Emergency Couple Korean Drama Review

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Warning: This review is pretty spoiler-y. We can't keep our mouths shut. You've been warned!

Vivi: I’m really glad that Coco and I both watched Emergency Couple because I was waaaaay more invested in it than I had any right to be, and I needed someone to text about it in the middle of the night.

Coco: And I needed someone to talk to about how cute baby Gook was! Seriously, was he not the CUTEST baby in the world?

Vivi: YES. But I thought you were going to say you needed to text someone about how cute Chief Gook was. Because that happened too.


Coco: I’m pretty sure that was YOU. Although I do agree that he was very cute, it was you who did most of the second male lead pining.

This happened every week. Multiple times a week.

Vivi: Yeah, I did. I don’t understand how you were able to watch it without rooting for the second male lead. Are you even human? 

I’m serious. Are you a robot?

Coco: A Choi Jin Hyuk-loving robot!!! I admit that I was on on the first male lead’s side the whole time. That largely had to do with the behind the scenes footage I saw of him laughing and joking with Ji Hyo. They were so freakin adorable together (as cute as the Monday Couple comprised of Ji Hyo and Kang Gary on Running Man, I dare say!) So I was patiently waiting for his character to grow up and act like a man and for her character to finally settle into her confident self.



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Vivi: And my love of Chief Gook was mostly tied to his scruff and the fact that he was socially awkward and emotionally constipated. In other words, if I had a Kdrama patronus, it would be him. You’re right about the character growth, though. A lot of people complained about the leads at first, but I appreciated that they had plenty of time for gradual growth.

Coco: Yes, I was pleased with the growth of these characters. It felt natural, and they all became legitimately awesome people.

Vivi: Yeah, everything felt pretty natural, except for the last few episodes. Song Ji Hyo suddenly baking fortune cookies from scratch and throwing herself at the man made me throw up in my mouth. (And if you run up multiple flights of stairs, of course your heart will be beating hard. You're a doctor! Pull it together!) Also, “I hate divorced people?” It’s like they suddenly realized they only had three episodes left and finally noticed that all sane people loved the second lead.

You know what else was a well-developed character? This cat poster. Behold its glory.
Coco: My complaint at the beginning of the drama was that the female lead was too passive and incompetent for me to love her, but she quickly proved herself and developed the self confidence that had been drained out of her after her terrible divorce. The male lead also gradually stood up for her and came to respect and admire her for real reasons, unlike many other Kdrama characters where I continually ask myself, “Why does he/she like him/her?” (Kim Tan and Eun Sang in Heirs, I’m talking to you).

Vivi:
Completely agreed about the respect. I was thrilled that she didn’t stand for it when he tried to force himself onto her, and they included a few episodes where he had to learn to take the relationship on her terms. Unlike you, I liked her from the beginning. She wasn’t really incompetent. From the very beginning, she would do things right, but no one else took her seriously. I think the fact that the character was played by Song Ji Hyo also helped. She as a person doesn’t really strike me as a wilting flower, so I was willing to wait for plot development. I don’t watch Running Man, but I might start.

Coco: Running Man is the best btw. But yes, I love that he had to figure out how to have a mature relationship, and it was too bad that she went over the top in trying to convince him that she truly loved him back at the end. It is sad that they kind of threw the “I hate divorced people” at the Chief as a device to make him less of a good match, but I did really like him with Ji Hye. I just loved her from the beginning with her cool and collected demeanor. I was happy that they alluded to them ending up together, although I wish they would have done more with it than the awkward airport scene. I mean, if I were her I’d be like, “That’s it? A ‘come back sometime’ is the best you can muster during a dramatic airport scene?”


Vivi: I actually kind of loved that. It was so fitting to his entire personality. If the writers had done more with that relationship earlier, I might have expected more, but if he had run to the airport and suddenly started making out with her, it would have been weird. Like sexytimes CPR weird. Or clown music during a hostage scene weird.



Coco: Sexytimes CPR was one of the most awkward scenes of any Kdrama ever. Especially since it fell on a commercial break so it immediately repeated and made it twice as long. Eww.

