Dropped: Boyfriend [Encounter]

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 <3

162 thoughts on “Dropped: Boyfriend [Encounter]

  1. Natalia

    Yep, this is a show I dropped as well but not for the well-thought, profound reasoning you’re mentioning. It’s just that as much as I find Park Bo Gum pretty, to my eyes he just doesn’t have that manly gravitas that, in my opinion, would attract an older woman. I sincerely hope his next show will be with a female lead his age so that they can look and act young and cute together. Or that it will not have any romance at all, since I really believe he’s such a good actor that he could be great in any other genre.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Well it looks like your wish is granted, Natalia, since Park Bo Gum’s next female lead is Park So Dam! I think they’d make a very cute pair, so I’m really hoping Record of Youth is good! 🤩

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

  3. Jesse Gray

    Wow. I just finished reading through the comments and saw that I actually commented on this awhile ago. It was more of a response to your review since I hadn’t seen it yet, but still. Can’t believe my memory is that bad! In any case, I’m glad I found it, because it reminded me of your hearty recommendation for “My Mister”. Time to queue it up! Thank ya kindly! 😀

    Reply
  4. Jesse Gray

    I just finished this show this morning, and as per my custom, I dropped by to see what your thoughts on it were. I was admittedly surprised that this made the drop list, although after reading your summary I completely understand why. I think many dramas I’ve seen have fallen into the broken-genre category where RomCom plot points are awkwardly mixed with reality, and it does ruin the immersion and suspension of disbelief required to happily navigate a narrative. I appreciate your observations and keen points, and really can’t refute any of them. I think I’m somewhat protected because I don’t know how a real relationship would pan out in a corporate environment, and I know very little about the nuances of Korean life and business practices. Armed with blissful ignorance, it takes a lot for my incredulity to gain traction–particularly if I don’t want it to. I waded through about five false starts before finding “Encounter”, so I was amply motivated to find something I could tolerate. I can’t deny that the lead actress was a draw, and that my mild desperation may have kept me rooting for it longer than I would have under normal circumstances.

    However, I will say that this show wasn’t difficult for me to watch, nor did it break for me. It took until the last twenty seconds of the final episode for me to ultimately decide that I liked it, and another twenty minutes or so in the shower afterwards (just before the hot water ran out) to work out why. And here’s what I came up with.

    As is befitting a plot that puts a lot of initial focus on photography, the most apt analogy I can make is that this show has a very shallow depth of field. There is really only one thing in focus: perfect love. The company, the setting, the side characters, and even the main characters themselves are largely out of focus; they are merely there to give the love depth, width, contrast, and definition. This incredibly simplified approach is reminiscent of a particular kind of story that seeks to illustrate a concept, quality, moral, or lesson: the fairy tale. (And that is the most usage I have ever given a colon in a single paragraph.)

    When you really think about fairy tales, they are incredibly simplistic. There’s a castle, a king, an queen and princess, but the parents have almost no personality, the castle seems tranquil despite the fact that it should be awash with political jousting and posturing, and the princess herself has only a few attributes to her name. She’s kind, pure of heart, and wants to meet her one true love. The prince has even less character than she does, often doing little more than show up. This is a broad, generic example of course, but you get my point. Fairy tales, designed mostly for children, distill a narrative down to its very essence, giving just enough detail to flesh out the world and carry the through-line to a happy ending.

    I can’t say with certainty that the folks behind this show intended to make it a fairy tale, but the visuals marking the start of an episode do skew in that direction. Most of the title cards and animations I’ve seen are cute, fun, creative little jaunts that have some relevance to the show, but “Encounter” did something more. Each simple, animated vignette–very reminiscent of the stylized illustrations found in older literature and fairy tale compilations–foreshadowed what was going to happen in the episode in the most general sense. The man and woman would pass each other by, missing when they wanted to meet. A beast, was going to stalk the woman as she moved towards her heart’s desire.

    I don’t know what it is about the illustrations, but their simplicity and style managed to communicate so much with so little and set the tone for the show. Very quickly I realized I wasn’t watching a slice of life or romantic comedy. I was watching a poem about love. Unlike other dramas, neither character stumbles or misses a beat until the obligatory crisis near the end. Jin Hyuk’s pursuit is pure, persistent, patient and perfectly timed. When he asks for something, it’s when Soo Hyun is ready to give it. When she is uncomfortable, he recedes but is not daunted or discouraged. Soo Hyun relinquishes to the pursuit when she realizes what her heart wants, pausing only to acknowledge a hurdle before jumping over it. Time and again adversity rears its head, and yet the two continue to become more intimate, more open, more honest, and more intertwined with each other.

    The dialogue very rarely goes beyond their feelings, and how much they long to be with one another. In fact, the one time they actually talk about something other than love or food, they realize they are very different. They don’t enjoy doing the same things, they don’t have the same aspirations. I was hoping the show would tap into those differences and work through them, but they seem to exist simply to say, “We’re not a perfect match, but we’re still perfect for each other”.

    In short, their relationship is what love can be when we don’t get in the way. It wasn’t perfectly smooth, but it didn’t have the real human setbacks, stalls, feints, facades, pride, and fears that beset most couples and threaten to derail intimacy. The reality is that love is always changing its expression, and it’s impossible to be what the other person or relationship itself needs all the time. This is the dynamic that most dramas focus on, and it provides the ebb and flow of a show and the growth of its characters.

    Such is not the case with the main characters in this show. Soo Hyun and Jin Hyuk are representatives, demonstrating how beautifully love can be discovered, celebrated, embraced and expressed at different times and through different circumstances without hindrance. Their journey is surreal, even for a drama–which is saying a lot.

    Everything became clear when I stopped to think, “What the heck are they gonna talk about once they’re married? Is he just gonna keep smiling and saying how much he loves her? Is she going to just express how much she likes being around him?” In most dramas, the characters are figuring out love amidst their daily lives. When the show is over, you have an idea of what things will be like afterwards, and there’s a long trail behind them to show how far they’d come to reach their happy ending.

    But “Encounter” was about just that. The encounter. There was no substance beyond the love. Nothing else mattered. The characters and story had no more depth than the animations that heralded the start of each episode, but for me they didn’t need to. While I don’t think it’s a story written for children, it is very childlike in its approach. Even the orchestral tracks have a fantastic, distant vibe that makes me feel like I’m watching a classic tale retold rather than a contemporary piece of drama.

    I said I didn’t realize I ultimately like the show until the final seconds. Prior to that, I was kinda feeling robbed. Instead of an amazing final scene that tied into the first episode or visuals that gave a moment of catharsis, the show ended with a montage showing peaks of intimacy underscored by the leads reciting a poem that had been introduced earlier. It was then that I realized it was love’s journey through those events that I connected with, not the characters themselves.

    I’ll admit, nothing I’ve said really makes an argument for this being a good show. Quite the opposite in fact. While there is tension, there’s not really a lot of conflict. Most of the characters get along and become likable in their own way. There are antagonists, but they don’t really have much bite. And to say that I don’t really care too much about the leads at the end of it all seems to be more of a scathing indictment than praise. But think of classic fairy tales. Sometimes the characters don’t even have proper names, and the ones that do have little to distinguish themselves other than their physical appearance and the situation they are put in. It’s the adventure and promise of love’s realization that carries you through the story.

    It’s not often you come across a show that is driven by a theme more than by characters. Historically I’ve never much cared for stories that don’t have compelling people to follow, and in general I think it’s a dicey way to craft a story. Most of the reviews here can attest to that! 🙂 But there was a great deal of resonance when I heard that music and those poetic words, and saw images of an infallible love manifesting itself in two people’s lives. It would have been a perfect fit to see, “And they lived happily ever after” at the end. Not as an empty tagline to put a superficial bow on the whole story, but to say that what was truth and love before is now, and forever will be. It will never be as beautiful and pure this side of Heaven, but it does exist and it does move through, between and for us just as powerfully and fully without condition or end.

    It’s a moving illustration and a welcome promise for those of us hoping and longing for such an encounter.

    Reply
    1. beezrtp

      Fairy Tale characters. Thanks. That explains it. It’s like Prince Charming in Disney’s Cinderella. I don’t even think he has any detail drawn into his face. He’s just a space filling silhouette. But for the 10 episodes that I stuck with Encounter, enough cannot be said about Park Bo gum’s smile.😊

      Reply
    2. Georgia Peach

      Jesse G, thank you for your review of this drama. I was one that didn’t like this drama, but after reading your thoughts I’m now rethinking how I feel towards it. I believe you have given some food for thought.

      Reply
      1. Jesse Gray

        Georgia Peach, that’s probably the the most edifying feedback I could receive, and it’s greatly appreciated. That’s the only reason I wrote it–to give an alternative perspective that may make the show worthwhile for some viewers who invested any amount of time in it. I don’t expect it to resonate with everyone even with a different angle, but I know for me it went from borderline eye-rolling to genuinely touching, and I was glad I watched it. Hopefully it will look better in a new light, but if not, I at least hope your next experience is an amazing one to make up for it. Cheers!

        Reply
        1. Sherry Baker

          No, I’ve got to say this drama stayed with me for some time. I think the reason for that was because I couldn’t figure out the attraction. I did my share of eye rolling but was not able to not come back for the next episode. The character development was just not there, our OTP only gazed into one another’s eyes, nothing much happed in the way of plot development…so why stay?  Now I know it was because I saw two people in love.  I still wish we’d had another leading lady for PBG. His good friend’s wife created a bit of a barrier for me.  ^•^*   Thank you again for the new insight.  ***Question…did you watch Money Flower?  Or Secret Live Affair?  Perhaps my two most favorite dramas. 

          Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

          Reply
          1. Jesse Gray

            Hey Sherry! I felt the same way, and I was kind of exasperated with myself for awhile. How could I be digging something that was missing so many fundamentals of good storytelling? Well, one of the themes within many dramas is that love is all we need; intentionally or not, this drama was itself a demonstration of that notion. 🙂 Forgive me, but I can’t recall PBG’s good friend’s wife. I remember his brother and the shop owner, but neither one of them have wives. Or do you mean the actor’s real life friend’s wife? As for Money Flower and Secret Live Affair, I haven’t seen those as of yet. I’m still reeling pretty bad from “My Mister”, so it may be awhile before I can approach a new show with equalized emotions. (I also watch the last 90 seconds or so of “Encounter” from time to time as an emotional palate cleanser. The poem, montage, music, and final animations transforming the boy and girl into stars gets me in a good place.) I’ll be sure to add MF and SLA to my list when I’m ready to move forward again. 🙂 Cheers!

            Reply
            1. Georgia Peach

              Yes, yes, Jesse G. I meant in real life. At the time Song Joong Ki was married to Song Hye Kyo. And I must tell you, if you liked My Mister, you will find both these dramas fascinating. Well, at least I did. And I have to recommend Six Flying Dragons as well. I am some 200 dramas deep and still find these three amazing dramas. I’m wanting to watch My Mister again and will do that soon. ^.^

              Reply
              1. Jesse Gray

                Ah, excellent! I thought I’d somehow forgotten a key character! I didn’t realize there was that connection between those three, and I can see how the reality could bleed into the fantasy. Ignorance truly is bliss, I suppose. 🙂 I’ll admit, I loved “My Mister”, but it was not gentle. I may have to steel myself if the other three are in the same vein. Kudos to you for being eager to experience that journey again! I’m only at about 30 dramas myself, so I’ve got a lot of viewing to do. It’s encouraging that those stood out for you amongst the hundreds, and if they are akin to “My Mister” in some way, then it seems our sensibilities are reasonably aligned. Ah, so much to watch and (usually) so little time. …Fighting! 😀

                Reply
    3. kfangurl

      You know what, Jesse, I’ve had lots of people try to explain to me why they loved Encounter and why it worked for them, but it never really landed with me in any way that gave me pause for thought – until this comment of yours. When other viewers told me how much they loved this couple, I just couldn’t understand it. But when you frame it as a fairytale, and then proceed to deconstruct for me, blow by blow, how even the main couple in a fairytale tend to be faceless and purposeless but for the pursuit of True Love, and how every other character is even more faceless but for their single purpose in the story, it all starts to make sense to me! 😱 That was some inspired shower-contemplation time, my friend!!

      This has been the single most persuasive lens I’ve come across, to make this story work. I still won’t go back to give this another try; I am pretty sure this one won’t work for me, BUT, I’m so pleased to finally have a lens through which this show finally makes sense! Bravo, Jesse!!! *standing ovation* 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🤩

      Reply
      1. Jesse Gray

        *Humble bow* *Wave* *Abashed smile* *Joining in with the applause for some reason because that’s what I’ve seen other people do during ovations* Ah, ya made my week, KFG–and it has only just begun! I’m calling it though. Big smile right now. 🙂 No, bigger than that. 😀 That’s technically a grin. Ah well. As we’ve touched on before, it’s an amazing thing to have someone not only be willing to pick up a different lens, but to actually catch a glimpse of what you saw through it. And then to have that someone expound upon the experience with such concentrated and expressive enthusiasm…well…it’s just a fantastic impartation to wake up to. Thank you so much!

        I completely understand you not wanting to give it another try. I don’t think a 16-hour show is the right format for a fairy tale-esq story; it can only be dragged out but so long before it gets tedious. The shower epiphany was a great way to paint the memory of the show for those who managed to get through it (or loved it but don’t know why), but it’s not a compelling reason to try and pick it up again. I give it an appreciative nod for what it was–intended or not–and what it showed me, but I can’t see myself watching it again. I’d like to find a compilation of the animations and set them to “The Day We Met”, but that’s about it.

        And I’ll add that this show didn’t do itself any favors. I think I’ve only seen one other Noona Romance (I believe I used that term correctly), and from what I recall, it only really worked for me because the younger guy acted more mature than his age, the older gal acted a little less mature than her age, and they appeared to be within 5-10 years of each other. That show closed the gap artificially to minimize the disparity while still capitalizing on the dynamic. Encounter did the opposite. The guy seems incredibly naive, innocent, and boyish for his age, and the gal was every bit of a weathered, disillusioned, battle-scarred CEO–perhaps aged beyond her years with all the crap she had to put up with in the family. They even gave her a haircut that, despite the bangs, skews towards an older look. If she’d sported a severe bun as the sleek CEO and then let it down when she’s around her beau, it could have softened the transition a bit. Ah well. I know that wasn’t what ultimately broke the show for you, but I think it exacerbated the difference in their positions and strained believability even more.

        I’m glad you now have a lens that makes some sense of the show. Thank you for taking a gander and giving it some more thought, despite it being a discard. And thanks for the bright ray o’ sunshine on this otherwise mundane Monday morning. 🙂 (Even though I see by the date this would have been a ray o’ sunshine on a Friday morning had I not forgotten to activate notifications. DoH!)

        PS: I also loved “The Proposal”. Perfect casting and just about the right blend of comedy and sincerity.

        Reply
        1. Georgia Peach

          Sounds so like the Noona romance… and yes you did use the term correctly… was Something In The Rain. I could have bashed her for how she treated him…I shouted at the screen several times”Will you grow up!!!” I’m telling you, if you in any way like a noona romance…Secret Love Affair is the ultimate Noon Romance drama! Again, in my humble opinion. There’s a lot of reviews, opinions, and recaps on the Internet about SLA. So very much packed into this drama…symbols, references, etc that people have taken way too much time to dissect and write about. LOL. Can you tell I thought this drama was an ultimate?

          Reply
          1. Jesse Gray

            I did some digging, (’cause I remember having mostly fond memories of the noona romance I saw and therefore knew it wasn’t SITR) and it was In Need of Romance 3. I timidly glanced at KFG’s review just now to get the verdict, and it wasn’t as despised as SITR so I feel okay about it. 🙂 (Mental Note: Read full review in near future.) Noona had some considerable baggage and was kinda floundering when the story began, so when her successful and confident admirer comes around, the difference in their ages was virtually nonexistent. …Which I guess kinda defeats the purpose, but I found the journey pleasant enough anyway.

            I’ve definitely heard many good things from so many folks about SLA, here and elsewhere. Most of the reviews aren’t just favorable–they are heartfelt, resonating endorsements like yours and KFGs. My curiosity was piqued, but as I read through the official review (found here of course), I realized it wasn’t going to strike a chord with me (pun intended) the way it has with so many others. As disappointed as I am that I won’t be able to share the experience, there is no shortage of overlapping interests to explore. At least I can enjoy reading the expressions of unbridled affection that fellow fans have for their ultimate shows. 🙂

            Reply
            1. beezrtp

              @Jesse Gray – I keep starting Secret Love Affair and can’t seem to get past the early episodes in spite of being determined to love it because it has Yoo Ah-in who I consider to be one of the top two actors in S. Korea (probably in America too). Add a background of childhood piano lessons and I want to love this drama. I still haven’t given up on it yet although I’ve been trying to watch it off and on since 2014. I supposed I should “face the music” that it’s just not going to happen. lol

              Reply
              1. Jesse Gray

                Hey beezrtp! *Chuckle* What is it that’s been keeping you from plunging in? It sounds like you are ripe for maximum indulgence, yet nearly 1,800 days of inner grappling have proven fruitless. 😉 You have, however, gone further than myself, so I’m curious what the speed bump is in those early episodes? It seems that you and I are the only two who haven’t completed it as of yet–a stunning yet hollow distinction…

                Reply
                1. beezrtp

                  @Jesse Gray. You can call me Beez. That was my on screen name for years until WordPress did something to it. lol. If you forget, that’s fine though.

                  I think three things are holding me up: the first is minor, I really don’t care for the sepia film and atmosphere even though it does seem to fit the tone of the show. Then, I think I said this in my earlier comment – I’ve got short-memory issues so every time I get away from those first two episodes (I think i’ve watched two), I have to start over at the beginning to really know what’s going on. As long as I watch something straight through without too much time away from it, I’m good. And I can’t even fast forward any show cause I take taking on the story very seriously so I won’t skip eps 1-2.

                  The second and the main reason though is I truly hate noona romances. I think that started with the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back. It just so happened my son was 13 and his older half brother (not my child and not in my custody) was 16. Some 23 year old college girl was dating my step son in spite of his mother’s instructions to stay away from him. I just knew of it had been “my baby”, I would’ve been in jail. I couldn’t enjoy the movie and wanted Angela Bassett to get away from that young man messing up his momma’s chance for grandbabies!

                  I know my thinking is old fashioned because I’ve watched dramas where the actor is 20 years older than the actress and I didn’t bat an eyelash. So, some of this is my reaction as a mom and big part of it is due to my age (60) and how that affects what’s attractive to me. I’ve always felt men mature much later than women and frankly, until they’re 40 (30 for a few), don’t make very good husbands, in general. My views that I, personally, like to see very strong men who can protect and support (financially and emotionally) is what guns my tank. 😆 (Not necessarily rich, but capable.)

