EXCUSE ME WHILST I HAVE ALLLLLLLLL THE FEELINGS!
Yet again, I gotta tackle-hug Stephanie. Lo and behold our queen has bestowed upon this plebeian another good drama. What have I done to deserve her awesomeness, guys?
No, srsly, DOCTOR CHAMP KICKED BOOTY!
We all know when dramas put awesome heroines up in my face, they get my love, and dude. Kim Yeon Woo is all that AND a bag of chips.
Our competent leading lady lands a job as a doctor at Korea’s national sports complex. Yes, I know that sounds bore-tastic but it’s not, I pinky promise.
This chick has got a full plate. First, her background is more about surgery and less about sports ouchies, so she’s a fish out of water. Plus she has to cope with a grumpy ex-athlete for a boss.
Yeah yeah, he’s cool and all, but the super-duper cool guy is Park Ji Heon! Our hero is a Judo martial artist…or as I like to call him, the cutest beta that ever beta-ed.
If you like internal conflict and character driven stories, then this is gonna be your thang! There’s not much overarching plot, but even if that’s not your cup of tea, drink the kettle anyway, my friend!
You’ll thank me later since this show did right what most kdramas do wrong.
For one, our heroine don’t suck. We get a unique, strong, and likable lead in Kim Yeon Woo, and that’s freaking rare. She’s a girl who rocks professional growth while trying to stay true to her principles and personality, which is all of the cool.
Another thing this show does right? The romance! I swear this cracktastic couple is gonna make your heart dance a jig! More fangirling about that later.
Thing #3 of Drama Well Doneness? Not one plot point fell down the Sucky Hole. There’s no pointless angst, no boring financial chaos, no evil businesses playing the Big Bad Wolf. Ain’t nobody got time for that crap! You’re actually going to give a damn about the conflicts in this show, even ones not focused on the lead characters.
Let’s all also praise Dr. Champ for not having a single bitchy side girl plotting to man-steal! Let’s also praise it for our smexy awesome hero being a nice guy!
Yep, you heard good. Neither gender has asshole representation in this Dramaland township.
There’s so much this show does right, to the point that criticizing it is almost Mission Impossible. Keyword? “Almost.” Alas, Limping Doctor and Swimmer Girl (AKA the second leads) gave us a rom-com that was light on the rom and zilch on the com.
But, hey, they didn’t make me wanna French kiss a shark, so they get a pass.
Point being, the story’s fun, the OTP’s cute, and the characters are good. If you’re a human with an internet connection, watch Dr. Champ! Because right now I’m gonna talk spoilers and praise be unto Junsu, I got a butt-ton of them!
We got nitty-gritty nuanced writing, adorable OTP ship-tastic moments, awesome characters and impressive cinematic elements…but first up?
WE GOT DAT HERO!
This puppy is so genuinely protective of our girl. Not in that “MINE MINE MINE” way, but in a, “WHO IS GIVING YOU A HARD TIME? I WILL PUNISH THEM ALL” kind of way. Literally.
But, surprisingly he’s awesome not just because he’s hot lick-able sex on two legs…which helps, sure, but that’s not it.
It isn’t just that he respects Yeon Woo so much, to the point he feels guilty that her Wet Tshirt Contest with mother nature made his lap happy.
Again, that helps, but it’s not the reason I fell for him; I swooned because Je Heon is such a good guy!
This sweetie pie stole my damn heart SO many times and not always in the happy way. When Je Heon emotionally broke down after his friend was paralyzed because of their match?
Hello sadness my old friend, thanks for punching me in the heart you bastard!
Hero baby owned my tears…and yes, he also owned my ovaries. This kid drops ONE word and there I was, throwing my panties at the screen!
Grumpy Doctor: Let me guess, her?
Smexy Hero: Yes.
YALL DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH I FANGIRLED WHEN HE WENT STRAIGHT-FACED SERIOUS IN THAT SCENE! Like omg feels. Which, “omg feels” is basically this character in a nuts shell.
