I have to admit, I’ve had a bit of trouble deciding which drama to feature this month. I’ve been watching some really good ones at the moment and with so many favorites, it’s been hard to settle on just one. That being said, my decision ultimately came down to the fact that there was only one drama, out of my recently watched, that I’ve actually finished so that’s the one I’ve decided to go with. (I know, my logic is astounding.)
This month’s drama is none other than tvN’s recently wrapped up rom-com, My Shy Boss (aka Introverted Boss, 내성적인 보스). As the name implies, the story is about a shy CEO, Eun Hwan Ki (Yeon Woo Jin, 연우진) and the relationship that develops between him and one overly out-going, revenge-seeking employee, Chae Ro Woon (Park Hye Soo, 박혜수). While this one-sentence description is a pretty glaring oversimplification of the plot, it gives you a pretty good idea of the way this story plays out. It’s not a drama that requires a lot of imagination but it’s entertaining, nonetheless.
That being said, I do have to admit that as much as I like this drama now, it took me quite a few episodes to get over my loathing of Ro Woon. Her over-developed sense of revenge drove her to do some pretty awful things and quite frankly, she started out this drama as a pretty horrible person and one I couldn’t get behind at all, especially not as a heroine. She was mean and spiteful and petty and just not pleasant in any way. Though I understand the reasons behind this behavior it didn’t make it any easier for me to like her. Seeking revenge for the death of her older sister, Ro Woon set out to destroy Hwan Ki, simply because she believed he, as her boss, was the reason she committed suicide. Without bothering to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death, Ro Woon sets out on a path of pure hate which brings neither satisfaction nor resolution. In fact, this path of vengeance really only leads to further pain for Ro Woon and her father.
On the other side of this story sits Hwan Ki, an unloved, underappreciated, often times abused and always completely misunderstood son of a politician/businessman who suffers from severe social anxiety disorder. Desperate to be loved and understood, Hwan Ki tries to live up to the expectations placed on him by his family and his position within the company, but can never find a way to overcome the limitations of his disorder. Frustrated, miserable and alone, Hwan Ki is the exact opposite of what you’d expect a character in his position to be but that’s what makes him so darn lovable. As much as I hated Ro Woon in the beginning of this drama, I loved Hwan Ki. I felt his pain, I understood his plight, I wanted him to find a place where he could be safe, loved and accepted, just as he was. In short, I wanted all the good things in life to come to him and I rooted for him with all my little zombie heart.
It was my love of Hwan Ki that kept me coming back to this drama, despite all my strong feelings of dislike for Ro Woon. No matter how nasty she was, no matter how much she made me want to run away Hwan Ki was there to capture my heart and bring me back. There was just something about his character that I couldn’t ignore. I couldn’t leave this poor man alone in his suffering. Even if no one else in his world cared about him or understood him, I did and so I stayed. Something inside me told me I had to, so I did and eventually my strong feelings of dislike for Ro Woon faded. As the story progressed, I came to find that she wasn’t as bad as I’d originally thought her to be and as she began to take on the role of friend, protector and eventually lover of Hwan Ki, I found that I could even cheer her on.
While my love for this drama and its characters might not have been instantaneous, the fact that I did come to like them all has to count for something. I’m always saying that for me to like a story, the characters have to make a steady progression in their character as the story plays out and that’s exactly what these characters did. Each of them, both major and minor, found ways to progress as the plot moved on and I like that even the worst of them found ways to redeem themselves by the end. (Except maybe Hwan Ki’s father… He was pretty much awful the entire time but whatever.) In addition to the characters progressing, there were some pretty major issues touched on, including suicide, self-harm, abuse, and of course, Hwan Ki’s social anxiety. While not every issue was addressed the same way, the fact that they were brought up in a drama at all says a lot about the changing climate of Korea’s heavily stigmatized culture, especially as it pertains to mental health issues. In a culture that sees any sort of mental health issue as taboo, it was refreshing to see a story’s major characters seeking help for problems that most people would be trying to hide or worse, ignore completely.
Though it’s true I may not be able to say this drama is one of my all-time favorites, I still have to rank it among those I consider enjoyable. It was refreshing, albeit slightly heartbreaking, to see such a broken hero but at the same time, it was heart-warming to watch him find ways to deal with his problems and eventually make steps towards healing. As broken as parts of this story were, there was a very strong underlying message of forgiveness, healing and moving on which made my heart happy. Despite all its flaws, I really did come to love this story which is why I’m recommending to anyone who might be looking for a new drama to watch.
Of course, if you’ve already watched My Shy Boss I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Did you find Ro Woon as difficult to love as I did? What were your thoughts on Hwan Ki? Did you enjoy this drama or was it not really your cup of tea? You know I always love hearing from you so be sure to let me know in the comments below!