THE SHORT VERDICT:
A pretty standard rom-com that doesn’t re-invent the wheel, Prime Minister and I is a pleasant, frothy watch for the most part, marred only by an ending that, while happy, most viewers would find too muted.
Lee Bum Soo is dashing and Yoona is bubbly, and together they make an unexpectedly cute couple.
The sparky chemistry between our leads overcomes their large age gap surprisingly well, and the writers serve up contract marriage, forced co-habitation hijinks that are often entertaining and squee-worthy.
Despite weaknesses in the writing and execution, Prime Minister and I makes for a relaxed leisurely watch for days when you just want to sit back and zone out, and don’t want to think too hard.
THE LONG VERDICT:
I confess that I liked Prime Minister and I more than I expected to.
There were 2 main reasons that I’d hesitated to watch this drama in the first place.
Firstly, the political setting for our rom-com didn’t appeal to me, since I have literally little to no interest in politics and how it all works. Imagining the political arena as the context for a 17-episode rom-com did not get my squee-glands at all excited.
Secondly, the 20-year real-life age gap between Lee Bum Soo and Yoona gave me pause.
He’s literally old enough to be her father, and I wondered if they could actually make the romantic pairing work. OTP chemistry is high on my list of desirable traits a rom-com should have, and the last thing I wanted was to have a father-daughter vibe coming off my OTP.
Now that would be squicky.
As I found out, I needn’t have worried over these 2 factors. The political context was not imposed in an overbearing manner, and was mild enough to remain palatable.
Additionally, the OTP chemistry was fresh and sparky, especially when they were allowed in close proximity of each other.
A contract marriage is always in danger of being exposed under scrutiny, and this show takes that scrutiny to the highest level possible, by making the contract couple the Prime Minister and his wife.
The whole nation is watching, and that ups the stakes while forcing proximity. I actually like the premise, even though it had to be sort of forced into place.
Of course, there are flaws and weak spots in this drama.
For example, the wonderfully breezy pace that the drama manages for the initial stretch, with lots of energy and fun, eventually starts to flounder in the second half and then slows to an excruciating, painful crawl in the final episodes. Pity.
When I stack up the positives next to the negatives, though, the positives still manage to come out on top. Not by a lot, but still.
Here’s a quick run-down of what I liked in this drama, as well as what I didn’t like, plus some of the stuff in-between.
STUFF I LIKED
When I look at the stuff that I liked about this drama, there isn’t a whole lot in terms of number, but the positives that the show does have are pretty big, hefty pieces which pull more weight than is probably their fair share.
Lee Bum Soo as Kwon Yul
Lee Bum Soo as Yul is quite possibly my favorite thing of all in this drama.
First of all, even though I’ve always thought of Lee Bum Soo as an excellent actor, I’ve never actually thought of him as swoony or sexy. And now, thanks to his turn as Yul, I can totally see his dashing appeal.
It’s partly the sharp suits (guh, I do love a man in a sharp suit, don’t I?), but it’s also the way he carries himself; with dignity and confidence. There’s a quiet gravitas about him that I really dig. Put that together with the sharp suits (and those crisp white shirts), and I’m toast, basically.
Secondly, I love that Lee Bum Soo delivers Yul with a restraint and nuance that makes him rounded and believable as a character. Lee Bum Soo makes Yul likable despite Yul’s sometimes prickly behavior.
Yul is principled, honest and upright and that makes him a very appealing male lead (vs. a jerky cold chaebol that is oh-so-typical in dramaland). I love that Yul is the kind of man who does what’s right instead of what’s popular.
In line with that, Yul is also respectful to those around him, including his leading lady Da Jung (Yoona). I love that he is the kind of man who will give his leading lady the space that she wants, and who will seek her opinion and input even for big decisions that he faces.
That respect shows most when Da Jung makes decisions that he doesn’t necessarily agree with. He doesn’t push his own opinions on her, but instead chooses to respect the choice she makes. That’s definitely the mark of a true gentleman.
