Open Thread: Dr. Romantic Episodes 1 & 2

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Before we get into anything, I just wanted to say, thank you for voting for this show, you guys. Honestly, even though I’d heard lots of good things about this show, I am generally very unmotivated when it comes to watching medical shows. Unless it’s something like Hospital Playlist, that is, heh. So it’s only because Dr. Romantic won the poll, that I’ve found a reason – and the discipline! – to check out this medical drama. And – color me surprised – I’m actually enjoying it way more than I’d expected to. Huzzah! 🥳

I hope you guys are ready to chat about Dr. Romantic episodes 1 & 2! Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. I repeat: no spoilers for future episodes please! We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 1

Woof. Despite so many of you telling me that this show is exciting, this episode was wayy more of a rollercoaster than I’d expected, seriously. This episode felt like it was running on adrenaline, while being pumped up on steroids AND Korean ginseng. Ha. And what an effective episode this was, too, in terms of giving us a good sense of our characters, as well as the kind of environment they exist in.

I’m not super familiar with medical dramas, having only seen a handful, and I must say, the tension-filled atmosphere of the emergency room feels relentless as it’s portrayed in this show. I imagine that ERs aren’t constantly this hair-raisingly tense, but I also imagine that they can and do get like this. Watching the stress that these doctors have to deal with in a very real and in-yo-face way, made me feel relieved that I don’t work in an ER. 😅

I thought it was a smart decision, to open our story with a flashback to what had happened to Dong Joo’s father in the ER, and how Dad had died because a VIP patient had been given preferential, earlier treatment. We experience Dong Joo’s fury and frustration first-hand, and afterwards, it’s much easier to feel empathy for adult Dong Joo, when he’s being curt and drawing lines with his sunbaes, because we already understand that he’s carrying a great deal of anger, pain and trauma, and has channeled it into an unrelenting effort to do well as a doctor, in order to exact vengeance on the doctors – and perhaps the system? – that had ignored his father in his time of need.

I mean, I don’t find Dong Joo very likable – at least, not immediately – coz he is coming off as a bit of a prick, but I feel like I can understand why he is the way he is. He’s applied himself so resolutely, and entrenched himself so deeply, within the very system that he believes killed his father; it’s impossible to expect him to be authentic AND pleasant at the same time. And if I had to choose between him being authentic and him being pleasant, then I’d rather have him be authentically prickly, than inauthentically pleasant. Y’know, I do think that that’s my favorite thing about Dong Joo so far: he’s unapologetically authentic, even though he knows that he might not have a popular opinion.

As for Seo Jung, I have to admit that I pretty much like her right away. She strikes me as a pretty wonderful bundle of contradictions. She’s deeply vulnerable, yet impressively capable; she can sometimes be frozen to the spot and not be able to function, yet she often grabs a situation by the horns and rises up to tame it into submission, even if she has to put her job on the line; she can come across as a petty sunbae who takes pleasure in hazing her junior, but she really is a caring coach who observes her junior closely, and takes the trouble to explain things, and give praise when she feels it’s right.

I find that early scene, where Seo Jung overcomes her nerves and makes a potentially risky decision in order to stop the bleeding – while going against protocol – and succeeds, all while she’s still shaking from the stress of it all, such a great summary of the kind of person Seo Jung is.

It’s not that she’s fearless; she’s so scared that she’s shaking; but she won’t allow that to get in the way of doing what she believes is the right thing, in order to save the patient.

I find her relatable yet admirable, and I kinda can’t help but love her right away. And therefore, I can totally understand why Dong Joo would be smitten with her so quickly – because I, too, am immediately smitten. 🤩😍

Although Dong Joo and Seo Jung appear to be quite different at first glance, I like how Show demonstrates that they are very similar in a deeper way, where it matters. They both are unflinching when it comes to making unpopular decisions for the good of the patient, and they both fiercely carry a spirit of excellence when it comes to the quality of the care that they provide.

That scene where Seo Jung operates to insert the ECMO machine to oxygenate the patient’s blood, and Dong Joo assists, I’m struck by how in sync they are, even though this is the first time they’ve worked together in such a manner. It’s as if they are of the same mind, drawing on the same thoughts, in the same order. It’s an amazing experience to have that kind of synergy with a teammate, and I love that Seo Jung and Dong Joo have this, so naturally and instinctively.

My favorite moment of the scene, though, has to be when the surgery is successful, and Seo Jung asks for the patient’s name, so that she can talk to him, update him, and encourage him not to give up, because he’s going to be ok. There’s so much gentleness and compassion, not to mention humanity, in the way that she talks to him, that my heart is melted into a puddle on the floor. What an amazing lady. 😍

I do hate that Seo Jung’s attending doctor takes her to task so harshly for her actions, when it’s her actions that saved the patient’s life. Although I understand that there is protocol to be followed, and that Seo Jung’s actions carried a definite amount of risk, I feel that the attending doctor’s anger at her is personal; it’s as if he feels personally insulted by her behavior, and plans to punish her for having the audacity of offending him. UGH.

My heart goes out to Seo Jung completely, as she cries by herself in the supply room, telling herself that she did do the right thing, and that the patient had lived, and that’s the most important thing. She strikes me as particularly vulnerable and tenderhearted in this moment; the badass vibes are nowhere to be seen right now, and all I want to do is give her a hug.

..Which, I guess translates somewhat similarly to how Dong Joo feels, when he sees her there like that. 😏

First of all, I appreciate the fact that the first thing Dong Joo does, is apologize for his inadequate handling of the CPR, which he feels caused the problem. There’s that unapologetic authenticity again. I also really like Seo Jung’s response. She doesn’t take the opportunity to allow Dong Joo to take the blame, even though that’s essentially what he’s doing; she focuses instead on the fact that they saved the patient, and did what they had to do. And then she even tells him not to be discouraged, and praises him for his excellent assistance, telling him that he did good work. Augh. How is this woman so lovely? ❤️ I can’t blame Dong Joo for being overcome with his feelings for her.

I am rather taken aback by the fact that he simply moves in for the kiss, and when she asks him if he’s gone crazy, he merely murmurs, “Am I not allowed? Am I not allowed… to go crazy for you?” – before he moves in to kiss her again. Blubber. Daze.

Part of my brain protests that this is all very inappropriate, and that this is basically workplace sexual harassment, since he kisses her without her consent and despite her protests. On the other hand, it’s true that Seo Jung isn’t completely hating it (as she later half-confesses to Dr. Moon), and actually responds to the kiss.

There’s a deep sense of sensuality about Dong Joo’s vibe here that is quite intoxicating, and the synergy that we’d seen between Dong Joo and Seo Jung when they’d worked together in surgery, now comes into play in the most heady, sensuous way, and I can’t blame Seo Jung’s heart for wavering, in this very potently sensuous moment. Spazz.

It makes complete sense to me, that Seo Jung would later take it all back and explain it away as them not thinking straight while high on adrenaline, because, as she states, she’s in a relationship with Dr. Moon. What pretty much stuns me, though, is Dong Joo’s bald admission that he’d like to date her, and sleep with her, which he states so matter-of-factly, while she’s still trying to tell him that she’s seeing Dr. Moon. That’s some next-level nerve, yes? I mean, if the lady is explaining that she’s seeing someone else, it seems highly inappropriate to just keep telling her that you want to date her and sleep with her..? 👀

On that note, I wanted to give a shout-out to Tae In Ho, whom I feel did a really great job in his short appearance as Dr. Moon.

Dr. Moon isn’t shown to be extremely expressive, except when he’s barking out orders during an emergency, but it honestly wasn’t long before I sensed that Dr. Moon had some kind of soft spot for Seo Jung. There was just something in his gaze – a slight glint of softness and appreciation – that communicated that fondness so well, even though there was nothing in the script to indicate it. I thought that was very nicely done.

I was sorry to learn that Dr. Moon was cheating on Seo Jung, and I was also sorry to see him die as a result of the accident. Even though it doesn’t excuse his cheating, the fact that he’d put Seo Jung’s safety and well-being above his own, and had insisted on operating on her himself, even though he was the one who had suffered head trauma, tells me that he was sincere in his care for her, in his own very flawed way.

I can completely understand why Seo Jung feels as guilty and grieved as she does; the last thing he’d heard from her, was her admission that her heart had wavered at the love confessions she’d received – and right after that, is when the accident had happened. I’m sure there are a ton of “what ifs” racing through her mind, not least, what if she hadn’t told him; would that have changed the course of events enough, to prevent his death? It’s an awful kind of guilt to live with, and it’s clear that the weight of it is crushing Seo Jung.

I hate to think that Seo Jung might’ve gone into that forest to maybe hike until she’d died, but that is not impossible, given her fragile emotional and mental state, after Dr. Moon’s death. Although, her survival instincts do give a good showing, which gives me hope that she doesn’t actually want to die.

How appropriate, to bookend the episode with our titular Dr. Kim saving each of our leads. We begin the episode with Dr. Kim saving Dong Joo, and end it with him saving Seo Jung. I’m guessing that that’s exactly what Dr. Kim will continue to do, in the coming episodes – save the both of them, in spite of themselves.

Episode 2

The thing about coming into this show relatively blind, is that I actually had no idea, that our main setting wouldn’t be Geodae Hospital, so I’m slightly amused and quite blindsided, that we are not in that big busy hospital, but in a ghost town of a rural hospital instead. Talk about having my expectations overturned. 😆

I do hate that President Do had basically used Dong Joo’s insecurities to turn him into the scapegoat that he needed, because – UGH – that is so low and evil and manipulative. I can see this as a necessary evil, though, since the whole idea is to get Dong Joo to Doldam Hospital. However, I did feel rather disappointed at the way Dong Joo puts asides his principles in order to take the sliver of a chance to prove himself. As Seo Jung puts it later, what’s happened to him in the last 5 years, that he’s so different from the Dong Joo that we’d met in episode 1? Where before I’d felt like he and Seo Jung were fundamentally similar, this episode, it feels like they are now fundamentally different.

