Crazy Love: Episode 1 (First Impressions)
Yay, it’s weird! Crazy Love is here, and off to a fun start. It’s hard to predict how it might go during the full run, but right now it is 100% worth it for Kim Jae-wook’s performance and the wacky could-go-anywhere setup.
Editor’s note: Continued drama coverage is pending based on Beanie feedback.
EPISODE 1 FIRST IMPRESSIONS
We open on what looks like a K-pop fan meet, with adoring fans lining up for miles waiting to get sight of their idol. Suddenly, a man in a hoodie cuts the line and stands at the top of a long staircase. When he pulls off his hood, some epic music kicks in and reveals the man they’ve all been waiting for… math genius and famed tutor NOH GO-JIN (Kim Jae-wook). He’s mobbed by fangirls and fanboys alike, and is in his glory.
In contrast to this, is his mousy secretary, LEE SHIN-AH (Krystal), who runs around each day like a headless chicken to supply his every need. Of course he’s persnickety and demanding, with an Americano that has to be at the perfect temperature (which she measures with a thermometer), and other tiny details that she has to see to, or else get cut down to size.
Shin-ah’s been in the gig for just a year, and even though she’s hanging on by a thread, she’s actually beat the record of all of Go-jin’s past secretaries. We’re treated to a montage of these past characters, leaving in either a fit of anger, or sobbing and miserable.
Shin-ah also seems pretty miserable, since Go-jin is unforgiving and practically treats her like a slave, but there are two things that seem to keep her going. The first is her dream to become an instructor at Go-jin’s hugely successful tutoring school (GoTop Education, Korea’s #1). The second is that there’s an “angel” at the office that helps her through.
That angel is Go-jin’s friend and deputy OH SE-GI (Ha Joon). He’s charming and thoughtful to Shin-ah, giving her a gorgeous bouquet on her one-year anniversary, and encouraging her in her dreams. Se-gi also seems used to dealing with (and ignoring) Go-jin’s brash personality, and being the softer and kinder side of GoTop’s management.
Pompous boss versus hard-working secretary is a familiar enough setup, but Crazy Love freshens things up with its total weirdness. Not afraid to be a little wacky, we follow Shin-ah as she imagines life-size cut-outs of the GoTop instructors coming alive in a building lobby and being ridiculous, which includes a giant Go-jin bullying her. But in addition to the wacky, there’s also an edge of dark — which was expected from the way the drama was marketed.
To start, Go-jin gets a bloody package in the mail, but doesn’t bat an eyelash. Turns out there’s a whole secret room he has that’s like a murder room in reverse: it’s filled with all the paraphernalia of death threats and angry notes and other horrible things he’s received over the course of his career. He seems to enjoy it in a strange way, perhaps because he’s worked his way up from poverty (ostensibly) and now has a flashy house, flashy car, mobs of fans, and is beloved enough to have haters.
Crazy Love’s first episode does a lot of setting the scene, but we still have much to learn about our characters. For now, in addition to learning about Go-jin’s rise from poverty, we also see a vignette from his past. He was a blonde punk that cleaned offices when his genius was discovered by fellow math whiz PARK YANG-TAE (Im Won-hee), who seems to have become his present-day competition.
As for Shin-ah, we don’t know much about her yet either, except she’s incredibly determined (since she’s stuck with Go-jin for so long) and she’s just weird enough to love — doing things like throwing herself a little confetti party using the office paper shredder.
There’s lots more weirdness to come, though, since at the end of the episode Shin-ah receives the news she has a brain tumor and next thing we know, she’s breaking and entering Go-jin’s luxurious home with an all-black ensemble and heavy eye makeup. What snapped in her, now that she has nothing to lose? Why is she spending her final time on earth giving even more of her precious time to an arrogant and money-loving CEO that treats her like dirt?
For a premiere episode, it feels both sparse and full of story at the same time — because it’s the outline of things to come. The tone is the trickiest thing to get across in this review, because Crazy Love is weird, but in a way all its own. It’s not zany in the way that Business Proposal is zany — Crazy Love is more strange and dark, with a sense of humor that’s fun to watch, but not very warm, if that makes sense. I’m interested to see where they take this story, and how in the world they’ll handle a love line in a drama that doesn’t seem like it cares about warmth and romance at all… yet?
Hands-down the best part of this drama so far is Kim Jae-wook’s performance — he acts like a stuck-up magician with a dark streak, but even in his meanness or most antagonistic moments, it’s impossible to dislike him. He doesn’t seem “bad” per se, but even if he is, that wicked grin on his face is hard to resist.
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