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The Secret Life of My Secretary: Episodes 17-32 (Series review)

The Secret Life of My Secretary has just finished its run, and it’s time to sit back and talk about lies and forgiveness, metaphors, make believe — and of course, floating moss balls.

The first half of this sweet and feel-good rom-com was concerned with the budding (and complicated) relationship between our face-blind Director Do Min-ik, and Jung Gal-hee, his adorable minion secretary in the red cardigan. The second half of the drama contained the fallout that everyone had been waiting for: what would happen when Do Min-ik found out that the Veronica Park he was in love with was actually his cosplaying secretary, and not the “original” Veronica Park at all? There was a whole lot of anticipation as to how the web of lies would shake out, and how high of a price little Gal-hee would have to pay for first tricking, and then intentionally (and repeatedly) lying to, the man she loves.

Rom-coms are often rife with uncorrected misunderstandings, fibs that lead to hijinks, and hijinks that lead to all sorts of mayhem. But The Secret Life of My Secretary was different in that it took it a step further, because its lies and hijinks were built around taking advantage of someone’s weakness. And by weakness we mean a debilitating inability to see, recognize, and read people’s faces.

Kim Young-gwang excelled at showing how his character’s disease was affecting him psychologically, making us feel first-hand the vulnerability that he did — which is saying a lot for a rom-com illness trope. Normally, it would exist for comedy and a little bit of pathos only, but in The Secret Life of My Secretary, we got a front-row seat to a lot of his hardships and heartache.

First, we watched Min-ik suffer over his confusion of being in love with two women, and the conflict of his heart saying one thing (they are the same woman) and the facts saying the opposite (they are two very different women). That his illness makes it nearly impossible for him to decode what he needs to for everyday social interactions — never mind romantic entanglements — makes Gal-hee’s deceit all the more hurtful. The scene where he confirms that his Veronica Park is actually Gal-hee in disguise was actually more painful than I had expected of this mostly lighthearted drama.

The hurt and breakup have to be strong for the reunion to pack a punch, and I was pretty satisfied both with Gal-hee’s heartbreak and shame over how she had hurt him, and Min-ik’s devastated reaction. No one likes being lied to and taken advantage of, but in rom-coms it’s often presented as something explainable, understandable, and turns out okay in the end. The same goes for Do Min-ik and his secretary, after the proper length of time. The drama balances (or at least tries to balance) Gal-hee’s pretty cruel masquerade first with her misgivings and pure-hearted intentions, and then later with her grief and repentance, all acted out nicely throughout the drama via imaginary conversations with her mother.

Then, to even further justify how the lie got so out of hand, we had the “original” Veronica Park strong-arming Gal-hee to continue the sham. This might make Veronica seem like the drama’s Puck, creating mischief and then flitting away, but her character is actually filled in quite nicely by the time the drama comes to a close.

Veronica goes from crazy man-eater to a woman who is not only madly in love (with Gi Dae-joo — such a strange but great couple), but one who is pretty sensible, and sometimes even insightful. Recognizing the Jung sisters’ acting talents is one thing, but seeing right away Gal-hee’s heart towards Min-ik, and actually working to repair their relationship, is another. In other words, Veronica turns out to be a pretty good human. She even visits Do Min-ik to explain the charade after it has crashed down, with the hopes that he’ll forgive Gal-hee.

Forgiveness is, of course, a big theme in the drama. Is Min-ik going to be able to forgive Gal-hee? And if he does, is it going to be believable? I wasn’t sure, honestly, but in the end, this turned out to be where I felt the most magic from the drama.

Gal-hee took advantage of his weakness in the worst way possible, and Do Min-ik had every right to react the way he did — from firing her, to sulking, to being absolutely heartbroken. There were even a few brief seconds where I actually thought they might not reconcile (what would that sort of K-drama be like!). But we know better. These two are too good a match to let their parting be permanent. And this is dramaland, where couples conquer the obstacles that keep them apart, where love proves stronger than hurt, and where moss balls will always rise.

On his path to forgiveness, Min-ik is encouraged by the people around him, too. Veronica not only speaks on Gal-hee’s behalf, but his ever-faithful and no-nonsense neurologist does the same. He scolds Min-ik saying, “The two women you were in love with turned out to be the same person. Isn’t that a good thing?” and later tells him, “I’m sure she had a good reason why she did what she did.”

The repair of Do Min-ik and Gi Dae-joo’s brother-like relationship also played a role in the reconciliation between Min-ik and Gal-hee. I didn’t find the endlessly thieved/retrieved spreadsheet file subplot to be all that compelling, even when the details were finally revealed, but it paved the way for a great conceit of the drama.

When Min-ik apologized for suspecting his friend of all sorts of nefarious plots, we finally told the truth about his illness and how he let it damage their trust. “If you can’t see people’s faces, you can’t see their hearts,” he explained. He’s visibly lighter in spirits after telling the truth, sharing his heart, and making amends (another nice moment of the drama).

But it turns out that Do Min-ik was wrong. He can see someone’s heart without seeing her face, and that’s exactly the lesson he needs to learn in order to forgive Gal-hee. In her absence, he’s able to see her true heart, from her loyalty to him as a secretary, to all her hard work, to the sincerity of her feelings towards him. The letter she wrote explaining the charade seals the deal. Just as Dae-joo assured him, “Even if someone hurts you or lets you down you can still forgive them. That’s what loving someone is like.”

My enjoyment of this drama far outweighs my criticisms, but I do wish the drama had been a little more consistent with its logic, particularly around Do Min-ik’s disease. The potential for him to temporarily see again, and the variables that might be responsible for it, were played with again and again — except without much satisfaction. Does his blood pressure rise around Gal-hee, Veronica, or both, and why is it so inconsistent? We’re led to believe that their first kiss will be a catalyst for his sight temporarily returning, but not only are we denied the satisfaction of this happening, but we don’t even see the conclusion of the scene after the episode break (rude, very rude).

Similarly, the mysterious patient who’s frequently used as a benchmark for Min-ik’s own prosopagnosia is of no help to him (or us!), and it almost feels like the drama gives up on the whole idea of facial recognition being re-triggered by the time it concludes. The blood pressure component seemed built to complicate the Veronica Park masquerade, but it never quite got all the way there for me.

