Review: Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food [Something In The Rain]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show starts out pretty adorable, with an excellently delivered cloud of cute around the birth of a noona romance. Show then switches gears in the middle stretch, into melo and angst territory. In principle, it all feels warranted, with things like societal norms, family expectations, and even workplace harassment taking the spotlight. The problem, for me anyway, is, most of these things aren’t resolved in a manner that feels satisfying, by the time the final credits roll.

The writing does not feel assured, unfortunately, and is, I think, one of the main reasons this show suffered. Also, the background music becomes terribly grating, from overuse.

To be fair, Show does have its fans. So just because it didn’t work so great for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you?

THE LONG VERDICT:

You know how some parents get their kids to eat their vegetables by hiding them in more appealing foods? Like, grinding up broccoli to bake into brownies?

Watching this show feels kinda like that. Except, in this case, it turns out that dressing up the broccoli doesn’t quite work in the end, because the brownie ends up tasting really weird and a lot of the kids ended up spitting out the brownie after working their way through the frosting. Also, in this analogy, it turns out that the broccoli wasn’t actually that nutritious anyway.

This show’s basically an angsty melo, dressed up to look like a rom-com on steroids. It sashayed onto our dance floor, dangling all kinds of pretty bites at viewers, and then, very quickly, completely crushed all of The Cute, without much warning. Viewer beware, I say.

THE INITIAL CUTE

I have to confess that when Show first came out, I was quickly smitten by the deluge of Cute that Show served up. And while my crystal-clear hindsight doesn’t quite see Show with the same rose-tinted glasses as before, I thought I shouldn’t ignore the initial stretch of Cute that Show did serve up. Here’s a quick spotlight on the things that I did enjoy, in Show’s early episodes.

The characters

I found our leads pretty likable in the beginning, and thought their interactions were cute.

I liked that Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin) and Joon Hee (Jung Hae In) are very much platonic, in the beginning of our story. He teases her about being old, and is matter-of-fact about why he knows about the shortcut – because he’d been looking for a place to make out.

The care and friendship goes back a long time, and I felt like I could see lasers of fierce loyalty shooting out of Joon Hee’s eyes, when he sees Jin Ah arguing with her ex-boyfriend Gyu Min (Oh Ryong), in episode 1. The way he purposefully swoops in to rescue her, is sweet.

The OTP

The way Show ramps up the OTP loveline in the beginning is fast, efficient, and littered with seemingly endless showers of puppies, rainbows, and oodles and oodles of cotton candy.

The way Jin Ah and Joon Hee grow more and more hyper-aware of each other is demonstrated to us really well in the minutiae of Jin Ah and Joon Hee’s interactions. Their reactions are muted and quashed, but it’s noticeable, and watching them, I felt so pulled into their burgeoning feelings for each other.

[MINOR SPOILERS] The way Joon Hee feels uncomfortable and sorry, and tells Jin Ah that she’s prettier than Se Young (Jung Yoo Jin), and the way Jin Ah, not saying anything, averts her eyes and tugs at the wisps of hair that have fallen around her ears. And then there’s the way they make excuses to keep walking together, with his arm around her shoulder, under the umbrella, in the rain. And the way she turns around for a last peek at him, and bounces lightly on her heels as she does so. And then there’s the way he looks at the photo of her in his phone and smiles to himself, as he lies in bed; the way he’s so tickled by her while texting her, that his toes are literally wriggling under the covers. It’s all vicariously thrilling, and super cute, and I couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off my face. Guh. [END SPOILER]

And just coz I can, here’s a revisit of my favorite OTP scene.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The under-table hand-hold

In episode 3, with Joon Hee and Jin Ah’s unacknowledged mutual attraction coming to a boil, Joon Hee faces pressure at a work gathering, where everyone teases him about the woman that he allegedly likes – who hasn’t indicated reciprocity. Just as Joon Hee looks like he’s about to cave under pressure and possibly agree to date Se Young, who’s very interested in him, and has made it clear that she is very available, Jin Ah takes matters into her own hands (literally!) and reaches for Joon Hee’s hand under the table. I love that she takes a swig of her beer while she’s at it, without batting an eyelash. I just love how that immediately turns Joon Hee into a hiccuping blushing ball of bashful wonder. Ha.

In that moment, I felt that Jin Ah didn’t reach for Joon Hee’s hand to stake her claim, so much as she was assuring him that he wasn’t liking her in vain. He’d been put on the spot by everyone at the table, and even his feelings were put in question. He’d even admitted that he was sure of his feelings, but was just being cautious. How much it must’ve made him feel uncomfortable and hurt his pride, to have everyone present tease him about being desperately into the girl – and the woman in question was right there. So, to me, it was really a tender, caring thing to do, to put her own pride and ego aside, and take that risk, and reach for his hand, simultaneously assuring him that he wasn’t liking her in vain; that she liked him too; that he didn’t have to feel awkward or embarrassed; that she was right there, liking him right back. I did love that very much.

Show doesn’t miss a beat, and Joon Hee then promptly turns the tables and reaches for her hand as she tries to take it away, and then takes control by interlacing his fingers through hers. He’s not letting her go. Eee!! I also love the amused, pleased expression that takes over his face, as he processes everything in his head, and as she now gets a case of surprised hiccups. LOVE.

Afterwards, the two make awkward excuses to their colleagues outside the bar, just so that they can get some time together. At that moment, I loved the mix of nervous awkwardness and little-boy hopeful wonder and smooth operator that Joon Hee’s got going on, as he talks with Jin Ah, trying to get answers for why she held his hand, and whether that means they’re in a relationship.

The shy excited bashful-gleeful vibe of these two, as they make their way to their first official coffee date, is adorable and infectious. They literally look like they’re about to burst, and watching them, I felt like I was about to burst too.

Well played, Show. Well played.

[END SPOILERS]

Jin Ah’s friendship with Gyung Sun

Right away, I loved Jin Ah’s friendship with Joon Hee’s sister Gyung Sun (Jang So Yun). They are truly the cutest besties. I love how Gyung Sun mothers Jin Ah when she’s all drunk in episode 1, and and I love how Jin Ah keeps drunk-kissing Gyung Sun in response. I felt like these two would be besties for life, literally.

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE FROM THE START

The thing with Gyu Min

I really didn’t enjoy the arc around Jin Ah’s ex-boyfriend Gyu Min. Not only is he self-centered and egotistical, he’s abusive too. Worse, Jin Ah’s parents – her mom in particular – seem to think that he’s the best thing for Jin Ah.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I found that I had great difficulty understanding Gyu Min.

1. After breaking up with Jin Ah, he suddenly gets fixated on getting her back. It’s really the strangest thing. He was the one who cheated on Jin Ah and then broke up with her. And the only ostensible reason he even tries to get her back is because the other girl dumped him. Which means that all of his theatrics is for the simple reason that his ego can’t take the fact that she seems to like someone else.

2. Gyu Min kicks up a fuss about Jin Ah dating Joon Hee, even though he’s cognizant that he’s the one who cheated on her first. That is such a crazy double standard. So he expects Jin Ah to stay faithful to him, even though he cheated on her, and even though they’ve broken up? What?

3. Gyu Min turns into a psycho who would rather die with Jin Ah than see her date someone else. Considering that he hadn’t been that into her, and that’s why he cheated on her and then broke up with her, his behavior makes no sense whatsoever. His logic, that he’s doing this to clear his name, even though he admits that he cheated on her, is plain crazy.

Just for the record, I was so put off by the whole psycho Gyu Min arc that I took a 3 week break from Show after the episode 7 cliffhanger.

I guess Show was trying to say something about societal double standards and relationship abuse, but it also felt like this statement didn’t quite go anywhere, in the end.

[END SPOILER]

REALITY BITES, AFTER THE INITIAL FLUSH OF CUTE [SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

I’ll be brutally honest; after the early-episode shine wore off, I found myself experiencing a complete turnaround where our leads and our OTP were concerned. Warning: strong feelings ahead.

Son Ye Jin as Jin Ah

At around the episode 12 mark, I started to realize that I had distinct difficulty liking Jin Ah.

Here’s my attempt to break down why.

1. I find her wishy-washy, and weak, and that annoys me.

On the one hand, I think that if Joon Hee and Jin Ah existed in a different, more forgiving world, then this relationship, with just a 4-year age gap, between long-time family friends, would be nothing out of the ordinary, and readily accepted. On the other hand, this is not a different world, and in Korea, in this drama world, all of these complications exist. And Jin Ah knew that, going into this relationship with Joon Hee.

She was the one who made the critical move, to hold Joon Hee’s hand under that table, and therefore, it was because of her boldness in that moment, that this relationship began. Since that time, though, she’s been more wishy-washy than she’s been strong, and you need to be strong, to stand for what you believe in, in this world that she lives in. In episode 12, I found her stricken, teary expressions particularly hard to swallow, because this is the time where she needs to be strong the most, and instead, she attends that blind date, stricken, teary and tearful. Every time she runs her hands through her hair and blinks her tears away, I wanted to shake her and tell her this isn’t the time to be drowning in her emotions. She needs to be faster on her feet, and stronger in her heart, to walk this path that she’s effectively chosen for herself. But she doesn’t. And that is part of my struggle with Jin Ah. I dislike that she’s like this.

2. She’s self-righteous, and that annoys me too.

Exhibit A: Jin Ah’s meeting with Gyung Sun and Joon Hee’s dad

In episode 12, Jin Ah promises to meet Gyung Sun and Joon Hee’s dad, without their knowledge and against their wishes, pledging to tell him about his children – the very children who don’t want to see him. I know she means well, but it’s not her place. And to top it all off, she lies to Joon Hee, in order to meet his father behind his back. I hate all the lying, but I’ll talk more about that later.

When Joon Hee gets all upset and argues with Jin Ah over this, she tells Joon Hee not to behave like a child. Ooh. Low blow. That’s probably the worst thing she could say to the younger man that she’s dating. Also, it’s not her place to tell him how he should feel, about his estranged father. I found this extremely presumptuous and unwise.

Not only is Jin Ah presumptuous and insensitive in moving to meet with Joon Hee’s dad, she then has the gall to act like she’s got the righteous upper hand, when she and Joon Hee finally are face to face again, in episode 13. He’s still upset, and she’s the one stiffly insisting they talk on the roof. The entire way she leads him to the roof and then makes him talk, shows that she thinks she has a right to be angry. But she doesn’t. She should be apologizing for overstepping her boundaries, and for saying that he acted like a child. Instead, she gets upset with him, for telling her not to behave like the more mature one. Her teary expression in that moment tells me that she isn’t sorry for what she’s done; she’s sorry for herself. At this moment, I suddenly wanted Joon Hee to break up with her.

To make things even worse, in episode 13, Jin Ah tells Gyung Sun that she only met with their dad because he had bought gifts for his children and had no other way of giving the gifts to them. That is a lie. The reason Jin Ah met him is because she had promised to tell him about his children, without their knowledge. I hate that Jin Ah tells that lie, with tears in her eyes, like she is a saint who’s being wronged for her saintly actions. That is so not true, and I hate that Joon Hee now looks guilty for being angry at Jin Ah, after hearing that lie told to him secondhand, by his sister.

Exhibit B: Jin Ah’s breakup outburst

In episode 13, in the midst of the drunken chaos of Gyung Sun and Joon Hee’s dad visiting Jin Ah’s home, Jin Ah tells everyone to be quiet, and announces that she will break up with Joon Hee. Now, I don’t begrudge Jin Ah the right to break up with Joon Hee, but the way Jin Ah bursts out that she’ll break up with Joon Hee, sounds self-righteous, and almost tantrumy, like (and I paraphrase), “since you think what I’m doing is SOO wrong, then fine, I’ll break up with him, happy now?” I found this very distasteful.

In the next episode, Jin Ah admits that she did it in a fit of pique, and didn’t mean it. Which proves my point; she was throwing a tantrum more than actually choosing to break up with Joon Hee.

3. She consistently acts helpless, and that annoys me too.

Whenever Joon Hee’s mad at her, she always looks at him helplessly and says, “Then what can I do to make you feel better?” and then she’ll proceed to list useless examples, like, should I get down on my knees? Should I let you hit me? Would that make you feel better?

Jin Ah is that frustrating person. Every time she does that, I wanted to throttle her. Why can’t she give him the time that he needs, to process his emotions? Why does she portray herself as the victim, who is suffering because there is nothing that she can do, to make him feel better, when she is the one who gave him reason to be angry in the first place?

I honestly always felt so amazed that Joon Hee kept being so patient with her.

Jung Hae In as Joon Hee

Generally speaking, I found that I didn’t dislike Joon Hee as much as I disliked Jin Ah, but my initial hearts-in-eyes response to Joon Hee definitely faded, and I noticed several things about him, which I felt contributed to the OTP’s ensuing problems. Here, in a nutshell, is what I eventually felt about Joon Hee.

1. He’s too intense

As early as episode 2, we see glimpses of how intense Joon Hee is. I’ll admit that when I first watched episode 2, and saw how Joon Hee seethed when he saw Gyu Min at Jin Ah’s parents’ apartment, and then ordered Gyu Min to let go of her hand, before dragging Gyu Min out of the apartment by the tie, I found it all quite swoony. My bad.

That was not swoony. Now when I revisit that scene, I find that instead, to be the first troubling signs of Joon Hee’s intense and impulsive nature.

