Just Bananas About: Week of 1/30/17

For those who were fans of Another Oh Hae Young, there’s another drama that started early this year that will give you the same vibes as that drama.  Introverted Boss stars Yeon Woo Jin in the title role and I’ve been meaning to watch another drama with him since I was drawn to his acting in Arang and the Magistrate.  There always seemed to be one reason or another as to why it just didn’t work out so even though I’m overwhelmed with watching dramas at the moment, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t pass this one up.

I realize that Episodes 5 and 6 have been preempted this week but there are a lot of things I like about the drama so I’m hoping that the rewrites will help the drama instead of hurt it.  The drama is about Eun Hwan Ki (Yeon Woo Jin) who deals with having severe social anxiety to the point where he has a hard time being around people outside of his immediate family and close friends.  His social anxiety cripples him as he is the head of his family’s PR and marketing company.

While he does receive therapy for his condition, his condition is so debilitating that he is even unable to meet with his therapist face to face but Hwan Ki has shown that he does feel lonely so there is some hope that his desire to interact with people will outweigh his introverted tendencies.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, there is Chae Ro Woon (Park Hye Soo) who is bubbly and outgoing.  She decides to give up being a musical actress to work at the PR company but she’s got an ulterior motive for doing so.  Three years ago, her sister (Han Chae Ah) committed suicide at the company and now Ro Woon plans on bringing the company down who tore her family apart.

Unbeknownst to Ro Woon, Hwan Ki has felt guilty over the death of Ro Woon’s sister.  He’s spent the last three years sending Ro Woon flowers for all of her performances.  Ro Woon is desperate to find out who her Daddy Long-Legs is as she’s felt the warmth of his comfort through some of her darkest times.

When Hwan Ki gathers the courage to finally admit that he’s the one that’s been sending her flowers all these years, he learns that she’s already left the musical company and he is again reminded how his condition debilitates him.  However, he’s in luck as Ro Woon return to see if her Daddy Long-Legs has come by to deliver her flowers.  Although, they don’t officially meet Hwan Ki learns how much Ro Woon has missed her sister all these years even though she doesn’t try to show it.

Ben – Memory

벤 – Memory

A few days later, Hwan Ki accidentally rear ends Ro Woon’s car.  She tries to politely assess the situation but because Hwan Ki is too scared to exit his vehicle, she assumes that he’s trying to get away with a hit-and-run.  She tails him all the way to Brain Publicity, the same place where she is starting her new job.  She follows him all the way to his penthouse offices and demands to see him face to face to address the situation of the hit-and-run only to be later pulled out by his secretary, Kim Gyo Ri (Jun Hyo Sung).

Ro Woon cannot get past the suspicious behavior of her boss and all the rumors painting him as a psychopath doesn’t help.  He especially gets put on her blacklist when Gyo Ri anxiety over working for him causes stress-related stomach pains forcing her to go to the hospital.  However, he’s just misunderstood.  Hwan Ki goes to visit Gyo Ri at the hospital and although he’s not able to face her, he does reveal his condition to her.  It’s a step forward as he hasn’t revealed his situation to anyone before.

However, it doesn’t help him that unflattering news comes out saying that Hwan Ki’s unusual and unprofessional behavior has sent one of his employees to the hospital.  At first, Hwan Ki is determined to face the cameras himself and apologize for it but his best friend and the company’s representative director, Kang Woo Il (Yoon Park) advises against it.

Unlike Hwan Ki, Woo Il is charismatic and charming.  Although Hwan Ki is the brains behind the company’s best campaigns, it’s Woo Il who is able to sell it.  Woo Il tells reporters that the media has misconstrued the news and forces Gyo Ri to face the cameras to tell her side of the story.

Although Woo Il is Hwan Ki’s best friend, there is also a level of mistrust between the two.  Woo Il is engaged to Hwan Ki’s sister, Eun Yi Soo (Gong Seung Yun) but it appears that Woo Il may have had a relationship with Ro Woon’s sister.

Now that Ro Woon is with the company, Woo Il is interested in getting to know her better.

I think part of Hwan Ki’s deal is that he is jealous of Woo Il but I also believe there is another part of him that doesn’t trust him either.  Having said that, it seems that Hwan Ki is trying to keep everyone from knowing the truth which might be doing more harm than good.

