We’re still loving this drama, so Paroma and I sat down to enumerate the many ways we keep falling for Joon, Ra-ra, and the gang. Do Do might seem lightweight at first glance, but it’s actually surprisingly thoughtful, and does a great job of balancing its darker elements with the characters’ inherent optimism, and the show’s own determination to rise above life’s disappointments.
Anisa: It’s been a while since our last review, but we’re still watching and enjoying this one—at least I am. This warmhearted, funny drama is gold. How about you, Paroma?
Paroma: I’m in a pretty happy place with this show. Although I dread the next few episodes cause it feels like they’ve already dealt with most of the major conflicts. So, would they be introducing last minute obstacles now?
Anisa: Speaking of those, we’re definitely gonna talk about that Episode 12 ending! But first, let’s talk about all the developments since we left off in Episode 6. We had Joon decide to confess his feelings before his secret, Jae-min’s recital, the entire stalker storyline, grandpa’s backstory, Joon returning home immediately after Ra-ra’s kidnapping, a reunion and a breakup. That’s a LOT in six episodes.
Paroma: Yup. The story kept moving and we kept biting our nails. I wasn’t expecting the stalker storyline to actually matter in the end, but I liked how Joon was finally caught because he ran off to rescue Ra-ra and ended up in a situation that was too scary and overwhelming for a teenager. It just made sense.
Anisa: Yeah, the cops literally had to call his parents. As you said before, usually these suspense plots in romances provide the conflict that’s otherwise lacking when the leads are obviously crazy about each other, so I was expecting that to be its purpose here. But what it actually did was expose the fragility of the little bubble Joon and Ra-ra had created for themselves in which they could happily fall in love and have fun. In reality, that small, safe universe was only possible through the indulgence and care of the kind community of adults around them. And I loved how involved that neighbourhood gang has been every step of the way. I cheered when the ajummas came across Ra-ra and the stalker right after she rejected him, and firmly told her to have lunch with them after picking up his creepy vibe.
Paroma: Ooh yes. I loved that without Ra-ra saying a single word, the women gauged the situation and immediately formed a wall of solidarity to drive the pushy man away. It was really nicely done. My other favourite moment was during Jae-min’s recital. What a lovely reversal for Ra-ra to realise how her dad must have felt when she flubbed her own first recital, and why he’d stood up and encouraged her in that hall full of silent parents.
Anisa: It was lovely, and yet I was just yelling at Dr. Cha the whole time, because he totally noticed that something was wrong with Jae-min’s arm earlier! He could have saved the poor kid the tears and embarrassment if he’d taken a moment to check. 😒
Paroma: Yeah, it was a bit ridiculous that none of the adults noticed that the boy had a literal dislocated shoulder! 😱
Anisa: I was a lot more moved by Grandpa’s recital, not only for his dogged determination to learn how to play this song which was pivotal to his love story with his wife, but because of the way everyone helped him dress up, and took his performance seriously. They’ve truly become an extended family of sorts, and that brought me to happy tears.
Also, how cute is the show’s decision to have young Haraboji and his wife played by Lee Jae-wook and Go Ara? I lost it laughing when the first flashback sequence started. There are so many over-the-top touches that I might find silly in another drama, but just work so well with Do Do‘s tone.
Paroma: It was the most perfect casting choice! Made me feel like I was getting a bonus love story with these two. Also Ye Ji-won as the “unni” who kept them apart because she didn’t want to give up her housemaid. I was half expecting it, but she was so entertaining, I didn’t mind.
Anisa: Bwahaha, that killed me! And I loved how this backstory had its own lessons that Ra-ra needed to hear right at the moment when she’d had to let Joon go so suddenly—about waiting for the right time, and how those who are meant to be in your life will always come back to you eventually.
Paroma: The thing I liked about their separation was that for once it was actually necessary. Joon’s mom is right. He’s a bright boy with a really bright future, so long as he doesn’t spend the next few years doing hard labour instead of studying. And since Joon seems to quite like academics, it’s not even a choice between his dreams and his parents’ expectations (at this point). It’s a choice between helping him get the best start and letting him make a choice he might regret in twenty years, à la 18 Again.
Anisa: Absolutely. This is one of the most logical drama separations I’ve seen; it deals properly with the conflict presented by Joon’s age, and doesn’t do a lot of romantic handwaving of real issues. I loved the symbolism of the moment when Joon tried to kiss Ra-ra, and she gently told him that he was already pretty tall, but he needed to grow a little more—and his instant understanding and assurance that he wouldn’t push for anything she didn’t want.