In episode 5, Joon Hee gets so enraged at Gyu Min for sending flowers to Jin Ah, along with photographic evidence of their past intimacy, that he hunts Gyu Min down at his apartment, beats him up, and trashes his computer. I get that Joon Hee is protective of Jin Ah, and very upset at Gyu Min’s actions, but in this scene, Joon Hee’s behavior felt a touch borderline psychotic, to me. In that moment, I kept wondering if Show was going to turn around and become a psychological thriller instead.

Joon Hee’s intense level of brash impulsiveness felt problematic, to me.

2. He’s too immature

For all of his efforts to be brave and strong, there are a number of times when Joon Hee’s behavior seems immature to me.

A simple, early example is in episode 5, when Joon Hee gets all jealous and upset at the very idea of his sister setting Jin Ah up with someone. At the time, I thought it was pretty cute that he was jealous, but on further thought, and further observation of Joon Hee, I feel that this was an example of his immaturity. He can’t handle the very idea of the blind date, and Jin Ah has to coach him through it, so that he will settle down.

We see that immaturity later in the show as well, when Joon Hee resolutely refuses to go on work assignment to China, even if it’s just for three months. He even threatens to quit, if the company insists on giving him the assignment. The fact that he can tell his boss that he won’t go to China because he can’t bear to be apart from his girlfriend, is highly unprofessional, and also, immature.

Despite his efforts, I do think that Joon Hee’s relative immaturity also contributed to this couple’s problems.

3. He’s young and powerless

It was at around the episode 6 mark that I started to feel that for all of his intensity and bravado, that Joon Hee comes across as very young, and rather powerless to do what he dearly wants to do, which is to protect the woman that he loves. All of his promises to Jin Ah, to make it such that she will never have to hide again, sound like wishful big talk to my ears.

The more I watched Show, the more I was convinced that Joon Hee had absolutely no idea of the magnitude of the battle he would have to fight, by choosing to act on his attraction to Jin Ah. After Jin Ah’s mom goes ballistic and ignores him at the realization that he and Jin Ah are dating, he’s shaken enough that it looks like he just wants to get away.

Through most of the show, I felt that Joon Hee was trying hard to be strong, but found himself drowning in a situation that was way more daunting and difficult than he’d bargained for.

The OTP

I have.. a lot of thoughts about the OTP relationship, and I’m honestly not sure of the best way to organize those thoughts in a coherent way to share with you guys. So here’s a handful of sections, each one focusing on one aspect of the OTP, that I’d like to talk about.

The issue of context

When all their context – in this case, specifically family expectations and societal norms – is stripped away and Jin Ah and Joon Hee are alone together, in a world of their own creation, they have a lot of fun, their love is sparkly and adorable, and they clearly enjoy each other. But once context is layered on, the discomfort, awkwardness and tense feelings rise to the surface all too quickly.

By the episode 4 mark, the context starts to set in for Jin Ah and Joon Hee. The fact that they feel they have to hide; the way Jin Ah’s mom (Gil Hae Yun) tells Gyung Sun and Joon Hee that they are as good as her own children. It’s uncomfortable and uneasy.

The moment Jin Ah and Joon Hee attempt to mesh their context with their relationship, is when the hearts-in-eyes giddiness of their relationship comes face-to-face with the cold hard reality of an unaccepting community. And as cute as this couple is while they are alone together, there doesn’t seem to be much of a foundation to their relationship besides giggles, kisses, and chemistry. Throughout my watch, I wondered if there was enough substance to this couple’s relationship, to weather it all.

Intra-relationship signs of trouble

The more I watched Joon Hee and Jin Ah as a couple, the more I realized that they did not have a healthy relationship. I will talk more about the specifics of what I felt were damaging habits in their relationship in a later section. In this section, I’d like to talk about the initial signs of trouble that I noticed, before all the fall-out from the people around them coming to know about their relationship.

One arc I’d like to single out here, is the period of time immediately after Jin Ah is safely discharged from the hospital, in episode 8. Remembering that the context of this, is that Jin Ah has just survived a car crash while being held against her will by her possibly psychotic ex-boyfriend who was bent on a double suicide, it bugged me that Jin Ah’s all beat up from the accident, and yet, Joon Hee’s angry with her.

AND THEN, the moment she says that she’s told her parents she won’t be home that night, he switches gears and starts to hurry home. In that moment, I hoped that he didn’t mean to hurry home for sexytimes, coz someone’s who’s just been in a near-death situation probably needs some time to recover. Another part of my brain rationalized that it can also be argued that sex is life-affirming, so.. I basically felt conflicted about this. Regardless, though, him switching gears from being angry, to suddenly being hand-holdy and apparently, in happy anticipation, while presumably driving them somewhere they can get cozy, while she’s recovering from an accident, AND while the stupid refrain “stand by your man” plays in the background, just all comes together to leave ALL the wrong impressions on me. Is Show saying that she’s supposed to stand by her man by giving him sex even though she’s just been through a horrific abduction and accident? I sure hope not. But that’s what it looked like.

In the end, Show treats the post-accident thing pretty lightly, and we’re supposed to believe that Jin Ah bounces right back, with just a small cut on her forehead, and enough spunk left in her to horse around with Joon Hee. Okayy.

Aside from the different way Show and I viewed suitable.. post-accident activities, we do see some hints of strain in their relationship this episode, in the conversation in Joon Hee’s apartment. It becomes more apparent that they have different ways of looking at things, and of communicating, and it’s not matching up.

At this stage, I felt like I was watching teenagers in love, and not exactly in the best way. Joon Hee refusing to take on a work assignment because of his relationship with Jin Ah, makes him look way more boy than man. And Jin Ah sneaking around and lying to her parents when she’s a full-grown adult woman of 35 years old feels strange, and gives me the feeling that Jin Ah basically never quite grew up.

Altogether, these earlier clues did not give me a great deal of confidence about the strength of this OTP relationship.

A tangential comparison to SLA

I usually make a conscious effort to consider a show purely on its own merit, and therefore I wouldn’t usually make a comparison to another show, in a review. But today, I’d like to make a quick detour, to talk about how this OTP relationship compares to the one in Secret Love Affair. It’s a reasonably natural association, since Secret Love Affair is a fairly recent drama also directed by Ahn Pan Seok PD, and also features a noona romance as its main loveline.

If you’ve been around this site for a while, you probably know that I absolutely loved Secret Love Affair and consider it a masterpiece in its own right.

One of the reasons I felt so absorbed by SLA, is because of how the intensity of the OTP relationship felt deep-rooted and profound, right from the beginning. In SLA, it was clear that Sun Jae and Hye Won were soulmates; there was something much deeper that drew them together than just mere attraction. They felt whole with each other, and deeply understood each other’s relationship with music and their literal need for it. When things came to a head, Sun Jae’s love for Hye Won felt deep and strong, even though he himself was in many ways powerless to protect the woman he loved. I never for a moment doubted that he was in it for the long haul, and would not run away.

I alluded to it earlier in this review as well; I felt like Joon Hee’s love for Jin Ah doesn’t have as strong a foundation, and eventually, with enough familial pressure exerted on him, Joon Hee does cave. Not because he wants to, but because he can’t withstand it, in spite of his best efforts. Which is how he eventually decides to run away to the US, with or without Jin Ah.

At the same time, I also can’t help but compare Jin Ah to Hye Won. Hye Won was a much stronger woman than Jin Ah is, and I think that makes a difference too. To my eyes, Jin Ah often behaves like an overgrown teenager who’s rebelling against her parents, instead of a mature adult woman of 35 – which she’s supposed to be.

When I stacked the 2 OTPs side by side in my head, I felt like I could see why Sun Jae and Hye Won’s relationship managed to weather the storm, and why Joon Hee and Jin Ah’s relationship ends up being uprooted before long. And I could also see why Sun Jae and Hye Won’s relationship stole my heart so deeply, while Joon Hee and Jin Ah’s relationship.. doesn’t.

What I really think of this relationship, after the initial flush of cute

By around the episode 12 mark, I started to feel like this romance actually felt quite random (he just was suddenly attracted to her when he saw her walking in the distance, after all), and essentially, feels like the equivalent of plucking two very average people out of a crowd, and throwing them into difficult challenges, to see if they’d survive – or get eaten by sharks. Which sounds like every disaster movie ever, except maybe Show didn’t happen to pick the most resilient random people to be its stars.

The biggest problem in Joon Hee and Jin Ah’s relationship, is that they don’t communicate enough, AND they keep lying to each other.

In episode 14, Joon Hee should have discussed it with Jin Ah first, before asking for a posting to the US. After all, he’s expecting her to quit her job in order to leave with him. And with the renting of an apartment being a big decision, Jin Ah could’ve at least called Joon Hee, before agreeing to rent the place. In the end, it’s this lack of communication – the lack of respect for each other, really – that really broke them up.

Additionally, through their entire relationship before and after that break-up, Jin Ah and Joon Hee keep lying to each other. They keep things from each other, in the interest of protecting the other person, but it creates distance between them. From early on, I wondered, if they can’t be honest with each other, then what chance do they have, of surviving this relationship apocalypse together?

And that lying habit is exactly what eventually drove them apart. In episode 15, once Jin Ah had agreed to sign the lease, and Joon Hee happened to call, she should’ve told him, instead of lying. 

Because these two people didn’t talk honestly when it mattered the most, I confess that I felt like they deserved all the problems they had in their relationship, because their behavior was causing most of their problems. Even if we take away the parental pressure from the equation, we aren’t left with a healthy relationship; we’re left with a pair of people whose relationship seems to be built mostly on giggles and kisses, but who lie to each other habitually, and don’t ever talk honestly when they most need to. Even if Mom hadn’t ended up being the thing to tear them apart, I believe it would’ve been only a matter of time, before other pressures would have forced these issues to the surface as serious problems.

The thing with Mom

This might be a bit controversial, but I don’t think of Jin Ah’s mom as Evil Mom. Even though her behavior was far from exemplary, her words, caustic, and her tantrums, high on the screech scale, I did not see her as a bad person. All the way through to the end, I do feel like Mom sincerely believes that Jin Ah dating Joon Hee is a bad idea. She sincerely believes that marrying well is the way for Jin Ah and Jin Ah’s future children to have better lives. She also sincerely believes that she knows better than her daughter, and that it is her duty to prevent her daughter from making a mistake that would ruin her life.

This is a very Asian Parent way of thinking, and my own mother has shown in many different ways, that she shares this sentiment of parental duty (though thankfully not these methods). In this sense, I did not feel that Jin Ah’s mom unreasonably overstepped her boundaries as a parent in Korea, in principle. Yes, her methods were extreme, but I rationalize that the woman was desperate. And a desperate mother would quite literally do almost anything, if she believes that she’s doing it for the sake of her child.

For all of the bad behavior that we saw from Jin Ah’s mother, here are 3 examples of when I felt we could see that her intentions were not bad ones, and that she genuinely cared.

1. In episode 11, when Mom discovers that Jin Ah is not in her room, she rushes out of the house in the middle of the night, gets in a taxi, and instructs the driver to take her to Joon Hee’s address. In the beginning of her trip, she asks the taxi driver to go fast, and then later, she changes her mind and asks him to go slow. When she arrives at her destination, she also hesitates for a bit, in the elevator. All of these tell me that she’s not keen to barge in on her daughter, that’s one thing, but more like, I felt that she was afraid that her worst fears would come true.

2. In the same episode, Mom kneels in front of Joon Hee and asks him to understand why she’s being like this. Given how proud Mom is as a person, the very fact that she would kneel – in front of Joon Hee, no less – shows how much this means to her.

3. Eventually, in episode 15, Mom effectively kicks Jin Ah out of the house, and Jin Ah finally moves out. The way Mom mopes in bed even when nobody’s looking, says a lot about how she really feels. She doesn’t just feel disappointed in Jin Ah, she likely feels like she’s failed her duty as a parent.

The thing with Gyung Sun

Overall, I hafta say that Gyung Sun turned out to be one of my favorite characters in this drama world. I love that she has so much love to give, and pours it out so generously on her brother and her best friend. This, despite having had a tough childhood, and also, having had to mother Joon Hee for most of her own life.

I really appreciated Show’s spotlight on Gyung Sun in episode 9, which focused on her reaction to stumbling on the knowledge that there was definitely something going on between her baby brother and her best friend. She doesn’t confront them immediately; instead, she takes time to process; to think; to reflect on what her mother would have said, if her mother had been alive. And then, even though her protective noona hackles come up for a bit, when her baby brother begs her to understand, she cries, and then does just that.

That must have taken so much sacrificial love, on her part. She had to put aside her own feelings, to do what she needed to do, to respect her brother’s feelings. Yes, there was a beating and half that she had to get out of her system, but my goodness, she dug so deep and turned around in such a short time, I just can’t begrudge her the right to beat her brother a little bit.

Afterwards, I felt acutely for Gyung Sun, every time she was faced with Jin Ah’s mom’s disapproving comments of Joon Hee. In episode 10, I felt so sorry for Gyung Sun. The stricken look in her eyes, as Jin Ah’s mom talked to her about how they should split up Joon Hee and Jin Ah; the way she cooked a feast for Joon Hee, because she felt so hurt on his behalf, that he was looked down upon; the disappointment and soul-crushing grief that she felt, when she tried to reach out to a father who wasn’t interested in connecting.

Poor dear. She’s got so much love to give, and yet, finds herself stuck between a rock and a hard place, for a decision that she had no part in making. Suddenly, her entire life is turned upside down because her baby brother and best friend decided to date. Not only is she faced with the indignity of Joon Hee being pronounced not good enough, she also faces the very real risk of losing the two people most precious to her, if this relationship doesn’t work out.

