The story of domestic help who work for rich households. No Soon Geum is one of these housekeepers; despite the master-maid heirarchy, she's bold, fearless, and unafraid of doing hard work in order to support herself. As a child, Soon Geum had dreamt of living a grand life in a Cinderella story, complete with her own white knight, but that dream had faded as reality took over. However, she reaches a turning point in her life when she is hired as a maid for the rich and handsome Kang Gun Woo.
Cast & Credits
First, could Jung Gyu Woon be any more adorable? I mean, seriously, that is one good looking guy. Even Kim Min Joon (whose MDL picture just does NOT do him justice!) is ridiculously cute in this show. I felt like they could have done more with both characters, especially Kim Min Joon's. His character was just kind of thrown in whenever it was convenient for the writers, and his storyline felt incomplete.
I also did like the lead actress quite a bit too, though the script did not really do her justice. All in all, it was an interesting look into humanity, and how money can change a person's morality and make them do things they never would have before coming into a large sum of money. But what that has to do with a town of romance, I can't tell you. I did like the relationship between the maids, and how they were all so willing to fight for each other. Well, at least til the money got involved, in which case they just wanted to fight with each other.
When everything is said and done, this drama is not wholly irredeemable, but it definitely could have been cut in half and been a much more watchable experience. 20 episodes just seemed to drag on and on and on and on and...well you get the point.
"But Romance Town doesn't have a plot!" Well, there is a plot, but it without a doubt became a secondary concern for the writer. What the writer brought to the forefront was a thoughtful (albeit at times heavy-handed) and quirky character study, and it was this slice-of-life aspect that grabbed me. The characters became so real that I found myself accurately predicting their every move, not because the plot itself was predictable, but because I came to know these characters so well in and out that guessing their next move was like friends finishing the other's sentence. More wonderful still is the grayness within each character: there is no absolute evil or good, and as a result I found myself sympathizing with even the most unlikeable resident of the street. Overall, the world of this show felt organic, with events progressing naturally based on the characters' authentic reactions as opposed to being driven by artificial plot devices.
Admittedly, the plot could have been tighter. At 20 episodes, the show is perhaps four episodes too long. There were plot points that went nowhere, towing along certain characters in its wake. Gun Woo and Soon Geum's relationship, despite being the main one, fell on the dull side, and a last minute pairing felt too sudden, but I let it slide since it was a couple I had been rooting for. Some episodes seem to just drag on (ironically enough, given the title of this drama, those were the episodes that dealt directly with romance), while others had me yanking my hair, gasping aloud, and craving more.
Despite the above complaints, I thoroughly enjoyed journeying through the world of Romance Town with the maids as my guides. We were gifted with a glimpse into their lives, friendships and loves, and I'm not ashamed to say that I miss them already.