I Hate You Juliet is a new (2019) webdrama that caught my interest when I read the synopsis – “… a top celebrity is suddenly able to hear a scriptwriter’s thoughts.” How could I pass up such a fun story? Sadly, it turned out the mind reading thing is only a very small part of this mediocre show.
While outside a fancy hotel, mega-star Cha Yool and student Goo Na-Ra literally run into each other. Na-Ra quickly apologizes and is dumbfounded when the man in front of her refuses to do the same. A battle of wits and words ensues and before they know it, both end up plunging into the nearby pool. While struggling to get out, Cha Yool discovers he is able to actually hear the young woman’s thoughts as clearly as if she were talking directly to his face. Confused and afraid, Yool jumps into his car and, as his driver speeds them away from the hotel, he tries to figure out what happened and why. At school Na-Ra and Yool once again bump into each other and, as before, he is able to hear what she’s thinking. Yool realizes the night at the pool wasn’t just a fluke and sets out to see if he can make his thought reading ability happen a third time. In order to accomplish his agenda he begins hanging around Na-Ra and that seems to bother Bong Joon-Mo, a kind and excellent student who has his eyes on Na-Ra and, as it turns out, he’s the man she has had a crush on since high school.
According to internet headlines, “Cha Yool, Takes Over Teens, 20s, 30s, With Hearts In His Eyes,” and Na-Ra claims, “He’s handsome for no good reason.” His mother is a famous screenwriter but that fact has been kept from the world, mostly because they have a very strained relationship. Ever since he was a young boy he has always felt like he has come second place to her work. Yool has just started school and is a freshman in the acting department.
Because Goo Na-Ra’s mother is an actress, in her eyes, it is vital for her daughter to have the best of the best. Na-Ra still lives at home and her mother seems to want to be in charge of every aspect of her life, telling her what to wear and who see. She’s thrilled to be at school as a Theater Production Major and also enjoys writing. For years she has had a crush on handsome Bong Joon-Mo and can’t believe he has now not only noticed her but has begun giving her some friendly attention.
Bong Joon-Mo isn’t just a thoughtful and considerate senior, he is also a very talented student in the Production Department, having been invited to the Pyeongchang International Student Film Festival. He read a script penned by Na-Ra and was very impressed with her writing abilities. He isn’t thrilled with the way Yool treats Na-Ra and often comes to her defense.
The man who plays super-star Cha Yool is not only an actor but a singer and songwriter as well. He began his entertainment career in 2002 as a child actor on the TV sitcom Magic Kid Masuri playing the title character’s friend. Because of his popularity in that show he was then featured in Kkangsooni and sang for that sitcom’s soundtrack. That gave him the desire to become a singer and in 2007 he debuted as the lead singer for the rock band F.T. Island. A year later he was offered the lead role in the Kdrama Master of Study but the drama was postponed due to production difficulties and he had to decline the part because of his busy schedule with the band. He broke into musical theater with the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, highlighting his singing, dancing, and acting skills. He took a five year break from acting and then accepted the role of Jeremy in You’re Beautiful for which he earned a New Star Award. He has sung on many show’s soundtracks including You’re Beautiful, Heartstrings, The Heirs, Modern Farmer, and Switch: Change the World to name just a few. He starred in a Japanese drama and one Korean-Japanese co-production. His major motion picture debut came in 2013 by way of the film Passionate Goodbye (aka Rockin’ on Heaven’s Door). In 2010 he won a Best Male Singer award and began his solo career five years later when he announced he would be working on both a Korean and Japanese album. He has composed several songs for FT Island’s albums and has written quite a few Japanese songs. In 2013 he won the InStyle Fashionista Award and one year later began Skullhong, his own fashion brand where he designs accessories, jewelry, and various nail products. As for schooling, Hong-Ki studied theater and film at Kyunghee University. I hope you didn’t miss seeing him play a lovable demon in the fantasy Kdrama Hwayugi.
