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Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

Two high school rivals meet again years after they have fallen out of touch, but unlike their bright-eyed past selves, they have become drained and disenchanted. As they experience the worse slump of their lives, this unexpected reunion sparks something within them, hinting at a cute romance on the horizon with a lot of bickering along the way.

 
EPISODES 1-2

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for our leads’ worlds to come crashing down, but before we see them at their lowest, the show rewinds to 2009: the period of their youth, hope, and dreams. We begin in Busan where NAM HA-NEUL (Park Shin-hye) is the top student in her school — nay, the entire nation — and for good reason. She times every minute of her day to maximize her studying and sticks to her schedule even in the middle of a family feud. Who cares if her aunts are pulling hair in the background, these math problems won’t solve themselves!

We don’t stay in Busan for long, however, since Ha-neul convinces her widowed mom to move the family to Seoul, and the story begins in earnest as our female lead runs into her future rival and love interest: YEO JUNG-WOO (Park Hyung-shik). Like Ha-neul, Jung-woo also aced the mock exam, and while he might not seem as competitive as her, he isn’t above racing her to class in the morning to see who gets in more study time. Heh.

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

After this brief introduction, the show returns to the present, and we learn that only Jung-woo got into the top medical school in the nation. Life has been a series of wins for our handsome plastic surgeon who now runs a successful YouTube channel, mask pack business, and several clinics.

Right at the height of his career, a mysterious patient visits him for surgery, and in the blink of an eye, his life crumbles. The operation goes wrong and the patient dies on his table from excessive blood loss. Then, in the ensuing court case, the prosecution finds damning evidence pointing towards medical negligence. Jung-woo is left with an enormous debt, and everything — his friends, status, reputation — is left in tatters.

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

While Jung-woo faces the biggest defeat of his life, the world has not necessarily been kind to Ha-neul, either. A mistake during her exams cost her a spot at her dream school, but despite this setback, she still attended medical school and became an anesthesiologist. Unfortunately, being a doctor is not as glamorous as she hoped since she spends her days working grueling hours with little to no recognition. In fact, she gets berated by her superior for a rejected thesis and is forced to take undesirable emergency operations.

All this overwork and lack of proper meals eventually catch up to her, and Ha-neul faints in the middle of a crosswalk. As a truck comes barreling towards her, she thinks to herself that it would be better to die. In the last second, the truck swerves, and no one is hurt — at least, physically. The accident leaves Ha-neul with an emotional scar, and when she seeks treatment for it, the doctor tells her that she is experiencing depression and burnout. Her response: “I don’t have time for depression!”

Instead of her prescribed medication, Ha-neul chooses a pack of beers to heal her heart and trudges up to her house’s rooftop to drink in peace. She finds the place occupied, though, and comes face to face with her old rival. Both Ha-neul and Jung-woo scream as they realize that they just became neighbors, and we go back to their high school days in order to understand their current exasperation.

Since two suns can’t exist in the sky, either Ha-neul or Jung-woo must be the top student at their school, and their classmates take bets on who will place first. When midterms roll around, Ha-neul dethrones the old king, and Jung-woo nearly faints in class when he sees his score.

This incident awakens his dormant competitiveness, and Jung-woo makes it his goal to beat Ha-neul in everything. If she eats a packet of instant coffee, then he’ll chug down two! Of course, to everyone else who hears their story, it sounds like a classic enemies-to-lovers tale, but Ha-neul and Jung-woo are adamant about keeping their relationship firmly in nemesis territory.

While Jung-woo frets over his housing predicament, Ha-neul has bigger worries on her mind. She tries to confide in her best friend LEE HONG-RAN (Gong Sung-ha) about her recent diagnosis, but the latter assumes she is speaking casually rather than medically. Thus, when Jung-woo confronts Ha-neul about their situation, she tells him to do whatever he wants and yawns at his long-winded sob story.

Finding a place to rent turns out to be surprisingly difficult for Jung-woo since the world thinks he killed a patient. Despite all the negative press, a cheerleader of sorts appears quietly in his corner in the form of plastic surgeon BIN DAE-YOUNG (Yoon Park). While Dae-young wastes no time bad-mouthing Jung-woo every chance he gets, this oddball doctor believes in Jung-woo’s innocence and refuses to encroach on his turf while he is away. His actions may be admirable, but his nursing staff wishes he would invest more in his empty clinic than worry about a competitor.

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

As for the mystery surrounding the case, Jung-woo’s investigation leads him to the anesthesiologist who was present during the operation, but he has nothing concrete to suggest foul play. After seeking advice from his senior, Jung-woo runs into Ha-neul at the hospital, and his old ways kick in. Trailing behind her, he mocks her for being a hotshot doctor, and their conversation dissolves into a petty argument about who did better in high school.

This little tiff brightens Ha-neul’s mood for a moment, but then, she finds herself standing in front of her superior again with papers flung into her face. Rubbing salt into the wound, her superior orders her to assist him in a VVIP’s surgery, and Ha-neul basically saves his incompetent butt in the OR.

During her next session, Ha-neul tells her doctor that she feels chest pains, and he explains that depression can manifest itself physically as well as emotionally. He prescribes her immediate rest, and Ha-neul grows quiet as she grasps the severity of her condition.

While Ha-neul debates over what to do, life forces her to make a swift decision when her scummy superior throws her under the bus for his mistake. She realizes that her job isn’t worth the cost of her deteriorating body and fights back. He tries to make her submit by using violence, but Ha-neul kicks him in the shin, causing him to kneel instead. She tosses her badge on the table, and news of her resignation spreads like wildfire.

Hong-ran runs to Ha-neul’s house after hearing the rumors, and she accidentally reveals her friend’s secret to her mom. Though Ha-neul tries to explain the situation without divulging details, Mom is too proud of her “doctor daughter” to understand why she would quit. Finally, Ha-neul blurts out that she has depression, but Mom refuses to believe her. She restates her denial which only isolates Ha-neul further, and she asks her mom if can’t even be sick. As Ha-neul rushes out of the house, Jung-woo watches her leave from the stairwell where he overheard their entire conversation.

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

Later that night, Jung-woo finds Ha-neul loitering outside the house and invites her out for some soju. She accepts his offer only if he will drink three bottles with her, but before they head off, he wraps his sweater around her shoulders. The proximity flusters both of them, but Jung-woo claims that he was merely embarrassed about her scrubs.

As the pair walk into a bar, they coincidentally end up at their high school reunion where a drunk classmate drags them to their table. If his pushiness wasn’t already a bad sign, he immediately starts gossiping about Jung-woo to his face, and our poor doctor learns, once again, that he never had anyone on his side from the beginning.

Walking home, Jung-woo asks why Ha-neul keeps following him, and she reminds him that they live in the same place. He asks if her offer to drink still stands, so they relocate to a quieter bar away from any familiar faces.

Since everything is a competition with these two, they start fighting about who can hold their liquor better, and their pity-party becomes a quarrel between drunks pretending to be sober. Ha-neul eventually lets him win since she pities him and tells him that unlike her, he is in a mess not of his own doing. Though she finds him childish, she knows he would never do anything bad and lie to cover it up. For the first time, Jung-woo hears someone wholeheartedly believe in his innocence and holds back his tears.

As Ha-neul teases him, Jung-woo offhandedly comments on how he might be depressed but immediately apologizes for it. He explains how he heard her talking to her mom earlier, and Ha-neul opens up to him. She was always the type to save the best for last, and she foolishly treated happiness the same way. She relates her illness to a panfacial fracture, and her use of a medical term ignites Jung-woo’s studious side. He derails their heartfelt conversation, but this silly detour cheers both of them up.

During their stroll home, Jung-woo reveals that he always wanted to flick her on the forehead, and Ha-neul returns the sentiment. They agree to one flick each, and Ha-neul goes first. She sends Jung-woo reeling back after her hit, but right as he attempts his turn, she receives a text from her mom.

After finding Ha-neul’s medication hidden in her room, Mom cried on her bed and realized her mistake. Texting her daughter, she told her that her health was more important than success and said that she loved her no matter what.

Ha-neul cries as she reads those words, and seeing her tears, Jung-woo can’t contain his waterworks, either. As the two of them weep, they throw themselves into each other’s arms, and though they might regret this hug tomorrow, right now they choose to forget some of their pain together.

