For this drama review, we’ll be looking at the popular show ‘Doctors’ which contains a talented group of actors such as Kim Rae-won (Punch), Park Shin-hye (Pinocchio, Heirs), Yoon Kyun-sang (Pinocchio), Lee Sung-kyung (It’s Okay, That’s Love) are just a few examples in the cast. The drama ran from June until late August.
There were some UK related trivia in this drama, such as the London Olympics being mentioned and the British band ‘The La’s’ being featured with their song ‘There She Goes’!
*Spoiler alert, if you haven’t already watched this*
Yoo Hye-jung, main female character.
She’s rough around the edges, and most of the time can be frustrating with how she responses to people and whatever life decides to throw at her. It’s a pleasant surprise that, while its slightly comical how a petite girl can fight off a gang of thugs in the hospital, she can fight for herself given by her ‘gangster’ side from her childhood. Though, with her backstory, it can give the watcher an insight on why she’s not so bubbly and nice all the time. Instead, she’s learnt to maintain a barrier that keeps people at an arms length at all times, so she allows herself not to get hurt by others. She has a estranged relationship with her father, who had some part in the death of her mother in her childhood and at a last resort, leaves Hye-jung in her grandmother’s care. It takes a long while before she starts to warm up to the elderly lady, still following her old troublemaker’s ways. It was only until she got an exceptionally good grade in the mid-term exam that she realised her own potential as she was aided by the smartest girl in her class, which led to an unlikely friendship. However, as in most k-dramas, when romance gets involved, things do tend to get complicated. It’s only after the passing of her grandmother which motivated her to become a doctor. Though, a desire for vengeance was also a key factor in an attempt to get justice for what happened with Mal-soon’s unexpected death as it is revealed that there were aspects of the surgery that were brushed under the carpet. Throughout the drama, we could see the development in this character, which was promising to see the changes made through the interactions with the other characters in the drama.
Kang Mal-soon, grandmother.
- At the start of the drama, it was the grandmother who was evidently one of the game changers for the Yoo Hye-jung, prompting her to become a doctor with a successful career. However, as it is revealed early on, there was a complication that occurred during her surgery which seemed to be brushed under the carpet with the excuse being that everything was done to the doctor’s best ability. The interactions between Yoo Hye-jung and her grandmother were especially touching, right from the start we see the tough girl (with an past that is eventually revealed that makes you empathise with her cold, detached views of reality) who just simply goes through the motions of life without a single goal. However, as with each episode goes, we get to see her gradually trusting more and revealing herself to others.
Hong Ji-Hong, main love interest, ex-teacher.
- Hong Ji-hong, the main male character in the drama, there’s something awfully child-like about this one, it’s both entertaining and endearing to watch. With his back story, you can see the reasoning behind his easy going outlook on life, however it’s also made him a lot wiser. There’s definitely a chemistry between himself and the main female, with no shortage of cute moments especially in the second half of the drama. The interactions between Ji-hong and his adopted father (because let’s face it, there has to be an adopted male in a kdrama), Hong Doo-sik are just simply heart-warming to watch. While I was devastated at the expected passing of Hye-jung’s grandmother, Doo-sik’s death still strike a few chords with me too. Despite this loss, Ji-hong remains strong – though it could be seen that his relationship with Hye-jung did help with his own personal healing.
Jung Yoon-Do, the ‘love rival’.
- Every time I watched an episode and saw this guy, I was constantly reminded of his other role in Pinocchio (the older brother of the main male character) where he was much more aloof and cooler. This is of course, not forgetting the fact that he was also a murderer. But in this drama, while he’s an experienced doctor. He’s also quite stiff in his interactions with other people, plus he’s a total dork. Though, although he remains persistent that he’s still interested in Yoo Hye-jung, despite everything, he tries to forge a friendship with Ji-hong. To be frank, he didn’t really seem to be much of love rival, but his awkwardness made up for that.
Jin Seo-woo, the ‘mean’ girl.
- Usually, with the other girl that’s often portrayed as the rich and horrid in dramas, they’re often disliked and not cared about. However, there’s something about this one. It might just be that despite everything, people with wealth do not always get what they want. With this drama, it just seems like she has the worst luck when in comparison, almost as if main female is struck by luck, she’s respected by her peers, gained the affection of a number of male characters to name a few – it reminded me of the film ‘Just My Luck’ in that sense, with one person being fortunate and the other suffering. Nothing seems to go right for her, which kind of makes others who watch the drama sympathise with her a bit. It doesn’t justify her actions and her bitter view of the world from her own personal experiences but certainly she does not deserve all that life seems to throw at her. However, as it turned out at the ending of the drama, she finally seemed to get her own happy ending.
- A young girl, the heroine of the drama Yoo Hye-Jung, is struck by tragedies throughout her life. She has no aspirations until she moves in with her grandmother as a last resort from her father, who seemed to give up on her after having enough of her troublemaker ways. It’s not easy at first, however she eventually learns to adjust to her new environment and even makes an effort to study which allowed her to gain unlikely friendships along the way. It’s only when she faces a life changing moment that she has to make the important decisions on which paths she would go on which ultimately taught her how brutal reality can really be. Then, there is a time skip to thirteen years, skimming over her journey to becoming a doctor. However, with the mourned absence of her grandmother, she has no one to share in her success.
- The drama further delves into her own personal reasons for wanting to work in Gookil Hospital, where Jin Myung-hoon (the doctor who performed the surgery on her grandmother) was the president of. It’s a long process of seeing whether justice would prevail, at times the side stories of the patients or even the co-workers at the hospital took over the focus from the main plot. Which, isn’t entirely a bad thing, if anything it gave the show more depth by exploring the various life stories that people who watch the show may be able to relate to. Though, to be honest, there’s almost an expectation that the ‘bad guys’ would be found out of their crimes at the end of the drama – so that’s exactly the kind of thing that I thought was going to happen. However, karma seemed to come around in a different way this time with the main character Yoo Hye-jung finding the strength to be able to put her own emotions aside in order to remain professional by doing her job.
- We found in the second half of the drama were particularly gripping, as it gave the impression of real life stories. Take some examples, a twisted relationship which saw an obsessive love that was more damaging than nurturing, a financially struggling single parent with a variety of debts with suicidal thoughts and a couple who were rushed to the hospital on their wedding day, with the woman being pregnant and showing no signs of recovering and it is later revealed that she eventually passed but her baby survived the cesarean birth.The latter we thought was important, as there were a handful of joyful moments and also emotional ones, but that’s the reality of life, it’s not always possible to save everyone. Yet, that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope.
Overall, this drama was a bag of emotions, nothing short of smile and laughter inducing but also enough to frustrate and even make you cry. It brings the watcher on a life journey, going through the delicate and fragile thing that is life that could easily be taken away at any given moment. It shows not to take anything for granted, to not wait for the ‘right time’ to do or say things to loved ones and to enjoy every moment as if its your last. But also, not to allow grudges to take control of your life. You don’t always have to forgive people who have wronged you, but you don’t also have to let them continue to have a hold on your life either.