Open Thread: Kill Me, Heal Me Episodes 1 & 2

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I hope you guys are ready to dig into our new group watch, because Show is shaping up to be quite the rollercoaster, right away!

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. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. 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 set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 1

So, full disclosure, you guys: I watched this show when it first aired in 2015, and loved it enough to give it a mental A- sort of grade, but now can’t remember anything much about it, except that Ji Sung is fantastic in this.

Coming away from this first episode, it occurs to me that this show vibes like some kind of screwball makjang fantasy sort of mash-up. This drama world feels weird and off-kilter, and is prone to the extremes of OTT screwball comedy, and tryna-be-posh makjang, wherein police officers, doctors and probably all other professionals to come, are depicted as doing weirdly poor jobs of their line of work, most likely because normal-world protocols don’t apply in this bizarre drama world.

It’s kind of freakish, but y’know, I find it all strangely compelling.

For a start, I think if we’re going to enjoy this story, we’re going to have to throw all expectation of proper medical / psychiatric protocol out the window. That’s just not how this show rolls. For now, I’m leaning towards thinking of this show as some kind of hallucinogenic opera. That feels quite fitting, no?

I think one of the big things to get out of the way, is the screechiness of our female lead, thus far. I’d remembered Hwang Jung Eum as being pretty shrill in Show’s initial episodes, but watching this again in the present, boy, I was still a little thrown by just how shrill she gets, and how often, this episode.

I assure you that as far as I remember, that screechiness gets toned down, as Oh Ri Jin calms down. I can’t say for sure when that happens, but my brain hazards that it’s probably after about 3-ish episodes. If your memory of this is clearer than mine, please let us know in the comments when we can expect her to calm down, so that we can manage our expectations? 😅

In Hwang Jung Eum’s defense, she is perfectly capable of being more restrained and subtle, so my guess is that she was directed to be screamy, to help create the outlandish screwball vibe that’s part of this show’s DNA (so far, anyway). And in Oh Ri Jin’s defense, she really does find herself in some pretty surreal circumstances, so I feel somewhat generous about tolerating a bit of screaming and yelping.

Of course, the main thing that’s bolstering my sense of generosity, is how we’re already seeing Ji Sung demonstrate some serious acting range, in this first episode alone.

He’s completely earnest, hapless and befuddled as main personality Do Hyun, but is such a rebel badass, when he’s Shin Se Gi. I’m pretty sure that we haven’t yet seen Ji Sung at his best, since we’ve only just been introduced to Shin Se Gi, and there are many other personalities residing in Do Hyun, with whom we haven’t made our acquaintance yet.

At this early stage, however, I’m already very much impressed, because not only must it be exhausting for Ji Sung to play multiple characters, with all the additional lines of dialogue and screen time that come with, he makes the transition between Do Hyun and Shin Se Gi look so effortlessly easy.

On a tangent, I am very amused at how Do Hyun always finds himself wearing guyliner when he comes to, after Shin Se Gi’s taken his body for a whirl. It makes me imagine Shin Se Gi applying said guyliner, upon taking over as the main consciousness, and that’s just hilarious to me.

I don’t know how realistic it is, for there to be physical discomfort involved in Do Hyun and Shin Se Gi trading places, but, as we’ve already established, realism is not something that we can look for in Show, and expect to feel satisfied with our findings. That physical pain that Do Hyun experiences, when Shin Se Gi comes to the fore, is, again, very well-delivered by Ji Sung; I completely believe that pain that I see on my screen, so much so that I half wince in solidarity.

Just watching Ji Sung do his thing, is one of the big highlights of my watch experience. He’s so good; I can’t imagine anyone else in this role, honestly. I remember Lee Seung Gi had been offered this role, only to ultimately decline. I mean, I think Lee Seung Gi’s pretty solid in general, but I honestly can’t imagine him being able to manage multiple personalities with as much ease or nuance, as we’re already seeing from Ji Sung.

Also, Show had experienced its fair share of casting woes; it had felt like no one wanted this role at the time, since the casting offers were systematically declined. Of particular interest, I think, is the fact that this role had originally been offered to Hyun Bin. Hyun Bin had engaged in talks with the production company to possibly star in the role of Do Hyun, but he’d ended up declining – and had then taken that other split-personality show, Hyde, Jekyll, Me, which aired in the same time slot on SBS, and which had proceeded to tank in an embarrassingly stark and painful way, while Kill Me, Heal Me (competing in the same time slot, on MBC) did much better, not only ratings-wise, but among drama fans as well.

For the record, I do have enough confidence in and respect for Hyun Bin’s acting abilities, to think that he would have made this role his own, if he’d accepted it. But.. y’know, he didn’t. And it was Ji Sung who had basically offered to star, because he’d felt intrigued by the challenges inherent in the role. And based on what I remember of watching this show when it aired, boy, did Ji Sung make it work. 🤩

The other thing I really enjoy in this show, is this track from the OST, Auditory Hallucination. It’s so ear-wormy and atmospheric. And, as weird as it sounds on paper, it has just the right blend of badass edge and ethereal dreaminess. This song really elevates my watch experience, and I’m loving it all over again now.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics during my first watch, but watching this first episode again, I’m struck by how the lyrics feel so perfectly matched with our story. Here it is, above, with translated lyrics.

