Dropped: My Secret Hotel

Thanks to everyone who voted when I asked if you guys would be interested in new sections for Flash Reviews and Dropped Dramas.

Even though you guys have been the sweetest readers, it still blew me away a little, at just how many of you are in favor of these short little blurb types of posts (more than 90% of the votes, y’all. Thank you!).

It’s a new lesson I’m learning, that even though wordiness is one of my hard-to-shake-off traits, that I don’t have to be wordy for you guys to be interested in what I have to say. Thanks y’all, for makin’ me feel all important and stuff. 😉

And now, here’s the first drama to grace the Dropped Dramas section: My Secret Hotel.


Given that I generally have a good impression of tvN, and that I generally like Yoo In Na, I thought I’d check this out despite feeling rather confused/bemused/puzzled at the “killing romance” premise.

With some deft (& as far as possible, restrained) use of my trusty FF button, I made it 11 episodes into this 16-episode show.

On the plus side

1. Yoo In Na is cute as a button as our heroine Nam Sang Hyo, and looks pretty and professional; more of a rarity than one might expect in dramaland. Her cuteness was mostly charming without dipping into being try-hard, and I found her likable.

2. The OST has a number of cute breezy-electronica tracks, including My Secret Love, and they have the sort of vibe that sorta-maybe reminds me of “Together in Electric Dreams”, the song from 1984 movie Electric Dreams.

Here, have a listen to My Secret Love. It’s really not bad.

3. Nam Goong Min gets to be pretty charming in this. Sometimes.

4. Which means that sometimes, we do get some squee-worthy moments.

On the not-so-great side

1. The pacing is kinda jerky as the narrative tries to balance the two main elements: romance and murder. That, and the change in writer partway through didn’t help matters.

2. Thanks to only having seen Jin Yi Han playing very, very unlikable jerk-boyfriends (in Hooray for Love and Master’s Sun), I came into this without any existing affection for him. That.. well, didn’t help.

3. Despite Show’s best efforts, I didn’t really want our heroine to end up with either of her male leads.

Neither of them seemed right for her, from what I could see. I just wanted her to be strong and passionate in her chosen career, and live happily ever after, with or without a leading man.

As the episodes wore on, the writing forced our heroine to behave in ways that troubled me.


Getting coerced into a fake wedding and a fake honeymoon, to “save the hotel”? Argh. That annoyed me, to be honest.

And then in the later stretch, getting persuaded to spend a whole week with the man she’s decided to leave behind in her life, pretending to be his wife? Double Argh.

I get that our heroine Sang Hyo is written to be nice, and that these are plot points in service of getting the appointed OTP back together again, but it annoyed me that her life was so easily manipulated, and in such an offhanded manner too.

I kept thinking, “Noooo. She’s worth more than that. YOU’RE worth more than that. Don’t dooo eeet..!!”

Considering that I was protesting the chain of events that would, y’know, get the appointed OTP together, I was fighting a losing battle.


4. Nam Goong Min’s character, who was the less offensive male lead character to me, got harder to get behind as the story started steering us away from him. One of the bigger draws, nixed.

I’m not even a big fan of Nam Goong Min as an actor, and have found him only mildly appealing in other roles, so it says a lot that his charming moments added up to being one of the bigger draws of this show for me.


When I realized that our heroine was on a major trajectory that I couldn’t get behind, I just couldn’t muster up the will nor the interest to continue watching, FF button or no.

I wanted more and better for our heroine Nam Sang Hyo; more strength, more independence, more personal agency.

Seeing her acceptance of the unreasonable and ridiculous proposition at the end of episode 11 (which I mention in the spoilers above) was the last straw for me.

Another big clue for me that it was time to drop this drama, is that I was starting to use the FF button more than I was actually watching scenes. Eep.

Sorry, tvN. I like that you wanted to try something different to spice up the rom-com genre, but this killing romance just didn’t work for me.

PS: That cameo by Nam Goong Min’s We Got Married screen wife Hong Jin Young was very weird and distracting. That didn’t help. Honest. Please don’t do it again.

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5 years ago

i was about to watch episode 12 and i think go hae young is really being unfair. why would you use your fathers condition to get your girl back.. it does’nt make sense…

5 years ago
Reply to  baguio

Looks like we dropped this one at exactly the same time, baguio! I only watched (well, FF-watched) up to E11, and I just couldn’t carry on. I think we made the right choice. High five? 😂

7 years ago

Watch Jin Yi Han in Empress Ki… you might have a different opinion.

7 years ago
Reply to  machiger

Yes, I’ve heard that, actually. That I ought to see him in Empress Ki. EK isn’t high on my priority list right now, but when I do get around to it, I look forward to seeing Jin Yi Han in a whole new different light. 🙂

8 years ago

First and foremost, A happy Merry Christmas to you, kfangurl!!!

