The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dropped: Boyfriend [Encounter]

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One thing that Dramaland has taught me, is that true love simply cannot be forced.

Whether you’re one of the leads trying to make it work with a chaebol-parent-approved love interest, or a second lead working hard to earn the affection of the lead that you’re one-sidedly crushing on, no amount of effort will produce true love.

I don’t know which I am in this drama analogy (maybe I’m a lead character and Boyfriend is a chaebol-parent-approved, er,  boyfriend? Hur); what I do know is, after 10 episodes of trying – like, really working – to love Boyfriend, I’m finally realizing that I’m just never going to love this show, no matter how hard I try.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Not gonna lie; I basically checked this show out for the love of Park Bo Gum. I’m pretty indifferent towards Song Hye Kyo as an actress, but I’ve historically enjoyed quite a few noona romances, and this show was getting a fair amount of positive buzz, and – did I mention that I love Park Bo Gum?

Again, not gonna lie; I cringed throughout this OTP’s initial encounter in Cuba, which basically made up episode 1. I found everything prettily filmed, but also, very illogical and cheesy. [MINOR SPOILER] I mean, why would anyone take a sleeping pill, then allow herself to sit down – very sleepily, I might add – on the edge of a parapet? Or did she know that a handsome young man would conveniently sit down next to her, just in time to catch her head on his shoulder? [END SPOILER]

I’ll admit that having the characters back in Korea made me feel more interested in the story. Both Soo Hyun and Jin Hyuk (Song Hye Kyo and Park Bo Gum) were now in their natural habitats, and they needed to figure things out, and adjust, and all the cringing and squirming and stolen glances and curiosity was more interesting to me, than the dream-like encounter in Cuba.

MY STRUGGLE

The thing is, though, I found that I really, really struggled to get on board with this show. Each episode, I found myself wrestling with my thoughts, wondering just what about this show wasn’t working for me. Like, why was Soo Hyun’s behavior as a CEO bugging me so much, when it was in service of growing the OTP connection?

I started to seriously wonder if I had a gender bias, because I’d had no problems with recent dramas featuring lovelines between CEOs and their direct-reporting staff, like in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. Well ok, I had other problems with the shows I mentioned, but the fact that the CEO was romancing his secretary/bodyguard wasn’t an actual issue for me. Was it because the CEOs were men, and I had an internal unconscious bias towards men?

This possibility disturbed me quite a bit, to be honest.

But then, I met my dear friend DDee for our biannual ice-cream drama-chat date, and she completely set me thinking in the right direction, when she asked me, “Is it a genre thing?”

OMG. As it turns out, YES, it is a genre thing.

THE CORE PROBLEM 

It was while watching episode 7, that I managed to finally pinpoint my problem with this show.

See, the thing is, this is a drama world in which there are two groups of people: those who believe they live in a rom-com world, and those who firmly believe they don’t live in a rom-com world. Turns out that when you try to smush rom-com type expectations into a non-rom-com world, things get problematic.

[SPOILERS THROUGH TO THE END OF THIS POST]

Driver Nam (Go Chang Suk) getting all excited and saying that it made his heart flutter, when Soo Hyun made her statement in front of all the reporters, about being in a “some” kind of relationship with Jin Hyuk, definitely has his rom-com lenses on. Jin Hyuk feeling his heart race in that moment, is also in a rom-com world. However, Soo Hyun wants to be in a rom-com world, but is expected to face real-world consequences.

Honestly, all the romancing comes across as very awkward to me, because it all takes place in a drama world which resembles the real world, with real-world expectations and consequences.

We see Soo Hyun apologizing to the board of directors, saying that she won’t allow her personal life to affect the company. This is supposed to be a scene showing us how she’s showing some steel and standing up for herself.

The problem, though, is that this isn’t just an issue of her personal life. She’s not simply dating some younger man, and that just happened to come up and muddy the company’s event and reputation. She’s dating a staff member, someone who’s much more junior than she is, and who’s still very new to the company. This is a legit problem if you exist in the real world.

If Show had decided to be a rom-com, where boards of directors wouldn’t take you to task for dating an employee, that would be a different matter. Like What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, or Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, or, for a gender-flip, 2009 Hollywood rom-com The Proposal – which I loved, for the record. But, serving up rom-com style romantic plot points which are considered irresponsible in real life, and then making the characters face real-life type standards and consequences, is problematic. I can’t get lost in the fantasy, because Show is making sure that the fantasy is regularly snuffed out by purveyors of real life. Also, if I were sitting on a board of directors, and the CEO of the company was announced to be in a romantic relationship with his or her employee, I would feel very uncomfortable about it.

Soo Hyun and Jin Hyuk thinking – and even saying – that their relationship has nothing to do with the company, is bizarre. It’s a total conflict of interest, and the PR team is already demonstrating that in the way that they treat Jin Hyuk.

The scene where Soo Hyun goes to the PR team’s office, on the pretext of thanking everyone, but really to see Jin Hyuk, is really awkward to watch. All the other staff know why their CEO is there; their CEO is there to see her young “some” boyfriend. How very awkward, that everyone would make excuses and leave, while pretending not to notice the gigantic elephant in the room.

SAYING GOODBYE

After this realization at the episode 7 mark, I found each subsequent episode to be struggle. Let’s take a look at episode 9, as an example.

First, I do think the kiss at the ball was inappropriate, because it was a work event. But, I was ok with the date after that, because that was on their personal time, and I was mollified by the fact that Jin Hyuk is determined to play by the rules, and not allow his relationship with Soo Hyun to gain him any advantage at work. I was also mollified that Soo Hyun is willing to go along with Jin Hyuk’s determination.

But Driver Nam pooh-poohing Mi Jin’s (Kwak Sun Young) concern over the articles about Soo Hyun going on a New Year’s date, doesn’t sit well with me. If Jin Hyuk wasn’t Soo Hyun’s employee, then yes, the articles aren’t a big deal and their date shouldn’t be anyone’s business. But it’s precisely because Soo Hyun is Jin Hyuk’s CEO, and he’s her brand-new trainee, that this would be salacious news.

Eventually, my watch of this show began to somewhat remind me of my experience with Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food. Out of context, the lead couple can be cute. But it’s how Show deals with their context that bugs me. I found myself continually wrestling with this rom-com with real-world consequences thing, and I realized I just wasn’t having a good time.

Yes, by episode 10, I’d started to find Mi Jin’s loveline with Dae Chan (Kim Joo Heon) more appealing than I’d had at first, but I’m gonna call that too little, too late. I just wasn’t looking forward to more episodes of this show, and I’ve decided that if I’m dragging my feet to get to the next episode, then Show can’t be my One True Love, Bogummy or no.

Fare thee well, Bogummy – until your next drama, that is ❤

Author: kfangurl

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

104 thoughts on “Dropped: Boyfriend [Encounter]

  1. Lolololol… kfangurl you have totally solved the dilemma for me regarding Encounter 😊 No more will I or won’t I on this one 😂

    Meanwhile, back in the land of Minglan…

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    • Lol! Happy to help! 😉 To be fair, this show’s got quite a few fans, and some of those fans, are folks that I’d actually expected to have problems with this show. Go figure, eh? 😀 I’ve come to the conclusion that you either love it or you don’t, with this one. And in my case, it’s definitely a don’t! 😂

      I’m still waiting for Minglan to become available.. but in the meantime, have gotten quite happily immersed in Ashes Of Love. It’s like a funnier, more magicky version of Peaches. I’m suitably entertained. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Magicky is good 😜 I have had a quick squizz at Ashes. Its another show I ummed and arhhed about 🤔 However, I have now decided it looks okay 🤗

        Yes, Encounter is well supported and there are lots of positives out there. I had a suspicion there were elements that would irritate me and you identified them. The CEO must be exemplary (can be friendly, pleasant, should be approachable, team focussed, know how to put others at ease, seek input etc), but the boundary is the boundary on a whole range of issues.

