After much anticipation, the new SBS drama “While You Were Sleeping” is finally here! As with every K-drama, there were some things we thought were absolutely great about this premiere… and some things that were not so great. Curious to see what we loved and what we didn’t love about the first two episodes? Read on!
Warning: spoilers ahead.
1. Loved: The endearing heroine
Nam Hong Joo (Suzy) is everything we wanted in a female lead. The drama itself pretty much says it all:
She’s quirky, she’s funny, she’s a little crazy… and she’s also super relatable.
She might be a bit delusional, too, but in all the most hilarious ways.
2. Hated: Nonsensical K-drama logic
It’s hard to find a K-drama that doesn’t fall prey to a few lapses in logic, often for the purpose of heightening dramatic effect, and “While You Were Sleeping” is no exception.
The most glaring example of this is at the climax of the first episode, when the three leads get in a car crash while just barely managing to avoid killing a pedestrian, and then decide to argue, cry, and hug it out… while continuing to stand in the middle of the street?! Shouldn’t they be worried about, you know, getting hit by cars themselves?
Where did all the other cars go?
Oh, duh, they appear after we’re done with the obligatory romantic moment.
To add insult to injury in this scene, while the two main characters head off to the hospital, the drama writers send the third lead, Lee Yoo Beom (Lee Sang Yeob), home alone in a taxi as if he hadn’t also been involved in the accident.
Is your neck okay, dude?
Although I guess this is forgivable, since it gave the main couple some much-needed alone time in their ambulance:
3. Loved: Jae Chan and his selfie obsession
As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love the good-natured Jung Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk) already, our male lead has a totally adorable obsession with taking selfies.
We can’t blame him for being over-excited about his new car and new job, but we can feel the second-hand embarrassment when his coworkers catch him posing in front of his office.
4. Hated: Jae Chan’s coworkers
Speaking of those coworkers, why are they so passive-aggressive? Sure, Jae Chan is a little immature, but no one bothers to tell him how things work around his new office; instead everyone just judges him behind his back. Shouldn’t they be excited to welcome the new employee instead of immediately turning against him?
Not even his fashion sense is safe from their criticism.
Their disparaging treatment of him is definitely entertaining, but it’s about time the boy gets some respect.
5. Loved: The cute back-and-forth between the leads
The drama keeps putting Jae Chan and Hong Joo in each other’s shoes, giving us pairs of scenes where they turn the tables on each other to hilarious effect.
Like when Hong Joo shuts down Jae Chan’s attempt at being a good neighbor:
Only for Jae Chan to do the same to her later:
Or the time when Jae Chan keeps scooting closer to Hong Joo at the bus stop…
but then he’s the one sliding away to keep his distance later on.
6. Hated: Missing out on the “surprise” twist
One thing the premiere didn’t handle particularly well was the sequence that flashed back to the death of Hong Joo’s father. I was wondering why the drama made it seem like the flashback was part of the present time and why people kept referring to young Hong Joo as “he”… before realizing that the drama thought it was fooling us and that we wouldn’t make the connection that this young person was Hong Joo. But I mean, this kind of gave it away:
What was supposed to be a big reveal that this kid was, in fact, Hong Joo, fell flat, despite the dramatic music and surprised characters.
Really, you don’t say?
7. Loved: The heartwarming mother-daughter relationship
Hong Joo’s relationship with her mother (Hwang Young Hee) gives us all sorts of feels. The two are often bickering cutely and poking fun at each other.
But they also have a really special bond that warms our hearts, and with Hong Joo’s strange powers and their often scary implications, she needs her mother’s support.
8. Hated: The cliché childhood connection
Just when I thought we had dodged this one, it came for us right at the end of Episode 2: the classic flashback to the two leads meeting as children.
Can K-drama characters not fall in love unless they had an emotional encounter when they were young? Why does this happen in so many dramas? I hope their childhood meeting has something to do with their shared dream powers, because that would at least bring a new light to this cliché.
9. Loved: The mind-bending plot
“While You Were Sleeping” leads us in and out of three different dimensions of time: flashbacks, Dream World, and the real world. And sometimes Dream World and the real world are the same — but sometimes they’re not. Add to this the fact that the characters can alter the future, and we have a deliciously unstable drama world in which it’s not always clear what’s real and what’s not, which means we have plenty of shocks and plot twists ahead.
What are the implications of messing with the future? Will Jae Chan and Hong Joo make things better or worse? How far should they go to save people from their fates? There’s a lot to wrap our minds around, and no character seems safe.
All in all, “While You Were Sleeping” made a strong premiere, and it looks like we’re in for a wild ride. So if you haven’t already, be sure to catch the first two episodes on Rakuten Viki!
Hey Soompiers, what were your favorite and least favorite parts of the “While You Were Sleeping” premiere? Let us know in the comments!
hgordon stays up way too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and trying to keep up with the latest K-pop releases.