Entertainer (also known ad Ddanddara) is about a manager (Ji Sung) who was once at a top entertainment agency in Korea, but is forced out of his position and now represents rookies in his own small agency. As a group of rag-tag musicians are assembled to form a band, he learns what it really means to be a manager.
I was hoping for a fun and heartwarming drama with Entertainer, and that’s exactly what I got! This drama is full of so much heartwarming goodness that I can hardly contain it. It is absolutely beautiful with every aspect of the story moving me on such a deep level. Dramas like this just don’t come around often enough.
It’s definitely cheesy, but in the best way possible. Entertainer just made me feel good. I smiled so much, and just fell in love with the Ddanddara band and the entire team at Mango Entertainment. They are faced with so many obstacles on the road to pursuing their dreams. They are true underdogs.
We have a group of imperfect people that come together, and each of them have certain issues they are dealing with that are not ideal for a debuting band. But they quickly develop deep friendships with each other and will support each other no matter what.
They cling to one another and create a family for themselves that acts as a sort of shelter from the world. None of them ever expected just how much they would grow to love and need each other.
Entertainer populates it’s world with so many lovable characters. First we have the amazingly talented Ji Sung with his off the wall and intense portrayal of Shin Suk Ho. Once at the top of the world with his career, a hard fall from grace has forced him to re-evaluate his decisions in life.
What starts out as a scam of throwing together a band, turns into an emotional journey that grows his heart by leaps and bounds. Ji Sung nails all aspects of this character from despicable to eccentric to heartbroken to genuinely kind. I love this guy.
Hyeri is her usual bubbly self with a heart of gold as Jung Geu Rin. As the older adopted “sister” of Ha Neul, she is extremely protective of him. This protectiveness quickly extends to the band, and she goes on to become the band’s manager as well as an important member of the team.
I really enjoyed Kang Min Hyuk as Jo Ha Neul. He’s one of those actors that has been steadily growing on me with each drama I see him in. He naturally comes off as sweet and likable, but let me tell you, this guy can cry! I was always in tears right along with him.
Ha Neul is the first person Suk Ho seeks out to be in his band as the lead vocalist. But Ha Neul is in a bad place having to deal with the aftermath of a false sexual assault conviction.
After being set up by his friend, depression sets in to the point where he even decides to commit suicide. But Suk Ho steps in and gives him new purpose in life with the possibility that he really could achieve his dream of singing. Little do they know that Ha Neul’s false charge is way more complicated than either of them imagined.
Yun Soo (Lee Tae San) is a single dad who is one of the most positive people you will ever come across. He frequently sports this cheesy grin that makes him all the more lovable. He is such a good dad who loves his son with all of his heart.
Of course, having a son out of wedlock is typically frowned upon for a debuting band member. His story arc explored having to care for his son alone as well as dealing with the fact that the woman he loved abandoned him and their son. And how will the fans react if his situation comes out?
Kyle (Gong Myung) tends to open his mouth before thinking most of the time. At first, he’s unhappy being put together with band members with so much baggage. But once he sees them for who they are, he becomes one of their biggest supporters.
His personal story arc involved coming to terms with his old friend/rival Sang Won (Seo Kang Joon). They were the only two from Korea attending the famous music school Juliard, so the two spent a lot of time together.
But Kyle always felt overshadowed by Sang Won and held a lot of animosity toward him. But these two get a chance to work out their issues in a way that not only helps Kyle move forward, but gives the entire band a boost.
Jae Hoon (L.Joe) is a rich mama’s boy who has spent his life only focusing on school. He jumps at the chance to be the drummer in the Ddanddara Band, but has to keep it a secret from his mom. He eventually has to reconcile his own dream for his life with hers.
We also have Min Joo (Chae Jung Ahn) who is a friend and colleague of Suk Ho’s. She is always a help for him and is instrumental in getting his new agency going as well as supporting the band. She becomes an important person in everyone’s lives, and an important member of the Mango Entertainment family.
Director Byun (Ahn Nae Sang) and Man Shik (Jung Man Shik) round out our little group. I loved both of these guys with their unique humor and what they were able to contribute to the team.
We have our resident bad guys from Suk Ho’s old agency, Ktop Entertainment, Joo Han (Heo Jun Suk) and CEO Joon Suk (Jun Noh Min). Joo Han creates a lot of problems for Suk Ho, but the true mastermind is CEO Joon Suk. He will do whatever it takes to get ahead, and we see just how far he is willing to go.
Ji Yung (Yoon Seo) is the girl who accuses Ha Neul of sexual assault. As a previous friend, it comes as a shock to Ha Neul as to why she would do such thing. And as the story unfolds, we learn their is a lot more to the story than meets the eye.
