The Fangirl Verdict

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Review: Witch’s Romance

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

A winsome little drama that is as charming as it is sweet, and boasts a good helping of fun on the side. Witch’s Romance may not be the most epic noona romance out there, but it’s certainly one of the most earnest and heartfelt.

While (almost) the entire cast is likable, it’s really the OTP that steals the show. Uhm Jung Hwa embodies cautious vulnerability beneath her strong, fearless veneer, while Park Seo Joon exudes a truly lovely blend of sincerity, earnestness and warmth. Individually, they deliver praise-worthy performances. Together, their chemistry feels so real and palpable that it sometimes leaps off the screen to knock you right over.

The writing falters at times and the execution is a little uneven, but with this wonderful, delightful puppy flashing this melty smile at you, it won’t hurt much, I promise.

Witch’s Romance OST – 안녕

THE LONG VERDICT:

I learned fairly early in my drama journey that the lens through which I view a drama can potentially make or break that drama for me.

Take You’re Beautiful, for example.

The first time I watched it, I took the show (& myself too, in all likelihood) much too seriously. Which means that I found so, so many things that didn’t work in the drama that I ended up disliking it quite a lot.

A few years later, after coming across a whole lot of internet love for this show, I decided that I ought to give the show another chance. I adjusted my lens and my expectations, dived in for a second watch, and ended up loving it. So much so that I also ended up watching it a third time, just coz. Talk about a total turnaround, eh?

There are a couple of things that I feel would help you enjoy Witch’s Romance a whole lot more, and being the helpful gal that I am (heh), I’m gonna tell you all about ’em.

3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. Expect Manhwa Tendencies

Witch’s Romance tends to go campy, and quite frequently too. Expect exaggerated, OTT, leaning-nonsensical elements in this drama.

There are times when watching this will feel like watching a live-action manhwa, complete with cutesy sound effects.

Don’t fight it. Enjoy it.

2. Suspension of Disbelief Required

In line with its manhwa tendencies, not everything makes sense in this show.

The story depends heavily on coincidence (more than the average kdrama, yes) in order to drive itself forward, and you’re going to need to suspend disbelief on a regular basis.

Characters – thankfully secondary ones – will appear to undergo personality changes partway through the show without sufficient explanation nor motivation. (There was probably a special on lobotomies in our drama’s hospital, is what I’m thinking).

Not all characters introduced are consequential. Several characters will start off with enough screentime to give the impression that they will be significant in some way, but will drop off the horizon and never appear again. Like the shaman in the early episodes (extended cameo by Narsha), for example.

My advice? Stay calm and suspend that disbelief, then shrug and move on. It’s worth it.

3. The Cute Comes Back

Overall, the tone of the show is rather uneven.

When The Cute is around, it’s very, very cute and will likely amuse you very nicely while putting a smile on your face. It takes an episode or so to get settled, but once it’s established, The Cute is adorably delightful. Sometimes the situations that bring forth The Cute are more contrived than I’d like, but our leads are so endearing that this is easy enough to overlook.

When The Cute is absent, though, watching the show can be a more angsty experience than one might expect. On the upside, the angst is well-played and our leads deliver the angst with heartfelt sincerity and depth.

The other upside is that your patience will be rewarded. The Cute comes back, and is sweet enough to wait for.

MY 3 FAVORITE THINGS IN THIS DRAMA

Park Seo Joon as Yoon Dong Ha

Oh, Park Seo Joon. He makes my heart melt, he does.

While watching Witch’s Romance, Park Seo Joon quietly and sneakily went from “that sorta nice-but-rather-ordinary-looking guy that I don’t think I’ve seen before” to a spanking new bona fide k-crush with the effortless ability to turn me into a flailing, molten puddle of fangirl goo with every off-handed crinkly smile and every soft, tender gaze. Melt~

Park Seo Joon is wonderful as Yoon Dong Ha, period. His delivery is completely earnest and heartfelt, and he comes across so naturally that I could very quickly believe that Dong Ha was a real, living, breathing person with real thoughts and feelings, genuinely and intricately colored with actual history and emotional baggage.

Permeating all of that is a lovely, earthy warmth and sincerity that shines right through Dong Ha and makes me feel all snug and toasty as I bask in it, like a sleepy cat cozily soaking up balmy rays of sunshine. And purring with satisfaction. Mwrrr~

In fact, Dong Ha feels so real and so tangible that I want him to walk out of my screen and date me instead of Ji Yeon. For serious, y’all.

For the record, there isn’t just warmth and coziness to be enjoyed where Park Seo Joon is concerned. There’s a good amount of hawt too, particularly when the shirt comes off and the kisses come forth:

Rawr~

And have I mentioned his incredibly soulful, magical, melty gaze:

..as well as his absolutely adorable, infectious smile?

Melt. Meltmeltmeltmeltmelt~

[SPOILER ALERT]

There are honestly so many things that I love about Dong Ha as a character, and so many scenes where I enjoyed soaking up Park Seo Joon’s natural, effortless delivery.

Seriously.

Dong Ha not caring two hoots that Ji Yeon (Uhm Jung Hwa) is 14 years older than he. Dong Ha responding to Ji Yeon’s actions and gaze instead of her words. Dong Ha preparing a candlelit dinner that, like him, is sweet & thoughtful, yet casual & candid. Dong Ha showing up to rescue Ji Yeon as well as sweep her (& her friends) off her feet. Dong Ha doing what’s right without a moment’s hesitation despite it putting himself at a disadvantage. Dong Ha being an adorable drunk.

I picked just two scenes to highlight in this section, coz over and above all the rest of the awesome, these were scenes that truly, honest-to-goodness blew me away.

Crying in the Dark

In the beginning of episode 10, Dong Ha staggers into his apartment after a terse encounter with Ji Yeon. She wants to talk; for everything to normalize between them even as she chooses to start over with Shi Hoon (Han Jae Suk), and Dong Ha can barely keep it together as he tells her not to call out to him anymore.

Once inside the apartment, Dong Ha chokes with muffled sobs and the scene, though fleeting, is completely arresting.

Just.. wow. Park Seo Joon nailed it. There’s so much pain on the inside, and Dong Ha’s put so much effort into holding it all in, but to no avail, coz it just comes spilling out in shivering, taut, stifled sobs.

Oof. I felt Dong Ha’s pain so acutely in this moment.

I am so impressed, seriously.

Can’t You Not Go To Him?

In episode 8, Dong Ha overhears Ji Yeon’s phone conversation with Shi Hoon, and he reaches out to her in a backhug, saying wistfully, “Can’t you not go to him?”

It’s not so much what Dong Ha says or does; it’s more of how Park Seo Joon delivers it, that gets me right. in. the. gut.

Every time Dong Ha asks, “It is because I’m too young?”, or “Why, are you afraid I’ll kiss you again?”, or “What did I do wrong? Why am I hiding?” or “Do you feel guilty being with me?” and that classic “Can’t you not go to him?” there’s this gutting, pleading tenor – a distinct timbre of almost plaintive vulnerability – in his voice, that is completely heartbreaking.

It’s so endearing and poignant and real.

Every time I heard his voice quiver that way, I could hardly breathe, I felt for him so much.

Kudos indeed to Park Seo Joon, who’s proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he really is not just a pretty face.

[END SPOILER]

Uhm Jung Hwa as Ban Ji Yeon

I will admit that I initially had reservations about Witch’s Romance, mainly because of 2 things.

First, I don’t particularly like how many dramas portray older single women. They’re often portrayed as at least a little desperate in the romance department, from being left on the proverbial shelf. I’d seen Uhm Jung Hwa play an older single woman in Get Karl, Oh Soo Jung (2007), and the stink of desperation in that show left a very sour taste in my mouth. I was afraid of the same effect coming into play with this show too.

Second, I didn’t like the way Uhm Jung Hwa was styled in the stills that I saw. The unhealthy-looking, straw-textured hair and that footage of her (literally) running around in high-school uniform just gave me a bad feeling. It just all seemed way too undignified, y’know?

I needn’t have worried.

Firstly, Uhm Jung Hwa does an admirable job portraying Ban Ji Yeon, our tough-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside heroine. Yes, it all sounds rather formulaic and pat, but Uhm Jung Hwa makes Ji Yeon feel textured and real. Her bravado is peppered with little hints of the vulnerability lurking beneath the surface: a little agitated flick of the gaze here, a light-as-a-feather hesitation there, a hint of a glimmer of a tear in between, and we get a niggling sense that there’s more to this woman than meets the eye. Well-played indeed.

