Falling in Love with Soon Jung: A Review

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Kim So Yeon, I hope you can do more comedies and modern melodramas like this and I Need Romance 3Jung Kyung Ho, it’s a joy to see you in such a hilarious role.

This drama was a bit of a fun ride, but not the same kind of fun as Fool’s Love. While there were some heartwarming parts, gut-busting scenes, and crazy melodramatic sequences, Falling in Love with Soon Jung wasn’t a particularly good drama, but it sure as heck was kind of fun to watch. I think if I recapped it, it would be less enjoyable because I would have to think about and reason why things happened the way they did. Watching it in a more passive manner already revealed a lot of plot holes, so it was easier to ignore and enjoy than if I had to analyze it.

The drama was definitely a roller coaster as it veered between melodrama (business schemes, heart disease, tortured chaebols, murder) and comedy (awkward love triangles with a dead guy, boss-secretary shenanigans, lame jokes). The writer, Yoo Hee Gyung, is supposedly a newbie scriptwriter, and it kind of shows. While the melodrama and serious side of the drama fell flat, the comedy side was in full force. It felt like the writer and Jung Kyung Ho both conspired to get the best jokes and see what kind of pranks they could pull off.

In fact, I think the writer really enjoyed writing for Jung Kyung Ho and his character, and no one else’s.

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The drama’s arc was something I could get behind, which was one of the main reasons I kept watching: bad boy turned good who must turn his father’s company around. But karma is a bitch and makes it difficult to succeed. His former ally becomes his worst enemy, both in love and business. I like underdog stories, so it was my type of drama. The business aspect of the drama was not so fun though. In the beginning I did not mind the vague business plots and the clichéd betrayals because the humor and wit made up for it. I also thought we’d go deeper into it as the drama went along. However, it became very clear that the writer was lacking in the melodrama department because all those scenes would fall flat and would not be urgent enough. The writer was pretty much using generic obstacles for Kang Min Ho to face, which made the business part of the drama far less intriguing. It did not help that the writer relied on the crutch of using flashbacks to reveal parts of scenes we did not see originally. When you use that flashback-twist device, it’s most effective once or twice. Not when you use it almost once per episode and for both the romance and business parts of the drama. And once I began to expect it, I no longer worried for our main character because I knew no matter how dire the situation would seem he’d have a way around it. It belittled Lee Joon Hee as a character and also made it more likely to have a happy ending.

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And that’s pretty unfortunate because this was a drama that could go 50-50 for the ending. While Joon Hee was clearly set up to fail (as a bad guy, he had to get caught eventually, but he was also pretty inept because his gangster ways would usually fail), it wasn’t clear if Min Ho would live or die in the end. The last minute “Hey your body is rejecting the transplant” story line gave the writer an out if he wanted to go for a sad ending if that was his original intent. As a viewer though, after seeing all the last minute saves, I knew the writer wouldn’t go for the sad ending. This particular obstacle failed for a few of reasons: 1) it wasn’t believable that his body rejected the heart after so long and yet Min Ho had the energy to walk around and expose Joon Hee of his crimes; 2) the drama was already showing how Min Ho could survive any work obstacle so it seemed no problem to overcome this one, no matter what the doctor said; 3) his treatment was brushed under the rug and resolved far too quickly during the epilogue that you knew he was okay.

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At first, I did wonder if he died because there was a fade out to white and then black near the end of the last episode, but then when I saw how Soon Jung interacted with Ok Hyun and Woo Shik, I knew he couldn’t be dead. Good try writer-nim, trying to fool us with Soon Jung’s random monologues on how it could have been her last days with Min Ho!

Here’s what I did like: the acting. Jung Kyung Ho was just so good and comfortable in this role that I loved watching him more than my girl Kim So Yeon. He made the show even more heartwarming than it had to be, giving his character so much more life beyond what Ma Dong Wook’s heart could have given him. It also made him vastly different from Yoon Hyun Min‘s brooding Lee Joon Hee. I don’t think Yoon is a particularly bad actor, but he did have to rely on the furrowed brow look a lot and his character was not given much to work with. He was a laughable bad guy who ended up becoming so much more evil that it was hard to sympathize with him. Initially the writer gave him some backstory to make him be more like the tortured soul who just couldn’t catch a break – couldn’t get the girl, couldn’t get the right job, couldn’t get the recognition. But then Yoon pretty much forgot all that and didn’t show any remorse for his actions when trying to cover up for his crimes. He had changed too much, and I didn’t like that he became a cartoonish 2-dimensional villain.

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I will give kudos to Han Ji Hyun (Gong Hyun Joo), the Gold Partners girl who allied with whoever would help her acquire Hermia. As boring and expositional as her role was in the drama (just like Ok Hyun’s sidekick), she is at least very true to her character and is unwavering. She is never really evil, even though she associates with Joon Hee, but then she never really does anything to redeem herself. She never explains herself as well, so I just liked how consistent she was to the goals of Gold Partners. She basically was Gold Partners, even though that company was so boring and mysterious because you never saw anyone else from there.

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All in all, I enjoyed this drama for its heartwarming moments and for the relationships that Min Ho develops with Soon Jung and Ma Dong Wook’s father. I don’t enjoy this drama for its attempts at being a serious melodrama. But would I recommend you to watch it? Yes, if you need something easy and fun to enjoy. It is certainly not a cerebral drama if you like those kinds of things.

Verdict: 6/10 – all points go to Jung Kyung Ho.

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