Ji Nu (Ahn Hyo Seop) is the lead of the Kpop group Jackson who got where he is thanks to Suk Ho, but he basically abandons him. We then learn the shocking secret that Ji Nu was in fact the one who should have been charged with sexually assaulting Ji Yung. He was completely drunk when it happened, but he’s completely distraught over the possibility that he could do such a thing.
But the secrets continue as it turns out that Ji Yung set up the whole thing with Joo Han in order to further her own singing career. So even Ji Nu was not at fault. But the pictures and video evidence look bad, so Ji Nu is forced to keep the secret by Joo Han and Joon Suk. His own health suffers from dealing with the guilt and having no where to turn.
Entertainer did well at highlighting just how damaging false charges can be for anyone, but especially for someone in the public eye. Everyone knew that Ha Neul’s conviction would eventually come out, but you can never fully prepare yourself for the humiliation that comes with it.
I was heartbroken as this kind, innocent boy dealt with trying to achieve his dreams with something so terrible hanging over his head. At first, he’s shunned by those around them. But things change as he grows closer with his band mates and Suk Ho. Their support gives him the strength he didn’t know he had.
But when the news finally comes out to the public, Ha Neul is left to face the questions of the media as well as the mountains of hateful comments circulating the internet. But with the help of his new family, he is able to hold his head high and even discovers there are people out there in the world that do believe and support him.
And with some encouragement from Suk Ho, Ji Nu is even able to find it within himself to right the wrong by stepping up to clear Ha Neul’s name. Such a touching story all around.
Which brings me to the fact that the bromance really overflows in this drama! And not just from one pair but from so many different character pairings. The band members each have solid friendships with each other as well as a relationship with Suk Ho.
And Suk Ho looks at them like his kids, so he is always doing what he can for them. That also branches out to Ji Nu who he maintains a friendship with despite everything that happens.
Then there’s the relationships between Suk Ho, Man Shik, and Director Byun. These guys were a fun trio. I just loved how Entertainer took the time to really cultivate so many different relationships. It even extends to the ladies who develop a nice friendship.
The romance in Entertainer is very low key. The relationship between Suk Ho and Geu Rin progresses very slowly and naturally. There’s not a lot of big moments between the two, but I found myself enjoying their simple romance. They just had this very comfortable relationship that I found very cute.
It definitely takes a backseat to the story of the band, but we do get some of those classic kdrama moments as well Ha Neul taking on the role of the pining second lead for a bit. I enjoyed these elements, but this was a case where I didn’t mind at all that the romance aspect was downplayed in favor of the bromance and family elements.
And the relationship between Ha Neul and Geu Rin was such a joy. Ha Neul’s family took her in after her parents died, and she really became one of the family. Then when Ha Neul’s parents die, Geu Rin takes her sisterly guardianship role very seriously. These two develop a tight bond that is evident to all around them.
We also deal with the difficult truth of Ha Neul’s older brother, Sung Hyun’s (Jo Bok Rae), death many years ago. Suk Ho is the one who discovered him and introduced him to KTOP. But after the song he wrote is stolen and he is humiliated, Sung Hyun ends up committing suicide. This truth was not known and was very difficult for both Suk Ho and Ha Neul on many levels.
Not only did Suk Ho lose his friend, it turns out Suk Ho did the exact same thing to a song writer that also resulted in his death earlier in the drama. It was a harsh dose of reality when he had to face this. But Suk Ho makes it his mission to reveal the truth that Sung Hyun was the original writer of the song by getting the singer who got credit for it to confess.
What results is a beautiful performance by Ha Neul alongside an old video of Sung Hyun as they both sing the song together on T.V. It was a truly healing experience for all involved that I found incredibly moving.
Entertainer is the kind of drama that just makes you wish real life was like it is in the show. There are plenty of selfish people that do bad things to get ahead, but most of them regret their wrongdoings and eventually own up to them to set things right. And because of their honesty, the people around them forgive them and love them even more including many of their fans. If only the world really worked that way.
While real life is no where near that rosy, a drama like Entertainer should inspire us all to be better people ourselves as well as be more forgiving and slow to judge those around us. You never know what hurt is buried in someone’s heart, and even when people do bad things, it doesn’t always mean they are bad people.
Happy endings abound in Entertainer. The little family of the Ddanddara Band and Mango Entertainment go on to great success while remaining close. New relationships begin to bloom for many of them. Even most of the “villains” get a chance at redemption. They all had the opportunity to actually realize their dreams even when the odds were heavily stacked against them.
Entertainer was truly a beautiful drama that made me laugh, cry, and inspired me. With so many wonderful characters and so many touching memories, I hated having to say goodbye. I will greatly miss this family of people I had the joy to be a part of.
My Rating: 10/10
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