So far, I feel like this first episode’s done a pretty solid job of giving us the main set-up. Amid the chaos, Show’s managed to establish some important things:

1. Do Hyun’s a chaebol heir, and things in his family are.. complicated. What is this about his mother severing her relationship with him, and who’s the mysterious person that’s being kept in a nursing home by Gran, purposefully away from Mom? Circumstantially, it feels like it could be Do Hyun’s father..?

2. Born-out-of-wedlock cousin Ki Joon has deep interest, not only in the chaebol heirship, but also in Han Chae Yeon, both of whom have a lot to do with Do Hyun. Chae Yeon had seemed to like Do Hyun, given that she’d invited him to meet on Christmas Day in that flashback, and Do Hyun had seemed to like her back, given his excited reaction to receiving her call. I’m guessing that he’s keeping her at arm’s length because of his condition, and not because he doesn’t like her.

Also, I do have a soft spot for Oh Min Suk, and even though Ki Joon’s shaping up to be a shady sort, I can’t help admiring how handsome he looks in a suit, ha.

3. Shin Se Gi is determined that Do Hyun claim his rightful place as Seung Jin’s heir, while Do Hyun’s aghast at the implications of having to hide his condition while working in the Seung Jin Group. Do Hyun, does, however, have Secretary Ahn sharing his secret. (How nice, to see Choi Won Young as Secretary Ahn!)

4. Oh Ri Jin and Oh Ri On are twins, and it feels like there must be a deeper narrative reason that their names sound like “Origin” and “Orion” respectively.

5. Oh Ri On might appear like a bit of a “himbo” on first glance, with his offer to let Do Hyun use his phone on the plane, since the cabin crew’s told Do Hyun not to use his phone, but clearly, there is more going on beneath that surface. Ri On is totally keeping tabs on Do Hyun, judging from that scrapbook that we see him take out of his bag. Why, though? Is he planning to write about Do Hyun, using his super secret mysterious writer persona?

6. Oh Ri Jin is a passionate psychiatrist, though I have to remind myself that her methods (and the entire show’s methods) are not rooted in reality. How fun, though, to see Kim Seul Gi show up as Ri Jin’s runaway patient! 🤩 Kim Seul Gi’s perfect for this, and in one short scene, I already feel drawn to her character Heo Sook Hee. I’m sad that this is just a cameo.

7. Shin Se Gi is very drawn to Oh Ri Jin. For a persona that’s characterized by such badassery and violence, I’m quite surprised, actually, to see this more romantic side to him. The way he grabs Ri Jin’s wrist, so that he can declare his feelings for her at exactly 10 o’clock, is just the right kind of eccentricity that I’d expect from Shin Se Gi; I just.. didn’t expect him to have any interest in a romantic type of connection.

I’m not so hot on Ri Jin’s high-pitched yelpy reactions, not only to Shin Se Gi’s confession, but at the situation in general, but again, I’m giving it a pass because I know it will.. pass. Heh. Also, Shin Se Gi being all intent and smoldery is pretty darn sexy, and makes up for a lot. My eyes glaze over almost in reflex, and I’m a bit of a starry-eyed puddle. Glug.

Now that Shin Se Gi gets hit in the head, though, does that mean Do Hyun will be summoned to take back his body? For Do Hyun’s sake, I hope that’s not the case!

Episode 2

Hmm.. It’s seems that even though Shin Se Gi tends to be summoned by violence, that doesn’t work in reverse; it’s still Shin Se Gi at the helm, even after he gets hit on the head. And, I do think that in this case, Shin Se Gi’s the one who’s more suited to the immediate task at hand, which is to fight those thugs.

What’s this, though, about Ri Jin having been the one to have called for him, from a long time ago..? I mean, it makes sense that there’s more to it than Shin Se Gi simply taking a fancy to Ri Jin because she treated him roughly, but while I’m for the idea of there being more to it than a simple, spontaneous attraction, I’m not super hot on the possible childhood connection that this implies. For now, nothing to do but wait and see!

I’m increasingly intrigued by how Shin Se Gi is so cognizant of the fact that he doesn’t have much time, and needs to do everything he wants to do, before his time is up. I also find it quite entertaining, that he’s so aware of how things work, that he not only leaves messages for Do Hyun (like that video message from last episode), he also warns Ri Jin about the fact that there’s another dude who looks just like him, but isn’t him, and the way to tell them apart, is by the look in his eyes. The exact phrase used is “눈빛” (“nunbich”), and while my subs simply translate it as “look,” it’s more accurate to say that “눈빛” refers to the light or energy seen in one’s eyes.

I also think that it’s worth pointing out that those 3 colleagues who eavesdrop on Ri Jin’s wound-dressing session with Shin Se Gi, have a point, when they snigger about how the tone of Ri Jin’s screams indicate that she doesn’t exactly hate the attention that Shin Se Gi is giving her.

