Thirty Nine: Thirty-Nine
April 1, 2022 4:07 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Leaning on each other through thick and thin, a trio of best friends stand together as they experience life, love and loss on the brink of turning 40.

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MyDramaList show page review - ‘Thirty-Nine’: Story About Women that Shines Despite All the Cliché: "Thirty-Nine deals with the friendship, love, and life of three females who are about to turn forty. Cha Mi Jo (Son Ye Jin), Jung Chan Young (Jeon Min Do), and Jang Joo Hee (Kim Ji Hyun), who first met when they were 18, stayed as best friends for 20 or so years. Unlike the previous women-centric dramas that revolved around women in their 20s or early 30s or women who pull out their ambitions through their kids’ education, Thirty-Nine tells the stories of women who are on the verge of turning 40 and starting a new chapter of their lives, as the title suggests. However, the story of these women with different storytelling from the other women-centric dramas is banal and disappointing from the start. Though they could’ve shown a new and fresh plot, outdated devices are placed here and there. And the first device is a terminal illness."

Lifestyle Asia - Popular K-drama ‘Thirty-Nine’ ends on a high note with massive viewership ratings: "On the day of Son Ye-jin’s dreamy wedding with Crash Landing on You co-star Hyun Bin, the Korean drama series Thirty-Nine ended with skyrocketing viewership ratings. The actress co-stars in the 2022 series. The last episode of the JTBC TV series aired on 31 March and garnered an average nationwide viewership rating of 8.12 percent, breaking the show’s own record. The much-loved series also earned a citywide viewership rating of 8.94 percent, as reported by Nielsen Korea on 1 April."
posted by oh yeah! (3 comments total)
I have mixed feelings about this one. I don't think the initial promos/press gave much of a hint of the terminal illness that is central to the plot, so it felt like a bit of a sucker-punch at the flash-forward-to-someone's-funeral at the end of episode 1, though at least they didn't play the "whose funeral is it?!" suspense card for long and revealed in episode 2 who was dying.

It's a good cast, and there are plenty of sweet/funny moments. But I don't feel like it had anything particularly profound to say about life/death/friendship/love, and I think I always felt a slight level of resentment at the show whenever it made me cry over the terminal illness plot.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:26 PM on April 1, 2022

I wanted to like this show because it centers on three female characters of a certain age, and so I continued to stick with it even when I wasn’t enjoying it. Son Ye-jin and Jeon Min Do are great actors and I thought they did their best with the material, but the writing was over the top on some ridiculous plot points (e.g., the bakery break-in) and all over the place throughout the drama. One glaring example was Jin Seok (platonic lover of the terminally ill character), who refused to leave his wife & kid for Chan Young, but then it turned out he was in a loveless marriage and the kid wasn’t his, so he was just staying in the marriage because the wife was an awful parent and he loved the kid. But then the wife agreed to a divorce if she could take the kid with her to London; he agreed and was never shown to have contact with the kid again. Then there was the disappointing storyline for the third friend who was socially awkward, not especially clever, and in the first few episodes was always presented as drunk (I thought alcoholism might be part of her character arc). Instead, the writers wanted a young, handsome, talented, and kind man to fall in love with her, so he does, but they didn’t give any reason for him to want to be with her.

Thank god this show was only 12 episodes.
posted by kbar1 at 8:29 PM on April 2, 2022

Yeah, I felt like the plotting for this was all over the map. I thought it was going to be more of a slice-of-life dramedy about their friendship, but for a terminal cancer plot there was actually not enough time spent on that? Like, I thought the adoptive mother plotline and Seon-Woo's awful father were really tangential to what I hoped for. And, generally, Seon-Woo was incredible bland--I really wished we'd gotten more screen time of the three women (plus Mi-Jo's unni!) bickering.
posted by TwoStride at 9:37 PM on April 2, 2022

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