Thirdly, I really like how Yul is fleshed out with flaws. He isn’t a perfect man, and he knows it. His big failing in his life thus far, is his inability to connect with his children.
There’s a moment in episode 1 where Yul is confronted with that realization, that he doesn’t know his kids at all, and Yul’s response is restrained yet poignant. That restraint was so well-played, I felt. It hit the perfect note of making him appear vulnerable yet dignified.
All in all, I loved watching Lee Bum Soo in this role, donning the sharp suits with matter-of-fact charisma, while wearing his principles on his sleeve and doing leading man things.
There are so many Yul moments that I really enjoy, that it’s actually hard to narrow it down. Here are just a few of my favorite Yul moments.
I love the moment in episode 3 where Yul swoops in to save Da Jung, who’s being bullied by Madam Na (Yoon Hae Young) and the White Cafe ladies.
My favorite part of this scene is not just the fact that Yul appears as Da Jung’s knight in shining armor, but that he so smoothly manages to get back at the gossipy White Cafe ladies by donating 1000 more cabbages in support of their efforts to make kimchi.
That’s freaking brilliant, that he manages to punish them while making it look like a gracious act of support. Wow. THIS is why he’s a good politician.
As things progress and the required pieces are shifted into place for their contract marriage, Yul and Da Jung experience high levels of bickering and frustration.
I love that in the quieter moments (such as this one above), Yul seems to look at Da Jung a little differently. It’s like he’s processing who she is, and not disliking what he sees.
I really enjoyed the subtle nuances in Lee Bum Soo’s gaze, coz it gives us access to how Yul is softening towards Da Jung, even though he doesn’t say anything.
The deeper into our story we go, the more we see Yul’s gaze evolve, and it’s lovely to watch.
I love this moment in episode 10 where Yul looks super pleased to have made Da Jung’s day by anonymously buying up all the dolls she’d prepared for the charity fair.
How adorable is that pleased-as-punch face?? It’s so cute that he’s that pleased.
That his pleasure isn’t from what he’d done, but the effect that it was having on Da Jung? Just super sweet and so swoony.
Talking about swoony, one of my favorite Yul moments is this scene in episode 10, where Yul, desperate to stop Da Jung from saying anything damaging within earshot of eavesdropping ears, plants a kiss on her.
It’s not the kiss per se that gets me; you see the kiss coming from a mile away. Rather it’s how Lee Bum Soo makes it sexy with the way he mutters, “You talk too much,” with mild manly exasperation, before moving in for the kiss.
In episode 13, when Da Jung makes her love confession to Yul, he receives it in a way that’s realistic and in character. He doesn’t sweep her off her feet right after her confession, coz there’s much baggage to consider.
But he softens towards her noticeably, and it’s sweet, the softer gaze he has for her.
And when he finally declares his feelings for her, it’s dignified yet swoony in one.
Standing before her, he speaks in measured tones of quiet decision,
“Ms. Nam Da Jung. You told me last time… to… just stay still, where I am. But… I don’t think I’ll be able to keep that promise. Because… I like you, Ms. Nam Da Jung. Is that all right with you? If you’re fine with the way I am… Is it all right… if I like you?”
Yul gently reaches for Da Jung’s hand, promising solemnly, “This hand. I promise to never let it go.”
Melt. Who knew that quiet dignity could be this swoony??
Somehow Lee Bum Soo makes saying these rather subdued declarations of love very sexy.
Like in episode 14, when Da Jung thanks Yul for offering to have her dad (Lee Han Wie) come to live with them, Yul responds with mock sternness, “Isn’t it a given to have your father live with us? We’re… going to be a real family now.”
Then his tone softens and he continues in his quiet, matter-of-fact way, “I would like… for you to become my real wife.”
Da Jung murmurs, “Prime Minister.”
Gently, thoughtfully, Yul officially proposes, “Let’s now… get married for real.”
