Dr. Champ – Episode 1

I JUST watched the first episode, and can I say this?


(If the above screencap makes you think the drama is more angsty than expected, trust me it’s not. In fact, all the previous stills made me feel like there’d be more drama, but the melodrama part isn’t as bad as I thought.)

Kim So Yeon (as Kim Yeon Woo) is amazing in this role as a complete professional – she’s not flighty like Ma Hye Ri, or cold like Kim Sun Hwa. Rather – she’s a mix of both – tough to deal with and yet as cute as Hye Ri. She’s the underdog doctor at her hospital, having not graduated from the esteemed Hankook University. However, she’s better than all those Hankook grads and is the protegee of Professor Seo. A surgery gone wrong makes her choose between her morals and her ambition – and I am glad she is not like Hye Ri on that one. She also has an unreliable boyfriend and mother – just in case she wasn’t more of an underdog than she already is.

Jung Gyu Woon (Park Ji Heon) is quite a charmer. He’s unable to be anything but nice and helpful to others (from the old lady carrying a heavy basket to the girl who has her skirt caught in her underwear). From the get-go, he’s already enthralled by Kim Yeon Woo. He has a hard-working ethic, so he’s the easy hero you want to root for. Plus, he has the most entertaining opening sequence ever, and a winning nephew to boot. (What is up with kids being the scene stealers nowadays? From Stars Falling From the Sky to I Am Legend to this.) His rival is Yoo Sang Bong (played by Jung Suk Won of Shining Inheritance) as he vies for a spot on the national team.

Uhm Tae Woong (Lee Do Wook) barely appeared for more than three minutes in the first episode. Can I just say – House rip off!!! He’s lucky I love House. I’m sure his character will evolve from there, but so far – he’s all House. He’s also a famed doctor who rehabilitated other famous athletes and is called in from Johns Hopkins to be the medical chief of Taereung National Village. I have to admit that although I don’t care much for athletes until Olympics-season, this drama is sure as hell making me feel concerned for all the pressures athletes have to undergo to stay on top.

Jo Min Ki (Professor Seo) – never seen him in a drama before, but my goodness is he terrifying as the cold professor doctor who’s got every Hankook University grad under the rule of his thumb. Just an arch of an eyebrow speaks volumes about his disapproval. Reminds me of Kim Myung Min in Beethoven Virus, without the hope of him becoming warm and fuzzy. His role is only a cameo, but I hope he appears later on in the series one last time, if only to have a mini face-off against Kim Yeon Woo and Lee Do Wook.

The story isn’t too gripping – and I don’t think it’s meant to be. Rather, I think the pull is the character development. Each character has a hurdle to overcome, and their lives entangle at Taereung National Village. I’m fine with that. Keep my expectations low please, and impress me later. That’s all I ask for.

UPDATE: Watching episode 2 currently – and gosh it’s a lot funnier than I expected. Especially the rapport/chemistry that Kim So Yeon and Jung Gyu Woon have. 😀 He’s no Park Shi Hoo, but he’s funny!

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