What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 4

TL;DR: HE SAID IT FIRST, HAH \o/ (Also, Mi-so is ridiculously beautiful in this episode.)

One of the things this episode excelled at was showing Mi-so and Young-joon’s growing awareness of each other as something other than boss/subordinate. From physical contact to emotional vulnerabilities, this episode really ramped up the intimacy factor for the two of them. It was a delight to watch them—and especially Young-joon—become aware of just how rapidly things were changing between them. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 4”

Summits, Elections, and Drama News

The big news item this week is the June 12 summit in Singapore. Add the local elections the day afterward, and it was a busy week, politically, in South Korea.

June 12 summit: “[US-NK Summit]Trump-Kim summit repeats past failure of denuclearizing NK: experts,” “Moon says US-N. Korea summit moved world back from brink of war,” “The Singapore Summit Gives Hope that Peace Is Still Possible,” “Blue House to soon announce decision on whether to halt joint military exercises,” and “Trump gave Kim Jong-un his direct number; 1st call due Sunday.”

“Military talks restore hotlines.” This hotline has been shut down since May 2011.

June 13 elections: “[June 13 Local Elections] Conservatives Fall Before the Ruling Party’s Landslide Victory,” “Eye-catching outcomes of 2018 local elections,” and “Feminist candidate fares well in Seoul mayoral race despite opposition.”

The Park Geun-hye saga: “Prosecutors demand 12 years for ex-president Park for taking bribes from spy agency” and “Prosecutors seek 25 years for Choi Soon-sil.”

Supreme Court power abuse case: “Judges nationwide support ‘criminal procedures’ involving judicial abuses of Yang Sung-tae,” “Supreme Court chief vows cooperation over probe into power abuse case,” and “Chief Justice agrees to cooperate with prosecutors in investigations of judicial misconduct.”

“South Korean women look to Dutch non-profit for terminating unwanted pregnancies.” The company provides consultations and abortion pills to women in countries where abortion is illegal.

“Korea approves SNU students’ exchanges with North.” Now that would be interesting.

“Court denies damages for ‘comfort women.'” The court ruled that the government had not acted illegally.

“Gov’t to Crack Down on Hidden Cameras in Public Restrooms.” Honestly, this makes me wonder just how big of an issue this is in the U.S., too.

“Sex, an Eternal Dialogue with Another.” A Korean woman’s essay about her sexual experiences, desire, and others’ power and control.

“Lee Joon Ki and EXO join star-studded cast for Lotte Duty Free web drama.” Oh dear.

“‘Suits’ Ends On A High Note With Its Best Ratings Yet.” Congrats to the cast and crew.

“‘What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim’ Continues To See Success With Consistent Ratings.” Be careful, there’s a spoilers section at the bottom. I had to scroll back up quickly!

“Update: Lee Je Hoon Confirmed To Play Leading Role In New SBS Drama Chae Soo Bin Is In Talks For.” Interesting.

“Jung In Sun Confirmed For Leading Role Alongside So Ji Sub In New MBC Drama.” Also interesting.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 3

TL;DR: Looks like we’ve got some serious childhood trauma on the horizon

Petty, childish jealousy requires a careful balancing act if I’m going to enjoy it. It needs to be without cruelty. It needs to leave the jealous person frustrated in all their attempts at getting attention/validation. And it absolutely must turn the jealous person into the object of humor. I am happy to report that this episode nailed all three of those things as Young-joon tried to win over Mi-so, failed, and then insisted that his admiration of Mi-so was strictly professional. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 3”

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 2

TL;DR: I’m torn between being touched that he took part of her message to heart about consideration and being annoyed that he still missed the greater point.

But let’s start off with the things that made me happiest in this episode, and that’s Mi-so and her relationship with the other ladies. I was so worried when Ji-ran burst into Mi-so’s home, demanding to know what was going on between Mi-so and Yeong-joon. It became clear very quickly that Mi-so, while irritated at the interruption, had probably fielded this kind of nonsense before and was an expert at it. In a matter of moments she had Ji-ran on her couch, giving her cookies and sage life advice to stay the hell away from Yeong-joon and find someone who was actually capable of giving her the kind of relationship she wanted. It was a lovely scene, and I’m just praying that this defusing sticks and Ji-ran doesn’t end up in the jealous second lead lady role because that would be predictable and boring. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 2”

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 1

TL;DR: Well, that escalated quickly.

