Are you ready for Heart & Seoul’s 200th Kdrama review? Well, let’s get started…
Jugglers is all about those wonderful unsung heroes, the secretaries. Making coffee, sharpening pencils, canceling appointments, photocopying papers, filing reports… a good secretary is a master juggler. “A secretary stimulates an already successful person and takes the role of helping the person grow to another level.” – Jwa Yoon-Yi
Because Jwa Yoon-Yi is falsely accused of having an affair with her boss she is put on suspension to await reassignment. When she’s finally sent back to work it is for Managing Director Nam Chi-Won, a loner who insists he doesn’t need or want any help. Little by little Managing Director Nam is able to warm up to the idea of having a secretary and comes to not only appreciate and value all the work Yoon-Yi does but also the woman herself.
Being an outstanding secretary is very important to Jwa Yoon-Yi. She revels in hearing the words “well done” and puts her job above everything else in her life. She is on call 24/7 and although she may not love working overtime she does it with a smile. She is devastated when the rumor about her having an affair with her boss begins to circulate but anxiously waits out the storm. When she is given her new assignment she is determined to become an indispensable tool to the man who wants nothing to do with having a secretary.
Managing Director Nam Chi-Won comes off as a difficult to please loner who never smiles, however, keeping a safe emotional distance is how he has survived life. He was orphaned as a young child, taken in by his uncle and then, when his uncle passed away, was looked after by his uncle’s friend. He was only married for two years before he divorced, claiming she was too good for him. Chi-Won used to work for a news station before taking the job as the head of the Advertising Planning Department at YB.
The Executive Director of YB’s Sports Department is Hwangbo Yul. The man is rich, handsome, young, and drives a motorcycle, all the while acting like a 13 year old kid. He thinks Managing Director Nam is cool and desperately wants to be buddies with him.
When Wang Jung-Ae’s husband leaves her for another woman she instantly becomes a single mother with a teenage boy to support all on her own. With Yoon-Yi’s help she lands a job as Director Hwangbo Yul’s 89th secretary, using her younger sister’s identity.
Greedy, ambitious Managing Director Jo Sang-Moo has his sights set on the Vice-President’s office and has no problem using people, lying, cheating, and stealing to get there.
Ma Bo-Na is the secretary at YB assigned to Jo Sang-Moo. She and Yoon-Yi have been close friends for years.
The manager of the coffee shop at YB is Park Kyung-Rye, one of Yoon-Yi’s closest friends.
Baek Jin-Hee got her start in the entertainment field when she was scouted by a talent agent while on the street. She received the New Actress of the Year award for her acting in the indi film Bandhobi, which was only the third thing she had been in. She plays the female lead in the 2014 law/thriller drama Pride and Prejudice. It’s an awesome show (minus the last episode). Recently she stared opposite Jung Kyung-Ho in the mystery drama Missing 9, another entertaining show. I thought Jwa Yoon-Yi looked familiar but it wasn’t until I looked up Jin-Hee’s filmography that I realized she was the same gal from those two excellent dramas.
Thirty-two year old Daniel Choi returned from his mandatory military assignment at the end of September 2017 and just a month later was doing his first script reading for the part of Managing Director Nam Chi-Won. Daniel’s first acting appearance was on the TV show School Stories. He was in several dramas although he wasn’t really well known until he landed the role of Lee Ji-Hoon in the sitcom High Kick Through the Roof, for which he won two awards. That same year he appeared in his first motion picture, Yoga. I loved him in Baby Faced Beauty, The Musical, School 2013, and Big Man (although I was disappointed he played the bad guy – very convincingly I might add). Aside from being an actor Daniel has been a KBS World Radio anchorman since 2011 and a DJ on KBS 2FM since 2013. After his wonderful performance on Jugglers Daniel Choi has been newly dubbed the “rom-com King.”
I knew Lee Won-Keun ( Executive Director Hwangbo Yul) seemed familiar to me! He’s the leading man on the webdrama Thumping Spike 2 but I didn’t realize it until I saw a list of the shows he’s been part of. Yep, now I can recall that darling smile. The only other thing he’s been in that I’ve seen is Hyde, Jekyll, Me but, unfortunately, I’m unable to recall who his character was. His acting debut came in 2012 with the popular historical drama Moon Embracing the Sun but he’s probably best known for his starring role in the teen drama Cheer Up.