Omona. The words themselves aren’t at all sexy, to be sure. But when he says them, the way he says them, swoon. And, rawr.
Seriously, when did Lee Bum Soo become this sexy?
Yoona as Nam Da Jung
Considering how I wasn’t terribly impressed with Yoona as an actress after seeing her in Love Rain, I was pleasantly surprised to find how likable she is as Da Jung in Prime Minister and I.
Acting opposite a powerhouse like Lee Bum Soo, it’s inevitable that her relative limitations as an actress would show through.
In my opinion, however, likability counts for a whole lot, and can make up for a multitude of shortcomings. And Yoona managed to get that likability bit down very nicely indeed.
And where likability failed to cover all, the earnestness that Yoona imbued Da Jung with, made up the balance.
I enjoyed the bright and cheerful vibe that Yoona gave Da Jung for most of the show’s run. And when the tears did flow as they are wont to do in any rom-com’s angsty stretch, they felt sincere and heartfelt, in spite of Yoona’s relatively unpolished performance.
One of my favorite things about Da Jung is her never-say-die attitude.
From the moment we meet her in episode 1, when she’s chasing down stories for Scandal News, to her time adjusting to a multitude of demands as the Prime Minister’s wife, she remains cheerful and determined, bent on giving it her best shot even when the odds seem stacked against her.
As a matter of fact, this is the quality about Da Jung that affects every person that comes into contact with her.
From Yul to In Ho (Yoon Si Yoon), to Yul’s kids, to the staff at the Prime Minister’s residence; they all get affected and infected by her sunny personality. She draws the good and the positive out of people.
Yes, Da Jung’s characterization as a result feels rather two-dimensional.
She feels like the representation of everything good and lovely, despite also being given to bouts of clumsiness.
Would a more skillful actress have given Da Jung more facets than what was on paper? Perhaps. But given what she had to work with, I’d say Yoona did a very decent job.
While Da Jung positively affects pretty much everyone around her, I particularly liked the scenes where Da Jung interacted with and affected Yul’s kids, particularly maknae Man Se.
It’s so sweet how Man Se takes to Da Jung and how much he wants to see her and spend time with her, from faking texts from Yul’s phone, to waiting outside in the cold for her when she goes out, to grumping at her when she doesn’t sleep in his room.
It’s adorable, and I love how gentle Da Jung is with him.
While our OTP’s relationship is marked more by handshakes and hand-holding than actual skinship, I’m happy that we did get a nice dose of up-close-and-personal moments between them.
Yes, not all the moments were set up in believable ways, but I would rather have them than not, so I shan’t complain too much.
Here’s a nice sampling of OTP skinship moments, ranging from the sweet to the rawr-inducing:
How about that shot of Yul straddling Da Jung, pinning her down in bed, eh? Sexay.
And how about this last screencap where Yul takes Da Jung hand as they run from the Scandal News team? No wrist grabbing here, only firm hand-holding. I approve.
In the midst of all the skinship, I love how everyone in their household, from the kids to the staff, swaps stories about our OTP’s displays of affection.
I love how Man Se tells everyone about their “kiss” in episode 9, and housekeeper ahjumma sniffs that she’s seen much more, while the guards just lap it all up giddily. Hee. I love how everyone eats up every little hint that these 2 are super in love.
Through it all, though, it’s the way Yul looks at Da Jung that I find increasingly swoony. Like in episode 12, there are moments where I just want him to lean in and kiss her and.. let his passion, er, reign. Cough.
Yoon Si Yoon as Kang In Ho
I have a good amount of affection for Yoon Si Yoon from his Barefoot Friends stint, and was a little wistful to hear that he’d recently enlisted for his mandatory military service, so it was really nice to have him on my screen as In Ho, Yul’s right-hand man.
Right from the get-go, I found Yoon Si Yoon nicely appealing as our second lead. Yoon Si Yoon plays In Ho with restraint, which is a very different feel than OTT Enrique in Flower Boy Next Door.
