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Romance Town: Progress Report

(Isn’t he adorable?)

Hola, hola people! I hope everyone is doing well and had a great mini holiday (a.k.a. Memorial day weekend for us folks in the US). After a self-imposed mini mental breakdown, I am semi-back in form.

Below is not a recap (seems like a rather daunting task!), but what I would like to say is the first of a series of impressions (or a progress report?) on the various dramas that are currently playing. First up is Romance Town! I think Kaedejun at Dramabeans is doing a great job of recapping the individual episodes. I guess what you would call below is rather my spin on things.



Amongst the trendiest of rom-coms that are currently airing, I think Romance Town (or “RoTa” as it is affectionately known on the Korean side of blogosphere) got lost in the shuffle.  As it was mentioned before, this drama really does have the strongest writing. But what I do feel as though it is truly lacking is cohesiveness. I do see bits and pieces tying together, but there isn’t enough of the “oomph” factor to really come together. It could be that they are essentially dragging everything out at the most awful pace or there is a lack of material, but please Drama Gods, just make something happen already!!!

A few quibbles below:

As I’ve noted here before, what really grabbed me about Romance Town were the little moments. Although the “upstairs/downstairs” dynamic is very much a fascinating topic, I will admit now that I have lost utter interest in it. I honestly don’t really care for the maids’ side stories, which drag this drama into 15 different places. If I really wanted to see something like this played out, perhaps it’s best that I watch a documentary on it.

Also, with all this empty drama time with basically a whole lotta nothing going on, why don’t they have a scene regarding the grandmother and why she keeps disappearing whenever GunWoo comes sniffing around?

I think out of all the characters on the show, YoungHee is the most interesting. He’s quirky, comfortable with his wealth, nor is he ashamed of how he is where he is at present. He knows “value” and can spot a cheapie a mile away. He’s brutally honest with himself  (especially when he was contemplating the reason behind why he is so “interested” in SoonGeum which was not the case before, or rather, why he is so interested in her now that he knows that she is really rich) and with DaKyum (when he was asking for SoonGeum’s number).

DaKyum: What do you think (of her blouse)?

YoungHee: What?

DaKyum: (pointing to her blouse- gahh men can be so bloody blind at times!) What do you think?

YoungHee: You cut your hair, it looks nice.

(DaKyum thinking what a total dunce he is!)

YoungHee: What is SG’s phone number?
Actually, can you give her a call to come out for a moment?
I’m kidding, your blouse looks really pretty.
Her number, hmm?

DaKyum: Why?

YoungHee: I want to find out if I’m nothing but a vulgar, money hungry person, that’s why?!?

DaKyum: A vulgar, money hungry person?

YoungHee: It’s not like kids have to know (basically mind your own business).
Come on…

He could also be playing with SoonGeum’s affections or trying to seduce her because of his own secretive, heightened financial distress. Perhaps I may be going blind, dead, or I’ve done too much fastforwarding, but he is not turned off by her profession.  He gallantly carried her out when she was sick like a knight in shining armor (swoon-worthy all around), and he frankly admitted that he is rather fascinated by her.  It’s not ‘love’ yet but an infatuation that may soon lead to something real, I hope.

As quiet moments go, there is nothing inspiring or revolutionary in terms of the nouveau riche perspective that has not been stated before, if not in different languages, then played out in various “how the lottery changed me” stories.

In the scene between SoonGeum and her HwangYong ajjushi, he tells her that money is exactly that- it only changes outside appearances. But in regards to her dilemma of her Jekyll and Hyde personas, it can also provide a way for her to tell if GunWoo is genuinely interested in SoonGeum, the pauper maid.  What I found interesting in regards to this conversation was the undertone of it. HwangYong basically states what every disillusioned and cynical person may say- that there is no such thing as a genuine person liking you for you without money. The content of the conversation is not all that interesting but the dynamic between the loan shark/gangster/shady businessman and the maid is. He’s like her surrogate father, mentor, and friend, which is what makes this relationship all the more interesting to see how it will play out since he has developed a “relationship” with her, and therefore, he has an emotionally vested interest in the outcome.

Now onto the selling point of the drama: GunWoo and SoonGeum.

First- their chance meeting was really, really cute.