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

A good rom-com hinges on its main pair, and in that regard, I think Doctor Slump is off to a strong start. Individually, Ha-neul and Jung-woo are charming leads, and I found both of their struggles deeply sympathetic. Ha-neul has spent her entire life striving for a specific goal only to discover that she neglected her health for an empty treasure chest. The feeling of disillusionment and the following loneliness was handled gracefully, and I’m glad the show is treating her illness matter-of-factly instead of as an anomaly or moral failing. As for Jung-woo, his situation may be less relatable, but the resulting emotions strike a similar chord. Like Ha-neul, he feels alone, and the people he trusted most have abandoned him. However, what makes Jung-woo endearing as a character is the fact that he genuinely cares for others which is why their betrayals hurt him so much.

While I enjoy both characters separately, I also think that their appeal is amplified when they’re together. There’s a comfortable rapport between Ha-neul and Jung-woo that stems from their childhood rivalry, and because of their history, an undercurrent of familiarity and safety permeates their interactions. Since both characters have hit a slump in their life, the ability to act childishly around another person is actually a blessing. With each other, Ha-neul and Jung-woo don’t have to mask their emotions, and they are transported to a simpler time when all their worries consisted of solving math problems and eating powdered coffee without choking. Their bond also works because both of them are accepting of the other’s struggle. They don’t judge nor belittle the other for “failing,” so they instinctively feel safe around each other because of this unspoken understanding and mutual compassion.

The two Parks are doing a wonderful job portraying their characters in every iteration (even their high school flashbacks are a treat), but a lot of the show’s draw should be credited to the directing as well. The editing is fast, the compositions are lovely, and the use of negative space to convey emotions is beautiful and haunting at times. I also like how the show doesn’t drag out conflict needlessly, and one of my favorite moments this week was the confrontation between Ha-neul and her mom.

My heart hurt for Ha-neul during that argument because the show made it painfully clear how hard it was for her to admit her condition. At first, she tried to downplay her situation — she just needs rest, she says — but when her mom pushes her to be honest, Ha-neul finally admits that she’s sick. The gut-wrenching part, though, is Mom’s initial reaction — denying the very thing Ha-neul worked so hard to share — yet the show doesn’t demonize her mom and instead adds nuance to her character, too. Mom’s denial came from a place of misguided love, and her refusal was less of a reflection of Ha-neul’s failing but her own. She didn’t want to believe her perfect daughter was silently struggling this entire time, so she lashed out.

The show could have left their argument at that, but they chose to deal with this issue immediately and have Mom confront the truth. We see her go from denial to acceptance, and with that, she expresses her true feelings to her daughter, giving Ha-neul the support she needed all along. It’s the way the show treats its side characters from the second leads to Ha-neul’s family that makes me think the story is in good hands, and maybe this healing rom-com will be healing after all.

Doctor Slump: Episodes 1-2

 
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Oh Dear! How many recaps to participate on a Monday ; )
Thanks for the recap lovepark!

I am tentatively on board. I didn't love nor hate it. I do like the leads and they are written well. They have their flaws but are not awful people.

Both actors are bringing so much to the table. Their chemistry is good and their expressions are on point. Even their school scenes were hilarious. Watching PHS dropping to the floor completely shook was hilarious. And the way he was dragged out, omg, so funny!!

But, I am here for the other ParkxPark ship to sail. Yoon Park and PHS. Yoon Park is absolutely hilarious here! I love him already. I am so glad he gets his own loveline and hoping there is no triangle or quadrangle of any sorts.

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I appreciate and support your geometric configurations or lack thereof. Two or three straight lines of OTPs would suffice.

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My guess is that with the two 2nd leads bumping into each other presumably in the same office building for the first time near the elevators is the start of their own storyline. I double there will any kind of love triangle/quadrangle.

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The third or fourth loveline which would be nice could be of the FL's mother or uncle or brother. 😊

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Brother is so far a bum, so I hope the drama has character growth for him, even if he doesn't have a love story.

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@emsel - we've reach the max level of comment nesting, so I can't actually reply to your reply - he seems a bit of a spoilt, self-centered slacker, but not malicious. I'm sure he was frisking his sister's room to help himself to her stuff, but when he came across her medication, he did seem to be concerned for her, so I think there's hope for him.

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Y’all. I was expecting to love this, but not this much this soon. I was expecting to have an involuntary reaction to how great/attractive/skillful/adorable PHS is, but not to have such a visceral reaction to Ha-neul’s (familiar) situation. I mean, her story is about burnout, so I should have known, but somehow I was unprepared to relate to her to this extent. Maybe this show will be healing for me too.

There are already 40 scenes that I want to watch over again, at least four characters that I want to kick cathartically in the shins, and one second lead couple whose ship I’m hoping sails quickly! I’m going to have so much trouble waiting until next week

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Burnout is indeed familiar and only too relatable. So far they are handling it well. Seems they have medical consultants on board.

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Right with you on that GF!

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I like the pacing too! Many things happened in the first two episodes and none felt rushed! I am loving it!

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So far, a wonderful show. I love the balance between the characters' present-day angst and the lighthearted moments in the flashbacks. Great acting and chemistry between the leads. I also appreciate the theme of young overachievers who grow up to be disillusioned and disappointed adults. This is the type of drama I have missed in the past few years. The only thing that gives me pause is the gangsters/ murder mystery lurking in the background.

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Yep, I was getting some Crash Course in Romance vibes there. Can't we just have a good, relatable drama without a random serial killer? I guess we'll see.

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I think PHS likes his crime thrillers. He has been screaming at the top of his lungs to whoever can hear him LOl!

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Agree. I have been a SIKcret fan for almost a year. While I was watching Moving I thought that was the kind of show PHS would like to be part of and he recently said in an interview he saw Moving too and he is keen on portray a superhero or action hero in future projects.

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Maybe it is just Yoon Park trying to be inconspicuous and check on PHS because he is worried but does not want to say it out loud.LOL.

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I was hoping for this too!

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I hope the show lingers on a friendship part of the leads' relationship. Those two need a friend and I doubt they are at a headspace for dating. Especially Haneul, the girl has been working herself to bones her whole life, taking time to breath and maybe go on a few blind dates would be good for her.

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Interesting ... rating of 10.0 out of 10! 👏 👏 👏

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Didn’t last. Don’t worry.

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Made a rookie mistake of not taking a screenshot. 🤦‍♀️

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I posited on the Premier Watch post that to be a robust drama, Dr. Slump might unfold as half "mystery-drama" (to answer the question of how/why Jeong-woo was set up to take that fall for what's pretty clearly a murder) and half "revenge-drama"( to watch Ha-neul flower into her own self and then also get back at all those who have been keeping her down), but my idea was roundly dismissed as both unlikely, but, more importantly, not what anyone here wanted to see!

And yet, even rom-coms have to have a plot that extends beyond "the main couple falls in love." Overcoming one recent, even if spectacular, hurdle for 15 hours doesn't seem very plausible (or interesting) to me, no matter how comely the leads. Also, if I might offer a direct criticism, the OTT music during the intro-and-outro voiceovers are too much.

So, what will the additional reveals be? What future hurdles will our OTP face? Is @mayhemf's desire for the bromance to end all bromances in the cards? Will there be additional childhood angst for our male lead to extend over a few episodes (yes, already telegraphed in a phone call)? What will the plot be?

I suppose we'll have to tune in to find out.

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I guess there will be a plot that goes beyond "We fell in love and we are now together". Expect to see some thriller/crime elements in the drama.

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I do suspect the murder/framing mystery will play a role in the drama more so than others think in the future. There has to be a good reason why we stared at the dead woman's tattoo so much. Also it seems reasonable that if you "accidentally" killed the heiress to a mobster gang/casino that they may want to seek revenge. The fact that they haven't yet could mean that he's a scapegoat for the husband to be able to kill his wife so he can inherit the casino fortune.

The anesthesiologist seems shady and refused to give testimony so he's the obvious suspect, but maybe it's a bit of a misdirection. Not saying he didn't do it, but that there's likely more to it.

I think finding out the true motive/killer will still need to be solved or else this death due to occupational negligence trial/conviction will prohibit him from being able to step into another OR again.

