Song Geu Rim is a radio program writer who isn't exactly talented in writing. She's got the passion, initiative, and drive, but due to her lack of writing skills, she still remains an assistant writer. When she was young, the radio was the only thing in the world that she could share with her blind mother. She was consoled by the sounds of the radio and loved it more than anything, so she became a writer. When her radio program is on the verge of cancellation, she succeeds in casting top actor Ji Su Ho, who can't do anything without a script.
(Source: KBS World)
Cast & Credits
This drama is a simple romance. Nothing more. Nothing less
Don't expect the most original of the stories, don't expect a gritty, edgy tale. The story is as simple as it can get. And cliché too. Really cliché.
We have our aloof rich dude, Ji Soo Ho, and our candy girl, Song Geu Rim. We have our controlling evil mom, Nam Joo Ha and the love rivals, Lee Kang and Jin Tae Ri. However, althought there ARE a lot of clichés, I was pleasant surprised by how most of them were desconstructed. The characters feel like they could be real people. Each has their flaws and virtues.
Yoon Doo Joon was so good as the cold Soo Ho. You could see the façade he put, you could feel how deeply he was hurting inside. And despite what many think, I didn't feel turned off by his gap with Kim So Hyun, they had a nice chemistry and it didn't really feel like I was seeing a younger girl and an older man (although both are still young in my opinion, YDJ not so much)
Talking about KSH, I really liked her acting and character as well. She was different from most candy girls, more down to earth but still being a shameless optimistic. And like many other of her works, KSH has such a natural way with acting. She feels genuine and you can't help but like her. She did great with her first "adult" role.
I also really liked Yoon Park as Lee Kang haha I'll admit that at first I didn't recognize him at all, so I was all like "hmmm I've seen him somewhere" but it wasn't until I checked the cast I recognized him fully lol Back to his acting...he's clearly the second lead. The funny part is that you can't really figure out if he's a romantic rival or just a weirdo who is very touchy feely. And that's the good in his acting: he kept me trying to guess his character even though it was so clear who he was. His actions were unpredictable, and his behaviour funny in a very twisted way.
I saw some complaints about Yura and her acting, but honestly in my opinion she was okay (?) I mean, she was so underdeveloped that for me it wouldn't make a huge difference if she was part of the drama or not. Her character could be easily removed and it wouldn't change anything. Although I have to admit I liked what they tryed but failed to do with her character.
Being an ex-journalist, I used to work with radio as well, so obviously I was at least a bit excited to see how they would portray it on TV. The result didn't deserve my hype.
The first episode had me like: "WTF?" all the way through. Seriously, and the way the drama portrays doing radio is romantized to say the least. No, there's no such thing as describing the sunset on radio. Radio is highly scripted and the DJs are supposed to talk as clearly and objectively as they can. Maybe it can vary from country to country, but I would like at least a bit of more research on how everything works. I found it really strange how they talked about how radio was so great but didn't bother to at least show some of it's story. C'mon, we are talking about one of the oldest communication devices here.
I didn't need a whole description, but some mentions would be good.
Also, would it hurt to be less cringy? Whenever I saw a slow-mo I had the urge to roll my eyes to the back of my head. The cheese was real on this one. Like I said, it's romantic to the core, actually to the point of giving you cavities. However, being a fluffy sucker like I am, I can kinda forgive haha
The pacing seemed strange sometimes too. I mean, sometimes it was too slow, then too fast. Then in the last few episodes every piece was put together but it still felt a little rushed to me. Some consistency wouldn't hurt too, because without it we really don't know where the drama is really going to. Is it purely about romance? Are they going to focus solely on radio? Is there a mystery at all? Everything ended up being confusing.
And even though the characters were quite pleasant to watch, some felt a bit too underdeveloped for me. It lacked some more story. If you're going to present a character that has depth, then show me WHY instead of only giving me glimpses of what could've been. And even if you, don't rush it like this drama did. Because I ended up liking more the idea of a certain character, the potential they had, than what I was really shown. Soo Ho's mom and Tae Ri are great examples of this, but I would love some more work on the others as well.
The music was cute. Just that, I didn't really care nor paid attention. Actually, the music that had my attention was actually the background music rather than the OSTs haha Whenever they were at an event, shop or store and I heard music like "Peek-A-Boo" or Bruno Mars' hits, I would get all excited. Which is also a negative since the OSTs are supposed to be one of the highlights of a drama. Music matters too.
Rewatch value? Hmmm, maybe yes because I'm a shameless Kim So Hyun stan haha But for those who like romance and some good moments, it's worth watching again after some time.
All in all Radio Romance was, like some said, mostly a "filler" drama. It had good acting, some good moments, emotional moments too but also plenty of flaws. In the end this is just an average drama that you watch to pass time. But being average doesn't necessarily means it's bad, it's just that this drama clearly has a target audience and it didn't get out of it's comfort zone. So if you're a fan of romance, then give this one a try, but watch knowing you won't be seeing the next great epic romance, just a cute little romance.
That was the one part of this show that I really did enjoy - seeing Soo Ho blossom and become his true self under the care of Geu Rim. I like that Geu Rim was the mature and stable person in this show. She didn't have really any character growth because she didn't need any. She was calm and forth-right. She always had the perfect response to Soo Ho's (and PD Lee's) childishness. There were no huge conflicts and no noble idiocy, just a pure and sweet romance (the radio part of the show was almost an after-thought after the first half of the show and seemed to take a backseat instead of being anything major to the story.) Soo Ho could be very possessive and jealous, but because he was so child-like, cute and innocent about it, I really couldn't muster up any indignation over it. I was happy that Geu Rim was a woman that didn't let the men (Soo Ho and PD Lee) get away with bad behavior without calling them out on it.
Here is where the not so great part comes in. The story-line was problematic. The side characters really didn't have much to do, and their parts in the story were too shallowly developed to bear any weight in the story. While that made things very comfortable and easy for our lead couple, it also didn't give them any true conflict to resolve, which bored many viewers. I was ok with riding along this easy river of romance because I liked the leads honesty with each other and their resolute determination that they wouldn't let things come between them. The 'villains' that the show set up just sort of petered out about 3/4 through. Towards the end, they decided to make these thorns more sympathetic and less troublesome. Most things were resolved in neat little bows for us, very tidily and quickly. And the rest was sort of just let go. If the pacing had been better, I think they could have written a stronger story that would have been more compelling for us as viewers. Instead, they weakened out their own plot and it was already thin to begin with.
I wasn't bothered by the age difference between the actors as some people were. I am well aware that an actor doesn't have to be the same age as the character she plays. I had no issues at all with the leads that they cast for this. Now, I do have to say that the first several episodes, I wasn't thrilled with the styling choices they made for Soo Ho and Geu Rim. Soo Ho had some horrendous red hair - and red eyes to match. However, with his transformation, I could kind of see that maybe they were making an allusion to him becoming more of his 'real' self. Geu Rim also had hideously poufy curly hair and this served to make Kim So Hyun actually appear younger than her actual age rather than older, as her character was. Thankfully, they also toned down this style and she became more believable as a woman in her early 20's vs. a high school girl.
For what it's worth, if you are just looking for something light and don't mind an extremely shallow plot that just serves as a backdrop for a comfortable easy romance, then I would say this is what you are looking for in a rom-com. It's nothing ground breaking or 'never been done before', and it can be pretty cliché, so know that going in. If you are a jaded viewer who hates that sort of thing and/or needs something faster paced and a more solid plot, then you are going to want to take a hard pass on this one - it won't be for you.