Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
Maybe it’s just me and not dramaland, and my problem is that I’ve just lost that lovin’ feeling. Maybe it’s not the fault of the drama offerings, because it seems that a number of shows are doing pretty well these days, but I’m back to feeling the drag. Now I know why family dramas do so well, because although I feel like they’re among the less fresh, creative, and exciting stories in K-drama (along with morning and daily serials), in my current slump they’re the only type of show I have the energy to follow. Not because they’re better, but because they’re easy and familiar, and once you get past the first couple episodes of setup, you don’t have to put in much mental effort to keep following along. Maybe one of these days I’ll feel excited and sucked back into the wonderful world of miniseries, but for now, it’s the family sagas that keep me watching. –javabeans
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: I love how swoony this show can get, and how Park Hyung-shik injects such feeling into his lingering gazes and stolen glances. I cheered when Min-hyuk got the hero-backlighting treatment, and practically felt my heart pounding along with Bong-soon’s every time he made his intentions known. I’m grateful for this drama coming along right now, because without it I’d be finding dramaland rather dull these days.
Father, I’ll Take Care of You: What a difference twenty episodes make: At first, I thought Kim Jae-won’s storyline was the sore thumb that stuck out of the otherwise upbeat story, but now that everyone else has turned shrewish and frustrating, he’s the one thing I find refreshing in the show. Does it make me a bad person for rooting for him to ruin everyone’s lives? Or for cheering when the dumb first son finally realized he’d lost it all? Or feeling vindicated when Dad collapsed upon hearing just how badly he’d screwed over Kim Jae-won in the first place? I’m turning vindictive and enjoying it.
Father Is Strange: I like each of the siblings and the parents and even the in-laws, but for me most of the emotional draw is with Lee Joon, who is equal parts pitiful and funny. He’s made this character hilarious without turning him into a buffoon, and I feel every bit of his embarrassment and loneliness. Just adopt him already, Dad! I know that puts a damper on the whole Jung So-min loveline, but right now I feel like he needs a family more than he needs a girlfriend.
You’re Too Much: I was curious to see how the actress swap would turn out, so I returned to this show just as Jang Hee-jin stepped in. And dare I say it: I find her an improvement. She immediately feels at home in this role, with an emotional genuineness that draws you in and a sadness that seems to come from within, which works wonderfully for the Hae-dang character. I did think this drama was the best Gu Hye-sun had been in years, but her sadness felt affected and less natural, so I didn’t feel as immediate a presence from her. That said, the show is still a little too morose for me, so I think I’ll call it a day.
Whisper: Twisted. It was an eventful premiere—a little TOO eventful at times, with so many things happening so fast that it was hard to get my bearings at first—but I’m definitely sucked in by Lee Bo-young’s hard-edged character and her blinding anger at the injustice of the world. Everyone in the cast seems to have good angry chemistry with everyone else, so while it’s not a happy drama, the tension is simmering all around in a good way. But was anyone else disappointed that everyone switched careers after one episode?? I wanted a cop and a judge fighting against the corrupt system, not everyone and their father working at the One Law Firm to Rule Them All.
Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: I was relieved to discover that Gil-dong and Co. had been doing their vigilante work on the down-low all this time, because I was starting to worry that he’d just become a full-time gangster. Seeing them finally step into the classic Hong Gil-dong role of punishing the wicked and giving to the poor was a really energizing moment in the series. This right here is what I came for!
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: Aaaaaah, I love that Bong-soon finally has heart-eyes for Min-hyuk! The way she keeps staring at him is hilarious—there isn’t actual drool, but I half expected them to CG it on her face at some point. The plot has slowed, but if this is the price we pay for romance, by all means take your sweet time, plot.
Tomorrow With You: Ultimately I wasn’t satisfied with the time-travel aspect of the series, because it caused more problems than it solved and I was still left with all sorts of questions about the ten-year term for the subway crash survivors (like, how technically does Dad’s sacrifice negate their expiration dates?), but the letters sent from past to future and vice versa were a nice touch, and I liked how all of So-joon’s visits to the future in previous episodes became callbacks when we got to Ma-rin’s side of the timeline. I really enjoyed the beginning of the show with the weird courtship and sudden marriage, but the rest of the series became a little lifeless after that, and never managed to reclaim that initial charm.
Chief Kim: I’m calling it: This is the funniest drama I’ve ever seen. It may not be the funniest drama ever, but the humor just resonated so well with me that I feel a tangible sense of fear that I won’t see the likes of it again. It feels like one of those lightning-in-a-bottle dramas, the kind where the cast has just the perfect chemistry, perfect comedic timing, and perfect trajectories. It wasn’t all perfect, but I have such a soft spot for dramas where it seems like the cast is just having an absolute blast. It makes me believe that the characters on screen will continue to have just as much fun when the cameras aren’t rolling, which is perhaps the best way to leave a drama. Fare thee well, you awesome show, you. (Also, if Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho could get a sequel, why can’t you?)