Where before, Dong Joo had been the one swooning at the way Seo Jung had saved the patient by slicing into his abdomen in the ER, and he’d also been the one racing to bring her the ECMO machine when everyone else had been urging her against it, now he’s the one getting all up in a twist, that the Doldam Hospital team is slicing into a patient while not in an operating theater.

Clearly, Dong Joo’s been heavily disillusioned by the systemic discrimination and preferential treatment that he’s had to live with in the last 5 years, and the letter of the law’s been so ingrained into him that it now becomes the thing that comes out of his mouth as a default. Funny how things can change in just a few years, eh?

To be honest, I’m still coming to terms with this show’s brand of quirky. For example, I found the entire sequence at the bar, where Dong Joo meets Dr. Kim and Dr. Kim pretends to want to slice his hand off, kind of bizarre. But, I have a feeling that once I get used to how this show rolls, that I’ll be happy to roll right along with it.

I do think that this posting to Doldam Hospital is going to be so much more than Dong Joo expected or bargained for.

For one thing, I’m pleased that this plot development brings Dong Joo and Seo Jung into the same space again. I honestly am quite struck by the way Dong Joo’s expression morphs, from one of irritation and disdain, to plaintive vulnerability, the moment he registers that Seo Jung is right there before him. That’s some lovely emoting there by Yoo Yeon Seok, and I love it.

It’s also poignant to learn that after Seo Jung’s disappearance, Dong Joo had tried desperately to reach her. This touches me, because Dong Joo’s feelings for Seo Jung now appear to be something deeper and more sincere than a fleeting, visceral attraction. He’d really liked her – and probably still does.

I can understand Seo Jung’s utter horror at seeing Dong Joo, though. She feels guilty enough for (what she sees as) contributing to Dr. Moon’s death; it just makes it so much worse, because Dong Joo’s confession and her reaction to it, is the very thing that she’d told Dr. Moon about, that she believes then affected his driving decisions and ultimately caused his death. I believe just seeing Dong Joo makes Seo Jung relive those terrible thoughts and memories, and therefore, I can imagine that she’d want him to leave Doldam Hospital as quickly as possible.

On a tangent, I just want to say that I very much identify with Seo Jung’s wrist injuries. As many of you know, I had a freak accident with a broken glass last July where I ended up having my right wrist sliced into. Although it’s not as serious an injury as Seo Jung’s, the cut is short but deep, like hers, and there is some lingering nerve damage as well.

I’m in a much better position than Seo Jung (as you can see, from the fact that I am still able to blog), but her struggle to make the mental shift, from doing something simple like twisting a door knob with her right hand, to doing so with her uninjured left hand, is something that I feel very keenly. I, too, have to favor my right hand when doing various simple tasks, and it can be a bit of a downer. I can only imagine how painful it must be for Seo Jung, to struggle to even hold the surgical instruments, when she’d once been so adept and confident at it. 💔

I appreciate that Seo Jung is working to be strong, and has made a great deal of progress in the last 5 years, but it’s also gutting to realize that despite her rehabilitative progress, she’s haunted by voices, and hallucinates that Dr. Moon blames her for his death. She looks so drawn, and so haunted, as she stands there, struggling not to give in to the voices. Ack. It’s hard to watch, and my heart aches for her, so much. 💔

Dong Joo is clearly very affected by all this; you can literally sense the blood draining from his face, as he looks upon Seo Jung holding the scalpel with her left hand, ready to slice into her right wrist, which is shaking uncontrollably.

I feel like the shock of witnessing what’s really going on with Seo Jung possibly galvanizes Dong Joo into seeing beyond himself. Up to this point, it’s seemed that he couldn’t think of anything else but his revenge plan and his need to prove himself. Now, though, with his genuine concern for Seo Jung pushing to the surface, and her very real struggle to just stay alive, I feel like it’s giving him cause to reevaluate his entire approach to life, possibly.

His tears feel laced with regret and possibly self-reproach, though I could be projecting here; whatever it is, it does feel like a significant moment of reckoning. And, judging from the focused, determined and appropriately respectful manner in which he enters the operating theater to assist Dr. Kim on Seo Jung’s surgery, it feels like Dong Joo’s turned an important corner.

It’s been tough watching both Dong Joo and Seo Jung fall to their lowest lows, but now it looks like they’re positioned to start making their journeys towards better and brighter days, and I’m glad to be here, to cheer them on. Fighting~! 💪🏻

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Deepa
6 months ago

This show had been coming up in recommendations but I was always put off by the title. Though I am a sucker for romance, a show titled Dr. Romantic, honestly, I thought would be very cheesy! But surprisingly, this show is full of personal conflicts and meaty storylines..
Anyone else thought the title worked against the show?
Only in 8th episode, the title is kinda explained about..

Thanks for starting this open thread, you made me pick this one up and I am glad I did!!

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago
Reply to  Deepa

Yes I would have been turned off by the title were it not for this group watch and the fact that so many have had good things to say about the show! Perhaps Chivalrous or Idealistic would have worked closer to what the show means by Romantic. But they don’t sound so catchy heh.

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

It seems quite a few K Dramas (also C Dramas) have not-very-good English names. I wonder who’s the person who comes up with them!

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  Deepa

I first learned about this show some time last year, when I was looking through awards and saw this pop up on various lists, and then I saw it got pretty high ratings, and my immediate reaction was like “whaaat? with a silly title like that?” So I guess it’s a case of you shouldn’t really judge the book by the cover, or something…

I also don’t really buy the explanation they give, by the way. I don’t know if it’s a translation issue or what, but I just don’t think the usual English connotation for “romantic” works that well, and even if you want to make it into a high-brow discussion about 18th century passionate romanticism versus calculating, sterile classicism, it’s still kind of a stretch, in my opinion.

But whatever! Let’s enjoy the show, dubious title aside…

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Deepa

@Deepa – The title certainly didn’t draw me in.

Drama Fan
6 months ago

Im definitely on the “this is very OTT” camp and its not something I expected. Im kinda turned off by the tone and some of the execution of the show but Ill stick around for a couple more eps. I want to like it but also don’t want to force it (it leads to hate watching, unwanted and obnoxious ranting etc) The show is fast paced though and my mom seems to be entertained (in which case Ill be stuck with it and you’ll be stuck with me. Sorry in advance!)

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

No particular Clark Kent in mind! Just the combination of clean cut, good boy face and tall Broad shoulders with substance to them reminded me of the superhero physique more than other actors who although they have good abs are more slender and small sized. Heh.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine Phua – well at least I’m being shallow about their beards this time and not critiquing the abs (too much) 😆

beez
6 months ago

@Everyone – so my mind is completely blown! I noticed Yang Se jong in the cast and I went to his AsianWiki page but them I noticed several of his projects weren’t listed. 🤔 Then I searched the projects that I thought were missing like Grand Prince and Nokdu Flower. That actor is Yoon Si yoon! I googled Yang Se jong and Yoon Si yoon” and even looking at them in side by side pictures, I can’t tell which is which! 🤕 I thought all these roles (MyCountry, Psychopath Diary, Still Seventeen, Grand Prince, Nokdu, etc.) were all the same actor (and I thought it that actor was Yoon Si yoon)!

Anyone else make the same mistake?

Drama Fan
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Hmmm I don’t see that similarity but I did confuse Yang Sejong with the lead from The Tale of Nokdu while both were airing. But that’s another actor and another Nokdu 🤣

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

BTW here’s a warning about upcoming episodes, there are a lot of operation scenes (cutting and prodding flesh) that I found made me squeamish. I tried to use my hand to cover part of the screen but then I couldn’t read the subtitles!

Shyama
Shyama
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Haha! That’s exactly what I did when I watched it last night!

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

Yes I think I’ve seen an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where two strangers had been impaled together by a freak accident, and the doctors could only save one for whatever medical reason, and the two patients had to discuss and decide. Yowza so melodramatic.

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

[spoilers for DotS, for them as cares]

I’ve never seen Gray’s Anatomy, but that also brings to mind the episode from Descendants of the Sun, where everybody is trying to find and save people from the collapsed power plant in the aftermath of an earthquake. One of the dramatic scenes is like that–one person is impaled on something sharp and metallic, and another person is trapped under some concrete, and they’re connected, so shifting one probably kills the other, and they have to decide which.

I wonder if Kim Eun-sook and her writing team had seen Gray’s Anatomy and were cribbing from that scene, or if it’s just an obvious enough melodramatic idea that it naturally occurred as a way to inject tension and drama…

beez
6 months ago

So, I just finished watching the second half of episode 2, and I could be totally off base, but it seems to me that the “seizure” of Dr.Yoon Seo-Jung was very similar to the little episode she had in episode 1, sort of zoomed out/out-of-body experience. I know you guys can’t confirm if I’m right or wrong or if that becomes an issue later on in the show because of spoilers but it just struck me that it seems this is something outside of her issues caused by grief and the injuries she sustained from her past auto and hiking accidents.

Drama Fan
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ahhh good point!

Geo
Geo
6 months ago

I’ve now watched my very first two episodes of a medical show and I know I’m in a distinct minority but I’m reminded why I’m not a fan of these shows, for reference, I’ve never seen an episode of House, St Elsewhere, The Good Doctor, Gray’s Anatomy et al and never really been interested. I just have no interest in the medical emergencies or situations ( I have very little knowledge of medical terminology), I just remain disinterested when I see the doctors performing emergency or innovative, unconventional against the book techniques so as this is necessary to get the storyline moving and for character development, it’s difficult for me to continue watching any medical show.

However, there were some interesting aspects to the show:

1) Yoo Yeon-seok was a pleasant surprise as I remembered him from Mr Sunshine, my very first Kdrama. He was really good in that show, so much so that I ended up following him in Mood of the Day, a light rom-com movie.

2) Similarly, to see Han Suk-kyu from The Tree With Deep Roots was also welcome though his character here is decidedly different. I liked the female lead but don’t think I’ve seen her in anything before. So I actually like the leads in the cast.