In the wrap-up episodes, it’s concluded that the episodes of facial recognition returning are entirely random. On the off-chance something triggers his sight, he seizes the moment and soaks in the world (and woman) around him. Other than that, which I believe we are supposed to take as positivity and optimism, we don’t get much plot satisfaction in that direction.

The company presidency, the longevity of Veronica and Dae-joo’s romance, the exposure of the long history of Euldoguk, and the fate of the contracted secretaries are all wrapped up in the last episodes of the drama. All of this was great, and did a good job tying things together, but it also felt pretty tangential by the time we got there. Why? Because our central conflict was already resolved. For all intents and purposes, The Secret Life of My Secretary really ended the moment Do Min-ik invited Gal-hee to a reconciliatory dinner and pulled out the chair for her to sit on.

After “seeing” Gal-hee’s heart, Do Min-ik was able to not only forgive her, but to see the situation from her perspective — the same lesson Gal-hee had had to learn when she finally realized just how much she had wounded him. But a couple that can understand and appreciate each other is more than a match for any odds and obstacles dramaland can serve up, and so by the end, the couple’s sparkle only got more sparkly.

One of my favorite sparkly details was around the red cardigan. At first it was a symbol of thankless minionhood, then the token by which Min-ik was able to recognize her, but it actually became an even stronger symbol. Near the close of the drama, Min-ik drapes the cardigan over Gal-hee’s shoulders. It’s a tender gesture of care and forgiveness, but it’s also a reference to some moments they shared earlier in the drama.

On a few occasions they had both given each other an invisible “cloak of confidence” when it was needed. That the fateful red cardigan became that very symbol of confidence, assurance, and love, was a lovely touch to conclude the drama with. It also fit nicely with the rest of the drama’s wrap-up, from Min-ik making peace with his condition, to the lovely reminder from Gal-hee’s mother not to neglect what you have by hanging on to what you’ve lost. Focusing on gain, rather that loss, is precisely what our couple learns to do, and with that they earn their happy ending.

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Without a doubt my favorite rom-com of the past few years. I drop a lot of rom-coms because they get utterly cheesy (imo) in the latter half. But I didn't feel that was the case with TSLOMS. It had heart to it and the portrayal of the leads by KYK and KJY was phenomenal. It was impossible not to fall in love with them and root for their happiness. I love love love that by the end of the drama they're both willing to give up something for the other person and to be understanding.

I found it so cute when, in the finale episode, GH points out how she benefits from MI's prosopagnosia. He won't notice other girls or see her age. It's funny but at the bottom of her words is her just trying to assure him she accepts him as he is, prosopagnosia and all. Definitely an OTP I rooted for until the end. I can't wait for a rewatch.

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*...the portrayal of the leads by KYK and JKJ. JKJ! ooh auto correct

So I don't waste a comment on dumb typos. I just want to add that Veronica Park was simply...AWESOME! Such a refreshing second lead.

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Oh my, yes!! I adore Veronica Park! She was funny, refreshing, silly, but also wise, sometimes deep and sensitive. How can I not like her??

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I love how she ended up helping GH cope with her sadness and even stood up for her in front of MI. She gained nothing from getting him to forgive GH. She just did it to help GH and that spoke volumes of her for me.

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Gal-hee and Veronica's friendship is something I wanted but didn't dare hope to see, yet the drama gave it anyway. It's so refreshing to see a good relationship between lead female and second lead female. More romcoms should take note of this.

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Random, but in the drama "protect the boss", the female second lead also ended up being friend with the main female lead. It was so fun and refreshing!
@gadis

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That was one of the things that made me watch as far into that drama as I did. The second female lead was phenomenal. Unfortunately, the romance didn't work for me, and I had to drop the drama.

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She really was! I ran out of time and space to wax poetic on her, but refreshing is definitely the right word!

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Agreed. She’s the best second lead I’ve ever seen in a female. Loved her!

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I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't give his ability to recognize faces back at the end. I was positive that was going to be the final twist and part of what would help solve the problems at the company and ensure his place as CEO. But not only did they Not do that, they didn't give him the CEO position back either. And that's part of what I've loved about this drama. On the surface, it seems very cliché and traditional drama style (and it is in many ways), but there are all of these subtle changes that really add up and make it something much more unique.

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I enjoyed this drama a lot, flaws and all. The leads were convincing in their roles. Do Min Ik (Dominic, how cool!) is the lost puppy looking for love and acceptance.

I thought it was cute that the Uncle decided to go to Cuba, which is where Dominic wanted to go when things were looking grim for him.

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@leetennant I have to say to you now that I have read this recap, are you sure there will be fish in the show? there is no mention of it in the recap, only moss balls. Though after reading the recap it definitely felt that the show was way better than the first episode that I was struggling to finish. I will try again for Veronica Park and the mysterious fish? Even my truckofdoom oppa had to apologize for the fish.

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There'd better be fish. I'm only watching for the fish.

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Oh, hold on to your hat for that! It leaves one speechless.

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There you go, now we have official confirmation of the facts, I believe you are in safe hands. Happy watching!

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THERE IS A FISH. It is a very important fish.

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Speechless and rolling on the floor laughing!

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If you have faith, the fish will come

^another ancient proverb of The Fish Cult

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Love all your ancient proverbs!

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sorry - by this point the fish is dead... a cruel casualty of the improper Korean fish healthcare system

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oh dear!

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To paraphrase Monty Python, "This is an EX-arowana, and it's pining for the fjords."

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It took me about 2 episodes to get into this one, but it is worth the time. I don’t think I struggled getting through the rest of it at all. I found myself hitting the best episode button before I meant to and that fish’s very dramatic appearance at 2 am was worth it. I don’t think I found this show as deep as the recap made it out to be, but I loved it all the same.

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I think the strongest aspect of this drama is that it never took itself too seriously. Deep down, it knew it wasn't deep, and yet, in the end, it managed to make fairly significant statements about justice, cultural pressures, the importance of beauty, and living a meaningful happy life with a disability. This is in direct contrast with other dramas that thought they were deep and significant and managed to fail miserably in making any kind of meaningful statement about those same topics.

