“Meow The Secret Boy”: Why Not Every Webcomic Should Be Made Into A Drama- The Creepy Undertones

29

If you follow “Meow The Secret Boy” then you probably already know that it’s a now a record holder but not the type that any drama would like. It has become the lowest rated public channel drama beating “Manhole.”

While I don’t think “Meow The Secret Boy” is nearly half as bad as “Manhole,” I’d be lying if I told you I don’t understand why it’s doing so terribly in ratings. I believe this will likely be the lowest rated kdrama of 2020 and I feel sorry for everyone involved in the production.




Note 1:

The below is a review of the first half of “Meow The Secret Boy,” or the first 8 episodes. It’s a subjective review and I am merely sharing my thoughts, I mean no disrespect to everyone involved in this production. I will be discussing the drama script for the most part which is hardly something you can blame on the actors or the production team.

Note 2:

There are conflicting reports about “Meow The Secret Boy” episodes count, some say its 16 episodes (32 episodes at 30 minute each) while others say its 12 episodes (32 episodes at 30 minutes each).

How could it have been approved?

“Meow The Secret Boy” is a romance drama about a cat that turns into a man, the cat falls in love with a woman. That’s basically it. And it’s as creepy as it sounds.

“Meow The Secret Boy” is based on a webcomic titled “Eoseowa” by Go A-Ra. The theme is fine for a webcomic style but it’s not easy to translate into a drama especially if you plan on making it a romance drama.




Don’t get me wrong, webcomics serve a great purpose and can be used to tell a compelling story that would otherwise never see the day of light. Some of my favorite kdramas ever made are based on webcomics.

However, not every single one deserves or should be made into a drama. Some things are better left in cartoon format or as a webcomic because it doesn’t translate well into real-life work.

I think it would’ve been fine if “Meow The Secret Boy” was remade as a cartoon but that’s not the case here.

As someone who’s interested in the film industry, I know a thing or two about how hard it is to get projects approved or ever made, this is why I am puzzled that a drama with the script of “Meow The Secret Boy” was ever approved.

It boils down to the actual story format and how it’s basically about a woman falling in love with a man who is actually a cat. Isn’t this creepy?

I am seriously curious about what you guys think of this… I find it creepy and at times disgusting, do you guys watch this drama knowing its about a love line between a human and a cat? Are you not weirded out by such a thing?

A Focus On The Script

I won’t lie and say I haven’t enjoyed “Meow The Secret Boy” for a while, that was until episode 5 and 6 when it became apparent that the screenwriter was planning on making this a full-fledged romance between a cat and a human.

At first, I was reluctant to check it out because of the script, but since I have nothing to do because I am under quarantine I checked it out. At first, I was iffy but then it grew on me and I started to like it more and more.




“Meow The Secret Boy” has many interesting ideas about how we humans interact and how it compares to cats and dogs. I found the comparisons cute oftentimes, while it does alienate a portion of some humans who aren’t really introverts or extroverts but somewhere in between, it was still fun and cute to see how a cat navigates his way around the ‘human’ world and how the things we deem normal or take for grant are viewed differently based on species. I found those parts about “Meow The Secret Boy” very well incorporated and fun to watch.

Many kdrama fans are calling “Meow The Secret Boy” ‘cute’ and I do agree up until episode 6, after that it became downright creepy and disgusting.

I won’t ever root for a human to fall in love with a cat and start kissing them, the prospect itself is weird, do I really need to explain why I find it weird?

“Meow The Secret Boy” tries to brush over this aspect; it started going downhill when we became sure that their relationship is no longer a friendship but a budding romance.

I liked their relationship as a cat and owner, I would’ve loved if she found out about his real nature or if her love interest told her (I’ll get into more details about how baffling this part is later).

And a lot of people are saying not to take it seriously, but the drama is taking the part of the cat transitioning into a human seriously enough and trying to show us how hard it is to adapt to the human world. Where do we draw the line?

What irks me with some kdrama fans who comment on my reviews of fantasy kdramas is that they believe if a drama is a ‘fantasy’ or has a fantasy element to it, it automatically means none of it should be taken seriously.

A fantasy drama isn’t void of criticism or backlash unless it messes with the entire fabric of what we’re used to…. and who does that?

“Meow The Secret Boy” is about how a cat who turned into a human behaves in our world, aside from the supernatural side of the cat turning into a human, everything else is grounded in reality, isn’t it?

The creepy undertones and normalization of stalker-ish behavior

There were many red flags scattered here and there with “Meow The Secret Boy”. While I don’t think the writer intended it to be like this, it doesn’t make it go away.

