Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Trolley

This blog started when the Korean series "Trolley" (2023) became available.  But one episode near the end so upset me that I thought of throwing all my investment of time away as I found it very difficult to accept one unexpected development.  Thinking on it further, it reflects a lot of society.

The trolley dilemma is shown as a cartoon enactment in each episode introduction and I confess I could not understand the connection, but it becomes clearer.  If you do nothing 5 people will die, but if you pull a switch only one, a different person will die.  And it is not just numbers, but actual people (or issues you care about).  One truth can hurt others.  There are many truths to be exposed and we might get to better understand how politics works and the dilemmas endured by imperfect people trying to make the world a better place.  Traditionally we think Asians have a stronger sense of shame and are more prone to suicide, but a sense of shame and proneness to suicide are among us all,

Suicide is an emotional topic and it seems likely it is viewed differently in other cultures.  At one time I had written a term paper on suicide for a sociology class.  Sociology owes its beginnings to a study by Emile Durkheim on suicide.  By this series there is a different perspective.  In a few cases a person is considered guilty for driving someone to suicide and this seems to dog one family.  There is an effort to require further investigation of a suicide even after the perceived perpetrator kills himself.  The sex assault accuser should not be assumed to be guilty of murder.

A national Assemblyman gets involved with revealing a sex crime and the alleged perpetrator commits suicide and he is blamed for it.  This calls attention and ironically other suicides are blamed on accusers.  The Assemblyman doesn't know that his own wife has been haunted by such an experience and fled her home town and changed her name to hide the fact.  The story gets more complicated involving politics and personal relationships.

 He wants to pass an amendment  regarding sex crimes for heavier punishment, but has to deal with political opposition and then with personal problems.  There is no solution that leaves everyone better off.

Recently Canadians have been shocked to learn a politician with a reputation of sobriety has resigned because of a sexual mistake.  His agenda will be taken over by others.  Whether this is a disaster, an opportunity for progress or a very slight variation on the status quo the future has been altered by a human weakness.  This series displays a moral dilemma where decisions that effect everyone are distracted by political power struggles and personal relations.

There is not a lot of information accessible on the cast and crew, but as one becomes more familiar with Korean dramas you are likely to come across their names and appreciate their talent.

Kim Moon Kyo is the director.  This is only the second series he been listed for.

This is only her fourth series that Ryu Bo-Ri.has written for.

 Kim Hyun-joo plays the Assemblyman's wife Kim Hye Ju, and carries the most range of any role.  She has 28 films under her belt and won 5 awards.

Hee-soon Park plays the Assemblyman  He has 43 film credits and won 3 acting awards.

Seo Jung-yeon plays a close friend, Seo Jung-yeon who operates a cafe.  She has 38 credits including "Live Up to your Name" (2017) which was an unusual favorite.  see

Mu-Yeol Kim plays a political operative, Mu-Yeol Kim who is protective of his boss, the Assemblyman.  He is calculating and at ties seems cold hearted.  He has 26 film credits to his name.

Kim Mi-Kyung  plays a politician, Woo Jin Seok who generally supports the Assemblyman.    She has been in 70 films including  "It is Okay Not to Be Okay" (2020), another of my favorites.  See

Jung Soo-Bin plays Kim Soo-Bin a girlfriend to the son who dies tragically.  She appears suspicious and sure enough it is awhile before we find  out the true story and it is a bit complicated.  This is only her third film credit.

This series is full of emotions, misunderstandings pointing to moral dilemmas for a few of the characters.  It doesn't really have a happy ending for any of them.  Much like life.  The acting is credible.  Korean culture underneath all the similarities is different, but both aspects are worth understanding better.

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