I am not sure about the "revenge" piece. It seems that Ha-neul needed to leave that toxic environment and it seems like from the trailers that she will struggle to find another job. So part of the story will be to her character growth at learning to enjoy life more now rather than rat racing for future and also finding her love/passion for medicine rather than doing it as a pride thing/family pressure/badge of honor. I know a lot of people like her who kept putting off things like traveling until they accomplished whatever their "goal" was and then get hit with a cancer diagnosis and then die within 6 month and never getting to do the things they said they would do when they were successful.

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Re: Ha-neul's future job opportunities, Jeong-won will need a new anesthesiologist once he gets back in business...

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I'm not sure what you mean by "robust drama." There have been many wonderful romcom dramas that don't have murder elements, yet remain compelling for 16 episodes (Sam Soon, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo, to name a few.) I'm interested to see the characters' personal growth, side characters' stories, family relationships, how they climb out of the slump, etc. That said, I do think the mystery element is there and will probably come into the foreground in later episodes.

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Park Hyung-Sik as an actor has stated a preference for mystery/thrillers, rather than rom coms. Which makes me think this is likely to turn a lot more robust. I think I will follow the recaps before I decide whether to watch it...

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Park Shin Hye has acted in dramas and films outside the romantic genre that require her to perform some martial arts or pick up a gun (Examples: Sisyphus and Doctors).

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Haha, revenge drama FTW! So, your alternative plot was for them to slip back in time, team up in Highschool to become an invincible pairing, both get into the prestigious Seoul university, become acclaimed doctors, build a clinic empire and found a society to fight gambling cartels in Macau... 🤔🥳
As long as the trousers are well tailored, I’d totally watch that. 😂

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I'm glad you commented because as a result, I began to watch Episode 1 last night (but fell asleep) but perhaps this drama will hit a sweet spot. The highschool competitive moments were lots of fun. As a rule, I don't favor "healing" (translation: pain, suffering, lots and lots of crying) dramas, but maybe this one will be different enough to keep me watching.

However. . . . Netflix? Gazillions of $$$/ ₩ ₩ ₩ invested? The only choice is to watch and decide 👍/👎 a few episodes later.

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I think putting a patient in danger and then killing her is a very extreme step to take if the goal is to discredit/ruin the surgeon. There are plenty of easier ways (like bad testimonials or spreading rumours) that don't need someone to die.

She has a tattoo, she's from Macau (which doesn't mean shes a gangster or in the drug trade, but she could be). A hit where she dies on the operating table is a handy way of pointing the blame at someone else, should that be necessary. So he may just be an unwitting fall guy, although not entirely innocent. To engage an anaesthetist who targets you in person to get a job without checking on his background is shockingly lax, and maybe that's a clue as to why his clinic was chosen and not someone else's. Success has not just made him careless, it's made him arrogant, although his behaviour so far doesn't seem it.

So right now, I'm favouring a murder by someone close enough to the victim to know her plans, and either with ties to someone who knows PHS or perhaps has watched his 'Neo Tube' videos and thinks he's an empty-handed, easygoing fool.

Well that's before PSH gets on board. With her research and determination I doubt any stone will be left unturned. It could turn into the DIY detective mystery that OBY failed to be.

Bring it on.

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I hope we won't get too many scenes of their highschool days, I had my dose.

I want to see adults and a relationship between adults.

Otherwise, I was happy to see Park Shin-Hye back! If I prefer charismatic Park Hyung-Shik like in Happiness or OBY as the comedic one, I'm happy to have him back on my screen too!

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Both of the stars commented on wearing school uniforms again, 10 years after their roles in "The Heirs." https://www.pinkvilla.com/entertainment/bugged-me-a-little-park-hyung-sik-reveals-feelings-on-wearing-school-uniform-in-doctor-slump-with-park-shin-hye-1274130

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These were two promising opening episodes, and I particularly liked the second episode. Just what I needed after the emotionally draining Captivating the King.

I love the bickering that is never mean or hurtful.

In a way, I can really empathise with Ha-neul, as I've been on the verge of an acute burn-out myself in recent months.

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Do take care of yourself! I really appreciated that they are treating burnout seriously - certainly not every character will, but the show on the whole seems to be, and I’m so glad because it can be so debilitating.

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@jls943 @reply1988 @minniegupta1
Thank you, I'm already feeling much better than this time last year. Sometimes I still fall back into patterns, but generally my quality of life is much better again.

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I'm so glad to hear this. I've talked about my own burnout elsewhere on this site but am also doing much better nowadays. Hoping to go on this healing journey with our FL in this drama and glad to have you with us!

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❤️ I hear you. And I am so glad. The cheers beans for you 🫘 @Nefret

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Oh gosh, sorry to hear that. I hope you are on the other side of it or have an exit plan to aim for.

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Please take care! I know how it feels.

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Alright, I could still be suffering from Welcome to Sam dal-ri trauma, BUT while I found the high school scenes surprisingly enjoyable, their behavior as adults when together, was so immature that it seemed like they were still in high school. Couldn't they have portrayed the lingering high school hostility in a more adult way? Like not have the ML chase after the FL shouting about their high school issues when he is under indictment for murder?
And speaking of that, if this is a criminal case, as I think it is, why did they introduce evidence AT THE TRIAL rather than have police confront him with it when he was at the station. Wouldn't he be arrested and released on bail? And why did the guilty anesthesiologist escape having to give any testimony? Plus, why did he hire that guilty guy? Because he had a paper resume?
I have less to object to with the FL's circumstance, but just a couple of observations. While her submissiveness to physical abuse and harassment from her male supervisor was perhaps excusable because of her depression, even in South Korea, I would think in 2024 a doctor (not an office worker, secretary or nurse) could and WOULD bring a case to the hospital HR for workplace harassment. In fact, I had a suggestion for her--why not secretly record his abuse and then release it on the Internet? Then we know all of Korea would send hundreds of reporters after him!
And then, about the way the last two kdramas I've watched (Daily Dose of Sunshine) treat clinical depression, something which I am sadly familiar with--The reason this illness is humiliating and frustrating is not that it is caused by a set of bad things happening. That is normal, understandable depression, as in "I'm depressed that I'm being harrassed and overworked." In clinical depression I'm familiar with, speaking for a friend, you feel yourself in a black pit of despair and readily start crying, and don't want to get out of bed, etc. and there is NOT any immediate apparent trigger. Things pile up beyond reason. You cannot explain why you feel so awful, and even sympathetic friends and loved ones cannot understand why you feel the way you do. Anyway, that's just what I've heard, but I find it interesting that these two kdramas have suggested that depression is always rationally caused.

One final thing, after the immature behavior of the two leads in these episodes, I'm actually grateful that there once again is a murderer lurking in the background of this "rom-com." I'm sure he will be part of the gangland plot to murder the woman who died on the operating table, but he also provided a grounding in violent reality that these episodes needed! (maybe not, but I'm grasping at straws here, hoping the show improves.)

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In all fairness, fellows are in a more vulnerable position and I know this kind of abuse happens to them even in other cultures (like the US). Academia is kind of known for it.

I agree with the evidence thing, but after watching legal dramas where the main character lawyers always drop evidence at the last second, it was kind of refreshing watching it be done on the OPPOSING side.

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I thought, though she was beyond her residency stage. I know well from all my doctor relatives that residency can be nightmare, where you are indeed at the beck and call of regular doctors, in a kind of hazing system, although what I've heard is that in the last 5 years that has really changed. As a doctor, you let a fellow doctor, regardless of seniority hit you? I don't think this kind of abuse happens in the U.S.
In any case, my main objection to her circumstance was its lack of subtlety. I would have been so sympathetic to her situation if it was a case of burnout, where the normal extraordinary demands of the medical profession just got to her and she also had clinical depression. It would have made for so much better a plot point, too, if I might say so.
And then also even implausible legal dramas show the police/prosecutor interrogating and arresting the subject, not having the prosecutor do it at the trial! Here again, as a plot point this was totally unnecessary--just have the patient die, and a civil malpractice suit result, with the corresponding collapse in reputation and the ML desperately investigating the circumstances himself.

Unless, they are going to have his sentencing and jailing be a future development, where she becomes the detective discovering the true culprit, which now that I think of it could be likely. But as usual, not the rom-com I was hoping for!

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Yes, I do agree that the drama could have done less exaggerated situations. I thought the FL's situation was going to be that she worked really hard for a goal and, once she attained it, sort of collapsed because now she had nothing to focus on to the exclusion of other things. And they could still have had a toxic mentor relationship without being so extreme in terms of physical abuse and demanding she take accountability for his mistake (weren't there witnesses?)

