I Picked Up a Celebrity On the Street is a ten hour webdrama that tried to mix light-hearted comedy with suspenseful mystery. Sadly, the writing just wasn’t smooth enough to successfully pull off that combination.
After taking the blame for a major mistake at work, Lee Yeon-Seo is let go from her contract position at Bonjour Foods. That evening, while trying to drown her sorrows and frustrations, she gets stinking drunk and decides to take her anger out on the man responsible for her now being unemployed. Seeing a man in an alleyway, and thinking he is her ex-boss, she throws her shoe at him and watches as the man falls face down on the ground, immobile. When she gets closer she’s able to see the man is, in fact, not the person she had thought he was but one of Korea’s most beloved Hallyu stars, Kang Joon-Hyuk. Horrified at what she had just done, she checks his condition and discovers the man is not breathing. Panic sets in and, pretending he has passed out from being drunk, she takes him to her tiny rooftop apartment to hide the body there. But, low and behold, just as she has decided on how to dispose of the body, she discovers the man is still very much alive. Although she’s relieved she’s not a murderer, she’s worried he’ll press charges if she just lets him go so she does the only thing she can think of – she keeps him tied up there until she can earn enough money to hide away in Vietnam.
Life hasn’t been easy for Lee Yeon-Seo. Aside from the financial stresses of every day life, she also has to worry about credit card debt and paying off her massive student loan. That would be difficult even with her contract employee job, but she doesn’t even have that now. To make matters worse, she’s abducted a picky Hallyu star, that only eats, drinks, and wears the best of the best. Not only does she have to pay for his living expenses but she has to pay her neighbor to “babysit” him while she’s away. There’s a tremendous hole in her financial ship and it’s taking on water faster than she’s able to bail. And if that isn’t bad enough, she has the threat of spending years in jail for being a kidnapper hanging over her head.
Kang Joon-Hyuk describes himself as being not only famous in Korea but in Europe and Southeast Asia, the Hallyu star that has received acting, entertainment, and popularity awards and the number one actor producers want to work with. He debuted as one half of a duo (the half that doesn’t sing well but looks good) known as Two Guys but it’s been years since the group broke up. Joon-Hyuk is legitimately afraid of Yeon-Seo ever since he discovered, first hand, she was a wrestling star in high school. While being held prisoner, Joon-Hyuk finds out his bank account has been drained and can’t help but wonder if there is a reasonable explanation behind it or if something sinister is going on.
Nak-Goo is the single, unemployed neighbor that Yeon-Seo hires to watch over her famous hostage whom she is passing off as her mentally ill cousin. He grows lettuce which he puts into a bouquet and brings to Yeon-Seo every so often. His home furnishings are the bare minimum, not even a TV, and he usually just wears an old track suit. Rumor has it his father is a rich businessman and he is the only heir to the company but, wanting no part of the business world, left home and turned his back on it all. He loves the kimchi pancakes Yeon-Seo makes and, yes, he does have a crush on her. Nak-Goo also has a dreamy singing voice.
The other half of what was once Two Guys is a handsome young man named Mir. He and Joon-Hyuk were close at one time but when the duo broke up and they went their separate ways, Joon-Hyuk’s celebrity status exploded while Mir’s fizzled a bit and there’s now some tension between the two men.
Se-Ra is Joon-Hyuk’s ex-girlfriend. They broke up three years ago but have remained a couple only in the public eye. She loves the perks she gets by being a Hallyu star’s sweetheart and milks it for all it’s worth.
For some information about Sung Hoon, the gorgeous guy who plays the part of Hallyu star Kang Joon-Hyuk, you can go to my review of My Secret Romance.
The young woman who plays Lee Yeon-Seo is 30 year old Kim Ga-Eun. She majored in Theater and Film Studies at Kookmin University and made her acting debut via the 2009 Kdrama Style. A few of the more recent dramas she’s appeared in are The Royal Gambler, Into the World Again, Because This is My First Life, Dazzling, and the soon to be aired melodrama The Wind Blows. Her motion picture debut was in the 2012 short film New Employee.
Sadly, this drama isn’t anything more than just okay. If you’re going to write a comedy, then write one that makes us laugh. If your goal is to create a mystery that makes the audience feel tense then have that be the main focus. The mixture just doesn’t work in this show. The comedy is so-so but, thankfully, the mystery was good enough that I didn’t guess it until seconds before they reveal “who done it.” On the up side, I didn’t spot any glaring “oops.”
Remember Sung Hoon in My Secret Romance? Well, we see a couple scenes from that show playing on a TV in I Picked Up a Celebrity On the Street. Yeon-Seo’s mom is watching the “falling into the swimming pool” scene while she’s talking to her daughter on the phone. The show never comes right out and says Joon-Hyuk starred in that show, that idea is just alluded to, but we can all see the Hallyu star Joon-Hyuk is the same guy as the one on the screen. I have to admit, it was a clever way of verifying Joon-Hyuk’s celebrity status.
So, since I Picked Up a Celebrity On the Street, itself, brought up the My Secret Romance show, I’m going to comment on it. The two dramas aren’t even in the same league. If I remember correctly I scored My Secret Romance a solid eight where I Picked Up a Celebrity on the Street scrapes by as just shy of average. If you’re going to watch just one Sung Hoon drama you’re better off choosing My Secret Romance.
I like the nicknames Yeon-Seo is given. Nak-Goo calls her Neighbor and Joon-Hyuk refers to her as Bonjour (since she worked at Bonjour Foods). Calling someone something other than their given name shows creativity and intimacy. It makes that particular relationship special and I like that.
Now for the show’s music. There are a few really enjoyable songs on the soundtrack. Sung Hoon (Kang Joon-Hyuk) sings an upbeat sounding ballad called Think About You. I had no idea the man could sing but his voice is wonderful and compliments the song well. Stella Jang sings a very cute song called Swing Baby, which has a coy, yet seductive kind of sound to it. Close your eyes and picture a flirtatious couple playing on the beach near the water. I’ll bet the music that was playing in your head would have sounded a lot like the song Lollipop on this show’s soundtrack. Performed by Jungheum Band, the melody is easy and the sound is soft. (Sorry, no beach scene in this drama, though.) The five member boy group The King sings Knock Knock. The lyrics are sung in Korean so I don’t know what the song says but maybe it’s referring to Joon-Hyuk and Yeon-Seo knocking on each other’s heart.
There aren’t a lot of different backgrounds to this show but, then again, it’s only ten hours long and when the story centers around someone whose been kidnapped the setting is kind of fixed. Yeon-Seo’s small rooftop apartment is clean, though not lavishly furnished. Her small TV sits on an entertainment center made of milk crates and she sleeps on the floor, accentuating the fact that she does not have an abundance of money. The place Joon-Hyuk has is, of course, extravagant and quite befitting a Hallyu star.
If you’re a Sung Hoon fan you won’t want to miss I Picked Up a Celebrity On the Street. If your not, you won’t be missing much if you decided to hold off watching it for awhile or skip it all together.
Only ten hours/episodes long
The comedy doesn’t mix well with the mystery