It’s been five years since Yoon Eun-Hye appeared in a Kdrama (the last one being Marry Him If You Dare) and three since I’ve seen Chun Jung-Myung play a romantic male lead (in Heart to Heart) so I was more than a little excited to watch them star opposite each other in this romantic comedy. Unfortunately, Fluttering Warning (aka Love Alert), based on the web novel Seolremjoouibo, was a tremendous disappointment for me.
Cha Woo-Hyun happens to be Yoon Yoo-Jung’s new dermatologist, but before he even gets the opportunity to treat her they accidently run into each other on a couple of occasions, never favorable ones.
Mega-star Yoon Yoo-Jung has been in a secret relationship with her co-star Hwan Jae-Min for 99 days. At a press conference for their new movie, just as she’s seconds away from announcing they are dating in real life, some reporter shouts the breaking news that actor Hwan Jae-Min has just become engaged to a rich businesswoman. Ouch! However, since she let the cat out of the bag that she is in love, she’s now pressured into finding a boyfriend before her fans and the press can accuse her of lying.
Meanwhile, confirmed bachelor Cha Woo-Hyun has been informed that, for family business reasons, he is expected to marry a woman he doesn’t even know. Since Yoo-Jung is in need of an immediate boyfriend and Woo-Hyun is trying to get out of an arranged marriage it is mutually beneficial for the two to fake a romantic relationship. But as fate would have it, fake can turn real when the right folks are involved.
Although the press bestowed upon her the nicknames “National Fairy” and “Queen of Romcom,” Yoon Yoo-Jung hasn’t had much luck in the romance department. Her relationships don’t last long – she dated a “good looking idol” for 30 days, a “hot-body actor” for 58 days, and a “younger top model” for 75 days. Yoo-Jung is a major shareholder and the face of the entertainment/management company she belongs to. As for family, her mother passed away when she was just eight years old and she has an estranged relationship with her father – hating him because he was out working at the time of her mother’s death. She adores her younger brother who was just released from his mandatory military assignment.
Thirty-two year old Dermatologist Cha Woo-Hyun graduated from Seoul National University Medical School and did his residency at a hospital in the U.S., the best in the world for dermatology. Despite being a contracted doctor, he has a lot of VIP patients, many of which are stars. He also participates in medical volunteer work. After watching his mother go through husbands like they were something disposable, he has sworn off marriage and is much too busy to even date. Unbeknownst to the world, he is the illegitimate son of a very wealthy and prominent businessman.
Other important characters…
Sung Hoon is an actor and, like Yoo-Jung, a shareholder in their entertainment/management company. Although Yoo-Jung thinks of him as family, his feelings for her go far beyond that of brother.
CEO Han Jae-Kyung is the owner of the entertainment company that manages Yoon Yoo-Jung and Sung Hoon. Yoo-Jung refers to her as “Big Sister.”
Kang Hye-Joo is the Kang Hotel’s CEO. She sees Cha Woo-Hyun as her golden ticket to greater fortune and social status.
Cha Tae-Soo is Cha Woo-Hyun’s biological father, although the man has had nothing to do with him his whole life.
Na Hwa-Jung is Woo-Hyun’s mother. She simply wants the best for her son but although she has good intentions she often goes about them in a manipulative way.
Yoon Cheryl-Soo is a retired firefighter who now owns a little restaurant. He rescued Woo-Hyun from a fire when he was a little boy so Woo-Hyun refers to him as “Father.”
Hwan Jae-Min is the selfish actor who used Yoo-Jung to further his career. He was two-timing her while they were secretly dating.
Yoon Eun-Hye’s entertainment debut came at the young age of 15 when she replaced Lee Gail as a member of the girl group Baby V.O.X. in 1999. While still part of the group she was shot in the eye with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar in a water gun by an anti-fan which damaged her cornea. After six years with Baby V.O.X. she ended her involvement with the group and began working on a career as an actress. Her acting debut was playing an ordinary girl who marries into royalty in the extremely successful Kdrama Princess Hours which shot her to Hallyu Wave stardom. That same year she debuted on the silver screen with the movie The Legend of Seven Cutter, playing a teenage boxer. She went right back to TV after that movie and starred in The Vineyard Man for which she won the Best Actress award at the 2006 Grimae Awards. Her next character was a girl masquerading as a boy in the smash hit Kdrama Coffee Prince, opposite Gong Yoon. It was her acting in that show that won her the Best Actress award at the 44th Baeksang Arts Awards, beating out veteran actresses and becoming the youngest actress ever to receive that award! Two years later she was facing criticism, some saying her acting had “regressed,” for her role in My Fair Lady. She made her directorial debut with the short film The Knitting as a graduate student assignment at Chung-Ang University. She also won first place in the Chinese fashion design survival show Goddess Fashion. Now on to my opinion of this young woman who acted her way onto my favorite actresses list a long time ago – she was absolutely fantastic in Coffee Prince, extremely good in Princess Hours, perfectly lovable in Lie to Me, horribly obnoxious in Vineyard Man, but likable in My Fair Lady. Her performance in the gut-wrenchingly depressing drama Missing You was excellent and I liked her in the time travel drama Marry Him if You Dare. As for Fluttering Warning – her acting is very good but the show, as a whole, isn’t.
