K-Drama Review: “My Shy Boss”

My Shy Boss

Warning! Spoilers Ahead! 

My Shy Boss (aka Introverted Boss) is a K-Drama that revolves around the lives of Eun Hwan-Ki and Chae Ro-Woon. Hwan-Ki is plagued by the death of his secretary who committed suicide three years ago. And Chae Ro-Woon is committed to exposing Hwan-Ki’s for her sister’s death.

Characters

The best thing about the show was that every character was given a chance at redemption and they each took it.

Eun Hwan-Ki & Chae Ro-Woon

My Shy Boss, more like “My Socially Awkward Boss.” Throughout the show, Hwan-Ki struggles to find the balance between trying to open up more and staying true to who he is.

He ultimately gets help from Ro-Woon who helps him find a solution to dealing with his extreme shyness.

Ro-Woon is the complete opposite of Hwan-Ki.

She’s outgoing and comfortable with who she is. Although the series had a whole controversy surrounding it because, in the beginning, Ro-Woon was taking revenge too far. 

After the series re-write, there is a clear shift in Ro-Woon’s mentality. She is a bit toned down and she begins to understand Hwan-Ki’s personality. 

Kang Woo-Il 

Woo-Il’s life story is sad. He was an orphan and gets adopted into a family out of mere convenience rather than love.

He finds himself engaged to Yi-Soo. Someone he grew up with, but never seems to love until the end of the show.

Woo-Il has his flaws, but I never found myself hating him throughout the series.

Although sometimes I cringed during his scenes with Ro-Woon because he came off as pervy.

Eun Yi-Soo 

Yi-Soo struggles with mental illness throughout the show but somehow finds a cure on her own.

I don’t recall her talking about going to see a therapist for her self-destructive tendencies, but it seems like dressing in comfortable clothes absolves her from all her troubles.

And now that I think about it, I’m not sure if she ever apologized to Ro-Woon for her role in her sister’s death.

Why Did They Drag Out The Show?

In some aspects, I wish My Shy Boss were longer so that they could’ve addressed some issues in detail.

On the other hand, the show should have ended at episode 14.

That final plot twist that they threw in was unnecessary!

Star-Crossed Lovers?

So it turns out that Ji-Hye liked Hwan-Ki all along!

Hwan-Ki and Ro-Woon already had a ton of obstacles separating them and then they get one more problem tossed in there at the end!

I might have to re-watch the series, but I never got the impression that Ji-Hye liked Hwan Ki.

Apparently, Ji-Hye tried to get close to Woo-Il to learn more about Hwan Ki.

Why would she have had to do that?! What sort of logic?!!! 

From what I gathered she was pretty close to Hwan-Ki, so I don’t know why she needed to find out more about him through a friend. 

My Shy Bossintroverted boss

Addressing Social Issues

I think the show attempted to address important social issues, but they didn’t do a good job of bringing them to light.

I understand that South Korea is a conservative country, but if they planned on including sensitive subjects they should’ve been addressed accurately.

Suicide

What irked me about My Shy Boss was Chae Ji-Hye’s suicide.

It would’ve made more sense if she had been suffering from depression, severe social anxiety or something that would’ve caused her to take such drastic measures. The reason for her death was pretty dramatic, but it wasn’t realistic.

What I gathered from the show was that Ji-Hye killed herself because:
 
A) She acted out of character by sleeping with Woo-Il
B) Hearing Kang Woo-Il slander her in front of Hwan-Ki
C) Seeing Yi-Soo slit her wrist
D) Not having Hwan-Ki reply to her message/phone call
 
Ji-Hye liked Hwan-Ki so much, that she felt that ending her life was better than facing the mess she thought she caused.
 
I know it’s a drama, but c’mon, that was completely unrealistic! They shouldn’t have made her suicide seem like something less than it was

I also don’t like that there was an implied blame placed on Hwan-Ki for:

a) Not knowing Ji-Hye had a crush on him

b) Not answering her call before jumping to her death

The implications that her death caused were serious, but the way it was explained seemed poorly thought out.

