Flash Review: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? [Why Secretary Kim]

A phrase that’s sometimes said around the dramaverse – and maybe you’ve said something similar yourself, at some point – is, “I could literally just watch these two be cute for sixteen hours.”

Well. Except for a backstory involving childhood trauma (kidnapping trigger alert, coz some folks might be sensitive to that), this show pretty much gives us exactly that: Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young being cute together, pretty much all of the time, for 16 episodes.

Yep. It’s as fluffy and angst-lite as it sounds. So if you’re up for something that’s light on plot but heavy on cute, this just might be the show for you.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it as you read the review.

ADJUSTING THE VIEWING LENS

Despite my affection for both Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young, I enjoyed this show in quite a moderate fashion. I didn’t dislike it, and I enjoyed each episode reasonably well for the fluffy cute that it served up, but this one never truly hooked me. I sometimes even found myself dragging my feet to start on the next episode.

I guess this is the part where I realize that even though I’ve said before, that I can watch a cute OTP just be adorable for 16 hours, I do actually need a plot that’s more than paper-thin, before I’m able to get good-and-proper sucked into a show and serve my heart up to it on a platter.

That’s not to say that this show isn’t enjoyable, though. In fact, if you happen to be feeling under the weather and just want something sweet to slurp up, or if your brain is so frazzled from dealing with Real Life all day and you just want something light and mindless to unwind to, this show should do the trick quite nicely.

Therefore, I’d say the best viewing lens to wear with this show, is the one where you switch off the critical analyst part of your brain, and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

STUFF THAT I DIDN’T ENJOY SO MUCH

Given that I decided to basically switch off the ol’ brain for this watch, there are certainly a lot of things that I’m willing to overlook. But, for the record, here are two things that didn’t work to Show’s advantage, that stood out to me extra.

1. The childhood kidnapping arc

To be honest, it took me many episodes to actually become more interested in the childhood kidnapping arc. I think it was at around the episode 9 point that I found myself thinking, “Ah, I don’t mind the kidnapping arc so much now.” Considering that Show teases us with information fragments related to the childhood kidnapping pretty much from the get-go, that’s a pretty long time to feel like I was watching two separate shows: one full of puppies and rainbows, and one full of kidnapping trauma.

Still, the kidnapping arc is Show’s key source of dramatic tension, and the moment that this storyline is fully resolved at around the episode 13 mark, I felt it keenly. Suddenly, everything on my screen – and by this, I mean literally everything – felt like pure filler and fanservice, for the remainder of Show’s run. I found my interest in the last few episodes to be distinctly reduced, even though I knew in my head that there were meaningful relationship nuggets that were being served up.

I’m not sure what I would’ve preferred for Show to do differently, to be honest. Maybe do away with the kidnapping arc altogether, and put more effort into teasing out drama and tension from more everyday things.

2. Uneven characterization

To be fair, this show did have a writer switch at around the episode 4 mark, with episode 4 being the collaborative episode co-written by the original and new writers, so my perception of a change in writing tone could be due to this. To the writers’ credit, I felt that Show’s overall tone was pretty well maintained across the writer switch-up. The one thing that didn’t work for me so well, is the treatment of Park Seo Joon’s character Young Joon.

[SPOILER]Β In Show’s very early episodes, he’s portrayed as a serious and total egomaniac, who is only able to love himself. We are given examples of his extreme self-centeredness and we also see how Mi So (Park Min Young) suffers because of this. Yet, later in the show, we are to believe that all this time, Young Joon has known Mi So’s identity, and has loved her through it all. While I like the concept, my brain can’t reconcile his selfish behavior in the early episodes, with a man who sincerely loves the woman that he’s clearly shown taking for granted. I suppose that by the later episodes, the writers assumed (or hoped) that we’d forget that Young Joon was ever that selfish and self-centered to begin with. The problem is, I remembered.

Oh well. At least Show did take some time to soften Young Joon’s edges in the middle episodes, and therefore make the transition easier to swallow. Also, to be fair to Show, other dramas have done similar things too.Β [END SPOILER]

STUFF I ENJOYED

1. Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young as our leads

The actors

I feel like if you’re a fan of Park Seo Joon &/or Park Min Young, then you’d probably have a higher chance of enjoying this drama. Because, amid a plot that is a lightweight among lightweights, our leads do a lot to make this work. Both of them display excellent comic timing, and despite Show’s style leaning more theatrical than subtle, both of them manage to infuse their characters with heart. Plus, both of them possess a great deal of personal charm, which does not hurt, at all. πŸ™‚

Admittedly, I found myself thinking that I’ve enjoyed both of them more, in some of their other projects. For example, I enjoyed Park Seo Joon more in Fight My Way, and I still count Park Min Young’s role in Healer as my favorite outing of hers. After puzzling over the whys of this for a while, I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that this is because of Secretary Kim’s overall style, which tends to lean a touch more exaggerated than down-to-earth. I’m thinking that that could be why I felt like I was connecting less with these characters than with our leads’ other characters in other dramas.

Despite that, Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young are undoubtedly this show’s strengths, and I enjoyed having them on my screen a great deal.

The characters

I liked the fact that Mi So as a character is someoneΒ who is so good at her job. She’s hardworking, professional,Β  polished, and pleasant about it to boot, which I found a refreshing departure from other hardworking female leads, who either tend to be Candy types working a multitude of part-time jobs to make ends meet, or hardened female professionals who’ve lost touch with their emotions. Not Mi So, who’s badass-good at her job, and commands respect from all the other secretaries in the company, while being all-around cordial to everyone. I loved that.

As for Young Joon, I appreciated that the writers eventually rubbed down his sharp edges and made him a bit of a dork, while revealing more of his heart. Yes, he’s still rather pompous, but underneath it all, there’s also a shyness that I found very appealing. That did a lot to endear Young Joon to me as a character. Of course, Park Seo Joon’s dreamy soft gazes did a lot too. Every time Young Joon leveled that gaze in Mi So’s direction, I melted a little.

2. Our OTP

Like I mentioned before, this show isn’t very inventive, and uses a lot of tropes, but the OTP makes it work. I found that I didn’t have to think too hard – or much at all – while watching this show. I didn’t feel the need to piece clues together about the childhood backstory. I could just sit back and enjoy the cute of this OTP, and boy, does Show know how to capitalize on its strengths.

One of my favorite things in the early stretch of the show, was the growing hyper-awareness on both sides of our OTP. Show dutifully teases us with multiple instances of accidental skinship and almost-embraces, which I equally dutifully lapped up.

[SPOILER ALERT]

One of my favorites among these almost-embraces is at the end of episode 3, when, as a result of a falling wrist-grab, Mi So ends up falling on top of Young Joon, on his couch. Beyond the accidental skinship, it’s the look he’s got on his face in the scene, that gets me. He literally looksΒ like he’s about to kiss her till his drowning last breath, and I swoon.

Flail. Puddle.

Beyond the crackly skinship, I really liked the automatic care and concern that these two show each other, when their guards are down.Β The way Young Joon and Mi So bicker when their guard is down, is exactly like a long-time couple, like in episode 3 when she got upset with him for hurting himself. Aw.

Once these two actually start dating, I also liked that ShowΒ explores the awkward nitty-gritties of him being her boss, and lets our lead couple trip up a little, and work to figure it out. That feels so everyday and relatable – not that I’ve ever romanced a boss, y’know.

On the downside, I confess I felt a tad puzzled as to why Young Joon and Mi So spend most of their time together in work mode even when they aren’t at work. That didn’t feel very natural to me, but I suppose(?) Show was driving home the point that this is pretty much the only way they know how to be, around each other.

OTP Highlights

Here are a few of my favorite OTP highlights. It’s a coincidence that all of them have to do with OTP kisses, I swears!

The first kiss

By episode 8, Young Joon has attempted – and failed – to kiss Mi So twice, both times to her mortification. Most women would be too horrified to risk further embarrassment, but I love that Mi So instinctively looks deeper to figure out the issue, rather thanΒ blame Young Joon for the failed kisses. I felt drawn in, by her compassion.

In episode 8, Young Joon attempts a third time to kiss her, and still fails. I really liked the way Mi So reacted. Instead of responding in an embarrassed manner, she takes courage and gently reaches for him, so that she can kiss him instead. So gentle, so accepting, and so healing. Lovely. <3 Of course, the fact that Young Joon, phobia overcome, reaches for her to kiss her again, and then again, is bonus.

The almost-seduction

After having an honest, cathartic conversation with his brother Sung Yeon (Lee Tae Hwan), Young Joon and Mi So spend some time chatting in his living room, and they agree that being honest is best. Which is when Young Joon asks Mi So if he can be honest about how he’s feeling right at that moment, and starts to lean in to kiss her.

Compared to all the cutesy dodging of the issue earlier in the episode, this romantic seduction scene finally feels full and true to my eyes, like there’s real emotion and context driving this scene, rather than it just being plonked there for audience squee. The way he kisses her feels gentle and unhurried, yet focused and purposeful, at the same time. It’s quite mesmerizing to behold; Mi So herself can’t look away, and neither can I.

