de AnQuat & Shiro, Julho 15, 2023

Once upon a time, Shiro and AnQuat started discussing the roles of the writers in Dramaland which led to a huge document with lots of lovely names of writers and their works. A document that - had we continued writing in it - would never actually end… but who needs it to end?

At the bottom of that document, there is now a completed article that some of you may have read about one of the wonderful Writers of Dramaland: Park Hae Young, a lovely screenwriter who made her way from our document to the wonderful editorial section of MDL. However, we wanted MORE.

As we have already established that those who often get the credits are the, oh so, pretty-faced actors and actresses of Dramaland. The writers will often be left face- and nameless, and what about the directors? Does anybody actually care about the directors?

Well, Jung Hae In does: 


 “ When I´m filming all my focus is on the director and Ye-Jin.” 

So even if we - the viewers - like to give the utmost credit to the actors, they clearly need a good director to shine. We also established that contrary to popular beliefs of dramas being created in heaven, the reality of the writers and directors basically boils down to a lot of hard work. We could of course shift focus completely from writers and move on to the directors, but much like the creation of a drama it is all about the process, we assume, again we know nothing about any of this as neither of us is actually qualified to write about directing nor writing… As this editorial is purely written for entertainment and is neither a factual piece nor meant to be educational. The two of us are just slightly obsessed drama lovers who like to write about stuff we know nothing about but that has brought us pleasure and gotten our minds rolling. 

Anyway, we are not ready to let go of the writers just yet. To make the transition process easier we would like to share an observation we have made in Dramaland. While some writers and directors switch partners in every project there are those who seem to have this amazing chemistry and create several great works together.

The firsts to come to mind are Ahn Pan Seok and Kim Eun for their impressive collaborations, writing and directing Something in the Rain and One Spring Night. While Ahn Pan Seok has been paired with a whole bunch of writers, Kim Eun's works have all been directed by Ahn Pan Seok or so it seems. And though we have not watched all of Ahn Pan Seok’s previous works these are the most recent ones, and also the best in our opinion (we are sure it has nothing to do with our bias about the casting of the main lead Jung Hae In in these). 

Before we dig into the main course of this editorial we would also like to mention a few other notables pairings that can be found in our beloved never-ending document at the moment:  

Kim Eun Sook 

Lee Eung Bok 

The pairing who wrote and directed the very popular suspense-filled shows GoblinMr. Sunshineand  Descendants of the Sun.

The paring who had us guessing and were the people behind these very emotional relationship-driven dramas: Reply series 1988/1994/1997, Prison Playbook, Hospital Playlist 1/2

P.S. Both have also worked quite a bit with Director Pyo Min Soo on dramas we haven't watched yet. 

These are all dramas most K-drama fans have heard of, love, and are really, really good.  If we read those titles they really convince us that just as much as chemistry between actors matters, so does the harmony between the writer and director. 

The pairings above are of course worthy of their own articles (if they actually end up getting them is however up to the amount of time and energy, we or someone else has to write them). We chose Ahn Pan Suk and Kim Eun out of purely selfish reasons: Wanting them to please work together again - and it was Shiro's turn to choose her favorites. 

Who Rules the World 

 *Note all the people in front of and behind the scenes matter, and again this is just us guessing. These two may actually hate each other.  

Now! Who are these two that we decided to put in the spotlight of this article? 

Ahn Pan Seok

Native name: 안판석

Also Known as: An Pan Seok, Ahn Pan Suk

Nationality: South Korean

Born: November 11, 1961

Age: 61

This guy has been active as a director since the early 1980s and has won several big awards for his directing (Source). He has worked with some of S. Korea's most-known names in the industry and covered a wide range of subjects, mostly romance, and melodramas, but he has also ventured into Political, Business, Mystery, and Comedy dramas.  