Vivi: Seriously. It was like I couldn’t stand to watch it, but I couldn’t look away, either. MAKE IT STOP! Speaking of that scene, this show wins for most fakeouts ever. I’m not happy about it, show! If you show someone moving in for a kiss, you’d better mean it!

Coco:
But wouldn’t it have been sadder if he actually did kiss her and then she rejected him? At least their relationship didn’t progress that far. But why did she go visit him at his cabin? That was kind of a mean trick when she already knew she wasn’t done with her ex-husband.

Vivi: That was a big complaint for me. It was like the show wanted to pretend that he never even confessed his feelings. Every time I thought they might let the relationship go, they just kept adding in something heartbreaking like that stupid cabin and stabbing me in the heart. And hello, letting him see them making out at the bus stop???? I hate them.


Coco: Ok, can we talk about the side characters for a minute? I totally love her sister and brother -in-law. Yes, she was a total pain in the butt at first, but the way they kept intervening with their relationship was really funny. And they spawned the cutest, funniest creation on God’s green earth, Gook.

Vivi: I wasn’t crazy about any of the parents, but I did enjoy the sister and her bumbling husband (Except for her terrible advice at the end. "Your body knew you were in love"? Nope. Your body was drunk.), and the other people in the hospital were fine. I mean, I can’t say that I was hanging on to every word Ah Reum said, but it was okay.

Coco: Yeah, I didn’t know what to do with Ah Reum. I hated her smug face so much at the beginning that even though she turned into a good person surprisingly quickly, I could never sincerely wish for her happiness. I’m glad that Yong Gyu ended up getting the girl because he was sooo adorable and sweet, but they’re kind of an odd match.

Vivi: They are a perfect match because Ah Reum’s only job was to look hot and smile, and Yong Gyu just wanted a hot girlfriend. Boom. Match made in heaven.



Coco: That’s true. Plus, she really did show that she was a good person many times over. What about the newly married couple and the pregnancy plotline? Something that did strike me over and over again in this drama was the theme of female empowerment. It was fantastic to see so many strong women in typically male positions in this drama.

Vivi: Absolutely. That storyline felt a little underdeveloped and thrown together, but between that, the double standard for divorce, and Ji Hye as a single working mother, it was a show that largely revolved around the problems women face. And at the end of the day, none of the women had ideal lives, and none of them were pushovers.

Coco: It’s so nice to see a Kdrama, or a show in general, that addresses those issues realistically and doesn’t primarily focus on the issues surrounding modern women and sex and romance like in I Need Romance and Sex and the City. Yes, sex and romance are struggles for modern women, but there’s much more than that in their struggle for equality.

Vivi: I Need Romance 3 also had an unwed pregnancy plotline, which was probably the most interesting part of the whole show (which I still need to review someday). I do like to see the emergence of more nuanced shows, though. Wait, did I just call Emergency Couple nuanced? Scratch that. There were definitely rough patches, too. Some of the tone was bizarre. Some of the plot elements jumped forward at the end. The mother drove me insane. But even with the stuff I didn’t like, I was waiting for each new episode, which is something that hasn’t happened in a while.

Coco: True, is had its struggles, and sometimes it seemed a little slow (mostly because I don’t love medical dramas so I would rather fast forward through those scenes), but I was also waiting for new episodes and sometimes got way too excited and then sad when I realized it was actually Thursday and not Friday like I thought. Overall, I highly recommend this drama for its talented and fun cast and their great chemistry, not only as couples but as an overall ensemble as well.

What did you guys think of this show? Did you stick with it past the rough start? Comment below!

Where to watch Emergency Couple


Comments

  1. There were a few things. I never had Second Male Lead Syndrome. Sometimes I do, but I just wanted Chang min to win from the start. Maybe because I like the actor's skills or maybe because I like the idea that love can come back.

    I was a tad upset how quickly they put the two leads back together and I agree with the point of the fortune cookies. It didn't seem like her. Maybe she did that because of how much she rejected him? She had to show him she cared? But it felt a little forced. Also the baby was SUPER CUTE. Oh my gosh I loved Gook. And I am a fan of the sister because of her performance in The Heirs and School 2013.