It’s always a treat when a premier episode has its shit together. This first episode was a strong introduction to Mi-so, Yeong-joon, the people around them, and our heroes’ immediate conflict. In between the comedic scenes (largely funny, though with an occasional misstep), there were some genuine, lovely moments—from Mi-so, at least. Yeong-joon, on the other hand, was too busy being convinced of his own perfection to actually understand what she was trying to say with her resignation. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Episode 1”

History Textbooks, Baby Elephants, and Drama News

I threw in the baby elephant so you’d feel better about the overall content of this link roundup.

June 12 summit: “Historical summit finalized for June 12 at 10 am at Singapore’s Capella Hotel” and “N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un to arrive in Singapore on June 10.”

The Park Geun-hye saga: “Prosecutors to take up history textbook case.”

Korean Air scandals: “Worst day for Korean Air chief’s family: Mother, daughter in deep trouble.”

Gwangju Uprising: “Gov’t launches probe into sexual violence during 1980 pro-democracy uprising.”

#MeToo: “Prosecution reopens Jang Ja-yeon sexual abuse case,” and “Vicious voices scapegoat victims for speaking out : Korea’s legal system makes it easy to target those who have come forward with sex crime allegations.”

“Why do workers choose not to do their best?” Because their companies suck and they aren’t properly compensated.

“Judges seek thorough investigation of ex-chief justice” and “[Abuse of Judicial Authority] Lodge Accusations, Cooperate with the Investigation, or Withhold Comments: What Will Kim Myeong-su Choose?” Yikes at all of the allegations.

“Korean gov’t rejects visa request from same-sex marriage couple.” Damn it.

“Listening to the Life Stories of Women Storekeepers, Listening to the Times.” An introduction to oral histories of the women storekeepers of Mangwon Market.

“First elephant born in 23 years at Seoul zoo named ‘Kori’ by children.” Awwwww.

“Lee Young Ae’s Upcoming Historical Spy Drama Reveals More Details.” Okay, this sounds amazing. I want this. All of this.

Lee Seung Gi and Bae Suzy confirm ‘Vagabond.'” Hey, as long as it is better than Gu Family Book, I might stick around.

“Upcoming Drama Starring Song Seung Heon, f(x)’s Krystal, And Lee Si Eon Shares New Details.” GASP, the driver gets to be a lady? Other than that, I don’t really care.

“JTBC Announces Plans For 2nd Season Of ‘Waikiki.'” Huh.

“Yoon Kyun Sang Confirmed To Join Kim Yoo Jung And Song Jae Rim In New Drama As Male Lead.” Really? Yikes at that age gap.

“‘What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim’ Off To Strong Start With First Episode Ratings.” That’s a good sign. Need to start it this weekend.

Something in the Rain, Episode 4 [DROPPED]

You’d think that, in 2018, a show wouldn’t ask us to accept a man as a romantic lead if he would angrily ask his brand-new girlfriend if she liked it when her ex-boyfriend assaulted her. The ex chased her into the kitchen, shoved her against the counter/wall, kissed her against her will, and only stopped when she managed to break away and spray cream in his face, which blinded him and startled him enough that he paused.

Joon-hee found Jin-ah in the wreckage of the store, surrounded by broken glass, and he fucking asked her if she liked it because apparently what matters to him after hearing Jin-ah’s horrifying story is his feelings. No lackluster, one-sentence apologies can ever fix that.

So it should come as no surprise to my long-time readers that I’m dropping this show. I didn’t even bother to finish the episode, because let’s be frank—how can I trust this show to handle the other sexism/misogyny plotline that’s in full swing in Jin-ah’s office after hearing Joon-hee victim blame the woman he supposedly loves? How can this show make me forget that Joon-hee’s reaction to Jin-ah’s assault was to ask her if she liked it?

It can’t. Goodbye, show. You were cute for about thirty seconds, and now I need to forget I was ever excited to watch you.

4 Hopes for What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim

So, office romcoms are not my thing, especially when the boss is a guy and the underling is a lady, mostly because those power dynamics squick me out. But I love Park Min-young, and I know that Park Seo-joon can play head-over-heels in love from his stint on A Witch’s Romance, so I’ll be giving it a shot. (Plus? The feckless boss falling for a hyper-competent underling can be really fun if done well, and I’m praying this is done well.) All that said, I’ve still got a couple of items on my wishlist for the show:

Young-joon confesses his feelings first. It’s clear from the teasers that he thinks Mi-so is in love with him, so I think it would be delightful if he were the only one to catch feelings and end up confessing only to find out that, ooops, nope, she just wants to end her employment with him, sorry. (Bonus points if his confession is Mr. Darcy-esque where he manages to insult her and everything about her in the process of explaining the depths of his feelings for her. Extra bonus points if she rejects him.)

