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K-Drama Review: Doctor Cha
Interesting and thought provoking drama about marital issues and later-in-life return to work. Recommend watching with your partner and talking about it.
Note: I’m including comments when I use an LLM to help with writing or editing a post. I mainly rewrote the start and end of this post from ChatGPT. I also cleaned up some of the references internally as ChatGPT quoted actor and character names heavily, which I didn’t think necessary for this post. The prompts are given at the end of the post.
Context: I’m overdue in posting about K-Dramas. I enjoy watching them together with my wife and discussing the range of personal and social issues. The acting and character development is generally great. And I appreciate the focus on characters and story rather than implied or explicit sex.
"Doctor Cha" was a nice surprise to me and my wife. The lead character Dr Cha is portrayed exceptionally well and represents an increasingly common profile in the world - someone who left work for family and after a many years looks to return to their career. With the right attitude that experience and perspective is valuable in any job.
The drama is available for streaming on TVING and Netflix and is highly rated.
The story revolves around Dr. Cha Jeong-suk, a housewife of twenty years who decides to return to her medical career after a medical crisis. This premise of an older person reentering the professional world is a refreshing and insightful depiction that challenges ageist stereotypes in a society often obsessed with youth1.
The narrative also delves into marital issues, providing a raw and poignant view of relationship struggles. Dr. Cha husband is a perfectionist named Seo In-ho, a chief surgeon. He has an affair with Choi Seung-hee, a family medicine professor. Overall I found the husband character really hard to process. He is such a terrible person (who doesn’t seem to be aware of his nature) yet does some well intentioned things to protect his family and others. These character dynamics invite engaging discussions about marital fidelity and the repercussions of self-centred actions on relationships and family1.
The character of the husband left me conflicted. His blatant disregard for his wife's and mistress's feelings, coupled with his overbearing desire to protect his status (even parking slots!), paints a picture of a deeply self-centred individual. This portrayal was still a compelling depiction of human flaws and the consequences of selfish decisions.
Overall, I’ve found it a compelling drama that was funny, engaging and supported some interesting discussions with my family. The perspectives on age and value in the professional world were refreshing and got me thinking about how we all contribute to these dynamics.
The series effectively illustrates the repercussions of self-centred actions and the opportunity we all have in seeing our lives as more than what they are - what we can make them to be.
Notes and GPT: I used ChatGPT for this article. The full text of the discussion and prompts is shared here: https://chat.openai.com/share/328231e7-06d8-46fe-b23a-0e236e101e73
The web-browsing plug-in was used during this chat.