In episode 11, I felt like I could sort of understand why Gyung Sun would get so upset and tell Jin Ah to end it with Joon Hee. She’s barely keeping it together, and is under a lot of stress, not just about Joon Hee and Jin Ah’s relationship, but about her estranged dad (Kim Chang Wan) coming to Korea. So, just one thing that makes it look like Jin Ah is being unfair to Joon Hee, is enough to make her lash out.

In the end, Gyung Sun demonstrates just how uncalculated and forgiving her love is, when she basically shoves Jin Ah and Joon Hee the opportunity to talk it out, in the finale, never mind everything that has happened. How can one not like Gyung Sun, right?

The workplace sexual harassment thing

At first, I thought Show had something potentially interesting to say about workplace harassment, given how much screen time is dedicated to Jin Ah’s workplace situation where it’s a nightmare for the women, who are expected to put up with regular harassment from their male supervisors.

For a while, it seemed like this arc would actually go somewhere, but to quote a dear friend of the blog, seankfletcher, who recently said this memorable line on my My Husband Oh Jak Doo review, this just felt like the wave you wait for at the beach that never arrives. (What a great line, eh?)

Honestly, by episode 14, I felt so bored by the harassment case stuff, that I literally almost fell asleep. Still, I had hopes that something meaningful would result from this arc. But no. Writer-nim had other ideas, which I’ll talk about in a little bit.

The background music

This is how I felt, every time those background songs came on.

When I started the show, I found the background music serviceable and inoffensive. By episode 6, though, the songs had started to wear thin on me. Not only were the songs applied with a heavy hand and therefore quickly at the point of wearing out their welcome, there were many occasions when the songs felt strangely irrelevant to the scene at hand.

I soon could not bear the sound of “Sometimes it hard.. to be a woh-mahn..” and every time the opening strains came on, I found myself literally bracing for impact.

At around the episode 13 mark, it occurred to me that all this use of Western music in the background, was maybe a metaphor for how Joon Hee and Jin Ah are trying to be Western in sensibility – age isn’t a barrier, love conquers all etc – but, it just doesn’t quite fit right. Like, try as they might, they can’t escape the fact that their context matters, and for as long as they choose to live in this context, they can’t quite fully embrace that Western outlook like they want to. And perhaps, just as those songs were grating on my nerves more and more, the longer Show went on, perhaps Joon Hee and Jin Ah’s attempt to live that Western outlook is grating on them too, the longer they go on.

Heh. That indulgent benefit of the doubt didn’t last long, though. I don’t know what the music PD was thinking, but those English songs were overdone, overused, and just plain annoying. They basically drove my eyeballs to involuntary rolling fits, and made me wish that my player had an option to mute any and all background music.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING 

To be honest, I found this finale distinctly underwhelming. And the reason that I found this finale so underwhelming, is because if you think about it, nothing really changes, and nothing actually gets solved.

First, here’s a summary of what happened:

Joon Hee comes back to Korea, and finds that Jin Ah is unhappily dating a parent-approved man. Joon Hee and Jin Ah have two conversations. One is stilted and awkward. The other is honest, but he sounds like a defensive brat while she sounds like a self-righteous, self-sacrificing saint. They part ways. Jin Ah loses her patience being her busy beau’s last priority and walks out on him. Joon Hee thinks about settling down in the US. Jin Ah quits her job. Apparently, she won the case against Director Nam, but nothing’s changed, and she’s done enduring her exile-disguised-as-a-promotion. She informs her parents that she’s moving to Jeju Island. Mom suddenly feels bad coz her daughter is moving away. She apologizes, and they make peace. Jin Ah settles into life on Jeju Island, helping out at Bo Ra’s (Joo Min Kyung) cool cafe. Joon Hee chances on Jin Ah’s old love confession recording, and, his feelings stirred, seeks her out at the cafe – where he demands his umbrella back from Jin Ah. Jin Ah says he’s crazy, and so he forces skinship on her, picking her up and plonking her on his shoulder. Afterwards all her defenses crumble, and they kiss happily ever after.

Despite feeling disengaged from this show as early as episode 10, I eventually came back, and stayed till the end, because I wanted to give Show the benefit of the doubt. Like, sure, I may not be feeling the way you’re telling your story, but you seem to want to make a point. So let me stay, so that I can hear you out; let’s see what that point is, that you’re working to make.

Now that I’ve seen this show in its entirety, though, I can’t say I’m getting anything in terms of a solid point.

In terms of the workplace harassment, we see that nothing’s changed. Jin Ah won the case, sure, but is effectively living in exile, while the perpetrators continue to keep their jobs at head office. So.. it feels like Show is trying to say, the problem is systemic, and standing up for what you believe in is unlikely to get you anywhere.

In terms of parental expectations, to my eyes, nothing has changed. Mom maintains that she’s got Jin Ah’s best interests at heart, and her apology feels like an emotional response to Jin Ah’s departure, rather than a promise to change her behavior. My reading of the situation is that Dad and Mom are ok with Jin Ah moving to Jeju Island to find her way in life – but that doesn’t automatically include approval of a potential reunion with Joon Hee. On this one, it feels like Show is saying, distance makes the heart grow fonder.

In terms of Jin Ah and Joon Hee’s reunion, I feel like nothing has changed as well. They had one honest outburst with each other, yes, but does that really change anything? When Joon Hee shows up at the cafe, Jin Ah still uses the same defensive, helpless tone with him, “What is it? What do you want? Do you still have something left to say?” while Joon Hee hides behind a defensive-sounding excuse of wanting his umbrella back. Sure, there are hugs and kisses, but to me, those were fueled by a recording of a happier time, that Joon Hee happened to listen to again, and while that’s fine and good, there’s nothing to indicate that these two are going to make changes to their relationship that will help them relate in a more honest and healthy way.

That final happy shot, to me, is a snapshot of one happy moment, and only that. And the reason that happy moment could happen at all, is because they removed themselves from their context. I feel like the moment these two try again, to have a relationship within the context of family and society, that a lot of old problems will surface again. Mom will object, again. There will be tears and gnashing of teeth, again. And Jin Ah and Joon Hee’s relationship will be put to the test, again.

If I had to articulate a takeaway from all of this, it would be this: Context really is everything, after all; you can’t exist out of context. A happy bubble devoid of context, will eventually burst. But, if you can’t be happy in the context that you’re in, you still have the option of changing your context.

Bo Ra’s the coolest one of them all, quitting the job she didn’t like, and finding a way to make a living where she could live on beautiful Jeju Island, and sip wine at the end of a work day, while she listens to the crashing waves. When her context stopped working for her, and she saw that there wasn’t any point in trying to make changes at the office, she changed her context, and stuck to her guns about it.

To Joon Hee and Jin Ah, I say, be like Bo Ra. And fix your bad relationship habits too, while you’re at it.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Starts promising, but is ultimately underwhelming and quite pointless.

FINAL GRADE: C

TEASERS:

MVs:

It’s true that the music in this show eventually almost drove me up the wall, but here are two tracks which I liked better than the others.

279 thoughts on “Review: Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food [Something In The Rain]

  1. chidiogo ezenwankwo

    I laughed so hard at the last sentence. It might not be popular opinion but this drama🤣🤣 made me love stand by your man alot, I even unconsciously hum it while bathing.

    Reply
  2. Amina Warrick

    I think my opinion falls somewhere between the glowing reviews and kfangurl’s review. As far as a noona romance goes, I thought this is one of the better ones I’d seen (vs. C-drama Find Yourself which couldn’t find itself). I don’t think the mother was evil but I do believe she was a bitter, shrewish harpy who was only happy when her way was met. She might be a decent mother but there was no joy or light in this home – the father was totally emasculated, the brother was a sullen tool, while Jin-ah was a submissive wreck of a machine (until Jun-Hui). I get that money/stature is a defense in this world but if those are not the cards you have been dealt, what’s next? Is everything that is thought about money and family defense correct? (I am also thinking about these questions as I watch Record of Youth’s reckoning with questions of family support and class). As far as the relationship between Jin-ah and Jun-hui goes, I think what has been undervalued is that he gave her acceptance, love and VALUE. Unlike her mother (and her co-workers), his estimation of her was about who she was NOW which was enough for him. As a result, she was LIBERATED and began to BLOSSOM (as noted by co-workers). I’m biased but I like intensity and really he was the only male in the show who tried to consistently act on Jin-ah’s behalf for her good. Due to Jin-ah’s submissiveness, she is a mess but I personally don’t know that I would call her flakey. I think she endured what she had to for what she thought was the greater good or bigger picture (i.e. sexually harassed for 10 years at her ‘good’ job, getting into a vehicle with a psycho-ex for a new phone, going on a blind date to appease her mother so she can win points on behalf of her boyfriend). No matter what is thought about her actions, taken in this context, she’s pretty consistent to me. Does the relationship between Jin-ah and Jun-hui have problems? Sure, they are a new couple who have different points of view but what couple doesn’t? Unlike Jin-ah’s ‘cushy, cozy’ family unit, Jun-hui has had to grow up fast due to the lack of this same support unit. However, he and his sister seem to be much more balanced and loving vs. the brother/sister duo who have the nice place and both parents present. So, is there some immaturity? Sure, but I don’t think it’s insurmountable and I believe this is where Jin-ah’s cautious approach can smooth out some of Jun-hui’s youthful, rougher edges. As far as Jun-hui’s sister goes, I liked her but she really needed other people (besides a distant father or a self-centered friend) and places to park her deep wells of love; people live their own lives. Jin-ah’s ex was not just psycho – he was a stalker. Restraining order (or Korean equivalent) should have been sought. Sexual harassment plot outcome – the corporate world is often disappointing because too many people have conflicting goals on the both sides of the aisle, as was the case in this plot. Rushed happy ending? Maybe, but this is romance and as for me, that’s what I came to see! There was enough reality in this show to balance it out.

    Reply
  3. Eric

    This drama inspires such strong emotions in everyone. Viewed through the lens of a classic rom-com (noona romance subcategory) it starts off as having the potential to be among the best ever. The quality of the cinematography, the very realistic “watching real life” feel of the episodes. And SYJ’s charisma. It avoids the biggest pitfall of the noona romance where the passion melts away and it turns into a cute fest instead – I’m looking at you Witch’s Romance.

    But then the story diverts into a depressing melo as the two main characters fail again and again to overcome the forces against their relationship – both external taboos and internalized ones for Jin Ah, who carries a ton of baggage about her duties to her family. And then the tacked on happy ending where the last 10 minutes of the show miraculously (and unconvincingly) overcome or overlooks all the negatives. So, from that angle I’m with our host of most commenters.

    From a Western perspective it is hard to understand a 35-year-old woman with a real job who is still so dominated by her mother in her relationships.

    There is a more positive take on youtube by TwoTenEast that made me at least appreciate more how this show works as a drama that explores social issues rather than rom-com. And some of the clever cinematography. And it made me appreciate the cultural backstory of how shifting to Jeju made the ending somewhat less bad than otherwise.

    Loved the review as usual.

    Reply
  4. Apollobartender

    good summation. I have to agree. Had I liked Jin-a’s character it would have been enjoyable despite the other objections. Showing the mother and her influences relieves her of some of the flaws in her thinking, however, the dialogue was against her from Season 1. Also, in K dramas mostly we are watching them in real time – eat, walk, talk, work, walk etc., then who they are becomes all the more crucial in setting up a successful story. If they are so flawed and never evolve, well, it’s just a waste of time really.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Thanks for enjoying the review, Apollobartender! Yes, that lack of growth for Jin Ah’s character was a real downer for me.. and probably one of the key deal-breakers for me, with this show. 😝

      Reply
  5. Andrew

    Thank you for this post. It helped me sort out my thoughts on this series.

    I just finished the series and did not like how it evolved/ended. I grew frustrated with Jina and JinHui, especially in the latter half of the series. I really wanted to cheer for them given all the adversity from family and societal expectations. However, they really did themselves in with their lack of communication, immaturity, and their running away to their little fantasy world of them two.

    I like how the series addressed taboos though(Older woman/younger man dating, parentless children dating, career taboos (women being flirtatious), etc).

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      I’m really glad this post helped you, Andrew! 🙂 If you were disappointed with this one the way I was, I do suggest One Spring Night. It was by the same writer-director team, but it feels like they took everything that I didn’t like about this show, and FIXED it! So watching One Spring Night was a great antidote for me personally. I hope you’ll give it a try! 🙂

      Reply
  6. lemniskeight

    I came here because I stopped at episode 7 too. XD The cliffhanger of this episode felt like it’s going to be the turning point of the whole plot and the happy-cute lovey-dovey moments are about to end. So I was contemplating if I should continue watching the series or not, then i stumbled upon this quite detailed review and after reading it, i have decided to not continue to save myself from wasting my time on an unsatisfactory plot and ending. XD so thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Good call to stop at episode 7. I watched the entire show (was my 3rd ever Kdrama – my feeble excuse) but was only able to keep going in the second half because of SYJ, who I had discovered in CLOY. And like someone else, I discovered this blog when I was searching for someone with a similar take on this show and KFG was spot on, a different take from other glowing reviews. I’m not being critical of other reviewers because everyone has a slightly different prism through which they look and everyone’s opinion is legitimate but I was so surprised my views differed so radically from what I read.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        I can’t remember when it became unbearable, since I couldn’t imagine how bad it might get until it had already gotten pretty bad.

