I loved this drama. It was a 10/10 for me. It had all the hallmarks of a good melodrama – plenty of angst and anguish. Child abuse, dark secrets, shadowed mansions, homoerotic antagonism, BDSM, murder, mayhem, and more. There’s plenty of twists and turns in this drama, keeping the excitement running full speed and the tension high. It’s over the top and a great escape from the norm when you want something different.
Overall, it’s a story about one man trying to determine what kind of person another man is. This evaluation is a difficult and ongoing process – because the man in question does not behave or react in typical ways. He’s contradictory. He’s secretive. He’s extremely clever and ruthless. He’s manipulative and brazen. One minute he’s nurturing and the next minute he’s throwing punches. Mercurial is an understatement. Determining whether or not he is a “good” buy or a “bad” guy is the ultimate challenge – which is intriguing as both the men in question are judges. It is literally their job to figure people out.
It is also a nice metaphor for figuring out your sexuality when it doesn’t fit neatly into the standard package (the bisexuals in the audience will get this message right away) – there’s a lot of second guessing, a lot of flip flopping sides, a lot of confusion and emotions, and depending on your circumstances a lot of internal resistance, guilt, anger, and shame that you may have to process before you come to acceptance of your unique self. What is good and bad, right and wrong? What are the rules and who made them? Justice is tricky shit, after all. About as tricky as realizing there is no “normal.”
There’s so much to talk about with this show that I had to narrow it down to keep this review from turning into a novel. But I think I can manage it… maybe. This review is going to be focus on 2 major plot points – the Justice, aka the politics of the drama – and the Queer-Coding, aka, the characters.
There’s gonna be spoilers mixed in with what follows… so go ahead and watch the show. Come back when you’re ready to discuss.
I’d like to press charges, your honor. For bad acting. Ji Sung was so god awful in this show, I could barely stand it. I suffered through most of it, assuming it might taper out and get better. It didn’t. It got worse. What happened to this guy? He was so adorable in Protect The Boss! He was less adorable in Kill Me, Heal Me, but still okay. But in this show… it was painful. PAINFUL. My eyes hurt from witnessing the horrors of such a lackluster, over-the-top yet simultaneously disingenuous performance. Ugh. To make matters worse, Uhm Ki-Joon brought his A-Game and was outstanding, playing twins… so the comparison in abilities was blinding.
Now, I know I am on the unpopular side with this opinion – as the ratings and reviews for this drama are high with tons of comments praising Ji Sung for his performance. I have to assume they are either new to K-World or just… delusional. Is everyone watching the same show I was? I don’t get it…
The plot itself was decent – though overly convoluted and a little too gimmicky for my taste. I adore a great murder mystery, amnesia, psycho-killer, hidden identity story… but this one tried too hard. Thumbs down. Gave up after 8 episodes.
This is one of those old school melodramas that just punches you in the face repeatedly and you ask for more while weeping. Talk about some sad, twisted fates. I adored it. Soap opera galore! Stories about guilt are always fascinating – especially when you find an actor who can really pull it off. But guilt mixed with remorse mixed with sheer desperate drive to push forward despite it all? That’s the second male lead. His performance wore me out. He’s truly unlikable in every way, so of course I found him mesmerizing as a character study. I do love my wretches. Damn, he was damned.
Plot in a nutshell: After an unfortunate accident, a young woman takes the blame for a hit and run accident, even though it was her boyfriend who was responsible. Her boyfriend quickly, ruthlessly, abandons her to pursue his own career and ambitions while she rots away in prison with their child (oh yeah, you can have babies and keep them in Korean prisons, apparently!) At the same time, the lover of the woman who was killed in the hit and run goes on his own quest for vengeance against them both, further complicating their already complicated lives.
This drama is drowning yourself in a bucket of sorrow waiting for that one redeeming moment… and it does come, but geesh… you’ll be swallowing that gallon of tears and human suffering for a long, long time. You have to be in the mood for this kind of drama. It’s awesome… but it’s also uber melodrama. If you are in the mood for a classic melodrama – look no further. Melodramas can provide some of the most intense emotions you can ever imagine, but they can also drain you dry like a vampire. You have to be prepared going in.
I liked the main couple, and their romance was awesome and different… but I wouldn’t exactly call it a comfortable ride. Think of the worst things that could come between you and your lover – that is what these people have between them. It’s harsh. And it’s wonderful. IF YOU ARE IN THE MOOD. If you are… it’s like crack cocaine. If you’re not in the mood for melodrama, don’t even bother.
Overall Rating – 8/10. Being Responsible For Your Own Messed Up Life Is Ample Melodrama, Don’t Add Someone Else’s.
Protect the boss is about a young woman who’s struggling to enter the business world even though her resume is as spotty as her past. A teenage thug, a protestor in college and the daughter of a martial arts teacher – she’s a big ball of raw girl power but hardly the type most big businesses are looking to hire. By a humorous turn of events, she gets hired as a secretary for a goofy, floundering young CEO. Romantic shenanigans ensue.