Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Oh My Ghostess: first four episodes

Oh My Ghost! [Haha, totally just wanted to say it — also the drama’s alternative title — pun fully intended XD]

I was ready to write a first impression on the first two episodes, but after finishing the third one, i was overwhelmed with qualms to proceed with the plan. Thankfully, four addresses the elephant in the room, to my relief and excitement. So here it is~!

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At first glance, the whole ghost-seeing/possession story sounds like a spin-off of 49 Days and Master’s Sun — both i loved. Like Tae Gong-shil/Tae-yang, Na Bong-sun (Park Bo-young) is able to see spirits and constantly disturbed by their presence which deprives her of a good night sleep. If Tae-yang gets all handsy with Joo-goon because touching him makes all ghosts go poof or when possessed by a coquettish female ghost, here that seductress spirit is our other female lead. She’s Shin Soon-ae (Kim Seul-gi) who dies a virgin and believes her unfulfilled desire was to get deflowered and thus has been going around possessing many women to get on it so she can then ‘move on’.

This naughty habit of hers goes against the afterlife’s rule that a certain Shaman Ahjumma (Lee Jung-eun) is constantly on her back, desperate/itching to curb her. Curiously, she cannot spot ghosts once they are inside a human’s body, so Soon-ae enters dozing-off Bong-sun in a pinch to hide from her. Problem is, Soon-ae is trapped inside Bong-sun’s body due to their “matching frequency”, whatever that means.

(This is where Oh My Ghostess exudes 49 Days‘ vibe: ladies in both dramas are connected to each other beyond the superficial guest-host role. Posing as Bong-sun also enables Soon-ae to cross path with people from her human’s circle and through whom she is given a second chance to view life with new eyes, discover what keeps her from moving on, and to possibly right the wrong before her time as a wandering soul is up.)

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At that time, i was excited about the takeover and looking forward to the ensuing hijinks given the ladies’ diametrical personalities — Bong-sun is taciturn, meek, and timid whereas Soon-ae is bold, blunt, and snappy. Plus, Soon-ae is refreshing to see and arguably the more interesting character to follow than Bong-sun who is pretty much a doormat in dire need to grow a spine. We do get a fair share of humorous sequences as Park Bo-young adopts Kim Seul-gi’s devil-may-care demeanor, curt way of speaking, borderline-swearing diction down pat and transforms into the pervy kitchen assistant who openly ogles at her all-male coworkers, including the boss/executive chef Kang Sun-woo (Jo Jung-seok).

(Them working in the kitchen does remind me of Pasta. Here, we also have the super arrogant and scathing male lead as the head chef while our leading lady takes on the lowest position in the kitchen he manages. Obviously, there lies a warm-hearted kind soul beneath the crotchety exterior and barbed tongue, but i wish show to get there sooner than later because i’ve had enough of his ill temper, insults, and roars by now.)

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While undoubtedly fun(ny) to watch, seeing only Soon-ae both as herself through the flashbacks and as Bong-sun day in, day out with no sign of the host taking charge of her property for the subsequent three episodes inevitably raises red flag. What happens to Bong-sun’s soul? Does hers lie dormant while Soon-ae’s in charge? If not, where does ‘it’ go? I keep looking/waiting for the governing rules to be explained — like how long she can inhabit a body or if she’s allowed to reveal her identity to those who knew her — but got none thus far.

There must be some protocols and consequences, right? Well, i need any kind of rules to make sense of the supernatural element of this rom-com, and the lack thereof is my main grumble. ‘Cuz, how can one possesses the other 24 hour a day for days? Does it mean Soon-ae can just take over Bong-sun’s body AND life?

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I’m saying this completely loving Soon-ae and intrigued by her backstory but i’m also equally curious about Bong-sun and find her relatable despite her submissiveness. Having talent and potential to be a great cook yet unable to showcase her skill, sell herself, much less prove her worth in real life setting… is a situation i believe many people may have been at one point in life. Sun-woo (i’d refer to him as Chef since it’s shorter) has recognized and acknowledged her cooking virtually, now i want him to do so in person. For that to happen, i need Bong-sun to be back. Although i’m already mortified for her because Soon-ae just does as she pleases with her body.

The last bit is my next grumble. She has her situation and urgency as well, but i’d like her character more if she acts more responsibly while borrowing other’s body because she won’t have to deal with any repercussions, the other person will. I don’t think she cares though, as she doesn’t even take medicine to ease her cold and keeps on flirting which can cost her host’s job — Chef is her employer after all! — while fully aware of Bong-sun’s predicament. It was hilarious when it lasted yet i couldn’t help cringing at all the cleanups Bong-sun gotta do afterwards. That said, i’m glad to see Soon-ae out even if i need to wait another week to welcome Bong-sun.

Questions: What ejected her though? Is it the feverish cold? When she’s still in even when asleep and drunk? I hope Soon-ae won’t possess Bong-sun that easily or soon again; but then, she may think twice given how difficult it was for her to get out the first time… may she?

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I don’t have much to say on other characters yet — namely Chef’s longtime crush So-hyung (Park Jung-ah), his sister Eun-hee (Shin Hye-sun) and her husband Sung-jae (Im Joo-hwan) — but i started to sense an eerie aura from him especially during the scene where Mom (Shin Eun-kyung) and Eun-hee in talks on meeting the shaman ahjumma: he just stands there with an enigmatic expression. The shaman has repeatedly mentioned that Chef is surrounded by a lot of ghosts — he isn’t one of ’em, is he??

This is the first time i see Kim Seul-gi and i already love how natural her performance is. On the other hand, this drama is my third Park Bo-young’s projects (after Werewolf Boy and Hot Young Bloods) but there her characters were rather moody and subdued that i didn’t expect her to be able to pull off such a zany character. Boy, was i wrong. Not only is she effortless as an oddball but her comedic timing is also spot-on. It’s a wonder that she’s able keep a straight face through the cheeky antics when her scene partners seem to be on the brink of losing it.

Like here:

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Or here:

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[You totally smiled there, right, Chef?? That totally looks like a smile to me]

Seriously, her expressions are so rich i keep abusing the print-screen button whenever her quirky mode is one =x

Both actresses are an absolute blast to watch, and now that we can see them perform side by side, i’m expecting show to get to the meatier stuff — with less apparitions of scary-looking ghosts, pretty please? *fingersandtoescrossed*  The humor is rib-tickling but i want Oh My Ghostess to be more than just funny. That won’t be too far-off though, since there have been plenty emotional beats and wistful moments here and there to make us care for the characters on a deeper level.

As for the possibly muddy lovelines, i’m fine either way as long as it’s coherent and well-developed. The statuses so far: Bong-sun has a crush on Chef, he is a fan of her cooking blog, and Soon-ae is obsessed with him only after discovering that he is the “man of vitality” she’s been looking for (to have sex with). Chef has yet to show particular interest in either lady although he’s decidedly wary worried about Bong-sun’s drastic changes in personality, which hopefully won’t be passed off as split personality going forward. Chef/Bong-sun would make a conventional pairing, but ain’t it gonna be interesting for him to fall for a ghost whose existence he doesn’t believe in? Hee.

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