Beautiful Goo Na-Ra comes to life thanks to actress/model Jung Hye-Sung. Her acting career kicked off with the 2012 Kdrama To the Beautiful You. Then, audiences really began to notice her talents through her supporting roles in the delicious historical romance drama Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and the business comedy drama Chief Kim. Her first leading role was as a detective in the 2017 Kdrama Oh, the Mysterious. This year (2019) she made her silver screen debut in the romance movie Mate.
I didn’t like the fact that the writer never bothers to explain why Yool is able to hear Na-Ra’s thoughts. We know he figures out the how behind it all but the writer never tells us the why. The fact that we never get to know why he gained this ability bothered me but not bad enough to ruin the story.
Sadly, Yool’s mind reading is not a main feature in the show. It just serves as a way to bring him and Na-Ra together. He’ll hear her think a few sentences and then it stops, and that only happens about five or six times throughout the 18 episodes. Personally, I would have enjoyed seeing lots more of the mind reading factor. There was such potential there. Too bad the writer didn’t utilize that element more often. It’s also funny that Na-Ra doesn’t even question Yool when he finally tells her what he is able to do. I would have grilled the guy – What am I thinking right now? When did you first become aware of it? What have you heard? Why didn’t you say something sooner? Does anyone else know? It just didn’t seem right that she didn’t make a bigger deal out of it. She pretty much acted like he told her what his favorite color was.
As for the romance part of the show, it gets off to a slow start but when it finally gets going it pops. Bong Joon-Mo is added to make a love triangle, someone that gives Yool a little competition in the romance department. The writer also adds another star to the plot, an actress that is also in the Acting Department at school and has a little crush on Yool, but she’s not a major threat to Na-Ra.
Maybe, like me, you’re wondering about the title – I Hate You Juliet. The opening credits show Na-Ra on a balcony, loving looking down on Yool, and he obviously likes her. That may be a little confusing because in the show it takes a while for Yool and Na-Ra to realize they like each other. At first there’s a lot of teasing and competition between the two so maybe that’s the “Hate” part of the title. As for Juliet, I have two guesses for that – first, Na-Ra’s mother treats her like royalty and second, there’s a feud going on between Yool’s mom and Na-Ra’s mother (Capulet vs. Montague). That’s all I could come up with. If you have any other ideas let me know.
I Hate You Juliet is an 18 episode show with each episode being just shy of 20 minutes long. There aren’t any evil plotting characters but there are some trials thrown into the mix (close to the end), trials that aid in some character growth. Unfortunately, the writing is quite shallow, only allowing us to know a tiny bit about the characters backgrounds, hopes, and dreams. For example, even after 18 episodes we know absolutely nothing about Yool’s father and only a few sentences about Na-Ra’s. The show would have been much more enjoyable if the writer had given the characters more depth.
One of this webdrama’s strong points is its soundtrack. I liked every single song. The cutesy song Strange is sung by Apink BnN while Elris sings Cotton Candy, a song that sounds just like its title suggests. One of the drama’s beautiful ballads, You’re My Star, is performed by Eunjung. Her voice is quite soothing yet also strong without overwhelming the music. It’s just right! IMFACT croons another lovely ballad entitled About Time. I love the rap in the middle of it. One of my favorite Kpop groups, ROMEO, sings Why? I think it’s the best of the bunch and, in my opinion, serves as the show’s theme song. Kind of clever to have ROMEO sing on a soundtrack for a drama with the name Juliet in the title.
Most of the show takes place at the university but the students go on an outing which serves as a way to give us a nice diverse background for a while.
If you don’t get your hopes up too high I think you’ll enjoy I Hate You Juliet a lot more than I did. Also, don’t expect the mind reading element to be the main plot. Unfortunately, this webdrama’s writing leaves a lot to be desired but, on the up side, the acting is quite good.
No evil people
Not a lot of mind reading going on