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Trot Lovers: Episode 16 (Final)

Trot Lovers wraps up its run with a finale that gives me everything I’ve ever wanted from this show, as it addresses the big question of “does everyone live happily ever after?” Particularly, are the sins of the Worst Parents Ever to be passed down to the children? Or is it possible to break free from a life that is shadowed by the past?

FINAL EPISODE RECAP

After Chun-hee overhears Joon-hyun’s mother begging her father to not send her jail, she dazedly returns home to think things through. Joon-hyun tries calling her since she never returned for dinner, but she’s lost in memories of her mother and how difficult it was for her to no longer speak or sing. Finally she picks up the phone, and apologizes for not answering sooner. She makes the excuse that her father was sick so that’s why she had to leave early.

Joon-hyun’s mother arrives at his apartment, distraught and possibly a little drunk. She begs him to call off the wedding, giving the reasoning that Chun-hee’s unsuitable and her family would be a burden for Joon-hyun.

The next day Joon-hyun reassures Chun-hee that no matter what his mother says, he’ll convince her to approve of their marriage. When he notes her solemn expression, she asks if he wants to go somewhere fun.

As he’s packing for their camping trip, Tae-song expresses his jealousy about going on vacation — and gives his advice on how to woo the ladies. Funny how his advice sounds exactly like how he was seduced by Pil-nyeo.

The couple enjoy a pleasant day outdoors in the wilderness, and after dinner, they enjoy a pleasant time around the campfire. It’s clear that Joon-hyun has some snuggling on the mind as he serenades her with his version of 10cm’s “Tonight I’m Afraid of the Dark.”

But Chun-hee has her own reasons for going on this little vacation. She tells him that the real reason she left early for dinner was that their parents were arguing loudly. She doesn’t say what exactly they were arguing about, though she indicates that it was pretty serious and says that she could deduce that they had met before.

Surprised to discover her father and his mother knew each other previously, Joon-hyun is perceptive enough to know that Chun-hee knows more than she’s letting on. After she admits that it’s hard to talk about, he gently promises he’ll find out more about it.

As he makes his way home, he runs into Yang Joo-hee apparently waiting for him in the lobby of the apartment building. She immediately accuses him of lying about his memory returning, but he spins it back on her, asking how long she expecting him to believe all the lies she told him. After all, she and Soo-in were the first ones to deceive — not him.

He tells her that the reason Soo-in turned out the way she did isn’t anyone’s fault but her mother’s. She put all the pressure on her daughter to be first place. But she shouts that she’s only ever looked out for Soo-in, and he’s still the one to blame because everything he did to look out for Chun-hee brought Soo-in to this point.

Joon-hyun threatens that Yang Joo-hee had better watch what she says about Chun-hee, because he’s going to marry her. But she scoffs at the idea of their marriage, because she knows something he doesn’t — the hit-and-run driver responsible for Chun-hee’s mother’s accident was his own mother.

His voice gets dangerously low as he warns her to stop being so careless with her lies. She smirks as she challenges him to find out the truth by asking his mother what really happened.

He storms upstairs and wastes no time confronting his mother. She denies that she knew Chun-hee’s parents, but he grabs her by the shoulders and begs her to look in his eyes and tell him the truth: Was she the one responsible for Chun-hee’s mother’s hit-and-run?

She drunkenly and tearfully protests that it wasn’t like that — she wanted to take Chun-hee’s mother to the hospital right away. He looks like he’s just taken a punch to the gut, and rushes out of the apartment as his mother tearfully calls after him.

Outside of Chun-hee’s house, Joon-hyun takes a moment to send her a text, asking if she’s sleeping. He’s still reeling as he messages her to meet him tomorrow.

The next day, with tears in his eyes, he asks her if they should take some time off to think. She’s surprised by this until he says that his mom told him everything, and in these kind of circumstances, they might not be happy if they’re together. They both struggle not to cry as Joon-hyun says it must have been hard on her, and promises he’ll take the blame for the break-up. Oof, my tears.

Meanwhile Pil-nyeo is happy to working at Coach Bang’s restaurant with her boyfriend, until she finds his phone and discovers that the “Oh My Goddess” saved on it is not her phone number, but Coach Bang’s. Instead, she’s saved as “Silly Nag.”

She shoves an unsuspecting Tae-song up against the wall and demands to know why she’s the nag and Coach Bang’s the goddess. But before he can formulate a defense, he’s saved by her phone ringing — it’s an offer for a recording contract, based on the song they uploaded.