Also, Kim Young Kwang totally sold this drama with his performance. I struggle to think of any other actor who could be this puppyish and vulnerable without being cloying and annoying.

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For me, KYK was the best part of this drama. I looked forward to every scene he was in because I knew he would never disappoint me. I can’t say that with many actors.

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Ditto! 😉

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yesssss^^^^

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Yes, I was surprised with the messages it managed to deliver. Well done, Show.

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Yeah this. I actually got a lot out of it in comparison to other dramas that so clearly HAVE a point to make, that sometimes it falls flat. This just did its own thing in its own time and worked.

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Sometimes, you must release the fish you wish to possess, in order to catch the true treasure

^proverb of The Fish Cult

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It certainly didn't flounder. It musseled its way through with a lot of heart and sole to net a satisfying ending.

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I see that we have entered deep waters of fish witticisms, puns and lore!

Just for fun I trawled it up... https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/fish-puns/ 🤣

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@egads Yes, this! And thanks @missvictrix!

The little drama that could and did, and did it all so well. I loved the messages that came through and how things played out more realistically (sans fish CPR) and fairly in the end, in terms of consequences for bad choices made.

I liked that crimes/mistakes, even bad ones like assault (with possible murder!), theft and deceit were addressed or forgiven.

Although the sub-plot of over-worked, and unappreciated contract workers was less compelling, I'm glad that show actually continued to address it to it's happier conclusion.

This show with it's uplifting messages calls for a re-watch, not least also for the fantastic romance that Kim Young Kwang and Jin Ki Joo totally sold me!

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I struggled with first 2 episodes (2hrs) as well... but then I fell in love 🙂
And it often surprised me that the story / situations turned out better than what I expected...

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When I decided to watch this drama 2 months ago, I only did it because I needed something light to balance the heavy dramas already on my plate. I never imagined I would end up finding a satisfying romcom I love from beginning to the very end.

The Secret Life of My Secretary is that rare romcom that actually has better 2nd half. I love the cute, hilarious, and comedic first half. But the second half was thoughtful, emotionally on-point, and peppered with much-welcomed conflicts that mattered to the characters development and with a good resolution to boot. It has none of the trappings romcom usually fell into in the last half: noble idiocy, disapproving families, childhood connection, meddling ex, and the likes.

The OTP's separation made total sense and rooted in the show's premise itself. It also led to much needed character development for both of our leads, and allowed the show to explore other things like Gal-hee and Min-ik's precious relationships with their friends and family. And the meddling family only appeared as the hilarious and cute variety. Though the best thing is the fact that despite the many nonsensical plot points, this show managed to deliver so many profound and thoughtful messages and wrapped things up perfectly. It's a happy and hopeful ending, but nothing too neat or rushed because maturity and relationships is an ongoing thing. I love the acknowledgment that just because the drama ended doesn't mean that their stories ended too. It's simple, yet it hit all the right notes for me. And for that, I'm willing to take back all my previous disgruntlement regarding the dragged out Lie and the Fish.

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I love, love, loved this show. It was cute, and while it had its flaws (fish cpr, dying for a fish) and i loved every bit of it. It never took itself seriously and it felt like a throwback to standard romcoms but leaving out all the stuff we hate from old romcoms. The girl was cute, dorky but strong and the guy was cute dorky and never too mean. In fact, if there was a power imbalance in this couple, gal hee had most of the power. The pacing was just right. While the second male lead lacked oomf (and an overall personality tbh) i think it balanced off well with his counterpart, the amazingly unapologetic iconic veronica park. And the show seemed to love her too as she kept on being utilized more and more as the show went on. My heart fluttered and i found myself smiling every time min ik was on screen. And i totally bought them falling in love with each other. Many dramas stand to learn of this romcom. Its been a year now since a romcom has impressed me (still 17) and this one made it into my best rom coms list. Also, props to this show for talking about disabilities and “solving it” the way they did. Just yes. Hope to see more of the KYK and JKJ soon!!

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When used wisely, even mediocre bait (fluffy romcom with wtf plot) can bring in the best catch (deep relationships and satisfying ending)

^proverb of The Fish Cult

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🐟🐠🐡

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Can you please make a list of all your Fish Cult proverbs. I need them for a reason...

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Agreed with Sic! Cocoa, I love the proverbs of The Fish Cult! And I love how you and egads make it applicable on any context!

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Thank you for the compliment, but Coco casts a wide swath of wisdom, hooks the reader with her wit, and fillets us with her masterful puns.

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@egads
In the school of Fish there cannot be just one.
^Ancient Proverb of the Fish Cult

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@egads

I third making a masterlist. These are too good to become lost in the comments sands of time.

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'...it felt like a throwback to standard romcoms but leaving out all the stuff we hate from old romcoms.'

This. This is probably the main reason I loved it so much. It was everything I love about old-school dramas without all the stuff I hate.

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I’m glad this show got at least a mini-recap but part of me wishes that we had a place to talk and learn about some of the cultural intricacies that I noticed in the show. Like why arowanas are so revered in Korea. Knowing that its ties to luck and success in East Asian culture would make it a little more sensible why someone would risk their life to save it. Not a lot more sensible, but it makes more sense than just being an expensive fish. Such a superstitious society and especially in business where success is everything. But I appreciated this show for what it was and nothing more: an entertaining rom-com that never took itself too seriously, that gave us lots of great kisses, that gave us a great candy character in every aspect, and then the most amazing second lead female I’ve ever seen. And I’ve already mentioned KYK more than once. Maybe twice. On just a couple platforms. 😜😂❤️

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Nothing wrong with mentioning him again...

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The Best Catch is the Best Dressed

^Ancient Proverb of The Fish Cult

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And how beautifully was he dressed!

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Him in suits = A++++++++++++++++++++++

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I wish we could have had an episode by episode recap for all of us to squeeee over every week, but I'm glad our love of it was so strong on Dramabeans that we at least got a few recap posts out of the deal.

