Korean drama – Oh My Venus (2015)

4766_OhMyVenus_Nowplay_Small

Oh My Venus

Genre: comedy, romance

star 3.5

Summary

Kim Young-Ho (So Ji-Sub) is a personal trainer for Hollywood stars. Even though he comes from a wealthy family background, he suffered a devastating injury during his childhood days. Now, he overcomes his problems with patience and stubbornness.

Kang Joo-Eun (Shin Min-A) was the neighborhood beauty in high school. She since become a competent lawyer but has gained a great deal of weight. After breaking up with her boyfriend of 15 years, she decides to tackle her weight and gets Young Ho to be her trainer.

Review

The drama starts with lots going for it but it doesn’t break through to really shine, instead slinking down in quality and ending on a very, very disappointing note. I recommend you end the drama with episode 13. Trust me, you’ll be far happier for it.

Let’s start with the good stuff

The drama is cute, with lots of comedy gold, and the main couple has an amazing chemistry. They both clearly know what they want and they pursue it with a passion that is commendable. What is even better – they don’t let this prevent them from being really good people. It’s great being ambitious, but trampling over others to get what you want is clearly not their style and that is why you want them together all the more. They are perfect for each other.

Early episodes sell us the pairing, hooking us on the slow-burn romance between a gorgeous personal trainer with chaebol connections and a working class girl who made it into a law firm on her own merit. They are studies in contrast and that is why they work so well together. What is even better – their start is rocky and quite accidental. Young-Ho can’t abandon a person in need, which our heroine certainly is at the start (after a brutal break-up with a boyfriend of 15 years) but under his tutelage she finds her way back to the outspoken and confident girl she once was. So basically she isn’t changed by him but only perfected. In turn she helps him heal his own trauma, something his family is utterly incapable of doing although they do try in their own way. They care but are rather stilted in their help.

1c1946bf-6f61-4435-a18d-c5e05bc16845

Venus6-00013

Kim Young-Ho takes the lead in the romance when a spark with Joo-Eun is more than apparent, but he’s not forceful in any way, which is what I like very much. They have this cute back and forth dance, with lots of teasing in between. The chemistry is super hot and there are many swoon-worthy moments. The actor So Ji-Sub is now on my must-watch list: I can’t get over the intensity and vulnerability he brought to the role that could be a one-dimensional stereotype; he thoroughly charmed me as the strict personal trainer with a heart of gold.

I knew Shin Min-A is brilliant at comedy and she doesn’t disappoint here at all. I’m so sorry the ending wasn’t better because this could have easily turned out to be a drama I’d watch when feeling down. The acting and funny moments are that good. Perhaps someone will make a compilation of drama’s best moments.

Other mention-worthy characters

The “dynamic duo” – Joon-Sung (martial arts fighter known as Korean Snake) and Ji-Woong are our trainer’s protégées. They are protective of him almost more than he is of them, but both are fascinating characters. The fighter is the stereotypical silent man for most of the time when he is not among friends, but Ji-Woong is a puppy. He’s just adorable and so charming. He’s speaking this American accented Korean that is super adorable when he mixes it with English. He’s a very refreshing character in drama land that was always good for a laugh. He’s like bottled sunshine. 😀 It is him who champions our heroine and persuades his boss to train her. He also ropes in his buddy, and the martial arts champion is suddenly helping out with Joo-Eun’s exercise. They are cheering her on, devising plans to motivate her. Even though their boss might grumble about slacking off when our Venus demands a lazy day to recharge her batteries, they are firmly in her camp. Both boys are gorgeous characters that aren’t given nearly enough screen time. They have interesting storylines that are only hinted at, much to the drama’s detriment.

oh-my-venus-3

Venus14-00001a

dramasnews_oh-my-venus-episode-9_220151217030105

The negatives

The potential is there, but side characters aren’t developed near enough. The whole ‘independent lawyer’ storyline is soon dropped to make Kang Joo-Eun closer to our hero. When a rival in her old school friend (Soo-Jin) is introduced, we are caught in a vicious circle where the past is more important than the present. She is supposed to be a mirror to our heroine but she is just a very sad character, making the drama an emotional rollercoaster. We get romance and comedy in one scene then a serious case of the blues. It is all over the place and it bothered me that so much attention was given to a side character. The protagonists already have their ups and downs – no need to rope in more drama. The many side-stories that are set up early on and promise more depth to the central theme are dropped without real explanations or concluded hastily. Perhaps the drama needed fewer characters to really focus on the main ones, but the writer got over ambitious and the script kind of floundered towards the end.

