I think it’s time to admit that this show just isn’t working for me, you guys.
To be clear, I don’t hate it. There are definitely some things that brightened up my watch, and like I said in my 2020 Year In Review, there’s quite a bit of potential in this show, to examine why people might behave a certain way, with its mockumentary approach giving its characters regular airtime to talk about events that happened in the past, and reflect on them.
It’s just.. Show’s not floating my boat the way I want it to.
But y’know, just because this show didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you?
MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS ONE
I started on this one because I’d heard varying reactions to Show’s mockumentary, mock-interview style of storytelling, and I was curious to see how I’d take to it.
Long story short, I kinda-sorta liked it on first impression, but mostly for the analysis the episodes triggered post-watch, than for the watch experience itself.
I figured that Show was just taking a while to get settled, and that I’d grow to enjoy the watch experience itself more as Show found its feet, but.. I didn’t.
At this point of my watch, which is 6 episodes in, I realize that I just don’t like this one enough to keep on keeping on, unfortunately.
STUFF I LIKED
1. The post-episode analysis.
Like I mentioned earlier, I do find the idea of people reflecting on their love lives from a distance quite interesting.
That’s the kind of thing I can empathize with, that’s also the kind of thing that I find thought-provoking.
For example, it makes sense to me that both Jae Won (Ji Chang Wook) and Eun Oh (Kim Ji Won) would have been different versions of themselves while on vacation.
It’s interesting to me, to compare the Jae Won from the flashbacks, to the one in the present day, because he’s so prim and proper and polished in his office setting, but so cheerful and carefree in the flashbacks.
It makes me wonder which of these is his truer self, and by extension, it makes me wonder how much of the people we see around us, is of their truer self.
2. The happier beach flashbacks.
I saw that some viewers commented that they didn’t like how this beach romance arc vibes more westernized than the average kdrama.
While the beach romance arguably does feel like a westernized sort of fantasy, I rather like the way Show shows us these flashbacks, and then has our mockumentary participants comment on it as if they’re in the same room having a conversation.
That brings the perspective back to Korean values and society, and the tone that we get, is something that’s quintessentially Korean, but still rather frank and no holds barred.
Also, most importantly for me, both Jae Won and Eun Oh are happy in the beach flashback scenes, and that made their beach scenes a lot more fun to watch.
3. Kim Min Suk looks surprisingly trim and fit.
On a completely shallow note, I was a little startled by how fit and healthy Kim Min Suk looks in this show.
Dang, he’s bulked up. Very nice, and I wholeheartedly approve, heh. He looks so cute in uniform, in the flashback in episode 6.
4. The backstory of Kyeong Jun and Rin Yi.
The arc for longtime couple Kyeong Jun and Rin Yi (Kim Min Suk and So Ju Yeon) is quite cute, at least as far as I’ve watched.
There’s a lot of bashful cuteness in the flashbacks that we get of their earlier relationship days, and I enjoyed those a lot.
5. The various cameos in the flashbacks.
I was very pleasantly surprised to see Park Jin Joo, Lee Sang Yoon and Lee Sang Woo appear in the beach flashback scenes.
I actually got more excited at their appearances, than at the main cast, oops.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
1. Both leads in the present timeline don’t seem very likable.
I hate to say it, but I did not find either Jae Won or Eun Ho very likable, in the present-day timeline.
Eun Oh’s mostly just studiously avoiding Jae Won and being evasive in the mock interviews, while Eun Oh is mostly quite grumpy, jaded, rather standoffish and a little bit caustic, in his mock interviews.
On a shallow note, I also realize that Ji Chang Wook’s grumpy face is not endearing to my eyes. Oops?
One of the things that I didn’t like so much about Eun Oh, is how she’s not shown to have any consideration for Jae Won’s feelings, whether she’s planning to ghost him upon his departure from Yang Yang, or whether she’s considering him with the benefit of distance and hindsight.
I mean, even after she’s had lots of time to think about things, she doesn’t seem all that sorry for what she did to him. I thought that was weird, and quite cold.
I felt that she should have come clean, back in Seoul, if only to give Jae Won some closure – and his cameras back.
The fact that she left him hanging, even after having had time to think, is not cool. The fact that she didn’t think he would mind her hanging on to his cameras, is not cool either.
Eun Oh saying she kept the cameras because she realized Jae Won’s related to Kyeong Jun is kinda understandable.. but honestly, she could have easily removed the film and sent him just the cameras via a courier service, along with a note.
That wouldn’t have been very hard to do, and yet, it never occurs to her to do it, because she’s too busy thinking about herself and her own feelings. I didn’t like that much at all.
2. Kang Geon’s connection with Seon Yeong.
I really did not like the way Seon Yeong (Han Ji Eun) treats Kang Geon (Ryu Kyung Soo).
E5. I really didn’t like how Seon Yeong forces Kang Geon to take off his jacket, sweater, shoes and socks in the middle of winter, leaving him to freeze on his way home.
I get that she must be angry with him, but this deprives him of the basic need to be protected from the winter cold, and that’s not cool.
It makes me think that, in this moment at least, she sees as less than human.
I don’t know if this was supposed to be funny; I didn’t find it funny. And I didn’t want him to have anything to do with her, henceforth.
3. It’s not very tight, for a short format show.
For a show that’s only 17 episodes of 30 minutes each, this show feels like it could be tighter.
For example, the scene in episode 4, with Jae Won and Kyeong Jun at the office with Jae Won’s dad felt like protracted filler to me, as did the card game in episode 6.
In a show that has so little screen time to begin with, why do we even need any filler?
4. Not a lot seems to happen.
Honestly, it felt like nothing much ever happened in this drama world.
After 6 episodes, I felt like all I’d been watching, was these people just talk to the camera and not much else. I felt bored.
I realized that even though Show’s episodes are only 30 minutes long, while watching each episode, I’d often be checking to see how much more I had left of the episode – not because I was sorry to finish it, but because I wanted it to be over faster. 😝
I also realized that among the various dramas I’m watching right now, I dragged my feet the most, when it came to this one. This is why it’s taken me literal weeks, just to watch 6 little 30-minute episodes.
And then when I did click ‘play’ on an episode, there I’d be again, checking the clock to see how many more minutes I had to go, before I finished it.
