Netflix’s Physician Stoop Is the Most Vital Ok-Drama of 2024 So Far7 min read

Park Shin-hye and Park Hyung-sik (Screenshot: Doctor Slump)

Park Shin-hye and Park Hyung-sik (Screenshot: Physician Stoop)

Usually, it will be untimely to anoint a present one of many yr’s greatest simply three months into 2024, however Netflix’s newest Korean sequence, Physician Stoop — which launched its remaining episodes over the weekend — proves it is vitally a lot deserving of the respect.

Merely calling it a romantic comedy, because it’s typically been described, doesn’t do the sequence justice. Extra precisely billed as a comforting romantic dramedy, the primary premise of Physician Stoop follows two former highschool educational rivals, Yeo Jeong-woo (Robust Lady Bong-soon’s Park Hyung-sik) and Nam Ha-neul (Docs’ Park Shin-hye), who reluctantly reunite 14 years later after they’re each at their lowest factors. Now a profitable plastic surgeon, Jeong-woo’s world comes crashing down after a high-profile surgical procedure goes horribly improper, leaving his profession and status in tatters. For Ha-neul, a hard-working anesthesiologist at a college hospital, her misfortunes manifest after years of built-up trauma and office toxicity result in burnout and recognized melancholy.

Since their aggressive faculty days, after they would vie for the highest educational spot, each have been conditioned — by way of unrealistic parental expectations and unrelenting self-ambition — to function on the highest degree and sacrifice their well-being to realize being the perfect, a perception system that carries on effectively into their grownup lives. So after they each have their dramatic falls from grace on the most inopportune time and are compelled to take a step again, it’s understandably devastating for them. It marks the primary interval of their lives the place they’ve actually, actually skilled all-time low with no clear answer on the right way to get out of it (no highschool math genius can remedy this equation) — most actually a lonely and isolating feeling. Regardless of that truth, they finally lean on one another as they attempt to overcome their ruts collectively, and sure, even fall in love alongside the way in which.

The relatable nature during which the sequence faucets into themes of psychological wellness, resetting life’s priorities, and redefining happiness was the idea for why Park Hyung-sik was initially drawn to the mission within the first place. “I actually favored the script as a result of it did not simply current the subject material of slumps, burnout, and melancholy in a darkish method however in a extra regular, everyday-color method,” the 32-year-old actor tells Primetimer over e mail. “It was like having a buddy by my aspect as if it’s no massive deal, so I hoped that many individuals would snigger and cry on the similar time with this sequence that brings smiles and tears.”

Although he’s by no means personally skilled something fairly just like the characters’ dire predicaments, Park Hyung-sik channeled his youthful years as an idol singer and rising actor when issues have been much more troublesome. “I used to be in a position to act out the ache and the need to get again on my toes by recalling the struggles I had after I began working,” he explains, crediting screenwriter Baek Solar-woo (My Roommate Is a Gumiho) for creating a personality in Jeong-woo that “felt acquainted” and “resembled me.” “I’ve had experiences the place every little thing felt robust and I needed to let go, but it surely wasn’t too laborious to interrupt me. And I used to be in a position to get again up because of the individuals round me and my followers.”

Vital time is spent within the early half of the sequence chronicling Jeong-woo and Ha-neul’s mutual lows. For almost all of their lives, their paths have been dictated by their successes and their fixed try for it. As soon as that defining motivation disappears, what’s left? A couple of of the sequence’s most important scenes come when each characters are arguably at their darkest — Ha-neul is clinically depressed and Jeong-woo is within the throes of an enormous lawsuit, growing PTSD on account of the medical accident.

In Episode 2, amidst the case, it dawns on Jeong-woo that the world has turned its again on him, together with his absent dad and mom and mates, and it’s Ha-neul, his archrival, who’s the primary to inform him she’s in his nook. Within the third episode, Ha-neul receives the identical remedy when Jeong-woo, sensing her deepening melancholy as she displays on her perceived missteps in life, encourages her to be okay with not being okay, inviting her to take the required time and house to prioritize herself in the meanwhile: “Let’s take a break whereas we’re at all-time low.”

In that very same hour, after they take an impromptu early morning seaside journey to allow them to see the solar rise, they comply with change into mates as an alternative of remaining classmates — a turning level of their relationship. Although they don’t witness the dawn like they initially hoped, it’s an optimistic reminder that no matter ache they’re enduring in the intervening time is supposed to be momentary. “The solar didn’t rise right this moment, however it’s going to tomorrow,” Ha-neul hopes in a voiceover. “Regardless of not understanding our futures, we nonetheless waited for the solar to rise,” Jeong-woo says.

It takes some time for it to occur, however finally the clouds half and the solar does rise for the primary Physician Stoop couple by the sequence’s remaining episode. To succeed in this level they overcome insurmountable hardships, together with a near-fatal automobile accident, the dying of a mentor determine, remedy periods, and a heartbreaking breakup. When Jeong-woo and Ha-neul go to the seaside once more months after their first journey, their attitudes on life and what they need out of it have dramatically modified — a byproduct of the strides they’ve made in overcoming their psychological well being struggles.

Living proof: An thrilling work alternative overseas is abruptly taken away from Ha-neul. As a substitute of suppressing her anger and disappointment, she voices it to her superior, which is proof of her personal self-confidence and private development. By the identical token, Jeong-woo reopens his cosmetic surgery clinic on a a lot smaller scale with a renewed deal with constructing rapport together with his sufferers as an alternative of reverting again to his flashy methods. The intentions they’ve set for themselves are more healthy and much rosier this time as they watch the day break on the seaside, a symbolic new starting collectively as an engaged couple. The aid and pleasure on their faces in that second is palpable; they understand that issues did get higher in the long run. “We missed [the sunrise] final time, however we lastly acquired to see it this time.”

In no way have they got all of it discovered, however they’re higher geared up than they have been at first of the sequence to climate no matter storm will go by way of sooner or later — so long as they do it collectively. And actually that’s all you’ll be able to ask for. “I need Physician Stoop to be the work the place individuals can really feel the love and worth of household, the significance of mates, and the way essential and mandatory it’s to like and defend ourselves,” Park Hyung-sik says. Determining the right way to navigate troublesome instances, particularly when the playing cards appear to be stacked in opposition to you, is in the end what Physician Stoop is all about.

Physician Stoop is streaming on Netflix.

Philiana Ng is a Los Angeles-based author overlaying TV, movie star, tradition and extra. Her work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Leisure Tonight, TV Information, Yahoo Leisure, and The Every day Beast, amongst others.

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