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K-Drama Analysis: Her Private Life | Episode 1

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What happens in the first episode of a Korean Drama…Um… a lot! Just like when writing a novel there is a lot of character setup within the first episode of Korean Dramas too. This week I’m looking at Her Private Life.

Table of Contents

Heroine: Deok Mi
Hero: Ryan Gold
Side Characters
Romance Arc

Here is a quick synopsis from MyDramaList

A dedicated professional, Sung Deok Mi lives for her work as an art gallery curator. Devoting herself to her work, she is exceptional in every way, save one. Beneath that cool, professional facade, Deok Mi carries a dark secret. A secret she desperately wants to keep from the world. A secret that has driven lovers away. A secret that rules every moment of her personal life… Sung Deok Mi is the ultimate Cha Shi An fangirl. The devoted manager of a Shi An fansite, Deok Mi eats, breathes, and sleeps for Shi An. He is her sun, her moon. Her entire universe revolves around him. This is the secret Deok Mi must hide from the world. And hide it she does. At least until Ryan Gold, the art gallery’s new director, saunters into her life. A once famous painter, the former artist turned director considers himself an indifferent being, unconcerned with the lives of others. But when he uncovers Deok Mi’s secret, everything

Just by reading the synopsis we learn some things about these characters.

Deok Mi’s career. Her dark secret: being a fan girl. We also know what Ryan Gold does and that eventually he will discover her secret.

Here is what I also learned from episode one:

Character One: Heroine, Seong Deok Mi

  • Art gallery curator (ep 1)
  • Kpop Fan Girl (ep 1)
  • Overlooked at work (ep 1) 

Problems: Her boss wants only the best artists while she wants new artists (similarly the hero looks for new art as well).

Secret From Family – Her fangirling apartment. She hasn’t let her mom see how bad her obsession is. 

As soon as she returns from China Her boss is being indicted for embezzlement. She and her boss are taken to the police station for questioning. 

When she goes to tell her boss she’s going to quit, her boss lets her know that Seong is being promoted to director and the boss is resigning. 

Seong discovers that she is NOT the new director. She also discovers the new job was already taken by someone else. She’s stuck. 

Character Two; Hero (Ryan Gold)

  • Art collector/critic (ep 1)
  • Artist with block (ep 1) 
  • Seeing a therapist (ep 1)

Problems: He cannot paint, he has a block. The idol loves art and has the painting Ryan needs in his collection.

MISUNDERSTANDING Ep 1 – He thinks that the BFF is at the hotel to meet with her lover (a woman) and that’s why it’s hard for them to meet up. He sees the BFF cuddling up and giggling with Seong not knowing the two of them are fangirling over Si An, the idol. 

In the hotel bar bathroom he chastises himself for being a douche and assuming she was lying. To make up for it he gives up the suite.

Side character: Heroine’s Mom

(You could have become an artist if you hadn’t gone to see that idol and broken your arm.) < backstory without flashback

Obsessed with knitting. Her husband was obsessed with rock collecting (therefore their daughter was bound to be obsessed with something too and that something was Kpop bands)  SHOWING FAMILY THREADS/GENETICS 

Side Character: Her Brother, Eun Gi

Warns her about keeping her fangirling secret from their mom

Brother knows the passcode to her house (Idol’s birthday or Idol’s debut date)

He left his sneakers at her house. (The reason why is his secret)

Side Character: Ryan’s Therapist

(I think the key to you not being able to paint has something to do with that painting. We need to get it back)

Side Character: The idol

  • Loves art (ep 1)
  • Collects art (ep 1)
  • Heroine FanGirls over him (ep 1) 
  • Heroine wants to gift him something for his birthday and on a video he says he really wants the original painting with bubbles. (Ryan has this painting)

Side Characters: Heroine’s Co-worker Girl and Boy

  • They talk to each other about how heroine is under appreciated. (Mouthpiece – Ep 1)

Side Character: Seon Joo (Seong’s best friend)

  • Seong drinks soju and unloads on her friend about the work situation. (We learn more about Seong who says she loves hanging paintings that move people) 
  • Shows friendship when Seon Joo cries bc Seong is crying
  • When Seong is having a job interview another character asks if Seong is on a blind date. Through Seon Joo we learn that Seong doesn’t date. 
  • After bitching about losing the job Seon Joo takes Seong to places her idol has been. (Set up for running into male lead again?)
  • When they are told the room has already been taken the BFF chases down Ryan Gold to try to convince him to give up the room he was just given.  


Meet Cute – Ep 1 – They are both at an art action in Shanghai. They are seated in the same row. He glances at her. When he looks away she is glancing at him. He seems to glow and she says to herself that he looks like her idol, Si An. She continues to stare. He then starts talking about himself as if he were a painting and asks if she wants him. She’s offended and says no. He leans in, arms crossed and tells her he thought she did since she was staring at him so much. She calls him a psycho. (Eye to body, eye to eye, voice to ears)

Tensions Raising – Ep 1 – They begin to bid for the same painting (the bubble painting). Giving each other side eye. He wins out. (Eye to eye)

She chases after him to convince him to give her the painting. She insults him (politely) and he then in turn insults her (politely)  (eye to eye, voice to ears)

Meet Cute #2- Ep 1 – She is at the airport waiting for her idol. She is taking pictures and Ryan Gold is blocking her view of her idol who is behind him. Someone spots the idol and he is suddenly bombarded with a stampede of fangirls. He is pushed out of the way and bumps into Seong who grabs onto his coat, rips it and topples on him. She is relieved that her camera is safe but Ryan is really peeved that his coat is ripped and a girl landed on him. When she apologizes he tries to take off her face masks. She flees and leaves behind her planner. (Cinderella moment) (eye to eye, body to body)

Adhesion (End of Ep 1) – She goes to work, ready to resign, fixes a lightbulb (on a ladder) and he comes in and asks “Do you work here?” She comes most of the way down and then stares at him. He asks, “Do you want me?” She falls off the ladder and onto the floor. 

As we can see there is so much that happened in this first episode. And it ended really well with a hook of her running into Ryan Gold again… or rather falling for him – literally.

I cannot wait to see how things play out between Ryan and Deok Mi when he tries to get the painting back from her idol. She’s got a huge obsession and I wonder if she’s going to have to give it up or if Ryan is going to be understanding and accepting in the end.

What do you think? You can watch this drama on with a Standard Viki pass.

Episode Two will be coming soon!

I’m thinking about doing real-time K-drama reactions and breakdowns on a Youtube channel. Is that something you might watch? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next week…

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