        I shall now get down off my soapbox and say this: Gangnam Scandal is very enjoyable (yes, it’s a daily and most will ignore it). There’s some great acting going on in the Crowned Clown and Alhambra is about to finish 😊

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        • Ashes has a strong and amusing start, I’ll give it that. I’m now at E17 and I’m starting to feel a bit of drag. I do plan to keep going, in hopes that Show picks back up soon! I’ve heard good things about the show as a whole, so I’m hopeful. 😉

          I do think that in your line of work, this thing with a CEO dating her young employee, and then being bombarded by concerned directors on the board, would be especially hard to swallow, because Show puts this on our screens, and then expects us to side with the CEO and her young trainee, instead of the directors on the board. Since your work (and mine) deals with encouraging behaviors that are opposite to what Show is selling, I do strongly suspect that this show would have rubbed you the wrong way! 😅

          I applaud you for delving into the dailies! I find that I’m drowning in shows I want to watch, and I don’t even include the dailies! 😂 I’ve heard good things about The Crowned Clown so I’m looking forward to checking that one out. As for Alhambra, I think I might give it another episode, but I was really unhappy with Hyun Bin’s character in just the first 2 eps, so that, and the furore that the ending has ignited, don’t bode too well for my future with Alhambra..! 😝

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          • Well, with Ashes, I have made it to the end of episode 4. I am now tossing up with whether to continue or not, because I have seen much better shows in this genre (although most tend to come unstuck) 🤔

            Both your comments and those by GB re the lens that is applied has caused me to think about those times where I either dealt with, witnessed, or came in afterwards to take up the reigns following similar situations. All I will say is this, and that is, how destructive this issue is in real life. The impact on staff and the board is the perception of undue influence the other part had over the “boss”. The level of angst and bittersweet regarding such behaviour lingers for a long time. That is what these shows need to address. We are human and when our emotions are involved we can make the silliest of decisions. We often see our heroes and heroines in shows go down a path of “I will handle this and survive”. I’m afraid that’s not the case in real life 😲

            As for Alhambra, the show fell apart for me in eps 13, 14 and 15 which really annoyed me some what 👿 I thought, however, the final episode was quite fitting and I will share with you the magic I have regarding the actual Alhambra itself (as I did elsewhere):

            The Alhambra is considered by some the most beautiful building in the world. It has over 10,000 inscriptions on its walls and ceilings. One of the inscriptions at the Palace says: “Be sparse in words and you will go in peace”. 🤗

            Part of the legend surrounding the Alhambra is to do with when the Christian army reconquered it, thus ending seven centuries of Muslim rule in southern Spain. The legend goes that the city’s last Arabic ruler burst into tears as he surveyed the Alhambra for the last time before heading into exile. His mother (the Sultana Axia) then said: “Do not weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man.”

            Despite my frustrations with eps 13, 14 & 15 – Jin Woo is determined not to epitomise the myth while Hee Joo is trying her best to ensure he makes it. We just needed the writer to capture the beauty of the myth, if that makes sense 🤩 Go and enjoy The Crowned Clown instead because the acting is superb 👏👏👏 Oh, and I have I mentioned a truly delightful show called Minglan 😝😝😝

            Liked by 1 person

            • That is an excellent, excellent point, Sean! If Boyfriend is going to have Soo Hyun and Jin Hyuk date for any amount of time while they are CEO and employee, then the fallout on the rest of the company – and not just the board – needs to be addressed. Instead, from what I’ve seen, the show divides the rest of the employees into two camps: those who support the romance and therefore protect the couple when they are having couple time even while on company premises, during work hours, and those who are jealous &/or scheme against them. I think it would have added a lot of valuable perspective, if the drama had explored the large blow to staff morale and trust that this CEO-trainee relationship would undoubtedly create.

              Maybe you can put Ashes on hold for a bit while I venture further into it, to see if it picks back up. I’ve heard lots of good things about it from people who’ve finished the show, and the general pronouncement is that it’s very good. Which gives me hope that it will pick back up soonish. 😅

              I gotta tell ya, you do a better job of making The Alhambra sound interesting and intriguing than the show itself does! I was so annoyed with Jin Woo’s general behavior at the end of E2, that I’ve not managed to go on to E3 as yet. I might take your advice and just move on to The Crowned Clown instead. And OMG when will Minglan become available to meeee~! 😫😅

              Liked by 1 person

      • I have concluded that the fans who are gushing about this show would be dropping it if not for the two lead actors, or more specifically, Park Bo Gum. The literary allusions are pretentious and heavy handed, meant to give “depth” to the characters and plot rather than feeling organic to their development. The dialogue in scenes between Jin-Hyuk and Soo-Hyun are the most stilted, unnatural sounding I’ve ever encountered in Kdrama history. Not one conversation they’ve had has sounded realistic; I have never forgotten that I am watching two very pretty actors reading a script and being directed as to how to react. For that to happen when two such talented actors are on screen shows how badly written and directed this drama really is. Take away PBG and SHK, and my guess is few would be praising this show. It is very disappointing, despite my enjoyment of some of the side characters, whose dialogue and reactions stand out as the only believable performances in the show. I actually would like to read the novel this was based on, because the story sounds as if it could have been interesting if it hasn’t been turned into such a superficial, pretentious mess.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Agreed to everything you wrote. From one Seattleite to another!

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        • You know, it’s not just that all they do is talk; they talk, talk, talk about the same thing over and over again, Endless pretentious rehash and drivel. It’s one thing to find the secondary couple more interesting, but when you start longing for mom and dad to appear, this is not a good sign.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I have to admit that I agree with a lot of your conclusions, Seattlelawyer! 😅 I didn’t get into those points in the post because those were things that I might’ve worked to at least attempt to accept or look past, if the drama world had felt cohesive to me. So I decided to just talk about The One Big Thing that gave me drama whiplash. But, sadly, I do agree that the dialogue written for the OTP didn’t ring true for me a good portion of the time, and that added to my struggle with this show. ALL of their conversations in E1 in Cuba left me scratching my head, to be honest! 😬

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        • @Seattlelawyer – Yup. Like when I was watching this amazingly beautiful favorite color paint, I’d chosen for my drawing room, dry. It’s beautiful and I admire that it’s just the right, perfect, color but most days I don’t think about it until someone compliments me on it.

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  2. thanks for the review. I am in the camp of really really love it. Also a bogummy fan too. Not blaming you though as there some extreme reaction with Encounter viewers. Either you love it or not. My friend don’t like it too.Sometimes certain shows will have a chemistry with you and some don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks for enjoying the post, leo, even though you’re in the camp that loves it! ❤ It's because of folks like you loving this show so much, that I tried so hard to love it. But you're right, either you love it or you don't, and this one just didn't work for me, unfortunately. :/ I will love Bogummy in another show, I'm sure! 😍

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      • Maybe I put reality in life on hold when I watch this drama. Maybe I view it sort as seeing any fairy tale story where the magic starts in Cuba and I get swept away with it. Anyway I love Bogum’s acting and chemistry with Song Hye Kyo and the first time I care so much about the female lead character in a drama. Would probably have to wait long before Bogum have another show. It takes him two years to take this show after MDBC. It kinda revived my love for Bogummy.

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        • I’m thinking you’ve got a stronger ability to put reality on hold than I do, leo! 😆 In any case, I’m glad that you’re enjoying this show as much as you are. It’s not easy to find a drama that you really really love, and you ought to savor it while you can! 🙂 I do hope Bogummy won’t wait a long time before his next drama – but at least I have Hello Monster to fall back on if he does, since I haven’t seen that one yet! 😉

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  3. I’ve been feeling the same. I love Bogummy and want to see him in a romance drama that makes me swoon, but this is not making it for me.
    What I thought at the beginning was that if Soo Hyun was real, she would have arranged for Jin Hyuk to be hired by another hotel company, so he can keep working on his career and they can keep dating. The whole drama about the office romance feels so unnecessary. Sometimes I also find Jin Hyuk’s attitude not very believable, I mean, even when you are in love it is difficult to overlook threats that could ruin your career like he’s doing. And the whole ex-husband situation/feelings just doesn’t make sense for me.
    I’ve been forwarding stuff for many episodes already and only watching the couple interactions, which sometimes are very cute, but not sure I will be able to finish. I’m going to try because I’m craving Bogummy material so much, haha!! Is it strange that I enjoyed him the most in Hello monster and Reply but later I’ve found his romance dramas a bit dull?

