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…
Abyss: I’m not even sure why I’m still watching, but here I am. The drama, in a word, is disappointing. Definitely not at hot mess levels (ahem, Item) but there’s nothing holding my interest. With each passing episode, I feel my interest waver more and more. Instead of being drawn in by the storytelling, it just feels like the plot is treading water. I don’t particularly care about any of the characters (not even my girl Park Bo-young) and though I’m still curious about the Abyss, I’m not sure I care enough to watch all the way to the end.
My Fellow Citizens: I marathoned the last six hours this week (ie everything that happened after Yang Jung-gook won) and I love how the conman is outraged, “Why is everyone so petty and lazy and corrupt?!” towards his fellow representatives. But it’s also sad because all that stuff about shamelessness and partisan politics are true. Another thing I loved about this show is how there are women everywhere. There’s a police chief and an expert swindler and a loan shark and a campaign strategist and they all happen to be women, and the story just flows along like your usual K-drama. I remember thinking plot-wise it would’ve been the same if you put guys in those roles (as is the usual), but the show seems to be saying the same thing in reverse: “This show could’ve been the same with a woman in those roles too, so why not?” ♥ I will miss this show and I hope the peace sign at the end as Jung-gook walks back to office is a hint of season 2. My Fellow Citizens was so good at highlighting ridiculous truths, so wouldn’t it make sense if a certain reprobate (Yang Jung-gook) is elected back into office?
Special Labor Inspector Jo: Aww… another satisfying show that finished running this week. I was gonna nitpick on the finale, but then Woo Do-ha hung his head after helping them and said, “I messed up a lot of things” and Jo Jang-poong answered, “It’s okay, you fixed a lot of things too.” How can you stay nitpicky after that? This show wasn’t perfect, but it gave me 16 hours of fan service and capers and redemption arcs. And a gang who’s always fighting hard not just to take down baddies, but to reform those they can get their hands on too. I may not remember the details five years from now, but for two hours a week for the past two months, I was immersed in a world where justice prevailed. The antics in the final episode were simplistic, but I love that the show circled back on all the people that Jang-poong helped and showed them helping back in small ways. It’s a message that I could use right now, when the real world feels so overwhelmingly evil that the guilt of not doing something drastic can paralyze you. So it’s nice that the show ended with the message that tiny decisions to do what’s right will add up if we do it together. My heart will remember being hopeful.
Angel’s Last Mission: Love: WHAAAT is happening??? You can’t do this to me, Show. I was enjoying the over-pious angel sweetly butting heads with the ice princess, but now my enjoyment will come with a side of sadness because Kang-woo’s handsome, mopey face will hang in the background. 🙁
Lookout: I forgot what zombie/apocalypse show I was looking for in my Netflix queue when I found this buried in my watchlist and pressed play on it instead. I’m loving it so far though I had to skip some of the scenes in the first two hours because they were milking Suji’s family tragedy too much. That or I just hate the evil so much that I wanted to get to the part where they start their messy group-revenge and give all the baddies their comeuppance. Which might or might not include their amoral leader..?
Currently reviewing: Her Private Life
My Fellow Citizens: I’m very behind on this show, but that’s because I’m savoring the ride. It continues to be delightful in every way, from its hilarious and detailed jokes, to its emotional stakes; from the on-point writing and directing to the wonderful performances from every member of the cast. My only complaint is that at the end of episode 26 Mi-young still doesn’t know the truth about Jung-gook’s past, and the revelation is going to be especially painful when she realizes her whole family knew and didn’t tell her—but even that is less a complaint about the show, which is doing as excellent a job as possible with a plot-centric lie like this one, and more my own sympathy for the emotional wreckage that’s inevitably coming Mi-young’s way. Siwon continues to be reliably funny and relatable, no surprise there. But I adore the women in this drama, and the way they’re allowed to be tough, vulnerable, gorgeous, violent, complicated and hilarious, sometimes all at once. Lee Yoo-young is not only a badass, she’s the leader in every room she enters (including when she’s alone with her husband—and he loves it). Kim Min-jung’s performance as Hoo-ja is my favorite of her career, and I give so much props to the show for giving us such an interesting female villain. I’m cynical by nature so this rarely happens, but My Fellow Citizens has completely gained my trust and I believe it will be great to the end. *prays*
The Secret Life of My Secretary: I’m conflicted about this show. One one hand, the chemistry between Jin Ki-joo and Kim Young-kwang, and their character dynamic as Boss and Secretary Jung, is the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s made this my crack drama of the moment. And although I usually really dislike plotlines where one character is lying about who they are when the relationship starts, in this case I could totally understand Gal-hee’s feelings in the beginning, because for her the charade isn’t rooted in trying to make him fall for her, but in the stinging injustice of societal structures that mean that she’s probably always going to be poor. Her desire to temporarily experience the luxurious lives of the elite she’s been miserably serving for years is so relatable. Except that this week it went too far. Gal-hee should have told Min-ik the truth the morning after their conversation at the beach—at that point she had already accepted that things were over, so it makes no sense even from a character perspective that she would prolong the torture. And it’s a little too much to keep believing that Min-ik knows nothing when the clues are continuously piling up (that sauna sequence was funny, but also, come on). Still, these actors are selling it so well, and I can’t help enjoying every moment these two spend together. I’m also falling for the ridiculous but surprisingly pure-hearted Veronica in her interactions with Dae-joo and Gal-hee’s awful little sister. Not to mention that the humor in the show kills me, as do Gal-hee and Min-ik when they share little pieces of their hearts with each other. I just wish that kiss hadn’t happened while he thought she was Veronica. That’s going to be difficult to forgive. (Imma need Coffee Prince levels of fallout and reconciliation to fix this one, you hear me, Show?)
Her Private Life: To be fair, it wasn’t perfect and a lot of the backstory/childhood stuff felt excessive and unnecessary. However, I really appreciated how the show handled each of the characters. They were flawed and made mistakes. And, yes, it can be annoying to watch, particularly when it comes to petty second leads. But even if it was just a little bit, we were shown growth and maturity in all the characters which is unfortunately rare to see. I was fully expecting a case of noble idiocy and/or angry outbursts with the final conflicts. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was acting like real adults, openly communicating, and showing compassion and consideration. It may not be realistic to have everything tied up neatly, but the characters and their choices felt real.
Kang’s Kitchen, Season 2: There’s a lot of similarities with Season 1, but ther dynamics are still super fun and I laughed a lot through the first episode. I’m developing a lot of fondness for newbie P.O. as well. He was so sweet in The Journey To the West 5 and 6. But I didn’t realize how good he was at cooking and how helpful he would be! I don’t know if it’s luck or fate, or just part of Na PD’s genius. But he’s really good at casting groups of people that just mesh well together on his shows. I sometimes wonder if he knew 10+ years ago, when he first started working on 1 Night 2 Days with Kang Ho-dong, Lee Su-geun, and Eun Ji-won, that their friendship and chemistry could create entertainment gold for years to come.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (May 25, 2019)
- 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)