What do you get when you put a rich handsome lonely boy and a poor unsuccessful decent looking girl together? You get the plot for a short Korean drama series. Even though this may be the plot of almost 80% Korean romance dramas, I still love watching them because these Korean writers somehow manage to present the same old wine in a new bottle every time. And I am a sucker for romance and still jump each time I see Naoki confess his feelings for Kotoko and bawl each time I see Joon Pyo cry for Jan Di. So, I still am game for this formula. However, sometimes the cliched storyline backfires and ends up disappointing audiences the way this drama disappointed me.
Though I was high on romance dramas, I hadn’t seen an out and out mushy, corny stuff in some time. My Secret Romance came as a respite for my longing. There was ‘fireworks’ in the very first episode which generated a lot of buzz for the drama. I too would wait eagerly each week to catch up on the drama. But sadly, this drama also tumbled towards the end till it fell flat.
My Secret Romance (2017) (13 Episodes)
Cha Jin Wook (Sung Hoon) is the son of a rich businessman and is a spoilt brat. He is not serious about anything in life and spends most of his time partying and enjoying with friends. Like life, he does not take love too seriously and has had only short term relationships till now. One day he meets Lee Yoo Mi (Song Ji Eun) who earns his scorn at first but later on manages to strike a chord with him. They spend one night together after which she leaves him without even telling him her name. Jin Wook feels mortified after being abandoned by a woman and is unable to get her off his mind. The next three years he spends in expanding his fathers’ business leaving him no time for love until one day he sees Yoo Mi again in his office. This time he finds out that she is a nutritionist who has recently joined his company. The woman who captured his thoughts for three long years is finally in front of him and this time Jin Wook is in no mood to let her off easily.
Let’s weigh My Secret Romance on our show beam balance and see how this romantic drama fares and if it is worth a watch or no.
Sung Hoon: This guy has the face and body of a Greek God. He is a rare specimen of a ‘tanned’ Korean actor. Acting-wise he may be on a weaker footing but looks-wise he was just perfect for this role. This role anyway did not require him to emote a lot so it was ok.
The show was replete with kisses and sweet moments and Sung Hoon does that like an ace player so I am happy that he was in the drama. However, even this Jack could not save the Titanic from sinking as the story failed to provide enough scope for him and the drama.
Couple Chemistry: I have said this before that, for a romance drama, the lead couple chemistry is the deal maker for the drama. Actors Sung Hoon and Song Ji Eun shared an amazing chemistry. She looked like a very naïve employee while he looked every bit of an intimidating boss.
Jin Wook and Yoo Mi share several sweet moments on the show and these two actors looked very comfortable with each other which made them look convincingly in love with each other.
Lee Yoo Mi: Now I am only talking about the character Yoo Mi and not actress Ji Eun. I personally felt that Yoo Mi was not a well-developed character because she seemed one-dimensional. She feels a little awkward with Jin Wook initially because of the one-night stand and also because of his stern face. But once he makes it clear that he likes her, she still looks wary of him.
The most annoying thing is when she stares wide-eyed at him each time he steals a kiss. She even hiccups occasionally in his presence. I know Jin Wook is HAWT and anybody would feel nervous around him but being nervous all the time is a little too much.
Overly Cliched Storyline: Yes, I admitted at the start of this post that I don’t mind clichéd romance dramas. But trust me, this drama is toooooooooo clichéd. A one-sided lover cum best friend, a clingy girlfriend, an elitist father and almost everything you can think of was there in this drama. There are several dramas that have all of this but the script of the show makes a drama interesting. I felt that the scripting for this drama was weak and could have been better.
Too Much Love: Suspense shows thrive on the suspenseful scenes that catch viewers off guard. Similarly, romance shows thrive on romantic moments that viewers wait eagerly for. Though I am a sucker for romance, I do not enjoy shows that constantly throw romantic scenes out of nowhere. I like to wait for the story to develop and like to cheer the leads on to finally go in for the much-awaited kiss. This drama became like a trashy romance novel that has a kiss on every alternate page.
Where is the wait? Where is the excitement? After a point, I would yawn at the love scene despite Sung Hoon being in the frame. I wish the writers had been more judicious about the kisses, then the kisses would not have lost their impact on me so easily.
Draggy Ending: Ugh! The last four episodes make me cringe. Why!!!! Despite the predictable story, I was liking the show because of Sung Hoon and Ji Eun but then, the last four episodes were unbearably boring. I actually jumped through most of the scenes and landed straight on the last episode because so much of misunderstanding and flashback made no sense to me. I think the writer must have run out of ideas and was forced to drag the show till 13 episodes so he must have written these four episodes on one page by simply writing that ‘recall what happened in the previous episodes’.
My Secret Romance weighs down with bad weights which means that there were a lot of loopholes in the drama. For me, My Secret Romance is like a Mills and Boons story that is high on love and low on story and logic. I did enjoy the first nine episodes of the drama till it started to drag unnecessarily and spoilt the perfect climax of a predictable romance drama.
I give My Secret Romance 2.5 out of 5 rating. If you like dramas with a lot of lovey-dovey scenes, good-looking lead couple, and an exceptionally hot leading actor and do not mind a lame climax then do watch this drama, it won’t disappoint you. Also, if you like Sung Hoon then you have to watch this because he looks just so damn HOT!!!
Image Courtesy: Godin Media, DramaFever