It’s been a hot minute since I’ve managed to review a short drama thing, but when I saw this one announced a while ago, I knew that I wanted to squeeze this into my schedule, somehow.
And so, when serendipity had it that I finished The Glory Part 1 (review here!) with 2 weeks to spare before Part 2 dropped, I knew I’d found my window.
And, I’m happy to say that it was well worth making time for this little show, because I would’ve been quite sorry to have missed it, for focusing too hard on all the other buzzier, full-length dramas that are always competing for my attention. 😅
Come see if this one would work for you too?
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
When Jung Seok’s (Yoon Park) sick daughter (Shin Yeon Woo) asks him to make her wish – that her idol Kang Hee (Sooyoung) would reply to her fan letter – come true, Jung Seok, like any well-meaning dad, writes that reply in Kang Hee’s stead.
Things soon become complicated, however, when Kang Hee and Jung Seok cross paths.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. Show doesn’t have a lot of screen time to work with
..so it tends to use tropes fairly liberally, as narrative shorthand.
Knowing to expect this, and adjusting your expectations around it, helps.
2. This drama world is sweet, simple and wholesome
..and that might take a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re coming into this, after just having watched something dark, like how I’d just watched The Glory Part 1. 😅
Giving it a bit of time helps. I’d felt oddly unsettled in the first third of episode 1, but soon got the hang of this story world.
3. Show vibes more like a traditional rom-com to my eyes
..which might take some getting use to, as well.
But, it’s actually quite nice, I felt, to watch something that reminds me of traditional k-romcoms, versus the recent Dramaland trend of either serving up darker shows that have nothing to do with romcoms, or serving up romcoms with a side of murder.
Sure, there’s a slightly old-fashioned flavor to it, which I’m probably registering as that traditional k-romcom sort of vibe, but it’s not offensive.
4. The humor is a little broad and silly
..but again, it’s not offensive. And, knowing to expect it, helps.
5. Show isn’t amazing, but it is pretty cute and enjoyable
..and sometimes, that’s just what you need from a drama. Just knowing not to expect great things from it, helps.
STUFF I LIKED
Yoon Park getting to play a nice guy
Like Park Sung Hoon, I really like it when Yoon Park gets to play a nice guy, but for some reason, also like Park Sung Hoon, Yoon Park doesn’t often get to play the nice guy.
This might be the only other time, aside from Age Of Youth (review here!), where I’ve seen him play a nice guy.
That was one big reason I wanted to check out this show, and nice Yoon Park did not disappoint.
Jung Seok is sweet and earnest, with such a wholehearted desire to be a good dad, that I couldn’t help but grow fond of him, very quickly.
Sooyoung as Kang Hee
I genuinely do enjoy Sooyoung as an actress, so I was pleased to see her cast as our female lead.
I think that Sooyoung’s perfectly cast as Kang Hee too; she’s got the top star aura down pat (is that just her being her top star self..? 😁), and looking at her, I would absolutely believe that she’s a popular actress with a lot of fans.
Her hidden angst is pretty well-played too, in that, I can believe that she’s got emotional wounds that she doesn’t like to talk about, and I can also believe that she’d choose to act like everything’s ok, when, in fact, there are things that are not ok, in her world.
For example, reporters being nice to her face, but gossiping behind her back, is also something that I can believe happens in the industry.
While I don’t think that Show’s intent is really to make a statement about the k-ent industry, this all does land as being plausible, even though it’s clearly amped up for dramatic purposes.
Jung Seok and Kang Hee together
I found that I enjoyed the pairing of Yoon Park and Sooyoung; I thought their chemistry was very decent for this little show, and for what it wants to be.
I also didn’t mind the high school connection, even though, strictly speaking, both Sooyoung and Yoon Park don’t quite pass for 18-year-olds anymore. 😅
Still, it was fun to see them in their school uniforms, and get a taste for what these characters’ high school life was like.
And, it was pretty fun to see them have that run-in in episode 1, where Jung Seok is the new transfer student looking to ditch class, and Kang Hee’s the rising star with little interest in school, also looking to ditch class.
The way he has no clue that she’s a big star, and the way she takes his gruff manner to mean that he must be a senior and thus deserving of more respect, is pretty cute.
But the swoony part, is when he owns up to smoking and gets punished by the teacher – when she’d been the one smoking in the first place.
The fact that he does this for her, right after meeting her, and without even knowing who she is, is altogether pretty heart-wobbly stuff, and I can see why Kang Hee would immediately develop a special interest in him.
And then in the present, in episode 2, when they have some one-on-one time together, I like that their conversation goes to deep and personal things like what had happened with Jung Seok’s mom, but also, leans into the lighthearted and silly, like when Kang Hee does that spontaneous photoshoot of Jung Seok modeling the various clothes she’s brought out for him to change into, after his beer incident.