Show’s treatment of the OTP consummation

I just wanna say, I really, really liked Show’s treatment of this OTP’s consummation of their relationship.

On the surface, episode 13 is cute, fluffy and a little naughty, with Young Joon obsessing about wanting to sleep with Mi So, and I have to admit, I did roll my eyes a little bit, through it all. But then, that sweet conversation happened, where Young Joon apologizes for not controlling his speed, and explains that it just felt like all the 9 years of emotions just burst at the same time, and I wavered, as Mi So did.

I also appreciated that when Mi So shows up at his house that night, he doesn’t jump to conclusions, even when she states that she intends to spend the night. How restrained and respectful. <3 He wants to make sure that he’s not misunderstanding her, nor forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to; he makes it clear that if she enters his house, he won’t be able to control his speed at all. And with that understanding, she walks in, her lips smiling, and her expression open.

I do like Show’s choice to linger on the intimate moments they spend together, even as they ready to consummate their relationship. Not just because we get lovely kisses and a rawr-worthy glimpse of shirtless Park Seo Joon (seriously. Rawrr), but because of the unhurried, wonderful, loving eye contact that our couple shares, in that moment. Mi So’s no longer shying away; she’s gazing into the eyes of the man she loves, and he’s gazing right back at her, and they’re fully open and fully cognizant of their love for each other. So lovely, that I swoon. <3

More flail. More puddle. Sigh~Β <3

An aside on Mi So’s decision to stay

I came across some audience dissatisfaction over Mi So’s decision to retract her resignation and stay on in her job as Young Joon’s secretary. Essentially, I think these viewers felt wronged on Mi So’s behalf, that she didn’t get to do the things that she missed out on, like going to college, exploring the world, and finding herself.

When I watched this scene in episode 14, though, I found that I actually felt fine with Mi So’s decision.

On further thought, it occurred to me that this OTP has been pretty consistent in wanting to do things their own way. When everyone is saying that they should change the way they address each other, they try it for about two seconds, before deciding that they’ll figure it out in their own time, on their own terms. So even though I feel like it’s kind of weird that they mostly still use official terms to address each other during their dates, I recognize that that’s what works for them.

In a similar way, even though there are viewers who are upset that Mi So chooses to stay as Young Joon’s secretary instead of going off to find her own path and maybe get the college degree she never had a chance to get, I do recognize that she’s making a conscious choice that makes her happy. If being a secretary – and a darn good one, at that – gives Mi So fulfillment and satisfaction, who am I to say that her life is incomplete if she chooses to keep on doing just that?

Plus, I do appreciate that Young Joon becomes so cognizant of just how amazing Mi So is, at her job, and articulates his thanks to her, this episode. That felt very heartfelt, and I loved it.

Similarly, I like how Show emphasizes Mi So’s brilliance at her job, by having her colleagues literally get into a fight with other gossiping colleagues, who assume that Mi So basically slept her way to the top. It’s like, if people believe in her so strongly that they would literally get up in arms over it, it must be worth believing in. And therefore, she is probably right, that she’s found the job that is right for her.

[END SPOILER]

3. The office gang and their side romances

The office gang is basically a lot of exaggerated comic filler, but they did eventually endear themselves to me. I especially enjoyed the little lovelines that developed within the office gang.

[VAGUE MODERATE SPOILERS] I loved Superhero Secretary Yang (Kang Hong Suk) – who made me swoon a little, I’m pretty sure – and his littleΒ loveline with the very breathy, affectatious Se Ra (Hwang Bo Ra).Β I also found the late-game developing loveline between Ji Ah and Gwi Nam (Pyo Ye Jin and Chansung) pretty cute. [END SPOILER]

4. Mi So’s sisters

In a dramaverse where antagonistic siblings are more common than supportive ones, I found Mi So’s sisters (Heo Soon Mi and Baek Eun Hye) pretty refreshing. It’s true that Big Sis spends a fair bit of time nagging and fussing, but it’s clear that both sisters care about Mi So a great deal.

Additionally, I loved how 2nd Sis is so cheerful, good-natured and jolly all the time. Also, props to Show for not poking fun at 2nd Sis for her size. In fact, 2nd Sis seems to love herself just the way she is, and I love it.

[MINOR SPOILER] I loved the little throwaway moment in episode 10, when Big Sis, in an attempt to change the subject, turns to 2nd Sis and asks if she’s lost weight, coz she looks slimmer. Beaming, 2nd Sis replies that she’s, in fact, put on 2kg. 2nd Sis then stands up and does a mini-twirl, cheerfully declaring that it must be because she’s wearing black. Gosh, how adorable and cute is she? <3 [END SPOILER]

5. Nice chaebol parents [SPOILER]

Given that this show is fairly fond of tropes, and given how it’s almost a given that any pair of chaebol parents in dramaland is practically obligated to object when their offspring expresses a wish to marry a non-chaebol, it came as a very pleasant surprise that Young Joon’s parents (Kim Byung Ok and Kim Hye Ok) not only do not object to his marriage to Mi So, but demonstrate that they truly like Mi So. Shocking indeed. Enough to make one shook, as it were. πŸ˜‰

As a bonus, Mom even shows a great deal of grace and understanding, when Mi So objects to the scale and extent of bridal gifts that are offered. I found that quite refreshing and rather pleasing. Could we have more nice chaebol parents in dramaland, pretty please?

Special shout-outs:

1. The kidlets [SPOILERS]

In episode 11, we finally get the full backstory of what happened when Young Joon and Mi So were kids, and I enjoyed watching the kids (Moon Woo Jin and Kim Ji Yoo) together so much, thatΒ I actually felt sorry to leave the flashback behind to come back to the present.

I found the two kids together very heartwarming and sweet, and I was especially taken with Mi So’s innocent adoration of Oppa. I found young Mi So’s artless, simple devotion and attachment completely adorable. <3

2. The abundance of shirtless Park Seo Joon

I was highly amused that Show served up so much shirtless Park Seo Joon in its initial episodes. In episodes 1 through 3, we get a glimpse of shirtless Park Seo Joon in each episode. This tickled me a great deal.Β It felt like Show knew it didn’t have a lot of substance, and was trying to distract us with his pecs and abs.

..And what a glorious distraction it was, to be sure. πŸ˜‰

So, on a completely fangirly note, here’s a spasm of shirtless Park Seo Joon. I just want to say that I very much dig Park Seo Joon’s brand of shirtless. He doesn’t look like he worked out in the gym just to look good. Those muscles appear very functional to me, like he really is strong and capable, and doesn’t just look the part. In particular, I’m very taken with the last shot in this set. Those abs. And those very defined obliques. Me likey muchey. *hearts in eyes*

Rawrrr.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

In the end, Show serves up a finale that’s full of sweet and fluffy, which is just the stuff that I’d come to expect from this drama.

Ultimately, it felt like an hour and some, of fanservice and cutesies.Β Although it felt rather pat, I did appreciate the way Show flipped stuff around, this finale. First, we have the role reversal of the groom being the one left feeling like his bride is too busy to care about the wedding. And then of course, we have the parents. In kdrama tradition, it would be the chaebol family that would object to the wedding, but in this show, we have the ordinary single-parent family objecting to the wedding – if only for funsies.

I also love that all our other lovelines get happy endings this hour. Yoo Shik (Kang Ki Young) and his ex-wife (Seo Hyo Rim) make up over a box of chocolates, a good shot of honesty, and some very ardent kisses, while our passionate pair, Se Ra and Secretary Yang, finally go public about their relationship, and Gwi Nam finally realizes that he really shouldn’t put off loving someone, especially when that someone is Ji Ah. Aw.

All in all, even though this show didn’t rock my world, it was a very agreeable, unobjectionable watch. And it’s kind of icing on the cake, that our wedding this finale, is technically a childhood earnest promise, finally come to fruition. Somehow, this little detail makes me smile a great deal. Sweetness. <3

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Light, fluffy and sweet – just like cotton candy.

FINAL GRADE: B

TEASER:

MVs:

101 thoughts on “Flash Review: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? [Why Secretary Kim]

  1. Geo

    HI KFG: After Six Flying Dragons, I was looking for something light and ended up here and it was exactly what I was looking for. This is a cute,cute show with exceptional OTP chemistry and incredibly adorable kiddie versions of themselves. There isn’t much of a storyline but that made watching the show easier since there wasn’t the compelling need to binge watch, I could take my time and not think too much about where the show was going.

    I don’t have much to add to your review which encapsulates the show perfectly, don’t come looking for much more than a cute, light diversion. PSJ and PMY are excellent though I preferred PMY (gender bias?), I thought her comedic timing was excellent and she conveyed her emotions and feelings with just subtle changes in her facial expressions and yet was also able to look so innocent while thinking something else entirely. I vote her the Queen of the “innocent and bewildered” look, she has such an expressive face. After Healer and this show, I now have to add her to my list of “biases” as Beez would say.