As an aside, I was pleasantly surprised to find in episode 1 that Yoon Si Yoon’s spoken Mandarin is surprisingly decent, and his Japanese is actually pretty good too. Given what a book nerd he is in real life, though, I actually shouldn’t be surprised, heh.
In a nutshell, I found In Ho interesting, and Yoon Si Yoon portrays him with convincingly sharp intelligence, yet manages to color his nice guy appeal with just enough darkness, rooted in his hidden motives, to make him mysterious.
After motor-mouth Enrique, I really did relish the quiet control with which Yoon Si Yoon played In Ho. I also really enjoyed seeing him wear the sharp suits (yes, I know. I’m incorrigible that way), and do the sorts of melty things typical of rom-com second leads.
For example, I really enjoyed watching In Ho fall for Da Jung, even though I knew it was going to happen from the get-go.
Somehow, Yoon Si Yoon makes it desirable. The way In Ho’s eyes react to Da Jung, you can practically see the emotions hit him and his brain trying to process it all, while maintaining decorum.
Very nicely played, Yoon Si Yoon-sshi.
I also really enjoyed watching In Ho be the silent hero to Da Jung, like he is in episode 5, when he feeds her lines in fluent Spanish.
Fluent in multiple languages and a clever techie as well? That’s swoony and sexy.
The thing that prevents me from thoroughly falling under In Ho’s spell, however, is his secret vendetta against Yul. Knowing that about him changes everything, and even moments that could’ve been swoony become disturbing instead.
Like the scene in episode 5 where In Ho comforts a crying Da Jung and pulls her into a hug. That would’ve been swoony but for the fact that it was a completely calculated move on his part, designed to be in Yul’s full view.
That just negates all the brownie points, y’know?
Additionally, something else that I couldn’t quite shake is In Ho’s resolute request of Joon Ki (Ryu Jin) in episode 8, to render Yul a vegetable. That is just seriously disturbing.
To In Ho’s credit, he changes his mind about Yul (ok, it’s convenient and not that convincingly set up, but at least In Ho as a character gets some sort of redemption) and continues to protect Da Jung with a selfless kind of love to the very end.
Overall, I felt that In Ho as a character is rather tragic, since he’s misguided for much of the drama, and then spends the remaining time feeling guilty and trying to make amends.
On top of that, his being protective of Da Jung is a mix of sweet, sad and quite heartbreaking coz it’s so futile. But at least he didn’t actually do evil stuff like turn Yul into a vegetable. Eek.
When the writing hits the heart
Although the show is not consistent with this all the way through, there are many moments in the drama that genuinely tugged at my heartstrings, whether it’s because they’re heartbreaking, heartwarming or both.
This show had me occasionally in tears, and that’s saying something, for a rom-com that doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel.
One of the big heartbreak moments that brought me to tears is in episode 4, when Da Jung’s dad doesn’t recognize her on the wedding day.
It’s heartwrenching to see him in his muddled state, while Da Jung’s heart breaks. It’s all the more tragic because his deteriorating condition is the very reason that she suggested the contract marriage to begin with.
On the other end of the scale, there’s lots of warmth that’s built into the show as well. Many of these have to do with Yul’s kids warming up to Da Jung. But Da Jung doesn’t only care for Yul and his kids.
One of the scenes that really warmed my heart is in episode 6, where Da Jung got Christmas gifts for everyone as the the lady of the house.
I love that everyone loves their Christmas gifts; even the housekeeper with her new apron. And even the guards with their red bow-ties. So sweet and so cute.
STUFF I CAN’T DECIDE WHETHER I LIKE
There are a couple of things in this show that I sort of like – but not quite. Yes, it’s as confusing as it sounds.
Flights of Fancy
This show uses imaginary scenarios a lot, most of them rooted in Da Jung’s imagination.