Also to Uhm Jung Hwa’s credit, she embraces the campy with gusto and makes it work. Even her most ridiculously aegyo-tastic moments lean more amusing than cringe-worthy (although the drama sometimes really challenged this balance). Uhm Jung Hwa looks like she’s having a whale of a time, though, and I end up buying what she’s selling, albeit sometimes a little reluctantly.

Secondly, the styling improves as we progress through the episodes. The straw-like texture to her hair gets gracefully smoothed out as we get to know Ji Yeon, and the awful school uniform thankfully never again gets to see the light of day.

[SPOILER ALERT]

It’s probably clear by now that I enjoyed Dong Ha as a character more than I did Ji Yeon. Part of it has to do with the not-to-be-trifled-with charm of Park Seo Joon (of course), but part of it is also to do with the writing.

During the angsty slump in the drama where Shi Hoon makes his reappearance in Ji Yeon’s life, I wanted so. much. for her to reject Shi Hoon and choose Dong Ha instead, and she.. doesn’t. As a result of her choice, we are subjected to episodes of angst, not only from her, but from darling puppy Dong Ha too.

We lose our strong “witch” in those episodes, and instead are left with a paralyzed, insecure scaredy-cat instead. I got the sense that we got a Ji Yeon blast-from-the-past. Gone is the woman who knew how to take life by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Gone are her refreshingly candid habits of confronting things and talking things out. Instead, Mopey Ji Yeon never once asks Shi Hoon what exactly he was thinking and doing all those years that he didn’t contact her. Argh.

To Uhm Jung Hwa’s credit, Ji Yeon’s paralysis and pain feels real, if not always logical.

Plus, when she’s not being all mopey and sad, Ji Yeon is actually quite delightful. Outspoken, smart, confident and extremely competent, I do like the fact that Ji Yeon is written as someone who commands admiration and respect. I love too, that drunk Ji Yeon is a touchy-feely-kissy sort of character – cue hijinks!

One of the Ji Yeon scenes that really helped me to endear her to me as a character, is this one in episode 2, where Ji Yeon agrees to be beaten on the back with a stick by her mother (Yang Hee Kyung), just to satisfy Mom that they are doing what they can to ward off her alleged bad luck.

I love that Ji Yeon agrees to what she thinks is something outrageously nonsensical, just to give Mom peace of mind. She complains and protests, but she really does care about Mom’s feelings.

I love, too, the glimpse of vulnerability that we got of Ji Yeon in this scene. Thanks to Uhm Jung Hwa’s very believable delivery, we get a sense of Ji Yeon’s inner pain.

Another Ji Yeon scene I enjoyed is this one in episode 4, where Ji Yeon chooses not to run the story on Kim Jeong Do (Jun Noh Min) in order to protect her sunbae (Lee Eung Kyung) and does the penalty instead.

Not only do I like this scene for demonstrating to us the good heart that Ji Yeon keeps hidden so much of the time, I love how she’s completely unfazed by the indignity of having to dress up as a kpop idol and instead rocks the garish outfit with attitude and aplomb.

[END SPOILER]

Witch’s Romance OST – 내 맘에 들어와 (Park Seo Joon)

Our OTP

The chemistry between our OTP is perhaps one of the best things about this drama. I can forgive a lot if a drama manages to serve up great OTP chemistry, and this is where Park Seo Joon and Uhm Jung Hwa hit it out of the ballpark.

Despite a real-life age difference of 19 years, they appear completely comfortable and at ease with each other. All the kisses, hugs, hand-holding and other skinship, all the shared jokes and laughter, and all the heart-to-heart honest moments feel wonderfully real and effortless.

I could’ve watched these two just being around each other and hanging out and enjoying each other, for 50 more episodes.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There are a couple of things I particularly love about our OTP.

They Talk & They Connect

One of my favorite things about Dong Ha and Ji Yeon as our OTP is that they do that very, very rare thing in dramaland – they talk. I love that they share with and confide in each other with honesty and candidness, and that they find ways to connect with each other in a very real manner, in spite of the age difference.

I really liked this scene in episode 3, where the two of them hang out in Ji Yeon’s apartment and start talking about music.

Ji Yeon is talking about the songs in the context of the original singers, while Dong Ha knows the songs from their more recent pop versions by DBSK and Big Bang, but it doesn’t stop them from using that common knowledge to connect anyway.

More than where their love for music intersects, Ji Yeon and Dong Ha show us that deep down, they are more similar than they appear to be. They both harbor hurts from the past and they both are loyal to a fault. Through their interactions where they share honestly and unguardedly with each other, they help to bring about healing in each other, and there’s something very beautiful about that.

To that end, I enjoyed pretty much any scene that Ji Yeon and Dong Ha shared in the courtyard, since that’s where many of their candid conversations take place:

On top of all of this, perhaps my most favorite thing about the way these two connect and communicate, is how they choose not to let even the angsty topics get in the way of the fun in their relationship.

A great example of this is the ice-cream date in episode 14.

Earlier, Ji Yeon had broached the touchy topic of what caused the rift between Dong Ha and his father (Jo Sun Mook) and Dong Ha had declined to talk about it.

I love that he later picks Ji Yeon up for an ice-cream date in the park, and that they laugh and play as usual, before he calmly and simply answers her question.

I freaking love that during the “waiting” times, between the time Ji Yeon asks a question and the time Dong Ha feels ready to answer it, that these two still laugh and have fun together. It basically shows me that touchy subject or no, unresolved conversation or no, they have a warm place for each other. LOVE.

And last but not least, I love that Dong Ha makes Ji Yeon so happy, so naturally, that it just spills out of her.

Even when – or perhaps because? – it causes puzzlement and a certain amount of anxiety in the people around her.

Dontcha love that rather terrified expression on Young Sik’s face (Yoon Joon Sung)?

They Laugh Together

One of the most endearing things about this couple is how they laugh together.

Whether it’s by playing together, or competing for silly things, or making silly jokes, these two always find a reason to laugh together, and it makes me feel like they will get along very well, for a long, long time. Which I love.

I also love that they don’t appear to get self-conscious around each other much at all. While Ji Yeon’s always taken care to protect her ladylike, coiffed image around Shi Hoon, she doesn’t hesitate to goof around with Dong Ha. I love that these two can be themselves around each other, and enjoy doing so.

I really liked this scene in episode 10 where Ji Yeon and Dong Ha agree to a who-can-eat-the-most challenge, and proceed to scarf down their elegant dinner with stuffed chipmunk cheeks and monkey faces.

Cuteness.

So Much Chemistry

Dong Ha and Ji Yeon share an enviable amount of chemistry regardless of whether they’re goofing around doing silly things or getting up close and personal with each other.

I love the sparky-ness they share, and there are a number of truly fantastic couple moments in this show. At the same time, I feel like the show could’ve done more with their chemistry. Let me explain.

What I Loved:

I love that Dong Ha is so into Ji Yeon. In episode 2, I love that he isn’t just responding to her tipsy kisses. The tables get turned and he is clearly into her. And that definitely floats my boat.

Rawr~ 

That is some very sexy kissing goin’ on there.

I also love the sexual tension that builds between them, even as their feelings for each other intensify.

Like this “I clearly told you not to tempt me” hair ruffling scene in episode 5:

Delicious.

And how about the almost-kiss on the couch in episode 6:

Rawr~

Another of my favorite chem-tastic moments is this one in episode 11. As they hide in the dark shadows in the spa, the sexual tension between them is breathlessly thick.

Uunngh. So sexay.

But it’s not just the fact that they get up-close-and-personal that gets to me. The emotion behind the moment is intense, and that just ups the sexy.

What Was Missing:

The moment that Dong Ha and Ji Yeon officially become a couple, I feel like the gears shift in our couple dynamic.

We still get oodles of cute and sweet, and together with that, an appropriate amount of melty swoon. But – horrors! – the sexy is gone. Even their romps in the bedroom are played off as cute rather than sexy.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate couple cute as much as the next fangirl, and I think it’s important that a relationship’s not just all about the sexy.

The thing is, the show builds up that sexual tension between them over multiple episodes, and that tension gets thick and strong and hot. And yet, we never actually get to see that tension get acted on and resolved.

Instead, we get served cute and sweet, even in scenes that appear to be meant for sexy.

Like the beer kiss in episode 15 that echoes the beer kiss in episode 2.

I appreciate the callback to episode 2, but honestly, if we’re gonna compare, the kissing in episode 2 is way hotter.

In that sense, I felt like Witch’s Romance didn’t dare to commit. Maybe the Powers That Be chickened out, thinking that audiences would be scandalized if brought actual sexy between a much older woman and a much younger man.

