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by cityhunter on December 30, 2013
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2013 Korean Romantic Comedies

Romantic comedies are the bread and butter of drama land. In terms of choices, this year was a good year to be a fan of Korean romantic comedies.

The King of Dramas

The King Of Dramas depicted the world of drama production, in particular the struggle of Anthony Kim in his attempt to rise from the ashes of his career, helped by Writer Lee Go Eun. None of us will ever know just how realistic the portrayal was, but it was certainly entertaining. This highly rated show has funny moments and it has its pillow hugging "AWW!" moments, but it's more than that. Those were simply tools of a well written, if not well thought out, story.  Every human emotion is here and all of them were hit almost flawlessly. Parts of the story, especially toward the end, felt slap dash and are not, in my opinion, worthy of the rest of the show. It's a small flaw in an otherwise wonderful drama.  The cast were all delightful and played their roles to perfection. Jung Ryeo Won and Kim Myung Min had great chemistry. I'd like to give a special nod to Choi Siwon. He did really well  in this role. He's finally found his niche and I hope he stays there!

Cheongdamdong Alice

Cheongdamdong Alice took the oft lamented formulaic, clichéd approached to rom-coms  and threw most of it out the window with mixed results. There were times during the sixteen episode run when both viewers and Cha Seung Jo weren't sure how much we liked Han Se Kyung. As we followed her down her money hungry rabbit hole, the motives behind some of her choices made little sense even in dramaland. This wouldn’t have been a huge problem except the entire plot hinged on a few of them. I was happy to have a heroine that was more realistic, but disappointed that she was kind of an awful person sometimes. Despite the frustration when all was said and done, it evened out decently and we forgave Se Kyung. That might be due in large part to Park Shi Hoo's  stunning performance as the hilarious and emotionally damaged Cha Seung Jo. Shi Hoo takes you from side splitting laughter to sobbing in the space of a single episode and he does it throughout the drama.  The drama is populated by a number of other equally delightful characters, many of whom I felt deserved their own dramas.

Flower Boy Next Door

Another drama that has leads who defy convention is  Flower Boy Next Door. Based on a webtoon,  it is the story of a recluse drawn out by a handsome but childish new neighbor.  Instead of a damsel in distress and her cold white knight we get a hermit with serious problems and the court jester who simply will not take "go away" for an answer.  While most rom-coms lose the funny somewhere along the way Flower Boy Next Door holds onto it for dear life. Even when the love triangle is in full swing or the origins of Dok Mi's  lonely, austere existence are being explored there is still plenty to laugh about thanks to the second leads Jin Rak and Do Hwi (bless you) and the rest of the supporting characters.

7th Grade Civil Servant

7th Grade Civil Servant managed a decent score among MDL users despite complaints about basically everything, including {le gasp} Joo Won! Choi Kang Hee got a lot of heat, mostly for not being young or pretty enough for Joo Won but there were bigger problems. Based on the popular movie My Girlfriend is an Agent, the drama version seemed to get into more and more trouble the further away from the original plot they got.  Often the humor came off less funny and more silly. Many viewers threw their hands up in aggravation at the seeming incompetence of Korea's intelligence agents and gave up half way through. Fans of the show insist that detractors didn’t get the humor and were taking the whole thing waaaay too seriously. In the end even most of the good reviews were littered with complaints, once again proving that just because a drama is entertaining doesn’t mean it's good.

Dating Agency Cyrano

Dating Agency Cyrano was the final, and least likely, installment of TVN's flower boy series. It has the dubious honor of being the Flower Boy drama rated by the fewest MLD users with a gap of over 4,000, separating it from Flower Boy Next Door which aired in Jan/Feb.  Viewers were impressed by Girl's Generation's  Choi Soo Young who played heroine Gong Min Young and intrigued at the choice of forty year old Lee Jong Hyuk as the male lead for a flower boy drama.  The central story of the drama was a bit wanting and some viewers complained of a lack chemistry between the main leads.  Still, the cases were fun and the show boasted the best guest spots; Taemin, Lee Kwang Soo AND Gong Yoo! It was also responsible for some of the worst reported cases of second lead syndrome this year.


Heirs. Oh Heirs. This is a drama you love to hate. I don’t think I've ever been so happy for a drama to wrap, but I tuned in every week. The story is predictable sloppy and Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye seem to be phoning in the performances most of the time.  In fact there is little to recommend it beyond a SHAMAZING supporting cast. I've been following Kim Woo Bin for a couple of years now but for a lot of people this was their first time basking in the glory. Maybe Choi Jin Hyuk gave Kim Woo Bin the thunder stealing powers he had left over from Gu Family Book. No one seems to like the comparison but the producers of Heirs pretty much begged viewers to be compare this to Boys Over Flowers. If this is where shows like Boys Over Flowers are headed I can't say I'm totally disappointed. The acting was much better and the characters were …not as bad..? While Young Do and Kim Tan certainly could hold their own against Gu Jun Pyo in terms of rich boy craziness at least at some point it was acknowledged that both were a little off their rockers. No one seemed to realize Gu Jun Pyo was as psychopath. Heirs is progress!

Unemployed Romance

I was really looking forward to Unemployed Romance. We were all long overdo for some 1st male lead action out of Nam Goong Min but his chemistry with the female lead, though not the worst I've ever seen certainly wasn’t as great as I had hoped, especially since I really liked the female lead as a character. Its short ten episode run was perfect for the story,  though they could have used their time better. So the drag out over ten weeks felt like too much for what I was getting. This might be one of those dramas that you should only watch in dramathon format.  All said it done it was entertaining though I felt like the ending was pure laziness.

I Hear Your Voice

I Hear Your Voice has a little bit of everything, as evidenced by the five genre tags on its info page. IHYV blends them all seamlessly, even the slight fantasy element. Amid all of the heart exploding edge of your seat moments and one of the best developed villains of K-drama ever PERIOD there is a sweet funny  and unexpected love story. This is one of the few dramas of the year that truly had us wondering  who she would go for, at least for a little while.  There is chemistry to spare all over the love triangle. I was skeptical at first because Hye Sung just seemed like too much woman for either man, but when it happens it's awesome.

Marry Him If You Dare

Marry Him If You Dare, more like watch this if you dare. The wound is fresh and I'm still a little miffed if you can't tell. The premise is simply too wonderful to resist. Who wouldn’t want to go back in time and try to fix the mistakes they'd made?  After you kill Hitler of course, I think that's a time travel rule, you have to kill Hitler before you do anything else. MHIYD started out strong, fun and quirky and then they just lost it. Like Ark of the Covenant, Tutankhamen's tomb, city of Atlantis LOST IT.  They story chased its tail for most of the 2nd act and the end just sort of rears its ugly head up out of nowhere and leaves you feeling just a little Bigged. On the plus side though I was surprised by Young Hwa. When did he learn how to act?

I'm looking forward to all of your thoughts on these rom-coms!