Welcome friends! It’s been a while since my last First Impressions post and I really needed to talk about Her Private Life.
First Impressions: Her Private Life
It’s been a bit quiet the past month here at ISWAKD as I spent most of my time prepping for a yard sale. Now that the chaos of clearing out clutter and selling is behind me, I’m finally able to give drama watching my undivided attention.
(Yes, I’ve been desperately trying to save for KCON NY.)
WARNING: Spoilers below!
Quietly, behind the radar, I’ve been watching Her Private Life starring Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young. Yes, it is another office rom-com. If you were a fan of PMY in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, she aces here. She plays Sung Deok Mi, art gallery curator by day and secret fangirl by night.
What’s really interesting is that Deok Mi is a woman who is her thirties and is totally obsessed with fictional k-pop group White Ocean, which is lead by Cha Shi An—her bias. Deok Mi and her BFF in real life go into total fangirl mode for anything relating to Cha Shi An. Deok Mi even runs a fansite for him!
Even if you don’t really fangirl when it comes to dramas or k-pop, Deok Mi’s character is relatable on the most basic of levels. She’s simply a woman who is very passionate about what she loves, hence her fangirling over Cha Shi An and running a fansite. When we’re passionate and overflowing with live for something and/or someone, we often reach out to others to share said passion and love.
Between blogging about dramas and having a podcast, I definitely resonate with Deok Mi’s passion. Who doesn’t love sharing something they’re passionate about with others?
Let’s shift to Kim Jae Wook. I haven’t watched him in many dramas, but most recently he chilled me to the core in Voice, where he was a very twisted psychopath. Actually, I had a very tough time stomaching his character. It was a very strange transition to seeing him as a male lead in a romantic comedy.
It took me about 3 or 4 separate tries to successfully make it through the first episode. That was mainly a personal issue where I had trouble adjusting to his character, Ryan Gold. It was such a departure from Voice, that I really needed to draw a line and see Kim Jae Wook as Ryan Gold and not as Moo Tae Goo.
After I started the episode two, Kim Jae Wook became Ryan Gold for me and I completely forgot all about his character in Voice.
Thinking back on it, I’m not sure why I initially struggled with his character since I’m fangirling hard over Ryan Gold and the way that he is always, and I mean always, looking out for Sung Deok Mi.
I’m happy to report that I absolutely love Her Private Life. Hook, line, and sinker! I binge-watched all episodes, which is no small feat when each episode is just over one hour long. To be honest, there were very few things that bothered me during these episodes, and most of them are knit-picky sort of issues.
Sometimes actors take on such memorable characters that it may be hard to sink into a new drama in a completely different genre. I do admit that Park Min Young’s character here has similarities to her What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim character, but it’s not a bad comparison. Her character here is different enough that I don’t see her as Kim Mi Soo.
PMY is really adorable and relatable—I love her having two different sides to her personality. On one side, she works hard and enjoys her job as an art museum curator. On other hand, she’s goes into total stealth-fangirl mode when it has anything to do with idol Cha Shi An.
I have currently binge-watched all eight episodes and I think that really reflects how immersed into the characters and plot I became. Sadly, I really struggled to stay hooked with Touch Your Heart. While it was also a workplace romantic comedy, sometimes I felt that the story really spun in circles. Sometimes I felt that drama was so unsure of its identity, which is why I’m still trying to find the will to finish it. Somehow I will.
In Her Private Life, I think the writer nailed the story and character arcs so far. One of my gripes is that I feel zero romantic chemistry between Deok Mi and Eun Gi. I know they’re playing the unrequited love card, which I’m not liking too much.
Eun Gi is a nice guy, but every time he interacts with Deok Mi, it screams 100% platonic to me. Yes, he’s apparently harboring a secret love for her, but I feel the writers could have done better by this character.
Now, to be fair, this drama is based on the web drama Noona Fan Dot Com, so I’m not sure how much or how little they’re following it.
Still, I do like that Eun Gi seems to be a dependable friend. He’s a judo instructor at a gym and he often seems relegated to watching Seon Joo’s (Deok Mi’s fangirling best friend and partner in crime) son. They have some cute interactions and I appreciate the “family unit” vibes the trio give me.
And then there’s the source of Deok Mi and Seon Joo’s fangirling: White Ocean’s Shi An. It’s actually refreshing and hilarious to see this duo go into complete fangirl mode over him.
When it comes to Shi An, they’re star struck. Also, One as Cha Shi An is completely adorable and really plays up the ‘star-studded idol’ role. I enjoy his hyung/dongsaeng relationship with Ryan, too. They both live in the same apartment building and have crossed paths in both good and bad ways.
Part of me wishes that we’d see a little more of Cha Shi An as I find his character charming. His dazzling smile is really disarming at times. He seems like a decent guy and I’m rooting for more good content to come from his character.
I feel like they really cast One well in this drama. Last time I saw him was in A Korean Odyssey aka Hwayugi. He was the peddler’s grandson.
I think he’s a pretty decent actor, too. When Ryan reviewed Shi An’s drunken escapades that landed him in Ryan’s apartment, I was dying. Shi An was drunk and fell to the floor when Ryan let him inside his apartment. Then, Shi An literally “swam” across the floor to the couch. Such a silly moment, but it made me laugh and appreciate what an all-around good guy Ryan is despite his somewhat prickly nature.
So where does that leave me as far as first impressions go for Her Private Life?
I’m loving this drama! There’s a possibility this could edge out my love for What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, but there’s still a lot of content to watch yet before I can make that call. All I can say is that I’m enjoying this drama. It’s not thoughtless fluff—there is quality content and story to be had. I’m especially curious about Lee Sol and what happened to her that Ryan ended up being adopted.
You can watch this drama on Viki with english subtitles.
Lastly, here’s a random fact about this drama before you go:
Any Healer fans in the house? If you are and remember the hacker ahjumma, she’s back! Kim Mi Kyung plays, Go Yeong Sook, who is Seong Deok Mi’s mother.