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    • Yes, having Jin Hyuk either quit his job and find another one, or have Soo Hyun arrange it so that he can interview at another hotel, would’ve worked much better, I agree! I can accept that the two fall for each other before they realize they are boss and employee (even though I didn’t buy the execution), but if this drama world is supposed to resemble the real world where it’s inappropriate for a CEO to date her employee, then it makes no sense that both CEO and employee think it’s ok to continue dating while Jin Hyuk continues to work for Soo Hyun. It just doesn’t add up, for me. 😐

      I also agree that Jin Hyuk’s attitude seems out-of-this-world, in a sense. He’s portrayed as super perfect, but perhaps that’s the whole fairy tale idea at work, where Jin Hyuk is supposed to be a perfect Prince Charming? 🤔 I dunno, I think this genre-mixing, whether it’s rom-com with real-world, or fairy tale with real-world, is problematic in execution.

      I personally thought Bogummy was wonderfully swoony in Moonlight, where he got to play regal, powerful, snooty, yet loyal and smitten. 😍 Did you not like him in Moonlight? 😲

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      • Haha!! Yeah, I liked him in Moonlight 🙂 he was great as ever…but I found the romance too vanilla and too cute for my tastes…I just couldn’t feel the passion and was a bit bored in the end. Same here with Jin Hyuk, too much perfection to handle and some unbelievable plot points, and I’m unable to immerse myself in the romance. And this is not Bogummy’s fault, his acting is as good as always and he’s got even more handsome. ❤️
        Anyway, it’s just my personal impression, but I’d like to see him in a romance drama with a more realistic plot and a good actress closer to his age.

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        • Ah, I see what you mean. I thought Moonlight was very solid for what it set out to be – a youthful romance sageuk – but I can see why you’d find it too vanilla, if you were looking for more intensity and complexity on the OTP front. I’d be curious to see him in a drama like that, so I’m crossing my fingers with ya! 😉

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        • I liked the innocence of Moonlight, maybe because I was conscious of the actress’ age and so by it being kept sweet I didn’t have any cringes about their age gap (not that it was so that big, but she was still so young at the time).
          QUESTION: Since you like Gummy, so will we be seeing a pictorial love post as you’re wont to usually do? Or will you be waiting post military (*cough* abs)? 🙂

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          • Actually, beez, I did a k-love post for Bogummy while watching Moonlight Drawn By Clouds – I was very charmed. 😍😍 You can check out the post here. 😉

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            • Thanks for the link to the pretty Bo gum pics but there’s something very different from all your other K-love posts. 😉

              I’ve heard he had been working out (I forgot where I read that and I’ve forgotten who the sunbae actor is that’s been training him) so maybe it won’t be long.

              (I fear I’ll never see him as hunky material though because I can never get the behind the scenes of the Dominos pizza commercial out of my head. He’s as elegant and delicate as a ballerina).

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              • That’s true, I think he’s training with Kim Jong Kook of Running Man fame. Perhaps we will see some of those hard-earned gains soon 😉 Lol, you’re right though, Bogummy does have a soft vibe about him. 🌸

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  4. Thanks for giving us your take on Boyfriend kfangurl.

    I’m in the mildly liking the show gang. Not crazy about it, but not hating it either. I mostly feel positive enough, so I’ll keep watching.

    I was thinking about what you said about a clash of genres, and wondering if I could categorize this show. Although the main thrust is romance, I did not ever consider it a comedy. The rom without the com, I felt is more the genre. On looking back I find that despite the surreal first encounter setting, this show was firmly underpinned by a stark reality that is Soo Hyun’s world.

    Hers was/is a stifled, unhappy existence where most big decisions were imposed upon her, even the divorce that was supposed to free her. I guess I see the show as an exploration of whether someone so controlled and nurtured to serve and accommodate the interests of others, and to not rock the boat, would be able to take the steps to really free herself.

    The show is also called Encounter, which may help to balance out the perspective of the relationship and reality from both sides ie Jin Hyuk’s and Soo Hyun’s perspectives. But show is also entitled ‘Boyfriend’ which might be more accurate for me since I feel this show is more about Soo Hyun’s growth. Calling it Boyfriend refers to seeing the world from Soo Hyun’s perspective.

    I see it more as a story from Soo Hyun’s point of view, her development as a character who finally dared to be happy, dared to stand up for herself and regain or get for the first time, agency in how she lived. What it took was a chance encounter with someone who was not as fettered as she was, and who dared to stand up for her, when she was unable to stand up for herself. There are ups and downs in her growth of course, and I was observing a down with the last episode as Soo Hyun stared at a painting of a female body, painted from shoulders down only and in a dress more like a shroud. The headless, ‘dead’ lady was a poignant comment and reminder of how she had lived her life for many years.

    The animation as preview and epilogue of several episodes struck me not so much as being light or magical, but rather in the fairy tale tradition of the Grimms Brothers, ie, …er …more grim. They often denoted that one or both parties in the couple overcame odds. Not all epilogues were positive. In the usual drama tradition of pitting the couple against 1 obstacle after another, this couple too had/has to grapple with external and internal obstacles each episode.

    The interesting thing is that what bothered them initially were not the usual, she’s too old/he’s too young or she’s divorced, but more whether they could withstand the judgement from outside. Only in the later episodes we see Soo Hyun grappling with real life issues faced when a couple tries to bridge the great divide between the influential and the un-influential. Between her position as CEO and his as new recruit. This was probably always a concern of Soo Hyun’s, but when brought to the fore by an external party, it re-lit the internal doubts and guilt.

    Regardless of the romantic Driver Nam, the positive-thinking Jin Hyuk and the approving dads, Soo Hyun will still have to weather the wrath of those who’s control she has disdained and the woes of Jin Hyuk’s family (and friends?) and this continues to be dealt with in a serious way.

    After all that, I guess I’d categorize this show as just a serious romance, therefore there’s no clash of genres for me. I’ll not even be surprised (except that it will be very daring of this writer and PD, so it’s surprising if they did go this way with a kdrama) if the ending was opposite from what I guess the majority want, ie, if it was NOT a happily ever after. That, to me would be much more interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, GB! ❤

      I used the term rom-com quite broadly, I admit. I think it was the tone of the romantic moments that hit my gut as "rom-com-esque" versus "serious romance." The whole run-in in Cuba, interview with the CEO which resulted in a ramyeon date, cutesy video chats.. those moments give me a lighter feel in general, compared to the development of the romance in SLA, for example, which I personally count as a serious romance drama. Also, the clash that I perceive is a gut thing; the way Show presents stuff makes me feel that Show approves the relationship, and fundamentally agrees with characters like Driver Nam who encourages the couple and pooh-poohs complications via articles in the media. One example that comes to mind is how Jin Hyuk steps forward when Soo Hyun is cornered in the lobby about her stalker boy-toy. That is clearly presented as swoony. And then Soo Hyun announcing at the press conference that she's in a "some" relationship with Jin Hyuk is also presented as positive and swoony. Those 2 events, in my mind, could only pass for swoony in a non-realistic, rom-com type drama world. The real-world consequences that Soo Hyun has to face after the press conference give me whiplash because in the real world, I would be standing with the board of directors, saying that it's highly inappropriate for Soo Hyun to behave in this way.

      Perhaps the writers are thinking of this drama world as a fairy tale world, and the Big Bad that threatens the relationship, is the board of directors and the two interfering mothers. I think the problem here, is that in the real world, the Big Bad that is the board of directors, is actually something that makes perfect sense in real life. 🤔 I guess if that's the case, then I failed to really latch onto the fairy tale idea of this drama world, in spite of the fairy tale animation cues.

      On that note, I'd be shocked if Show doesn't go with a happy-ever-after type ending. 🤯 That would be interesting to see!

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  5. I can see why you could not finish this drama, and I might have dropped it as well if I view it as a realistic non-romcom drama full of romantic gesture. But you and many others would already tell you that, so I’ll post a different perspective.

    I’ve always looked at this drama from a fairy tale, fantasy point of view starting from the magical animations bookending each episode to the perfectly lined up framing of a scene on a beach or lighthouse down to the healing nature of the drama. I see this as drama to relieve my stress at the end of the day because I paid attention to the scenery, the arts, the music, and the poetry. The first ten episodes had a very calming demeanor to it, that it gives me happiness and contentment right before going to bed. From those perspecives or lenses, this was a drama I enjoyed quite a lot.

    .

