Introverted Boss takes a week off to rewrite and regroup
This is an interesting move, but perhaps an ultimately positive one for the show (one hopes): Introverted Boss, tvN’s currently running Monday-Tuesday drama, is taking a week off the air in a direct effort to correct course and address viewer complaints about the show.
The drama was originally slated to air Episodes 5 and 6 this week, but announced last week that it would be skipping this week and resuming next Monday. At the time the production team didn’t offer a specific reason for the wait, but I didn’t think too much of it, particularly as this coincided with the Lunar New Year holiday over the weekend, which saw the pre-emption of a few shows (although Introverted Boss had no direct time conflict).
Today, however, producers explained that they are making extensive rewrites to the scripts for Episodes 5 and 6, saying, “There were quite a lot of revisions made to the initially released script, which essentially became a completely new one. Using that script, we are currently filming Episode 5.” Also: “We are working to make up for the parts that are lacking and improve [the drama]. We’ve decided to accept the audience’s views positively.”
The show premiered to a solid 3.16% rating and high hopes; the station had been looking to Introverted Boss to keep up its streak of hits, in no small part because this is the follow-up drama by Oh Hae-young Again’s director, PD Song Hyun-wook, in a reunion with his Marriage Not Dating writer, Joo Hwa-mi, and also that show’s hero, Yeon Woo-jin. Both of those shows were sleeper hits and drew strong popular and critical praise, and it seemed natural to think Introverted Boss would also score. Instead, ratings have been steadily slipping, down to 3.05% in Episode 2, then 2.14% and 1.97%.
Among the viewer complaints: A story that’s difficult to relate to or get behind, including unrealistic characters and forced plotlines, which have elicited negative reactions. Set at a high-powered PR firm, the story centers around a CEO (Yeon Woo-jin) with severe social anxiety and an inability to engage directly with people, whose evasiveness has inadvertently earned him a reputation as a feared, unreasonable boss. A plucky heroine (Park Hye-soo) comes into the company with a loud mouth and outgoing personality—and also a hidden agenda, blaming that CEO for the suicide of her sister, who used to work as his secretary.
It’s meant to be a cute setup, particularly as the heroine rages against the faceless CEO behind his back, not knowing that he’s the same guy that she’s seen around and finds shy and sweet in person. And I do find myself rooting for Mr. CEO to rise above his debilitating anxiety and assert himself and finally get credit for being the brains of the operation, rather than being badmouthed as a tyrannical boss. But the complaints definitely ring true with me, and despite wanting really hard to like it because of the team involved, aside from the hero, I haven’t really warmed to anybody, least of all the heroine. Any new employee who saunters up to the boss’s office on her first day, ignoring that she’s already late, and snooping through his desk and grabbing his hair angrily was a really sudden and early way to lose me. Then to make this the heroine I was supposed to root for in a romance with the hero? Not bloody likely.
It isn’t at all unusual for a drama to make tweaks to its story and characters on the fly (it’s part and parcel of the live-shoot system), as it gauges its audience’s interest along the way, but I’m a little surprised at the production’s transparency about this move and how much they are apparently willing to change. I give them props for not being defensive or precious, and not just telling the viewers that we just have to wait for things to get better, and that there are totally Big Important Reasons for all the things we dislike about it, and that it’s our fault we don’t see the appeal. To the contrary, they’ve stated, “This decision is because we accept the viewers’ opinions. We have cleared up and done away with many ridiculous setups.”
One source with the production team explains that they were unprepared for the barrage of negative feedback following the first episode’s broadcast: “We didn’t expect this kind of response. Most of the producers worked on Oh Hae-young Again and expectations were high, but internally, we were surprised. After considering many situations, it was decided to revise the script. Because we have a good director and good actors, I look forward to [the show] being able to receive love.”
Granted, there’s not a lot you can do for the fact that I don’t think Park Hye-soo is quite ready to be headlining a drama yet—she was promising in Age of Youth as one of the girls, but hasn’t found a way to give this character any oomph or warmth for me. It’s definitely a fault of writing more than performance, but I do think there are actresses who are capable of being likable despite a bad setup, and she isn’t one of them. Still, if this complete overhaul results in toning down her misplaced and off-putting aggressiveness, I will be very grateful.
Introverted Boss will resume airing next Monday, February 6, with Episode 5.
- Introverted Boss: Episode 4
- Introverted Boss: Episode 3
- Introverted Boss: Episode 2
- Introverted Boss: Episode 1
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