    I’m not sure if this is a sign of the times but I was surprised the censors allowed the seduction scene, (well the almost seduction before the interruption); it was actually quite erotic by SK standards based on the dramas I’ve seen so far. Directorial creativity increases when you aren’t allowed much in the way of nudity.

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Geo – I know exactly what you mean. WWWSK’s “almost” scenes were pretty hawt. I’ve been watching Record of Youth (nice little ho-hum show) and I was just thinking about how Kdrama handles sex. While another couple on the show has been shown in bed together (naked shoulders and all (but still no touching)), the OTP have done nothing more than kiss and hold hands. (I think maybe it’s because one of them is a devout Christian). But still, I was evaluating if the main couple has had sex or not and I came to the conclusion that it’s a definite “yes”. You have to look for the Kdrama clues: 1) FL gave ML the combination to her door; 2) He is often there waiting on her to get home; 3) During stressful situations, they’re at her home holding hands (skinship!); 4) and not answering their cell phones; 4a) they tell other friends “no, you can’t come home with me right now because he/she is there.” Yup. They’re definitely in an adult relationship. πŸ˜†

      BTW: I can’t take credit for calling a fav actor/actress “my bias”. Or “skinship”. They’re Kdrama community words that I picked up along the way. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
      1. Geo

        @Beez: Thanks for the hints about when a relationship enters the adult phase in Kdramas; you’re right, it’s quite a challenge sometimes to determine whether the OTP has taken the next step, so many obscure hints. But you know, I find it a refreshing change from shows in the west. One thing SITR had going for it was it was obvious when the OTP decided to go to bed…and not to sleep. I was actually surprised how openly it was shown. Still didn’t redeem that show for me though.

        I’ve started looking at Rooftop Prince idly, it just came up on YouTube, may continue but we’ll see; halfway through episode 1.

        Reply
        1. beez

          @Geo – The first episode of Rooftop Prince is the hardest to get through because it’s all set up and doesn’t match the tone of the rest of the show AT ALL. Rooftop Prince always reminds me of that show from the late 60’s early 70’s called The Monkees starring Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz – completely wacky. Although, don’t worry, Rooftop Prince has much better quality of scripts and storyline. It just reminds me of the quirky wackiness.

          Reply
            1. beez

              @Sean – Have you peeped at Welcome to Waikiki (the first season)? There must have been absolutely nothing else out at the time to cause me to watch it. I must admit I was absolutely disgusted by it – in between laughing hysterically. I’m so glad I didn’t let the pure stupidness of it (or the bathroom humor or breast feeding humor) deter me from watching. It is just so … very …. stupid… and funny. I developed a whole new respect for Lee Yi-Kyung (my nickname for him is “Teeth”). His character wants to be an actor so you see little snippets of him auditioning for roles and while it ends up funny, you see glimpses of what a good actor he is; but then all he had to do is show that grin and all seriousness is forgotten. Lee Yi kyung reminds me of young Jim Carey but he’s not as annoying to me as Jim Carey is.

              Show is an ensemble cast that also stars Kim Jung-Hyun, from CLOY.

              Reply
              1. seankfletcher

                Hello Beez

                I looked at Welcome to Waikiki when it first came out. I lasted all of 15 minutes tops πŸ˜‚ I would like to see Lee Yi-Kyung in a few more roles, though.

                On another note, My Mom is Having An Affair has one episode to go – thank goodness πŸ˜… It received a two episode extension??? Anyway, my rating will be a very low one!

                Reply
                1. beez

                  @Sean – mine as well. My biggest gripe is that Richard Kim aka Secretary Han – if he’s this “top business man from the U.S”, why would he be in S. Korea committing murders at the behest of the Evil Mom and Evil Hyung? Just because he thought that family held the clue to his long lost sister is not enough of a justification. If he’s that rich, he would’ve sent someone else to go undercover to investigate/find his sister.

                  Oh well. It served its purpose of morning tea time relaxation (with the phone on do not disturb) for me. I’m now watching Man in a Veil. But I don’t know. This was my first time watching an ongoing daily (other than Smile Donghae which I binged). Mom Has an Affair, and now Man in a Veil is making me think I’ll need to find a better way to carve out 30 minutes of relaxing time each morning.

                  Reply
                  1. seankfletcher

                    Beez, I am laughing out loud re DND. Yes, the whole Richard Kim arc felt very jammed in there at the last minute. I haven’t started on Man in a Veil yet. Sounds like I shouldn’t. There have been some very good dailies. Lovers in Bloom is my all time favourite daily.

                    Reply
                    1. beez

                      @Sean – I’ll give Lovers in Bloom a shot at filling my 30- minute morning slot. (As long as there are no screeching mothers-in law.) I’m okay with that in my evening dramas but not during my morning half hour.

                      Oh, you have to check out Man in the Veil just to see how ML has a cartoon recovery from his mental retardation that’s equal to the ol’ hit on the head – got amnesia – but another knock on the noggin’ cured it. lol AND of course it’s even more outlandish than that!

                      EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to mention Richard Kim/Secretary Han’s cheap shoes. I know that most times actors wear their own clothes but if Show is going to make everything come down to this character’s UBER RICH hidden identity and you focus on his shoes as his dramatic hidden entrance then provide the actor with shoes befitting the character and the dramatic scene. Besides it was obvious he would be ” coming back to life” and when he was lurking around as a vending machine service man, the actor’s ears were a dead give away. They were waving that it’s him even as they had him “hidden” walking behind his two body guards in his grand entrance at the shareholders’ meeting.

                      Oh and a shout out to the Evil Hyung actor’s suits and tie and kerchief ensembles! (Of course, he’s a well known supporting actor so he can afford the proper clothes for that role.)

  2. Eric

    Spoilers.

    First, your reviews are excellent and an amazing road map for new fans like me.

    This was a charming little gem of a show. I think that bosses and secretaries really are like this … in heaven. πŸ™‚

    I personally liked her decision that the perfect place for her was her current job. She was the other half of a great CEO, the mother to balance out his father of their office family. The recognition of how much the other members of the team loved and respected her, literally being willing to fight anyone who insulted their mom, was touching. He could make fast decisions and push to get the job done but she was keenly aware of the people who had to do it and how to support them. Sure she could have gone back to college – to learn foreign languages, business and how to run a massive business perhaps – but she was already doing this. She already had a great situation and with the resolution of the OTP a perfect situation. All her coworkers respected her and needed her so much. If you had this job would you give it up to maybe years later hope yo get back to something as good? The show perhaps should have spent a bit more time building up this part of her story and her recognition of what she already had.

    Love that the chaebol parents were so sweet. Nice switch up from the trope.

    Overall warm feeling and light watch where the episodes glide by.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I’m so glad that you find the reviews helpful, Eric! πŸ˜€ You are so right that this one is a warm and light watch, even if real life bosses and secretaries aren’t like this. πŸ˜‰ Another warm and light watch that I liked is Touch Your Heart. Maybe you’d like to give it a try, if you haven’t seen it yet? πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Eric

        Thank you for this it – it was also such a fun and light watch. I particularly liked the way the OTP started being genuinely kind to each other pretty early in the run. Much easier to cheer for that than the situation where they are cruel to each other until a miraculous change at epidote 10 or 12. Great couple from Goblin finally had their happy ending…

        Reply
      2. Shama

        I love your reviews!
        I was looking for a show to soothe my bruised heart, after I finished watching Sky Castle. This was the perfect balm. So sweet and fluffy. It kept me smiling through the whole 16 episodes. If you’ve watched Sky Castle, then you’ll truly appreciate the gem that is Secretary Kim. Show did meander a bit in the middle, but the gorgeous leads kept my attention.

        Reply
  3. Steven

    I actually enjoyed the show very much, considering I planned on dropping it around the ep2-3 mark. ( I just find short-haired Park Min Young in Healer much more endearing.. πŸ˜‰ ) Her facial expression after that failed first-kiss attempt in ep 5 hooked me enough to finish the show, which I’ve grown to like eventually. Admittedly, the show still is around 2-3 episodes too long.

    Though much of the show seemed to focus on the relationship between a boss and an employee, for me it is really a journey of healing. That’s why the kidnapping arc is the heart of the show. Young-joon uprooting Kim Mi-so from another department to work under him is a typical reaction of trauma victims reaching out to people who went through the same experience, and also as part of his concern on how that incident would impact the girl he felt he needed to look after. Kim Mi-so being his secretary is really just a means to the main objective of reaching out.

    It was also in young-joon’s actions in the kidnapping incident that showed that despite being the jerky, narcissist, arrogant dork that he is, which could be a defense mechanism for the trauma, he was actually a superhero many times over, prioritizing the peace in his family by feigning amnesia, and also making paramount the protection of an innocent girl above everything else. All that from a 9-year old where even adults won’t be able to measure up.

