One of the best Korean dramas I have seen in a while stopped airing last week. Entertainer was oddly reminiscent of other dramas I’ve seen involving music such as Heartstrings and Shut Up! It had the realism of Shut Up mixed with conflicts that were explored more explicitly than Heartstrings was ever able to.
Even though prior to the drama airing, it was revealed that Shin Suk Ho (played by Ji Sung) would be the lead character, while watching the drama it was hard to decipher who was a lead because even the secondary characters got equal camera time as did all the supporting cast. Unlike other dramas, Entertainer treated each character with equal care and all the stories were developed to a satisfactory degree for the audience.
My eyes were only for Jo Ha Neul (played by Kang Min Hyuk) since anything remotely involving CN Blue is a weakness for me. Min Hyuk had played a very comic supporting character in Heartstrings previously, followed by a slightly foolish love-struck boy in My Husband’s Got a Family. Entertainer saw Min Hyuk pretty much playing a lead role at par with Ji Sung. On top of it all, his character had depth and great feeling showing how greatly he has improved his acting in leaps and bounds.
As for the feel of the drama, it was pregnant with suspense and emotion. The script writer took the experience of the Shut Up boys with the music industry and just made it grimmer and crueller to suit Entertainer. From suicide to plagiarism and sexual assault, the show offered a bit of everything. It really succeeded in showing the ugly side of the Korean music industry, especially when the Korean show business is riven with controversy and internal agency politics these days. All the talk of groups breaking apart, members getting kicked out makes it seem like Entertainer was talking about real palpable and potent issues in the industry.
On the face of it, such issues make the plot very difficult to stomach but yet, there was a fluidity in the way it was laid out to the audience that helped in making one feel the pain and yet enjoy some of the relatively lighter moments of Entertainer. Even though it was supposed to be a romantic drama, one got none of the skinship that I love so much in Korean dramas. By doing so all the makjang was erased from a very typical kdrama script. Entertainer concentrated more on the bromance between Shin Suk Ho, the manager and Jo Ha Neul, the rookie singer.
Lastly, Entertainer dealt with the concept of appearances in the South Korean entertainment industry. One previous take on this had been the Brown Eyed Girls parodying Lady Gaga’s Poker Face with their own Plastic Face on Saturday Night Live Korea. This drama, on the other hand tried to argue about how appearances don’t even matter if the artists possess real talent. From the way Jo Sung Hyun is treated in the dramaverse past, to trying to hide facts like a group member being charged with sexual assault or another one being a single father.
Entertainer only aimed to show the flaws of the music industry by narrating it through certain characters and also raising problems faced by celebrities. The celebrities are shown in the most human way possible rather than the way the audience sees them; some kind of gods on earth. The show was able to get away with a very daring script and also evoke a lot of feeling for most of the characters of the drama. In short, Entertainer was surely a great journey to go on for me and I enjoyed every minute of it.