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…
Mr. Sunshine: There’s a lot going on and we’re still setting the pieces in place, but everything looks cinematic and grandiose in a way we don’t often get in dramaland, and that’s refreshing (even if I don’t think it quite hits Goblin levels of emotion or scale). The time period feels like we’re on the cusp of something significant, a feeling that carries over into the drama itself. I don’t know yet if I like the show, but it has me interested. I can’t help but wish we were centered around Yoo Yeon-seok’s antihero journey into redemption and self-acceptance, though, because I find his Dong-mae a helluva lot more electric than boring ol’ Eugene, and think his arc will be a lot more gripping.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim: I feel like I’m meant to care more about the kidnapping backstory than I do, but I hope that now that the truth is out, we can move past the not-quite-mysterious foreshadowing and return to focusing on Young-joon and Mi-so’s relationship. Kidnapping has overstayed its welcome crashing on rom-com’s couch, and rom-com would like to reclaim its home, please.
Are You Human Too: I’m a week behind on this. Shinbot is still painfully adorable and I appreciate that our heroine is the only one who really sees him as something more than a machine or a program. You could argue that she’s too far gone on the other extreme, perhaps seeing him as more human than she ought, but maybe that’s not such a far-fetched concept when she’s actually starting to change Shinbot’s AI. I’m still not sure I’m going to be happy with the resolution for him, but in the meantime I’ll enjoy his sweet, guileless personality while I can.
Mr. Sunshine: I know they were going for a splashy, epic premiere, but I honestly didn’t connect with the story at all until the second episode, when Kim Tae-ri’s character came to the forefront. I get that the hero’s lack of allegiance to his homeland is the whole point of his character arc; it’s just so much easier to connect with a character who feels very passionately about fighting for Joseon, especially when she’s defying social norms to become an active gunslinger for the resistance. So far I’m impressed with the women in this drama and encouraged by the fact that the pretty, delicate noblewoman is in fact a hotheaded rebel-in-training. Yes, please. More of that. And more of Yoo Yeon-seok. There is never enough Yoo Yeon-seok in life, ever.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim: I was bored by all of the heavy focus on the kidnapping backstory and hyung drama this week, but hopefully that means we’re past it now? We’re past it, right? It’s nice to finally see Park Seo-joon’s side of things, and all the little ways in which he (secretly, stupidly) cared for Park Min-young over the years. Now that the dramatic stuff is over with, can we just stick to office coming out shenanigans and awkward bedroom seduction tactics? No one’s pretending that’s not what we signed up for.
Investigation Couple: I’m happy that I stuck with this one through the major slowdown just to get to the final case. A new investigation reopens a decades old case and the pressure is on both the prosecution and forensic teams to solve it. They have learned to work well together and this investigation should highlight that fact. This drama has been a challenge to stick with, but something about Jung Jae-young’s Baek-beom kept me coming back. I’m hoping that there’s a possibility of real happiness waiting for the lonely medical examiner.
Your House Helper: This drama acknowledges how bogged down people can get when their personal spaces are cluttered. Ji-woon restores order to his clients’ homes and in the process, they see their lives more clearly. He’s an interesting cross between an organizational whiz and a psychologist. I’m eager to see how Da-young and her new roommates will be further influenced by Ji-woon’s advice going forward because clearly their lives have stalled for one reason or another.