Currently recapping: Whisper
Super Family 2017: Ah, the true test of love—smelling your beloved’s farts. Is it weird that the scene in the hospital was my favorite this week? I feel like it perfectly sums up why I love this little family (and this show) so much, with such tenderhearted thoughtfulness intermingled with hilarious honesty, and characters so relatable that I somehow can see a part of myself in each one of them.
Radiant Office: I didn’t think I’d care about any of the supposed lovelines in this show (because I’m here for the suicide squad and their adorable interactions), but the moment Kang-ho was leaving the coffee shop and looked back at Suk-kyung and her cute daughter, I was a goner. May this noona romance live up to the expectations I didn’t even know I had until just now.
Strong Woman Do Bong-soon: This week’s episodes were all about Min-hyuk and Bong-soon for me. All the other storylines are either slow or frustrating, but I just don’t care, because these two are SO ADORABLE. The way Min-hyuk looks at Bong-soon, her fanciful Romeo and Juliet dreams, and all these confessions our boy is dropping like it’s no biggie totally warm my heart and make me squee. Because honesty is the most romantic thing. I am increasingly frustrated by the casual and reckless violence in this show, but I’m willing to wait until the show ends to see how, or if, it addresses these issues. Maybe it’s trying to say something about domestic violence, bullying, and gender roles, and we just haven’t gotten there yet? But I’m side-eyeing you until then, Show.
Father Is Strange: Since I wasn’t recapping this week I finally got a chance to start this show, and I’m already caught up. It took me an episode or two to get back into the slower pace of family dramas as I haven’t watched one in a while, but now I’m enjoying it. It’s a fun, better-than-average weekend show with an engaging cast, and although every beat is predictable, I like the somewhat unusual way we’re approaching familiar tropes. Lee Yuri and Ryu Soo-young have great chemistry and you can tell they’re enjoying the heck out of their roles; her parents have a wonderful, loving relationship that’s rare to see in dramas, and I like the contrast with his parents’ contentious and distant marriage. But my favorite thing about this show is Lee Joon, who plays the ridiculous foot-actor with an earnestness that makes him hilarious and yet full of heart. His recognition of his own flaws and his willingness to give up so much of his closely held emotional armor in order to improve himself was so moving, especially when he failed in the end, both personally and professionally. I’m hoping that once the Byuns adopt him into their boisterous clan, he’ll be able to fill that loneliness and find his place among them. I’m also looking forward to the evolution of his relationship with Jung So-min (Yay! So glad to see her back!) from archenemies, to friends, to forever.
Radiant Office: How much do I love this show? I can’t even express how it makes me feel. It definitely has its issues, namely some of the ridiculous office plotlines (who takes a vote on whether to fire a temp or keep her?), but the characters are so human and funny. I love our Suicide Squad, as odilettante has brilliantly named them, and it’s wonderful to see them slowly regaining the will to live and throwing themselves into achieving their dreams, even if one of them is counting her days. I wasn’t sure how this show would manage to be a comedy considering its terminal illness premise, but it has the perfect balance of humor, wackiness, heart, and melancholy.
Chief Kim: Finale week! I’m going to miss this wacky bunch so much. Such a satisfying ending, with great resolutions for all the characters. Yul and Sung-ryong’s was a bromance for the ages, and was honestly more romantic and beautiful than many OTPs in my drama-watching life. This show kept up its fast pace, smart writing, and brilliant character moments until the end, and it was a wonderful show throughout its run. I loved how we got the parallel in the last act between Sung-ryong’s redemption and Yul’s; I remember people speculating that Yul was undercover in earlier episodes, but him being an actual villain and using that as a cover in order to redeem himself is almost poetic. And Myung-suk screwing up his courage and deciding to be the man his father never was made me unutterably proud. I’m sad that the Business Operations family had to lose their Chief Kim, but at least he’s nearby; besides, he’s too much of a free spirit to enjoy working in a corporation. In the end, this show was all about its ensemble—as the ending credits said, everyone is a main character—and it was the perfect show to watch in these troubled times. Aja!
1 Night 2 Days: This show lost a bit of its mojo when PD Yoo Ho-jin left, especially with Joon-young’s recent hiatus, but the ten-year anniversary special encapsulated everything I love best about this season, and those three theme songs were perfect. (The production team must have agreed, because they officially recorded and released the songs and made music videos for each one.) Seriously, go look them up. I cried.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (March 25, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (March 18, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (March 11, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (March 4, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 25, 2017)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (February 18, 2017)
Tags: 1 show to rule them all, 1N2D, Chief Kim, Father I'll Take Care of You, Father Is Strange, Radiant Office, Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People, Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, Tomorrow With You, What We're Watching, Whisper