When I saw the promotional picture for Producer (also known as The Producers) I instantly knew it was a drama I wanted to see. The cast is stellar – Cha Tae-Hyun from My Sassy Girl, Kong Hyo-Jin from It’s Okay, That’s Love, Kim Soo-Hyun from My Love From The Stars, and UI from You Are the Best! Lee Soon Shin. Who could resist seeing those stars work together? I happily waited for the whole thing to be available and when it was I began the first episode. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any further than the first half hour before I gave up and turned it off. I was so disappointed. I just didn’t like the format. It was filmed in the style of the American sitcom, The Office. You know, a camera crew follows the characters around like their lives are being made into a documentary. The idea is fine for a half hour sitcom but I wanted more from a Kdrama. There was so much hype surrounding it, the ratings were good, and it was number one in lots of polls. So, after a few months, when I saw it had over 20,000 fans on DramaFever alone, I figured I’d give it another shot. That was a very smart choice!
The show is straight forward and simple to follow. It introduces us to four people and we watch as their lives become intertwined and made better because of it. Ra Joon-Mo and Tak Ye-Jin are producers who work at the television station KBS in the variety department. They’ve known each other for 25 years and are the best of friends. Baek Seung-Chan is a rookie under Ra Joon-Mo. He chose to work at KBS because the girl he secretly loved in college worked there. Cindy is an aloof and conceited singer. She has fans who love her and anti-fans who hate her. Now aren’t you curious as to how those four people mix and who ends up with whom?
Baek Seung-Chan is the main character, the center of the wheel. Pretty much everything and everyone else is connected to him, somehow. He’s reserved, quiet, serious, peace loving, intelligent, kind, helpful, careful, methodical, and just plain darling – the type of guy any mom would want her daughter to bring home.
Tak Ye-Jin has a tough outer shell but is a softie on the inside. Her strong exterior helps hide her insecurities. She and her brother temporarily live at her best friend, Joon-Mo’s house. She is the main producer of Music Bank and takes her job seriously.
Ra Joon-Mo is very passionate about his job. He’s the head producer of the variety show 2 Days, 1 Night and thinks of his team as family. He’s been chastised by the KCC (Korean Communications Commission) on several occasions and worries because his show is in danger of being canceled. Joon-Mo sincerely cares about people and has their best interests at heart.
Cindy is an orphan who began her singing career at the age of 14. Her management company sees her as a money making commodity and has used her to get ahead. She was once part of a female Kpop group but was favored by the CEO and went solo, becoming one of Korea’s biggest idols. She’s let fame go to her head and is egotistical and spoiled.
Ra Joon-Mo is played by singer/actor Cha Tae-Hyun. I think the first thing I saw him in was the Kdrama A Prince’s First Love. He was also in the smash hit movie Scandal Makers. However, it was his performance in the comedy movie Hello Ghost that earned him the title “Korea’s Jim Carrey.” He married his high school sweetheart, his one and only girlfriend, lyricist Choi Suk-Eun, and together they have three children.
The character Tak Ye-Jin is played by Kong Hyo-Jin. She’s an amazing award-winning actress that has been in a bunch of feature films and dramas. Did you know she has her own fashion line for the fashion shop Los Angeles Project? And she’s collaborated with two different shoe brands. I don’t know if the clothes she wore in this show were things she had personally designed but, other than one dress, I thought Ye-Jin’s wardrobe was cute.
Darling Baek Seung-Chan is brought to life by Kim Soo-Hyun. Because he was an introverted child, to help him break out of his shell, his mother encouraged him to take acting classes before entering high school. And that’s how the 27 year old actor became the recipient of 49, yes I said 49, different awards. He’s acted in dramas, feature films, theater, has recorded nine songs, and he holds the (South Korean) record for product endorsement deals – 35! His feature film debut was in The Thieves, which became the second highest grossing movie in South Korean history. Wow, Kim Soo-Hyun.
Cindy is IU’s character. At the age of 14 she decided she wanted to be a singer. But life wasn’t easy for Lee Ji-Eun, better known as IU, as a child. Her family went through some financial difficulty, she failed many auditions, and was scammed by fake entertainment companies. However, she rose above it all and not only saw her dream to be a singer come true, but she’s also a double KBS Drama Awards winner.
Producer has been called the first ever “variety drama”, not just because it’s a drama that deals with the variety department of a TV station but also because it was produced by the KBS variety, not drama, department. Also, Producer‘s director had worked on variety shows in the past.
Producer is a short drama, only having 12 episodes. However, a 13th one was added, giving us a little informational background about the show and presenting highlights from the drama to give future viewers a preview of what can be expected. Here are some interesting quotes I found impressive from that extra episode…
“Once the teaser was made available, it reached over five million views.”
“Even before it aired, it was a topic of interest.” “Online interest was … rated number one.”
“With about 50 cameo appearances, it was a unique experience.”
“On a portal site in China, it ranked number two in June’s searches.”
“It was expected to create another Korean wave.”
“It was reported on by media all over the world.”
“Producer was exported to 33 countries.”
“The most talked about show in the first half of this year, (2015) Producer.”
One unique thing about this Kdrama is that it mentions genuine shows, like having Ra Joon-Mo, Tak Ye-Jin, and Baek Seung-Chan work on Music Bank and 2 Days, 1 Night. In case you weren’t aware, those are real South Korean television programs. And what makes it even more fun is the fact that Cha Tae-Hyun, who plays the character Ra Joon-Mo, the producer of 2 Days, 1 Night, is one of the regular cast members on the real 2 Days, 1 Night. Neat, huh? And with so many famous people making cameo appearances as themselves, it lent authenticity to the whole thing and made the imaginary people come across as real.
Three cheers for a very nice soundtrack. There wasn’t one song I disliked. Here are a few of my favorites – Lee Seung-Chul sings Darling and Soul Mate is performed by Ki Hyun. Reunion is a beautiful solo piano song and Zigzag Step has a lighthearted, jazzy feel to it. Could We is a refreshing song featuring an electric guitar and the sounds of a couple unusual instruments (I’m guessing steel pan drums and marimbas…maybe). However, the best of the bunch is Love Begins With a Confession. The song is beautiful and Kim Bum-Soo’s voice is perfectly romantic! I pretty much consider that to be Producer‘s theme song, at least that’s the one that comes to mind when I think of the show.
In my opinion, the very best scenery is when our four leads are at an amusement park at night. There’s a fantastic fireworks display and the lit arch-covered pathway is wonderfully romantic. There are also some nice outdoor shots when the cast and crew of 2 Days, 1 Night are filming. Another neat thing, speaking of scenery, is the fact that the sixth floor of KBS was completely recreated to make the show seem real. Impressive.
Whatever you do, don’t cut this show off as quickly as I did the first time. That would be a big mistake. Promise me you’ll watch the whole first episode before you decide if it’s good enough to go on to the second. If you get through the first hour I’m sure you’ll choose to watch the entire show. I agree with the mainstream population of Kdrama lovers and highly recommend Producer. It’s one of those shows without evil, scheming people and illegal things going on – just the day to day life, trials, and loves of ordinary people. Two thumbs up, folks!
Wonderfully talented cast
Tons of cameo appearances by famous stars/idols
The mention of real things (TV shows)
No bad guys or illegal activity
Filming format (documentary style)