I have always been a fan of Kim Hyang Gi and when I stumbled across several clips on YouTube for Salon de Nabi aka Fly, Butterfly, I knew it was going to be my next assignment.
Synopsis: Gi ppeum (Kim Hyang Gi) is a socially awkward hairdressing intern at Salon de Nabi. She always gets in trouble because of her shyness. Her co-worker Mu Yeol (Park Jung Woo) is a happy go lucky chick magnet who is too charming for his own good. At Salon de Nabi, they meet different sorts of people, all while learning about themselves under the tutelage of their tactless boss Michelle, narcissistic hair designer Gwang Soo (Daniel Choi), dye expert Zen, and fellow interns Su hui and Mr. Woo, where their wacky and dysfunctional family becomes complete.
I really liked Salon de Nabi’s ensemble approach that dedicated moments to each character. It told stories of the clients as well as the hair designers in a way that was well put together. Some sensitive topics like depression, gender, abuse, family, and school bullying were discussed in a creative way that utilized parallels between hair treatments and dealing with real life problems. It was very smart and thought provoking.
I liked how the relationship of Gi ppeum and Mu Yeol developed. Because Gi ppeum was a newbie to dating and Mu Yeol was such a player, it was cute to see the “She Fell First But He Fell Harder” trope play out. I liked how they took care of each other when it really mattered and it was really fun to see two such polar opposites fell in love and adjusted to each other’s pace, especially Mu Yeol who was used to getting the things he wanted easily. While there were times that I wanted to shake Gi ppeum senseless because of her naivete, it all turned out well because Mu Yeol absolutely simped for her. It cracked me up so much the way Mu Yeol completely ignored his mom in favor of his girlfriend when they visited him during training.
Also, another polar opposite couple Gwang Su and Zen’s more mature love story was also fun to watch after all that bickering from the first episodes. Although I must admit that Gwang Soo’s fastidiousness was truly a test of anyone’s patience.
Salon de Nabi’s narration, I felt was quite similar to one of my favorite old shows — Pushing Daisies. It gave the show a whimsical approach but still, it remained rooted to the present. The narrations provided an insight into the character’s motivations without them having to explain themselves to audience.
The show also pulled off some surprise twists, especially with Mr. Woo’s story. It was great that even though Mr. Woo was mostly overlooked in most episodes, his episode became one of the most touching and poignant of all.
The progression and the pacing of the drama was good, as the writers steadily amped the ante towards the end, focusing on the heavier topics such as death and loss, of aspirations and regrets in the latter part of the drama. It was also impressive how the recurring characters that were introduced throughout the series helped form an overarching arc related to the salon and its staff.
I must admit though that I was mostly annoyed at how Michelle and Su Hui were at times. Most of the times, the two characters that caused the most emotional damage never even apologized for it and mostly brushed under the rug. It irked me how the show simply laid on the guilt about how Su hui was insecure about her weight as a blanket justification about how she was a tactless and inconsiderate human being. She held in her saltiness at people’s ill treatment for so long and expected everyone to adjust once she showed her true colors. It sent a really bad message. The same goes for Michelle who expected everyone to adjust to her despite her loose tongue and shallowness.
All in all, Salon de Nabi was a great binge watch. It was light and fun where it mattered but deep and substantial when the topic called for it. I liked how the stories complemented each other. It was a very bingeable and feel good series that you can breeze through easily. Watch it when you can. As for me, I have a feeling this will not be the last time I watch this.