Show backs this up, with the way Ri Jin later dresses up for the date with Shin Se Gi that never happens (because Do Hyun’s consciousness comes back into control), and how she gets all huffy about having been dumped. I generally don’t like the narrative that a woman’s No actually means Yes, because that can be sooo problematic, but in this specific case, it is true that Ri Jin is more drawn to Shin Se Gi than she’d like to admit. And, with Shin Se Gi smoldering at her and making love confessions and wanting to spend time with her, I.. can understand why she wouldn’t hate it. 😅

I find the way Shin Se Gi talks to the professor about the other personalities, as if they are a little community that’s being oppressed, really quite intriguing. The way he puts it, it does almost seem unreasonable that the professor’s been trying to kill him and the other personalities.

And, it does sound as if the various personalities get along just fine, with him even thinking of giving that sharp instrument to another personality by the name of Yo Sub, the 17-year-old boy who’s obsessed with suicide, because Yo Sub’s been good for so long. I mean, the way Shin Se Gi puts it, there’s even a teamworky flavor to it all, because if the professor keeps trying to get rid of him, he’ll hand the reins over to Yo Sub, who will use the sharp present to great effect. It’s quite fascinating, really.

Even though we don’t hear this in Shin Se Gi’s conversation with the professor, according to the professor, Shin Se Gi’s found his first love. Hrmmm. I suppose this is in reference to Ri Jin? I’m curious to see how this background connection shakes out. How is Ri Jin Shin Se Gi’s first love?

Poor Do Hyun’s all flustered, though, thinking that his own first love, Chae Yeon, is in danger, is goes to warn her against himself. How curious, though, that Ki Joon’s sitting there in her living room, dressed in nothing but a bathrobe. Are Chae Yeon and Ki Joon lovers, then? It doesn’t quite seem to be the case, but it also doesn’t feel normal, for Ki Joon to be sitting in her living room, barely clothed?

That conversation that Ri Jin has with Ri On is quite interesting, in that the way Ri On describes the way he has separate names for the various things that he does in his life, from writing, to flirting with women, to just living his regular life, sounds much like the way many of us have different names for the various things we do in our lives too. Many of us have more than one online moniker, even, so that we can easily differentiate between the different activities we engage in, on the internet.

And yet, when Ri On lays it out like this, doesn’t it also sound very much like what Do Hyun’s got going on with his multiple personalities – except for the fact that he can’t control it?

“I’m saying that I can live a safe and comfortable life by defining myself into different people. Just like.. Jekyll and Hyde.” … “It’s a way to save yourself from this cruel world. It could be the heart’s strategy. It is something like that.”

..That sounds like a very plausible explanation for what’s going on with Do Hyun. And, I hafta say, I’m rather disappointed that as a psychiatrist, Ri Jin needs to have this conversation with her brother, before she even considers the possibility that the two encounters she’s had with Shin Se Gi (or whom she believed to be Shin Se Gi) might have been with two personalities belonging to the same person. Perhaps she’s not that good of a psychiatrist after all?

I guess I should have seen it coming, that Gangster Dude would seek out Ri Jin, in order to use her as leverage in his quest to get his jacket back. I don’t see how he would know to find Ri Jin at the hospital where she works, though. I’m pretty sure nobody mentioned it during the chaos that ensued outside the Paradise club? But perhaps this is just part of Show’s acid-fueled sort of vibe, where our drama world is distorted and trippy, and not quite rooted in reality?

I do think that Show’s done a good job of establishing Do Hyun’s personality, though. Because, even though the call that he receives from Gangster Dude is mystifying to him, we’ve already seen that he’s the type of person who would go out of his way to help someone, even if he doesn’t know them well, and therefore, I’m not even a little surprised, that Do Hyun would go to such lengths – and even put the very important board meeting at risk – in order to save Ri Jin.

What a surprise, though, that it’s not Shin Se Gi who shows up, but Perry Park! 😆 We don’t know what Perry Park’s schtick is, but I like him already, with his friendly vibe and his cheery Satoori. Now, the question is, will Perry Park be able to save Ri Jin, since he just happens to be the personality in charge right now?

I have to say, by the time I finished this second episode, I found myself fully enjoying this show all over again. It’s just so quirky and outlandish, in its own way, and I’m loving the unexpected twists we’re getting so far. More, please!

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Asotss
Asotss
1 month ago

Yaaaaaas ! I was about to rewatch that drama anyway so I glad you chose it as your editorial pick, it’s the perfect candidate if I can say so myself.
“Kill me, heal me” has managed to stay in my top 5 all these years. That combo of actors performances, story telling, plot twist, glamour and perfect ending stays unequalled in KDramaLand to this day. Actually, I can’t think of any other Kdrama that fit the bill…”Nine”, maybe ?
At that time, I was so frustrated with Hyun Bin’s drama (still want my time back !) that I was not keen at all on watching another train wreck and I almost didn’t watch KMHM. I don’t remember what I read and where but it persuaded me to still give it a shot and my, oh, my ! Best decision ever, drama watching-wise.
Drama has no intention to portray ANY of its aspects in a realistic and documented form and let you know its stand right away so it can’t be why you are in. It can’t be for idiotic Oh Ri Jin either. No, you stay for… Shin Se Gi. His mere appearence soothed all the questionning I could have and kept me going at least to the next week… Little I knew then (watch out the personnal spoiler !), that he will become my ultimate male character crush. Looking forward to roll-coasting with him again 🙂