The first listing on MDL is the drama Partner from 1994, a 163-episode-long romance drama starring Kim Hye Soo, Ahn Jae Wook, Yoon Mi Ra, and Im Ye Jin. A funny romance with a bunch of couples. Clicking around on his MDL page is a true pleasure as you will find a number of pretty faces and a mix of more well-known and unknown writers, actresses, and actors who seem to have worked with him several times. Kim Chang Wan, Kil Hae Yeon, and Jang So Yeon have supporting roles in at least 4 titles directed by him. 

Besides Kim Eun, two writers stand out for working frequently with Ahn Pan Suk:

Jung Yoo Kyung

Who wrote: YesterdayI Love Hyun Jung and South of the Border, all romance dramas between 1997 and 2006. 


Jung Sung Joo

Who wrote: Roses and Bean Sprout, Housewife's Rebellion, A Wife's Credentials,  Secret Love Affairand  Heard it Through the Grapevinemostly melo dramas and romances between 1999 and 2015.

All things that tell us he may just pair up with Kim Eun (and Jung Hae In) again. 

Kim Eun

Native name: 김은

Nationality: South Korean

Kim Eun is pretty much anonymous on MDL and elsewhere. Here is a thread on Reddit with a rumour that they may be the writer of Love Again. Is Kim Eun another Miss Kim Eun Hee? Or is she or he Kim Eun Sang? Whoever Kim Eun is and whether they wrote Love Again or Only One Spring Night and Something in the Rain… it is for them to know and for us to wonder over (until someone who actually knows tells us).

What is clear is that the collaboration between these two started with Something in the Rain. How much rain actually played a part in their collaboration is not sure since the drama is also known as Noona Who Buys Me Food, so whether it was food or rain that got these two to collaborate is pretty unknown. What we also know is that it is THE drama that made Shiro fall into the lovely rabbit hole called Dramaland. It was number 3 in order of watching but the one that stood for the point of no return, and AnQuat watched and rewatched this drama several times for the incredibly sensual and intimate moments it shows. 

Warning! We have tried to avoid major spoilers about the main plot and ending, but the following text does include some spoilers about events in the plot such as holding hands, kisses, conflicts, etc. as well as comparisons between the two dramas Something in the Rain and One Spring Night. 


Native Title: 밥 잘 사주는 예쁜 누나

Score: 7.9 (scored by 26,522 users)

Ranked:  #2328

Popularity: #100

Watchers: 61,171

*March 18th 2023 

Genres: RomanceLife, DramaMelodrama

Main Tags: Family PressureSteamy KissWorkplace Abuse, Nice Male Lead, Forbidden Love, Older Woman/Younger ManSexual Harassment, Male Chases Female FirstDisapproving ParentSelfish Mother 

This fast-paced slice-of-life romance drama shows some pretty ordinary people dealing with their day-to-day lives. Both leads are just regular people with pretty regular jobs. The female lead is 35 but still lives at home with her parents. The male lead is younger but has a small studio apartment besides having some expensive product placement. Neither of them leads an extravagant life nor are they poor. The struggles and stigma the two have to deal with are struggles many people can relate to in one way or another. The story is gray, the clothing is mostly gray… the lighting is gray…. Well, everything is pretty much gray except for the umbrella and the blue car.

To be honest, the story in this drama is not one to keep you on your toes or go beyond the day-to-day lives of office workers. There are fighting moments and people trying to rise up against both sexual harassment and other types of oppression, be it at home, in the workplace, or against prejudice and taboos. The writer does not try to sugarcoat any of these issues and rather shows the complexity of it. Much like in real life, the fights shown in the drama are actually not very successful. Reassuring all those who have tried and failed they are not alone. 

However, even in the greyest day-to-day life of ordinary human beings, there is space for moments of fun, friendship, subtle gestures, and, well, heart-fluttering romance that is sure to captivate the viewers. 

The first episode introduces the viewers to the main characters and themes of the drama, giving us a start packed with information. This fast pace is kind of unusual among the melo dramas we have watched. The plot is a romance that is clearly centered around the female lead Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin). The male lead Joon Hae (Jung Hae in) may be the main attraction in this drama, but the drama is not about him but rather about Jin Ah.

