Review: The Idle Mermaid Ep 01

Title: The Idle Mermaid/Surplus Princess/The Mermaid

Cast: Jo Bo-ahOn Joo-wanSong Jae-rimPark Ji-sooAhn Gil-kangKim Seul-gieKim Min-kyoNam Joo-hyuk, Lee Sun-kyu

Cool quote: “ The most important tip is confidence. But everyone overlooks the truth. Honestly, is 2NE1’s CL cool? You really think she’s cool? She’s always saying, “I’m the best! I’m the sexiest Mama on Earth. That’s why we’re persuaded.”

SP 1 - 1.0

It was a modern retelling of the popular Hans Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”. But what’s cute about this drama is that its modern retelling is a romantic comedy (for that mindless quite relaxing atmosphere) and is a workplace drama (all very modern pursuits).

Contrary to popular story circulated by Disney, the real mermaid story didn’t really end very well for our dear little half-fish. Embittered and betrayed by the one she thought she love, she disappeared like bubbles that popped into nothingness.

And so the drama started out this way. In the beginning of the “The Idle Mermaid”, we see a woman walking solemnly by the beach. It was 100 days, she says. 100 days full of memories. As she held out her hands, a hand met hers. And as we looked at her, her body disappeared into bubbles.

First Kiss

Surplus Princess cellphone

The drama introduced itself as a romantic comedy. Well, our mermaid Princess Aileen (Jo Bo-ah)  is 21st century through and through. She uses high-tech waterproof cellphone and wifi her boredom away. I wonder who owned the electrical socket she uses to charge her cellphone though. Just like any other teenager, she uses social media to stalk her crush, Kwon Shi Kyung (Song Jae-rim).

Kwon Shi Kyung, on the other hand, is a famous chef. He is hot, incredibly. He is also revealed to be a real perfectionist. Frustrated by his staff’s inattention to detail, forgetting about the dainty placemat to complete the serving set, he blew and stopped the shoot. Here, we also see Yoon Jin Ah (Park Ji-soo) , the witch. Jin Ah is the most beautiful, daintiest, and smartest witch, the type that could dissolve all your confidence away when compared to. She works under Chef Kwon and is throwing him puppy eyes every time they face each other.


Much like its original story, Prince Charming also managed to drown himself. In this drama, Chef Kwon caught a glimpse of Aileen’s fish tail, thought it is a very large tuna, and unexpectedly threw himself into the sea.

Princess Aileen jumps, er swims, to his rescue. And making use of the opportunity, for reason best known to herself, proceeded to give Chef Kwon a kiss. A very hot, very wet kiss underwater. And it is good. At least until Jin Ah came swimming in, snatching Chef Kwon to safety, and forcing Princess Aileen to let go, albeit grudgingly.

But Princess Aileen just wouldn’t let her Prince Charming walk, er, swim away, wouldn’t she? Only problem was, she is half-fish. Now if only she could trade her tails for legs, then she would be with him, and she will live happily ever after. Or is it that easy?

The Share House


On the opposite side of the town, Lee Hyun Myung (On Joo-wan) is a hopeless (albeit very very cute) loser who still can’t find a job for himself. Hyun Mung is Jin Ah’s boyfriend, and they used to live in a boarding house with four other residents.

The four residents are as diverse and weirdly unique as they could possibly get. Big-eyed Do Ji Yong (Kim Min-kyo) is the law school dropout, Big (Nam Joo-hyuk ) is the pretty boy whose real name is a secret, Lee Sun Kyu (Lee Sun-kyu) is the comical/so-cool-it-could-freeze-you landlord, and the Cynical Face (Kim Seul-gie). Of course, these people are going to play big parts in this story, because if they won’t the drama wouldn’t bother to describe them at all.

Jin Ah was packing, leaving the share house for a more posh condo. She and Hyun Mung are separating, putting literal distance between them. Besides, did I mention she was throwing Chef Kwon some over-the-top furtive glances. Even the decision for the condo she will be transferring to, she chose because Chef Kwon lives there. Strangely though, Chef Kwon doesn’t seem to throw her much attention.

The separation between the lovers seems to be both physical and metaphysical. Hyun Mung is nothing but a loser in Jin Ah’s mom’s eyes. Could the two manage to bridge this gap between them?

The Magic Potion

Ahn Man Nyeo

Since this is a modern world even for mermaids, Princess Aileen’s fellow mermaids are modern too. And who could be more modern than a mermaid whose appetite for imported liquor seemed insatiable? But thanks to Selvyn’s drunken state, Princess Aileen learn about the magic potion most sought after by fellow mermaids. This magic potion can transform Aileen’s tail to legs!

The last owner of the magic potion is An Man Nyeo (Ahn Gil-kang), a guy who dresses in mysterious gray overalls. He used to be a mermaid too. I just can’t fathom how he would look like with half of his body covered with fins. I bet that would look cute, in a comical sort of way.

With the combination of wit, bribery, and agility, Princess Aileen steals the magic potion away from An Man Nyeo. She took the bottle stopper off, and in one long gulp, drank all the contents of the shimmering potion. Poof, it goes. And with really exciting music playing in the background, her fish tail slowly transformed into legs. She is, at last, a human!

SP 1 - 2.3

Meanwhile, Hyun Mung got a congratulatory text for passing the first stage of his job application. Princess Aileen is successful at turning into a human. Seems like these two characters are off to a really good start. Or are they?

The Idle Mermaid aired in TVN South Korea in 2014. In the Philippines, the tagalized version airs in GMA-7 weekdays. Watch it online at

Watch out for the next post for “Review: The Idle Mermaid Ep 02!” Thanks for dropping by! 🙂


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