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…
Chief of Staff: This is a safe space to squee, right? LEE JUNG-JAEEEE! Okay, fangirling aside, I was dying to watch Chief of Staff because I wanted to see what drew Lee back to the small screen. I finally got my answer: richly drawn characters, political schemes, and a tightly woven narrative. I don’t know if it’s due to the skill of the writer or the actors (probably both), but Chief of Staff manages to create tension in scenes where there’s very little on-screen action. It makes for a fascinating watch and it means that I’m only 3 episodes in–but I’m already worried for the fate of Lee Jung-jae and Shin Mina’s political careers.
Miss Baek: This film’s been on my radar since it premiered, but I only managed to make time to watch it this week, and DAMN. Miss Baek tore me apart emotionally, but my only regret is that I didn’t make time to watch sooner. Han Ji-min was incredible, but Kim Shi-ah’s turn as the shellshocked but resilient survivor of abuse stole the film (and she’s still so young!). Kwon So-hyun also turned in a hatefully good performance and I need to see her in another project, stat, otherwise I fear I’ll always see her as the hateful abuser she played in the film. Miss Baek may have torn me apart, but the film managed to stitch me back together in the end.
Angel’s Last Mission: Love: I avoid stating the obvious but holysmokes is Shin Hye-sun owning every second of screentime this show is giving her. As for the story itself, did anyone else feel like we skipped a lot of movement during episodes 17-18? I don’t know how Ji Kang-woo went from “This ballerina is my tool” to “I’m gonna say farewell to my decade-old love now.” I feel like this PD casted Lee Dong-gun because of his amazing performance as the increasingly crazed lovesick king in Seven Day Queen, but Angel’s writing skipped the “increasingly” and just went straight to the crazy part. Complete with teleportation powers. (Does that make me crazier then, for still wanting to get my hands on the next episode stat?)
Lookout: I can’t decide which look I like best on Jang Do-han: the greasy weaselly airhead or the scheming puppetmaster. And this part is totally corny but I totally squealed when Kyung-soo and Bo-mi were meeting up and he kept walking past her. Plus their awkward Oppa moments in the hideout. Hehe~ (Look, let me have my ship, okay? I need something to cling to when the bitter end arrives.)
Mother’s Touch: Korean Side Dishes: I’ve never talked about this show because it’s mostly just cooking, but I watch it from time to time because yey~ Korean food. The latest episode I saw had Lee Sang-min (one of the Tone-deaf Detectives in I Can See Your Voice) having an impromptu instant ramyun battle with Chef Choi and comedian Jang Dong-min. I won’t spoil the results but I did pick up three new ramyun recipes and a bellyful of laughs, so check out that episode if you like playing around with instant noodles. Or just check out the whole show in general. Even without the MSG-laden cravings, it’s hilarious to watch three professional chefs slyly throwing shade at each other while trying to keep up with Soo-mi’s “add a bit of this” “add a bit of that” style of cooking.
The Secret Life of My Secretary: This week’s episodes were actually really satisfying, despite how unhappy I was with the super-late reveal (and apart from this weird twisted Robin Hood secretary plot that is trying to justify attempted murder). I felt like the show was effective at making Gal-hee face the truth of how deeply hurtful her actions have been, and the harsh consequences of her lies—which in turn gave Min-ik, and us, enough time to forgive her. I’ve always thought of the ghost of Gal-hee’s mother as a clever way for Gal-hee to talk to herself rather than an actual spirit from beyond; Gal-hee suddenly being unable to conjure her mother, and breaking down in her Oppa’s arms with guilt and self-blame, showed us how deeply sorry she truly was—that she felt unworthy to talk to the one person who loves her unconditionally. I also liked that Gal-hee’s confrontation with Nam-hee about hiding away instead of facing up to your mistakes was the catalyst for her to return to Min-ik’s side, without pride or excuses, to help him in the one thing he truly needed from her. This show has many flaws, but I love the way it upends conventional rom-com dynamics. How often do we have heroines whose families are either absent or serve only as obstacles to the main romance? Gal-hee’s bickering but supportive relationship with her siblings is a delight. I was especially moved by the fact that the cliched 12th episode angsty date with the Nice Guy second lead was replaced by a sweet outing with her Oppa so they could beam over how proud they were of their younger sister. And Min-ik was sufficiently jealous all the same—take note, writers. But the thing I love the most about this last episode is its treatment of disability. Mom’s words to young Joong-hee, which Gal-hee shared with Min-ik and which he then shared with the board, made me cry. It’s a simple sentiment that we’re all lacking in something, and those who can’t accept other’s disabilities are only showing their own unworthiness, but as someone who lives with disability, it got me in the heart. I think this is the first time I’ve seen a K-drama that treats disability with compassion and humanity, and disabled people as valuable and with something to offer—rather than broken people who don’t deserve love or full lives until they’ve been magically “fixed” (I’m talking to you, Fox Bride Star). And for that I can forgive this drama any amount of fish CPR or strangely obsessed secretaries.
Angel’s Last Mission: Love: AAAAH! She knows! Shin Hye-sun continues to act circles around every other human in this drama, and this week she had me weeping with her on her trip back the island and biting my nails for her at the audition. What a virtuosic performance, and what an unforgettable character in Lee Yeon-seo. The “angel” mythology in this show and its weird ideas about God continue to alternately baffle and annoy me, but everything else is magical. Grumpy and Dimples being two dorks in love is the best thing—and Yeon-seo slapping Kang-woo and telling him to back off was viscerally cathartic. I wanted to cheer when Yeon-seo told Dan that noble idiocy just means you don’t trust the other person. SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. You better believe Yeon-seo can handle anything you tell her. And I’m so glad that they didn’t leave us with Yeon-seo’s kidnapping, but with Dan doing a literal angelus ex machina to scoop her out of the sky. *rubs hands together* I can’t wait for next week!
Love Me Actually: This celebrity travel/dating show is manipulative garbage, and I love it. I want Min-kyu and Ji-an to finally get together, Seung-yeun and Sun-young to admit that they’re probably already dating, and Heo Kyung-hwan to quit, because he gives me second hand embarrassment, and he’s clearly never met a woman he didn’t try to hit on. BUT STILL. I’ve been watching every Sunday since the first week, God help me. (It’s Min-kyu’s dimples, I swear those things are lethal. Jung So-min barely escaped, and she had Lee Min-ki at home!)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 15, 2019)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 8, 2019)
- 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)