On the contrary, it just served to make the relationship feel unnaturally cutesy, especially given the context that we’d been painted.

ANYWAY.

No point carrying on over wasted opportunities. I did appreciate the cute and the sweet that we got, and here’s the loving spotlight on some of those moments.

Melt~

Gotta love that adorable scrunched up face on Park Seo Joon. ❤

[END SPOILER]

OTHER QUICK HIGHLIGHTS

There were other fun things too in this drama, and I just wanted to give quick shout-outs to other things that I liked.

Ji Yeon’s Awesome Mum

Awesome Mom is awesome.

She’s funny and amusing in all her anxious nagging and petulant threats to Ji Yeon about remarriage, but her awesome comes from her unilateral support for Ji Yeon, no matter what.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I love how, in episode 7, Mom tells Ji Yeon that she’s #1 in her heart even if all the men in Korea are blind. Aw.

I love too, how Mom walks the talk. When Ji Yeon chooses Shi Hoon, Mom supports her decision even though she’s worried and still unhappy with Shi Hoon. And then, when Ji Yeon chooses Dong Ha, Mom remains supportive despite her shock at finding out their actual age difference.

And at the very end of the show, Mom tells Ji Yeon that there wasn’t a time since Ji Yeon was born that she wasn’t happy. Isn’t Mom wonderful?

[END SPOILER]

I love Mom. ❤

Na Rae & Min Goo

Na Rae (Ra Mi Ran) and Min Goo (Lee Se Chang) are wonderfully cute and amusing and I enjoyed any and all screentime we had with these two.

From Na Rae being a great supportive bestie to Ji Yeon, to the goofy aegyo this couple has for each other, they add lots of fun to our show, particularly in the angsty stretch.

Plus, doesn’t Lee Se Chang look like Jang Dong Gun’s long-lost twin brother?? Seriously. I find the resemblance uncanny.

The Other Noona Romance [SPOILER]

Mom’s romance with Ji Yeon’s CEO (Joo Jin Mo) is pretty cute, and provides some lightness and levity to the angsty stretch of our show as well.

I love that Mom’s older than he is, effectively making this the second noona romance on our show.

Witch’s Romance OST – 내게 그대는

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER

As you can probably tell by now, there’s a whole bunch of things that could’ve been better in this show.

If I could change just 3 things about this show, these are the 3 that I would pick.

The Writing

To be sure, the writing in the show’s not all bad. So first, let’s take a quick look at some of the things that I actually liked, on top of what I’ve already mentioned in this review.

[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

The Good

  • I appreciate that this show doesn’t quite follow the usual rhythm of a 16-episode rom-com, and I find it refreshing. I love that Dong Ha’s and Ji Yeon’s attraction to each other is established early in the show, and that we get great doses of cute as a result.
  • I like that the love square isn’t very strong in this show, even though it rears its head. Eun Chae (Jung Yun Joo) doesn’t turn into the clingy second lead that we’re so used to seeing. Her interest in Dong Ha was fleeting and ultimately inconsequential, and Shi Hoon’s threat was temporary as well. He entered the show late-ish and made an early-ish exit. Which is rather refreshing. This meant that we got to spend more time dealing with the relationship between Dong Ha and Ji Yeon, rather than just the 10 seconds of happy at the end that some shows serve up.
  • In the angsty stretch, we get shots of lightness from not only our secondary characters, but also from flashbacks, and that helped to balance out the heaviness.
  • The struggle between Ji Yeon and Shi Hoon feels real. And the struggle that Dong Ha feels, feels real too. Each of their individual thoughts and concerns that they’re wrestling with feels well fleshed-out, so that they don’t feel like convenient characters in a story, but real people.

Could’ve Been Better

  • The writing could’ve seriously been more elegant and subtle. Many times, we can see why stuff is written a certain way – it’s to drive the narrative in a certain direction. And often it’s at the cost of cohesiveness and logic.
  • Young Chae’s illness. Shi Hoon’s coma. What is it with this show and sick first loves?? I wish the writers had been a little more creative about the backstories of the first loves. Not everyone needs to be injured or sick.
  • I know I said to expect stuff that doesn’t make sense, but some things are just really hard to overlook, in terms of just how much they don’t make sense. Here’s some of ’em:

E2. Ji Yeon’s inability to find a friend to drink with, which finally lands her in Na Rae’s shop. But then for the rest of the show, Na Rae becomes her super-bestie, with whom she talks about everything, from work to boys. What gives?

E5. The flashback to non-competitive Ji Yeon is super unrealistic and out of character. She’s competitive by nature, and she’s also not the type to go all princess-like in protecting her nails.

E5. So.. In one internet search, Ji Yeon’s found the answer to reviving hyacinth that Dong Ha’s been trying to solve for 3 years? Really??

E14. The misunderstanding between Dong Ha and his dad is cleared up in a manner so simple that I don’t know whether to find it good or laughable. The disconnect for me is the sudden shift in Dong Ha’s dad’s personality. He’d always been shown as stern and stand-offish, but this episode, he softens way more easily than I expected him to.

  • Plot holes can be a problem. Like in episode 14, where Dong Ha tells Ji Yeon in all seriousness that if his dad had operated on Young Chae (Jin Ye Sol) instead of the other patient that day, that she would’ve lived. And then in the same episode, Dong Ha tells his dad that he knew Young Chae was beyond help upon arrival at the hospital and he just wanted to assign blame. Um. What?
  • The Penultimate Separation. Sigh. So many noona romances use this to “prove” the love of the OTP. I get why the writers choose to do that, but couldn’t we just have Dong Ha and Ji Yeon working things out together instead of pulling them apart for a year?
  • This show slumped in the pacing noticeably in the middle stretch, before picking back up again in the later episodes. That’s.. not ideal. But I suppose it’s better to start and end on a high note than have an end that slumps?

Han Jae Suk as Noh Shi Hoon

I was supremely underwhelmed by Shi Hoon, and by Han Jae Suk.

As a character, I couldn’t get behind Shi Hoon whatsoever. I mean, gunshot wound, coma, whatever. It still doesn’t explain why Shi Hoon didn’t contact Ji Yeon all this time. If he loved Ji Yeon so much, why wouldn’t he even try to contact her, after she’d sent the rings back?

Also, Shi Hoon written as breaking up with Ji Yeon again is just very annoying. I would’ve preferred it much more if Ji Yeon had chosen Dong Ha even when Shi Hoon had been a viable choice. Wouldn’t that have been much more meaningful?

As for Han Jae Suk, I found his delivery of Shi Hoon flat and cold. There wasn’t a single moment that I actually felt engaged with Shi Hoon as a character, despite the show’s efforts to portray him sympathetically.

It just amazes me that after 14 whole years since All About Eve, he manages to be just as underwhelming as ever.

The Bromance

The bromance between Dong Ha and Soo Chul (Yoon Hyun Min) starts out really cute, but along the way, leans too cartoony.

On the upside, the two boys horsing around and pouting at each other makes for fun viewing. Soo Chul also gets petty-jealous when Dong Ha starts to look at Ji Yeon differently. Combined with all the cutesy sound effects, the bromance is a good bit of fun.

Where I felt it fell a little flat, is how we didn’t get a whole lot of heartfelt moments between the two guys. Given how the writers manage to give Ji Yeon and Dong Ha lots of heartfelt moments amid their own brand of cute, it’s not like the writers don’t know how. Giving the bromance more heart would’ve allowed it to land in a much more believable fashion. As it is without that heart, it’s mostly just for harmless funsies.

Also, there are some scenes where the bromance feels a little unnatural and forced. Like in episode 14, where Dong Ha and Soo Chul each talk at the other without listening to anything the other person says. It’s meant to be cute and funny, but it didn’t land so well for me.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING

To be honest, I felt rather let-down by the wedding fake-out.

Show was obviously toying with our emotions, what with the scenes of Dong Ha and Ji Yeon shopping for household items together, and going all aegyo over the miniature figurines of a bride and groom.

As all that played out on my screen, I sort of guessed it might be a fake-out, but I still allowed myself to hope. And in the end, I’m rather peeved with the show for playing with my feelings.

I like that Dong Ha proposed (although it happened off-screen – WHY??), but I really don’t see why Ji Yeon has to wait till he’s done with school.

In our last scene, we see Dong Ha and Ji Yeon strolling amid beautiful greenery, still teasing each other and being playful amid the sweet:

And we hear their final voice-overs:

Dong Ha says, “I am going to protect this woman forever: a person who’s not ashamed of her own dream. That person is the person that I love.”