3) The kiss scene was a little surprising, especially for a Kdrama, I’m accustomed to the kiss happening very late in the show with a lot of build-up and sexual tension whereas this kiss almost seemed to happen out of the blue. ML’s aggressiveness in initiating the kiss and the conversation after where he flatly states his intention to sleep with FL seems unrealistic, I find the conversation actually more implausible, I think the emotional release of the kiss is somewhat plausible after a couple have been through an extremely stressful situation and “survived”. Was there much concern when the show first aired?

I’m not sure I’ll continue. My internal gauge is signalling “no”. When episode 2 ended, I just thought, oh, it’s done. As compared to Chuno, my mind was churning with what I had just seen and thinking how the next episodes would unfold. In fact, I sneaked ahead to see the first 5 minutes of next week’s show a few times.

There’s obviously a lot of interest in the show judging by the number of comments so good luck with the viewing.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

How is everyone finding the performances? I find Yoo Yeon Suk to be very good looking and nice to look at, tall and well built like Clark Kent almost. But I find his acting is a bit flat and not expressive. How about others? Seon Hyun Jin on the other hand is delightful, so sparky and charming. I love her nickname, “Crazy Whale”.

I don’t have a strong impression of Dr Kim himself at this point. But I appreciate BE pointing out that the music and shots paint him as a Clint Eastwood type Lone Ranger cowboy, who has to walk on the wrong side of the law in order to do right by the people.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

So far, so good Elaine. Personally, it is a better experience to group-watch a drama that I have not seen before versus a re-watch. It feels fresher and I am not so worried about dropping an unintended spoiler. I am hoping that with emotional growth we see a more rounded Dong Joo character.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine Phug – Which Clark Kent? There have been several actors that have played him. Personally, I’m not feeling the new guy in the current Lois and Clark version. Or is this one called Lois and Superman on the CW network? Whatever it’s called, I don’t like bearded Superman (and I like a bit of scruff sometimes). It just send strange to see the beard.

manukajoe
6 months ago

I gotta say I really don’t like Teacher Kim. I don’t find him cool or mysterious, he’s just a class A jerk.

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Yeah, I wondered how many reactions we would get (or will still get) along those lines. I don’t personally react that way to him, but I can understand that from a certain standpoint, he comes off as rude, abrupt, arrogant, abrasive.

Honestly, even though I like the character and find him fairly compelling to watch, I’d be the first to admit he’s flawed, and the show allows him to have those flaws. I will be curious to see if you and others continue to see him that way, or if your view of him evolves.

We’ll all obviously have a lot more to say on the subject of “Master Kim” as this drama winds its way along the path…

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Well, without giving too much away, he is the main character.

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

I know, and to be clear, I’ve now seen all of both seasons. So I’m trying hard (and I hope successfully) not to say anything that doesn’t already appear evident from the first couple episodes. Where yes, it’s very possible to interpret Master Kim as a wild-eyed loose cannon. It’s going to be interesting to see discussion of his character as the episodes unfold, I believe.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Oh I generally think most people know right away if they are going to click with a particular character or drama or not, and have particular ways of looking at films and their depictions of all manner of behavior. albeit on second viewing I found the first two episodes much easier to completely buy into because after seeing it once and enjoying it, even without thinking it was something I would rank alongside Chuno, I take show this time on face value. I am not asking for it to be more than what it is or to live up to a hype or someone else’s take. I am just trying to figure out what it was that made me enjoy it to begin with. And I am finding things that others find problematic surprisingly prepared for taking in what the show on its own is conveying.
Having too watched both seasons (there strangely seems an interest in doing a third one, albeit the ensemble does generally seem to hum), what I remember at first watch was in similar roles I preferred Ahn Hyo Seop in the male lead romantic role over Yoo Yeon Seok’s character and pefrormance (Lee Sung Kyung not in the same category, however, as Seon Hyun Jin).
It is true in early posts on Chuno there were many folks who were turned off by Dae Gil, but somewhere in the middle folks started to see him in the light those of us who had watched it before. But even though I really like Dr. Kim, I do find him to be more of a pulpy hero than anything else, even if yes, what a big hearted guy he is is yet to be revealed, and I can imagine for some folks this show and the main character will not click

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

I have thoughts about the two different main pairings between the seasons (Master Kim being the constant for both, of course), but I will hold onto them until much later, other than to say very broadly speaking I agree with you in preferring Ahn and his character (he did win the Baeksang award for best new TV actor, after all) over Yoo and his, and also that Seon is both a better, more nuanced actress, and had a better part, than Lee. That said, I actually like both Yoo and Lee and their respective characters, so there’s that.

I likewise have thoughts about how to view “Kim Sa-bu”; I can see him being viewed through the lens of pulpy hero, but I have another lens to suggest, which I hope to discuss after everyone has some more meat under their bellies to digest, so to speak…

Ally
Ally
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

@manukajoe—So, stereotypical genius surgeon with like 3 specialities, right? 😉

ValiaSot
ValiaSot
6 months ago

Hi there! It’s the first time I participate in a group watch and I’m happy to say that I liked the show so far. I agree with so much of what Kfangurl said. I just wanted to add the following:

The 1st episode was definitely too intense for my taste, even before the questionable kiss scene. From that scene, and until the death of Dr. Moon, I thought that the writing was very flawed. How could SO MUCH happen in just one day? If a 1st episode is supposed to set the pace, it looked like the show was going to be very flamboyant, way too dramatic and rarely peaceful. But after that point, scene after scene, the plot started to make sense and the “roller-coaster” (as Kfangirl very accurately described it) was justified to my eyes. This wasn’t just a rough day for Seo Jung, this was THE day. The day that cost her a life where she would be married to her significant other, and the day that cost her her career. On that day, she reached a high -successful operations, THAT kiss, receiving a marriage proposal-, only to be thrown off a metaphorical cliff and end up in the middle of nowhere. This was truly tragic. Therefore, the 5 year gap between the episodes surprised me in the best of ways. Not only it made sense, but also I loved that the show actually gave Seo Jung a lot of time to grieve.

The same “fall from grace” also happens to Dong Joo in the start of the 2nd episode. So, both of them are in a dark place in the 2nd episode. They will have to struggle a lot to achieve again their previous success and status, and this is much more interesting to see unfolding!

Apart from all of these, I hope that the rural environment is going to bring less overly stressful ER scenes, and it definitely has provided us with more interesting secondary characters that have some comedic value (like the receptionist and the director). I much prefer them to the surrounding doctors and administrators in the big hospital, and it signals that we won’t have to witness many more scenes where they are being manipulative and follow discriminatory practices. I like the theme of a corrupt system, but I would hate it if it became so repetitive and continuous. I wouldn’t be able to relax.

As far as the show’s sense of humour is concerned, I like it so far. I enjoyed the casino scene and that scene where Dr. Kim threatens to cut Dong Joo’s wrist! I thought it was funny. Also, I think all three of our protagonists are a bit unhinged in their own ways, and I love that.

Most of all, I think I can trust the writing. For example, even if the kiss on the 1st episode happened too early for kdrama standards, it did serve an important purpose plotwise (Seo Jung’s guilt) and it established Dong Joo’s character as someone who can’t control his emotions so well and oversteps the line to get what he wants and what he believes Seo Jung needs. His judgement is blurred by his falling for her, and we saw that happening earlier in the episode, when she was holding that patient’s artery while being taken to the operating room. To conclude, even if while watching the scene one feels uncomfortable (“how dares he!?”) -a feeling that is slowly taken over by the enjoyment of the passion but never goes away completely- after thinking of it in the grander scheme, it was totally worth it; and I only hope to be able to say this about the whole show in the end!

ngobee
ngobee
6 months ago
Reply to  ValiaSot

Agree completely. Maybe the head nurse has a functioning moral compass here, but that’s about it.

phl1rxd
6 months ago

Well I did something I never do, and that is I took notes and limited myself to only watching two episodes. As my least favorite dramas are medical dramas I would not have watched this drama if it was not selected for the group watch.

However, it did pique my interest as I now want to know the back stories of Dr. Kim and Seo Jung. There is more than meets the eye and I am curious to know what is. Show has already done a good job in giving us Dong Joo’s past.

I want to know who Seo Jung’s comment was meant for when she stopped in the lobby as that group of Doctors walked past. I also want to know what that flashback at the end of E2 means. Dr. Kim is pretty much a bad ass independent son of a gun. He is fascinating.

Looking forward to E3 and E4.

BE
BE
6 months ago

@KFG this is a wonderful response. I enjoyed your blow by blow emotional reactions to the individual characters, and I am sure others would, as usual, find a real sympathetic note in themselves to them. Vis a vis the quirkiness, I do believe the quirkiness is part and parcel of show, not only providing beats as scenes in the larger music of each episode, not to mention episodes down the line–DR is a treasure trove of foreshadow– but in its advocacy for quirkiness against the stodginess of by the book living. It is a feature and flavor of the whole, just like the crazy er scenes, which are their own kind of quirky (like a cement bound metal post poking through the back and out the front of an emergency patient in the very first episode. I have never seen that in any hospital drama I have seen before, and I doubt anyone else has–intense, but, um also completely over the top) Oh and with regard to the casino scene, remember the first thing Dr. Kim did before attending to the guy passing out on the floor was check out the transfer order, and letter of resignation Kang Dong Joo left on the bar, folding it up and putting it in his pocket. Nothing is wasted in this show. Enjoy.

ngobee
ngobee
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

Hi Be,

Re the metal post: Dr. House has a case where two patients have been impaled together by a construction post or the like. But then it could be argued that House M.D. is also less of a medical drama despite the hospital setting and more of an exploration of how to live. I think DR does take a number of cues from this drama, not least the name.There’s also a touch of Tarantino, as in the Western-like soundtrack when our exiled doctor is standing in front of the seemingly deserted provincial hospital.

