I didn’t think I’d find a show as good as While You Were Sleeping this soon, but I did and it’s Pinocchio. I searched for shows to watch after WYWS and I found this so my friend and I started watching it together.
I took a few episodes to get into it but I LOVED it once I did. I must have watched Pinocchio about two weeks after WYWS (yes this review is really late) and it instantly got me obsessed about it instead of WYWS.
What is the drama about?
The drama starts off with a fire accident and mis-reported news which leads to the family of a fireman, who is allegedly hiding after being the only survivor from the explosion, being targeted. The wife, eventually having enough of being blamed all over media and by the people she meets, jumps off a cliff into water with her younger son Ki Ha-myeong.
They both are reported to be dead but the son, Ki Ha-myeong, is survives after being saved from the sea by an old man. The old man, still scarred from his elder son drowning in the sea, believes that Ha-myeong is his son returned. Therefore from then on Ha-myeong lives as Choi Dal-po, leaving behind his previous life along with his name.
Coincidentally, the daughter of the reporter who mis-reported the news is Choi In-ha, the granddaughter of the previously mentioned old man through his other son. Therefore Choi Dal-po becomes Choi In-ha’s cousin and he hates her because of her mother.
Dal-po and In-ha grow up to become reporters and we follow them as they try to report right and also deal with what happened in the past. Most of the drama takes place when they’re reporters.
This drama is based on how much impact reported news makes since people believe that all the news reported is true even if it’s not, and it shows how things can go wrong because of it. Ha-myeong’s life was destroyed, his mother killed herself and his family’s name was ruined because of a reporter who jumped to conclusions.
Why is it named Pinocchio?
There’s something called “the Pinocchio syndrome” in the show. 6% percent of the population have this syndrome which causes their body to involuntarily do some action when they lie, therefore making it hard to lie.
The female lead, Choi In-ha, has the Pinocchio syndrome and hiccups whenever she lies. Until she tells the truth about it after lying, her hiccups don’t stop.
It’s an interesting concept but there’s not much focus on it for the drama to be named after it. The drama is a lot of things and the Pinocchio syndrome is not one of the most important factors.
What I loved about the story
- The double identity of Ha-myeong/Dal-po made the story SO DARN INTERESTING. Especially because, at every turn, he encounters someone from the past but can’t say anything since he left that life behind. Multiple times throughout the show I was cheering him on to just reveal his real identity but he didn’t. It did lead to huge reveal scene which was P E R F E C T though.
- There’s also the storyline between Ha-myeong and his real older brother. For a decade the older brother, Ki Jae-myeong, thought that his brother was dead as well and held rage in his heart. The two brothers meet because of another reason and it KILLED me to watch them be strangers. I love family drama and any plot related to family so the two brothers and their story was the highlight of the show for me. I swear I cried so much for these two, it’s not funny.
- Another family-related plot which I loved was the bond between Dal-po and his adoptive father. Through the show they go through ups and downs but the love between them is pure even though they’re not related by blood. I love them so much I could cry.
- The romance was slow-burn and really adorable! If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that slow-budding romances are my favourite and the romance between Dal-po and In-ha was SO NICE.
- But I wasn’t very into the romance because rest of the plot grabbed my attention more. It was cute and all but it didn’t give me any feels like the rest.
- All the characters were brilliant! Each part was played perfectly by the actors and I couldn’t find anything lacking. The characters were a major reason why I love the show so much.
- The rivalry between the two main news broadcasting channels YGN and MSC was fun to watch.
Ki Ha-myeong is the most important character and Lee Jong-suk played him so damn well, I was blown off. Because of his acting in Pinocchio, I became obsessed with him and pretty much stalked him online. I’m a Lee Jong-suk stan now.
The most defining factor of Ha-myeong was his past, his hatred towards reporters and how he eventually becomes one just to show how reporters are supposed to be. He hated In-ha because of her mother but eventually he ended up liking her even though he didn’t want to. He liked her for YEARS before others got to know about it because he hid it so well.
What I also liked was seeing a few scenes where Dal-po was playful and boyish, which was hella cute.
Choi In-ha on the other hand, was mostly just clueless. She loves her mother even though her mom doesn’t even talk to her. She wants to become a reporter because of her mom. In fact, she’s been texting her mom for YEARS without getting a reply but she continues as she believes her mom reads her messages.
I didn’t like In-ha character specifically but she was portrayed well by Park Shin-hye. I liked the acting. In-ha was adorable and childish at times but also sacrificing and determined. What I liked most about her was that she thought about others first and if she’s determined, she tries very hard and doesn’t give up easily.
I did have a problem with In-ha though. She sometimes felt like a supporting character instead of a main character. She tried to do things but she mostly just went along with the flow while all the impactful actions were done by Dal-po.