While Ji Yeon finishes, “Right now, I am dating this man. Now I am no longer afraid of love. Maybe our end won’t be marriage, but I don’t care. Right now, we are doing our best to love each other and are happy enough.”

I get that the message is to live in the now, to appreciate and cherish what you have now, and that it doesn’t matter what the future holds. I also get that the point is that Ji Yeon has grown to the extent that she doesn’t need the promise of marriage to be truly happy, but why can’t we have more audience gratification? Hm?

My Alterna-Ending

What I would’ve liked to see is an actual proposal happening on our screens, of Dong Ha formally, sincerely asking Ji Yeon to marry him; because he wants to, and not coz Lobotomy Dad planted the idea in his head.

And I’d like to see Ji Yeon’s heartfelt response, that she loves Dong Ha very, very much, and just doesn’t want to get married right now. And then Dong Ha can promise to be with her no matter what her timeline is.

That would drive home the same message of being true to yourself and living in the now, and feel so much more satisfying to me. Then it’d really be about what Ji Yeon wants and feels ready for, rather than putting it off because Dong Ha’s still in school.

Still, I hafta say, Park Seo Joon being melty in a tux = swoon city.

For this reason alone, I will forgive the show for playing with my emotions with the wedding.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

All in all, despite its missteps and shortcomings, watching the end of this drama put a big smile on my face. Even though my alterna-ending doesn’t get to play out, the ending we do get is sweet in its own way.

And when all is said and done, I really did enjoy the show and was sorry to get to the end.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Fun, fresh and sparkly enough to get – and linger – under your skin, in spite of its flaws.

FINAL GRADE: A

VISUAL TREATS:

For those who haven’t seen the show, here’s the trailer:

Also, here’s a lovely vid showing us (spoilery) clips of our OTP and footage of lovely, lovely Park Seo Joon in the studio singing his heart out. ❤

내 맘에 들어와 (Come Into My Heart):

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

56 thoughts on “Review: Witch’s Romance

  1. *fanning self* *sweaty hands* I will be back with more comment. But first… just let me enjoy spazzing over this boy once again… *splashing cold water to her face*

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    • Take yer time, Nelly.. I know how it’s hard to stop swooning long enough to be coherent – what dya think my struggle was with writing this review? 😉 I was rather distracted with the swooning too, lol 😄

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  2. Regarding the logic problem you had with Ji-Yeon’s sudden close friendship with Na-Rae, I actually didn’t have a problem with it. Since Na-Rae was saved under the nickname “Traitor”, I interpreted the nickname to mean that Ji-Yeon and Na-Rae were very close friends who had had a falling out when Na-Rae married Min-Goo. This theory is supported by the fact that Ji-Yeon was really rude to Min-Goo for several episodes. In this interpretation, Ji-Yeon and Na-Rae resolved their differences and became close friends again after Ji-Yeon contacted Na-Rae.

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    • Ah, that’s a good point you have there, bergenia, thanks for highlighting it! That does help to make sense of that bit. Maybe it would’ve helped if the writers had included a throwaway line somewhere where Ji Yeon and Na Rae “made up” after her “betrayal”.. that would’ve made it more obvious for other viewers who – like me – didn’t connect the dots like you did 🙂

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  3. Really enjoyed this light-hearted romance (mostly because of Park Seo Joon’s portrayal of Dong Ha) and reading your review was just as delightful! Thanks 🙂

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    • Aw, thanks birdscout!! 😀 I’m really glad you enjoyed the review. And yes, Park Seo Joon’s portrayal of Dong Ha really is my favorite thing about this show. ❤ Welcome to blog too, by the way! ^^

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  4. To me, PSJ is the breakout noob of this year. He has so much potential and imho, he is already better than many of the other younglings, many of whom tend to be over hyped. That unmistakble warmth is so endearing. 🙂

    The Uhm siblings have quite a lot in common as actors. There’s this earnestness that just shines through.

    Haven’t yet finished this as I got distracted by something more shiny, as per usual. 🙂 It was around the time the Polar Bear arrived and I just knew we’d get several episodes worth of a downer. I’ve only seen Han Jae Suk in Daemang and he was wooden as a plank in it too. 😄

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    • Park Seo Joon really IS the big discovery this year! Well, so far, anyway – we’re barely halfway through 2014, so another breakout star could possibly arrive on our screens, maybe? 😉 I do think he’s wonderful. He doesn’t just hit all the right notes in the light romancey fun scenes. He pulls his weight and then some, in the difficult emotional scenes too, and that just impresses me a LOT. I’m currently watching One Warm Word – on your recommendation, and for more Park Seo Joon on my screen. 3 eps in, and I can totally see why you were most invested in the arc between him and Han Groo ^^

      I hafta say that I haven’t seen a whole lot of Uhm Jung Hwa’s work. I’ve seen her in 1-2 movies, and also Get Karl, Oh Soo Jung and The Man Who Can’t Get Married. She’s an excellent all-rounder, with great comic timing and distinct emotional depth. I do dislike that she keeps getting cast as an older single woman who’s a little desperate for romance. That’s so narrow and I believe she is capable of so much more.

      Han Jae Suk is in Daemang too? Eek. That just deducted one appeal point from Daemang! 😛 I don’t know how he keeps getting work, he’s so stiff and wooden and boring. I was so shocked to realize that this was the same guy from All About Eve. I mean, I didn’t think he’d still be around, 14 years later, if he was so underwhelming onscreen, y’know? Or at least, if he was still around, I expected him to have gotten better. But nope, he’s still as wooden and as flat as ever. 😄

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      • PSJ was adorable in One Warm Word, warm but still distinctly a different character than in Witch’s Romance. Just watch his Min Soo win everyone’s affections over the course of the drama. 🙂 I also loved his relationship with big sis Mi Kyung.

        UJH hasn’t really done many dramas. She started out as a singer and dancer and is more of a movie actor now. She is pretty versatile. I haven’t watched all that many of her movies either but she was very different in all the roles I have seen her in. Have you seen her latest, Montage? She was great in that one, fragile and tough at the same time.

        Well, in all honesty HJS’s character in Daemang was a rather emotionless killer, so wooden worked there quite well. 😄 The guy has no charisma what so ever.

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        • Just 3 eps in, and I can totally see what you mean, Timescout! He is soo protective over his noona, and he does have a very likable personality. I love how he so matter-of-factly outtalks Han Groo’s character every time he has to reason with her! 😄

          I haven’t seen Montage, actually. I’ve always got my attention more on the dramas, so I end up watching very few movies. I’ll keep Montage in mind for the rare movie mood when it strikes!

          HAHA. I can see how HJS would rock the sort of role that requires him to be emotionless. Work with what ya got, is what I say! 😄

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  5. Pingback: Discovering: Park Seo Joon | The Fangirl Verdict

  6. Love your reviews. This one sounds like something I would enjoy – based on your review, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! So behind on dramas 😞. I never get to watch as many as I would like courtesy very poor internet service this side of the world 😠.

    Also, your experience with “you’re beautiful” is the same as mine – I hated that show. I haven’t got the chance to rewatch it, though. I should take your advice and rewatch it with rose-tinted glasses!

    Fighting!

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    • Aw, thanks Byeol! Yes, I do think you’d enjoy this one! 😀 Do get your hands on it soon, if you’re in the mood for a sweet rom-com, and be prepared to swoon over Park Seo Joon like the rest of us 😉 Bummer about poor internet service, though.. I’ve become such a regular netizen that it really cramps my style if I have to live with bad internet or no internet for an extended period of time!

      You’re Beautiful is one of those shows that you need to go into being prepared for campy. I was shocked at how differently that drama landed for me once I adjusted my lens and my expectations. I loved it to a degree that I almost couldn’t believe that I’d used to hate the show! Long story short, you should make time for a rewatch if you’re in the mood for second chances and some campy fun ^^

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  7. As always Kfangirl…your review is always meaty, itimized and well explained…to be honest i am only halfway of the readings…i want to analyze and absorb more of your reviews from what i’ve seen from the drama. But i am a shallow fangirl…i always say this and convince myself to give credit and justification on the drama i fancied hahahaha!!!.. I forgot the facet in drama reviewing and i forgot the aspect of story comprehension.

    Evaluating the writer’s story-line during my college days are now long forgotten…i think i need to open my books and re-study those books again…hahahaha…..but i am too busy working now and half of my days are consumed of many things…like watching dramas and exploring from other sns…plus RL situations…

    So the beneficial things i can get from exploring to the net is to learn from bloggers and writers like you…to keep my knowledge nourish and eventually to have a continues learning through reading reviews….