        But I would have said SiTR was still a good show for several episodes following Ep. 7. By 12 or 13, it was bad for sure. And 14-16 were unbearable for me, other than the rushed ending where suddenly all the dysfunction gets erased by magical thinking.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          @merij1: I think you’re probably right that the show was still fun to watch probably into episode 10 or so but I was so disappointed I just consigned the second half, for convenience sake, to the twilight zone.

          Reply
  7. ThatMaxxx

    Verryyy detailed review. I just finished the show and i’m glad i’m not the only one feeling this way.

    Jin Ah was annoying and in my opinion manipulative of Jun hae. She would always lie and do stupid things and then act all quiet and demure after and not allow him to get upset at her and basically leave his feeling about whatever she did unresolved. I think he really liked her so he had a mindset that he would forgive her for anything. And she took advantage of that.

    Yes he was a little immature and lied to her about SOME things but his reasons usually made more sense than her reasons for the things she did (except applying to go to the US without telling her. He shouldn’t have expected her to just up and leave her life just like that)

    In all i don’t think she deserved him and i feel like they shouldn’t have gotten back together

    Reply
    1. Geo

      I don’t think they deserved each other quite frankly. They were both very immature in different ways, FL was too much of a pleasing person even at the expense of the ML while the ML was unrealistic and not grown up at all in his handling of the relationship. The ending doesn’t flow naturally out of the progression of the show and my totally unsubstantiated thesis is that the writer/director were forced to tack on a happy ending because of pressure from the producers/sponsors responding to the viewing audience.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Hi there Max, thanks for enjoying the review! Hi5, that we feel similarly about the show, and about Jin Ah in general. I agree she came across as annoying and manipulative, and I don’t think they should’ve gotten back together either. That ending felt like just the start of another unhealthy cycle, where they’d date, and then get stuck in their unhealthy habits all over again. 🙄 Not the kind of drama ending I usually go for! 😆

      Reply
  8. Tolu Okuleye

    Never, ever have I watched a drama and ended up angry, sad and regretful that I wasted some days in my life watching it. This is why honest reviews such as this one are important. If I had read this review I may not have watched it and if I still ended up watching atleast I would have known what to expect. The beginning parts were so sweet and promising but the later episodes left a bad taste in my mouth. Like why did Ji An have to be so weak and annoying? Why did she have to lie so much? Gosh! I couldn’t stand it. Also, when they met again after her brother’s wedding, her explanations and attitude was very condescending and sounded like just excuses. Frankly, I didn’t put so much blame on Joon Hee cos he still seemed to put more effort in holding on much longer and be strong for them. He showed a bit more maturity than Ji An to be honest though I agree that he was unprofessional and immature in his reasons for not wanting to go to China for work. Lest I forget, the Stand by your man soundtrack pissed me off too and I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt that way. Every time it played I rolled my eyes and wondered whose bright idea it was to use it inappropriately and completely unrelated scenes. I have a different view on Ji An’s mother though, if anyone gives her an evil mother tag I feel it was well deserved. Her meddling and controlling ways were extreme, but what really ticked me off was her hitting Joon Hee. There’s no amount of Asian parent pass that gives her that right to do that. I was angry and cried so much watching that scene. It unnerved me to no end.
    The drama is a total fail on many counts, it didn’t deliver as promised.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi Tolu, I feel your pain! This show was very aggravating for me to watch as well, so you’re not alone! In an interesting twist, I found that One Spring Night – by the same writer and director – actually got all the things right, that I felt were wrong with this show. In that way, watching One Spring Night felt like some kind of antidote to Something in the Rain. If you haven’t seen One Spring Night yet, perhaps you’d like to give it a try? 🙂

      Reply
  9. aev⁷ (@Chimcholi)

    i am currently on episode 7 and i am extremely bored and pissed. haha, so i searched for a review that have thoughts like mine. though I didn’t read it all, i read some points that i do agree on and told myself to go back to this to read the whole review when i am done watching drama. I was actually quiet expecting from the drama because of the hype it got from the posts I see from Filipino fans and it’s been on my list for a long time now and decided to watch it few days ago. I am actually not smitten by the love team because I don’t see the chemistry but I do get the point they are trying to get across the viewers. Fortunately, I’ve watched Haein’s drama One Spring Night and I can say that it is better in this one. I noticed that they are trying to show the same kind of vibes in these two dramas except that One Spring Night had it better. Thank you for this, I’ll read this again when I have the will to finish the drama hahah. It makes me tired just thinking of it.

    Reply
    1. merij1

      Hate to say it, but if you’re not enjoying the first 7 episodes, I can’t imagine you’ll care for the last 3-4. We loved the first two-thirds of the show but had to resist the urge to throw heavy objects through the computer monitor from episode 13 or maybe 14 on.

      Unless the issue is that you’re an anti-fan of romance, trusting relationships or healthy communication. In which case, omg, just hold on, because I promise you will end up LOVING this show!

      This one preceded One Spring Night, so at least that team eventually got it right. My wife and I really liked OSN and plan to re-watch it soon. Which will be only the 2nd K-drama to which we’ve offered that VIP treatment. (Love Is A Bonus Book was the other.)

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Aw, don’t finish the drama if you’re feeling it – I got all the way to the end, and was underwhelmed through to the end. 😛 You’re absolutely right, One Spring Night is better. And since One Spring Night was made after this one, at least the makers are on a positive trajectory? 😆😅

      Reply
  10. binjin

    Hi I love your review! I was sooo annoyed since ep 12 started and was thinking about whether or not to continue the show, and your review helped me made my decision – which is to stop! Around ep 11, there was just wayyy too much angst and anger and lies that the initial fluffiness of the show just wore out completely to me. It was nice to watch at first, though there were some really annoying parts (like when she met up with her psycho ex who ASSAULTED her just so she could get a new phone)… And when she agreed to go on the blind date, lied, then offered to meet up with the estranged dad, it was just too much for me – i was annoyed as hell. Yeah anyway I chanced upon this review to look for spoilers – whether or not the angst will drag till the ending – and apparently it does. Sooo I’m dropping the show! Thanks!

    Also another comment I have is how in the review you said that you don’t see the mom as a bad person, but on the other hand, you called jin ah “self-righteous”, so I can’t help but feel like there’s some sort of a double standard here??? Imo they’re BOTH self-righteous, they believe what they’re doing is for the best but failed to be considerate towards other people’s feelings/views.

    Reply
  11. Rohit

    I read the complete review of yours and it’s perfect in every way. I was so excited in initial episodes but eventually ended up with a huge disappointment. They should’ve atleast made the ending better.😞

    Reply
  12. Kdrama

    As per the drama, Joon Hee is in his twenties and Jin Ah 35. Remember the scene when Jin Ah’s brother ask Joon Hee if he is dating anyone and if the age is around 23 – 24. I think the age should be atleast 7 years. That’s what plot in Wiki says too. This review clearly show cased the short comings in Joon Hee characterization but I think that is typical of a guy in twenties. Immaturity of the character stems from his age. I would be surprised if he behaved with the finesse and maturity of the hero in One Spring Night. In Something In Rain, Joon Hee is a twenty something, who grew without parents and with just his sister. I felt all his love, he poured on Jin Ah for whatever the reason. His character of being brash too seems to go well for his age. What really turned me off was Jin Ah’s indecisive character and especially the fine lines she crossed with the episodes with Joon Hee’s dad. For Jin Ah’s age, she was very immature and kept repeating mistake after mistake and then playing the victim too, which I felt was very unfair to Joon Hee. Her mobile phone episode with Gyu min made me loose interest in the show. She could have easily taken Joon Hee, her brother or friends help to get him change the mobile to her name. Worst plot. Back to back, with Joon Hee father’s episode and Jin Ah’s mobile episode with Gyu min I literally wanted to Joon Hee to break up with such a clueless and thoughtless person. Well it did happen for 3 years. LOL. In the last episode, I also hated the fact that she was even in a relationship casually with another guy. That was a yuck moment for me. Sighhh. Anyway, they got back together after all the storm. In a way, I felt sorry for Joon Hee in the last scene that like all the times, he was saying it was all his mistake. Poor guy. Jin Ah was more flawed than him but always does the victim role play. Good for her, she anyway got Joon Hee but poor that guy. All his life he would be apologising to her for her own immaturity, stupidity and fake saintly like character 😂.

    Reply
  13. Steven

    I just realized that the epilogue in Ep 15 of CLOY could be a nod to Something in the Rain.. It was raining and Capt. Ri was holding an umbrella for Seri, and it was shown that the other shoulder of Capt Ri not being covered by the umbrella is getting wet. There was an instance where the scene looked like the poster for SITR. 🙂

    Reply
    1. merij1

      I’m rather new to all this myself, but umbrella scenes like that are extremely common in these romance dramas. It’s a thing.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Hi Steven, that’s a great observation! That was indeed a nod to the famous scene from SITR! If memory serves, they even played a song from SITR’s soundtrack, for the scene. I think. 😉

      Reply
      1. Steven

        I’d say it was not born out of great observation, but rather from watching CLOY too many times! 😉

        Reply
  14. Pingback: Review: A Piece Of Your Mind | The Fangirl Verdict

  15. Izzie

    *Sigh*. I came here about 5 minutes after watching the finale, while still in my feelings and moping about my journey with the show ending. I’m not one to be easily swayed by others’ thoughts and opinions but this review really dimmed the bitter-sweet thoughts I carried in my heart for this show. I still believe this is the most enjoyable k drama I have watched though (I’ll be honest, I love seeing Jung Hae-in’s face and he’s such a convincing actor! SYJ is a fantastic actress too and I really do love her). Like in the handful of k dramas I’ve watched till date, the ending was rushed and underwhelming. I was really looking forward to the last scenes showing them sitting down and having an honest discussion about what had gone wrong in their relationship and how they could make it work in the future. What is all that kissing and hugging in the rain going to get them? Will Jun-hyi quit his job and become an artist on Jeju island? Will Jin-ah go to the U.S with him? Will her mum finally cave in and stop being a hexenbiest? Ugh, it really was frustrating to watch nothing get resolved. The workplace issue not really changing was extremely annoying as well. And I also noticed that their relationship really didn’t have any substance but who knows, maybe laughter and kisses can get you quite far in a relationship.😄 As for the OSTs, I wonder why they thought they needed to play them over and over again so much!
    Sorry for the long comment, this one was close to my heart.😄
    Glad I found your page, I’ll have a look at your list of recommendations and hopefully find a show satisfying (with a proper ending).

    Reply
    1. merij1

      Watch One Spring Night (OSN) for more Jung Hae-in! Pretty much the same role as SitR, only without the weak ending. We also saw him in Tune In For Love, which was OK but not as memorable. Both shows stream on Netflix.

      OSN was created by pretty much the same writers/production team as SitR, so be forewarned that, once again, only a few songs are used over and over. But the really, really good news is that Stand By Your Man is not one of them!

      Reply
    2. Geo

      @Izzie: My theory on the ending is that the writer/director were forced to write a “happy” conventional ending as it really doesn’t flow from the way the show has progressed. I think this partially explains the abruptness of the ending and the non-resolution of all the important issues. I agree many Kdramas have a less than satisfactory ending (many end somewhat abruptly, others meander aimlessly in the last episode) but I think for me this is the first where the ending did not fit the development of the storyline, it just felt tacked on.

      Reply
  16. Julia

    Jellylo
    I disagree with this method of picking apart actors for playing the role that the director has designed for them. Far better to pick apart the script writer and director who designed and executed the storyline and drama. I found the story intriguing and engaging just for being told against a Korean background and in an Asian context. So the Mother was believable, Jin ah delightful in being strongly rooted in her lifestyle but irresistibly drawn to Jun Hui, the slightly younger man and brother to her bestie. I think she played it very well and realistically in this context. Jun hui was totally smitten with her and showed it with every fibre of his being, in fact I’m sure he was genuinely drawn to her like a magnet. The sister was excellent but blind as a bat not to have picked it up before. The brother played well but I was disappointed in him at his wedding. Bo ra was brilliant. They had to have the ex boyfriend drama happening to give the plot some substance, otherwise it would have been a soapie.

    I have seldom watched a Korean drama, and I’ve watched many, that has drawn me in so completely. To like every character in a story is unrealistic. You have to have baddies and goodies, but don’t take it out on the actors. They are paid to do what the director tells them. They love scenes are so believable that I felt like an intruder. I rate this as my best drama to date.

    I’ve watched One Spring Night, this was not nearly so realistic or well acted. Jung Hae In didn’t have the rapport with his co star, they were wooden together, and he had no idea, not his fault, how to be a Dad. So much was like a sequel with so many similar cast but a ludicrous ending with them going backwards and forwards across the door of the pharmacy, nothing really resolved. How were they going to live.? The music and direction was really similar, it would have been great to see Jung Hae In and Son Ye Jin together again, hopefully we will. Younger sister was Bo ra character, very good actress.

    I also watched CLOY, Son Ye Jin is a versatile actor and beautiful, and it was a completely different experience and a fascinating delve into life in North Korea and the remoteness of it and how it is completely off limits, and how scary it is. Well executed and popular world wide. Hyun Bin is good, he and Son Ye Jin both able to execute such complex roles. No sex scenes in this but the comedy was brilliant. I can’t compare this as it was not really a romance but maybe an adventure, comedy romance.

