KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Friday, June 7, 2013

Wild Romance (2012)

Wild Romance
난폭한 로맨스
(Jan – Feb 2012)

who’s in it
Lee DongWook (Scent of a Woman)
Lee SiYoung (Poseidon, Playful Kiss)
Kang DongHo (Twinkle, Twinkle)
Im JooEun (What’s Up?)
Oh ManSeok (What’s Up?)
Hwang SunHee (City Hunter)
Jessica (Girls Generation – idol member)
Lee BoHee (I Live in Cheongdam-dong)

what’s it about
Bumbling Lee SiYoung is defined by two things, her job in private security and her rabid love for professional baseball team the Blue Seagulls. She has moppy hair, wears no makeup, dresses like a male elementary school student, and tends to be really meek unless it has to do with judo or the Seagulls. She does not turn mens heads with her outstanding beauty, nor does her awkward personality translate into adorable.

Lee DongWook is the scandal-ridden, temperamental star of the Red Dreamers, the hated rivals of the Seagulls. The man has had some emotional hardships in his life which has made him withdrawn and unfriendly. In fact, he’s Kang DongHo’s biggest headache, the operating manager for the Dreamers. Also significant, Lee DongWook is still nursing a broken heart; his ex-girlfriend is played by Jessica (of premier female idol squad Girls Generation).

One day, when Lee SiYoung gets into an unfortunate altercation with Lee DongWook (she tosses him to the floor at a karaoke bar), it gets recorded and uploaded onto the web. The story grows legs and it becomes a huge publicity nightmare, especially when it becomes known that Lee SiYoung is an enthusiastic member of the anti-Lee DongWook fan club. To avoid further public embarrassment, and a possible legal wrangle, she is pressured by her own boss and the operating manager of the Red Dreamers to agree to an unconventional method of managing the scandal: become Lee DongWook’s bodyguard.

This is how she becomes her biggest enemy’s private security detail. When a very real stalker begins to target Lee DongWook and everyone in his life, Lee SiYoung must put aside her personal feelings and do her job—but can she protect her heart in the process?

16 episodes


Bae KyungSoo

Park YunSun

first impressions
Lee DongWook totally does look like a baseball player! That really taut muscular post-military service physique is totally meowrrr on him. I loved him doing the sexy tango in Scent of a Woman, and now I get to ogle his butt in tight little baseball uniforms? As the Koreans would say, did I save a nation in a prior life? Ok, the uniformed Lee DongWook warrants at least a few episodes of dedicated drooling, er, I mean, watching. Remember Lee back in My Girl? He was handsome then, but in that particular drama, I was mildly distracted by Lee JunKi and his crazy hairdo, but here and now…Lee is…to be honest, I think only feline growling sounds would suffice to describe him these days. Boy is looking mighty fine. Some men age so well.

Ok, back to the show, other than my initial fangirling over Lee DongWook’s bad boy baseball thing, the show itself didn’t register much on my approval meter. It felt mediocre. After the first couple of episodes, I wasn’t convinced the two main Lees had any chemistry, the initial set up between them getting off to a cramped and way too generic start. Then there was the hint of an extended mystery about a celebrity stalker after Lee DongWook, and that had some measure of being a good seed to grow, but judging by the fatuous way things were being introduced so far, I can’t say I had much confidence that the show would develop that sort of intense storyline very well.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed, but you know, there was the Lee DongWook factor, which was very difficult to ignore. And the fact that it wasn’t too strenuous on the brain. It wasn’t exciting, but it wasn’t a right away skipper either.  

wildcard factor
Lee DongWook. Well, for me, he is always a compelling reason to watch anything…

…but maybe the real wildcard is actually Jessica. Most people who watch kdramas are probably familiar with kpop, at least in passing. But just in case you aren’t, Jessica is the ice princess beauty of Girls Generation (just to clarify, I’m not calling her an ice princess, it is just a complimentary nickname her own fans have awarded her), and she is very very very popular, as are all the members of that female idol group. She comes bringing to the show a pretty big fanbase. That’s one reason she’s the wildcard, the other, this is her first major acting role. And it’s a starring one. How will she do? It was a big question mark. (My answer to the question mark: she did okay)

gave up

snoozer moments
Oh, so much, I couldn’t even begin to start listing the reasons why this one was such a yawner. In every episode, about forty minutes of it was perfectly designed to be a home remedy for people suffering from insomnia. Have trouble finding your nightly Z’s? Pop this one in and doze right off. Heh. I jest.

soju guzzling (angst factor)
You know, this whole show was all about the twisted sisters. Yeah we got the emotionally turmoiled baseball players and all, but really, the ladies in this drama were cra-hazy. And when I say crazy, I don’t mean “ha-ha, they are so wacky fun,” sorta crazy, I actually mean, “get these women into a strait jacket NOW before they kill someone with a letter opener” kind of crazy. Every single one was a little not right in the noggin, from the mildest of conditions such as an unhealthy manic sports addiction to the full on homicidal kitty-killing sociopath sort of mental derangement. It was a little strange. You often don’t see this kind of serious collection of nutbag-ness in a romantic comedy.

what didn’t work 
Ok, so one of my biggest problems with the show was Lee SiYoung’s character. Not because I didn’t like her tomboy persona as a heroine to root for, but because I disliked the design of her. The show really went overboard with her...what’s the word I need...let’s go with presentation. They wanted to paint her as an “ugly duckling” type of woman who was so odd she was adorable, so there’s nothing new there, but the show forgot to emphasize the adorable part. 

She was definitely odd, with occasional moments of genuine cuteness, but Lee SiYoung was so busy being awkward and uncomfortable in her own skin, it was difficult to see past the costume. The exaggerated perm on the pretty actress was not necessary, dressing her in mannish shapeless clothing with a backpack was also not necessary, and above all, depicting her character as completely clueless was not only completely unnecessary, it was also totally ridiculous considering she worked as a bodyguard—um, those people are paid to be alert and rational and totally clued in. And that was the other part of the bad composition, how was this person possibly a good bodyguard? A judo athlete? Difficult to swallow. The show spent so much time painting her a 13 year old boy that they forgot she’s supposed to be a competent lovable leading lady for Lee DongWook.

Give the girl a break, show! I wish writers had penned in some moments where she was crafty, self-assured, awesome, and badass, so we as viewers could have seen her as awesome and badass, too! It’s like this, the leading male character is destined to fall in love with the heroine, it’s a kdrama. The trickier part? Getting a judgy, jealous, “Lee DongWook should me mine” audience (like me) to love her as much as he does. I’m not saying a female lead has to wear dresses to be a lady, of course that’s just stupid and sexist, but let a character be confident in her overall appearance, make us believe she isn’t afraid of her own shadow. Don’t model her character after an adolescent boy going through puberty. The way they depicted her, I would have picked Jessica, had I been Lee DongWook.

what did
The secondary mini-tales within the show seemed more interesting to me: the development of the robotic emotionless Red Dreamers manager who tries to maintain his team, the baseball player who can’t play baseball anymore trying to find his role in the world, the girl who lost all her family and hides behind books, the sports journalist who goes after a story with pitbull determination, and even the ex-girlfriend, the bipolar artist who struggles to stay sane. A lot of these side characters were infinitely more involving, and thankfully, there was a bunch of them all over the place.

what made me want to pull out my hair
what kept me going
The relationship that developed between the Red Dreamers manager Kang DongHo and Lee SiYoung’s best friend Im JooEun was pretty flippin’ cute. He was a really uptight suit and tie fellow, she was a really inappropriate socially impertinent hobbyist. Their screen time was too few and far in between, but I thought, the most entertaining.

There was an adorable scene where she gifts him a homemade New Years card, teasing that it’s a picture of her in a bikini. *wink, wink* When he nervously opens it, the picture is actually a childhood snapshot taken on a beach when she was a cute littlebit.
For some reason, summarizing that scene kind of makes it sound dirty...trust me, it wasn’t gross, it was cute.


Other factors:
predictability Yes, I knew who the stalker was from the very beginning. Ok, definitely by episode 5.
cheese/engrish Yes
originality Nope
eye-candy yes
hair and fashion Poor Lee SiYoung, the show wronged her bad.


a list:
the better characters of the show

5: Oh ManSeok
Brought emotion and credibility to a silly nilly premise.

4: Jessica and Hwang SunHee
Presented us an interesting friendship dynamic with lots of layers. A convincing spin on a complicated female dynamic, a mixture of jealousy and love, maternal yet mean—women hold petty grudges, this rang true.

3: Hong JongHyun
Probably the only male on the show that matched wacko with the ladies. For that alone, he stood somewhat interesting. I guess inexplicable crazy is always a show-stopper.

2: Lee HeeJoon
Actually, I really enjoyed his character. The relentless reporter with a personal vendetta…but not completely soulless.

1: Kang DongHo and Im JooEun
 Simply cute. Kept me going.

total enjoyment factor

why this review is completely biased
The show didn’t do that well in the ratings…so I stand with the majority on this one, I believe.

Just for the quality of drama alone, disregarding any fan volcano anyone might feel for any of the stars in here, this one is for only those all caught up with their drama watching with too much time to kill. It is a good filler drama to get you through moments when there is nothing else on. Watchable, but also liberally seasoned with cuckoo sauce.


  1. Ahahaa! You had me giggling through this review, Dnoella! I completely agree with you that WR is a meh show.. & like you, it was LDW who enticed me to check it out, and who then wouldn't let me leave even though all my senses were telling me how meh the show itself was turning out to be! LOVED the Robot Couple too, they were super cute.

    I also realize one of my fave things about your writing is your way of combining words to create the perfect end result. Like this: "a really inappropriate socially impertinent hobbyist." PERFECT description, hitting all the right notes, and done with such a concise combination of just a few words.

    And then there's this: "Every single one was a little not right in the noggin, from the mildest of conditions such as an unhealthy manic sports addiction to the full on homicidal kitty-killing sociopath sort of mental derangement." A sentence that I found completely delicious.

    Love it! <3

    1. You always say the nicest things!!! *sheepish* Haha, I think this show was really easy to poke fun of...maybe that's also part of its wierd non-charm. It may have been more fun laughing AT IT than with it? I feel better knowing I wasn't alone in watching the whole thing for LDW!


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