Mi-so actually is a goddess among secretaries instead of just having lip service paid to her abilities. This is a small pet peeve of mine, but it irritates me when we’re told, not shown, just how awesome a lady is at her job, only for her skills/intelligence/etc. to fail her at a crucial dramatic moment so the hero can swoop in and save her. I don’t think there’s a high likelihood of that here since the teasers have consistently portrayed Young-joon as completely out of touch with reality/self-absorbed—but still. I’m keeping an eye on you, show.

What catalyzes Young-joon’s change to a more mature person (because I’m assuming that’s what his character arc will be) is realizing that he in his current state has literally nothing she looks for in a romantic partner (because I’m assuming he doesn’t). Few things are as unattractive in a romantic partner as needing to handle them like you would a toddler. I don’t want Young-joon to grow up in order to win Mi-so’s heart; I want him to grow up because he realizes that he did not even register as dateable because he was a toddler in  a man’s body. I want some serious self-reflection out of him about his own life and behavior and expectations.

Mi-so has friends and/or coworkers that she can vent to. Because heaven knows, she’ll need it after all the Young-joon managing she has to do. I want her to have a life outside of her boss and her job, and all the better if she makes it clear at some point that her world does not revolve around him.

Will you be watching the show? What are your hopes for it?

2 Spec Fic and 1 Office Comedy Headed Your Way

We have a good mix of dramas premiering this week! I’m personally interested in Secretary Kim (despite my abysmal track record with office comedies). Are any of these on your list?

Are You Human, Too?
KBS2
18 episodes
Monday/Tuesday
Available on DramaFever.com

When a suspicious accident leaves Nam Shin, heir to the PK Group, in a coma, his mother, Oh Ro-ra, is desperate to protect him and his position from the conspiracy that almost killed him. As one of top people in the field of artificial intelligence, Ro-ra gathers a group of fellow scientists to create an android—dubbed Nam Shin III—to take Nam Shin’s place. Ro-ra also hires Kang So-bong to be Nam Shin III’s bodyguard and help him act like a human in order to fool Nam Shin’s enemies. But while all the humans focus on Nam Shin, Nam Shin III begins to develop feelings of his own, and the android starts to wonder if he will be able to have a life independent of just being a substitute for someone else.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?
tvN
16 episodes
Wednesday/Thursday
Available on Viki.com

Lee Young-joon, vice president of Yoomyung Group, is so self-absorbed that most of the time he doesn’t register what his secretary, Kim Mi-so, tries to say to him. Mi-so has a stellar reputation in the corporate world for her secretarial skills, but after spending the last nine years making her boss look good and managing his narcissistic ego, she finally decides to submit her resignation. It’s time for Mi-so to find her own way in the world—but will Young-joon be able to function without her?

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is based on Jung Kyung-yoon’s 2013 novel of the same name. Kim Young-mi’s 2016 webcomic was also based on the novel.

Life on Mars
OCN
16 episodes
Saturday/Sunday
Availability unknown

Han Tae-joo is a detective who has a reputation for sticking to his principles. While Tae-joo is on the trail of a serial killer, he ends up in a serious accident. He wakes up in 1987 and soon realizes that if he’s ever going to return to the present, he needs to solve a murder case. For that, he enlists the help of fellow detectives Yoon Na-young, Kang Dong-chul, Lee Yong-gi, and Jo Nam-sik.

Life on Mars is based on the 2006 BBC One drama of the same name.

Something in the Rain, Episode 3

TL;DR:  There are some great things in this episode, and there are some that  do not please me at all.

I am over Kyu-min. To be fair, pretty much everyone else in this show is over him, too, with the exception of Kyu-min and Jin-ah’s mother (more on that later). He was tiresome in the last episode when he (mistakenly) believed that mutual cheating balanced out and that meant he and Jin-ah could get back together; he is especially tiresome now that he’s hunting down Jin-ah’s friends to complain about the blow to his ego. Continue reading “Something in the Rain, Episode 3”