    Something in the Rain gets my vote, it is indelibly imprinted on my soul. These two have as much chance in this unpredictable world as the next couple. I’ m sad you all gave up after things started to go wrong. I’m an English teacher and when you teach narrative it is an essential part of a story to have complications, that the resolving of these problems and the denouement leading to the resolution is how you structure a complete story. Otherwise you might just as well walk up the street and look through a normal family’s window and watch their life role boringly by. The little sub plots were good too, I only agree about the sexual harassment case at work, that wasn’t satisfactorily address.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi Julia,

      I do feel that I was talking about the characters (and therefore, by extension, the writing) rather than the actors, though I do concede that this role did taint Son Ye Jin for me, until I saw her again in CLOY. So I don’t think it’s fair to say that we’re picking apart the actors rather than the writing. My biggest beef with this show, is in the writing, which I won’t repeat, since it’s all in the review.

      What I’d like to say, however, is that you are completely entitled to love this show, and I know there are many fans of this show. That said, I also think it’s perfectly fine for people to prefer One Spring Night. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. Just because you prefer this show, doesn’t mean that One Spring Night is not good. Also, I am familiar with the idea that dramatic tension needs to be introduced in order to keep a story interesting. To that end, I was personally more satisfied with how OSN dealt with the conflicts it introduced, compared to how SITR dealt with its conflicts. Again, it’s a personal opinion, and I don’t begrudge your preference for SITR. I would say though, that I did not, as you say, give up when things started to go wrong, since I did finish the show – and therefore was able to write this review.

      Let’s agree to disagree; the dramaverse is diverse enough to cater to all our varying tastes, and big enough, so that we can all be friends who don’t judge each other for not liking the same things we do. 🙂

      Reply
    2. Geo

      @Julia: It’s interesting how a show can be so polarizing to the viewers. Having watched both SITR and OSN, in that order, and being a relative newcomer to Kdramas, perhaps I could add a few comments.

      OSN doesn’t hit the highs of SITR but I found it much more mature and realistic take on how a relationship can develop and survive societal and family pressures. Essentially, SITR is an almost perfect rom-com until the relationship is exposed to the world and family. At that point, the relationship disintegrates given the immaturity of the individuals and the rom-com morphs into a melodrama, all the romantic and comedic elements disappear, there’s no fun anymore. It’s okay to create a melodrama about the tragedy of a failing relationship due to external pressures but it’s tricky to tack this on as a second half to a rom-com. This created expectations in the viewer that “crash landed ” in the second half for me. All credit to you and a number of others who stayed high on SITR but the show lost me.

      You’re right that we shouldn’t be too hard on actors for their role, their job is to deliver a convincing performance of the character, following the director/writer’s lead. However, human nature being what it is, it’s difficult for some of the feelings for a character not to spill over onto the actor. Emotions are much stronger than logic or reason and good agents and managers know this and so are very careful in selecting roles for their clients. It’s not entirely fair but that’s reality to varying degrees for us all. But I think for me, the writing/directing were more at fault here, the schizophrenic nature of the show, an out and out drama tacked onto a delightful rom-com. This plays with the viewer’s emotions with not entirely unexpected results.

      As a side note, I remain a big Son Ye Jin fan and totally agree with you on her role in CLOY

      Looking back, I’m not surprised many viewers prefer SITR to OSN, I still on occasion re-watch clips of SITR (first half) while I don’t think I’ve done so with OSN, the highs of SITR were so good.

      This is what makes life interesting, the differences in how we perceive things. If we were all the same, it would be boring.

      Reply
    3. A Reviewer

      Hm… looks like we are talking about three different shows in this sidebar, CLOY, OSN, and SitR. What is common between the three; all have a social or political forces that obstruct blossoming of a relationship and its sustainability in the future. CLOY’s premise being the hardest to overcome, followed by SitR and SON. Between SitR and OSN, I am not sure about which is a harder social taboo to overcome, as I have very little understanding of Korean culture.

      The crew make their best effort to bring us shows that we enjoy. The final product is team effort.

      I think in CLOY (watching BTS), the off screen friendship (which they have confirmed) between the two leads helped them show much better chemistry on screen, plus the fact that Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin are lot more versatile actors, heavier weights in the industry and hence their ability to influence script brought us a better show of the three in my opinion.

      SitR was too deep into intimate romance between the leads, more physical, and some may say cheesy. While I really enjoyed the show, like kfangurl, I thought the characters in the show were flawed. The subplots did not add a jive well with me, except for the friendship between Jin Ah/Bo-Ra, and Jin-Ah/Kyeong-seo. Jung Hae-In was better in SirR than in OSN.

      OSN somehow felt more real, even though my life experiences are closer to SitR. Ji-min Han did a great job of portraying Jung-in. I just can’t picture Son Je-Yin portraying Jung-in. Even though Ji-min Han is six years Son Ye-jin’s junior, Ji-min showed a maturity that I don’t think Ye-jin would have been able to pull off especially with her SitR character lingering in viewers mind. Jung Hae-In’s portrayal of both characters were similar, he reminds me of puppy that everyone loves :). Between SitR and OSN, of all the common actors, there were many, I think Min-Kyung Joo did the best job. Keep an eye on her, she is going places.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        @ A Reviewer: I may have misread your comparison, but actresses Han Ji-min and Son Ye-jin are virtually the same age — 37 and 38 as of today.

        I’m fond of them both, but since Han Ji-min is probably talked about less, I’ll say that what I loved about her performance in One Spring Night is the range of emotion and attitude she communicated with her eyes and subtle facial expression. As written, it was a prickly character to bring to life, and I thought she did a really great job of it.

        Reply
    4. merij1

      I thought the acting in all three of these shows was excellent, both the primary and secondary roles.

      The dispute for most of us has only to do with the writing decisions in the later episodes of Something in the Rain/Pretty Noona. I for one appreciate seeing realistic relationship struggles in a show like this. But if you’re going to veer off the safe path of a light-and-fluffy rom-com, you can’t help but set higher expectations for how meaningfully you eventually resolve them.

      In this case, it felt like they injected profoundly serious flaws into the relationship much too late to resolve convincingly in the brief time left at the end. The pacing felt like a casualty to the pressure of needing to write and re-write episodes only a few weeks ahead of production. Usually they pull it off; but sometimes they don’t.

      All that said, the only reason most of us bother to talk about it is that we were SO enchanted with the quality of the romance up till that point.

      So on these two things can we agree?

      1. The acting in SitR was excellent
      2. The OTP as written in the first half of SitR was extremely compelling

      Reply
      1. A Reviewer

        @merij1, agreed, most if not all characters in SitR were portrayed well by the actors. In the other two shows, portrayals varied, especially in CLOY, Se-Ri’s bros and pop were really bad actors IMO.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          Huh, I didn’t get that feeling with CLOY. I thought the pop and bros were following the character portrayals in the script — dad as distant and barely communicative and both bros as shallow, but one both shallow and vile and the other merely shallow and a twit!

          Reply
          1. A Reviewer

            I found all three of their acting unnatural, especially when they were portraying anger. The way they were shouting didn’t sit well with me.

            Reply
            1. merij1

              You might be right. I think I was discounting for the Latin American Telenovela over-the-top campy/melodrama feel that show sometimes aimed for.

              Reply
              1. A Reviewer

                Hm… the last couple I watched was Toy Boys and Money Heist. Toy Boys were had less over the top scenes than Money Heist (never watched past season one).

                Reply
  17. Steven

    I really love your reviews! Reading them always gave me additional insights into the show that I could have missed otherwise! Well, this is just my second kdrama but your site has now become a post-kdrama routine, like I can’t say I’ve finished a show until I’ve read your review. 🙂

    After watching my first kdrama in CLOY, I’m aware that it might be hard to watch another that could immediately top it. So I went into this show with much lower expectations to begin with, but yes I still came out disappointed. Haha! And I’m aware of the bad reviews, I just needed to get my Son Ye-jin fix after CLOY.

    I find amusing your comment that CLOY miraculously reversed whatever bad feelings you had for Son Ye-jin as an actress. In my case since I watched CLOY first before this show, the good vibes that Son Ye-jin had build in CLOY was too big, any disappointment in this show could barely nudge the huge capital she had built for me. 🙂

    Throughout the show, I was half-expecting that it would somehow provide some glimpses of their younger years as good friends or even as close families, to somehow ground the events unfolding in the present, but too bad the show didn’t provide any.

    I have a different interpretation of the ending though, esp. on the context staying the same. For me, the moves of Jin Ah to uproot herself geographically from her family to live in Jeju and quitting her job, are actually attempts in that direction — to change her context. And after getting back together with Joon Hee, should he invite her again to move to the US (which is where he’s planning to settle in), I’d say she is now in a better position to say yes. And thanks to her moves which put her in a position to be ready this time.

    I was thinking why the show didn’t bother to even provide a hint even in an epilogue that they’d move to the US together this time, but that might overshadow a key point they made earlier in the show — that love is all about the right timing. Their love didn’t prosper the first time around due to bad timing, but they made the necessary preparations (Jin-Ah specifically) so that should love come knocking back again, this time the timing is right.

    Reply
    1. A Reviewer

      Hm… glad you share the same thoughts about the ending as I did after watching the last two episodes a second time, prompted by comments here that they had not resolved anything. They yelled at each other, got it out their systems, and were ready to re-unite. Necklace is the key to Jin-Ah’s mood, Joon-Hee ‘s ego was in his way till he realizes how good he was to her, how much he loved her (though not sure why the recording played when it played). Few frames of them on beach or some landmark in the US would have provide better closure. Watching this made me realize what all I did right to get my noona to the US 🙂

      Reply
  18. cymlais

    Thank you for your detailed review, which in the most part I agreed with. My wife and I were both emotionally exhausted at the end of the series and I was frustrated, as you pointed out, that most of the issues did not get resolved. As an insight to Korean culture I found it fascinating. I was particularly interested to read that you did not feel that Jin Ah’s mother overstepped her boundaries. From the point of view of a British man, and I am pretty sure from British culture, it doesn’t matter how sincerely she believed she was right, what she did was totally wrong, contributing to the destruction of so many relationships.

    Reply
    1. merij1

      As others have heard too many times, I got so frustrated my wife had to watch the last two episodes without me and then explain what happened. Which, considering what did happen, was definitely the right call.

      Yet that couple all continues to linger with me. Which would not be the case with a failed show, normally. So the show definitely had something right, up until it didn’t.

      I wonder if anyone associated with the writing decisions has talked about the internal debate over where to take things in that final stretch?

      To get over any lingering ill will towards those two actors, my wife and I and many others here strongly recommend you watch One Spring Night (same actor and similar in many ways — same team, actually — but done right, resulting in a really great romance) and Crash Landing On You (same actress in a wonderfully swoony romance + campy-yet-warm humor + action + cultural look at the two Koreas.

      Both stream on Netflix, at least they do here in the US.

      Reply
      1. williamhuwdavies

        Yes, the couple lingers with me too! It’s like I got to know them personally – I wanted to contact them and tell them to communicate and stop lying to each other! The show could have been so great – such a shame they ruined it! Yes, they are on Netflix in the UK. I have watched a few episodes of ‘One spring night’ – I liked the pharmacist, but the librarian irritated me – maybe I will try some more of the show. I have only watched one episode of ‘Crash Landing On you’ and will probably continue but we have got hooked on ‘The King’ for now.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          A number of these shows start slow with a couple set-up episodes before they get into the groove. So I’ve learned to figure out whose advice I trust on which ones end up being worth the effort.

          Which is why I read this blog/ Nice to see another guy representing a couple here, btw!

          Reply
    2. A Reviewer

      Hi, your observation about the mother is spot on, IMO, even if you take the cultural aspects out. I was born and brought up in the sub-continent, culturally that part of the world is more similar to Korea than it is to US/UK. I found the mothers actions very selfish and self-centered. Reminded me of how my mother behaved when I did something similar) and it took me decades to forgive her. While watching the show, there were several moments that really annoyed the heck out of me 🙂

      My wife lost interest in the show halfway through, my curiosity kept me going. Of the last few dramas I watched, CLOY, Memories of Alhambra, Something in the Rain and My Holo Love, I would SitR the lowest of them, even though Son Ye-jin did a great job of portraying Jin-ah very well.

      There is a movie on Amazon Prime called Red Family – little dated but quite good. You may want to check that out.

      Reply
  19. mothermakeme

    Okay so first I want to say- I am so happy I found your blog! I am a relative newbie to kdramas and have been an avid watcher for the last year or so. I started with Romance is a Bonus Book and was clearly spoiled by its awesomeness. I watched both Something in the Rain and One Spring Night and I have to say- when Something started I was so in love with the story and the characters. I loved the unadulterated romance scenes, the kissing scenes were so amazing. And then the drama started with the mom and it’s like they took this beautiful story and beat the life out of it with every grueling episode. And the way it ended was okay but left such a bad taste in my mouth. I read your blog right after and was so happy someone else felt the same. Then on your recommendation with OSN I tried to watch that. It was okay at best for me. It felt like the story barely took off the ground and stayed at a steady and often boring pace for me. There weren’t many cute lovey scenes, even though I felt like the chemistry was way better between the two leads. That show was the hardest one for me to get through by far. Mostly because it felt so slow. I liked how mature the couple was in comparison to this show (no ridiculous lying, no blow ups and weird ultimatums) but it lacked the compelling romance that something had at first. I had to stay away from kdramas for a while after back to back watching these two shows lolol. But I came back with one of my favorites! It’s called My Only Love Song. It’s kinda silly at some points but it’s really cute and fun to watch. And the couple has such an intense chemistry, it is amazing to watch them. I haven’t seen you review that one but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you have! Thank you so much for your detailed reviews and fun voice!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there mothermakeme! Welcome to the blog! 😀 Thanks for enjoying this review! 🙂 Aw, I’m sorry One Spring Night didn’t work as well for you as it did for me.. it’s definitely a slower paced, more muted story than the average kdrama. I’m sorry to say I haven’t seen My Only Love Song, but you might enjoy the quick review that my friend Kay did for the show. You can check that out here. 🙂 I wonder if you’ve seen Crash Landing on You? That sounds like it would be up your alley. 🙂 Also, you might like to browse my Full List of dramas rated here. I hope that helps! 🙂

      Reply
  20. A Reviewer

    In the past, I have watched some critically acclaimed Korean movies that were available on Prime Video. During the lock down, I stumbled upon CLOY. I was so impressed by the performance of the lead actors that I sought out their other works and ended up watching Something in the Rain. Korean isn’t even my second language, so I watched the show with English subtitles. Somethings might have been lost in translation. So please take my comments with this in mind.

