Because I consider myself a Kpop fan, when I ran across a short webdrama called Part-Time Idol (aka Temporary Idol) I just couldn’t pass it up.
Jung Tae-Kyung, a legendary producer who helped pave the way for Kpop, just has that special something that helps him find and cultivate amazing talent. He was responsible for fostering the careers of Jinusean, 1TYM, 2NE1, Big Bang, and others but something happened eight years ago that made the man announce his retirement and go into hiding. Now, after being on a “journey of self discovery” he’s back and ready to take on the world of Kpop once again. After gathering a handful of misfit trainers others have given up on, he sets out to make them into idols. And he’s not just staking his reputation on them, his shares in YZ Entertainment hang in the balance, as well.
Kim Hee-Jung is beautiful, can dance fairly well, and has no problem with singing but her temperament leaves much to be desired. She was bullied as a child and decided that being mean and angry could protect her so she developed a short temper, which kept her safe but is now coming in the way of her success as a pop star.
At one time Lee Su-Hyun and her brother, Lee Chan-Hyuk, were a successful duo in the Kpop industry. Now that he’s off to fulfill his mandatory military assignment she has lost confidence in being a solo artist and her insecurities are keeping her from being able to sing high notes.
Fame is what Kwon Hyun-Bin is after. He wants millions of screaming fans to fall at his feet, tons of followers on his social media account, and the media to chase him around. The problem is there’s nothing really special about him. His dancing and singing are barely so-so but he is a decent rapper.
With a beautiful voice and pretty face you’d think Soo Ah would have already become a star but one very serious shortcoming stands in her way – she has a major case of stage fright which prevents her from being able to perform in front of others.
As for dancing, Kwon Young-Deuk is one of the best out there. He’s a sought after choreographer, responsible for some of the dances performed by top Kpop stars. Although his dancing can’t be beat, what he really wanted was to debut as a singer and rapper.
Jung Tae-Kyung has a magic touch when it comes to making idols. He instinctively knows a person’s inabilities and understands what they need to do to overcome them. He is encouraging, positive, and a pillar of strength to those that train under him. Producer Jung is a natural born star maker.
At the young age of eight Kim Hee-Jung made her acting debut in the Kdrama Tough Guy’s Love. She’s been in scores of Kdramas, films, music videos and variety shows. She’s also part of the female dance crew Purplow and goes by the stage name Bibi. Shows I’ve seen that she’s been in include Return, Who Are You: School 2015, and Into the World Again.
Lee Su-Hyun and her older brother Lee Chan-Hyuk were contestants on the reality talent show K Pop Star 2 and finished in first place! The sibling duo officially debuted as Akdong Musician (aka AKMU) in 2014 and became an instant success. In June of 2018 she became a radio DJ for KBS Cool FM. She is also responsible for singing Sori on the Mr. Sunshine soundtrack. As children, she and her brother lived with their missionary parents in Mongolia for five years.
Kwon Hyun-Bin briefly attended school in Japan and joined the Alba-Japan International School baseball team. While at Jungkyung High School (in South Korea) he specialized in fencing and was even selected as a representative for the teen’s fencing tournament. Soon after, he sustained an injury and had to quit competing in the sport. In 2015 he became a model and in 2017 he went on the show Produce 101 (the second season) finishing in 22nd place. Two years after that he debuted with JBJ. The group released two EPs and a special album before disbanding seven months after their debut.
Thirty year old Hwang Seung-Eon (who plays Soo-Ah) has been acting since 2009 when she played the part of Park Ji-Mi in the film A Blood Pledge. She has been in 35 different productions including feature films, short films, Kdramas, and webdramas. Things I’ve seen her in include Bad Guys, Heart to Heart, Madame Antoine, Signal, Jugglers, and I’m Not a Robot.
In 2009, Kwon Young-Deuk became a member of YG Entertainment’s HI-TECH dance team. He and his twin brother, Kwon Young-Don, have been lead choreographers for acts such as 2NE1 and Lee Hi. He and his brother were both cast in the 2011 Kdrama What’s Up.
Kim Min-Kyo (who plays the part of Producer Jung Tae-Kyung) is probably best known for being a member of the cast on Saturday Night Live Korea. He has worked in the theater (in both plays and musicals), been in feature films, music videos, variety shows, and TV dramas. Min-Kyo knows hapkido and taekwondo and even holds some martial arts titles. In January of 2010 he married a fan he had been dating since 2005. Wow! How many fans can say they married their star crush?
The fact that the characters in this story have the same names as the actors playing them, with the exception of Producer Jang and Soo-Ah, is very fun. Also, in the show Lee Soo-Hyun has an older brother that she sang with until he left to serve his mandatory military assignment, which is exactly what happened to her and her brother, Lee Chan-Hyuk, in real life. And, Kwon Young-Deuk is a choreographer in real life just like his character in the show.
I own two Kpop dictionaries (gifted to me by the same friend that generously gave me a Netflix account in order to support this website) and I don’t think I’ve read anything about a co-ed Kpop group in real life. Any of you know for sure? I think Part-Time Idol, although it is just fictional, is the first. If you’re interested you can go on YouTube and find video of the group performing Red Carpet on a real stage in front of a real audience. It reminded me of when A.N.Jell, the fictitious group in the Kdrama You’re Beautiful, performed in a real concert. It sounds like the same sort of thing was done with Part-Time Idol.
The character growth in this show is excellent. We watch as each of these potential idols are able to overcome their weaknesses with the love, support, and strength of their team mates. They go from being an “I” to a “we” and prove that what my dad always told me was true – “There’s safety in numbers.”
Lee Su-Hyun gave a suggestion to the director that her character and Kwon Hyun-Bin share a little romance in the show and – bingo. It’s not a huge part of the story but at least there’s a hug and hand holding. That’s something.
The kids’ debut number, Red Carpet, at the end of the show is excellent and very entertaining. It’s well worth the build-up. There’s also a song they perform on the soundtrack called Ice Café. It’s good but I liked Red Carpet better. One cute scene shows the kids all singing together, “Baby shark, do do do do do do…” a cappella.
As far as scenery/background goes we mostly see the kids in their dorm room or a practice room. But the most silly and fun scene is when the group is taken to a kind of boot camp and put through rigorous military-type idol training. The person responsible for that idea gets huge points for being an imaginative, out-of-the-box thinker.
For anyone who enjoys Kpop, this webdrama is a fun use of two and a half hours – five episodes, each one being about 30 minutes long, so it’s not a huge time commitment. It’s not amazing, but as far as light webdramas go Part-Time Idol is a solid thumbs up.
Good character growth
Red Carpet performance
A co-ed Kpop group