by Devils Advocate, May 20, 2020
252

Hello, Fellow MDLrs! I'm Devil’s Advocate, a fellow MDLr. I got into Kdramas from 2016 onwards. The reason I started watching Kdramas is that I couldn’t get enough romance from movies and couldn’t get enough of Jun Ji Hyun. So, I started off with My Love from Another Star. (Great Start, Huh.)

On a side note, I am a person who hates love triangles, so in my list, there’ll always be little to no Love Triangles.

So, in my first article (apparently, I hope that I’ll keep doing it and more articles will come), I would like to list out my pick for the Top Melo-Romance Kdramas.

DISCLAIMER: This list is based on my personal preferences and only includes Melo-Romance and not RomComs.

 ******************************Let’s Get Started*******************************




5. A Piece of Your Mind


Episodes: 12

When I heard that there was going to be a drama with Jung Hae In and Chae Soo Bin, written by Lee Sook Yun (writer of Tune in For Love) and directed by Lee Sang Yeob (director of Familiar Wife, My Holo Love), I was sold right on. It became one of the most anticipated Dramas of 2020 for me.

After watching One Spring Night, I never thought I would see another drama which could be even remotely as good as that one. Oh Boy, was I wrong, and Jung Hae In was the one who proved it. Everything in this drama was perfect. This is also the most underrated drama I’ve ever seen. I feel like this drama was tailor-made for me. Normally, I don’t take much time to finish watching an episode, but not for this one. For an episode of 1hour 10-15minutes, it would take me about 2hrs to completely watch it. I would rewind each and every scene, hear each and every dialogue again and again. Last time I did the same was for the movie "In The Mood For Love" (It took me around 3hrs to complete the movie with the runtime of about 1.5hrs)

This drama was made for that 1% of the audience who is really into the slow-paced dramas which talk about love in the most beautiful way, without getting lost in the pool of side stories and fillers. And quite sadly, because it couldn’t go past that 1% of the people in TV ratings, TVN decided to cut short the episodes to 12.

The cinematography, direction, pacing, everything about this drama was perfect. Also, the chemistry between the leads. I’ve never seen such a chemistry between leads wherein they do nothing, but stay next to each other. This drama is nothing short of a masterpiece for me.

Mild Spoilers below:

This drama deals with unrequited love in a manner never seen before. This is my first time seeing unrequited love expressed in such a beautiful manner, and I love it.

The drama has only one kiss scene and boy, they nailed it. The kiss scene in the car was everything that I wanted, and the most realistic, sweet kiss scene (not mouth eating and stuff). Also, it has one of the best confession scenes from both the leads as well.

The "That Thing" scenes (Frying Pan scenes) were the ones to die for. Also, that awkward shy smiles between the leads were something that I desperately wished for in many other dramas and something that I could only get from this drama.

About the Device, many people say that it seems a bit far-fetched, but what I feel is that maybe if you could input the person’s DNA, it could be possible, as the DNA retains memories and characteristic traits of human beings. Whatever be the case, the plot does not revolve around or is build upon the Device. Instead, the Device is only an addition to the character's interactions. The writer does not try to explain more about the functionality of the device, as it is not that important, and we should leave it as it is.

The side stories and the side characters are placed in correct proportions, without taking up too much of the time and had a really good touch to it. (Unlike other dramas wherein the side stories are more interesting than the main lead’s stories. Yes, I am looking at you, When The Weather Is Fine).

So, why only fifth place for this Masterpiece, you ask? It was because they cut short the episodes to 12 from 16. It was my anger towards the TVN executives on behalf of the 1% of the people who really adore this gem of a drama.



4. Secret Love Affair


Episodes: 16

Now, where should I start with this one? One of the rare masterpieces of the director Ahn Pan Seok, written by Jung Sung Joo and starring Kim Hee Ae (The World of Married) and Yoo Ah In (Chicago Typewriter). This drama IS A MASTERPIECE. Every scene in this drama is so well thought, choreographed and directed that, even though I had a misplaced sense of righteousness (yes, because it has affair in the title), I really loved this drama from start to finish. Don’t let your misplaced sense of righteousness tick you off from watching this Masterpiece because of its title. Actually, this drama helped me empathize, understand and broaden my views about why people are caught up in affairs.  It helped me learn and become a better person, which is a very rare thing that I get from my guilty pleasure (Kdrama, of course, phh. What were you thinking?).

Every decision made by the characters, how they interact with each other, understanding one another and bring changes to one another. The piano scenes in this drama are the ones to die for. They are so well-choreographed that we could feel the expressions, the emotions, of the leads while the piano is being played. It also had the best ever ending to a drama I’ve ever seen. It ended with a BANG!!!

The only downside of this drama is Yoo Ah In looks a bit older than 20. Yes, I am nitpicking?

Mild Spoilers below:

There is a scene in the drama where the leads just sit next to each other and listen to the “Piano Man”, by Billy Joel. They do nothing, just listening to that song, and that alone makes me feel each and every emotion that they are experiencing. If this is not a Masterpiece scene, I don’t know what is. This is hands down one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in any visual formate. I was able to be there with the leads while they were listening to that song. The lyrics of the song are even stuck in my head to this day.

The ending, I don’t know what you guys feel about it, but for me, it was nothing short of a masterpiece. It was the most perfect ending I’ve seen in any drama. It was not unrealistic or fairy-taleish, it was true to the soul of the drama and had a theme of redemption through love. The ending made me realize that what you do when you have everything is the thing that actually defines you.



3. Just Between Lovers / Rain or Shine


Episodes: 16

This was the drama which always topped my list until I saw the next two dramas in my list. This drama is so good that I had serious withdrawal syndrome, I was not sure whether I could find another drama that could top this one. This drama is about two people who have undergone an accident while they were young and how they depend on each to heal from the trauma. It was wonderfully, written by Yoo Bo Ra (Secret) and Directed by Kim Jin Won (My Country: the New Age). The performances by Lee Jun Ho (Wok of Love) and Won Jin Ah (Melting Me Softly) was nothing short of perfect. This drama had everything and in the right proportion. The role of Ma Ri played by Yoon Se Ah was just like an idol boss lady. Also, it had a complete arch-villain, without justifying his actions while making us understand why he does what he does.

Mild Spoilers below:

The kissing scene where Kang Doo checks Moon Soo’s fever and gets a fever the next day was so good, it made me love it so much.

The arch-villain as he had at least one person who understood him without justifying his actions is one of the top points of this drama. It made me realize that even the bad guy is human and is not some character written just to make the leads suffer, unlike many other dramas. This drama gives his character a proper shade, rather than the other black or white shaded character in the usual dramas.

What happened to the second male lead was what made me the happiest. Actually, I hate Second Leads the most when they shove their love into the Female Lead (there are some exceptions, though), and makes us annoyed. (Maybe I hate the Second Lead even more than the villain, OMO, What am I saying..?)

   


2. One Spring Night


Episodes: 16

Another Masterpiece by Ahn Pan Seok starring again Jung Hae In, and also Han Ji Min. This drama gave me the feeling that I couldn’t get from any other drama, written by none another than the master screenwriter Kim Eun. This is actually her second drama, and I could actually see the writing improving. This is the only drama in my list with a love triangle, but not the one you expect it to be.

It deals with the struggles of a single parent, the abandonment by loved ones, the commitment towards the relationship, the realization of own feelings, and so on. Moreover, it had a really good set of family members who have their own development in the story and understand the choices made by the Female Lead.

It has an underlying theme of long relationships and how love changes. It also poses the question of what if the love changes again and answers it in the last few episodes of the drama.

The OSTs, how can I forget about that. The OSTs were perfect. All the songs from Spring Rain by Oscar Dunbar to Spring Waltz by Carla Bruni, I clearly remember each and every song perfectly.

 Mild Spoilers below:

The character of the father and the development arc towards him is the most pleasing and realistic one I’ve seen in Kdrama. I really liked who he was in the beginning and who he became towards the end. The mother who stood up for her daughters was the coolest one.

The sister’s husband, who was a loser and a habitual abuser, the prime example of toxic masculinity, and how the second lead, in the end, pities him was something pleasing, realistic, and true to the drama, without making any radical changes to please the viewers or show them redemption for the abuser.

Also, how the second lead came to the realization that what he had was not love, but a sense of pride and that he doesn’t have the right to look down on anyone is something nice to see as a character development trait.

Also, the way that Han Ji Min, her younger sister, and her mother react, when they heard that her sister is being beaten by her husband, was priceless. Also, the way her father reacted was surprising and unforgivable, but understandable given how his character is. I am glad that they kept her father true to the character and developed his character appropriately, instead of making them the perfect family.

Plus, Eun Woo (the son) was soo cute and a bonus to watch.



1. Something In The Rain / Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food 

Episodes: 16

Most Of You Guys would have expected it, with my obsession over Jung Hae In and Ahn Pan Seok, that this would be my first pick for the best ever Melo-Romance Kdrama (everyone who had seen this drama would absolutely pick this one as their first pick). This drama had me over the moon with the first few episodes, and then made me land back to earth with its realistic take on the plot. Every struggle shown in this drama is something that I was able to understand. It was not perfect or messy, and that is what made it real. The characters do not change all of a sudden and take their time to adapt and embrace the change. In short, it is a story of a woman who learns to value herself after receiving a huge amount of unconditional love

Son Ye Jin, the Queen of Kdrama: she was the perfect Noona. The role of Noona was done perfectly by Son Ye Jin, and I don’t think that anyone could top her performance. And then comes Jung Hae In, that guy is a master in terms of Melo-Romance. The dude can express love with his eyes. That is something that I couldn’t find in any other actor (not up to this level). His smile and eyes could express love, and I could literally feel that love  come across the screen.

The OSTs, where should I start, this drama had hands down the best OST I’ve ever heard. Every song was perfect. From Stand By You Man By Carla Bruni to Save the Last Dance For Me by Bruce Willis and the soothing voice of Rachael Yamagata (Something in the Rain, La La La). Till this day, I still listen to all these songs in this drama. I haven’t seen any other drama that is as good as this one, and I don’t think there’ll ever be another drama that’ll top this one.

 Mild Spoilers below:

As for the different decisions of the Female Lead, I see a lot of people arguing about how she shouldn’t have done that, and all. But I could understand why she did it and how she could do that seeing how the character is. I could understand all her bad decisions, and how she fights against all the odds and improves.

This is one of those rare dramas where every character, including the male lead and the female lead, have a development arc. Everything about this drama is perfect, and I wouldn’t change a thing in it. At first, I was also annoyed by various of the character's choices, but when I think upon it, it’s true and real to life, unlike many other fairy-tale Kdramas.

Now, let’s talk about the mother. Yes, she was annoying AF. But that is what her character is. She stays true to her character and the actress (Kil Hae Yeon) who portrayed that role did it with perfection.

This drama also deals with workplace sexual harassment, which many people in the Kdrama industry are afraid to even touch on. Here, they showed sexual harassment, the mentality of the victim, how hard it is for them to fight against it, how they could fight against it... And how receiving lots of unconditional love made the female lead value herself more and gain enough strength to fight against it. Also, the conclusion to the long and unending fight was grounded and realistic. I was shocked and loved the realistic ending to that arc.

As a matter of fact, I’ll fight with anyone (of course through words) who disagree with the character's choices or decisions. I even named my user name Devil’s Advocate (someone who puts forth an unpopular opinion) to defend the choices made by the female lead. Because when I argued with myself over the decisions made by her, by playing the Devil’s Advocate, each and every decision made sense and stayed true to the character. So, I suggest that you guys also, please, try to do the same to appreciate this Masterpiece.


So, here ends my List of Top 5 Melo-Romance Kdramas with 3 dramas, starring Jung Hae In, 3 dramas directed by Ahn Pan Seok and 2 dramas written by Kim Eun. I apologize for the long post and hope you guys enjoyed the article.

 Feel free to list out your Top 5 Picks for Melo Romance Kdrama

OR

 Let's just discuss the ones listed above?



 ******************************Peace Out*******************************


I would like to thank Ms. Yuanwei and Ms. Cookie for taking the time to help me with the article despite being sick.


Edited by: Cookie (1st editor) Aya97 (2nd editor)

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