All not good signs.
After dragging my feet post-episode 6 for what feels like forever, I realize that I don’t actually care what happens to these characters.
I also realize that once I decided to write this Dropped post, I felt a lot happier, because I didn’t have to persuade myself to watch more episodes of this. 😆
..And this is why it’s Goodbye, Show.
I hope that the fans who love you, will love you extra for me, since I wasn’t able to. 😅
I couldnt watch it all. I love this guy especially in Empress Ki. He is shown to be a multi faceted actor. I just hated the plot. Once I saw what is love interest was about. I stopped watching. I have watched other bad movies he was in just because I love watching him on my screen. Hes such a sexy and handsome man. Im glad he has his own agency and hopefully will choose his roles more carefully❤
Everything ain’t for everybody.
Same as you, I gave up after the first few episodes and stopped watching it, I did not like the present life main characters.But today I decided: “oh well I should try finishing it, I have nothing to watch right now” and it was not so bad after all! And now I understand the characters a bit more, they were so unlikeable at first because they were heartbroken. I agree, why the hell would you keep the cameras, it is stealing, but probably a plot thing to have the police department involved (pretty funny how he came to complain to the police every time he was drunk). So yes i really liked the drama, but only after episode 6. But man, at first, it was way too slow and the main character was too whiny for me. So rating is 3/5 for me.
@Everyone – I have to apologize to this Show because I had two complaints (the last episode not focusing on the OTP and not seeing the OTP interact as a couple with the other characters). But my news feed today included a clip of the OTP on the roof joking with their friends. So now I must go back to the second to the last episode because I must’ve nodded out and snoozed through some scenes (or maybe the entire middle of the episode).
Well, I guess I have nothing to apologize for. I watched the last two episodes and the scene wasn’t there. So I tracked down the video that was in my news feed and apparently it was a scene from the earlier episode so it was Kim Ji-Won’s alternate “fake” ego being accepting of Jae won, not the reunited in Korea OTP.
Speaking of JCW, we’re about a quarter through Suspicious Partner and enjoying it!
@merij1 – I liked Suspicious Partner a lot. And I was mad at myself because I know I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if at the time, I could’ve let go of my “want everything to be Healer or give me more of Healer” attitude at the time.
We’re really enjoying it. We like all the characters, including the bad guy and the mean girls. You should watch it again!
@merij1 – 😆 I really should! Of course, I’ve always known that I will rewatch it at some point.
@merij1 – I’m also reminded of the promos that didn’t so Suspicious Partner justice to the point that I watched it reluctantly at first (only because of JCW) and it took quite a while for me to get into it.
We’re almost done with it. (Suspicious Partner). Only four half hour Eps to go!
I think it’s a very good show. The 1/2 hour format is interesting. It feels like every other episode was intended to be merged after broadcast, which is probably how Netflix would have presented it.
And so . . . it’s really hard not to avoid watching “just one more,” no matter how late it’s gotten at night.
And yet . . . two episodes feels like way more than one hour.
My only complaint is that it leans heavy on the DON’T SHARE INFORMATION!! trope. (“It would upset her to know this man she asked me to defend is the real serial killer, so I won’t tell her, even though he keeps persuading her to join him alone in isolated locations. Because I need to protect her from feeling bad.”)
Sheesh. So infantilizing.
But without question, JCW appears in full color. Not as a kickass Healer superhero**, as you noted, but equally as charismatic and otherwise wonderful across the board.
** Given how The K-2 worked out, I’ll settle for that any day of the week.
@merij1 – The half hour format was an experiment that I’m so glad they seem to have done away with now. Before they tried the half hour format, I had noticed Korean dramas had very odd start times. They never started on the hour nor on the half hour (nor even on the quarter hour). It would be something like starts at 8:06pm and run until some similar weird time. Then I read that the times were because ads would run before /after a show for 15-20 minutes at a time. I was like “That would be great! I could squeeze in my household chores in that timeframe if all shows here were like that!” But I wondered how the advertisers sold anything. I know I certainly wouldn’t sit and watch 15 minutes of ads. So then they switched to breaking up an approximate 60 minute show into 2 thirty-minute shows and that meant instead of 2 shows a week, we got four. I still don’t understand how they ran the ads around those 30 minutes since we don’t see the ads through streaming. But I hated how a 16-episode show seemed much longer when trying to choose what to watch and seeing 32 episodes and mistakenly thinking it was a long show.
As to The K2, I thought you liked it somewhat? The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to appreciate some things (besides JCW’s nekkid scenes 😉) and I think I’ll rewatch (the entire show) at some point.
I did like the K-2! But for the wrong reasons, as it turned out. I was ‘shipping him and the wonderful villain played by Song Yoon-ah.
What I meant is only that The K-2 was not considered successful by many people, despite JCW reprising his Healer persona.
Whereas Suspicious Partner was excellent, other than a few of the usual annoying tropes.
Oh Gosh .. This is a confirmation of my deep unease and ‘disinterest’ in going ahead to watch the show now that it has been canned.
Drama started in Dec I think and I was planning to view it at some point, but ONLY after it canned, am an incorrigible binge watcher ;-p SO if I am hooked I cant stop .. 16 hours straight on with just meal and toilet breaks :-O
One chief reason was a dropping off of the attraction towards watching JCW – I cant believe I am saying this .. I never thought it could happen .. He just seems to have lost his edge!! The roles he’s been picking merge one into the other .. you could pick him from one show (recent times) and drop him into other and you wouldn’t really notice. The acting range is pale and low effort sort.
He seems to have bloomed and found a niche in his YouTube Channel live shorts .. and will possibly do VERY well in a studio TV reality show from now on – IMO .. so it seems to me .. than any challenging role that requires a tough act!!
Although K2 was a show I absolutely disliked (because of the pallid whimpering character of the Female Lead) it was the last show where I thought he turned in a solid act (except for the out of character scenes he had with the FL).
I saw a few clips of LS – not intentionally – the Net is popping them in your face from all over SM sites IG etc and my interest dropped further .. Nothing in those clips that made him stand out .. very soul less turn .. his limited palette on view.
