The needle vs. the knife for Live Up to Your Name
Ha, I hope the show maintains the tone of this teaser. Upcoming “medical action” drama Live Up to Your Name from tvN has released its first look at the show featuring a time-traveling Joseon doctor and the cardiothoracic surgeon fellow he meets in modern Seoul, played by Kim Nam-gil (Pandora) and Kim Ah-joong (Wanted), respectively. I’m really liking all the signs that this show will have a pretty strong comedic bent to it.
Take this teaser: We first see a close-up of a portrait of Kim Nam-gil’s character, Heo Im. His descriptors read: “A doctor of lowborn origins” and “Joseon’s greatest acupuncturist.” As the camera zooms out, accompanied by some cheeky background music, we see the portrait hanging next to a lab skeleton. Heo Im asks, in a scandalized voice, “How can one use a knife on a person?”
Kim Ah-joong’s character, Choi Yeon-kyung, stares intently at his portrait as she replies, “Who cares if it’s a needle or a knife? You’re only a doctor if you save lives.” Lol, I can’t wait to see Heo Im react to all the newfangled medical technology; he’ll definitely have a lot to gawk at.
Choi Yeon-kyung sounds like a pretty familiar character, skilled in her field with an ice-cold, strong personality, but I look forward to her straight-man role in contrast to the fish-out-of-water Heo Im. The Joseon acupuncturist, on the other hand, is a playboy member of Hyeminseo, a real historic government branch that provided free medical services to commoners and educated women in the art of acupuncture. Due to his low birth (his status was lower than a commoner), he doesn’t see a future for his career even when he possesses genius-level acupuncture skills, so he stops trying to become a moral doctor. His character description actually reminds me a lot of Yong-pal, in that his materialism manifests itself in him going around at night making illicit house calls for the money.
It’s also fascinating learning more about the real-life figure, who lived a pretty dramatic life himself. Heo Im beat all the odds when he rose in the ranks to become a high-level medical official, and was a favorite of kings Sunjo and Gwanghaegun. He was also out in the streets during the Imjin War providing medical aid to the people, and is credited with saving countless lives, so it’s quite disheartening to know that his name is relatively unknown, especially compared to his contemporary Heo Jun. I hope that the show will help Heo Im become more widely known and respected, as is due.
Live Up to Your Name will premiere in August on tvN, following currently airing Forest of Secrets.