    All in all I kept waiting for Monday night to come along. And tonight after work I finally got to see the end. I normally don't watch Drama's unless they are complete. I started with the Heirs. And now I did this one. I think all together it was worth the wait. The cast was great and the acting was superb. It was a good mix of medical and humor, and romance. Plus you had the mother from hell, the misunderstandings and WHY DID SHE DRAG THE CHIEF ON FOR SO LONG?!

    That is all I have to say this evening.

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  2. I think you're right that they were trying to show that she cared, and you're also right that it came off as forced. I kind of got the sense that they ran out of time to show a gradual development of her feelings. Poor time management, I guess?

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  3. I was always on the first lead ship, except right at the beginning when Changmin was a total douche. But as soon as he started acting like a decent human being, I loved him. Choi Jin Hyuk has the most adorable grin! Before the show started, I wasn't quite sure about how it would go (i'm really not a fan of medical dramas) but I was pleasantly surprised. I was waiting for the episodes each week! Sometimes I would be thinking "seriously Jin Hee, why are you just standing there screaming while your patient attempts to slit his wrists?" but if you ignore the plain old stupid bits (lol), it was good.

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  4. I've just finished the drama and I must say, I agree with most of your review about it. I love the two actors. Both of them showed the traits that I'd fall for if I were Jin Hee. Kkkkk. I love the character of Ji hye (is the name right?) And most especially Song Ji Hyo. Finally, I got to see her outside RunningMan. :) This is really a must-see drama.

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  5. I totally bought into the Dr. Ohs being fated from the beginning, but I did love E.R. Chief Mcdreamy so so much! I'm just going to pretend that the writers placed him there specifically for me to look at and not to end up with Jin Hee. My favorite side characters were totally baby Gook and his mom and dad and those two hilarious E.R. residents. In my mind they had like a dumb and dumber side plot bromance story. I smell some fan fiction coming up.

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  6. "And if you run up multiple flights of stairs, of course your heart will be beating hard. You're a doctor! Pull it together!





    I always assumed that was WHY she ran up the stairs, to achieve precisely that objective. Then again, I was one of the sane people who never for a millisecond shipped her with the wet, dweeby chief. There was only ONE Gook for me me, and he rocked right through to his "Hey babe I'm a star" shades at the wrap party. That kid is just unbelievably cute!

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  7. Love the show. Gave me everything. I'm a medical student and i love kdramas so it gave me everything i needed. Medicine was mostly accurate as well... EC was awesome...

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  8. I loved this one... I too was fully invested at the beginning because of Song JiHyo and Choi JinHyuk because I already liked them both... so I didn't fall fully into 2nd lead syndrome on this one.


    My fave side character was Yong Gyu that boy was freaking adorable and I just wanted him to smile ;)


    I was shipping the Chief and Dr Shim from the beginning.. I'm glad the little girl wasn't his and that their relationship didn't get a huge final boost at the end.


    My theory from the first was as Chang Min and Jin Hee got closer together the sappy married couple would grow farther apart. When those two got to the point where they would talk about divorce I figured it would be a turning point for the other two.. which in some ways it was an in some ways it wasn't.


    I second the Running Man recommendation - though what I did for the older episodes was pick out the ones with actors/singers that I already knew and liked. That got me hooked and now I watch weekly.

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  9. Oh man, some of the emergency room stuff made me cringe. Why are you staring with a shocked face at your ex-husband as someone bleeds to death???? Fortunately, they tried to show Jin Hee being somewhat competent from time to time, so that was good.

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  10. I loved the E.R. residents! I'm not sure if I just wasn't paying attention or what, but I didn't notice them for the first half of the show, and then I suddenly noticed how hilarious they were.

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  11. Maybe I liked Chief Gook so much because I feel kinship with dweebs!


    Can we do write-in votes for baby Gook as best actor of the year?

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  12. I wondered about the medical side. I just assumed that my ER resident sister would hate the show.

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  13. I'm always tempted to start Running Man when I see my favorite actors as guests. One day, I'll make the leap!

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  14. I had only seen Song Ji Hyo in Goong, which wasn't the best recommendation. Now I'm a fan!

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  15. One of the great things about this Drama was that EVERYONE, regardless of which lead they shipped, shipped Baby Gook. He was a force for peace and harmony among all the viewers, bless his chubby cuteness.

