[TV Review] Protect the Boss, You are the Coolest~
Truly, it is strange. There is not one proper villain who plots unsavory things in the background, and there is not one thick conflict that makes the palms sweat. But you can’t help but keep watching. Protect the Boss, to say it in one sentence, is a drama that is like the “rock from space” that has become stuck in the amygdaloid nucleus of the viewer’s brain.
The SBS Wed-Thursday drama Protect the Boss is illustrating well the characteristic feature that appeared in the 2011 romantic comedies such as Secret Garden and The Best of Love. The man who has everything meets the woman who lacks most everything and falls in love with hyper speed, conveys his feelings, and wins over the heart. As if a response to the dryness of life, the degree of romance and comedy has much heightened. It is funnier and it is sweeter.
However, in the crucial point, Protect the Boss walks a road separate from not merely the above two dramas but also most every drama in existence. It is that the “conflict” that pierces the entire work is faint. Secret Garden had the background of having the spirits of the two lovers who are of different social classes switch and with it a large-scale auto accident, and The Best of Love had the entertainer hated by the entire public and the top star with an artificial heart act as the main lines of conflict that pierced the works.
However, contrary to this, Protect the Boss does not have in particular a line of conflict that crosses the 16 episodes. This is not saying that no conflict at all appears. On the contrary, on every episode there is conflict. However, the construction of the narrative itself does not follow the method of boosting the conflict to cause it to explode for a climax. Rather, it is differentiated from other dramas in that it is unfolded in a “cool” method of resolving the conflict immediately and promptly in each episode.
Even though the conflict is faint, the average rating of Protect the Boss
is around 15% and the felt-ratings is above 20%. The secret to such popularity is the refreshing characters who twist the clichés of romantic comedies, the deconstruction of the images of the chaebols, and the “cool development” of resolving conflicts right away and promptly.
A third-generation chaebol and his secretary fall in love. Of course, it is the proper course to have the parents of the chaebol chase them right away to quibble and it is the path well-travelled to have them fall ill with a cloth around their heads and to oppose the lovers.Protect the Boss twists this sequence and path. This female secretary argues to Shin Sukhee who finds her to quibble that “since your son likes me, I am the top” and makes her clutch the back of her head.
This is not all. The permission from the chaebol parents, which normally falls only in the end or even in the end does not falls, comes early in Protect the Boss. Cha Bongman, who likes Eunsul’s straightforward personality and the fact that she helped Jihun without any words despite his suffering from panic disorder, decide to have this punk secretary who has “only the usage of her fists and blue-collar labor as her strength and hobby” become “a member of my family” and transformed into “Cha-chard Gere” and films the “father-in-law” version of Pretty Woman.
Most of all, Protect the Boss is interesting in that characters who have deconstructed the standard images of chaebols appear en masse. Cha Bongman, who is the CEO of a mega corporation but has on his lips perpetually the call for “mom, mom” and is far from refinement or elegance. Cha Jihun and Cha Muwon who, even when they’ve grown old, fights with punches and headbutting at each time they meet. Seo Nayun who is so tone deaf that she begs for a punch. These characters smashed in significant parts the “live by the image” of the chaebol character.
The refreshing characters and the deconstruction of the chaebol images meets with the growth stories of each person and evokes enjoyment. The man who is grown but wears a Dully Dinosaur underwear and has as his foremost specialty throwing tantrums and acting cutesy. The man who has abilities and is clean-cut, but does not know how to play. The woman who, approaching the age of thirty, does not have anyone to call a proper friend. Cha Jihun, Cha Muwon, Seo Nayun. These fault-ridden third generation chaebols meet Noh Eunsul, “the woman who has fooled around in her time,” and start to change and grow.
Jihun who had given up on his potential, saying that “I cannot talk in front of people,” overcomes panic disorder with the help of Eunsul who acknowledges and accepts him as he is. Muwon who had not known shame learns what it is through Eunsul and newly makes clear the attitude of clean corporate ethics and on the other hand begins to learn the laxness that allows him to enjoy life.
The most interesting is the fact that the “chaebol girl” character Nayun is among the growth characters—she is someone who, in a normal drama, would step aside aloofly pretending to be cool for the woman who has taken away the love and the attention that were due to her, or would be busy plotting, her heart filled with malice. Nayun, who has never had a single proper friend since birth, learns friendship through Eunsul that she hated to the degree of sticking an ice cream cone into her behind and her friend Myungran.
The enjoyment of Protect the Boss is in this process itself. The refreshing characters who react in ways that were not predicted, and the process of their change and growth. This process itself generates catharsis, and therefore this drama does not need a conflict or a villain who acts contrary to common sense and habitually commit evil deeds in order to create the conflicts.
The 12th episode which aired on the 8th made this enjoyment come to life. In the pork-belly restaurant scene in which Jihun and Muwon, and Eunsul, Nayun, and Myungran were together, they said “let’s be friendly” and began to treat each other not as rivals but as friends. This scene gifted the viewers a warmth that was pleasant. The change of the “chaebol neighborhood” was already beginning with the third generation.
The deconstruction of the chaebol image and the twist of clichés employed by Protect the Boss projects in the end the ideals the public carries about chaebols. Jihun who refuses a succession employing improper means. Muwon who refuses to set aside slush funds, saying that he wants to work less shamefully. Cha Bongman who properly keeps the court orders to volunteer for society. Madame Song who says “Sharing. If you evaluate what the other is lacking and missing and keep filling them, then your deeds are due to come back to you.” All of this carries the hope of the public that the chaebols will operate their corporations with ethics and act on the ideal of noblesse oblige.
A fantasy about chaebols who lack sociality learning despite bumbling how to interact and who change through it; and in that process, they cause you to dream of the change of the entire chaebol neighborhood. There is no thick conflicts or characters who fight heatedly or stand in opposition, but Protect the Boss is fun because from its birth it is a “cool drama” that does not rely on “conflict and resolution” for its meaning of existence.
Of course, there are viewers who feel bored by this “cool” development. Therefore, Protect the Boss is a drama that creates even more attention for its legacy. What kind of an evaluation will the viewers give for this new kind of narrative that seems to have properly juxtaposed the particularities of a mini-series and daily sitcoms? And what kind of a change will it bring to the future of domestic dramas? We are excited to watch.