Lee Seo-jin takes stab at comedy with 'Dr. Park's Clinic'

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Lee Seo-jin takes stab at comedy with 'Dr. Park's Clinic'

Actors Ra Mi-ran, left, and Lee Seo-jin pose during the online press conference for Tving’s new comedy series, “Dr. Park’s Clinic,” Tuesday. Courtesy of Tving

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By Lee Gyu-lee

Actor Lee Seo-jin has taken on a new challenge, setting aside his well-established image of playing the protagonists of romance series, such as “Marriage Contract” and “Lee San, Wind of the Palace.” The 51-year-old actor, with 23 years of acting experience, is making his first attempt at comedy with local streaming platform Tving’s new original series, “Dr. Park’s Clinic.”

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“I have always liked comedy. Sketch comedy used to be the trend when I was young … and as I grew up watching that, I naturally came to like comics,” Lee said during the online press conference for the series, Tuesday. “I’m not the type of person who’s always serious, so I have been wanting to do comedy. Up until now, I was always offered romantic comedies, but as romance isn’t my thing anymore, (this time,) I took on the role in a comedy.”

The sitcom, which hit the streaming site last Friday, follows the hilarious misadventures and struggles of Dr. Park Won-jang (Lee), who opens a clinic. It is a live adaptation of the popular webtoon of the same title by Jang Bong-su, who created it based on his own experience of running a clinic as a doctor.

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The first two episodes showed Park, an average guy in his 40s with a beer belly and balding, opening his own clinic. He hopes that running his own practice helps him earn big money and provide an affluent life for his wife, Sa Mo-rim (Ra Mi-ran), and their two sons. However, the optimism soon hits reality when the clinic barely gets any patients, while Park somehow manages to pay the bills for his wife’s shopping spree.

Lee Seo-jin takes stab at comedy with 'Dr. Park's Clinic'

A scene from “Dr. Park’s Clinic” / Courtesy of Tving

The series’ director, Seo Joon-beom, noted that the series will delve more into Won-jang’s personal life as the patriarch of the family, compared to the original webtoon, which focused more on his professional life.

“I wanted to portray the reality through comedy … like the struggles he goes through as a father and a husband,” he said. “Doctors are seen as fancy and awesome in the media but in ‘Dr. Park’s Clinic,’ the doctor is shown as just another owner of a small business. They are not different from any other people around us, like our mom and dad.”

He added that he hopes the series can offer a sense of comfort and resonate with the viewers through Won-jang’s journey and his struggles.

The director noted that the biggest reason for choosing Lee for the lead was that he wanted to cast the most unlikely actor in the comical role.

“After we decided to adopt the webtoon and make it into a sitcom, we needed a twist. And when I tried to come up with someone who seems to be the least closest to the character (of Won-jang), Lee came to my mind. Even in reality shows, you can see he has a gentle image,” he said.

“I even almost took out the part about the character being balding to encourage Lee to take the role. But thankfully, he was up for playing a bald character.”

Lee expressed that he was shocked at first to learn about the character he was offered. “I didn’t know about the webtoon when I first got the script. And when I learned that he had a bald head, I even thought, ‘They may have sent the script to the wrong person,'” he said.

“So I set up a meeting with the director to hear what made him offer me the role. And he told me that we could get rid of the bald makeup, but as it is one of the key features of the character, I agreed to keep it.”

The actor showed confidence that the series will provide viewers with a good laugh, expressing his enthusiasm to make the series hilarious.

“The most crucial reason for me taking part in this series is its comical plot,” he said. “I’ve never had this many bloopers while filming a project.”

“Dr. Park’s Clinic” streams two episodes every Friday on Tving.

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