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I love this show as a whole (fish cult and all) and I talked about how aweeesome it is numerous time on my fanwall so I am using this comment to talk about my all-time favorite character, CinePark President Veronica Park. Veronica Park is not your standard second lead, yes she is rich and loud, but she is smart, has clear goals, she know what and who she wants, and she wants to enjoy things in life without directly hurting other people. Also, she rides on a horse just to give her boyfriend a lift. She is also very open to Dae-ju about their relationship. Most importantly, she treasures Gal-hee and her sister. And her earring game? A+

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Now let me just repeat what you said like a trillion times. ^-^

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The most prized fish is one that can be unapologetically itself. It is not ashamed of its brightness or worth. It is Awesome.

^Ancient Proverb of The Fish Cult

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Thus ends this drama, or should I call it light fluff. After all the most dramatic part of this drama, wasn't the lies or deception, it was the Fish. A fairly expensive fish that was easily replaced with moss balls. As is always the case with Fish, the secondary and tertiary actors were the real stars. KYK and KJY selling their adorable, pouty romance and Veronica Park selling her love for the most bland of men. The fish tried to steal the spotlight, but alas they couldn't over come AWEEEESOME and cuteness. Long live the dead Arowana. Thank you Secretaries.

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LOL! 🤣 Good one @kafiyah-bello 🤣

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Hail Fish!

Not even Bride of the Watergod revered fish this much. Truly a step up for aquatic culture. Too bad the frolicking puppies of KYK and KJY were cuter than a dead fish (if it had been an older drama their kisses would have been more dead fish like though, too bad about that), and Veronica Park was, well, Veronica Park ;)

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He was so incredibly bland, lol.

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Still somewhat shocked that this didn't crash and burn and that I actually liked the ending but anyway...
All hail the Fish Cult.

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Hail Fish! Hail! Hail! Hail!

Have I told you of my position as Priestess of the Fish Cult? Here to spread aquatic wisdom and teach our ancient ways.

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Give us your watery omens and aquatic wisdom, so that we are blessed with the hydro-intelligence of the ultimate Fish.

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*adds title to the DB Book of Lore*

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THE GARLIC COUPLE WILL REMAIN IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER.

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Random question, but I totally missed out on how/why they became the garlic couple?

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GAL-IK!!

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AH makes sense! I thought I’d missed a romantic scene involving garlic...

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I'm not sure any scene involving garlic could ever be considered romantic. HelllOOO smelly breath.

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Maybe 'Min-Hee' couple is also possible? 😆

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I think I like that better, lol.

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Not so random at all! I was wondering too why they were labeled"garlic couple"! 😁😂

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Thanks for the recap and I really like this drama. This is one of my fave light romcom. We can learn from this drama too...
I like the cute ending. No wedding reception like any other romcom but yeah we know it she wear the ring from his proposals. Veronica Park is cool! She gives color to this drama.
Last time Jin Ki Joo in Come and Hug Me, She cries a lot, now in this drama she smiles a lot. Hope to see she plays more characters in the future.

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This was such a satisfying rom-com despite having quite a weak business-political story. the lead’s face blindness brought the story of trust and acceptance which drove the romance. Even though she was being deceptive at least it hurt her enough to not be able to face him and make her realise the extent of her lie. After having relationships run for the next 8 hours filled with fluff I honestly didn’t even care that they got together so late because all the moments were there before hand. All in all this was a good rom-com with no meddling second leads and dumb noble idiocy.

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I'm not usually into light, fluffy shows, but this one worked for me. I still can't believe it managed to hold my attention all the way through. I loved that it never took itself too seriously and leaned into its own ridiculousness, particularly where fish were concerned.

KYK was perfect--I have no idea how he managed to make Min-ik, a pouting man-child on paper, endearing rather than annoying. I'm almost positive if anyone else had played the role, I would have dropped this. He continues to impress.

Although I was frustrated with Gal-hee's lies in the middle, I liked the resolution. It made sense for both of their characters. Gal-hee finally seemed to get the full impact of her betrayal and left the decision whether to forgive up to Min-ik. Some people could never forgive something like what Gal-hee did, and that's fair, but Min-ik could. And I loved that he was not magically cured of his disability in the end. The overall treatment of disability here was surprisingly well done (even if the details of prosopagnosia itself were less than accurate...). 👏

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One of the most inspiring aspects in show's handling of the disability was the compassionate truth that everyone is imperfect in some way or other, and therefore we are all disabled too. Acceptance and accommodation for all was gently mooted without being preachy or offensive. 😄

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I liked how disability was normalized without being patronizing. The emotional and logistic challenges of disability were acknowledged but not melodramatically so. Those with disabilities were not seen as either insufficient or an "inspiration," but just people. It was presented as simply a regular part of life for some.

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"KYK was perfect--I have no idea how he managed to make Min-ik, a pouting man-child on paper, endearing rather than annoying."
Because he's KYK? Lol. I think Ziggy could've pulled it off but otherwise probably not many if any others.

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Ha. Exactly. And I think you're right, besides him and SIG I can't imagine anyone else who could make it work.

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I just had some random thoughts on the parts that touched me in this series.

I am re-watching therefore it hit me how much Do Min Ik wanted to be acknowledged and recognised by his mother and The Family, how ironical it was that he himself came to not recognise his own mother ... worse how he embraced a total stranger as his mother in public, and how much he wanted to please his mum by becoming President.

I was moved by his sadness when his mum finally cooked for him the dish samgyetang that he had asked for, a sign of his acceptance into the family, but which he could no longer eat (or enjoy) because he had chosen between Gal Hee (love and the fate of the contract workers) and Family (his mum and the Presidency), and Gal Hee had won.

My heart also broke a bit when he asked to be allowed to stay in the family home with his mum, although she was unwilling to continue to acknowledge him. New housekeeper had even been told that there were only 2 persons to be served ie mum and uncle. And while it was in the most off-handed way, when mum did finally acknowledge to the new housekeeper, that besides uncle and herself, there was her son ... I felt with DMI such a glad uplift in spirits.

KYK sold the character of DMI for me as one of the most praiseworthy characters I’ve come across in a rom-com. He began by being quite a boor towards poor Gal Hee but his transition to sensitive boss and boyfriend was wonderful to see. However, I’m thinking more of how I applaud other parts of DMI’s character.

