Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching
by DB Staff
So, what are we all watching this week?
What kept you reaching for more (or agonizing when there was no more), and what made you want to throw your remote through the screen? Time to weigh in…
Angel’s Last Mission: Love: Jang Hyun-sung! I was so happy to find him in a squishy role right after Doctor Prisoner. I even got the decks swabbed and the sails set for shipping him with the Household Secretary(?) Alas… *sigh* Anyway, Shin Hye-sun is great as the ice princess (is she ever not great though?) I like that she’s so unlikeable on the outside that even the angel has trouble understanding her. I haven’t seen L in anything since Shut Up Flower Boy Band so I’m pleasantly surprised at how lively he is here. He can be a bit too kooky for others’ tastes, but he reminds me of the prissy Scheduler from 49 Days–except his fatal flaw is the opposite: he cannot *not* interfere in human business. Which is great because there’s a certain girl that needs lots of intervention, though she wouldn’t ever admit it.
Special Labor Inspector Jo: Two more allies! I’m eh at the corrupt labor inspector joining the team though. It just seemed out of character for him to suddenly care. He’s never been conflicted about being mercenary and selling everyone out before unlike, say, Do-ha who’s always torn between doing what’s good versus pandering to power. As for Ha Ji-man, he’s always been a conscientious (if a tad too careful) mentor to Jo Jang-poong, so I welcome him “officially” joining the team poster this week. Can you believe this show is ending next week though? I feel like this honest but optimistic take on societal problems can go on for a long time and I’d watch it happily like a weekend drama.
The Great Escape: I checked out the first two episodes of season 1 and my feelings about Kang Ho-dong haven’t changed. His desperation for screentime still comes off a bit too strong. He also seems always on the verge of a tantrum which makes me anxious. That being said, I’m staying with the show because the behind-the-scenes work is cool. The props and the puzzles have so much thought behind them. As someone whose work happens mostly under the hood, the isolation can be difficult. I’ll sometimes hide stuff in plain sight and giggle by myself, but the payoff when someone interacts with those tiny details is so great. That’s why the locked fried chicken and the fake posters had me laughing. This show gives me secondhand satisfaction from the tricks and pranks the production team is pulling on the escape team. If I’m having this much fun from the first two episodes where it’s obvious that they’re still figuring out their concept, how much more fun will it be as the season continues? 🙂
Her Private Life: What a wonderful show this was! I’m so sad it’s over. Time to rewatch! …Okay, I kid. But really, I want to pretend that the last few seconds of episode 14 don’t exist, and that the drama ended right then—because that would make this a perfect rom-com. A unicorn. (Sort of like Top Star Yoo Baek, but even better.) We have a satisfying resolution to every single plot thread, including the story of Ryan’s childhood abandonment and his painting slump, which I had doubts that they could pull off. I even cried, because Lee Il-hwa is our Answer Me mom. And we’ve seen the relationship between Deok-mi and her Lion slowly, beautifully blossom, a perfect balance of explosive physical chemistry and an even more swoonworthy growing intimacy, all without losing the initial spark or succumbing to the dreaded Episode 12 Curse. I even loved how the formerly hateful Eun-gi came to terms with his feelings for Deok-mi—his promise to her of lifelong friendship actually had me tearing up. This weird childhood connection between Deok-mi’s family and Ryan will cause all sorts of horrible conversations and is neither needed nor logical. It adds nothing to these two’s already very touching and romantic love story to have them be able to overcome the fact that her mother did a Bad Thing to him a long time ago. I found it far more moving to witness the way they found the bravery to be honest about their feelings, how they listened to each other’s inner scars and triumphs and created happiness for each other. The way that Deok-mi showed Ryan how to start drawing again may be the most beautiful act of love I’ve seen between a couple in a drama for a very long time. So yes, I’ll watch the finale because there’s bound to be an excess of cuteness, but this drama is one more example of the fact that 16 episodes is too long for a rom-com.
The Secret Life of My Secretary: The premise of this one sounded crazy, but I checked it out because I will watch Kim Young-kwang in anything after his tour de force performance in Lookout, and because Jin Ki-joo is clearly a rising talent. Four epsiodes in, it is crazy, but in the best way. This may be another iteration of the poor-little-rich-boy, exacting boss falling in love with his overworked secretary, but the addition of Min-ik’s sudden onset of face blindness and Gal-hee as the only one he can recognize means that he has to very quickly eat some very humble pie—as he deserves. I think my favorite thing is how this means he’s telling her things that would normally sound romantic: “You’re the only one I can see,” and “Everyone except you is a blur,” except that he means it all literally. And now that Gal-hee has established her secret life as the chaebol heiress he thinks he’s falling in love with, she’s put herself on the path for both romance and heartbreak. Not only are the lead actors killing it, but the drama does an excellent job of balancing laugh-out-loud humor with genuine pathos, and giving us some really great character moments in the process. I was dying of laughter during Gal-hee’s drunken march of revenge, as she sets off to kill her ex-boss along with her outraged fellow secretaries, baseball bat in hand. But there’s also her genuine devastation when Gal-hee realizes that Min-ik is firing her even though she’s spent the last year denying her own personhood to serve him; or the awful moment when Min-ik realizes that he may never be able to see anyone’s face again, and he breaks down like a little boy in the doctor’s arms. Both of these felt painful to witness, almost voyeuristic, without feeling out of place in a rom-com—a testament to the way the drama balances its tone. It’s early days so the show could easily go sideways, especially given how much oxygen company politics takes up. But for now, I’m waiting for Min-ik to fall in love—and realize he’s been looking at the same face this whole time.
One Spring Night: Excuse me while I SPAZZ! I don’t think I was as burned as most from Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (or I forgave them already), so I have been really curious/looking forward to this drama. Even though I’m behind in 20 other dramas that need watching, I put it all on hold for the premiere week of this drama — hence the spazzing. I can’t get over how consistent the tone/palette of the team behind this drama is. It’s not that I adore it, it’s just that it gets to me, or gets under my skin, in some way I can’t even articulate. And it sticks to me like glue. It happened for Pretty Noona and it’s happening again for One Spring Night. The dramas feel incredibly similar, yet have entirely different set-ups. It’s early in the plot for One Spring Night, but I’m really liking the dynamics between the three sisters, and our lead characters. K-dramas are not often subtle, so when there’s a drama with subtle attractions and moments, I really enjoy it. That being said, the scene where Jung Hae-in’s character nonchalantly replaces Han Ji-min’s fallen chopstick really got me. Perfect moment.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 18, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 11, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 4, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (April 27, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (April 20, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (April 13, 2019)