Watch My Secret Romance and be a part of Kdrama history. I’m sure you’ve heard me comment several times on the fact that the OCN Network dramas I’ve seen have all been tense, gritty, heavy shows – Neighborhood Hero, Tunnel, Dr. Frost, Missing Noir M… the list goes on and on. Well, I can’t say that any more because My Secret Romance is the very first romance themed drama OCN has ever aired! Woo Hoo!
When Cha Dae-Bok discovers his son’s womanizing is available online for the whole world to see, he decides it’s time for the selfish, spoiled, rich boy to grow up so JinWook’s sent to work as a bell boy at one of his father’s resorts. The whole idea is distasteful to him and, to make matters worse, he has to make the trip on a bus with other people. On that bus he meets a girl and they run into each other several times at the resort – each occasion is under quite awkward circumstances. However, after sharing some personal feelings and a bottle of wine on the beach, the intoxicated strangers end up spending the night together in Jin-Wook’s car. When he wakes up the next morning the girl has vanished but his feelings for her haven’t.
Three years later, he spots her getting on an elevator in the building where he works. With the help of his secretary, he does a little detective work, finds out her name, and discovers she’s employed in the cafeteria there. He decides to use his position as a department director to force her to be his personal nutritionist. She is assigned to make, and bring, three special meals to his office each day. One day, while delivering some food, Yoo-Mi is shocked when she comes face to face with her one night stand from years ago. She nervously pretends to not recall the man or the encounter but Jin-Wook knows she remembers everything and he’s determined to get her to admit it.
Handsome Cha Jin-Wook is a second generation chaebol who’s only ambitions in life seem to be having fun and dating as many women as he can. However, the night he spends with Yoo-Mi brings about a huge change in the man. He throws himself into his work and the division he’s over begins to profit, big time. He has a strained relationship with his father and his mother left when he was a little boy.
Lee Yoo-Mi has lived all her life with the shame of being the daughter of an erotic movie actress. Because of that, she has stayed away from anything that may make her appear like she’s an “easy” woman. Her clothing is extremely modest and she keeps men at arm’s length. She has worked hard to become a nutritionist and is determined to do well at her new job.
Famous author and cafe’ owner, Jung Hyun-Tae, has been Yoo-Mi’s best friend since they were in high school. He lets her live over his cafe’ and is always there when she needs a shoulder to cry on. Hyun-Tae has loved Yoo-Mi ever since they were teenagers but the girl is completely oblivious to that fact.
Joo Hye-Ri is a popular TV personality who has had a crush on Jin-Wook for over a decade. She intends to marry him but can’t seem to get him to go along with the idea.
Thirty-four year old Sung Hoon, who plays Cha Jin-Wook, spent 14 years as a member of South Korea’s national swim team before he had to quit due to a spinal injury. He had never acted or even modeled before his debut in the Kdrama New Tales of Gisaeng in which he had a starring role and won a Best New Actor award. Now that’s impressive. His theatrical debut came in 2014 with the musical Summer Snow, and last year (2016) was his big screen debut in the motion picture Come Back to Busan Port. He’s been cast in several dramas but, before this one, I’d only seen him play a bad guy in Faith, an athlete in Oh, My Venus, and a cheabol in Noble, My Love. The man has a perfectly sculpted body which, I’m guessing, comes from his many years of swimming. Aside from being a good actor, a superb kisser, and a fine singer, Sung Hoon is also a DJ who goes by the name ROI. He has performed as a disc jockey in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
The character of Lee Yoo-Mi is played by Song Ji-Eun, better known as Jieun. Although she made her entertainment debut as part of the girl group Secret, she’s also a solo artist. Her song Going Crazy became her first number one single on the Gaon chart. She’s been in several Kdramas but the only other thing I’ve seen her in is the webdrama Immutable Law of First Love. As I watched My Secret Romance I kept thinking, Jieun looks like she could be Jang Na-Ra’s little sister! The resemblance is amazing.
My Secret Romance has been very well received. In fact, fans started an online petition to have a My Secret Romance season two made. Even though I enjoyed the drama I wouldn’t want a perfect ending to be ruined by a sequel. In my opinion, it’s great just the way it is.
So, this is my yea/nay paragraph. I’ll begin with the good stuff…
First off, there are lots of kisses in this drama and every one is superb. The make-out scene at the beginning of the show can easily be compared to the yummy scenes in the I Need Romance trilogy. Sung Hoon and Song Ji-Eun have excellent chemistry which makes those kisses even steamier. Second, it has some filming ideas I’d never seen before. One scene shows Jin-Wook driving and the camera is looking up at him through the steering wheel. There’s also a scene where Yoo-Mi walks into a crowded room at the resort and when Jin-Wook spies her the whole room gets dark (with just shadows of the other people there) and a spotlight is on Jin-Wook and Yoo-Mi. It’s like, to the lovers, there’s no one in the room but them. Romance at its best! Now for the stuff I didn’t like… There’s a lot of backing up at the beginning of each episode. One time I noticed over five minutes had past since I started the episode and they still hadn’t shown any new content. They also have a lot of flashbacks, especially the last two hours of the drama. I don’t mind flashbacks, in fact sometimes they are necessary to help us refresh our memories and clarify the character’s mindset, but when they take up too much time it borders on being redundant. Next, I have to mention the fake snow. It doesn’t even come remotely close to looking like the real stuff. They film too close to those flakes and it’s clearly obvious they are pieces of some kind of plastic. It lands in Yoo-Mi’s hair, she walks inside, talks with Hyun-Tae, and after some time the big pieces are still in her hair – they even shake when she moves. Wrong! Lastly, there’s the epilogues, which every episode has. They show a few scenes we just saw but give them a slight twist. We hear/read things the character was thinking at the time but weren’t shared during that particular scene. It’s not a horrible idea but, in my opinion, it’s just an enhanced flashback, and they were way too long. I saw no reason why the extra content of those epilogues couldn’t have been made part of the original scene.
The music is a definite home run! I loved every single song! My favorite is Same which is sung by Sung Hoon and Song Ji-Eun (Jin-Wook and Yoo-Mi). She sings the melody and his silky voice provides some delicate harmony. It’s just beautiful. You Are the World of Me is Sung Hoon’s toe-tappin’ solo song. Song For Love is quite nice and I enjoyed the fact it is sung in English.
The scenery is very, very nice. I was in awe of the beautiful, humongous resort owned by DaeBok. It sits right on the ocean and is especially lovely all lit up at night. The beach scenes are very pretty which add to the delicious romance, and the DaeBok building, where Jin-Wook and Yoo-Mi work, is large and classy. I really liked Jung Hyun-Tae’s bookstore and cafe’. It has a comfortable, charming feel to it. I wanted to go there, order a chai latte, and sit for an hour while reading a good book.
Even though My Secret Romance isn’t perfect, there’s a lot more positive than negative, overall. This is one love story that rightly deserves to have the word “romance” in its title. The 13 hours it took to watch it was, for the most part, very well spent. Come on… turn it on. Don’t you want to be a part of OCN Kdrama history?
The romance and kisses are first rate
Sung Hoon and Song Ji-Eun’s awesome chemistry
Great sexual tension between Jin-Wook and Yoo-Mi
Length – only 13 episodes
OCN’s first romantic comedy
Too much recapping at the beginning of each episode
Too much time spent on the epilogues
Too many flashbacks
Bad fake snow