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[…] misunderstood, I can see how Show’s portrayal of DID is problematic, as Paulina pointed out in her comment on last week’s Open Thread […]

beez
1 month ago

– i haven’t noticed how Ji sung runs but I’ll be sure to watch for it now.

beez
1 month ago

@BE – YES! Commander Meng! Although we’d need to remove the “silent” from your description. haha!

j3ffc
j3ffc
2 months ago

Dumb question: What do Screechie’s coworkers mean when they talk about her “booking a man”? Are they implying an, uh, escort service?

Another question: I just finished my non-required viewing show, Navillera (loved it) and have a slot to fill. It has to be complementary to Nirvana and KMHM. Ideally, I’d like something current and would almost go with You Are My Spring, but it’s too early for another Seo Hyun-jin show. A straightforward slice of life or relationship show would work, as might a full-on fantasy thang. So the defaults are not current, but are Dear My Friends (b/c it looks great and BE’s ringing endorsement) and Goblin (so I can make up my mind for myself).

Either way, I’m going to watch Ashin of the North this weekend as a sort of anti-palate cleanser. I’m sooo curious to see how Jun Ji-hyun does in this role.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thanks for the explanation…makes sense. And for the suggestion: I’d though of Roommate, too, as it is current-ish, was shy about it mostly because it would come right on the heels of MGIAG.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

i started watching “my roommate is gumiho” by mistake, when i was looking for your suggested “my girlfriend is gumiho” – and it was quite enjoyable, i mean “my roomate…” not “my girlfriend…” so i watched parallel the intended “my girlfriend is gumiho” and had to force myself to finish, it really appeared to be very childish and sort of like a high school drama production. in addition, it was too long and repetitive. and the acting – nothing to write home about. on the other hand, the “roomate gumiho” was quite emotional, cute, sweet and when i finished the 12th episode, the others were still not posted and i was eagerly awaiting for them to come up. so may be you can suggest it?
i am actually a bigger fan of chinese dramas rather than korean, (excluding kill me, hill me). but one thing the chinese can learn from the koreans – it is how to end their dramas, it just does not need to be always a bummer. just saying. (i can’t forgive feng zhiwei’s ending))

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

i have a long list waiting for me, but will add those also. thank you.

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I would second KFG’s suggestion of My Roommate is a Gumiho, as through six episodes it is light and refreshing but with enough depth to hold one’s interest. Fine performances from the leads, and of course Kang Han-na is superlative eye candy (and a fine comedic actress, actually), in my humble opinion.

Of course, you’ve probably seen it (since everyone with taste seems to have already), but I cannot resist a plug for My Mister, since I just finished it yesterday and I am still all up in my feels about it. I like IU a lot, as a person and as a pop performer, but I did not realize she had that level of performance in her…and of course there’s The Voice, so.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Thanks so much, Trent. Will seriously consider MRIAG…

Actually, I’ve not seen My Mister yet. It is #1 on my Langyu Destination Drama List and one that I will want to be able to really immerse myself in. Right now, with the group watches and “life” I am fitting in my optional drama in tight spaces when I am not at my best (later at night, only watching half a show at a time, etc.). I look forward to being able to share my thoughts on that show some day.

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I totally get it; I had MM on my list for quite some time, as well, but kept putting it off for basically the same reason as you. I didn’t want to start it without enough room to devote to it in case it turned out pretty compelling, and that was a good decision I think, since I did get sucked in and went through it pretty quickly. I would have been sad if I had to stretch out over many weeks…

I just watched the MV for the main theme song, composed entirely of disconnected clips from the show, and got all emotional all over again just seeing those clips, so.

BE
BE
1 month ago
Reply to  j3ffc

You Are My Spring is very good and Seo Hyun Jin is very good in it as is ML & 2nd FL, cast in general. S’a bit of a mashup b/tw a very beguiling love story and suspense thriller. As everyone notes excellent production values. Dear My Friends is always worth a watch, but a very emotional one. I would say the top to bottom acting in it would make it a solid watch. As good an ensemble as it gets. I cannot speak to Goblin as I am of the antifan team for this classic.

j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago
Reply to  BE

Thanks, BE. I’ll get to ’em all eventually…

beez
2 months ago

@BE – Whew! That all made sense and leaves me to qualify my tastes in bad boys. So instead of bad boys, I should say that I adore Alpha males. You know, the kind of guy that doesn’t start trouble but makes troublemakers wish they’d picked somebody else.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

Well right now I am watching You Are My Spring, which I am quite liking, albeit I do not know half way through what to quite make of its genre combinations of love story with comedy on the side/killer suspense involving childhood traumas. The ML in it is quite a decent fella, no real manly man aura to his physical presence, intellectual, sensitive, child like at times, but when trouble comes looking for FL he is distinctly on it. No one would at first thought consider him an Alpha, sweetheart more like, but he is there when trouble arrives.

