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: That ballet practice scene was hot and hilarious. I don’t know how Shin Hye-sun can keep a straight face and exude graceful elegance while L makes those I-shall-not-think-evil-thoughts-I-shall-not-think-I-shall faces the whole time. I like this show well enough, but I will love this show forever and ever if the Miss Elena introduction means they wouldn’t give Nina the usual “nice girl is scorned by love, turns revengey and mean” arc. She’s a wonderful person who needs to learn how to love herself more. And honestly, both girls could use some healthy competition. If Yeon-seo has two guardian angels, why can’t Nina have a kooky ballerina mentor?
Rescue Me 2: I picked this back up and can’t help but marvel at how despicable Min-cheol is. We don’t even get to see any of his redeeming qualities. There’s just hints that they exist because some people are loyal to him, yet he still treats those friends as badly as he does the average person. It gave me a bit of whiplash, going from watching four shows where righteous underdogs subvert the law to fight the Big Bad, to Rescue Me 2 where an actual small-time crook goes against a host of evil guys. I’m convinced the only reason Min-cheol doesn’t eat up the cult’s bullsh*t is because he’s already full of it himself. It’s funny in an OCN kind of way.
Lookout: What’s the deal with the hot priest? When will Soo-ji meet Do-han (as part of the gang and not as a despicable corrupt prosecutor)? When will Bo-mi show herself to everyone? So many questions! This show is bad for impatient people like me. :'( I wish I can marathon 16 episodes in one sitting like the old days.
Great Escape: The haunted mountain house! I’m finally getting a feel for Kang Ho-dong’s strengths (which is literally his strength LOL). You can be smart and draw all the diagrams you want, but some things in life need you to just grit your teeth and do it. Some people are good at sitting down and playing spot-the-difference with a ton of bloody talismans, while some like to hold their breath and enter a spooky closet with a haunted water tank to blindly feel around for a key. Hehe~ This horror episode had a nice balance of both types of challenges, giving everyone something to do even if it’s just squealing and being terrified out of their minds in Dong-hyun’s case. It might be my favorite episode this season, even beating out the ones about zombies. 🙂
Perfume: I had to calm myself down before I wrote this, because the first two episodes of Perfume made me nope out harder—and earlier—than I ever have for a drama. This is the worst portrayal of the always potentially problematic full-body makeover premise I have ever seen. The show endlessly mocks Ha Jae-sook’s looks, her body, her age, her pitiful status as a betrayed wife on the eve of divorce; her physical attributes are continuously played for either laughs or humiliation. The message of the first hour seems to be that getting old and fat (according to the standards of this drama) means it’s time to kill yourself—unbelievably, suicide is repeatedly played as a joke, and in one instance used as a threat so that the heroine can get what she wants. The titular magic perfume that changes her into Go Won-hee might be masquerading as a chance for freedom, but in reality it’s a cruel excuse to show repeated shots of what we’re supposed to believe is the heroine ballooning grotesquely when she changes back, actually ripping through her clothes. Each time she goes back to her real self, the camera angles scream, “HAHA! She’s fat again! How funny and gross!” It’s nauseating, and rage-inducing. The hero, on the other hand, I had reservations about when I read the promos, and he’s unfortunately worse than I’d feared. His multiplicity of phobias and allergies are technically possible, but what I find unbelievable is that he expects everyone he works with to accommodate his disabilities, but is fine with disregarding others’ illnesses to the point of injury. He also abandoned the unconscious female lead on the street, at night. In my experience, being disabled generally gives you more empathy for other people’s difficulties—it does not turn you into a psychopath. The man is trash and not a hero I am ever going to root for, and this pains me because I have been waiting years to see Shin Sung-rok lead a rom-com. The entire, very talented cast deserves better. This show seems determined to obliterate the idea that a woman larger than size zero has dignity or humanity, and that makes me sad given the great strides we’ve seen in dramaland. Hard pass.
The Secret Life of My Secretary: Ugh. UGH. I was at the end of my patience with this show last week, but now I’m actually angry. The writers of this drama are killing this story and its characters by delaying this reveal. The fact that she still hasn’t told him the truth by the end of episode 10 is not only making me truly dislike Gal-hee—whom I started out loving—but the circle of carnage caused by her lies is steadily growing, and now that we have this ridiculous one-month dating scheme on the horizon, it’s only going to get worse. Now Min-ik can’t figure out which girl he likes because they’re the same person; Dae-joo, who actually seems decent if a little short on guts, has misunderstood Veronica’s intentions; and Veronica, ever lacking in sense, is setting both herself and Gal-hee on a disastrous path. In no world are the only two choices here either Gal-hee impersonating Veronica for a month or Veronica being forced to marry Min-ik. What’s upsetting me about this show is how skillfully the writers made us fall in love with Min-ik, and how little consideration they’re now giving to his feelings. It’s clear that this already abandoned orphan who’s hated by his fake family and can’t even see faces is meant to bear all the emotional fallout caused by literally everyone he trusts and likes in his life. I don’t know how they want us to keep rooting for this narrative, or for a heroine who is this selfish and weak—her “I promise I’ll tell him the truth tomorrow” is beginning to sound like a running (unfunny) gag. Guess the joke’s on me, though—I love these two actors in these roles, and especially Min-ik’s character, so much that I don’t know if I can stop watching. This drama has managed to do what I thought was impossible: give us a terrible and nonsensical overarching story, but amazingly heartfelt moments, scenes, and character interactions. Grr. I’ll see you all back here next week.
My Fellow Citizens: I binged the rest of this after submitting my WWW last week, and it was good to the final scene. What an unusual, refreshing, hilarious, near-perfect viewing experience this was! My only complaint was how late Mi-young found out about Jung-gook’s past—I wish the reveal had come sooner so that we could see the fallout of that in their relationship over time, rather than most of it happening during a time skip while Jung-gook was in prison. But everything else about this drama was absolutely satisfying. It was cathartic to see Jung-gook’s journey from con artist to assemblyman, as his eyes opened to the true closed-door dealings where politics actually happen, and he started blasting those doors open fearlessly despite having quite a lot to lose. It was moving to see him slowly come to the realization that if he was really going to start over as a new man with a commitment to the truth, he had to first pay his own dues to the past.
Currently reviewing: The Secret Life of My Secretary
One Spring Night: Don’t mind me, I’m just squeeing curled up in the corner enjoying this quiet and character-driven story so, so much. Jung Hae-in is impressing me so much with his restrained performance, and the two actors have this amazing ability to portray such a complex and shifting array of tensions in the space of one scene. Please show, stay this good through the end! Keep working with the same subtle tensions and moments. Keep giving the actors so much muchness to work with. And while you’re at it, can you kill the soundtrack?
Search Query: WWW: He smiles! He talks! He smiles and talks! Yes, my Jang Ki-yong fangirl brought me to this drama, but the premiere episode really disappointed me. The tone shifted about seven different times, I didn’t like any of the characters, and the scene where artificially backlit Im Soo-jung and Jang Ki-yong listen to his soundtrack and stare at each other was just plain embarrassing. Maybe it’s because I’m comparing it to my other current dramas which, while different, are both very consistent, adept, and know exactly what they’re doing — but Search Query: WWW felt like the opposite. In other words, kind of a mess. As much as I want to stick around for Jang Ki-yong being swoony (really, I do), it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get me to watch more of this one.
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 1, 2019)
- 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)