It starts off by showing Jin Ah in her professional role, confident, strict, and professional. She then moves on to her role as a woman getting dumbed by a really bad boyfriend, and to a drunk friend, just to round her off as the daughter of a grumpy controlling woman - all within the first 10 minutes or so.

Joon Hae on the other hand is introduced with short flashes of arrival at his apartment and work. He is shown as playful and flirty, but it takes time to learn more about him. 

The first episode, much like the drama, has several smile-creating moments of playfulness and flirting. It is there to ease the gray and keep the viewers from falling into a deep depression. 

As seen in the first meeting between the two leads:

This place is full of people, the female lead just came back from work, and her feet hurt so bad she is actually limping and had a really tough day. These two meet for the first time after three years and they just dive into their sweet little island where there is nothing harmful, nothing sad or painful, just their playfulness and childish giggles. It is a little bit like finding our own childhood friends and doing fun stuff on the spot.

The director gives a lot of time to these scenes, to make up for the boring gray - the bicycle scene above got more than a minute - just circling around the FL on a bike. 

Ah, for both of us just watching them feels so good. Even though it is much better with the OST!

This drama is also a master of the almost touching, almost holding hands and they slow motion pretty much everything, 

For the umbrella and cliche lovers out there the drama does of course also include an umbrella scene where Joon Hae purposely chooses just one umbrella. 

In line with the drama's themes here comes the playful-meets-serious, as the ex-boyfriend - and Ji Ahn's mother's preferred son-in-law - show up unwanted at Ji Ahn's workplace 

This of course escalates later on, to show that breakups can be dangerous for women and that Joon Hae was not off when he talked about reporting him. While the first meeting combined playfulness and humor, the escalation combined calm happiness with a dreadful drama - her voice on the phone and his unknowingly smiling, on the one hand, are shown back to back with Ji Ahn's frightened face as she is in the car of terror, her ex-boyfriend has trapped her in the car and is speeding in a quest to make them die together.

The contrasts are shown in the content and not in the scenery or lighting. 

A car ride of nervously flirting love 

Car ride from hell 

Unknowingly flirting of fluff... In the same scene as the car ride from hell. 

But seriously that is pretty much the only time (if you do not count the sexual assault that is) the gray mundane life of these two goes to terror; the rest is either flirting, bubbling romance or realism, and pressure. As most of the so-called violence in the drama is more of playful or social pressure kind. 

As predicted in a drama with a secret relationship, all secrets must come to an end and for this drama, the end of secrecy is a turning point where the sweet moments between the leads are gradually taken over by moments of frustration. As cultural pressure and prejudice take over more and more, much like the car above heading for a crash, so did the drama. 

This was of course not done without a fight… (or 20.) 

The main villain of this drama entered the scene and showed the ugly, extremely well-written face of hypocrisy, prejudice, and a bunch of other stuff. The mother embodied more or less everything that is wrong with society -  being all lovey-dovey caring grown-up, telling Joon He he is just like a son to her in the first episodes, just to do everything in her power to come between them and shame her daughter for choosing a boy from a less affluent family over a lawyer from a good family who cheated on her. To be fair she is not aware of all the bad things the viewers know, but the way they made us - the viewers - all knowing made her look even worse than what she really was. Filling the viewers as well with prejudice against the mother. Again so simple but oh-so-powerful realism accentuated by all these contrasts.

Another thing worth mentioning you may not notice this during the first watch of the drama but if you watch it again you will notice there are signs everywhere about what is about to happen later on as well as repetitive scenes that communicate with past scenes. Some scenes seem to be there to wrap up the story and bring closure. For example this scene from the first episode where they talk about breaking taboos, in this case drinking a glass of wine at lunchtime: 

And our beloved bike, once bearer of romance and good news in the light (gray) first meeting after a long time apart. It is also present at the beginning of the end. but this time in the dark. 