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    • I’m glad this drama’s been working for you, drawde! ❤ I think I didn't get deep enough with the fairy-tale lenses, in that I couldn't re-categorize the board of directors as the Big Bad in a fairy-tale world, because they were taking her to task for behavior that would have warranted the same, in the real world. I guess in that sense there were elements that were too similar to the real world in the drama, and that's made it hard for me to immerse myself in a world that was fairy-tale and where it's ok to date your CEO and it's ok for a CEO and her young trainee to kiss at a company ball. It was just.. too dissonant for me, I think.

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  6. I’m also in the “love this drama” camp, and have no problems reconciling the dichotomy of the romance vs. real world. This is a very likely scenario this day and age of a much powerful, wealthy, and successful women dating a younger, less success man, and it ups the ante by making that man her subordinate. Your real world would likely have real heartburn with this—-and we see this even more the episodes you haven’t watched (13-14). I agree with @growingbeautifully that this story is from Seo Hyun’s perspective as well, and she is incredibly damaged, has never made a personal decision without the blessing of her family, doesn’t allow herself to be loved, and feels guilty for her position and notoriety dragging someone else down the road she has lived, not seeing a way out. She’s been emotionally abused all her life and bears those scars everywhere she goes. She’s likely depressed as well (and you see it more these latter episodes) which could explain her first misstep in taking a sleeping pill and going out. She keeps everyone at a safe distance, including Jin-Hyuk, so when he intermittently breaks down a wall and gets her to forget who she is, it’s a monumental scene. And ths would include those balcony kisses. Apparently, balconies are some mental portal device for her because she’s not afraid to lose a little control there.

    The last two episodes solidified how I relate with this show though, because Seo Huyn’s inner struggle is front and center and I really empathize with her. I don’t think she ever has figured out who she really is or what she really wants in life. Everyone has told her who she should be and what she should do. Sure, she’s a successful CEO of a large hotel, but she didn’t get there on her own volition, it was pushed on her as part of the divorce settlement, and it gave her something outside her depressed personal life to do and do well, giving her some self confidence in the process. But she is still incredibly unsure of herself, and still reverting to her default of pleasing others before thinking of her own happiness. The little beats with Jin-Hyuk play are in the background as you see her story unfold in the foreground. At least this it what is seems to me. She lives is this very real world as you so eloquently put, and Jin-Hyuk and everything about him is a dream that she can’t quite believe yet. In Cuba, she allows herself to live in that dream state, but in Korea, the real world comes crashing down again and she can’t quite hold on to that dream. This is why I enjoy them in Cuba so much more and hope we visit there again by the end of the show.

    I think this show shot beautifully for the most part. The paintings in the last episode in particular and how she in the same space with them, with them mirroring her emotion, loneliness, fighting a battle within, was poignant for me. There’s a lot that is said just by where she is in the frame, she’s never at the center, always off center, giving the viewer a sense that she is never the focus of her own life, she’s always putting herself as far away from the focus as possible and you feel very sad for her. I’m watching for scenes without Jin-Hyuk where she will be in the center of the frame. You notice that he is centered most of the time he is in a shot and she is when she is with him, but she needs to take control of her own life, be her own center, and make her own happiness before she can find happiness with him. But why would you not make Bo-gum the focus of attention in a frame every time? 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    • @ally I like your insight on how Soo Hyun is seldom in the centre of the frame. I recall in the first episode, that she’d be shown dead centre but only her back and walking away from us, while she carried out all her duties to satisfy father, mother, mother-in-law …

      For some time now, despite the beauty of this show and some positive action, I’ve been sensing a growing melancholy. Perhaps the music and the sharp contrast between life in Cuba and Korea has contributed to this. In this mood that’s being created, I’m wondering if show will dare to go the way of ‘reality’. At least it’s nearing the end now so we won’t have long to wait. 😄

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    • Hi there Ally, thanks for sharing your thoughts! ❤

      You are absolutely right, my real world would have heartburn in a big way with the romance between a CEO and her subordinate! 😆 I don't begrudge them falling in love while she's his CEO, but I do find it hard to accept that they're trying to make it work, while he works for her. That's so not done in the real world, and with Show placing these real-world expectations on Soo Hyun via the board of directors, I find it hard to leave the dissonance behind, to be honest.

      I sympathize with Soo Hyun's suffocating life, and she is a sympathetic character for sure. But, to me, just because she's a sympathetic character, doesn't make it ok for her to date her subordinate – unless she exists in a drama world where it is acceptable to do so. Show presents Soo Hyun's announcement at the press conference as positive, similar to Jin Hyuk's lobby in-front-of-everyone's invitation to ramyeon. All that would be fine in a drama world that doesn't serve up real-world consequences by boards of directors, because in the actual real world, those boards of directors would be right.

      I would much rather Jin Hyuk switch jobs (like Elena mentioned in her comment), so that this conflict of interest can be eliminated, and the focus of the story can truly be on Soo Hyun and her brokenness and her journey of growth and healing, and how Jin Hyuk’s free spirit and hopeful pure heart helps her find her true self. 🙂

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    • This is really nicely put, Ally. As you know you and I agree on a lot about this drama but disagree on whether it’s managing to execute what it’s attempting to do. Which is to say that I agree with everything you said but the drama still failed for me.

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  7. Omg. My sentiments, exactly. Big fan of Bogum right here (Hye Kyo-not so much), so I had been looking forward to his next drama after Love in the Moonlight. To be very honest, I was somewhat disappointed about the pairing when this was officially announced (maybe bec of the huge age gap, among other things?), but I was willing to give that a try. Maybe an extraordinary storyline would more than make up for it? Sadly,12 episodes later, I am still underwhelmed, and like you, I still find myself dragging my feet, trying my darvest to keep awake through each episode. Right now, it is only my pure love for Bogum that’s keeping me determined to see through all 16 episodes. Nothing more.Lol

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    • Aw, I feel you, Edith! I admit that I wasn’t super excited when I heard of the pairing, because as much as I love PBG, I’m strongly indifferent to SHK, and I had trouble imagining them as a romantic pair. But, I was hopeful that somehow the show would make it work, despite my misgivings. Unfortunately for me, I just don’t feel them. Occasionally, I would find a couple scene reasonably cute, but it just wasn’t enough. Also, my issue with the handling of the context was just too big for me to ignore, and I struggled to enjoy even the cute that I could see. 😛

      You’ve got more fangirl fortitude than I do; I clearly don’t love Bogummy enough to see this thing through to the end..! 😆

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  8. Well my dear no one can say that you didnt try. You lasted 6 episodes more than I did. I appreciate the post because it confirms what I already suspected that this show and I were not a match. Sad too because I love PARK BO GUM as well.

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    • Aw, thanks Amy, I did try – some would say too hard! 😆 Hi5 on feeling similarly about this show, and I commiserate, that despite our love for Park Bo Gum, it wasn’t enough to make this one work for us!

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  9. Oh, thank God,I’m not alone. I have tried. I have failed. Such pretty people, such pretty everything, and yet I kept falling asleep.

    As I stated elsewhere, every time they are together it was as if a nephew is out with his favorite auntie. And am I the only one who cringes on the rare occasion that they actually kiss? I mean, yes, you can practically hear the director telling them what to do, step by step. No heat, no passion, no longing…and for the love of God, would they, could they, just shut up?

    I like your explanation for the essential problem Fangurl. Very wise. I like to think I’m not objecting to the age difference or the CEO/subordinate thing, either.

    Of course, I love the location shoots in Cuba. And Bogummy’s long hair and attempts to dance! They didn’t do right by the people of Cuba, however.

    Thank you, Fangurl, I feel like you’ve given me permission to drop this one, too. 🙂

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    • Tee hee. You made me giggle, Blenny! Yes, you have my permission to drop this one! 😆 I mean, it’s true lots of folks love this one, but if it’s not working for you – and clearly it isn’t – then you should feel completely free to drop it like a hot potato! 😉

      I did find the vibe between PBG & SHK rather familial, though I guess in my head I was thinking more of the fact that PBG likely had an extra layer of respectful distance built in, while thinking of SHK as his hyungsu-nim. It felt to me like he was kissing her rather guardedly, like he was very aware that this was his hyung’s wife that he was kissing. 😛 I could be way off, but that’s what it looked like to me, and therefore, I wasn’t able to get into the kissing scenes either. 😝

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Blenny – “… a nephew is out with his favorite auntie.” IN A NUTSHELL.