    But what really endeared me to the show were:

    1. In the absence of a typical drama villain and all the tension it brings, the show was free to step up the laughs a couple of notches higher. Though most of these laughs were trope, I find the execution witty.
    2. The office gangs’ antics were more than fillers for me, they’re key to why I enjoyed the show! Like, who would have thought Secretary Sul would have the chance to redeem herself, not once but twice?! (Resulting in the reconciliation of her boss Pres Park and his ex-wife, and spoiling the evil plans of the scorned ex in the wedding..) And true to character, she is totally clueless through it all. What’s wrong with Secretary Sul? ;p
    3. The character development and eventual love story between the one-suit guy and the other Secretary Kim bore lessons enough for a separate drama in itself! 

    One last thing, this show provided a template on how a season two could be done to the other dramas I’ve adored, like CLOY and Healer – that is, just give us 16 episodes of the OTP being cute together and getting married. We’ll lap it all up, no plot nor villains necessary!! LOL! 

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Steven – Yasssss! I couldn’t explain it myself. I did feel there was a need for the kidnapping too. How else could you explain a man working with his secretary whom he has feelings for and yet keeps – violently – rejecting physical intimacy (I’m talking normal unattached/unmarried individuals) for TEN YEARS! lol What else could have caused it but some trauma?
      And I do believe this show was a manga and that always opens me up to accept the ridiculous.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Given that you ended up enjoying this one, I’m glad you didn’t end up dropping it, Steven! πŸ˜‰ Also, that’s a great insight, that this drama has a strong healing theme to it. I hadn’t thought of it that way, and your insight definitely helps the rest of us have a deeper, different understanding of the show! πŸ˜€

      Ahaha, YES, I’m sure many drama fans would concur that angst-light sequels of their favorites shows, full of fluff and sweetness, would be welcome – especially in these COVID times! πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  4. Natalia

    This was the show that got me into trouble – or rather deeper into trouble.
    Having somehow managed to watch Boys over Flowers more that 10 years ago, I was totally turned off of Kdramas until the pandemic was here, we were in lockdown and my husband and I thought it could be fun to watch a show about a South Korean fashion millionaire crossing the 38th parallel and falling in love with a North Korean army captain. Since then, I developed a K drama addiction!
    Then, I watched Secretary Kim and got my first (and so far only) fangirl crush on Park Seo Joon. Since then, I have tried to watch all his shows, including the bad ones, and I think it has started to seriously piss my husband of – who, by the way, is Japanese and has started taking offence that I have apparently learnt more Korean in 6 months than Japanese in 6 years.
    So, is Secretary Kim a good show? To me, if it’s a romantic comedy you want to watch, you cannot go wrong with Secretary Kim. The script is funny and romantic, the leads are beautiful and talented and, as you said, this is Kdramaworld so noone needs to worry about the inappropriateness of a CEO trying to get his personal assistant to go out with him or, later on, sleep with him.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Tee hee! How funny, that your hubs is offended that you’re learning more Korean than Japanese! πŸ˜† That just goes to show how amazing dramas can be, as a language learning tool! πŸ˜„

      I thought Park Seo Joon was very endearing and charming too, in Fight My Way. Have you seen that one yet, in your Park Seo Joon blitz? πŸ˜€ Also, I thought he was fantastic in Itaewon Class, even though I felt the romance was kind of unnecessary.

      Reply
      1. Natalia

        Yes, it goes without saying that I have already had the opportunity to fall in love with Ko Dong Man! As for Itaewon Class, we’re watching it now – to be honest, I try not to watch all PSJ dramas in a row so that dear husband will not take offense with my having a crush on a Korean guy as well.
        Well, it is not my fault Japanese dramas are really not so good (so much toxicity…). Fortunately, shujin (that’s japanese for husband, by the way, and it really means Master, so yes, toxic) secretly prefers K dramas too – the only show he put his foot down and said “that’s enough of this nonsense” was The King: Eternal Monarch. Yes, it was the episode where His Majesty Lee Min Ho stands like a lion (sea lion?) and prevails upon the Japanese flot (“yeah, as if”, to quote Master).

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ahaha!! You’ve got a good strategy there, spreading out the PSJ love, so as to mollify your hubs! πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

          Wow, the Japanese word for husband means Master? I never knew that! Thanks for sharing that tidbit – I learned something new today! πŸ˜€ I looked it up, and the kanji really is the pair of Chinese characters for “master”! Mind. Blown. 🀯 Ahaha! I can certainly imagine your hubs objecting to that scene in TKEM!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ But to be fair, that was a fantasy parallel universe, so anything goes..? πŸ˜† I think it’d be wise to keep other kdramas dealing with Japanese-Korean relations away from your hubs.. Gaksital (Bridal Mask) and Mr. Sunshine come to mind. πŸ˜‰

          Reply
  5. A Reviewer

    Thank you for yet another great review. Just finished watching the show. We enjoyed this show, even though plot is not very believable if you try to analyze it, starting with the HR issues the romance would cause ( Mi So quitting in the beginning makes it less troublesome, but as someone who has managed people, the premise is too scary πŸ™‚ ). I was really impressed by Park Min-young’s portrayal of Mi-so. We are seeking out more of her shows.

    All in all, most actors did a great job of portraying their characters, but Ms. Park stole the show.

    I fully support your comment about the chaebol parents, it was nice to see a mom who understood that Mi-so is the best thing that happened to her son.

    Childhood flashbacks, it sort of worked, they could have have made the drama work without it. I guess most of figured out very early on that it was younger brother was the one that was kidnapped. Their reason for Mi-so’s fear of spiders did come as a surprise, everything else was rather predictable.

    We have to give credit to both the leads for the way they portrayed a rather difficult (in reality) relationship between a boss and his exec assistant. While the term secretary is used, she is his chief of staff ( and gets him coffee/tea and fixes his tie). For two people who worked so closely for nine years, I would expect them to know a lot more about each others lives, especially since he plays her mentor from day one of their relationship. I think it would have been better if they did not show that he recognized her before hiring her. That was really weak writing. I don’t think that made any sense, considering how he treated her in the early days. He was a total jerk; why did she stay? Is it hat difficult for someone with her skills and credentials to find another job? She never knew the ‘facts’ till she started suspecting something being afoot once she saw the scars. One could say they were in love with each other and never showed it given their professional relationship. I guess the bickering is a sign of that. I loved the way Mi So handled his confession – something like “I will let you date me”, lol. Looking forward to seeing more strong women like Mi So, who stand their ground and go toe to toe with powerful men. For me, that is real turn on.

    Reply
    1. seankfletcher

      One of the intriguing things for me re WWWSK was how well the difficult relationship was portrayed. It’s true what you say re some aspects of the relationship between a boss and his EA. As a former CEO, I was alway fortunate to have excellent PAs, EAs and CoS. Some of them new my family very well, and I have to admit, sorted out some key things for me from time to time. If I had my children in the office, they would make sure they were well looked after so as not to interrupt me (of course the kids would always be like – sure, he’s just dad though). At key events, they would bale me out of all sorts of situations – I am not good with the fake meet and greet and all that glamorous rigmarole you see in dramas that actually does go on – so, yes it would be things like: “you have an appointment now” or “there is a phone call” and so on. And, they were excellent at screening out those who make life difficult – a source of amusement for me in kdramas/tdramas, because there are always those characters who somehow find a way to get through to the CEO’s office. I also find the tie and clothing thing amusing too because that is my wife’s domain and no one else’s (and for the record I have always carried out my own ironing etc). As for tea and coffee, I have always suited myself. I would set the kitchen(s) up each day as I would always be at work well ahead of anyone else. Sometimes, it might be a case of let’s go down to the local cafe, but I always rotated that with all staff.

      Reply
      1. beezrtp

        @sean – you are a dream. Here in the USA it has become a no-no to ask a secretary or assistant to get coffee. It still can be done for clients but for the boss – no way. That happened in the ’80’s because coffee and picking up dry cleaning and other menial tasks that don’t directly involve the job at hand were being so heavily abused.

        Reply
    2. beezrtp

      @A Reviewer – shows like What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? are based on manga. I give them a pass on believability and nonsense scenes.

      Reply
  6. Ryan B.

    Love to read your reviews. And, I love – after I watch a KDrama – to pop over to find out your thoughts to see if they matched mine. I loved this show. I found his transformation believable and, I understood how he got into his automatic mode once he knew he had her by his side. He didn’t need romance because she needed the job and him to pay off all those debts. With him being allowed to be the person he had always been, he thought – Why change?. It was so easy for him that he didn’t need to change or, be a better person. His job was to protect her.

    Something I focus on but, you didn’t mention is how he takes the abuse from her when she finally tells him what it has been like working for him those past nine years. It wounds him. It hurts. But, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Luckily, because she has such a good heart – she softens the blow each time with her care and concern to bring him back. When she dumps him with such force in that scene and tells him to “…never sway me again.” – the look on his face – you know she hit him to the core. Again, she finds detail and helps bring him back but, not before he has to do some soul searching and find ways to change.