    Anyways, i can not contribute much on your reviews but i love this drama for these reasons:

    1. I love the bromance between Dong Ha and Soo Chul…it may be too cartoony but it amused me a lot.
    2. Ji-Yeon’s mother is so awesome and i love the connection between the mother and daughter relationship….mom is so lovable as Ji-Yeon to her mom…it pains me a bit for remembering my mother though…;(
    3. I love the chemistry between Dong Ha and Ji-Yeon…and PSJ is so adorable as Dong Ha and one of my favorite scenes is the backhug scene where in Dong Ha is convincing Ji-Yeon not go back to Shi Hoon and each time Dong Ha looks to Ji-Yeon he’s sooooo…i don’t know what’s the term but PSJ is so adorable like a puppy…and each time their eyes met and they kissed…there is this spark that gets into my nerves…i feel like getting a slight electric shock good enough to shake me…LOL!…
    4. Lastly, it is because of Park Soe Joon as Dong Ha…this boy is really good and has substance!…i should say..i have seen his One Warm Word….and he can portray many roles i think…so excited for another drama of him…<3<3<3 😉

    A shallow fangirl in me forget and slide the spoilers and the flaws….

    The most important thing watching this drama?…i was entertained….i was shaken…and it made me happy… ❤ 😉

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    • Aw, thanks sweet Evez, I’m glad you liked this review! ^^ I think I have a tendency to overanalyze my dramas, and am trying to settle into a happy balance between writing about and analyzing the dramas, and actually having more time to watch them! It makes me happy that you’re still enjoying the reviews, even though they’re shorter and less detailed than they used to be. 🙂

      Oh, I actually agree on all the things you liked about Witch’s Romance, Evez! Although the bromance leaned a little cartoony for my taste, I still found the boys cute together. It was only certain scenes that I felt didn’t work so well. Otherwise, they were amusing and made me smile.

      Aw~ I’m sorry that it pained you some, to see Ji Yeon’s relationship with her mum play out onscreen. I do believe that your mother’s pleased and touched that you are holding her so dear to your heart. And I know that you’ll always have a very special place for her in there ❤

      On a completely different note – YES, Park Seo Joon is so, so~ lovely. ❤ I’m looking forward to more of him on our screens for sure!

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  8. Finally I found the time to read your review! (your blog page was opened since this morning on my computer but I still had to finish my own review grrr -___- ). I’m pleasantly surprised to see that our opinion are similar (except maybe on one or two things). I was so wrong to think that this drama would be at some point boring!^^ I’m so glad to have watched it. It was a full week of hapiness! and gosh Park Seo Jun ❤ *drool* His performance was so realistic that I came to believe that he is really like that in real life^^ I want to see another dama with him. I MUST see another drama with him *crazy eyes*

    Gosh in any case it's always a pleasure to read your review. Your writing style is so smooth and agreable to read! (and so detailed! you've seen and analysed so many little things compare to me) It makes me realise how much I still have to improve. You have the power to make me want to re re watch the drama everytime I read you!

    [You're so right about Lee Se Chang looking like Jang Dong Gun’s long-lost twin brother! XDD]

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    • Tee hee. I giggled aloud at your *crazy eyes* cineclique!! 😄 I also felt like I wanted more Park Seo Joon on my screen after I was done Witch’s Romance. I started on One Warm Word as a result, but I gotta be honest, I miss Dong Ha. And also, I miss him being the lead. As a supporting character on OWW, Park Seo Joon doesn’t get as much screentime as I’d like. And the rest of the drama is pretty serious melodramatic fare, with cheating spouses and the like. When Park Seo Joon is on my screen, he brings so much warmth and light to it, but since he’s a secondary character, the show is still heavy overall and I’m currently stalled at episode 4 😛 I hear that he’s quite lovely in I Summon You, Gold. But that show is long and has quite a patchy reputation, so you might need to employ your FF button to just focus on the Park Seo Joon goodness. If you can find it, I’m also told that his appearance in Sleeping Witch (a drama special for MBC) is worth checking out 🙂

      Also, thanks for the lovely encouragement, cineclique! That reading my reviews makes you want to re-watch the dramas is high praise indeed! I’m storing that tidbit in my mental treasure box ^^ I mosied on over to your site and read your review – so glad you wrote in English instead of French, coz I don’t know French! 😄 And yes, we do seem to agree on almost all points on the show 🙂 Seems that you loved the bromance more than I did.. maybe I’m just demanding that way, eh? But for the record, I did find the bromance and the cute sound effects that went with it very cute. I just wanted more. Greedy me 😉

      And THANK YOU for confirming that Lee Se Chang looks like Jang Dong Gun!! I couldn’t stop thinking it every time he appeared on my screen, and wondered why I hadn’t come across any mention of it anywhere. Plus, Jang Dong Gun is such an epitome of the handsome male in the collective Korean consciousness, that I was stunned when the show mentioned in passing that Min Goo looked Mexican. Plus, it was said in a not very flattering way too, something like, oh he may look like that, but he’s great at other stuff. I was all, “BUT CAN’T THEY SEE HE LOOKS JUST LIKE JANG DONG GUN? AND DON’T THEY ALL LOVE JANG DONG GUN??” It’s still a mystery to me, tbh! 😄

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      • I don’t want to see him in a supportive role T-T too much of a torture 😄 and yes I’ve seen that he played in “I, Summon you, gold” but 50 episodes! and big negative critic on the net (but like you, I heard Park Seo Jun is one of the best character in it> really good point for us^^)…hum…that would be a hell of a challenge 😄 I’m not ready to take it up right now. But since I learnt to never say “never”, maybe one day I’ll 😄 For the moment I have “Sleeping Witch” to watch. It should quench my “thirst” for a few days, right? 😉

        Ey don’t mention it^^ just telling the truth. Can’t wait to see on which drama would be your next review. Between, I’m going to start Chuno tonight. I hope I’ll enjoy it as much as you did (you’ll definitely see me next time on your review!)
        Oh I wish we could have had more of those cute effect and bromance too^^ you’re not the only to be greedy on that matter 😄

        There is definitely something! Don’t really know what but they really look alike 😄 Because of you it’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life! Everytime I’ll see Le Se chang or Jang Dong Gun in a dramas I’ll think about your words haha

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        • Yes, it’s not as much fun when Park Seo Joon’s the whole reason you’re watching a show and he doesn’t get as much screentime as the leads! There was an episode of One Warm Word (was it episode 3? Maybe 4) where he barely appeared, and I found the episode so much harder to watch! 😄 I’ve heard that I Summon You Gold is a pretty terrible drama, but also that Park Seo Joon is sooo dreamy in it that I’m just gonna have to check it out, bad reputation or no. 😄 This time, I plan to be rather ruthless in employing the FF button! 😄 As for Sleeping Witch – it’s only a single episode, sadly, so it’s unlikely to keep you occupied for more than a single evening. Unless you watch it multiple times, that is! 😄

          I AM SO EXCITED THAT YOU’RE STARTING CHUNO!!! 😀 It’s a masterpiece, and in a league all its own, in my opinion! ^^ And OMG, Jang Hyuk is mesmerizing in it. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. You might be a little distracted from your Park Seo Joon love, even! I know when I first watched Chuno, JH promptly – and permanently – toppled my big, several-years-long love for Park Shi Hoo at the time. I’ve seen other Jang Hyuk shows since Chuno, but in my mind, Chuno is JH’s most iconic work. 🙂

          HAHAHA!! I’m honored to have had such a deep impact on your life, cineclique! 😄 Now all we need is for Jang Dong Gun and Lee Se Chang to actually play brothers! 😄

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          • Aish I don’t like to press the FF button cause I have the feeling to waste my time (I could watch a better drama instead). Thus a long preparation will be needed before starting I Summon You Gold. Mental training! Your obsession for Park Seo Jun will have harmful consequences on your FF button (R.I.P)^^
            I know! Sleeping Witch is a drama Special >_< but it'll last me a week nonetheless with the time it'll take for me to write its review^^
            Besides like you say I'll probably forget about him (at least for a moment), now that I started Chuno 😄 I had the time to only watch 2 episodes (T-T) so I'm not yet completely mesmerized by Jang Hyuk but it won't be long I think 😄 (is he going to be topless during the whole drama? grrrr).
            Haha that'd be so funny 😄

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            • Tee hee. I’m planning to watch mostly the Park Seo Joon parts in I Summon You Gold. If I can stomach the rest I will, but I’ve decided not to hesitate if it gets hard-going. I’m clearly in for that show only for Park Seo Joon! 😄 I’m saving that and Sleeping Witch for later, coz I’ve picked back up on One Warm Word, and I am really enjoying Park Seo Joon in it! I’m 7 eps in, and he’s really blowing it out of the water. He’s handled several difficult scenes impressively, and his interactions with Han Groo, who’s acting as his love interest, are a pleasure to watch. I don’t usually love melos, but this one is definitely impressing me quite well. Not least coz Park Seo Joon is so warm and melty in it ❤

