Kim Woo Bin and Suzy Bae’s romantic melodrama ‘Uncontrollably Fond’ was one of the most awaited dramas of 2016. I personally couldn’t wait to see the drama from the moment I saw its trailer with Woo Bin asking Bae Suzy out in the most quirky way possible. I must mention that the marketing team behind this show did a great job in creating all the hype around it that generated a lot of curiosity in the minds of the viewers. However, four episodes into the show and I started feeling the gradual loss of interest. And after 14 episodes I practically I gave up on the show. And it’s not even the depressing feel of the show but its slow progression. But I somehow coerced myself to come back to it only because it was listed in the ‘Upcoming Show Review’ section of AlphaGirl and I did not want to disappoint my readers who were waiting for this review. So here it is.
Uncontrollably Fond (2016)
Uncontrollably Fond is a 20 episode long Korean drama revolving around the lives of Shin Joon Young (Kim Woo-bin) and Noh Eul (Bae Suzy). Joon Young is a popular actor and singer in Korea, known for his flippant attitude and arrogance. His talent management agency and PR team are fed up with his behaviour but put up with him because of his ever-surging popularity. People who work with Joon Young dislike him but nobody is aware of the fact that he is moody and annoying because he is suffering from a terminal illness and has hardly few more months to live. Since Joon Young is young and healthy he finds it difficult to come to terms with his ailment. However, he decides to live his life the way he wants for the last few months.
Noh Eul is a television producer who often switches jobs and lives hand to mouth. She is under heavy debt following the death of her father a few years ago. She does everything she can to make ends meet and provide good education to her younger brother Noh Jik (Lee Seo Won). She doesn’t mind taking bribes just to earn some extra money.
Joon Young and Noh Eul have a history together where they both dated in high school but had to separate due to certain circumstances. Now, years later they come together to shoot Joon Young’s documentary. Noh Eul is assigned to be around Joon Young and capture major happenings in his life as a part of his documentary. Joon Young finds himself falling hard for Noh Eul once again but he needs to overcome several obstacles before he can finally be with her. Joon Young has hardly 3 to 6 more months to live and wants to ensure that he makes right of the wrongs that he has done in the past.
Kim Woo Bin’s Acting: Honestly, when I saw Kim Woo Bin in The Heirs, I got scared. He looks a little intimidating with those bushy eyebrows and glaring eyes. But when I saw the trailer of this show (In case you are wondering what is so special about it have a look at the trailer here) I started to see him in a completely different light. And despite the show’s disappointing script, Woo Bin managed to carry it gracefully to its climax.
His acting was simply stupendous! He gave more than a 100% to make Joon Young convincing and managed to shine even in a dull show like this. Be it the flirty Joon Young or the sick and dying Joon Young or the jerk Joon Young he did it all with ease. I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that the show was bearable only because of him.
Unexpected Chemistry: Joon Young and Noh Eul’s chemistry was rather bland but there was a couple that brought a smile to my face. Noh Eul’s brother, Noh Jik’s pairing with Ji Tae’s sister Ha Ru was simply adorable.
Their chemistry is evident from their first scene together. And their little love story gets better and better with each episode. I used to actually look forward to seeing them on the show. Their puppy love definitely stood out and brought some liveliness to the drama. Sadly, this cute pair hardly has any screen time. I wish the makers could give these lovebirds some more role.
Music: Whoever selected the background scores for the show must be applauded. The soundtracks suited the show’s melancholy theme and gave life to scenes.
‘Little Braver’ by New Empire, this song! From the time I first heard it on the show, there hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t heard it. I am addicted to this song. It is like a drug to me. Such a beautiful song! The chorus –
When it gets hard
I get a little stronger now I get a little braver now
And when it gets dark I get a little brighter now
I get a little wiser now before I give my heart away
These four lines hold so much meaning. It may have different meanings for different individuals. For me, this song just works like magic.
‘Only U’ by Junggigo, ‘Find the Differences’ by Lim Seul Ong and Kisum, and ‘Golden Love’ by Midnight Youth are some of the songs that I just can’t stop listening to.
Snoozy Suzy: I have never seen any of her previous shows so I wasn’t aware of her acting skills. Sadly, she was the show killer for me. Being the show’s lead, with two men fighting for her, she looked terribly clueless as an actor. I realised her lack of acting skills in the first episode itself when Joon Young asks her if she remembers him and she says that she does and abuses him. Such a well-written scene and well performed by Woo Bin but Suzy managed to ruin the classic cliffhanger with her blank expression and shallow dialogue delivery.
Actually, I should have understood from the much exciting promo itself when Joon Young asks if she was willing to date him for three months and she gives him a blank look. The show could have been much better had she put more efforts in her acting. Though she started acting better in the last 4 episodes where her character experiences major ups and downs in life and she changes as a person, but the improvement came too late. She’s cute but pales before Kim Woo Bin’s strong screen presence.
Sad Script: The show is about a dying person’s past and his last few days of life. So the general theme of the drama is ought to be sad but more than that the show was confusing for me. Joon Young was perpetually temperamental. He kept going back and forth with his love for Noh Eul each time for a different reason. One day he is flirting with her, wooing her and then the next day he treats her like trash. And it’s not even because of his sickness. His character was so capricious that I found it difficult to keep up with the story. OK! He has a plan and is working according to it but this only makes the female lead look utterly pathetic. His actions make her look too needy and weak as the main character.
Characters on the show seemed to have no other work than mess with Noh Eul’s life. Everyone seemed to be doing something that directly or indirectly affected her. It’s funny how both the sons of Assemblyman Choi were madly in love with the same girl. What’s surprising is that both the guys are super successful but are still fighting for the attention of a miserable girl who has absolutely no zeal in life. The drama was so slow-paced that only those with great patience or great love for Woo Bin could manage to follow it dedicatedly.
Aww and Wow moments
Episode 1: “Of course I remember you scumbag”. I know Suzy ruined it but it is a beautiful scene and Kim Woo Bin is simply superb in it.
Episode 4: The scene that had me attracted to the show in the first place. The promotional scene where Joon Young asks Noh Eul to be his girlfriend for three months.
Episode 6: Eul crying to Ji Tae to be her boyfriend. Eul has had a tough day, she is completely sloshed and is crying on the phone to Ji Tae to make her his girlfriend. Eul’s condition is pitiable but the scene is extremely funny.
Episode 13: Ha Ru acting as if she has lost her memory, just to stay close to Noh Jik. Actually, every Ha Ru and Noh Jik scene is an aww scene because they are that cute together. I especially like Ha Ru who is so passionate about the men she likes. Joon Young or Noh Jik she loves them with all her heart and sincerity.
Episode 15: Noh Jik is confused over his reaction at Ha Ru’s kiss and reads books and asks questions on web portals to see if what he did was normal or no. This is a certified aaaawwwwww moment. Noh Jik is in love for the first time and does not know how to handle his feelings or how to react to a girl’s attention.
Episode 20: [[Spoiler]] The conversation between two step-brothers is just priceless. Ji Tae is dead honest with Joon Young who has been having memory lapses due to his illness. This rare one-on-one conversation between the two boys is one of the best scenes of the last episode. [[Spoiler]]
Though the show’s beam balance has tilted with good weights, it’s bad weights still weigh it down on the negative side. Apart from the OST and Kim Woo Bin, there is nothing great about this show.
I give the show 2.5 out of 5 rating. Uncontrollably Fond is strictly for those who love Kim Woo Bin. It is one of his best performances and he shines like the brightest star in this drama. Others can ignore this one. There are better shows to watch in 2016.