Paroma: That stood out to me too. I like noona romances for the equality and sensitivity that exists between the couples, but the thing that often makes me uncomfortable is the way some dramas avoid addressing the problem of a high school-aged boy getting intimate with a woman in her twenties. It’s not something I’d wring my hands over, but I would like the acknowledgement that it’s a tricky dynamic.
Anisa: Agreed. It was handled beautifully. And speaking of Joon’s mother, can I just say that cafe scene where she confronted Ra-ra was ICONIC. The beauty shop ajummas’ lead-up plotting how they’d defend Ra-ra from the evil chaebol mother had me in stitches, and then made me cry when Sook-kyung vowed to defend Ra-ra with her own body, in the place of her late mother. I loved that they wore the exact costumes from their imagined battle on Ra-ra’s behalf and showed up at the cafe… only for it to be a polite and reasonable conversation, and for Ra-ra to be the one giving Joon’s mom the money envelope.
Paroma: Muahahaha. I loved that money envelope twist the best. That was just such a funny subversion, but also, very like Ra-ra. I’m convinced that she was completely unaware of the way these things usually play out in dramas and that she was doing something unexpected.
Anisa: This also illustrates perfectly why the drama’s very unsubtle humour works for me. The money envelope thing has been a running gag since we first met Joon’s mother, to the point where we just expect her to keep these bulging wads of cash in her purse and throw them at people’s faces at any provocation. (How hilarious that the P.I. has her saved in his phone as “Money Envelope”?)
Paroma: And that the cops know her as “that lady who gives us money every time she comes here”. 🤣
Anisa: And yet that running gag came full circle in a really moving way when it came time for her to have a serious talk with Ra-ra, and this exchange of money not only equalized the power dynamic between the two women, but allowed Ra-ra to indirectly prove herself as being worthy and sensible in a way that impressed Joon’s mom, and I’m sure will make Ra-ra a better daughter-in-law candidate down the line (after some kicking and screaming). There’s also the huge contrast between the way Joon’s parents use money as a tool for intimidation and leverage, versus how Ra-ra, and later Seung-gi, give Joon’s mom money as an act of independence and integrity. It shows so clearly why Joon chose their company over his family’s.
Paroma: What I don’t understand is why they keep referring to Ra-ra as a divorcee? Wasn’t she jilted at the altar?
Anisa: Yeah, that really annoyed me. But also, as someone who comes from a culture that often treats a woman’s broken engagement as a tragic blow that can never be recovered from… I kinda get it. Gossipy, judgmental people are the same everywhere I guess.
Paroma: Yeah. It’s a surprisingly dark thread running under the bubbling sweetness of the rest of the drama. The contrast between the stressful and insular world of Joon and Ra-ra’s families and the easy comfort of the village is made starker by how these people talk about Ra-ra’s ‘status’. In the village, the women warmly embrace her as someone who’s escaped marriage, whereas she’s become untouchable in her old Seoul circles.
Anisa: It’s quite an astute depiction of how much more rigid and conservative social norms tend to be in the upper classes versus regular working people. I’m continually impressed with how Do Do seems so slight and fluffy on the surface, but actually has some really insightful things to say about people and life.
Paroma: It does. And one of those suddenly piercing moments was in that scene in the police station when Joon finds out that his mom had hidden his disappearance from his dad—stealing from him the only way he could rebel against the man.
Anisa: Aaaah that got me in the heart. She literally took away his voice. 😭
Paroma: I nearly cried. Lee Jae-wook is definitely getting the Best Heartthrob Award, but can we also come up with a Goguma category that rewards his ability to break my heart??
Anisa: *makes note* This is the beauty of creating our own awards, we can give them to anyone for anything! 🤣
But in seriousness, I cried a few times during these episodes and I was not expecting that. And one of those was when Ra-ra and Sook-kyung came home from the cafe, and Ra-ra revealed that she repaid Joon by selling the car her dad bought her. That proud, tearful hug Sook-kyung gave her, saying “You’re all grown up now” really got me in the tear ducts. I love how their relationship has grown from Sook-kyung seeing her as a talentless opportunist to a surrogate daughter. And Ra-ra has begun to almost think of her as the mother she never had.
Paroma: Sook-kyung is definitely the mother Ra-ra needs right now.
