What would anyone do if they were told they only have 49 days to live? Some people would try to do all the things they never had time to do. Others would focus on spending as much time with their loved ones as possible. A few would confess secrets they hid for years, or take the time to declare their feelings to someone before it’s too late.
Oh! My Ladylord attempts to tick all the to do boxes and explore themes of love, loss and the impact people can have on each other.
The drama mainly revolves around an uptight thriller scriptwriter, Han Bi-soo (Lee Min-ki) and A-list actress, Oh Joo-in (Nana) and the development of their romantic relationship. All the while, Bi-soo tries to come to terms with his mother’s terminal illness and opens himself to new perspectives.
At first, he seems brazen, unwavering and a difficult personality to work with. He is meticulous and very involved with all of his dramas. In contrast, Joo-in is a bright A-list actress at the height of her career and the spokesperson of a huge cosmetics company.
Despite her charming nature, Bi-soo is initially unaffected by Joo-in’s unquestionable star presences and he continues to refuse her attempts for the lead role in his new drama.
Han Bi-soo lives in an old Hanok house; the one Joo-in grew up in and has fond memories of her late father and ill mother. As luck would have it, the house is up for sale and is sold to Joo-in without his knowledge. As a middle ground, the pair agree to live together for 3 months until the script is finished and Joo-in is satisfied with the lead role.
The drama is funny, witty, and heartfelt and boasts great chemistry between the pair. Oh! My Ladylord sets off with a solid starts with their landlady and tenet relationship.
This plot is familiar and is the groundwork for many popular dramas like Full house, Cinderella and the four knights or even Angel’s last Mission. Nevertheless, watching the pair bump heads and grow to understand each other day in and day out is entertaining and its familiarity, quite endearing.
Although things start off well and the romance between the main leads is captivating, the plot begins to form some holes and heads towards an uninspired direction.
The main issue to highlight is the fact that the storyline struggles to utilise its obstacles to create a fleshier plot. Each obstacle presented to the pair is quickly dropped off and resolved in a way that doesn’t feel convincing enough. For example, an issue with a sasaeng stalking Joo-in in the first few episodes was short-lived and could have made for good subplot. After the sasaeng is quickly identified and imprisoned for tying Joo-in up and locking her in a closet, things pretty much end there.
Bearing in mind the fast approaching D-day, it could be merely a tool to speed up the progression of Joo-in and Bi-soo romantic plot. But this felt like a wasted opportunity that could have made for better development if it was played out a little longer.
Many fans have also noticed that the angel who warns Han Bi-soo of his numbered days made very few appearances, despite being one of the core threats. The plot focuses its energy on the love triangle between Han Bi-soo, Oh Joo-in and best friend Jung Yoo-jin (Kang Min-hyuk of CNBlue). Their relationship takes centre stage and we hardly see the angel or feel a real threat of Bi-soo’s disappearance until later in the series.
On a side note, it was quite odd how accepting Bi-soo was of his fate. Other than consulting a doctor on the matter, he makes no other real attempt at fighting his fate. He accepts that he is living on borrowed time and will disappear after his mother passing.
Looking back at the events, a lot happens yet the drama moved forward without closing its chapters in a fulfilling way. This only leaves you feeling like Bi-soo’s possible early death might not necessarily be as threatening. This is another concept that could have been built on, at least, to create a stronger sense of disruption.
Instead, the writer resorts to inserting subplots of the managers’ two-dimensional romantic developments: Joo-in’s road manager with Han Bi-soo’s writing assistant and Peach Entertainment CEO and Han Bi-soo’s manager. These subplots certainly added a light-hearted energy to the drama and took away from the heaviness of some scenes, but felt unnecessary to the main narrative.
With that said, it was some what interesting to see how the writers tried to portray different forms and expressions of love with each of the supporting characters. I do believe that with a little more character development and focus, this could also have given the drama some much-needed heft.
Despite all its inconsistencies, the drama did really well in the tender moment of reflection and sincerity. We often grow quite frustrated with characters concealing their emotions and keeping secrets for the sake of a longer plot line. The writer gave importance to the moments honesty and allowed the characters to open up about their feelings when the time felt right. Han Bi-soo’s confession to Joo-in was unexpectedly early and wasted no time going after what he wanted.
Han Bi-soo’s mother, Kang Hae-jin (Lee Hwi-hyang), also doesn’t waste the opportunity to bear all to her son and friends and relieves herself from years of pent up sadness and secrets. They certainly deliver a valuable message of living honestly in the present moment and to avoid dwelling on what could have been.
Kang Hae-jin’s remaining days clearly embodied this message. Her character is by far the most admirable in Oh! My Ladylord. She is a woman who loved and lost many times, but remained gentle yet resilient to all that life threw at her. Her character served as the bridge for her friends and family and it was heart breaking seeing her die.
While Oh! My Ladylord is filled with warm and heartfelt moments throughout, it sadly lost its energy quickly. The drama sacrificed its initial potential and gave in to exhausted tropes and rushed the turn of events.
Many fans of the drama-including myself- held out through the relatively uneventful mid-section in hopes of drastic developments. Unfortunately the final episode wrapped up with more focus on the joyful fluff of the subplots to counteract the unavoidable reality of Bi-soo’s disappearance.
This strategy raised some questions, however, about Han Bi-soo’s situation. Did Han Bi-soo die or is he just invisible to the world? If he is dead, why is Joo-in telling others he is travelling? If he did not die, then is Bi-soo’s disappearance necessary to the plot?
Expectations were high and difficult to adjust accordingly when it came to Oh! My Ladylord, especially when the cast have a repertoire of memorable and popular dramas.
All things considered, the romcom was pleasant and enjoyable, mainly for the great chemistry between the main leads. Will it make it to my list of favourites? Not Likely.
(YouTube, Images via: MBC.)