I believe DMI's life experiences were actually quite horrible. He was the son of a mere secretary himself, taken into the family so that uncle would not get the entire corporation ie so that mum could hold the bigger share against her own brother (or brother-in-law). He had gone through a scary brain surgery as a child and had only his doctor as a father figure. He knew since childhood that he was not sincerely loved by his mum and that his position was conditional, and could be lost with a single mistake. And yet, he grew to really love his mum and was grateful for his life. Despite the insecurity and it’s accompanying stress that must have been underlying his daily life, he thrived. Fortunately, he also had the ability to run the corporation well.

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When we add to that, that he lost the ability to read faces which had stood him in good stead in all the corporate machinations, that he lost confidence, that he could not tell friend from foe, and that once this was known he would lose his position as son and Director, it’s amazing and praiseworthy that he always found a way around his weaknesses and turned them into strengths. I think I was mentally standing and applauding when he admitted his face-blindess at the Directors’ meeting and informed how it had made him a more considerate and better manager.

I was touched by DMI’s utter shock at his father’s and uncle’s unfair and ill-treatment of their employees and how he was disgusted with it.

His decision to give up the Presidency in order to stop the hunger strike was a brainy, calculated risk. On the one had he did not want to risk the company going into the hands of someone like uncle, but he needed to end the hunger strike, while he had not yet informed Ji Dae Gu of his plan. It was not played out as a grand romance thing, but when we consider what he risked for Gal Hee, it was actually very swoonworthy.

That he already had a smart plan in mind to enable himself to return to the Presidency while in the meantime enabling Dae Gu, as President, to be favourably considered for the role of Veronica Park’s boyfriend, was icing on the cake for me.

How everything fell into place made this show feel like it was sensitively and thoughtfully written, despite the sporadic silliness. This was one of the more inspiring and most unexpectedly satisfying of rom-coms I’ve ever come across.

Onwards to more re-watching and good feels!! 😉

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"How everything fell into place made this show feel like it was sensitively and thoughtfully written, despite the sporadic silliness. "
Yes this.
It new how to balance the silliness and not taking itself seriously with the bits that actually mattered. And neither, at least to me, was too much or heavy handed, as so many other dramas fall into. I can think of countless dramas that have silliness that falls the wrong way, or seriousness that feels like you're being emotionally manipulated. This was neither. And that is truly a feat. I'm very impressed with this writer to be honest, and I look forward to seeing if she's this good time and time again. Maybe she can sign up with this director again since they seemed to work well together!

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"New housekeeper had even been told that there were only 2 persons to be served ie mum and uncle"...

I don't know you, but what I understood was that the housekeeper knew there were two other persons apart from the mother.... am I mistaken?

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On the time count it was 43:43 minutes. Housekeeper was surprised to see DMI and said to his mum: 'You said that there are only 2 family members' and she mentioned uncle who was in Cuba and .... trailed off questioningly. Mum took a beat, while looking at DMI, before she said: 'That's my son', and told DMI to introduce himself.

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Ahhh, she kind of "forgot" to talk about MI before, huh? Bad mamma...
But she did acknowledge him at the end..
I know she wasn't a sugar cookie, and that's why i said I was ok with just that little... acknowledgement and his freedom to go for the presidency later is all he needed. On the other hand, she tried to get him to marry VP but doesn't make a bigger fuss when he didn't. That was good enough as well.

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Sooo glad to have watched this show! It put smile on my face during my last hectic, terrifying professional life.. Sometimes I felt it could have been better, but all the silliness are forgivable thanks to the chemistry of KYK and JKJ and of course KJK's Veronica Park! Agree with all the comments, including about the fish cult, hahaha..

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Can someone please tell me what is the whole deal with the thief and the USB? Considering this is the end of drama recap, it's not considered spoiler right?
I would be very grateful!

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TLDR: It's the Fish Cults Fault

TL: The USB was mistaken by Min Ik as a USB that had cute photos on it that he was gonna share with Dae Ju. But in actual fact it was a different USB and had a ledger on it that contained the secret monetary records of the Secretary Fish Cult, that uses the company's dirty bribe money to avenge mistreated secretaries and drivers.

The Fish Cult was started because Gi Dae Ju's mother died for an expensive fish, because Min Ilk's adoptive father threatened her if she didn't keep it safe so in the Truck Of Doom of the Century, she jumped in front of a truck to save the fish. Therefore, Batwoman Secretary (can't remember her name), took the fish, sold the fish, bought a different fish, and used the money left over to pay for Gi Dae Ju's schooling, and started the Fish Cult organization.

The driver tried to get it back off Min Ik in the beginning and caused his accident and then The USB and the driver failing to stop this ledger getting into the hands of Do Min Ik (cos they think he's not cool like his adoptive father) is a running gag throughout the whole thing.

Eventually everything works out and the secretaries and the dirty company are exposed and they all live happily ever after. Except for the fish.

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LOL 🤣 @sicarius .... I'm thinking you've succeeded in confusing @riverj 🤣 But it was a good summary of the tale of a fishy USB.

Even when the Fish Cult got hold of the USB, it was too late because the ledger had been emailed to DMI who emailed it to Dae Ju. I guess the point of that USB was that those treated as minions will only take so much ill-treatment. However in the first place, the abuse of power and unfair work practices should not have been practised.

The many attempts at its theft, the accident that cost DMI his ability to read faces and the presence of the police investigators served to highlight the predicament of DMI when he could not identify friend or enemy. It worked in added tension to the show, because DMI was also always on the brink of being found out by the directors and the public, once the police and the thief were aware of his disability.

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Well, I think this whole script is confusing and dragging to begin with. They could have wrapped up this drama in 8 or 10 episodes.

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I wrote a while thing about why I don't mind this show's pacing the other week here: http://www.dramabeans.com/members/sicarius/activity/801217/
But I can see how it would drag for some people.

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@sicarius

Minus the lie lasting as long as it did (which I now don't mind at all, because it actually led somewhere in the story and did give us a lot of really enjoyable/important moments), I was exceedingly happy with this drams pace. I felt like things played out mostly right on cue.

