*You can read about our look at other episodes of Hara On & Off here
Episode seven is a strange one, for sure. It's heart-wrenching to find that Hara On & Off: The Gossip is essentially over and episodes seven and eight are a mere twenty minutes apiece, wrapping up the loose threads that never really needed wrapping up to begin with.
The episode begins with a strange vignette of a young assistant director, that faces doubts from older staff in moments that feel as scripted as a bad sitcom. There's even a "sketch" about his interaction with his friend, who is lovingly and perversely obsessed with Hara, which feels as out of place in this show as having Kara perform on the Moon.
Which is to say, this episode was a disappointment. Not because I was expecting another fascinating look at Hara's life (though I did expect that). But because instead of getting a real behind-the-scenes look at the program, which episode eight seems to promise, we get a strange sketch that comes out of the blue and a panel-style discussion between Hara and her three managers.
This is her entourage. Three young men with large builds (a detail that Hara brings up on more than a few occasions, very motherly - or grandmotherly, rather), who we've seen at various points throughout the show. But this episode's major miscalculation is that it assumes that the audience would have any affection for these three men from the small moments we've gleamed from them. We don't.
It's an odd dialogue between Hara and her managers, that mainly has them answer what their first impression was of her and what she values in each and every one of them. Cue saccharine music, cue shy expressions. And then, they clap.
You begin to realize while watching this episode that this really isn't an episode at all. This is bonus footage. A DVD extra. These final "two episodes" will not be the denouement you are looking for. You feel a sense of loss. You recycle every moment from the last six episodes in your head and wonder what these last two episodes could have examined, but didn't.
Like a glimpse into Hara's family. Of course Hara probably wouldn't agree to have them filmed to respect their privacy, but you can wonder, can't you? To you, the cats are her family. That's all we get.
And what about actual recording and producing? What if they had timed the filming of these episodes just right so we could take a look at the preparations for their next comeback? Imagine the tie-in potential. The anticipation. Imagine Hara learning new choreography or hating the new song. Imagine the filming of the music video and adjusting to a new concept. The pressure and then the release during a successful run.
Or maybe these last two episodes could have given you a look at Hara's involvement with variety programs or being subjected to aggressive interviews? What if you actually saw Hara in a moment of conflict? Or intense stress?
You can speculate and imagine all you want, but there's no satisfaction you and I can feel here. We'll always want more. We'll always want to peer deeper and deeper. We've gotten six episodes that examine key relationships and routines in Hara's life, and it still feels like we're just touching the surface.
So, it's not fair that this episode is unremarkable to us. That these reflective discussions between Hara and three men that we feel no attachment to feels somewhat tone-deaf to an audience who's only concern is how any of this relates to Hara. Here it's not about Hara, it's about how Hara perceives and appreciates the important people in her life. Which is something. But for us, not enough. We've been spoiled by the program. We're greedy.
Now, on to episode eight!
Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.