After the massive disappointment with Heirs, finally K-dramaland is back on track with some pretty good winter rom-com offerings. We had the yummilicious Let’s Eat, hunky alien show Man From Another Star, and of course, Prime Minister and I.
- Lee Beom-soo (from IRIS 2) as Kwon-yul. Aka the Prime Minister. Upright, but oh-so-stiff, he does everything by the book and is inflexible when it comes to morality/code of conduct in his actions (not exactly the wisest approach when you are a politician). He lost his wife in a car accident 7 years ago, and is bringing up his 3 kids singlehandedly. He may be a good politician cum civil servant, but he fails as a dad.
- Im Yoona (from Love Rain) as Nam Da-jeong. The exact opposite of our stiff Prime Minister. She is spontaneous (sometimes TOO much), acts before she thinks, not above some petty lying to get her way through messes (after all, being a paparazzi reporter requires some white washing of truths). But she is also a doting daughter to her ailing dad (who suffers from Alzheimers and a terminal brain tumour). Because of her cheerful get-go personality, she clicks pretty well with the kids.
- Yoon Shi-yoon (from Flower Boy Next Door) as Kang In-ho. Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. He is extremely smart but somehow, I get this feel that he is more than who he appears to be. He is the third leg or the second lead in the love-line, having been attracted to Da-jeong’s positive attitude the first time he meets her.
- Chae Jung-an (from When a Man Falls in Love) as Soo Hye-joo. Personal secretary cum close friend to the Prime Minister and is his junior since Uni days. She harbours a long-time crush on Kwon-yul, but hasn’t had the courage to disclose it to him (until Da-jeong’s appearance). She is also Kwon-yul’s nemisis, Park Jun-ki’s, first love.
- Ryu-jin (from A Thousand Kisses) as Park Jun-ki. As mentioned, he is Kwon-yul’s ex bro-in-law. He is also the Minister of Strategy and Finance. He hates Kwon-yul ever since he realises Hye-joo loves Kwon-yul instead of himself, and suspects later that Kwon-yul killed his sister. We expect him to hatch more evil plans to make Kwon-yul’s life difficult.
Plot synopsis (thus far):
Glad to say, pacing for this show is pretty fast. Within the first 2 eps, we have Kwon-yul and Da-jeong meeting and having THE big incident which prompted Da-jeong to proclaim she is Kwon-yul’s lover…and the start of more misunderstandings, miscommunication and hijinks. Kwon-yul first met Da-jeong at a restaurant where he was given top secret news that the current President has cherry picked him as the next Prime Minister candidate. Da-jeong, on the other hand, is busy sneaking around trying to catch saucy pics of the latest K-pop star with her squeeze. Needless to say, Kwon-yul thinks she is taking pics of him (in his secret meeting) and ticks her off, exposing her to her targets.
Unfortunately for Da-jeong, that first meeting is not the last. Her news company (Scandal News) sends her to report on the popular (with women — of all ages) political figure, Kwon-yul. Well, after some smart alecky tricks on her part, she does manage to secure an one-to-one interview with Kwon-yul. And because she is always hovering around Kwon-yul, a reporter took a very misleading picture of her and Kwon-yul together. This leads to a big hoo-haa, and eventually Da-jeong steps in at the media conference to claim that she and the Prime Minister (candidate) are dating.
Kwon-yul eventually does beat all other candidates and become the Prime Minister. However, his dalliance with Da-jeong doesn’t end there. Cos Da-jeong’s father (an Alzhemic patient) is diagnosed to have a terminal brain tumour, Da-jeong decides to fulfil her dad’s wish to see her married…so she proposed. And is accepted (although due too, to political reasons). Nevertheless, the couple settles into faux married life, bonded by a contract.
I laughed my way through the first two eps. It’s rare that a show can hook me within the first 2 hours of its airing, since most kdramas start off a little slow, with those character intros and all. But for Prime Minister, that was done pretty quickly. In fact, we start with the highlight — the post-wedding banquet of PM Kwon-yul and wife. And then we see that the glam couple actually detests each other … before zooming back two months ago, to how they met and so on.
Before the show aired, there was concern that Lee Beom-soo and Im Yoona will not “click” due to their age difference. I don’t know whether it is cos Lee is such a good actor that he manages to cross the apparant age gap, or there is real chemistry between the two of them, age nonwithstanding. I suppose it’s a mix of both? Anyway, the two definitely have NO problem in the sparks and flutter departments. In the show, Kwon-yul is supposed to be much older than Da-cheong too, given that he is married with three kids. So, it is a show where the age gap matters and is used as a foil to contrast Kwon-yul’s maturity and inflexibility versus Da-cheong’s youth and spontaenity.
The contract marriage idea may be an age-old plot device, but used properly, it is still a good formula to base a rom-com on. And in this case, with the reputation of an important political figure at stake, the contractual marriage is like a ticking timebomb waiting to go off (be exposed).