‘Doctor Slump’ Review: A Comforting Rom-Com That Warms the Heart

doctor slump review

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

doctor slump review
Credit: JTBC

The beloved faces of The Heirs have reunited after 11 years. Park Shin Hye, who is returning to dramas after 3 years, and Park Hyung Sik, who has been consistently active in dramas, have teamed up for the romantic comedy Doctor Slump. The drama is written by Baek Sun Woo, who wrote the popular dramas My Roommate Is a Gumiho and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, and directed by Oh Hyun Jong, who directed the dramas Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo and About Find Me in Your Memory.

Nam Ha Neul (Park Shin-hye) loves to study so much that she spends all her free time studying. She is a top student, ranking first in her entire school and even among the top students in the country. In order to attend college, Ha Neul moves from Busan to Seoul, where she meets Yeo Jeong Woo (Park Hyung-sik). Jeong Woo is a gifted student who excels in both academics and sports, and he easily maintains his rank as first place in his school. However, Ha Neul’s arrival challenges his position for the first time, and he begins to see her as a rival. The two of them compete with each other every day, both aiming to get into medical school. However, they eventually take different paths. Jeong Woo becomes a successful plastic surgeon, while Ha Neul becomes an anesthesiologist at a large hospital. However, Ha Neul’s busy schedule and lack of rest eventually lead to burnout, and she is left with no choice but to quit her job. Jeong Woo, on the other hand, loses everything in an instant when a patient dies during surgery due to a mysterious medical accident. As the two doctors go through the worst slumps of their lives, Jeong Woo moves into the attic of Ha Neul’s house, and they reunite after 14 years.

The drama has been steadily recording rising viewership ratings, and it has also entered the rankings in various countries on Netflix, including Korea. One of the key points that attracts viewers’ attention is the romance between Ha Neul and Jeong Woo. Ha Neul lives fiercely every day, bearing the expectations of her family on her own as her family’s finances are in trouble and her father has fallen ill. Jeong Woo, on the other hand, grew up in a wealthy doctor’s family, but he was largely neglected. Although the two grew up in very different environments, they also have many similarities. As they go through their slumps, they realize that what they truly need are warm words of comfort from someone who believes in them, empathizes with them and supports their choices. Through this, they learn about each other’s shortcomings and approach each other, filling in the gaps that no one else has filled.

>> Park Shin Hye Opens Up About Her Return in ‘Doctor Slump’ After Marriage and Motherhood

doctor slump review
Credit: JTBC

The actors’ performances add depth to Ha Neul and Jeong Woo’s developing relationship. Park Hyung Sik seamlessly shifts from goofy, playful moments to scenes of quiet vulnerability. Park Shin Hye convincingly portrays the weariness brought on by her character’s difficult circumstances. Together, they create a youthful, comfortable energy as if they have returned to their school days, and this smoothly transitions into a warm, affectionate atmosphere that charmingly captures the romantic chemistry between the two characters.

The drama’s storytelling is another captivating element. It avoids predictable, fast-paced solutions where frustrating situations are thrown together only to be dramatically resolved all at once. Instead, the story unfolds with moments of micro-catharsis, like Ha Neul kicking the exploitative professor and quitting her job, or Jeong Woo subtly putting his condescending aunt in her place. However, the drama doesn’t shy away from showing that these are temporary fixes. It delves deeper, slowly unraveling the real problems woven into their daily lives. This measured pace, neither rushed nor dragging, is truly impressive.

With ten episodes under its belt, the drama has delivered a pivotal moment for Ha Neul and Jung Woo. After a brief separation, they’ve confirmed their feelings with a heartfelt kiss. However, both face internal struggles. Ha Neul worries about being a burden to Jung Woo and chooses to bear her pain alone, while Jung Woo hesitates to confront his PTSD symptoms, fearing he won’t be reliable for Ha Neul. As the remaining six episodes unfold, anticipation builds for their journey ahead. Even if all their problems aren’t perfectly tied up in a bow, we can’t help but root for their happiness. (7/10)


Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.

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