First Impressions: “Heart to Heart”


We begin the first episode of “Heart to Heart” with a sneak peek into a future scene of our leading man, Ko Yi Suk (Chun Jung Myung), committing suicide. … Wait, what? For a romantic comedy, that was not the lighthearted introduction I had been expecting, especially after the cutesy opening credit and fun theme song, but I digress.

The remainder of the episode continues its slightly somber tone with a very light sprinkle of the type of humor that makes you crack a smile rather than burst out into loud peals of laughter. The second episode remains rather consistent, but the pace is marginally slower in comparison to the first; however, it never felt like it dragged.

Due to the various appeals of “Heart to Heart,” rughydrangea and I teamed up again to bring you two versions of our initial thoughts regarding this highly anticipated drama, but before we reveal our first impressions, let’s focus on some plot points and background information worth mentioning within the first two episodes.

1. Ko Yi Suk is a walking contradiction.


Our leading man is quite the complex character, which is never a bad thing, but with a temper that reminds me of a male lead I never warmed up to, Goo Jun Pyo from “Boys Over Flowers.” In the first episode alone, we see him persuading a young woman not to commit suicide, talking about the small beauties in life, and eventually succeeding in bringing her safely down from the ledge she was standing upon… only for him to throw all those notions out the window by attempting suicide himself when things become difficult.

We also witness Ko Yi Suk’s coldness towards his father for not remaining faithful to his mother, but at the same time, he offers nothing but the physical aspect of himself to his girlfriend, which is essentially the equivalent of the pot calling the kettle black.

2. Cha Hong Do’s public outburst.


Because of Ko Yi Suk and his insufferable ability to rouse the temper of even the calmest person, Cha Hong Do (Choi Kang Hee), likely for the very first time in her life, drew attention to herself by being incredibly vocal with her complaint. Without even noticing the scene she was causing and with only the slightest tinge of pink to her cheeks, she really let him have it, calling him a psycho, a quack, and a “player doctor,” which, by the way, only the quack description was vehemently denied by Ko Yi Suk.

But as for vocal outbursts in general, that was the second time Ko Yi Suk had set her off. The first time was actually at the police station when he had trapped her inside the interrogation room and Cha Hong Do fairly yelled out her witness statement in self defense. It seems like Cha Hong Do definitely has more of a bold streak when it comes to Ko Yi Suk and his unreasonable attitude and inability to actually listen. In the words of Ko Yi Suk, “Wow, your mouth just exploded!” HA!

3. The mystery connection between Ko Yi Suk and Cha Hong Do.


In a plot twist reminiscent of “The Master’s Sun,” there’s a mystery, seemingly on the medical aspect, involving Ko Yi Suk. It’s one that’s definitely spurred my curiosity and I hope there’s a reasonable and realistic explanation for it when the details are finally revealed, but when Ko Yi Suk is around certain people, he blanks out for a period of time and can never recall what has happened during those moments. He gets a nervous tick in his leg, causing him to constantly tap his feet against the floor in an almost obsessive manner. His ears begin ringing. His vision becomes blurry and his body temperature rises.

Strangely enough; however, when he’s around Cha Hong Do, she becomes a shield for him, preventing those episodes from occurring.

4. Jang Doo Soo gives Cha Hong Do courage.


For seven long years, Cha Hong Doo watched Detective Jang Doo Soo (Lee Jae Yoon) from afar, only dropping off her home cooked side dishes at his house as a way of making her presence known. Because of a simple lunch invitation in which Cha Hong Do decides to seize the rare opportunity to meet him face-to-face, she becomes courageous enough to step into the world sans safety helmet. She dresses up, cutely plans ahead on how to handle the situation, and goes about her merry way to meet him, but, of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Despite all the difficulties that came her way and the gripping heart-lodged-in-her-throat kind of fear she experienced, she still made it to her destination. It’s actually meeting Jang Doo Soo that proved the most difficult since she lost her nerve at the last moment, but then… I would have rethought meeting with him too if I showed up with bloodied knees, hair flying about in all sorts of direction, and already frazzled nerves. Still, Cha Hong Do definitely took a step in the right direction by taking the initiative in preventing her anthrophobia, the fear of people, from ruling her life.

5. Cha Hong Do disguises as elderly woman, Oh Young Rae.


In order to financially support herself, Cha Hong Do disguises herself as an elderly woman named Oh Young Rae. In fact, she’s made quite a name and reputation for herself as a hardworking and skilled housemaid, but that isn’t why this fact is important to mention. Neither is the proof that Cha Hong Do possess the make-up skills of a professional.