Geon-woo meets with his father, who notes that Chun-hee made it to the final round of “Voice of Trot.” When Geon-woo says that Shine Star will support her, his father assumes that he’s just doing it for another shot at wooing her.

President Jo gets a good laugh at Geon-woo’s insistence that he’s supporting her strictly for business reasons. Besides, Joon-hyun is the real Shine Star headache right now, since he prefers to stay home instead of going to his scheduled performances.

Watching her father sleep, Chun-hee quietly tells him how nervous she is to be going to the finals tomorrow. It used to be comforting because Joon-hyun was by her side, but now that he’s not, it’s hard. Her father is awake, but pretends to still be asleep as he hears his daughter sadly admit how much she misses Joon-hyun.

At the “Voice of Trot” final competition, Chun-hee explains that she chose her song because it reminded her of how exciting, sad, difficult, and happy it was for her when she started performing trot. As she sings Ryu Kye-young’s “Life,” Tae-song marvels at the mysterious MJ on the radio (and is convinced it was a good thing he failed making it to the finals, ha). But Joon-hyun recognizes her voice and smiles to himself.

The “Voice of Trot” winner is declared — it’s Chun-hee! She’s probably more surprised than anyone else, and hesitatingly steps back up to the microphone. The radio announcer happily reveals that MJ is none other than the trot singer Choi Chun-hee.

As the radio announcer reads off various messages from listeners about how her music has made their lives better, we get flashbacks of all those moments when Chun-hee performed her trot music in the marketplace and to the hurting people she met in her journey to become a singer. There’s an outpouring of gratitude and affection for how Chun-hee’s music has touched so many lives and made them better, and she returns home, beaming with pride and joy.

Her father is surrounded by local ahjussis and ahjummas who are so thankful for his daughter’s gift of song and share their congratulations for her win with an outpouring of gifts. She performs an impromptu encore for everyone, her smile brighter than it’s been for some time.

Joon-hyun quietly looks on at everyone enjoying her performance, clapping and cheering along. She notices him standing there, but just watches him walk away. Taking courage from her example, he promises to himself that he will live the life that’s true to himself. He tells his mother that they should move to the U.S. since he got an offer to work with a record company out there.

Chun-hee’s father finally meets with President Jo, who admits he’s regretted how the accident was handled. But Dad is surprised to learn that there may be more to the story, as President Jo informs him that Yang Joo-hee was the one behind the Creeper Assemblyman scandal.

Meanwhile, Yang Joo-hee is freaking out because she has no idea where Soo-in has run off to. She’s desperate to find her daughter before the police can, but when Director Wang asks if any of her friends might know where she is, Yang Joo-hee realizes that her daughter doesn’t have any friends.

Enjoying a moment of peace and solitude (and freedom, no doubt), Soo-in relaxes at her secret hideaway. She convinces Geon-woo to go meet her for a brunch of spicy rice cakes, fish cakes, and all those treats she never was able to try when she was a teenager. Geon-woo is happy to enjoy the experience because it’s new to him, too, and teasingly plays along when the snack shop ahjumma says they look like lovers out on a date.

But Soo-in quickly straightens her out, saying he’s the company president — and so the snack shop ahjumma convinces him to spend more money, ha! He’s happy to do so, but Soo-in’s the one who ends up with the bill when she insists that instead of a credit card (so her mother can’t find her), they have to use cash (which he doesn’t have, of course).

Geon-woo is envious that Soo-in spent the last two days doing all the the things she never got to do, like read comics and sleep and eat snack food. She wonders what it was she worked so hard for that she never got to enjoy these small moments before.

As they reach a (literal) fork in the road, she tells them that she must go on without him. He jokes around like she means just for today and promises that when she’s free again, he’ll pay for the spicy rice cakes. But his face gets serious as he watches her walk away.

Soo-in’s mother finally is able to track down where her daughter is staying, but too late — Soo-in sends her a message that she’s going to turn herself in. To make matters worse, Yang Joo-hee is stopped by Chun-hee’s father, who wants to confirm details about his wife’s accident. She tries to blow him off, but he knows she was the other person riding in the car with Joon-hyun’s mother.

Finally she admits that he’s right — she’s the one who was responsible for leaving his wife on the street. She did it because she wished Chun-hee’s mother would just disappear — she was just as talented but was always second best next to Chun-hee’s mother.

Hysterical, she defends herself by saying that it’s not like she actually killed her. But Dad angrily grabs her by the arms, saying taking away a singer’s voice is just like murder. She shoves him away from her, and he collapses on the ground while she drives away.