I’ve long had issues with the way certain kdramas portray leading men, I started watching kdramas 8 years ago and during that time I grew a lot as a woman, what I thought was normal/romantic in certain cases for men’s behavior towards woman isn’t valid anymore.

The cat turns into a human and then sleeps by her side on her bed, many TIMES….. hello? is this okay? is this normal? Why is no one talking about this?

Having a cat-like character follow her around in a very creepy manner that’s sugarcoated as ‘romantic’ doesn’t make it any less creepy. There are many things that Hong joo does that would land him in a mental hospital or jail but we excuse him because he’s a cat? or he’s hot?

It doesn’t make the act any less creepy, the fact that the writer decided to romanticize their relationship is the most major red flag of this entire drama.

There is also something else I find weird. I do know the drama isn’t complete yet, but how on earth is any REAL MAN okay with a cat-like-human hanging around his love interest/ long-time friend??? Like how?

Why didn’t’ Jae Sun immediately tell Sol A he was a cat? How are you okay with a woman sleeping in the same house with a cat that turns into human, a cat that is obsessed with her…. someone who is a complete stranger who could literally do anything… how is this ok?

The fact that Sol A also acts as if she doesn’t know or doesn’t understand the cat isn’t actually her step-brother. Also, do Koreans fall in love with their step-brothers/sisters? This is another point I wanted to touch on.

She believes he is basically her step-brother, his mother is married to her father…. what? how??? I am losing my shit trying to comprehend this…. does this happen often? Like step brothers and sisters falling in love with each other?

If my dad married a woman, I wouldn’t be like ‘she has a cute son, I will fall in love with him.’

There are a lot of moments in the drama that wouldn’t have been tolerable if Hong Joo wasn’t played by a handsome young leading man, replace him with a middle-aged man and no one would’ve watched this drama. Having a hot looking man doesn’t make it any less creepy and it doesn’t make it normal.

Conclusion

“Meow The Secret Boy” on first viewing is cute, however, the more you pay attention to it the less it becomes cute and the more it becomes creepy and weird.

While I don’t think Myungsoo is the best idol actor, I definitely think he’s good. He improved a lot since he started and I noticed that especially in his latest performance in “Angel’s Last Mission: Love.”

What I love about Myungsoo is that I can feel he actually has passion for acting and he wants to do well. He was very entertaining in “Angel’s Last Mission: Love.” It’s so sad that he followed that drama with this.

Shin Ye Eun is extremely talented but still has a long way to go. She should be focusing on choosing good supporting roles wisely. It’s not that she’s unknown, but not experienced enough to lead her own drama, not yet.

Some have brought up their chemistry and that its bad and I do agree with that. I think Shin Ye Eun suits Seo Ji hoon better. A part of me also thinks that because I just find her romance love line with a cat disgusting to say the least. The character she plays strikes me as a desperate woman who’s willing to overlook all the red flags because the man in front of her is hot.

So these are my thoughts on “Meow The Secret Boy,” I am curious about your thoughts as well. Let me know what you think of the drama in the comment section below.

29 COMMENTS

  1. For me its nothing as disgusting and insensitive about this drama. I cant deny for the first episode it was so hard to accept and understand the concept. But later on later, i started to like it. Its getting interesting and fun. If you said that case, we should take it the same way to the goblin, alien (My love from the from the star) A robot etc. They’re all unacceptable. I understand if the actors might be a bit “turn off” awkwardness among them (well for me it’s still okay) I’m terribly sorry for the bad english and grammar. Just want to share my thoughts . I just love the drama