And Da Jung’s fits of imagination have a rather Ally McBeal quality to them, in that it always starts out just a little weird, so that you think it might be real, and then just gets more and more ridiculous until she snaps out of it.
On the one hand, it’s rather fun, once you get used to it.
On the other hand, it can be quite confusing, since it happens quite a lot, and it often takes a long moment before we can establish what’s real and what’s not.
Generally, I only know that it’s imagined once things get really crazy, like the scene above where Da Jung imagines that she and Yul are placed under arrest for deceiving the nation with their fake marriage.
Besides the part where it confused me at times, I also grew tired of it when the device was used multiple times. It started to feel repetitive, and, well, a lot less fresh, y’know?
There were a couple of cameos in this drama, and while I have nothing against a fun cameo or two, in at least one of these cases, I found it completely unbelievable and distracting.
Soo Ho from EXO makes several cameo appearances from episodes 10-12 as the church oppa who looks just like Soo Ho from EXO. Hur hur.
I thought his cameo was quite fun, as it gives Na Ra (Jeon Min Seo) some room for character development as she revels in her crush on Oppa.
It’s cute when she starts going to church and studying hard coz she wants to make a good impression on Oppa, and it’s cute-sad when she bawls that Oppa is going to the seminary and therefore she can’t marry him.
I did wonder briefly if there was a meta message in there with Soo Ho going off to be a priest, but, nah.. I don’t think so. Right?
It’s the other cameo by Oh Man Suk in episode 12 that was hilarious but also disturbingly nonsensical.
Basically, when Yul is hospitalized, Madam Na and her White Cafe cronies decide that it’s only right that they pay him a visit.
They end up barging their way into the room of mob boss Oh Man Suk, and because his back is turned to them, they turn on the simpering charm without even realizing that they’ve got the wrong guy.
Mob Boss decides he likes them and starts flirting outrageously with them, and it’s Hye Joo (Chae Jung Ahn) that has to come to the ladies’ rescue.
Um. It’s ridiculously funny. But it’s also downright ridiculous, and therefore quite distracting.
We could’ve totally done without this scene and it really wouldn’t have hurt our narrative in any way.
Resurrection of the Dead Wife
Yes, I know that header is a spoiler in itself, but trust me, it’s better to know.
A lot of viewers who watched this live felt this plot development was completely out of left field, and were really upset by the turn that the show took as a result.
I found that going into this show knowing that the dead wife gets resurrected helped me to manage my expectations and reactions better.
I can’t decide, really, whether or not I liked the fact that the writers brought Na Young (Jung Ae Yun) back to life.
On the one hand, I see where the writers are coming from. They want to show us that Yul chooses Da Jung, not as a replacement for his dead wife, but in spite of his dead wife not actually being dead. Even though Na Young is alive, it doesn’t change his choice.
On the other hand, I really don’t like Na Young much, coz she’s got a very needy vibe about her.
But that’s what her character is supposed to be like, and she isn’t (supposed to be, anyway) capable of more. She’s basically allowing the consequences of her past bad decisions to hold her prisoner.
A lot of debate went on in the dramaverse among viewers about who is more deserving of Yul’s love or the “place” in that family.
In my opinion, there is no earning of that love or that place. As bad as Na Young’s decisions have been, nothing can change the fact that she is the kids’ mother, and that kids need their mother.
What I find more meaningful is that our lead characters make decisions which make them feel that they are being true to themselves.
Da Jung is being true to herself in choosing to give the kids a chance to reunite with their mother. Yul is being true to himself by choosing Da Jung anyway. That’s the silver lining I take away from Na Young’s return.
Could we have spent less screentime on this? Oh yes. Regrettably, we spent way too much time lingering on Na Young’s tears and self-pity. But at least there is a silver lining?
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
As I thought about what didn’t work for me in this drama, I realize that there are 4 main things that didn’t do it for me.
