“Café Minamdang” has aired its premiere episodes this week and here are my first impressions of the drama.
Note: this article is a first-impression review, it doesn’t mean this is the writer’s final thoughts on the drama. This is a spoiler review.
This marks our Seo In Guk’s comeback and I was partially excited because he’s been doing very serious roles for a while now so I recall saying I’d like for him to take on a fun or lighthearted role for his next project…. Which actually ended up happening.
“Café Minamdang” is based on a web novel that won awards. Right off the bat, I can tell this is based on a web series judging by the direction and humor style.
Lets start with the things I liked.
I liked how ridiculous Seo In Guk character is. Han Jun is a very standard character but I am curious to find out why he became so jaded and decided to just switch into swindling people to make money. I’ve seen he’s been arrested as the premiere suggests, I think he just gave up on the system. If you can’t beat them, join them.
I also especially liked Kwak Si-Yang’s character. Such a brilliant actor. I don’t recall seeing him play such a goofy character in a while now, the way he carries himself and speaks is hilarious in itself. I think his character reveal was done very well and was one of the few moments I laughed at.
“Café Minamdang” follows a very typical premiere timeline and again, the leads share a past together [because of course they would]. Oh Yeon Seo’s character is also up to her own agenda and appears to be on the hunt for a specific murderer who killed her brother. Han Jun is a neat freak who is very smart and very handsome. Its very typical in its execution thus far. Nothing makes it remotely stand out— yet.
As for the script’s future direction….. I don’t know so far. It appears standard so far. I’ve seen kdrama stories that have similar plot lines and eventually the two sides team up to ‘achieve’ justice. I am sure “Café Minamdang” will likely follow a similar format. Although, since it won a grand prize, there has to be something so unique to it for it to have qualified for such a prize.
I don’t particularly have the highest hope that the drama’s script shall surprise me in any way but I welcome being proven wrong any time. I hope it surprises me and I write to you guys about it.
It mixes comedy and seriousness well thus far in terms of how it changes back and forth, I don’t know if that will change as time goes by if it becomes more serious.
Now onto the thing I disliked about the premiere.
This is a subjective review but I feel this time it will be even more subjective than usual because it has to do with comedy. Comedy is very subjective, things I find funny, you might find dumb or offensive or whatnot.
I think to a degree, people underestimate how difficult comedy is. Its difficult to make people laugh. Personally speaking, I don’t like performative comedy that is done with extreme or over-the-top physical movements, I find it childish and almost insulting if I am watching an adult drama. Unless its a parody for a program that specifically has expertise with such type of comedy done in a specific style, its usually catered towards kids who don’t know any better. I’d rather they write jokes than resort to excessive hand and body movements to make me laugh.
Throughout the majority of “Café Minamdang” premiere, I didn’t laugh. I didn’t find it funny. Added to that, there were many cringy moments because of the sheer dumbness of how the characters act.
Now I know this isn’t the actors’ fault so I am not going to comment much on that. I find it lazy when its done like this, a good example of a good joke would be the scene in which Kwak Si-Yang’s character was introduced. How it subverted expectations and ended on a high. That was actually the only time I laughed.
Generally speaking, such form of comedy isn’t to my liking and I don’t enjoy it. But at the same time, I realize it works for a lot of people.
“Café Minamdang” premiered to the No. 1 spot in ratings. I am so happy for the cast. I hope it continues to do better but in my case, I’ll probably wait a bit until more episodes are out to watch all at once unless something more interesting comes out and I forget about this one.
One last note, I noticed that “Café Minamdang” has 18 episodes, not 16… this is slightly odd, usually, such kdramas are 16 episodes. I already wonder how on earth they’ll be able to make 18 hours worth of fun and engaging content. KBS has been the slowest in adopting the shorter kdrama format and I honestly don’t see them changing any time soon.
Have you guys seen the premiere of Café Minamdang? What did you think of it?