    I agree there was so much that should have ended up on the cutting room floor. I have found that in many of the KDramas. Okay – they took care of that – the end. But, wait – we HAVE to have 16, 20, or, more episodes. Let’s add this. Let’s throw in this. Did they go to an amusement park? Did they go for a bike ride? How many times have they accidentally fallen into each other’s arms for long awkward gazes? Have they gone to Subway yet? Sam! How many times does she have to put her Shiseido make up on? What scene do all the men have to put a face mask on?

    Those children – what a great job with that trauma. That young man – what a great job. I have watched that scene where he wanders, has his first trauma flashback and finally making it to safety where the body finally shuts down – amazing. Kudos to that young man. And, the younger Mi-So – adorable. When he initially tells her he won’t marry her – love her reaction. Keep doing the great work. Still discovering here out here in Cleveland, Ohio…

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Review: Itaewon Class | The Fangirl Verdict

  8. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas with excellent OTPs? | The Fangirl Verdict

  9. Kim Hanchette

    just discovered your blog- have really enjoyed it and has given me lots of insights- I am a late-arrival K-drama addict (early this year, thanks to Netflix…now Rakuten)- and also demand decent, if not good, acting and writing while allowing a total suspension from reality otherwise. love the acronym OTP- had been using “chemistry” but doesn’t cut it as precisely- (re-watched My Secret Romance this week where the OTP allows for some real comfort food Kdrama love, despite other worthiness)- we mostly agree, review wise (Secret Affair is straight up the most romantic movie ever) -despite giving it a B, you actually seemed to love a lot about this one. After 60 Kdramas under my belt, it is on top for it’s pure romance, OTP factor (Fighting My Way was a better drama for showing his range, for sure)- the childhood trauma (a Kdrama trope) provided that solid foundation for their feelings and since the children actually looked like them and were adorable, it somehow worked much better than most IMO…I think I put his personality change to her abrupt announcement of leaving…which shook his world (while also wondering how long he would have been satisfied with professional-only relationship)-once shaken, he finally got the determination, drive to win her back professionally, first, then when more seemed possible, he moved toward winning her personally. Consummating passionate love can be a sticking point for me with Kdramas- none of us would enjoy Kdramas if we wanted truly steamy all the time, but believing 30-40 yr old adults are going to go months or years without it is a leap I find hard to buy, even in Kdrama land (ahem….Descendants in the Sun) but I know that in Korea, it is a cultural/morality/TV-land thing – thanks for the blog!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Kim, welcome to the wonderful world of dramas – and to the blog too! πŸ™‚ I’m so pleased to know that you’ve found the reviews helpful, as you find your way around dramaland. πŸ™‚ I’m afraid I can’t take credit for the acronym OTP.. that was around long before I started blogging about dramas. πŸ˜… And yes, it does say so much more than “chemistry” πŸ˜‰ Also, you’re right, despite giving this a non-A grade, I did enjoy this quite well. I guess that’s why some people (like Dramabeans, for example) give one rating for how well they enjoyed a show, and one rating for how good they think the show is, objectively. I just smash it together and come up with one overall grade that takes both into account. And this was reasonably enjoyable for me, but not quite as cracky as I would’ve liked, which is why it’s a non-A grade in the end. πŸ™‚

      And yes, the reason romances are portrayed as more.. chaste, in dramaland, is because of broadcasting guidelines that they production needs to abide by. Cable channels are less strict, and then movies are a whole other kettle of fish altogether. I hope that helps! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Joan Paula

    NW: #WhatsWrongWithSecretaryKim
    & of course, I gotta scan the review from you, (always skipping the spoilers though 😁) I’ll have to read everything after the 16th ep. Thanks for rating it as Grade B. πŸ‘

    After my heart has been captured from the first look of Lee Young Joon’s glass house, I had confirmed (on my own) & found out that it’s exactly the same as Kim Joo Won’s in #SecretGarden. ❀ how lovely!

    #MaiimVisionVillage u da besh! 😍

    *Edited to remove download links, to stay on the safe side of the DMCA bots. ~kfangurl

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ah, I hadn’t realized it was the same house! It’s been years since I watched Secret Garden. 😝 What an interesting tidbit! Hope you enjoy your watch, Joan! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Joan Paula

        I am head over heels with PSJ right now. He’s currently here in the Philippines for a fan meet and an endorsement. <3

        Reply
      1. kfangurl

        Thanks for having my back, beez <3 And, thanks for sharing the link, I had no idea that they'd suffered a takedown like that, and so unfairly too! 😱😱 Makes one wary of blogging, really.. 😝

        Reply
  11. Pingback: Review: Her Private Life | The Fangirl Verdict

  12. Small Bot

    I just finished the show on Netflix. A little cringey, but a lot cute.
    Also, a special shout-out to Kim Mi-so’s left earring! All I could focus on was the earring that kept changing with every close-up on her face.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Lol! Yes, Mi So’s fashion was definitely a popular focus for many! And that ponytail! πŸ˜€ Not an amazing show, and cringey too at times, but still a cute watch. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  13. subsetofacat

    I’m a bit late to this but figured I’d ask as I’ve only just finished watching it. I did enjoy it as I’m recovering from depression and light, fluffy, predictable rom coms with actors this strong and non-broody are very comforting for me. However I kept having one question my mind and I’m wondering if I looked away while they explained this:

    Did Mi So’s family just not know she was kidnapped? Was she only away for the one night, was that Yeong Joon’s last hours with the kidnapper, and thus nobody noticed? If not then how come no one on her side ever mention this, not even when her diary even says she saved some caramel dad brought home to give to Oppa even though the sisters wanted to eat it? I have a little sister and she would be telling everybody and their mother that she has an Oppa that she met and will marry her so she’s saving him caramel for when he visits. Or something like that. Did I miss the point where her family connected the dots that Yeong Joon is the Oppa from her childhood?

    Sorry I just don’t understand that and I feel like I must have missed something!!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there subsetofacat. πŸ™‚ I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with depression, but I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this fluffy show. πŸ™‚

      You ask a very good question about Mi So’s family. I hadn’t actually thought about that, to be honest. But, it’s quite possible that they didn’t know about it because of her short period of abduction, which you pointed out. Also, it never occurred to me to wonder whether her family knew about the abduction, because for much of our story, Mi So herself can’t remember much of anything about the kidnapping. But you’re very right to say that a little kid would likely want to tell everyone around her about the Oppa she’d met and how he gave her a caramel. Maybe this was a writing oversight..? πŸ€”

      PS: If you haven’t seen Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, or A Poem A Day, those are quite nice and light as well. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  14. Pingback: Dropped: Boyfriend [Encounter] | The Fangirl Verdict

  15. Pingback: Year In Review: 2018 | The Fangirl Verdict

  16. beez

    HELP?! Kdrama viewers, can you guys recommend GOOD daily or weekend dramas for me? I’m coming off a long illness and need something to watch to keep me on my treadmill and I figure the dailies are usually shorter episodes. If it’s a weekender, I figure I’ll just watch half an episode at a time until I build up my strength to make it through an entire hour episode. (I’m being optimistic, I may only be able to do 10-15 minutes of slow walking at a time.) I’ve tried the shorter web dramas but basically they bore me and don’t motivate me or keep my mind off the pain or tiredness. πŸ˜• I need something that as I tell myself “you can’t watch unless you’re on the treadmill” that makes me want to stay and find out what happens next! 😁

    I hope Kfangurl doesn’t mind my posting this here but I figured she has a lot of readers and her Secretary Kim review had a lot of commenters weigh-in so this is my best bet to reach a lot of Kdrama viewers.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Heyya beez, so sorry to hear you’ve been unwell πŸ™ But, happy to know that you’re starting to build your strength up again! You go, girl! <3 Did you ever watch Life Is Beautiful? My favorite family drama of all time, it's so uplifting and warm. It's 63 eps, and very lovely. You could watch part of an episode each time on the treadmill? Ojakgyo Brothers is a good one too. I loved that one as well.

      Also, I absolutely don't mind you posting! I hope you get some good suggestions! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. beez

        Thank you, kfangurl! I figured you wouldn’t mind. You’re always so gracious. 😍. I’ll check out both of those shows. Thanks, again, so much!

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ah, I’m actually glad you haven’t seen them, because they are my two top family dramas, and I feel like they’ll do a pretty nice job of making your treadmill sessions more enjoyable πŸ™‚ I’m rootin’ for ya, to keep getting stronger! <3

          Reply
      2. mehitable

        Oooh, I really want to watch Ojakgyo Brothers, but haven’t been able to find it. Do you have a link?

        Beez, I really liked Father is Strange and Five Enough.

        Also, if you’re willing to stray from Kdramas, I loved the Taiwanese “Inborn Pair”

        Reply
        1. beez

          @mehitable – OnDemandKorea.com has Ojakgyo Brothers. And luckily it has English subs (assuming you need them).

          I must admit that I am shallow when it comes to my tv watching and the one reason I’ve not watched Ojakgyo yet is Joo won. He does zip, zilch for me. When I invest a lot of time into a show, I like eye candy.