But I get what you mean, the long cool drink of water kinda hombre, tall in the saddle, silent but deadly. Commander Meng!

beez
2 months ago

@BE – Exactly. I’m not watching Devil Judge but I’m sure it’s a stark contrast to KMHM. I’d imagine it’s like watching Ji Sung in the drama Defendant, or Yoo Ah in in Burning, where the make up is removed (except, I’m sure they still wear some foundation but not poured on until every pore is invisible and the skin is flawlessly perfect). That’s when you see what these guys really look like.

beez
2 months ago

@BE – “Alienation”? Are bad boys alienated? Not the ones I’ve know. Can you explain further how you see them as alienated?

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

The heart of bad boyism it seems to me is an alienation from convention and conventional hypocrisy especially vis a vis male aggression, giving them license to behave in ways folks conventionally find as bad. Lone wolf syndrome. Now some may be throwbacks to chivalrous behaviors with women, whether possessive old school style or seemingly uncaring at all about possession or being possessed, and some may at heart have been wounded by the embassies of convention in their lives.
Let’s take Dae Gil, for example, he can be a slave hunter because he does not see any morality whatsoever in conventional Joseon, nobles, slaves, all the same to him, a dog eat dog world. He can round up escaped slaves and force march them back to their owners, and he can help them escape from their abusive owners and send them off to live with a band of thieves to save them. He does not correctly perceive the threat of the left state minister, cause he views him as just another corrupt noble and he can chase after every escaped slave with the same profit motive. Betrayed by his father, betrayed by his paramour’s slave brother, common thieves his mentors and equally his rivals.
There is a reason for Dae Gil to be alienated, but a lot of bad boy posing in contemporary drama strikes me a bit like alcoholism, the truth that social conventions are often a bunch of blarney and that there is any real pay off for following them sketchy is used as an excuse for “bad” behavior and a tough guy pose, which also because there is a promise of a lack of inhibition when it comes to the bedroom accompanying all that does have a pay off.
What is interesting to me however, in both Chuno and Mr. Sunshine our badboys do not get the girl.
And also, there are bad boys and there are bad boys. The ones we like on screen all have skills, style, and intelligence that goes beyond the conventions of poses that lesser bad boys, aka bully dullards, present. And there is also something tragic and real that is part of their alienation going beyond posture that touches our emotional heartstrings.
In this, Se Gi is signified by a neck tattoo and eyeliner, as well as his fighting skills that are not as photogenic as say those of Jang Hyuk, or to tell the truth much more poorly choreographed, ho hum, and wrist grabbing in your face, the hour, the day, the moment baby, I knew you were mine, and you will too, which for me anyway seemed like a good way to get kicked in the mouth or at least slapped with vigor across one’s cheek, such cheekiness, in reality, and rightly so, no matter how pretty the face. The bad boys, I would be willing to bet, that interest you know how to sound like Luther Van Dross and not Donald Trump, whose bad boy persona has in fact mesmerized a significant portion of the American electorate.

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BE
BE
2 months ago

Watching this simultaneously with deadly serious Devil Judge, in which Ji Sung plays a seriously menacing fellow, and which, I might add I have informed my voice remote of a “safe word” while watching, and take long showers after each episode to clean myself off, I do think it is important at this point to recognize that while he uses dramatic techniques and puts on quite a show taking advantage of his good looks, this is largely meant to be comedic. That is why I advised folks to think of Sung Dong Il delivering Se Gi’s lines: because it was clear to me that Ji Sung knew very well, even relished, the hyperbolic melodrama.

Having a family member who is bipolar I did have a hard time with the first episode and had to binge about five to get the spirit of the show. That is, give up that this was to be taken seriously at all. Any more than one takes seriously all those tails on Shin Min Ah.

It’s the play on these caricatures that makes Ji Sung interesting as actor to me in this. I do think K Drama when being straight dramatic, that is when show is clearly not fantasy, science fiction, or farce gets into more trouble at times with its pop psychology shorthand. As I said elsewhere, I do not need to be given a diagnosis for Tang Jun Sang’s performance in Move to Heaven or Oh Jung Se’s performance in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay; both actors are convincing as they are and their performances when framed by organic psychological disorders seem like extreme iterations of those disorders. In a show such as this, I accept that the whole thing is hokey pokey from beginning to end, albeit I am hoping the suicidal iteration of our lead character is not too disturbing.

I mean in Vincenzo, did anyone really think the laundry man was a world class martial artist? Or law in South Korea is actually practiced like that?

beez
2 months ago

– y’all know I have serious, problematic, weakness for bad boys, but I just can’t with the guyliner and lipstick. I don’t know which turns me off more. The lipsticks on guys in all Kdramas has made me question back in the day when a few guys told me that lipstick on women is not attractive. Now I think I get a sense of what they meant plus some!

The guyliner is just too too too thick. That and the early screeching might be why, at first, Hyun bin’s multi personality drama was winning with me. It took the latter episodes for me to count KMHM as the ultimate winner.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

It is a different aesthetic and generation beez. I wonder what the festish is with hairless bodies too…seems like a form of kinky infantilism to me, but I came of age when hair was considered…sexy, on men, manly.

