Miss Korea is definitely a drama to curl up to until the the wee hours of the night.
Set in the time of South Korea’s IMF crisis in the year 1997, a certain team of chemists who finished their degree in Korea’s prestigious university and who managed to bag accolades are interestingly working their way to get through the eye of the needle with so little to give in terms of finance but so much to provide in the bravery, resiliency and perseverance department. Kim Hyung Joon being the President of the yet to be known cosmetics brand called Vivi tries everything in his power to seduce high school classmate Oh Ji Young by flattering her with words no girl can resist, ‘I will make you a Queen’ in hopes of reviving the dying company.
While watching the pilot episode, I couldn’t help but compare it with Reply 1994/1997 since it had a similar aim-to share a sense of remembrance from the events that happened during the 90’s regardless if you were still a baby or not. However we learn as the story unfolds unlike Reply’s colourful and youthful concept that manages to blend into 1994’s nostalgic theme, each episode has a present brownish tint effect that always ends with a VHS tape fuzz giving viewers a foreboding sensation and reminding the audience that stakes were high at that time and people were doing everything they can to surface above the declining economy especially these group of ambitious protagonists. Moreover, in contrast to our initial idea that attires worn by characters in these kind of old-dated themed drama will look shabby or distracting it didn’t but rather looked fashionable in a slick, bold and heavy 90’s style.
Miss Korea truly stood on its own and shared a meaningful story in a manner that assumed its audience were only a group of level-headed people. What I really liked the most, all characters in the story are depicted as complexed, mature beings who have their own stories and inferiorities making each one of them relatable-and yes even the antagonists, if you’re one to think like that. Interesting second lead love teams that are probable and most likely to take most of our interest than that of the main leads, side character stories that seems to be more appealing to watch at some point is given enough screen time and attention.
Also as I continued to watch, Miss Korea proved my other initial pretensions wrong- a second rate copycat of Reply 1994. It showed its wonder through its quality acting, writing and directing without missing a punch. The production team has an undeniable touch of satisfying viewers by laying out conflicts brought about tricky situations in the world of superficial pageants and risky business ventures that do not appear out of context or pointless but rather eventual.
Solutions that are pragmatic, calculated and smart are given towards dilemmas that seem to run over their principles and ego and I am constantly at awe because all of the characters have the balls to speak up and fight for what they want even if they have to be at risk. And most of all, no one is a goody-goody. All in all, I would say, I truly delight watching this drama for its refreshing quality and mature treatment to its audience and still come out interesting.
I being in love with this drama is an understatement. It is truly a gem out of all the K-dramas out there because of how much quality treatment we are being given of by the production team yet not a lot have watched or heard about it. With Miss Korea ending this week a cameo role from one of my favourite actresses who have also worked with Lee Mi Sook in a previous drama that goes by the name Jung So Min will be appearing. She has starred in Can We Get Married and Playful Kiss. Choosing her as someone to appear at the end of the show is intriguing because it gives a big probability that maybe we’ll be having a part two of this drama. Although quality may not be as good as the first one just because this time I’m pretty sure they’ll cater it to the taste of the masses to become more profitable, I am still open at the possibility. I am so thrilled to watch her already, Jung So Min’s role here is someone who has a potential to become the next Miss Korea candidate as she is seen being eyed by Miss Ma’s character the queen maker of the show.