                  Thirdly, I CAN NOT STAND marriage cheaters. On that note, check out My Love Eun Dong because if it can make me sympathize with a cheater then you know it’s got to be good. 😆

                  Now what’s holding you up?

                  Reply
                  1. Jesse Gray

                    ‘Evening, beez! I’m glad you mentioned the name change; I saw some other posts with “beez”, and I remember thinking, “That must be a popular name…we’ve got a “beez” AND a “beezrtp”! Good to know you’re one and the same. 🙂

                    That is an unfortunate convergence of so many factors! Now that I know where you’re coming from, it seems like the only things this show really had to offer you were a dreamy lead and a piano; no wonder you couldn’t power through. No noonas, no cheaters, and no sepia–this show is almost your nemesis in the drama world. 😉

                    I understand where you’re coming from with the age difference, though as a 39-year-old fella, my perspective is a wee bit different. I too enjoy seeing a guy stepping into the protector role, taking responsibility, and being secure in who he is. Some of that ends up being learned throughout the course of a show, which is fine, but those are the types of leads I can get behind and pull for. Sadly, those characteristics often describe the b-team beau who almost invariably ends up single while the a-team lead manages to get the girl even though he was a bit of a twit for much of the show. But such is the genre!

                    I also have heard that men typically mature slower than women, although my personal experience hasn’t always aligned with that truth. ;p I think the 20s are a time for figuring yourself out away from the guardrails of school and the guidance of parents–for both guys and gals. I wasn’t a wild child at all, but I still look back at my 20s and cringe. I think it’s a volatile time of emotional puberty, and who you are at 30 is probably going to be much different than who you were at 20. After that, I think the development curve kinda levels out a bit and people settle into their personalities, figure out what they really want, etc..,

                    All that to say, I think people are very lucky if they are able to find the love of their lives at a young age, but it’s kind of a crapshoot because you don’t really know who you’ll be or who they’ll be in a dozen years or so. Chances of a successful relationship are much better, as you say, when people are in their 30s and beyond. For that reason, as well as your experience with your step son, (and of course, Stella 🙂 ) I can see why noona romances wouldn’t be your cup o’ tea.

                    The two I saw (“In Need of Romance 3” and “Encounter”) worked for me because the guys in both knew what they wanted. They were younger, but they still were the ones pursuing, the ones taking risks and mostly the ones putting themselves out there time and time again. Granted, their maturity levels were the things of legend to the point that it strained creduilty (particularly in “Encounter”), but if you’re gonna dream, dream big! I guess that’s cheating though, since they behaved as if they were the same age or older and were only younger in the sense that they had fewer trips around the sun. Ah well.

                    Hmm. I guess that means I haven’t seen a true noona drama yet, and since we seem to have the same old fashioned ideas about what a guy should be like in a relationship, I have strong doubts regarding whether I would enjoy that particular dynamic.

                    Admittedly though, the noona factor wasn’t one of my initial aversions.

                    –WARNING: The following content should not be read by fans of “Secret Love Affair”! This is casual pontification painted in broad strokes and being processed by a weary mind. If you loved this show, I’m thrilled that you were able to have an amazing experience, and I’d rather not have it in any way challenged or possibly diminished by my own perspective. Thus ends the warning 🙂 —

                    The first issue I have which kinda parallels your sepia bias is that I’ve never been big on art films. Doesn’t matter what the overall genre is; if there’s an overt focus on celebrating or embellishing artistic qualities, I usually can’t connect with it. I’m not a DP, so I don’t typically notice or appreciate framing or cinematography; I’m focused on the people, the dialogue, the beats, etc.., Unless the shot composition is way off, I don’t really pay much attention. There’s also a vibe that I get from art films that I can’t really describe, but it prevents me from engaging in the story. I feel like I’m always very conscious that I’m watching a film, that I’m looking at art. I’m staring at a canvas with stylized characters, settings, and situations, and it makes it seem superficial. I’m not decrying art films, nor do I think people should feel the same way about them as I do. Blessed are those who can enjoy a diverse palette of life’s pleasures! But I know myself, and my chances of being swept away by an art film are slimmer than the odds of me computing an actual percentage of said odds. 😉

                    Another reason for my reluctance is that I was drawn to these dramas in large part because of their innocence. Touching is a big deal. Saying, “I like you” is huge, never mind confessing, “I love you”. Some shows have more intimacy than others, and many of them do allude to sex, but it’s not just something that happens ’cause they’re attracted to one another. If I wanted to watch rampant sex and the subsequent fallout, there are any number of western shows I could turn to. I come to this unique genre because it shows love unfolding reluctantly, slowly and organically through connection and relational development. Sometimes it’s cheesy, but when it’s done right, it’s beautiful. The idea of getting into a drama that has largely forsaken functional innocence has very little appeal.

                    A third reason has to do with the adultery, but not necessarily because of the act itself. If I’m going to watch a relationship develop, I need to believe in the love. It won’t be perfect and there will be mistakes, but love gorgeously manifests itself through patience, kindness, self-control, selflessness, honesty, and sacrifice. When two people are having an affair, they can say it’s love, but if it’s there, it is tainted and warped. Impatience, lust, betrayal, deceit, anxiety, abandonment and self-gratification are all working in tandem during an affair, marginalizing the love until it hardly has any role at all. Regardless of how much of a jerk the other spouse is, or even if they are also cheating, the character erosion that happens in a sustained affair is extensive and ugly. The film can make it look glamours and alluring. The music can elevate it, and the images can frame it in a tantalizing display of passion, but the raw mechanisms of an affair can’t be adequately concealed. I may very well be seeing two people in love who genuinely care about each other, but I am also watching those people forfeit their integrity, abandon self-control, and wantonly put each other’s well-being in jeopardy time and time again. I suspect I would have a difficult time seeing the actual love through all of that.

                    My understanding is that this show neither condones or glorifies adultery, although the affection for the affair and the characters involved seems to indicate that it is cast in a favorable light. Regardless of its inclusion, how it is portrayed, or how much redemption occurs in spite of it all, the scenario doesn’t appeal to me.

                    I don’t dislike characters for their faults, shortcoming or decisions, because those things make them and their journeys interesting and worthwhile. I make mistakes all the time, and often do things I know are harmful to my own well-being, so I can appreciate seeing that reality reflected in media. But ultimately I watch shows to be entertained, and following a couple that is actively engaging in an irresponsible, self-destructive lifestyle doesn’t have the promise of enjoyment. I could be wrong, but when there are so many other good shows out there that I know will at least provide some diversion, why take the chance?

                    …So yeah. Those were just a few things that came to mind when I questioned the reason for my reluctance. 😀

                    Reply
                    1. beezrtp

                      Wow! @Jesse Gray – you talk about your dislike of art films but your response is that of a writer! ARE you a writer? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting what you’ve said, and I did process what you said, but the way you said it… most eloquent.

                      Similar to you, after feeling like I’ve seen everything western tv has to offer and growing bored (and frustrated with looking at my own society’s moral breakdown being reflected (all up in my face!) everytime I turn on the tv), S. Korean shows are a breath of fresh air. I was telling my elderly cousin about this the other day when she asked me why I like Korean drama so much. I wish I had your skills at expressing myself but I tried to explain how, romance, emotions, and even sex was so much sexier in the build up to these moments.

                      I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain how one character in Reply 1988 – MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILER DO NOT READ OF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN REPLY 1988 AS IT WELL LEAVE YOU NO POINT IN WATCHING THE SHOW
                      *
                      *
                      *
                      *
                      *
                      BEGIN SPOILER
                      the most timid and innocent male character finally makes his move and it’s shown simply by him standing in front of the FL and turning her chair toward him. He straight-forwardly expresses that he likes her. His demeanor is very strong and to emphasize that point, instead of focusing on their faces right away, the camera focuses on the strength of his forearms as they lean on the arms of the chair the FL is sitting in (not that he’s a muscle man or anything). Suddenly, she’s aware, as is the audience, that he is very much a man.
                      END SPOILER
                      “It sounds stupid and is hard to explain”, and that’s what I ended up telling my cousin. 😆

                      So I tried to switch tactics using another scene. I did not watch Healer while it was airing. It was only after everyone was talking (non-stop) about “the rooftop hat kiss”. This scene was everywhere and people kept sending me youtube clips of the scene. After watching the clip, I still thought nothing special about it. But when I finally caved to watch Healer, once the story is built up and you know why that kiss is so important – that scene is EVERYTHING! 😆 😆

                      Even after reading your thoughts on cheaters (which I ditto), I still recommend My Love Eun Dong as a pure and innocent love but if I tell you why it still falls into that category, I jeopardize spoiling the very thing that will allow you to enjoy the story and root for the couple. I admit the only reason I even started to watch it is because the ML is one of my biases. (“Bias”, a Kdrama fans way of saying “favorite”.) l would’ve never given it a chance otherwise. 😊

                      That being said, because of my second favorite bias, Yoo Ah-in, I’m determined to one day soon watch Secret Love Affair. I’ve put it off for too long. Now’s as good a time as any. I’ll [re]start today!

                      As for whether you watch My Love Eun Dong – it’s not an exciting show by any means so I wouldn’t push that recommendation very hard but I must say that I would be delinquent in my Kdrama fan duties if I didn’t recommend these 3 shows and in this particular order as “must sees” (for everybody but especially now that I know you’re a guy 😊) –
                      1) Chuno aka The Slave Hunters. Stars my #1 bias – Jang Hyuk
                      2) Tree With Deep Roots – also starring Jang Hyuk – this is learning history on steroids. Never boring.
                      3) Six Flying Dragons is a prequel to Tree With Deep Roots (but should definitely be watched AFTER Tree). It stars Yoo Ah-in (from Secret Love Affair) and it’s epic! (But you do have to make it past the first 3 or 4 episodes before the adult stars show up so push through)

                      Watching Jang Hyuk and Yoo Ah in is like taking acting lessons! They’re both amazing.