    As a South East Asian man who fell in love with a ‘noona’ in the early eighties, I can relate to this show in many ways.

    Unlike the reviewer, I would not be so kind to the Mum. Yes, parents often think about what is best for their children. But that does not mean that they know best. My mum threw very similar kind of fits back in the day. It got so bad that I left for a western country and tried to negotiate with her from a distance. I returned three years later; my girl friend and I moved away and got married. Nearly forty years later, we still think we made the right choice – to remove ourselves from all the drama around age etc.

    Could this drama have been a lot better/shorter? Yes. But K-Dramas seem to have 16 episodes. That is the real culprit here; adds a lot of side stories that do not have the same impact – that sometimes makes the whole show a little tiring. I think Memories of Alhambra and CLOY did a better job of better integrating minor story lines to the main thread.

    Overall, if you remember that this is fiction (after all), Something in the Rain is a good heart warming series that you can add to the list of shows you want to watch during long running Social/Physical Distancing phase of our lives.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there, Reviewer! Welcome to the blog! 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing your story; I do agree that if you’ve got personal experience that resonates with the story, then that just changes your perspective of the drama in a big way. To be honest, I feel like you and your wife would’ve made a better couple to root for, than the couple in this show, because you guys did something about your situation. You changed your context and freed yourself from the context that was threatening to stifle you. I feel like very little changed for our lead couple in this show, such that I felt nothing really changed by the end, even though she moved to Jeju Island, and he came back to look for her. The unhealthy dynamics in their relationship is still present, plus they are still in Korea, which implies that if they resume their relationship, they will face the same familial opposition that they did earlier int the show. So, I’d rather watch a drama about you and your wife, coz at least I’d see meaningful movement in your story, by the end. I hope that made sense. 😅 That said, I’m not knocking your enjoyment of the show at all. I do understand that every person has a different filter through which they receive their dramas, and therefore we all enjoy different dramas. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, coz that means you felt your time was well spent! 😀

      Reply
      1. Geo

        I can add a different perspective to Reviewer in that I sympathized with the couple in SITR facing social and family opposition to their relationship. I had a serious inter-racial relationship, before I got married, which my Chinese mother objected to strenuously, not because she was racist (I don’t think) but because she felt the social pressures from her friends and she genuinely felt only someone from a similar cultural background, i.e. a chinese girl, would make a good, long term partner. This relationship died, as many do, not because of my mother’s opposition (not as bad as JA’s mother in SITR though) but for many of the usual reasons. However, the arc of the relationship was defined by us.

        Having said that, I found SITR (2nd half) so depressing because the couple’s relationship founders on the shoals of their immaturity. they just kind of meander around and let life happen to them and react erratically when issues arise.

        Reply
        1. merij1

          Yeah, we accepted that Jin Ah’s mom being horrible was a valid characterization of real life, based on different cultural circumstances and filial expectations than we are accustomed to.

          It was Jin Ah’s decisions/behavior in the last quarter of the show that we could not stand. The lying and other deceiving, of course, but also choosing to stay with an employer that treated her like dirt over Joon Hee and continuing to cave to a mom like that regarding her own love life.

          They started her arc as that of “a submissive woman finding her agency” but then had the gall to have her describe her passive capitulation to others as a product of this new-found confidence. (Not to mention the gall of making us listen to not one but two versions of a wretchedly annoying song, over and over and over, when that song urges women to do THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what Jin Ah actually does in the show!)

          Most of which would have been fine if they’d resolved the OTP dysfunction well. But they took it sideways much too close to the end of the run and then had to act like nothing really needed to be addressed get the couple back together.

          All that said, we wouldn’t have cared so much if the OTP hadn’t been so enchanting in the first half, right?

          Reply
        2. kfangurl

          Thanks for sharing your story, Geo! I think your story is in line with the point I’ve been trying to make about the OTP in SITR; they have so much that’s not working in their relationship, that even this “happy ending” feels hollow to me. I feel like they’ll break up if they don’t fix their bad relationship habits, like so many couples do. And if nothing’s changed to make their relationship stronger, then they still won’t have the fortitude to deal with the external pressures that they face as a couple. 🤷🏻‍♀️

          Reply
          1. Geo

            Hi:
            merij1: you’re so right about the first half of SITR being so good that we came to really care for the couple so that the 2nd half was a big let-down.

            KFG: I really believe this was not the ending the writer/director wanted but were forced to do so by the producers, given the popularity of the show. Which is why this ending doesn’t seem organic or natural, but hollow as you say.

            Reply
      2. A Reviewer

        Thank you all for the warm welcome and comments.

        “That said, I’m not knocking your enjoyment of the show at all” – no worries, I did not take your comments that way at all.

        ” I’d rather watch a drama about you and your wife” – well that would be a multi-season mini series 🙂 that spans generations :). May be I should a ghost writer when we retire 🙂 to tell our story.

        “I feel like very little changed for our lead couple in this show” – from my perspective, they are a single unit when they face external challenges/stimuli, but when it comes to their future, they work independent of each other; near zero communication about those topics. During his stay in the US and on return his feelings for her have not changed (he has not dated anyone while in US). Her feelings for him have not changed; neither of them are willing to admit to that to the other, instead they bicker. Jin-ah’s move to Jeju is her breaking ties that held her down the first time (ready to make the move), if only he would ask… but then again he didn’t have the guts to touch her hand first, so he needs to be nudged again. They both beat around the bush again and just want to enjoy the here and now – lame. From E2, Jin-ah is realizing that he is the one. As time progresses she knows he is the one. But yet she goes on a blind date (I would have gone completely nuts) inviting more abuse from her mom (by sending mixed messages), starts dating again, when they really haven’t broken up – I agree with you, the character that the writer created is really weak, it is hard to put parts of her personalty together to form a whole. That said, I thought Son Ye-jin did an excellent job of portraying the character that the writers created, I guess unlike Negotiation and CLOY, she did not have the rapport with the director to influence how the character was depicted.

        Comparing Son Ye-jin’s on screen chemistry with the male lead in CLOY and Something in the Rain, BinJin chemistry is on whole different plane, orders of magnitude better.

        BTW, I tried to figure out what the age difference is between Jin-ah and Joon Hee… googling for this is what brought me to this site. I don’t recall his age being mentioned anywhere in the show, but hers is (34-35). Do you folks know the answer?

        Reply
        1. merij1

          In real life, it’s a six-year age difference. At the moment, she’s 38 and the actor Jung Hae-in is 32. Subtract +/- 2 years for their respective ages while that show was filmed.

          I have to say, I spent a lot of time imagining this story from his perspective during the time they were apart. The pain and loss of the rejection he would have felt. It’s a compelling set of emotions. Not healthy, to be honest, but oddly addictive, for me at least.

          Had the writers taken that angle and really run with it, with a fully developed resolution, it could have been quite powerful. I have no problem with flawed characters or bad life choices, per se. Because, hello, we’ve all been there.

          The problem here was that it felt like an after-thought when they realized they had a few episodes left to go: “Hey, I know. Let’s through a spanner into the gears to break our viewers’ hearts! Then they’ll be so relieved and happy when we bring these two lovers back together at the end!”

          Nope.

          Reply
          1. merij1

            Which reminds me of Australian comic Hannah Gadsby’s devastating Netflix show (“Nanette”) on the abusive dynamic between the comic and the audience in stand-up.

            She pointed that her job is to make us extremely tense and uncomfortable. . . so that we feel good when she eventually relieves us of that tension. Forgetting that she was the one who made tense in the first place.

            Reply
          2. merij1

            Per kfangurl, it was a four-year age gap in the script. But as I recall, Jin Ah was 34-35 and Joon Hee was in his late ’20s. So I’d say maybe five years.

            My first wife (and the mother of my children) is eight years older than I. But I’ve never thought about her that way. We’re still close, as is she and my 2nd wife.

            Reply
            1. A Reviewer

              The only hint I could get from the show (as I mentioned, I don’t know Korean) was in E3 where Jin-Ah and Gyung Sun are in the market on the death anniversary of her mother, she says she died 10 years ago when Joon Hee took his college entrance exam. Don’t know when they take the entrance exam, so if you add 10 to that age, that would be what his age is.

              “My first wife (and the mother of my children) is eight years older than I” – less than two for me, we were in the subcontinent, different religions, 99.99% were arranged marriages, we were the only ones dating (couple) in the whole university campus. Even our peers were uncomfortable with the idea :). Fun times 🙂

              Reply
          1. A Reviewer

            I found the ages of the actors (34/31), but not the characters. I must be missing something.

            Reply
          2. A Reviewer

            Btw, I used imdb.com to look up details on movies and shows. It will be good to have your reviews linked from there as external reviews 🙂

            Reply
  21. EllaSims

    Hey Sis!

    I’m slowly making my way through the offerings on Netflix and can proudly say that since I commented on Crash Landing, which was my 2nd Kdrama, I’ve now watched 7 more drama’s! And I always look forward to receiving some sort of “closure” through your reviews! THANK YOU A Million! And this review is another beautifully written one which, I must admit, read before I started. Boy am I glad I did.

    So, before I add in my two pence , I must say that I’m SO thankful for these 2 things:
    1. Taking your advice on reading your short verdict of a show before I start a new drama so I can correctly adjust my lens.
    2. That I watched CLOY and Prison Playbook before SitR so I’m still a fan of both characters!

    *Things I liked*
    Since I’m new to Kdrama, I’m very much interested in romance as the Korean portrayal of it is simply pure, adorable and magical. Whilst all the shows I’ve watched so far have nicely ticked that box, I always felt like there was some chemistry and skinship missing from the lead characters (I’m from the West after all !) Captain Ri and Se Ri (CLOY) came the closest to this. So when I read your review and a few others, I knew my craving was going to be satisfied – boy were they between episodes 3 – 6! *Whew! – wipes away forehead sweat!* And for me, that was probably the best thing about this show. It did make me think how short changed we were in CLOY! Ye-jin and HB are clearly more than capable when it comes to intimate scenes so it baffles me why they decided to not go for it! Guess the producer wanted to keep it PG which I get. I’d feel comfortable watching that with mum but wouldn’t watch SitR with her!

    I know JH came across quite intense for you but I felt like he was so consumed with love that he always went the extra mile even if that made him look weak, silly or borderline psychotic! I loved how gentle and caring he was with her even when he was angry and had a million reasons to shout at her. I mean, I loved the gentle trait, but not so much that he let every mistake she made slide – and there were lots of them! I’m still in between whether I liked the hospital scene where he walks in to the room to hug her and help her change. On one hand I felt that he should have knocked and checked whether it was ok for him to come in cos that was pretty intrusive but on the other hand, I guess he just wanted to hold and console her and make sure she knew she wasn’t alone? I’m not quite sure where to place that yet!

    *Things I didn’t like*
    I’m just gonna go ahead and bullet point these as I’ll be repeating what you’ve so eloquently covered already
    – The secret relationship: I know the age difference thing is frowned upon by society but in reality – they only needed to convince 4 people : the parents and siblings. I really really disliked the manner everyone found out! They could have easily… I repeat … EASILY, have taken everyone individually ( maybe except for the mum) out on a coffee date and broke the news. I know its probably easier said than done but finding out by walking in on a book full of drawings? In front of your sister’s ex at the police station? And finding your daughter’s empty bed in the morning? – It’s a no from me!

    – The Lying – oh the lying and the secrets. My goodness! I’m just going to leave it at that because that was simply baffling!

    – JA’s selfish speech to JH’s sister when she mentioned that she didn’t want to live together with JH as she wanted to practically live an uninterrupted lifestyle. The cheek. As an older sister with a little brother who I would do anything for… this cut deep!

    – A 35 year old woman living at home despite being unhappy and not standing up for what she truly wanted.

    – Random outbursts at her dad who was always in her corner from the get go!

    – JH’s mum screaming her way through the series and not once considering how her child or anyone feels. Her harsh words and abuse dished out was truly distasteful. Why couldn’t she just be happy with her song studying a PhD and leave it at that?!

    – The sexual harassment case and how we only got a throw away line indicating that JA won .. but how? What happened? Given that it was SUCH a massive part of the story it was disappointing to say the least.

    – The finale scene. After 2+ years with bottled up emotions all we got was an argument about an umbrella and then a final beach scene. Again disappointing.

