Instead of waiting until four episodes of Ssam My Way (also known as Fight For My Way, Fight My Way or Third-Rate My Way), I’m writing my initial review now because I’m really excited about this drama.
Except for the currently airing My Secret Romance, 2017 has had very few rom coms. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is the only romance drama this year I would deem as a true rom com: Strong Woman Do Bong Soon had too much crime, and others (Goblin, Legend of the Blue Sea) had too much fantasy or melodrama. But Ssam My Way isn’t just a rom com either – it’s pretty slice-of-life.
Except for striving for their dreams, there isn’t much of an overall plot for our characters: they’re working in jobs that they don’t entirely love and aren’t entirely happy even though they sometimes pretend they are. It’s a realistic look at what so many people their age (and my age even) are having to deal with. What I love is that they don’t even focus so much on their jobs (in the two episodes this week combined, I’d say there was less than 10 minutes of screen time of the lead four characters in their jobs) but on their lives in general.
The male and female lead have been friends since they were children and are very comfortable in their friendship (bickering, showing each other their worst side, protecting each other, showing how they feel, comforting each other… the list goes on). Friendship to romance is one of my favourite tropes because, for most people, that’s where crushes come from. And to me it’s a lot more enjoyable to watch slow, gradual development of feelings in a drama than when two characters start dating immediately.
The second lead characters have been dating for a long time, both working in the same company but not yet ready to get married because they’re not stable in life. Even from the second episode, I have a strong feeling they’ll break up sometime soon in the drama – but I sincerely hope that it allows them both to develop as people before getting back together (if that’s the right thing to do).
A quick aside: how lovely is it to see Kim Ji Won in a lead role? She’s been absolutely fantastic in everything I’ve seen her in and I’m so glad that she’s finally getting a chance to shine in a lead role (let’s face it, she’s already shown more charisma and acting talent in the first two episodes than some actresses show in an entire drama…).
Ssam My Way is by the same writer as Baek Hee Has Returned (a quirky and unusual but well done mini-drama), so I’m incredibly excited to see where it goes in coming weeks!