In a somewhat perplexing plot twist, right after the recap of the one night stand, there’s a three year time skip and all of a sudden Jin-wook and Yoo-mi seem like completely different characters. Far from being the playboy we last saw, Jin-wook is now taking his corporate responsibilities very seriously. Yoo-mi has picked herself emotionally and shows remarkable dexterity as a cafeteria chef. About the only commonality they have is their shared wistfulness about meeting that one special person from three years ago.
I don’t have any big complaints about this shift, it’s just I was sort of expecting Jin-wook and Yoo-mi to get to this point via on-screen character development. Which is perhaps part of the branding here. Where a classically styled love story feature the two leads changing each other, lately, it’s more fashionable for people to do it themselves, showcasing their independence. Love is not about growth, but just being about two cool people coming together and having fun.
…Which come to think of it, might be why romances these days seem so much less satisfying than they used to be. It’s easy to root for an attractive appealing couple to get together romantically. But for one or both of them to instead be successful in their career goals is decidedly less inspiring, and doesn’t really involve the same level of necessary chemistry. It’s why romances are so easy to fixate on even when they’re just subplots.
“My Secret Romance” itself has a good example of this. Jin-wook’s secretary/handler Woo-jin (played by Park Sin-woon) has exactly one flirty scene with Yoo-mi’s catty elder co-worker Bok-ja (played by Kim Si-yeong). And I already want them to get together because they have one important thing in common. They’re both very mean to the protagonists yet neither of them really qualifies as a villain. In fact, at times their assertiveness is quite charming.
A pity there isn’t so much chemistry in the actual central romance yet, although in all fairness, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi don’t have any actual screen time together, what with the premise still being set up and all. For now we just have to be satisfied with their efforts to act like mature adults. Which implodes somewhat, since Jin-wook, half elementary school age boy and half spurned lover, keeps coming up with elaborate ways to pester the object of his affections. Lucky for him Sung Hoon looks pretty good shirtless.
Review by William Schwartz
“My Secret Romance” is directed by Kang Cheol-woo, written by Kim Ha-na-I and Kim Yeong-woon and features Sung Hoon, Song Ji-eun, Kim Jae-young and Jeong Da-sol.
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Secret Romance” Episode 2″
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