The story itself is one that had to be told, but for the audience who had gotten used to the great chemistry between the leads, watching the later development in this drama was not only frustrating but depressing. Genius in one way, moves away from, "love can conquer all, fighting the power spirit" people expect, to a different path, one true to the characters and the society they live in. Some parts may be a bit extreme but if you dig down into the essence you are sure to see that fighting against family pressure, prejudice, and conventions does not always guarantee success. 

Anquat: I suppose you are with me when I complain about the frustrating FL`s mom, the endless indecisiveness, and at some point the FL's hopeless attitude.

But as if the switch is flipped, whenever these two were alone, they were so playful, joyful, and happy that you can't help forgetting all the bad things in the world.

“Male Chases Female First” is a tag that I personally like a lot :) and the ML is both lovely and clear about his feelings towards the FL, slowly changing her perception of him.

This drama made me curious about Korean society. Is the situation really that bad? Are many women under this kind of pressure? Is it possible that this story portrays reality there? In both dramas, Something In The Rain and One Spring Night I had the feeling the dramas could influence Korean society by showing the beauty of a different way of life.

Shiro: I love this drama. While I admit I chose to focus on the first half instead of watching the whole drama again when I watched it for the third time (see my thread on Twitter). The existence of these two halves blows my mind. The way this is written, the contrast, the time given, and the CASTING! makes this drama one of the most brilliant dramas I have ever seen and is probably the source of my drama addiction. And I am grateful for it. 


Native Title: 봄밤

Score:Score: 8.3 (scored by 19,538 users)

Ranked: #818

Popularity: #198

Watchers: 41,222

*March 18th 2023 

Genres: Romance, Life, Drama, Melodrama

Main Tags: Nice Male Lead, Family Pressure, Strong Female Lead, Adult Romance, Father-Son Relationship, Strict Father, Sismance, Male Chases Female First, Mother-Son Relationship, Mother-Daughter Relationship

Some say One Spring Night was made to make up for messing up the latter parts of Something in the Rain. The drama has a lot of the charm, pain, and issues you will find in Something in the Rain, but it has a much more independent female lead Jung In (Han Ji Min), who first of all lives alone, second of all is already in a relationship and third has a pretty regular job where she is not subjected to harassment.

Her parents are however just as “charming” as the ones from Something in the Rain but with a slight gender role reversal, as the controlling slightly oblivious selfish parent here is embodied in the father who wants to marry his unhappy daughter off to an affluent family so he can keep his job and maybe even get a promotion at work.

Just like Something in the Rain, One Spring Night combines sweetness with social issues. And is just as powerful but goes about it in a different way. While Something in the Rain is very much centered around the main couple and contrasts (sorry about nagging about the contrasts), One Spring Night is more about nuance and comparisons with other couples in the drama. The drama also has a slow pace throughout, the relationship is formed in a more, dare we say more mature way. Instead of giving time to a lot of playful flirting, we get witty, wordless communication, and slow, deep conversations. Sitting on park benches and long slow walks in the dark. Much like the seasons fade into another (part of the OST) so do the relationships in this drama.

While the day-to-day and scenery in Something in the Rain was mostly gray, the relationships in One Spring Night are gray, but the lighting is mostly dark, as the name of the drama entails most of the scenes shot at night instead of the gray day to day. Both dramas have a lot of scenes inside cars and taxis. If you watch One Spring Night after Something in the Rain you may -  just may - find yourself biting your nails in fear whenever the female lead and second male lead are in a car together as violence against women and the difference between love and obsession are very strong themes in both dramas. 

But enough about the comparisons, what happened one spring night? To be honest we are not sure about the exact night but it all started with a bunch of flashes of the male lead Ji Ho playing basketball, while the female lead Jung In is introduced with flashes of conversation and drinking with her bestie.

The next day/scene the female lead Jung In is shown as a hung-over librarian who happens to go to a pharmacy to buy something for her hangover. She happens to forget her wallet that day and is also running late for work. At that moment she meets the very handsome pharmacist, also known as our male lead Ji Ho, who was kind enough to lend her money for both the taxi and the hangover remedy she had just taken. 

