|From Left to Right: Oh My Ghostess, Splash Splash Love and Noble,My Love|
SYNOPSIS: (16 episodes) Na Bong Seon is a very shy and timid woman working as the most junior assistant in a famous Chef's restaurant kitchen. The thing is, she can see and talk to ghosts, which frightens her and which has always made her an outcast. She is most comfortable when she is making heartfelt meals so she is pursuing her dream of being a chef by working under a man she much admires, Kang Seon Woo. Kang Seon Woo is a tastemaker who was made famous by winning a cooking reality show on TV. He's arrogant, authoritarian but fair AND a really extraordinary chef. He is initially very frustrated by Na Bong Seon's extreme timidity, and is therefore taken by complete surprise when her personality seems to make a complete 180 into a bubbly, playful and aggressive flirt. The thing is, Na Bong Seon has been possessed by the ghost Shin Sun Ae, a young woman who died young and is stuck as a ghost, she thinks, because she died a virgin. She thinks that if she can get Kang Seon Woo to have sex with her (while she's possessing Na Bong Seon's body) she will be able to ascend to the afterlife. Problem is her unrest may have nothing to do with her thwarted love life but may instead be because of how she died which she can't remember.
THOUGHTS: As you can probably tell from the synopsis, there is a LOT happening in this mostly light-hearted romantic comedy. It also skims along the edge of being a little disturbing, and perhaps its most notable triumph is that it avoids making the the possible HUGE wrong moves regarding free will and consent and personal identity. Back to that in a minute though!
In the synopsis, I mention the 3 main characters but this actually has a pretty large cast. There are the three other cooks in the kitchen, there mostly for comic relief; there's Seon Woo's sister who is in a wheel chair and her policeman husband (the 4th in the dark suit picture above) who has a mysterious connection to the dead girl Sun Ae; there's also his mother and a long time friend that he thinks he's in love with; there's Sun Ae's father and brother who run a much more humble restaurant not too far from Seon Woo's; and finally there's a psychic who is trying to keep Sun Ae from going bad. So, a large cast and lots going on - it's part romance, part spiritual journey and personal growth, part mystery. It does a respectable job keeping all the story lines straight and understandable and each of the 16 episodes feels necessary.
This drama gave me serious Coffee Prince flashbacks because there were many similar elements. It takes place in a restaurant, with the three young men who work in the restaurant providing comic relief. They are similar even down to the fact that two of them are buffoons while one is a rather sensible and decent person. Seon Woo initially fancies himself in love with his closest friend's beautiful widow and she is partially why he has stayed single into his early 30s. He also has to make a pretty big leap of faith to embrace his love for Bong Seon - he has to believe in ghosts. So while I would not say that it hits the emotional heights of Coffee Prince it would be a good one to watch if you were in the mood for something Coffee Prince-like.
The most important thing about a KDrama is its primary couple; so how was the chemistry? Interesting. And mostly okay. I like Chef (Seon Woo) but never really warmed up to him completely. He's pretty stiff and serious and disapproving for a romantic hero and while he does go through an evolution, he is not very different at the end versus the beginning. I really liked both Bong Seon and Sun Ae and did eventually really like where they went with their stories. However, I spent the first 6-7 episodes feeling very nervous about what was going to happen. Sun Ae has possessed Bong Seon without her consent and is doing all these things with her body that just made me extremely jittery and made me dislike Sun Ae at times, especially when it is revealed that Bong Seon has no memory of anything that happens while she is possessed. Later, they hatch a scheme to capture Chef's love by Sun Ae consensually possessing Bong Seon's body and using her more outgoing and aggressive personality to win him. This also feels seriously icky. Chef does fall in love but who exactly is he in love with? For a while I was worried the show wouldn't address these issues but they do and in a way that was satisfactory for me. I really enjoyed Bong Seon's journey that involves coming out of her shell and gaining more confidence. I'd give the chemistry of the main couple a 7 out of 10.
One last note: The subtitles on Viki aren't great - I think they tend to be more literal translations that don't always make sense rather than translating the intent. It was occasionally jarring but didn't detract too much from my enjoyment.
FINAL VERDICT: An enjoyable and complexly plotted romantic comedy with an interesting twist on a love triangle. Worth watching!
P.S. SO this wasn't much of a "mini" mini-review, ha ha, but the other two will be I promise!
SYNOPSIS: (2 episodes) Jang Dan Bi is a senior in high school getting ready to take some extremely important placement tests that she in no way feels prepared for. She struggles a lot with math and these tests will play a huge role in how her future will go. She is so scared and miserable that she wishes herself far far away and magically ends up 300 years in the past. There she manages to pass herself off as a man and wows and terrifies the king's court with her vast knowledge of math and language and agriculture, etc.... The progressive king, Si Jong Yi Do, starts trying to learn all he can and also manages to fall in love with this strange person who finally comes clean and confesses that she's a she and that she has come from the future.
THOUGHTS: This was pure delightful fun. It's pretty much 100% comedy with a couple of tense moments scattered here and there. I absolutely loved watching Dan Bi as she gained confidence by navigating her way through court politics and literally being the most knowledgeable person in the whole kingdom. The romance between she and the king is super sweet and they have a lot of great romantic AND comedic chemistry. They seem like they are having a lot of fun.
|Selfies with the King in Ancient Korea:)|
The magic that makes time travel possible is of the Wizard of Oz variety - just wish it hard enough and it will happen and then afterwards it is completely unclear whether it was real or not. It works for this short drama. It plays with the idea that a high school senior from modern times could have spurred Korea's period of enlightenment and instigated the creation of their own alphabet. It's ridiculous and fun!
The subtitles on Viki were stupendous. One of the main plot points/jokes of the show is based on a play on words - the word for High School Senior is the same or very similar to the word for Eunuch so everybody thinks Dan Bi is a eunuch which ends up working to her advantage! The subtitles do a good job of explaining this and making it all clear.
FINAL VERDICT: A completely delightful time-travel, romantic comedy. Highly recommend if you are in the mood for something light and funny!
SYNOPSIS: (20 15-minute episodes) Cha Yoon Seo is a spunky, struggling, and hard-working veterinarian. She's kind of a hot mess but good at her job. One night by chance she saves a very handsome young man's life, Lee Kang Hoon. Lee Kang Hoon happens to be the CEO of a very prominent Chaebol run company and he feels indebted to Cha Yoon Seo. When she doesn't try to take advantage of the situation, he proceeds to bully her into accepting his money, help, and attention. Of course they end up falling in love.
THOUGHTS: This is another one that is almost pure fluff. With its unique structure, made up of many super short episodes, it can't really delve too deeply into melodrama or complex character development so it stays pretty surface.
Cha Yoon Seo is a pretty fun character, very compassionate, self-sufficient and independent as well as a bit of a spaz. Lee Kang Hoon comes across as a cold arrogant bully and while he softens a touch by the end of the drama, I never really warmed up to him. Both actors are extremely pretty to look at but don't necessarily light up the screen with their acting talents. Or it could be the material which was goofy in the extreme and could've been hard to sell. There is one scene where Cha Yoon Seo falls off a ladder into Lee Kang Hoon in such a way that there lips meet - this is their first kiss and it could be a scene out of a cartoon.
With these problems I had, I still mostly enjoyed it and the short episode format was kind of interesting. I watched it on Netflix and the subtitles were fine.
FINAL VERDICT: Fine if you're wanting something short and fluffy to watch. The hero is an Alpha in the extreme and the shorter format doesn't allow any room for deeper development so in the end I didn't love it.
That's it for my thoughts! Have you seen any of these Dramas? If so, what did you think?