Seo Beom-jo is a reporter along with Choi In-ha and he’s a major character in the show. The texts that In-ha used to send her mom? Well turns out her mom forgot her phone once and Beom-jo took it. For a DECADE he’s been reading In-ha’s messages and falls in love with her.
Played by Kim Young-kwang, Beom-jo becomes a reporter to meet In-ha and in the beginning. I though of him as only a sidekick. I didn’t find much depth in his character until a little before the end. All I could see about his was that he liked In-ha and he was a spoilt rich child. It’s only later that we see more to him but overall I didn’t like his character much.
Now, onto my favourite character of the show—Yoon Yu-rae. Played by Lee Yoo-bi, Yu-rae is the CUTEST, MOST ADORABLE character in the show. My friend and I talked about her so much after finishing the show.
Yoon Yu-rae is childish, vies for the best, works hard and is a really good friend. I smiled pretty much every time she was on screen.
Even though he’s not considered a major character of the show, to me Ki Jae-myeong was a huge part of the story. I loved this character, played by Yoon Kyung-sang, because of his storyline.
For a decade, Jae-myeong has been living with the hatred towards Song Cha-ok (Choi In-ha’s mother) in his heart, believing his whole family to be dead. Every scene of his was intense with my heart either beating like crazy or very slow, just waiting to see what happens. The time when Jae-myeong and Ha-myeong/Dal-po met? I was ON A HIGH. That time was the most intense period ever when I sat on the edge of my seat.
Jae-myeong was such a perfect older brother, my heart couldn’t take it. I can’t say more because of spoilers but yeah, I loved him.
The other recurring characters, especially Ki Ha-myeong’s adoptive family and his boss at the broadcasting station, were also really good. We focused at least a little bit on each of them and that made the show more than just the main characters.
My favourite songs from the soundtrack
Although there aren’t as many songs I fell in love with, there are a few which I loved a LOT.
This is the theme song of the show and I fell in love with it only through the few seconds they played at the beginning. I had listened to this song on repeat for a while. It’s such a feel-good song!
I didn’t like this song in the beginning but a few days back it came on shuffle and I FELL IN LOVE. It’s been playing on repeat for the last couple days and I find myself humming it throughout the day. It’s a really soothing song.
This is an instrumental but I love it because of the scene it played in. THAT SCENE OMG. I must have watched it on repeat about a dozen times, both when I came across it first and after I finished the show. Even now when I listen to it that scene plays in my head.
Discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)
If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.
I found quite a few plot holes in While You Were Sleeping as I mentioned in my review but in Pinocchio I only found one plot hole. And it’s a BIG one.
In the beginning they explained the fire explosion properly. Two members of staff set the fire and ran away, their boss didn’t know and asked the firemen to go inside and save those two (who weren’t actually inside). Nine firemen died inside and to avoid blame, the boss lied to the police that the captain took his men inside the building for no reason. That’s why Ki Ha-myeong’s father, the captain, got blamed for it all. Only one building exploded.
Later while the plot was about the corruption and about how Beom-jo’s mom made Song Cha-ok report wrong to divert the blame and prevent the real reason coming out, there was a different story. That time they told that the explosion in which Ha-myeong’s dad died was actually a FACTORY explosion and that over 40 people died. Beom-jo’s mom diverted the news towards the fireman captain but HOW??? How does it make sense to blame him? If he had gone in to save the FORTY people, it’s not his fault for the deaths?
I got immediately confused when they brought it up in the later episodes because HOW? I got so confused and thought I was remembering wrong. I asked the friend I was watching with about the story and she said the same thing that I remembered!
So yeah even though I found only one plot hole, it’s a huge one.
I was also frustrated about another thing.
In the epilogue, there was a character who looked EXACTLY like Jae-Myeong from his earlier days. How? Why? Why add that when there’s nothing done about it? When it doesn’t mean anything?
If there was some underlying plot about that boy being Jae-myeong’s unknown son, I’d accept it. But there was nothing? And it was the EPILOGUE where they’re wrapping up everything?? It did not make sense AT ALL.
Okay so CAN WE TALK ABOUT EPISODES 10 AND 11???
The scene where Jae-myeong realized his brother is Dal-po BROKE. MY. HEART. I cried so much for that scene, y’all. It made me bawl like a baby.
I also cried when Dal-po reported the news about Jae-myeong. He reported about his own brother and the brother took it and… good lord. These two brothers made me have so many feels.
To be honest, there was a lot of crying in this show. Especially by Ha-myeong/Dal-po. He cried so much.
This show gave me so many feels and I love the characters. I didn’t really like how the epilogue was done but watching the show was definitely worth it. I totally recommend watching it!
Have you watched Pinocchio? If yes, what did you think of it? Did you notice the plot hole I mentioned? Have you watched any other Korean dramas which are similar to this one? If you haven’t watched it, do you want to watch it? Let me know in the comments!