For some information on Chun Jung-Myung you can read my Heart to Heart review. I’ve decided he needs a place on my favorite actors list.
My biggest criticism of this show is the writing. With its two main stars (Chun Jung-Myung and Yoon Eun-Hye) Fluttering Warning had the potential to pull in a huge audience but the writing just wasn’t good enough to make me or the South Korean viewers love the show. The ratings were close to rock bottom probably because even though the acting was fine, the characters lacked oomph and it’s the writer’s responsibility to make them something special.
Lie to Me (starring Yoon Eun-Hye) and Heart to Heart (which stars Chun Jung-Myung) are two romance Kdramas that are leaps and bounds better than Fluttering Warning. Chemistry between the characters (and ultimately the actor and actress) is a huge factor in determining how enjoyable a show is. If you read my Heart to Heart and Lie to Me reviews you’ll see that in both of them I mention the amazing chemistry the actor and actress have and how that chemistry is one of the reasons the show is so good. Fluttering Warning doesn’t have the same kind of slick writing those other two dramas have and I think that’s what squashed the yummy chemistry I was looking for. Another downside to Fluttering Warning, that Lie to Me and Heart to Heart don’t have, is the evil character hell-bent on causing the lovers as much pain as possible. The other shows are completely void of selfish monsters. So, here’s my opinion and you can take it for what it’s worth… I suggest you watch both Lie to Me and Heart to Heart first. Then watch Fluttering Warning and do your own comparison. When you’ve done that, I’d love for you to leave a comment stating whether or not you agreed with what I’ve written in this paragraph.
This story strongly emphasizes forgiveness. It has a warm and fuzzy ending although slightly unrealistic. Yes, it’s very important for us to learn to forgive others and put aside our differences but the way I see it, these folks are saints. I’m not sure I could have been as big a person and gone easy on someone who was doing their best to take away my freedom. And yet, with all the forgiveness going on we have Yoo-Jung who has held resentment and anger in her heart towards her father for something that was not his fault. I can see her feeling the way she did as a small child but I think her older self would have realized the error of her thinking and fixed her relationship with her father while still a teenager. That’s just my take on the subject.
Fluttering Warning has a few little “oops” but the two big ones that bothered me were at the end of the show. (I don’t think I’m leaking any sensitive information by bringing this up because one of the episode icons pictures this.) Woo-Hyun decides to creatively propose to Yoo-Jung. The problem is his slide show flashes a few photos that couldn’t possibly exist. Let me explain a bit better… there is a scene where Woo-Hyun and Yoo-Jung are talking in his apartment. No one else is there so no one could have taken a picture of them, but low and behold, there’s a photo in the slide show that shows that exact event. There’s others like that, too. Come on, Director, we saw the show. We know those photos couldn’t exist. Okay, the other problem is when Yoo-Jung flies off to America to make a movie. She’s supposed to be gone a half year, multiple people talk about her being gone for six months and the shooting schedule is just six months, but she leaves and the next thing we see are the words “one year later” at the bottom of the screen and characters are talking about how she’s been gone making that particular movie. Writing really needs to be consistent.
The soundtrack is okay. My favorite songs are Second Heart Fluttering and Step Back. Second Heart Fluttering is a feel good sort of sound performed by Sang Il and Hyung Seo. Their harmony is exquisite. Step Back is a lovely ballad sung by Jeon Sang-Geun. He begins softly and crescendos perfectly in just the right places. The man knows how to sing! Yoon Hyuk solos the song Still Beautiful. The verses are just his voice accompanied by a lone piano and then we hear chimes and other instruments join in for the chorus. So pretty. Eun Hee sings the song entitled Beautiful as Ever. My big problem with it was that it sounded way too familiar, just not unique enough. Could I Love Again, a ballad that features an acoustic guitar for the verses, is performed by Kim Jong-Min. It’s an okay song but was way overplayed.
This drama has some great backgrounds. There’s a charming little garden where Yoo-Jung’s mother’s tiny tree is located. We’re never told where that garden is, though. My guess?- it’s adjacent to Yoo-Jung’s house. There’s a scene in which Woo-Hyun and Yoo-Jung take a trip to the beach where they go four-wheeling and learn to surf. Oh, and Yoo-Jung has a great house, not expensively showy at all, which serves to make her seem more down to earth and on even footing with the average person. There’s a giant ring in her home, suspended by a cable, where she does a type of combined yoga/ballet sort of exercise. Yoon Eun-Hye definitely looked like she knew what she was doing, kind of like Ye Ji-Won doing her pole dancing and yoga in Should We Kiss First.
Anyone who likes Chun Jung-Myung Cha and/or Yoon Eun-Hye should make sure to see Fluttering Warning. Just don’t be expecting it to be their best and you probably won’t be as disappointed as I was.
I’ll leave you with the excellent advice CEO Han Jae-Kyung gives Yoon Yoo-Jung, “Live bravely and choose what makes you happy, okay?”
Yoon Eun-Hye and Chun Jung-Myung
A few minor “oops” and two major ones