                      Just to inspire you to check out Chuno here’s a trailer https://youtu.be/BHVsFuY06mw

                      If you decide to watch these shows, I think it’s important to note that in ancient Korea, 80% of the people were slaves (or ranks lower than slaves – butchers and gisaengs); 10% were merchant class; and 10% were nobility.

                    2. Sherry Baker

                      Beez, of you are a true Yoo Ah In Fan…Secret Love Affair is a must watch.  I believe you will find writernim has handled the subject of ‘adultery’ very well. Her husband was very cold towards her. He married her to get ahead…it is suggested that they were celibate in their marriage.  Yoo Ah In’s character is quite mature and lives on his own. The character is not naive…he has experienced life. The chemistry between Kim HeeAe and YAI is electric.  I so agree with your assessment of American tv.  I’m still at a loss as to why I can’t get my contemporaries interested in KDramas…reckon it’s the subtitles. I’ve just finished Memorist. Our Yoo Seung Ho has come a long way from his role in I Miss You back in 2012. Good to chat…it’s been a while.  

                      Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

                    3. beezrtp

                      @Sherry Baker – I’m on it! It’s acting skills that draw me to Yoo Ah in and Jang Hyuk. It’s not like my usual shallow reasons for picking my biases (although Jang Hyuk fills both criteria 😁).

                      I’m actually just taking a break from the second episode of The King Monarchy whatchamacallit and then from Monday to Wednesday. SLA – It’s on!

                    4. Georgia Peach

                      How have you liked Lee MinHo’s come back drama? It has very low ratings and I’m wondering why. Seems it has all it takes to be a success. I’ll sure watch it when it’s over…though. BTW…have you watched YAI’s movie Burning? I recommend it. It’s a movie so it is a lots more ‘liberal’ than dramas. But YAI is so very good in it…in that unique YAI way!

                    5. beezrtp

                      I’m enjoying The Monarch. Granted, it’s not as witty as some of Kim Eun sook’s other dramas but it’s enough that I’m liking it. The only problem is my short-term memory issues and you definitely need to keep track of everything as you try to figure out the early mystery set up in the first episode. It really is a shame what the necessary mandatory military does to these guys’ careers. Rain’s career destroyed at the height of his popularity; Ji Chang wook is struggling; and now Lee Min ho. When before he left, his name attached to anything guaranteed a large audience. Oh well, the public moves on to new faces and new biases.

                      I watched Burning and also Default. Did you see it? I loved Default but movies like Burning leave me feeling unsettled. I would only go see something like that out of purely just supporting my bias (and to see what he’d do with it). I prefer him in something where he can be more intense or even subtle. I felt that his character in Burning was passively pushed around and even when he did something about it, I felt less than engaged with his character.

                      But yeah, I’ve seen everything he’s done except Secret Love Affair. I started SLA last night but forgot today is Mother’s Day so I’m sitting here while my son is assembling my gift. Very happy. 😊

                      Oh wait – I haven’t watched Mighty Chill something or other.

                    6. beezrtp

                      @Jesse Gray – after talking about your writing skills, it just hit me! So I went back to check – and, of course, you’re the person that explained the faery tale nature of Encounter! Before that, I saw nothing redeemable in that show other than the beauty of the scenery and actors.
                      (Still doesn’t mean I’ll go back and watch the remaining 6 episodes though) 😆

                    7. Georgia Peach

                      JG, I’m jumping in again 😔. Thank you for your well thought out reasons for not wanting to watch SLA. I totally understand your reasoning. I initially watched because of YAI being a bias. But quickly found myself sucked into the emotions of this drama. And yes, it did contain all of the above description of the disruptive nature of adultery…it also contained a story of a woman who only had an existence and of a young man who due to his position in life couldn’t realize his hearts desire which was to perform his talent on the piano…and how their mutual love / passion of the piano and one another brought both these characters literally to life. The ending…not typical.
                      And…so appreciative of your male perspective.

                    8. Jesse Gray

                      Hey @Georgia Peach!

                      Apologies for the long response time! (And possibly the errant placement of this comment–I am once again struggling to find the right “Reply” button. I hope this finds its way into the right part of the conversation.)

                      Truck of doom?! That sounds awesome! –And no, I am not familiar with it. The only trucks that come to mind is the one from Spielberg’s “Duel”….and Optimus Prime. Enlighten me!

                      I got a good chuckle at your hypothesis that a grandfather clock had legs to get itself onto the set of so many dramas. Impossible not to see the animated Cogsworth from Beauty and the Best waddling across my screen right now. 😀

                      And I agree–Kim MiKyung has one heck of a presence. I first saw her in “Healer”, and after enjoying her performance, I remember wondering if I’d come across her again. Little did I realize she’d pop up in every 2-3 dramas I’d watch! I’m glad to see she’s so active, and like you, it’s a pleasant happenstance to see familiar faces across shows. I know they’re definitely not character actors, but I tripped out when I saw Jung So-min and Lee Min-ki briefly reprise their relationship from “Because This is Our First Life” in “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?”. I know it’s not the same relationship of course, and their characters are clearly different, but a part of me liked the notion of seeing a crossover where we catch a glimpse of them further down the road (now with offspring) and see how their story intersects with the one I’m watching. (But their story was sad, so I quickly bailed out of that train of thought.)

                      In any case, seeing the same actors builds a sense of community within the genre, bolstering the value of the fictional world we’re watching with real life production relationships.

                      I hadn’t heard of “My Dear Friends”, but when I looked it up, I was pleasantly surprised to see an older demographic taking center stage (at least that was what the Wikipedia synopsis seemed to indicate). That actually makes the Truck o’ Doom’s appearance all the more interesting, since it doesn’t seem (at a glance) to be a story that would feature such a radical-sounding element. I’ll add it to the list just for that if nothing else! 😀

                      Admittedly, I have often wondered just how large Seoul really is, because I keep seeing the same streets, shops, and downtown buildings in most of the recent shows I’ve watched. It’s like all of our characters across the spectrum live within two or three blocks from each other. In all fairness, US movies for the longest time did the same thing with San Fran, LA, and other areas around Cali. That’s where the studios were, so it makes sense that they would make use of convenient locations, but it does start to stand out after awhile.

                      I’m interested in where the financing for these shows is coming from. Maybe I have a skewed view of how popular they are, but I assumed they were making bank cranking these things out as quickly and frequently as they do. (And considering the scope and length of some of the shows, they are operating with relatively small crews.)–Although I guess distribution is an issue. They seem to air on networks, which would theoretically confine them within network budgets (which aren’t always great), and most folks who are watching after the fact aren’t really contributing financially to the artists or even the stations. Netflix should be helping with that to some degree, I suppose. Ah well…

                      As for how I got into KDramas, I’m not a die-hard anime fan, but for awhile I was really into it. Still am, to some degree. As I watched more slice-of-life series, I became more and more curious about what life in Japan actually was like. (I’d even looked into opportunities that would allow me to move to Japan for a year or two, and actually got close to making it happen.) I know all shows, whether live or animated, will present a stylized world that doesn’t always line up with reality; I know that much from seeing the disparity between US shows and what my day-to-day life looks like.

                      Anyway, I started looking for Japanese sitcoms to at least get a snapshot of the culture. I found “Good Morning Wake Up Call” on Netflix, and even though high school life was largely out of my range of interest, it got the ball rolling. I started branching out from there, doing searches for “Shows like Good Morning Wake Up Call”, then found other shows that eventually lead to KDramas. I think that whole process took about 2-3 weeks. At the time I was a freelancer only landing about two gigs a week, so I had plenty of time to get engrossed. The style and content resonated with me, particularly with where I was at in life, so it became a pretty consistent indulgence.

                      That’s pretty much the gist of it. How ’bout you? How did your seven-year viewing career begin?

                      As for SLA, I can definitely appreciate what the show has to offer and how much it has connected with so many people. There has to be a powerful, compelling revelation of love and fulfillment for it to have such a positive impact, and I personally love a good redemption story. When I decided I wasn’t going to watch, I did finish KFGs review, spoilers and all, and I can definitely appreciate how the ending went down. The show seems to have had a healthy approach and perspective, and though I’m uber pragmatic when it comes to problem solving (ie if you don’t like where you’re at, move!) I can see why certain decisions had to be made to tell this particular story. (And sometimes pragmatic solutions just aren’t feasible in every situation.)

                      I think the fact that both my mother and sister have been incredibly hurt by situations akin to the ones explored here (albeit with different relational and social backdrops) plays a part in my reluctance to see it played out on screen. *Chuckle* As cruel as it may sound, at this point I would probably only watch it if it was the last KDrama available–but that’s only because there are SO many highly recommended shows that I really wanna see that won’t require me to make a concerted effort. But who knows? Things change. Hopefully I change. Maybe I’ll wade in at some point just to see what all the hullabaloo has been about. 🙂

                    9. beezrtp

                      I rarely run into the problem of no “reply” button because I always interact with this blog through my email which always provides the button.