Anisa: But let’s get back to the elephant in the room. WHAT was that wedding at the end of Episode 12?! I kept thinking the Instagram post was a fakeout and it was Sook-kyung’s wedding, but no, there was Ra-ra at the altar with Dr. Cha. 😱
Paroma: My heart was in my mouth right until Joon ran out of the church with Ra-ra and everyone just sighed in unison. “Ra-ra sure has an eventful life,” is the best understatement of this drama. 😂
Anisa: Hahahaha so true. I’d really love to hear Mimi’s commentary on what’s happened to them over the last year!
Paroma: Ooh that would be a huge treat! But you know, I’m pretty sure that wedding is a fakeout. The Steve Jobs turtleneck-wearing duo clearly had a business plan that needed volunteer scapegoats. And I’m guessing the wedding was part of it.
Anisa: I think so too. I’m just dying to see how exactly the drama gets itself out of this hole. And speaking of Epic Duo Ha-young and Seung-gi, let’s talk about the highlights of these episodes before we wrap up.
Paroma: Absolutely! My highlight is Dr Cha’s ex-wife and Ra-ra’s ex-fiance driving up to the church to see our runaway lovers flying past them. But without slow-motion to make their escape awesome, they’re just… running. 🤣
Anisa: Heh. Joon going from Hyung/Oppa to a friend, and how that changes his dynamic with Seung-gi and Ha-young. I love how they worked together to bust Joon out of the hospital. Seung-gi sweating under that hospital blanket still has me grinning. Doctor: “Ma’am, all his blood tests came out normal. He’s very well-nourished!”
Paroma: I loved that line! Also, how Ha-young was prepared to face-off against Mom, but her natural politeness/eagerness to please made her answer all Mom’s questions honestly. She’s such a sweetheart.
Anisa: Ha-young and Seung-gi are SO ADORABLE. I’m so glad she’s beginning to appreciate him for the way he’s always loved her and been on her side. (And use him to further her clever plans. Go Ha-young!)
Paroma: I always have a soft corner for patient men like that.
Anisa: A true credit to his namesake, famous eom-chin-a (literally “mother’s friend’s son”, figuratively a model young man) Lee Seung-gi.
Paroma: Heh. Oh, and before I forget. I liked how throughout the show Dr Cha acted like he had some kind of a fatal illness that changed the way he was living, but it turned out that he had stress-induced insomnia. Him trying to hide his pills from Ha-young was pretty funny.
Anisa: Yes! The meta “does he have terminal illness” from his ex-wife’s friend, along with the beauty shop ajummas constantly speculating about people’s backgrounds based on the makjang dramas they watch all day is one of my favourite things.
Paroma: I also completely understand his ex-wife’s confusion about his change of heart and inability to let him go. It feels like the poor woman never got closure. (Though, I don’t condone the stalking.)
Paroma: What are you expecting from the next two episodes? If you watched the preview…
Anisa: I never watch previews (and on the rare occasion I do, I always regret it) 😂
Paroma: Darn it. Okay, fine. Let’s say there was something that felt like a last minute conflict insert and I’m dreading it muchly.
Anisa: Hmm. I mean, with four episodes to go, they need to do SOMETHING. We can’t watch the Eunpo folks be heartwarming and adorable for the rest of the drama, can we?
Paroma: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?! OF COURSE WE CAN!
Anisa: Actually, you’re right. I want to see Mimi narrate life in Eunpo, including Ra-ra and Joon’s love story, and Ha-young and Seung-gi opening their business and admitting they’re crazy about each other. Also more dog concerts. And outfits.
Paroma: But in a real sense, there’s really only two things left for the show to resolve: Joon’s family accepting Ra-ra, and Ra-ra (probably) getting back her inheritance from shady Secretary Moon.
Anisa: Oh I’d forgotten the evil secretary! That’s right. So in that sense there’s plenty to do in the lead-up to the end. Maybe Ra-ra can work on getting her dad’s money back while Joon convinces his parents that he wants to do mathematics instead of medicine, and then Ra-ra can come back triumphant (and more importantly for the Sunwoo family, rich) and claim her man.
Paroma: There, that’s a neat ending. Let’s hope we get something that’s almost this sensible, and maybe even sweeter, cause that’s what this drama does.
Anisa: And don’t forget: mind-blowingly pretty.
Paroma: Man, I’ll miss this cast of folks. Watching them be friends and support each other is just the best.
Anisa: Don’t act like this is goodbye! We still have two weeks to enjoy them!
Paroma: It’s nearly over. And when a drama keeps me hooked through the watershed of Episode 11 and pulls me into the final run, it’s a story I don’t want to let go of. 😭