Yippee! The long-awaited Love Alarm 2 is now a reality which means Jo-Jo has made a choice. Does she want Hwang Sun-Oh, Lee Hye-Young, or neither?
I remember watching the first season of Love Alarm, having no idea the drama had a cliffhanger ending. I got to the end of the eighth, and final episode (of season one) and thought, there’s no way I’m writing a review on something that isn’t finished yet. So, I patiently waited for news of a part two, and then impatiently waited once I heard a second season had been confirmed. Just so you know, because so much time had passed since I had viewed season one I decided to start the whole thing over so my review would be coming from a fresh mind.
A few years ago an app came on the market that changed the way people declared their love for one another. Love Alarm has a unique feature that will ring your phone if a person who loves you is within ten meters of you – and vise versa. Most people love the idea and have downloaded the app, anxious to discover who may be harboring amorous feelings for them. Some, however, think it will do more harm than good, and they just may prove that to be correct.
Lee Hye-Young had liked Kim Jo-Jo for quite some time but because she had a boyfriend, he had kept his feelings to himself, simply loving her from afar. Hwang Sun-Oh suspected Hye-Young (his best and only friend) was in love with Jo-Jo but decided to pursue her, after Hye-Young weakly insisted, several times, that he didn’t have feelings for her. Sun-Oh refused to let the fact that Jo-Jo was already in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship deter him from going after what he wanted and was quickly successful in winning her heart. The two had been a happy couple for a short while and were 100% committed to each other. But Jo-Jo came to feel that she and Sun-Oh shouldn’t be together and, to distance herself from him, decided to install a virtual “shield,” the only one like it in the world, on her Love Alarm which prevented her from ringing anyone else’s. Jo-Jo believed that the fact that she no longer would be able to ring Sun-Oh’s alarm would serve to convince him that they should break up. However, even after she ended their relationship Sun-Oh refused to accept the fact that Jo-Jo no longer loved him.
Time passed, and although Jo-Jo has now become close to Hye-Young she still harbors old feelings for Sun-Oh and in desperation to discover her true feelings for the young men, has decided she now wants the “shield” removed. However, the Love Alarm developer is the only one that can remove the shield and he has remained anonymous since the app’s launch. Jo-Jo is now worried she’ll never know which of the two men she sincerely loves since she’s incapable of ringing anyone’s Love Alarm.
When Kim Jo-Jo was a small girl her parents attempted a family suicide and she has always struggled with the feeling of guilt for being the lone survivor. With her parents dead, Jo-Jo went to live with her grandmother but when the dear, old woman became ill and was hospitalized, Jo-Jo was taken in by her maternal aunt and has lived with her and her daughter, Park Gil-Mi, ever since. Jo-Jo’s aunt is a single mother who resents the fact that she now has another mouth to feed so Jo-Jo works at her aunt’s tiny convenience store and a restaurant to pay off the debt her mother left behind, as well as her grandmother’s hospital bills.
Hwang Sun-Oh has lived a life of privilege ever since he was born. Because his mother is a famous movie star and his father is a top politician, Sun-Oh has had everything his little heart could desire – a huge mansion, a cook/housekeeper, a driver, an education abroad, a modeling career… but not love. Although his mother and father always considered him to be a bother, now that he’s grown they use him as a tool to push their careers along. Sun-Oh is gorgeous and every girl’s dream come true, so of course his Love Alarm rings incessantly everywhere he goes. Although Sun-Oh is pretty much a loner, there is one person who has always been on his side – his best friend – the cook/housekeeper’s son, Lee Hye-Young. He first notices Jo-Jo, because he observes Hye-Young watching her, and after confirming that his buddy isn’t interested in her, makes a move on the unsuspecting girl.
Lee Hye-Young grew up in the same mansion as Sun-Oh but his place was in the servants’ quarters. He never knew his father and was raised singlehandedly by his loving mother. Seeing her work so hard just served to make him love and respect her more. Hye-Young rides his bike to school, studies diligently, and works part-time at a barbecue restaurant (where Jo-Jo works) to help make ends meet. He has liked Jo-Jo for quite some time but hasn’t said anything about it to her because she already has a boyfriend, so he just adores her from afar. At a very young age, he recognized how horribly Sun-Oh was treated and decided he’d always be there for his friend. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to help Sun-Oh and he’s glad his buddy is back from the U.S.
Jo-Jo’s aunt, Ko Hyun-Sook, doesn’t have much and resents the fact that Jo-Jo came to live with her and her daughter, Park Gul-Mi. Because she paid off her sister’s debut, she makes Jo-Jo work in her convenience store to pay her back. She takes Gul-Mi’s side whenever there is a conflict between her and Jo-Jo, even if Gul-Mi is in the wrong. The woman always seems depressed and worn down.
Although you’d think cousins would be close and stick together, Park Gul-Mi detests Jo-Jo. She hates the fact that Jo-Jo is living there, sharing her room, and is constantly picking on her. Her goal is to be an idol trainee because she is desperate for fame and wealth. Gul-Mi is self-centered, money-hungry, and down-right mean.