                      @Jesse Gray and @Georgia Peach I’ve finally got a roll going with Secret Love Affair. I just finished Episode 5 and I’m surprised. Up until now SPOILERS SPOILERS AHEAD the woman has been telling herself she’s resistant to jumping in completely into this relationship but the previews for episode 6 show me that’s all about to change. And THAT’S what’s shocking me because most Kdramas don’t have anything pivotal happen in relationships until Episode 8. So I thought I had a while before I’d actually have to deal with the adultery on my screen. I’m not liking the woman at all. She’s a snitch and a manipulator of everyone around her at her workplace. And her husband is right. Just because he’s whiny and a bit of an annoying pain in the neck, doesn’t mean she should treat him the way she does. He often asks her “Who am I to you?” Every tidbit of information that she could give him to help his career, she gives it to others instead. And that pathetic half-hearted slap she gave Yoo Ah-in which was accompanied by the words “Don’t call me ‘a woman’, I’m your professor” seemed more like she was screaming “I’m only saying this because my husband is coming home unexpectedly so wait for now BUT TAKE ME SOON! SOON!” Ugh. I’m hating her right now (and not only because of the affair) and I don’t think the writer will be able to turn me around toward her by series end. From all I’d heard, I thought the woman would be likeable and that I would only dislike the situation they’re in. I didn’t expect, based on all I’d heard, to find her unlikable.

                    10. Georgia Peach

                      Girl, I’m sorry you’re have a hard time with our ‘heroine ‘ in SLA. I don’t remember hating her so much. I do remember she was very cold and non caring toward people. I’m thinking as her back story is revealed you will see why she’s the way she is. And yes, she is totally enamored with this young unsophisticated raw talent and he is quite relentless. Hang in there, if you can.
                      I’ve not watched Default. I stay so engrossed with dramas…so seldom get to movies. And I found Burning unsettling also…sometimes need that to prick my imagination.
                      It is a shame what military service does…it’s a long time to be away from the public eye. There are so many other talented people standing in line behind them waiting for their turn in front of the camera. My first drama was with Kim Soo Hyung…now that he has tickled us with his appearance in Hotel Del Luna…I’m wondering how his return to the drama scene will turn out. I’m thinking Cha Ji Wook will forever be Healer! For me anyway…

                    11. beezrtp

                      @Georgia Peach – Kim Soo Hyung made a cameo this year in another drama (and I can’t think of which one it was!) But I did remember that — oh wait! It was CLOY! He recreated his hilarious role from his movie Secretly Greatly.

                      Yes. I’m having issues with the heroine in SLA. Since I wrote the earlier post, I’m starting Ep8. I already decided to put aside the fact that I’m inclined to dislike them both for cheating on their husband/girlfriend so this is totally about her behavior and personality. So in Episode 7, I understand her panic and not knowing if she really wants to do “this” and that’s okay, but SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER she called Yoo Ah-in to drive her outside the city and then she LEFT HIM! I was rolling laughing but appalled at the same time that she would leave him knowing there’s no subway and not knowing if the buses were running that late out in what was obviously the boondocks. So freakin’ selfish and expecting him to act as if nothing happened the next day. Like take this lump and you’d better like it! I hate her with her attention seeking ways. Harsh I know but that is just too much! She knows he doesn’t have much money and had been in jail recently so he might not have even had bus fare. (He did but she couldn’t be sure of that.) Well, at least my hatred of her, and her unexpected behavior, means this will be interesting.

                      I never read kfangurl’s review because I knew I’d get around to this show eventually, but from the things I’ve heard her comment about in various threads, I didn’t expect this show to take me down this road.

                    12. beezrtp

                      @Georgia Peach – SLA – I forgot to mention as the heroine got knocked around a bit in Ep7, I was cheering for her to get socked again. I wasn’t disappointed when that ahjumma hit her with the glass of water. I was only hoping it would’ve been a brick!

                    13. Georgia Peach

                      Bees…so right about KSH in CLOY. I forgot about that time. Wasn’t that a hoot? I saw that movie S,G three times and it pulled my heart strings all three times.
                      Wish I could remember the details in SLA you are speaking of. I remember them passionately playing the piano together at the beginning, him watching her walking around the piano when the young gifted piano player played. She had on black and white dress. He had such passion for the black and white piano keys and seeing her in the black and white dress…I remember a little more but it may be a spoiler. I’m thinking she is being ‘mean’ to him because she is trying to ‘run him off’…ever how half heartedly. Your half way. Things are about to change.

                    14. beezrtp

                      @Georgia Peach. I’m on episode 13 now. Once I’m done with the series, I’ll read Kfangurl’s review and, I’m assuming that you’ve commented under that review, so it should notify you once I comment and maybe we can discuss SLA some more over there?

                    15. Sherry Baker

                      That sounds great. Let me know. I don’t remember if I commented there or not 🤔🤔🤔

                      Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

                    16. beezrtp

                      @Sherry Baker. I’ve finished SLA but I’m ruminating on it before I read Kfangurl’s review (I already know she considers it a masterpiece). I’m trying to sort out my feelings on it first before I’m influenced by her thoughts.

                    17. Georgia Peach

                      Bees, congratulations on the finale! It is one of those dramas that you do have to ruminate on for a while. I read all I could find on the internet about it. And still after so long still want to watch it again and fully anticipate that I will ruminate some more. The performances were stellar and the story didn’t go as you’d think…liked that. So when you post on FGV post on this…we’ll chat. I should watch this drama again!!!!
                      Btw…at one time I believe I had your email address. We chatted once or twice on email about dramas. It was a while ago, though. I’ll look to see if I have you in my contacts somewhere.

                  2. Jesse Gray

                    Hello, @beezrtp! I’m sorry I’m replying out of turn; for some reason, I don’t have a “Reply” option under your latest comments. I can “Like” them, but I can’t respond. The same thing happened with one of KFG’s messages. Very vexing and perplexing. I thought maybe that was a subtle, courteous way of her saying the conversation had gone on long enough, but apparently it’s some hiccup with WordPress. Either that or I’m too verbose. 🙂

                    In any case, I trust this will get to you somehow.

                    I am very grateful for the encouraging and energetic feedback on my writing–it is appreciated and gladly received. While I have had the opportunity to supplement my income from time to time with writing gigs, the projects have been small and of little real consequence. I am not a writer in the professional sense of the word, but it is something that comes relatively easy and I enjoy the process (for the most part). It helps to offset my woeful lack of skills in so many other areas; I’m fortunate that mathematical and scientific prowess, culinary aptitude, foreign language mastery, and high-level artistic exploits are not needed to carry on a conversation! 🙂

                    Regardless of any writing finesse I may posses, I have been unable to adequately communicate the impact of these shows to anyone who isn’t initiated to dramas. I think you express yourself and your perspectives very well, and I share your frustration and not being able to impart an appreciation for how emotional climaxes are reached and breached in this genre. I know context is a huge part of making any scene, moment, line or even facial expression meaningful, but it seems to be even more crucial with dramas because the whole approach is so…well…foreign.

                    Even though I haven’t seen the scene you referenced, I was nodding my head and smiling as you described the shots. (Particularly the forearms close-up. For some reason, veiny, sinewy forearms are considered very attractive, and often get time in the spotlight.) I get it. I’ve seen scenes similar to that and I can picture it in my head. The dramas do a very good job of building significance into otherwise unremarkable gestures, and present persistent but subtle tendencies that merely need to be subverted to reveal incredible growth.

                    In that particular case, I think it’s the position he’s in that really drives home the moment. His arms are flexed that way because he is leaning in. If his hands are on the arms of the chair, he has in essence engulfed her, gently forcing an intimacy that she can’t casually brush aside. His posture escalates the intensity and earnestness, even if he is speaking directly and without emotional strain. Seeing that vulnerable confidence from a previously timid character would be more than enough to get the feels going, but you have to know where he started from to truly appreciate that moment. Alas, that often means about 10 or more hours of story that we simply cannot condense with the same level of impact.

                    I think you Healer example is spot on and captures the dilemma perfectly. Even for seasoned drama viewers watching one of the best shows the genre has to offer, we still can’t appreciate a subtle moment like that without the buildup. I enjoyed watching that scene several times, mostly for how she reacts to it during and afterwards. It’s a beautiful scene both in content and visual, and happens at the perfect time in the story.

                    The scene that I always think of when I remember that show is when he is trying to push her out of his lair/hideout/apartment. Her frightened tenacity and his broken resistance culminating with that embrace is etched in my mind. “Don’t push me away. Please don’t push me away, or you’ll regret it forever.”

                    Better than any sex scene ever. 🙂

                    *Chuckle* I love how you go from “one day soon” to “now” to “I’ll start today” all within a sentence when talking about watching SLA again. That’s a very rapid progression and what seems to be adamant conviction. I trust by now you’re on episode three??? 🙂

                    I’ll see if I can at least take a gander at My Love Eun Dong–it seems to be a little less straight-forward in terms of the affair, and I am intrigued by what dynamics are in play to make it work for you in spite of the “cheating” element.

                    I’ll add the other three to my queue as well, though I do confess I’ve had a hard time getting into the period pieces. Not because of any dislike for the setting mind you, just a peculiar lack of interest. Nirvana in Fire came uber-highly recommended by KFG, and I gave it a go initially, but stalled out before the end of the first episode. I want to try again, hoping that I was just craving a particular drama dish and wasn’t ready to explore the rest of the menu. I’m like that with food, so it makes sense I could be that way with dramas.

