Protect the Boss
Type: Korean Drama
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
A down-on-her-luck woman, No Eun-Sul, just needs a job to get by. She applies for a secretary job at a prestigious company and to her surprise – she gets the job! She starts working as the secretary for the very paranoid Cha Ji-Hun who doesn’t like her and tries to get her to quit. Eun-Sol’s tough stuff and has no intentions of giving up this job she finally landed. Then Cha Ji-Hun decides he’s in love with her… what’s a secretary to do now?
This 2011 rom-com flew under the radar but struck a big chord with me. I’ve watched it twice (yes, the whole way through) and loved it for its zany, sometimes hilarious, antics and cute story. Protect the Boss is what I’d call a soft spoof of office K-dramas. So many of the tropes that are usually found in office or romance K-dramas are twisted or flipped on their head in this drama.
No Eun-Sul is your typical poor but nice girl who always gets tough luck, except that she also learned martial arts from her dad! So when a weirdo tries to come on to her, she doesn’t wait for her man. She beats the guy up herself. I really loved Eun-Sol who was a perfect blend of not-gonna-take-this-crap, but also very compassionate, long-suffering and calm. One of my favorite things was when the guy would grab her hand and pull her along (in the hand-pulling trope, lol) and she would just twist his arm until he let go. Watching her protect Ji-Hun like he was her little baby duckling was so cute.
|chaebol Cha Ji-Hun & secretary Eun-Sol|
Cha Ji-Hun is the privileged rich boy who’s fighting other relatives for the position of his father’s company. But he’s also struggling with past trauma that has left him with multiple phobias. Ji-Hun is played by the wonderful Ji-Sung who always brings loads of personality to his roles. I loved his hilarious and rather adorable attempts to get Eun-Sol to fall in love with him, and finally his effort to work through his phobias so that he could support Eun-Sol as much as she had been supporting him.
Kim Jae-Joong plays Ji-Hun’s cousin Cha Moo-Won. Though Jae-Joong is a K-idol who hasn’t done many dramas, I found his acting very natural in this role. He easily fits in as the perfect rich boy who’s got everything together (well almost everything). His feelings for Eun-Sol were sweet, but his cold-hot relationship with his ex-girlfriend was my favorite.
|Frenemies? Na-Yoon, Ji-Hun, Eun-Sol, Moo-Won|
Which leads me to Seo Na-Yoon, both Moo-Won and Ji-Hun’s ex-girlfriend. And you know what the customary supporting-leading-lady who loves the lead male is like. Two words: girl monster! Except Na-Yoon might be a silly brat but she’s hilarious and over-emotional and compassionate underneath her entitled attitude. She actually has character growth in the show! She’s not here just to be hated and hate people. I found myself liking her more and more as the story progressed, which of course, blew my mind.
|What's a girl to do with two mega-rich boys who like her?|
Overall, I felt this was an excellent cast that came together quite well for a fun, eccentric romp that kept me laughing and smiling the whole way through. The ending doesn’t really deliver any new surprises and the last few episodes followed your more typical “angst” conflict. Still the angst was lightly handled and there wasn’t too much melodrama to make me angry. Not only did I love both the OTPs, but there was a lot of BROTPs that I enjoyed – especially the brother love-hate relationship between cousins Ji-Hun and Moo-Won. One of my favorite scenes is when Ji-Hun and Moo-Won start fighting each other – except both rich boys have never been in a real fight so instead of throwing punches they’re pulling each other’s hair and having a catfight. Hahahaha. I’ll just leave it with that.