Seulgirowun Gamppangsaenghwal: Prison Playbook (aka Smart Prison Living)
September 5, 2021 8:03 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

With his major league baseball debut right around the corner, a star pitcher lands in prison and must learn to navigate his new world.

MyDramaList show page

Dramabeans: "Also known as Prison Playbook, this drama tells the story of the inmates and guards at a correctional facility, and how their lives intertwine. A man goes from baseball star to convict overnight, and his best friend must serve as his guard. We learn about each character's story, and why they are serving time." (recaps for episode one and two only)

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi recaps: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10, Episode 11, Episode 12, Episode 13, Episode 14, Episode 15, Episode 16

The Fangirl Verdict review: "A show that takes the dark topic of prison and crime, and infuses it all with warmth and hope, Prison Playbook is the unlikely contender for your heart that will likely make you laugh, cry, wring your heart dry, and then fill it right up again."
posted by oh yeah! (3 comments total)
I'd had this on my 'to be watched' list, but knowing there was so much shared cast/crew with 'Racket Boys' and 'Hospital Playlist', I figured I'd bump it up to the top while waiting for 'Hospital Playlist S2' to finish.

Anyway, I really liked this one too. I agree with whichever of the 'Dramas with a Side of Kimchi' recaps critique of their depiction of drug addiction being kind of weirdly cartoonish though. But as goofy as Lee Kyu Hyung's 'Looney' character is, I feel like they treated his gayness decently. Though I was sad about his character arc's endpoint (but, if anyone else watches/watched this and was bummed as well, be sure to check out 'Racket Boys' for the actor's cameo in the finale where he gets a happier ending.)

But overall, a great ensemble of interesting characters.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:35 AM on September 6, 2021

I watched this several months ago, during a time when I was embarrassingly fascinated with Jung Hae-In and was curious to see him in a non-romantic role. Capt. Yoo doesn’t make an appearance before episode 5, but I’m glad I stuck with the show anyway. I usually steer clear of male centric stories, especially if there’s violence involved, but PP does a great job of humanizing most of the characters by exploring their backstories and showing quiet acts of kindness. Looney’s arc was especially tragic; the prison system didn’t provide rehabilitation (shock!), so his ending was painfully realistic (but maybe a little too fast). It felt good to see the actor in Hospital Playlist 2 – in a very different role.

Even though I’m a romantic, I definitely did not like the Je Hyuk & Ji Ho story. The flashbacks that implied he began to have feelings for her when he was in high school and she was a wee child, ahhh, NO. A similar age difference would have existed for Joon Ho and Je Hee, but I don’t recall there being any references to him being interested in her when she was a child. I thought their relationship as two consenting adults was adorable.

In re-reading my comments, I think it might sound like I didn’t like PP – but I did. The script, acting, and directing were all excellent and there were many times that I cried and laughed out loud.
posted by kbar1 at 4:58 PM on September 10, 2021

I found the Je Hyuk/Ji Ho age difference creepy in the flashbacks with the child-actress Ji Ho, but once they switched back to Krystal I was ok with it. I mean, I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I did like the explanation-flashback of what led to their break-up pre-prison, in that it wasn't heavy on noble-stupidity but was more organic and believable for the characterization established.

But, yeah, it's the characterization of the prisoners & guards that made this show a winner, not the romances.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:28 AM on September 11, 2021

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