If you’re on the market for a show that’s small, simple and sweet, this drama just might be the one for you.
As those of you who’ve been around the blog for a while would likely know, I am always on the look-out for suitable drama nightcap material. Yes, I like my dramas exciting too, but suitable drama nightcaps are just as important to me; I need a show that’s not too complicated nor intense, so that it won’t keep me up, but still engaging and interesting enough, that I’ll still enjoy the watch.
I first tried this show as regular drama fare, and to be honest, it didn’t grab me much, in its first episode. But once I tried it out as a drama nightcap, it fit the bill quite perfectly. Not only did it strike just the right balance between interesting and easygoing, it even has a sort of (found-) family drama feel to it, thanks to our story being more character- and relationship-focused than patient-focused. Not bad at all, I say.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
STUFF I LIKED
To be honest, I nearly bailed on this show after the first 15 minutes, because of its hospital setting and my general aversion to hospital dramas. Now, I’m glad that I persevered and gave this one a second chance. It really is rather endearing, after all.
Here are a couple of things that I enjoyed, in this one.
The ensemble lens
It’s been a while since I watched an ensemble type of drama, and this drama’s ensemble lens, casting a rotating spotlight on various characters and their journeys, felt refreshing to my eyes.
Even the characters who appear most annoying at first, get a moment in the spotlight. When Show peels their layers away and reveals more of their context, each character becomes more empathetic in turn. I liked that a lot. It reminded me all over again, that we all have our own backstories, and that we all have a similar need to be understood.
The touches of poetry
I don’t consider myself particularly into poetry, but I did enjoy the thoughtful musings that we got, via each episode’s quiet poetic interludes. Kudos to writer-nim, for managing to weave each episode’s stories and themes so closely with the various poems that are showcased.
It made me wonder if the stories were crafted first, and the poems selected after, or if the poems were selected first, and the stories crafted around them. Either way, I thought this was well done, and I liked the way the poems lent a contemplative, lyrical touch to each episode.
Lee Yoo Bi as Bo Young
The last time I’d seen Lee Yoo Bi on my screen, it was in Scholar Who Walks The Night, which was a show where I didn’t find her character very endearing, unfortunately. Happily, Lee Yoo Bi is really quite winsome and likable as Woo Bo Young, our main lover and purveyor of poetry.
I found Lee Yoo Bi’s portrayal of Bo Young quite charming, despite Bo Young’s crybaby tendencies and her propensity for clumsiness. I also found Bo Young so earnest and sincere, that it really wasn’t long before I found myself rooting for her.
The handling of the loveline
Even though this is an ensemble drama and therefore this loveline doesn’t actually take up as much screen time as most kdrama romances, the treatment of the loveline in this show really is the thing that caught my attention the most. As someone who has consumed literally hundreds of kdramas, I found myself in the unusual position of not actually knowing which of our 2 main male actors was our male lead. Gasp! I know.
Lee Joon Hyuk and Jang Dong Yoon’s characters are both presented in ways which hint that each could be our male lead. Dr. Ye (Lee Joon Hyuk) has a stiff and prickly outer shell, and looks like he’s just in need of the right girl to thaw him out, while Min Ho (Jang Dong Yoon) has such an antagonistic past with Bo Young, that he and Bo Young look ripe for a bickering romance when they are onscreen together.
Imma be honest, I literally went into Show’s finale uncertain of how things would eventually pan out. I actually found this experience quite thrilling, since this suspense made the loveline trajectory anything but predictable and boring, from where I was sitting.
[MAJOR SPOILER – AVOID IF YOU WANT TO PRESERVE THE LOVELINE MYSTERY]
While I can understand why Bo Young admires Dr. Ye, I do find the development of their relationship rather uneventful and mundane, by kdrama standards. Particularly in the first half of the show, Dr. Ye shows only flickers of personality under his prickly shell, and somehow I felt like his liking Bo Young was quite a sudden development, given that he’s so guarded against intra-hospital romances after his past bad experience.
Additionally, once Dr. Ye and Bo Young start dating, they kiss and hold hands – without any fanfare whatsoever. That admittedly felt odd, by kdrama standards. On the upside, it does make their relationship feel ordinary and down-to-earth and therefore relatable. On the downside, I felt like this put a distance between them as this story’s OTP, and me as a viewer, because I felt quite unable to immerse myself in their relationship in a vicarious way. I wasn’t feeling it much, is what I’m trying to say. Which is why, up until the finale, I wondered if Show was planning a late-game turnaround.
