Unlike other healing series, KBS2’s “If You Wish Upon Me” is not appealing to the public. It’s a pretty good and meaningful drama, but unfortunately, not many people know about it.
The first encounter between Yoon Gyeo-ree (Ji Chang-wook), who had just been released from prison, and Kang Tae-sik (Sung Dong-il) was not very pleasant. Tae-sik was injured when Gyeo-ree, who was being chased for money by the gangsters, almost crashed into Tae-sik’s ambulance while he was transferring a patient. While heading to the East Sea, Gyeo-ree, who was forced to take the ambulance wheel, heard about Team Genie of which Tae-sik is a member. He couldn’t believe that they grant the last wishes of hospice patients for free. Although that’s something out of his interest, Gyeo-ree, who was ordered to do community service to pay for his crime of causing a car accident, eventually joins Team Genie and takes care of terminally ill patients.
Before joining Team Genie, happiness was nothing more than a luxury thing for Gyeo-ree, who suffered a harsh childhood due to his violent father, spent his life in juvenile detention and prison, and even thought about ending his life. Perhaps that’s why he still feels unfamiliar and awkward with the warm and friendly energy of Team Genie members. However, as time goes by, the little light of hope begins to shine in the dark life of Gyeo-ree. Will his wish, which is ‘I want to be happy for once’, come true?
“If You Wish Upon Me” depicts the journey of the immature male lead growing up as well as the stories of ordinary people gathering to warmly see off hospice patients in their last moments. The drama also evokes various emotions through the narratives of Ha Joon-kyung (Won Ji-an), who is related to one of the sad past story of Gyeo-ree, the unrevealed past of Tae-sik and Gyeo-ree, the romance with Seo Yeon-joo (Choi Soo-young) and the relationships between members of Team Genie. Although the story developments are sometimes a bit obvious, the drama is worth watching.
In the drama, Team Genie shows a lot of affection for their patients. From a small effort to spraying snow in the middle of summer to planning a performance with a famous musical actor or renting the house where a patient used to live before passing away, their passion is shown in a “romantic” way, but serious problems also arise in this process. No matter what wish is granted, CPR is performed on a patient who has completed an advance directive. It was emphasized through several conflicts between Yang Chi-hoon (Shin Joo-hwan) and Team Genie that stopping the patient’s treatment without the consent of the family is not the right thing to do. The production team’s efforts to properly balance the “ideal” situation in the drama with the “reality” we live in were outstanding.
The performances of the main cast actors are also worth paying attention to. Ji Chang-wook, who has portrayed various characters so far, is perfectly expressing the role of Yoon Gyeo-ree, who needs comfort more than anyone else because of the bad and deep wounds he has. Sung Dong-il and Choi Soo-young who play Kang Tae-sik and Seo Yeon-joo, respectively, also revitalize the story with their stable acting skills that can change from realistic acting to serious and comic acting.
However, the fact that the drama deals with “death” is considered a barrier that prevents the work from approaching the public. No matter how warm and beautiful it is described, the impression given by the subject of “death” itself is already heavy and dark. Therefore, its new element and the developments that flow somewhat calmly may be other reasons that contribute to the drama’s disappointing ratings.
Despite the poor rating performance, “If You Wish Upon Me” still has plenty of opportunities to rebound. Team Genie’s heartwarming human stories will still lead the drama, but exciting stories that have just been heralded will also be unveiled in earnest. How Joon-kyung and Tae-sik relate to each other, and the identity of the patient in Room 403, which remains a mystery, has yet to be revealed. Fans are looking forward to seeing “If You Wish Upon Me” unravel these stories well and change the mood of the public’s responses.