Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Cho EK
Hospital Playlist takes a look into people’s daily lives in Yulje Hospital, focusing on the five busy bee doctors who had entered Seoul National University College of Medicine in 1999. While the first season focused on introducing the five members of the 99s, and the second season brings more events and relationships based on what was built in the previous season. The 99s haven’t changed a bit, and the drama has kept the style we all know and love. But in this new season, Hospital Playlist came back with expanded plots and deepened characters.
Hospital Playlist reveals the five main characters’ personalities and work-life through their interactions with others. Although this hasn’t changed in season 2, it was nice to see that the production has filled in the gaps and fleshed out the characters.
Among them, the fresh portrayal of Song Hwa stands out the most. In Season 1, as the love lines became more popular than expected, other parts of Song Hwa received relatively little attention. The first episode of season 2 perfectly paints out Chae Song Hwa as the best neurosurgeon in Yulje Hospital and a great professor who carefully takes a look at the thesis paper turned in by the young doctors. In particular, it was impressive to see her as a good mentor and role model for the young doctors in the scene where she has conversations with resident Heo Sun Bin, who walks on the same path as she does.
Hospital Playlist Season 2 embodies more stories of diverse people by expanding the scope to the people the 99s meet and interact with. There are touching and heartbreaking stories of patients and their guardians. And there are tragicomic events that they face at work, not to mention the growth stories that the interns and specialists tell.
After one year’s lapse of time, the two medical students, Yoon Bok and Hong Do, became interns in the 6th episode of Season 2. They briefly appeared last season, and now they are writing their own stories in their second year of residency. For instance, Jang Gyeo Wool, Choo Min Ha, and Do Jae Hak, who led the growth stories last season, became chief residents or full-time doctors. Those who have not yet matured and have a lot to learn seek advice and guidance from the 99s. And by looking at them, 99s recall what they were like back then and find what they’re missing out on the present. The story in the Hospital Playlist, where they grow by learning from each other, gives a heartwarming experience.
Director Shin Won Ho once said that this drama “candidly shows how the life flows.” Just like what he said, even if we’re watching the everyday lives of people in a hospital where the most dramatic events take place, the story gives us such great hope and support. 99s, who find joy and peace in having a meal and a cup of coffee with their friends after saving patients from critical conditions, create such feel-good moments. The same goes for the doctors who learn from mistakes and rejoice over small achievements and nurses who do their best to provide medical care and share joy and sorrow with the caregivers. The hospital itself is a small society and living organism where the members work together to save people. Thus, the hospital itself gives a warm excitement to the viewers.
Some criticize this drama being a “fantasy.” They say no doctor in the world is so dedicated and caring about patients. Doctors like 99’s may not be in real life, but there’s nothing crazy about them compared to the main characters in other dramas. They only do what doctors do: save people and help them recover. Hospital Playlist doesn’t criticize the reality without doctors like them or leave a clear commentary on it. It focuses on presenting the Yulje Hospital universe that gives warm impressions just by looking at it. Therefore, even for a short time during the week, I wish to fully enjoy the eventful stories within this utopia.
Just like how our lives flow, the 99s days go by in the drama. Maybe it is why I wonder what would happen next, knowing there will be no significant events. When will Gyeo Wool and Jeong Won get married? Will Seok Hyung accept Min Ha’s confession of love, the chance of which she has four more times? How would Jun Wan, who still misses Ik Sun despite the one-sided breakup, react when he sees her again? When will Ik Jun and Song Hwa escape the friend zone? And what kind of songs and stories will 99s give us? With all these questions in mind, I’m dying to see the next episode on Thursday.
Verdict: I’m glad to watch the heartwarming story that we all know of. (7/10)
Editor Seo Hae Lan: I’m not picky and like all genres. I am in constant search of a balance between criticism and a fan’s heart.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.