  2. The analysis given is quite good given the limited number of episodes that have aired so far. I would like to however share my side of the analysis also.
    Firstly, like many fantasy genre dramas, Welcome is also one of them. This is the first and foremost characteristic that should be kept it mind. It will OBVIOUSLY not reflect 100% of practicality.
    That being said, what most viewers tend to overlook is the fact that Hong Jo is BOTH a cat and a human. When Hong Jo transforms into a human, he is human right and not a cat. I mean I guess that’s how we are supposed to take him for; see, I don’t know if I am able to put these properly in words but what I mean to say is, when he transforms into a human, his attributes also become human-like right; so Hong Jo is not only a cat but also a human. He is both. So, viewing him as only a cat would give the creeps but consider this, thinking of him as a human (when he transforms), makes it less worse. He is a supernatural, fantasy being, to say so. He is a cat AND a human as well, not just the former. He has emotions of both. So, there are aspects of him that are clearly of a human’s. That is why he feels humanly emotions also, that is why he can drink coffee, eat humans’ food etc cause when he transforms, he becomes human.
    Also, mermaids, aliens, robots are as absurd if thought about it. They are fantasy beings as well. Here, we have a fantasy being too: who is a cat and a human. The drama just needs proper execution. Also, it has done a good job in several aspects such as articulating humanly emotions, act of care, friendships, need to love and care for animals etc. And the part where Hong Jo falls asleep with Sol Ah, for one part it may seem creepy, but for other, since Hong Jo isn’t entirely a human, it could translate into something different than a stranger sleeping on a bed next to a girl. The story also makes it clear in prior episodes that Hong Jo and Sol Ah share something ‘special’; there is a connection between the two (once again, keeping in mind the fantasy character of the drama). So, Sol Ah, may not know the truth about Hong Jo also being human but nevertheless, he is not a stranger to her. This fantasy-being called Hong Jo as such, is a companion/a lover.
    Hong Jo is not completely a cat, he is a human-cat.
    The drama needs better execution. Otherwise, it is a cute, heart-warming drama, a drama which is actually unique and refreshing for a matter of fact.
    Also, consider this, television series like cinema, theatre, even literature, are a work of art, they can be of several genres, depending upon which, they are characterised by certain attributes: in case of Welcome, as it is a fantasy centric work of art: it has fiction as a major theme. Therefore, it may seem absurd if the drama is viewed predominantly through the lens of practicality. It may be predominantly characterised by a combination of fiction and imagination but like most such works, it is also humanistic, since it touches on aspects of human emotions and feelings, only, it does it in a different, imaginative and fanciful way.

    • I agree. I liked to this of Hong Jo as an animagus from Harry Potter (a person who can switch from human to a selected animal), so it’s not very weird to me. It seems the author of this article either doesn’t have much experience with fantasy books/shows/movies or they are just plainly against the idea. It’s not very weird if you don’t think about it as ‘Hong Jo is ONLY a cat that can just coincidentally turn into a human as well’, but as ‘Hong Jo is a human who can turn into a cat/cat that can turn into a human. He has human characteristics and he seems to be mostly human’.

  3. I found the drama charming! Maybe i’m weird but i love fantasies! I fou d nothing creepy at all! I thought it was lovely! Im a huge fantaxy fan!

  4. I have found this series charming and as a cat lover find quite close to cat behavior. The fact he becomes human is a virtual depiction of many pet owners regarding their beloved pets. Why is this more disturbing than the mermaid attachment or is it because the sexes are reversed?

  5. It’s a fairy tale drama with a sweet cat that wants to be human. Mr./Ms. if you keep your mind clean(without nasty thoughts) and if you have ever had a pet dog/cat you would realize that sometimes you wished they were human. I saw my Missy wanting to console me but not having arms to hug me when Hong Jo turns into human form to console his person. I find this drama very loving and it touches my heart. I have laughed, cheered and cried with Hong Jo making me hope for a happy ending. This is a romance-fantasy for those of us who still believe in fairytales where love is pure. Awesome drama/great author!!!!

  6. you know, you should just open your mind a little and not overthink about it. It is basically a drama, anything can happen on a drama, don’t you find some other dramas are more weird than this, like a robot or an alien, for me i think that’s more weird, but dramas about it topped the ratings without anyone complaining. It’s just that the timeslot of this drama has a problem or koreans just does’nt find it interesting than the other ones. I don’t have anything to say about your opinions because it’s on your perspective, but you should learn to open your mind while watching a drama, especially a fiction one. thanks!

    • Are you sure though? You don’t really have an idea what your animals would be like with human emotions or attributes. Maybe you would date your pets. Think about it they would know everything about you, accept you quirks, mannerisms and could offer unique perspectives about shared experiences. These are all things that make a great human partner.

      So you don’t really know if you would or wouldnt. This is fantasy. It is grounded in reality surely, but you’re doing disservice to that kind of work if you apply practical rational to it. Examples: Let’s take LOTR now the eagles pick up Sam and Frodo at the end…so why not just fly as close as you can from jump and then sneak in? Because it’s not a very compelling story…it’s what should be done practically but it’s a quick and boring read. Or let’s take Bill and Ted…like Rufus couldn’t have just written them a report or they couldn’t go to military school together? Or let’s take Rookie of the year the concept of a kid pitching at pro-level isn’t unheard of but an injury causing a non-athletic kid to have pro-level talent pffft. Or let’s take Face/Off Im supposed to believe plastic surgery could be sooo seamless you wouldn’t be able to tell someone ripped off another person’s face and stuck it on another person’s body.
      It’s like saying Batman is a great crime fighting detective but if he was soo smart why doesn’t he take his billions to make Gotham less of a cesspool or at least up the security in Arkham asylum.

