ALL ABOUT MY ROMANCE
CREDIT FOR ALL PICTURES GOES TO THEIR UPLOADERS!
I just finished SBS’s All About My Romance, which aired from April to May 29, 2013. The drama starred Shin Ha Kyun as Kim Soo Young, a politician for the Great Korean Party. His love is Lee Min Jung’s Noh Min Young, who is part of the Green and Justice Party, a small party that has hardly any members and a miniscule amount of power. Park Hee Soon plays Song Joon Ha, Noh Min Young’s aide and brother-in-law, by way of Noh Min Young’s sister marrying Joon Ha’s brother. Rounding out the cast is Han Chae Ah’s Ahn Hee Sun, a reporter and both Kim Soo Young’s and Joon Ha’s hoobae (younger classmate from the same school).
Soo Young and Min Young are both politicians in the parliament house on different sides of the great divide of politics. While Soo Young is close to quitting due to the corruption he has seen in politics, Min Young is going strong and is passionate about her causes to raise the standard of living of your average Korean citizen. While Soo Young supposedly has the power to get what he wants and doesn’t want anything, Min Young has the desire but no power to bring about any of those desires. The story between our two leads begins when Min Young accidentally hits Soo Young with a fire extinguisher, and then gets some salacious pictures of him, leading to blackmail and forced interactions between the two.
While Soo Young is giving into the blackmail demands, he begins to notice Min Young’s purity and passion, and begins to fall for her. The two become closer, and after multiple confessions by Soo Young, the two begin to secretly date, knowing that if the truth of their romance ever got out, it could be the end of their political careers. Because the public cares more about these stupid things then the embezzlement of millions. Insert sarcastic tone and an eye roll here.
Their romance is discovered, the citizens feel betrayed and Noh Min Young has to resign as a parliamentarian. Soo Young survives because he has a powerful backer, the leader of the Great Korean Party and his secret father. Noh Min Young goes on a two year journey to see if she can be with a man who is the son of her sister’s killer. Possible killer, that is. She leaves Soo Young behind with the cowardly promise that this is just a “pause” in their relationship, although she never actually intends to go back to him due to the above mentioned possible murder. She then decides to ask said killer straight out if he killed her sister, and upon hearing the “no” she reunites with Soo Young and the two live happily ever after.
In the background, we have our second leads and other characters.
Ahn Hee Sun and Song Joon Ha
Apparently Song Joon Ha and Noh Min Young were each others first loves. When their siblings decided to remarry, the two forgot their love and lived as family. When their siblings died in a tragic car accident, leaving behind their daughter, Bo Ri, the two raised their niece together. Joon Ha finally thinks it is time to confess his feelings to Min Young, but he is too late. She has already fallen in lust, like and then love with Soo Young. Joon Ha quietly backs off and tries to move on.
He used to know Soo Young in the past, and the two apparently have some sort of history (never detailed in the story). Joon Ha does not like Soo Young. He actively discourages Min Young from being with Soo Young. Those protests just peter out at the end, and he ends up helping the two reunite at the end of the story.
Ahn Hee Sun went to the same school as both Joon Ha and Soo Young. She was in love with and dated Song Joon Ha for an undetermined amount of time before breaking up with him because he was still in love with Min Young. When she later explains to Joon Ha that she was tired of being second, he counters with that she was always first with him while they were dating. While recovering from her broken heart over Joon Ha, Hee Sun meets and falls in love with Soo Young. Soo Young’s main attraction to Hee Sun is that he doesn’t have a girl, or really anybody, in his life. She is sure that she can be the most important person to him given time and proximity. It is her misfortune that he then falls in love with the same woman, Noh Min Young, who was her unknowing rival way back when.
Ahn Hee Sun is a reporter, and she writes a few scandalous stories about Min Young in retaliation. Her father is a rich businessman, who then steps in to stomp all over Soo Young and Min Young for daring to “humiliate” his daughter in this manner. Hee Sun steps up and gets her father to back down. She then backs away from both Soo Young and Min Young, leaving them to sort out their relationship.
In the end, we see some sort of beginning between Joon Ha and Hee Sun. I hope they get their own happily ever after together.