This piece of information is relevant because, somehow, Cha Hong Do is completely capable of facing other people and speaking with them while under her disguise. She can call others on the phone, cook for them, meet them face-to-face, and even gently argue her case, all with a false country dialect. It makes you wonder about anthrophobia and why she can behave one way while pretending to be someone she’s not and another way when she’s simply being herself.

My First Impression:

A tvN romantic comedy, the PD of “Coffee Prince,” one of my favorite dramas ever, a cute blushing female lead, and Chun Jung Myung. What’s not to love?! At least, that was my original thought because, to be honest, I’m not familiar with any of the other cast members. Chun Jung Myung was really the deciding factor on why I watched “Heart to Heart,” and the PD link between this drama and “Coffee Prince” was just a nice bonus. To my surprise; however, it wasn’t Chun Jung Myung who held my attention in these two episodes – not because he was lacking in any way, but simply because Choi Kang Hee’s performance, as both Cha Hong Do and Oh Young Rae, truly captivated me.

I adore Cha Hong Do to bits and pieces and love how lively and expressive she is when alone. I’m also thoroughly impressed by her portrayal of Oh Young Rae, but I’m most eager to see how she tackles her phobia and develops as a woman who can share her opinionated thoughts both in public and in solitude. Ko Yi Suk, on the other hand, is a character I currently detest because I, quite frankly, have not seen a single aspect of him that I can like. He’s foul tempered and mean, reckless and even somewhat violent. It’s apparent that he really doesn’t care for his patients and he doesn’t have much going for him other than a career that he doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy, but brings him a good amount of fame.

I also have to wonder if it’s too early to develop Second Lead Syndrome, but that’s exactly what I’m experiencing with Lee Jae Yoon’s portrayal of Detective Jang Doo Soo, who is gentle and kind towards Cha Hong Do, but tough while at work. Lastly, I honestly have not seen enough of Ahn So Hee‘s character, Ko Se Ro, to form an opinion yet.

Characters aside, I like and appreciate the more serious approach to a romantic comedy than lighthearted plot and humor, even if it was unexpected. I believe this drama has potential and I’m definitely up for catching next week’s episodes, but I’m not entirely sold on “Heart to Heart” just yet. Ko Yi Suk, as our hero, would have to undergo an entire personality change, maybe by healing all of his own psychological wounds, especially if he’s supposed to be the male half of our OTP or I will be one displeased viewer. I do applaud Chun Jung Myung for taking on this particular role though and he’s doing fabulously, but truly, it is Choi Kang Hee who became the surprising highlight of “Heart to Heart” and the biggest reason why I’ll continue to tune into this drama next week, which will, hopefully, hook me in until the end.

rughydrangea’s First Impression:

Based on the description of “Heart to Heart,” I thought it would be a relatively upbeat, light-hearted drama. A woman who tries to hide her uncontrollable blushing by dressing up like a grandmother meets an obnoxious psychiatrist and together they start to heal. Sounds fun, right—especially coming from the PD of the light, breezy “Coffee Prince”! To be fair, there certainly were moments of fun in the first two episodes of “Heart to Heart,” but the overall tone is much more oppressive—hopelessness, fear, and compulsivity were far more prominent than fun.

To be clear, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I really liked these episodes, dark as they were at times. I especially love the heroine of “Heart to Heart,” Cha Hong Do, who manages to be bright and clever in the face of her crippling social phobias. Her character just feels so real—I loved how truly animated she is when she’s by herself. It’s clear that this is a woman with many thoughts and opinions to express; she just collapses in fear when she encounters people. Her character is this wonderful mix of anxiety, wit, and the hope that next time, she’ll do better, all brought wonderfully to life by Choi Kang Hee. On the basis of this character alone, I’m excited to see more episodes.

The male lead, Ko Yi Suk, is a different story. Chaebol heroes with an allergy to politeness are nothing new to dramaland, but Yi Suk is impressively flawed even by those standards. In the first episode alone, he gets drunk while treating patients, sleeps with a woman he clearly doesn’t care about (who is just as clearly unhappy with their arrangement), and drinks and drives. The first episode also starts out with his attempted suicide, which makes it abundantly clear that this is a character with a lot of darkness inside. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about Yi Suk yet, but I do think that Chun Jung Myung is doing interesting work, and I’m eager to find out more about his complicated family and just what circumstances drove him to become such a disaster of a human being.

In spite of the heaviness of some of its subjects, “Heart to Heart” is not at all difficult to watch. The pace and tone are well-controlled, so that these two episodes flow perfectly. Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing more of these characters and finding out more about the world they inhabit.

What did you think about the first two episodes of “Heart to Heart?” Which scene was your favorite so far? Let us know in the comments below!

For all “Heart to Heart” recaps, please click here.