The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mr. Baek

Title: 미스터 백 / Miseuteo Baek
Genre: Romance, comedy, fantasy
Episodes: 16
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: Nov to Dec, 2014


Main Cast

Shin Ha Kyoon as Choi Go Bong / Choi Shin Hyung Jang Na Ra as Eun Ha Soo Lee Joon as Choi Dae Han Park Ye Jin as Hong Ji Yoon


A conglomerate CEO in his 70s, who has known nothing but money all his life, one day suddenly turns into a young man in his 30s and after 70 years of his life, he discovers love. (DramaFever) Mr. Baek is a successful hotelier who's more interested in hoarding his money than in enjoying his golden years. But in a strange turn of events, this classic scrooge gets a second chance at life when he wakes up as a younger version of himself. With no way to prove his identity, Mr. Baek must enter his own company as a rookie and is forced to work his way up once again. With precious little time, Mr. Baek is given the opportunity to take stock of his life — and to give love a chance. (DramaWiki) An old man is given the power to age backwards, but every time he falls in love he ages forward. (DramaFever)

Judging from the above variations on the same theme, you would guess this drama is all about Mr. Baek -- old and young versions, and you wouldn't be entirely misled -- but you still are if you believe what you just read above ;-)

So, if you haven't watched this one yet, let me explain without spoiling the plot.

It IS about a wealthy hotelier in his early 70s who is as curmudgeonly, cantankerous, and stodgy as the stereotypical old man comes.

He's leaving an award ceremony and being chauffeured back home during a meteor shower when the ground opens up and his car falls inside what the subbers continue to refer to as a sink hole.

He's grasping at life AND one of the pills a doctor recently prescribed, but he mistakes a glowing blue meteor shard and swallows that instead.

This is how he reverts back to age 34 -- Korean male prime as I'm always being led to believe.

Naturally, with a premise like this one, inconsistencies, continuity issues, and just plain stupidity are bound to crop up.

 I wanted to like this one. I really did.

And for the first few episodes, I was actually riveted to the screen.

It was quite fascinating to watch this seemingly interesting concept unfold, and I was curious to know where it would all lead, too. But then the dumb stuff took center stage and I quickly lost that fascination and interest. I did, however, enjoy the theme song.

Very pretty.

First Issue

The love story.

Prior to his reverting in age, he is dumped off at one of his hotels that isn't doing so well profit-wise, and he ends up losing his glasses.

The girl -- Jang Na Ra as Eun Ha Soo -- is working with the elderly there (later we learn that it is a retirement 'hotel') when she happens upon this old man on the ground fumbling around for his specs.

She tries to help him and he pushes her away, snaps at her, and basically behaves in a way that would make any normal, sane person flip him off and walk away to let him fend for himself regardless of his age or circumstances.

But, we must remember that this is a Korean drama and therefore the perfect girl is the perfect lady who will gladly forget herself for any and all men.

She finds him a new pair of clothing, washes his hands, and mends his glasses for him.

She is also involved in the sink-hole incident because his young, handsome son has ordered her to deliver a necklace to the mansion wa-ay after office hours, and she does so without question because she doesn't want to get fired and because he's a guy and she's not.

The son is crushing on Ha soo, which translates to his treating her like shit all the time, walking all over her, making a lot of unnecessary and unreasonable demands . . . you know the drill.

She falls for his young-version father instead, though. And, this, friends, is where everything went wrong for me. He knew the whole time that it wasn't going to last, and yet . . .

Second Issue

Theme time.

The writers juxtaposed these two with Beauty and the Beast.

Can you believe it?

I can't.

I don't get these types of dramas, I don't like them, and I resent being subjected to their trite, make-believe nature when they're using supposedly real-life characters to depict said fairy tale characters.

The Acting

It was good.

A bit over-the-top on his part, but I got to know him better and like what I saw.

I adore her and probably always will. She's cute, pretty, I love her hair, and her eyes.

The voice I can do without, but that is neither here nor there.

My Take

When, I wonder, are we going to start seeing more reality-based drama filled with realistic content?

When, I wonder, will we begin to stray from this formulaic story line of one poor waif versus two hot, rich hunks?

When are they going to stop following a stale, old formula (the same way I ask when are writers going to stop doing the same thing) and start coming up with more original work?

If we've seen one drama that depicts a helpless virgin with two sexy, rich guys vying for her love & affection, we've seen them all.

All 8,603,749 of them.

And, when, for crying out loud, will we get to see nail-biter, cliff-hanger, OMG stuff again?

I get this feeling that if twelve of us Korean drama junkies got together to watch a new release, that we'd be able to foreshadow, accurately guess at, and even recite verbatim the lines prior to their being spoken.

It's just no fun anymore, watching these shows when they are all the same.


How is it humanly possible for family members to NOT be able to recognize one of their own?

Even his own son didn't recognize him as a younger man?

Am I to believe that there are zero pictures and zero family albums in the Korean household?

I mean, even the faithful chauffeur, who spent a majority of the first few episodes pointing out the fact that he'd been with this old man forEVER, and yet he wasn't able to recognize the man's younger version?


Oh, and if a DNA test comes back 100%, common sense would raise at least one red flag, wouldn't it?

The Quatrantids occur in early January. The Perseids arrive in mid August. The Geminids usually show up in mid December. So, to ask this man to go back to the scene of the accident on Christmas Day, wait for the meteorites to arrive, and then take care of business is asking an awful lot.

He'd freeze to death waiting for nothing to happen, wouldn't he?

It is also a known/proven fact that any city in any area of the world will lessen the chances of visibility.

You just don't see meteorites flashing by the night sky any more than you can accurately pick out all but two or three visible constellations, if that.

Lastly, he swallowed a meteorite shard.

Which would mean it entered his stomach, which would mean it'll eventually pass when he takes a shit.

So, the writers devised an extremely unlikely get-around-that-fact to annoy me.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in fairy tale dream stuff and a stale concept.

I will always hate this stupid ~pop-eye~ kiss scene



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