              Let me tempt you:

              And, Joo Jin Hee is very handsome in it too:

              As for Chuno, aren’t the shirtless scenes GLORIOUS??? 😀 😀 I enjoyed those with slack-jawed appreciation, I tell ya! 😄 And no, they don’t stay shirtless all series long. Coz winter happens, darn! 😄

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              • You’ll have to tell me about it 😀 I’m saving Sleeping Witch for later too. Too much on my plate for now
                Gosh you’re so evil! Stop messing with my head 😄 It’s going to take me a at least a good week of a Jang Hyuk treatment to forget this melty, goofy smile^^ (Joo Jin Hee? isn’t his name Ji Jin Hee instead?).
                There are EPIC! Yes I’ve seen that…Winter has came…more clothes bouhou T-T but let’s say it: Jang Hyuk with or without a shirt is and will always be hot ❤

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                • Oopsie! You’re right, my bad, I messed up his name 😛 It’s definitely Ji Jin Hee, not Joo Jin Hee – whatever was I thinking? 😄 Just as a rose by any other name smells as sweet (look at me, getting all Shakespeary here! 😄 ), Ji Jin Hee looks fab, even though I got his name wrong. I took sooo many screencaps of him in the early episodes, coz he looked so! darn! sharp! in those suits! Between him and Park Seo Joon, I was accumulating a seriously riDUNKulous number of screencaps per episode! 😄

                  Lol I was disappointed when winter came around in Chuno too, cineclique!! 😄 I mean, the shirtlessness in the earlier episodes is of such a glorious level that it leaves all other kdramas trailing in its abtastic dust! 😄 On my second watch, though, I had calmed down enough to realize that, yes, Jang Hyuk is wonderful and full of substance & nuance and HOT with or without his shirt! 😄

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  9. Yes yes yes! I really agree with all that you said. I realize watching dramas without a blog means i just think a lot about them but have no outlet to vent. So sorry if my comment is rambling :).
    I think the recapper on dramabeans described Shi Hoon as sucking the life out of the show. I wish the show had dwelled less on him and more on Dong Ha getting over his girlfriend who died. I also feel like there was a lot make available for exploration between Dong ha’s parents and their acceptant of Ji Yeon. Doesn’t Dong Ha have a mother? I would’ve liked to see her meet Ji Yeon and maybe be apprehensive at first but come to realize how wonderful she is for her son. Also I wish I had had the knowledge that the slow part would end (aka Shi Hoon would leave) bc I was getting worried there. And yes my biggest issue with this show is that Ji Yeon gets dumped again….so against her character.
    Though all in all I loved this show especially because the chemistry between the OTP was just amazing.

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    • I’m sorry I’m so late in replying your comment, Eye Candy! Work has been super intense this week, and I’m just now beginning to feel like I’ve got my head screwed on straight again! 😄

      I have to agree about Shi Hoon sucking the life out of the show. I’m stunned that Han Jae Suk still gets acting work, really. I’ve only seen him here and in All About Eve, and he’s equally wooden, 14 years apart! Like, with that kind of track record, why does he still get cast?? I’m baffled. And I totally agree that the show should’ve spent a lot less time on him (maybe take him out of the picture altogether? Or just make his appearance an extended cameo?) and spend more time on the practical issues of making the relationship work between Ji Yeon and Dong Ha. I don’t know if we’re told if Dong Ha’s mother is still alive or around, but even without it, I found the treatment of the father’s character really odd.

      Despite all its flaws, though, I really enjoyed the show. Mostly coz of OTP chemistry and the excellent performances of our leads. And Park Seo Joon’s extreme swoony-ness. He makes my heart melt, he does. ❤

      And you DO have a blog, Eye Candy! So you could plausibly make an appearance every now and again, when you need an outlet to talk drama! Even if you don’t feel up to that, though, I just wanna say, it’s fantastic to have you around again! 😀 I squee a bit every time I see you’ve left a comment, coz it’s been forever since you used to hang out here in the blogosphere! I’ve missed ya, chingu. Smooches. ❤

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  10. Another great drama I watched thanks to your reviews, Gamsahamnida Blogger-nim *bowing*
    “Fated to love you” being such a huge disappointment- I don’t get how charismatic Jan Hyuk agreed for this preposterous, clownesque performance- I was in the need for a hot, real rom-com and “Witch’s Romance” has it all. So much that I still don’t know why it didn’t get my attention when it aired. Strange.
    All the cons you stated are probably true but I was so hungry, I totally overlooked them to keep only the pros.
    I love the fact they talked to each other and don’t let misunderstandings macerate for many episodes but clear them asap.
    I love, love the complicity between those two, it doesn’t feel performed but real. And their private jokes crack me up.
    I love, love, love that secondary characters are… secondary ( the square love doesn’t cling on, the bromance is funny but not overwhelming, mom is a tiny bit abusive but not mean, the meddlesomeness is kept at its strict minimum, etc.), and, not related but also secondary, I enjoyed Ji Yeon’s swagg.
    I love, love, love, love a steamy hot scene as soon as the very first episode ! That was completely unexpected (I’m more used to wrist grabbing, back hugging and episode 15 ‘s very chaste fish-eye kiss) and totally liberating and delightful. It is true that it would have been better if the heat between them build up instead of vanishing for the cute. It’s like the authors got suddenly cold feet. Same thing with the marriage. The drama is all about the “old” woman getting married and when she finally find a suitable mate, it becomes incidental. But more because the man is muuuuch younger than the lady rather than anything else, I’m sure. It would be awkward (subversive ?) to watch a happy marriage between a mature woman and a young man, wouldn’t it Authors ? Sissies, I say !
    But despite those flaws, this is a decent feel-good show and it has joined my list of dramas I’ll watch again and again with the same pleasure (and actually, they are not so many…)
    I’m off to see if I’ll have the same bliss with Miss Korea.

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    • Aw! I’m glad you liked Witch’s Romance, asotss!! 😀

      I haven’t checked out FTLY yet, but I’ve been warned that I need to manage my expectations and be prepared for a more preposterous Jang Hyuk than I’m used to. I mean, Jang Hyuk ala Daegil is my favorite kind of Jang Hyuk, with swag oozing out of his every pore. But I’m told that there is a charm to him in FTLY too. This role is gaining him new fans, and my Jang Hyuk k-love post is getting significantly more hits these days than before the drama aired. I’m gonna check out the show and try to keep an open mind, and see if he doesn’t manage to charm me too. I’ll keep you posted!

      As for Witch’s Romance, yes, isn’t it refreshing??? I love that the OTP talks things out, and I do love the sparky chemistry they shared, especially in the earlier episodes. That drunken almost-romp in the bedroom was totally rawr-worthy! It’s too bad about the cute overtaking the rawr later in the show. But like you, I would rewatch this for sure, it’s such a gem. And Park Seo Joon is so~ melty! ❤

      I’m hoping that you’ll like Miss Korea too. It’s network, so there aren’t bedroom romps like in Witch’s Romance, but the OTP is extremely winning, and they talk too, and it’s really refreshing in that way. I found myself liking them more and more as the show went on 🙂

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      • That Jang Hyuk k-love post is a great one- it brought hyukness to my life, no less! And for this I’ll be forever grateful- so it’s fantastic if it gathered even more attention thanks to FTLY ! I’m sure these “new” readers will become die hard followers of your blog and you’ll deserve it ❤
        I won’t tell much about the drama since you haven’t watched it yet, but… well…*sigh*… let’s see. Maybe the end of the drama will just be exceptional and will pin me on the wall (although I don’t see this coming at all) ? Anyway, we are looking forward to reading what will be your take on it.

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        • Awww~ You totally made me smile with your comment, asotss! ❤ I’m so glad to have had the chance to introduce you JH’s brand of awesome! ^^ And yes, I do love when fangirls gather on the k-love threads.. it means more shared squee, which is always a good thing in my books. It’s a bonus if they choose to check out other stuff on the blog – and I’ve really enjoyed making new drama friends that way too 🙂

          I’m planning to start on FTLY after it’s done. Not only will I be able to watch it at my own pace, I’ll have more mental bandwidth then too. I’ve been in a traveling phase lately for work, so it’s been more challenging than usual, to keep pace with dramaland. Good thing for me that the dramas will always be there! 😉

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  11. hm, just finished watching it … and i can’t get rid of that eerie feeling of deja vu. it all started with the photo of the polar bear and after that scene i kinda knew what to expect. unfortunately i can’t remember what drama it reminds me of … and i’m sure i didn’t watch it before (i was too busy in the last two months).

    anyway, i kinda liked the ending … maybe because it portrays Ji Yeon’s maturity better. love is (seemingly just) about today … but imho one should not ignore tomorrow.