Bad boyism to me seems stuck on Elvis, Brando, James Dean a lot of the time. And the Beauty and the Beast element of the psychology…I get it is there, and as someone who was never a bad boy, kind of heartbreaking to see so many fall for so many jerks that any old fella on the street sees through at first glance.

Past a certain age the whole attraction escapes me, except as perhaps fling material. Then I get it. Lack of inhibition does have its promised delights. But alienation for its own sake…?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Bee – LOL! It was his vibe Beez and the guyliner does not really bother me. 😁 Did you ever notice how hard he runs? Ji Sung runs hard. 🏃‍♂️

You are right on the money when you say that “it took the latter episodes to count KMHM as the ultimate winner” because I agree with this completely. That is a good piece of info for someone who has never seen this to know.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 months ago

Great review Fangurl. The term ‘hallucinogenic opera’ seems appropriate. This drama remains on my top three list of KDrama and it does gets better with each episode.

One observation I made is that 1 and 1/2 minutes into the drama you see Ji Sung in a football stadium. That is Wagner College football stadium. I recognized that scoreboard as I have been there a few times. It is located in Staten Island NY, about 1/2 hour away from NYC. So the crew did their research on locations but missed a big detail – the team are not the Tigers in a red uniform they are the Seahawks in a green uniform. LOL! Some of the outside student scenes feature their campus buildings as well.

There were quite a few comedic touches – the bow in her hair being my favorite.

I do admit the first time I saw this I actually gasped when Shin Se Gi said “Remember”. Yes, he is a bad boy, but we shall see. I love Ri Jin’s family – every single one of them.

I have to be disciplined not to jump ahead on episodes!

Last edited 2 months ago by phl1rxd
Ele Nash
2 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Me too! I am so sorry, kfangurl, I’ve totally blown the group watch part and have somehow got to episode 6… Forgive me! It’s so moreish! I can’t stop! I even think it’s too late for an intervention. I have a total, unforgivable crush on Shin Se Gi and Do Hyun when he looks emosh or just pensive. Gah! I may have to finish watching the whole thing, then swing straight back to rewatch as the group watch 😅

Paulina
Paulina
2 months ago

I must admit I’ve been sceptical about the premise of the show. And I’m not sure if the first episode managed to dispel my reservations. It’s not even so much about letting go of expectations regarding medical/psychiatric accuracy. I happen to know a person with DID and I know that living with the condition is no fun at all. I also know how much trauma this person experienced in their life and it is extraordinary that they have survived. So I guess the doubts I have are whether it is ok to change such extreme human suffering into entertainment.

I understand that on the one hand talking about mental illness can help fight mental health stigma but then, on the other hand, I worry that shows like this can lead to trivialisation of what is a painful experience. I know, for instance, that people with a diagnosis of OCD get really upset when someone jokes about having OCD because they like cleanliness. In fact OCD has nothing to do with liking your house clean and tidy but it is a serious condition causing a lot of suffering and unbearable anxiety. I think there are similar risks with this show regardless of whether or not we choose to suspend our expectations about its accuracy.

There is an old film made in 1990 based on an autobiographical book by Truddy Chase, who had DID. Truddy was involved in the production of the film to make sure that her experience was rendered as closely as possible. The film is available online, so anyone interested can access it easily. Truddy was also interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and talked openly about her condition. After watching the first episode of Kill Me, Heal Me it is clear that Show doesn’t bear any resemblance to what Truddy described as her experience.

So, in short, I’m not sure what to think. Admittedly, Ji Sung is quite remarkable showing off his actor skills. But, I must say that to me the scenes in which he transforms from one personality into another were quite frankly ridiculous. As if he was a monster or something. Whereas people with DID are obviously no monsters and their transformation from one personality to another is usually very subtle.

I will stick with the show for now to give it the benefit of the doubt and to see how it all pans out. For Ji Sung but also to give Show a chance to deal with issues of mental ill-health and mental health stigma in a satisfactory way. I hope it delivers. 😊

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  Paulina

Paulina, good and important points, and I respect and appreciate that you delve into it from this angle. It’s something that I’ll be keeping in mind as show goes forward, that even as I’m (hopefully) enjoying the hijinks and action and humor, I don’t lose sight of the seriousness of the mental health issues and that the reality is sure to be much different than this dramatization of it.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Well said, Trent. I wanted to reply but didn’t know how to express my enjoyment of the humor in this show without making it sound as if I don’t take the plight of persons with mental challenges seriously.

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  beez

And I know it’s difficult to watch anything when you know is completely inaccurate even with mundane things like careers, professions, hobbies, etc., so when something is as traumatic and personal as knowledge about mental and physical challenges is misrepresented its even more difficult to sit back and let it slide by.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Paulina

paulina, i think you are taking the portrayal of the DID issue in this drama too literally, after all this is not a mayo clinic medical journal. have you seen pigs flying in movies, men becoming beasts, etc… that’s what a movie is allowed to do. if it makes your soul ache and your tears run, and your heart smile, and your eyes glitter… then the production is doing a good job (sometimes the screenplay, sometimes directing, at other times acting, or set designs or the music…) and when it all works together on all levels , we the public end up with an amazing piece of art that enriches parts of our beings at different times with different intensities.

