The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

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

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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.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim OST – Love Virus

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] 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. [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. 🙂

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 someone who is so good at her job. She’s hardworking, professional,  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.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim OST – It’s You

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 looks 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. 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 Show 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 than 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. ❤ 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. ❤ 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. ❤

More flail. More puddle. Sigh~ 

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]

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim OST – A Little More

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 little loveline with the very breathy, affectatious Se Ra (Hwang Bo Ra). 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? ❤ [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. 😉

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, that 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. ❤

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. 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. 😉

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. 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. ❤

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Light, fluffy and sweet – just like cotton candy.

FINAL GRADE: B

TEASER:

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Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

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

  1. 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 “the aura thing” and the “shooting 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 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed this one, Sean! It’s a nice drama snack, coz it’s so lightweight 🙂 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 😉

      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. ❤

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  2. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you had a good time with this one phl! 🙂 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. ❤

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  3. 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!

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    • @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

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    • Hi5 GB! Looks like we felt very similarly about this show! 🙂 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? 🙈

      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! 😆 I enjoyed Hero’s moments on screen a great deal, he was definitely a highlight. ❤

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  4. 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!

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    • Yay that this show worked so well for you! 🙂 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. 😛

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  5. 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?

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    • 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. 😍😍

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  6. 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! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there Madhuri, thanks for enjoying this review! 🙂 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! 😂

      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.

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  7. 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.

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    • @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.

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    • 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! 😆

      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. 😛

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    • 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 🙂

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  8. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

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      • 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.

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  9. 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 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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! 🙂

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  10. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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! 🙂

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  11. “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.

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    • 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. 😛 And if you did.. at least you could enjoy the PSJ fanservice? 😅😍😍

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  12. 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.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 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!!

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