A romantic-comedy drama special about a math teacher named Do Do Hye, who becomes exam question setter which requires her to live a dormitory under supervision and meeting the two men who formed her most embarrassing days.
Review Notebook of My Embarrassing Days is part one of the 2018 KBS Drama Special.
“You must find out what’s wrong to get the right answer.”
I feel like that’s a fitting beginning for this series.
Do Do Hye is a Math teacher who is assigned as the Exam Writer for College Scholastic Ability Test by the principal. She gets suckered into the position because she’s perfect since she’s divorced and doesn’t have any kids. Also, all the other teachers have excuses regarding their children, other obligations, or injuries that hinder them for doing it. Do Hye does perk up a bit when the principal mentions that she’ll make $300 a day, but she still isn’t pleased that this was sprung on her. She’s also never been an exam writer, either.
The exam writers all travel together in a bus to the location where they’ll do doing all of their work. When they arrive, it feels more like a maximum security prison than a dormitory. There are officers ushering them in and urging them to be quiet. These exams questions are super top secret and everyone has to line up so the police can go through their bags. Phones are confiscated until it is time to leave. These tests are so important that the powers that be will not run any risk of this information being leaked to the outside world.
There is a police officer assigned to every department. Unfortunately for Do Hye, the police officer of the math department is no other than a former college friend, Na Pil Seung, who she had many embarrassing moments with. Cue lots of awkwardness. As if that’s not embarrassing enough, Corporal Na smells the soju on Do Hye because she had been drinking on the bus with the other math teacher.
As if that’s not enough, over the years Do Hye has kept a Review Notebook where she writes down her most mortifying moments. She all but rips it out of Pil Seung’s hands and exclaims that it’s her diary before she can read it. To be fair, she has quite a few embarrassing moments written on those pages about Pil Seung.
It takes some time, but Do Hye does start to warm up to Pil Seung again. Of course, her ex-husband arrives on the scene to make matters extremely complicated as he’s also a math teacher. This poor girl just can’t catch a break and it’s easy to feel for her.
In a drunken stupor after the passing of his father, Do Hye’s ex makes a scene outside of the exam site. He, loudly and with a huge audience, blurts out his past and now everyone knows that the two were formally married to each other. Poor Pil Seung is wounded because he had just confessed to Do Hye, who hadn’t responded to his confession.
With the cat out of the bag and Pil Seung upset that Do Hye was keeping important matters from him, things get even more awkward. And as if the divorce isn’t bad enough, it’s the reason why they got divorced that caused the most stir. See, Do Hye’s ex cheated on her and in retaliation, she cheated on him. It obviously wasn’t the most healthy relationship. And with her ex clamoring for a second chance with Do Hye, her embarrassment meter is about to go through the roof.
The only saving grace is that everyone is leaving the next day.
Except there was coincidentally an earthquake and now Do Hye and the rest of the math teachers are stuck there for another week. On top of wallowing in misery over her supreme embarrassing and hiding in her room from everyone else, Do Hye gets stuck in her bathroom after a shower. There was something wrong with the door, and it is Pil Seung who comes to her rescue. He’s still frosty with Do Hye and you can’t really blame him. He spilled his guts to her and she wasn’t exactly forthcoming with her own past nor did she let Pil Seung know where their relationship stands.
Do Hye makes a last ditch effort to save face and get Pil Seung. She likes him a lot and meets him late at night at the library. She hands over her diary and tells him to read it and. Of course, Pil Seung reads it. After reading it, he goes to her ex’s room and asks for a math favor. He has her ex write a math equation in the back of the diary for Do Hye to encode. It is actually his phone number, which he thinks is clever.
When the week is up and it’s time to go, Pil Seung quietly returns Do Hye’s diary and doesn’t say much. This disappoints her and when she gets home, she tosses the diary in her freezer. It’s a bad idea as she has no idea that Pil Seung has a message for her. Thankfully, her ex isn’t all bad. When Do Hye goes to pick up the dog that they both share, her ex remarks about his dating and that he wishes he was as lucky as Do Hye. It’s at this point that he confesses to writing equations in the back of the diary for Pil Seung.
Suddenly, it’s all starting to make sense. Do Hye takes off and leaves the dog behind. She runs home to pulls the diary out of the freezer, but all the pages are stuck together so she has to painstakingly use a blow dryer to pry the pages apart. But she gets to the equations and finally solves them. She manages to track down Corporal Na while he’s on the job taking care of a disorderly, drunk citizen.
And finally the two reconnect and Pil Seung jokes about her taking so long to answer the equation. If only he knew the true story! But through all of her embarrassing moments, Pil Seung and Do Hye get their chance. There’s not a kiss at the end, which I actually appreciate. The actor and actress have nice chemistry so it’s easy to spot how they feel without them getting physical.
Final Thoughts on Review Notebook…
This is a story where a lot doesn’t necessary happen, but a lot is learned. The pacing is slower, which is nice (for me personally) because we only get an hour with these characters. It feels like an honest portrayal and felt very realistic to real life. Everyone has embarrassing moments in life, but Do Hye seems to have many during the week stay at the exam site.
There are plenty of ups and downs, but Do Hye had a lot of learning to do. In the end, she got it right and found happiness with Pil Seung. This was a nice little drama special. It’s not the most riveting content, but it was an hour well spent. If you prefer something more fast paced, you’ll probably struggle through this one. This special really focuses on the characters instead of the plot.
Overall, I felt Review Notebook of My Embarrassing Days was a pleasant watch and I really enjoyed Do Hye and Pil Seung interacting together.
P.S. Park Sung Hoon was such a delight as Na Pil Seung. I was looking over his filmography and was bummed to see him relegated as mostly a supporting character in dramas and movies. I would love to see what he do, acting wise, as a leading man in a full series drama. His smile and sweetness in Review Notebook of my Embarrassing Days had my heart soaring.
Come check out some of my other reviews here.