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I personally found it as comic relief hehehe because the dude kept trying so hard to get that dang file away from Gal Hee but she always had a backup!!!!!! It was hilarious!

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Haha... For once, we got a drama out of a secretary who is smart enough to always keep a backup in case something happened to the original file. It's a refreshing turnaround from the usual mayhem that happened because the good guys are stupid enough to not make a copy.

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Thanks @growingbeautifully for letting me know. Somehow I can't reply to your comment down there. I'm glad they got together.

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Wow. Thank you so much @sicarius! This is why I love Dramabeans, where I can find the answer via others' help.

On another note, can't believe this whole thing is caused by an expensive fish and the fishy money laundering combo. Anyway, that's why it's called dramaland where anything and everything can happen.

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Scribe of the Fish Cult at your Service *bows*

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Yet another title?yet another title for the DB Book of Lore?

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Haha the backup was indeed hilarious. I think Veronica Park is the highlight of this show for me. Even though I dropped it half way, I think watch some clips on YouTube about the romance part and skip the "fishy" stuff. Did Veronica and Ki Joo get a happy ending? @sicarius

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@riverj Yes Veronica and Ki Dae Ju got together happily.

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I have read almost all your comments, beanies, and agree with all of you. I also only can have praises for this show, so I won't repeat what it's already said.

Instead, I would like to point out something interesting Dominik's mamma looked like the typical evilish dramaland mother who is not satisfied and meedles in her child's life (her adoptive child, by the way)... She was not much of a loving mother, not very caring and not very friendly in general.
So... I was really expecting her to hurt Dominik all the time, because she had her own interests.
But boy I am so happy I was mistaken!

Not that she changed so much, she became loving and great at the end, like it happens in many soups; no, she actually remained like of loyal to her identity and personality, but she had her own life and didn't make her son's life miserable. On the contrary, she accepted his decisions and gave him the acknowledgement he needed... only that was enough for him.

I praise the show for not changing miraculously her personality, so I even managed to like her throughout.
Some people doesn't have to be this or that, they just have to be themselves and do not hurt. Many times, that is just enough.

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@javinne,
Jung Ae-ri, the actress who plays Do Min-ik's stepmother, also portrayed Seo Hyun-jin's obnoxiously catty and holier-than-thou mom in TEMPERATURE OF LOVE. As soon as I saw her, I gagged. She is great at portraying meddlesome, judgemental ajummas. When she faced off against Lee Mi-sook, manipulative mother of Yang Se-jong's chef character, the fur flew. I hope to see her play a sympathetic character one of these days. ;-)

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One thing that I still don't get, whose child is actually Do Min-ik? His mother is not his real mother, also the husband of his adoptive mother also not his real father?
So how Do Min-ik get to Do&Shim family? Why his adoptive mother make him as the heir if he doesn't share blood with them?

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He's the child of his chaebol father and a mistress, I guess.

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@manohira @cheekbones I'm re-watching so I caught this part ... he's the son of his father's secretary who presumably had an affair with his father. He's the child from the wrong side of the blanket but who in Korean society, can be added to the family register if the family chooses to acknowledge him.

The mum is the wife of his father, who decided to take him in and pretend that she bore him herself, so that she would not be considered childless and with less power in the company. She wanted to bring him up to take over control of company, under her influence, I guess, so that she could maintain power of some kind, eventhough she was the widow of the chaebol. Maybe as widow she did not have the rights to take over control herself ... probably needed the support of all the directors, but being the mother of the heir to the estate removed that source of contention, and assured her, her position in the business.

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I, too, had forgotten this detail. Thanks for the reminder!

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Thanks GB!

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Thank you for this, because I was confused over his parentage too. In fact, the parentage of both male leads was very confusing, and I eventually stopped trying to figure it out, because it wasn't necessary to understand the full story anyway, and I just didn't care, lol.

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This drama was cute and it was also my intro to Kim Young-kwan😍❤. Since this drama started I've watched 3 of his dramas to curved with KYK withdrawals 😍🤓🥴

However, by far, Veronica Park was my favorite character. I'm happy that the writers did not turned her into an evil chaebol heiress.

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The issue of throwing things cavalierly/carelessly.
I notice that Veronica P does throw her bag behind her as she walks, expecting some secretary or other to catch it. However she does it without warning. DMI did it once in the beginning ... he threw his jacket at Gal Hee to hang up for him, which I thought quite obnoxious behaviour.

In the last episode, Gal Hee won't take this rude practice and tells him to stop throwing stuff at her to pack, until he throws the engagement ring at her.

I like that change in their dynamics: the fact that she will no longer be quiet and accept any cavalier treatment, and the fact that he was being the cheeky kid who was teasing her, when actually he was seriously proposing.

What I thought was a great part of their relationship was that although he wanted to put his ring on her finger and claim her at once, he didn't, and instead gave her time to make up her mind. There was trust and a letting go in that move that was more romantic than a kiss and very swoonworthy.

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OMG! You beanies really make it hard for me to stifle my laughter here. THE FISH CULT! (Fyi, am sitting alone at a cafe now waiting for my friend. Regretting my decision to read the reviews now instead of at home. As much as I have been waiting the series' reviews from DB.:D)

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Just laugh out loud! 😆 I see people sniggering to themselves while commuting with their mobile phones, and no one thinks they are crazy anymore!!! 😉

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LOL!Thanks for your support!

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this drama pulled me in gently and grew in my heart til i couldn't wait for next week's episodes and at the same time not wanting it to end. i have a new admiration for kim young kwang now. he is fantastic at showing subtle feelings and at smiling. just smiling! how can a man be so handsome!

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He was absolutely charming by the end of the series. Now I know what Prince Charming can look like!! 😍

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Thanks to @egads, I have this vision of a different show, in a parallel universe of “vigilante secretaries: the drama”, starring the members of the punk band Vigilante Secretaries driving around in their Truck-of-Doom band van dealing out justice in between gigs, dressed in red cardigans and kickass boots.

