First Impressions: Emergency Couple (Episodes 1-7)

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Are you guys as surprised as I am? Yup, I am actually watching a medical drama. If you're familiar with my taste in dramas, you'd also know that I have had zero interest in Korean medical shows so far. Emergency Couple, however, gained my attention thanks to the cast. First of all, Song Ji Hyo is my hero in Running Man. I love her down-to-earth persona and she's both adorable and badass in RM. Meanwhile, I've also been harbouring a major crush on Choi Jin Hyuk, who I've been waiting for to be the male lead (not counting family dramas or It's Okay Daddy's Girl) for, like ever. My interest waned considerably, though, when I found out that the show was going to be a medical. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a chance.

I can't say that the show is particularly consistent, either in tone or in quality. For instance, some episodes are quite fun to watch, while others drag along. The tone also keeps changing from scene to scene, from quirky to melodramatic. It doesn't help that the romantic soundtrack seems to be utterly unfitting for this show. Yet, I find the drama strangely enjoyable so far and I try not to dwell on it's mistakes.
I like the premise of a divorced couple meeting again years later as interns in the same hospital and learning to appreciate each other again. It's the dynamic between our main couple that pulls me in most of all. Sure, they're kinda at odds with each other most of the time but they are slowly starting to see each other in new light. I'm not quite sure how big was the angry-mother-in-law part in their divorce (though I can guess it was a pretty major factor) but I guess an equally big issue was miscommunication. I am glad that the show puts the OTP in a situation where they need to work as a team and trust each other, something that they didn't actually do in their marriage. 
As for the medical stuff... well, let's just say it lacks realism (like all medical shows, really). The cases are either simplistic and boring, or dramatic and far-fetched. While it could use a lot of polishing in that aspect, I guess the general lack of logic isn't that distracting if you're not personally familiar with the medical field. I, for one, just like to be blissfully oblivious about it all and concentrate on the characters and the interactions between them.

Characters:


Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo) is the underdog of the underdogs. She's battered and tired from the days of her failed marriage and treats her dream of becoming a doctor as way to start life anew. She's grown to be sassier and more confident than her younger married self, but still struggles through life. Differently from Chang Min, who comes from a family of doctors and is naturally gifted in the field, Jin Hee needs to prove herself to others. Although her first days in the hospital are anything but easy, she does have more determination than her peers which might just be the thing that could make her succeed faster than the others (or so I hope). But boy is it hard to watch her fail over and over again in the first episodes.
Still, it is easy to root for Jin Hee mostly because I can't help but want her to show to Chang Min and his family that she doesn't need to be a perfect housewife to be an admirable and capable woman. We do see that even though she carries resentment towards Chang Min, she seems to still have some feelings left for him, (at least, that's what I concluded from the fact that she kept her wedding ring for so long). However, at the same time Jin Hee does not show much interest in looking for romance and seems more focused on accomplishing her dream. Even so, we are hinted that she is slightly bothered by Ah Reum's flirtatious advances towards Chang Min, and she herself is sparking Cheol Soo's interest as well.


Oh Chang Min (Choi Jin Hyuk) comes from a family of successful doctors and has the natural born talent to excel in the field. However, Chang Min does not seem as passionate about becoming a doctor as Jin Hee, which is probably his greatest obstacle in succeeding. He's rather confident about his abilities and loves to rub it in to Jin Hee, that is, until he realizes that she has more guts (and perhaps more skills) than him when it comes to actually performing surgical procedures.
Chang Min is also much more sociable than Jin Hee, gaining friends and romantic admirers among his peers thanks to his good looks and outwardly charming personality (though, he's rather immature and petty in reality). The one person he fails to impress is, of course, Cheon Soo who does not appreciate his cockiness. Their relationship is getting even more tense as Chang Min notices Cheon Soo becoming continuously closer with Jin Hee. While Chang Min was more antagonistic to Jin Hee than she was to him at first, he seems to be the first to start seeing the other in a different light and, if we consider episode 8 preview, he is also the one to first to express his jealousy. 
Although, it's easier to be on Jin Hee's side when it comes to their failed marriage, there are times when we are hinted that Jin Hee wasn't as considerate towards him either. I do hope he'll finally manage to gather up some courage to stand up to his incredibly annoying mother and not let her meddle with his (love) life any longer. If it weren't for her, the couple could have actually resolved their marriage problems without jumping to divorce.


Kook Cheon Soo's (Lee Pil Mo) character is almost too stereotypical for a medical drama at first - a strict hardass and a complete workaholic who treats his interns (and other hospital staff) with little respect. My first impressions of him were not very good as his tendency to yell at his interns in the presence of a patient seemed extremely unprofessional and...well, simply douchey. 
Cheon Soo does seem to be improving, mostly thanks to Jin Hee. He sees his younger and more idealistic self in her and that seems to have awakened his softer side. I am hoping that he becomes more of a mentor to her than a romantic interest because I'm not to keen on him as a second lead. But I do like that his improved relationship with Jin Hee has caused Chang Min to feel jealous, so in that sense I don't mind him crushing on Jin Hee a bit. I just hope there won't be any bitchiness coming from Ji Hye, whose relationship with Cheon Soo is still very unclear (did they date or what?). 


Sim Ji Hye (Choi Yeo Jin) current role seems rather nonexistent, considering that she's supposed to be among the five main characters. We don't know much about her nor about her relationship with Cheon Soo, but she seems to be the independent career woman type. She's somewhat close with Cheon Soo and shows a tiny bit interest in him romantically, though that may also be just playful flirting and nothing serious. I kinda wish she also had a mentor-mentee relationship with someone because she's definitely better at teaching professionalism than Cheon Soo. 


Han Ah Reum's (Clara) character serves the purpose of being Jin Hee's love rival, as she's not fleshed out to be anything more. She's basically everything that Jin Hee is not (rich, composed, well-groomed) and does get Chang Min's interest for a couple of episodes. Thankfully, by the time Chang Min's meddling mom finds out that she's the perfect marriage candidate for Chang Min, he's starting to rediscover his feelings for Jin Hee instead. Though we can predict that his mom is going to push him into marrying Ah Reum nevertheless.  



Will I continue watching this drama?

I'd like to say yes because Emergency Couple is currently the only Korean drama that I've been interested enough to live-watch right now. However, I do not have a lot of trust in the writer of this drama and considering that the show is already struggling with the filming schedule, I'm not confident enough to make any promises. But I am enjoying it so far and I hope nothing screws up the upcoming second half of the drama.

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