Ji Heon was a walking-talking Heart emoji for Yeon Woo, and I’m so here for that. He straight up texts her with, “Pfft…you can’t fall asleep? No worries. Don’t count sheep, count all these hearts!”…and then proceeds to spam her with heart emojis!
CAN I FREAKIN’ LIVE PLEASE!?
Short answer, yes, because this OTP was life, a basket of puppies, AND free college tuition. That was partly because the male lead, duh, but also ‘cause that heroine! Cutie-patootie squish-able heroes make my knees weak, and smart career women make my heart strong!
Wanna know what the best kind of porn is? I’ll tell you. Competency porn.
Kim Yeon Woo rocking her job was as awesome sauce as her nuance and character complexity. Sadly, Dramaland’s got so many flat female leads you’d think all of Fake Korea was an Ihop.
Kdrama heroines are often loud screechy bags of helpless stupidity, and that makes me wanna cram my head in a blender.
BUT BUT BUT! Yeon Woo is the opposite of that. Her gender and culture force her to be fierce and stubborn because of her career choice.
To survive in such a climate she’s gotta be hard to be taken seriously. And yet, this same hard ball-breaker is also a warm and emotional woman.
So she’s hard, but soft, she’s tough…but guess what else? She gets to rock a sense of humor! I know, tickle my ass and call me Bugs Bunny. How awesome is that!? Too often leading ladies are the butt of the drama’s jokes but not here, and thank fluffy baby ducks for that!
I so appreciate writers that let the heroines maintain their dignity. The boys get to, so why not the girls, too?
But! Don’t think for one second this show puts Yeon Woo on a pedestal. She’s not infallible. In making the transition into this sports physician profession, she’s given room to grow. And of course, part growth includes growing pains.
So bravo drama for writing a damn good woman. BUT…Let’s be real, guys.
No matter how much I engage my brain, we all know it’s my heart that’s writing this review. And by heart I mean OTP. If I could retroactively go back in time and nominate this couple as world leader, I would, because they are EVERYTHING I adore in a ship.
Their dynamic is him trapping her against a wall, her kicking him in the shin for it, AND HIM LOVING HER FOR IT! You bet your butterballs that I went from “D’AWWWW” to “YEAH!” in that scene, because I’m a walking contradiction.
Watching these two interact was fun because there were so many funny adorable moments just like that.
There Je Heon was, staring at Yeon Woo from across the kitchen table like she was a goddess among humans. “What are you smiling about?” she asks, her brow furrowing in confusion. Instead of replying, his eyes crinkle as his smile widens causing Yeon Woo to erupt into a fit of giggles.
“Don’t laugh, you’re too pretty!” he proclaims, resting his chin in his hand while taking in the woman before him.
“Oh!” Her face scrunches in bemusement before she shudders. “I just got goosebumps, that’s so corny!”
His palm moves to the table as he nods in agreement. Je Heon raises an arm and points to his forearm. “Me too!”
No lie, guys? That cutesy-wootsey flirtation slapped me with adorbs.
But this couple, who can be such silly cute dorks are the same people who fail so hilariously.
They cook ramyun together. She spills a pot of hot boiling water on his peepee. They freak out. She worries about having blistered his peepee. “You have to cool it with water,” she says. He dives beclothed into the shower. She frets about his potentially blistered man business. He dies of embarrassment. I flailed with the funnies.
I know that’s an impractical big pot of BS, ‘cause you know, boiling water = third degree burns. But you know what? I care not because these two were just so well written.
Honestly, were it not for craptastic kiss they’d be my favorite Dramaland ship!
Seriously, our butts sat and waited 14 damn hours for these two to smash faces together. And when the grand fireworks of smexy FINALLY happened, no. So! Much! No! First no, she flinches. Second no, it’s a pancake kiss. Third no, the camera acts like it’s afraid of the damn thing. Forth no, there’s an awkward post-kiss laugh. Fifth no?
