Introverted Boss was a hard drama for me to like at first. This is one of those dramas that requires you to trust it will get better, and in my opinion it definitely did. Now that it's over, I can say that this is definitely a binge type drama, because if I had to wait days for the next episode I would have given up on this drama after episode 2. Halfway through I went from hating it to being totally invested. If you are unaware, like I was, that's because there was a major rewrite of the plot, and that strategy made all the difference. So about that plot...
I gave the story a decent score, only because I think the transformation was pretty impressive, but it was still imperfect in a lot of ways. My first problem with the story was that it didn't know whether it wanted to be a romantic comedy or a melodrama. The main plot revealed a very mysterious and serious backstory, then went into these weird slapstick comedy scenes that just didn't work together. One moment there is a revenge story brewing, then the next moment we are supposed to care about a CEO's anxiety issues, and the obviously planned romance between him and an obnoxious new hire. Add to that the fact that the CEO is too mysterious to be sympathetic, and The leading lady is the most annoying person on planet earth. The only thing that got me through in the beginning were the "Another Miss Oh" cameos, but I listened to viewers who said the story gets better after episode 5. In my opinion things don't start falling into place until episode 7, and that's when I knew I would probably become a fan.
The writers do a great job of justifying the previous bad episodes while completely changing the drama into something more enjoyable. Still, even with the fixes to make it better, the flaw is in how bad the story premise is in the first place. In order to like this drama you can't dwell on how unrealistic the major event of the story is, and instead you have to just go along with the characters on this journey. The characters, and their rewrites, are what made me become a fan.
I eventually adored Yeon Woo Jin as Hwan Ki. This is, in my opinion, his best role so far. Maybe it's the fact that I relate to his shy/socially anxious character a lot, and I thought they did a good job of showing what it's like in a neurotic anxiety filled brain. I was truly impressed by how believable he was, and relatable, and empathetic, and totally unlike the ways I've seen him before. Some people may think it's too exaggerated, but I don't. I also relate to being thought of as scary and intimidating while I'm just sitting and thinking about something to myself. When it comes to his character, I think they nailed it.
He is matched with Park Hye Soo, who's character I initially hated so much that in one scene she actually gets slapped, and I wanted to applaud. She was too pushy, too obnoxious, completely self involved, and not likable in the least. I'm sure the initial point was to create an opposites attract scenario, but they left her with no redeeming qualities, which made me think that the actress was just too young and out of his league. Eventually the rewrite calmed her down, made her more charming and less annoying, and that's when I realized that Hye Soo is really quite talented. I did end up liking them together, and rooting for them to succeed, in spite of the plot making that pretty hard to do. I started to actually see chemistry between them, and although they may not be among my favorite romance duos, I thought they worked well together. Many of their romantic scenes together made me smile, and there were no closed mouth lips barely touching kiss scenes either.
My favorite amongst the rest of the cast was the silent monster staff. Once we were able to get to know their stories the office scenes became fun to watch. Their characters are comedically over the top, but still felt real and relatable. I just get excited seeing Ye Ji Won in anything now, but Heo Jeong Min was hilarious too... And I just rewatched "Another Miss Oh". My next favorite is Jang Hee Jin as Hwan Ki's first love, who was refreshingly different from what's often expected from that kind of role, and made that aspect of the story more entertaining.
The problem with Yoon Park as Kang Woo Il and Gong Seung Yeon as Yi Soo is that even with the rewrites they were still stuck in a melodrama storyline that made no sense to me, so it was impossible for them to not come across as extremely overdramatic at times. They did their best, but I cringed when that storyline would reappear. Writers did make both characters sympathetic, and saved them from becoming 2 dimensional, but their actions remained unbelievable to me, so I just preferred when they were not a major part of the story. Then there's also Lee Kyu Han who plays the ultimate buzzkill. His backstory is eventually explained too, but he kinda just pops out of nowhere at seemingly random times in the story, making it seem like he was only created to be a problem.
If I ever watched this again it would be strictly for Yeon Woo Jin. I had a slight feeling of missing the cast when it was over, but really it's just his character that I am going to miss. I really related so much to him that I just may rewatch it someday... or maybe just clips.
About the music... There are 2 songs form the soundtrack that stood out to me, so in my opinion it was better than ok, but not much better.
Obviously I am biased against the melodramatic storyline, and more a fan of the shy boss rom com storyline, which I think saved this drama from being a major flop. Still, every aspect of the story is explained, and reexplained, and the writers seemed thorough about avoiding loose ends to the very end, which i appreciated. So yes, all questions get answered, even if the answers are hard to swallow. Also, even though some of the last episode seemed like filler, I loved the last moment, and thought it was a great way to end the story... a story who's major theme throughout is being able to express how you feel!
Overall I would recommend this drama for fans of unconventional rom coms with the warning that this story takes a loooooooooooong time to build. If you can sit through the first few episodes filled with annoying characters, misunderstandings, and over the top melodrama, you eventually get to a good story about becoming comfortable with who you are, your own style of being, and expressing how you feel, with a sweet but difficult love story as a bonus.