The Lovers Review (SPOILERS)

Posted by Stephanie on June 30, 2015

Reviews

the lover 2

Well, that’s done.

Yep, that pretty much sums up my feelings on this drama, which was in turns horribly boring, slightly interesting, and just terrible. I know there are a lot of people out there who like, nay, love, this drama, and I just have to say, I don’t get it. It was badly written, the characters were mostly annoying, and while they tried for gross-out, pushing-the-boundaries humor, for the most part they missed their mark and dragged the jokes out for too long.

Yeah, because more time—that’s exactly what you need to make a bad joke funny. 

So if I disliked the show that much, why did I keep watching until the end? I mean, I simulcast this thing for real guys. I dropped Orange Marmalade, which showed promise, essentially dropped Producer, which was a ‘big drama,’ and yet I kept watching this show that I truly disliked? Why?

I wish I had an answer for you. It was what I did on Saturday mornings? The show didn’t require me to think at all? Or pay attention? Or to care? At all? That’s probably it.

But the more interesting answer is that, occasionally—very, very occasionally—the drama makers would move past the “ooh we’re so cool and edgy with the sexual innuendo,” and we would have flashes of insight and meaning for these characters which would make you, despite your best intentions, care for them.

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Ugh. Except for that engaged couple—they were terrible, and I’m pretty sure the drama writer thought so too, as they were often just left of the episodes entirely. Which makes me think—would this show have been better if they’d been left out? Give their screen time to balance out and dig deeper on the three other, more interesting, couples? The fact that they were the only couple who didn’t make it to the finish line came as no surprise.

It’s the other couples—the older couple and their struggles with their careers and wanting more out of their lives, the noona and her wannabe rock star boyfriend and their questioning if their age difference was really something they could work around, and the roommate and his struggle with his sexuality—that keep you watching.

Sometimes.

They all have questions about each other and their relationships that are realistic and relatable. Will we ever get married? Does he really love me? Can she wait until I make it? Am I gay? How did I find myself engaged to such a horrible woman? When the show let us inside the characters, you got the charm of what this show could have been if better written.

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I was also there to see if the production would actually allow for the roommate couple to be gay or if it was just going to be a case of the dreaded ‘gay baiting’ (the teasing of a gay storyline for the edge and ratings, only to be swapped out later). I’m happy to say it wasn’t. And the funny thing is that I would have been perfectly okay (albeit super sad for the Korean guy) if they never got together in the end. Gasp! I know! surprised me too. The thing was though that the story wasn’t really about them as a couple, unlike the other storylines. This story was actually more about the Korean guy’s journey (12 episodes and I don’t care enough to learn anyone’s names…). Him realizing he has feelings for his male roommate and what that means. The Japanese guy was more of an afterthought, plot- and character-wise. That scene where the Japanese guy was encouraging the Korean guy to go out on a date, even giving him a ‘just in case’ condom. His confusion and the realization that this guy he liked clearly did not feel the same way about him, hurt, just a little bit. The fact that, at the end of the episode, he chose his feelings for the guy over the girl, even though he knew the Japanese guy didn’t feel the same way and was leaving? Yep, hit me right in the heart.

I am glad though that they showed them in the epilogue, as, if the show had ended where it did, with their one night dream? I would have been ticked. No, I didn’t need them to be together in the end (although I am happy to see that they are headed there), but having the Japanese guy just leave like that after coming back—after leaving him that first time? Uncool man. Yes, I see where they were going, the Japanese guy wanted the closure, one night to be true to his feelings, and while realistic, I’m firmly in Team Korean Boy’s camp, and if that Japanese jerk had just dumped him after raising his hopes…

the lover

While they annoyed me a lot, my other favorite couple was the noona and her rocker boy. She constantly struggled with questions over their relationship, whether they would make it because he was so much younger than her, if she was holding him back on his career, and the fact that he was so immature, which was exactly what I thought people in noona-killer romances would feel. That much of an age gap isn’t something you can just wave away, and the fact that he wanted to make it in the entertainment business, which is unpredictable, and if he ever made it, we all know how much relationships are frowned on, did not bode well for their future. But though he was never able to communicate it to her face, he did really love her and was aware of, not only the issues she had, but under the guise of a dumb kid, he desperately wanted to grow up and be worthy of her. Of all the relationships, I was the most pleased with how they ended up in the last episode. He got famous, had lots of money, and yet still chose her—despite what everyone else wanted.

The other thing that I really liked about this drama? As is the new trend with cable dramas, they played a selection of Kindie music throughout the drama. I got a lot of new music to keep my eye out for. I love how cable dramas do this—it’s probably for budgetary reasons—but rather than two or three songs written specifically for them, they actually get new music from episode to episode, which gets the feeling just right. Although I’m pretty sure they repeated a Zitten song, but since I loved the crap out of that thing, I was more than happy to hear it again.

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So I made it to the end! I liked the music! I liked some of the characters—some of the time! So would I recommend this drama to anyone? HELLZ NO. This is a terribly written, not-well-acted piece of poo. Now, I’m sure there are some of you out there who think I just didn’t get the humor. That it was too low brow for me. This is not the case—I love a good fart joke and sexual innuendo as much as the next 12-year-old. But when you base whole scenes, whole episodes around it, just because you’re trying to push some envelope or be cool, without backing it up with story or heart, your jokes fall as flat as *insert sex joke here*.  So I can’t in good conscience recommend this when there are so many other good dramas out there to watch.

So, does anyone know what it’s being replaced with? As I now find myself in the market for a show which doesn’t require me to think, or pay attention, or to care at all, on my Saturday mornings.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Nimwe June 30, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I think you’re absolutely spot on with this review. I watched all episodes, and even during episodes I wondered why I was still watching it.
    Many jokes fell flat and/or went on too long. I applaud the writers for trying something new, but sadly it failed.
    I did like the grounded moments between the couples. Just the moments that showed us why they were a couple, and why Joon Jae (I think) was struggling with accepting his sexuality, and his confusion with Takuya’s behaviour. Those moments showed promise. Sadly, those were scarce.

  • Reply Brenda June 30, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    The noona actress is very good. I saw her in Valid Love most recently and loved her there. It’s a shame she got stuck in a stinker.

  • Reply Purplerrr July 5, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Can’t disagree with your review. I really enjoyed the first couple of episodes because it was so different from what I’ve seen in decades of Kdrama watching. That glow in the dark condom use still cracks me up. But by episode 3 I was wanting some forward momentum with the characters and not seeing the same thing over and over. I would sample 15 – 30 second intervals of the older couple, skip the engaged couple, sample longer sections of the noona couple and watch the guy couple.

    They blew such a great opportunity to explore relationships and what it really means to be in one – no matter its configuration. As you said about the noona couple, they really grappled with questions about what it meant to be in relationship given the age difference. As someone who was married to a 15 year younger man for a decade I could relate and though they did it well.

    I’m love dramas that explore folks grappling with something – sexuality, religion, age, conformation to the norm of any sort – and when I’d get the glimpses of struggle I cheered. Then would descend directly into the pit of despair when they gave us slapstick or stupidity right after. Sigh.

    I saw the older actress in “Two Weddings and a Funeral” as half of a lesbian couple where she was quite good. The noona actress was great in “Emergency Couple” as a woman supportive of other women. She was also in “Biscuit Teacher Star Candy” as a high school student. They often have her speaking English since she lived in North America for a time and can actually speak it with a decent understandable accent.

    Well I got to listen to some good music, discover some new bands and give props that something new was tried. It mostly failed, but at least they tried.

  • Reply Nadiege February 27, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    This show is life and I wish it never had to end the way it did!!!!!
    🙁

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