K-Drama Reaction: Chicago Typewriter | Episode 1

The fantasy romance comedy Chicago Typewriter recently aired with an interesting plot, impressive cinematography, and similar scoring with that of Goblin. I am not surprised, though, because both dramas have the same musical director. High expectations are in for this drama as to whether it will reach the popularity enjoyed by Goblin. This is also tvN’s third consecutive time slip drama, with Tomorrow With You and Goblin as its predecessors.


In the pilot episode, we are introduced to bestselling author Han Se-joo (Yoo Ah-in), a hotshot writer with the good looks and legions of fan girls. He knows the value of capitalism and even wears his “business mask” in public.  He is definitely a peculiar writer who goes undercover to research for his book characters, orders his staff to breed a deer at home, and claims he is allergic to dogs. He recently goes on a multi-city international book tour to celebrate the overwhelming success of his most recent work “Unfair Game.”


While in Chicago, he comes across an old typewriter with Hangul keys. The typewriter eventually led us to Se-joo’s vision of his past life where he was typing while talking to a woman, (Im Soo-jung) who is dressed up as a man. She holds down her gun then explains that it is called a “Chicago Typewriter” because its sound resembles that of a typewriter’s keys. She then lectured the writer that a typewriter is mightier than a gun and told him to write something good, and not just for fame and women. This 1930’s plot line is getting interesting!


Personally, I am not a fan of horror films, so when the old typewriter began typing on its own and begged to be sent to Se-joo, I was so creeped out. I watched this episode at two in the morning without any expectation about its elements of suspense or mystery, so I got really scared; but its intense storytelling is absolutely something to be commended.


Back to the present day Korea, our heroine is introduced to us by her friend Ma Bang-jin as Jeon Seol (also Im Soo-jung), an avid fan of Se-joo since time immemorial. She is a veterinarian by profession, but chose to be a delivery girl by choice. I wonder what “personal reasons” made her to give up so many important things in her life. She is supposed to be an Olympic sharp shooter, but chose to give it all up because she kept seeing her past life while holding a gun (shooting someone dead).

Our lead couple meet in a very k-dramaland twist of fate wherein Seol delivers the haunted typewriter to Se-joo. I don’t like Seol’s persistence to enter Se-joo’s house as it is already bordering to trespassing. Girl, if the house owner tells you not to enter his house, do not enter!


This episode also acquainted us to this very adorable dog which Seol thought was Se-joo’s pet. Why is everyone in this drama so mysterious? The fluffy pooch entered Se-joo’s house unbeknownst to him and eventually swallowed his dog bone USB flash drive. Really, Se-joo? A dog bone as a flash drive? I thought you are allergic to dogs? Why buy a dog bone USB?


Series of events led our couple to recover the swallowed flash drive from the stray dog. After the whole doggie fiasco, Se-joo gave his reformatted laptop to Seol, and they both get on with their daily lives. We see Se-joo getting nagged by his publisher Gal Ji-seok (Jo Woo-jin) about his next work. Se-joo responds that his follow-up piece will be a love story between an independence fighter and a writer set in the 1930s, a vision he saw while he was asleep on his desk while working overnight.


We also get to meet our hero’s rival Baek Tae-min (Kwak Si-yang). His coffee shop conversation with See-joo spelled misery as they were both dropping hints about their past relationship. It is revealed that Se-joo used to live with Tae-min’s family but their relationship turned sour over the years. I have so many questions about Tae-min’s background! What does Se-joo mean by his remarks that dangerous words were written 10 years ago when Tae-min’s father ruined both of their lives?


The episode ends with Se-joo’s encounter with a male intruder-fan who turned into a murderer after reading Se-joo’s novel. He associates himself with the character in the writer’s work and blames him for ‘killing’ the character. The man is now determined to kill Se-joo, but (thankfully!) Seol was there to save him. Se-joo witnessed Seol’s pistol-shooting skill and now makes the connection that the woman in his visions bears the same face as Seol.


Chicago Typewriter delivers a strong series premiere with aesthetically sound cinematography. The 1930s reincarnation is something refreshing for k-dramaland where historical dramas are often written as sageuk. I am in for another visual adventure of seeing what Korea was like in the 30s. Our main characters’ tangled plotlines are enjoyable enough to make myself locked in on the drama. Yoo Ah-in oppa is my personal favorite so I know very well that he will do great as always. Watching him with this very challenging character is a sight to see and I hope the drama succeeds in its entirety. I am still in the process of accepting Im Soo-jung’s portrayal of Seol and the chemistry between our lead couple, so I guess it’s too early to tell whether they complement each other or not. I wonder how Go Kyung-pyo’s ghost writer character gets intertwined with Se-joo and Seol. And when will Seol turn into Se-joo’s anti-fan? I guess we just have to watch the next episodes to know.


Photo credits: dramabeans, soompi, tvN



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