I also would have preferred your idea for the ML's situation.

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With you on not seeing the need to make leads relive their epic rivalry from long time ago in full teenage pettiness, esp when they're both going through very serious adult problems rn. It doesn't look natural at all, no matter how hard actors are trying to sell those OTT parts.

About HN silently enduring workplace mistreatment for so long - to me it looks like the result of her upbringing more than anything. Remember how mom's first reaction to her "I'm bullied at work" confession was "everyone does, just suck it up"? Sounds EXACTLY like something a typical Korean mom would preach to her kids since diapers. Belief that patience, hard work and being extra nice to everyone around will always pay off in the end was deeply ingrained in HN's mind, and only now she started seeing the bitter truth - that sometimes effort is just not enough and certain things aren't worth said effort either.

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I enjoyed it, there was some few issues, but the chemistry is great and the set up is finished. Fingers crossed the murder issue doesn't hamper the drama.

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That surgery scene was BRUTAL. If I ever wanted plastic surgery, that would have changed my mind. Eep. Also, fun fact: plastic surgery does NOT improve self-esteem, esp with body dysmorphia.

As a mental health professional I am not impressed with the mental health provider treating the FL. First, her depression was CLEARLY an adjustment reaction and I think he overpathologized her (adjustment is appropriate if it doesn't exceed 6 months duration after the stressor has resolved). Rather than just throwing meds at her, he should be asking what precipitated her low mood and, especially her panic attack. I also find it hard to believe that the FL wouldn't know anything about panic attacks, as a trained medical professional.

I also found it hilarious (not ha ha hilarious) that the mom was like "depression? You aren't depressed!" and then the second she found out about the meds was like "Why didn't she tell me!?" Hrm, I wonder. Also, I was so mad at the brother for tattling on her. The FL has SO much pressure placed on her, and zero on her brother. It's so unfair.

Honestly, with how hard the FL was studying it's amazing she lasted as long as she did. I assume burnout is probably why her exam scores dropped. Also, are they supposed to be poor? It sounds like financial stress is a big driver, but her family, like, owns a building, right?

I have some issues with the ML's legal case, too. Shouldn't he have known that the patient was on warfarin prior to the surgery? Did she not disclose it? If it is murder, as they suggest based on the evidence of the med bottle, what could his motive possibly have been? Don't you need to establish a motive?

Also, does S. Korea not have malpractice insurance?

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I read a theory that organized crime was behind this (since the victim was a casino heiress), too - that would be a motive, sure, but don't they need to establish that before charging him? Granted, I'm not a lawyer

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I think health care professionals are subject to denial much like the rest of humanity. I have seen doctors with clear signs of colon cancer ignore their own symptoms and not get the colonoscopy because they just don't want it to be true. When she was asked to turn in her lecture that evening and it was already 11:30 at night and she had that chest pain, I took it to be more of a physical manifestation of her stress/burnout rather than panic attack personally.

I assume since his lawyer presented the fact that the patient was on Warfarin for Afib, that he was aware during the history intake process and had asked her to hold it for the length of time necessary for the surgery and when he consented her prior to surgery and asked her, she claimed to have stopped it appropriately. So when he said she wasn't on medication, he meant at the time of surgery nothing that should have caused bleeding. The heparin was the fast acting anticoagulant found in her system and wasn't supposed to even be anywhere in that outpatient surgical unit. I guess since it was only a negligence case and not a murder case that there is no need to have a motive. However I defer to lawyers maybe like @oldawyer who would know better.

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It struck me as a panic attack because of how she described it. I think I wasn't so much bothered by her not realizing it was a panic attack than how the psychiatrist had to explain physiological symptoms of anxiety to her. Maybe it was for the benefit of the audience, though.

Yes, negligence doesn't require a motive, but then they were saying that the presence of the medication now made it a murder case, which I believe WOULD require a motive? Would love to hear an actual lawyer's thoughts, either way!

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Yeah probably why they haven't charged him with murder because they haven't figured out the motive yet. The scene when he was at the police station, the cop said he was there to give his witness testimony of what happened in the OR.

My guess is that before that trial for negligence, his lawyer and his anesthesiology friend assumed she had bled out from her chronic Warfarin assuming they got the autopsy report showing the anticoagulants in the blood stream. They probably thought it was more of a medical accident and not intentional so they had no reason to truly suspect the anesthesiologist. The evidence of the heparin was a surprise. The court scene ended with him denying any knowledge of the heparin but no formal charges were made. It was his friend hitting him who said "everyone is saying the presence of that medication in a clinic that never used it could be intentional murder." So I don't think he's been charged but people are jumping to conclusions thanks to sensational news cycles.

His new lawyer his tutor found specializes in medical lawsuits not murder so presumably it's still a negligence case.

So sad that the only people who believe he is innocent are his old tutor, his high school rival who "hates" him, and a sunbae that he is friendly with but not close. His parents are not worried enough to fly back to help him or support him financially and his so called friends/leechers don't even try to think about anything beyond blaming him for their money issues.

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I just hope that is high school subae tutor is not a backstabber. Jung Woo needs some genuine people in his life.

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Obviously you know more about her condition than I do, but I assumed we weren’t shown the entire visit to her mental health provider, so he could have talked to her for longer and have a clearer idea of her situation. I’m sure the FL knows about panic attacks, but I thought the issue was with her gallbladder? Or was it both? And if it was a panic attack, I would think that would be much more difficult to diagnose in yourself - she was definitely in denial about her own condition in other ways. But totally fair points. I’m sure if they ever have a drama character in my field (unlikely 😂) I’d pick it apart too!

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Yeah, ep 1 was her gallbladder, but in ep 2 she had physiological symptoms of anxiety (it was after that doctor asked her to submit her presentation that night).

True, we aren't seeing the entire appt!

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And I'm sure you're right that some of the exposition is for the benefit of the audience. Mental health issues have historically been portrayed / discussed very poorly in k-dramas.

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The ML's legal case was obvious shennanigans. I am not familiar with Korean law, but there were so many legal holes in his case it is funny(but not haha funny). They needed him to fall, so got him there the fastest way they could. That is why I let that go. The same with the FL depression, I was like meds, already, lol. Anyway, I ignored all that for the rest of the drama.

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One of my favorite things was when they were drunk and Jung-Woo starts geeking out on how a panskull fracture is highly unlikely due to the beautifully designed skull. His excuse for going on his tirade is that she started talking in medicolingo and it just got him started. Deep down inside I think they both love medicine... but the toil it has taken on their lives to this point is crushing them. Part of the story will need to be how they discover their passion again. Medicine is such a hard field to go into, it takes so long to get there (all those years of studying and schooling) that it's the epitome of delayed gratification. Burnout is a real problem in medicine right now.

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Yes, that scene was hilarious. Both of them are big adorable nerds.

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I really liked these first episodes! Thanks for the fun recap, @lovepark !

As mentioned, the quick resolution to conflict was both surprising and satisfying. I especially liked how Haneul’s mom came around so quickly, and accepted her daughter’s condition in a very emotionally touching way. Who would have thought that we would not have another stenciled „worst parent“? Truth be told, Haneul‘s family is still showing the usual invasive traits (searching her room, wanting to know everything that’s going on in her life) - but it’s a start. (And seemed realistic enough!)
Another thing that had me do a double take: Haneul became aware of her mental health problems, and immediately sought professional help!?! 😲 🤯 Maybe finally I’ll be able to watch what is often labeled a „healing“ drama after all, and one that does not consider „just fall in love with the right partner and all will be fine“ a valid way out. Woah. Looking forward to this.
Of course, the main couple dynamic is still a major plot point, it’s a romance after all. And that’s fine, as long as both leads get individual resolutions for their personal struggles.

Jungwoo‘s storyline hasn’t yet touched me as much, but I figure the Murder Mystery surrounding the death of his patient will play a role, too. Just please don’t make his frenemy the evil genius behind all this! I’m rather guessing it all goes back to his patient’s family’s background…

I can deal well with the „childishness“ of the leads whenever they interact with each other. Since they are professionals and „grown up“ in their everyday life (seeking help, confronting an abusive superior, getting their act together to pay off debts), it’s not putting me off like it was in Samdalri. The flashbacks are fun, albeit OTT, but it’s a kdrama after all 😉 Whatever could go wrong with that plethora of flower petals? I’m IN.

