picture credits to: http://wiki.d-addicts.com/File:PM%26I_poster.jpg
I’m sure you’ve read all about the show by now, because I’ve seen lots of first impression entries floating around the drama blogosphere about this show. I’ll try to keep this first impression short and simple; I’m mainly writing about it because I’m back on the drama-watching boat y’all! After three months of drama-blackout and almost half a year’s worth of prolonged slump, I’m finally genuinely giddy and immediately transported to the drama realms within a show, or two. Or three actually, ha. Truth? It feels damn good.
My flight back a couple of nights ago was delayed and bored, I decided on a whim to try out one of the many recently-premiered Kdramas. I chose Prime Minister & I solely for the premise alone and I am sincerely glad I did because boy, no kidding this show is GOOD.
I’m up to the first four episodes and excitedly awaiting for the fifth one as I type this, and honestly that’s exactly it – who would’ve thought? In truth when casting news for this show was announced, I’d snorted in disgust and bewilderment. Lee Bum Soo and Yoona? By that you mean Girls Generation, popular-type idol-saturated queen bee Yoona, are you serious? It’s not the twenty-year gap that threw me off, rather the wide – incredibly wide – acting chops that did… But then it came to me that I’d actually liked her performance in a drama before. In fact, I wrote about Love Rain twice – twice! – and now it’s all coming back to me, that I’d even confessed to finding her decent there.
I’ve no idea what’s the secret recipe here when it comes to this show and its correlation to her acting chops, but aw man I’m totally eating my words because Yoona is actually… pretty good in here. In fact honestly, as of episode four she’s actually doing a pretty darn good job at playing the bumbling but sassy Nam Da Jung. Who knew? Okay, I’m obviously still in shock.
To be honest, if I think too hard about the premise and how the whole contract marriage business between an upright, principled 40-something Prime Minister and 20-something celebrity gossip news reporter came about, I’ll be honest – it’s pretty damn far-fetched. Not downright unbelievable, but I admit the logic doesn’t hold snug and tight. To the show’s credit though and I suppose to the writer duo’s credits, it’s good enough. Plus, the zippy and fast pacing makes up for it because before we’re able to pinpoint each logic hole, the show has easily breezed past them.
While Prime Minister & I isn’t doing anything new when it comes to differentiating itself from any other romantic comedy out there, what I like about the show is that it’s executing all the familiar and cliched tropes well be it premise-wise, tonally and romantic development-wise. The show’s not playing in a major league of innovation and fresh ideas for sure, but the familiar isn’t being rehashed or poorly butchered, rather being handled – thus far – deftly and solidly. I know I’m sold, and that’s good enough for me to sit back and enjoy the show.
Like with any successful romantic comedies out there, an important anchor is the onscreen chemistry between our leading couple. A wonderful rom-com is one that makes us root for and coo over the push-and-pull antics, but a winning rom-com has us squealing, agog and rabid for the couple to fall madly in love and make beautiful babies together – okay, that might’ve been overkill but y’know what I mean – and ladies and gents, Prime Minister & I is actually giving me vibes of the latter. Seriously… who knew?
As for the acting, when it comes to our hero I’ve actually watched Lee Bum Soo in other shows before – although his recent ones have been such duds – enough to discover his charisma and acting chops firsthand. I must say, I’m really glad he took this role because Kwon Yool is such a perfect fit for him. His comic timing is impeccable and his ability to immerse himself and engage the audience emotionally, scene by scene be it funny or sad is seriously what makes the show so tonally captivating and why Kwon Yool is dashing and so awesome.
As for Yoona, I actually do wonder if the reason she works for me (and so many others) in this show is because the character is easier to play, or perhaps better-suited for her than the ones she’s played in the past. Whatever the reasons may be, I’m glad that she’s so committed to the role because it really does show; the sass, the “what have I done?” internal monologue through her facial expressions, her obvious attraction to the Prime Minister… When I watch her in this show, I don’t think “Oh, it’s pretty-faced Yoona!” Instead, I find myself rooting and cheering for Nam Da Jung, finding her at times silly and somewhat a slob but mostly, endearing.
Honest to God, who knew that Lee Bum Soo and Yoona actually have onscreen chemistry that’s palpable and convincing? I never would have guessed. Right from the get-go of the first episode as they bantered back-and-forth though, in my mind I kept going, “Oh my god they actually look really good together,” or “Oh my god they’re so funny,” and by the end of it, I was excited at the thought of watching his uptight self falling for her, of all people.
The age gap is there for sure but in all honesty it’s not a big deal, what more an issue. It’s just there as fact because these two make it work not only given the backgrounds of their respective characters – he’s the jaded, older man hardened by professional and personal tragedies while she’s the jaded, younger woman matured by her lot in life – but also in the dynamics of opposites attract. She’s carefree, free-spirited and full of life despite living with an ailing father while he’s a widower and strict father to three kids. Of course there’s more and the political conflicts are quite interesting, but at the moment there’s no doubt that I’m invested in the show solely because of the two. In fact, I can’t wait for when she plays Mum to the three kids because already, that premise looks to be so much fun!
As for the right wingman Kang In Ho played by Yoon Shi Yoon, here’s my take for now – he’s interesting. He also has puppy eyes almost all throughout the first four episodes and is obviously on his way (if he isn’t already) to Second Lead territories, but I’ve always had such a soft spot for the actor that I’m not even in the least annoyed. His loyalty seems to be something that’s played as a mystery, but I am not detecting any evil brimming underneath the kindness thus far so I’m still neutral towards the character. I do admit to being surprised when I found out Yoon Shi Yoon joined the cast because he’s played hero multiple times by now that it’s strange for him to accept a role where he’s not, but now I’m really glad he did. I think it will do him wonders and benefit him acting-wise to be working alongside such a seasoned actor, namely Lee Bum Soo (and okay perhaps to a degree, Ryu Jin too).
As for our second female character Seo Hye Joo played by Chae Jung Ahn, unsurprisingly I’ve always been indifferent towards the actress, in all the shows I’ve watched before this that she starred in. I feel like her character is rather underdeveloped and incredibly one-dimensional, but we still have 12 or so episodes with this show so I’m not worried about that. Her longing from afar sounds romantic and the loyalty is definitely commendable but quite frankly girl, if its been twenty years – I don’t think you’ll ever stand a chance that you might as well give up the romantic hope.
In a nutshell, like with any other romantic comedy out there, whatever the language may be, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) don’t take the show too seriously and 2) enjoy the ride. I jumped into the show with point 1 in mind and as a result and fortunately, I’m experiencing point 2! I am happy to report that I am totally digging Prime Minister & I – it’s giving me good vibes all-around.
On a first impression basis, totally worth checking out!