If I should describe OCN’s first venture into the romance-comedy genre, I would say that it’s a shoujo manga turned into live action.
All the elements are there: playboy heir, clumsy girl, scenic setting, unusual meet-cute, and chemistry to boot. So did My Secret Romance started on the right note? Sort of.
The series began with Cha Jin-wook (Sung Hoon) taking over as the DJ in his friend’s club. (This dude really knows how to drop the beat). There, he casually mentioned he learned DJing from a girl he met in Spain. It gave off the first impression that he was a Casanova. Enter our female lead, Lee Yoo-mi (Song Ji-eun). She joined her friends at the club, who immediately took notice of her grim reaper outfit. The two leads spent the night separately; establishing their character’s behavior in their own surrounding.
The first half hour of this episode was spent introducing the main characters but I could easily summarize it into one sentence. Jin-wook’s father wants him to be more responsible and decided to force him to work at one of their resorts, which turned out to be the venue for Yoo-mi’s mother’s second wedding.
To be honest, my interest started diminishing at this point but then this happen:
Yoo-mi ran away from her mother’s wedding after her mother’s past as an erotic actress was brought up. She had a flashback from her student days where she was the centre of gossip. She escaped and didn’t notice her path until she bumped into the wedding cake Jin-wook was bringing in. This is a drama cliche, I know. But their chemistry was so palpable that I think this should have been their real meet-cute. So squeel-worthy.
The series then started to get more interesting. Yoo-mi’s vulnerable side finally came out and made me emphatize with her more. While, Jin-wook’s lonelier (and much less annoying) persona was also hinted when he secretly gave her mother a bouquet of flowers. This scenes made their character more relatable, more human, and less manga-ish.
And just like any dramaland rom-coms, this pair’s world seem so small they end up meeting again. Yoo-mi decided to join Jin-wook’s beachside drinking.
Maybe it was the strange comfort of being with someone who doesn’t know you and would never see you again that pushed Yoo-mi to confide with Jin-wook. Add the starry backdrop to their drunken state and personal conversation, Jin-wook can’t help but kiss the first girl he really thought was beautiful. Jin-wook and Yoo-mi’s passionate kiss turned into a more intimate act. Yep, there’s a one night stand on episode one (insert blushing emoji).
So my verdict? My Secret Romance has all the ingredients it needs to become a succesful romantic-comedy series. But I think it is still playing safe. Regardless, the first episode gave me enough reasons to ask for more. And judging at how they ended the pilot episode, I know this one is just getting started.