SIGH!! I am debating if I should watch at all and have my previous “charmed” memory of him intact .. or dive in and be done with it.
A TOTALLY different turn around is that of Song Joong Ki though!!!!
WHOA BOY!!! He’s bloomed!! If you saw Episode 1 of VINCENZO .. PHEW!!! AWESOME!
Am waiting for it to can .. Yippee .. End March then.
I hope you’ll watch it to KFanGirl ;-p
I know I’m biased, because I actually enjoyed this show, but I really think Ji Chang Wook delivered his best performance to date in Lovestruck in the City… He’s much more adult-like and subtle than in previous performances of his that I loved, like those in empress ki and healer. This show is not for everyone, so I’d only recommend it with the caveats myself and others have stated in this message section.
I have started watching Vincenzo and I can see song joong ki is in top form… 😍. I’m not very taken with the humour in the show just yet though. t’s a big too loud and try-hard. I can also feel that the tone is a bit all over the place. On the plus side Joong ki’s Italian accent is pretty decent, although he should have been given shorter sentences to maintain the deception that he’s a fluent native speaker… his language flow needed a bit of work. But hey, it’s early days and the show may not demand him to have any more conversations with Italian speakers. His character seems intriguing and Joong ki’s gorgeousness completely fills the screen, so I’m in! 😜
Hi Gloglo –
I watched Vincenzo without reading any articles about it, and I was completely surprised by the direction it took. As a young child Italian, was spoken in my family. Joong-ki’s Italian is decent. I had to laugh at the Netflix translation at E1 at the 1:17 mark as ‘Get Lost’ is not even close to what he actually said 😅🤣😂. All that was missing was the hand gesture. I really appreciate that 1:Song Joong-ki was really speaking Italian (flow was much better when he is mad) and 2: that there were actual Italians in E1 who could act. As for the rest, I like the crazy but that is my personal preference. I do not know if others will like it as well. If you like Fiery Priest you will like this. Already love the tenants.
Hi phl1rxd, nice to meet you!
I’m still waiting for Vincenzo to settle, but I’m with you: I love the tenants and see that there is a lot of potential there for good humour and interesting regular folk story. I do like quirky humour too so I’m hoping this show comes with good laughing material. It’s still early days… I can see that Joong ki has a comic flare and I’m excited to see him showing it. Seeing Vincenzo so easily fooled by those thieves the moment he lands in Korea, straight after being a total bad ass in Italy, was unexpected and fun… roll on episode 2!
Listening to Joong-Ki speaking Italian I could not help thinking that he would deliver a very good Spanish accent (I’m Spanish myself)… The intonation in Spanish is not as marked as in Italian and I’d say it is much easier for foreign speakers to imitate.
And yes, the Italian actors were very good. I’ve noticed that in shows like Memories of the Alhambra, the K2 and Legends of the Blue Sea the Spanish actors were also pretty decent. I’d say the actors in these dramas were hired in the country where they were filming, so probably only professionals applied for those parts.
Hmmm .. I am curious now on reading your feedback on JCW!!
I am going to give it a looksie at the first opportunity.
SPOILER ALERT (for those who haven’t yet seen the 1st episode)
I agree with you about the Humour being ‘loud’ and the “gallery walk of introduction” to what I guess will be the ‘ensemble cast” was somewhat clunky .. Am not yet attracted to the Female Lead .. she is not standing out as someone who will ultimately be able to match Song Joong Ki’s magnetism!
BUT as you said .. at the moment Joongki’s looming presence is very seductive and parts of the show were spectacular – the opening sequence until he boards the cab for example.
Then there are sequences in which the humour is brilliant :
– pigeon on ledge
– shower sputtering
– the disowning daughter legal notice ;-D
– the gold vault and the priest seated on it
The script seems VERY strong! The direction is uneven .. taut at times .. lax at others.
But I am in it for Joongki .. I hope the script doesn’t fall flat .. and I hope the FL gets some true “oomph” and ignites some chemistry later on.
Wow, I really agree with so much of what you wrote here.
I wasn’t ever very interested in DotS, or the ACs, so really, the only thing I’d ever seen Song Joong Ki in was Sungkyunkwan Scandal, in which I loved his character and his bromance with Yoo Ah-in’s character, which was so charming that I’m very comfortable assuming the two characters ended up in a romantic relationship, which lasted the rest of their lives, even though both may have done their filial duty and married to produce grandsons for their parents! But I’ve never found SJK particularly sexy. He’s always been too soft and boyish looking for me, and blended in with all the other actors who I recognize but didn’t have much interest in. Until, that is, Vincenzo. WOW. What a fantastic role for him. He looks fantastic, he’s sexy as hell, and he’s just killing it in the role. After getting over my initial disappointment when the first episode went from fabulous, dark and thrilling, to the intro of the rest of the cast being campy comedy, I adjusted my expectations and kept watching, and wow – do I ever love this show. I got busy and had to put it on hold, and just resumed it this week. On episode 7 and I love SJK, the FL, the side characters, and pretty much everything about it, except I do think it’s a flaw that the villain is so OTT. And I really don’t care for the Korean-to-English rants he goes on. Everyone knows the singer/actor lived in the states for years, so I don’t need his ability to speak English shoved in my face. I also just can’t stand that kind of OTT “acting.” It’s distracting to me. OTH, the soundtrack is fabulous – all those gorgeous arias, and when Vincenzo is quoting the lyrics as the music swells in the background, he is just swoon worthy. I love the character.
As for Lovestruck in the City, well, it’s JCW, so I wasn’t interested. I find it hard to believe that 2 years ago, after watching Healer, I tried to find everything he’d been in, just to look at his face. He was in the military when I discovered Kdramas, so I had a few to watch. Loved Healer (although I prefer City Hunter for the father son story, the more complex plot, and the bromance and parallel father/son story with the prosecutor), and I liked JCW in Suspicious Partner, but was just totally grossed out by the FL character, and her nastiness. Not bathing – until she smelled bad and had greasy hair – was just disgusting. I don’t care for the actress to start with, so I just watched for JCW and the adorable, very lovable second ML. The second FL was also flat and annoying,. The actor who played the bad guy was fantastic, though, Probably the best actor in the drama. Loved the investigator, too. Get rid of the female characters, and it would have been one of my favorite fun dramas to watch. I saved K2 for last, and what a complete,ridiculous mess that was. The insipid FL was a joke, and had zero chemistry on screen at any time, including with JCW. OTOH, they totally wasted the sizzling chemistry with the step-mother, which – if that had been the relationship – would have probably made this one of my favorite “romance” dramas (and I usually hate noona romances!). But instead, it’s a drama I will never watch again, although there is a YouTube video of the scenes with him and the stepmother that i’ve watched several times!.