          Reply
          1. mehitable

            HAHA! I hear you on that one. It’s not always true for me, but there’s a certain fluff/eye candy correlation for me. The further from realism, the more eye candy I want πŸ˜€

            Reply
            1. beez

              I’ll have to see it to believe it. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Just watched Gakistal a couple of months ago – not feelin’ nothing for him. Notta. Zip.

              It’s his mouth, among other things. Like how he carries himself. Even before he played The Good Doctor, that’s how I saw him – as an awkward guy.

              Reply
              1. kfangurl

                Hahaha! I think the only reason he was convincing in the romantic role in OB, is coz (I’m quite sure) he had a real crush on UEE while filming. 😁 Also, his character in OB is supposed to have a bit of awkwardness to him, so if he’s got any natural awkwardness about him, it doesn’t interfere with the role.

                Reply
            2. mehitable

              It took me a while to make it through the first two episodes, but then I ended up semi-binging it…. he’s pretty adorbs in this show. Plays shy and awkward, yet sweet. It’s a good combo.

              The writing is really what makes the show stand out, I think. There are some largish plot holes, but they serve the character development, which is fantastic. I love the way we see the characters’ personalities play out in different circumstances. UEE’s character has all that genuine sweetness from the beginning, but she lacks experience and perspective. The mom is impulsive, which plays out very differently when she feels threatened vs when she’s, say, trying to develop a better duck feed. I love that the show lets us see these different layers and aspects of characters.

              Also, Ryu Soo Young looks pretty good in this show, if Joo Won is still not hitting the mark πŸ˜‰

              Reply
                1. beez

                  Okay, okay. I give. lol I just finished Laurel Tree Tailors (mainly because I caught the cast being funny on an episode of Happy Together), and I’m currently watching Sons of Sol Pharmacy (Ji Chang Wook) – I had avoided watching because I had read that his character was gay but that was my reading into the word “sissy” that was used by the bigger. JCW’s character is UBER sensitive which is really sweet & cute (and bullies do call him “sissy” and “girly”). So when I’m done with this fairly long series, I’ll pick up the O Brothers next.

                  Reply
                  1. kfangurl

                    Whee! πŸ˜€ I’m glad you’ll give it a chance beez! πŸ˜€ As with all family dramas, the story takes a while to get set up and settle down, but it’s really warm and lovely overall, and Joo Won is (for once) very believable in his romantic leading man role. πŸ˜‰

                    Reply
                    1. kfangurl

                      Tee hee! I generally haven’t enjoyed Joo Won as a romantic leading man; I’ve found an odd lack of chemistry between him and his various leading ladies. But I thought he and UEE were pretty fantastic together in OB. πŸ™‚

  17. Pingback: 70. WHAT’S WRONG WITH SECRETARY KIM (2018) – KDrama Feels

  18. Bronwyn

    I enjoyed this drama too. Yes, it was light and fluffy, but sometimes that’s what you need.

    I agree with your review of the consummation scene; I was really touched by it… it portrayed the right balance of passion, respect and deep love. I also liked the maturity of the main couple’s relationship. Yes, there was silly, cutsie stuff in there, but on the whole they communicated honestly and weren’t afraid to speak up when needed.

    I really liked Secretary Kim’s character. As their relationship moved into a more intimate sphere, she held her own. She was poised, compassionate and willing to walk away rather than settle for second-best when it came to the way she was treated. She wasn’t like too many Kdrama female leads who, at that age, are desperate to get married and are willing to put up with all sorts of questionable behaviour to keep their man. She had a good sense of who she was and what she wanted. All in all, an enjoyable show.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Glad you enjoyed this one, Bronwyn. πŸ™‚ Indeed, sometimes light and fluffy is just what you need. And yes, I appreciate your point about Mi So not ever seeming desperate to land her man, and managing to maintain poise and compassion all the way through. That definitely counts as one of show’s plus points. πŸ™‚ And oh my, yes, that consummation scene was SO well done. So much love. <3 I had to rewind it right away, it was just too good.

      Reply
  19. varsha

    Although I liked the initial episodes thanks to Park Seo Joon charm (This is his first drama that I watched) and Park min-young (I love Healer), I could not continue anymore once I realised that she will be a secretary to Young Joon. This is because I am entirely uncomfortable with the fact that they have personal relationship going on while working together that too as a boss and an employee. I think that it is unfair to other employees. And she does get preferential treatment as demonstrated in some episodes whether they liked it or not. I know it is a drama and that i am nit picking but i could not reconcile to this. Also they are in close proximity for 24 hours without young joon seeking professional help for his trauma. Because several times whenever he felt Mi so ho will be in trouble, he barges in trying to take control of the situation. Without addressing all of this , I felt the romance was going to be burn out in the future where Mi so ho will feel suffocated and Young joon feeling neglected. Even with all of this, it is the charm of these leads that I could go as far as I did :-)..

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      I see what you mean about struggling with the fact that Mi So was Young Joon’s secretary. I guess I just accepted that as part of this show’s fantasy drama world, but your point is absolutely valid. This one was a lightweight, no-brainer sort of watch for me.. If you’d like to see more Park Seo Joon, I enjoyed him very much in Fight My Way. Even though the ending was rather pat, the entire journey was so full of heart that I couldn’t complain TOO much. πŸ˜‰ My review is here, if you’d like to check it out. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Kat

    I liked this a bit better than you probably because it lacked the dreaded love triangle and kept true to being a rom/com instead of going too far into melo territory. I liked that it poked fun of the tropes as well. I will say that I think it would have been better if they’d stayed away from another trope and that is the childhood connection. I think he could have gone through the kidnapping without her being involved. So while he was dealing with that, she could have been dealing with what she was going to do with her life and they could have had even more of the side couples because there were stories that could have been fleshed out more. (The writers surely could have found another reason for him to offer her the job.)

    I also didn’t get the bombastic egotistical thing going on in the beginning and getting short thrift later on….so was it a facade or what? Fans of the source material no doubt know, but I don’t. Maybe that was a victim of the writer switch.

    Where I was watching, people were getting really antsy later in the drama with comments like, “She better not stay”. I think this element bothered many, and I will never understand why they didn’t address it just in little bits in earlier episodes. In episode 4, she could have been looking at a college course guide and realizing that after 9 years in the corporate trenches, she could teach the class. In episode 7, she could have been looking at traveling around the world…alone or on a tour and is that going to go well, be fun?? Maybe/Maybe Not In episode 10, she could have pondered starting over at another company and having to prove herself all over again. Besides interviewing for a job, starting a new one is the worst imo. These scenes could have taken under 5 minutes of time but there was nothing in the whole middle section of the drama. So while her lightbulb moment was handled quite well, I think the lead up needed to be better.

    I did appreciate the bromance and the generally solid advice the other guy gave him even though his own personal life was a mess. I especially liked how they treated the “bulldozer” story as that is relatable for many across many different cultures. And the music was spot on.

    So overall a nice fluffy drama and I did enjoy it quite a bit as I’ve been in a romance romance romance mood. But I can’t help but think that it didn’t pack the emotional punch that a good romance drama can. There was a truly heartfelt moment when one suit guy is explaining the grinding poverty he grew up in and why he thinks the way he does. That scene was great and had heart and was well done without going into the-gangsters-want-my-kidney territory. A bit more of that would have done wonders.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Kat, the writers should’ve totally consulted you on how to treat Mi So’s personal journey of discovery!! Your version is SO much better, and SPOT-ON addresses the issue without making a big deal out of it. I was able to buy Mi So’s decision based on her aha moment and her conversation with Young Joon, but if Show had taken the time to show us how she arrived at that realization, I’m sure that would have satisfied wayyy more viewers!!

      Reply
  21. shamrockmom3

    “While I like the concept, my brain can’t reconcile his selfish behavior in the early episodes, with a man who sincerely loves the woman that he’s clearly shown taking for granted. I suppose that by the later episodes, the writers assumed (or hoped) that we’d forget that Young Joon was ever that selfish and self-centered to begin with. The problem is, I remembered.”

