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Korean Drama 'The Producers' Review: Kim Soo-hyun Returns To Television With Perfect Performance In Episode 1

Kim Soo-hyun

(Photo : REUTERS/Tyrone Siu) South Korean actor Kim Soo-hyun waves to his fans during a promotional event for the Korean cosmetic brand Beyond in Hong Kong April 22, 2014.

When a young man steps into an unknown, competitive world, totally unprepared, he finds himself lost like a little lamb in the woods where he not only has to adapt and survive but also learn how to become the creature of that world. Baek Seung-chan (Kim Soo-hyun) of "The Producers" is that lamb. He joins KBS as a rookie producer not because he loves entertainment, or because he has some creative ambition, but because of his loves for a high-school senior (guest-appearance by Jo Yoon-hee) who now works at KBS' Entertainment Division. This senior knows about his existence but beyond that she has no clue about him. Also it is hinted that she is having an affair with senior PD Ra Joon-mo (Cha Tae-hyun). Seung-chan's first day at work is a disaster, not only because of his crushed first crush but also because of senior PD Tak Ye-jin (Gong Hyo-jin).

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Ye-jin is the PD of a variety program called "Music Bank". She is tyrannical and covers up her mistakes and failings with great élan. As the episode progresses, one realizes that this character is not your typical, arrogant boss, but is someone who is wearing a mask to give the impression of being in control, but she is actually not. But to Seung-chan, she is the yelling monster from hell. As one of the on job trainees assigned to her for a day, she shouts at him when he apologizes and his shutting up does not save him, either. Also he gets in Ye-jin's bad books when he praises the risque look of popular singer Cindy (IU) while she is trying to convince the singer to not wear the sheer dress for the live show. Later, the rookie discovers that Ye-jin's car door has caused a visible dent on his father's big imported car that he had parked right beside her small car.

Seung-chan is not the only one who is having a bad day. Joon-mo is also traveling in the same boat. He gets a notice from Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) because he used the word "boogers" on his show. Shortly after getting reprimanded by the commission, he learns that his show is getting cancelled. He gets a chance to re-do the show, with a new cast. This means firing his team and Joon-mo finds it difficult to break the news of cancellation to his team. The team, however, figures out that they need to look for new jobs.

"The Producers" is not your regular Korean drama. It is experimental, with meta-humour and features references from the Korean television and entertainment industry. The show's presentation is a confluence of comedic-mockumentary style and regular fictional drama style, and it does not look out of order, as the show's main characters work in the variety section of KBS' Entertainment Department.

The first episode does a good job of introducing the characters and their professional lives. It also provides a glimpse of their true personal-selves and lives in the final few seconds. The characters are human despite their shortcomings and rudeness. Seung-chan, Joon-ma, Ye-jin and Cindy have been beautifully sketched and they are loveable characters.

Soo-hyun as Seung-chan is not the cold, confident alien Do Min-joon of "My Love from the Star." He has transformed into the little lamb lost in the woods. Soo-hyun is playing the new role with perfection, dusting off the mannerisms of his previous role and breathing life into his new character. And it comes as no surprise to see Hyo-jin and Tae-hyun play their respective roles as seasoned professionals. However, IU may need more than a sheer dress to become the cold, sexy Cindy.

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