Too late, though — Soo-in’s already turned herself in. Her mother still frantically tries to take the blame for it, but Soo-in calmly tells her it’s all over as the detectives lead her away.

Chun-hee is prepping the dressing room for the “Voice of Trot” televised concert, and Joon-hyun arrives because he’s a guest performer. Everyone thinks they’re still dating, but their interactions with each other are stilted and distant. As they’re preparing to go onstage, Chun-hee gets a call from the hospital — her father has to have surgery immediately.

She and Joon-hyun rush to the hospital, where her father is prepped for surgery. He surprised to see her since she has her concert, and she tearfully asks him why she didn’t tell her he was sick. Promising to return as soon as her performance is over, so he must endure it and still be there when she gets back.

Chun-hee’s support crew of Coach Bang, Pil-nyeo, and Tae-song are there to to stay at the hospital in her stead. Joon-hyun promises to stay to see her father into the operating room, since he doesn’t have to perform until later. With one last glance at her father, she leaves for the concert hall.

She barely arrives barely in time for her scheduled performance, despite her faithful ex-loan-shark manager ahjussis finagling for some understanding from the PDs. Immediately walking out onto the stage, she sings an emotional and powerful version of “Life,” as her father is operated on, and we see flashbacks from all the cute and heartfelt moments between her and Joon-hyun.

As soon as she can, she returns to the hospital, where her father tells her that it’s going to be okay. Joon-hyun watches as Chun-hee cries tears of relief.

Yang Joo-hee visits Soo-in at the prison, still determined to find a way to clear her name. But Soo-in is no longer a child — even though she’s felt like her mother was the one who ruined her life, she now thinks she’s the one who’s responsible for ruining her mother’s life. She tells her mother not to worry about her — she’s no longer a child, and needs to take care of her own life: “I’m sorry, Mom.”

Dazed and defeated, Soo-in’s mother leaves the jail, only to be greeted by a worried Director Wang who informs her that Creeper Assemblyman is suing her for defamation, and all the bribes she’s given are under investigation, too. Two detectives arrive with her arrest warrant — looks like she’ll be joining her daughter soon enough.

Chun-hee tends to her father as he heals post-surgery, and he sincerely tells her to leave the past in the past. What makes her happy right now is more important than anything that happened to him and her mother back then.

When they return to his hospital room, they find Joon-hyun’s mother waiting for them. She gets on her knees and apologizes for what happened back then. When Chun-hee steps out to give them some privacy, she sees Joon-hyun waiting. They’re both glad that their parents are working out the guilt of the past, but Joon-hyun says that he still thinks they need more time.

She’s surprised to learn that he’s going to the U.S., and he’s not sure how long he’ll be gone. Worried that it’s because of her, he reminds her that he’s the “God of Music” and there’s a long line of record producers who want work with him.

In his egotistical way, he counsels her to keep working hard — if she wants to date a superstar “God of Music,” she’ll at least need to become the “Queen of Trot.” But his expression softens when he admits that she won’t be waiting — he’s the one who will be waiting for her.

One Year Later

The loan-shark ahjussis are busy at work in their role of managers for Pil-nyeo and Tae-song as they gather up copies of the couple’s CD to put on the top shelf.

Pil-nyeo waltzes in like she’s a top star, and Tae-song (who carries her purse, ha!) is embarrassed at all the looks they get — not because anyone recognizes them, but because of her unnecessary hat and sunglasses. And two of them are also the couple are expecting a baby!

Geon-woo and Chun-hee shop for groceries, and he’s like a little kid pointing out all the delicious things he wants, but she’s too focused on showing him how to be frugal and buy only what’s on sale. To show his gratitude, he promises to send a special gift to the homeless shelter.

Joon-hyun returns to Korea, now a “top star” with his pretty agent on his arm. Since the two are always together, there’s rumor of a dating scandal. Byul is surprised to see “that ahjussi” on the news, and when the doorbell rings, Dad is surprised to see who’s at the door (but we don’t get to see who it is, darn it!).

As Chun-hee enters her dressing room, she’s surprised to see Soo-in (whom she still greets as “sunbae”). She avoids Chun-hee’s friendly attempt at a handshake by admitting that she didn’t like Chun-hee, and still doesn’t like her all that much. But then she clasps Chun-hee’s hand in hers: “I’m sorry.”