Since his return from military duty, it’s been one flop after the other, and I noticed that after not even being able to get beyond the first episode of MMS, I lost interest in JCW. I don’t know what happened, but when he came back, he has no spark on screen for me. I don’t think his acting is that interesting, and he doesn’t take my breath away when I see photos or videos of him. His dramas have been poorly chosen, and after he defended that trashy, racist BS webtoon drama, I was done with him for good. I have no interest in seeing him in anything. And his new drama is one I’m not interested in either. It sounds so so, but I don’t want to watch him, and sorry, but HYI is too old to be playing another high school student. He already looked too old for his role in True Beauty.
I read an interview with JCW after K2, in which he was talking about how he was tired of doing action films because they were hard, and I read another interview in which he said it was hard to stay in shape for the entire drama, so when he did K2, he asked the director to do the naked shower scene right away, basically so he didn’t have to stay in top shape for too long. So that was the very first scene that was filmed for the entire drama – a locker room full of naked guys with great bodies, who are fighting. Ha! But i can’t stand lazy actors, and I think it shows in their performances. I think JCW doesn’t want to work too hard. And I can’t help compare that to the actors who impress me. They read the novel the drama is based on. they read biographies of the famous or historical person they are going to play. They learn a language, take classes in performing arts, learn a craft, etc, in order to make their character more authentic, more believable. (Just as a current example, Song Kang immersed himself in ballet lessons for 6 months before filming for Navillera began, and his performance is flawless! I know they are almost certainly using a professional dancer as a body double for some of the harder moves, like the grand jetés, but SK is really convincing in the step sequences and body positions in the scenes where you know it’s him dancing. I am so impressed. He is just perfect in the role. And what a beautiful drama!)
whoa .. it was scary reading your comment XD
It was like my doppelgänger wrote in Xp
SO much of what you said about JCW was a dead ringer for me.
(BTW: “Dead Ringer” is a BRILLIANT, CLASSY film with Jeremy Irons that you MUST watch if you haven’t already. It’s a 1988 David Cronenberg film.)
I am SO off JCW for EXACTLY the reasons you cited. Yup he’s kind of sashayed off into insignificant roles and is “hamming” his way in and out of shows since returning from military duty. Of course that’s his choice and he seems happy doing his YouTube Channel playing “boy next door cutesies” still ..
Roles that are FAR better played by a current crop of talented boys in their twenties – Park Bo Gum will blow you away with his versatility and talent in dealing such complex roles!! And there is Seo Kang Jun.
Am so bang on with you on Suspicious Partner. The gal (FL) gave me heebeejeebs and I DROPPED the show ..
I did watch MMS though .. as well as Backstreet Rookie. I think I was still under the charm and sailed through .. recently Backstreet Rookie has come on Viki in our region and I was shocked that I withstood that show a year back.
Anyway I have since been enjoying some solid actors who are just superb in a variety of shows without coming across as “ham-mers”.
Jung Kyong Ho (Heartless City / Smile You)
Eric Mun (Another Miss Oh Young)
Lee Sang Yoon (V.I.P. / My Daughter Seo Young and so many more)
Lee Jun Ho (Wok of Love / Just Between Lovers)
Lee Jin Wook (Nine Times: Time Travels / Goodbye Mr Black)
Oh ABOUT Song Joong Ki .. YOU MUST watch Innocent Man (aka A Nice Guy). LOVED the show AND the complex role he portrayed.
Also do watch his “Werewolf Boy” just class.
However I also must confess – ultimately Vincenzo left me exasperated and I DROPPED the show. Dragged on mainly for Song Joong Ki superlative presence and acting until Episode 12 almost .. then gave up.
Didn’t go where I’d hoped it’d go.
I LOVE Taecyeon though – his role was SO MANGLED up in this show, I felt awful for him trying to salvage it.
He’s a talented actor devoted to giving his best I felt.
2:00 pm is an awesome TEAM!!
Loved him in Dream High.
Nice reading you Vespertyne29 <3
A week and 1 &1/2 shows later, here’s my take on the tradeoffs of aspiring to be innovative (and partly failing) vs. going with a tried & true formula.
Following Lovestruck, we watched the BBC’s 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austin). Since then we’ve started the formulaic K-rom Touch Your Heart [Reach Of Sincerity].
Sense and Sensibility reminded me how fulfilling it is to re-experience a classic story with consequential characters. By comparison, Touch Your Heart is merely OK, although steadily improving as the side stories emerge. Thus far, at least, it’s a paint-by-numbers romance script, tugging on all the usual strings we know will work.
Whereas Lovestruck in the City attempted a few things I haven’t see before.
Clearly they failed in several respects, in particular the slow pacing in the first half and the risk of presenting an OTP that felt fake . . . until eventually it wasn’t. To be fair, some of the pacing errors might have to do with the unanticipated adjustments needed to film the show last fall during the 2nd wave of the COVID pandemic.
But let’s just say they risked swinging for the bleachers (baseball analogy) and fell short.
Should that change how we judge the show? I think for most people, the answer is no. The result is what matters. But for me, seeing someone take a chance adds an element that matters, even when they fail.
Lovestruck was ok. We actually ended up liking it a lot, but it is certainly not a classic. Even so, I admire their effort.
Be Melodramatic is perhaps a better example of what I’m asking myself. That show was quirky/creative in so many ways. Again, not all of it worked. But the end result was an innovative classic worth savoring and re-watching over the years.
And yet . . . it bombed in the ratings.
