K-Drama Review: “The Secret Life Of My Secretary” Steady Buildup That Amplifies The Sweetness In The End
Romantic Comedies have always been a go-to for an instant pick me up.
No matter how cheesy the lines are, or how predictable the story line can get, a romantic K-drama guarantees a great time. The Secret Life of My Secretary is no exception. Boosted by an eager and outstanding cast, the unique story of Do Min Ik’s inability to recognize faces draws viewers due to their curiosity. But it’s the undeniable chemistry between the four leads that has kept viewers engrossed throughout the drama.
TITLE: THE SECRET LIFE OF MY SECRETARY
THEME: ROMANCE, PHYSICAL DISABILITY
LENGTH: 32 EPISODES
BROADCAST DATE: 6 MAY 2019 – 25 JUNE 2019
MAIN LEADS: KIM YOUNG KWANG, JIN KI JOO, KIM JAE KYUNG, KOO JA SUNG
HIGHLIGHTS: CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE LEADS, ADORABLE MOMENTS, HILARIOUS PORTRAYAL OF CHARACTERS
OH NO MOMENTS: GENDER INEQUALITY STORY LINE
RELATED DRAMAS: SHOPPING KING LOUIE, Rich Man
The main backbone of the drama is T&T Mobile Director Do Min Ik’s inability to recognize faces. This proves to be a dilemma for the director because it hinders him from gaining the presidency of the company. Strangely, the only face he can see is of his eager beaver secretary, Jung Gal Hee. Thus, Min Ik relies heavily on his secretary to do everything for him. Because of her desire to keep the job, Gal Hee willingly allows herself to be Min Ik’s minion, which makes the other secretaries resent her.
Things go awry when Min Ik is set up on a blind date with Veronica Park. Hilarity ensues, and not long after, hearts start racing fast and love is in the air. Swiftly navigating the viewers through a bevy of emotions, the characters endear themselves quite smoothly. This makes for an unforgettable love story that’s to remain in viewers’ hearts.
While I initially had my doubts about the story line of Do Min Ik’s illness, the writers managed to incorporate it well into the romance. It became the reason of Min Ik to keep Gal Hee close to him. Needless to say, it was easy for romance to develop between them when Gal Hee’s face was the only one he could see. Although personally, I thought that Min Ik might have already had feelings for her prior to his accident, they both gained courage to face their feelings for one another despite what Gal Hee did.
However, I have to say that the highlight of the entire drama for me is Veronica Park. I honestly can’t count how many times I’ve laughed out loud just because of Veronica Park. Her exaggerated intonation, her extravagant movements, and her overall character were just so lovable for me. Her dominance and confidence in herself were also very attractive. She knew what she wanted — or rather, who she wanted, and she wasn’t shy to go after it, or him. Kudos to Kim Jae Kyung for creating a fan in me because of her acting in the drama.
Lastly, kudos to the cinematographer and production team for a job well done. The drama is aesthetically beautiful, with great thought to detail, down to the camera angles. The drama is full of beautiful scenes with breathtaking scenery.
However, no matter how beautiful the love story played out, there are still a few drawbacks. Firstly, my concern over the unfair and oftentimes poor treatment of secretaries in the drama. Yes, I get it that this may have been amplified to justify the secretaries’ forming of a union. In particular, it didn’t sit well with me that Min Ik used Gal Hee as his own personal step stool. I felt that was degrading to women everywhere. I wish that we do away with gender-specific roles like this, where females are the middle class secretaries who are desperate to keep their jobs. We need more dramas like What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim and Her Private Life, both of which were played by Park Min Young. I love how she chooses roles that are empowering. Her characters don’t cower because of their positions, but rather they are strong women who are confident and straightforward, even to their bosses. While I am glad that eventually Gal Hee developed a sense of confidence in the drama and found her own worth, I hope that in the future we can find better ways to portray women and their strength.
With that being said, I will move on to my next gripe. I found Gal Hee’s scenes with her dead mother a tad too excessive. I’m glad that she had someone to “talk to”, and yes, I am not immune to the fact that she does miss her mom, and would love for her to be alive and able to actually give her advice. I was just annoyed at times that the mom would appear out of nowhere and start to converse with Gal Hee, as if it’s the most normal thing in the world to talk to your dead mother. Then again, it’s just a tiny annoyance, though it doesn’t affect the overall experience for me, it just happened too frequently that it’s worth mentioning here.
Overall, The Secret Life of My Secretary was a great drama. It had the laughs, the romance and the feel good ending. Kim Young Kwang and Jin Ki Joo had great chemistry. I’ve been a follower of Kim for several of his dramas already, so I was confident he’d nail this role. I’ve only seen Jin in Come and Hug Me, which made me look forward to a lighter character for her. I’m glad to see her versatility.
If you want a drama that’s light and funny, this is for you. The romance is there, you’ll laugh a few times, and your heart will be happy. It’s definitely one of the better romantic comedies for this year.