Thanking Chun-hee for taking leniency in her case, she asks if it’s possible for for Chun-hee to forgive her mother, too, even offering to apologize in her place. When Chun-hee doesn’t answer, Soo-in changes direction and reminds her that she’s returning to the stage, so Chun-hee will have some competition once again. But this time, Soo-in is determined to succeed strictly based on her talent. Aw, and Chun-hee cheers her on with a “fighting!”

Now that Joon-hyun has returned to Korea, Geon-woo says that he’ll be working with Shine Star again. The two have a moment of bickering bromance until Geon-woo gets serious and says that there’s some place Joon-hyun needs to go with him today.

As the ex-loan-shark manager ashjussis help Coach Bang serve food to the homeless as part of Shine Star’s charity event, Chun-hee, now aware that Joon-hyun is back in town, sighs at the fact he never contacted her for a year. But surprise!

He wraps his arms around her in a back hug: “I’m back.” She spins around and they just stare silently at each other, goofy grins on their faces.

Byul and Geon-woo are incredibly pleased about their secret plan for Joon-hyun and Chun-hee’s reunion. Before disappearing down the hallway of rejected second leads, Geon-woo turns back to give Byul (and the rest of us) a good-bye wave. Byul finishes the story she and Chun-hee started: “And this is how Dad, Unnie, Ahjusshi, and Byul lived happily after. The End!”

COMMENTS

Aw, what a sweet and perfect ending for this show! I actually enjoyed this ending more than I thought I would — then again, it was as if the writers had heard my pleas and put everything that I’ve loved (and begged for) in one neat final package. It’s the perfect parting gift — a happy memory of a drama that definitely seemed to lose its way in the latter third.

I think I loved this ending because it reminded me of the way it started — fun and ridiculous and chock-full of quirky characters that you didn’t know quite what to do with, but you loved anyway. Considering everything that went before it, I will cheerfully cling to the fact that everyone lived happily ever after. Well, most everyone. Here’s hoping Soo-in’s mother will continue to rot in jail for a long time. Oh, and that Geon-woo will find some quirky new girl who will bemuse and fascinate him forever and ever (I’m sure there are plenty here who would volunteer!).

True, the ending was a little too neat, perhaps; Soo-in’s redemption could give you whiplash (even though I was pleased, because I always had hoped she would finally break away from her mother — even if she had to go to jail to do it). It did seem almost miraculous how Chun-hee went from the scandal queen to suddenly beloved by all. But I did appreciate that, when everything was stripped away and it was just her, her voice, and her heart opened in song, she was flooded by reminders of all the lives she’s touched. When the underlying need to sing for someone else (be it for money or for her father to return) was stripped away, she finally was able to understand just how much her songs meant to other people.

This is why I’m disappointed that we only briefly dealt with the impact of her mother. Admittedly, it was only until the previous episode that I began to realize her mother didn’t die in the car accident, but instead lost her voice. Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I would have appreciated it if the writers had made it clearer earlier what impact that made on her mother’s life. I would have happily gotten rid of the amnesia if it meant her father returning home sooner and the two of them struggling through the knowledge that Joon-hyun’s mother was (seemingly) responsible for the accident. Watching her father deal with the guilt of letting his daughter sing after his wife couldn’t, would have been so fascinating and compelling.

Thanks to everyone who stuck with this drama until the end (there are some of you left, aren’t there?). This show may have become a forgettable bit of fluff, but I did manage to appreciate it for what it was. Most importantly, I’ve learned that if Eun-ji ever decides to release a trot album, I’ll be the first in line to buy it.

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Awww, sad to see this end. It gave me the warm feelings. Thanks for the recap!

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Trope Lovers

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indeed .... this will be placed with other shows that started off great but just went flat ... and I feel bad for the actors because it's apparent that they gave it all they could with what they had to work with ...

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"Lovers of Cliche"

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Thanks for the recap, odilettante! Nice job covering all the important bases for this drama.

Have to agree that the last third got kinda messy, but the finale brought everything home in a sweet and satisfying way.

And when you're in line picking up Eunji's first Trot album, turn around. I'll be second in line! :-)

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Count me in for album as well.

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Thanks. Ive been a reader of your recaps, had no time to wacht it.
Despite the few unnecessary melo mishaps towards the end,
It's save to say that Trot Lovers had a good and satisfying end.

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i agree with you, the show has a satisfied ending.

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Thanks Odilettante for the recap!