Lovely to see how much you’re enjoying this drama and its readiness to go for unexpected choices. I’m entirely with you on this. That kiss, to me, is the original sin, the transgression whose consequences shake up the existing order and set the story in motion.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – You must not have watched very many medical series because people impaled by construction beams, metal rods, etc. is pretty common (House; ER; The Good Doctor (American version), etc.) In fact, I was wondering why they didn’t stabilize the rod in this case by propping something under it but then we see why – so they could have the disaster of it falling through.

BE
BE
6 months ago

One final thing on Doldam Hospital. First I would suggest the show preceded It’s Okay by about four years, just saying, and it is much more run down than the psychiatric hospital in It’s Okay. The sound track introduces it with a hyperbolic haunted house theme, and the flickering light behind one of the hospital name words adds a delightful Bates Motel touch to those overgrown vines. But the place gets even better as it will age. Then the ensemble, especially Manager Jang, a comedic but touching support character one rarely finds elsewhere, but shows up in K Drama often, this time moving from one chair to another as he bureaucratically tells Kang Dong Joo, that no the guy cannot rest in some room for the staff, and Chief Nurse Oh, who in the down time is reading a book about Rembrandt’s self portraits. But whom we just a little bit later find to be one competent head nurse. Gotta love the ultra sound machine and how none of the staff have a problem with it, even though Kang Dong Joo and us watching can’t see a thing.

ngobee
ngobee
6 months ago

Wow. So many different reactions here! I wouldn’t have watched this without the group watch, but am so glad I did.

Love the tempo, love how caution is thrown to the wind. I think the OTP recognize each other instantly as the uncompromising, blunt, emotional, exacting, easily bored human beings they are – they found their match. I think they both know you’ve got to raise the stakes to get things moving.

In this spirit, the kiss is certainly not correct, but a straightforward expression of Dong-joo’s emotions in that moment (first episode, minute 41!). Seo Jung doesn’t do the Korean dead-fish response thing either, standing still with open eyes, which I hate. She tries to push him away, he won’t let her, she grabs his arms and gives in. There is real contact. Sensuous, deeply ambiguous and it’s very understandable that she tries to put the emotions and her own reaction in their place, knowing her reaction should have been different, for a couple of reasons. She fails and doesn’t know how to forgive herself, given all the consequences.

It’s to Seo Jung’s credit that she tells her boyfriend Dr. Moon so openly about another man’s confession. (Time and place were badly chosen, but then why does he propose at red traffic lights?) Great contrast to said Dr. hushedly discussing things with his affair in the staircase, then slipping a ring on his girlfriend’s index finger.

Dong Joo, in his bubble, is being entirely honest when he tells her he wants to sleep with her. He says it twice, and I totally believe how hard he falls for Seo Jung, given this is the guy who never had time for dating and now here is one woman who ticks all the boxes for him. He doesn’t even listen to her and it takes the presence of the other guy to make him snap out of his reverie. It’s also typical for him that he thinks now that Dr. Moon is out of the picture, it’s natural Seo Jung should turn to him. I think they’ve both got a lot to learn and the writers are handling the ambiguities well. Good romance writing with flawed protagonists.

Am also looking forward to more appearances of our titular Dr. Kim, Korean deus ex machina.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  ngobee

– I’ve only watched the first episode and half of the second episode. I’m so glad you pegged the exact moment of the kiss because my first thought was (well really my second thought) was “that’s an episode 8 kiss in episode 1!”

If that kiss had appeared in Episode 5 or later I’d feel it was HAWT 🔥! But as it stands, I felt that she had not expressed any interest in him other than the natural, casual, appreciation women share with friends of “Oh, he’s cute [handsome, admirable, etc.]” So when she pushed him away and he forced her arm down – like I said, it would’ve had me swooning and squeeing in episode 8 (once we’d seen that she’s into him) but not in episode 1. It makes me understand when young women today say that iconic swoony characters from past tv shows are “rapey”.

ngobee
ngobee
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Hi beez,

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply to my post. I’m finding it hard to take a definite stance regarding the kiss, and actually enjoy all the questions cropping up around the topic.

Seo Jung had been playing with fire the whole time, invading Dong Joo’s space, taking away his drinks. I strongly felt she’d been coming on to him, perhaps from the somewhat smug security of a woman who’s “taken”, as she says. When he complains to his colleague, he gets the answer that Seo Jung only does this because she thinks he’s good. That’s the point right there when Dong Joo knows she’s interested. Doesn’t make his action right, I know, but there’s a build-up.

But maybe it’s worth considering the difference between “a hero (nice doctor, Korean superstar etc.) doesn’t do this”, which can lead to all kinds of overly cautious, anemic love stories, as BE said, and a realistic protagonist who does something highly ambivalent or wrong, which looks enjoyable. A follow-up question to the latter for me is: Is he rewarded for his transgressive behaviour? If so, then my radar would kick in, too. But here, he’s not. She responds to the kiss, stuff ensues and he loses her for five years, after which she still doesn’t treat him well. The story being told does make a difference for me.

There will hopefully be a pre- and post-#me too handling of consent in dramas. While not the greatest dramas ever, both Touch my Heart and Tale of the Nine-Tailed feature Lee Dong-Wook first asking if it’s ok to have sex. I was pleasantly surprised and thought, that’s how it should be.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  ngobee

– Crap! I can’t remember that in
Touch my Heart and I didn’t finish Nine Tailed but now I want to go see those scenes 😄

To be honest, I really hope Dr. Romantic doesn’t go the route of delving into “me too” issues even though I didn’t care for the circumstances surrounding the kiss.

Sharra
Sharra
6 months ago
Reply to  ngobee

. Some really interesting points here. I also have mixed emotions ( as in it was inappropriate but also swoony) about the kiss but I actually didn’t see Seo Jung’s actions as playing with fire in the first episode half or so episodes one.
I thought she had decided to take Dong Joo under her wing but having said that sparks did fly when they kissed. It just shows how these lines can be blurred one person’s perception of flirting is the other one’s perception of being friendly. The Metoo# point you raised is an excellent one and how drama writers now are trying to weave in consent. As frustrating as Lovestruck in the city was there is an excellent part where the OTP are starting to have sex and the LJW stops sensing that the FL may have changed her mind and tells her something along those lines that it okay to stop if she wants. I applauded that scene and maybe if the writers were writing Dr Romantic now I don’t think there would have been the pushing away from Seo Jung it probably would have been a mutual kiss in the heat of the moment which would have been much more palatable to me at least.

BE
BE
6 months ago

So I want to talk about the kiss and Kang Dong Joo’s confession.
First I want to preface this with a discussion of physical displays in K Drama. I like that in K drama romantic connections between characters are emotional and intellectual as well as ultimately affectionate and sometimes even sexual. I like that they do not, as shows from other parts of the world do, substitute sex as a shorthand for all that heart/mind stuff. But I find it sometimes utterly unbelievable that the affection is so gruel thin, and sex somehow not in the least treated as the ultimate affectionate expression of romantic feeling between two people, especially two young people, two young and beautiful people, falling in love. Right now for example I am watching an otherwise completely wonderful romantic drama, Run On, in which, I am sorry, but if I were young and in love with either of the two female leads, I would certainly show them more romantic and physical passion than is being presented. What is being presented is such weak sauce. It does not have to be some sort of voyeuristic pornography or other such, but there is such a thing as realism.
So I was grateful in some ways for how straightforwardly Kang Dong Joo, whom we all know in other ways is quite impulsive, directly, physically, openly declares his desire for Yoon Seo Jung.
Certainly workplace romance is going to be problematic, but in this case, let us look at the professional relationship, not to mention the Korean social hierarchy presented. Kang Dong Joo is Yoon Seo Jung’s intern. She is the one on the job holding the power; she can demand that he be consigned to pulling golf balls lodged out of a man’s anus, after whispering in his ear the reason for, ie. the guy was trying to get off while masturbating. She can most certainly put him in his place. Secondly, she is Kang Dong Joo’s sunbae, his elder, and that is how he repeatedly when speaking with her calls her.
Secondly, their relationship is marked first by obvious sparks of conflict that have an erotic edge to them. The way people, men and women, sometimes mask even to themselves a chemical attraction for all the reasons these two might–unequal power, as with Kang Dong Joo, chafing at the ridiculous resident/intern hierarchy, and Yoon Seo Jung because, as we find out, she is already in a relationship with a man (who by the way is her superior, mmmn!–a far more fraught workplace problem for Yoon Seo Jung, especially as we find out in the course of things, Dr. Moon has another relationship with an even less powerful colleague, one of the nurses).
Thirdly, that conflict rapidly in both their cases, changes to admiration. In Kang Dong Joo’s case, well the whole ER is crushing on the Crazy Whale after the finger incident, let alone Kang Dong Joo is somewhat astonished by her. In Yoon Seo Jung’s case, she begins to see that he is not only some med school whiz kid, but someone who was more accurate in a patient diagnosis and its significance than she was, and has the stuff in him to do the dirty work besides letting her know in a way that was personal, vulnerable, touching that she was bullying him.
And then as her colleague so aptly points out, she begins to flirt with him. His superior as her colleague notes does a bit of the slight torture of flirtation with someone who by position at least is vulnerable to her.
Fourthly, the scene with the Ecmo surgery, the way he assisted her, the way he anticipated her every need in such an intense situation was really more intimate than 90% of love scenes I have seen between romantic couples in so many many K Dramas , for me, at least, it was impossible to see it and fail to notice the erotic connection between them, enhanced especially as it was by the sound track being played. Certainly one over the course of one’s youth have such experiences and sometimes they mean nothing, but other times they most certainly lead to romance of the erotic nature.
Finally, the scene itself. Someone has to initiate a kiss, so simply saying because it is in this instance the man doing so, when in fact the woman responds, responds tenderly and passionately, is a problem…I don’t know, would you have felt differently if she had been the one to initiate the kiss? And when she pushes him away, the man asks permission in words. And their next kiss is even more passionate, more reciprocal. Later, in the car with Doctor Moon, Seo Jung tells him, she tells him that she wavered and not during the kiss, but after, really, when Kang Dong Joo was confessing his “love” (the word she uses, not “like,” Kang’s word, nor desire, the more shocking open confession).
Now I am a guy and an old one, and I am thus perhaps part of the problem, so given the climate we are in today, I understand how folks might see this is a male pov presentation, even if the writer is a woman, based on the plethora of all manner of anachronistic and misogynistic views on sexual encounter, but from my viewing of the scene it strikes me to overlook Yoon Seo Jung’s desires in this, to overlook the actual power relationships involved, and the overall realism of the scene itself, as if such scenes do not go on all the time in real life without there necessarily being any imposition of privileged aggression at their root is to in many ways rob Yoon Seo Jung of agency. She is a woman to be reckoned with. And she is not turned off by Kang Dong Joo, but rather unsettled by her own feelings about it, toward him, trying to rationalize it with him as the probable response to the intimacy and exhilaration of the shared surgical work. Which it well may be…but

Alaska
Alaska
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

“Someone has to initiate a kiss, so simply saying because it is in this instance the man doing so….” I didn’t get the impression that the commenters who criticized the kiss did so simply because the man initiated it. I have never been a fan of the grab and kiss trope regardless of who grabs.

