Imagine yourself a writer in your 40s, surrounded by your mom and her closest friends from primary and secondary school, all in their late 60s if not early 70s, each with a wonderful life story to share.
Of course you will be too busy coping with your own life and work to notice that the best work you have yet to written is the personal tales of these old folks who watched you grow up.
They are right in front of you.
This is only a rough summary of Dear My Friends, now showing on Netflix. The actual series is a lot a lot more complex and powerful.
Written by ‘star’ scriptwriter Noh Hee Kyung, well known for her very life-like portrayals of the ‘ordinary’ lives, the series is really ‘next-level’ soap opera to me.
I find myself empathizing a lot with the characters as if they exist in my real life.
Truth is, they do, albeit in slightly different ways but these characters in reel lives are real.
The six good friends fight and love each other just like most people who have a relationship for decades.
They will scream and yell profanities, say things they don’t mean and then find ways to crawl back into each other’s existence.
There is the insecure auntie who hangs out with younger and ‘smarter’ people to make up for her own inferiority complex although people around her keep warning her that she’s being used. She probably knows but she is also lonely.
Then there is the feisty mom and doting wife who has had enough of being treated like a doormat after 50 years of marriage. Her husband promised to take her to Italy when they were newly wed but 50 years later, when the guidebook to Sicily is all torn and tattered, he tells her she can go when he is dead. Do you blame her for finally saying “enough is enough”?
Whether you are a son or daughter, happy or sad, married or divorced, straight or gay, you will appreciate the little little nuances the writer, crew and director managed to inject into the series.
I have to warn you: it is not going to be a smooth ride watching it.
If you find yourself nodding in agreement or shaking in disbelief from time to time, congratulations! the Coronavirus has not made you a robot. You are alive!!!
If you find yourself taking constant breaks to watch other lighthearted series, you are normal.
I want to say enjoy this series although I am slightly reluctant to tell you to enjoy the sneak preview of your life ahead.
It can get a little depressing from time to time, but hey, what’s new?