                    But that is also one of the areas where a lack of production value or budget can really become apparent. I do notice with a lot of dramas (though not as much in the recent ones) there are times where the exposure levels are wonky, the background is washed out, the footage is flat, etc.., and I’m always aware of the lack of extras, particularly in restaurants and other indoor areas. Again, they’ve come a long way in the more recent shows, but I get the idea that the budgets for these aren’t always very high. Nothing tends to make that more apparent than sci-fi, fantasy, or period pieces where the sets and costumes alone can devastate a budget. Usually corners have to be cut, and while the end result is still respectable, it often doesn’t match with the visuals you can see in western shows that have somehow managed to corral ridiculously high financing. The stories and content may be lacking here in the US, but by gum they can throw some good money and talent at the screen to make it look like something worth watching. 😉

                    In summary, for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to dig in to period dramas, but I shall make a concerted effort to do so in the future. If you can boldly launch yourself into SLA for the umpteenth time, then by gum, I can double my efforts as well!

                    I must say, I envy your biases. Typically when I find an actress who catches my attention, the show that I’m watching is either the only thing of note she’s done, or it’s the only good one in recent years. Case in point, after “My Mister”, I was eagerly searching for more shows featuring IU (I knew nothing of her before that show–I thought she was a recently discovered talent), only to find that the only other projects she’s done have been rather lackluster. I like the actress from Encounter, but she’s really only done Descendants of the Sun and a relatively new one where she plays a blind heiress or something. Maybe I need to include more movies? I dunno. The Ahjumma from Healer is awesome, but I can’t really consider her a legit bias. I think it’s great to be able to enjoy a show almost entirely because of the cast (or a specific member of it), but as a guy, I gotta say the consistency seems to be lacking. At the moment I can only recall two actresses who appeared in more than one drama that I enjoyed.

                    First world problems, am I right? ;p

                    –And I appreciate you giving the Encounter dissertation a read; it’s a pleasure for someone to find value in anything, particularly if it is something they saw little-to-no-value in previously. I don’t blame ya for not wanting to finish it out. You were just over half way, and that’s a long way to go for a show that had failed to hold your interest. At best, the fairy tale perspective is a last-ditch shot at redeeming an unconventional and ultimately lacking show–it is in no way transformative enough to build value where there was none. I’m just glad I didn’t have to write off those 16 hours as a loss!

                    Reply
                    1. beezrtp

                      @Jesse Gray – Every now and then when a series of comments get long, I see those hiccups. I’ll receive a blank email and I have to come to the blog online and search through alllll the comments to find the comment that responded to me. But, thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often.

                      No, not episode 3 of SLA yet. My sister called causing a real life interruption/intervention. lol And then also, it was Thursday, heading into the weekend so I have to get Hospital Playlist and Rugal out of the way. Although Rugal is becoming torture to get through an episode so I think I’ll be dropping it soon. Interesting that you mentioned sci-fi and CGI/budgets ’cause it looks like Rugal has fallen prey to that plus it couldn’t avoid the Kdrama-all-to-common stumbling block of lack of logic. Sci-fi and fantasy never work if it can’t build a world that continues to sustain and follow its own logic and rules that it set in place for itself. (I’m hoping this upcoming sci-fi show can give us a good story. Trailer – https://youtu.be/uH_KV_GYIKw
                      I can overlook poor special effects if the story and the character interaction is good.)

                      All that to say, once my weekend shows are out of the way, Secret Love Affair – I’m comin’ for you! (I’m bored after my weekend shows because I’m no longer watching any and everything that comes down the Kdrama pike these days so this is the perfect time to push through SLA’s early episodes.

                      Thank you for the awesome description of the Healer scenes. It was like reliving it through words. 😍 And for understanding what I was trying to say.

                      Song Hye kyo (FL in Encounter) – the show where she’s blind (That Winter the Wind Blows) is an older show (2013). I found it uncomfortable to watch because [non spoiler] the premise is the ML is posing as her long lost brother so their interaction is a little creepy in that she thinks he is her brother. But if the show had been interesting, I could’ve gone along with it. I finished it but found it dull. Characters actions didn’t make sense to me. You might like it though. 🤷 As to some of Song Hye kyo’s earlier works – if you think she’s gorgeous now, you should see her younger days – Autumn in My Heart (old school melo but it’s also part of the original Hallyu wave that brought Kdrama out of S. Korea and made it popular to the masses. So you could almost say that without it, we in the west wouldn’t be enjoying Kdramas today. I loved Descendants of the Sun because it felt like an old-school Hollywood movie. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Asianwiki.com but it was my lifesaver (still is) when I first began watching Kdramas. You could search a show like “Encounter”, then click on her name or picture and see all of her projects in chronological order. Clicking on each protect would then give you it’s synopsis.

                      My Love Eun Dong IS straight-forward about the affair but there’s reasons… I can’t say 😉 (But also don’t be shocked by the childhood ages/love story – the boy is 15. The girl looks about 8. lol It has to do with that whole Korean age thing where not only do they calculate it one year behind us, but sometimes, depending on if the birthday falls near the end of the year, it can cause the age to be off (younger) by more than 2 years!)

                      IU is a HUGE Kpop (singer) star. She’s so big that, I don’t even follow Kpop but I know who she is. That’s how I measure music stars even in the west. If I don’t care for their genre but they’re so famous that I can’t avoid hearing or seeing news blurbs about them then I know that, for that news to reach even me, they must be a really big star. 😖

                      My female biases are: Shin Hye sun because of her acting ability and likeability. Before she became a leading actress last year, she was even likeable when she was playing the annoying clinging second lead or a supposedly annoying supporting character but we still couldn’t help but like her. I wanted her character to get out of the way of the OTP but couldn’t bring myself to hate her the way female second leads are written for us to hate. That takes skill!

                      I also like Ha Ji won but I think that’s because I admire her athleticism in doing her own stunts. I don’t like her so much that I would watch something like Chocolate (which she’s currently starring in) and which it’s set in and around the OTP working at a hospice center. No thank you. I usually avoid melo nowadays. Melos will have the characters crying for extended periods of time for every single one of the last third of the episodes. Did that in my early watching days until nothing makes me cry now; and I used to blubber at the least little touching thing. I have no more tears left (thanks to East of Eden which had Song Seung heon crying from episode 23 through the end ep 58). I’m guessing at those ep numbers but his crying and my crying was just that bad… and long.

                      Actress Lee Mi sook is an older actress but check her out in Money Flower. It’s an understated and subtle course on great acting. Once you see it, you’ll be struck by The greatest actor in Korean drama today – Jang Hyuk. Jang Hyuk is in 2 of three historical dramas that I recommended to you before. If I can offer some advice – this is how I amazingly caught up on all the Kdramas that everyone was talking about when I first discovered Kdrama and wanted to know what they were referring to (certain classics would come up over and over). Take an experienced actor like Jang Hyuk and watch as many of their dramas as you can because you’ll get familiar with other actors/actresses who eventually became famous too because, just like in western shows, great casts from great shows tend to all become famous in their own right. That said, Jang Hyuk has 2 shows to avoid like the plague – Wok of Love and The Great Merchant. Not too shabby that he’s only had 2 flops amidst his long career. But you can do this with any of the top actors who’ve been acting for 15-20 years.

                      But I do feel you on not finding female biases. I can only suppose that it’s because most Kdramas are written by women and most kdrama watchers are women, even in S. Korea. It’s a woman’s world! (Sorry. Did I sound too joyful?😁) But truly, your understanding of what’s romantic really amazes me as I find most guys equate “I want a romantic evening” to mean sex. Like really? Can you Google “romance”?

                      But let me warn you that Kmovies are not Kdramas in that, unless it’s lighter fare like a rom com, the sex is IN. YOUR. FACE. As in “they look like they’re really doing it!” Sorry. That’s the only way I can describe it. lol I’m not a prude and sometimes I’m in the mood to watch something darker and more realistic. I’m just letting you know in case you were expecting the same type of dynamic as the sweetly innocent kdramas. Nope. Uhn-un.

                      This is a long response and I really did try to veer away from making lots of recommendations because I know that our watch lists can get overwhelming. I refer to mine as The Monster.

                      As to the 3 historicals (saeguk) that I recommended earlier – take a peek at Kfangurl’s ratings for Chuno and Tree with Deep Roots. She hasn’t finished watching Six Flying Dragons because she couldn’t get past the childhood early episodes. But I promise you, you won’t regret watching these 3 shows.

                      Tree with Deep Roots will help you understand some things about Korea on a bigger scale. It really paints a picture of how Korea was a nation without their own writing system for much longer than the rest of the civilized world. I mean to say – they were civilized in the sense that the nobility were literate but the language that they had to read and write in (and conduct government affairs) was Chinese because there was no writing system for Korean! (I can’t even imagine expressing my English thoughts in a different written language that I don’t speak! I’m picturing something not even Latin based so I can’t even clue it out, like Russian or any of the Asian languages.) So imagined that of you are a noble, you do not speak Chinese but you had to study and understand written Chinese to express your thoughts. This show depicts how the King developed this written language (that’s still in use to this day) and how that changed their entire society because part of why the noble class remained on top was that the laws stated only a literate person could apply for government jobs or be a scholar. Slaves who worked in the fields all day had no time to learn the literally THOUSANDS of Chinese characters to become literate. Surrounding events are dramatized to be very interesting.

                      Whatever you decide to watch, I’ll be watching for your comments, hoping for more descriptions of my favorite scenes.😁 (And please note, I’m not a constant complimentary just-to-be nice person. I only give out praise and compliments when I’m really impressed cause in my view, heaping constant compliments detracts from their value.)

