“Hospital Playlist” PD Shin Won Ho Shares His Thoughts On Each Love Line, Potential For Season 3, And More
Producing director (PD) Shin Won Ho of “Hospital Playlist” recently participated in an interview to talk about wrapping up the show’s second season!
“Hospital Playlist,” which stars Jo Jung Suk, Jung Kyung Ho, Yoo Yeon Seok, Jeon Mi Do, and Kim Dae Myung as five doctors who first met in medical school and have been close friends ever since, tells the everyday stories of ordinary doctors and patients. The finale of “Hospital Playlist 2” aired on September 16 to the season’s highest ratings.
Regarding the love the series has received, Shin Won Ho shared, “I presume that viewers came in after finding one aspect [of the drama] charming—for example, the chemistry between the five friends, the music and the band, the patients, the warm stories of their guardians, the love lines, or the ensemble of the many actors—and then gave us so much love after finding a different aspect charming as well.”
He added, “If I have to pick just one, I think the chemistry between the five actors and the characters they created, as well as the little stories they told within Yulje Medical Center, earned us a lot of points.”
Through “Hospital Playlist,” Shin Won Ho was able to help normalize airing just one episode a week and having multiple seasons, both of which are uncommon for Korean dramas. He commented, “I began to think that I wouldn’t be able to do dramas that aired two episodes a week anymore. Now, I can’t even imagine how I pulled off my past projects with two episodes in one week. This is something that not just me, but all the staff and actors felt in our skin.”
The PD explained, “Since fatigue is inevitably reduced on set [by airing only one episode a week], that elbow room eventually returns as efficiency on set. I figure that that’s the greatest advantage to dramas with one weekly episode. Being able to give the actors a generous practice period for each episode’s difficult band song was also thanks to the freedom we got from airing one episode each week.”
Shin Won Ho also discussed the difficult reality of producing a third season, which he previously touched on before the second season began. He shared, “There are still a lot of stories left to tell about the patients and their guardians. Since the initial plan was to tell the stories of these doctors’ daily lives, there are still a lot of stories remaining. Just like how in our lives, today passes and then we have tomorrow’s story, and when tomorrow passes we’ll have stories from the day after, there’s no end to the daily lives of the ’99-ers’. However, since I’ve accumulated a lot of concerns and exhaustion from producing my first drama with more than one season, I don’t think it’ll be easy to make a decision on whether we’ll continue on with this story.”
Shin Won Ho spoke specifically about working with the five main actors again as he commented, “It was an interesting experience. It was like this at our first shoot, as well as the day they filmed their first scene with all five of them together, but despite the nearly 10-month hiatus after Season 1, it unbelievably felt like we were meeting again after having just filmed together yesterday. Honestly, at a first shoot, there are routines you have to go through. You need that process of tuning into one another, but we completely skipped over that aspect and filming just flowed like water, so that was a really fascinating experience.”
Lastly, the PD talked about each of the main characters’ love lines. Starting with Jo Jung Suk and Jeon Mi Do, Shin Won Ho commented, “With Ik Joon [Jo Jung Suk] and Song Hwa [Jeon Mi Do], depending on how you look at it, they were the color that we painted best. The story of longtime friends, their missed timing, their various criss-crossed situations, but the persistent yearning and earnest love that eventually develops is a color we’ve shown a lot since the ‘Reply’ series, but we thought that we had to go for a lighter color this time.”
He continued, “Since we couldn’t break their chemistry as friends but the love line still had to be a focus of Seasons 1 and 2, I think we paid the most attention to maintaining the right density. We tried to make it so that no boundaries were being crossed, but so that both the viewers and the characters could fall little by little. That’s why when we were filming, the key was to move a little more slowly, so we eliminated a lot of things that made us go, ‘That’s too much,’ ‘Your gaze is too strong,’ or ‘This feels too romantic.’ The reason we went for the potentially reckless long take during the final scene of Episode 11 was because we thought that the scene where friends of 20 years became a couple could not pass by quickly.”
Shin Won Ho elaborated, “The moment friends become lovers, there are definitely emotions that are difficult to overcome. I wanted to portray this aspect in a convincing way, so I hoped that a near two-minute-long take would help fill up that gap. In the process of these two going from friends to lovers, there had to be that long pause so that viewers would also feel that suffocating air and atmosphere and be convinced to think, ‘That’s right, I think it must feel like that.’ I think that this slow scene was the scene that best captured the key trait of the Ik Joon and Song Hwa couple.”
On Yoo Yeon Seok and Shin Hyun Been’s relationship, Shin Won Ho shared, “Regarding Jung Won [Yoo Yeon Seok] and Gyeo Ul [Shin Hyun Been], Jung Won’s desperate emotions and inner feelings of wanting to become a priest, as well as Gyeo Ul’s heartbreaking one-sided love, eventually concluded with a happy ending in Season 1.”
He added, “In Season 2, I focused on how much stronger this couple could become. Through the Gyeo Ul and Jung Won couple, I think I wanted to show a lot of how good they are for each other and how warm and beautiful they are when they lean on one another. Personally, I think that’s why the scene in Episode 12 where Gyeo Ul pats the worried Jung Won on the back has such a deep meaning.”
Shin Won Ho shared that while Gyeo Ul and Jung Won might have been the romantic focus of Season 1, Kim Dae Myung and Ahn Eun Jin as Seok Hyung and Min Ha were the focus of Season 2. The PD explained, “If you look at it a certain way, this is honestly a love line that has slowly developed since Season 1. The way Seok Hyung believes that he can only love once he has personally resolved his worries about his history is the largest framework for this love line.”
He continued, “Those aspects are well-developed in Season 1, and in Season 2, we tried to show the journey of him overcoming those feelings. It might feel heavy if you just look at that framework, but we hoped for the two of them to appear cute and lovely within that process. Although the big picture looked heavy, this is the couple we wanted to feel most like a modern romance. To be honest, this was both actors’ first time acting out a romance, and there were a lot of aspects that were completely different from other romance dramas, so we worried about how much viewers would like it. But we received so much love and attention, so both the actors and I felt thankful and amazed.”
Finally, Shin Won Ho touched on how Jung Kyung Ho and Kwak Sun Young’s romance was the complete opposite of Kim Dae Myung and Ahn Eun Jin’s. He shared, “Although the start and the middle parts of their relationship felt cute and lovely, the big picture had to be heavy. If Season 1 was a fun and exciting romance, Season 2 had the color of a traditional romance. I hoped that the realistic conflict in their relationship, the relatable worries arising from long-distance relationships, the confusion and misunderstandings that inevitably arise from career-related situations, breaking up, but their desperation to move forward despite all that, were portrayed well.”
“Despite not having a lot of scenes, Jung Kyung Ho and Kwak Sun Young acted so well,” he continued. “They portrayed [their characters] so well that I wondered how they made such short scenes so emotional. In Season 1, the two of them just standing together automatically created a romantic comedy, but in Season 2, it felt like the two of them being together automatically created a traditional romance drama. They were a couple that often made me think, ‘It’s a good thing they met.'”
Watch Jung Kyung Ho in “Endless Love” below!