Ji Ho is a single father who was left by the mother of his child (Eun Woo) when he was just a baby. Eun Woo spends most of the time at his grandparents' house. Ji Ho spends his spare time playing basketball and drinking beer with his friends from university or he spends time with his kid. 

Ji Ho spends most of the drama holding back his feelings, being well aware of the situation they are in and that his status in the social hierarchy is not very high… 

Ok, he does flirt but it is a charming type of low-key, slightly witty flirting. He does have a lot of facial expressions but if compared to the Jung Hae In character in Something in the Rain (ok we are comparing the two dramas again) where he got to turn up his bubbly charm to a 999, it is as if someone turned down the volume, let go of the throttle…  As he holds back, a laugh that would last a few seconds and take up a whole room in Something in the Rain becomes a light movement of the lips (still charming) in One Spring Night

SMS with Jung In

Conversation with his kid 

Something in the Rain 

Unless he is talking to his kid, at that point laugh and charm are turned up to full speed ahead, energy and charisma to the top. 

The librarian is a pretty much moderately free-spirited person, the middle child in a middle-class family of three daughters. She is forward and a fun person who struggles a lot with herself, being stuck between obligations, time, and her own desires. The way she is written and filmed may make you wonder if the pair brainstormed ideas about the words middle and in between as she embodies inner conflict and what one could say a process between one type of relationship to another. She gets to have a whole range of emotions and feelings throughout the drama. 

Both leads are also filmed either with things between them such as roads they dare not cross, bookshelves, walls, etc. 

Only to cross the same road, meet between the same bookshelves, etc. as they get closer to each other. 

At the beginning of the drama Jung In is shown to be in a pretty lustless, long-term relationship heading towards the inevitable marriage. Jung In rather spends the evening with her bestie drinking at home than doing anything with her boyfriend. Whenever they meet they just have low-key fights anyway. The subject of marriage is spoken about in a lot of not-so-swoon-worthy ways... More of a hassle: 

“So you want to marry me to avoid the hassle” (Jung In to the second male lead) 

“Marriage is not some child play, it is business" (the second male leads dad) 

“I want to weigh my options and don't want to be pushed into a marriage like her” 

(Jung In talking about her sister who is being beaten up by her husband) 

The boyfriend (also known as the second male lead) is timid enough at first, however, he basically just wanted to own her and marry her against her will because:

  1. He had invested the time. 

  2. His father eggs him on, saying: “Those rare are harder to obtain”, Basically telling him to try harder if he wants to win, as the more she resists the more she is worth it. Consent? Mutual respect? Love? Who needs that? Well, not this guy, at least not according to his daddy! 

But most of all, he cannot lose to a lowly single father pharmacist. Showing their story parallel with the sisters' story serves a bit as a warning of what could happen if it were to continue down the path they are on.

As the drama progresses, all involved people try to figure out what kind of marriage and life they want to live. While some become more and more obsessed others learn to let go and become more and more daring. 

You will notice the angle of the line in One Spring Night is a bit more stable than in Something in the Rain, however, it is a lot less popular (number of viewers) on MDL (what a shame).  

As the plot unfolds, we get to see things very slowly escalate, change directions, and somehow meet somewhere. It may not be the regular middle but it is somewhere and while the scenes do communicate with each other there is a lot left out in One Spring Night

Anquat: I personally missed that certain Jung Hae In that made us fall in love with him in Something in the Rain. When I watched One Spring Night, of course, I compared the two dramas from the first episode onwards. 

The leads' relationship in One Spring Night missed that sparkle of youthfulness and those intimate moments of pure joy and happiness that made Something in the Rain special to me. As Shiro calls it, their relationship is an adult one. But honestly, my own life is that of an adult person - adult enough for a lifetime. 

And even though I liked the camera work, the music, the cuts, and all in both dramas, I rewatched Something in the Rain many times and saw One Spring Night only once. I suppose in my case a certain addictive factor is missing.

And it is not the crazy ex-boyfriend!

