T/N: The writer Zazak is a member of the CJ E&M Social Press Team and of the SBS Social Tree. He also runs a blog (in which this piece was written), for which he was selected the Premier Blogger by PressBlog. He is also one of the recipient of the Top Blogger Awards for Tistory for both 2009 and 2010.
In the end, the lead of Protect the Boss was Kim Jaejoong?!
“Muwon! There is no exit from you.” Seo Nayun (Wang Jihye) uttered those words to Cha Muwon (Kim Jaejoong) who had made a meal for her. What does she mean? When Cha Muwon gazed at her with a question, she says again. “I only keep falling in, deeper and deeper.” These are words normally uttered by a woman to a man, but this drama has a woman say them to a man and so gives an inverted fun. But even so, there does not seem to have been an end to the attractiveness of Cha Muwon, from the beginning to end of watching this drama.
First, Cha Muwon is a man near perfection in the drama. He is a next-generation corporate man who is hot in DN Group. As is described in the final episode, he climbed up to become the executive director thanks to the hyper-sonic speed of his promotions. When compared to Cha Jihun (Ji Sung) who is still the director of headquarters, this signifies that his ability to run the corporation has become recognized.
[In the drama, Cha Muwon not only has a great personality and a great looks, but also boasts a singing ability that is so superb as to turn the Karaoke room into a concert hall, is good at sports, and excels in his mind for business—- he oversteps the mere “the perfect son of my mother’s friend” to show off abilities as wide as the universe.]
Of course, Cha Muwon is also a part of the Royal Family. Thus he was able to become the executive director despite being in his early thirties. However, even if one is a third-generation chaebol, if one does not have the ability, one cannot assume such a position.
Cha Muwon, in the basics, is a good human being. Of course in the beginning he does pick Noh Eunsul (Choi Kanghee) as a secretary and has her keep a watch on Cha Jihun to keep him in check. However, when he sees Noh Eunsul who reveres him as Muwon-God, he feels pangs on his conscience. Further, this nerd who has never known to play for the entirety of his life does a “cutting class” with Noh Eunsul, drinks a single glass of soju, and falls down intoxicated.
But Cha Muwon’s human side only acts as the multiplier of his attractiveness. In Protect the Boss, he is someone who is near the ideal man. His exterior, to speak of first, is handsome. His smiling face has a devil-like attractiveness that causes the characters of the drama and the viewers of real life to fall, irrespectively.
His heart, pure and noble to the degree that it is difficult to believe it belongs to a third-generation chaebol, causes him to always be concerned for and to do his best to help in any way Noh Eunsul, even though she picked Cha Jihun and not himself.
[Not only that, Cha Muwon is a romantic, to the degree that he proposes in such a way to Seo Nayun, the woman he loves. This kind of a perfection that men just cannot help but intensely hate makes firm the conviction that the lead of Protect the Boss is not Cha Jihun but rather Cha Muwon. Further, he officially gets the designation of being the next leader of the corporation and announces the “clean corporate” ideal that Noh Eunsul spoke of. Indeed, is he not perfect as the lead?]
Furthermore, this “perfect son of my mom’s friend” is good at sports and good at cooking. Even further, because Cha Jihun has given up becoming the successor to the group, Cha Muwon becomes chosen by the founder of the corporation to be its official successor.
Before he becomes the successor, Cha Muwon proposes to Seo Nayun, announcing that he will become a “clean corporate man.” In truth, the clean corporate man was the role that Noh Eunsul originally wanted for Cha Jihun.
However, Cha Jihun cleanly gave up the “corporate man” since it did not suit his aptitudes and since he wished to live happily with Noh Eunsul. Thus, the turn returned to Cha Muwon. Of course, because Cha Muwon has shown us his abilities since the beginning of the drama, he seems more fitting to be the corporate lead.
But all of this makes one confused as to just who is the lead in Protect the Boss. This goes without saying, but in Protect the Boss, the “Boss” is the important figure. In the drama, the word Boss is used in a dual manner. The first is, as the word implies facially, the “boss” of a gang, and designates Noh Eunsul who was a delinquent in high school and CEO Cha who was a man of fists in his youth. The second meaning designates the next-generation corporate man of DN Group, Cha Jihun. Why? Cha Jihun had a variety of problems including his panic disorder, and Noh Eunsul had to protect him as his secretary.