Are Korean dramas that use this trope saying that if you grab and kiss someone and that person responds then the initial grab is fine while if you grab and kiss someone and that person repels you then the grab and kiss is not okay? How does one know which one it will be when going in for the grab? I think that people are better off keeping their hands and lips to themselves until they have reason to believe that the other person would welcome their gesture. And I say this as someone who has been on the receiving end of a grab and kiss and feeling not only that my agency and autonomy had been ignored but also absolutely spitting furious and violated, too. The drama’s attempts to try to make the grab and kiss seem romantic by using schmaltzy music and dramatic lighting made it worse, in my opinion. Perhaps Dong Joo knew going in that Yoon Seo Jung would reciprocate but she had not given that impression to me and that may be the basis for people being taken aback by Dong Joo’s aggression. Not his gender.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

Hi Alaska, so sorry to hear about your experience! You’re right, it is a problem with the grab and kiss then, looks swoony on screen when you see there’s reciprocation but if it’s unwanted it’s upsetting and violating. As another commentater has said, the kiss was unearned in the sense that we hadn’t had enough buildup and Dong Ju couldn’t have known if it would have been reciprocated. I actually thought he would give her a hug to comfort her, the kiss definitely leaped over stages and boundaries. Maybe it would have been better if he’d given her a hug (or one of those back hugs so popular in K dramas!) and it then led to a kiss with more shared initiative from her in welcoming the kiss and then being conflicted later. The passionate grab and kiss was definitely heightened for story purposes to maximise her guilt after her fiancé’ death.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

i get your response and thank you. For myself, I thought the drama and characters were set up by went before and after to make the scene understandable. There are good reasons for taboos, and the line between going over the line in one instance and not in another, it strikes me as one hard to define. Personally, having worked in professional situations, it struck me that Doctor Moon’s behavior was far more emotionally egregious, and the sense I had from watching the scene was that the character herself was more concerned by her own reaction to the kiss than to the kiss itself, but I certainly get why you feel the way you do and how you see/feel it differently.

One year when I was teaching college classes, I had three women students in their forties who were all the time putting their hands on my arm, sometimes even gently pinching me. I never thought there was anything sexual about their touching, but it made me uncomfortable nonetheless…until I read one essay written by one of the women in which she discussed how openly affectionate everyone from the country where she came was and not just with family and friends, but acquaintances, colleagues, and teachers. It struck me then that these women were just being friendly and meant well and despite boundaries I kept to for decades with my students vis a vis touch, I learned to appreciate how natural it was for them to behave thus.
K Drama, for me, often lacks real physical affection, and does so in an unbelievable way, and all sorts of behaviors occur, such as grown children of parents sleeping in the same bed with their parents, or groups of friends, both same sex and different sexes, sleeping together, something I would find at least a little disturbing as an adult, but it is depicted with a kind of innocence. And yet in one of my favorite K Dramas about a bunch of older women, there is no end to hair pulling among the women, even a woman with her daughter, and police dramas regularly traffic in prisoner abuse and torture. At the same time, K Drama appears at times forgiving of not necessarily such extreme physical behavior as while perhaps sinful and mistaken, still in the end forgiveable. I am sorry that you have been abused and are triggered by such a presentation. When I see these dramas I try to view them on their own terms and evaluate thus. Kang Dong Joo is angry with Dr. Moon, and I understand his take giveen the hierarchical power setup in the hospital.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

One other thought…my reaction to Kang Dong Joo in the slash wrist scene was quite different. In this case he could clearly see he had been disturbing her; he had been warned by the staff to stop, and his proprietary view of of Seo Jung, his unwillingness to stop himself, triggered her slashing her wrists. Indeed, of all the things Kang Dong Joo had done in the first two episodes, albeit this was a product of both tunnel vision and good intentions, it was the one thing that really disturbed me. A hospital doctor should know good and well to let those trained to deal with a medical emergency not someone emotionally involved with a patient be the ones in charge of addressing the situation.

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

I agree. That was another thing I didn’t buy. He’s a smart young doctor, he would not do that.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

I bought the scene, Kang Dong Joo is impulsive, and no real experience in a relationship before or after the incident with Seo Jung, his feeling for her is likely to be obsessive to the point that he has lost all judgment. He wants to help on a very basic human level and ts a victim of his own tunnel vision. Made sense to me, even if my reaction to the character was to be pissed with him.
Of the main characters, Kang Dong Joo is the one in which the writer is making use of dramatic irony. That is, the audience is led by the action, direction, and writing to know more about the world he is living in than the character does himself.
I do not have as clear a memory of how I initially saw these episodes, except that Han Seok Kyu as Doctor Romantic knocked my socks off and the lurid ER scenes caught my attention.
Rewatching, rather than seeing it the way you seem to. what I have noticed is enormous amount of detail being provided and the pacing. I saw it before and liked it despite thinking it was in many ways filled with melodramatic cliches, whereas this time I have been struck with the why of its page turning je ne sais quois, so one of ways I see it differently than you is that paying attention to all the detail being given my way, I am seeing why I buy into things this viewing that you do not in yours.
Perhaps the one thing I find far fetched in all this is Dr. Kim out there hiking in the woods in the middle of the night, but if I fit that truly odd behavior in the context of how Dr. Kim is larger than life, then okay, even more amazing.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

I totally agree with you on this BE. Dong Joo is still immature, and I also agree his view of Seo Jung is proprietary. I think of it this way – He probably had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get his degree. His anger over his father’s death may have fueled his career but it will not help him achieve emotional maturity. He will need to change and that process started due to meeting Seo Jung.

Yes, Dr. Kim is ‘da bomb’ as the kids say.

Alaska
Alaska
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

Thank you! I do appreciate your response and very thoughtful comments. But I was not “triggered” by the scene; I brought up my experience to show the reality of the grab and kiss. (I’m also pretty sure that my negative reaction would have been similar had I been attracted to the person, because I hate being pushed around.) My objection was to the way the drama tried to make grab and kiss seem hot and sexy. I also don’t like scenes in media equating stalking with devotion and true love or romanticizing attempted rape where a person “says no but the eyes say yes.” I have never been stalked nor been a victim of an attempted rape but I feel the same way about those scenes as the grab and kiss. My criticism goes to the way that certain dramas, movies, and books try to make those actions seem sexy and to the message they send — that it’s not just okay but romantic to do those things and that it shows how much you love or desire that person.

Most people would agree that the vast majority of people who become sociopaths or stalkers or rapists are not somehow born that way. Messaging that romanticize antisocial behavior do not help us internalize acceptable boundaries. I’d also argue that such messaging tends to make people doubt the victims, e.g., “Well, why do you think he thought it was okay to grab and kiss you?,” “You must have done something to encourage the person to keep following you around,” or “That person thought sex was consensual because you weren’t really objecting.” The reason why the grab and kiss scene bothered me much more than the wrist slash scene is because both were boneheaded mistakes by Dong Joo but there was no attempt by the writer or director to make the wrist slash scene a rosy and swoony mistake.

Look, I haven’t given up on Dong Joo. My distaste for the one scene isn’t going to make me boycott the rest of the drama. I presume that a big part of this drama will be showing his character growth and ability to change. I’m also aware that this drama is fiction and that scenes are written to move the plot along, not as serious social commentary. But my criticism, which I believe is valid, is not an emotional reaction to something that happened years ago. Please understand that I know you didn’t mean it like that but I just wanted to make the point clear.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

Actually I think this show is making serious social points and the first two episodes were quite clearly making serious social points. I did not find the scene sexy myself, but I certainly thought is was realistic given who both the characters are, what they had just shared, and what it said about each character. Dong Joo is a young man who has not had a girl friend for at least years, meaning maybe as adolescent, but we do not know. He is an impulsive young man who is presented repeatedly as subject to tunnel vision. But as I detailed, I certainly saw chemistry that built in increments between the two characters preceding that scene. I am grateful that you continue to discuss this, and it could have been choreographed more sensitively, and the grab and kiss is a too facile way with implications going beyond the show itself, the idea that the two of them kissing tenderly, one surprised initially by the others intention, but moved by it, after the intensity of shared surgery is surprising strikes me as surprising. I have fallen “in love” in a single day after sharing intimately an intense physical experience. And I thought the surgery scene preceding it was presented with every bit of a romantic intimation. I am sure it happens every day. And again, I found Dr. Moon slipping a ring on her finger, after condescendingly telling her she did a good job, while having a romantic relationship at the same time with a nurse something far more egregious. Indeed, in the US people could lose their jobs over such behavior. And although I found it quite innocent and friendly, running her hands through Dong Joo’s hair after giving him the job of pulling out the golf balls while salaciously whispering in his ear their purpose a boundary offense…except that I saw it as personally affectionate.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I agree that running her fingers through his hair is way out of bounds but whispering regarding the nature of the beads (BEADS! I’m pretty sure it was beads, not balls 😂) seemed proprietary. I’m sure the patient wouldn’t want it said out loud for patients in the surrounding area to hear.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

