Five Reasons Why I Love...What's Wrong with Secretary Kim

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As I try to fill the void in between new episodes, I thought I would talk about the really-great-fantastic-show that is What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. As of writing this, there are only four episodes out and while things could change as the series progresses, these are some of the key things that has made me fall in love with the show so far.

Excellent character writing.

If you need to know anything about me in terms of written stories I am 100% a character driven viewer. I live for character development and complex characters that show what it’s really like to be a human but still portrays what the specific character projects to others. I can not stand when writers make their characters do something that they would never do to move the plot around. With TV, I’m a bit more lenient since there are time constraints for scripts, but I won’t let everything pass.

Secretary Kim has some really brilliant character writing. How could you fall in love with an over the top narcissist without that writing? We see Young Joon as an arrogant narcissist, to the point that by all accounts you should hate him but as the character progresses and we see him interact with different characters (along with finding out more of his backstory) he changes and we see how his negatives aren’t as terrible as they are on paper.

A strong female lead that is not only smart and capable, but human.

Oh, the drama trope of the female lead being incapable of doing some things or over the top annoying and still being labeled as a “strong female lead” is something that annoys me. Mi So is anything but that. She is good at her job, she has proven this in several points in the series where she will take charge of a situation to change the outcome into a positive without much thought. She is sweet, kind, and patient with the new secretary she is helping train and is genuine about what she does. She’s not showy, she doesn’t expect attention or accolades for the things that she does at work, and she still is grounded knowing what she wants in life. She also doesn’t see what other see: Mi So is constantly talking about how she is not the best secretary, even though we see through her actions that she is more than qualified in her position. She is all-around a genuinely strong female lead.

A mother who isn’t a jerk.

The moment Secretary Kim and the mother came into the same shot during the show I was sure that she would make some off-handed comment. And then she didn’t. I don’t know if this will continue, or if at this moment she is only doing this because of her wanting Mi So to marry her son, but it’s so nice to not have the evil mother-in-law trope.

Well written campiness.

I very much dislike campiness. I know what you are thinking, I actively seek asian dramas as my source of entertainment and it’s one of the most common types of genre there. I get it - it was really hard for me in high school trying to find an anime that I liked, and not being able to watch the ones all my other friends did because they were just too much for me. Or end up forcing myself to watch one and hating every second (I’m looking at you, Fushigi Yugi) but Secretary Kim is a ray of sunshine. The writing helps ground the campiness. It’s there for added comedy and to help facilitate the other characters interactions with the main two. I don’t cringe when I watch it, I just enjoy it - which is how that campiness needs to be executed for me to not drop the series.

Well acted.

I think one of the most important things that an actor needs to be able to pull off to convince me that they are the character they are portraying is being able to keep up with little nuances that we as human’s have that aren’t necessarily things we realize or notice. If they are done too flashy or too stiff, it can come off as a disservice to the character and throw off the whole vibe and tone of the scene. Park Seo Joon’s acting subtly shows how Young Joon is slowly falling in love with Mi So through small looks and tone paces and is not forced. Park Min Young’s portrayal of the confidence that Mi So has while around coworkers, but switching it off to do the things she needs to and her life afterwork is not jarring and she’s able to keep Secretary Kim and Mi So’s traits the same. These subtle things help create characters that are more developed and rounded.

Honorable Mentions

-The new Secretary Kim is (so far) not conniving or mean. There is no ulterior motives with her.
-Great minor characters who provide a lot of the comic relief.
-When the older brother asks for her number, Mi So just types random numbers just to make him think she was actually adding her number
-Mi So’s older sisters are genuinely apologetic that she helped their education and their family’s debt.
-Park Seo Joon broody shower scenes. I mean. Yes.
-Mi So is quitting to find herself, and in turn making sure she’s the star of her life.