Drama Pilot Week: It’s Raining Jealousy, Characters (and Controversy?) on ‘Jealousy Incarnate’

New SBS Wed-Thu romcom Jealousy Incarnate (aka Don’t Dare to Dream) is exactly what I expected on its premiere week – hilarious, quirky, and on its way to a storm of jealousy hijinks. The pilot episode’s messy editing and cluttered character intros may be a little off-putting, but overall I like it. I want to like it. There’s hope that the lead trio Jo Jung-seok, Gong Hyo-jin, and Go Kyung-pyo will come through for me, and will give me sunny romance and a pleasant ride throughout the drama’s 24-episode run.

Jealousy Incarnate is aptly entitled as such, with all the tension of workplace hierarchies/rivalries and brewing love triangles (three to be exact) that it brings. The tug-of-war even went on a meta level as KBS and SBS fought over broadcasting rights to this show during the production’s early stages. At the forefront of this drama are eager-beaver weather girl Pyo Na-ri (Gong Hyo-jin) – who longs to be taken seriously and have a break as an announcer, stuck-up famous foreign correspondent Lee Hwa-shin (Jo Jung-seok) – whom Na-ri had a crush on in the past, and refined chaebol Go Jung-won (Go Kyung-pyo) – Hwa-shin’s best buddy who catches the attention of our heroine. Right off the bat we already see glimpses of the green-eyed monster. Teehee.

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We’ve seen Gong Hyo-jin be quirky and adorable before. We’ve also seen Jo Jung-seok be a jerk with a charming side in other roles. So what I’m looking forward to seeing is their chemistry with each other, which weirdly started off with some serious man-boob groping. And as I cringe just recalling those scenes, dapper Go Kyung-pyo from the other side of the court caught me off-guard and is now ushering me to board the SLS train. We’ll see in a few more episodes.

A whole bunch of other characters were also dumped into introduced to us as early as now, including the feuding SBC broadcasting stars who are both ex-wives of Hwa-shin’s brother, and the youngsters living in the same apartment building as Na-ri, among others. I will learn their names in due course, but right now I’d digest the premise first. If anything, I found yet another drama younger brother to cherish.

Everything started off a bit chaotic to me, along with the confusing 3D alien cartoons and the slightly too-yellow color grading of the Thailand scenes (I get it okay, it’s hot and sunny there). But then I’m a sucker for this kind of premise, and the second episode definitely sealed the deal. There are still lots to explore about the characters and their motivations, and lots to untangle in their complicated backstories. And of course, we still have to root for our poor pushover weather girl to finally achieve her dreams.

And while the intent of Na-ri’s characterization is to dramatize her journey, understandably some were offended by the misrepresentation of weather forecasters on the show. Well, the drama in general took on other unlikely topics such as cancer and unconventional families, so the objectification of women isn’t much of a stretch to me. Not saying that it’s no big deal, just that to me the show didn’t do it in poor taste.

We’re all drowning in dramas right now, but I don’t see why Jealousy Incarnate won’t carve out its own spot. And with angsty melodrama Uncontrollably Fond and mind-chewing W – Two Worlds flanking it on the same timeslot, a fun offbeat romance may be a welcome break.

Have you checked out this new drama? What are your thoughts on its first two episodes?

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