                    2. Georgia Peach

                      JG, allow me to drop in here and reply to your saying how much you loved Ajamma in Healer. Her name is Kim MiKyung. Love her myself! She is a staple in KDrama land. And she often steals the scene from the fresh faced novice actress who has top billing. If you look at KMK’s bio you will see she does several dramas and movies a year. And for me…now that I’ve been on this KDrama train for 7 years…I’m enjoying seeing these character actors as much as the OTP and second leads…sometimes more. LOL.
                      I’ve just thought of an ensemble drama with wonderful character actors. The lead female is also a first class actress. ( although she got herself fired from the drama Return because of an altercation with the PD). The drama is My Dear Friends. Excellent, endearing story. And the truck of doom shows up as well. (You do know the truck of doom, right?)
                      I understand that the network channels are having a difficult time financially producing their dramas. And I’ve noticed recently that several of the same sets are showing up. There’s one particular grandfather clock that must have its own legs to get itself in every drama house or office space. Also there’s a hall set that is omnipresent in every chaebol house…guess they used the same interior decorator! LOL.
                      Wishing you continued happy watching. BTW…how did you find KDramas?

                    3. beezrtp

                      @Jesse Gray – your email appeared in front of me again and I thought about what you said about not having a “reply” button – I never have that problem because, in most cases, I’m hitting “reply” from the email that the site sends me. (I never check my email for other things but I do search the word “verdict” and that brings up everything that’s come to me from Kfangurl’s Verdict web site. I do it this way for 2 reasons – 1) On the web site, it’s kind of not clear who commented in what order; and 2) I don’t even know how to use my WordPress account. lol

                      The only time I read comments directly on the web site is when I’ve just finished the review and I haven’t commented at all. Because if you don’t make at least one comment and check the box that says “notify me” then you won’t receive others’ comments in your email.

                      So that’s just how I do it and so I’ve never had the instance of no “reply” button. Hope that helps.

                    4. Georgia Peach

                      JG…fangirl may run us off her site if we keep hogging her blog! But a quick response. Truck of doom….that’s the white truck/car that slams into our heroine/hero and gives them a trip to the ER for brain surgery with the resultant amnesia! LOL!!! And watch for that clock I think the prop dept. of every production company used this same clock! And I’ve read where the production companies have to have permission to film..so logically ‘filming friendly’ locations are a must. I’ve found it fun to remember locations and buildings from other dramas as well. Even if they aren’t featured in one drama like they were in another. It is fun to see actors reprise and to understand references made in dramas to other dramas.
                      For me getting head deep into this Hallyu wave. Short story of that…channel surfing and my cable provider at the time had the 3 Korean broadcast stations with my plan. Atlanta has a large Korean population..hence the channels. My clicking stopped when I saw…what I was soon to be known to me as…Moon Embracing The Sun. I then discovered I could stream these dramas and these rest is history. Your introduction seems fated as well…you know fate don’t you? 😂

                    5. Georgia Peach

                      Thanks Kfangurl. You’re the best! In my circle I have NO ONE to spazz with over KDramas. Can’t they see it’s not an obsession…it’s just a hobby and everyone needs a hobby, right!!

                    6. kfangurl

                      Aw, I know what you mean, it’s not easy to find friends in real life who feel the same way about dramas. That’s why we come online, and that’s why we’re friends! 😀

                  3. Jesse Gray

                    Hey @beezrtp!

                    So I made the mistake of forgetting to check the boxes to receive notifications on this particular post with my first comment, so I never know when anything new comes up in the discussion. No matter how many posts I have made since (checking the box), I don’t get flagged. I visit every once in awhile to see if I missed anything, and that’s how I saw your latest messages with Georgia Peach. I have since learned my lesson, and as you advised, I check the heck outta those boxes so I can stay in the loop!

                    First, let me offer a genuine congratulations for hunkering down and tackling SLA with gusto. Episode 13 already?! Dare I say you are a fellow binger? That is amazing progress, particularly considering how long it took you to get past the first three episodes. So kudos to you!

                    I am, however, somewhat dismayed to hear that it is proving to be so antagonistic to your sensibilities. I find your expressions of exasperated fury to be quite amusing (“I wish it was a brick!”) but I take no pleasure in your suffering. 🙂 but also 🙁

                    I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a show by its stills, but I will say that the images I have made me kinda picture her the way you describe her. I’m nodding and going, “Yep. Yep, that definitely sounds like something she’d do!” even though I don’t know her. You mentioned taking the convo to the SLA thread which makes more sense, and since I am not in the viewer’s club, I shant be making that migration.

                    I think I’ll need to do a full read of KFG’s review to try and see what the other side of it is. At this point, I’m more intrigued by the varied lenses and perspectives it can be seen through than the story itself. …Maybe you’re watching a reboot by mistake? ;p

                    Still, we likes what we likes–no two ways about it. Maybe the end will re-contextualize the story for you… 😀

                    Reply
                    1. beezrtp

                      @Jesse Gray. We shall see. I will say that now she’s admitting who she really is and never went out of her way to hide it. I mean she hides it because she’s very reserved and by necessity can’t let the people around her know her agenda. So SHE didn’t deceive me. It was my own expectation that as the FL, I expected that I SHOULD like her when she’s not meant to be a likeable person to everyone who watches this. Not that she’s a villain in the sense of a typical villain character, but she’s not who I expected. (Still can’t stand her though.)

                      Why don’t you make a comment under kfangirl’s review of SLA (and hit the notification box) so when I get done with this series we can discuss if writer-nim managed to turn me around it when it’s all said and done? (I highly doubt it)

        2. kfangurl

          Hi5 that we both loved The Proposal, Jesse! 😀 And you SHOULD take a bow, I love your fairytale lens and your exposition of it, so much! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🤩

          In terms of noona romances, I really liked Romance is a Bonus Book. The age gap isn’t huge, but it’s there, and she feels it, and it does give her a great deal of pause, in deciding whether or not to proceed with the relationship. It’s a sweet, thoughtful show, with a rom-com sheen, and I have a feeling you’d enjoy it. If you haven’t given it a try yet, maybe consider adding it to your list? 🙂

          Reply
          1. Jesse Gray

            Hey KFG!

            Yeah, I was stoked that I could actually say I’ve seen a referenced movie (“The Proposal”). It’s not a Show and it’s from the wrong side of the world so it only kinda-sorta counts, but I’ll take it!

            In that vein, I haven’t seen “Romance is a Bonus Book”. When I looked it up, I realized why. –And this…this is gonna sound trite and dumb as heck, but I’m a big believer in staring truth in the eyes and saying, “Yeah? And?!” I remember at the time that I came across the show in a search awhile back, I saw the word “success” (as in Cha Eun-ho is a successful author) and completely lost interest. I didn’t want to see successful characters! I wanted to see losers and average Joes, because that’s who I could relate to at the time. I wanted to see love interacting with unremarkable people so I could nod and say, “See, Jess–it happens. Just you wait…”

            It wasn’t until later that I more/less emerged from that frame of mind while simultaneously realizing that most of the male leads are gonna be successful, even if it’s not overtly stated. Most of them own their own shops or are consultants or are CEOs or are somehow independently wealthy or are the top of their fields, etc.., (Maybe it’s a subtle insertion of the “dashing prince” aspect of romance.) Regardless, I’m past all that now, and the premise now appeals to me. Another add to my list that is dripping with potential. Thank ya kindly!

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              PWAHAHA. I only rank NIF as possibly the most well-made drama I’ve seen, to date! 😆 The writing, directing and acting are all stellar, in my opinion. But, since you mention that you are more drawn to stories where the conflict lies within the characters and their relationships, then I feel like Romance is a Bonus Book might be a better fit. I also really like how lyrical it is, and since you seem to enjoy language (in that I feel like you have a way with words), I thought that would appeal to you too. 🙂 With NIF, there’s a lot of stuff that happens outside of the characters and relationships, and honestly, I feel like kdramas generally do a better job than C-dramas, when it comes to teasing out nuances in relationships. 🙂

              You’re right, many male leads in kdramas tend to be successful rather than regular joes, but not always. My Mister’s a great example of a story featuring an everyday guy. Misaeng (also known as Incomplete Life) is another one that features regular people. That one’s not a romance though. Well, but neither is My Mister, in my opinion. 😅 Ok, I’ve got one that I like. Fight My Way. Regular guy and regular gal, who go from besties to dealing with newfound romantic attraction. Contender? 😀

              PS: Sorry, I got your 2 comments mixed up, the NIF remark was meant for the other comment. D’oh! 🤦🏻‍♀️

              Reply
              1. Jesse Gray

                *Chuckle* The comments are flying fast n’ furious these days, KFG–impossible to keep ’em all straight. 🙂

                It actually pains me a bit to think that I have yet to give NIF a legit chance, considering how highly you regard it. Maybe I’ll remedy that in the near future. However, I think it’s only fair to point out that my passive negligence is completely and totally your fault. ;p If memory serves, NIF was your first recommendation after I finished “Healer”, but then you proceeded to provide a myriad of other options, and I started having to juggle to keep up. Shows got lost in the shuffle, my workload increased, and I had to leave drama world for a bit. When I came back, a whole new batch of shows were waiting! I was overwhelmed, staggering under the weight of so many options, and the show closest to the bottom was NIF.

                In a way, it has the dubious honor of being the rock-solid foundation of aaaaaall the great dramas I have yet to see. 😀

                If you flagged the writing in “Romance is a Bonus Book” as noteworthy, then I certainly need to check it out. I think after much internal debate and head-scratching, that one has emerged as the front-runner. (Happily it’s on Netflix, so nothing is standing in my way!)