SIGH

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I'm glad this vision is out in the universe. Maybe some day it will appear on our screens, or better yet, in real life.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

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Episode 12 (23/24) - And the prize for the best and longest sequence of hand ✋🤚 porn in kdramas goes to this show for the 6 step hand-washing scene (time count 5:25 - 9.04) 🤲 with bandage decoration. 😂

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Yeah,and here I am thinking that how on earth hand washing hand can be THAT erotic. The motion,the sound, the move? Or the longing. ..Pardon me for the explicits.

And double thumbs up for whomever advanced and inspired such idea to the scriptwriter. Subtle yet intense, gentle but it hits hard ;D

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It honestly felt like watching porn. Perhaps the sexiest scene in the drama lol.

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I really enjoyed this drama and am glad I watched it on a whim! Overall, really loved how there was a lack of drama (ha!) in the show. No love triangles, crazy parents trying to break the main couple apart, etc. The characters were likeable, no total pushovers or super jerky, but actually misunderstood male leads who constantly grab the female lead from leaving, etcccccccc. Just a good ole light, cute, fluffy drama with (some) heartbreak, and lots of cute bickering and pouts.

One of my few qualms was how Min Ik & Gal Hee's relationship was revealed to everyone? It kind of went under the radar and not really mentioned much. I was hoping for a bigger reveal/reaction from those who found out and some more fun teasing from the secretaries and such. Maybe if they had even just extended that hugging scene a bit with the secretaries having some dialogue like "What?! Are you two.....?" and Min Ik and Gal Hee reacting/realizing that they had just outed themselves to others. Haha.

KYK should do more rom-coms. Wouldn't mind one with Park Bo Young! ;)

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Also, I do wish we could have had weekly recaps for this drama, but am just glad we even got a recap! Sad that a lot of people probably overlooked this drama!

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Did you see On Your Wedding Day? With him and Park Bo Young? I need a full drama with them NOW!

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Lol yesssss. That movie is the main reason why they need to do a drama together!! They were so so cute. PBY needs to quit it with these fantasy/supernatural dramas. Do a realistic one! Please! I wouldn't mind one with Lee Jong Suk, either.

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This drama was very flawed, but the way these two made me feel when they were together was perfect. 💚

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The feels are real with this couple, especially with this ML. Do Min Ik has to be one of the most lovable MLs. He pulls on the strings of both mothers' hearts by being a big-little boy, longing for family, and of fan-girls' hearts by being the charming, dreamy, considerate lover.

Am happily 😍 re-watching because nothing else from dramaland makes me this happy! 😋

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Agreed! KYK's performance elevated Min-ik from a typical poor-little-rich-boy hero to something truly special. He was my favorite character in this.

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If you’d like to gush a little more about KYK, we’ve started a little fan club on @raonah’s wall: http://www.dramabeans.com/members/raonah/activity/818390/

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Your comment made me think of the scene when Gal Hee finds out that he gave up being President for her and she was like "what boss gives up being president for his secretary?" and he was like "I didn't do it for my secretary, I did it for you" AWWWWWWWWWWW and the emotions he expresses with his eyes....so good.

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Honestly, I even loved the flaws by the end, lol.

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this comment made me lol because it's true! Spoken like a true fangirl. Hahah

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Late to the comment party, as per usual, but this drama has been my happy place the last however many weeks. The story was absolutely flawed. This won't be going on my list of most tightly written dramas. But it had the thing that all dramas are trying to capture and all viewers want to see. Heart. It was brimming with heart.

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Loved this drama. Sometimes I would even try to imagine what their life would be after the last episode. ❤

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@missvictrix @laica @yongsital @javinne @ohsoenthusiastic @ally-le @sychotic1 @dorotka @justme @sensationalfantasy (liarsong) @kafiyah-bello @peachnmango @gadis @athena @oppafangirl @leetennant @egads @hotcocoagirl @hebang @charlieblue17 @pakalanapikake @yayabean @sicarius @waterhyacinth @coffeecaramello @inkcityxx Seoul Searcher @ash27 @riverj @manohira @azllinn GotToKnowAllTheAcronyms @diana-hansen

As the days have passed since show ended, I've been finding more reasons for loving this show and KYK:
1a)The premise, the growth in DMI and how situations worked out: Unlike other shows where it might have been just another trope to have face blindness to add conflict to the plot, DMI's sad predicament was absolutely essential for all round development.

1b) If Gal Hee had not been able to trick him into thinking that she was Veronica Park, he would never have treated her with the consideration that won her heart. He would also have constantly regarded GH only as a person for his convenience (whose requests for a formal lunch time and decent working hours he found quaint), never seeing her as a lovable woman. He moved from treating GH as a person for his use, to fulfilling her wish to be regarded the most precious person to him.

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Continued…
1c) If not for his face blindness and all that led from it, he would always have thought that his mum would follow through on her threat to evict him from the family, if he was up to her standards of perfection. To his surprise he finds that despite being 'sick', bungling the marriage plan with Veronica Park and handing over the President's position to Dae Ju, his mum accepted him, imperfect as he was, as part of the family.

1d) He developed more care and consideration for all his staff. He grew greatly and so fast, only because his face blindness gave him no choice. And he leveraged on his sad condition as an opportunity to give Dae Ju the opportunity he would never otherwise have had (we never heard why Dae Ju wanted to quit… maybe it was because of this). He even asked DJ to pave the way for him so that he'd take over a well run company after 3 years, so it was a win-win situation.

1e) By giving up the Presidency, DMI also made it possible for Veronica Park to get together with Dae Ju with less protest from Chaebol mum, he sidelined his troublesome uncle, he ended the hunger strike and got the contract workers a better deal. So many things fell into place because of the premise.

1f) I'm thinking that it is because he is the affectionate, touchy-feely type of person, whose overtures towards his mum were never reciprocated, that he wanted his Secretary to do every little thing for him, as a mum would for a little child. Perhaps among all the secretaries, Gal Hee was the most motherly minion, bothering even more than his own mother about his peanut allergy, and carrying his anti-histamines with her at all times.

1g) KYK does man-aegyo so well and in so un-cringeworthy a way, that I can watch it again and again. I loved how he stroked the moss ball and unabashedly asked to be stroked. And all the times he sought out or chased after Doctor for attention. My heart kept going out to the little boy in the big, tall DMI.

