Fool’s Love, or Ho Goo’s Love, is such an entertaining little drama! I kind of missed it as it follows a similar tone of Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Flower Boy Next Door, and Dating Agency: Cyrano from tvN. It’s got a happy, humorous whimsy to it, and it’s all thanks to the director, Pyo Min Soo, who did Heartstrings, Coffee House, and Full House.
Kang Ho Goo (Choi Woo Shik) is a hapless webtoon assistant artist (not even the main one) who has never dated in his life. Technically, he’s gone on one-on-one outings with a girl, but according to his dating savant twin sister Ho Kyung (Lee Soo Kyung, bravely showing off a non-made up face most of the time) it’s not dating. Just because you eat together or watch movies together, or even go to Han River for a picnic does not mean you’re dating, and even less so a couple.
Ho Goo learns this the hard way when the girl he’s been pursuing (and practically supporting monetarily) “dumps” him by saying she’s going to Tibet for six months, and then hops into a car with her rich lawyer boyfriend. Will he ever find love? Even his best friends, the hilariously named Kim Tae Hee (Choi Jae Hwan) and Shin Chung Jae (Lee Shi Eun), are at a loss, but they’re good at telling him what not to do.
On his way home from that terrible non-date, Ho Goo bumps into Do Do Hee (UEE), a national champion swimmer who just won the silver medal again for the umpteenth time, losing to her teammate. She runs away from the rest of the team, going to Seoul on her own, and happens to cross the same street as Ho Goo. He recognizes her, but we’re not exactly sure why – is it love at first sight for him? Does he know she’s the famous swimmer? Or is it something else?
Before he can say anything else, the light on the crosswalk changes and he runs off in the opposite direction. His best friends are outraged that he saw a famous athlete and didn’t get her autograph, but we learn that he happened to attend high school with her. The day Tae Hee transferred into his class was also the day Do Hee joined his school. Of course he developed a long-standing crush on her.
Meanwhile Do Hee goes to visit her ex-boyfriend, Byun Kang Chul (Im Seulong), who is also a lawyer. We don’t meet him though, so the nature of her meeting is kind of secret. She then heads to the comic bookstore that Ho Goo’s father owns and checks out a few of his books. Ho Goo seems to recognize her again at first, but his attention is diverted to another high school kid who is actually stealing a book. He runs after the kid, barely catching him, and takes back the book – missing an opportunity to once again speak to the girl of his dreams.
What’s hilarious is that his sister and his mother have no qualms about making fun of his single status. In fact it’s a little cringe-worthy to see the mom refer to her son’s little gochu and inability to use it. Hilarious, embarrassing, and oh so awkward.
But finally, a chance high school reunion brings Ho Goo back in the vicinity of Do Hee. He had gone hoping to see her, but ended up having to deal with a very drunk bully who’s now an insurance salesman. After tossing the bully and a very drunk Tae Hee in a cab, he goes back to the restaurant to find Do Hee there. They end up hanging out, because she wants to borrow the third volume of the manhwa she rented, walking around the Han River. Ho Goo freaks out that he might be on a date, but forces himself to calm down and make small talk.
Ho Goo then starts tossing away the life insurance plan he had signed to make the bully calm down, using his unique way of stuffing his problems into an empty milk carton and folding it away. His trick is to only look back when it’s time to go home, and usually by then he’s forgotten about what it is that troubled him. Do Hee thinks it’s a very immature thing to do, but she ends up following suit.
It’s time for them to go home, but Do Hee doesn’t want to go home. She wants to see the sea instead. According to Ho Kyung, this would be a hint from a girl that she is interested in going further with the guy if he takes the bait. Unfortunately, Ho Goo is not around to hear his sister say that, so he initially says that it’s too late to go to the sea.
Do Hee walks off, crossing the street. Just then Ho Goo realizes that this might be his last chance. Perhaps the spirit of Ho Kyung takes charge, or perhaps he is inspired with courage… and Ho Goo decides to go off with Do Hee to the sea.
A trash collector finds the milk cartons on a bench and opens it up. Inside Do Hee’s carton is a pregnancy test. Now I don’t know much about pregnancy tests, but it’s definitely looking like Do Hee is pregnant.
From the get-go I definitely felt vibes of Full House. A famous star (in this case, athlete) who would find love with a hapless writer/artist. I couldn’t tell right away just how Do Hee would get “stuck” to Ho Goo, but I knew they’d find themselves together for one reason or another.
What I didn’t expect was the twist that Do Hee was pregnant.
It’s most likely that Do Hee’s ex-boyfriend is the father, though I’m not sure what to make of that. I’d be very curious about the timeline as she can’t be very far along. (She just competed for goodness sake!) It would also make for an interesting love triangle, and reminds me of the film Juno, but this time from the guy’s point of view. Juno (starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera) was about a high schooler who got pregnant and then decided to give up her child for adoption, all the while being romanced by a dorky track runner who sticks by her no matter what. This drama feels like it’s telling from the point of view of the dorky track runner in love with the pregnant girl.
The pregnancy also provides another view on love. Ho Goo is clearly very idealistic about love – but in the sense that he is waiting for that spark, that instant connection that tells you he’s in love. Everyone else around him is a bit more pragmatic about dating: you’re dating because you want something (i.e. sex or a material thing). They’re probably also going to be very biased about who to date, and I’m sure that Do Hee is not exactly the ideal girl even with her celebrity status. But when you love someone, you love someone, regardless of the situation. And I would love to see Ho Goo defend and protect Do Hee in his weird, hapless way. It’s a romantic kind of love, even if your girl is not the typical “perfect” girl.
I really like UEE in dramas, and Choi Woo Shik fair enough, so it was no brainer to watch this drama. And I’m glad I did because it’s a charming romantic comedy with its moments of comic-book-action and animation. Hopefully it stays that way.