Review – Revolutionary Love

Review – Revolutionary Love

This show was a fine mix of screwball comedy and drama.  The screwball was played by Choi Se-Won, who seems almost type-cast to play these lovable dufus characters.  He’s the male lead in this show, though I wasn’t entirely sure he was the male lead until the last episode because the second male lead, played by Gong Myung, had an equally compelling story and, in my opinion, more chemistry with the lead female.

This is a story of a bumbling third generation rich guy who’s spent the first thirty years of his life playing with his family’s money.  He has no job, no responsibilities, no worries and no sense of the world.  His small, extravagant world IS the world, as far as he’s concerned.  He’s happily let his older brother play the heir to the company, content to just ride on the coat tails of other people’s success.  He even has a personal secretary, the second male lead, whose sole job is to follow him around and clean up his messes.  These two men grew up together, one the prince, the other the pauper.  Gong Myung’s character is the son of the family chauffeur, a part of the wealthy world of his employers but only as an accessory.  He’s a brooding, miserable mess – a stark contrast to the ever-joyously oblivious prince heir.  Their friendship is real, but strained under the weight of their different roles and social positions.  It isn’t until our prince gets kicked out of the castle that the two finally get to grow as individuals.

Between these two men is our lead female.  A plucky young lady who refuses to get a full time job, already jaded by the insecurities of the working world after watching her father lose his job just short of retirement.  She’s had a crush on the brooding chauffeur’s son for years, but their relationship never progressed past awkward friendship.  When circumstance causes her to mistake our prince for a pauper, she bonds with the goofy rich boy in disguise and he, in turn, falls head over heels for our female lead.  Our prince sets out to woo this lady with everything he’s got – unfortunately, she doesn’t think anything he has is worth much, so he’s forced to re-evaluate his perceptions of reality.  His dogged pursuit of our female lead causes him to do things he’s never done before… like… get a job.

It’s a light, cute, goofy story.  There are lots of enjoyable characters – the other employees, the families of our three leads, the friends, even the neighbors – and everyone gets fleshed out enough that no one feels like a prop.  Choi Se-Won has perfected the art of being overtly hammy and still endearing, though his characters always seem to fall short of being romantic leads.  He’s better suited to being the one-sided crush guy, in my opinion, though maybe this is a failing on the writer’s part and not the actor.  There’s not a lot of romance in this romantic comedy.  For this particular plot, it worked fine.  This story was more about having the three leads grow as people and not as lovers.

Overall Rating – 7/10.  Rich Goofball Learns To Use A Toilet Plunger.

Review – Doctor Stranger

Review – Doctor Stranger

What an odd little show.  I have so many conflicting emotions about this drama – because there were so many things I really, really liked and quite a few things I wished I could have vetoed in the writer’s room.  But overall – it’s one of the few medical dramas I enjoyed.

Plot:  A brilliant surgeon and his young son are sent on a secret diplomatic mission to North Korea – only to be betrayed by their own country and kept by the North Koreans!  The young man grows up there, following the footsteps of his father to become a doctor, but due to the lack of equipment and technology, learns “old school.” His childhood sweetheart and fiance is taken by the secret police shortly after agreeing to marry him.  When he’s near graduation, he is taken by the government to a secret facility to perfect his craft of heart surgery, by devious and nefarious means.  He spends several years imprisoned in this nightmarish place – secretly searching for his fiance.  He finally finds her right when his opportunity to escape the country presents itself – and attempts to flee with his lady love only to lose her in the process.  Several years later, in South Korea, a series of events leads him to be hired as a new surgeon at a prestigious hospital.  There he meets a woman who looks identical to his fiance, but claims not to know him.  Who is this mysterious woman?  And will he ever find his lost love?  While all these burning questions linger, there is an awesome new woman in his life who vies for his heart… but can he ever escapes the secrets of his terrible past and get over his first love?

Overall Rating – 8/10.  Pyongyang Medical School is Not For The Faint of Heart.

More Discussion and Spoilers Follow….

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Review – Incomplete Life (Misaeng)

Review – Incomplete Life (Misaeng)

incomplete-lif

Work.  It’s something most of us have to deal with about 50% of our waking lives, if not more.  So much of your identity is tied to what your job is.  What kind of life you lead is largely determined by your career, let’s face it.  Whether you are a cop, a priest, a lawyer, a chemist, a construction worker, a teacher or a salaryman – your job wraps around you like an extra skin.  It shapes your view of the world, the environment you grow accustomed to, the people you are in contact with, and the paycheck you learn to live on.

This is a show about work.  It’s a character study, focusing on a few key players and exploring the nature of their personalities, their backgrounds, their current lives, and their struggles and successes as they navigate their careers.  It’s fascinating, well written, engaging and just really good.  It’s a show that makes you think.  It doesn’t hand you all the answers.  You’re expected to be smart enough to figure it out or patient enough to wait it out.  And the pay off is worth it.  It’s an odd mix of realism and subtle optimism, which makes you reflect deeply but offers you hope.  I highly recommend it.

Overall Rating – 10/10.  You Are What You Do, Not What You Think.

More Musings About Work and the Characters and SPOILERS…

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