K-Drama ‘My Secret Romance’ Makes its Charming, Cheesy Debut
I'll keep it 100 underline underline emoji (💯): aside from a fleeting ten-minute viewing session of an episode of Hani Yori Dango once back in college, I can't pretend that I'm well-versed (or even slightly versed) in the world of K-drama.
Thankfully, curiosity finally got the best of me — a problem I share with Carly Rae Jepsen — in the form of My Secret Romance, the first-ever romantic drama from Orion Cinema Network, which premiered today (Apr. 17) on DramaFever. (Full disclosure: the show is being exclusively distributed by the website, and we were sent a screener of the first episode in advance.)
The hook to get me to actually watch, however, came down to K-pop. Doesn't it always?
Secret's Song Ji-eun, who also has a flourishing solo career (she released her latest solo song, "Tell Me," at the end of March) plays lead as Lee Yoo-mi alongside the aggressively handsome Sung Hoon as Cha Jin-wook, who's performed in several dramas in recent years, including Five Children and Oh My Venus.
Yes, that's right: a member of a girl group called Secret stars in My Secret Romance. Kismet. Also, seriously, check out Song Ji-eun's "Don't Look At Me Like That" sometime.
The series revolves around Lee Yoo-Mi, a nerdy, isn't-she-gorgeous-hiding-behind-the-glasses-and-ponytail beauty too ditzy to do anything with a dude, and Cha Jin-wook, a dashing, rich brat who easily gets all the girls. A chance meeting (of course!) on a bus headed to a resort leads to the two unhappy commuters bumping into each other — quite literally — time and time again, just as fate would have it. There's real heat between the two once they actually pair up after countless mishaps, particularly once they get busy in a car...but let's not spoil the steamy sequence any further.
My Secret Romance, at least in its first episode (there are 12 in total), teeters between predictable rom-com cliché (just how many times can someone accidentally smack into the same person?), winking self-awareness, cute chemistry and a sprinkling of cheeky adult humor. (Lee Yoo-mi's feisty and unapologetic mother, with her past work as an erotic actress, is a highlight.)
Truthfully, I can't speak to how the show rates compared to the massive wealth of K-drama that exists at large, but for the entry-level enthusiasts, this one ought to satisfy as a solid starter. I'll be watching, anyway — as if I needed a new obsession hailing from Seoul.
Head to DramaFever to watch the first episode.
My Secret Romance will air on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 PM. Watch trailers for My Secret Romance above and read the official synopsis below.
Cha Jin Wook (Sung Hoon) is a second-generation chaebol. His family owns a large nutritional company. Once, he was a playful guy who thought only of partying. For him, love was a short-term thing. He met a beautiful girl at a Jeju resort. They spent the night together. He fell for her and she left him. He was never the same. Lee Yoo Mi (Song Ji Eun) never had a boyfriend. She was the epitome of innocence. And she came under Cha Jin Wook’s slick spells three years ago at a Jeju resort. Or so he thought. After spending the night together, Cha Jin Wook found himself alone, as Yoo Mi had disappeared. Fast forward three years: Cha Jin Wook has changed. He is now a stone-cold businessman, focusing only on the work of his company. The party-loving chaebol died on that Jeju resort all those years ago, and what’s left is a seriously focused CEO. The company cafeteria hires a new nutritionist and it is none other than Lee Yoo Mi, the girl whose betrayal ended Cha Jin Wook’s partying ways. When their eyes meet, the two pretend to not recognize each other, but some secrets are hard to keep. Can the one-night lovers clear up their misconceptions, and finally learn whether or not what they had was real? Or was this romance so weak that it should best be kept a secret?
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