In true tropey romcom fashion, we have a hyperproximity moment, when Kang Hee trips and Jung Seok falls on top of her, but I rather like how Show plays it lightly, such that Kang Hee gets all ready for the kiss – but finds that Jung Seok’s already on the other side of the room, having nicked her mobile phone, to get rid of the incriminating photos of him wearing her clothes, heh.
It’s all rather breezy, with a bit of squee peeking through, and I think it works really well, for this show.
Shin Yeon Woo as Yu Na
I enjoyed Shin Yeon Woo as our little catalyst Yu Na, who basically sets everything in motion, with her wish for a reply from Kang Hee.
I found her a pretty solid actress, in that I found her emotional reactions believable; decently delivered without being stilted or overwrought.
Most importantly, I also found her quite charming and endearing, which, in my eyes, can make up for a lot of shortcomings, in child actors.
Jung Seok and Yu Na
I was also quite taken with the father-daughter bond that we see, in these few short episodes.
I found it touching that Jung Seok would give up so much, in order to be by Yu Na’s side as much as possible.
That’s a very sacrificial kind of love that he pours out for her, and I do think that that’s one of the reasons that I rooted for Jung Seok to also find personal happiness, aside from his role as Yu Na’s father.
Show does take pains to flesh out its narrative
In a short little show like this, I wouldn’t blame Show, if it was rough around the edges, or lacking in logic throughlines, so I found it a pleasant surprise to find that Show’s meatier than I’d imagined, and has more logic built into its narrative than I’d expected.
Here’s an example from episode 2, where I thought Show did very nicely.
As we end our episode, I have to admit that I was quite amused by our epilogue, where we see how Kang Hee had known that Jung Seok had been a lawyer – and then, how, in expressing her mortification that she’d appeared to have stalked him, she knocks that beer can against her forehead, which is turn causes the BeerGate Incident, which had then led to Jong Seok needing clean clothes.
Somehow, I really like this idea that Show’s put thought into properly stringing things together, so that there’s a traceable causal relationship between things, that it can show us.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Show serves up a happy ending in the end – because of course it does.
I was never in any doubt that Show would give us a happy ending that involved Jung Seok and Kang Hee working things out and getting together in a romantic way. (If Show hadn’t given us that, I would’ve rioted, I was that sure of it, heh.)
What I am somewhat surprised by, is how Show takes its time, to bring Jung Seok and Kang Hee together as a couple.
I guess I’d just assumed that with Show’s cheerful-breezy billing, that Show would give us copious amounts of cheerful-breezy cute OTP stuff.
Instead, Show turns out to be less fluffy than I’d first imagined, and works to solve the challenges facing our characters instead of waving a magic wand, like so many dramas running short of screen time tend to do.
For that, I do think that Show deserves brownie points, even though I absolutely wouldn’t have minded, if Show had decided to just go full-on fluffy on me.
It’s probably more realistic that Jung Seok feels the pressure to not see Kang Hee for a while, given the scandal, and it also makes sense, for Kang Hee to take some time away from Korea, not only to focus on another aspect of her career, but more importantly, to give herself the space and time to heal.
And what a sweet gesture, for Jung Seok, knowing how Kang Hee’s got a phobia of nasty fan letters, to narrate Kang Hee’s fan letters, and record each one in a different plushie, therefore making it so much easier for Kang Hee to access the content of the letters (cute soft plushie, while the letter’s read in his voice? That’s double the safety, yes?).
That’s creative AND sweet; no wonder Kang Hee’s so touched by this. 🥰
And, with Jung Seok’s virtual safety net with her like this, I’m not surprised that Kang Hee makes such good progress, in overcoming her trauma.
As we close out our little story, and we get that little montage of the two of them on a date together, I’m most taken with the part of Jung Seok’s voiceover, where he says, “There are way more fans cheering for you… than people who hate you.”
I feel like that’s a good reminder for all of us; even though we may sometimes encounter people who don’t like us, there are more people who are for us, than against us. 🥰
Finally, we get an OTP kiss, and an indication that not only is our OTP together, Yu Na’s properly a part of this new relationship too.
All in all, an ending that vibes sweet and heartfelt, like the rest of this show. ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
A heartfelt and sweet little bonbon of a mini drama.
FINAL GRADE: B+
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Fan Letter, Please, is The Glory Part 2. I’ve taken an initial look at The Glory Part 2 and I’m happy to say Show’s got me nicely on the edge of my seat, all over again.
You can check out my E1 & 2 notes on The Glory Part 2 on Patreon here.
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)
Early Access (US$5): The Glory Part 2 [Korea]
Early Access Plus (US$10): +The Heavenly Idol [Korea]
VIP (US$15): +Meet Yourself [China]
VVIP (US$20): +Our Blooming Youth [Korea]
Ultimate (US$25): +Call It Love [Korea]