    In summary, I came for the chemistry between the characters and I definitely got that which I’m glad about but the overall execution of the story was incredibly disappointing.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Ella!! Great to see you! 😀 Congrats on completing 9 kdramas! I have some suggestions for which drama you might want to pick for the Big Ten, but first, let me say, I’m impressed and surprised that you watch all of this drama, despite knowing that it was likely to disappoint in the second half, and actually feeling disappointed in the second half! 😅 Well, who am I to talk though, right, since I finished this one too! 🤣

      I have to qualify that I really liked JH’s intensity at first – key words being at first. The first time he grabbed Gyu Min by the tie, I was quite thrilled, to be honest. It was only when I revisited the scene for this review, that I realized I was no longer thrilled, and actually found the intensity disturbing, even then. What can I say, I was blinded by the cracky headiness of their initial courtship! 😅

      With regards to intimate scenes, the broadcast guidelines in Korea are very strict, so dramas on general networks would tend to be extra restrained. Dramas on cable networks have a little more room to play with, in comparison. Both this and CLOY aired on cable channels, but I guess the CLOY folks wanted to be able to appeal to more general audiences. Currently airing A Couple’s World (aka The World of the Married) has gone for a 19+ rating (versus the 15+ that dramas generally use), in order to include more sizzle. If you’re looking for OTP intensity, I would like to recommend Secret Love Affair for your 10th drama. It’s really an excellent show, with a deep soul mate connection at the center. You can take a look at my review here. 🙂

      I believe the age difference thing is a much bigger deal in Korea than in many other parts of the world, and I believe that the familial connection of being an “almost son” to JA’s parents is also frowned upon. So it never would have been as simple as sitting everyone down and having a talk. That said, you’re right, everyone found out in the worst way possible. I guess that’s all for the sake of amping up the drama! 😆

      If you haven’t seen Search: WWW, I also think it’s worth considering for your next drama. You can take a quick look at the review here.

      Reply
      1. EllaSims

        Hey girl!

        I know *Hangs head in shame*. I was secrectly hoping it would redeem itself as there are so many mixed reviews about it but it didn’t! I’ve learned my lesson now!

        You’re right on the age difference and the cultural views. I’m reminded of Crazy Rich Asian’s – even though that was slightly different, the premises were the same. If you don’t fit, we will make it known that you do not belong!

        Thank you for the recommendation for my 10th drama. I just read your review and I’m in! Will also add healer and WWW to my list. As ever, thank you for reading!

        Ps. Sending you the biggest well done and virtual hug all the way from London for your amazing and brave “support” post. I’m in for the long haul and will definitely support in any way I can <3

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          That’s a fair point; SITR does have a lot of fans, so the only true way to find out how you feel about a show, is to watch it yourself! Sometimes I watch a show that’s controversial, just so that I find out where I land. That’s what I did with Memories of the Alhambra coz it was so widely dissed, and everyone seemed so mad at the show, and yet there was a small pocket of fans who liked it just fine, and I was like, HM. I wonder where I’d land, in all of this – and I marathoned the show, just to see. In the end, I ended up liking it fairly well, so.. to your point, it’s fair that you just needed to find out how you felt! 😀

          Oh, I did enjoy Crazy Rich Asians! I watched it on the plane, and was quite tickled at how the movie reminded me to kdramas and Hollywood, at the same time! 😀 It was fun too, to see Singapore portrayed in such an exotic light, since that’s where I live! 😆

          Yay that you’re adding Healer and WWW to your list! Especially Healer. I loved that one SO MUCH. 😍😍😍 And, thank you so much for the long-distance hugs, my dear. <3 I sincerely appreciate the love and support. HUGS BACK. <3

          Reply
  22. KDrama Fan in Chicago

    With 5 Korean dramas under my belt now, I think this one has had the most impact on my emotionally. I’ve watched all of these dramas with my wife and she giggles at how wrapped up I get in the characters and plot…especially this one. Maybe it’s because in my past I have personally experienced the pain of losing the person that I was intensely in love with, that had did not result in a fairy tale ending.
    We finished the drama last night, and I couldn’t sleep, and I’m still emotional about it today. I can’t help but reflect back on the last 10 minutes of the last episode. Jin-a riding her bike along the seashore towards her now job in her new life. I was dying inside thinking “She moved on with her life with no thought to him, but Jun-hui should be with you!!!”. And the final shots of them embracing on the breakwater with the sunset in the background…beautiful, perfect and made me very happy. As someone eluded to in a previous post, I’ve spent so many hours with these people, and now it’s over. Although the end made me happy, I’m also sad that it’s over and we don’t get to see anything more of their relationship. You take 16 weeks of material and end it all in 3 minutes. There could’ve been a longer, more detailed ending. Having them apologize to each other, and commit to each other, and tell each other than they love them…so much was left out.
    I think your article perfectly captures my thoughts about the overall drama, although I seemed to enjoy it more than most. The music was nauseating. But my biggest complaint (and my wife will attest as I talked loudly to the television screen, i.e. KISS HER!!! or TELL HIM YOU’RE SORRY!!!) was the lack of honesty between the characters. Jin-a’s constant lies and deception, as well as her inability to tell him to his face how she actually feels, were so frustrating. When she chose to go on that blind date I almost jumped out the window! Then she lies and meets Jun-hui’s dad. Then she lies and gets an apartment to herself. But then Jun-hui commits to moving to the US and never even asked her if she’d be up for it. UGHHHH!!!!
    I agree with you that the best character in the whole show was the sister. I was hoping there’d be a story line where she finds her Prince Charming, but alas, they have her working tirelessly in the background, drinking her sorrows away.
    And don’t get me started on the mom. She was a great actress and really gets your emotions going, and she perfectly exposes what I believe to be a huge flaw in Korean parental culture. But that’s another story….
    At any rate, this feels better being able to talk about my thoughts on this, as my wife thinks I’m crazy for having this strong of an emotional reaction to it (“It’s just a drama!!! It’s not real!!”). But it really touched me, and I think there’s a lot of value to be taken from this drama. Relationships need communication and honesty and humility and self-sacrifice.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hey there KDFan (I’m sorry I took liberties to come up with a pet name for you, before we’ve even properly met! 😆), WELCOME!!! 😀 Welcome to the blog, and also, to the weird and wonderful world of kdrama, where your emotions can and DO take flight from you – as you’ve experienced and articulated so entertainingly! 😀

      I love that you’re able to FEEL so much for the show, while liking it more than, well, me, at least, and yet, you’re still able to identify everything that was wrong with this relationship. I wholeheartedly agree that the ending was too rushed to feel satisfying. If they’d actually spent more time talking things out and working it out, I would’ve been mollified, at least. But NOTHING changed and it was very frustrating to watch. :/

      I’d like to suggest another drama to cleanse your palate. The same writer-director team did another drama (I know, hear me out 😅 I was reluctant too!) and it’s titled One Spring Night, and it literally feels like they took everything wrong with this show, and FIXED it in that one. It’s less thrillingly romantic like this one was in the early eps, but more than makes up for it with healthy relationship development and dynamics. I thought I’d hate it coz I was so underwhelmed by this show, but I ended up liking it very well. It took away the bad taste this one left in my mouth. If you’re up for another drama, I do suggest One Spring Night! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Ryan B

        We had that one queued up, but then started watching “When The Camillia Blooms”. It’s a little hard for me to follow…the English subtitles go very fast. My wife is Korean-American, so she understands the conversations and has the subtitles to fill in the gaps when she doesn’t understand something. I don’t have that luxury!
        I want to sit in the emotion of this last one for a while…not sure I want to jump into another emotionally-draining drama right away. Still trying to process this one! But I will for sure take your recommendation and watch it one day. Thanks! And cool site by the way. Glad I found you!

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Ryan!! Pleased to meet you properly, and YAY that my terrible pet name for you can now be retired! 😆

          Ah, I did like When the Camellia Blooms, and I would say that the couple dynamics in that are much healthier and more satisfying to watch than what you just went through with this show. 😀 I do believe you’ll get more adept at reading the subtitles as you go.. it takes a bit of getting used to, but over time, you’ll get to the point where reading it is so automatic that you barely even notice that there are subtitles there! 🙂

          I completely understand needing a breather after this one, before getting into another emotional drama, especially if it’s by the same writer and director! I do think you’ll enjoy it when you get to it, so I’m glad it’s already on your radar! 🙂

          PS: I’m glad you found me too! 😀 Feel free to come hang out anytime; I’m proud to say that my readers are a friendly, welcoming bunch. <3

          Reply
          1. Ryan B

            So we took your recommendation and started watching One Spring Night. With the exception of a couple actors, the whole cast from Something In The Rain is in this one. Awesome to see the familiar faces. I’ll let you know what I think when we’re done, but so far do good. My only complaint is that there’s another pattern of using the same song, over, and over, and over again!!!

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Hi Ryan! Glad to hear that One Spring Night’s off to a promising start! 😀 It’s true that One Spring Night also has a limited number of songs on the OST, but on the upside, the songs are much more palatable than the ones in SITR! 😅 While watching SITR, I often wanted to slap the music director upside the head, but I never felt that way while watching One Spring Night. 😆 I hope that helps give you some assurance..! 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy your watch as I did! 🙂

              Reply
              1. merij1

                Repeating a few songs every single episode is an interesting approaching. It failed miserably with Rain/Noona because they choose the wrong songs. Aside from being too annoying to hear that often, Stand By Your Man is the exact opposite of what Jin-ah did in the script! So it was a completely inexplicable choice for that soundtrack.

                But with One Spring Night my wife and I thought repeating the songs worked at least halfway as a means of reinforcing what one should feel during certain scenes.

                Movies and high-brow TV shows like HBO often use this technique in more subtle ways, cuing up musical motifs when certain characters appear or when certain types of action occur. Except those musical motifs have no words and are less prominent, so you don’t notice them as much.

                In One Spring Night, every time either of the Rachael Yamagata songs came on (No Direction or Is It You) our hearts would swell. Since the tension in this romance that that it kept taking two steps forward then one step back, hearing the opening of No Direction in particular underscored that we were experiencing one of the upswings. Which felt so good.

                We certainly didn’t need the music to know that, but once we’d been trained — a la Pavlov’s dog — it added to the depth of our experience. Unfortunately, not all the OST songs were that successful.

                But listen to No Direction and see if it doesn’t stir up the best feelings you had watching this show:

                Reply
                1. merij1

                  Ugh. I hate those grammatical typos. Oh well. Believe it or not, I actually am an speaker of English!

                  Reply
                2. kfangurl

                  I agree, this song worked well for my watch. I also agree it would’ve helped a lot if they’d had instrumental versions at various different tempos that they could’ve used in varying situations. That would’ve added more nuance, I feel. Perhaps their music budget was really tight on this one..? 🤔

                  Reply
    2. merij1

      Not only did I keep shouting at the screen, I kept needing to pause it and stomp loudly around the house. And then I could not sleep because it bothered me so. In the end, my wife had to finish it for both of us and just tell me what happened.

      Which is to say, I feel you, man! But months later I can add this: lol

      Reply
  23. chinweu

    Thank you!!!! This was absolutely painful to watch. The soundtracks were just annoying by the time I got to episode 4. Jin Ah turned out to be very selfish, manipulative and flippant. Joon Hee was just in love with love. So many things pissed me off in this drama tbh. Just finished watching episode 16 now and I’m so angry. Nothing was learned. Nothing has changed. Mschew!!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Wow, hi5, chinweu, looks like we feel exactly the same way about this show! 😆😆 I was very perplexed by this one too, like, what was the point of this? Did you have a point..? Or was the point that everything is awful and everyone is awful, so don’t have hope for anyone or anything to change..? 😝 If you haven’t seen One Spring Night, I do want to say that I thought I’d hate it, since it’s the same writer-PD team, with the same male lead, but it’s a completely different kettle of fish. I thought One Spring Night corrected everything I hated in this, so when you feel up to it, maybe give it a try if you haven’t already? 🙂

      Reply
    2. merij1

      Agreed on all points, including the One Spring Night recommendation. That’s a really great show.

      Chinweu, what helped me was to adjust my lens on the writing of these shows to the reality the writers actually face. Because I was only watching the best of them, I was instinctively applying HBO-quality expectations. Because to me, the exploration of romance was indeed that much better than what we see on American broadcast TV.

      But the reality is that these writers are making it up as they go week by week and need to stretch things out to get to +/-16 episodes. So after establishing great momentum on the OTP romance, they need to figure out some way of backing off from that harmony or introducing some other dramatic tension to hold onto their viewers. And sometimes their solution to this problem is really lame. This show being a prime example.

      It started out perfect. And then totally fell apart via contrived character flaws towards the end. I was so angry about the lies and other terrible choices Jin ah was making that I couldn’t even watch the last two episodes. My wife watched them for me to confirm our worst expectations. Eventually I watched the reconciliation scenes, but as kfangurl notes, the writers didn’t actually resolve the problems they’d introduced. More like they waved a magic “wayback machine” wand to pretend the bad stuff had never even happened. Ugh.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        EDIT: It started out perfect EXCEPT for the need to turn off the volume every time either version* of Stand By Your Man came on. Shudder.

        *In case you didn’t notice, the 2nd version was by supermodel Carla Bruni. (Another one of the songs on that OST was the actor Bruce Willis.) Even though I do like country music and even Tammy Wynette in small doses, there was no connection between that song and the theme of the show. It was just so infuriatingly annoying to hear it over and over.

        One Spring Night also repeats a few songs in every episode, btw, but we found that several of them work really well to clue you in to the theme of the scene. So it’s not the attempt that failed with Rain/Noona, but the execution of it.

