First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: My Mister

Gather ’round, y’all, and I’ll tell you a little tale from grad school. As I was earning my master’s degree in English, I had to read many, many books that people thought were the best form of art. Some were great — excellent characters, good humor, moments of lightness, and a well-resolved ending. Some, often extolled as high art or literary fiction, were about the worst of people making the worst of choices and brooding about it for pages in lyrically moody settings.

Guess which kind I hated? If you said literary fiction, or lit fic for short, you can anoint yourself with a gold star. So, read on and see what lit fic and My Mister have in common, and what Kmuse and I think from the first few episodes we watched.

Karie the Maknae: The plot description for My Mister was not terribly inspiring to me: “My Mister tells the story of three brothers in their forties doing their best to survive the weight of their lives, and cold 21-year-old Lee Ji An, also undergoing difficulties of her own, is drowning in debt and left alone with her ill grandmother since she was six. She is tasked with finding out Park Dong Hoon’s weaknesses at the command of her boss, who runs the company she is temporarily working for” (from our friends at I thought, “Ok, it’s not inspiring, but maybe….” Also, I have a weakness for Lee Sun Gyun’s voice. That man could read the instruction manual to my dryer and I would pay rapt attention. 

Kmuse: I also was underwhelmed by the synopsis.  It was actually the teasers and watching IU’s deep despair (evident even in 30 seconds) that caught my interest.  I decided that despite the boring synopsis and the weird pairing (especially if it ended up having any romance) I would give it a try.

Karie the Maknae: And then the episode started. UGH. We have IU scrabbling to survive–and admittedly turning in a fantastic melancholic performance. Lee Sun Gyun’s character reminded me a bit of the main character from Arrested Development (don’t get excited, AD fans–I could only watch a couple of episodes), doing his best to hold his family together and feeling the burden of it all. His wife is cheating on him and spouting nonsense about having fallen in love even though she’s “old”. The CEO of his company is awful, too. Basically, the worst of people gathered here. And I don’t mean worst as in evil. They’re all selfish. My heart breaks for IU’s character–she’s a product of her circumstances and the least selfish of them all, but the heaviness of her life makes her hard to watch.

Kmuse: You are so right!  Everyone is so selfish but without any interesting quirks or redeemable qualities.  I think that is what is making it so boring to watch.  I feel like I should feel the plight of the brothers, or the workers, or even the selfish wife….but I don’t.  They are all just a ball of “meh” and anytime the leads are not on screen I start to drift asleep.

Karie the Maknae: By the end of the first episode, I was being forcibly reminded of all the lit fic I had to wade through in grad school. I skipped through the second episode, not surprised at where I found the characters at the end–their storylines were easy enough to predict. So, in spite of the humorously artistic shot of IU, who broke her grandma out of the assisted living place and is pushing her hospital bed through the streets of Seoul under a gorgeous full moon, I will not be watching My Mister. There’s just not enough levity to pull me through the dark spots.

Kmuse: I gave it four episodes to grab my attention and give me something beyond angst to latch on to.  I totally admit that IU is doing an AMAZING job and the director is very talented.  And I know that this is probably a slow burn type of drama and there will be nuggets of greatness scattered around.  The problem is I find the rest of it so utterly boring that I can’t force myself to continue on.  I think this is one of those dramas that people are either going to love or hate.  Go check it out for yourself because it might be exactly what you are looking for.  As for me, I will happily dump it and go find something that interests me more.

Be sure to let us know if you love or hate this drama in the comments!  This is a judgement free zone and I am sure people would like to hear the opinions of those that enjoyed it and why.  Be sure to check out our other First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts on various dramas HERE.

Til next time,

Kmuse & Karie the Maknae

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi


2 thoughts on “First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: My Mister

  1. I love it…The first few episodes, I had to force myself because everyone was either so down or so rotten. But by ep. 4, I couldn’t wait for next episode…ppl are changing and it’s now a downer at all. Acting is quite good and getting to know the characters’ personalities, particularly the main two, layer upon layer makes this an excellent watch.

  2. I’m a literature major – graduate degrees. I love so-called ‘literary fiction’. Why? Cause the writers know what they are about. Even the most (to me) tedious mess has glowing passages of exquisite prose (DH Lawrence – I really thought Sons & Lovers would NEVER end). I perfectly understand why such works are masterpieces.
    The amazing variety of style, subject matter, themes, treatments over the centuries keeps my interest. These stories encompass the realities of being human, of how people cope with all sorts of different situations. A character study like Anna Karenina might be hard for some people to wade through, but there’s a reward for doing so, if one reads it questioningly. By that, I mean reading it (or any other piece of literature) thinking, what is this telling me about the people around me, about myself?
    I love KDramas because so many of them fall in this category of ‘thought-provoking’ stories. No matter if lots of memes & cliches turn up, so many writers play with those and turn them on their heads.
    This story does that. It’s very realistic for a Korean TV show, chock full of ambiguous characters. This reflects real life rather than escapist illusions. I completely disagree about these characters being somehow the ‘worst’ of people. Not at all. They simply reflect their circumstances.
    I’m very much enjoying IU’s performance, and wondering how this will play out. Her character especially does not fall into any category, she’s very nuanced and contradictory. Her ahjussi’s character (Lee Sun Gyun) definitely is not a horrible person – just one in a depressing situation. The brothers are normal people dealing with hardships. The interplay at the company shows the way greed, power and a need to win to prevent losing everything can corrupt.
    Light, amusing and entertaining only goes so far. I have a problem with American TV for insisting on always being gloomy and depressing, but this feels quite different – it might be depressing right now but I feel we will be led towards something better.

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