Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kat's K-Dramas: A Girl Who Sees Smells

냄새를 보는 소녀
AKA Sensory Couple
Genre: Romance, comedy, fantasy, thriller
Episodes: 16
Aired: 2015-Apr-01 - 2015-May-21
Network: SBS
Watch it on: Dramafever, Viki
Three years ago, Choi Moo Gak lost his younger sister in the "Bar Code" murder case. Since then he has become cold and insensible. Meanwhile, Oh Cho Rim miraculously survived the same incident. Since then she has lost her memory, but also gained the ability to see smells.
Also, the show is based on a popular webtoon that was in Korea (webtoons are web comics in Korea that are published on the internet only...kind of like Mangas/Manhwas in artistic style)

Main Character: Oh Cho Rim/Choi Eun Seol can see smells. It's not like synesthesia as we  know it. She can see them without smelling them. She can see them from afar, and she can see them through glass and other obstructions. This happened to her when she was a teenager around 17 or 18 and got into a car accident after witnessing her parents' kidnapping. She also lost her memory of everything that happened to her before the car accident (including witnessing her parent's kidnapping). She is adopted (and kind of hidden) by a police officer who gives her the new name of Oh Cho Rim. She wants to be able to make people laugh, so she joins a comedy troupe in the hopes of becoming a comedian.

She has sweet daydreams, like the one where she's in one of my all-time favorite Korean variety shows Running Man (It's a show that has the top stars in Korea as guests, and is all about being fun and funny. So she daydreams that she goes on the show as one of the top funny ladies in Korea. I had epic fangirl moments when I saw her on screen with Kang Gary, Yoo Jae Suk, Lee Kwangsoo and the gang).

Love Interest: Choi Moo Gak.

I kind of have a crush on Park Yoo Chun after seeing him as Choi Moo Gak in this show. He's funny, serious, brooding, and adorable all in one! He kind of reminds me of a more grown and goofy Choi Minho (from Shinee) in looks.

Choi Moo Gak had a younger sister named Choi Eun Seol whom he loved. She is not the same Eun Seol who became Cho Rim, but her fate was intertwined with Cho Rim's the night of the car accident. Choi Moo Gak's little sister was on a bus that got into a small accident. She was sent to a hospital to get treated for a banged up head. And she was murdered in that hospital. The man who murdered her was none other than the man who kidnapped Cho Rim's parents and who was trying to kill Cho Rim (who at that time was called Choi Eun Seol). Moo Gak then becomes a cop to try to catch the man who murdered his sister. Also, he has lost all sense of smell, taste, and pain. (None of this is spoilery because it all happens in the first episode).

Are you following me? Yes? No? Well it gets EVEN MORE COMPLICATED.

Allies and Enemies: Oh Cho Rim's father (it turns out) has a personal stake in catching the man who kidnapped and murdered Cho Rim's original parents. Dun dun dun!

Lieutenant Yeom Mi comes to Seoul to catch an elusive murderer deemed "The Barcode Killer" because he carves a barcode in the wrist of all of his victims, including the "fisherman couple" who are none other than Cho Rim's parents.

Then there are the three homicide cops who are kind of the comic relief and happen to be Choi Moo Gak's colleagues after he becomes a cop to catch his sister's murderer.

And another source of comic relief is a troupe of comediennes.

Setting: Present day Seoul. (Flash backs to Jeju Island about three years ago).

Random Thoughts: Oh how I enjoy shows that have only half a foot standing in reality. That's exactly what "The Girl Who Sees Smells" is, and it's super entertaining because of it. This is one of those shows where you need to suspend disbelief. To be fair, a lot of K-dramas are like that. But for this one you might need to go a step further.

First of all, the synesthesia that Oh Cho Rim has that causes her to see smells is not scientifically or medically accurate. However, they don't ever really call it that, so perhaps it is in the "magic" realm of television afflictions and just looks like synesthesia. Either way, as soon as you get over that inaccuracy, the show definitely becomes a much more fun and enjoyable ride (so for anyone planning to watch the show, I would suggest letting that go early on, it's not worth nitpicking at). The great thing is that this show is a very good character show, the individual characters and relationships are one of the best parts.

There is obviously the contrast of Cho Rim who has an extra sense and Moo Gak who has lost all of his senses. At first he is kind of introduced as a dogged, one-track-mind guy who just wants to get into the homicide division so he can catch his sister's killer. He doesn't need friends, love, or anything but justice. Cho Rim is the opposite, she is the ultimate carer. She cares about her father, she cares about the other comediennes in the troupe, and she cares about making people laugh.

So when their words collide they don't exactly see eye-to-eye. However, because of certain circumstances they need help from each other.

The best part of the show is the relationship between Moo Gak and Cho Rim (and also the relationship between Moo Gak/Cho Rim and the homicide cops). They are just so cute and sweet together.  I really loved their chemistry and the comedy they created. Also, there was always the knowing that their hidden pasts were going to come back and bite them in the butt (and so I was very concerned for them as a couple).

The show does a good job of creating interesting interactions between the characters. And I did genuinely enjoy the characters, which is probably what made it easy for me to stick with such a ridiculous show. I will say that the plot was kind of flat at times. You would think there would be more twists and turns in a murder mystery that involved mistaken identity and lost memories. However, things are revealed very quickly in the series and the path doesn't divert very much from it.



There were also a few facts that were left dangling. One that involved Oh Cho Rim's adopted father. It actually super bothered me, because it was introduced in such a dramatic way, but then never resoled. So I was kind of annoyed that they introduced it in the first place anyway. Also, Oh Cho Rim's adoptive father's motives for adopting her are never 100% clear. They start to give us potential answers to that question and then never follow-through.

The show had a very drawn out ending, which is not surprising for a thriller Korean Drama. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it. I think that this might have been due to my personal preference though. I am a fan of epilogues in K-Dramas, but I also don't like random (extra) twists and turns. To be fair, the extra twists in this show made sense. That's why I was okay with it.

All in all, a very entertaining show with a cool twists and play on the normal dramas we see. 

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