The Hype Behind What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, recent drama starring Park Seojoon and Park Minyoung, has been making waves in the K-Drama world since it began airing, and it continued breaking its own records all the way up to the recent finale. But what is it about this drama that is so captivating to such a wide audience?
A Quick Synopsis
The story of What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim revolves around chaebol heir Lee Youngjoon and his stellar secretary of nine years, Kim Miso. The first episode shows the strong dynamic of the two, making it obvious that this dynamic duo is virtually unstoppable. It becomes clear early on that Youngjoon is extremely dependent on Miso to function in his daily life. After a night in which Miso accompanies Youngjoon to an international state dinner, during which he has her run around town in search of flowers to appease his current fling, she declares on the car ride home that she intends to quit.
Youngjoon, who is initially introduced as a completely self-absorbed, arrogant businessman, is thrown for a loop at the sudden announcement and grasps at straws to get her to stay, going so far as to offer to marry her under the impression that this will keep her in his life. His strong, arrogant façade begins to break down when Miso literally laughs in his face at the proposition, and we see Youngjoon begin to get more in touch with his emotions in an attempt to understand them.
The story continues between the two from here, with both characters’ personalities developing from an initial sudden declaration that not only threw off Youngjoon, but the audience watching as well. It is not immediately apparent as to why Miso has chosen to pursue a different goal, but hints and little nuggets of information are dropped as the story progresses.
Lee Youngjoon’s Multifaceted Personality
Early on, Youngjoon comes off as an absolutely horrific man, egotistical and self-important to the point of being suffocating. However, as time goes on, portions of his past are revealed and he begins to understand more of himself and why he acts the way he does, sparked by fear of Miso leaving. Despite the conceited appearance early on, he shows he has the capability to be sweet when he sets up certain situations for Miso based on her personal preferences rather than his own. It’s a subtle difference from his initial introduction to viewers, but that kickstarts the drama’s look into Youngjoon’s deep, emotional well.
His humility becomes more apparent upon the return of his older brother Sungyeon, whose emotionally explosive ways help explain why Youngjoon ended up being so stoic and why he decided to put on a mask of narcissism. Additionally, a phobia of Youngjoon’s is revealed a couple of episodes in, and it is so intense that even its sight reduces him to a near panic attack. He is also shown having nightmares, which all alludes to some sort of childhood abuse.
It becomes clear that the lead’s narcissistic demeanor is nothing but a front for protection against emotional vulnerability, yet even so he has allowed Miso to come close to him, which explains his fear at her departure. Part of the charm of this drama is watching Youngjoon discover the brighter parts of himself through his interactions with Miso, who is always quick to shoot down his arrogance when necessary.
Kim Miso’s Brilliant Character
Upon introduction, Miso may appear your typical “good girl” in the sense she does everything Youngjoon says while upholding her saintly demeanor, working her position in an effort to fund her older sister’s schooling while contributing to her family’s overall welfare. However, as viewers get more time to understand Miso, we begin to catch onto her backhanded compliments, seeing beyond her façade of perfection as it’s presented to the world.
Part of the reason Miso begins to win over Youngjoon’s heart is that she is not willing to put up with his nonsense. She tells him off in ways that are sometimes easily missed, such as agreeing with him in a terse tone or straining herself physically and making it apparent that she’s not in agreement with the things she must say to appease her boss. In addition to having a witty personality, she is also incredibly capable and independent. Rather than depending on Youngjoon’s proposal to keep her in her position (marrying him and becoming a rich wife would solve half of her life’s problems, but she’s not so short-sighted), she stays firm in her choices and beliefs.
Though it may initially appear a generic romantic comedy, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim has a lot bubbling below the surface that makes it so much more than that. In addition to an intriguing story, who doesn’t love a little headbutting and tension between the main couple? But fear not, there’s plenty of squeal-worthy and overly cheesy moments, too (because we all secretly love that, even if we don’t like to admit it). Watch a couple episodes of this drama and you’ll certainly understand why its ratings are so high!