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  10. I haven’t officially dropped but have stalled after the very filler filled episode 9. I like romance dramas of all types so I was fine with the slow moving vibe of this one. I actually appreciated some twists on the tropes: the mom-in-law who actually wants her daughter-in-law back, the mom who doesn’t even fake caring about her daughter, the neighborhood friend who has the hots for the lead guy but accepts he’s not into her, the exhusband who does a bit of actual solid noble idiocy and lets her go. But then episode 9 happened where NOTHING happened. Besides the ex-husband inexplicably asking her to consider coming back to him, no further movement of the story occurred. I mean they broke up for a day until someone caved. Oy

    I am waiting until the drama finishes before making a decision to continue. I am not liking what I am hearing about where the story is going but even before I was never super invested. This is such an on-the-surface romance without real depth but acting like there is real depth. It’s a mix of a melo and a fairy tale and I was good giving it a go but at a certain point I wondered if a better drama would have been with her and the ex-husband.

    So some of what hasn’t worked for me is as follows: the work situation where, as someone noted above, he could have worked elsewhere with or without her help. They don’t have real conversations. I find the male lead to be almost too perfect and at the same time, I feel like I don’t know him. He’s the super sweet guy, a good son, a good worker but I don’t feel we’ve gotten in to who he is as a man. That’s not on PBG but, again, they don’t have real conversations. Unrealistic relationship development – so he’s being shipped to the other hotel and they have a date and what do they do, they got to a movie. Not just any move but a movie about Van Gogh so, you know, it was super important to see in a theater. Geesh. They don’t spend the time talking or canoodling like most couples. Whatever.

    So I’m thinking I might not be going back because I find myself getting irked writing this and I haven’t started on the whole business aspect of it being her hotel but apparently not etc. This might be a Temperature of Love for me which I dropped around the same point and went and watched the last 15 minutes because I was curious how it wrapped up. We’ll see.

    In the meantime, the minute Minglan is available to you, jump in. It seems like every other C-drama with conniving women in the early episodes but it has humor and realistic character development where we get to know everyone involved in MingLan’s life so it doesn’t just involve the love story by any means. It’s going to be in my top 10 and maybe even top 5 list if it keeps up like this (I’ve seen through 39).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he is too perfect, except for one thing…does he even desire her? I mean, he seems perfectly content just gazing at her, telling her how much he cares for her, and snuggling her a bit. There just isn’t any heat there…

      Also, I think there were several episodes were NOTHING HAPPENED, weren’t there? There must have been, because I kept falling asleep, in spite of all the gorgeous splendor of it all. (Yawn.)

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      • I nearly dropped this early on because they got to a stage where they were just talking endlessly about their relationship rather than having one. This is a common problem with Asian dramas – not just kdramas – and especially Noona romances where there is opposition to the relationship. My Dear Boy springs to mind – that was a Taiwanese romance that suffered form the same problem. In the end, the supposedly deeply-in-love couple spent all their time talking about their supposed relationship rather than having one.

        This became my biggest problem. They never talked about anything important. They never talked about their lives, their fears, their frustrations. They never confided in each other, bitched about their day, talked about their troubles. He just gave endless semi-poetic monologues about how truly deeply in love they definitely were and she looked uncomfortable about it.

        I had speculated that her keeping herself apart from him was consistent with the lack of love and functional relationships around her – she didn’t know how to love or to have a relationship. But while they hinted at it, they never did anything with it and I think that’s a shame.

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    • Ooh, you’re right Kat, I would be more intrigued by a story featuring Soo Hyun and her ex-husband. He does sincerely have feelings for her, after all. I haven’t watched enough of the show to know if he’s actually the good guy that we first meet, but I find the idea interesting, at least! 🙂

      I have to agree that I found a lot of the relationship development not very organic feeling. At the same time, I knew that lots of folks love this show, and sincerely enjoy the OTP, so I tried to see the same magic in the OTP development. I.. didn’t see it, unfortunately. Ultimately, I don’t know if it’s my issue with genre-mashing that prevented me from seeing the OTP magic, but I have to agree with other comments on this page, that the OTP dialogue mostly didn’t sound natural to my ears.

      Minglan sounds lovely, and I am definitely planning to check it out once it becomes available to me! Glad to hear that you’re enjoying it so much, Kat! 😀

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  11. Loved your review on this. When I started this show, I was so ready for it and then slowly, I found I wasn’t enjoying it. I wondered if I had a male bias cuz I”ve been completely fine with watching male CEO’s chasing after their employees. It wasn’t just that though. While watching it, I always felt that they seemed more like good friends than people in love so their couple antics felt off to me. I suppose, it kept reminding me that they were acting(If that makes sense).

    Also, do you know any other drama with a female CEO romancing/dating their employee? I would like to check it out because I don’t feel very positive about my reaction watching this drama.

    All in all, I am surprised at myself because I absolutely ADORE Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo was like a tantalizing appetizer. I expected myself to love this show. Oh well, I stopped at episode 10 and can’t bring myself to continue. I’m out.

    Thank you, KFG. Your reviews are always a delight to read.

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    • There is a kdrama titled, I think, “My horrible boss” where the underling is a timid male, and the boss (not a CEO) is demanding. There may be others?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, it was My Horrible Boss (Ms Temper & Nam Jung Ji). I thought it was quite good, because despite her terrible temper (initially), and him being slow and steady wins the race – they learn from each other and support each other and the teams to grow the company. There are those unseen moments of kindness, the challenge of Ms Temper always being head hunted and Jung Ji raising a child while feeling ineffective in life.

        There is the Chinese drama Across the Ocean to See You (I can see Kfangurl rolling her eyes of disappointment in her head now) which I thought was again quite good re the very talented director and perhaps the pragmatic male supervisor (which was a great part by the way).

        Liked by 1 person

        • @seankfletcher – I liked Ms. Temper well enough although I must admit, I dropped it after the first few episodes and came back to it after it finished airing. The guy was such a loser. And not because he wasn’t the boss or anything like that. He just had no backbone which made me want to snap his spine back into place.

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    • Aw, thanks for enjoying this post, Ruby! ❤ Also, hi5! Looks like we charted VERY similar journeys with this show! 😀 From the possibility of male bias from watching other dramas, to not quite feeling the OTP connection. I don't get into it specifically in the post, but I generally found the OTP connection hard to buy into, and it all did feel more like play-acting than organic and real. Still, I tried to convince myself that some romances are like that; some couples prefer to keep things muted, but ultimately I never was quite convinced that these were two people in love. 😛

      As for dramas featuring female CEOs romancing their employees, I have to confess I can't think of any more than the ones already suggested by Blenny and Sean. I giggled at Sean's comment about me protesting his suggestion of Across the Ocean to See You, because there were many things in that show that didn't work for me, but it is an example of a female boss (though she's not CEO) romancing her employee. As problematic as I found the show (my review is here), I did not have an issue with the female boss romancing her employee – and that’s because this is a nonsensical fluffy drama world in which there are no boards of directors taking you to task for dating an employee..! 😆

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    • Miss Ruby, allow me to suggest Secret Love Affair. This is a noona romance done right. She isn’t the CEO, but an accomplished pianist who ‘discovers’ a prodigy. The characters are developed well, superb writing, superior acting on the part of Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae, and excellent directing. A never to forget KDrama!!!

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  12. Hey KFG! Been awhile. I got notified about this review and figured I’d check it out just for fun. (Haven’t been able to watch much of anything since last we spoke.) I enjoy your mental breakdowns–of the material, that is–and how much you dig to find out why you like/dislike a show.

    First, I appreciate your shout out to The Proposal–I enjoyed that flick a lot. Sandy B and Deadpool make a good couple. 🙂 Oddly enough, it was your mention of this movie that got me thinking about what you said regarding genre mingling.

    I started to think about a lot of the K-Drama/comedies I’ve watched, and many of them seem to have what I consider RomCom elements with real world consequences. Oftentimes the real-world aspect is what comprises the rising action, and it frequently dovetails with the climax of the romantic arc. There are comedic moments, but they are accents; they aren’t part of the mechanisms that drive the plot.

    Since I haven’t seen this, I may be way out of line, but it sounds like the problem isn’t having RomCom moments with a drama, but rather having RomCom elements as part of the plot mechanics. This is where your reference to The Proposal comes in. That movie works because they are NOT together the whole time; they are antagonists. We as the audience know the banter and jousting are all in the name of love, but no one would accuse them of being in cahoots. They only get together at the end (as is typical), and we don’t really see them working out the logistics of sorting out their personal and professional lives.