Ele Nash
2 months ago

Oh, kfangurl, I’m not sure what to think of myself for enjoying this show – so much so I, oops, watched episode three already! However, before I launch into heart eyes over the guyliner and the swoony (but overly macho cringe) “this is the time I fell in love with you”, I feel I must first say that if I was, or knew someone with, DID, I would be pretty cross about this appalling representation of it. Gah! It’s so bad. I wish they’d play up the eye / tattoo magic-type things more so we’d see this isn’t DID at all, it’s total fantasy land. And also, ugh, the no means yes yuckiness made my skin crawl. I really could have done without it.

OK, so what I did like (OK, positively squealed over) was Si Jung. Ooh, the light in his eyes really does change. That hard level gaze of Shin Se Gi had me gawking as Do Hyun turned from, meh, not my type to 🤤 I am so lame for thinking he’s hot.

As for screechy Ri Jin, goodness, it was loud but I actually don’t mind her as she seems like a good person at least and her family are cute. I had way more issues, with other ‘comedic’ women in kdramaland – Hong Cha-young in Vincenzo, for example. But I literally didn’t understand how Ri Jin went from overtly screamy reaction to violent Se Gi (yes, he’s swoony but he’s pretty mad) to putting on make-up and a hairbow and waiting to go on a date with him. Like, what now? He is scary-violent and he stalked you to your place of work and keeps wrist-grabbing you and insisting he likes you in quite a sinister sort of way… She should run for the hills, or at the very least report him to the police. It made zero sense.

Dear, dear. What do I make of it all other than it is, as you say kfangurl, weirdly compelling. I think I’m going to enjoy it far more than my brain tells me I should 😆

Natalia
Natalia
2 months ago

I personally tend to avoid shows, films etc involving DID due to the inescapable temptation for scriptwriters to go wild with it. DID is an extremely complicated disorder (even a disputed one) that has been exploited in cinema, TV, literature in so many ways, most of the time adding to the stigma that mental patients face as danger to society (let’s face it, from Fight Club to Primal Fear to Alias Grace, there’s always an evil/murderous personality). And of course there are the cases where DID is exploited for comedy, which I am afraid will happen in this show too, although to be honest I prefer that to the Mr. Hyde trope.

Having said that, I think I can go on with this show, despite its ridiculous representation of DID (physical pain? Dragon tattoo? Eyeliner?), if only all that screeching stops. I am glad to see that from what it’s being said here, it will stop soon.

With all that screeching and the no-sense stuff going on, I admit I didn’t pay too much attention to the family issues that the ML faces.I thought his parents died and so did his grandad, leaving his grandma chair of the company. But who’s that other lady that acts as his mother?

jaco_4950
jaco_4950
2 months ago

This is my very first time at posting at fangirlverdict, so just putting that out there first. I thought it was time, after reading the various reviews for over a year now. This show is so promising, but the screams have put me off so much, I will have to see if they really do tone down after another couple of episodes. I did also find this actress annoying in She Was Pretty as well, so I guess it may be doomed for me from that perspective. Park Seo Joon is a favourite though, and of course Ji Sung is amazing so far, incredible acting.

Kimberly Himmel
Kimberly Himmel
2 months ago

Loved this show when I first watched it. I might even go back and watch it again since this has re-introduced me to it. Love the different personalities that Ji Sung is able to bring to life. I hope everyone enjoys the show as much as I did.

Trent
2 months ago

My friends, we have to talk. I am not down with our FL after two episodes. I spent a bit of time thinking about it, and fortunately, KFG’s episode notes I think do a good job of identifying my two biggest issues with her.

The outta control upper decibel range is obvious. If she’s going to be turned up to 11 for the duration of the show, we’ve got problems. I’m willing to take a cautious wait and see attitude on the assurance that she’s gonna tone it down before too much longer.

The second thing that I realized, after some thought, that was bothering me is the manifest lack of competence. Now, granted, I’m coming off of Dr. Romantic 1 & 2, and Hospital Playlist 1 & 2 (currently playing), where our protagonists are fantastically competent doctors who radiate a very soothing “I know what I’m doing” vibe, but still, it’s very disconcerting that our supposed psychiatric resident doesn’t seem to know a whole lot more than we might expect of the average layman off the street. Are we sure she actually has her medical license? C’mon, now.

Now, I appreciate KFG’s suggestion of donning the surreal lens to view the wackiness of our purported professionals not really knowing what they’re doing, and I do take to heart that this is not a hospital procedural; drama has other fish to fry, to be sure. But still…this will take some major adjustment to get used to, I think.

Was a bit wild to see Park Seo-joon showing up in this, I hadn’t realized he was part of the cast. And a very happy surprise (as always) to see Kim Seul-gi popping up on the screen…wish she was sticking around for longer than a cameo.

