Stars Lee Sung Kyung, Kim Young Dae
Even if you’re still trying to move on from the hilarious Business Proposal (Ahn Hyo Seop, Kim Sejeong, Kim Min Kyu), and just want something light and not heavy, romantic and not revolting like politics, escapist and not real like politics, check out Sh**ting Stars.
What drew my interest wasn’t so much its romance comedy as its insider’s view and feel of the cutthroat world of talent management agencies that are behind the success of today’s Hallyu or Korean Wave stars. Behind every oppa and K-pop idol is a manager, literally behind him 24/7, and this series takes you to his or her seemingly thankless life of grueling daily grind and self-sacrifice. Thankless, that is—until the star you handle, who happens to be Korea’s most popular heartthrob, falls for you.
The drama opens with Lee Sung Kyung (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Dr. Romantic) describing in an on-cam interview her work as head of the publicity team of a big agency, while the scene shows snatches of Africa where Korea’s most popular star, played by Kim Young Dae (Extraordinary You, The Penthouse, True Beauty), is doing volunteer work. This early, Lee Sung Kyung’s character feels iffy about Kim Young Dae’s the country’s-boyfriend character, whose return to Korea is much awaited by fans, but which Lee Sung Kyung dreads. It becomes obvious that the two have shared a past they can’t seem to put behind them—they were together in school, long before Young Dae became a star. Guessing what exactly their past relationship was is enough to draw you in.
Sparks fly when Young Dae finally returns to Korea, reports to the agency office, and loses no time in seeking out Sung Kyung. Hilarious comedy happens as the series portrays to what heroic and comedic lengths talent managers go to protect their talents—and in her case, how Lee Sung Kyung puts out fires in the media just to protect the agency talents, including Young Dae and her involvement with him. Talent managers can’t have a life—not even annual physical check-ups—because their stars are always up to something that could ruin their image. It helps that the series has a good-looking supporting cast who plays talent managers and reporters so credibly: Lee Si Woo (Money Heist Korea), Lee Jung-Shin (Cinderella and Four Knights, My Sassy Girl), Yoon Jong Hoon (The Penthouse, Find Me in Your Memory).
So this is what really happens behind the tightly guarded public images of stars in the Korean entertainment industry. The lives of talent managers become more absurdly hilarious when their stars fall in love and start dating—their fellow stars.
The comedy, however, doesn’t cancel out the drama. Young Dae’s story unravels as it is revealed that he grew up without the love of parents, even as his mother, who was Korea’s top actress when he was a child, reappears in his life and tries to right a wrong.
The school years of our romantic couple, as well as Young Dae’s years as trainee in the agency, it turns out, leave issues unresolved. What was Young Dae’s role in the early death of his best friend and fellow trainee? Who is the anti-fan who’s out to destroy Young Dae?
Sung Kyung’s best friend in the series is a reporter who’s always under pressure from her editor to deliver scoops. The dynamic between the two characters is so realistically funny, especially when the best friend has to write a scoop on Sung Kyung’s ward/boyfriend.
Yes, Sh**ting Stars is a light bedtime watch with a feel-good ending.
Woori The Virgin
Stars Im Soo Hyang, Sung Hoon
Based on the hit story Jane The Virgin, this romcom can’t miss. But other than the story, what draws you in are its stellar leads: Sung Hoon (My Secret Romance, Love Marriage and Divorce), the eye candy who can’t seem to age, and Im Soo Hyang, the lead of My ID is Gangnam Beauty opposite global swoon Cha Eun Woo, and who was a hit here when she and the My ID cast vacationed in Cebu.
This story is one hilarious knot from beginning to end. Im Soo Hyang is a rookie scriptwriter who is, what else, a virgin, a devout Catholic who committed herself to chastity—along with her boyfriend, a detective played with the charm of an underdog (which he is) by Shin Dong Wook (Dr. Romantic, Now We Are Breaking Up). Both agree not to go all the way—just hold hands.
Im Soo Hyang grew up with her grandmother and mom, a failed singer. She was told that her father is dead. Not missing a father at all, she leads a wholesome, predictable life.
Sung Hoon is the sole heir to a big hospital business, who battled stomach cancer and had to save his sperm in the bank to ensure that the family line doesn’t end with him—such is the obsessive concern of his father, the hospital chairman who will be known in a mysterious, sinister way as “Chairman Kim.” Sung Hoon’s character is married to a gold digger who, he finds out, has two-timed him and who he’s been wanting to divorce.
They’re all coasting along, each to one’s own life—until the day Im Soo Hyang visits her OB-Gyne for a checkup, and gets injected, by mistake, with Sung Hoon’s sperm. To her big shock, she gets pregnant, and has no choice but to tell the world she is, on, of all days, the day her detective boyfriend proposes marriage to her before their church community in a surprise elaborate proposal.
In the meantime, Korea’s most famous actor, played by veteran actor Kim Su Ro, while filming the drama Im Soo Hyang is writing, runs into his first love, Im Soo Hyang’s mom, and discovers that he sired a daughter with her—Im Soo Hyang—a secret kept from him all this time.
So whom does the female lead end up with?
That revelation is overshadowed by the bigger shock that their virgin daughter is pregnant. In no time, Sung Hoon finds out the identity of the woman bearing his child accidentally. He goes with her to the first visit to the Ob-Gyne, sits in awe as he sees the ultrasound of the fetus (“my gummy bear”), and from that point on, the emotional ties between the sperm owner and accidental fetus carrier can only get stronger—and, you guess it, more and more romantic. This, even if the detective boyfriend isn’t yielding territory, and neither is Sung Hoon’s soon-to-be ex-wife nor his soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law, the master schemer.
So whom does the female lead end up with? Actually, this is what keeps you hooked, not the whodunit of drugs/crime. You can go past the cheesy scenes because the romcom, overall, is warm, cozy and funny. And really, who gets the girl in the end?