    I don’t think the arrangement you describe in this show works even if it was pure RomCom fun. RomComs allow for bizarre one-off interactions, crazy capers, and awkward moments, but they don’t perpetually warp the laws of social interaction and professional etiquette. Sure, some cabby may be a little kinder to a Lead trying to catch up to his paramour in a last-ditch romantic gesture than a real life driver would be, and perhaps the amount of traffic isn’t realistic for that time of day, but those are largely negligible details. Some of the super-cheesy moments I even see as possible winks from the filmmakers: “Yeah, when you’re in love, it seems like everyone is awesome and everything is great–even though that ain’t reality”.

    But having the plot revolve around a relationship that is a bit too absurd even for rose-colored glasses would certainly make for a strained viewing experience. I don’t presume to tell ya why ya did or didn’t like it, particularly when I haven’t seen it and you’ve given it so much thought. I just realized as I was reading your synopsis that in every American RomCom I’ve seen, there’s always tension between the leads that isn’t resolved until the end (in most cases). Even the few Korean/Chinese shows I’ve watched that involve work-related connections don’t allow the Leads to officially come together until the final act when they typically unite to thwart the big-bad that has been scheming behind the scenes.

    I could be way off. I was just trying to apply the RomCom vs reality conundrum to other stuff I’ve seen so as to help me avoid such pitfalls when writing my own stuff, and I was like, “Wait a sec! Even RomComs conform to reality when it’s important”. …But then again it is late and my brain feels very much like the sponge that it is.

    In any case, thank you for the analysis and the gentle warning about the tone this show takes. I’m sure I suspend disbelief for shows I really like, but I feel like that involuntary, subconscious decision has to happen in the first ten minutes of the show. From the way you described the opening episode, I think I would have been swiftly deterred from pressing on.

    Keep watching, keep analyzing, keep digging!

    All the Best!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jesse! 😀 It’s great to see ya! Thanks for popping by, even though you’ve been busy and haven’t been able to watch dramas. Which, I’m sorry to hear about – I hope you’ll find some drama time soon! There were a number of worthy shows in 2018 that I would love for you to check out. Top of that list is My Mister, which is the best drama I watched last year. It’s beautifully written, lovingly directed, excellently acted; completely worthy of your time! ❤

      Yay that you loved The Proposal too! I remember enjoying it so much that I watched it a second time. Also, you make an excellent point – many rom-coms work because the couple only gets together at the very end, and the movie/drama doesn't need to show us how the couple sorts out the complication of their work relationship. In The Proposal, we don't see whether he continues to work for her, or quits, and how that pans out. I think you're right to say that that's why many of these rom-coms work.

      That said, I've watched a number of Asian dramas where the CEO/boss/supervisor is seen romancing the employee/staffer and the two actually get together long before the show reaches its conclusion. In my experience, this can work in one of two ways: either Show takes it seriously and we deal with the fallout of the forbidden romance, such as in Secret Love Affair, OR, Show creates a fluffy world where such relationships are acceptable and there are no board-of-directors consequences that our couple needs to face, such as Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, What's Wrong With Secretary Kim, and Across The Ocean To See You. Despite this fluffy world-building, there are definitely viewers who are turned off by the CEO-staffer loveline, so your point about a relationship so absurd that it would create a strained viewing experience holds true. It's just that dramas still tend to want to push the envelope on that one, and keep serving it up anyway. And in watching these dramas that get served up anyway, these are my findings on the limits of what works and what doesn't (for me anyway).

      Which leads me conclude: if you do have some drama time that you can carve out of your schedule, Boyfriend isn't the show I'd suggest you spend it on. My Mister! Go with My Mister!! You'll thank me later, I'm quite sure! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Jesse – You are so right! Every single U. S. rom com series died a quick death once the leads quit bickering and got together – Cheers: Who’s the Boss? ; Moonlighting and many others. That’s why I really love a Kdrama that picks up (and can hold it together) AND STILL BE INTERESTING once the couple is a couple! My favs that do that are Fight My Way; I Heard It Through the Grapevine; and all the couples in Five Children who go beyond the initial attraction /getting together phase to show us the coping (and still funny) after and beyond when the relationship starts.

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    • @Jesse – You are so right! Every single U. S. rom com series died a quick death once the leads quit bickering and got together – Cheers: Who’s the Boss? ; Moonlighting and many others. That’s why I really love a Kdrama that picks up (and can hold it together) AND STILL BE INTERESTING once the couple is a couple! My favs that do that are Fight My Way; I Heard It Through the Grapevine; and all the couples in Five Children who go beyond the initial attraction /getting together phase to show us the coping (and still funny) after and beyond when the relationship starts.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. thank you for the review kfangurl . I now get why i was getting this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach about the show. I just didnt understand what they were trying to show . I am stuck at eps 10 and was just not able to get to the next episode.

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    • Aw, I’m glad this post helped, Ivy! 🙂 Episode 10 is exactly where I got stuck as well, so I feel you on not being able to carry on to E11! 😆 It sounds like this one just isn’t working for you either. Perhaps it’s time to call it quits on this one?

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  14. Dropped it on episode 5. Despite how I wanted to like and enjoy this drama, the two gorgeous lead characters do not seem to be enough. I was excited to watch it at first as I have seen them work for a while now. I was not asking much and was just hoping for some nice and charming scenes, but failed to see it.

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  15. Hi Fangirl! Pretty please review Memories of the Alhambra

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    • Hi there Raspberry, thanks for stopping by! I have to confess to not being current with my watch of Alhambra. Also, I’m not confident I will get to the finish line. But, I’m intrigued by the small percentage of viewers who are happy with the ending, vs. the overwhelming upset furore from everyone else, so I plan to give Alhambra another go (I stalled after E2), and see how far I get with it. I’ll post either way – just, it may not end up being a review, if I don’t get to the end! 😆

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  16. Encounter/Boyfriend is memorable since it is the first and only drama series (in any language, genre) that my husband is watching with me. He was never into any series let alone k-dramas (he only watches news, documentaries). What got him hooked initially was Song Hye Kyo (and I, of course am a Park Bogum fan). I was into the second episode and he caught a glimpse of what I am watching. He asked me to replay the first episode and now, he is even more impatient waiting for the next episode. As a newbie to any drama, he loves the show much more than I. In fact I planned to wait for the drama to be completed (after watching episode 2), wait for reviews before going any further. But my husband keeps asking me if the next episode is already available, so I end up watching each episode with him as soon as it is available in my country! Not gonna lie, I am sticking to this drama solely for the love of PBG! I hope he gets much better projects next time that taps his range as an actor.

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    • Aw, that’s so cute, that your hubs is watching this with you! And I can imagine why this drama would be memorable for you, because of that. The novelty and fun of having your spouse watch a drama with you, would far outweigh the drama’s own shortcomings, I’m sure! I hope this means that your hubs will be watching more dramas with you in the future! 😀

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    • @Clam0214 – show hubby CHUNO! (aka The Slave Hunters).
      If that hooks him then go with Tree With Deep Roots, followed by its prequel Six Flying Dragons (full of amazing martial arts sword fights). 😉

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  17. I tried liking this too because of the two leads. But I just can’t. I stopped watching after two episodes.

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    • I feel you, vi! If there hadn’t been so much positive buzz about this one, with a strong fanbase that just truly loves this show, I might’ve dropped it earlier myself. 😛 But I was just so curious to try and see why they loved it so much, which is how I ended up watching 10 whole episodes of a show that would’ve never worked for me. 😅

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  18. I was traumatised by Something in the Rain (wasted 16 hrs of my life on that show, go figure). Decided to give Encounter a chance for bogum. Dropped it after Ep 2 though. After reading your review, I know I made the right decision. Won’t be touching any more noona romances with a ten foot pole. 🙂

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    • Lol. If it makes you feel better, between us, I wasted more time coz I finished Something in the Rain, AND watched 10 eps of Boyfriend 😅 For a really good noona romance, have you watched Secret Love Affair? It’s so excellent. I Hear Your Voice is pretty good too, despite some plot flaws. There are definitely some noona romances that are done well, out there! 😊

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  19. Ladies and Gents, please give me a standing ovation with a slow clap, pls. I finished the drama!

