Color of Woman: Thoughts from Episode Seven

(While sifting through my pile of drama rants, I stumbled across an old Color of Woman review. Since I’m rather far behind with no intention of catching up, I thought I’d share my opinions of the drama while they’re still at least a little relevant. I had a lot to say, so the full post is actually split in two. Stay tuned for Padam Padam observations as well.)

Okay, drama. I can’t deny your abounding cuteness. Color of Woman is fluffy, and sweet, and sincere enough to leave me giggling, but there are some niggling annoyances that seem to keep me from completely enjoying the show.

For a drama that’s supposed to be about two rival women competing against each other in the same company, there’s a distinct lack of workplace-shennanagins. A workplace drama that’s done right is episodic with arcs that wrap up with their own neat little bow, maintaining tension while the romance takes the foreground as the overarching conflict (ie. The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry or Baby Faced Beauty). But in Color of Woman, I feel like the company is just wasted potential. Sora hasn’t shown any growth as an employee, and although Jinjoo decided to become a better secretary, she hasn’t really shown any evidence of succeeding. That’s why the workplace arcs are so vital. It gives suspense and a quick payoff that obviously highlights the hero’s lesson and growth from the experience. It’s formulaic, but it works.

I hesitate to compare a Korean miniseries to an American dramadey since they’re entirely different beasts, but the similarities between Color of Woman and Ugly Betty really are striking. Experienced director (complete with lackey) tossed aside as the boss’s son takes over. Messy, barely competent girl harassed by mean girls. Shallow secretary that steals men’s hearts. All set in an industry where looks matter in order to sell a product. It’s all there. But the win definitely goes to Ugly Betty. Though I like the relationships in Color of Woman, it’s that damn lack of tension that’s killing it. Why are there no problems in the office, drama? And why isn’t Wilemena actually competent?

The very hint of chaebol/daddy alliance switch up makes me want to throw things at my computer. If the two male leads are pitted against each other romantically and in the work place, the drama is just heading towards a shitstorm of cliched chaebol conflicts. And so far, the drama’s managed to steer away from cliches pretty well. First love is actually getting the girl, our female lead is spunky and unkept, and second female lead is shallow but sweet. It’s endearing and refreshing. But if this ship goes chaebol-cliche on me, I’ma throw down some. . . harsh criticism. . . I suppose.

You know, the relationships with history was actually what sold this drama for me. No fated encounters brought the Mystery-gang together. They were all classmates with a backstory and shared experiences, and I liked that. But when even the secondary love lines are already established, it feels almost insincere. Like with Ahn Sun-young and Sung Dong-il: they were suddenly thrust together, and the audience is supposed to find them adorable, but I don’t feel any connection to the couple; and from what I see of their characters, I don’t have any reason to root for them or have an understanding of what makes them a good pairing. Falling in love with a couple as they fall in love as well is half the fun.

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