You read that right again! Here’s my long overdue thoughts on the finale of Her Private Life.
(Note: So, I wrote this entire chunk about why I was bored and stopped watching BUT I watched the two episodes and am totally prepared to eat my words now. Entire chunk left here still for your pleasure HAHA.)
Thoughts (before watching finale episodes): I kinda broke off watching this series right when it hits its ending two episodes – I was busy and truthfully, I was suddenly bored. The show was funny and relatable initially, but it became more and more picturesque and distant. I don’t know…I’m afraid of coming across as hard to please…haha but I do sound a bit like that right now, aint I? But for me, I always need a good plot to string the romance along, and not the romance to push the plot. So when the show starts being saturated with kisses, I lose interest. Quite the opposite reaction from a lot of other drama fans I know, who see the lack of kisses/making out/sex scenes as Kdramas being too conservative in comparison with their Western counterparts.
Anyway, I’d thought it was easier for me to just type out my thoughts as I watch the last two episodes to change up the style a little, especially since I’m not going to provide a quick recap. Hope you guys don’t mind!
My thoughts – Episode 15
- OKAY how could I have written so much about how bored I was, and how did I forget Ryan Gold / Kim Jae Wook’s charm?? Look at his gentle morning wake-up kiss.
- That’s one very ugly cake.
- Ahhhh GAH Ryan Gold that was extremely cute of you. And Shi An, do you still have no idea who Deok Mi is? I love how this is kinda abusing your personal connections too haha, please now why doesn’t any friend of mine know any celebrities?
- SELFIES with your idol, ugh I’m so jealousXD 1 to 1 fan-meeting yoooo.
- Ah, I thought I would have hated the childhood backstory, but the addition of Deok Soo actually made it much sadder than I had expected. I even teared a little, especially when Deok Mi got all her memories back.
- Ryan Gold bringing some tears to my eyes. Everyone is going about this so maturely, totally 180 degrees difference from what I predicted.
- Wow Deok Mi’s mother giving Hyo Jin’s mother words of advice is something I didn’t know I needed.
My thoughts – Episode 16
- I swear….this couple’s physical chemistry is off the charts man. I’m shy watching them disappear under the sheets like that.
- Yayyy, I like watching the exhibition finally come to fruition, especially since it formed the backstory to almost the entire 16 episodes.
- Hahaha Sun Joo is sooo cute, and hello Ryan Gold what’s that face of distaste?
- Ah, even Deok Mi’s father’s obsession with stones is linked to Deok Soo.
- Awwww Ryan Gold is indeed the perfect boyfriend, who even has the hands of the Almighty indeed. The way he got the tickets in the chill-est fashion ever (refreshing once every 10 seconds or so instead of every second?) gives me life hahaha.
- This couple is sooo in love with each other.
- Sobs, why does watching Kim Jae Wook pick Park Min Young up with such ease and finesse make me so envious. Rewatch, 10 times. Is it just me who feel like the scene was semi-ad-libbed, with how Kim Jae Wook bend down once more to put Park Min Young’s hands behind his neck?
- Awwwww Shi An don’t be sad ahh, and look at this Yoon Jae laughing away because Deok Mi almost let her secret out.
- THEY ARE BOTH WEARING WHITE NOW, IS HE GOING TO PROPOSE?
- AH OMG OMG AH HE GOT DOWN ON HIS KNEES, IT IS IT IS!!!!! MY CUTIESSSS
- Park Min Young looks so good in any outfit.
- Deok Mi’s mother reading the article in English is so cute.
- Eun Gi and Cindy!!! Eun Gi, what a cute smile!
- Is it just me or is there a certain thing about the way Kim Jae Wook hugs Park Min Young that is just so darn addictive to watch?
- Awwww what a throwback to when they first started discovering their amazing attraction to each other hehehe.
- I’m convinced they are just kissing each other now because Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young enjoy it.
Wow, was not expecting myself to like the final two episodes at all, so much so that it’s quite hilarious thinking back to my inertia!
I think the fact that there was going to be a childhood backstory to this and that so many viewers have been conditioned to think it was a cliche, I’m going to break up with you for your own good, thing caused a lot of us to be unhappy. I’m not sure if this can be attributed to any fault of the viewers of course, given the countless noble idiots we have encountered and the way the drama kept foreshadowing it as if that’s the main conflict to break our couple. But I’m glad this drama took the higher road and showed us how everyone can resolve this maturely as adults, over a scar that was inflicted when the leads were children. I know it’s a bit incredulous that Ryan barely bat an eyelid over this but come on, it’s Episode 16. It is also conceivable that Ryan let go of this matter so easily because he had caring adoptive parents (right? I remember it being so) and he was brought up in an environment which allowed his skills to flourish.