Too little to late. It ended satisfactorily with the cute but a bit of a disappointment with the justice. We get 10 or so episodes of our heroine getting her teeth kicked in by these vile villains and all we get for retribution is a misdemeanor sentence for Soo In (I've seen shop lifters with longer jailtimes) and an afterthought arrest for the mom (Director Wang was not even part of that arrest). The writer of this show really needs to do some soul searching and figure out if they should continue to be a writer. Like most of the past comments, this is one of those shows that we just end up shaking our collective heads in dismay because it could have been such a wonderful rom-com in the hands of a more competent writer. I just hope that all the actors/actresses involved find a better project in the future.

Good things about the show:

Eun Ji's singing and smile. A smiling Eun Ji is the most beautiful thing in the universe.
All the scenes that involved Byul
Shin Sung Rok's quirkiness
OTP chemistry

Bad things about the show:

THE WRITING. For me, It started as a "MEH, the story is kinda okay" to "Hmmm.. Okay, it's starting to get interesting" to "WTF just happened there?!" to "Really?! Cancer?!!" to "I give up! Oh well, better luck next time Jung Eun Ji." I hope they put an asterisk on this show's title when listed on the actors/actresses resume stating that the acting was great but the writing screwed it up. lol
The disney music which thank goodness they dropped in the latter part of the show.

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Good job for the actors. Thanks to recap this show till finish. I stopped to watch after episode 3 but still reading the recap. So, next drama will be rom-com again. I hope this time there is a commitment from writer to make it rom-com from the beginning till the end. I heard Eric's drama will replace it. I hope the story will be fun otherwise I'll stop again after few episodes…LOL

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"All we get for retribution is a misdemeanor sentence for Soo In"

This was exactly my reaction. ATTEMPTED MURDER and she's out in a year, to receive a handshake and a "hwaiting" from the intended victim? Only KBS could call this a romcom - the longest scenes the OTP had together in the very last episode were their BREAKUP scenes, and more time was spent lingering on Dad dying of cancer - very romantic and comic that was. Of course, AS SOON as the OTP was broken up, the Dad who was supposed to die more or less asap is miraculously alive a year later, and we get to see the OTP folding hands! By KBS standards, that's practically porn, I guess. That's three "romcoms" in a row from which KBS has sucked both rom and com, but at least this one had good music.

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It was completely insane that So In would come out of jail in such a short time and them be friendly with CH just so they could tie a nice little bow on the ending. Bleh.

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Tbh I was quite disappointed by the finale... Too little OTP and too much Soo In + mom! And seriously is it too much to ask to get some serious justice in K-Drama? I mean We didn't get to hear how Soo In's mom got punished for all the s*** she instigated and Soo In's crime was clearly attempted murder and she is out in the end after one year and back in the business?! Come on drama... That was really disappointing

I get the separation of the OTP bc of what JH's mom did but still... I would have loved more cute after all the suffering Chun Hee had to go through -.-

But damn that wave of Geun Woo at the end ♥ I need Shin Sung Rok in a rom-com LEAD role ASAP!!! He is great when he does comedy and I'm glad that he managed to kinda erase creepy Jae Kyung from my mind^^

Nevertheless I enjoyed the drama very much despite the tropes used bc I knew early on in the game that we wouldn't get something new and fresh^^ I also adore Eunji and her singing not only once brought me to tears! I also have the confirmation that I really like trot and that I have to add some songs to my already huge music library^^

Thank you for recapping this to the end it was a pleasure to read the recaps every week :)

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I feel the same. I really wished they cut the amnesia, they could have easily filled those two episodes up with covering the mom's story, and may be get to justice little earlier. I was pissed too to see that they didn't even show that Dir. Wang get punished after all the crap he pulled...least get fired from Shine Star...seriously the stuff in the last episode could have been stretched for two episodes and put in earlier...writer really did lose track of the big picture. I am too not ok with Soo In being forgiven so easily for her criminal acts, I understand if she was just bratty...but that's was not the case. Also, I feel like after all the evil acts of the Soo In's mother, it was a let down because if Soo In got only one a year for attempted murder, what the mom will get a week for defamation? I wanted to see more of sense of justice, even if its not institutional justice, may be get shunned from the entertainment industry that she loved and "walk all over others" to make. Someone else mentioned this, KBS really do suck at rom-coms, after Prime Minister and I, I almost gave up watching any KBS shows, but this one got me. MBS and SBS have stepped up their game least with FTLY and IOTL, we are least seeing passionate kisses...KBS it is work to get to hand-holding...

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*lost track not lose track...