On the other hand, I actually felt like the interactions between Min Ho and Bo Young popped more, for me. I liked the idea of Min Ho falling for Bo Young, after having rejected her so spectacularly in the past, and I gleefully enjoyed having the tables turned, when he found himself falling for Bo Young, long after she’d gotten over him. Just as Min Ho points out in episode 15, he and Bo Young can speak honestly and candidly with each other, without fear or embarrassment, and that’s actually why I found myself feeling some regret, that Min Ho didn’t end up getting his girl.
As a silver lining, I very much appreciate the arc of reconciliation that Show gives Min Ho and Bo Young. Yes, they start the show unable to stand the sight of each other, but they do overcome their differences and come to care for each other – as friends. It’s almost like a bickering romance, minus the romance. Since male-female friendships don’t get much attention in dramaland, I actually found this platonic reconciliation a pleasant consolation in the end.
The 2 blockheads
To be frank, I found the side arc of Joo Yong (Park Sun Ho) and Dae Bang (Yoo Dae Joon, aka Defconn) rather lame to start with, but these 2 blockheads eventually started to grow on me.
[MINOR SPOILER] The running gag in episode 3, of Joo Yong and Dae Bang thinking of each other as pitiful outcasts, dragged on for so long that it eventually started to be a tiny bit funny. [END SPOILER]
Episode by episode, the more these 2 grew to understand and appreciate each other, the more endearing I found them.
The 3 blockheads
I was quite highly amused by the fact that Joo Yong had to room with the two people he most wanted to avoid, and I enjoyed watching the grudging tolerance between the boys eventually grow into grudging friendship. These 3 grumble at – and about – one another all the time, but it’s clear that they do care, deep down. Also, I just liked seeing Joo Yong have a good time with his roomies, despite so vehemently not wanting to have anything to do with them prior.
The 4 blockheads
In the later episodes, the 2 blockhead arcs occasionally intersect, and it just amused me to see all 4 blockheads together. It was also nice to see them trying to offer advice and help to one another, although most of the time it was off the mark and quite useless, heh.
STUFF I LIKED LESS
To be sure, Show isn’t perfect, and there were several things that I didn’t enjoy so much, during my watch. Here’s a super quick list, just for the record:
1. I wasn’t into Show’s brand of obvious humor much, and it took a fair while for me to get used to it.
2. Sometimes it felt like the characters were more like caricatures, especially characters like Dr. Park (Kim Jae Bum). To be fair, Show did fix that once we got a look at Dr. Park’s situation and backstory.
[OTP SPOILER ALERT]
3. Once Bo Young and Dr. Ye start dating, I found most of their scenes sweet but quite boring, to be honest. I get that this relationship is supposed to be sweet and understated, but I thought more could have been done, to draw us into this relationship, and make it pop a little more.
4. Once Min Ho finds out that Bo Young is dating Dr. Ye, he acts out so much and is so awfully mean to her, that I can’t reconcile it in my head, that he still likes her. Because, how does he think his terrible behavior is going to help him win her heart? I thought this could have been handled better or treated differently.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Show doesn’t serve up a nail-biting finale, but this was never that kind of drama anyway. Show stays in character, and gives the roving spotlight to a few individuals and relationships.
Min Ho decides to come to terms with the fact that Bo Young truly likes Dr. Ye, and makes a decision to put his feelings in order and be her friend. Bo Young, on her part, recognizes how much Dr. Ye wants her to be comfortable enough with him that she can freely share her worries with him, and even though she finds it embarrassing, she bites the bullet and chooses to share her thoughts honestly with him. In the meantime, Joo Yong and Dae Bang finally come to a mutual understanding – after one big misunderstanding – and cement their friendship with tearful hugs and a promise to travel together once Joo Yong’s mother is better. Which is so sweet and dorky, that I can’t help but smile.
In the end, even though this is a multi-thread narrative encompassing an ensemble cast of characters, each with their own stories, and even though I fully feel like these characters will continue on their individual and shared journeys after the credits stop rolling, I come away feeling strongly that this was always Bo Young’s story, and Bo Young’s journey.
Through her various experiences over these 16 episodes, I feel that Bo Young’s finally come to the realization that she is enough. She is dedicated and hardworking and experienced enough, to warrant the offer of a permanent position; she is lovely enough, to not have to worry about feeling embarrassed about her boyfriend seeing the less glamorous sides to her. I cheered on the inside, as I realized that Bo Young has grown enough into her own skin, that she now knows this too; she is – in and of herself – enough. Which is a worthy thought for any of us to take away for ourselves, really.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Simple, sweet, and a touch sentimental. An uncomplicated, feel-good kind of watch.
FINAL GRADE: B