1h) It was so good to see how DMI began by doing so little for himself, while expecting GH to do every little thing for him, and then how he grew up and came to do more and more for GH and extended this to helping the secretaries regain their jobs.

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2) Loved the bookending, the parallels and the reversals: I posted some that I found on my fan wall ( http://www.dramabeans.com/members/growingbeautifully/?page=fan_wall ) but there's more:

2a) The balance between the givers and the takers: Gal Hee can give as good as she gets. I liked how she interviewed the interviewer and DMI when he went to get her back, and that she failed DMI's at his interview.

2b) DMI thought he could congratulate her when he offered her the job, but she rejected this and insisted on offering him congratulations for getting her back.

2c)Loved how they threw each other's words back. He used her own words to say that the only thing he could do was hope. She tossed back his words at him that anyone could do her job and so she need not be called upon to feed his fish. If not coming back to feed them was animal abuse then being forced to come back on weekends was human abuse.

2d) The parallel between Nam Hee’s deception of her siblings who loved her the most and trusted her, and Gal Hee’s deception of DMI. Of all people she who had a vulnerable, blind brother, should have known better, the degree of hurt it would inflict, to trick DMI.

2e) I loved that it didn't take an external agency, but GH's own scolding of Nam Hee for her hiding from her loved ones, that got Gal Hee to understand for herself that she was hiding too, and to apply her own words of advice to herself.

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Con'td...
2f) The reversal in DMI's cold, no nonsense mother who changes from her stance in the beginning of the series to finally, voluntarily acknowledge him as son.

2g)The give and take of forgiveness - GH had been the first to forgive DMI for firing her in the beginning and at the end he followed Dae Ju's advice to forgive GH.

2h)The gradual build up of evidence for GH's love for DMI, despite her deception, was well done. From GH herself, to Doctor, to Veronica, to Dae Ju … all pointed to the fact that DMI loved GH and she loved him back, and so there really was no problem, if he'd only forgive her. The complete forgiveness came not too soon and not too late. A perfect ending.

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3a) Loved the irony: Famous wrong words from DMI - he recognises GH from the roof where he has a bird's eye view and claims that he would be able to recognise her voice and how she looked even if he went blind. Well he did become face blind but she had him fooled for weeks as the false Veronica Park.

3b) Ep 2 GH admits she went to the boat to kill DMI but she ended up saving his life instead.

3c) In the beginning GH said that she hated to keep her boss waiting, but in the end she did not immediately put on his ring, although it must have been evident how anxious he was to see the ring on her finger.

3d) In Ep 1, Gi Dae Ju liked being in the background, while DMI took the limelight, but at the end, it was Dae Ju on the stage as the President, and admitting to DMI that power had whet his appetite for more.

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Loved that you took time to love and analyze this show in depth, @growingbeautifully! 😍 All of this wouldn't happen if not for the murderer arowana and the fish cult. All hail the Fish Cult.

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LOL. Poor dead fish certainly gets the credit! 😂

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If the fish didn't die then we wouldn't have this show 😂

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LOL, the fish cult!!!!!!!😂😂😂😂😂😂

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This is all beautifully written and so true! I loved the attention to character detail and development in this show, despite the truly awful fish conspiracy plotline with the secretaries.

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That fish backstory was the most ridiculous thing ever lol

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All I can say is yes to every single point. I would say more, but I'm reading this late at night before going to bed, and my brain is le tired, lol.

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Re: 1f and 1g
Personally, this is one of the biggest reason I decided to continue watching this romcom despite the tropey beginning. While some other viewers saw Min-ik as the usual jerk lead male, I kept seeing him as a needy man-child. He is hungry (and almost desperate) for affection, and I guess Gal-hee is one of the very few person who is willing (even if at first only to preserve her job) to give him that. I also love how his need for love is what turned their boss-secretary dynamic to something more informal and friendly, especially since he beg her to take her job back. I'm glad that his dependency to Gal-hee changed into something more healthy as their relationship went on, and that he learned to give support back to her when she needed it the most (his show of support during the dispatch worker's hunger strike is still one of my favorite scene).

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That's true @gadis I did not liked DMI in the beginning and missed scenes / skipped watched at first. It was only later, because he did not remain the jerk, that I gave him and the show a chance.

I had to re-watch in detail to catch what I missed and couldn't remember... then I started to notice stuff that made me like the show even more. 😊

Now to find out if another show can replace this one in my heart! 😋

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I Thank you deeple, @growingbeautifully
for your dedication in pointing out all these features of this wonderful drama, so that we can appreciate it more.
I feel like I want to watch it over again. 😬😅😉😍
Now, I have to agree with @gadis, I could never see DMI as a jerk, not even at the beginning... for me he was more like a capricious even whiny person, and getting to know his story, I could understand very soon why, and I liked him nevertheless he fired GH in the first episode (plus, this is dramaland, I knew she would come back to work for him somehow). LOL😂
At the end and throughout, he will remain as one of the most sweetest male leads ever. 😍

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What I agree with you most -- not really sure where you mentioned it, but you can watch this show over and over, which I've done even though I just recently saw it for the first time. It's just so cute, which is what I really love in a rom/com. I think there needs to be more cute stories, instead of having so much angst and melo, because while they drive the plot, the things I remember are mostly the cute things that don't necessarily drive the plot, but are just so fun to watch. The smallest thing, like Veronica Park asking the two sisters how their parents who were just laborers, could have two girls who were such great actresses, LOL.

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@brian I agree with you. I just needed the cute and the sweet and the lovely falling in love. The utter confusion of DMI over loving 2 women, the girlish joy of Gal Hee over being liked by DMI and how Veronica celebrated with her.

I also loved the funny! I was in stitches over Veronica Park making faces at poor DMI while pretending to be Secretary Park.

I'm still re-watching it like crazy ... it just makes me happy. I think I smile like a loon for most of the episodes. 🤣

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When they described his character, too, it was very misleading. His jerkiness wasn't even that jerk-like, if that makes sense. lol Compared to other jerk bosses from other dramas, he was really tame. I saw him more as just someone who had very clear boundaries (because his previous secretary betrayed his trust) and was just weary of trusting people. And that he liked to keep business and personal separate.

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