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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  1. sPark* 12 May, 2011 at 16:22 Reply

    I actually watched the first episode today. Like you, I had expected a lot more funny, but it turned out to be more mellow. I just wanted to clarify that the baby daddy is actually Gun Woo’s dad, but he pleaded with GW to say that the baby is his (GW’s) because of his new wife. I actually skimmed through the first episode so didn’t really catch many of the interesting things you pointed out. I’ll be tuning in to episode 2 and not fast-forwarding this time. This was probably the drama I least cared to watch after Baby-Faced Beauty (already dropped :X) lol

    sidenote: Jung Gyu Woon in a suit 😀

    • kaedejun 12 May, 2011 at 16:24 Reply

      thanks for the clarification!

      yeah – honestly, i was not the least bit interested, but city hunter, ripley, and baby-faced beauty were all below this drama. (so imagine my interest for those!).

      • sPark* 12 May, 2011 at 17:46 Reply

        no problem 🙂

        Same! City Hunter looks pretty bad… I wish they had stuck to the original manga. Well, I’m a little more excited for Ripley than the others. I have a soft spot for anything JYJ-related hehe Anyways, I always welcome dramas that turn out better than I had anticipated 😀 Hopefully, Romance Town is one of them.

  2. jantina144 12 May, 2011 at 18:38 Reply

    I vote yes to recapping Romance Town. I was hoping someone would recap or at least review so I was thrilled to see your first impressions. Thanks!

  3. missjb 12 May, 2011 at 20:14 Reply

    Oh yes yes please, KAedejun! I want u to recap this one. More Jung Gyu Woon please… hehehhe…. sorry if I demand too much. I will be grateful if u recap this one. MCUAHHH

    OOT here, but It’s a pity if u want to drop Best Love. I wonders why you lost interest for best love??? It’s getting better and better in my opinion

  4. kdramalover 13 May, 2011 at 09:41 Reply

    i vote for YES, recap it please…
    since I don’t think there are any other website that will recap this, since all are busy recapping best love, 49 days and lie to me.. but actually out of all of them, I’ve got the highest expectation for this one.. so I hope someone can recap it.. please and thank you.. ^^

  5. Iviih 13 May, 2011 at 16:16 Reply

    OMG, I was going to give this drama a chance because of Jung Gyu Woon, but I have to watch this right now, and that is because of Kim Min Joon. You know when you mentioned that he was in ‘Damo’ I was ”wait I need to check this” 🙂 **since I didnt see pictures of him I had no idea, but after checking about him, oh yes! He is the HOT rebel leader Sung-Baek. I really liked him in Damo!

    Actually I remember him a lot because I finished to watch Damo 2 days ago (yeah, just now I got a chance to watch this great drama^^!). So he is very very alive in my mind ^^ (and heart lol) I also endured In Soon Is pretty because of him and the hot brother… I have to say In Soon is pretty is one of the worse kdramas I wacthed. But he was still hot there…

    So yeah, good review, more melodrama and two hot male and second leads^^ have to watch this ^^ you know, I don’t really mind it not being a rom com, because I love melodramas too. Well now waiting to watch it with subs… T_T

    Please reacp this drama^^ I know the others have already 2/3 persons to recap them, but this drama has no one to give it a chance…. kisses^^

  6. kerik 13 May, 2011 at 17:49 Reply

    yes recap pls!!! i am now intrigued of the drama after reading your post (i watched it, not understanding a word and subsequently thought it was THAT bad, heh)

  7. ohemgee 14 May, 2011 at 02:32 Reply

    OMG kaedejun i would be FOREVER grateful if you recapped this show!!!

    i, like you, found JKW to be absolutely adorable without even having to say anything. his character is just so refreshing–and i think it’s the first time i’ve watched a series where the male protagonist has the extreme makeover. Gun Woo is such a sweetheart and Soon Geum seems so hardworking that they are totally winning me over. the whole show is charming, really, but in a rather un-dramatic fashion.

    i say focus on this and catch up Lie to Me later! thus far i am waaaaaaaay more into Romance Town than Lie to Me. (surprising, i know– i LOVE KJH and YEH!)

    Greatest Love, though, is great. (CSW and GHJ and YKS are amazeballs.)

    and i’m DYING for a happy 49 Days ending and sorta watching Manny as filler.

    kdramas>sleep
    FOREVER and ALWAYS.

  8. denali1975 15 May, 2011 at 10:39 Reply

    To all Jung Kyu Woon fans: Kaedejun will recap on dramabeans and the 1st episode has been available for a few hours now. As usual, she did a great job and our JKW looks as dorkable as usual. And hot. Poignant. Sweet. Cute. Moving. Impressive. Among other things. *sigh*

  9. ingridine 16 May, 2011 at 10:02 Reply

    Ohh tanks a lot for the recap of Romance town ! Kaedejun you make my day ! it’s good to read all goods comments …I’m so happy for Jung Gyu Woon … now It’s his turn to be a hotspot !

  10. doozy 18 May, 2011 at 15:15 Reply

    I haven’t seen Jung Gyu Woon in anything except in pictures so he does nothing for me but I do like Sung Yuri. However, did you say “mellow” and “offbeat”?! Okay, I’mma check this one out. Thanks, Kaedejun!

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