Review Korean Drama The Producer Episodes: 12 So basically, this show experimented with a variety-esque sort of format, and then after two episodes, in response to very underwhelming response The Producer from local viewers, shifted gears to be more drama-heavy and variety-light in terms of its format.
My theory is, people who welcomed the mockumentary approach were probably disappointed to see the format go, while viewers who weren’t so keen on the mockumentary style were relieved when the show adopted a more conventional drama approach.
Personally, I thought the mockumentary format was
quite refreshing and even rather fun at first. But by
the 25-minute mark, I found myself getting bored coz
everything felt rather aimless and random, and there
didn’t seem to be much of an actual plotline.
I was definitely relieved when Show evolved into something that was stronger on story.
In terms of why the mockumentary style didn’t sit so well with many viewers, there are 2 main reasons in my mind.
In the first two episodes of the show, there were lots – like, LOTS – of references to variety shows and celebs, including kpop idols.
Viewers in the know would’ve been quite tickled
by all the references and cameos. The thing is,
because there were so many references, it’s very
likely only an elite handful of viewers who are
deeply well-versed in k-variety, kpop, and k-ent
in general, were actually able to appreciate it.
The references were probably mostly lost on a large sector of viewers.
Without an appreciation of the references, and without much of a story to engage with otherwise, it’s understandable that this sector of viewers felt a big disconnect with the show.
When Show adjusted its balance to accommodate more story and less mockumentary, this basically made the show more accessible to drama fans at large.
This could’ve been just me, but in the thick of its mockumentary style, I actually felt Show was too real for comfort.
I found the episode 2 spotlight on the types of conditions trainees that live under quite troubling, rather than entertaining. And I also found the way production life was portrayed in the same episode rather bemusing.
Yes, I know that that’s pretty much how k-ent works. And yes, I know that other shows have touched on similar issues,
like King of Dramas, for example. The thing is, I think it worked better in King of Dramas because it had at least felt dramatized.
Here, because Show takes on a mockumentary style, everything feels more real.
Which honestly just makes it a lot less fun to watch, coz these realities are harsh, and when I watch a drama, I like to momentarily forget what those harsh realities are.
Show’s eventual balance of more drama, less variety worked for me, because as much as it’s interesting
to see into the workings of the k-ent industry, sometimes, preserving the fiction is what makes watching dramas entertaining and fun.
I honestly really liked the pace and rhythm that Show eventually settles into.
The slowish pace at which we follow people around at work, coupled with the long episodes, sometimes made Show feel sort of like a Misaeng, just with a showbiz context. I kind of felt like Seung Chan (Kim Soo Hyun) was our Geu Rae, all naive and new, and trying to survive in a harsh world.
The beats are meandering and everyday, and watching this show really does feel like living life with these characters,
as we experience their daily ups and downs with them.
The slice-of-life flavor feels accessibly engaging, in an easy,
laidback, just-hanging-out-with-my-friends sort of way.
After a while, I didn’t even feel the long episodes anymore,
I just enjoyed hanging out with these characters so much.
Our main characters are a big part of what made the show, for me, and I thought all four of them were quite perfectly cast.
I always enjoy Gong Hyo Jin, and thought she did an effortless job of bringing Ye Jin to life, all abrasive bluster on the outside,
but warm and caring on the inside.
Cha Tae Hyun also did a good job as Joon Mo, who’s all big talk but is actually sheepish and unsure of what to do most of the time.
Notably, he manages to keep Joon Mo essentially likable, even when Joon Mo is at his most aggravating.
The nerdy, clueless, petty-but-earnest Seung Chan is such a huge departure from Kim Soo Hyun‘s last drama role
as You From Another Star‘s grumpy cool alien, and Kim Soo Hyun totally nails it.
Seung Chan really grew on me as a character, and I very much enjoyed watching him come into his own as a rookie PD,
but with nervous nerdy tendencies very much intact.
Kim Soo Hyun embodies Seung Chan in an admirably intricate manner,
and makes Seung Chan come alive in all the little details, from the nervous blink of his eyes, to the slight stiffness in his body posture. Really good.