                HA! I enjoyed following your train of thought as you presented and then disqualified options for shows that don’t feature a loaded male lead. 😀 I’m seeing a pattern here: regular people don’t get romance. Message received, loud and clear. I guess plebeians such as my self are relegated to the obscure poor man’s drama, “Romancing the Pillow”. *Sigh*

                “Fight my Way” sounds like it may indeed be a contender–your wordplay alone dictates that it must be so. But also because you put in so much effort to serve up a title that met this particularly challenging criteria. 🙂

                Thank ya kindly!

                Reply
                1. kfangurl

                  Hahaha. Seeing how things have evolved, let me just say this: NIF definitely contains no relatable regular Joes. I mean, just so you know! 😉

                  Reply
  5. okeyzz

    Finally, thank you! Now I understand why I cannot finish this drama despite loving both the actor. Actually I was beginning to get immersed on the story and I even in awe for the beautiful filmography. All the actors acting is also superb. But I cannot enjoy this drama. From eps 10 it’s really hard for me to continue. I did watch 10 eps right on it’s release schedule in 2018-2019 but cannot continue and even now a year later in April 2020 I still find it hard to continue to watch episode 10 to end. Reading your review really help me to understand why is was so hard for me to enjoy this drama. I am gonna read you review for One Spring Night right after this because I have the same problem.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Year In Review: 2019 | The Fangirl Verdict

  7. deliaerre

    I’m sorry to be always so late in my long run in the dramaland but I have just finished watching Boyfriend. I’m a little late with my observations, right?
    I agree with you that setting a love story between a trainee and his CEO creates unresolvable and perhaps bad-resolved ethical issues throughout the drama. These questions are treated in a superficial way, but I am very sorry that you have finished your watching at episode 10 because the more difficult the relationship between the two becomes,more the acting qualities of Park Bo Gum emerge t (and yes also for me he is the reason why I watched this drama to the end).
    At one point he steals the scene so much from Song Hye Kyo that plays in a monotonous and still manner showing all her limits.
    SO I decided to see this narrative as the journey of transformation of a young man who has known love up until then in an abstracted and dreamy way and on books and novel in a man who accepts the agony that love often entails with courage without becoming cynical nor ridiculously sentimental, accepting to travel through suffering and excitement together. In this, PBG it is extraordinary because he makes the smallest emotional nuances so precisely, authentic and moving that sometimes I wonder where he finds all those expressive possibilities. He’s also so young …

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Glad you managed to enjoy Boyfriend, deliaerre. Park Bo Gum is a talented actor indeed, and I feel like I could watch a mediocre show for him, but somehow, I just couldn’t get into Boyfriend, even for him. Oh well. Hopefully his next project will be something that I can get on board with, because he really is a pleasure to watch. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Kay

    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 🙂

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

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

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

  12. Georgia Peach

    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?

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! 😆

      Reply
      1. beez

        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.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          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. 🤔

          Reply
          1. Beez

            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”.

            Reply
            1. seankfletcher

              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.

              Reply
              1. Beez

                @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.

                Reply
                1. seankfletcher

                  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.

                  Reply
                  1. Beez

                    @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.

                    Reply
            2. kfangurl

              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. 🤔

              Reply
              1. Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant)

                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?

                Reply
                1. kfangurl

                  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. 😅

                  Reply
                2. Beez

                  @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. 😁

                  Reply
  13. Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant)

    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.

    Reply
    1. beez

      @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. 😊😆

      Reply
      1. Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant)

        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.

        Reply
        1. beez

          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.

          Reply
            1. beez

              @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.

              Reply
        2. vespertyne29

          The ONLY thing I liked about this show – before I dropped it around episode 10 or 11 – was the animations. They are by the same artist who did the wonderful animations for It’s Okay to Not be Okay.

          https://www.instagram.com/jamsan_art/?hl=en

          I have to admit, I am not a big fan of Park Bo-gum. I find him vastly over rated as an actor, and while he is pretty, there’s nothing about him that I find particularly appealing.

          In this drama, unfortunately, he plays himself, and since I find him uninteresting as a person, I find his PBG-like persona character uninteresting. (sorry, but his culty evangelical religion, which he apparently publicly advocates for, is a HUGE turn-off. I hate his “thank you god” acceptance speeches, too. Sounds like the kind of crap you’d hear at CPAC, and I imagine if he were in the USA he’d be showing up to speak/entertain at the RNC. Yes, I hold those kinds of things against actors/singers/directors, which is why I will never see another Mel Gibson movie, and boycott Woody Allen (whose films I love) because of his personal life choices. That’s me. Obviously YMMV). I also find the FL completely boring and uninteresting as an actress, and she certainly lived up to my zero expectations.

          I actually enjoyed the first episode of the show – despite the insipid couple – because of the beautiful shots of Cuba, and the charming nod to Roman Holiday. But Song Hye-kyo is no Audrey Hepburn, and PBC is certainly no Gregory Peck. As soon as they were back in Korea, the film went downhill.

          I also find the idea of a subordinate dating the CEO problematic when the difference in position, talent, experience – and in this case, age and social status – is wildly disparate. (I didn’t find it problematic in, say, Itaewon Class, because Saeroyi heavily Yi-seo, she was far smarter and more business-savvy than he was, he avoided any romantic entanglement with her for years, and his eventual business success was in large part due to her efforts. She was a business partner more than a subordinate, even though he was the CEO of the company. Ditto for WWWSK, a romcom, because she was also a valuable part of the company, and they had a childhood connection – technically, she’d made him promise to marry her years before he proposed!) But here, as kfangurl points out, their positions are hugely different, and the scenes where SHK goes to visit PBG’s department are embarassing and cringy.

          I also found the two leads had zero chemistry, and never bought their relationship. By the time they finally had a somewhat credible kiss scene, I was already bored to tears with the horrible, stilted dialogue, the fact that PBG was playing himself, which consisted of his constant gummy grin, and the embarrassingly pretentious literary and art illusions, which served no purpose other than to make PBG and the drama look “deep.” Nope, sorry. You can make those allusions beautiful and organic to the story (possibly the most perfect scene of any drama ever is in Goblin, when we hear Gong Yoo’s voice over, reading Kim In-yook’s poem, Physics of Love, from Eun-tak’s school book anthology of poetry, while watching her in the crosswalk, and realizing he had fallen in love for the first time in his 939 years. Perfect, beautiful, absolutely organic way of including a literary reference, and so beautifully effective in conveying his emotional state). If there’s anything I hate in a drama of any type, it’s pretentious pandering masquerading as intellectual gravitas.

          So, I found nothing to like about this drama, other than Jamsan’s charming illustrations introducing the episode titles. The rest was boring, pretentious mediocrity.

          Reply
    2. kfangurl

      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! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant)

        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.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          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..? 😅

          Reply
  14. beez

    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).

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! 😅

      Reply
  15. OnColouredPens

    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!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! <3

      Reply
      1. OnColouredPens

        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

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          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. 😝

          Reply
      2. beez

        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.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          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. 😍😍😍

          Reply
  16. IamElise

    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. 🙂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! 😊

      Reply
  17. vi

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

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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. 😅

      Reply
  18. Clam0214

    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.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! 😀

      Reply
    2. beez

      @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). 😉

      Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! 😆

      Reply
  19. Anna

    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.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Well you were faster on the uptake than I was, Anna! 😅 It took me twice as long to figure out that this show was never going to work for me. 😝

      Reply
  20. Ivy

    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.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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?

      Reply
  21. Jesse

    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!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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! <3

      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! 😉

      Reply
    2. beez

      @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.

      Reply
    3. beez

      @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.

      Reply
  22. Miss Ruby

    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.

    Reply
    1. Blenny

      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?

      Reply
      1. seankfletcher

        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).

        Reply
        1. beez

          @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.

          Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks for enjoying this post, Ruby! <3 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..! 😆

      Reply
    3. Georgia Peach

      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!!!

      Reply
  23. Kat

    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).

    Reply
    1. Blenny

      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.)

      Reply
      1. Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant)

        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.

        Reply
    2. kfangurl

      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! 😀

      Reply
  24. Blenny

    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. 🙂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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. 😝

      Reply
  25. My2Girls

    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.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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!

      Reply
  26. Edith Gordoncillo

    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

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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..! 😆

      Reply
  27. Ally

    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? 😅

    Reply
    1. Growing Beautifully

      @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. 😄

      Reply
    2. kfangurl

      Hi there Ally, thanks for sharing your thoughts! <3

      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. 🙂

      Reply
    3. Dame Holly Is a Bot (@Lee_Tennant)

      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.

      Reply
  28. drawde2000

    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.

    .

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      I’m glad this drama’s been working for you, drawde! <3 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.

      Reply
  29. Growing Beautifully

    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.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, GB! <3

      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!

      Reply
  30. Elena

    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?

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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? 😲

      Reply
      1. Elena

        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.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          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! 😉

          Reply
        2. beez

          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)? 🙂

          Reply
            1. beez

              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).

              Reply
              1. kfangurl

                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. 🌸

                Reply
  31. leo

    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.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks for enjoying the post, leo, even though you’re in the camp that loves it! <3 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! 😍

      Reply
      1. leo

        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.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          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! 😉

          Reply
  32. seankfletcher

    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…

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      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. 😉

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      1. seankfletcher

        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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        1. kfangurl

          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..! 😝

          Reply
          1. seankfletcher

            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 😝😝😝

            Reply
            1. kfangurl

              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~! 😫😅

              Reply
      2. Seattlelawyer

        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.

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        1. Blenny

          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.

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        2. kfangurl

          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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        3. beez

          @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.

          Reply

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