Dramatic, thought provoking, captivating, realistic… VIP is a quality Kdrama. I finished it in just 3 days, the time zipping by as I watched several Sung Un Department Store employees struggle with trials that seemed too overwhelming to conquer.
I’m not going to tell you much because I want you to wonder. You need to be suspicious, guess, and battle things out in your mind, just like the characters do – feel what they feel and become a friend and colleague of these employees. So, if this review doesn’t give you clear details of the story, believe me, it’s all for the best.
Although many people shop at Sung Un Department Store it is the elite customers that are catered to and that’s why there is an entire department dedicated to making sure the VIPs are treated like royalty. Park Seong-Joon is the very capable team leader of the VIP Management Team as well as being the Vice-President’s right-hand man. The employee with the most seniority, who works directly under Park, is his wife of ten years, Na Jeong-Seon. At first glance the two seem like a blissfully happy couple who enjoy a picture perfect life together, in fact, they are in each other’s phone as “On My Side.” Yet behind Seong-Joon’s contented face lurks a web full of lies that, if exposed, could destroy everything he and Jeong-Seon hold dear. One night Jeong-Seon receives a crushing text -“Your husband’s mistress is in your department.” Who sent the message and why? Could her beloved husband, who is sleeping so soundly in their bed, really be having an affair? As doubt and fear begins to eat away at her, Jeong-Seon struggles with what she should do concerning her private life, while the excellent employee she is carries on at work as if nothing has happened. Neither her husband, Park Seong-Joon, nor her boss, Director Park Seong-Joon, knows about the worry consuming her every waking minute.
Co-workers see Jeong-Seon as the type of person that has it all – she is married to an awesome man, comes from a rich family, doesn’t need to work but is very successful at her job, and she’s generous to others so others are generous to her. Seong-Joon describes his wife as having a loyal heart. She is helpful, intelligent, kind, and a respected leader.
Seong-Joon is a diligent, well mannered man of few words. Although he’s not what you would consider to be the friendly type he does have a warm heart. He is conscientious in his job, never giving less than 100%, which is why there is a rumor circulating at work that he is soon to be Sung Un’s youngest executive.
Other members of the VIP Management Team…
Lee Hyeon-Ah has recently returned to Sung Un after taking a year off work. She went to school with Seong-Joon and has had a crush on him for the longest time. She became friends with Jeong-Seon after they were put on the same team at work. She is sure of herself, doesn’t smile much, and keeps a fair distance from most people.
Song Mi-Na has worked at Sung Un for six years but has been passed up for a promotion on more than one occasion because of the time she took off to have her two boys. She is married to a man who is also employed at Sung Un and they are having difficulties balancing their work life with their duties as parents. As a result, their relationship is suffering.
Man Sang-Woo is the only male in a room full of females. He is fairly new to the VIP team and is still learning the ropes. Although he does his best he often has to ask one of the other employees for assistance in completing a task. He shows great promise, though.
On Yoo-Ri used to work in the food department of the store but was just reassigned to the VIP Management Team. Because she has no schooling, other than graduating high school, people are whispering and speculating as to how she made it so far with no credentials. She is shy, unsure of herself, and feels like a fish out of water in her new job but she’s willing to work hard.
Jang Na-Ra is excellent as Na Jeong-Seon. She is a master at playing serious roles as well as comedic ones. For information about this versatile actress you can go to my Go Back Couple review.
Park Seong-Joon is played by actor Lee Sang-Yoon. Information about him can be found by clicking on my Whisper review.
Most of the time I go into a drama blind, not having read anything about it other than the brief synopsis the channel might provide. VIP was no different. I knew it starred two people on my favorites lists and it was set in a department store. That was it. If I had known the story was about the heartaches of an affair I might have skipped it but I’m so glad I didn’t. For you who are like me and aren’t that keen on watching shows that center around infidelity, rest assured there is not one single scene that shows the affair. It is talked about but not shown. As I mentioned before, the drama is about the consequences of an affair, not the affair itself. The author shows us what can happen when one hides things and lies to a spouse. It’s really a show about honesty.
The writing is spectacular. It isn’t until about halfway through the story that we discover who the “other woman” is. By holding off on that revelation we are able to sympathize with Jeong-Seon as she wonders and worries and speculates. We feel uneasy as we guess and suspect the worst in others. It’s quite unsettling, almost like we are the one being cheated on.
I was amazed at what the VIP team did for the store’s “black diamond” members (the highest VIP level). They threw a birthday party for one little, rich girl; had a jewelry auction; played matchmaker; shopped with them… it was crazy how much these rich folks were catered to. It wasn’t unheard of for some of these VIPs to plop down over a million dollars a year at the store. If you were thinking the setting of a department store would be boring, think again. It was very entertaining.
Honestly, I didn’t notice things like the camera work and directing because the storyline was so compelling my mind never once wandered to other things. My attention was 100% on the plot and I was too busy watching these people struggle with their problems to notice anything else. Wondering when everything was going to blow up was the only thing on my mind.
The acting is so good it made me feel like those characters were real people. Nothing seem scripted or rehearsed. Every word, every facial expression, every movement… it’s all so natural. I really hope this show walks away with a ton of awards!
The viewing audience’s response to the drama has been quite favorable. The ratings were excellent and several of the stars were big internet searches for weeks at a time.
NEON singing, “I’m chasing all the lies and all the truth. Pretend to be fine, but Nothing’s Right,” pretty much captures this drama’s plot perfectly. It’s a loud, angry sounding song (completely sung in English) that is played quite often throughout the show’s 16 episodes. “Set me free from this pain. Set me free from this madness,” is a quiet cry for help in the chorus of Set Me Free sung by Gain. In Shameless Jang Jane belts out, “Doesn’t matter anymore, love ain’t gonna fix it. You’re gonna be shameless with all that smile on you’re face, and I’ll be shameless waiting for Hades waltz with you.” Wow, that screams anger and revenge, doesn’t it? KLANG performs Everything Goes By, a perfect song to wrap up the whole drama. The music in this show fits the story perfectly! A++ for every single song!
Although the story is about a handful of employees at Sung Un Department Store we don’t get to see much of the store. There’s lots of shots in the VIP Management Team office but very few in the store. Because the show deals with the very elite rich folks we mostly see the best of the best – clothing, buildings, cars…
VIP is deep, emotional, compelling, and something all married/engaged couples would do well to see. Observing the painful and destructive consequences that come from the bad choices others make just might help us all take a different path.
Superb acting by all
The way the subject matter is presented
Does not show the affair
Teaches us valuable lessons
Soundtrack perfectly enhances the story