Showing posts with label Secret Playlist or Play Plii (Kdrama) 4.1 || 3.9. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Secret Playlist or Play Plii (Kdrama) 4.1 || 3.9. Show all posts

09 January 2024

K Drama Review: Secret Playlist / Play, Plii (2023) 4.1 || 3.9

And we're finally back after 3 months!!! We struggled finding a new drama to watch after Moving. We'd start something and get bored with it. Sometimes we just totally forgot what show we were watching. :D

We finally settled with Secret Playlist because we love Kim Hyang Gi from At Eighteen. And the show started out really promising. Admittedly, though, we were on the verge of giving up on it again because the drama became quite confusing in the middle. Fortunately, this drama only had 8 episodes so we were able to see it through. And it did pick up in the end. 


Secret Playlist / Play, Plii tells the story of a music vlogger, Plii / Song Han Joo (Kim Hyang Gi). Han Joo loves music but she can't be passionate about it openly because her mom (Kang Sung Yeon) was a singer who left her family to pursue her love for music. Han Joo had no choice but to upload her music vlogs without showing her face and under a secret name, Plii. 

Plii became controversial in the past because she covered the song of K Pop Idol, Levi / Lee Do Kook (Shin Hyun Seung), and Plii's cover ended up being more popular than the original. Fast forward to a few years later, Han Joo and Do Kook became classmates in university. Their paths crossed more often than they wanted, which brought them closer. This happened while Do Kook was in a quest to find Plii and as he pursued his hunch that Han Joo was Plii. Despite all the complications around them, music brought them together. The show takes us through how two people from seemingly different worlds find a common ground by using music in finding and expressing their true selves. 

Kim Hyang Gi as Han Joo

We love how Kim Hyang Gi picks her dramas really well. I love how her characters are always relatable. And it definitely helps that she makes acting look so natural and simple. She can handle comedy, drama, romance, etc. 

I loved Han Joo here because she bravely pursued her dreams. She didn't allow her sad life to hold her back. And Hyang Gi was the perfect actor to give life to this character. 

Shin Hyun Seung as Do Kook

It was not love at first sight for me and Shin Hyun Seung. I initially felt that he was too stereotypical as an annoying potential idol. He tended to be over the top whenever he acted like a brat around his colleagues. But he grew on me eventually with his simple interactions with Han Joo. He became more natural and likable. I appreciated how like a real idol, he shed his facade when he was around people he was comfortable with. I felt his sincerity in wanting to be friends with Han Joo. Do Kook is just really awkward by nature or he appears trying hard because he's lived a sheltered life. 

Han Joo and Do Kook

Han Joo and Do Kook were fun to watch in the beginning. They were cute, especially with the hide-and-seek angle when Do Kook was finding Plii. It did get a bit exhausting though. But I'll talk about that later. 

I loved Han Joo and Do Kook because they both used music as their escape. Yes, they were worlds apart - Han Joo had a hard life and she wanted to use music to reconnect with mom who abandoned her, while Do Kook used music to find and express his true self, without being manipulated by the people around him. And though they were different, I loved how music bridged that huge gap between them. 


Let me just begin by saying that we watched this on Hitv and the English subtitles were so bad. I have to say this because the broken translation might have affected how we perceived the show overall. 

Let's go to the not so nice parts first. Some storylines felt contrived. Like the family feud angle between Han Joo and her cousin (Jeon Seo Jin). It was interspersed here and there but it was not really pursued consistently. Some issues were blown out of proportion but some were totally ignored. Like when Han Joo opted to go for an internship in a production company over a regular job in a big company. I'm sure it would've caused a big problem, given how Han Joo's cousin reacted in previous instances. 

As I mentioned earlier, Do Kook's quest in finding Plii and then the storyline about whether Do Kook and Han Joo should date felt a bit stretched and tiring. These were not wise ways of using the very limited number of episodes the drama had. 

And of course, it didn't help that the show wanted to complicate things by introducing more characters and side stories. Like Han Joo's ex, Mak Choon (Yeon Oh), who was now Do Kook's staff. Or Han Joo's cousin who was in love with Mak Choon. Or Do Kook's crazy ex (Shin Soo Hyun). Or when Han Joo made a big deal when Do Kook didn't inform her right away that he knew Han Joo was Plii. And my least favorite of all - the rumor monger vlogger (Cha Bo Sung of Run On) who I didn't even realize was Han Joo's classmate. And that's the sad thing. The show's basic plot was so nice and refreshing but it refused to keep things simple. The drama could've been tighter with fewer episodes. 

The show also had the tendency to be dreamland-ish. Probably because it's adapted from a webtoon. Like how the songwriting process was shown as two people discussing the lyrics spontaneously. Or how Do Kook's agency was not your usual rigid and manipulative agency - they allowed him to bring in Plii, a newcomer, because Do Kook was crazy over her and her music was good then they allowed Do Kook's ex to influence them in terminating Plii's contract because of the shallow and baseless plagiarism issue. 

But there were good parts too. Especially the nice choice of music. The songs all felt so sincere and they meshed well with the story. 

I loved how the challenges and dilemmas young people face were presented. Should they follow their hearts and dreams to the crazy and unknown path? Or should they pick the most practical and predictable route? But with the acknowledgement that having those choices is a privilege not everyone can enjoy, like for breadwinners like Han Joo. 

The show picked up in the end. I liked Han Joo and Mak Choon's closure scene. How Han Joo admitted that Mak Choon was good for her. He was her safe space. He was confident in her and he pushed her to be the best she can be. But realizing that she had to be brave too and she needed to come out of her comfort zone and face things by herself no matter how unsure and unsafe things may be. 

I appreciated show's attempt at criticizing how idols and celebrities are subjected to very harsh treatment by media and the fans. Like how Do Kook's contracts had to be terminated if he gets into a relationship. Or how celebs have to give up their own happiness to protect their fame and reputation. 

I enjoyed Han Joo's back story. How painful it was for her to unbox her mom's stuff. Or how she confronted dad (Yang Dong Geun of Moving) about avoiding problems and not facing them head on. And dad's letting go speech - finally setting Han Joo free to pursue her dreams. I found it quite odd and abrupt though that Han Joo's cousin was helpful all of a sudden. 

I liked how Mak Choon pushed Do Kook to finally admit and fight for what he wants. Mak Choon was right when he accused Do Kook of being selfish because he was not giving up anything and he was letting Han Joo take the fall. That he was greedy. I'm glad that Do Kook finally came to his senses and gave up everything so he can be free to pursue Han Joo. And I loved how simple, sweet, uncomplicated, and cute their reunion was. I just wished the show was able to keep the entire story that way too. 

Oppa says...4.1.

Noona says...3.9.