Moon Bong Shik and Go Dong Sook
We also have Moon Bong Shik, another politician and spokesperson of the Great Korean Party. He has the misfortune of being obsessed with his image, but is always the brunt of lots of critical internet videos due to his mistakes in front of the cameras. It doesn’t help that his aide is the man who puts all such videos up online. Moon Bong Shik got into politics, but really has no ambition. He is only ever natural when he is around children. We can see glimpses of the real him sometimes, and there is innocence there that the viewer is surprised still exists despite all of his time in politics.
Moon Bong Shik is dealing with his own first love, Go Dong Sook, who is also in the Green and Justice party. Bong Shik starts the drama with resentment toward Dong Sook for turning him down when he confessed his love to her in their college days. Over the course of the drama, he decides to give up on politics and ends up with a radio show where he openly criticizes politicians for their hypocrisies. He also convinces Dong Sook to be with him. This is another view of the same issue. Politicians from two opposing parties cannot date. In this situation though, the man gives up his position and then asks the female politician to give him another chance. The two live happily ever after.
“I didn’t have a father to begin with. No, I do have one. But just purely in a biological sense. And my mom passed away a long time ago. But thanks to all that, I loved myself earnestly, and I grew up giving myself plenty of love. I never once forgot to get myself a birth gift either. Fortunately enough, I have to love and the intelligence worthy of all that love.”
Kim Soo Young
When Kim Soo Young starts to fall for Noh Min Young, we get this sense of a blind man seeing for the first time. The audience is only let in on to the truth gradually. Kim Soo Young has never loved before. He has never had close relationships. He has never let anyone close to him. And the first person who gets through his barriers is Noh Min Young, a woman who wasn’t even trying and a woman that doesn’t care enough. When Kim Soo Young states the words quoted above, his vulnerability shines through his eyes, and he bares himself to this woman. He shows her how much he needs her, and how much she means to him. Yet, a few episodes later, she asks him to break up. They immediately get back together, but she then “pause[s]” their relationship and walks away, never intending to come back. She doesn’t tell him that she does hold him responsible for his father’s supposed deeds.
She leaves him behind, waiting. And he waits. This is a man that spent his life thirsting for his mother’s and his father’s love. He waits for her to love him enough. But she only comes back once she gets his father’s assurance that he did not kill her sister. She waits until Song Joon Ha says it’s okay for her to think of herself. She never puts him first.
I can envision a future for these two, where the man who needs to be first in someone’s life, will only ever be second in his wife’s eyes.
The drama itself was bland. I never felt the urgency or the fear that these characters feel regarding discovery. It was too overly simplistic on how easily the public can be manipulated. The “politics” were a joke. And I found it really hard to believe that Lee Min Jung could have been elected to any position. She was just too young and lacked the gravitas necessary for this role. Couldn’t they have gotten someone older and more mature looking?
Finally, the drama just skated over the surface of these characters.
Why couldn’t Noh Min Young and Song Joon Ha get together, even if their siblings were getting married?
Did Song Joon Ha really love Ahn Hee Sun at some point, as well?
Why did Noh Min Young get into politics when she hated them so much? Why was it so easy for her to walk away? Why was she so wishy washy about her desires, because that only made it seem like that she was jerking Soo Young around. Noh Min Young was so passionate about everything, except for her love for Soo Young. She was resentful towards him, which she kind of admitted when leaving at the end. She was small-minded, needlessly petty and territorial. She devalued the hero of this drama. Ultimately, she was an unlikeable heroine.
Why did Soo Young fall in love and stay in love with this woman who had no value for him? Why did I feel that he was devaluing himself every time he bowed down to Noh Min Young and her capriciousness. He bettered himself in the course of the drama, he opened himself to the love and care of his aides and the idea of relationships. He realized that responsibility came along with his position in parliament, and he began to work hard. In the course of a conversation with his father, he laid out how much he had needed his father’s acceptance, and while the words were sarcastic, the emotions in his eyes were true. He cried over losing Noh Min Young, when she walked away for the third . . . fourth (?) time. In the end, he deserved better than Noh Min Young.
It made no sense that he clung to Min Young despite her lack of enthusiasm, unless we take into account that he has been the recipient of grudging tolerance all his life. Never more.
The drama was nothing special, and I ended it feeling sorry for our hero. I can only hope that our heroine begins to appreciate our hero as time goes on. Because he deserves that, at least.
I cannot recommend this drama with any enthusiasm, but if you have nothing better to do . . . maaayyyybeeee watch it.