@Alaska @BE – Exactly what Alaska said.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

I think Elaine is 100% correct – this was put into the story to up the angsty guilt Seo Jung had over the death of Dr, Moon. A hug would probably have meant a lot more to Seo Jung.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – I agree with a lot of what you said… but (you knew that “but” was coming, didn’t you?☺) while I have no problem with YYS’s character expressing himself even to the point of “I want to sleep with you”, the problem is 1) in the initiation of the kiss when she hadn’t shown much interest to him and 2) she pushed him away and he forcefully pushed back her resistance. Now while, I admit, I find that I find that very hawt WHEN it’s obvious that she’s made her feelings known (although not verbally in most of these K-scenarios) that she likes him too. Now, yes, sometimes playfulness/bickering can be mistaken for those types of feelings so that’s why I don’t condemn him for initiating the kiss, but the continued force at that stage of their relationship is problematic even for my old-fashioned ideas of what’s hawt.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez: Always appreciate your commentary and your push back. I do think seeing it in the context of a rewatch probably gives me not only a different context, but also because not distracted by plot unfolding, I was paying very detailed attention to the interaction between the two of them, the scene itself, and the aftermath, knowing its crucial significance to the larger show. I also do think it helps to realize that this is a fellow who while well into his twenties and full of his own testosterone let alone himself, has almost no filter when it comes to self expression, is a complete neophyte when it comes to romance, and has fallen like a brick wall over her–as I said elsewhere everyone in show and audience are already crushing over her themselves. And I got pretty early on her physical/chemical attraction for him.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – on a more flighty note – YYS needs to get to work on those abs if he wants my undivided attention. 😆

Ally
Ally
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez, there’s a beautiful white tshirt scene in the future with some great arms, if you’re into that.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Ally

@Ally – 😄

BE
BE
6 months ago

Hi. I have, as usual a number of comments of my own and my reactions to some of the things I see already posted, including a response to my serious surprise about the reaction here to the kiss, which I was going to originally fold in with my initial commentary, but now see that I will have to take it up in a separate post entirely.
I would like to start with something I sent to K in an email as a kind of “thesis paragraph” for what will follow–

Despite being a bit tropey, there is a cracky quality to Dr. R that along with Han Seok Kyu’s wonderful bravado and the ensemble including the otp is created by how well the show is constructed, how the scenes follow one upon the other and propel the story forward with rhythmic beats and sets of rhymes you might not notice in first watch but feel. There is a kind of music in its construction, and the ost is also purposeful. I was aware of the cracky quality of the show to begin with, but because it was so tropey I viewed it as a kind of guilty pleasure I could not really explain. But rewatching the first two episodes again I understand the deal. “Romantic Doctor, Teacher (Master) Kim” does not transcend hospital melodrama, but rocks it.

Starting with little touches that stood out for me on 2nd (and 3rd with notes) watch:
I loved the way we are introduced to Doctor Romantic (in his younger iteration as Dr. Boo Young Joo). The otp is startlingly marvelous in its moment to moment emotion enhancing quality, but the business about seeing a bare foot in a sandal to a spaghetti western theme altering the crazy kid with the baseball bat mood like a hard drench of cold water was especially delightful. So much is being introduced right away: first, if you haven’t already noticed, Dr. Romantic is a kind of “Spaghetti Hospital” show–blood and guts aplenty, highly choreographed. Secondly, oh this fellow who we hardly can see is the baddest gunslinger in town, a lone ranger. The male archetype hero. In sandals and hospital whites. This guy music informs us is both bad and very cool when everything and everyone around him is going nuts. Then boom, while thirty people cannot subdue this kid, and the whole floor falls into a panic, Dr. Boo puts him down, sedates him, and next scene offers two bits of important advice of which our young (semi-anti) hero only initially in episodes one and two hears the first. The second part after Romantic Doctor: Teacher Kim. Get revenge with skills. (Is this going to be in part a “revenge” melodrama?) And the only way to truly address the fatal corruption of the world was rather than blindly and destructively lashing out it, to be better than it. We hardly see Han Seok’s Kyu’s face in these two scenes and yet, the whole show and all the episodes to follow, hmmmn…half bad hombre/half zen master–the truly baseline compassionate Dr. Romantic.

The economy of how this show deals is really wonderful. Not only how the initial episode introduces our protagonist and otp with enough information about all three, but how the otp back stories are introduced in real time rather than in some sort of voice over, shown but not told, along with the their instant connection, chemistry, and fundamental obstacle/conflict, and sandwiched between Dr. Boo and Dr. Kim’s spectacular right time, right place, right response, the latter scene, in which we also get to see that Dr. Kim is a fella who strolls around in the forest at night for the fun of it, (excuse me, ponder that) and within the flip of a switch, notices, quickly diagnoses, does a field ankle relocation, and hoists our most sympathetic character so far in the depths of her despair on his back to safety.
I love the way the young adult Dr. Kang is introduced–without so much as a line of dialogue, moving through time through hospital doors gives you a very strong hint, and at the end when we see Kang Dong Joo with his mother, and whether one remembers her in the background of the initial scene, she brings up the reason he becomes a doctor–just those two things, early and late in Episode 1, and late emphasized by a subliminal presence in the very first scenes. No explanations necessary. We know who Kang Dong Joo is, why he is there, and how come he comes with such a big chip on his shoulder. Everything.
And then, there is the first big emergency room scene with Dr. Yoon. We get to see, how at first she reacts like a deer in the headlights, and then becomes queen of the index finger–both someone who is already almost too sensitive and at the same time, wow! a killer when it comes to taking care of bloody business. And, the cherry on that, is watching the scene played out from Dr. Kang’s point of view: the blood spattered face, that completely attractive young womanly face, the hand in the fellow’s gut, riding above him on the way to emergency room. Oh yes, the audience like Dr. Kang Dong Joo is more than a little infatuated. And then all the scenes between them, banter, surgery, the kiss, and where she is isolated with her fellow residents and with Dr. Moon, right on through the hike in the woods, where having fallen, she just seems to give up. I’ll say it again. So economical. Unlike a lot of dramas, we are up to speed and to varying degrees sympathetic with the major characters in this show by the end of the first episode. We are ready to root for them–for Dr. Kim, as the cavalry come to save the day, for Kang Dong Joo’s spirit, despite his tunnel vision, to grow up, and the beautiful, wonderful, amazing, already tragic, Dr. Yoon to find healing and peace of mind.

Rhetorical question: when the string of doctors walk past Yoon Seo Jung, Dr. Moon most certainly nods towards her…who then is it that she in her mind is lamenting for a lack of acknowledgement? Just asking.

What do first timers think of Dr. Do Yoon Won in his first brief scenes–when did he first appear, in what context? all the way into his scene with Kang Dong Joo early in episode two, and why? Just asking.

The first episode is so tightly constructed, and the significance of what is revealed directs the plot throughout in many ways, and it does so by the way episodes are edited one into the next, all show, little tell, intense action scenes presented similar to action scenes in sageuks with all their choreographed skill on display (not to mention urgency, blood, and guts), interspersed with scenes of both physical and psychological comedy, character interaction, conflict, comraderie, and romance, all mood enhanced by the sound track in both short and longer samples. And the scenes are almost immaculately sequenced from one to the next, whole episodes structured by first “it was the era of” conflict du jour, action, then opening credits with uptempo show theme, and finally intriguing episode title to be given rhyme sometime later. Lots of rhymes throughout, the issue of who gets treated first, for example, rhymes of variation and dramatic irony, and the show has rhythm. So many, many examples of this, I could go on and on. I did not get them intellectually my first watch, but I certainly felt them. Show is cracky, and there are real reasons why.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

BE – I commented on that statement that Seo Jung made in the lobby before I read your comment. I am intrigued by this. I caught it in my re-watch and it appears pretty clear to me who she was talking to…

Dr. Do Yoon Won – great question BE. As a first timer I do have an opinion. I think he may be the ‘puppeteer behind the screen’ and he is not who we think he is. There is more to him than meets the eye. We shall see…

I am hesitant to say what I think is going on as I do not want to even appear to spoil this for anyone if I happen to be right. 🙄😏😐

j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

As another first-timer, I did not have a strong reaction, it was more along the lines that “oh, there’s a new character”. But then again I am not particularly observant and rarely try to predict where a show is going to go.

edji
edji
6 months ago

I watched the first ep some time back. When I saw that this was chosen for the group watch I immediately thought “fangirl will probably say smtg along the lines of being uncomfortable abt the first kiss and how he simply tells her he wants to sleep with her.” 😆. I just found it very uncomfortable to watch. Other than that I thought the hospital scenes were very interesting.

Ele Nash
6 months ago

Hello, kfangurl and everyone! Great to start a new group watch and read your views. I thought the change of location made the second episode feel like a different show altogether. Like the first episode was kind of frenetic but reasonably realistic while the second episode took a much more surreal bent, almost spooky too. Despite the seesaw storytelling, it has engaged me as, like others I see, I had to force myself not to watch more episodes! I think that’s in no small way down to the character’s, especially Seo Jung and Dong Joo. Yes, most definitely a problematic kiss but, hello, chemistry 😍 I have no idea where the story is going, which is kind of cool, but will assume their relationship is important. I also thought the hospital was like the one from It’s Okay Not To Be Okay with a similar strangeness. So am hoping we stay in this location now and see more of the decidedly odd Dr Kim.

j3ffc
6 months ago

I always feel inadequate when I watch a show, formulate some thoughts, and THEN read kfangurl’s immeasurably more insightful and thoughtfully rendered comments on what I just saw. And then you all start to weigh in and I know that class is officially in session.

