About a middle-aged Ajumma, Shim Jae Bok, who rediscovers herself and her inner feminine strength in the face of hardship. She’s the type of person who cannot ignore injustice and is revolted by condescending pretension. Despite hating false flattery to her core, she grits her teeth and bows her head to the people who think they are her social superiors because she wants the best future for her family. After living solong as a wife and mother to her two children, Shim Jae Bok has neglected herself to the point where she’s almost lost her sense of self. When she becomes involved in an unforeseeable incident, she learns to regain her identity and fall in love again.
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I apologise for my language but this is the best and most brief way to describe this completely cray cray drama. Ms. Perfect was definitely bizarre, a bit weird and thoroughly eccentric but left a memorable aftertaste exactly because of all these traits.
Ms. Perfect is one of those hidden gem dramas that should be protected exactly because they can be perceived differently depending on the viewer. On a surface level, Ms Perfect can be described as “the story of a sasaeng fan”. Is that a lie? No it is not, it is actually unexpectedly accurate. However taking a critical look at this and analyzing it from different perspectives, it is arguable that Ms. Perfect is not only deep but actually surprisingly original and profound.
So, what exactly did this drama do so well to make me this passionate about it?
Firstly, It put together several weird, borderline nonsensical characters, gave them obvious roles (the villain, the hero, the victim ect) and forced them to act accordingly but not quite. I think I speak on behalf of every viewer when I say that we were all frustrated by every character’s frustrating decision and way of acting. Having said that, if you take a closer look at the character, it is dead obvious how non-archetype they actually are. There are several layers to all of them, and what I actually loved? It depends on the viewers’ perspective to choose who you want to root for, who is your hero and who is your villain.
Secondly, this is officially the only drama where the 2nd female lead not only was freaking amazing, but WAS the actual drama itself. 2nd female leads… we hate them, don’t we? At this point after so many dramas, we feel intrinsically inclined to dislike them on sight. Yet, here not only do we have a memorable 2nd female lead but one that is so compelling you can’t help but love. The whole drama was built around her and I have never been happier about it! 2nd female leads rule and this drama proved it! My salute to the actress for making this drama work. This drama was a huge celebration to 2nd leads (male and female) and i loved it for it!
Finally, it is arguable to say that the drama is more adjacent to makjang rather than other genres. Don’t expect any heavy crazy shit happening but the drama did manage for at least 15 episodes to make me say “what the hell” at least twice every episode. Continuous plot twists and questions that hover around. The type that hook you on and you cannot stop no matter how ridiculous this shit is. Ms. Perfect was certifiably addicting either you enjoyed it or not.
If I could put the drama under a genre, I would say it is a mystery/comedy (bizarre combination I know). Comedy is reduced to side story character after a while while mystery is strong almost till the end. Despite the quite heavy concept of the situations presented I can’t say the drama ever became melodramatic or depressing or overly serious. Romance is present in the drama but doesn’t happen until the 2nd half and it does not occupy a huge part of the drama. Having said that and since I am not a romance lover, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance here. It was not forced, it was not cheesy, it came naturally and was fulfilling.
All in all the drama for me was unpredictable, with great character writing and well thought-out. It never dragged or had a boring moment.
I read some negative comments about the acting. Well… I can understand that, but we’ve seen worse haven’t we?
Go So Young was just right and I can tell she really enjoyed her questionable character and drama overall. I wouldn’t say her performance was memorable but I did not face any problems with her
I am not Sung Joon’s biggest fan but he’s a good actor. He made a complete 180 here on me.
Yoon Sang Hyun was also satisfying but not memorable.
And after all these peasants let’s talk about the queen of the drama. Jo Yeo Jung. KWEEN! I have deep respect for her. She is not the best actress, definitely, but she knows how to pick a project. I appreciate her because she always goes for questionable dramas and bizarre challenging characters! I don’t think the drama would have worked without her portraying this character! I know if she is in a drama, it’s gonna be a good one! Cheers, you are amazing gurl!
All that being said, this drama is not one for everyone. The oddity, the makjang, the frustrating and quite unlikeable characters all have their downside. I would recommend this drama to viewers who enjoy peculiar dramas, want to watch something different and are open-minded. I thoroughly enjoyed it but I can very well see why one wouldn’t.
The official review is over and spoilers may be included from now on. The drama, even though wasn’t really character-driven (or like one character directed the whole thing) it showed some really layered and multi-faced characters and I want to take some time to reflect on them.
Shin Jae Bok. The seeming victim. I disliked her but I didn’t. I rooted for her to have a happy ending but I can’t argue she really deserved it. Yes some crazy shit happened to her out of the blue and honestly she did nothing to elicit any of it but still… She was the type of woman to bring others down (namely her husband) just for the shake of it. A character that kept looking at herself as a victim (main reason why she’s not one) and was extremely relentless in getting into other people’s business. She could have taken a shortcut and spare herself from all the drama but she just couldn’t do it. A borderline control freak. Having said all that, I can’t deny how strong Jae Bok was, straightforward and direct. Traits I appreciated made her human and relatable but did not make her likeable at least to me.
Koo Sung Hee. The hero (?). Arguably the best written character, why? Because he was rotten to the core, but if you ask him what do you think about yourself? You’ll get such a self-assured answer like he is a war-hero. I was amazed at how selfish he was without realizing it, saying that he “does things” for others either his kids or his wife or his “love”. He said he loved 3 different people in 20 episodes and weirdly, I believe he did all 3 of them, but why is that? Because deep inside it was himself he loved the most. A very incompetent person who tries to always find the easy way out but always with a convenient excuse to look as a hero to himself! Incredible writing for one of the most despicable characters I’ve seen on screen.
Lee Eun Hee. The villain. I am biased, I admit. Bonkers crazy, and she knew it. Batshit crazy, and quite proud. I couldn’t dislike her, not one inch, not at all. Yes she was crazy and her situation could not get any better. If you stand still for a moment and reflect on what she actually did… it is overwhelming, sounds like something no one would do, but simultaneously, quite plausible if you are REALLY determined. To me she was nothing more than a little girl who was never loved. Abused and ignored trying to survive sustain herself and her mental health the best she could, she found settler in one person who gave her the slightest bit of comfort and then she tried to hold on to him. Why? Because he was the first person ever who made her happy. Like clutching at straws, a fleeting moment, her savior. Hence, her constant, relentless efforts to recreate that moment all her life. The one person who made her happy all those years ago, he can do it again. Rather depressing when you actual think of it.
The plot is pretty unique but feels too stretched, 16 episodes would have been way better. There are a few interesting plot twists, but it's just not enough to make this show outstanding on any level. If you are looking for something new and refreshing this drama is a good pick, but it's not that entertaining. The acting is only okay and the characters stay distant, most of the characters are not introduced that well. Overall it's a mediocre show. At first, it's even hooking because you want to find out what the heck is going on, but later that element gets dull because it's stretched for too long. The ending seems a bit rushed, they are building the atmosphere almost for the whole episode and everything happens during the last 10 mins.