    I don’t know where did I get the strength and courage to finish the drama, I guess because I love SHK so much. tehehehe…

    Most of my complains about the drama has been discussed by you guys, so I won’t waste my time writing, as I have wasted 16 plus hours watching the drama! 😀

    One thing I wanted to highlight tho, in this drama I really find:

    PBG’s smile really creepy! My apologies to PBG’s fans out there. First 2 episodes, my still ok with the way he smiles, come episode 3, OMG, its really creepy for me. I thought I was the only one who noticed it, until I had a conversation with my cousin about it. I mentioned to her how I find it “a bit” creepy, then she said, “a bit creepy” no its not! it is really creepy. Again im sorry to all PBG’s fans. This is my personal observation.

    Kfangurl, when I saw your IG post about you dropping the drama, I didn’t come to your page right away, coz I was really planning to finish it, despite of all the bad reviews I have read online. 🙂 As always, your review is on point. Thank you for sharing your thoughts once again!

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    • *First 2 episodes, I am still ok with the way he smiles,…

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    • Tee hee! Your comment made me giggle – yes, you deserve a standing ovation for finishing a drama that you didn’t actually like, purely for the love of SHK! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻😆

      As for PBG’s smile.. I think it had to do with the directing in this show. I’ve loved his smile in Reply 1988 and Moonlight Drawn By Clouds. But because Jin Hyuk’s directed to be so simple, so pure-hearted, often smiling with little provocation, and sort of in slow motion to boot, it did tend to come off as rather vacuous to my eyes. I’m thinking that’s what came across as creepy to you and your cousin (and probably other viewers as well). All I have to say it, maybe give his smile another chance? His smile absolutely wasn’t creepy in R88 and Moonlight, I swears! 😆

      Thanks for enjoying this post, m’dear! ❤

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      • I love him in Reply 1988! 🙂

        I guess since in this drama he is portraying a young naive 20 something guy, who fell in love for the first time, thats why he keeps on smiling that way. tehehehehe

        Liked by 1 person

        • YAY that you loved him in R88! 😀 That means his smile isn’t always creepy! 😂😂 And YES, I really think the inadvertent creepy was due to them trying to bring out how innocent and pure he is. Unfortunate, but really, I felt Show had bigger problems. 😝

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      • Even in Coin Locker Girl – Bo gum’s smile is so infectious that it makes you forgive him for being TSTL (literally Too Stupid To Live).

        SPOILER FOR COIN LOCKER GIRL
        The main character was hired to kill Bo gum’s character, but because of That Smile, she crushes on him instead. She then proceeds to warn him over and over for a few days to run away from the gangsters who after him, but he’s… TSTL. (I think he thought That Smile would save him but he should know that only works on straight women or gay men.) I gotta give it to him though, there’s definite power in That Smile. I think it would work on almost anybody (moms, dads, kids, anybody)- as long as he doesn’t owe them money.

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        • Hahaha! You made me laugh with your description of Bogummy’s character in Coin Locker Girl being too stupid to live! 😆😆 I do agree there’s power in his smile – as long as it’s applied properly. I did find his smile rather vacuous in the eps of Boyfriend that I watched.. But I loved his smile in R1988 & Moonlight. 😍😍😍

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  20. Dropped it – me too! And at around the same point – right after the kiss at the company party.

    “… and all the cringing and squirming and stolen glances and curiosity was more interesting to me”. Are you inside my head again?! lol Although I was the one doing the cringing and squirming and I have to admit I watched out of curiosity for the Park Bo gum/Song-Song connection. I justify myself by acknowledging I know it’s none of my business. Once I saw the kiss in 1)a totally inappropriate place, especially for employer – employee and 2) it had no heat (imo), I was outtie.

    I did enjoy Bo gum’s smile which could win over even this ol’ noona-romance hatin’ heart of mine but I couldn’t take any more of this show after my inappropriate curiosity was satisfied.

    I think I’ll rewatch Bo gum’s Moonlight Clouds whatever (too many shows had similar titles when it came out, for me to get it right).

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    • Lol. Hi5 on dropping this one at around the same time, beez! 😆 I have to agree, I didn’t enjoy the kiss scene at the ball at all. I was too disturbed by how inappropriate it was, and how easy it would’ve been for any one of the employees in the hall to just LOOK outside, and see their CEO joining lips with their trainee colleague. 😛 Also, I have to agree there was a very odd lack of heat in the kiss – and in the couple’s other interactions as well. I tried to rationalize that not all relationships need a lot of heat, and that this couple wanted to just be pure and sweet and cute. I.. didn’t quite buy that rationalization myself, and while it wasn’t THE key reason I dropped this one, it was definitely a contributing factor! 😅

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  21. So I somehow finished this drama despite being disillusioned with it at several points and nearly dropping it several times. But here I am – a successful Boyfriend watcher. At one stage, when I realised that all the conflict in this was going to be resolved by men in her life basically handing her things, I was preparing to flip a table. I was quite angry after episode 12 for several reasons. To be honest, the boss/employee things never bothered me so much, although why he didn’t just get a job somewhere else when they started dating I have no idea. Also, nobody – including the Board – seemed to be upset over him being an employee. It was about her dating at all. And while this raised issues about the role of women in Korean society, the way the show insisted on dealing with it rarely made much sense to me.

    What I initially loved about this show was its use of semiotics – especially of colour – to invert the standard gender tropes of kdramas. The first episode in Cuba for example used colour to contrast her/Korea/dark/cold with him/Cuba/light/warmth in a direct inversion of the usual gender coding of cinematography (men as cold, sterile, unemotional loners and women as warm, social and emotional).

    And then the ball episode completely inverted the Cinderella myth with him being the Princess trying to get to the ball with the help of his fairy godmother (the driver) and her being the Prince waiting for him. Basically, this show was a clear fairy tale but seemed to be trying to turn the standard Princess myth on its head – not to mention subverting the Candy/Chaebol setup by making him the Candy and her the Chaebol.

    The wonderful animations at the beginning and end of each episode told the tale of a woman who just needed an impetus to push for her own emancipation. In those and in conception he was merely that impetus. But at some point I started to realise the animations were telling the story the show was supposed to be about rather than what we were seeing on screen.

    When the show really lost me was when I realised that the original episode I had loved was actually just a weird mixup of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. And all the Candy/chaebol trope inversions were completely shallow – this was just a story about a prince rescuing a princess in some form. Totally banal.

    What’s the point in having her be the princess and him the pauper if you still insist he has to be a knight in shining armour? This culminated in his hilarious monologue in episode 15 where he couldn’t work which fairy tale prince he was supposed to be. Gosh that just made me laugh. Aside from the fact that nobody talks like that, it was just so ridiculous to have this modern male character going “I thought I was supposed to rescue her from the tower but maybe I just locked her up in a new one”. I mean, WTAF? God it was so hilariously awful.

    I said after episode 12 – which was when the show really lost me – that this story only works if he simply becomes an impetus to her emancipation, not the point of it. And that’s why the show failed. Because every time it tried to forge a new path, it stumbled back onto the old one instead. But that original intention to forge a new path was clearly there. The animations made that point and stood ultimately in stark contrast to what the show ended up being.

    The overall message of this became “even strong independent women need a man to rescue them sometimes”. And frankly I can watch any bog standard Candy/Chaebol kdrama for that piece of nonsense. I didn’t need it in what was supposed to be a high-concept piece of art but was ultimely shallow, trite and completely banal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Dame Holly Is a Bot… “Animations”? Did I do this too soon? Or am I misinterpreting the use of “animation” here? I’d re-tune in for some good cartoon action. 😊😆

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      • The beginning and end of each episode has an animation that relates to the content of the episode. I wouldn’t call it a cartoon. It was a short, very beautiful representation of the episode’s themes. They were by far the best part of the drama.

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        • I never paid any attention. I get why I would miss ending stuff – because I don’t like previews – but I have no excuse for missing anything at the beginning other than just not paying attention to it.

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          • Thankfully when I picked up this show, somebody said to me “This show has epilogues – I know you always stop watching because you hate previews but you have to because of the epilogues”.

            I’m surprised nobody has compiled them and put them on YouTube. Here’s one that I gif’d for my fan wall on DB
            https://gph.is/2BWOwXa

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            • @Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant) Ohhhhhh yeah. My brain remembers seeing images like that but I assumed they were the same every episode and so I’m usually adjusting my plate or snacks or Lazyboy recliner as it’s coming on.