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    • Hi there, INTJ! It’s been awhile! *waves*

      Great to see you around, and also, glad that you liked the ending of the show. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a specific drama that has a similar polar bear plot point, but I’m not surprised that you’d find the plot point familiar. Lots of kdramas have somewhat similar storylines, and the First Love is a popular one that gets used often. Maybe your kdrama instinct just kicked in and you realized that the First Love plot point was going to happen next? 🙂

      I totally agree with your point about love also being about tomorrow. I wanted Ji Yeon and Dong Ha to have at least some plans for tomorrow too, even if they didn’t act on it within the drama’s timeframe. I felt like in pushing the idea that now is most important, that the writers inadvertently gave us the impression that tomorrow doesn’t matter as much as today. And yet, isn’t love about more than today? Love is also about working towards a combined tomorrow, I would think. That’s what I felt was missing at the end, and you’ve summed it up very nicely. 🙂

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      • hahaha, to be honest till the end and since we’re all kinda subjective when we’re watching anything … i liked the ending also because, as a man, i rooted for Dong Ha and imo the future was in favor of his love. to be more specific: nothing is more painful than losing a loved one … and since he’s younger than Ji Yeon, he has (at least) some assurance that his beloved Ji Yeon won’t have to endure/experience that kind of pain in the future. while the thought of (any kind of) pain is terrifying for any of us … somehow i think the though of pain for a beloved one is even more terrifying.

        but as i said, from Ji Yeon’s point of view, i really liked the fact that her love was selfless to the extent she was willing to potentially sacrifice her dreams/goals in life for the sake of Dong Ha. we know that Dong Ha proposed to her multiple times … yet she made the mature decision to give him more time to think it over. she didn’t just rush into it (aka “let’s do it and we’ll see how it’ll work out”), but instead cared more for the happiness of her beloved one.

        all that being said, like you, i wanted a bit more about their future … and not Ji Yeon talking only about a carpe diem that essentially contradicts/hides the real reasons behind her decision to wait for Dong Ha’s love to mature a bit more. we’re told a lot about love … usually in bright shiny colours … but too little that is actually useful in keeping existing love alive.

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        • You make a profound point, INTJ – I do think that for many people, the thought of a loved one going through pain is possibly more terrifying than the thought of going through pain oneself. I think it’s possibly because we can decide to grit our teeth and bear with the pain, and we know (or think we know) how much pain we are able to bear, but don’t have the heart to imagine our loved ones having to experience said pain. That’s a very interesting insight, especially applied in this context of Dong Ha and Ji Yeon’s future.

          I like your point too, about how we’re often told about love in bright shiny colors and how dramaland often doesn’t present the other side of love – the part about keeping love alive. I’m currently watching One Warm Word (coz Park Seo Joon’s in it! Squee!), and it’s a melodrama that does explore just that. It’s about 2 couples dealing with problems in their marriages, and from what I’ve seen so far (I’m about 8 episodes in), it’s tackled with a good amount of depth. I can’t speak for the show in its entirety since I haven’t finished the show, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m thinking that you might appreciate this one, INTJ 🙂

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          • hm, maybe i should watch “One Warm Word” next … especially since there’ll surely be a review of it in the near future. 🙂 having just finished “The woman who married three times” (which was very disappointing, almost annoying, for me), maybe a melo will indeed rekindle my appetite for other unwatched dramas. but there’s still “Miss Korea” to watch (to be afterwards able to read your review) … i’ll make a decision based on my mood later today. 🙂

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            • I’m making slow progress on One Warm Word, coz Real Life has been hectic and I’ve been traveling for work. While traveling, I watched lighter stuff, and I just picked back up again today on One Warm Word. I’m so pleasantly surprised all over again at how engaging it is, despite its heavier content. Based on what you’ve shared so far on how you feel towards dramas, I’m thinking you’d likely enjoy it. I can’t speak for it as a whole yet, of course, since I’m only 8 episodes in. I have it on fairly good authority that it’s a worthy watch 🙂

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  12. This is one of my favorite rom-coms. Of course, bonus points because it is noona but i thoroughly enjoyed the cast. EVEN the young girl that crushed on Park Seo Joon at the beginning. Can’t blame her but his eyes was always on someone else. I LOVED the best friend, he was so catty so I will definitely look for him in other things. I liked that they showed sex as fun because it SHOULD be, however, I wanted to see the rawr a little bit more since it was cable. Although, I liked that drinking bekchu was code for “getting it on” — cue Marvin Gaye!

    I will definitely watch this show again.

    Like

    • Oh, this show is on my rewatch list too! 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed its cracky goodness, particularly in the form of melty Park Seo Joon *Swoooon~*

      Yoon Hyun Min was quite the hoot as Soo Chul, even though I wished the writers could’ve done more with the bromance. I first noticed Yoon Hyun Min in Heartless City, and now with this, I’ve got him practically permanently associated with Pretty Bestie With a Penchant for Women, HAHA. 😄

      Totally agree that I’d have liked more rawr than cute, especially in those beer scenes towards the end. They totally could’ve; it’s cable! I say they chickened out, coz the scenes in the early eps were HAWT. 😀

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  13. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great? | The Fangirl Verdict

  14. Really great review! Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts!

    Ahhhhh super love yoon dongha & park seojoon. 😍😍😍😍

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  15. Pingback: Year In Review: 2014 | The Fangirl Verdict

  16. great review !!! but noona romance is really not my cup of tea, i just can’t watch it so i end up reading your review. i can’t find myself cheering on an older one with someone so young , so fresh … , please no haters, it’s just me. lol

    Like

    • Lol. It’s ok, Nancy. I know that noona romances aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I know several other people who don’t prefer the noona romance too, so you’re definitely not alone! 🙂

      Like

  17. Pingback: Are kdramas getting worse / “dumbed down”? | The Fangirl Verdict

  18. Yeah! I just finished this one today and I could finally read your splendid review! Aye to the comments on the sexy being taken away, the ending, Min Goo lookalike… Everything! I am going to find me the Ep 2 clip before I move on to the next thing to watch. Still trying to pick one. Not sure what I’m in the mood for…

    Like

    • Ah, you watched this!! 😀 It’s a fun one, isn’t it?? In spite of its flaws, this show made me squee. Especially during that first tipsy kiss – rawr. Park Seo Joon is ❤ 🙂

      What are you in the mood for? If you're in a pretty open, neutral mood, might I suggest the amazing C-drama I recently reviewed? Nirvana In Fire is such an experience, it's completely worth stepping out of one's comfort zone. You can check out my review here, for a spoiler-lite overview, &/or trailer/MVs to get a taste. It’s gorgeous and magnificent in so many ways. ❤

      Like

  19. Pingback: Friday Favourites – Mar.11/16

  20. Your review is spot on! I’m still not completely done the series, but I am loving every minute of it. I can’t help but spoil things for myself, but that’s okay because I’m glad this show’s ending is not too disappointing. Your reviews are so funny! They’re not just recaps like a lot of other reviews are. I also have to agree I fell in love with Park Seo Joon in this role too and I had the exact same sentiment as you. At first I was like, meh just another Korean guy. Then after Episode 2 (which btw swoon), I was “YAAASSS! That’s my new man”. Anyways, keep up the amazing work with the reviews. I did a recent post on this show and linked to your review because I feel like you did such a good job describing it.

    Check it out here:
    http://thelokilife.com/friday-favourites-mar-1116/#sthash.vGenlIh3.dpbs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there Souda, it’s great to meet ya! 🙂 Yay that you’re enjoying Witch’s Romance, it’s pretty great, isn’t it?? I mean, all that chemistry, and all that Park Seo Joon! ❤ ❤ 😄 The ending is not too disappointing, yes. And I think in this case, it helps to manage your expectations, so you probably did yourself a favor by reading the spoilers! I had higher expectations of the ending, and couldn’t help feeling that Show under-delivered in the end, despite the sweet note it left us on. STILL. For all the Park Seo Joon awesome Show gave me, I suppose I can forgive a little! 😉

      Thanks too, for your lovely encouragement about the reviews! It definitely helps motivate me to keep writing ’em! 🙂

      PS: If you’re looking for more excellent chemistry and are open to watching a show with heaps of chemistry but isn’t so great on the writing front, I recommend Taiwanese drama Bromance. You can check out my spoiler-lite review here, to see if it sounds like something you’d like! 🙂

      Like

  21. Love this show! It’s so charming. I don’t see the point of Shi Hoon either, though I suppose it helps that Ji Yeon finds closure instead of being stuck in the past. Though I’m still pretty new to Kdrama, I don’t generally find secondary characters interesting and usually FF to OTP moments, but I have to say that I very rarely do it with this show (though I’ve done it to even my fav shows, which I like more than this one). It says a lot about the great writing. Park Seo-joon is SO melty… he’s joined my list of Kdrama crushes. *squee!* His eyes just speak to you… great acting! Oh, the feels! *squees again* Thanks for the review!