Unlike some others, I am also fine with the fact that Shi An never found out who Shi An Is My Life is. It would have been a nice touch and a good resolution if you think of the story arc as ending in 16 episodes. However, if you see the characters as living their own lives even after the last minute of the drama has aired, I appreciate that it was not revealed to Shi An who his biggest fan is. Deok Mi has always managed to draw a clear line between her identity as a fangirl and fansite manager, and her career. She shows us what a healthy (ish, one could argue about the number of Shi An merch in her house) relationship with an idol looks like, and how this does not affect her working capabilities in any way. Therefore, it seems that the writers intentionally kept this demarcation, not wanting the two identities to merge fully. And for Deok Mi, I can totally understand her choice – the joy in secret fangirling might be lost a little if Shi An knew who she was. I have a feeling though that some time down the road, she would let Shi An know for sure.
This drama is about a lot of things – obviously fangirling takes both the front and back stage, but it also weaves in good discussions about art and family. I think the drama manages to stay true to all the themes till the very end, and I believe this is why Deok Mi retains her fangirling secret identity as well for the structure and integrity of the story. There are so many mothers in this story, and Deok Mi’s mother kinda guides everyone through the process. It’s crazy if you think about how many mothers’ arcs we have seen (including Yoon Jae’s, Cindy’s and Eun Gi’s). Overall, I think the show did a good job in balancing out the different themes, and juggling romance with fangirling.
One area which I thought the show had dropped a rock on its own foot however, is the heavy foreshadowing that the leads knew each other since they were young. I wonder if it’s because the writers knew they didn’t have much conflict to generate out of a couple that is so mature and loving towards each other, but I assure you, it was super counter-productive. Would probably have been better if this was a shorter drama / another better substantial conflict was chosen to create tension / stick to the same story, but drop hints that they aint going to break up or something. I would probably have also preferred more fangirling elements – they were already well done and relatable, but perhaps we could have seen more of Shi An as a complex character.
I’m also disappointed that they never went back to discussing the harmful effects of fangirling. Do you guys still remember what the fans did to Deok Mi when they thought she was dating Shi An? I can’t believe they had let Deok Mi’s forgiveness resolve that problem once and for all. Funnily, this is literally what I wrote for the Her Private Life Episode 1-4 Review:
My only gripe with the show thus far is that it still takes on a too-benign stand towards hardcore fans. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Deok Mi actually sympathises with the fans who assaulted her, even when the main reason why the fans changed their attitude towards her was because she said she wasn’t dating Shi An. What they did to her was nasty as heck, and goes way beyond what is acceptable as fangirling. I’m hoping it’s because we are only 3/4 episodes in, and the show isn’t going to take a serious discourse yet over this issue. Because if this is the ultimate stand for most of the show, you bet I will be back here again with a ramble.
So yes, here I am with a ramble. It is not okay for them to hurt her for their own vengeance and it’s even more unacceptable that Deok Mi rationalises this behaviour as being relatable and acceptable because they are disappointed. Idols definitely have a part to play in this toxic behaviour as agencies do play up the idea of idols being available. But fangirls need to understand that idols are persons in their own rights; and other fangirls are persons too! (Ah, they should have removed all those foreshadowing and spent the time discussing this important social topic instead.)
Overall, this is a drama which I liked from the start till the end and it’s something I can totally stand by and would recommend. I’m glad because this was definitely not the same outcome I had with What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim. Deok Mi’s fangirling was fun and pulled us in right away, Ryan Gold set the gold standard for boyfriends out there (sexy, inquisitive, kind, supportive, open-minded, mature…okay I will stop myself right here), and there was good chemistry in the cast all-around.
The plot was rather sturdy in most areas, but definitely requires neatening and revamping in others. I would also have preferred for less kisses to be filmed in such a highly choreographed manner (the ending scene of Episode 14, while beautiful, was the tipping point for me), especially because we wouldn’t have minded watching Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young just exchange natural pecks and kisses with each other would we?
Nonetheless, this was definitely good time spent and a unique story for sure. I can only say I wish I could meet my idols in a professional capacity too!!