Whenever we are lost, we always seek refuge to familiar things. It’s basic human instinct to look for familiarity even in the rarest of moments. However, when you find yourself drowning in the sea of stagnant water, embracing the unfamiliar can sometimes save you. In this week’s Grumpy Flashback, let’s remember how a tiny girl named Na Bong-sun was able to let go of her scary ordeal, embrace it, and eventually use it to save some lives.
As we continue the November scare, let me introduce another one of my personal favorites. Oh My Ghostess is a 2015 horror romantic comedy series starring Jo Jung-suk, Park Bo-young, Kim Seul-gi and Lim Ju-hwan, which aired on tvN for 16 episodes. It had a successful run, and even earned nominations from various award-giving bodies in South Korea.
People’s feelings are like a cold – once it begins, no matter how hard you fight it, you have to go through the necessary pain until it ends.” – Na Bong-sun
Finding love in the midst of the supernatural
The main premise of the story was about timid kitchen assistant Na Bong-sun (Park Bo-young) being possessed by the ghost of a lustful virgin Shin Soon-ae (Kim Seul-gi) as she slowly gain the affection of the arrogant celebrity chef Kang Sun-woo (Jo Jung-suk).
Star chef Kang Sun-woo was the most conceited chef in K-dramaland, partly because of his background story. He was bullied back in the day, considered the wet market as his happy place, and secretly googled himself. He scolded his kitchen staff members harshly, but deep inside he cared for them. His facade may seemed proud, but he was insecure in the inside.
The major dilemma that Kang Sun-woo struggled with in the duration of this drama was weighing in his feelings whether he liked Bong-sun, the timid girl or the Bong-sun, the possessed. There was one hint in the earlier part of the series, though, that made me seal the deal about the Sun-woo and timid Bong-sun love team. He commented on Sunshine’s (Bong-sun) blog on the night she submitted her resignation letter. Call it a twist of fate, but that’s when things started to make sense for these OTP.
This couple was also among the few ones in K-dramaland who had no meet-cute. We opened the series with Na Bong-sun already working as dishwasher/kitchen assistant at Sun-woo’s Sun Restaurant.
Na Bong-sun’s dual personality
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Park Bo-young! That’s a fact. Every single project of hers was a gem. She is a true born actress, and her performance in this drama was exceptional. I can honestly see Kim Seul-gi in the body of possessed Na Bong-sun. This is also her first drama in seven years… which I think makes this more remarkable.
Grumpy trivia: Park Bo-young filmed her first kiss scene with Jo Jung-suk in this drama! Yep, their kiss scene on Oh My Ghostess was Bo-young’s first ever.
Park Bo-young also sang the soundtrack of Oh My Ghostess, just like in her previous dramas and films like A Werewolf Boy and Hot Young Bloods. Uri unnie is so talented that her future husband would be super lucky to have her!
Solving the dead’s unfulfilled grudge
From the lustful virgin ghost premise, the story then evolved to Shin Soon-ae solving her mysterious and untimely death. The story’s plot twist was super creepy that I even remember the scenes two years after. Props to Lim Ju-hwan for his excellent portrayal of the main villain Officer Choi!
Grumpy trivia: Kim Seul-gi debuted as a comedienne. She used to be in SNL Korea before she rose to popularity as a versatile actress. This explains her hilarious personality!
Sitting on the sidelines of love
Another highlight of this series was the timid second lead, Cordon Bleu (Kwak Si-yang) 😍 Seo Joon or better known as Cordon by his colleagues was not your typical well-off guy who worked low-key and admired his crush from afar. His subtle yet caring moves to protect Bong-sun proved that he was a fine gentleman. He might look like a snob, but the moment he talked some sense into Cheffy about chasing after Bong-sun was the real game-changer.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes in the drama – the Sun Restaurant boys + Bong-sun having fun in noraebang!
I personally think one of the strengths of this drama was the wacky Sous Chef Heo Min-soo (Kang Ki-young). Aside from the heroines, Sous Chef provided the light moments in the show.
Seo In-guk’s cameo as Sous Chef Edward Seo at the finale was just icing on the cake:
I remember reading an article about how resisting challenges can create turbulence in our minds. Accepting life’s weird problems with a positive mindset instead of a defeatist one can definitely make us happier and more peaceful. Na Bong-sun once lectured Cheffy about “finding your inner peace,” wherein she used her own struggle with seeing ghosts as a perfect example.
And for me, inner peace was the central lesson of the this drama. Whether be it the Bong-sun’s lack of spiritual calmness, Sun-woo’s psychological stress, or Soon-ae’s pursuit of truth, everything all boiled down to how they achieved their peace of mind. Behind the drama’s cinematic immersion with scary ghosts, Oh My Ghostess sought to leave behind the importance of seeking refuge through finding inner peace.
[Photos and GIFs used in this blog belong to tvN’s Oh My Ghostess]