Kang Hye-Jung’s role is the second female lead (Wang Jung-Ah) but she is a much more seasoned actress than the leading actress Baek Jin-Hee. During her first year of high school she began a modeling career which branched out to acting tiny roles in TV dramas and sitcoms. She received a Best Actress award for her very first film role in the sci-fi movie Nabi. Oldboy was the first hit movie she was in and from there she went on to appear in other motion picture mega hits such as Rules of Dating and Welcome to Dongmakgol. In a 2005 survey of influential movie producers Kang Hye-Jung was ranked among the top ten most bankable stars. She later expanded her acting roles to the stage appearing in the plays Proof and Educating Rita.
Every single character in Jugglers is a likable person you’d appreciate knowing and working with in real life. Even the antagonist, Managing Director Jo, isn’t someone you hate. Yes, he does illegal and immoral things but the lighthearted comedy softens his bad guy persona making him more absurd than scary.
Jugglers is definitely in the romantic comedy genre although I didn’t laugh out loud like I did during Secret Garden, Protect the Boss, The Greatest Love, and Fated to Love You. Its comedy reminded me more of the kind we get in Chief Kim and Revolutionary Love. There’s a part where Yoon-Yi and Managing Director Nam are eating hot ramen and as he takes a big bite his glasses get all streamed up. It happens again when they are watching TV together and a kiss scene comes on the screen. I loved when Chi-Won deliberately pushed his glasses up with his middle finger while looking directly at Managing Director Jo. There’s another part where Managing Director Nam tosses his coat behind him and puts it on in one slow-motion sweep, making him look very cool. However, when rotten Managing Director Jo tries the same thing he completely misses the armhole and ends up looking ridiculous. Another scene has Yoon-Yi’s brother discover Chi-Won and Yoon-Yi in a tent together and her brother salutes, leaving embarrassed Chi-Won, who is on his hands and knees, hair all disheveled, to sloppily return the respectful gesture. There are lots of cute moments like these throughout the whole show.
I enjoyed the bit of cleverness involved in one scene where it shows Yoon-Yi and Chi-Won getting ready for work at the same time. The director uses a split screen, with Yoon-Yi biting into an apple on the right side of the screen while Chi-Won is eating some toast on the left. But even better is the part where they are arranging their clothes – she has her back towards us and is looking into a large mirror but it’s Chi-Won we see in the mirror. Good job, Director. I like that kind of artistic out of the box thinking.
Are you wondering how well Jugglers did in the ratings? Well, it wasn’t spectacular but it pulled off a fairly decent 7.9% nationwide average and two different episodes were ranked 5th place in those days’ programming. That’s not all that wonderful but I don’t always agree with ratings, anyway. I think the show is much more entertaining than its ratings would suggest.
There’s one mistake I noticed and that is when Chi-Won is showing Yoon-Yi the scratch on his arm so she can tend to the wound. A closeup of the mark shows the scrape near his shoulder but when she’s putting ointment on it the scratch is on his forearm. No big deal but a mistake none the less.
Get Me Now, performed by Every Single Day, has a 1960’s sound to it, like something The Beatles would have had on their first album. Minseo sings You Must Love Me. Her lovely soprano voice begins the song with just an acoustic guitar in the background and, without us even realizing, a few more instruments are slowly added to the accompaniment as the song progresses. It’s quite charming. Singers Ukwon and Rothy duet the simple soft rock sounding Baby Baby, with the endearing lyrics “Everyday I’m your love.” Unfortunately, Angle of the City (whose chorus lyrics are a bit redundant) was way overplayed, but at least it’s a pretty song. Those are just a few of the nice songs on the soundtrack I think you’ll enjoy. I need to mention one awesome thing the director did with the music – in the show there’s some background music in a scene which turns into the song that is playing in a restaurant in the next scene. It doesn’t miss a single note as the change happens but the quality of the sound changes letting us know it’s the song being played in the restaurant and not added sound for a certain scene. More directorial out of the box thinking. That cleverness definitely wasn’t lost on this audience member.
There’s nothing really spectacular with the scenery. The time of year (Christmas and New Year’s Day is celebrated during the show) doesn’t really lend itself to beach scenes or company mountain retreats, but the YB’s office building is beautiful.
This drama is 16 hours of pleasure. The writer didn’t seem to be concerned so much with educating us or providing a life changing moral as much as just simply entertaining the audience. I think Jugglers is definitely good enough to add to your watch list.
Newly crowned “rom-com King” Daniel Choi
No out-and-out purely evil characters
Lots of light comedy that will make you smile
Nothing bad here