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I agree, the reverting to some childish tendencies when they meet again after all this time made sense to me (and I found it pretty endearing). They are going through awful times, and when they were in high school things were much better, so it makes sense that seeing this person would stir up some of that again.

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To the "reversion" idea, I would say, yes, some like maybe the drunken forehead flick. The childish yelling, I would say, no. But I do have hopes that this was just the first two episodes, and that this will be one of those that starts off weakly and then, based on the chemistry of the leads, gets stronger as it proceeds.

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Tbh I was more annoyed by the mother chasing her son around (and, like, literally trying to jump kick him? what the heck?)

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That's true, but the show opened with the screaming and hair pulling of the sisters, so I wasn't surprised at the subsequent behavior of the Mom. Actually that scene, showing the FL's total studying concentration, I found pretty funny. But that does bring up one of my minor pet peeves, which is not at all isolated to this drama--the character of the 20 something self-centered son hanging around the house acting like a jerk.

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Apparently you haven't watched Knight Flower, which will show you exactly what could go wrong with flower petals! Actually we watched this one after watching two episodes of Knight Flower and my wife said "Oh no, flower petals!--lets hope they survive!"

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LOL! Indeed I have, but that’s all securely stored away in the „fusion sageuk drawer“, so I guess they’re both save 😂

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It must be such a relief to have someone to be childish and petty with who doesn't look down on you for your struggles and gives it right back to you when you give it to them. I would think that with all the stress in their real lives that having that person to bicker with and push their buttons would be a welcome relief. It seems from their backstory that no matter how competitive and childish their antics were in the past, that they never stooped down to backstabbing or doing something to purposefully prevent the other person from succeeding. It's like the difference between both running as fast as you can versus tripping the other person to win.

My theory for the mysterious baseball cap guy who came to Jung-woo's door when he was in bed is the 2nd ML checking up on him but unwilling to face him yet. I think the 2nd ML will be "outed" as the stalker and then reluctantly end up being an ally and then a good friend.

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Yes, I initially thought the 2ML was the culprit, but then we saw his reaction to the news (and he was alone, so no reason to fake it) and it was clear he isn't

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I think you’re spot on with your observations about the sincerity of the leads. No backstabbing whatsoever, which makes it actually fun and endearing (considering Jungwoo already said in one of the flashback’s voiceovers that he liked her).

I cannot help but compare this to the leads in Samdalri, who I found insufferably childish. Instead of lashing out to old friends who you haven’t seen in literal years, etc - plus the endless drinking as „problem solver“, this show does seem to go in another direction with character development. Or at least I do hope so!!! (Please not so much drinking!)😬🤞It can still combust.

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Agree with their ‘childish’ bickering, I don’t find it off-putting. I kinda saw it like their escape from their current troubles. Reliving those days when they were both ‘happily’ competitive, back when it was still somewhat fun. I mean, I hated doing homework but I admit that in my adulthood, I have days when I wished my only problem was passing midterms.

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I mean, I hated doing homework but I admit that in my adulthood, I have days when I wished my only problem was passing midterms.

Tell me about it 😭😭😭 I would like to go and take another 100 exams than do this adulting stuff.

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Which is why I relate to what they are doing over and over again. They are using to catch up with their childhood - the safest place they were in when their biggest issue was how to beat the other. And from the looks of it, and how they are replicatng it, it was the high point in their life. She was the one genuine person in his childhood who didn't want to get anything from him, rather give it back - a healthy dose of competition and gve him space to be completely himself around her, and vice versa.

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I liked the quieter reflective bits of this much more than the comedy antics/mystery surgery death. The conversation with her mother was really well done.

I was struck that she still has a single bed when she's in her 30's (when her little brother was goung through her medication to share with her family - ugh). I know it's common to live at home in Korea when you're still single but girl, buy yourself a double bed and your life will improve significantly!

It has potential but hopefully we don't have to spend the last 8 episodes focusing solely on a Macau gambling ring. When someone was creeping up on PHS's apartment - presumably to try to kill him? - I resigned myself to the fact that we're going to have to go there at some point though.

How about instead we get everyone working together in Yoon Park's failing surgery and slowly feeling better/more fulfilled. That's what I want to see.

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Oh the irony that the FLeads therapist is the crazy, stalker dad from Castaway Diva. I just can't shake the creepy feeling when I see him and want to shout -"run away" at the tv.
The ML's story feels a bit similar to the FL from Welcome to Samdal-ri. They are both bright, intelligent professionals but have not stood their ground when being accused.I know it's part of the plot line but it is hard to believe they let their whole world collapse.
It's a joy to watch PHS again, he is a master of physical comedy.
I'm not sure if I'm sold yet on the show but will keep watching.

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Thanks for the weecap @lovepark

I really want to be able to enjoy the fun and explore series issues without having to fast forward through too much dark elements. The intro of rivals and the malpractice case, the incompetent senior who abuses power and has been promoted way beyond his competence levels but no one addressed the consequences of this was plenty enough for darkness to be present without gang issues and dodgy men in inconspicuous black outfits lurking outside the roof top room.
Both the leads seem likely to face challenges ascertaining genuine friendships and close family relationships.

The portrayal of the heavy use of alcohol while taking psych meds was not cool as I am pretty sure they are not supposed to be taken together. I am hoping they were emphasising she has not started using the medication yet and was resorting to alternative ways to self medicate.

I am looking forward to watching week two and hope they can keep the ratio tipped in favour of healing rom com with a very small serving of mystery.

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I don't think she started to take meds yet - she's got prescription and bought them, but right afterwards she loudly denied to have depression and thus need for them, opted for a pack of beer instead and we've never seen her personally interacting with those pills again so far.

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Agree about the meds! I immediately worried about alcohol+prescription drugs setting a bad example, especially since she is a physician.

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The episodes didn’t blow up my skirt but I enjoyed them and look forward to more. The mutual respect and understanding between the leads were the most endearing parts and I hope the story takes time to develop their friendship.

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You would think that as a doctor she would know that alcohol is a depressant and will make depression worse. But this is a K-drama where people do stupid stuff for a laugh (like the way K-dramas show domestic violence for the chuckles).

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I guess I am giving the writer the benefit of the doubt. We know she has the drugs, but we haven't seen her take any drugs yet. So it is possible that she is still in denial that she needs any medication or doesn't want to take the medication.

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First thing first - Moms chasing after grown-up sons and 'hitting' them is verrrrry Asian and middle-eastern thing. It's changing, but hop on to Insta or TikTok and you will see reels after reels of comedy on this. My favorite is this:
https://www.tiktok.com/@youtikker/video/7175394107408502062

With that out of the way, considering I have already written a quarter thesis on this, let me start with what other things I loved:

The background of success they gave Jung Woo : A full brownie to the writer. Influencers rule. And he is the epitome of what an influencer could be. Tons of money, multiple clinics, a brilliant surgeon with a face made for digital consumption etc, etc.....and all of it on loans of course. But there is a certain naivety because it all comes quite effortlessly. So when it crashes, it goes out with a bang. He has only seen success. His idea of failure was getting second place to a girl in school; he has never forgotten that. So this guy believes in the goodness of people and takes things for granted (like he automatically assumes the seat and the wine were for him; I love Yoon Bak in this; it's just awesome) and does not see things for what they are. He does not even follow his intuition - he gets this thoughtful look when he is told they got their own interpreter - my guess is her medical history was reported wrong. It's this naivety that leads him to hire a person out of empathy (he must be going through a hard time because, after all, who comes in person with a resume in this day and age? And hence he was persuaded ) - I think that's a red herring, but we will see. And the way he reacts to his tutor - I didn't do it Hyung (reminded me of his What Happens To My Family cute angst) still shows this naive guy is completely at a loss what the eff happened......The bottom line is that it was believable. And I think it's this inner child that keeps him hopeful and going even when every damn person he has loved and believed in has left him on a drowning ship.
The lead pair chemistry rocked off the chart right from the word go. I love how they resort to petty fights over their scores years later. Anyone who has experienced the rat race of rankings in a class will know the burn of losing even by 1 point to your rival is a memory you take to the grave. But it also happens to be their safe space, where they can act out without being judged. They resort to a time when things were simpler, their goals were achievable, and the adults didn't ruin it.
Nam Ha Neul : Her story will resonate with millions. Her depression must have set in years earlier, and the final abuse triggered it. Having gone through something similar recently, I can't even begin to tell how much her 'so I can't even be sick' was like a gut punch.
I know plenty, and I mean plenty, of Doctors who ignored signs of their own bodies despite being the experts and paid the price. I know of a renowned cardiac surgeon who dropped dead...

