Note: Spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.
To say that I didn’t fangirl and squee over Oh My Ghostess would be an utter lie. It was the perfect vehicle for many feels, lots of cute, and plenty of funny. It had my favorite actor, Jo Jung-seok, ridiculously talented Park Bo-young, and the up and coming Kim Seul-gi. Seul-gi has been around, but mostly as a comedienne. This show solidified her reputation as an honest-to-goodness actress. The premise was funny and breached taboo subject of sex in relationships. It made families of circles of unrelated people and saw all major characters learn and grow through their situations. In other words, it was a damned good show.
Sure, there was crap that I didn’t like. Can’t say I loved Sung-jae coming back from the dead after the very strong thematic closure that came when he “took his life.” It completely mocked the tragic suicide. Although Eun-hee’s love for Sung-jae was strong enough to overcome the fact that he (er, the evil spirit, but the girl don’t know that) RAN OVER HER WITH A CAR, I still think it wasn’t a good enough reason to resurrect the guy. What about the people he killed while possessed? Did their murders just never get solved?
And I’m still baffled by the rules of being a ghost. How did Sung-jae remember his time while possessed and Bong-seon has no recollection whatsoever? I would’ve liked some parameters. However, Lim Ju-hwan was a terrifying villain and that was fun to see after his more heroic endeavors in previous dramas. His character and his involvement in the plot was the weakest aspect of the drama, especially because Eun-hee was so poorly developed. The storyline with her inability to get pregnant was dropped. Where did it go?
Then there was the gender reversal in regards to sex. I didn’t personally appreciate Soon-ae using Bong-seon’s body to try and get laid, neither did I like Bong-seon later allowing the attempts to happen. However, it was all in the spirit of comedy and portrayed women as sexual beings rather than “sluts” for wanting to enjoy their bodies. The true lover’s relations happened under full disclosure, honesty and comfort of both parties. That I can get behind. There are many interpretations of this aspect of the show, but the comedic twist to all of Soon-ae’s sexual advances lessened the gravity of her antics. Plus, they were funny! I appreciated the humor.
Then there was the kitchen family who I loved to pieces with how much they supported Seon-woo and Bong-seon as individuals and as a couple. I could’ve done less with them on screen if it meant that we’d get more development of Eun-hee and the friendship between Soon-ae and Bong-seon. Nonetheless, the kitchen chemistry provided a much needed backbone at the workplace when Seon-woo and Bong-seon most required comfort and stability.
Seobingo has to be one my favorite ahjumma roles of all time. Despite her stereotypical ahjumma fro and barking speech, she is full of heart and quirky as hell. She makes friends with a ghost much younger than her and develops a strong rapport that is truly like that of sisters. Her relationship with Soon-ae transcends age (and death) and is one of the strongest bonds in Oh My Ghostess.
Soon-ae may have been the richest character in the drama. She changed the most over the sixteen episodes, from sex-crazed ghost to diligent sleuth and a true woman of virtue – a woman who did right by those she loves despite the horrible wrongs done to her. And she taught others to be themselves without shame or fear, a lesson we can all learn. Also, Kim Seul-gi is ridiculously talented. I loved her in Flower Boy Next Door, and I was ecstatic to see her try her hand (and wildly succeed) in a meatier role. The comedy that she is known for was wonderfully executed (and expertly mimicked by Park Bo-young.) It was in the somber moments that Seul-gi was able to show that she is capable of being a serious actress. She also has a wonderful singing voice! I could listen to her all day! Duets with Jo Jung-seok?
Jo Jung-seok and Park Bo-young had potent chemistry despite their age gap. It was obvious he found her delightful and adorable (which she was) and they fell into each other quite easily when they acted together. I wanted more time between Bong-seon as herself and Seon-woo, but it was so fabulous watching Bo-young embody the high-speed energy of Seul-gi. Duel roles truly test an actor’s mettle, and she ROCKED THIS TEST! Wow, if I liked this little fireball of an actress before, I love her now. Bong-seon took a while to be developed, but Bo-young made her interesting despite the glacial development. Her relationship with Soon-ae pulled her out of her fear-born shell, but it also magnified her insecurities, a strange dichotomy that many girls face in friendships. I would’ve loved to see more interaction between them, but alas, the mechanism of action regarding ghost possession dictates that no memories of the possession remain. Oh wait…apparently Sung-jae remembered his possession…let’s just forget that happened, just like the writers.
As always, my talent crush Jo Jung-seok was magnificent. He has such depth of emotion in his acting that is shown on his face, in his body, and especially through his voice. One never needs to see him to know how his character is feeling. But, we never need to hear him either because its on his face. But, we never need to see his face because you can read it in the posture of his body. Yes, he is an all-around kick ass actor and my major talent crush.
Overall, there were definite flaws in Oh My Ghostess. Like many of my favorite dramas, what carries it through is the heart. It pokes through the flaws in the (mostly) good writing, in the performances of the talent on screen, and in the work of those behind the camera. More time to plan development would’ve saved it from the awkward plot gaps and messy editing, but such are the ways of the live shoot. Sacrifice ratings for high polish and quality. Most importantly, however, is that I would watch it again…and again. The message of friendship and family that Soon-ae left behind is one to be remembered and lived by.