[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Bubble Gum"

"Healing drama" is a term which has been used often, but has sadly not produced great results. While there are many efforts to balance romance and lightness with emotional burdens and troubles, few have been successful. Even so, "Bubble Gum" aims to be a fairytale for adults and a healing drama about people finding comfort in one another. Term association aside, things are looking good for the series.



Park Ri-hwan (Lee Dong-wook) is an Eastern medicine doctor and Kim Haeng-ah (Jung Ryeo-won) a radio DJ. The two are good friends, but like everyone else, they struggle with their own personal problems. The drama follows them and other characters as they try to handle their issues and as the relationships between them change.

The Worrying

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Drama vs. Melodrama

The problem with dramas tackling a "healing" aspect is that habits are hard to break. Korean series have been melodramatic for a long time. Even shows which do start out with a goal to be human and have drama which matters often end up cheapening it to manipulate viewers and stretch out their plot. This could become a great human drama, but given the frequency of creators caving into the temptation of angst and tears for the sake of sensationalism, there is reason to worry.

First Series for the Writer

Writer Lee Mi-na-I does not have experience with live-action stories. While all writers have to start somewhere and inexperience does not mean inability, the difficult topics the drama seems to be handling require respect and skill. It is always easier to trust an established creator who has worked in a certain industry before, especially when the new work they take on is complicated.

The Reassuring

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Good Cast

For a drama which aims to portray the pains and joys of its characters, capable actors who can generate sympathy and interest for them are crucial to have. Most dramas focus on what happens in human lives, rather than what happens within humans. Good writing which will develop the characters well is the most important element in such a show, but a cast can make the difference between that material being used badly or elevated.

Encouraging Promotional Material

Korean drama fans have every reason to be suspicious of shows. After all, the times when an ultimately melodramatic work has been given the romantic comedy treatment in its early promotion are many and tvN is guilty of that deception too. The promotional material for the series does not shy away from soberness and assuming this is an accurate representation of the overall tone of the work, it could very well manage to remain honest and human.

Final Thoughts

"Bubble Gum" presents itself as something which will take a respectful look into human relationships and life worries. This being an approach many before it have tried and failed at means the drama has a lot to prove. At the same time, what it has shown so far is pretty good and its potential is undeniable.

"Bubble Gum" begins its run on October 26th and will air every Monday and Tuesday at 11:00pm, on tvN.

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Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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