In the year 2000, Hollywood released a movie entitled Return To Me in which a man falls in love with a woman who, without him being aware, is the recipient of his deceased wife’s heart. I saw the film and can’t say I was a fan. Three years later, South Korea aired the drama Summer Scent which seems to have gotten it’s plot from the Return To Me movie. I liked Korea’s “remake” better because it was much deeper, dramatic, and romantic than its American predecessor. However, this show ranks very, very low on my list of favorite Kdramas. What is the reason for it sinking so far down that list? The characters.
Summer Scent has an abundance of big Kdrama stars – Song Seung-Heon plays Lee Min-Woo, Sun Ye-Jin is Shim Hye-Won, Ryu Jin plays Park Jung-Jae, and Han Ji-Hye’s is Park Jung-Ah. The actors are very talented and I’ve enjoyed watching all four of them in many different dramas they’ve each been in. The problem was, in my opinion, there wasn’t much to like about any of the characters! If you don’t really like a character, you don’t care about their life. And if you don’t care about the lives of the people you’re watching it’s impossible to love the show. It wasn’t bad enough to turn off but I did find myself complaining A LOT about something a character would do or say. There just wasn’t enough positive traits about any of the characters to make me like them.
Shim Hye-Won is the heart recipient. Even though she’s sweet, she’s horribly wishy-washy. Her indecisiveness is what causes the conflict in the show. She puts her feelings on the back burner, trying to do what she thinks is the “right” thing, and that causes all kinds of misery for everyone involved. (My advice to Hye-Won? – Pressing charges on the person that kidnapped and attempted to rape you is a better decision than accepting his marriage proposal.)
Lee Min-Woo is way too weak. He loves Hye-Won but won’t act on it openly, causing frustration in the hearts of all four major players. (My advice to Min-Woo? – If you aren’t interested in someone who won’t take 10 different “NO”s for an answer, you ignore them. Change your locks, don’t answer the phone, walk away when they approach you. You just can’t be “friends” with someone who is insanely obsessed with you.)
Park Jung-Jae is a possessive, selfish, power freak. Not accepting the “Sorry, but no thank you” causes turmoil for everyone near him. (My advice to Jung-Jae? – There’s a huge difference between loving someone and thinking you own them. And blackmail is not only illegal, it’s also what evil cowards resort to.)
Park Jung-Ah refuses to accept reality and lives in her own little fantasy world. (My advice to Jung-Ah? – Wake up and smell the coffee! When someone says he thinks of you as a little sister, you don’t tell his mother your her future daughter-in-law! “I’m in love with someone else” means “move on”, dummy.)
Summer Scent is the third installment of the season-themed Endless Love Korean drama series. I really liked the other Endless Love dramas so I was kind of surprised that I didn’t enjoy this one more. I thought maybe it was because I saw it last. Were my expectations too high? Judging from the others in the series, I don’t think so. However, out of the four, this was my least favorite. It was also the one with the lowest ratings, with peak viewership only reaching 11.6% at its highest point, whereas it’s “sister” drama, Autumn in My Heart, got an amazingly high viewer rating of 46.1%. A staggering difference!
What this drama lacks in likable characters it almost makes up for in soundtrack and scenery.
The music is wonderful and varied. While the characters are in restaurants you can hear The Beatles, Don McLean, Gilbert O’Sullivan, and other popular artists from the 70s. Yiruma’s soul-stirring Kiss The Rain is played several times during the romantic moments, and the haunting melody of Schubert’s Serenade is the lovers’ theme song.
Summer Scent has more stunning scenery than any Kdrama I’ve seen. The storyline takes the characters all over beautiful South Korea. Places like a romantic moonlit lake, a tall bamboo grove, a small sparkling waterfall, fields and fields of rainbow-colored wild flowers, a lily covered pond, a green mountain forest, and the crystal blue ocean all become exquisite backdrops as the story unfolds. The one thing we don’t see is the big city. No skyscrapers, no traffic, very little pavement at all. The show is a viewer’s delight.
I hope you don’t think I’m trying to discourage you from watching Summer Scent. I’m glad I saw it. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss just one drama in a package of four. Just be cautious going into it. Realize the characters aren’t very wise and don’t expect it to be as good as the other season-themed dramas and you may enjoy it more than I did.
Breathtakingly beautiful scenery
Shallow, annoying characters