When I saw that Oh Jung Se and Kim Seul Gi were headlining this little drama special from 2014, I couldn’t not check it out. I mean, they are both so talented, and I’d love to see more of them on my screen.
Now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I do think that some specific lens adjustments would help to make this one more uniformly enjoyable for the average viewer, which I’ll talk about shortly.
Overall, I think this one’s definitely worth a look, if only for our leads.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Ujin (Oh Jung Se) is an ordinary office worker who thinks of himself as a loser. Only Sarang (Kim Seul Gi), a quirky girl from the accounting department, appears to be interested in him. One day, Ujin receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and this forces him to re-evaluate his life.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. Show’s brand of humor tends to be rueful and deadpan. I honestly think this is THE key to enjoying this one. If you can vibe with Show’s Intended Funny, then this little drama special would work really well for you.
2. Pay attention to the musical cues. This helped me. Because I didn’t naturally jive with Show’s brand of humor, the musical cues at least helped to clue me in on whether a scene was actually intended to be lighthearted, despite the heavy subject matter.
3. The characters do feel rather archetypical. I would have preferred a slightly different treatment of our story – more restraint, for example – but I still enjoyed the show, overall.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Oh Jung Se and Kim Seul Gi in leading roles. I think they are both such good actors, and even though I would have preferred a more reined-in touch in the overall writing and execution of this story, it was still a treat to have them on my screen.
2. The idea of Sarang helping Ujin to see the world differently. Even though the idea itself leans predictable, I rather enjoyed the execution of this. The thoughtful moments between Ujin and Sarang were a highlight for me.
3. The idea of Ujin re-evaluating his life. I feel like this is good food for thought for many of us, since most of us don’t pull back and evaluate our lives this way, unless there’s a catalyst to do so. Watching Ujin experience that catalyst, and think seriously about his life and what his regrets might be, was a good vicarious experience.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
So.. I’d had a feeling, that Ujin’s diagnosis was a mistake, and I think the practical side of my brain just couldn’t help worrying for him, as he got rid of basically everything in his life.
When he gave his life savings to his desperate best friend, I felt really anxious for him, because by then, Show had already confirmed that Ujin really wasn’t dying, and it was all a huge misunderstanding. I knew it was supposed to be funny, but I couldn’t stop my brain from asking, “Ok, but now how is he going to get through life, with no money..?!?” 😝
Generally speaking, this was my struggle, as I watched this one. I do think that if you’re more able to switch off the practical part of your brain and just lean into Show’s intended funny, you’d get more enjoyment – and less anxiety! – from your watch. 😅
That said, I did still enjoy watching Ujin come to terms with what’s important to him, and also, realize that he likes Sarang way too much to let her go like the noble idiot he was trying to be.
I also liked that bit of symbolism (well I think it’s symbolism), of there being an unexpected new wave of fireworks exploding onto the scene, even after everyone had thought the fireworks were over.
I think it’s a great metaphor for Ujin’s life; just when he’d thought his life was over, a new life, full of new possibilities, begins for him.
I’m personally relieved that Ujin’s friend returns the money out of guilt, but I’m also glad to see that even before that happens, we already witness Ujin back at work, with a new spring in his step, and a newfound zest for life. He’s happy to be alive, even before he gets his money back, and that’s really nice to see.
With 20/20 hindsight, it’s clear to see that this whole misadventure has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Without it, I’m pretty certain Ujin would have just carried on living the way he’d always lived, and he wouldn’t have given Sarang the time of day, nor would he have stopped to rethink his priorities and how to live his life differently.
All in all, Show’s turned out to be a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reminder to us all, to live our lives to the fullest, while we still can. Thanks, Show. Duly noted.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Quirky and deadpan – but with a good heart at its core.
FINAL GRADE: B
WHERE TO WATCH: