Unemployed Romance (실업급여 로맨스)
Synopsis:”Unemployed Romance” is about the reunion between Seung-Hee and her first love Jong-Dae. Seung-Hee, who dreams of being a star writer but is only a salary writer for a third-class program, and Jong-dae, a temporary public worker in the department of unemployment benefits.
Country: South Korea
Genre: comedy, romance
Aired: Oct 2013 – Dec 2013
Network: Channel A
Duration: 50 min
Casting: Nam goong Min, Lee Young Ah, Suh Joon Young etc…
Nam Goong Min + Lee Young Ah…what more could I ask for? I didn’t even give it a second thought (I didn’t even read the synopsis!), I just jumped on it. But a shinning casting doesn’t necessarily mean a good plot. This drama had lots of potentials but it was wasted by bunch of mistakes and wtf. I’m not saying that I completely hated this drama. Far from that! I just ended the last episode completely indifferent.
Where should I start…Well the first episodes didn’t leave a big impression on me. The three first episodes focused on Seung-Hee. We followed her misery, learn to know her character. Without being particularly thrilling, her story was in addition weirdly made. We were swinging between present and past events. I have nothing against flashbacks but here they, most of the time, only lasted 1 or 2 minutes. This coming back and forth made the episodes all messy in my opinion. Without to mention the songs that were thrown to our face and sharply cut. Except for the funny moments sprinkled here and there, I started to enjoy the show only at the 4th episode. We were, this time following Jong Dae (finally Nam Goong Min on-screen. Before this episode he was always appearing a few seconds, during the flashback. I was starting to think that the poster of the drama was just a lie and that he had not a main role^^ let me remind you I had not read the synopsis). His story- without being THE story of the year- was refreshing and I appreciated the alchemy between both characters. But my interest dropped again when we came back from where we had stopped before being flung into Jong Dae’s past. The remaining episode were just too predictable. I know a romance is a romance and what was I expecting? Of course the first kiss is backed up by a splendid sunset, of course there is a love triangle and the hero is ready to sacrifice himself for the woman he loves. He’ll naturally see his mistakes later on and leave his current girlfriend (at the airport! what a surprise!) to run after his true and only love before this one gets engage to another man. Of course, of course. And on top of that the big happy ending is expected. But can’t we do a romance, without falling into clichés? I thought we could but maybe I was wrong. There we are, starting to scratch the surface of the problem. The scriptwriters were not able to balance their script. They were often in the excess. Without counting all the point I already mentioned (the kiss, the sacrifice etc…) I lost patience with the fake illness of Jong-Dae’s father. It’s well know that heros need to suffer a bit. But since eveything is supposed to end well in a romance we are developping this “twist” on one episode and once it had served its purpose (the heroine taking pity on the hero drawing them closer etc.) we turned it into a big joke.
Even though this show had lots of flaws, this was not the worst drama I had been given to see. I actually laughed A LOT even if it was cliché. I liked the fact that we were given the point of view of both characters, overturning the prejudices we might have, seeing only one version of the story. It was simple, cute, uncomplicated. I would recommand it to all the persons that want to spend a good time and relax. I think I was just not in the right mood to fully appreciate the drama (and god does know that mood is important! it can destroy a good drama).
I have nothing to say about the actors’s performances. They perfectly play their role. It was just their characters that I didn’t really like. They are all plain and classic.
The main characters (Seung-Hee and Jong Dae) were alike and I felt pretty much the same for both of them. They were plain, predictable characters.
They both embodied life cycle. We see two facets of their characters: when they are young, innocent, naive, in love for the first time…and a few years later the same woman and man but completely embittered by life. They both fail in life. The dreams of their youth is now far. Jong Dae didn’t become an attorney and Seung Hee didn’t become a famous scriptwriter (she works in this field but writes copycat of famous drama and crappy scenarios). Life is a bitch and particularly with these two. Problems are piling up. Everything goes wrong since they split up.
Seung-Hee (Lee Joung Ah) broke her arm and was replaced by her friends at her dream job, she was hired in a company directed by a gambling boss (of course who say gambling say money’s troubles and therefore company’s bankruptcy), trusted this latter and lost her car after lending it to him, was belittled by her neighbors cause they saw loan sharks coming to her house etc…and as if it wasn’t enough she meets Jong Dae (the guy who provoked all her misery) whereas she had finally met a nice guy that was interested into her.
It was basically the same for Jong Dae (NamGoong Min). He failed the bar exams, was exploited by one of his teacher and finally blew his opportunity to go study abroad by talking his mind to this latter when he was drunk and was forced to lie to his parents seeing them struggling and to accept a part-time job in a unemployement office. Like I said the same pattern. He had also met a nice, sexy girl when Seung-Hee showed up at his work’s place.
Finally the only difference between them was how I felt about them. I didn’t particularly like Seung-Hee. She made me laugh with her moment of craziness, anger etc…but less than Jong Dae. This latter succeed in making me happy but also sad (not to the point of crying of course!). Besides he melt my heart with his cute/innocent/ boyish/ smile and attitude. But I can’t say that they were unforgettable characters. I’m pretty sure I won’t remember them in a few years.
Let’s talk about the characters that could have been happy if they had not been the second male/female lead that are always fated to be left alone by the person they love.
Song Wan Ha (Seo Jun Yeong) embodies the perfect prince. He is handsome, nice and have a good situation in life since he is an attorney ( in short he is a successful version of Jong Dae). He has always been in love of Seung-Hee, even when she was Jong Dae’s girlfriend. He meets her when she is at her worst and decides to help her. If at first I was moved by his ‘good prince’ personality it quickly turned into pity. Second lead male don’t know when to stop! He clearly sees that Seung-Hee is once again, in love of Jong Dae but keeps on nonetheless. It’s not entirely his fault. Seung-Hee should have been clearer (I know she probably thought that, with time she’d fall in love of him and forget Jong Dae but that was not really nice for Wan Ha). [Special mention for Wan Ha’s first kiss with Seung-Hee which was super cute! a good subterfuge man^^]
On the female side we had 2 girls running after Jong Dae (the Nam Goong Min’s syndrom makes lots of victims).
The first one was writer Moon Seon-Joo (Bae Seul Gi). She lives with Seung-Hee and is the one who replaced her when this latter broke her arm. She fell in love of Jong Dae when they were still in college but was completely ignored by this one who only had eyes for Seung-Hee. For this reason she is incapable to be happy despite her sucess in the world of dramas. She belittled almost everyone because she suffered to be not loved back. She could be seen as the ‘mean’ character of the drama since she was the cause of Seung-Hee and Jong-Dae’s break up and misunderstanding. But in my opinion she was not. She reacted like everyone. Seeing another one happy with the man she loves, she acted rashly. She was quite”interesting” even though she wasn’t really present in the drama.
The second one is Oh Yeon-woo (Jeong Seung-Ah). I barely remember her character. All I know is that I didn’t specially liked her. She is young, sexy, rich, probably the woman that all men desire. She suffered the same treatment as Wan Ha: she was eventually abandoned by the one she loves. The difference with Wan Ha’s character is that I didn’t feel any pity for her. She was just pathetic in my opinion.
I won’t mention the other characters because they were not that important in my opinion. Jong Dae’s friends were quite funny but I hated how it ended up for them, specially the supposedly playboy. Classic twist of fate once again: the playboy who ends up married to a woman not particularly sexy and father.
Note Dushbadou: 6.5/10