It turns out Yoo-mi has one impressive quality that Jin-wook is unlikely to find anywhere else. She’s good at apologizing. The irony, of course, is that Yoo-mi hasn’t done anything wrong in regards to Jin-wook or his relationships. All the same, at the slightest indication that she has made either Jin-wook or Hye-ri uncomfortable, Yoo-mi demurs. And of course, Jin-wook is left in an even worse mood than usual as a result.
I like the difficult position Jin-wook has been put in. His personality is naturally abrasive and he does stuff all the time that would actually justify a person demanding an apology out of him. So Yoo-mi’s ability to be so incredibly passive that it makes Jin-wook feel ridiculous is a good thing. She can make Jin-wook slow down for a minute and appreciate life, or at least the fact that other people are in it and trying to make a positive go of the experience just like he is.
Aside from these cute little meetings where Jin-wook and Yoo-mi act all romantic, the pacing in “My Secret Romance” is remarkably slow. The various subplots only just barely get around to the first (!) act here, as we see Woo-jin asking for a date, Mi-hee faintly exploring the possibility of getting back into acting, and Yeong-tae running into Hye-ri mostly because these characters have surprisingly little to do when they’re not interacting with the actual leads.
While slow pacing is not necessarily bad, it does give the pretty strong indication that none of these characters are going to get involved in stories particularly more complicated than what’s already happening. The lack of potential growth is disappointing. Thinly designed though they may be, all of the characters in “My Secret Romance” have at least a moderately interesting personality. They’re just lacking the zany comedic circumstances necessary for breakout moments.
“My Secret Romance” appears to be making an effort to be less about concept and more about trying to be generic and inoffensive. Even the whole one night stand element that started the drama off has been so downplayed and underdiscussed it might as well have not happened. Jin-wook and Yoo-mi know each other, they know that they’re radically different, yet also take comfort in knowing they can’t make each other all that mad. The sentiment is sweet- there’s just not much else going on there.
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 6″
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