Romance Town: First Impressions

Wow – May has seen a whole gamut of first episodes – all different from the last. Romance Town has by far got to be most low-key one ever.

I also sincerely believe I’m going to die for the next two months. No sleep at all. Not to mention, I’d probably be going straight into watching Heartstrings after this.

I only watched one episode, and I watched it raw. I didn’t really get much out of it until I read an article reviewing the episode. And then I had to go look up who the writer was.

Seo Sook Hyang. Who wrote Pasta.

No wonder the drama was so mellow! It was odd actually – the first episode jumps from 1988 (where we see Sung Yuri‘s character as a little girl) to 2003 (when she’s a spunky but bad student) to 2008 (where she’s working odd jobs to make money) to the present 2011. So, in a way, the story moves fast? But it’s so mellow and ridiculously quiet. I guess, it reminds me of Dr. Champ and Pasta, although if I am to like this drama, I better be thinking of Dr. Champ.

It’s a little crazy and offbeat in its own way, because the way that the rich are portrayed is so tacky. Lee Jung Gil (Athena) even has that thin little mustache on his upper lip, as if he were trying to emulate an Italian. The men dress to the nines and the women are overly coiffed and made up. It’s so funny and cliched, and yet in this world, it kinda works. Image-wise, they all fit in. It’s like Desperate Housewives – are you really going to see Wisteria Lane with its manicured lawns and perfectly dressed housewives? No. But you buy into it. The set is so picturesque that it sort of works, and yet it’s kind of dark as well.

There is definitely a dark side to this drama. To begin with, one of the grannies arrives with a baby in tow. The entire neighborhood gathers around because they want to know whose son it is. It’s as if, everyone knows it’s got to be one the men’s babies, that they definitely would have cheated on their wives and had a secret pregnant girlfriend, and yet everyone refuses to admit it’s theirs.

 

In the end – it turns out it’s Gun Woo’s (Jung Gyu Woon) baby. Yep – our Jung Gyu Woon is a baby daddy. He doesn’t realize it though, as he spends a lot of time drinking and clubbing. [edit: Thanks to sPark* – the baby daddy is really Gun Woo’s father. He just asked that Gun Woo to take the blame. It would be awesome though if he takes to the kid like a father to a son. He can totally be the father, and Soon Geum the mother in my opinion]

Funny thing is – he’s also quite fat, so he’s not your typical Lothario. However, what’s interesting is that his path keeps crossing with Soon Geum (Sung). They continuously encounter each other without recognition until she’s forced to pay for his drinking bill. They form an uneasy friendship, and then he suddenly leaves for the States. Soon Geum ends up working for his family, although she doesn’t know it, raising his child. His child forms an attachment with her, so clearly there’s going to be a thing going around since she’s like the “mother” of his child.

Kim Min Joon and Min Hyo Rin are surprising. I’ve never really seen them before. I don’t remember Kim in Damo and barely glanced through Insoon is Pretty. Min – I’ve only heard about her. But they’ve got a really interesting will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic. And if Kim Min Joon falls for Sung Yuri, I hope Min Hyo Rin raises hell to claim what’s hers, because I think he likes Min Hyo Rin too.

The most refreshing thing about this drama is that nothing is revealed at once. I know her father is a gambler, but I feel there’s more to the story. Maybe it’s me just watching it raw, but I feel like we don’t get answers of confirmation of facts right away. Instead, it’s peeled off slowly in layers. I still don’t really get what Gun Woo’s deal is, and I don’t understand all the characters – however, I have gotten enough glimpses that make me curious for more.

One thing I will give this drama credit for: Jung Gyu Woon appears five minutes into the drama, and I already LOVE him. He’s so lovable. And it’s an absolute testament to the writer that every time he shows up, I crack up, AND – he doesn’t even say a word. In fact, he doesn’t speak until about 40 minutes into the show.

To watch this drama, you really have to throw your expectations out the door. It’s more “melodrama” than “rom com,” but I hope it stays delightful.

So here’s the question: Should I recap this drama? Because when I say “recap,” that means I will be paying more attention to it than anything else.

I can already see myself dropping Best Love and catching up when I have time on weekends, and focusing solely on Lie To Me and 49 Days (until it ends)…

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