You know I picked up this show because JCW was playing an architect, and I was so glad to see a pretty accurately stereotyped portrayal. They definitely got a few things right from the career-switch beach vacay, to the black turtlenecks, to his minimalist home-decor, to his sleep-deprived exasperation and the alcohol induced haggardness.🙈 Can’t say I haven’t seen a few of my known ones go through same shizz as him. 🤦♀️
The mockumentary style was… interesting? I had this cloying need to kimchi-slap some sense into these characters through my tv screen at some point, but obviously I couldn’t and that left me frustrated.😒 All of them are problematic, and very real to a certain extent; kinda like a set of my friends, but I also know they aren’t, in reality. 😅This made it extremely difficult for me to root for any of them individually or as a couple, and sit through all the their bickering and complaining… because I’m not invested in their lives.😬 Like somebody said, not a lot happened in this show….
I wasn’t a fan of how Eun-oh’s character is treated in the initial half as a manic pixie dream girl: seen exclusively from the guy’s POV, and also being a fake persona and all.🙄 The trope gets deconstructed eventually, where Eun-Oh is fleshed out in the end. The deconstruction itself arrives too late for me to be invested in or connected to her. I understand her, sure, but that’s about it. The precious minutes we spend viewing Eun-Oh through Jae-Won’s lens could have been more fruitfully spent to establish a real connection between the viewers and Eun-Oh as a character and her story.
Anyway, I will admit I started and kept watching JUST to stare at JCW’s pretty face. I would have dropped it much earlier, had it not been for him. Story-wise it’s nothing revolutionary or earth-shattering, just meh.
What I thought the story did nicely, was a secondary aspect of the show anyway– I liked how EVERY character behaved differently in different settings, and that’s how people are IRL. Yes, folks like EO can go off the deep-end, and may spiral into an identity crisis, but if you think about it, even the ‘fake’ bits are very real parts of US.🙈💔 The OST was definitely a bonus!😎 Also, LSITC made me incredibly jealous of S. Koreans, who know if they hit up a vacation-romance, they WILL be meeting the person back in Seoul….must be so comforting to know that!😍
Yeah, I don’t know if I’d have liked it as much if not for JCW’s beautiful face😍😀
I was disappointed with Lovestruck in the City too. I had high expectations for this one because it was directed by Park Shin-Woo, who also directed It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, which I enjoyed so much. I also like Ji Chang Wook and Kim Ji Won a lot. I was REALLY looking forward to this drama but it just fell flat. I was intrigued by the mockumentary format and it felt fresh and promising at first. But I found the characters to be annoying. Ji Chang Wook’s character was pathetic and clingy. Kim Ji Won’s character was selfish and frustrating. The side characters are okay but nothing memorable. They added a bonus episode at the end that focused on another character in the drama that just made no sense to me. Why would they add a bonus episode focusing on a character that we have no connection with when they should have used that episode to give our main leads a stronger ending. It just made me mad watching the 17th episode and felt so unsatisfying. I made it to the end mostly because I kept telling myself it will get better but it never did for me. Bummer.
I just finished watching this show and loved it so much! It did slow down a bit around episodes 5,6. But I loved every minute of it. IMO, it had the perfect dream lover in JCW’s character. Every woman’s fantasy! Previously, my ideal was Captain Ri from CLOY. But our Jae Won is pretty close. If you like heart felt romances, you should stay with it! It’s worth it. Not to mention, how absolutely delicious JCW looks😄
We ended up liking this a lot! My wife considered dropping it early on but was highly satisfied by the end.
However, if you do watch it, consider the following viewing adjustments to maximize your enjoyment:
The main story is only 8 hours long, spread over sixteen 1/2 hour episodes. (The 17th episode is a bonus or epilogue, focused on a minor character from earlier in the show.) You’d think that would mean each episode was tightly edited, but it actually starts slow and only picks up speed later on.
The ML and FL jump straight into a romantic relationship, instead of working up to it, and yet you don’t experience the usual feels for them as a couple. This is the point. The organic build to a truer version of the OTP is what the show is about.
It uses a faux documentary setup where each character hears selected clips of what the other ones have said to the camera. At first it seems like the entire show will be handled this way — other than us seeing the memories they refer to — but then the characters start interacting in person with only an occasional spoken aside to the camera. Lens adjustment: don’t waste your time trying to figure out the logic of how this works, — e.g., the timing. It’s not important. Just let it flow over you.
As Gloglo points out, most of the characters’ representations of themselves to the documentary camera should not taken at face value. Figuring out who they really are is part of the journey.
If you came for Ji Chang Wook, be forewarned that he’s heartbroken and grumpy throughout the middle stretch. Def not his confident Healer persona. Such a great smile, though, when he gets past all that!
We weren’t familiar with the lead actress (Kim Ji-won) and were underwhelmed by her at first. Turns out that was part of the script. She really grew on us and we’ll absolutely be looking for other shows to watch her in.
Again, know that each of the primary story arcs concludes with Ep 16. The 17th is a bonus add-on focused on a different character.
Bottom line: I wouldn’t advise scriptwriters assume viewers will stick with a show that starts this slowly. But we were very glad we did.
Merij1, to me Kim JiWon will always be Choi Aera. If you haven’t watched Fight for my way, I recommend it (co-star, Park SeoJoon).
@Natalia Fight My Way. Yesss! And @merij1 she’s also a member of the second lead couple in DOTS. 😉
I dropped it too even though I wanted to like it because I have liked the leads in other dramas. I couldnt get myself be interested in any of the characters.
Thanks for your Dropped review! Spot on as always. Not overly critical or generous. I really wanted to like it and I did watch it all the way through but I found the leads to be very unlikeable, from Jae Won’s unrealistic expectations to Eun Oh’s utter lack of empathy. The bond between the three friends who had been together since childhood was very well done, however. I would have liked that bond to anchor all the episodes and have the romance stories revolve around the three.
I would’ve been okay with the format except, as you say about the non-tight writing, Kfangurl – there were times when it just made no logical sense – times when a character could not possibly have certain information as they went back and forth. It was no fun watching JCW moan and gripe (although righteously) the first two-thirds of the show but his character did become easier to watch once he felt some closure (explanation from Kim Ji-Won’s character.) But the worst – and I mean THE WORST – is the entire last episode focuses on a barely-there-for-most-of-the-show side character (Minho from Shinee) and a heretofore unknown character. WTH? Unforgiveable! I watched because I liked the actors and you don’t even end the show/season with them?!!!! Even if there is a second season there’s no excuse for the last episode of this season to barely feature the six main characters.