In order to repair his image, Hwan Ki’s father demands that Hwan Ki become more involved in the day-to-day business of the company.  He’ll head up a separate division of the company called Silent Monster and a special team will assist him in various projects.  That team includes working mom Dang Yoo Hee (Ye Ji Won), know-it-all intellectual Uhm Sun Bong (Huh Jung Min), Hwan Ki’s secretary Kim Gyo Ri and Jang Se Jong (Han Jae Suk) who got hired through personal connections.  Woo Il also adds Ro Woon to the team so that Ro Woon could report back to him about Hwan Ki.  Hwan Ki tries to resist but Woo Il is firm about the decision.

Ro Woon does everything she can to try and get to know Hwan Ki better but is just unable to figure him out.  He leaves early in the morning to exercise and returns to clean up the office before everyone arrives.  She bewildered by the fact that he likes to dance when he’s alone but he doesn’t greet anyone when they come in in the morning.  She attempts to set up meetings with clients but because of his social anxiety he refuses to see them so in turn, she has them show up at places like where he has his morning workout.

The team is tasked with giving an important presentation.  Although Hwan Ki does all the work, he assigns the task to Yoo Hee.  On the day of the presentation, she doesn’t arrive on time due to dealing with her children and so Ro Woon forces Hwan Ki to give the presentation himself.  It makes sense as he’s the only one on the team who knows the subject matter other than Yoo Hee but he is overwhelmed by his anxiety and fails to go through with it.  I think this is one of the first instances when Ro Woon becomes aware of his condition but what she’s going to do with that remains to be seen.

Despite being forced to do what he’s incapable of doing, he is not a heartless boss.  When the group goes out for happy hour due to the failure of their presentation, the team gets so drunk that they are unable to pay the bill nor able to leave the restaurant.  He not only pays their bill but puts everyone in a cab to make sure that they get home safely.

The last member of his team that remains is Ro Woon and when he goes back to send her home, he sees that she’s awake.  Drunk but awake.  In her drunken state, she tells Hwan Ki that he has to stop living in the shadow because that’s not living.  She knows this because her sister was like that.  She tells him that he can’t protect anyone by living in the shadow and with that she passes out on him.  It’s quite a profound thing to say to Hwan Ki as he believed he could manage his team and look out for them in the shadows.

Regardless of all the things I like about this drama, there are a couple of things I just didn’t like. Ro Woon is quite spirited but the fact that she’s late for her first day at work and storms into her boss’ office uninvited seems like a fireable offense.  Also, in what world is it okay for Hwan Ki to just give some cash and run away from the hit-and-run scene?  While I do think the scene was played up for the hilarity of it, I think that’s why viewers might find the drama unrealistic and have been critical of it.  I have to admit that I agree in that respect.  Despite the fact that Hwan Ki is not strong-willed enough to go through with firing her, that doesn’t mean that he’s the only person that could fire her or report her.

I also have a big problem with the cameos made by veteran actors Park Young Kyu and Park Sang Myun.  Was it really necessary to escalate those scenes to have Park Young Kyu slap our heroine and Park Sang Myung put his hands on her?  Again, I realize that these scenes were meant to get Hwan Ki to step up and defend her but really the scenes seems antiquated and the writing seemed lazy.

On the plus side, I do look forward to more scenes with Ro Woon’s parents, Lee Han Wie and Kim Mi Kyung.  I sort of feel like TVN is doing the same thing with them as they do with Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa for the Answer Me series.  Different iterations of the same parents.  Unlike in Another Oh Hae Young, Ro Woon’s parents are very introverted like her sister.  Their home has become quiet as the grave since their older daughter’s death and I’m really curious as to what they will bring to the table in terms of the emotional elements.

Already, the drama has a great wealth of emotion.  I am incredibly impressed with Yeon Woo Jin’s acting as he doesn’t have very many lines but he expresses so much through his eyes and his voiceover which is crucial to the role.  As for Park Hye Soo, I’ve only seen her play Joo Won’s sister in Yong Pal and so it still remains to be seen if she can pull off the weighty emotional elements of her character.  So far, I think she’s doing a decent job.  I can looks past Ro Woon’s inappropriateness for the moment as that’s how the scenes were written in the script more than it is her interpretation of her character.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this drama will deliver on the comedy as well as the romance and the drama.

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