Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Producer Ep 1: Lights, Camera, Action!

And.....we're off! After much hype and anticipation, episode 1 of The Producer has finally aired! Welcome to the first installment of our recaps here on TCA. Kmuse and I will once again be co-capping. So, how much did you miss us? ;) I, for those of us that haven't "met" yet, am Dongsaeng, and I will be the odd one this time around, taking on the odd numbered episodes while my partner in blogging takes the more even-keeled route.

The format of this drama differs from the traditional Kdrama in that it is a documentary/interview style, similar to The Office (U.K./USA) where a camera crew follows around a brand new bunch of new hires at a television network, KBS. We see things from the perspective of the cameraman/documentary director/interviewer/whoever it is behind the camera that we don't see. I personally find this new format to be fresh and a welcome change to the ofttimes stagnant waters of dramadom. I also find it interesting to note that they are using a real for real station that actually exists, KBS, and talking about real shows that are actually on air. Usually in dramas, settings like this are fictionalized, real companies and programs never used by name. My guess is that this variation from the typical is to help render the story as more true-to-life and therefore believable? Or you know, be one long KBS advertisement. I don't know. It's just definitely a point worth mentioning as we start this drama.

The Producers follows a set of new hires in the Variety Show division at KBS as well as their seniors there. Let's take a quick roll call and check out our main characters.

Baek Seung Chan - Kim Soo Hyun

Kim Soo Hyun returns to the land of kdrama following his lead role in smash hit My Love From the Stars as rookie Baek Seung Chan. We first meet him as he is running in to his first day of work, telling the cameras that he is afraid he is late for the opening ceremony. We soon learn that he chose this illustrious career as a variety show producer for the simple reason that it was where his crush worked. Poor kid. Something tells me that he doesn't know just what he has signed up for here. As his first day on the job begins, he quickly finds himself the target of new boss, Tak Ye Jin's, scornful eye and her Jindo Dog Level 3 ire.

Tak Ye Jin - Kong Hyo Jin

Tak Ye Jin is the producer of the show Music Bank, arguably the most popular program in KBS's lineup. She has a reputation as being very difficult to work with, hence the Jindo Dog rating system. Company employees make sure to spread the word amongst each other as to what her current level is. Stage 3 is where she is at on this particular day and is apparently no where near the worst level. It basically means to stay clear and you'll live, but get on her bad side, and watch out. Well, poor Baek Seung Chan is the one to find himself clasped in Jindo Dog Ye Jin's bite today. She's in bad mood after starting her day off by denting the car parked next to her. My take on her character from what I've seen so far is that she is far from the cold, heartless monster that her coworkers seem to paint her out to be. We see in her multiple instances where she seemed to be acting the part, when deep-down she's a great big softie and incredibly awkward. She's crazy in an adorkable, quirky way.

Ra Joon Mo - Cha Tae Hyun

Ra Joon Mo is the producer for failing program 2 Days, 1 Night. He frequently finds himself having to face the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) for a myriad of offenses in his broadcasts. Today's hearing is for the use of the word "booger" on air. Wow. Censorship is one thing, but really? I sure hope they are just trying to exaggerate and be funny here. Would someone really have to go before the KCC for such a thing in real life? I hope not, but at least in this case, it was hilarious watching these stuffy old dudes discuss boogers. 
The Booger Boys

Today was not a good day for Joon Mo. Not only was he called into Censorship Court, but he also found out that his show needs to be completely two short weeks. Also, he may have been caught cheating by scary PD Tak Ye Jin. We don't know at this point the relationship between Ye Jin and Joon Mo, but at the end of the day we do see them sitting down together at home. And the girl that he was "caught" with? Of course it was Baek Seung Chan's crush that he followed to the company (the crush that remembers his name, but not much else about him or how they know each other). Who else would it be? *insert the sound of Seung Chan's heart breaking here*

Cindy - IU

While she plays a smaller role in this episode, we know that IU is one of the top cast members, so we may as well get to know her character right now as well. She plays Cindy, top star and Korean idol. She is at KBS today for the live Music Bank performance. This girl is little miss diva for sure! She is annoyed and uncooperative with the invasion of a few fangirls (and fandad who is a company exec). Then there is the issue of the outfit. Just before she is set to take the stage on the live Music Bank broadcast, she is informed that see-through material such as she is donning is banned and cannot go on air. She is nicely asked to change, which she flatly refuses to do. Things escalate and Jindo Jin is brought in. The battle between the two women begins, poor Baek Seung Chan gets caught in the crossfire, and finally, in the end, once the rookies are out of the room and Ye Jin can go into begging mode, a compromise is reached. Cindy will wear a jacket on stage to cover up her racy outfit. Ye Jin is elated as the crisis of the dress is diffused. Until air time. Cindy is apparently a total brat. No sooner are the cameras turned on than she uses the jacket as a little strip show and flings it to the side. Ye Jin sits there in shock but has to keep doing her job - nothing to do at this point - it's a live broadcast. Cindy and her manager bolt right after the show, effectively avoiding Ye Jin's wrath, and thus live to see another day.

Later on we see our Ra Joon Mo take pity on the child and buy her some decent food when he runs across them at a convenient store. I have a suspicion that there is some sort of already established relationship there between the two, but we'll have to wait and see if that is actually the case. They just don't appear to be complete strangers to me.
And those are our top 4 cast members. I really am not sure at this point who our OTP (one true pairing) is at this point. We have Ye Jin and Joon Mo living together, but a lot of back-and-forth play going between Ye Jin and Seung Chan. Maybe Cindy gets thrown into the mix at some point as well. I just don't know to be completely honest. And I love that. I want to keep wondering for a bit. It's often too easy to know even before the show first airs who the OTP is, so I don't mind being in the dark at this point and view it as a welcome change.

My overall take is that this show is hilarious! I laughed, yes, out loud even, in multiple parts. Especially the second time through. The comedy is on point and assuming they keep it up, I really think we could have a winner on our hands. It is smart and funny and fresh with a top-notch cast, including the supporting characters that I haven't even mentioned yet. And talk about cameos! This one is set to be chock full of them! This episode brought us some of the SNSD girls hanging out in the company cafeteria (and supporting the ongoing joke about the two Kim Tae Ho PDs - one that everyone knows at a competing station, and the "original" here at KBS). If asked, I couldn't even tell you what my favorite part was. It could have been how Ye Jin repeatedly tries to contact the owner of the car she dinged, who of course is Seung Chan, which results in Seung Chan repeatedly being reprimanded every time his phone goes off with her attempts. Or it could have been the celebration "party" with Seung Chan's quirky family. 

Or dorky Kim Tae Ho in all his Cindy fanboying. There was just so much to love in this first episode. I was completely entertained the whole time through, whether I was laughing, cringing at the awkwardness of some of our characters, or crying on the inside for our poor Seung Chan and his horrible first day on the job. A complete success in my book and I can't wait for episode 2!

Speaking of episode 2, I will leave that to my blogner's (blog partner's) capable typing fingers. Make sure you come back to get her insight later as she takes on the second episode. As for me, I have to go watch it first, so I'm out for now. Thank you for joining us and we look forward to watching this show together with you all! See you next week!

Back hugs and open-eyed fish kisses to you all,

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