Q3 Pitstop: The Kdramas of 2016

 

Lucky Romancelr00

The gist:

Shim Bo-nui is an extremely superstitious woman who relies on talismans and charms to counter her bad luck. One day she is told by a fortune-teller that spending the night with a man born from the Year of the Tiger will help overcome her biggest concern. Her likely candidate is genius CEO Je Su-ho, who on the other hand only relies on facts and logic.

The good:

– The concept of luck vs. logic. If there’s anything about the published synopsis that caught my attention, it was the show’s different take on “opposites attract”, by doing a personified version of chance vs. choice. It’s a promising concept that gives a twist on overdone cliché coldhearted rich guy-sunny Candy girl couple. When two extreme paradigms get in the way of a love affair, it’s interesting to see how both learn from each other, adjust, and grow. The show cleanly wrapped up this theme in the end too.

– Je Su-ho/Ryu Jun-yeol. My bias for RJY aside, Je Su-ho has quickly become my favorite dramaland leading man. He’s an adorkable character that is easy to root for and endearing to watch, because he’s a more grounded version of a drama trope. While a successful CEO, he never once threw money into the relationship, and wooed the girl by sheer perseverance. He’s blunt but never a jerk. I can’t separate the actor from the character, because I feel that it’s Ryu Jun-yeol’s approach to the role that gave it such a powerful and unique charm. On the flip side though…

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The bad:9

– Shim Bo-nui is the most infuriating drama heroine I’ve ever encountered! I feel the character development was lopsided because while Soo-ho was growing leaps and bounds, Shim Bo-nui was planted firmly in her delusions. Her outfits didn’t help make me like her either. LOL but true. While I see the intent of going for a quirky-boho-romantic look for her equally-peculiar personality, I was often distracted by the amount of fabric she’s wearing.

– The unceremonious closure of significant plot points. There were major conflicts hinged on the drama’s overarching theme that were closed all-too quickly by the show. I would have wanted these events fleshed out and resolved clearly because they carry valuable messages about the show’s theme, but the script just brushed them off and moved on almost as if nothing happened. I don’t like letting people off the hook without learning any lessons.

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The verdict:

If anything, this drama proved to me that Ryu Jun-yeol is capable of being a leading man, building his status as an actor post-Reply 1988. He doesn’t need to be a flower boy to make hearts flutter, and his talent plus innate charisma can carry the weight of this show. He’s the only one in the main cast that I cared for, since Hwang Jeung-eum’s character was insufferable. And though Lee Soo-hyuk’s and Lee Chung-ah’s characters as second leads were thankfully not psychos, they were sadly underutilized given their talent (especially since LSH did great in Scholar Who Walks the Night). Overall, however, Lucky Romance was entertaining in its own right: it had nice moments (aka the times I swooned at Su-ho), and all loose ends were tied up in a satisfying way in the finale. Not exceptionally awesome, but not a complete waste of time.

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