I agree, Beez, about the introduction of random new character – and even the sudden job Eun Oh had with the film people. Did I miss something? I don’t blame kfangurl for stopping watching but I saw it through, just because I cared about them all because I’m stupid like that. And I think at least the show tried doing something a bit different, even if not entirely successfully.
Remember that one of her marketing ideas was the making of a video. We see her talking about it on the phone in one of the latter episodes. Euno is frequently shown working very hard creating unique ideas. This is to show us how she’s dealing with her identity hung-ups.
@Ele Nash – Yup.It’s not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed that episode if it were in the middle or from a show of its own, but to serve as the finale?????
Hi Beez! Longtime no see!
We’ve still got 4 episodes to go on Lovestruck, but one of the things I like about it is that they’ve got interesting actors playing bit parts. Like that lovely couple at the beach. I’m always happy to see Park Jin-joo (ramyeon shack owner, Ra Ra) in anything.
Anyhow, I had to look up who Minho is, but assuming that he plays the police officer who got stuck processing JCW’s drunk “she stole my cameras!” reports, each time he appeared I thought, yeah, I like that guy. It’s an odd way to end a show, however. So you think they’re teeing him up as the focus for a season two?
Despite all the things that didn’t work, we’ve ended up enjoying this one. I like quirky. But I would advise anyone starting the show to not waste effort trying to make the documentary/interview logic work. It doesn’t, but with a viewing lens adjustment, you don’t need to care about that.
I’m glad you ended up liking this show. I was starting to think I was completely batty being the only one in this thread that enjoyed it… your advice to adjust lenses is spot on. I would also recommend to anyone going near this drama not to start judging the characters and their actions straight away, not to take their “interview” bravado at face value, and to look out for those little hints of internal conflict in all characters, but particularly in Seona/Euno. I personally feel this show was written with the intention of subverting our viewing experience quite a bit. I would love to know people’s thoughts on this matter.
Gloglo, once we’ve watched episode 16, I’ll circle back on that. (Now that I know to think of Ep 17 as a bonus/epilogue, I’ll consider 16 the proper finale.)
Hi merij1 waves frantically 🤗
Yes, I like Min ho and was surprised to see him in a minor supporting role as he has branched out and done some films. But perhaps as you suggest, he’ll play a bigger part next season. I felt sorry for him if he truly has zero interest (he seemed to be put in an awkward position) in the little actress (and I felt sorry for her too because it seems as if he doesn’t).
As to Park Jin-joo. That is MY GIRL! I even subscribe to her YouTube channel just to catch her singing sometimes. Her voice is powerful and crystal clear! And apparently she’s very good friends with Park Min Young who guest stars frequently. (I’m adding the bit about PMY to encourage any of her fans to watch Jin joo’s YouTube channel. 😉) Park Jin joo was one of the actors that I mentioned in my Dear Kfangurl post about why isn’t she cast in lead roles because she always adds something special to every show she’s in.
Lol at this clip of her supporting role in Jealousy Incarnate during the closing credits https://youtu.be/xAqs7tXMLuQ
And here she is singing one of the Disney movie theme songs https://youtu.be/vR9cdOMbnJM
More on that. Per Wikipedia:
“The web series originally planned for 16 episodes was extended to 17 episodes to show the romance of police officer Oh Dong-sik played by Choi Min-ho.”
So Episode 17 was intended more as a bonus episode or epilogue than a finale. Which I take it was a fail in terms of them properly setting viewer expectations.
@merij1 – Ohhhhhh. Good to know. Thanks.
@merij1 – The wrap up still felt like a bit of a cheat to me. The entire reason for all the angst was Kim Ji won not wanting her friends to know. But we don’t get to see how they integrate JCW into the group once they know or, even better, how they, as a couple, deal with how she let him flounder and suffer all that time.
I still don’t get why she felt she couldn’t continue the relationship once she realized he was the one guy’s cousin. Was she embarrassed that she slept with him early (in S.K. terms) while on vacation? But what guy in their right mind would reveal that to her friends? As far as she knew, her friends didn’t even know about her ex-fiance’s cheating so I just don’t get what her issue was in the first place. I can’t accept the reason she gave that the person on vacation wasn’t really her because she had every intention of continuing the relationship until she realized that he had a connection to her friends.
No it wasn’t that. She was humiliated that she had been such a fool — in her mind — to allow herself to be exploited by the cheating ex-fiancé and didn’t want JCW to hear about it from his cousin.
After getting dumped, she fled to the beach, met that lovely couple, and decided to experiment with a more vibrant version of herself. Which is whom JCW first encountered. But she didn’t think that freer person was really herself. Whereas he and her friends believed or came to see that all versions of her were really her, just different variations on the theme.
When she realized JCW was the cousin of her friend, she chose to never see him again lest his memory of her be contaminated by the weak impression she had of her true self. It took her the rest of the show to gather the self-confidence to ask him to love her as is, flaws and all.
I’m not saying she was being rational, but that was her thinking.
Like magic the “like” button is back even though I was too lazy to do anything about trying to get it back.
Yeah. I did get all that from the show that she supposedly felt that way. It just doesn’t add up, especially if you found love with someone. In my opinion JCW was just a rebound fling for her and she should’ve at least returned his cameras.
He should have been a rebound affair, but he wasn’t. As for the cameras, she considered sending them back, but she was scared that her identity would be revealed by the return address on the package… although I personally believe she kept them because a part of her was selfishly clinging to him and his memory, as there is a video of him making a surf-board that she probably cannot part with.
Spot on about the last episode. So so bizarre. Who passed that episode off? Introducing a new character that nobody cares about with the dullest story ever.
Hi Beez – You were missed. I sent you a lot of happy thoughts. 🙆♀️🙋♀️🤗🎈🎀💖 Glad to see Miz B is back!