Suicide is a widespread problem in South Korea, so it’s a shame that the show didn’t take the opportunity to properly address it.

introverted boss

Mental Illness

Hwan-Ki was seeing a psychologist for about three episodes and then she magically disappeared from his life.

Was he someone cured?

All the main characters in My Shy Boss needed to see a therapist.

Especially, Yi-Soo who struggled with mental illness and self-harm.

I don’t know why she was never put into medical evaluation for attempting to kill herself twice!

Yi-Soo had issues that stemmed from childhood. There’s no way that self-reflection caused a complete change in her.

The show had the opportunity to make a real statement about mental illness but they fell flat. Instead, their message was that if you accept your true self, you’ll be fine.

introverted boss

Toxic Relationships

Woo-Il and Yi-Soo

I don’t care what anyone says, Woo-Il and Yi-Soo should’ve never got back together. It was great that they both owned up to their mistakes, but they were still terrible for each other.

Their relationship was toxic and they never dealt with their relationship problems. Or at least they didn’t do so onscreen.

Woo-Il cheated on Yi-Soo once and seemed like he was going to a second time with Ro-Woon had he had the chance.

He was desperate to get out of that relationship, but yet found himself back in it at the end of the show? And Yi-Soo was willing to kill/harm herself to get him to stay. She was clearly mentally disturbed.

They would’ve been better off as friends after all the drama they had.

Hwan-Ki & Yi-Soo’s Father

Their dad was abusive. He yelled at Hwan-Ki and belittled him to the point where Yi-Soo was also affected. She felt like she had to maintain an image of being perfect to keep the family together.

Hwan-Ki’s dad has a ton of other problems, but after being yelled at by his son he miraculously changes for the better.

Yet he never apologizes to his children for the emotional and verbal abuse.

It’s like that whole issue was brushed aside. Just because he is their father doesn’t make his actions okay.
xx

The Issue Of Consent

I feel like what happened between Ji-Hye and Woo-Il might have been rape. She couldn’t handle alcohol, but yet she took a couple shots because Woo-Il insisted.

I think the mixture of alcohol and her shyness is what led her to spend the night with him. In the scene, she seems uncomfortable, and she never gives verbal consent to Woo-Il.

The show could’ve taken the opportunity to address the issue of how sometimes consent can be difficult to pinpoint when both parties are intoxicated.

Initially, I thought she was raped which was what led to her suicide, but that wasn’t the case.

Transgender Sub-Plot

I don’t know the discourse surrounding being transgender in South Korea, but if it’s anything like the way homosexuality is treated, I can understand why they didn’t cast a trans actor.

It was great to see the topic brought up in the show.

The more positive exposure LGBTQ gets, the better it is for marginalized groups.

Personal Boundaries

Hwan-Ki feels guilty about what happened to Ro-Woon’s sister, but he sort of ends up stalking her for three years.

I get that there wouldn’t have been a show without him keeping tabs on her and sending her flowers for so long, but you’ve got to admit that if this was done in real life you would be scared, not flattered.

There was also a scene where Ro-Woon follows Hwan-Ki to his home/office and enters uninvited. She snoops around and then ends up attacking him and pulling his hair. Regardless of where you live in the world, that sort of behavior is frowned upon.
xx

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the drama because the actor who plays Hwan-Ki is super cute and I like the actress who plays Ro-Woon. Their little romance was adorable and I learned a lot of new Korean words from watching the show.

I also liked the scenes when Hwan-Ki contemplated so much internally that what he ended up doing was the complete opposite of what he had hoped for. He was hilarious! 

The soundtrack for the show was also pretty good! 

I would give My Shy Boss a 6/10. If you’re looking for a light comedic rom-com, this is your show.

There were plenty of problematic issues and some plot holes, but I was able to look past them for the most part.

Have you watched My Shy Boss? What are your thoughts? 