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    • Ouch, I feel your pain, Dame Holly! 😝 I can see how this show caused your hopes and expectations to come crashing down. I feel like you had more belief in this story’s potential to be something different and special than the writer did, possibly. Maybe they should have you write a drama instead!

      For me personally, this always seemed like a “he is going to rescue her” sort of story, from the time this show was announced, to when I ended up dropping it. So while I’m disappointed with what I watched, I wasn’t bitten quite as bad as you were. Here’s hoping that there will soon be a drama worthy of your praise! 🙂

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      • It’s unfortunately not the first or last time that a kdrama has started off as something original, interesting, and counter-cultural and had the industry make it utterly banal. Yes I’m probably giving somebody here too much credit – the writer?, the PD? – but I find it hard to reconcile how trite the final few episodes were compared to how stunningly beautiful, nuanced and subtle the storytelling was in the beginning.

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        • It’s a rare, rare thing these days, I think, to find a drama that is an actual creative work, with so much industry and ratings pressure bearing down on the production companies and writers. I find that adjusting my expectations around what the dramas themselves are able to serve up, have made it easier for me to continue enjoying my dramas. Maybe it would help to temper your expectations, so as to manage your disappointment..? 😅

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  22. Well, I endured the whole drama. Just stubborn I guess. I had my doubts about this ‘working’ in the first place. The age difference of our leads, the friendships involved among the actors, etc. which resulted for me as NO chemistry between our leads. But writernim seriously had some issues with the story line. Like you say, Fangirl, the whole story’s premise was totally messed up. I had a difficult time accepting Jin Hyuk as a believable character. Sorry to say, this character was just a bit on the ‘too sweet to be true’ side. Only in the last two episodes did some grit come out of this character and he became somewhat believable. SHK’s character.. was so one dimensional. Even after she realized she had to stop living for others, I found her character without a great deal of interesting aspects. Let’s not even mention the mother’s of our lead characters…really, seriously!?! And I to found the secondary characters so much more interesting and entertaining than the lead characters. I’m not knocking acting skills of PBG or SHK…I’m having issues with the script. Lavish and beautiful, but the script….really smelled, really, really, smelled! Would it have worked better if he’d for true been a fruit seller? Oh and btw, did they have to film with the filters that made everyone one but Driver Nam look like they had the skin of a three year old?

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    • Wow, you have more fortitude than I do, Georgia Peach! 😀 I’m impressed that you watched the whole drama, considering how frustrated you were while watching it! 😅 I agree, I would’ve liked it better if he was a fruit seller – or had just worked somewhere else. Or changed jobs after he discovered that he was falling in love with his CEO. Any one of those options would’ve worked better, I think! 😆

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      • Assuming the show is trying to reflect real S.K. life, switching jobs may not be as easy as we would think. Besides what I see reflected in Kdramas (Radiant Office; can’t think of any others right now, darn it!) But also in the spattering of real life news I get regarding S.K., wherein young people call their country “Hell Joseon” – I doubt the average S.K-an would even consider quitting/switching.

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        • That’s a great point, beez. I hadn’t thought of that, even though I’ve seen many dramas and other media (interviews, articles etc) that talk about how difficult it is to get a job in Korea. That said, wouldn’t it have been possible for Soo Hyun to recommend Jin Hyuk for at least some interviews with other hotels? Or at the very least, I would’ve appreciated if the characters had just spoken about it, so that even if they decided against it, I could understand their reasons why, and still give Show brownie points for at least bringing the topic to the table. But perhaps as you said, maybe it’s just so hard to get a job that it’s a no-brainer not to switch, and doesn’t warrant the attention or conversation that I was looking for. 🤔

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          • Right. To S.K. viewers it would probably seem strange to explain what is obvious to them. But I agree with what you said about Girlfriend could’ve pulled strings and gotten him a job elsewhere…although…. as I think about that, that may have put her in a difficult position as well. We all know how S.K. makes the least little thing into a “scandal”.

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            • I find the “scandal” element in this situation Beez very real because of the relationship. In recent times, this happened where I am, and in a very public way. The fall out was like watching a Kdrama (well I tried really hard not to watch it or read about it, but it was plastered everywhere).

              The one thing I have always done though is this. If I have had to change the work environment and after using an inclusive process, it hasn’t worked out for some staff (ie it’s not for them), I have always helped them find another job – even at a time when things were so bad economically and at a time when people didn’t change jobs. I know this might seem unusual or even right out there, but I have always viewed it my responsibility to ensure they are left with dignity. I have had some interaction with the SK situation over the years (a very good friend and colleague of mine is involved in bringing over SK uni students etc to help them improve their English and so on) and it just hasn’t changed. They deserve much better.

              Liked by 1 person

              • @seankfletcher – I should start by admitting, I’m not quite sure I understood the scenario you’re describing. But also, I did not mean to make light of the situation of having an employer- employee relationship can cause. I meant that Song Kyo hyo’s character, in reaching out to other executives, would probably create more rumors and speculation regarding her promiscuity and private life, especially as a woman. My ridiculing of the S.K. use of the word “scandal” is because in western culture, her doing that would be no big deal. I was actually thinking that I wonder if the translation of the word “scandal” is missing some nuances. It seems that there should be more than one word to describe when two people are “caught” dating versus someone caught with drugs, comitting adultery, or accused of rape.

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                • Hello Beez, I don’t consider you have made light of the situation at all. In fact, I understood quite well what you were saying re Song Kyo Hyo. I also get what you mean by scandal in SK versus scandal in western culture.

                  My scenario deals with how someone, in a key role, within my part of the western world, did find a position for someone they were involved with. The fallout was extensive.

                  My conclusion in all this is: as much as we are different culturally across the planet, the more we are the same – and I find that rather interesting.

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                  • @seankfletcher Yes! Exactly! I think that’s my main draw to Kdrama – that despite the foreigness of the culture when it comes down to relationships so many things are shared/ similar on the emotionally level.

                    Liked by 1 person

            • Y’know, now that we’ve considered the pros and cons and the realities of SK, I think what I would’ve liked from Show, would’ve been at least a conversation about this, between Soo Hyun and Jin Hyuk. At least that would’ve demonstrated that they’re taking all of this into consideration and not just simply acting on puppy love and hope. That would’ve gone a long way to make them more responsible, in my head, I think. 🤔

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              • That would have involved this couple having a real, serious conversation about anything, which was one of the main reasons I couldn’t buy their great epic love affair in the first place. They never talked about anything real and, in fact, the few times when real issues popped up, they acted independently of each other in a way that made their protestations of love shallow. I’m sure there’s a demographic of disillusioned older woman who love the thought of meeting a hot guy who does nothing but hold their hands and spout poetry. But that’s not a real relationship.

                Damn, am I still bitter about this show? I might be. That’s a shame. I thought I’d forgotten its existence. Why did I come back and read comments?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Lol. I feel like the disappointment of this one stings more because you saw so much promise and potential substance in the show from the very beginning. 😛 You’re right, though.. this lead couple was never shown having a real, serious conversation about the future of their relationship. This really was more about the poetry than the substance, I think.. I read somewhere where someone said that she was happy watching the show without subs because it was so beautiful even without subs. Maybe that’s the thing. With subs, you could tell that they weren’t talking about anything consequential, and you could also tell when they were being nobly idiotic by not telling each other things. 😅

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                • @Dame Holly – Better to be bitter about a tv show than bitter about life! Haha, your comments were giving me real flashbacks! 😆 But I’ve moved on from my bitter stage finally. 😁

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  23. Pingback: Podcast 31. The Long Yak – The Crowned Clown | SKY Castle | Boyfriend | Red Moon Blue Sun | Dramas Over Flowers

  24. Pingback: Year In Review: 2018 | The Fangirl Verdict

  25. Pingback: [Transcript] Podcast 31. The Long Yak – The Crowned Clown | SKY Castle | Boyfriend | Red Moon Blue Sun | Dramas Over Flowers

  26. I was in the mixed camp on this one. I quite liked Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo as a couple, but everything outside of them was pretty ho-hum. Sometimes I was interested in the story, sometimes I wasn’t. And it had all of the making a good melodrama, but I found that conflicts were quickly introduced and then quickly resolved. So things didn’t feel that intense. Nonetheless, the romance story was decent enough, and I found it to be an okay enough watch despite the shortcomings 🙂

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