K-Drama Review: Why ‘If You Wish Upon on Me’ Shouldn’t Be Judged By Its Low Viewership Ratings

If You Wish Upon Me review

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

If You Wish Upon Me review
Credit: KBS

“A story about those who fulfill the last wishes of hospice patients.” The description tells us a lot about what this series is about. However, KBS’If You Wish Upon on Me is struggling to grab viewers’ attention, unlike other feel-good TV shows that recently aired. It’s a shame that the series is ending without getting much attention despite being a decent, quality drama.

The first encounter between ex-offender Yoon Gyeo Rae (played byJi Chang Wook) and Kang Tae Shik (Sung Dong Il) wasn’t the most ideal way to meet someone. While Gyeo Rae was on the run from a group of gangsters for owing them money, his car almost crashed into Tae Shik’s ambulance, resulting in his injury. Due to the incident, Gyeo Rae had to take the wheel and head to the East coast, and on his way, he learned about Tae Shik’s ‘Team Genie,’ a group of people working to fulfill the last wishes of terminally ill cancer patients. Although it was out of his interest, Gyeo Rae eventually joins the team as the court orders him to do community service at the facility.

Gyeo Rae’s life is filled with unpleasant childhood memories as he grew up under an abusive father and spent most of his time in the reformatory or prison. He once tried to end his life with his own hands, and perhaps all of that made it more difficult for him to get used to his teammates’ kind words and support. However, he begins to see open his heart to his mates and see a silver lining in his life as she spends more time in the facility. Will he be able to find happiness in his life?

The drama depicts the heart-warming moments of ordinary people sending off the dying ones and the touching moment they experience as they grow and navigate their world. It gives us a lot to think about as it walks us through the dark past of Gyeo Rae and Ha Joon Kyung (Won Jian), the untold past of Tae Shik, the romance between Gyeo Rae and Seo Yeon Joo (Choi Soo Young) and his relationship with other teammates. Although some events are predictable, it doesn’t distract us too much from tuning into the show.

If You Wish Upon Me review
Credit: KBS

Team Genie is devoted to their patients in the drama. They spray fake snow in hot midsummer and invite a famous musical actor to plan a special performance. Plus, they even rent the house where a patient lived before checking himself into the facility, so he can face death in the most peaceful and familiar environment. Despite their good intentions, the drama sheds light on some of the serious problems that can arise. The conflict between doctor Yang Chi Hoon (Shin Joo Hwan) and Team Genie shows that doing CPR against a patient’s will and halting treatment without a patient’s family’s consent is wrong. It is where the drama properly balances the ideal we dream of and the reality we live in.

The actors’ excellent portrayal of their characters is also noteworthy. Ji Chang Wook has played various roles over the years, and this time he wowed us with a stunning portrayal of Gyeo Rae, the rogue man who wants to find peace and happiness in his life. Sung Dong Il and Choi Soo Young also did a fantastic job of playing Kang Tae Shik and Seo Yeon Joo and added fun and energy to the story.

However, the subject of ‘death’ may make viewers reluctant to watch the series. Not all viewers would be up for watching a series about death despite its effort to portray the matter in a light-hearted way. On top of that, the excessive tear-jerking scenes and the slow-paced story would be one reason it’s doing so poorly on TV.

The drama made it through the eighth episode with rather disappointing viewership ratings, but there could be chances of a rebound. More intriguing episodes are about to be unraveled to enlighten us on how Jun Kyung and Gyeo Rae met, and to reveal who is the mysterious patient in room 403. (6/10)

 

Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.

 

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