[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]
Believability is sometimes a problem
There are a good number of times that the degree to which we had to suspend disbelief got uncomfortably high. And the number of times we had to suspend disbelief, all stacked up, also contributes to that general feeling that there’s a lot of unbelievable stuff going on in our drama.
Here’s a quick list:
1. Dad being suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor
..seemed extremely convenient, but it’s basically in service of facilitating the contract marriage, so I decided to close one eye.
2. Da Jung sticking her foot in her mouth at the banquet
..in episode 3 about Madam Na and her past scandal with Kang Ho Dong. I don’t quite buy that Da Jung would be that clueless.
I mean, there’s oblivious, and there’s stupid. No matter how oblivious Da Jung is, I’m sure she’d know better than to describe in detail someone’s past scandal to their face.
3. Yul deciding to sleep in the same bedroom as Da Jung in episode 4.
I couldn’t connect the dots on that one. It felt random and weird, and completely unrelated to what had transpired between them before. I didn’t buy his reasoning about starting to be a good husband before being a good father.
4. It’s a great moment in episode 7..
..when Yul rescues Da Jung from the oncoming truck, but really, what would a Prime Minister be doing there anyway? Would he really have gone to Woo Ri’s concert venue and followed them all the way to that crosswalk? Or had he been on his way to the concert venue?
Did he even know where the concert was supposed to be? I wanted – and didn’t get – a reasonable explanation for why Yul was even there, coz then I would’ve been able to just enjoy the fact that he went all heroic and rescued Da Jung.
5. People on the street not recognizing the Prime Minister or his wife.
That he can gain entry to a club by changing his clothes, and go unnoticed singing to his wife in a restaurant? R-i-g-h-t.
6. The guy who tries to hit on Da Jung
..not recognizing her as the Prime Minister’s wife, is also rather unbelievable, although one could rationalize that it’s dark and maybe he was tipsy.
7. Na Ra warming up to Da Jung.
The show attempted to connect those dots, but it wasn’t very convincing. In episode 10, I enjoyed seeing Na Ra being on friendly terms with Da Jung, but it felt weird coz the drama hadn’t shown us how they got this close.
8. Madam Na and the White Cafe cronies visiting the mob boss
..by mistake. ’nuff said.
9. Revenge missions get quickly dropped,
..both by In Ho and Joon Ki, once Na Young appears, alive and well. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me, especially for In Ho, since his brother is still in a vegetative state.
That’s a pretty long list, isn’t it? And I wasn’t even being that thorough, even.
Continuity is also sometimes a problem
Aside from believability, continuity also proved to be a problem. Stuff adjusts – and often gets dropped – for what is convenient to our main characters and their story, and it often feels random and uneven. To put it mildly.
Here’s another quick list.
1. Da Jung’s Scandal News colleagues
..cease to be a nuisance when it’s convenient for the story.
2. In episode 10, the twist of having the ahjummas
..hiding in the closet is pretty good, except that at the end of the previous episode, there’s no coat peeking out from the cupboard.
3. Madam Na and her White Cafe cronies
..cease to give Da Jung a hard time when it’s convenient for the story. Essentially, Madam Na swings ridiculously to extremes.
One moment she’s trying to curry Da Jung’s favor, and the next, she’s being mean to her, and then back again. Although Madam Na is meant to be a comic character, this was illogical and jarring.
4. Da Jung’s dad gets better or worse
..depending on what they need from him in the story. In episode 11, he suddenly gets better so that he can be the instrument orchestrating Da Jung’s return to the house.
It’s sweet, but it also feels like Dad’s dementia got better suddenly, enough for him to do all the necessary things to push the OTP back together.
The effect of this general lack of continuity is a haphazard feel to the overall story. The narrative didn’t feel like it was being handled by assured hands. I learned to shrug it off as we progressed through the drama, but it was a pity that there were so many things to shrug off.
Noble Idiocy rears its head
There are times when noble idiocy feels plausible, and then there are times when it feels like noble idiocy is shoved in because someone said it needs to be there. Or else. Guess which side of the scale this drama falls into?