        Reply
      2. Geo

        Hi merij1:

        I think you’re right about the pressure on the writer/director to fill up the contracted number of episodes. This results in a fair amount of filler (I’ve watched 3 Kdramas so far and they all have filler throw away material to some degree) as well as irrational twists and turns. It’s just that SITR had even more filler and absurd developments.

        Reply
  24. Geo

    Congratulations on an excellent review. This is the 3rd Kdrama I’ve seen after Mr Sunshine and CLOY and I found this very underwhelming. The first half has all the elements of a successful rom-com, the second half a terrible melodrama. I found the acting overall quite good but the blame for the unsatisfying experience rests with the director and writer.

    I am not familiar with Korean society but I found this show to be a bitter indictment of:

    1. Korean family values
    2. Korean societal values
    3. Korean Business practices
    4. Relationships between immature individuals, whose immaturity is a consequence and reflection of Korean society

    But all is not well in the west either, the one western character, Joon Hee’s Dad, shows the respect for individual responsibilities and freedom and blesses the realtionship yet he is a tremendously flawed character who has been married several times and abandoned his children from his first marriage. So western values? Not so good either.

    What is the message from the director and writer? Life sucks and you can never win so don’t bother. It’s a cynical take that shows up in the way the characters are developed so that in the end, you come away feeling little respect or love for any of the characters, including the two leads.

    Is there any redeeming character in this series? No, the director and writer seem to be aiming for a very negative realism by immediately undermining any character who shows some redeeming values. Jin-A’s Dad shows understanding for her situation and defends her but crumbles before the withering attack of his battle-ax wife. Has there ever been a more unsympathetic character than the Mother? Have there been more bipolar or schizophrenic characters?

    At the end of the day, each character is revealed to be deeply flawed, situations are developed that don’t seem to be ever resolved and I think the director and writer must have been forced to create a happy ending which seems totally contradictory to the last half of the series and which, as you say, is deeply unsatisfying.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Geo, congrats on finishing your 3rd kdrama, and my sympathies, that it did not go very well at all, for you. 😛😛 That was my exact question too, while I was watching: what message are they trying to bring across? Because it surely isn’t an uplifting or hopeful one. 😬

      I was so annoyed by this show, that I swore not to check out One Spring Night, which is by the same writer-director team, and they even get back the same male lead (they originally wanted the female lead back too, but scheduling conflicts meant she couldn’t take it up, which I think worked out well). Long story short, I was shocked that I enjoyed One Spring Night. It was as if the writer-director team set out to tell an opposite story. It felt like they took all my grouses in this show, and fixed ’em all, in One Spring Night. I wonder if this was a deliberate thing? Like, let’s make a pair of shows, with the same actors, and let’s make one the example of “what not to do” and the other one, and example of “what to do for a healthy relationship.” 🤷🏻‍♀️ That said, when you feel up to it, I do suggest giving One Spring Night a try. I found it a great way to wash away the disappointment of this show. MUCH healthier OTP interactions, and actual growth for characters! 🤩

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Hi again:

        I started watching Kdramas with the forced isolation and a friend recommended Mr Sunshine and CLOY, both of which I found very good, Mr Sunshine more so. But because of Son Ye Jin’s performance in CLOY, her incredible chemistry with Hyun Bin, I started watching SITR. I had not read your review before, having only recently discovered your website, but if I had, I would have saved myself some lost time I can never recover. Having said that, the first half of the show was fairly entertaining.

        Your review matches so much of what I felt about this show that I’ll give One Spring Night a chance on your recommendation.

        Keep up the good work.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          Aw, thanks for allowing me to persuade you to give One Spring Night a try, Geo! 😀 It never does reach the same giddy heights that this show managed in the early episodes of attraction, but it wins hands-down, in every other way. The characters are also written as flawed, but they are much more likable and I found it much easier to root for them. 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy it, and that it’ll wash away the blah taste that this show left behind! 🙂

          Reply
          1. Geo

            I’ve watched the first two episodes of One Spring Night and it looks promising, doesn’t start as strongly as SITR (but you know how that turned out) but I’ll continue with it. Not sure how I’m going to juggle all the shows I’m watching. I think you have a preference for Han Ji-Min vs Son Ye Jin but I would vote for SYJ as my first exposure to her was in CLOY and I was impressed by her comedic and emotional range in that show, very expressive eyes and face. I don’t blame her for SITR, I think the actors did their best with what they were given.

            With respect to flawed characters, I think they can be central to an excellent show. A deeply flawed character redeemed by an action or deed, a tragic hero laid low by a fatal flaw or an everyday person rising to challenges despite their flaws are common themes that appeal to the human spirit and reflect the human experience but SITR has none of these.

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              Hi Geo, happy to hear that you find One Spring Night promising! I do think you’ll be quite pleased with it, as you go. 🙂 I saw SITR before CLOY, so I think my experience of Son Ye Jin is quite different in effect than yours, even though we watched the same 2 shows. I was very aggravated by Jin Ah in this, and that did rub off on my feelings for Son Ye Jin as an actress. BUT, her performance in CLOY did a lot to wash the residual negative feelings away! 😀 On the other hand, your affection for her in CLOY sustained you through SITR, despite the show’s flaws, which I think is interesting. 🙂

              I agree, flawed characters can be central to a great show indeed. But it’s critical that the show in question does SOMETHING with it, rather than just say, hey look, here are some flawed characters. Nothing changes. THE END. 😆😆

              Reply
  25. Leona Desjardins

    I loved this South Korean Romance story. I am a Canadian, I am a mother, grandmother, and once was a young romantic. During this COVID-19 crisis, I have had the opportunity to watch other Korean shows and like them very much……Crash Landing on you, Memories of the Alhambra. Looking forward to more.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Leona, I’m glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying kdramas! If you liked Crash Landing on You, there’s a good chance you’d also like You From Another Star (My Love From The Stars) which is by the same writer. 🙂 I also highly recommend Romance is a Bonus Book. Sweet and thoughtful story of a mature woman rediscovering her identity, with a romance on the side. I hope you enjoy! <3

      Reply
  26. Tin

    I’m not alone in this. It’s a first for me to see a kdrama that has a lot of kissing hugging and very touchy. Although it was not exciting. Honestly it fell flat. Communication was their problem and hiding things from each other. Would’ve been better if they were stuck by each other against it all. Was really hard to watch and finish. The office scenes would’ve been better if there’s like a point to it. There were also a looooot of soundtrack playing with nothing happening. No convo and just characters thinking 😩

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I feel you, Tin! This was disappointing for me too. 😝 When you’re up to another drama, this same team did One Spring Night, which feels like the exact opposite of this OTP. I was doubtful, but I ended up enjoying One Spring Night a lot, and my negative feelings from this show were quite nicely washed away. 🙂

      Reply
  27. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: What are some OTPs that didn’t work for you? | The Fangirl Verdict

  28. Cherry

    So I’m obviously late to the party but wanted to add my perspective since I just completed this drama yesterday. I agree with so much of your review. It really was spot on. Even with the frustration of how the story line played out, this drama wasn’t entirely unrealistic for me.

    Similar to the two main characters, I too fell in love with the best friend of one of my older brothers (I have 4). There was an 8 yr difference in age between us and although we had grown up together with him giving me piggyback rides when we were kids, we never saw each other “that way” until we went our separate ways in life and ran into each other again when I was 21 and he was 28. We hadn’t seen each other in nearly 10 years since he had left to join the military, and were instantly attracted to one another. We decided to “catch up” as old friends and found ourselves talking for hours on end over the phone multiple days a week. When we finally decided to date, and were public about it, all hell broke loose. Similar to the characters in the drama. My brother and the now love of my life quarreled badly, almost coming to blows, and their 25 year friendship came to an end. My brother thought he was protecting me as a big brother should (they knew everything about each other and had both been playboys in the past). I understood, but he was out of line. To be honest, he had already confessed to me everything about his past, including how he had run through other women in his past and his reasoning for doing it, but he always treated me like the most important thing in his world. Our parents also had less than enthusiastic feelings about our relationship and expressed as much, although they didn’t try to intervene or anything.

    It was a crazy and wonderful ride for the 6 yrs that we dated. I truly believe I was the love of his life just as much as he was mine. We even got engaged around the 4th yr, but I still had some growing up to do and the outside pressure was real and intense at times. Love doesn’t always conquer all. We parted ways, tearfully, and have checked on each other over the years but are both now married to other people (with varying degrees of marital happiness/regret).

    I shared this to say that, although there were definitely frustrating and annoying moments in Something In the Rain (namely that gawd awful music), I still unexpectedly saw myself in a lot of it and how things unfolded. I think the writer actually did a good job of portraying the fallout from family and friends that a couple might receive, depending on the history. My husband, who is not a fan of kdrama, could not understand why I was so emotionally involved in the show at times, but what he didn’t realize was that it was bringing up a lot of memories and emotions in me that I wasn’t expecting.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi Cherry, thanks so much for sharing your story. <3 I can imagine how this show would bring up a lot of memories for you.. what a huge life experience that must have been; it literally changed both of your lives. And it sounds like it was as world-tilting for you both, as it was for Joon Hee and Jin Ah in this story. Reading your story, and imagining how things unfolded, and then considering how your story ended, I do agree that this show presents a realistic story, even if it's narratively unsatisfying (in that, with stories, we expect characters to experience more personal growth than these characters demonstrated). But perhaps that's what Show set out to be; not an aspirational story of personal growth and victory, but just a snapshot of how earth-shattering and messy a real life inconvenient Big Love can be. It's great food for thought. Thanks again for sharing. <3

      Reply
  29. mtui0112

    loovvee and totally agree with your review! I’m new to kdramas and had watched One Spring Night before this and I was so frustrated with the female need from Pretty Noona. I found her to be exactly what you thought to the point that I was ashamed of her behaviour and wasn’t rooting for this relationship at all. The redeeming thing I found was what the sister said to her, something along the lines of she couldn’t really stand her, that’s exactly what I wanted to say to her myself!!!

    Reply
    1. merij1

      Like you, my wife and I watched this one because we were so happy with One Spring Night. And had exactly the same reaction, as explained in detail in an earlier comment. (Note: there are two pages of comments for this show.) At some point I decided it would be a terrible thing when the couple ended up together, because clearly they should not.

      Watch “Crash Landing On You” if you want an anecdote to the negative feelings you now have for the actress who played Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin). Great show!

      Right now, we’re watching Familiar Wife, because we loved Han Ji-min so much in One Spring Night. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t carry it, so we expanded our K-drama options via the streaming service Viki.com. We live in the US.

      We’re also fairly new to this, btw. If you only have Netflix, watch Love Is A Bonus Book. The first ep is not as engaging, but by ep 2 you’ll be in love. If you have access to more shows via Viki or a service like that, Healer is another sure thing. You can’t go wrong with those three excellent shows — Crash Landing, Bonus Book and Healer.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        Correction: “Crash Landing on You” streams on Netflix too. So watch that and “Love Is A Bonus Book”!

        Reply
      2. A Reviewer

        About Vilki… signed up for basic paid plan, as commercials were annoying. The android app works very well on my Sony Android TV. Viewing using PC is a pain, low picture quality on gigabit network. Some of the shows cannot be watched in the US. Are there other services that I can try to watch K-Dramas?

        Reply
  30. Beng Desiderio

    Totally agreed with your review. Ended up reading your review instead of watching last 30 minutes of the finale. I feel vindicated knowing someone else noted the same things I did. Like you I would roll my eyes every time the same 3 songs would play. Hope you keep writing more reviews.

    Reply
  31. Lyra

    I think your review of this show is very accurate. I also felt that Jin Ah and Joon Hee’s relationship was immature and that the indifference by the people around Jin Ah (and even Jin Ah herself) with regard to the sexual harassment (at work) and assault (by her ex-boyfriend) was deeply frustrating.

    That being said, I felt very connected to Jin Ah’s experience through out the show. You mention that the show never talks about the negative effects that sexual harassment has on society and women in general. But I do not feel that that was the purpose of the show. It is told from Jin Ah’s point of vue. In that sense they got a lot of things right that many shows do not capture. I saw a lot of my personal experience and a lot of my past emotions and actions portrayed by Jin Ah. The slow realization that you have allowed yourself to be degraded by many people in your life and the powerlessness to do anything about it. Admittedly, it is frustrating to watch but her reactions felt so real to me.

    I understand why you do not like the ending. I think we watch this show from a different perspective because I knew from the first episode that she would have to quit her job. Unfortunately, it is a realistic ending, but it is also, to me, a powerful one. She eventually realizes that she deserves to be treated with respect and she changes her life so that she can get it.

    I enjoyed your review of this show. I just recently found your blog and I always find your opinions nuanced and very interesting. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Lyra, thanks for sharing your insights from your personal experience.. I think my frustration, if I had to pick just one thing, is that so little seemed to have changed, if at all, by the time we get to the final episode. I know that Jin Ah made a change with regard to her work because of the harassment, but in the end, it did not feel like a victory, because the perpetrators continued without having to face any consequences, while she ends up in an exile of her own choosing, on Jeju Island. That might be realistic, but it’s discouraging as well. It felt like so little had been achieved, after following her on that journey. I guess I was hoping for more. 😝 Expectations count for so much when it comes to our ability to enjoy a drama, and I think in this case, your expectations were more realistic than mine. 😉 I wanted more significant progress, both on the work and relationship fronts, and my expectations were far from met, unfortunately. Still, thanks so much for enjoying the review, and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the other reviews on the site! PS: I’m glad you found me! WELCOME! <3

      Reply

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