Two Outs in the 9th Inning

Reviewed by: missmanderley

November 23, 2007

Rating: four-point-five

(AKA 9 End 2 Outs)

Two Outs in the 9th Inning (S. Korea) + 4 – ended with a total of 16 episodes, weekend drama. More popularly known as "9 End 2 Outs", this baseball themed drama at first glance seems like the cliche kdrama series you've seen. Typical love polygons, angsty pang of longing…then bham — 9E2O hits you square in the face with its own formula of the boy meets girl story. Here the boy has already met the girl, in fact has been with her for more than thirty years already! Bong Nan Hee (beautifully played by actress, Soo Ae) and Byun Hyung Tae have been friends from birth and know each other like the back of their hands. So what happens when two bestfriends move into the same house? This series takes the "falling in love" and examines it in the spectacles of singles in their 30s. Any kdrama fan would know that being unmarried at the age of 30 in Korea is more deadly than the Bubonic Plague... Trouble ensues when Hyung Tae finds himself harbouring romantic feelings for his best buddy.

The Skinny: This drama is just beautiful without trying hard for it.

The charm lies in the well constructed scenes between the two leads. When NH just broke up with her boyfriend and hasn't showered for days, HT comes to the rescue in the form of dumping cold water and shampoo over her head. Actor Lee Jung Jin plays the perennial bestfriend Hyung Tae, who puts his cellphone number on speed dial #1 and promises that she can call him anytime. Lee was almost forgettable as the second lead in the Kim Rae Won / Kim Tae Hee vehicle, "Love Story in Harvard" due to his lack luster acting and abysmal English but he throughly redeems himself here. Having his comeback after his three year absence due to military service, LJJ proves that he's more than his chiseled six pack. He painted the almost player, kind hearted bestfriend as a dependable namja, one that is certainly good enough as a husband. Here he is believable, and his acting appears natural as he jokingly spars with actress Soo Ae.

Actress Park Soo Ae, who became famous for several historical period dramas is stunning as Nan Hee, a 30 year old woman whose been kicked and beaten down by love. She's jaded, but a hopeless romantic and like many women at her age is being pressured to be wed off. Soo Ae adds a spunky classy feel to this character, and the moment you see her using a hole puncher to ward off her bestfriend…you're sold. She definitely does not look like a woman in her thirties!

Both leads fit comfortably as old friends, like I said its the little scenes that grab your attention. When they're off drunk because of life's up and downs, the duo ends up sneaking off tamborines at a noraebang, and singing their song as they walk down the street. As Nan Hee says in a latter episode, "when one of us feels trashy, the other becomes the trashcan". They worry about whether the other has eaten their dinner, they joke around and all seems well in dramaland. Like what my seasoned kdrama watching friend said, "It's just plain different".

Notable too are the support characters, who thankfully do not fade off into the dark musky background. We see NH and HT's college friends who each struggle with their own life and loves, their friendship is shown to be the safety net that catches when one falls behind. Look out for the young-ins though, NH's boytoy Jung Joo (played adequately by Lee Tae Sung) and mini antagonist/little biatch Joon Young (Im Yoonah of Girls Generation) whose youthful exuberance and stubborness appears more than annoying the midst of all the adults.

It's hard to imagine why this series is so underrated.

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Two Outs in the 9th Inning

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