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I know plenty, and I mean plenty, of Doctors who ignored signs of their own bodies despite being the experts and paid the price. I know of a renowned cardiac surgeon who dropped dead of a massive heart attack after one of her most successful surgeries as she was signing out of the hospital. She had ignored the signs for months. "It's just gas" isn't something only laymen say.
Actors It helps that both are terrific actors.
PHS While most people love PHS for his comedy, it's his serious scenes that bowl me over, and there were plenty:
When he tries to pump the patient's heart to resuscitate her, his horror and despair are encapsulated in that one tear that jerks out of his eye. It's brilliant.
His 'defeated' scene. Absolutely heart-wrenching, his body language was so beautifully dejected.
When he sees the light flicker on the porch, the fear in his face is so understated, so real.
The disappointment over his parents (seriously, what's wrong with some crazy rich Asian parents).
PSH She has a new fan. Seriously, I never ever thought I will say this, but I am loving Park Shin Hye so so so much.
Her brilliance shines through everywhere. Of course, her 'I can't even be sick' is a direct hit to the solar plexus, but her subtle microexpressions are brilliant. And she matches PHS in comedy step by step.
Yoon Bak OMG, I can't believe it's the same guy from WHTMF. He is so adorably hilarious that it's not even funny. I need to see all three Parks together, seriously. What a treat!
Cinematography and Art Direction - it's breathtaking, stylish and haunting.
Director and Scriptwriter : I know people might frown on the oversimplification of psychiatric help, but in Asian culture, it's still such a huge taboo that only this kind of simplification will drive the message home. It was simple, to the point, without being jargony. No psychiatrist worth their degree ever prescribes medicine on the first visit, but it was an important plot point - that it's OK. It's an illness, and it's OK to take medication for it.
My only question is: I know HR can be a total facade in many companies - The HR departments in many Indian companies do everything BUT look after the employee welfare - but is workplace violence common in South Korea?

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More like they substituted school bullying with workplace bullying because I was bracing myself for Ha Neul to get bullied and saved by Jung Woo when she transferred (I do not watch trailers or read synopsis, so I did not know they are both competitors)

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She's a Tough Busan Girl, those pampered capital kids should've worry SHE bullies them instead)))

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Bravo!!! 👏 What an awesome essay on the show! I agree with everything you said about Jungwoo‘s character. I also got the feeling that both characters were set up believably and realistic. Sure, there are certainly things you have to take with a grain of salt, but overall I was pleasantly surprised (I tried to go in with very low expectations).
I also like both actors very much in these roles, the chemistry is definitely there. 🫠 Plus all the petals 🌸🌸🌸

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I seriously hope "romantic" petals won't reach the START-UP level though, that one gave me trauma.

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Enjoyed your comments @Minnie, but please can you tell me what “WHTMF” refers to? — Thanks!

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What Happens To My Family

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@kurama Thank you!

@kdramajoy Thanks! Yoon Bak played PHS's older brother in What Happens To My Family (t's on Viki), a doctor with a serious baggage of superiority complex and a selfish jerk for whom every relationship is a means to an end (they have a half baked back story for his horrible nature but to be honest, t isn't enough to absolve him). PHS plays the youngest, angst ridden golden hearted kid who is also the loser of the family. It's a pure joy of a series.

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Thanks to @Kurama and @Minnie . WHTMF was under my radar, but after reading the AsianWiki entry (giving impressive audience share), it is now on my list. On Viki in US. IMO, both Park Hyun-sik and Yoon Park have screen presence, so will be neat to see 2014 version of themselves.

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I loved that Tiktok!! And so true, it's such a norm - even the scene where Han-eul was apologising for not telling her mum about quitting first, I got that - because okay yes you shouldn't be obliged to - but the expectation is very Asian, and I forget that sometimes till people go wtf she's like a proper adult, why does she need to do that (mind you, I'm well into my 20s and I still have to ask my mum before I go out anywhere 💀, it just be like that).

Also I liked your analysis on Jeong-woos' background & almost seem-less sense of entitlement! It's kind of a fresh perspective to see someone who is - was - quite entitled but not in the belittling/selfish/annoying kind of way, but in an almost innocent and unaware way - childlike naiveté as you said. The influencer thing you said also reminded me of the scarily accurate comment that the CEO in Castaway Diva makes which is that the most precious and valuable resource these days is attention, attention is $$ and ergo the rise of the influencer culture. Pure hard-work doesn't guarantee success alone, and you can see it in the efforts celebs put into self-branding these days, to preserve the longevity of their popularity.

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A highlight for me was actually the teenage flashbacks. I work with teenagers and I felt that the rivalry between them was a) completely believable and b) extremely well done. Considering PSH and PHS are in their early 30s, they've captured the zeitgeist of bickering teens really well. The first screenshot of @lovepark's recap was the best moment for me - the expression on PHS's face as he wrote the exaggerated one-quarter on the board was so on point. I have seen this enacted in many classrooms by mike-dropping teens. Second best moment, when PSH fell, reached out to take his hand, leapfrogged over him and ran off to win their competition. I really like that both of them are 100% competitive and ready to stoop low to win. They just remind me of so many kids!

I love PHS in comedy. I genuinely find him hilarious - the moment when he fainted, the side-to-side swaying on the scooter and more. But he also delivers in the serious moments - I felt his pain at the reunion when he truly saw that no-one was in his corner. Looking forward to next week!

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the expression on PHS's face as he wrote the exaggerated one-quarter on the board was so on point. OMG so true hahahaha! The HW here is fabulous.
I fell in love with the teen year scenes too. They are so so good.

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The teen scenes were so cute!! You said it perfectly, they really did capture the zeitgeist of not just bickering teens but also the exaggerated confidence and dramatics of the teen spirit. It really took me back to when I used to have a frenemies style competition with a classmate in English - we'd take each mark SO very seriously to the point where beating each other in tests became a matter of life or death. It's funny to look back in hindsight and just how serious and dramatic we were back then, because I don't think you could pay me enough to take anything as seriously now almost a decade later 😂

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And each trimumph probably stll gives you joy and each defeat a heartache lol! The writer has done a marvellous job here. Using it as a tool to have these two connect has made this drama such a joy to watch.

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Absolutely, a win is a win hahahaha! Couldn't agree more, I like that they've got this established connection that they're building on now - a joy to watch indeed!!

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I woke up early, so my eloquence is not at its best, sorry(((

It was quite good actually. I'm talking about adult healing melo parts - those got me, esp Haneul's situation. Her burnout, denial and eventual break down felt real and raw, PSH should do more serious melos and angsty non-cute roles. Bickering teen-like romcom... not so much. This is not working for me, so I wish it won't last very long and leads will become supportive friends to lovers soon. It just vibes much better - the quiet understanding both found for each other at the time when people they expected it from failed them was really touching. I wonder if production team just desperately wanted to bank of HEIRS sentimental feelings with this one and that's why we're having this high school brouhaha forced down our throats... but imo there was no need, present time story works fine regardless.

There are rough patches ofc - Jungwoo's obvious frame case has plot holes wider than some prized cheese does - like how the hell anesthesiologist escaped unscathed? He should've been the one to administer that wrong drug whether by mistake or deliberately, no? I get that ML would've been held responsible anyway since it was his surgery AND clinic, but it's really off that he was THE ONLY scapegoat. Ah well, at least he has brains to smell something sus and look into situation... Probably why he's being followed by someone. Ouch, creepy! Putting my hopes onto Haneul's leg kick game to protect the boy.

Also while on the surface his situation may look less relatable among the two, I think we should focus more not on the accusations against him or his career loss, but the fact that when he was at his lowest almost everyone he cared for dgaf at best or kicked him while down at worst. That seemed to gut him - me for sure - the hardest. That call from his mom, damn... As much as I disliked Haneul's helicopter mom's behavior initially, in the end she proved herself far more caring than his own. Lil' bro needs to get disciplined for rummaging through her things like that tho. And kicked outside to find a job or something while at it...