I could only take 8 episodes of MSH, it was really slow and uninteresting and after the heroine was basically forced to get married to save the hotel and she actually agreed to it, I just stopped caring. That was a WTH moment for me. Plus, the only thing I really liked in this show was Ahn Gil Kang in a hilarious detective role but even he couldn’t get me to finish this snoozefest.

On the upside though, the OST was generally good, my personal favorite was Trap by Swings and SEY.

8 years ago
Reply to  yeoc

Merry Christmas to you too, yeoc!! 🙂 And it looks like we felt similarly about this show! I could not believe my eyes when she agreed to the wedding to save the hotel. That a total WTH moment for me too! I like Yoo In Na, and I found her charming and cute in this character, but that was really the beginning of the end for me. I wanted to shake her and make her wake up and stop doing dumb things like allowing other people to manipulate her. The machinations they employed to trick her were so obvious too. I found it all so frustrating.

I liked the OST quite well too, even though it wasn’t terribly outstanding. It wasn’t enough to keep me on board to the end, but it did soften my experience a little, for the time that I stuck with this! XD

8 years ago

i finished it too and it really is bad. that being said, i’ve already wasted way too much time on this show …

8 years ago
Reply to  INTJ

Hahaha!! You made me laugh with this comment, INTJ!! I commend your determination to actually finish this show, I found it too tough to press on to the end. And yes, you’ve already spent too much time on this show – thus the trailing off of your comment! Can’t say I blame you for wanting to put it behind ya! XD

8 years ago

I liked the first few episodes ok. But it went downhill and repetitive and uhh. I actually watched it all because I watched with someone else who wanted to see it all. But it’s too annoying and not worth it. And I normally like Yoo In na.

8 years ago
Reply to  Telzey

Oh my, you actually finished this? I feel your pain, Telzey! 😛 Like you, I normally like Yoo In Na. But this show did go downhill, and the few things that were keeping me interested were pretty much tossed to the wayside in favor of an OTP reunion that I couldn’t get behind. I wondered if it was just me.. coz I found nothing romantic about the scenes between the appointed OTP. I hope your drama friend and you pick a more satisfying show for your next watch! 🙂

8 years ago

I managed to watch only a handful of dramas this year, dropped quite a few too. Seems I’m getting harder to please each year. 🙂

I’ve become pretty good at picking out the dramas that have the potential to turn sour on me, be it filled with ‘WTF just happened?!’ moments or something so boring I’d rather watch paint dry. So I’ve dodged quite a few bullets over the years. My Secret Hotel is one of those dramas where I just had this feeling the plot would be all over the place with the side of annoying. Turns out I was pretty much on the dot about that. I’m pretty happy I didn’t even consider watching it.

8 years ago
Reply to  Timescout

Hee. I think I might be becoming harder to please myself, Timescout! I guess becoming more discerning with time is a good thing and not a bad one, although it probably also means that I would likely roll my eyes now, at dramas that I liked before! XD I strongly suspect I’d like SeGa a lot less now than when I first squee-ed and swooned through it 😛

I actually did find the “killing romance” concept rather weird, but given that dramaland successfully sold me an alien rom-com in YFAS, I thought I’d give it a fair chance to wow me. Sadly, though, the writing really was all over the place with a side of annoying. It’s sad that the reason they switched writers is coz the original writer passed away, and I tried to give the show sympathy points for that. Even then, it just didn’t work for me. You definitely didn’t miss anything is dodging this one, Timescout!

Lady G.
8 years ago

This is a great start to this section! I know I dropped a lot this year. But you being you, KFG, this has the right touch. Even though you dropped it, you’ still found nice things to say and pointed out its strengths.

8 years ago
Reply to  Lady G.

Aw, I’m so glad you like this first post, Lady G! 😀 I generally don’t drop that many dramas (yet?), and My Secret Hotel is one of those that I thought might turn into a pleasant though unremarkable watch with deft use of the FF button. Alas, even with the FF button, I just couldn’t go on past E11. Guess the FF button’s magic doesn’t solve everything then! 😉

8 years ago

I dropped it as well….and only after 5-6 eps….it was slow, dull and uninteresting….and that camera…it showed everyone’s face just too close for my comfort…haha

8 years ago
Reply to  snow

Oh, did you drop this too, snow? XD Well, looks like I’m not alone! Actually, I found the feeling of slowness quite odd, since the show itself tried to be breezy and fun. It was such an odd feeling, to have something presented as breezy, yet to have it actually feel slow. I don’t know how they did that, tbh! XD

I think if the cinematography had been prettier, that the tight close-ups would’ve felt less odd. In That Winter and It’s Okay It’s Love, there were a lot of tight close-ups too, but somehow, coz everything was so pretty, it seemed to work better. I don’t know if that’s a rule in dramaland or something, but it seems like a contributing factor to me! XD