Handsome Guy and Jung-eum: This mediocre rom-com was the perfect thing to watch in the post-surgical haze after I got my wisdom teeth out this week, but I doubt it will leave any lasting impression on me—and not because I’ve been hopped up on painkillers. It’s a shame that it’s such a paint-by-numbers story, with a plot that would have worked fine in twelve hours but drags in sixteen. Especially so because I had such high hopes for this reunion between Hwang Jung-eum and Namgoong Min, who had their wires so heartbreakingly, beautifully crossed in Can You Hear My Heart. This cast certainly has the acting chops for a much more demanding script, but not only are the lead roles lackluster, the secondary roles are wasted on Choi Tae-joon and Oh Yoon-ah. I’ve put away my hopes for a cracktastic watch, and decided to simply enjoy the cuteness of the OTP, who are complete dorks in love by this point.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim: This was a week of heavy reckonings with the past, for both Mi-so and Young-joon, and I really love how the show slowly unraveled the details of what happened that day, and what both of them have been dealing with in the years since. Young-joon’s long-overdue conversations with his family were hard to watch but they were also my favorite scenes this week, because we finally saw Young-joon release all that pent-up hurt and show his vulnerability to the people he’s been sacrificing his own happiness to protect all these years—people who are rightly guilt-stricken, because they should have been the ones protecting him. But it was also beautiful to see him take the first steps toward reconciliation and healing, despite the pain, and for Mi-so to be right there for him, just as he was with her the previous day when all her memories hit her full force. I adore these two together. As funny as their “semi-living-together” hijinks were, what truly moves me is how honest and rock-solid their relationship is in the tough times. And I will never understand how Young-joon manages to be totally overbearing and obnoxious and yet completely respectful of Mi-so’s wishes at the same time. Guess it’s that Park Seo-joon magic. (Now I just want her to drop her Secretary Mode when it’a just the two of them. Surely he’s earned an upgrade to permanent Oppa status by now, Mi-so?)
Mr. Sunshine: I like it. I think. Which I’m slightly disappointed about, since I wanted to love it as much as I loved Goblin’s opening week. I mean, the show is absolutely gorgeous and the plot covers quite a lot of ground in the first two episodes, so I’m trying to put a finger on why it hasn’t sucked me in quite yet. I’m hoping it’s just a side effect of having a story that’s so sprawling with a large ensemble cast, that the show has yet to build momentum, and is still in its introductory phase. I think Goblin definitely benefited from the comparatively simple plot: Find the goblin bride and finally die. Here, there’s a whole bunch of characters that sort of act like they’re the leads of their own dramas, and it feels like narrative whiplash when we jump from one to another. That might be why I found the most compelling scenes to be the ones featuring Jin Gu and Kim Ji-won’s cameo: They had a clear objective, and they had a single villain. I’m hoping that all the threads start converging soon, because I’m really enjoying the unique backdrop of this story’s time period, both visually and narratively. I want to love you, Show, just let me love you!
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim: I’m so glad that we got some explanation as to why every single member of Park Seo-joon’s family reacted in the weirdest way to the childhood kidnapping. It’s still not satisfying, to be perfectly frank — like, what the hell, Mom and Dad, why did you let one son take the blame for something he didn’t do and let the other wallow in misplaced, self-righteous anger? — but I’m just happy to have moved on from that subplot. I mean, I was really over the older brother being generally obnoxious when we knew as the audience that he wasn’t the victim. This show is at its best when our main leads are being cute and I’m looking forward to four more episodes of more cotton candy fluff, even if I’m scratching my head at whether this story even has enough filler to occupy four more hours. Oh well, I could watch Park Seo-joon in three-piece suits flirt all day, so I’m not complaining.
To Jenny: This is adorable. I always take promotional material with a grain of salt, so I’m quite surprised by how true to its premise To Jenny has turned out to be, at least in the first episode. It’s a sweet story about first loves, taking risks, and above all, the music that permeates each characters’ lives and dreams. And as I had hoped, the soundtrack itself acts as another character in the show, with a mix of well-known pop/indie hits and quirky original songs that are reminiscent of the classic band Song Gol Mae or the more recent Kiha & the Faces. I started watching this show for Kim Sung-chul, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the whole cast, from the sassy younger sister, to the lead’s friends. Also, who else needed to do some Internet searching after seeing the soldier asshat from Smart Prison Living being all dorky and musical here?
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (July 7, 2018)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 30, 2018)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 23, 2018)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 16, 2018)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 9, 2018)
- Team Dramabeans: What we’re watching (June 2, 2018)