‘Celebrity’ Review: Park Gyu Young Shines Bright Amidst a Lackluster Storyline

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

Credit: Netflix

You simply can’t stop once you start watching. It’s like eating junk food that’s strangely addictive. Netflix’s Celebrity invites us into the glamorous world of celebrities whose lives are hidden behind fancy packaging.

Thousands of people are swarming to catch Seo Ari’s (played by Park Gyu Young) live broadcast. It’s not uncommon for influencers with millions of followers to attract such attention, but this time the situation is a bit different. Ari was “officially” declared dead just a few months ago. Amidst the nationwide shock, she boldly declares her intention to reveal a mind-blowing truth. The question remains: is Ari truly alive, and what is this truth she’s about to drop?


The drama meticulously delves into the true faces of influencers, the so-called “emerging nobilities.” It not only showcases their flashy lives filled with “FLEX,” but also reveals the hidden dark side of them. That’s why the story is even more intriguing and appealing. Nowadays, it’s quite common to spot people like Ari who suddenly become famous and rake in thousands of dollars by chance. To be honest, haven’t we all at some point had that thought, “Should I quit my job and try something similar?”

However, as you keep watching the show, all those thoughts just vanish into thin air. The story unfolds in a world where everlasting friendships and eternal enemies are nowhere to be found. Instead, it plunges us headfirst into a ruthless realm filled with cutthroat competition, never-ending jealousy and vicious online hate hiding behind anonymous profiles. It’s like stepping into a living nightmare, a wild ride that’s not for those with a clear head on their shoulders. Adding to this are episodes that remind us of horrific real-life events, involving drugs, murder, and prostitution, although they might be slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect. But, amidst all the chaos, this show knows how to keep you glued to the screen with its high-octane pace, heart-pounding moments, gritty realism, and a message that’s uniquely its own. That’s the magic of Celebrity, at least until you hit the halfway mark.

From the point where the truth behind Seo Ah Ri’s death is unveiled, the drama begins to lose its momentum. The story becomes extremely unrealistic to the point where it’s hard to focus, and the multidimensional characters lose their charms and become very plain. The main character, Seo Ah Ri as well as the members of the “Gabin” society, all lose their versatility and turn into flat characters, making their conflicts dull and uninteresting.

What’s most disappointing is Kang Min Hyuk’s character, Han Jun Kyung. He’s got that whole cold-on-the-outside, sweet-on-the-inside thing going on, along with deep pockets that scream a classic K-drama chaebol character. You can almost imagine him dropping the line, “You’re the first person to treat me like this.” But here’s the thing: Jun Kyung just doesn’t click with the story, no matter how hard the actor tries. He’s got this strong, old-school K-drama aura lurking beneath his modern looks and stylish fashion choices, leaving viewers scratching their heads in every scene he shows up in. Because of him, Seo Ah Ri’s own charm is nowhere to be found, and what could have been a meticulously crafted revenge drama turns into a typical Cinderella story. Honestly, all the major male roles in this drama leave a lot to be desired, as Han Jun Kyung, as well as Jin Tae Jeon (played by Lee Dong Gun), aren’t exactly blowing anyone away.

Credit: Netflix

What kept viewers hooked on the show was none other than Park Gyu Young’s character, Seo Ah Ri. The actress knows how to embody delicate and diverse emotions as she goes from being an ordinary office worker to a top-notch influencer. Her “ordinary worker fashion” may be humble, but it’s oozing with her own sense of style. And when she rocks her glamorous “influencer fashion,” it’s like a picture-perfect moment. However, those scenes that break the fourth wall can be a tad awkward and cringy, but Park Gyu Young’s narration skills make us feel like we’re right there in the thick of it. You could say Celebrity is practically made of Park Gyu Young, for Park Gyu Young and by Park Gyu Young.

While the drama does offer an enjoyable watch, it’s a bit of a shame that it couldn’t sustain its initial momentum and compelling storytelling until the very end. The characters, although brought to life by talented actors, couldn’t quite escape their weak and outdated narratives. Plus, let’s not forget the provocative storylines that come with an “R” rating, which might or might not sit well with viewers. However, if I were to recommend this project to someone, I can confidently sum it up in just one sentence: “Hey, I don’t know about everything else, but Park Gyu Young is absolutely amazing.” (6/10)

>> ‘Celebrity’ Audience Reactions: ‘Highly Recommended’, ‘A K-Drama Take on Gossip Girl’

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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