I mostly like performances though. Sometimes forced comedy aside, emotions are there and they hit all the right notes, even in terms of chemistry - so far ofc - which I was the most worried about. Characterization isn't all that great yet, but little details are good - that Jungwoo is a big softie under his petty golden boy shell and that was precisely what people around him abused so much without him even noticing until too late, that Haneul DOES value her life and health after all and how she's quite perceptive when it's not about her own problems... Drunken medical nerd talk was hilarious. Also if it wasn't a kdrama, their comforting drink night would've so end up with more than just hug lol I'm casually optimistic now, pls don't let me down, show!

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I think I agree on everything but the throwback teen part. I just loved it and loved them and to me that's so very relatable. I don't think it will go too long (I am thinking Jung Wool would have confessed but their text books got in the way literally and figuratively).
The framing is very obvious, probably more than one person involved. I hope its not his tutor. I am guessing his youth, his fame and easy access to him made him a wonderful scapegoat for someone. And I am sure plastic surgeons around the country weren't exactly thrilled with his meteoric success because Hyung's practice is what it should have been more like it.
I loved this backdrop.
And I have always said, with PHS it's not the comedy but his serious scenes that gets to me. He is very very very good. I forgot to mention the reunion scene. Such lovely expressions of vulnerability and heartbreak.

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I'm not averse to adults being silly type of comedy per se and I agree that actors are doing their best with what's they're given probably, but I just don't feel it here. It's still tolerable somewhat, but it constantly takes me out of the otherwise enjoyable story. Cannot pinpoint what's off exactly, but something definitely is for me. Happy for everyone who thinks differently, you must have more fun then.

I was surprised originally because Jungwoo seemed way too famous for this murder-and-frame-doc scheme going smoothly, but you may be right, he probably wasn't targeted randomly (he mentioned about putting his clinics chain for sale - does someone want to buy it with huge discount or what?). Anesthesiologist is hella sus and nice sunbae from Haneul's clinic kinda is too. Why did she inquire about the latter tho, did they have history together or something?

Hyungsik was great at angst - when he doesn't? - especially surgery scene. Absolutely brutal (also props to PD for filming it so horrifyingly, felt like a totally different genre altogether for a moment). In other news, I'm SO ready for him to venture into darker and grittier roles, you can see how he's aching to try himself in really heavy stuff. But I'm afraid that if this drama does well, he'll be convinced to stay in teenage skinny romcom box for a while... Bunch of comments about how he's "finally pretty again after slimming down" on another site left me FUMING.

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I know. And to be honest, pretty as he is now, he was so so so much more in his OBY avatar. And personally, even more gorgeous (taking nothing away from him now, but seeing him regress to a better version on Min Min is kinda - well not that OK).
He is quite the risk taker. In fact I think it's the opposite. He is banking on this to strengthen his star power so he can leverage it to work on things he wants.
Yes, the surgery scene was absolutely brutal.

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I hope you're right. He's long overdue another hit drama for sure.

So I wasn't the only one reminded of Min Min? He looks more like him here than in that sequel's cameo!

Graphic visuals and legal implications aside, I was thinking whether it was also Jungwoo's first time having patient dying on him... He pretty much spaced out in the end, that's not behavior of someone with experience. Guess we need to add PTSD to the list.

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@Gikata: No you are not alone, though I must admit now he has very few angles that don't look just jaw dropping lovely. Check his new Elle pictures out. He looks crazy good BUT he def Min min 2.0. And he seems to have gained back some of that weight for sure.
He is already in PSTD mode. Waking up in the middle of the night sweat drenched clutching his chest with visions of the bloody OT still crystal clear from his nightmare - I am hoping they address PSTD as well.

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*googles curiously* Oh my, seems like everyone is sprouting flowers lately! In abundance! Yep, that's very Min Min-like. Actually they're both such a retro cartoon elves here. Not really feeling his hairstyle, but it's been getting on my nerves since last year or so...

I think it will be addressed one way or another. Given the title he's supposed to return to medical practice at some point - maybe Yoon Park's character will hire him?

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If this continues in Top 10, then his gamble would have paid off. Doctor Slump is PHS's only drama on Netflix US (Heirs/Inheritors does not count) and so for many viewers this will be their first exposure to PHS.

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Enjoyable first 2 episodes. The main leads are fun when together. I wish the show would conveniently forget about the really unnecessary kdrama trope of the murder mystery/serial killer suspense, or write away with it real quick so the show can focus on the strength of the show, the main leads.

Also, the actor that played the abusive dad from Castaway Diva is in here. I fast forwarded his scenes. His face brings back memories of that terrible show.

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Am currently strong-arming my kid to watch Castaway Diva with me, so it's really quite the brain twist to go from that to this show, where the psycho dad of CD is a kind and concerned psychiatrist.

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I liked Ep.1 but Ep.2 was even better. The leads are comfortable with each other and that in itself brings out their chemistry. PHS is handsome and winning and there is no doubt about it, but surprisingly I like PHS too. I like her take on the character and her acting shows her long experience in this field which I had never felt in her previous dramas.

I don't mind small missteps in the plot like Ha-Neul not getting a diagnosis to the point of her collapse on a busy road or Jung Woo hiring someone without thorough background check because the consequences to these actions and subsequent reflection on these decisions seem sensible. I am only worried about the 16 episode count, but for now I am going to ignore this skepticism.

@lovepark I agree there is a glimmer of hope that this will be a rom-com with healing bits because of their decision to quickly patch up the fight between mom and daughter. Thanks for the recaps.

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I’m not a devoted PHS fan like a number of you Beanies. However, my favourite role of his so far is in “Happiness” as he was heavier, didn’t wear as much make up and was not prettified (as much). I am a scaredy cat so that drama was hard to watch at times but I really liked the partnership between the leads. Han Hyojoo was so good by herself and with PHS.

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Have you considered SUITS remake? He's amazing there performance-wise and isn't as slim or dolled up as here - not to the HAPPINESS level ofc, but something in between. Great bromance show, if anything.

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Thanks for mentioning that drama. I can’t find it on any of the streaming platforms in my region otherwise I’d give it a go for sure.

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Oh, my bad. From comments on MDL it's currently not available anywhere legally for some reason - unfortunate side effect of licensing remakes trouble, perhaps? If you'll ever consider darknet option, feel free to ask, I know places)))

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YES, PHS looks so much better when he looks like a normal person rather than skin and bones.

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So after careful research i.e. googled as much as I could. It seems that medical malpractice insurance is not a thing in Korea. However suing for medical malpractice is a thing and the victim can sue for $30 billion wons but the government actually pays out 70% and the institution or person pays the rest. Since YJW was in his own private practice he will be responsible for the $9 billion if found guilty although he already owes all that money just from the closure of his practices, paying out his employees, the debts of his friends etc.

If anyone wants to learn more https://time.com/6253849/south-korea-surgeons-shortage-malpractice/

Defeated sure is an apt description of his current state.

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Wow! And 10 billion won is about 7 something million dollars I believe. Even a US doctor would go bankrupt without medical insurance. Thanks for this, very helpful.

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I can't watch because I lack of time, and maybe not enough hooked by first two episodes, or not my kind of drama. But still, I had some very good times, depending of the scenes. The directing is awesome.

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I loved it. It felt very familiar both as a classic K-drama and just true to life. You always think everybody else's life is rosy except your own until you realize everyone is just as miserable in their own way.

I love both our leads especially Ha-neul. Her incompetent professor, who can't even put in a line, made me rage. I was so proud of her when she fought back. This incident was perfect timing because she had to quit for her mental health anyway, but with all the rumors going around the hospital, I really hope the other doctors who were in the OR speak up to say it wasn't Ha-neul.

I really admire Jung-woo's happy-go-lucky personality even after everything he's been through. Any other person in his situation would develop depression. Despite the fact that it was Jung-woo's fault for not vetting his shady anesthesiologist, I hope that he gets revenge.

Park Hyung-sik and Park Shin-hye have palpable romantic chemistry. Was Jung-woo's voice-over "The girl I liked back then" real or a fake out since his next line was "The girl I hated back then"? Mom's text had me bawling, and Ha-neul's uncle is such a lovable teddy bear. I know that Ha-neul will probably end up working as Jung-woo's anesthesiologist, but I wish that she would go to another hospital because I think she suits a big hospital more than a small clinic.