Second- if we want to play upon the actual theme of the drama (which is how money changes people), then the dual personas are the manifestation of it- Gun Woo crushing on the glamorous (obviously rich) Lee Shi Ah and then we have YoungHee’s infatuation with SoonGeum (the pauper maid turned secret millionaire)

Third- does GunWoo even like SoonGeum or is it a lingering residual feeling from the days he was the most insecure in his appearance?

Fourth- the best part is that she blatantly said that she likes GunWoo and that in so many words, she is Lee Shi Ah. Now the question is: will GunWoo reciprocate said feelings?

So after my diatribe above, I am still watching this drama. It’s like Pasta in that sense. I have no bloody idea why I’m watching it, there is no romance per se, but like the girl in the too tight dress about to make an ass out of herself based upon the advice given in Cosmo, you can’t help but watch and wait for the wreckage to occur.

And here I am, all by my lonesome self- anyone care to join me in the YoungHee-SoonGeum camp?

9 comments

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  1. mrmz

    Well somehow I can see that i’m enjoying this show more than you are :P I actually really like the side characters in this series, especially Gon Woo’s dad, and the loan shark. but like you said, Yong Hee is the most interesting character there, and it is interesting to see how things will go for Soon Geum. I like too see the other maids when they’re interacting with each other though. I’m starting to get bored with the one that has 2 sons cuz she’s tot self-centered, but overall I think RoTa has a set of interesting characters. Also They stopped showing her dad, as if he was there just to make sure she stays a maid :P
    I guess in the end its a matter of taste. I like it when they take things slowly rather than when they put too much emphasis on one story (the man couple) and things become tense.

    1. kcomments

      Me too, yep yep, love to go slowly ^^

  2. endodo

    Hey bella,

    Thanks for the post on Romance Town, one of my weekday drama cracks! As much as I love Jung Kyeo Woon and his adorableness, I’m also finding myself liking Kim Min Joon’s take on Young Hee more, only because he seems to be a bit more mysterious and unfortunately, also more interesting than Gun Woo at the moment. I love how Young Hee is falling in love with Soon Geum herself, whereas Gun Woo seems to be falling in love with the facade she’s put up. But then again, Young Hee may also be more interested in her now that he knows she has a large amount of cash. Hopefully, knowing that she’s a millionaire doesn’t blind him completely. As for Gun Woo, I hope he connects the blatant, ginormous dots of clues that Shi Ah is Soon Geum, and sees her for the woman that she is worth. It’s high time that he does, so we can all move on with this plot point. ^_^

    I’m looking forward to reading your other first impression posts on the other May offerings soon!

  3. blue

    I too thought YoungHee was definitely the more (most?) interesting character from episode one and am willing to jump ship to SG-YH, if only I didn’t think JGW was so much hotter…

  4. kcomments

    Humm….I saw SG-YH almost everywhere now, but I just can’t connect with this pairing. I love YH with DK more, their bickering were so cute. Also love SG with Mr. Loan-shark, he was annoyed all the time but he kept coming out for her haha.

    As for GW, for the record, I couldn’t believe he didn’t recognize her(first sight is acceptable, but later? com’on writer!), it’s starting to lose me with this plot point, they’d better make sth great out of it or I will #($#&@#$!!! Guess I have to find out tonight. ^^
    Thanks Bella.

    1. kcomments

      Ok, writer off the hook, love love episode 8! GW: ‘Which one like me more?’ (implying SG, SA). Cute side of GW; even though he got slimmer, he occasionally showed his same personality when he was fat.

  5. Melissa

    Gun woo is such an idiot! I can’t believe he didn’t realize that Shi ah is Soon Geum

  6. IBELIS

    Nope I agree with you 100% this show has become so foolish. How could he not recognize her, not to mention the stream of hints Joong Da Gyeom kept muttering in the elevator.

    I like her better with YH, I don’t he is interested because she has money but because she has money and continues to work as a maid. It’s hard enough to take crap when your lively hood depends on it. This is why the first thing lottery winners do is quit their jobs.

    The dynamic’s in this cul de sac is most interesting to me. The loan shark/president
    GW is his father ex yakuza, then the old guy with the wife and mistress all living in the same house. The oldest maid where are the people she works for, they are never seen.

  7. germaineora

    HI there! i’m enjoying this drama, for me it has a different feel and im so loking forward for the next episode just to see sungeum and gunwoo’s sweet moments… I just hope there’s more to see in 4 episodes to go.. as of this moment!!! hope you post more… God Bless!!! love reading your review…

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