Romance Town: A Review

My final recap goes up later today, and I just wanted to summarize my thoughts about it. I personally enjoyed Romance Town, although I have to say it’s not necessarily the best or the smoothest drama out there. I keep hearing that Greatest Love is/was awesome, or that City Hunter is the bomb, whereas people are like “Romance Town is boring;” “I’ll wait for the recaps” (thanks for that by the way!); or “Romance Town sucks.” Then there are the few who say, “Romance Town is the one I keep coming back to each week even if it’s not good!”

That last comment is what I feel like.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed this series. It was definitely bumpy, as there were weeks when I felt, “Come on let’s get on with it!” (This happened particularly during the time when the maids all got greedy and Soo Jung was being an absolute pain in the ass.) And then there were many more weeks when I thought, “Wait what!? Already!? OHMYGOD give me more!” So even though there were probably other dramas out there that consistently delivered, I just lost interest in those and watched Romance Town instead.

I think there was a special something this introspective drama had, and it might have had to do with the way the story was woven together, the tight characterization and plotting of each character’s growth, and the chemistry among the cast.

Plot Weaving

I think this plot was great in giving us plenty of scenarios to emphasize certain plot points – whether it was the left/right issue, or how money does not equate to happiness. It never felt forced, but rather a fact-of-life that we encountered all the time so that when a big revelation happens, we’re not surprised. Everything was built up for it. I enjoy the build up, because it makes the pay-off that much more devastating. The maids’ greed was just terrible, but it was worth it.

Certain plots were abandoned (Choon Jak’s illness only cropped up when convenient; Jang Chi Gook’s storyline), but I didn’t mind it so much because at the end of the day, all I really cared about were the maids, and what would happen to them. It’s one of those instances where I’m happy with the neat ending, and yet it’s not really all too neat either. It’s very open-ended, and I can still have my own fantasy of what will happen next.

Characterization

This drama wins in the character category. While Soon Geum and Gun Woo confused me quite a bit (sometimes I just didn’t understand their motivations, particularly when Gun Woo wanted her to admit she was wealthy, but then not to say she was wealthy in front of others), everyone else was pretty consistent. The maids – however greedy they were – were predictable but real when in the face of a sudden windfall.

Soo Jung (Lee Kyung Shil) steals the scene, every single time. She steals it in a good and bad way; good way – she’s stellar in her crying scenes and in evoking that feeling of frustration when you’re not being regarded as a human being. Bad way – she was so goddamn greedy and annoying, every time she came on the screen. But the actress truly is amazing, and I’d love to see her continue butting heads with Tae Won. I honestly feared at one point that the two would develop a bickering relationship because of their sparks.

Cast Chemistry

I think it was pretty visible that everyone in the cast just gets along. The maids are all pretty close – and even if they’re turning against each other, you can still feel that there is a deep friendship there that they can’t turn away from.

Gun Woo and Young Hee have an awesome friendship, and it even transfers off-camera where the two of them tweet a-plenty. Gun Woo and Soon Geum don’t have that sizzling chemistry but I think it’s pretty decent enough and they both seem to like each other off-screen. I have to say that I’m amazed at all the actors in general though. The acting is what really wins in this series because no one is hatable enough. It’s a testament to the writing and the nuanced acting of each actor who lets you feel just enough sympathy. For Tae Won (Lee Jae Yong) – I have to even admit I kind of want him to get his happy ending. I don’t like him being rich, but I don’t want him lonely.

Conclusion

I kind of wish the series was a little shorter, and the infighting didn’t last as long. I wish the storyline about Choon Jak dying wasn’t included, because in the end it served almost no purpose. It’s not like Gun Woo and Soon Geum moved to her home at the island; it did nothing for the characters. I also wish there was more buildup to how Hwang Yong fell in love with Hyun Joo. I was always under the impression that he liked her as a maid, and not as a woman. It’s as if the moment he found out Hyun Joo saved him by burning the book, he was in love with her. Like, really?!

But! The one thing I will never want to change in this drama is the growth each character has in the face of money. That is the one beautiful aspect of this drama.

If I had to give out awards, I’d give Outstanding Acting awards to Lee Kyung Shil, Jo Sung Ha (the lovable Hwang Yong), and Lee Jae Yong. I’d give Hottie Award to Jung Gyu Woon, Most Popular Acting to Sung Yuri, and Best Couple to Kim Min Joon and Min Hyo Rin – only because their bickering relationship tops Sung Yuri and Jung Gyu Woon. Of course – Hottest Kiss goes to Sung Yuri and Jung Gyu Woon. Three passionate kisses in episode 20 alone, and the Duct Tape kiss!

Rating: 8.5/10

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  1. estel 20 July, 2011 at 19:20 Reply

    Overall, I liked Romance Town pretty well. I do think it should have been 16 or 18 episodes instead of 20; I think the storyline would have benefited from having some things excised. Like what seemed like 20 million episodes of infighting among the maids. But I loved the realistic sense of community that existed among the characters. The only real complaint I have is that I wish Gun-woo and Soon-geum’s relationship had gotten just a little more screen time. I like them best when they have a few moments to breathe and just relax; one of my favorite scenes was when GW came up behind SG and backhugged her while she was doing the dishes. Until his evil daddy interfered, that is. But it was a sweet moment up until then. And even though they don’t get together on-screen in the end, I’m ok with it, since I kind of like that they’re having to start over from a different place. Maybe this time they’ll be a little more open with each other and form the foundation for a real relationship.

  2. ingridine 21 July, 2011 at 01:59 Reply

    I agree with you Kaede and Estel !
    More screen time for Gun-woo and Soon-geum’s relationship, for Seun Geum/GW and her friend and of course President HY with HJ (too fast)

    I really like Alex’s song for Romance Town OST …and Howl’s one too
    My rating : 8/10

  3. ainishamsi 21 July, 2011 at 03:41 Reply

    yeah! more screen time for the SG and GW! especially for the last ep. they really got me at their letter-writing scene and the toe-step scene in the second episode. i would admit, i love this pairing and their love story is just lovely and with their attitude as a couple (bickering etc) is just so real and cute. haha.

    btw, hi kaedajun! i googled for romance town and google brought me here. i should have joined this blog earlier. ^^

  4. SamuraiSammie 3 September, 2011 at 14:51 Reply

    Out of all the dramas I’ve seen in my opinion Romance Town gets 3 out of 5 stars. City Hunter and Greatest Love were way better than Romance Town. It felt like Gun Wo and Soo Jung didn’t even have a relationship. Romance Town had maybe 45% romance in it while the other percent was focused on money and the maids with the money. The title doesn’t fit the show at all. I knew money would be a big part of it from what I read on dramawiki but the whole money thing was basically the WHOLE entire show. I’m with the Romance Town sucks party

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