    Like

    • Ahhh!! I’m so glad you’re feeling the Park Seo Joon melty, Aurorenoire!! Isn’t he sooo~ lovely and swoony?? ❤ ❤ TOTALLY worthy of k-love status!

      You're right, not all secondary characters are interesting, and so often, writers reach for cookie-cutter types to fill the secondary roles. You might also want to check out She Was Pretty.. Not a noona romance, but Park Seo Joon stars. ❤ AND I loved the second leads too. Well. The second male lead more than the second female lead, but still, a lovely show that I loved a lot.

      Like

  22. Hey, Kfangurl ❤ I'm (sorta) back 😀 !

    I decided on a whim to give Witch's Romance a go and I finished it in 4 days! (thank God for the business trips :))) )
    I just finished reading your review as well and I have to say that I wasn't so strict with this one, like you were, for some reason. Maybe it's because it's my first drama after a long break, or maybe it's because I've learned how the whole adjusting the lens works. Who knows :)))?

    Anyway, I must say that I quite enjoyed this one, despite not being a big fan of noona romances (maybe because I was raised thinking that older men are better, or just because I've dated younger and older and I just think that younger men are so immature), but I Hear Your Voice and Secret Love Affair were to awesome and I thought this one might be as well.

    I'll have to say that I wasn't a big fan of many things, but I learned to live with them. But I'll start with the things I did love 😀

    1. No clingy second leads! Yaaaaaay!! Dammit, I dread that plot twist in all dramas, I swear!
    2. The chemistry is off the chaaaaaain!! The main leads have such chemistry and sexual tention you might as well cut it with a knife :))))
    3. Loved Na Rae and Min Goo-sshi ❤ They were so cute together (though a bit over board with the cuteness at times) but I really loved that they were, unwittingly, a light beacon for the main couple. Advice wise and supporting them throughout the whole show ❤
    4. Loved Mama! Not at first, for being a bit insensitive and so pushy, but I started loving her as show progressed. And the relationship they displayed at the very end reminded me of me and MY mom. We also have the most awesome relationship in the world and I loved seeing that on my screen as well ❤
    5. Don't even get me started on Park Seo Joon ❤ OMG! How does he manage to be so awesome?! I mean, really. SO many subtle changes and so many funny faces! I loved every inch of his performance ❤
    6. Uhm Jung Hwa was almost great 🙂 I must say she played the dramatic scenes with so much truthfulness I couldn't help but believe the turmoil she's going through. But there were some moments she could've done better. Overall though, really good ❤

    Now, there are a lot more things I liked, but I'll try commenting a bit on your review as well.
    I think Ji Yeon's relationship with Na Rae went waaay back in highschool, which is why it was so easy for her to reconnect.

    I don't think Dong Ha's dad changed much since appearing in the show. And now let me explain. It was Dong Ha who blamed his father for killing his girlfriend (forgot her name) and I think Dad just let him think that as a means to deal with his pain. Even Dong Ha admitted being wrong in believing that all this time. I think Dad just started making more appearences in Dong Ha's life because he saw an opportunity in reconciling with his son. It was abrupt, yes, but not completely unreal.

    I will have to agree with you that Shi Hoon was only a necessary evil in the plot. Han Jae Sook's performance was at most ok (going for underwhelming and flat were also choices of words in describing his performance). The plot in his case had sooooo many holes. Too many if you ask me. But as you said, I'm glad he didn't take up too much of our screen time.
    Now, as to Ji Yeon's choice, I understand it and it would have felt unnatural to choose Dong Ha in that situation. I think she would've only chosen Dong Ha then to spite Shi Hoon. And let me explain. She had a 10 year history with Shi Hoon and no closure whatsoever. When Shi Hoon appeared, the attraction between Ji Yeon and Dong Ha was obvious but that's where it stopped. No relationship, no I love you, no nothing. The only thing she would have to balance against those 10 years was Dong Ha's confession at the ladies' meeting, which she first thought of as a joke. So the choice, for me at least, was justified, I mean, she was still suffering after six years of absence. And I think Show did a good thing with Shi Hoon's appearance (as badly written as it was) because if she would've started a relationship with Dong Ha in those circumstances, her failed relationship would've probably hung over theirs. Like he had some kind of closure with the flower, she needed one as well.

    Overall, I really enjoyed it! I did cringe here and there, but nothing the fluff lens can't handle :)))

    Thanks for the review and I am now in search for a new fluff rom-com (some brains used in the writing is a plus :))) )

    P.S. I dropped Princess' Man for now because I need fluss, apparently. Will get to it as soon as this fluff-unicorns-hearts-flowers-rainbows period of mine passes :)))))

    Like

    • Ah!! I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Sabina!! 😀 (And YAY that you’re back, sorta or not!! HUGS!)

      I nitpicked a little on this one, I think mostly because it seemed like such a pity that it would have some of these obvious flaws, when it started off so well, and had so much going for it. I still love the show though – as you can see from my final rating. Despite where it went off in directions I didn’t like so much, the OTP chemistry, the sweet loveline, and Park Seo Joon make it all worthwhile. ❤

      If you're in the mood for fluffy cute rom-coms, then Princess' Man is SO not it!! 😆 You're definitely making the right choice to shelve it for now. Have you tried Marriage Not Dating? I liked it a lot, and if you're in the mood for some campy fun with a lot of heart, that could possibly hit the spot. Another rom-com I enjoyed a lot is Pinocchio. I haven't got a review on it on the site, but that's only because I'm backlogged on it. If you haven't checked it out, it's well worth a watch. It's not super fluffy, but it's well-written and has a lot of heart and sweet. Of course, if you're in the mood for nonsensical fluff, TW drama Just You might hit the spot too. I hope that helps, and that you're still having fun with your drama journey!! ❤

      Like

      • Yup, I’ve watched Pinocchio 😀 I only dived into it because I liked You’re Beautiful and wanted to see more of Park Shin Hye, only to come out of it totally in love with Lee Jong Suk (really love him ❤ ) And now that you mentioned it, I think I'll have to watch it again 😀

        I haven't tried Marriage Not Dating yet, but I do remember reading your review on it. If you think it feels my unicorns now, sure, I'll start with it right away (or right after Pinocchio anyway :))) )

        Yeah, I've found the secret to enjoying my drama journey at all times. Whenever I get tired of watching dramas, I don't try to watch different genres, I just stop watching altogether for a short period of time (this time it took a couple of months). This way, when I come back I really start loving it all over again 😉 😀

        Thanks so much for the quick reply! I really don't know when you get to do it… I've been so busy lately (before them business trips when I got the chance to watch Witch's Romance) that I didn't even get to see my family 😦 . Always leaving early and getting home late…

        Talk to you soon (hopefully 😀 ) :* !!

        Like

  23. stumbling upon this post while browsing park seojoon picture for my background.
    While I’ve watched KMHM, She was pretty, (beauty inside still on waiting list), i always find myself reminisce over Yoon Dongha and re-watching this drama.
    It felt nice when others eloquently wrote all of things i love from this drama. Even all the tiny bits. Thank you for that!
    I love this drama and at that time I’m so sure he is the IT boy (trending search after the airing, land him recognition and to variety show, etc), but i found not many people know this drama…
    It felt nice when you eloquently wrote all of things i love from this drama. Even all the tiny bits. Thank you for that!

    I’m currently watching Hwarang, for now I’d say his Moomyung/Sunwoo character is the next to Yoon Dongha.
    Maybe it’s my preference: Park Seo Joon + manner/warmness = Perfect!

    Like

    • Glad you found me, nyoonggi! And yes, Park Seo Joon is 😍😍😍. Like you, I loved him in this show the most, among all the shows that I’ve seen him in. I do think you’re right – Park Seo Joon + manners is a very lovely combination indeed. ❤ It’s probably why I’m still watching Hwarang, even though the show itself is underwhelming me in many ways.

      Like

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