Updated: Oct 18
I will try my best to make these impressions webtoon agnostic, since I suffered greatly just a few months back when another webtoon adaptation by the same writer was botched terribly by the end. So comparison to the webtoon will be saved for later, much later. I refuse to be delighted by similarities just yet!
But just to note something interesting: While writer Lee Hey had sold the rights to See You In My 19th Life to tvN (who co-commissioned the drama with Netflix), she sold A Good Day To Be A Dog to MBC (a public broadcast network that doesn't like working with Netflix) even though this means that the drama will have a narrower reach around the world.
I'm not saying that she was disappointed by how See You turned out, since A Good Day must have been in production before See You even started airing. But it's possible that either she (or Webtoon, since the platform often purchases the drama rights from writers first) was offered more by MBC or they didn't enjoy partnering with tvN-Netflix as much as they had hoped.
MBC seems to be partnering with Viu (a South East Asian streaming site) but for the rest of the world, A Good Day To Be A Dog is currently airing on Rakuten Viki.
As we all know, Viki has lower reach than Netflix does, but I personally don't think this is a bad thing.
As we discuss in the upcoming podcast episode on K-drama broadcasting (a more interesting topic than it sounds 😄), Netflix's hegemony is disliked greatly by many local production companies, even the ones who have partnered with them for the last few years.
Okay, on to first impressions!
I love Cha Eun-woo in romance dramas! With the exception of his charming "Prince Rapunzel" in Rookie Historian, his characters are usually stoic and reserved. Which is something the actor portrays with deadpan stares and awkward shifts of his eyes. This is somehow effective in conveying both discomfort and annoyance. Once his characters thaw, he brings out his greatest weapon: his softly smiling eyes. What else do you need in a romance? 😄
I know a lot of viewers don't see him as a great actor, but I strongly hold that an actor who has figured out performance cues to effectively communicate certain character beats on screen and doubles down on choosing roles where he can use those skills should be lauded.
I don't need every actor to have a wide acting range, I need them to be good at one thing and Cha Eun-woo is extremely effective as a cinnamon roll male lead. 🤣
Park Gyu-young has to do the major heavy lifting here of course, and her voice overs in puppy form are killing me. 😄
I'm always delighted when actors I note as promising years back prove me right and Park has exceeded my expectations.
As Han Hae-na in A Good Day, she's perfect both as a sweet, well-liked teacher in a high school as well as the young woman who's repeatedly dumped because she's willing to go all the way, but refuses to kiss her boyfriends. 😅 It's a sad dilemma and one that has plagued her family since ancient times.
The curse that has killed her dating life works like this: if she kisses a man, she will turn into a dog within one minute. After that day she will turn back into a human every morning and turn into a tiny doggo at the stroke of every midnight. She has 100 days to break the curse. I won't spoil how that needs to be done, but suffice to say she would need the kiss-ee's cooperation. They would also need to like dogs.
Jin Seo-won does not like dogs. You can kind of see where this is going.
So far, I would give the entertainment quotient of this drama 7/10, aesthetics 9/10, romantic vibes 9/10, and next episode anticipation 10/10.
This fluffy story is completely up my alley. It kept me laughing through most of its run time.
Oh this drama also has Lee Hyun-woo, whom I'd last watched in another manhwa adapted drama, The Liar and His Lover. I have to admit he has improved his performance a ton and he's perfectly cast as the mysterious Mr Lee.
It's not a generic second lead role and that's all I'm gonna say for now.
Of course, the show isn't without some imperfections.
There is an after credits scene at the end of episode 1, where Hae-na explains the rules of the magic that turns her into a dog when she kisses someone. This is extremely helpful since it gives you a canon to hold the show accountable to.
Why would that be necessary in a fluffy rom-com, you may wonder. And the reason is that in just 2 episodes, the show has already woo-woo'd its way through a couple of glaring discrepancies. (I'm side-eyeing the director here cause these are visual inconsistencies).
The biggest one being - how does she some times come back clothed and some times naked??
I will give credit here to writer Baek In-ah, who had the tough job of adapting the webtoon while making the story more dynamic for the screen. Despite seeming to be relatively new, her script has dialogues that seamlessly add information in, which the director doesn't always adhere to. So, even though Hae-na occasionally comes back into her human body fully clothed, we know from her sister that she's supposed to change back naked. Which makes sense since her clothes were obviously discarded post transformation.
There is one other thing I'll mildly touch on. Just like other K-dramas that explore magical 'what if's, A Good Day frequently finds its humour in situations that breach personal boundaries and could justifiably get the heroine fired from her job or ruin her social credibility. The only reason the audience would be forgiving of her actions is because we know that the circumstances are extreme. The context of the story gives her leeway we wouldn't extend to people who resort to the same actions in a world without magical curses.
Media analysis should be done in good faith and since the story points out the problems in her actions and doesn't overly romanticise problematic moments (for now), I'm okay to hang up my monocles and kick back to enjoy the ride.
(I love mixing metaphors. Sometimes, that's the only way to express yourself. 😌)
So those were some of my thoughts on the first two episodes. Have you watched the drama yet? Do you plan to? Did the trailer confuse you or put you off? Tell me all!