In the sudden turn to the dark side the higher the episode number, the underlying message the drama tries to tell us that looks aren’t everything gets lost or watered down. Young-Ho emphasized it time and time again – being healthy is sexy. I loved this message because it is better than any other message one can give to young women. Different body types are healthy but may not be ‘fashionable’. A balanced diet and exercise are what people need, not pills or radical diets. In a drama with the premise of having the heroine slim down this was especially apt and commendable.

omv_ep15_1a

venus13-00053

Now for the problematic episodes 13, 14, 15, 16end 

SPOILERS AHEAD

It all starts with episode 12 where one of side characters loses his mind and tries to kill Young-Ho. The preferred method is a car crash, only our hero isn’t driving the car but Joon-Sung, the martial arts fighter. Young-Ho is alerted to this situation and goes after them to prevent the accident. Sadly, he himself is almost fatally injured in the crash and the doctors aren’t sure he’ll ever walk again. He’s had so many surgeries on that leg as a child due to bone cancer that healing is unlikely or just maybe down to a miracle after years of gruelling physical therapy.

And what does our hero do with this information? In a complete about turn of his personality, he decides to keep his love Joo-Eun away from him because having her near might make him give up with the therapy. WTF? I was just floored. Already we have a cliché car accident and a repeat scenario of him being in hospitals all the time like in his childhood, but now he’s isolating himself from everyone?  It just doesn’t tract and I wanted him to have the support he lacked as a child. I hate dramas where an unnecessary separation (usually one year long) is added in the last or penultimate episode just so the established couple has something to fight for. Either write a drama 16 episodes long or write a shorter drama. Reused scenes and weak plot are the bane of drama endings these days.

omv_ep14_1a

Young-Ho spends a few months in hospital then goes to America for physical therapy, without answering Joo-Eun’s messages or watching videos of her keeping up with his training regime. WTF? And then after a year has passed, he returns back home. They are reunited and that concludes episode 13. This is already a huge step down in quality of writing even though it may play on your heartstrings with lots of angst, but what follows is a horror show of huge plot holes, unnecessary filler scenes, and sappy moments that didn’t fit the character’s age or profession at all. You have to see episode 13 for a happy ending but you are better of ending the drama here and imaging their future together on your own. It will be far more satisfying than what happens next. You can just see the actors doing their very best so kudos for their professionalism.

The final episode gives us the good-awful scene at the airport. Young-Ho has spent a couple of months abroad helping at a natural disaster zone, something he is well qualified to do as a CEO of a medical company, and he returns home. Joo-Eun awaits him at the airport, suddenly chubby as hell. His WTF face is priceless when he tries to combine his dismay, coupled with concern, even alarm, and deep love for the crazy woman. The explanation – she’s three months pregnant with twins. I would have understood her chubbiness if she said she’s eight months. Women do gain weight during pregnancy or just retain more water in their bodies, causing bloating. It could explain her round face. But no – she has gained 26 kilos in just two months because the babies are hungry. Seriously, you are going with this sorry excuse for the extremely unhealthy weight gain? No one who gains so much in two months is even remotely healthy! Is it even physically possible to gain so much in such a short time?

But the real kicker is her utter disregard for her pre-existing medical problems. It’s like she doesn’t care for her body or the babies at all. It is Young-Ho who starts spluttering about his children’s health and an emergency visit to an OB/GYN. It is supposed to be funny or something like that but what it does is to completely negate everything the drama tried to establish at the start – the message that you must take care of your body is just destroyed. No, a healthy diet is even more important during pregnancy and eating all the junk you can find is just crazy. I also wonder what happened to morning sickness – this is the usual way a body deals with the potent mix of hormones flooding a woman’s system. If anything, women often lose some weight before starting to gain it at a slow pace. A healthy pregnancy weight gain is baby + water + enlarged milk ducts and womb + new reserves of fat for milk production. That’s it. 26 kilos – are you crazy?!

And the death stroke for the drama – a flashback scene where a young Young-Ho in a wheel-chair and a huge cast on his leg is consoled by a school-girl that is supposed to be Joo-Eun. I hate, hate this Korean drama trope. Do they have to be fated to fall in love for a story to work? What is wrong with meeting for the first time as adults and creating a wonderful relationship with each other?  I was soo disappointed with this ending that it left a bitter after-taste in my mouth. And it started out very promising. I’m just going to find that video of drama highlights and some more smouldering So Ji-Sub.

CT6Rn9SUkAA65Cy

Advertisements

One response to “Korean drama – Oh My Venus (2015)

  1. I really Like your review , it’s exactly what I was thinking about this drama (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤ , This drama is Good but not enough to shine ( ̄ω ̄;) and the end is very disapointing , It’s preferable to end it at Episode 12 ! Good Job (⌒_⌒;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s