I was expecting the big dramatic event that would force the rift between Jin-wook and Yoo-mi to be related to Dae-bok’s meddling. But surprisingly, that all gets resolved in a single scene. An exceptionally long scene where Dae-bok and Mi-hee somehow manage to have a big fight without either of them clearly explaining what exactly it is they’re fighting about. So yeah, that was pretty funny, although once the miscommunications are over with, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi proceed to spend the rest of the episode in dramatic angst.
It’s hard to get very excited about that, since the whole situation is so forced. Not literally- I’ve mentioned before that Jin-wook and Yoo-mi’s main flaws are that they’re very bad at communicating what they want directly. So it’s no surprise that Yoo-mi’s feelings are hurt very easily and Jin-wook, rather than realize that Yoo-mi is looking for reassurance, instead just retreats into trying to be technically right, which doesn’t work when Yoo-mi is sincerely mad at him.
So in context everything makes sense. The problem is that “My Secret Romance” is, as usual, totally on the rails in terms of romantic storytelling. The leads met cute, they had fun times together, now they’re at risk of being torn apart by their mutual bullheadishness, and eventually, they will sift past these differences to a happy ending. There’s no tension. The appeal here lies entirely on how much you can appreciate no frills chick lit.
And honestly, I can’t hate “My Secret Romance” too much for this, because the drama never really had pretensions of being much more than that. I do feel more comfortable being critical about the supporting cast, who remain heavily underutilized. I found it odd how Yoo-mi’s montage of all the good times she had with her co-workers basically consists of all the scenes she has ever had with them. Because really, there haven’t been that many and I can only even tell them apart through the most basic characteristics. There’s the older one, the sexy one, the man, and the uh….generic one?
Which is an odd way to put it since Yoo-mi herself is such a generic protagonist. Hye-ri is more distinctive, on account of how she works in broadcasting, is very emotional, and can be very mean at times. If Hye-ri wasn’t such an explicit jerk here I might actually feel sorry for her. Alas, her main role in the story is not to move her own story, but rather to set up a barrier to Jin-wook and Yoo-mi’s happiness.
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 10″
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