BE
BE
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent, this is not so much surreal to me as it is a farce.
The bit about Do Hyun being an all American college lefty social activist, quarterback, and solid citizen, who even went to uni in a suit, sweater, and a tie, as if that were even in 2015 ever a combo on any US campus to begin with sets the scene. This is an only in S.Korea drama land comedic mashup. We got the hospital, we got the cheobol, with the special touch of ice queen ladies, the step brother with the Gumiho Hunter hairstyle plus a few hours at a tanning salon to flesh him out. We got the Cheobol Uncle with the part on the left pomaded half pompadour and the phony chuckle. We got the lowrent motorcycle gangland guys with the expensive designer studded leather motorcycle jacket–and the mean don’t mess with my eye liner bully boy trash talk. We got the night club with the loud synthesized beats and bodies bouncing up and down, a dj whose rap is synchronized with the street fight just outside. We got the sci fi multiple personality key to the highway of show, almost none of which should be taken, except for reasons of dramatic tension, seriously. We got the nerdy manager with the nerdy glasses and the nerdy part in middle hair style who somehow is the only person on earth other than his shrink who not only knows what a psycho Do Hyun is but is also well acquainted with all his iterations. We have that ridiculous apartment where manager has ensconced Do Hyun. We even have the childhood sweetheart turned jaded pearl bedecked naked neck and black cocktail dress wearing embodiment of the kind of person our Gumiho Noona wishes she might have turned out to be. Is that sardonic pose with Ki Joon her or does she still have a soft spot for the boy scout of her dreams, cause let’s face it ladies, Do Hyun is both catchable and still cute as a bug in a rug, is he not? You can always bring out Se Gi between the sheets with a quick flip over your shoulder, no problem.

Unlike the recent and truly surreal in places comedic mashup, Vincenzo, with Sung Joong Ki playing lead as the only character playing it straight while the rest of the ensemble goes off the deep end around him, it seems like KMHM is a show in which everyone but the leads pretty much enact their roles with a straight face, while FL, whom I find annoying too, gets to speak for the audience when asking herself what kind of drama has she found her self in, and Ji Sung gets to go hog wild. I mean how upset can I be about the hospital staff from some slapstick comedy all with serious expressions on their faces, not only incompetent nincompoops, but shamelessly silly gossips, the men especially, when we are supposed to take on faith that a bad bump to the brain, and our mild mannered hero, finds himself shaking it off, shaking his head, with a laser beam running across his eyeballs, and boom a wild neck tattoo and mascara eye liner magically appears (oh ho ladies the secret to those eyes on Do Re Mi with which Ji Yung does his sixty year up date on Marlon Brando in The Wild One: mascara!) And we close out episode two, the bestofem so far if one is not given to swooning over ridiculously bad but beautiful Se Gi, whom I have spoken of earlier as reminding me of Director Ban, Perry Park! I cannot wait for episode 3 to see just what shenanigans he is about to pull off.

I did dig the family brewing equipment, those curlicue copper pipes used at the draft tap. I loved the outdoor barbque in the middle of winter. I thought that pink bow barette in Ri Jin’s hair, just the kind of accoutrement to impress a guy like Se Gi,
was so inviting, and I was left wondering just how many hours in rollers and how much hair spray was necessary to get the ends of her hair to curl up and stay that way.

Trent
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

I think you’ve got everyone’s number, BE… I particularly like the characterization of First Love as the avatar of sophisticated malicious ennui that Gumiho Noona only wishes she could grow up to be one day.

I hope and expect there should be some decent veins of entertainment to mine here, so we shall see…

beez
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

@BE – At first I was wondering if you’d somehow mistakenly eaten some mushrooms but then I realized all that did happen in these two episodes. haha!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 months ago
Reply to  BE

Whew BE – your comment pretty much wraps the first two episodes up perfectly.

Leslie
Leslie
2 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent, I hesitated to rewatch this show because of my response to Shrieking FL first time around, i.e. headache. Nonetheless, I enjoyed Show overall quite well, and wanted to follow along with this group, so I watched these first episodes on mute (mostly), depending on subtitles only. Et voila! It worked! If memory serves, most of the shriek is gone after ep. 3. Hang in there, everyone, if the decibels are bringing you down.

j3ffc
j3ffc
2 months ago

Kfangurl: thanks so much for choosing this drama as your Editor’s Choice! What a fun choice – so complementary to Nirvana and totally different tone from Gumiho. So easy to get into…let’s go!!

As always, you have hit the high points perfectly, so just a couple of comments for now.

1. I may be the only one, but I’m not bothered by Hwang Jung Eum’s, um, demeanor, at all. I think I’d be pretty shrill myself under similar circumstances and I identify with the combination of professional and nerd in her. (And, OK, I may be predisposed to give her a break thanks to lingering good vibes from Mystic Pop-Up Bar.) In fact, I think you nailed it: the script probably said, literally, “Oh Ri Jin screams in distress. Cut.”

2. I love Oh Ri Jin’s family already.

3. Kim Seul-gi!

4. And, not to be a downer, but while I get that Jennifer’s dad deserved his beating and more, I don’t think that Shin Se Gi’s actions did much for Jennifer’s long-term well-being.