KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Country Calls (2010)

My Country Calls
국가가 부른다  / Secret Agent Miss Oh!
(May 2010 – June 2010)

who’s in it
Lee SooKyung (Loving You A Thousand Times)
Kim SangKyung (Lawyers)
Ryu Jin (Powerful Opponents, Really, Really Like You)
Horan (member if jazzy music group Clazziquai)
Hyun Woo (Pasta)

what’s it about
Lee SooKyung plays a chipmunk—though obviously not in the literal sense. She’s a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, cute but overly chirpy critter-like character of a person. Our heroine is a beat cop, you see, and she’s blessed/cursed with a friendly, wholesome round face and large brown eyes filled with the fever of sincerity and self-delusion. She’s hapless at her job and, frankly, a bit of a dirty cop, but in the most G-rated and harmless way possible. She regularly rubs people the wrong way but she thinks herself the pillar of professionalism. Her Achilles Heel is her mother, of course, as a nuisance parent is always the woe of every kdrama heroine and My Country Calls does not deviate from this common formula, including the fact that her financial troubles are also the direct result of said parent’s troublemaking. Like mother like daughter, we learn quickly that self-reflection isn’t a strong suit for either woman. Officer Oh HaNa is both earnestly caring but also annoyingly meddlesome and—sigh—frustratingly naïve.

When she unwittingly helps the bad guys and interferes with a National Intelligence Agency investigation (multiple times), she gets on the wrong end of Kim SangKyung’s interest, a gruff NIA agent who is all business all the time. Not to mention, one who is starting to think that she’s a mastermind crook masquerading as a cop.

Likely, these two will eventually bridge the wide gulf between their personalities to develop a mutual attraction while going after the crime organization the NIA is trying to bring down. Ryu Jin also features as a peripheral love interest, and gorgeous crooner Horan also takes part in the criminal fun in her acting debut.

16 episodes


wildcard factor
Your patience and a large heaping plate of faith...faithful patience, shall I say?

And in a bit of fangirlness, I need to mention Hyun Woo, who plays a young NIA agent here. He’s simply adorable, just as darling here as he was in the exceptional drama Pasta. He was an idol chef there, in this drama, he’s an idol agent.

first impressions
SLOW. And not that funny. The show didn’t know if it wanted to be a romantic comedy or an action thriller and therefore decided to aim for both, missing the target by a mile. The first few episodes felt like a car ride on a country road filled with pot holes, bumpy and distracting and aimless. As a passenger, I kept wondering, “What is the point of this drama? Am I even going to care about these two people when they get more involved in one another’s lives?” The answer in my head kept replying in the negative.

gave up
I’ll keep it simple and to the point: Lee SooKyung failed to impress or charm the pants off of me, which is desperately required these days with such stiff competition all around. This is a heavy-hitting year with some splashy attention-grabbing shows airing, such as Coffee House. I didn’t sense any depth or masterful comedic delivery from her and lacking that initial ability to grab, in my opinion, she failed to carry this mixed genre drama. Lee SooKyung was too silly and Kim SangKyung too serious. She was acting in a romantic comedy, he thought this was an Iris-like outing. To be honest, I was surprised this was the same actress from Soulmate, that’s how bored I was by her (as I really enjoyed Soulmate).

It’s a tough sell, this type of show that is a kind of “spy-thriller-comedy,” just ask A Man Called God. Though I suppose A Man Called God wasn’t a comedy thriller, so much as simply unintentionally hilarious. On the bright side, Country was nowhere near in the vicinity of A Man Called God horrible. I’d venture to say it would probably be a relatively enjoyable viewing for most, but sometimes the ho-hum dull ones are just as difficult to sit through than the downright bad. This didn’t do well in the ratings and harsh as this may sound to Country’s minority [but loyal] fanbase, tough competition wasn’t the only reason for its flat reception from the fickle viewership. The ratings accurately reflected its rather uninspiring pace and storytelling. The slow start in character development certainly didn’t help its cause any.

Since depressing reviews of relatively decent dramas leave me feeling guilty, because I know somewhere in all those hours there will be something to enjoy and a part of me always sorta wishes I had the time to go through every drama that airs, good or bad or middling (but I don’t), I’ll end this review on a jazzier note.

Horan was the second female lead and she’s fairly kickass, and you know what else is kickass? Her group Clazziquai and her friends from their record label Fluxus. Here they are doing an awesome collab cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” :


  1. lol... i didnt expect this post to come!! hope ur not too busy w/ ur summer...
    anyways, glad u included MCC even though you did not finish it!! actually, i finished this drama and thought it was hilarious... it took me the first 2 ep to decide whether or not i was going to watch the thing but i did in the end. it's not a masterpiece but i ended up having mindless fun and a lot of laughs because of it. haha, that's okay that we disagree from time to time. XD i also noticed that u didnt like PP so much... as ive told u b4, i loved it! but some pple didnt like it like u did and even wrote a whole post on y it didnt connect and that's cool w/ me too. it led to a hot debate on dramabeans in which i participated a bit too much. haha.
    and i LOVE Horan... i think her voice is gorgeous! and yeah, i really liked the video they did for MJ when he passed away.
    btw, i bet ur excited about TOP and Taeyang (ft. G-d) comebacks.
    for my part, im super hyped up about SJ's No Other. XD and sad about Kangin going to the army and Park Yong Hwa... TT
    i wrote too much again... looking forward to ur next post.

    1. I also liked this show a lot. Surely, the show did not drive me into hysterics deespite the slight comedic epic factor. Nor was there goosebumps, exceptional story or acting. The whole not feeling too invested and wonder if ever would with the main couple, was the same deal here too..

      True, never got invested in the end. The whole romantic storyline was getting tiring with the "first love" triangle. And though mr childish second lead was oodles of fun to watch, his many character-based gags added to the fun factor more than more romantic plots. All in all, the most enjoyable stuff was all in the fluff and character interactions.

      Though the drama was needlessly dramatic sometimes, in every episode, the comic relief was not simply comic relief. In every episode, characters were useful (though sometimes once and finally) for only what they always was and always had been. For that, I am glad.

      As well as being disappointed. The whole tone throughout made it perfect for 200 episode long series yet of course, when all we need to do is catch one guy and end one case, it would no doubt end at only 20 or so. Truly a shame. Though you might not have liked it, I could keep watching them play forever.

      The happy endings might've been a nit much though.Always never got why korean drama heroes should never feel the need to show their pitifully weak sides to their counterparts while the girls are always vomiting all over their future men. The couplings were all over everywhere and nearly everyone got a match. Character lineups were discarded at times just as they were being established as being stable and characters that appeared together from the start were always together in every scene onwards. Two parts of a whole caricature if one was to describe it.

      From a critical point of view, many shortcuts were taken for the "likeable" quality and-- whatever, it certainly wasn't perfect but i loved it from beginning to end. The little drama that was,

  2. oh, i forgot... i think i already asked u b4 (but too lazy to come back and check) but r u/will u watch Coffee House? or other series coming out? such as hong sisters gumiho?

  3. Hi! I'm definitely happy BB has been more active in Korea lately! I am watching Coffee House and eagerly/anxiously/nervously anticipating the Seunggi drama. I really hope it's good! Right now, I'm completely loving Baker King! As always, thanks for commenting! =)


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