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  16. I like this drama.. I watched it in 1 whole day without sleeping ;) ;p

    I don't have the second-lead syndrome.. I only felt that in Sungkyunkwan Scandal for I love Geol Oh so much!

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  17. My hubby and I just finished watching this one and both liked it. We like how they wrapped it up in the end with everyone having someone. We're kind of sappy that way. We do wish they had projected into the future a bit (like Secret Garden) and shown everyone happily together and maybe with a kid or two.

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  18. I didn't get SMLS in this one. I really liked him for the Second Female lead better. I was actually disappointed in the resolution of their plot line.

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  19. Kind of like what happens in Heirs when Kim Tan says what his dream is for the future? You're left with the feeling that's EXACTLY what happens 10 years down the line.

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  20. it's really shady how you don't disclose you both work for DF. Your blog is basically another mouthpiece for DF. Which is fine, but at least be honest about it. There are a ton of other sites (for free) to watch kdramas on.

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  21. Norway, I'm glad you were open with your concern. This blog existed well before either of us worked for Dramafever (and I don't even work for them full time--I just happen to freelance for them), and we always wanted to keep this as a place where we could be open and honest about our drama opinions. For example, we wanted to be able to say that Heirs (a Dramafever exclusive) was kind of terrible without getting Coco into trouble at work. That being said, our work for Dramafever has never been a secret, especially to people who follow us regularly on the blog or on social media.

    The reason we only linked to Dramafever for this particular post is that DF was the only site licensed for the show in the United States legally. If you look at our very next post, you'll see that we also reviewed Let's Eat (a Viki exclusive) and only linked to Viki at the end. On our sidebar, we also list most of the other legal streaming options for Kdramas. Even after working with Dramafever, we linked to Viki on the sidebar for months until we had a negative personal experience with them and decided not to display their website in a prominent position, although we do still link to them in our reviews. I hope that helps clarify your concern!

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  22. I've never seen any other site but Dramafever on your sidebar and ads. I'm very curious what caused you to feel that way about Viki? I watch shows on both.


    BTW Viki also has this show so it is not true to say exclusive to DF.

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  23. All of the links are in the sidebar on the right, where they have always been. When I search for Emergency Couple on Viki, it says "unavailable in your region," but when I click through the links, I can see it. That's a new development since the show ended, so my bad. I'll fix it.

    We're still trying to work out some of the conflict with Viki, so if it works out and we become friends again, I don't want to publicize what happened. I'll be happy to but them back in our sidebar at that time.

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  24. The operations made me queazy but I enjoyed this drama.. Chief was goofy but sexy. Baby Gook was adorable. The mother-in-law was scary, the father who passed was adorable. I really wanted to see the single mother and Chief get together :(

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  25. Hi, I just found your review about this series and it's really nice that i finally found a review that shares quite the same opinions as mine. I think I only found two other reviews (other than mine :)) that acknowledge the discussion of social values in this drama, yours and this blog http://dialecticalbutterflies.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/kdrama-review-emergency-couple/ and also the characters' development. I applaud the scriptwriter for it's very realistic dialogues, unlike many shows that used bombastic dialogues just for the sake of having a bombastic effect. And the details, did you also notice? I think almost none of it goes to waste (the blood on Jin-hee's book and on the later episode she said how hard she studied until her nose bleed?). This show actually triggered my curiousity about (and later obsession with) (South) Korean culture, values and political history :)

    On a much irrelevant note, yeah, what's with Kim Tan & Eun Sang?

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  26. ...I think i wan't to have a special episode because the "What if.." part of me is super energetic.. what if ji hye comes back for cheif gook.. what will happen in the couple's remarried thing.. i just want to have a follow up..

    Nevertheless, i love the whole story.. and its the first time that i like the main lead.. supporting and its friend...

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  27. ...sorry for the typo.. errors..

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  28. The tracheotomy plot line went on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Like anyone would be blamed after a hospital's power goes down. Silliness. And I wanted Choi Jin Hyuk in every scene. The second male lead was also well cast in his role. Very believable. For me, the first episode of the married couple's fight was fabulous & nothing afterwards could match it for comedy.

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  29. I wanted the chief to be with her instead of chang min :L

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