    This^^ I just could not get into the fluffy cuteness. I really like Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young, and the PSJ fanservice was delectable (!) but my brain could not shut down enough to enjoy the rest of it.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ah yes. You do absolutely need to shut down your brain sufficiently, in order to enjoy this one in any way. I hope you didn’t stick with this one till the end. πŸ˜› And if you did.. at least you could enjoy the PSJ fanservice? πŸ˜…πŸ˜πŸ˜

      Reply
  22. Alaskan

    I find that I agree with many of your drama reviews. Like you, I found this drama to be fluffy and blandly likeable, with emphasis on the bland. Despite the cuteness of some of the characters, however, I became so bored with the tame and predictable plot that I dropped this drama after a few episodes. The only reason I stuck with it as long as I did was because I was curious to see what the writer would do with a character with a narcissistic personality. The writer clearly does not know anything about narcissists, however, and this romanticized and sentimental version is just…shudder.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Lol. I’ve come to realize that drama writers take a lot of liberties with a lot of things, so it’s unsurprising that they gave us a romanticized and sentimental version of a narcissist. In fact, partway through the show, the narcissism becomes almost an afterthought, and is sometimes tacked onto a scene like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. You would’ve probably found this a difficult watch if you’d stayed with it, so you made the wiser choice to drop out early! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  23. whiterainbowblog

    Ahhh I wanted to love this show so much because of my gigantic PSJ luff, but I really CANNOT keep going after episode 3. The theatrical and exaggerated humor, coming from literally everyone, annoys me so much, and keeps nagging at me until I can’t anymore. I don’t think I hate theatrical things in general, it’s just the way it’s treated in this show. I also find PSJ’s character intolerable, largely because I don’t find him funny when he’s doing his i’m-the-best and you-can’t-possibly-not-like-me bits, which makes me so sad because I luff him in all of his earlier roles that I’ve seen (esp my Dong-man!!!). One bit I did love in the first 3 eps was when Mi So breaks down crying and accidentally quits her job–if Show had shown me more heartfelt moments like this one I might have kept going, but as it stood the comedy ruined everything, sadly πŸ™

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Yeah, I feel you on that. I personally find humor a pretty tricky thing when it comes to dramas.. a lot of the times the humor in dramas doesn’t quite work for me. I wasn’t splitting my sides laughing with this one, but I’d say I didn’t find the humor as uncomfortable or objectionable as I sometimes do, and that’s why I was able to enjoy this one, albeit in a moderate sort of fashion. Don’t feel too badly.. PSJ will have another drama out soon enough, and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy that one a lot more! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  24. Dame Holly Has A Hat (@Lee_Tennant)

    Shorter recap:
    Show has no plot but here’s some shirtless picks of PSJ. LOL.

    I ended up binging this rather than live-watching it because I could see what people were saying about the plot (or lack thereof). Because I binged it, I made it all the way through and really didn’t like it. The first episode was absolutely perfect but after that it went downhill.

    I personally found the ending very objectionable. I expected to be bored by this (since I had heard it had no plot) but I wasn’t expecting to actively dislike it. For a show that started off with the premise that she wanted to find and live her own life rather than just living is, having an ending where she’s now living his life and servicing his needs 24/7 left a really bad taste in my mouth. She’s in the exact same position as she was in the beginning. All that’s changed is that she’s married. I think PMY is amazing but the character was entirely her performance. There was nothing there – no personality, no hopes, dreams, or aspirations. She was – in the beginning and in the end – just the male lead’s favourite accessory.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw. That’s unfortunate, that this one ended up making you mad. I didn’t feel so badly about Mi So’s trajectory because I saw it as her journey of self-discovery, in a sense. She discovered how she really felt about Young Joon, and she also discovered how she really felt about her work. She found it enjoyable and meaningful, and she was really good at her job too. On this point, I do heartily agree with Kat in her comment below, where she points out that it would have helped a great deal, if Show had given us at least some small scenes here and there, of Mi So exploring those dreams and aspirations, THEN showing us that she realized that she really did love her job and wanted to keep on doing it. I think that would have made her decision something that demonstrated her personal agency, rather than come across, as it did to you, that she was merely choosing to give up her dreams to be Young Joon’s accessory.

      Reply
      1. mehitable

        But her stated dream was to get married, and her more private one was to find her oppa. She did both of those things.

        It’s also clear that she didn’t want to *have* to work as a secretary because of obligation. And she didn’t. It made sense for her to stay because she loves her job. The thing that made her stay wasn’t him, it was the experience of solving a crisis and loving it, and the recognition from her peers that she was not easily replaceable. He never once pressured her to stay after he accepted her resignation, and she didn’t discuss the decision with him until after she made it.

        Reply
  25. Blenny

    Well-done, Fangurl, as always! I didn’t know they changed writers early on, but that explains a lot.

    So…he went out of his way to hire her because he liked/loved her from when they were children and had this one traumatic experience. And then he liked/love her for nine long years without indicating any interest whatsoever (and basically being just a difficult boss) and THEN he’s suddenly all over her and undergoes something of a major personality change…whiplash, anybody?

    Coulda, Shoula, Woulda…this show started out strong, intriguing characters, lots of funny moments… and yes, the two of them are gorgeous and eminently watcheable, but at some point I just couldn’t go on, and dropped it a few episodes before the finale. I mean, NOTHING was happening.

    Loved the sisters. Not sure who the good-looking wooden stick is who played the brother, but he should just stop acting immediately.

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Blenny – Whenever I hear a show is based on a web toon or manga, I just view it with my 15-year old teenage girl lens (you know, the one I put on to enjoy the Twilight movies). lol

      Actually, I had a hard time at first dealing with “9 years working side by side and he’s never been attracted to her?” But I thought the show gave it us a nice bit of reason – he’s so traumatized by the past that he allows no woman to touch him ever but once Sec. Kim kissed him it broke the tide. Show was cute but I understand if you had other expectations from the show that it would fall flat.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Lol. I know what you mean Blenny.. I did feel like nothing much was happening, in Show’s last stretch. Which I suppose requires a particular mood. I can totally see how the last few episodes would’ve been great to unwind to, after a particular hard day. But yes, that turnaround on Young Joon’s part did feel like drama whiplash, even though the writers tried to smooth it over. I suppose I can attribute it to the writer switch, though other dramas have been known to pull sudden personality changes in key characters without any writer switch whatsoever. I still remember how Woob’s character in Heirs seemed to do a 180 purely based on a change in haircut! πŸ˜†

      Lee Tae Hwan is the wooden stick you mentioned, and I find that I enjoy him most when he’s playing someone’s strong silent right-hand man – which is exactly what he did in W. I thought he was quite appealing in that. But other than that, I haven’t enjoyed him as much as I wanted to, unfortunately. πŸ˜›

      Reply
      1. beez

        I don’t know if I already said this (short term memory issues and to many comments to go through and re-read them all again to check) – but it should serve to remind us Kdrama romance fans that we always think we want the OTP together but getting a couple together too soon spells death to the show – remember Tony and Angela in Who’s the Boss? The only sucessful show that I remember people still watching after the couple got together was Sam and Diane on Cheers and that was because they still bickered a lot because their characters couldn’t stand each other despite their chemistry. They were oil and vinegar! lol

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          That’s a great point, beez! It’s so true. As drama fans, we are so used to rooting for the OTP to get together, that it’s easy to forget that part of the pleasure of seeing them actually be together, is born of the “pain” of watching them deal with and overcome the various obstacles in their way. That’s the only way we get that satisfaction from seeing them together in the end, after all. The tension does play a key role. I do think the OTP suffered from the relative lack of dramatic tension, but I also get that it’s not a bad thing to have simple, easy dramas like this hanging around. Some folks have reported that this is exactly what they wanted, after a long, hard day at work: just some silly, pretty fluff, to unwind to. πŸ˜‰

          Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Oh I feel you – I don’t do horror either. It’s just not my thing. And while I love melo done right, melo not done right really can get tiresome. πŸ˜›

              Reply
    3. mehitable

      It’s the kidnapping and (admittedly hard to swallow) family nutbarness that came after that explains both his 9 years of not showing his emotions and the seeming personality change in the later half of the show.

      He’s never truly been a narcissist. When his parents failed to protect him from his brother, he decided he was totally alone, and so he created an “I don’t care” persona as a way to deal with his brother. He pretended not to remember, but he was still angry and hurt, so whenever his brother accused him of anything, he just did the whole “I don’t remember, get over it” thing. He was terrified of women and intimacy, so as he grew, he just built up this persona into an “I’m so great no one can compare” thing that kept everyone at a distance. By being arrogant and apparently self-centred, he was able to hid his inability to deal with intimacy as narcissism rather than as trauma–“I don’t care” instead of “I can’t cope.”

      It would have been nice to develop their early backstory a bit more, but it seems that when he met her, he was still feeling fairly insecure in general, and his feelings for her were there but he didn’t want to bring the trauma up for her. As they both got more competent at his job and he spent more and more time publicly in his persona, he was less and less in touch with his emotions and more and more able to treat Mi So like a custom-made secretary tailored to his needs.

      But it’s as early as episode two that we see his starry-eyed look when she does his tie in America (in his side of the flashback); it’s also episode 2 when he looks surprised and says that he wouldn’t have asked all that of her if she had said no. Those are two insights into the more vulnerable core of him, the oppa who was so kind to her, right from the beginning.

      I found the idea that he helped her while maintaining his “bad guy” persona perfectly plausible. It is the armour that lets him get through the day, and so he’s not going to take it off suddenly even for her, and especially because she doesn’t remember him. The fact that it’s a persona is also indicated in his long term friendship with a decent guy, and in all the ways he finds of “not noticing” mistakes that aren’t worth getting upset over.

