THE SHORT VERDICT:
Lee Dong Wook is cute and Lee Si Young is natural and likable, and we get some nice bickering romance between them. One of the sub-plots (popularly known as the Robot Couple) is also pretty adorable.
BUT. The writing is weak – sometimes spectacularly so – and that shows up more and more as the show progresses.
THE LONG VERDICT:
This drama had a promising cast and a cute premise, but the poor writing made this just an ok watch.
The set-up in the initial episodes felt rushed and clumsy, not only in terms of putting our OTP together in the same space, but later, also in terms of how Eun Jae (Lee Si Young) fell for Mu Yeol (Lee Dong Wook).
Particularly in a set-up where the OTP starts out hating each other’s guts, I think it’s pretty important to show us how one of them starts to fall for the other, and I did not get a good sense of how Eun Jae fell for Mu Yeol. It felt quite sudden and random and I was left feeling rather puzzled in terms of how she came to have a crush on him, when she started out repelled by the very thought of him.
Lee Si Young is a pretty good actress, and I find her likable and nice to watch. She’s generally very competent and natural, and I believe that if the writing had been done well, then surely it would be clear how she fell for Mu Yeol.
Because of the clumsy set up, it took me a while to get into this show. As far as the first episode went, I felt like I was enduring the episode more than enjoying it. That’s not a great start, to be sure. But I usually don’t drop a drama after just one episode, and I pressed on.
After a couple of episodes, I was happy to find that I was actually starting to enjoy Wild Romance quite well, despite its flaws. Alas, this lasted only for a limited stretch, before the flaws became too glaring to ignore.
Still, I suppose once you accept that ok, it’s not well written but I’ll just accept it anyway as part of the drama’s reality, you can sit back to enjoy the delivery by Lee Si Young and Lee Dong Wook.
Yes, it ran a bit too childish for my taste, but I told myself that I would be rewarded once they stopped long enough to fall in love.
Plus, there was the perk of ogling Lee Dong Wook, and that’s always a nice bonus 😉
It’s not his physique, which seems to have been taken down a notch in this drama after Scent of a Woman. He has quite a few shirtless scenes in Wild Romance, but none are breathtaking. They actually feel matter-of-fact, and don’t seem to figure significantly in his yumminess ratio. Rather, it’s his lips and eyes. He’s got such kissable lips and bedroom-y eyes. And I really liked his goatee and scruffy hair in the first half of the show. It made him look so deliciously undone, by just enough. Yum 😉
He’s also a pretty decent actor – not brilliant, but very decent – and that makes him altogether a very pleasant watch, especially when he is being sensuous in his careless way, which I dig.
It’s amazing how different she looks in this show compared to Playful Kiss and Poseidon, where she played pretty types. I mean, seriously. Look at her here in Playful Kiss:
Here, she’s quite uglified, and she pulls it off well. I think she’s going to give Yoon Eun Hye a good run for her money, since Yoon Eun Hye is good at playing boyish too, but also pretties up very well.
Lee Si Young plays Eun Jae with a sense of freshness that is uninhibited and unaffected. She was natural and likable as the smitten bodyguard who was trying to be tough on the outside but was really a shy girl on the inside.
The chemistry between Lee Dong Wook and Lee Si Young is pretty decent. It’s not smoking hot, but the chemistry exists, and it’s cute to watch them onscreen together.
I was a little bummed that they took away Lee Dong Wook’s goatee halfway through the show though. He gets all cleaned up, and that slightly undone look disappeared. What a waste. 😛
Not as delicious, amiright??
Another really cute couple was Dong Ah (Im Joo Eun) and Manager Kim (Kang Dong Ho).
These 2 were just hilarious together, and their relationship was a nice bright spot in a very average drama.
Manager Kim is ridiculously stiff, so much so that this couple got dubbed “Robot Couple” in the drama-verse, and Dong Ah is awesomely outspoken and frank. What a great pair! Some of my favorite moments of the show came from their interactions.
Who else found it a hoot that Dong Ah kept talking frankly about kissing and sex and porn in her completely unaffected way, while Manager Kim squirmed and blushed and stuttered in response? That just never got old for me.
And just for memory’s sake, here’s a screencap of Dong Ah wearing her hanbok with pride after she manages to wheedle it out of Manager Kim that his sexual fantasy is undoing a hanbok. So awesome.
This was where the “wild romance” was, hands down.
I have to say though, that the story took a real downhill turn after we rounded the halfway point.
I got rather impatient with the writers because the writing was so uneven and the entire thing felt so manufactured. Some of the plot points didn’t feel plausible, never mind organic, and there were quite a few threads left hanging all over the place.
The whole stalker thing seemed too fake and stilted, and it felt like they were just trying to fill up screen time. It was quite a bummer that so much screen time was given to this whole stalker thing and that ate away screen time that could have been given to what was worth watching: the chemistry between Eun Jae and Mu Yeol, and Dong Ah and Manager Kim.
I thought it was really lame how they treated Dong Soo’s character (Oh Man Suk) and how they resolved his character’s plot line. The reasoning behind the whole stalker thing was just so hard to believe.
His character was so bland and uninteresting that I really wondered why people fussed over his acting ability. (I found out later while watching What’s Up? what the fuss was about. He’s put to much, much better use there.)
Overall, Wild Romance wasn’t much of a wild ride, though as a saving grace, Lee Si Young and Lee Dong Wook were cute and had some really nice moments. Plus, we got our Robot Couple, filling in the wild romance quotient of the show.
I just wish the writers had done more with these 2 couples and left the stalkery plot line alone.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
An alright watch if you employ your Fast Forward button wisely.
FINAL GRADE: C+