      Yet the thing is with fantasy you have to suspend belief. Additionally, if it’s imported media and you aren’t the primary target audience you also have to further suspend any cultural biases that would also add an additional creep factor or wouldn’t fall within ones home cultural norms.

      In regards to what I’ve seen so far this isn’t as creepy or anymore gross as werewolf romance stories I’ve read or seen. The major difference is we have a informal understanding of how that mythical creature should act and behave…where there are fewer people/cat stories. Your take while valid isn’t the norm for lovers of fantasy and perhaps I’d say maybe this genre isn’t for you.

  7. There’s nothing disgusting. I think it’s sweet, cute, gentle and everything beyond. I love this drama and the actor playing the cat is so good. Give me such a cat and I’ll fall in love any time.

  8. I hate to break it to you, but KIM MYUNG SOO is not a cat IRL. She’s actually kissing and acting with a REAL LIVE MAN. *gasp!*

    So using your argument of, “fantasy doesn’t apply” here…. applied to what you said…. “acting as a cat doesn’t make you a REAL CAT.”

    It’s a sweet story. L’s a great actor for a cat’s role. Lighten up.

  9. I understand where you’re coming from, but personally so far I am enjoying it. And “worst rated KDrama of 2020”? I definitely don’t agree with this statement. But other than that, this is very well written article!

  10. They are not step brother/sister because their parents are soooo not related. Vietnamese laws are allow that, idk what your country laws said anything about that but totally not wrong.

    • Exactly what you said. These are 1 not children who are growing up together who would have formed a familial bond. And second it isn’t anymore weird or gross that the practices of European royals. At least these characters had NO blood ties unlike European royals who often married cousins.

  11. I love cats & it made me follow this drama until the finale episode. We share the same sentiments but I kept it inside my heart as I love & respect Kim MyungSoo so dearly, especially that he had been in my country for several times. ♡ Thanks for the transparency of this review.

  12. I really like this show. Yeah, it might be weird at some point but this is still just an show and let’s keep that in mind. Some of the viewers might not get it correctly. I kinda don’t like the stalk-ish behaviour. That’s what makes the show seem a little bit weird. Next thing, dating an CAT. Cat is still an animal. I accept the factc that Hong Jo becomes an human when he’s next to Sol-Ah. That’s alright for me. I got addicted to this show and i really love it. I’m waiting for more episodes <3

  13. as i have read many mangas which have a similar concept to this so this drama wasnt really creepy for me
    So i had no issues regarding the cat and human love but this doesnt mean that the drama had no flaws
    there were many shortcomings in the drama
    there wasnt a good chemistry between the main actors and the fact this drama wasnt able to make people accept the love between a cat and a person even if they knew it was just a fantasy is a big flaw itself
    when i think about the story line i guess i can agree with people that the relationship between the cat and and the girl in this drama should have remained as a relationship between owner and a pet
    the drama wasnt able to touch your heart you know what i mean the drama didnt really speak to you much
    and for me the ending was really vague it didnt really workout
    PS: this is my personal opinion i dont mean to hurt anyone in any way

  14. Lol well to me it was not disgusting at all. Keeping in mind that Hongjo is not just a cat but he is also not just an average human man is what keeps it from being disgusting because it’s not like Hongjo had dirty thoughts sleeping next to her. It’s just like when your pet sleeps next to you, there is just pure innocence. Now obviously he is not just a pet because he is also human so I do not find the romance between the two weird at all. The connection between them showed since the beginning so it was obvious that maybe romance would develop. Yes it might seem strange at first but after all it is just a fantasy drama. Yes I said it. That is what I love about fantasy, that it’s not real. It’s like a beautiful dream that doesn’t make sense and yet it does in its own world. One thing that was very real though was the fact that we humans cannot control who we fall in love with. Sol ah was also weirded out and shocked when she found out that she was in love with a human cat, but she decided to accept who he is and just gave him her love unconditionally which I think was beautiful and yet quite sad.

  15. Honestly, it’s not meant to be beastiality. How you can call this charming romantic drama that’s pretty harmless on all fronts as creepy is beyond me. But I guess that’s your opinion. I would have liked more kissing, that was my only real gripe.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.