I'm hopeful that Doctor Slump will bring me out of my slump. Thanks a bunch for recapping, @lovepark!

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I really like your thoughts, especially the first two lines - it does feel very classically K-drama (and in that, it feels like comfort food or like the fluffy movie you put on when you just want to be entertained and disconnect from the world) and yes, it's so easy to get lost in the 'everyone's got it good but me' wallowing sometimes! Which isn't to say individual struggles aren't valid, but it's useful to be reminded that when you're beating yourself up because of comparison to an assumption you're making about how rosy someone else's life/career/status is.

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years ago on the subject of Pinocchio (cant remember if it was in a recap or their podcast-thing) Javabeans/ Girlfriday said that Park Shin Hye really shines when paired across from a beta hero/character - meaning softer, more vulnerable and willing to grow with their woman. I think this is another really good example of that. I'm so in for this ride!

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I'm not hate it but not love it either. I'll see until eps 4 or 6 to decide whether I'll love it or not even though maybe I'll continue watch it because it's park couple XD

PHS lost so much weight and the childish side of him reminds me of him in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

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And I can't believe PSY just looks the same as before she had a kid!

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I don't want to be a party pooper but I didn't like the premiere week. Though I can't pinpoint it, something felt messing. I wanted to get the high school days over with once and for all, then I thought perhaps having flashbacks in parallel with the present might be a better idea. Also, it is too dark. I know Ha-neul was going through a slump but why is it healing dramas dive too dark without a guarantee of delivering healing at the end?

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I know the first two episodes are setup but I think this one needed to pick up the pace more. May be opening the drama with Ha-neul getting the depression diagosis and Jung-woo's career already going down and seeing some details via flashbacks and getting more bickering/friendship vibes between our reunited ex-lovers. I wish I got more of the second leads as well.

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I really want to watch this but having to wait for weekly episodes gonna kill me. So I may well wait for a couple more weeks and then binge.

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There are some good elements, but I wasn't exactly hooked by the story. I'm not sure why. I think I'm noticing the actors more than seeing them as their characters. (Kinda feeling the same about PMY in MMH too).

I shouldn't have watched the long trailer because a lot of it was in EP 1 or so. All setup.

Will continue to see if the next episodes are surprising and/or entertaining enough to hold my attention.

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"I think I'm noticing the actors more than seeing them as their characters." I thought the same thing while watching these first couple of episodes. While this is expected in the physical comedy scenes, it held true in some of the more emotional scenes as well. The drunk conversation during the 3 bottles of soju drinking session seemed a little off to me, like you could see the "act like you are drunk" effort. And what should have been a touching moment of empathy in the "your crying let's me cry" seemed forced to me. (Compare the kids in Like Flowers in the Sand in a similar scene who nailed it better than PHS and PSH.) After watching, I realized that nothing in the first two episodes really touched or moved me even though there was enough in each of the two leads' situations that could have done it. Yeah, they have it bad, but weirdly, I didn't feel much in any of the scenes.
But I give the cinematography at the end a 10--beautiful shot of cherry blossoms, stairs and lighting. It was totally old school kdrama and yet big budget Netflix at the same time.
In the meanwhile, I too will give it a chance and am hoping the drama gets better,

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Yup, forced is the word.

I was coming into this with low expectations, but then I also read some of the raves and felt like I should like it.

Agree about the old school vibes. Fingers crossed for a better second week.

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I bawl at the end of episode 2,
The writer...wow, I dont know what to say, but I feel my self in Haneul. I work at the medical field to, and there are problems (not all of them is bullying though), and I was depressed during my time, and..oh wow, what I did just like haneul: "it's nothing, I'll be okay after rest" "apparently dying is a better choice" and when I ought to admit that I'm in depression, is just like what I feel and what I did.
But what makes me stunned is Haneul's mother reaction: "i raised you the best I can do, you can not be depressed", it hurt me even after now, because that's exactly what my mom said to me. That pain pangs my heart.
And the ending scene makes me bawling: "I want a healthy daughter", how did they research it for being this REAL! I swear, this what my mom said and I bawl my eyes out that time, and this time too

I'm so inline for haneul, and jung woo, hopefully it all end well

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OK, I'll hold my hands up and ask ... just what is a 'healing' show? I see this 'healing' aspect to k-dramas mentioned time after time in comments on various threads but have never asked. I have to admit the idea of any show being somehow 'healing' brings out the cynic in me and I want to either laugh or puke.

It sounds so trite and manipulative, but I'll guess that the writers throw umpteen bad things at the characters and then place them in situations where eventually they see the silver lining in every cloud, or something? The long road back is filled with hope and love, and it all ends happy ever after? 😬

I know I am being facetious here, but the very notion is so soapy and awful that I hope any sentiment hits accurately rather than sentimentally, because if there's one thing I can't stand it's cheap sentiment rather than genuine emotion.

It may just be me, or I may have guessed the meaning of a 'healing' drama wrong - after all, they are both doctors!

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@lovepark I giggle every time you recap a show with Park leads

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The show looks promising so far. I enjoyed the first two episodes.

I especially was glad for the simple explanation of depression and the step by step walkthrough of how to get help, what it looks like when you go in for a diagnosis (the self assessment, the explanation of both mental and physical symptoms), etc. Depression is so very common, and there is medical relief for it, yet it is still a taboo topic in many places. It really shouldn't be. It's just medical care, the same as if you broke your leg and had to go to a doctor for it, just like they say in the drama.

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In many cultures and professions, mental health issues are seen as something to be afraid of, and seeking help is seen as a weakness. People need to know they are not alone, and it's not something to be ashamed of. I am sure every one of us has some level of depression.

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Yes absolutely! There's two scenes in particular that stood out to me related to this; one being when Han-eul say's it hurt her pride to be diagnosed with depression and the other was when her mum started getting upset at the idea that her daughter, whom she'd tried to raise well, was sick. The idea of mental illness/seeking help for it/acknowledging it being a sign of weakness, as well as the misplaced anger and guilt that parents project in the denial/rejection of their children having a mental illness, is far too common, especially in cultures where these are "taboo" topics. So I appreciated these scenes for their reliability, but also because they highlight the importance of de-stigmatising mental illness and having more conversations about them as a society.

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Are abusive superiors the norm in SK? Every drama in a business setting seems to have these A-holes assaulting, insulting, and outright abusing their subordinates, and their authority. Like it is expected of them, and they have been trained to act out this way.

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Thanks for the recap! This feels like a classic or traditional rom-com and I hope it doesn't crash and burn. I don't like that it has to be another double-genre plot--romance & murder-mystery--but the premise of enemies to friends to lovers is always entertaining.

I was delightful to spot Yoon Sang-Hyeon from "Under the Queen's Umbrella," where he played to sex-obsessed, kind-hearted Grand Prince. It will be fun to see how his role as the unemployed brother unfolds--perhaps there is a job for him in either solving the mystery of the plastic surgery death and/or working at a newly established clinic when the Park leads finally unite.

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I'm a little late to the party - but yay because that means I've got so many insightful comments from Beanies to read through now here that'll no doubt make me go 'ahh 💡', 'oooh 😮' and 'interesting! 🧐'

Firstly, how delightfully effervescent PHS is ✨ He's got charm for days, and his screen presence is something magical sometimes! Although I say it for every actor I'm in love with (which is like more than half the industry at this point), I truly mean when I say that PHS could read the phonebook or watch paint dry and I'd 1000% sit and watch him do that because I'm positive he'd find a way to make it seem entertaining and fun.

With the story, I really like this blooming relationship between Han-eul and Jeong-woo - in the purest sense of the word, because while I'll welcome the development of a romance angle down the line, I really like how they're just two people starting to connect right now, very naturally at that. I also appreciate one of the main themes here being that of being in a slump, beyond just it being a casual colloquial term, and while I'm not expecting some profoundly realistic and in-depth exploration of mental illness (given the tone and vibe of the drama), it's a very apt welcome theme considering the prevalence of work-related burnout and depression around the globe these days.

I've not give much thought at all to the small whodunnit here with the death of the rich lady from Macau because my focus is wholly on Ha-neul and Jeong-woo's individual arcs in the "present" - that's what made me press play on episode three after all. Onwards and upwards show, I hope you stay charming till the end!

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