So Beez was gone for a while! I thought maybe it was just that I wasn’t reading the Chuno threads. Or that she didn’t like me any more! [sad face, now relieved]
Merij1 – I was right behind you reaching out for FG! 😆 Sometimes we just need a break 😎😎
Oh no, you guys! Life finally lined up where my son had time and the weather wasn’t so hot that we could hire movers and have them get my things out of storage that I’ve been whining and moaning about not having my things (it’s been going on 6 years!). It was a huge undertaking as when he moved us down here to Florida (out final stop), he put my stuff in the storage unit first and his and my daughter-in-law’s stuff went in after, making it impossible for me to get to my stuff! So meanwhile, I’ve re-purchased some of the stuff. (We’ve moved several times for his job and each time I’d buy new essentials because every time we moved, I’d pack up stuff that in the next move, I’d never get access too.) So now, when it comes to kitchen utensils and small appliances, I have 4 of everything! And 61 years of stuff to be unpacked, sorted through, and agonizing decisions of what I have to let go of because I don’t have the space I did in my old home. (Good thing I feel my old furniture doesn’t fit with sunny Florida’s decor so I’ll be keeping the new (cheapy) furniture and we tossed my beautiful old furniture.😢 ) I’m about two-thirds of the way done. sigh ☺ Boxes still everywhere although it’s dwindling down. Its slow gluing as some days I can’t do more than one box. It doesn’t help that my embroidery machine was unpacked and I spent a week trying to get it operational (thanks to a Windows10 update that rendered it operable and which Singer Sewing Machine Company isn’t even trying to create an update for the machine software because they no longer make this model. 😠 But after 5 days of trying to find/patch a work around, I finally went and bought an old clunker Windows XP laptop to connect to the embroidery machine and it’s running and I’m happily playing with it when I should still be unpacking!
There. So now you guys know my boring, lonnng, story of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Thanks, so much, for caring! That really makes me feel the warm fuzzies. ❤
My sister and her husband (and kids) worked for Shell and used to relocate regularly to other countries. Several years in Oman, England or the Netherlands. So her stuff always ended up in shipping containers that sometimes didn’t get unpacked after the latest move, not to mention them getting lost for months at a time.
I’m so glad you’re well.
For the record, it was Reaper525 who first worried about your absence. I waited a week or so after he brought it up before asking KFG to check in on you, as did phl1rxd. Reaper noticed that you never responded to my comment that JCW was appearing in a show that just started on Netflix (Lovestruck!) and figured that was out of character for you.
@merij1 – thanks for the info. But that means you weren’t first to miss me???!😠💩☺
I hate to admit it, but reaper wins that honor. I daresay a number of us noticed the sudden absence of your bright shining light, but I believe he was the first to mention it out loud. (heh heh, he was probably feeling guilty!)
Top comment here:
@merin1 – you KNOW that could NEVER be the case!
@merij1 – Although I must say that you might not see me around as often as I used to be (unless you’re watching a show that has Jang Hyuk, Yoo Ah in or Shin Hye sun. Oh! I almost forgot JCW!). I still can’t figure out how Kfangurl manages to watch and review so much nor how you guys also watch and still have time to check out the blog.
Thanks, so much, phl1rxd. It’s good to be back!
I have always enjoyed your writings, be it the reviews or the dramas you recommend and the like. So, thank you so much for doing what you are doing.
As regards “Lovestruck in the city”, I do have a personal bias, especially towards Kim Ji Won. I have loved watching her work especially since watching and re-watching (read obsessively :)) “Fight for my way”. Ji Chang Wook is good too but I confess I mainly stuck to the drama till the end only because of Kim Ji Won. It did seem tedious to watch it especially in the middle episodes till episode 11 or rather 12. But my loyalty towards KJW pulled me off to the other end and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.
I rewatched the drama once again and I could see the subtle plot points, the intricacies of Eun-oh’s inner turmoil as she consistently pretended that she was not affected. It is such a beautiful thing to see a K-Drama endorse the importance of self-love and self-acceptance as well as what it means to love and accept someone just as they are.
I loved that the drama does not have a happily-ever-after for all the couples. They are at different stages, as it happens in real life. All in all, not a winner but definitely a quirky and promising drama.
We’d never seen Kim Ji-won before this. Neither of us were not particularly taken with her in the early beach era episodes. (Although now I realize that makes sense, in terms of the plot.) But she sure has grown on us since.
We finished episode 13 last night. I think it got a lot better starting with 11, not 12. We had the same problems as everyone else at first, but we’re quite pleased with the show now.
@merij1 – Kim Ji won’s break out role was as part of the second lead couple in Descendants of the Sun. Something I keep nagging you to watch. And you know I don’t take recommending lightly. nonchalant whistling
Like you, I kept checking how many minutes were left and had to keep checking what episode I was on and being disappointed there were still so many episodes left… a good indicator that it just isn’t my cup of tea. I think my problem with this show lied in the fact that it is a character driven story as opposed to a plot driven story and I’m not really a fan of the characters, especially the leads. In order for me to appreciate a character oriented story I need to feel attached to the characters. However, like you said, I didn’t find the leads very likeable and I really didn’t care what happened to them. The whole show was based on romantic relationships and I wasn’t at all invested in them. Date, don’t date, get married, divorce, I just didn’t care how it played out so I decided to drop it.
I couldn’t get past episode 1. And I’m a JCW fan, after watching Healer, The Empress Ki and Backstreet Rookie. The format didn’t work for me; it just didn’t draw me in. Kudos on you hanging on as long as you did!
So I watched this through to the end (only because of lockdown and it was on bi weekly here) but many a time my mind just drifted off! It couldn’t hold my attention at all. There is car scene in the later episode where Ji Chang Wook is doing Ji Chang Wook things. Swoon😍 and I thought this is what it is missing.The other thought I had about his character was that if he was played by an FL I would have been irritated and would have urged her to move already! And to be honest that was the element that frustrated me more than his grumpiness.
I had a couple of other thoughts about the couples and the main couple but they are spolierish so I will refrain.
I definitely don’t think you are missing anything by dropping it. It doesn’t get worse but it also doesn’t get better.
I also watched some clips and was underwhelmed.
I don’t know what’s up with JCW these days. I still think Healer is his best drama work and he’s a fantastic emotional singer, with enormous clarity of diction, to boot. But in his last acting outings I always think he’s holding back, even when emoting. Prisoner of his own prettiness? Nothing moves in that perfect face anymore. I’m really disappointed.