In the last stretch of the drama, Da Jung becomes our noble idiot and opts to leave so that Na Young can return to her rightful place with the kids.
On the positive side, I see that Da Jung understands what it means to grow up missing her mother, and she can’t bear to do that to the kids given the fact that their mother isn’t actually dead. In that sense, her decision to leave and to unveil the truth feels true to her character.
I also do love that Yul chases Da Jung down and grabs her hand, thereby keeping his earlier promise to her that he will never let go of her hand.
On the negative side, the noble idiocy made the last stretch of the show a serious drag to watch. By the time we hit episode 16, Da Jung is adamantly sticking to her nobly idiotic guns as stubbornly as she can, even though Yul is calling her out on it.
So very frustrating. And it just felt so unnecessary, really. I really couldn’t see why Da Jung had to leave, given that Na Young didn’t actually want to reclaim her place, nor did Yul want her to.
It felt like Da Jung was making a humongous mountain out of a molehill, basically. Argh.
Honestly, I didn’t really like the final episode. Watching it, it felt like the writers were determinedly trying to fulfill several things in reaching their conclusion:
1. There’s a price that needs to be paid for faking a marriage.
2. Yul and Da Jung need a re-set, so that they can be shown to choose each other all over again, this time starting properly, without a fake marriage contract. And the start-over must include a handshake, because that’s a recurring motif between Yul and Da Jung all drama long.
3. There must be a time skip. Everyone needs to spend a year re-inventing themselves. Yul, Da Jung, Hye Joo.
While I (sort of) get what the writers were going for, the ending really felt unsatisfying to me.
Other than the part where Hye Joo forges her own path in politics and In Ho remains by Yul’s side as his right-hand man, I would’ve much preferred a final episode that went a little more like this:
Yul and Da Jung realize there’s really nothing stopping them from turning their fake marriage into a real one, and do just that.
They spend much of the episode doing for real all the things that they used to fake: official appearances, family time, time together as a couple. Dates.
The children get to build their relationship with Na Young as well as Da Jung, and they work out a way to genuinely embrace and love having both women in their lives.
We get to see skinship moments echoing earlier awkward up-close-and-personal encounters actually play out this time, with love, affection and tenderness.
We get to see Yul starting over and re-inventing himself politically, actually making headway in the areas that he was passionate about as Prime Minister but was prevented from acting on.
And we get to see Da Jung supporting him through it all, while activating her Scandal News ex-colleagues to work with them for good this time.
Da Jung’s dad gets to witness his daughter being truly happy and settled, and gives them his blessings. If he does have to go while the camera is still rolling, then he’s remembered without the guilt this time, but with love and gratefulness.
Yes, my version of the ending leans cheesy, but I think the entire show was leaning cheesy from the beginning anyway, so why not keep it up all the way through instead of introducing missed opportunities, forced separation and distance and all that stuff?
It’s too bad that this version of the end wasn’t something we could see unfold on our screens. Coz I would’ve really dug that ending.
Whew. After wading through all the things I didn’t like so much in this show, it really doesn’t sound extremely encouraging, does it?
Let me just say that overall, it’s possible to enjoy this drama, if you’ve got the right lens on. And that lens is a blurry, soft-focus one that shrugs off logic fails and zooms in on OTP cute and dashing Lee Bum Soo squee.
Plus, despite the noble idiocy late in the game, our OTP does share a relationship that is deeply marked by mutual respect, and that alone is quite a remarkable thing in dramaland.
Those few things alone make this a show that’s worth popping on your watch list, for a lazy, zoned-out day when your brain’s not on duty, but your heart is.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Flawed, but sweet enough to be a fun casual watch, if you dial down your expectations.
FINAL GRADE: B-
A quick teaser that gives a feel for the generally light-hearted tone of the show:
WHERE TO WATCH:
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