Confession. A big part of my formative drama journey was “Let’s Eat”. I thought the first season was so interesting and different from American TV, and when I finally got to series 2 I was totally annoyed that they just dismissed the heroine from S1 (I actually watched the entirety of “Bring It On, Ghost” just for Lee Soo-kyung’s limited role). But then Seo Hyun-jun took over the FL role and she won me over in very short order. At first, it was because of her talent for screwball comedy. And as the story unfolded, I grew to really care about what would happen to her character. While it was partly the writing, SHJ expertly displayed a depth and humanity that brought her multifaceted character to life, so yeah, she’s one of my favorite actors in dramaland. [Still haven’t seen “Another Miss Oh” as I am saving it for a special occasion.] So, I am coming into this show with high expectations for her performance – which have been met, so far – and I intend to be very protective of Seo-jung.

Like a few others, I am not a fan of medical dramas. Despite that, I’ve seen a lot of them b/c it’s one of my wife’s favorite genres, so I know the tropes. What struck me in the first two episodes was just how dramatically the tone changed from E1 to E2. I rarely catch on a drama in the first episode and that was the case here; it struck me as a compendium of scenes from nearly every “Grey’s ER Resident Hospital” episode: too much procedural with the character development sandwiched in. That being said, the character development was efficient and effective, and the stakes for our characters clearly laid out. (I’m halfway through E3 and feel the tone stabilizing and my interest level kicking in.) Great intro of Dr. Kim (how convenient, though) and I find myself intrigued by the Doldam Hospital staff, especially the chief nurse and hospital head. And OMG, I just now realized that Dr. Kim is portrayed by the same actor who was so wonderful as King Sejong in “Tree With Deep Roots”. Color me shocked and impressed.

But Kang Dong-joo is in a big hole at this point. The kiss was not cool and not okay. I understand that some of you have a more nuanced view of it than I do, but I’m having trouble getting past it (see, I TOLD you I was going to be protective of Seo-jung).

One thing I think the show does well is convey the buzz of an active emergency room. I have a few friends who work in ERs in various capacities, and they absolutely love it to the point that they wouldn’t work in any other setting.

Ally
Ally
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I’m a huge fan of SHJ as well and my dream is to meet her someday (which I think will be possible as she’s a friend of a friend—I just need to get to S. Korea!). You will LOVE Another Oh Hae Young. And you should probably skip Let’s Eat 3. Just live knowing that Dae-Young and Soo-ji are the end game happily eating their way through S. Korea and the world. That’s what my parallel universe tells me anyway. I don’t like medical dramas either, but this one is done well, better than any I’ve seen. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I do think the actual “medical” parts of this drama make it better than most. The way they portray the ER is one of my favorite things. The surgeries and very well done too.

j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  Ally

Wow, you have an interesting social network there! If you ever do get to meet SHJ – and I hope you do! – please let her know that she has impressed and entertained people all over the world.
Just to be clear, I’m not a physician but rather work as a researcher in a university hospital setting, so will be looking to hear about your informed opinions about the medical aspects of the show.
BTW, too late vis a vis LE3…already saw it. 😉 Once I got over the obvious issue you are alluding to, I settled into it as an easy watch and got some enjoyment out of it.

Ally
Ally
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

It was that friend who recommended me watch this show initially. She said her friend was in this kdrama and I should see it—problem was it was a medical drama and I hate those. I was not so sure, but she was right! Yes loved it!

j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  Ally

So cool.

So this second watch for you?

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Oh I’m another massive fan of Let’s Eat 2. I LOVE LOVE that show, and a lot of it is Seo Hyun-Jin. So much that I fear to watch another show with her in it. Another Miss Oh didn’t work for me. (Sorry to say I thought Let’s Eat 1 wasn’t as compelling – but I watched them out of order. Haven’t seen 3 yet.)

j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Don’t tell anyone, but my personal drama right now is “The Beauty Inside” and, while it’s not a work of art comparable to some of the other shows we all discuss here, I’m finding it entertaining enough and SHJ is very good in it.

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Oooo thanks for the tip! I think of her as having a “girl next door” face and figure rather than being a top shelf beauty, but that show looks like it gives her some glam to play with 🙂

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I saw the show originally for Han Seok Kyu. I have seen him in films as well. He is a great, world class actor. And believe me, he is a joy to watch in this. Right now I am thinking of the casino scene after he dislodges the pepper from the guy’s windpipe, the trash talk he lays down and the way he delivers it with Kang Dong Joo, and then the kitchen scene where when Kang Dong Joo asks him if he is a gangster and Dr. Kim responds, that he is rather a master of knives. Or his relish for hearing Madonna on a cassette player. He is a treat to watch in this, his riffs, his solos, his leads of the ensemble entire.

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE Yeah, like I said in my original comment, this is my first exposure to him, and he’s fantastic. Among many other things, I’m struck by how he uses laughter as a devastating weapon…someone is saying something pretentious or self-serving, and he just busts out a laugh in a way that completely punctures their bubble.

Interesting how in looking at his filmography, there’s like a 16 year gap where he didn’t do any small-screen (TV) work at all, until he came back with Tree With Deep Roots in 2011.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Trent

He is more widely known as a movie actor, the contemporary of Choi Min Sik (maybe the S. Korean Pacino to Choi MIn Sik’s De Niro) with whom he has been in several films.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

Hi BE – I really like your reference to Pacino | De Niro here.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE HOLD UP! HOLD THE PHONE! It is an established fact that Western media has already labeled Jang Hyyk as “South Korea’s Al Pacino” along with his “heart throb” label. I’ll let y’all have Robert Duvall (❤) or any other great actor but y’all gone have to back down off stealin’ Hyuky’s thunder! ⛈⚡🌪

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

The credits on film are not comparable between the two. But then you think Jang Hyuk stood up against him in Deep Rooted Tree. Jang Hyuk is a great, great physical actor who has mostly played tv dramas, many not so great. He does not have insofar as I know a single credit as lead actor in major movie.
Robert Du Vall? Han Seok Kyu is not similar at all. Han Seok Kyu, Jang Hyuk’s elder, is largely a lead actor unlike Du Vall who is a major support actor, though like Du Vall, Han Seok Kyu even in minor roles dominates the screen. And he, unlike Jang Hyuk consistently gets good roles. He has had lead roles in major movies.
I do not know that Western media really regards either actor that much. Generally imo that Choi Min Sik and Song Kang Ho are the best known male Korean actors in the west, and Lee Byung Hun has also a bigger movie following for all the kinds of roles Jang Hyuk has, and the heartthrob rep. Song Joong Ki probably is the currently biggest internationally known S. Korean heartthrob.
In the west, being a tv series actor carries far less cache than being a movie actor. I love the American tv series actor, Michael Kenneth Williams, but he is not considered in the same category as actors who get roles in movies. From my perspective, knowing about Jang Hyuk and how good he can be is more of a cool cult thing here in the west.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE- I get how Song Kang Ho has become would known to western audiences but how do they know od Choi Min Sik? Has he made any films that have caught a lot of western attention?

I’m not going to overly argue about Jang Hyuk because it’s obvious where we both stand. Although I’d put Hyuky up against any of the actors you named and many that you didn’t. Example: Joo Wung sung has made far more movies than Jang Hyuk but in no way eclipses his acting skills. I admit that Jang Hyuk tends to accept offer after offer of roles that don’t always turn out to be very good shows because of his desire to work, and work, and work. But no one can deny his skills as an actor.

Drama Fan
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Exactly, not sure how being more known or famous gets translated into having more skills. But Im going to remember that JH is not even in this drama and not say more lol Im trying to concentrate on the drama related comments and you guys keep getting me distracted

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Hi Beez! Ha Ha. 🤣😁😂 Thanks for letting me know that he has been acknowledged by the west. I do not keep up with too much media/acting related stuff in US. Anytime Jang Hyuk (or any other K Actor/Actress) gets acknowledged outside of SK I am happy. Hmm, wondering if anyone been compared to DeNiro.

Drama Fan
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Lol Beez you are so funny! Al Pacino though? Isn’t JH too young to be SKs Al Pacino? Joe Taslim called him South Korea’s Tom Cruise recently (maybe because of the action scenes in The Swordsman). Ive seen him getting compared with Ethan Hawke, Johnny Depp, Daniel Day Lewis and I can see some that in different roles. But anyway, JH is very unique. While watching Money Flower I think he reminds me of none of those actors. He is mesmerizing in his very own unique way. Let them have Al Pacino 🤣

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DramaFan – Sorry. Nope. I can’t do that because Jang Hyuk has embraced the title himself! I have heard him speak on the comparison and how much he respects and admires Al Pacino’s acting skills and how honored he is with the comparison. And also, drama fan, I thought you were aware of this because of the role Jang Hyuk played in Greasy Melo, where his character is the embodiment of Al Pacino in The Godfather down to the suspenders!

Drama Fan
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Nope! I never heard of that comparison tbh. I kinda don’t see it myself but I’m not an expert on Al Pacino either or a big fan. In fact, doesn’t he scream a lot? Are they compared because of the screaming? 🤣 I do know JH said The Godfather is among his favorite movies at some point. Please share the interview with me via email or at the Money Flower thread please? If its something easy to find.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DF – The reasons for the comparison were never specifically listed but since I’m a big Al Pacino fan, in my opinion it’s because of the intensity they both have.

I don’t have any articles saved about it but you can Google Al Pacino images from The Godfather (haven’t you seen the movies?) and then google Jang Hyuk images in Wok of Love aka Greasy Melo. In fact, if my memory serves, I think Hyuk’s character had a huge picture of Al Pacino on the wall of his office behind his desk.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Drama Fan

@DramaFan – I’m too lazy to try to find the right MF thread right now. I did a quick Google of “Jang Hyuk Al Pacino” and while I don’t have time to look for all the articles over the years, here’s Hyuk himself bringing up Pacino (and I wonder whose blogger site this is?😆) https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/interview-fated-to-be-an-actor-jang-hyuk-creates-something-out-of-nothing/

Drama Fan
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

Lol Beez! You know part of the reason I started the blog was to keep all this stuff because my memory sucks 🤣

j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

He certainly does make a striking first impression in this!