[Of course, in the drama, Cha Jihun makes the very romantic proposal to Noh Eunsul, one which we have seen many times in movies, and weds her and reminds the viewer that they are the lead couple. But when calling the drama’s title of Protect the Boss to mind, Cha Muwon took over all important roles of a “Boss” and his importance to the drama does not fall one iota.]
That Cha Muwon became the official successor instead of Cha Jihun in the final episode of Protect the Boss is novel in a variety of ways. First, it is novel that Boss escapes the mold of the dramas until now, in which the lead would receive the critical spotlight. Further, it is novel in that Cha Muwon became the successor to the group due to his abilities and not because he was the lead.
Cha Muwon chose to walk through the field of thorns in order to become the ideal corporate man that Noh Eunsul whom he loved drew perhaps in her innocent mind. To refrain from creating illicit funds or to have successions that do not skirt the law is described as almost a Mission Impossible for the corporate men of the Republic of Korea today.
They say “Just where can the clean person be found?” and find comfort in seeing the other corporate man act uncleanly. But if someone who is so talented as Cha Muwon runs the corporation cleanly, he brings onto himself all kinds of envy and abuse.
Thus, as Cha Muwon predicted, they may make him the loner by creating a union among themselves or, if taken to the extreme, bring him down from the position of the leader. However, in order to become the kind of corporate man that Noh Eunsul whom he loved wished for, he decided to walk the thorny path.
Further, he shares such determination with not his grandmother but with Seo Nayun first and promises their future together, completing the romantic proposal of marriage. Of course, the shining moments of Cha Muwon ends there. That is become if the drama showed more of such shining moments, the Cha Jihun – Noh Eunsul couple would become too dull.
[Kim Jaejoong exuded his spell without regret in the TV screen through this drama. He, fitting of a singer, showed off his singing ability in the Karaoke. He also did all of his part as an entertainer who emits charm that does not fall behind Ji sung’s. If one were to pick one weak spot it is that he has one voice tone and so is monotonous. But when considering the fact that he is a beginner and that today idols consistently show an acting befitting of my foot, his acting is nothing short of superb. Further, if a person is too perfect, one cannot feel affection towards him. He needs to have this flaw so that men like us can feel him – who seems to have overstepped the “perfect son of my mother’s friend” to become an alien really — to be “human.”]
Cha Jihun and Noh Eunsul held a wedding and in their own way ended the drama in a grand finale. However, in considering the title of the drama, the portion due to the corporate man will be assumed in whole by Cha Muwon as heir. In doing so, Cha Muwon was portrayed as a character who does not fall short of—no, even exceeds — Cha Jihun.
By meeting Noh Eunsul, Cha Muwon “cut class” for the first time, fell in love with a “regular person” and the nerd who could not drink at all became a man who knows how to appropriately play and take pleasure. Further, Protect the Boss made the rookie actor Kim Jaejoong into a star, no less than it did for Ji Sung and Choi Kanghee.
When watching Protect the Boss for the first time, the acting of Kim Jaejong who had become cast as a lead in his first domestic drama seemed shaky. But Kim Jaejoong indeed did his part properly, befitting of (his character who is) a third-generation chaebol and corporate man with talent. He puts the title of “first appearance” to shame. He portrayed the heart-wrenching longing for a loved woman, the rookie who is having his first play, and the mature man and corporateur, thus exuding a charm in the drama that did not fall behind Ji Sung’s.
It seems that Protect the Boss will be remembered as the drama that has shown us an outstanding new talent called Kim Jaejoong for 18 episodes. Fortunately, Kim Jaejoong is perfect in his expression of emotions and in almost every aspect. But he did fall short on diction. I thank God that He has given Kim Jaejoong such a side for now, lest others feel cold towards him for being too perfect. I want to end with the advice that if Kim Jaejoong were to improve his tone of diction that seems a bit monotonous because he is yet speaking in a single tone, his acting will be seen as even more natural.
Translation Credit: JYJ3
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