Chick Flick of cuteness, a giggly romp through a fluffy field of cotton candy that never takes itself too seriously. Lots of charm, warmth, and serious charisma and connections between the actors. I felt like they really liked each other and were having a lot fun with this drama. There were a few scenes where they were called to dissolve into laughter and I think the actors really were cracking up and the director just filmed a natural moment.
It’s not perfect- there are some character changes that aren’t entirely believable, some plot twists that aren’t all that imaginative. It’s kind of predictable, and in places it’s incredibly cheesey. But, oh, so, cute.
There’s a lot of violence, though it’s more slapstick, comedic style. The lead female, a tiny, wisp of a thing who looks like a manga character with her triangular face and huge eyes, is a martial arts expert who takes down huge body guards and thugs three times her size, and without breaking a sweat. When she is annoyed with her boss she twists his arm or punches him. I am not impressed by the double standard where it’s supposed to be funny when women are committing violent acts against men that would get the men thrown in jail if they did it to the females, but I have to admit- if I didn’t think about the fact that men are victims of domestic violence just as often as women, but hardly anybody cares, then the scenes were kind of funny.
Choi Kang-hee plays the female lead Noh Eun-seol- She really is not my favorite actress. She’s also been in Level 7 Civil Servant with Joo Won (and a ton of other things, but I haven’t seen them). Here she plays the stereotypical hardworking girl who just couldn’t get a break, living with a friend in a one room attic house. SHe has a thuggish past from her high school days, is a gifted martial artist, and went to a 3rd rate university, so it’s hard for her to get a good job. She finally thinks she has one, only she learns at the first night welcome party that her boss is a nasty piece of work who harasses his female employees- and when she fights him off (leaving him tied to the sink in the men’s room by his own neck-tie), she learns he is also a thug with a bunch of bodyguards. She fights them off too, and in the process involves an innocent by-stander:
Ji Sung plays Cha Ji-heon: a neurotic, spoiled rich kid, Peter Pan type with a panic disorder who is about 30 going on 12, and he has a growing list of other complexes. The gangsters think Eun-seol is with him, and she escapes, but he gets beaten up a bit. His dad finds out and beats up the gangsters, but this gets found out so he has to do community service, Je-Heon ends up in the papers as a national papa’s boy, his dad beats him up, too, and Je_heon vows to find that girl who caused up all the trouble. He has a shoe she left behind during a high kick, just in case you miss the Cinderella implications here.
Kim Jaejoong as Cha Mu-won: plays Je-heon’s perfect cousin. He is the businessman that Ji-Heon’s dad wishes him to be. He works hard, never plays, does everything right, and seems to be in cahoots with his widowed mother to get Ji-Heon kicked out so he can take over as CEO. Coincidentally, he hires Eun-seol to be Ji-Heon’s secretary because her rough background makes him think she’ll be loyal to him rather than Ji-Heon, given that she wouldn’t have a job at all if it weren’t for him. He’s also cuter than a bug’s ear, has a ridiculously charming smirk, and is one of the original members of the group TVXQ, now with JYJ, and he’s an amazing singer. Yes, I’ve read about the drama with the break-up of YVXQ.
Wang Ji-hye as Seo Na-yoon: Na-Yoon liked both cousins at the same time, and then left to the states partly because she couldn’t choose. Now she’s chosen Je-Heon, but he doesn’t care for her any more. She’s mostly very tiresome, except…. not so much.
Park Yeong-gyu as Chairman Cha, Ji-heon’s father
Cha Hwa-yeon as Shin Sook-hee, Mu-won’s mother
Kim Young-ok as Mrs. Song, Ji-heon and Mu-won’s grandmother
Ha Jae-sook as Lee Myung-ran, Eun-seol’s best friend
Jung Kyu-soo as Noh Bong-man, Eun-seol’s father
Kim Hyung-bum as Secretary Kim
Kim Ha-kyoon as Secretary Jang
Kim Chung as Hwang Kwan-jang
Kim Seung-wook as Park Sang-mu
Lee Hee-jin as Yang Ha-young
Ahn Nae-sang (cameo)
Oh Hyun-kyung (cameo)
Yoon Gi-won (cameo)
Caveats: Not much. It’s so cute. Did I say that? Apart from the unbelievably short skirts (seriously? I do not get it. These skirts are too short to sit in, and they know it, because all the females make sure their large purses are strategically placed at all times; it’s got to be uncomfortable), there is only one scene that you might want to skip. The second female lead is having a man she loves, but who does not love her, up to her new apartment, and her friend the Lady Wrestler tells her to just seduce him. She has a short daydream where she’s trying to do just that, when the real deal wakes her up with a flick on the forehead and tells her to wake up and ask his permission before she includes him in her naughty fantasies. It’s more ridiculous than anything else.
I started watching this one a long, long time ago, and for some reason I dropped it early on. I don’t remember for sure just why that was. I think my impression was that it was going to include several of the K-drama cliches that I hate the worst, and, as I said, the female lead is not my favorite actress.
A chain of K-Pop links- going from a K-Pop music video a young friend showed me, to another K-Pop song where I really loved the singer’s voice, though not so much the video, led to a hunt for other songs by the same singer, which ended up back at Protect the Boss, because JaeJoong (formerly of TQSk, now JYJ) played the second male lead in this drama. I started from the beginning, because I really did not remember much about it, and I am so glad I did.
This is not all my most hated K-Drama cliches. It’s all my most hated K-Drama cliches teasing me and then mostly turning out to be something different.
Dramas I’ve completed, recommend, and reviewed: see here.
Things to know when watching a K-drama
More Things To Know
Addiction, and why I like K-dramas
You might be watching a K-Drama if….
Where to get your fix: Sites where you can find subtitled K-dramas (and dramas from other countries, as well. I’ve watched a handful of J-dramas (Japanese) and TW (Taiwanese) dramas, but I vastly prefer the K-dramas, even though I know more Japanese – I got an A in my Japanese 101 class back in the day, when we actually lived in Japan and once I even knew both hiragana and katakana- but still K-dramas interest me vastly more).