The K-drama fever doesn’t seem to slow down in 2020. Despite the pandemic, filming and production of dramas continued in South Korea. Over the past months, we’ve fallen in love with high-rating dramas like Crash Landing on You, Itaewon Class, and chart-topper The World of the Married.
Among the list of promising dramas released this year is Hospital Playlist, the second installment of the Wise Life series, following Prison Playbook. It follows the story of five best friends who met in medical school in 1999. Fast forward to twenty years later, they end up working in the same hospital as professors in their specialties. And they’ve got one guilty pleasure: they’re part of a band.
It’s more than just a medical drama
When watching medical dramas, it’s easy to get intimidated and lost in the jargon. You would expect each episode to be jam-packed with doctors riding stretchers during emergencies, surgeries that suddenly go wrong, or unexpected deaths. Yes, you will get those moments in this show but it’s got the perfect blend of drama, comedy, and love interests that will make you look forward to the next episode.
Each of the doctors’ stories are fleshed out, as are the stories of the patients and other doctors they interact with. With each scene, you’ll feel the raw emotions of the characters: the urgency of the surgery, the relief when doctors explain to the patient and their family, the grief when life is lost. You’ll see that aside from battles fought in scrubs, doctors struggle with problems in their lives and within themselves too. What I love about this show is that it highlights the mundane; everyday lives of the medical staff and how they’re made special even in the smallest ways.
The chemistry between the lead roles is spot on
You might struggle in the few episodes because let’s be real: a drama with FIVE lead roles is a lot to take in. But trust me; you’ll fall in love with the characters as the story progresses. The star-studded cast did not disappoint with this one: the chemistry is off the charts.
The gang is led by veterans (and oppas) Jo Jung Suk (Don’t Dare to Dream), Yoo Yeon Seok (Reply 1994, Dr. Romantic), Jung Kyung-ho (Prison Playbook), Kim Dae-Myung (Misaeng), and rookie Jeon Mi-deo, who is the only female in the group. From being exceptional doctors and professors to best friends, the cast played their roles so well that you’d want to be a part of the gang. You’ll fall in love with how much they value their friendship. From the moment they fled their first-year orientation to end up meeting in a cramped small shed, you’ll know that’s the beginning of an inseparable bond. The side remarks, the jokes – it’s something you can’t get enough of. In between waiting for new episodes, I always found myself stalking their social media and watching behind the scenes – they’re just too adorable, especially U-Ju, Ik-Jun’s son.
The band practices
Even if they’ve never performed in front of an audience before, the doctors have been so consistent with their band practices since medical school. It’s their way of taking a break from being doctors and it is impressive how the cast sang and played the instruments themselves. Now that’s something difficult to pull off. You’ll appreciate the band practices because it’s one of those few minutes in each episode where it’s just pure glee. Honestly, these performances make them reaaaally attractive.
Producer Shin and Writer Lee. Period.
Hospital Playlist is written by Lee Woo-Jung and Directed by Shin Won-Ho who is behind the hit Reply series and Prison Playbook. That’s a very powerful combo right there. If you’re a fan of the series then it’s guaranteed you’ll fall in love with this show. I don’t know how the combo successfully captures raw emotions without exaggeration, situations that are too good to be true, and one lead role only. They’re known to create some of the best gangs out there. Hats off to Producer Shin and Writer Lee, you know how to make us fall in love and break our hearts. You do it so well.
The unexpected cameos from favorite K-Dramas
The fans of PD Shin and Writer Lee’s cinematic universe are wilding. We got unexpected cameos as early as Episode 1 with appearances from stars from Reply 1988. Deok Sun and Jung Hwan’s dads, Sung Dong Il and Kim Sung Kyun played the roles of Professor Ahn’s brothers who are priests, along with sisters who are nuns. How funny is it that Professor Ahn was the only sibling who didn’t answer the Lord’s call?
Sun Woo’s mom, Kim Sun Young, and Choi Taek’s dad, Choi Moo Sung also appeared in Episode 7. Sun Young even made a Reply 1988 reference, saying that her husband owns a shop in Ssangmun-dong with that classic goat sound effect.
I SCREAMED! Go Ara of Reply 1994 and Kim Seong-Choel of Prison Playbook are among the other stars who made an appearance in the show.
The hilarious scenes
“Ten thousand won… four cigarettes… lighter… one… jessica, the only daughter, illinois chicago, her senior is ahn jeongwon, the king of being stingy!”
— cloud (@itsdramacloud) May 7, 2020
Since it’s a medical drama, you would expect that it’s all about everything dramatic and serious. But coming from the creators of the Reply series and Prison Playbook that maintains irresistible humor, Hospital Playlist is full of unexpected gags. From Ik Jun performing surgery with a Darth Vader mask stuck on his head to him singing the classic Jessica-Illinois chant from Parasite, these slices of comedic scenes make gut-wrenching scenes feel lighter. Plus, we can’t forget that Song-hwa was tone-deaf and the group just compromised about her singing.
It values friendships
These days, it can be difficult to find friends that would last a lifetime. Like, the ones you’ll invite to your wedding. It’s just a series of meeting new people and saying goodbye after a project is finished or graduation. The friendship among the gang is very refreshing to see as let’s be honest, most popular dramas mainly revolve around two lead roles that always end up falling for each other. Of course, it’s great to feel kilig but Hospital Playlist successfully captured the hearts of its audience without a lot of that kilig factor. It’s certainly a refreshing K-drama; it values the simplicities of life and most especially long-lasting friendships. It’s just so cool to witness the bond the gang has built over the years and even when they’re already in their 40s, they still act youthfully.
There’s more to look forward to
What makes K-Dramas different from Western shows is most of the time; they only run for one season with sixteen episodes. There’s usually never a second season but Hospital Playlist is an exception. The show ended on a high note: it garnered a rating of 14.14% on its last episode, making it the 9th highest-rated drama on cable TV of all time.
With the twists and turns that the two-hour finale gave us (we can’t still get over it), it’s good to see that we will be seeing the gang once again next year. There’s more to look forward to and TBH, we hope to see ships finally sailing.
What are your favorite medical dramas? Share with us below!