Updated: May 22
We think Sh**ting Stars is a fun and breezy watch with lots of meta references to drama tropes that would be very familiar to fans and a great cast of friends and colleagues who work together to make their star talents shine. There's also a frenemies to lovers romance that will either keep you laughing or squealing.
But if you need extra convincing, let me pitch the drama to you:
3 REASONS YOU SHOULD WATCH SHOOTING STARS
I love dramas that take us behind the curtains of the entertainment industry, but I’ve long felt that most of these stories stay stuck on the celebrities and their mighty and petty struggles, when the real stories happen in the shadows of these stars.
Shooting Star by director Lee Soo Hyun and first time screenwriters Choi Young Woo and Choi Yeon Seo looks at the large cast of characters toiling to keep the career and image of their stars intact. These are the PR teams, the managers, and the entertainment reporters that work in symbiosis with them.
And so here’s the first reason to watch Shooting Stars:
I particularly like how the writers have taken the most maligned people in the entertainment industry and made them into normal, everyday office workers with perfectly functional moral compasses.
Our heroine Oh Han Byul is the head of a PR team, so she’s constantly on call with reporters addressing rumours about stars in her agency. She often has to apologise when the actors of her company mess up in some way, but as she points out, when something good happens, she is the one who gets congratulated on their behalf.
It’s definitely The story takes an airbrushed view of what a PR team does for a star, but the show does delve into how draining it is for the people working in these teams to be constantly battling the internet rumour mill. Cause of course the internet never sleeps.
BTW I also love how typo is this horrible spectre for this team, and all of their greatest embarrassments have happened around someone posting a press release with a spelling mistake.
There are also the managers and reporters. And the three main female characters of this show each belong to one of these professions.
Which brings me to the second reason to watch Shooting Star:
Even though a lot of this story is about the romance between our main pair - Oh Han Byul and her star Gong Tae-sung - the story feels a lot more ensemble.
There is a solid core of collaboration and friendship amongst our main characters. Oh Han Byul’s best friends are Park Ho-Yeong and Jo Ki-Peum.
Ho-yeong is this ex Taekwondo athlete who’s done a stint as a bodyguard and now works as a manager. She is bright and determined, and really wants to help her talents succeed. And she has a knack for recognising potential.
Ki-Peum whose name literally means happiness is an entertainment reporter whose boss’s entire personality can be summed up as bad boss. He constantly pushes her to get exclusives and write negative articles against celebrities he has a vendetta against.
And then you have other employees of Han Byul’s company. The other managers, the company lawyer who’s also a chaebol and refuses to take work calls after 6, a large cast of actors and talents who’re constantly walking in and out of the company building and giving us glimpses into projects they’re working on, things that can go wrong on set, how much actors struggle while embodying a character, and how much the team supporting them struggles while those actors work.
I admire how in just the first few episodes Shooting Star has managed to create this feeling of a thriving ecosystem with its cast of characters and a rotating door of guest appearances.
Finally the third and of course the most important reason to watch Shooting Stars:
The enemies to lovers story at the heart of the drama.
So Oh Han-byul has known Gong Tae-sung since college. And he was always an extremely smart but vain boy and she was the tomboy who wanted nothing to do with him. And they have been kind of frenemies ever since.
And while all the world see Tae-sung as this actor with an extremely kind and clean image, Han-byul is his ultimate skeptic. Which is kind of unsurprising since she’s spent more than half a decade cleaning up after him?
It’s pretty clear from the first episode that regardless of how much they’ve bickered with and complained about the other for years, they work really well together. They also know each other really well. But at this point in their life they’ve kind of gotten stuck in that phase where they’ve sworn to everyone that they hate each other so much that it’s taking them a while to see that feelings have shifted underneath.
When the drama starts our hero, Tae-sung has just come from a year of volunteer work in... Africa.
SIDE NOTE: Quick googling tells me that there are 54 internationally recognised countries in the continent of Africa. Was that too many choices? Maybe they got overwhelmed?
So, our hero has just come from a year of volunteer work in an unnamed African country. Oh Han-byul has been dreading his return because she may have kind of accidentally sent him to Africa when he had no intentions of actually volunteering, and of course the moment he’s back, he’s constantly at her work place pulling at her metaphorical pigtails.
Their entire dynamic is Tae-sung making it extremely obvious that everything Han-byul says and does really matters to him and Han-byul completely dismissing it when her coworkers point this out.
And just when you start to wonder how Han-byul is so immune to everything Tae-sung does, the drama shows you exactly why. And it all makes sense.
Do NOT skip the epilogues for this drama.
And one more reason to watch, if you really need another one is the name of the drama.
Admit it, when you first saw the English title with the asterisks you thought it was a curse word.
As did I.
I also thought this was one of those lost in translation goof ups. That stars in place of Os look pretty great on the posters, and it’s only when you see it typed out as the English name that it becomes asterisks, which are commonly used to censor curse words.
And surely that was unintentional by the Korean marketing team.
BUT then I found out that the original Korean title is actually a pun. It’s based on a common phrase (which I’m not even going to attempt to read) - 별들의 똥을 치우는 별별 사람들 - which literally means “cleaning up the poop of celebrities”, which is then abbreviated in korean to byulttongbyul - which does mean “shooting stars” and is the name of the drama. Do you see the ttong in that name? That means shit. And all Korean viewers know that it’s a pun. They know how perfectly the title fits the show.
But how do you translate something like this to international viewers who aren’t familiar with popular Korean slang?
Well, they did it with the asterisks.
It’s freaking genius.
And you cannot convince me that it was unintentional. When the original pun was clearly talking about celebrity poop, how can turning the international title into Shitting Stars be an accident.
Whoever thought of it... bravo. bravo.