Sharra
Sharra
6 months ago

Solid watch although a bit too theatrical sometimes and admit I did watch episode 3! I definitely wouldn’t have watched this without the group watch. Loved Yoon Soe jung’s character tough on the outside but soft and warm on the inside. Loved her little pep talks to herself and when she admitted to Dong Joo that she had misjudged the situation with the patients. He was obviously attracted to her from the outset but I think it made him like her even more. The aftermath and the effects of her PTSD made my heart break.

So the kiss was problematic but also so swoony! I have to say I did justify it in my head like Jeo sung that it was the adrenaline before she said it! I suppose it is only human to have mixed emotions about it.
Like you I found Dong Joo prickly authentic. His declaration to Seo Jung was inappropriate but again so swoony! But I did think it sat well with his character he is single-minded ( you can see that with his academic progress). He has never been interested in girls until he sees SEO Jung so in his head why wouldn’t he lay it on the table. I really liked how the show moved on his character from this idealistic individual to someone who now put himself first. A lot can happen to someone in 5 years and I think the system broke it down and Seo Jung’s disapparence probably added to that. I think there is going to be some good growth in that area. Interesting that he remains plain speaking throughout despite the shifts and doesn’t become more sly or cunning. I thought that was good solid writing. You might change through experiences but in essence your core personality remains the same.

Dr Kim intrigues me and like Dong Joo I want answers!
Thanks 👍 to everyone who recommended this show!.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

I got an It’s OK to Not Be OK vibe from the provincial hospital too, with a similarly mild mannered yet eccentric president. I also got a big Misaeng vibe, as Dr Moon (Tae In Ho) and one of the senior doctors at the city hospital were both on Misaeng.

I do hope the show will settle into a solid storytelling groove. First two episodes gave me whiplash, so many OTT developments. Also it doesn’t make sense for the car park of the country hospital to be deserted and leaf littered, don’t any of the other staff drive to work? You mean they all live on site?? Don’t they sweep the outside from time to time??

My2Girls
My2Girls
6 months ago

I watched this when it aired (and loved it!). I had not intended to do a watch but eating our thoughts and the comments has me pushing play because I would like to take part in the discussion. So I am going back in.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

If not for the group watch I definitely wouldn’t have persisted through the firsr two episodes! Intense bloody situations and a lot of shouting. Like others, I feel the first two episodes were super rushed in setting up the key plot lines.

Agree Dong Ju is not portrayed as likable. Extremely direct, obstinate and thinks he’s right. I was shocked he told Seo Jung he wants to sleep with her! Yikes! Hope he redeems himself later. Shallow me finds him really hot and melty though! Eeks that kiss, swoon.

Eta Wardana
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Same! If it’s not for the show, I would probably drop the show right after Dong Joo’s father died. Or during the first surgery scene. The amount of shoutings and the rushed pace lol. But now I’m getting excited to watch the next episode.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

@Elaine Phua – I would think that kiss was HAWT and swoony but the context around it made it where I didn’t see it that way.

Shyama
Shyama
6 months ago

I remember now why I love medical dramas!
Whew, a whole lot happens in the first episode, I was wondering where they’d go from here. Ooh, boy, they surprised us! I have a feeling I’m going to love all the quirky characters in Geodae hospital.

Loved Yoo Yeon Seok in Hospital playlist…. the angelic pediatrician! He’s a quite a different kind of doctor here.

Ally
Ally
6 months ago

It’s so fun seeing your reaction to this show, seeing it for the first time. As for me, someone who has worked in the ER during large parts of my training, it can be just as adrenaline-rushing as it is depicted here. I’ve been on the life-saving end of a life-threatening emergency where every millisecond counts and I’m terrible on that situation (why I love being an outpatient clinician). And I have the utmost respect for the doctors that can actually think clearly in such situations. It can also be incredibly slow in the ER and they even depict this well when you go to Doldham. (Hope that’s not a spoiler.) You can go from 0 to 100 in no time flat. This was the first Korean medical drama I had ever seen when watching it live and 3 things bothered me and I wonder if they are true: 1. VIP treatment in the ER. We triage by severity in the US, no matter who you are.
2. Physical abuse between attendings and residents/ medical students.
3. Demotions to smaller hospitals. This is a theme that keeps happening. You have a problem with the politics at the main hospital, you are ostracized. Doesn’t matter how able or talented you are.

You guys are in for an amazing ride! The acting is phenomenal, there’s great chemistry between all the players, and the surgeries are even accurate for the most part. I’m a sucker for pretty, warm cinematography and there’s a lot of that here too. I think I didn’t mind the kiss so much because ooohh, look at the sun through that window behind them casting a warm hue over everyone! 😆😍

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  Ally

Oh yeah, that was one thing I forgot to comment on…when that professor or whatever was upset at the resident, they didn’t just yell at them, they straight out kicked them in the leg. Like, what the hell? Is that really a thing?

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  Trent

I’ve seen that in other workplace dramas too.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Bullying on the job, bullying in general is a theme in a lot of K drama. In the US, while it has in more recent years been more psychological than physical, it has in almost every profession existed, certainly seniority hazing, and more significantly harassment of women, as we see every day in American newspapers even today, present, and in some fields up to very recently physical as well. Dr. Romantic is a show about social crusading, hospital corruption iteration, and abuse of staff is certainly on display.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – I see the shin kick all the time in Kdramas BUT this is the first time I’ve ever seen a female on the receiving end of it.

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

@beez Sadly, I find it all too believable, it was just kind of jarring.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  Ally

Hi Ally – I was wondering if there would be anyone to help one to determine if the medical procedures and terminology are accurate. I struggle with medical dramas as there is so much I do not understand. I can assure you that any clarifications you wish to share in future posts will be greatly appreciated! I am very curious to see if the medical portion holds its weight honestly Thanks Ally!

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

There had to be a consultant on this show.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  BE

BE – I would think so as well. I really struggled with the terminology. Note – I also struggled with the doctor’s sometimes less than professional behaviour in the ER. I had to put on my KGlasses. 🤣😆

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

The title is Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim. Or Master Kim. The story as we can already tell takes a romantic view of professionalism, essence trumping letter. However, the biggest romantic as already intimated has mastered the book already; whereas Kang Dong Joo is still apprenticing on that. Romanticism always invites less than circumspect behavior, just as by the book according to the academy alone invites tunnel vision. This is a melodrama, and “to live outside the law you must be honest.” And its romantic tendencies are part of what makes it more than the sum of its parts, and as well opens the door to scrutiny.

Trent
6 months ago

Whew, that was a firecracker of an opening episode.

I don’t have a problem with the sudden move to a rural, out of the way hospital, actually. We got the super-big, fancy metro hospital in Hospital Playlist (which I loved, and which yes, I realize is not this show), so I’m ready to see what a change of pace can bring us in the medical show line.

A couple more thoughts. First, that kiss… it is PROBLEMATIC. It takes all the garbage “be aggressive, her eyes are saying yes” tropes and totally caters to them. BAD. On the other hand…it was pretty hot, and felt pretty genuine, and I think Seo Jung is definitely on to something with her post-facto rationalization about riding the adrenaline high, because that is definitely a thing, and this is clearly going to be our OTP…argh. I guess I’m a garbage person for kinda sorta excusing it, right? Hmmph.

Second thing, I’ve never seen Han Suk-kyu in anything before this, but I’ll tell you what, this has bumped Tree With Deep Roots several notches up in priority on my watch list. He’s the real deal, y’all.

And finally, I have a bit of a shameful confession to make. During Chuno watch, I was able to meter my watching so that I stuck to the two episodes each week. With this, unfortunately, I got sucked in after these first two episodes and…I couldn’t help it. I binged ahead. BUT! I’m going to very strictly control myself so I don’t spoil or refer to things that happen in future episodes. Mianhae…

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
6 months ago

Doldam Hospital reminds me of Okay Clinic in “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.”

Trent
6 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Good catch! Particularly the interior, they both have more of that retro, shabby-genteel sort of feeling. Okay clinic is in a brighter, more accessible looking location just on the outside, though. When Dong-joo first pulled into that empty, deserted parking lot, I was like, “what the hell, did he take a wrong turn? The place looks haunted or something!”

astrorainfall
astrorainfall
6 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I thought so too!

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Hi Snow Flower–see my comment above with regard to this. Ah! IOTNBO has a setting that really reminds me of the setting in Dr. Romantic! Yuk.

manukajoe
6 months ago

I felt the first episode felt rushed, although it did captivate me. Actually I am quite disappointed by the sudden pivot to the small town hospital.

The kiss – it didn’t work for me, I thought the show hadn’t earned it. Too rushed.

I also don’t really buy Seo Jung going for a walk injured, then falling. And I don’t buy her swallowing a handful of pills or cutting herself. Again, show hasn’t earned that.

Hopefully things will settle down.

Alaska
Alaska
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

I agree with everything you said above. The first two episodes feel more like the writer simply setting everything up instead of a story unfolding naturally. And the kiss bothered me. Although I suppose he didn’t actually force himself upon her, it came too close for me.

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  Alaska

@kfangirl suggested it might have been a suicide hike; on reflection, I guess I can see that. But at that point we hadn’t really seen her mental state post-accident.

BE
BE
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

It would seem more natural that she is just trying to get away by herself walking in the woods, too tunnel visioned by shock to realize the danger of doing so still recovering from a major injury, but when she falls and breaks her ankle, it is the final straw, and she is so bereft that she just cannot find the effort to pick herself up and try to get out of her predicament. The suicide of episode two makes more sense if we understand added to her physical recovery, which has taken five years before she may once again be allowed to perform any surgical procedures, ie, having to deal long term with the loss of a dream, she also has suffered from hallucinations, and has been prescribed some sort of antidepressent, which as a result of overdosing, has as antidepressants can have the effect of generating even more hallucinations and frightening ones containing self destructive messages.