What? The? Hell!? WOMAN YOU ARE GROWN ADULT PLEASE ACT LIKE IT. You walk in literally the wrong direction like your mouth just got done have an orgasm. Y U NO MAKE SENSE?
On the one hand, yay for awkward realism but dammit the kiss played flat, her acting played odd, and if she was “kissed senseless” then that’s a lie. Coffee Prince is kissed senseless. Me Too, Flower! is kissed senseless. Scent of a Woman is kissed senseless. DOCTOR CHAMP AIN’T THE KISSING CHAMP, YA’LL!
BUT! I would be the shittiest human on Planet Earth for middle fingering a drama that rocked everything but the kissy kiss. And, while the drama doesn’t win Best Couple, I’ll be damned if it don’t win Best Original Screenplay.
BLESS THAT WRITER’S LAPTOP!
This script allowed secondary characters to actually be individuals. Hell, they even got occasional funny dialogue.
That’s awesome in its own right, but the way this writer crafted characters was even better! The story managed to create an admittedly uninteresting but likable non-bitchy non-man-stealing second female lead!
She’s the find of women who tells her trainees, “All athletes are important whether or not they win medals.”
CUE MY LOVE! For both that, and the nuanced writing.
On two occasions this story scoots away from the leads to focus on secondary character conflicts. Now, in most dramas once this happens, I start scrolling Tumblr, but nope, not here!
I actually gave a damn about this secondary conflicts ‘cause the writer makes you care. When the shitty shit started happening, you were already emotionally invested. The story took its time to establish these characters before the drama crapped on them.
You care about the injured Judo athlete because we saw him interacting and play fighting with Ji Heon long before his neck went crack.
You care about the female swimmer getting sick because we saw her joking with the main leads WELL before her Doom Clock started ticking.
Random cancer striking random character for a conflict worked here because Cancer Girl was given personality and likability before her illness struck. This allowed her story to resonate in both the plot and viewer. When the writing moves from the leads’ internal emotional conflicts to the secondary casts’ external conflicts, it actually matters.
Injury and cancer don’t inherently inspire viewer emotion, and this writer understood that!
Dear sweet turtles! I’ve been fangirling of ____ words now, and have lodged only ONE criticism against this drama. I’m not in denial, I promise, I’m just really wowed by Doctor Champ.
Okay, fine…what was up with Mr. Grumpy Doctor’s glasses…?
Or that Olympic sized pool only being half filled…?
Alright, one more question. WHO THE F THOUGHT THIS BROODY GRATUITOUS SHOWER SCENE WAS ACCEPTABLE…?
What the fudge, guys.
And don’t even try to play me that Doctor Champ is somehow afraid of man-nips…Don’t. Even. Try. Me!
I think I found God, y’all.
Okay okay, I’m done now. I mean, aside from, you know, Judo athletes that never do much Judo-ing. Just, a lot of running. Why the drama didn’t simply make these guys track athletes, I don’t know.
Okay, NOW I’m done with my bitching, because adorable drama was adorable.
The characters are awesome and all four leads undergo a story arc. The show is well written without even one recycle plot point, and hell! For a sports dramas that’s pretty darn tootin’ impressive. The romance is adorable, the writing is delightful, and there’s even quality camerawork thrown in for good measure.
Where our heroine was on the balcony, watching Ji Heon from above the street? He turns, holds her gaze while walking backwards and the camera tracks both actors as they walk. CAN WE SAY ARTSY FARTSY?!
(Insert the awesome moment here.)
Whoops. Okay, turns out a still frame of that scene just looks boring. So just…IMAGINE!
Dear God I’m a bit giant dork. If you’ve made it this far, once more I salute you. I feel like, I don’t know, I owe you ten bucks or something.
Here. Take this internet hug…
…Because you’re awesome. And remember, awesome people watch Doctor Champ! *hint*hint*
If you think I do the funny, or you wanna laugh at a fangirl’s fangirling, then I cordially invite you to my YouTube channel where I do the romance novel and Asian drama thing.