Lee Yuk-Jo is a popular model who has her own clothing line and sells it through her successful online shopping mall. She met Sun-Oh when he was in the United States and they have been a couple for a while now. She is pretty, kind, respectful, and supportive of Sun-Oh and although she sincerely loves him she seems to be excepting of the fact that he doesn’t ring her Love Alarm.
You can find information about Kim So-Hyun, the actress who plays Kim Jo-Jo, by skipping on over to my Radio Romance review. Here’s some information about her not covered in that review – with 7.1 million followers, she was the recipient of the 2018 Most Grown Instagram Account award and became the youngest South Korean actress to have more than ten million followers on social media.
If you go to my Sweet Home review you can read about handsome Song Kang. A quick F.Y.I. – he was chosen for the role of Sun-Oh after beating out 900 other people during auditions.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jung Ga-Ram began his acting career in 2011 with the drama High Kick: Revenge of the Short Legged. He appeared in four other dramas before landing a role in the 2016 motion picture 4th Place, for which he won not one but two Best New Actor awards. The dramas I’ve seen him in are the not-so-good Nail Shop Paris, The Heirs, and he played the adult Pil-Goo in the captivating When the Camellia Blooms. Ga-Ram attended Hanyang University.
Don’t expect season two to begin where season one left off. We have no idea what happened when the four characters were facing each other at the Love Alarm 2.0 launch gala, none whatsoever. The writers left that to our individual imaginations (which I wasn’t thrilled with).
Love Alarm’s triangle is a bit different in that it has two very, very close buddies fall for the same girl. I didn’t want a girl to come between the friends but like Sun-Oh’s driver said, I was interested in seeing what would happen with both young men falling for the same girl. For exactly how long were they willing to choose a life-long friendship over romantic love? I’ll bet you’re curious now, too.
The cast from the first Love Alarm is the same but, unfortunately, both seasons were not written and directed by the same folks and I could feel an obvious difference in the writing. I felt the writers stayed true to Hye-Young’s character but took Sun-Oh’s and Jo-Jo’s in a slightly different direction. The different writers and directors make the transition from season one to season two less than seamlessly smooth.
As for Jo-Jo, you might find yourself getting frustrated with her (what seems like) indecisiveness but I was able to see that the cause of her actions could have come from three completely different thoughts/feelings. I’d love to tell you what was going through my mind – concerning how I interpreted her actions – but then I’d have to tell you the choice she made and that would ruin things for you. So, if you’re interested in my analysis of her feelings, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to get back to you.
So, would you like to have a phone app that would ring if someone who loved you was nearby? Actually think about it for a minute. My roommate said, “No, because it would bring with it a lot of troubles.” Some folks in the drama love the idea while others see it as a problem. Jo-Jo mentions that people had stopped declaring their love for one another verbally because the “ding” they heard meant “I love you.” In your mind, would that be a good or bad thing? Would you really want the person you loved to know how you felt about them or would there be good reasons you’d want to keep that knowledge from them? How would you feel if not a single soul rang your alarm – no one loved you? What might happen if you really disliked the person who rang your alarm, or if you rang the alarm of someone that didn’t like you? Do you think it’s a good idea for a person’s declaration of love to be a ding loud enough for everyone around them to hear, or should that be a personal thing? There are lots more questions surrounding the concept of a Love Alarm and although the show doesn’t answer them all, it does address a few.
It seemed to me that Love Alarm wasn’t the ideal name for the app because it dinged on total strangers. Someone that knows absolutely nothing about another person can ring their alarm if they simply find them attractive. It actually shows that happening to Gul-Mi. A man she had never met before, dancing with another woman at a club, rings Gil-Mi’s alarm. That’s not love, it’s “I’m attracted to you.” So maybe a better name for the app would have been Lust Alarm.
Although the song Falling Again is extremely pretty, I wasn’t thrilled with Klang’s nasally, whispery voice and her pronunciation of some of the English words – “Can yo fall in love wi may?” In My Little Mind, also sung in English, is an extremely simple-sounding song with an acoustic guitar accompaniment on the verses. Hodge’s vocal range on the song is so nice. I loved listening to him sing the low notes. Blooming Story’s calm verses build to a chorus that has banging drums and crashing sounds. It’s interesting.
The high school students go on a trip to Jeju Island, where Jo-Jo lived as a child, and she also goes back there later to participate in a marathon so I’m guessing those scenes were actually shot on the island. Sun-Oh’s house is a huge, fancy mansion while it seems like Jo-Jo’s aunt’s house is small and connected to the store. Oh, make sure you pay close attention to the name of the convenience store that Jo-Jo’s aunt owns. In the first season, it’s an independent store and then in season two, it’s a 7-11.
Nowadays just about anything can be given an electronic twist to make it better, faster, safer, or more efficient so why not extend that idea to feelings? Love Alarm’s unique premise takes what might have been an ordinary love triangle (which later turns into a square) and gives it an electronic twist. It’s a Kdrama romance you ought not to miss.
New twist to a love triangle
Excellent chemistry all around
There are different writers and directors for each season which doesn’t allow for a smooth transition from season one to season two