I’m going to admit that it is taking me some time to wrap my thoughts around this series. Though it was only six weeks, it definitely felt like the longest six weeks in my life. Overall, I mildly enjoyed the show and viewed it a bit more favorably in the end than I did in the beginning. It had its funny moments, surrounded by plenty of filler moments. I did not enjoy the fact that Producers was over an hour long for each episode just because it wanted to mimic a variety show format though!
In the beginning the one-on-one interviews were a bit rough. The shaky handheld camera effect used during the interviews added a sense of realism, but it was quickly replaced with fixed, steady shots that made it more like a drama than a documentary. I think they also experimented by adding a blur filter around the camera lens to sort of hide out the action in the background (even though those were the funny parts and meant to be the focus rather than the actual interviewee), and it was probably the worst thing they could do. It made the interview sections look even more messy. Thankfully they dropped it after a couple of episodes.
I liked the initial set up of the first couple of episodes, where the cameramen were characters themselves in the drama. But it certainly got complicated and messy, and it didn’t help speed up the pacing of the episode.
Eventually the interviews lessened as more of the drama unfolded, and then it simplified even more with just placing the actors in a neutral background. And then the interviews became more like add-ons; they added nothing new to the story, as we were able to figure out the characters’ issues and thoughts through their dialogue and facial expressions alone. They were also strange to watch considering that we had witnessed deeply intimate moments taking place in their bedrooms or apartments (as would be normal for a drama), and the characters never acknowledged the cameras there. So the lines between drama and mockumentary blurred even more. (Only Joon Mo acknowledges such blurring of lines, stopping the cameramen from prying too much about his relationship with Ye Jin as it’s not fitting for such a show. But that is in the epilogue, all the way at the end. It becomes a throwaway line at that point, as we have seen too much of their personal lives already.)
After the directors switched during episodes three and four, more elements of Pyo Min Soo‘s style started coming forth too. He is really good at making a romantic comedy become a bit like slice of life, as seen in Fool’s Love. He also adds a lot of vignettes of the characters at the end of the episode where we catch up with them and somewhat summarize their story arc in the episode.
I believe the writing was a bit rocky in the beginning. It was trying to cover a lot of things and hit a lot of characters in the beginning – characters that we didn’t even visit again really in the end. But eventually when the show focused more on the “drama” aspect the series got a little smoother. It reminds me of My Love From Another Star a little bit, which Park Ji Eun had written previously: a little rocky and uncertain in the beginning but it got so much better towards the end of the show.
And that’s the same with Producers – it didn’t really kick things off and become good, for me in my opinion, until episode eight. That was right after Cindy revealed herself in a more honest fashion to Ye Jin, Joon Mo, and Seung Chan, and Go Ah Ra made an awesome cameo. It was also around the time when I felt Cindy was really changing as a person, and trying to change her fate.
In regards to the Love Square… Over the course of the series I got more used to the idea of Ye Jin and Joon Mo getting together. Initially they did not have the romantic chemistry that I had expected; the two were too “friend”-ly with each other, if you know what I mean. But eventually it was revealed that the two had a deep friendship that gave way to a very deep love and understanding of one another. And when Seung Chan was presented as another love interest, it became clear that Ye Jin and Joon Mo were meant to be; how does one fight up against years of history together?
Cindy being smitten by Seung Chan was amusing and interesting to watch. I can see why a sheltered girl like her would be so attracted to the prudish Seung Chan, whose awkwardness and intelligence made for an interesting foil to the more elegant and cool Cindy. The only nice thing about being pursued by Cindy was that it made Seung Chan a little braver about expressing his feelings to Ye Jin; desperation and timing was probably also a huge factor since he found himself in a race against Joon Mo.
I am glad that Ye Jin never intentionally led Seung Chan on, though I’m sure the way she interacted with all male colleagues as her best friends made it seem like she took a liking to Seung Chan. She was certainly a lot nicer to him compared to the other rookies. But at least she told Seung Chan as early as she could that she wasn’t really interested in him in that way, forcing him to grow up and move on.
In regards to the other romances though, the one between Hong Soon (Kim Jong Kook) and Go Yang Mi (Ye Ji Won) was not surprising, and also not that fulfilling. Both were such ridiculous characters that based on their love-hate relationship, it was inevitable they would end up together. I also had hoped that Kim Jong Kook’s role was really going to be a cameo, and that he’d disappear, but they really played the joke over about him wanting paper – and Go Yang Mi’s stinginess – over and over. I felt more embarrassed by the ridiculous over-acting the two did than actually laughed. In any case, their romance was such a filler for air time, and something I wish the show did away with.
Of all the characters, I feel that Cindy grew up the most. Ye Jin does not really change from beginning to end, being a bit less abrasive but still headstrong and confident. Joon Mo finally becomes more decisive, but I think he always had it in him – he was just decisive on the wrong things. And Seung Chan certainly became more confident and comfortable with himself, which I’m really glad about. But the most satisfying change was to see Cindy go from stuck-up and cold to someone who’s more willing to show her kinder self. Granted her OCD-tendencies still made her seem a little cold, but it was more amusing than off-putting. And the way she stood up for herself and decided to take charge of her destiny was nothing short of admirable considering that she was going up against the formidable CEO Byun. She was probably the only character I was really invested in, and loved seeing on screen, and I really have to credit IU for her portrayal.
Some of my Favorite Highlights:
- Kim Da Jung (Sun Ah) – she was the most awesome writer in Ye Jin’s team because of her very nonchalant approach on life in and out of the office. She showed flickers of humanity, but I loved how she used her figure to her advantage and how she was the most in-tune with the idols considering that she worked on a music show.
- Kim Tae Ho (Park Hyuk Kwon) convincing agents to give them their best stars after they insulted his daughter for aspiring to be a K-pop star.
- The soccer match – especially when Joon Mo blocked Seung Chan’s penalty kick.
- Go Ah Ra‘s cameo. Enough said.
- Cindy meeting her anti-fans and becoming a moderator on one of her anti-cafe’s.
All in all, I wouldn’t usually recommend this drama to anyone to watch. However, if you do like the actors then you should check it out, because they do what they do best in this series.
Verdict: solid 6/10.