4 thoughts on “K-Drama Review: “My Shy Boss”

  1. I liked this article written very much as it’s one of the few that takes the Korean culture into account for things that would be really misunderstood in American culture. I’ve been an addict of Asian shows for decades and watched them transpire; both North and South Korean cultural stories.

    I do think this series is now starting to address some issues into Korea that show progression-including the mental illness aspect. If it were done for and in the US, the movie would address the ever-increasing awareness even we are evolving into here but I think ‘baby steps’ is appropriate for this show.

    Being the mom of a trans man, I’m aware of the sensitivity in the Asian culture and quiet especially in Korea to the transgender community. Again, I think this is also trying to address something in their culture that is even less progressive there then here in the US and good for them for bringing it into the light. My son gets irritated at the lack of having actual trans actors and actresses portray the struggles and lives of each individual in the trans community but here, in this movie, I also think it was well-done in having a female for this role. Only for the fact that this is an extremely sensitive and even political issue in Korea that needs to be broached slowly to be effective. I was just surprised and happy to see it.

    The other issues have been addressed in other movies and series and could have been a little more evolved then it was in this series. While I am aware that women still live in an inferior role to the still patriarchal society there, I also know that it is being strongly addressed in other series to try to meet the western world a bit more. I was really disappointed to see that although a woman being slapped was admonished, it was in no way addressed in the proper way it should have been. This has become a more unaccepted act from a man to a woman even in Korea and it wasn’t portrayed with nearly the disapproval and intolerance of this type of harassment that it should have been. Many shows in Korea now have had plots specifically addressing this type of harassment in the workplace; if they were going to show an actor slapping a [lowly] woman in a series, it definitely should have been also shown as something unacceptable with a response that would require more then the big, sensitive boss telling everyone to get out and sharing a dinner of bonding with the man while the other big boss thanks her sincerely for getting slapped. That really just didn’t sit well with me, even knowing the cultural battles women are fighting in Korea.

    Toxic relationships are almost never fully addressed in the Korean culture and that still is part of the largely patriarchal culture. I hope to see that evolve more in future series but it still is an issue that is only ever lightly addressed.

    I really did like this series though and love all Asian series for their mix of dark humor, silliness (many with the sounds and music underlining it) and even the more supernatural mix they’re putting in the series with netflix increasingly; especially the Korean shows and series. I love the actress who plays her mother whenever she’s in a series; one of my favorites (forgive me-the old brain isn’t up with the names, just the faces). Recommend ‘My Shy Boss’ to anyone and thank you Netflix.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment!! I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I wrote this a while ago, so I’m glad that it still resonates with someone. I see that the drama is now on Netflix so I hope more people watch it and add to the discussion. I watch so many K-Dramas, I sort of forgot what happened haha Might have to rewatch!

  2. I loved watching the drama “my shy boss” as well and coincidentally i just finished it on netflix.
    I agree with your review, however my rating would have been an 8/10 because of the male lead, not because he is cute, but because he pulled off his role so well, to the extent that it was belivable. I loved the female lead as well, she was quirky, bold and funny.
    Now to some of the social issues raised in the drama. I loved that the production team inserted trans issues subtly in the drama and knowing SK, if it was anymore than that, am sure there would have been alot of petitions and calls to bycott it.
    Like you, i did not think the reason for the suicide was potent enough to warrant it. But Again, having worked in the social services sector for a while, i have seen and heard of very sily reasons of why people (young) commit or want to commit suicide. Hence i will give them a pass on that.
    As far as am concerned, the second male lead played a more flirtisious role which really put me off and i was always fastforwarding his scenes to get it over with.
    And yes their sister’s mental health issue would have been a good sub-plot to explore and create more awareness on how to deal with these kinds of issues.
    As for the parents of the leads and sub leads, i have no words for their roles, i guess its just more of the typical SK family system where parents have the right to treat you as they see fit.
    Overall, i enjoyed this drama, it made me laugh and i will certainly recommend that everyone gives it a go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *