point. It’s telling that in Episode 5 she tells Joon to think of her as family, and although he’s touched, he also rightfully tells her how burdensome that is. For Ra-ra, family has always been her dad, a person who will sacrifice everything for her, and give without ever ceasing or asking for anything in return. So of course her idea of closeness is taking without feeling bad—it’s how she was socialized. Dad was sweet, but he spoiled her badly.
Paroma: And now Ra-ra has to raise herself. So, when Joon asks her what would happen if he suddenly left, and she reacted with fear, I wondered to myself how much of that reaction was because she was attached to him, and how much because she knew no one else would be as indulgent or give her as much time to stand on her feet as Joon.
Anisa: As much as the romance gives me butterflies, I’m glad to see him ask her for some space (though it probably won’t last long) and even for her to wonder if she’s the one who’s been annoying him, because it might spark some self-awareness.
Paroma: It just occurred to me that when Ra-ra finds out that she’s been acting like a child while a high-schooler worked hard to cover her expenses, that may be a ruder wake-up call than anything else so far.
Anisa: Ooh it might! And honestly I think that’s what has me so invested in this show: looking forward to Ra-ra becoming her grown self.
Anisa: One last thing before we go. I want to praise the creepy stalker storyline for one other reason, now that I think about it.
Paroma: Ooh, what reason?
Anisa: It gave us the most excellent epilogue in the history of Dramaland! It set up the perfect mood at the end of Episode 6 that led us to believe that maybe the stalker had crept back into the flower shop and was playing, plus we got Cha’s ex-wife wondering if it was a ghost…
Paroma: Ha! True! And of course, the truth was far weirder than that—but also perfectly suited to this story.
Anisa: We should have known. Ra-ra did tell us that she’s known lots of geniuses. Of course Mimi is a piano prodigy 🤣
Paroma: People should really believe her more. 😂
Anisa: They should! My family and I about fell off the sofa laughing. That scene alone is worth watching Do Do for.