- Adorable but realistic Main Leads (w/ Character Development)
- Unusual and unexpected premise and context
- Entertaining and dynamic supporting cast
- Great honest communication –> Less draggy-ness
- Adorable + Realistic Main Leads
Park Bo Young was already phenomenal in A Werewolf Boy long before this drama, so I was definitely looking forward to seeing her act again. As Na Bong Sun, Park Bo Young skilfully acted out the contrasting personality types convincingly to the point where you don’t question her acting as different characters at all, which is already difficult enough a feat.
What’s more interesting is how Na Bong Sun develops from her initial meek milquetoast character who is probably already 10x more relatable and realistic as a TRULY introverted and quiet personality. Through the influence of Soon Ae, she sees the possibilities open to her if she tries to improve herself and somehow musters up the courage to fight for her own happiness rather than resign to fate. (This was both a + and a -, because the way the character development happened can be questioned.)
With Jo Jung Suk’s character, aka Chef, he at first appears to be that typical egoistic all-round capable male lead who of course, is a famous boss of his own. However, unlike many other typical male leads, Chef is neither simply annoyingly arrogant nor cold because of his fame. Instead, he is hiding his own vulnerabilities that he experienced in his past, which is also not the ultra-dramatic tragic childhood story including dead parents we’ve become used to. While Chef’s past scars may take longer to heal, he proves an important point that we are not bound by our past and failures.
Add to this fact Chef’s vast well of patience and tolerance to accept Na Bong Sun’s “schizophrenia” as well as uninvited advances, Chef is definitely a keeper. With his ego but desire for attention, Chef also perfectly fulfils the “cute acts/influences from romance” condition, making his character become just that much more likeable than a typical shoujo-drama male lead.
Can you also believe that Jo Jung Suk was not a TV actor before this? So much support for him now haha~
- Unusual/Unexpected Premise
Supernatural (Ghosts + Demons) + Body Possession + Cooking Setting + Romantic Comedy = ?
While individual elements of the show have been used before, to combine all of them into a romcom setting is enough to make the show’s progression harder to predict. How will the romance work out with the possession? How does one explain the supernatural logic in a modern context? How would one balance out and still utilise the cooking setting without it being too overwhelming? How will Soon Ae get back to heaven? Is there an overarching tie between all these different elements? Fortunately, Oh My Ghost manages to balance all these aspects well without losing its light-hearted spirit. At the same time, it manages to slowly resolve the conflicts systematically and without seeming too forced or unreasonable.
- Dynamic & Entertaining Supporting Cast
It is not often that you find a strong supporting cast with good individualistic characters that critically complements the atmosphere of the setting in a rom-com especially, unless it was one of those large-cast school settings. The sous-chef that is similar to Chef in terms of his ego-complex that is not exactly well-liked, the bootlicker/peacekeeper in case hell (aka. Sous-chef) breaks loose and independent silent sass-master Seo Joon. On Soon Ae’s side of interaction, there would be the ghost-seeing Ahjumma who can’t get off her back, her ailing father and rather good-for-nothing immature brother. From this, it is clear that all characters have their unique individual personalities yet combine to make a great team dynamic for Sun Restaurant and the surrounding settings. And for someone who is a sucker like me for amazing group camaraderie, this k-drama wins on many levels again without even going to a school setting.
- Good & Honest Communication => Less Draggy Plot = Better Pacing
My hallmark of a good romantic relationship in a shoujo drama to look out for would definitely be good communication between the leads. How often have arc-long disagreements occurred because one of them forgot to just SAY what you did/felt? Thank goodness this time!
When it came to confessing his feelings, Chef did a wonderful job in just speaking his mind in a way that was still realistically and reasonably awkward but truthful. He was following his heart and that’s all that mattered uwu. Even when Bong Sun reveals the ghostly aspect of the story, she does not mince her words or lie for her own benefit or run away from the problem after she set her mind to it. Slowly but eventually, even Chef begins to face the truth.
Even in the non-romantic aspect, Soon Ae’s communication with Bong Sun on critical information was not dragged to the point of creating unnecessary tension, thank goodness. (I was so afraid that they would make one arc just out of that.) Even Soon Ae’s brother didn’t waste much time in actually telling Chef about Bong Sun’s whereabouts which obviously saved a lot of airtime from just running around dramatically.
All in all, Oh My Ghost is a well-paced and light-hearted romantic comedy k-drama with a slightly different feel to it than usual k-dramas without the angst or overdramatic side stories due to its plot premise, elements and even actors!