      To me this is what made the kidnapping plot so fascinating. It was a question of what happened to turn our sweet little kiddo into an apparent jerk with a secret soft side πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. kfangurl

        Hi there mehitable, I really like how you explained everything. πŸ™‚ I’m wondering, though, whether the acting and directing would support this version of the story, because the initial episodes make him out to be very narcissistic. That’s my beef with the show. Yes, we eventually see that Young Joon is much kinder and more caring than we initially are shown, but, if memory serves, we are introduced to him, with him displaying quite a bit of extreme behavior. Those scenes don’t show layers of possible deeper meaning, I felt, and that’s why I struggled with reconciling Young Joon’s eventual characterization with his initial characterization.

        Reply
  26. Madhuri

    Hey KFangurl! Thank you so much for reviewing the show! I count Park Seo Joon amongst my top 5 favorite actors in Kdrama-land and he did not disappoint! This show is mostly fluff and plot lite but hey its exactly what I want to watch when I come back home after a 9 hour work day. As always I agree with all of your remarks about the show! I also was a not a fan of the kidnapping plot for a while (I thought the show would be better if he just realized he was losing his secretary not because she was a childhood love, but because in these 9 years he’d fallen quite hopelessly in love with her, and was unaware until she announced her resignation).

    I am glad you brought up the fact that Young Joon does a (sort of) 180 from being a narcissist to someone who has loved the girl from afar all his life. Related to this, one detail really bothered me: when she found his folder of all the other applicants who were more qualified than her, it is revealed (to us) he actually hired her because she was Kim Mi So, and not actually qualified. For some reason, I think this undermined (at least to me) her efficiency and how good she is at her job, because it made it seem like she got the job because the boss was interested in her. Although she has more than made up for this in the 9 years she spent basically carrying out all his whims, I feel like they should have given her more credit than that, if that makes sense? I am not good with words unlike yourself, so I hope my point is coming across! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Madhuri, thanks for enjoying this review! πŸ™‚ And I totally know what you mean, about wanting something light and easy to unwind to, after a long day at work! I do prefer your version of the story, with the story revolving around Young Joon discovering that he’d fallen in love with the secretary whom he’d taken for granted for 9 years. I’d have loved to have seen him working madly to win her over, and get her to see him in a new light after digging himself into a hole for the last 9 years! πŸ˜‚

      Then we wouldn’t have had that conundrum of having to reconcile the fact that he actually had been in love with her all through the 9 years. That didn’t gel so well in execution, for sure. And yes, just like you said, it did look like Mi So had gotten the job purely because of her identity. But I do think that that was the point Show was trying to make. He’d hired her in spite of her lack of experience and expertise. She gained the knowledge and experience and capability later, along the way.

      Reply
  27. beez

    I gotta agree, Kfangurl, Park Seo joon’s body is slammin’! I’d become so mesmerized by all the hard bodies in S. Korea (although the fact that many times they appear on boys whose faces are prettier than most Kdrama actresses was a bit of a conundrum). When I first saw Park Seo joon’s body in Fight My Way, I thought “hmmmm, he doesn’t have the definition I like”. I even thought he looked a bit fat in Kdrama values. *hard for me to believe now* But after falling in love (lust) with his character in Fight My Way, my tastes have totally changed! I used to love guys with bodies like his but I somehow fell into that abs trap of the body that has zero body fat and looks like it only consumes grilled chicken breast and broccholi water and spend 8 hours a day at the gym. (I blame this on Rain and Song Seung heon, mostly). Now that Park Seo joon has broken the spell, I can now appreciate a more realistically absolutely beautiful body. *running off to find pics of shirtless So Ji sub*

    Thinking about it, who wants to date somebody who can’t eat pizza?

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Ah, I know what you mean, beez! I think I had somewhat similar thoughts about Park Seo Joon being a little “fat” by k-ent standards when I watched Fight My Way, but my perception has completely changed. I really liked how real his body looked.. not like it’d been sculpted for TV, but just was that way. I love how strong he looks. So appealing. 😍😍

      Reply
  28. FreeTheKimchi

    I liked this show a lot. It was all about the OTP for me, and I liked the side characters as well. I did find that the false memory angle was a bit maddening. I agree that the parenting is questionable there at best, and neglectful at its worst. My favorite show right now is Thirty but Seventeen. It’s looking to be a nice, healing, and restoring faith in humanity type drama. Hope you have it in your watchlist!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Yay that this show worked so well for you! πŸ™‚ The false memory and the parents consenting to the son swap was something I had to actively decide to overlook, but this one was very pleasant overall.

      Glad to know that Thirty But Seventeen is shaping up well! I’ve only just dipped my toe in the first 2 hours, so it’s early days yet for me. So far, I like it quite well, but haven’t gotten super sucked in yet. I thought the high school portion was delightful though – until the accident that is. πŸ˜›

      Reply
  29. Growing Beautifully

    Aah this is great kfangurl! Thanks so much. You’ve articulated my thoughts on the lack of plot. I too was not all that invested in this show and was happy to skip watch the last few episodes as too much fluff. Unlike those who can watch for sweet scenes alone (or maybe I could only do that with 1% of Anything), I need a reasonable conflict driven plot, on top of likable characters who develop, to keep me engaged.

    The kidnapping saga did not make sense. Out of resentment that one’s abortion did not bring back lover, one might kidnap one’s lover’s child, but why then bother to pick up another adhoc child along the way? And how does killing oneself (instead of just seeing the kidnapping through to getting acknowledgement or apology or whatever, or even more logically, hurting the children physically in revenge), bring about any satisfaction. I guess it was just to make lover feel bad. So much trauma for the poor little kids.

    The other part that is really hard to fathom is how the chaebol parents could have allowed their children to retain in their falsified memories for years and continue their bad relationship. Instead of getting help, they seem to have taken the easy way out. Unconscionable parenting.

    I liked the side characters finally. It took me a while to see if Gwi Nam’s ‘redemption’ would win me over, otherwise I’d never have wished him as a boyfriend on anyone. Hero’s wooing was cute and might have been one of the best PPLs for coke.

    On the whole, it was quite an inoffensive and pleasant watch. I may even re-watch bits just for the smiles they elicit from me.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Growing Beautifully – I totally agree about not giving Cheap Guy to anyone but my worst enemy. I was okay with him until, after begging for half of Other Secretary Kim’s takeout food, he then proceeded to tell her what and how she should order from now on. No thank you! But it was funny. lol

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Hi5 GB! Looks like we felt very similarly about this show! πŸ™‚ I actually found myself dragging my feet to watch the last 2 episodes because it all felt, well, kinda boring, even though everything was still very sweet.

      You’re absolutely right about the kidnapping arc not making sense.. but I suppose I could rationalize that the woman was not emotionally stable and therefore not thinking straight. But that thing with the parents was really strange, I have to agree. Yes, I can rationalize that they found it the easier way to cope, but seriously, even then, which parent in their right mind would consent to such a crazy lie that would most definitely mess up both of their kids? πŸ™ˆ

      I was way more into Hero’s loveline than Gwi Nam, Hero was adorable and sensitive and quite swoony. And OMG yes, that must be the best PPLs in existence for Coke! πŸ˜† I enjoyed Hero’s moments on screen a great deal, he was definitely a highlight. <3

      Reply
  30. phl1rxd

    I loved it as well. I really appreciated the little sound bites that would pop up – cleverly down and well timed. @Seankfletcher you are correct that the timing was spot on. Well acted by two pros and I intend to keep it on my re-watch list for when I need a shot of sweetness.

    I appreciated that we were able to see how how Mi So grew more and more competent at her job. A veritable ‘Wonder Woman’. That is hard to do in real life – ha!

    An ice cream sundae with some nuts and a topping of whipped cream – loved it!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Glad you had a good time with this one phl! πŸ™‚ I can totally see why you’d keep this for a rewatch; I think it’d suit perfectly as drama comfort food. Also, I didn’t mention it in my review, but I totally agree about Mi So’s growth. I liked that we got to see Mi So’s evolution, from sassy love-declaring kidlet, to shy earnest new hire, to polished pro. I enjoyed that a lot. <3

      Reply
  31. seankfletcher

    It’s a thumbs up from me! Comedic timing is the most difficult of all the acting skills and our OTP nailed it here. As for the filler, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Secretary Kim could have gone off in so many other directions, but it stayed true to itself.

    My favourite moments: when Mi So said she was essentially over β€œthe aura thing” and the β€œshooting of lasers from the eyes” look she would give Young Joon when he got things wrong, and off course there was her smile which would hide every thought that was running through her head 😊

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Glad you enjoyed this one, Sean! It’s a nice drama snack, coz it’s so lightweight πŸ™‚ Yes, comedic timing is really difficult, and both Parks did excellently. It’s definitely one of Show’s success factors, I think. I regularly find myself struggling to jive with a drama’s sense of humor, but even I found myself reasonably amused during my watch of this show πŸ˜‰

      Yes, I did enjoy when Mi So said she was over the “aura” thing. And I found it amusing, when she later changed her mind and told Young Joon that she wanted him to reserve the “aura” only for her. Lol. So cute. <3

      Reply

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