And thanks for the Dropped post, kfangurl, another drama to give a miss.
I have seen all this drama (apart from episode 17 which is coming tomorrow) and I will say this: guys, keep on watching.
I liked the story from the get go, but I know that many, who didn’t enjoy the show at first, felt things coming together in later episodes and in a satisfying way: They ended up liking the show very much, so please don’t give up. This is a very good show with very important things to say.
The first thing to grapple with when coming to this show is the fragmented nature of the story. You are not going to have the characters’ intentions clear all the time, or are going to get the full picture at first. The show is doing this on purpose, demanding us to acknowledge and embrace the fact that, even when we don’t know the full story of someone we meet in real life, we normally give them them the benefit of the doubt… We need to work with what we are given in the first episodes, and this is where the actors and the clever writing truly excelled for me: Little nuggets of self awareness and vulnerability were sprinkled all over the episodes, making me root for these characters in spite of their bitter/callous/flippant/angry/etc behaviour.
The interview format is not aleatory: by displaying the characters’ candid attempts to keep face during these interviews, the drama is showing not only their vulnerabilities and endearing side but also asking the audience to withhold judgement about them, to trust these people and to believe that they are better than their actions, their frustrations and their momentary outbursts.
You dropped the show early, kfangirl, so probably you didn’t get to the part where the show slightly plays with our alliances. We feel sorry for Jeowon while Eunoh is being oddly cold There is indeed a reason for this which is revealed in later episodes, something subtle and profoundly relatable. Eunoh becomes a truly interesting character struggling with self-love and self-acceptance. Confronting Jeowon after a year avoiding him will be a big part of her process.
The story of Rini and kyung Yoon is another highlight of this show. Under the cuteness in their relationship there is a conflict consistently hinted at, rooted in their very different worldview. Also, the character of seon young will become clearer as the story moves forward, as she is also so much more fragile than what we originally thought.
What I also loved about this drama is how it tells the story of people in a city where identity is very much governed by professional success. Finding love in a place like this is not straight forward and simple, no matter how nice and willing city dwellers really are.
Thanks for those insights. We just finished Ep 9 and we do intend to finish the show.
My wife’s and my take thus far is that at least one thing happens every episode that we like a lot, and the characters have grown on us regularly. We also like the ensemble relationships.
For us the problem is the prolonged montage scenes that show how heartbroken the primary couple are. If we cared more about that couple, we would feel more and might enjoy those montages. But unlike most K-romance, this show jumps straight into them being a couple and then lingers on them no longer being a couple. So the emotional attachment for us was not organic. The initial romance felt more like a mechanical setup than true love that we buy into.
We just finished the episode where she hunts for the ring and then we see him hunting too. That was a nice touch!
Merij1, totally agree about not being attached to the couple at the start. I casually watched and wasn’t that I to it overall but stuck around. Things got a little better after finding out more is what happened in the past. There was a flashback that made me cry pretty bad. The finale was okay. Just felt like the overall show just meandered here and there.
It occurred to us that our initial lack of buy-in to the OTP might have been the writers’ intention, since the FL was pretending to be a different type of person then her normal self while on vacation. Causing that iteration of their relationship to be fake. (Unbeknownst to him.)
But even if so, it would be a huge expectation of the audience to stick around long enough to be there when it finally got real.
Regardless, we intend to do so!
I felt the same way! Nothing happened… I took a break and watched The Penthouse just to see SOMETHING happen in a show. I went back to it later but the payoff isnt even until the last couple of episodes. Just disappointed. I just want a show that adequately shows off Ji Chang Wook’s talents. Is that really too much to ask for?!
I made it to the end of ep 4. I also found myself checking how many minutes were left of the episode by episode 3. I enjoyed ep 1 quite a lot and then it went downhill. Also found the FL quite unlikeable and didn’t find the ML very interesting. Leads I can’t connect with are a deal breaker for me. I may got back and keep going but there are so many other good dramas out there that I’m not sure I could be bothered…
I haven’t watched this drama, but I have seen some clips, and it just doesn’t seem to interest me. This is one I will most likely be skipping.
I fell asleep midway episode one, and didn’t bother going back… after reading your review I’m glad I didn’t…
I bailed midway through Episode 1. It just didn’t grab me at all. At least now I don’t have to feel guilty for not going back!
Agree. I also dropped it after just a couple of episodes, I didn’t care for the FL nor the interviewing idea. There are better shows worth viewing.
I agree that it’s not as great as i want it to be. I only kept watching for the love of Ji Chang Wook. It actually became a bit more interesting from ep 13 and that’s a bit of a long wait for it to get better, so i totally feel you.
I totally agree the show picks up pace and heart only after episode 12. Since I’ve stuck with it so long, will hopefully finish it 😃
Hmmm, another drama I have tactfully avoided. The reality is though, it is not really my thing, normally. Some of your comments do reflect the wider feeling out there. Well, as far as the beach scenes go, and because I haven’t seen it – the beach as a haven is portrayed in some iconic “western” novels, movies and shows after all, and not so iconic ones at that 🤣 Well, I must stop procrastinating, but then again maybe I will just rearrange my calendar for today 😉
Hey Sean. Per my notes, you’re the one who recommended Beating Heart (Falling for Innocence) after I mentioned my attraction to Kim So-yeon. I’d never actually seen her in anything other than some noona Youtube clips from Mother of Mine. Thanks so much. We both like it much more than we had expected.
Her character — as written — was not particularly nuanced but there was still plenty to crush on, and he was just great.
Typo: s/b “Beating Again”
Hello Merij, I am so glad that you both enjoyed it! I am a big fan of both. You may want to sometime check him out with Jan Na Ra in One More Happy Ending.
We just finished Episode 6 also and have been on the verge of dropping it from the start. For now, we’re continuing, however. We actually liked it slightly better by the end of Ep 6. Maybe because Eun Ho (primary FL) turned out to be more complex than we had assumed.
It’s an odd format. I like creativity, so I’m all for trying something new. But as you said, there’s not much to latch onto, emotionally.
And, as you said, for a 30-min show there’s a lot I would have left on the editing room floor.
After we’re done, I’ll give you our final assessment, mostly spoiler-free!