Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim: Episode 1

I will admit that I personally do not like medical dramas and was not intending to follow this series. However, after reading some articles about it and seeing the high ratings received on the first episode, I decided to give it a shot and watch the first episode.

I certainly wasn’t impressed and am unlikely to continue watching the series. Nonetheless, I thought I’d capture my thoughts on this episode.

While I usually enjoy shows that move at a fast pace, this premiere tried to accomplish way too much, too quickly. The first half is pretty typical – we get some backstory for our protagonist Kang Dong-Joo, and then we fast forward to present day where he is a medical intern with a surly attitude. His no-nonsense attitude attracts the attention of many, particularly a young surgeon Yeon Seo Jung, who starts to give him a hard time after he tells on her for not giving attention to a patient. What follows is some funny scenes of Dong-Joo being tormented by patients from hell. This is all pretty standard stuff if not rather bland because both Dong Joo and Seo Jung do not have very appealing personalities.

The second half is where things get ridiculous very quickly. After going a successful surgery, Dong Joo confesses that he likes Seo Jung, and out of nowhere, they share a passionate kiss, which was just like “Huh??”. Following that, Seo Jung gets on a car with her boyfriend who proposes to her just before they get into a fatal car accident (the usual random large vehicle that appears out of nowhere). They are rushed to hospital, where the guy seems completely fine and conveniently lives long enough for Dong Joo to spot him talking to another female doctor in the stairway. Seo Jung’s boyfriend then suddenly collapses in the hallway and dies. We then learn through a flashback that after proposing to her, Seo Jung actually tells her boyfriend that she kissed Dong Joo today and felt something – which was another big “Huh” moment.

What we get is our characters telling us that they love or feel for each other, without us actually see any chemistry or relationship developing. The series of melodramatic incidents in the second half also don’t resonate at all emotionally because we do not care for any of these characters. If anything, I actually felt bad for Seo Jung’s boyfriend for being subjected to such a terrible fate by the writers, being killed off within the span of 15 minutes. Such poor writing and characterisation certainly doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series.

In terms of the medical drama aspect, this show fares alright, with an interesting effort to explain the medical terms that come fast and furious. The effect was lost because those terms weren’t subtitled, but nonetheless, a good medical drama shouldn’t require one to be a medical expert to enjoy it. The whole Seo Jung stuffing her hand into the body of the man with a rod through his body to hold onto his artery was so unbelievable. And the whole pulling balls out of anus sequence was really uncomfortable to watch.

At this point, the key character Teacher Kim still has not emerged, so there’s still hope that he might bring in a different dimension to the series. Nonetheless, I won’t be staying on for the ride.

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