But still, watching it was a beautiful ride - otherwise, there wouldn't be a 9.0 point rating. I will definitely rewatch it before Netflix takes it out in 2024.

Shiro: There is something special, I guess human, about this drama. Even after watching it a fourth (or was it a fifth) time I still could not help but binge it from start to finish. The female lead has her issues, but she is upfront about it and shows just how hard it can be to make a decision when in an “OK” relationship as well as not always doing the right thing. She has a regular job and is a completely different person depending on who she is with. I do not love her but I can relate to her. What I love most about it is the dialog from the side characters. The leads are lovely but the best words of wisdom come from the friends: 

“One of the comments kids hate hearing the most is, I gave up everything because of you” (Ji Ho’s boss) 

"Am I an object or what?" (Jung In)

"Do you think this is about love? he wants you back only because you were his.” (Jung Ins bestie about the second male lead) 

Or the way the second male lead motivates his actions:

“She is not in her right mind, I can't let her be”.

I once thought this was over the top but the same thing happened to my friend when she tried to leave her husband, making me realize this too is very much the reality for many women. And yes, this is also a type of violence. The way it is shown in this show is nothing but brilliant. 

Spring Rain

A common theme to the dramas we have seen where Ahn Pan Suk is the director is that they are often dark, both in ways of lighting and ways of story. They often tell a story of people that are trapped and unhappy in their lives without offering a Hollywood ending to it. The light comes from the moments of happiness people find with each other. There are also a whole lot of shots taken through windows, doors, curtains…

Watching the dramas created by this pairing is reliable,  they are the types that show something real (yes, the parents can be a bit too much) the essence of the stories is real, the humans are regular people with regular jobs, regular problems, but with glimpses of light and hope to make life more fun. Giving us a balanced fluff, a sweetness that makes us happy alongside the relatable portrayals (some to the extreme) of life in a prejudiced society that has a whole bunch of conventions and expectations we are supposed to try to live up to. These dramas offer some kind of reachable hope. No, we are not saying we will be able to marry someone who looks like Jung Hae In, Han Ji Min, or Son Ye Jin. That is just not realistic, nor something most of us would want, deep down inside. But instead of trying to fight the unchangeable, we can find whatever makes us happy and try to let go of the stuff that hurts us. Be it taking refuge in dramas, changing jobs, or understanding that breaking loose is a process, not to be taken lightly. 

And for all that, we thank this pairing and ask again please, come back with another drama!


Anquat: I felt that these two, screenwriter and director, are united by a strong desire to change society, to support those who are suppressed and unhappy. And they seem to stick to “their” actors - I read in 2019, not only Jung Hae In was asked to take the male part, but Son Ye-jin was also asked to be the female lead of One Spring Night, but rejected it because she didn't want to be in the Noona role again. (Instead, she did Crash Landing On You - we know what happened after that :) Congrats, Son Ye Jin!) Even some supporting actors reappeared, like Joo Min Kyung, Lee Moo Saeng, Oh Man Seok, Seo Jung-yeon…It feels like they really like the staff of production, right?

When I think of this screenwriter/director combo I actually have a wish to meet them and see them working on a project, it feels like they are an inspiring and kind-hearted team.

Shiro: I am going to admit what made me notice this pairing was probably the casting of Jung Hae In, in both dramas. So I would be lying if I said I did not want them to cast him again. But he alone is not enough to make me want to watch a drama over and over again, I need something more. And these two deliver it so well, from the stories that need to be heard to engaging the audience, these two manage to create the perfect storm that suits my palette just right. 

Thank you for reading our thoughts, we hope you enjoyed reading them, we would love to read yours too. Have you noticed any of the things we mentioned? Is there a pairing you would love to see work together again? Or are you off to rewatch these two dramas before they get removed by Netflix? 

Credits: Screenshots and gifs are either from MDL's database,  made by us, or will have a link to their sources, the same goes for information found outside our memory or MDL. Special thanks to the editors! 

Edited by:  BrightestStar (1st editor)

jung hae in writers directors