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Is it just me or do criminals in kdrama never get a proper punishment? f.e. in the best cases the murderer goes to prison but is released after a few years. (Nice Guy, Red Cross and others)
It's just so sad.

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A Meh ending to a Bleh show. I was all excited that this would be a great little show like Miss Korea was, but this really fell flat. Really lazy script - could have been computer generated script for all I know- and mostly blah acting. The lead actress is a fantastic singer - really good - but she has two expressions- dull resignation and the not much different slightly squinty angst.

I had a good laugh at the fathers surgery and recovery speed - I guess no one checked about realistic times. He went through anesthesia, surgery and recovery in the short time of her concert, which appeared pretty short anyway. Hilariously impossible! But this shows production was extremely lazy so I am not surprised.

This one was a loser.

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Ah - the series finally comes to a neat end!

Thanks for the recap Odilletante! Like u, i wish the writer had made it more clear about ChunHee's mother. I was really foggy every time I saw flashbacks scenes of the mother - when did she die, and how come she is mute?

Anyway, this show had introduced me to the powerful voice Jung EunJi! It re-introduces me to Ji Hyun Woo as the last time I saw him was in 'Birth of the rich'.

Thank u cast - those quirky characters of gangster ajusshis and Geon-woo, President Jo - cute, cute Byul - added much to the fun!

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Thanks, odilettante and LollyPip, for the recaps! This wasn't the deepest drama, or the best written, but it was still enjoyable in its own way. I loved all the rom and com moments, and became a fan of Ji Hyun Woo as I never could quite get through QIHM for whatever reason. Also loved Eunji and all the side characters, besides the evil ones. I hope "Life" is included in the OST.

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Loved the ending! It was a brilliant way to tie up all the loose ends (conveniently) and so happy we got the happily ever after!

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A general observation on k-dramas, if you keep this in mind, you will stop getting frustrated.

As far as I can tell drama producers/writers pitch a drama plot and it sounds good. The problem is the middle and the end 90% of the time go flat. Why? Well, they work on the initial grab but nobody works on the completion of the story.

So, I gave up looking for "satisfying endings", or interesting plot development. Most of the time, the first 10 episodes sometimes just the first 6 are the entire drama.

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Thanks for recapping Trot Lovers Odilettante and LollyPip. Hopefully the next kdrama that you recap will fully live up your expectations and its potential.

I'll start off by focusing on the positive :) aspects of Trot Lovers (aka Lovers of Music):
• Listening to Jung Eun-Ji sing Trot Music in every episode.
• Watching Shin Sung-Rok play the charming, funny, and eccentric character Jo Geun-Woo which was the total opposite of his most recent turn as the psycopathic character Lee Jae-Kyung in You From Another Star.
• Anytime Choi Byul played by the lovely Yoo Eun Mi appeared on screen.
• All of Choon Hee and Byul's sisterly moments - watching their love, affection, and encouragement for one another.
• Byul, Jo Geun-Woo, and Jang Joon-Hyun interacting and connecting with one another.
• The father (Jo Hee Moon) and son (Jo Geun-Woo) relationship
• Jang Joon-Hyun and Jo Geun-Woo's funny moments, hijinks, and competitive natures.

Moving on to the negative :) aspects of Trot Lovers (aka Lovers of Music):
• As others have expressed more thoroughly - the writing by Oh Sun-Hyung and Kang Yoon Kyung(???).
• Dropped, underdeveloped, and forgotten storylines (Jang Joon-Hyun's initial scandal and downfall; the reprecussions of a sex scandal for a celebrity in South Korea; and the fallout from his former agency/management company being the real culprits behind it.)
• Missed opportunity taking advantage of real-life stories in the music industry (behind the scenes view of the highs and lows in the music industry; intense competitiveness in a field well-supplied with talent vying to be No. 1; the variety of ways that people succeed and rise to the top whether through hard work, sheer luck, networking, or nepotism; dealing with the positives and negatives of stardom/fame, the struggle and balancing act that artist sometimes encounter with profit vs. integrity, etc.)
• Reliance on kdrama tropes and clichés (amnesia, cancer, abandonment by the father, riddled with a parent's debt, having to work multiple jobs in order to pay off loan sharks, having the female 2nd lead succumb to professional and/or personal jealousy and then resort to attempted murder, etc.)
• The unsatisfactory resolution for the malefactor characters Park Soo-In (ended up serving a minimum amount of time behind bars) and her mother Yang Joo Hee (the hint that she apparently received some type of punishment off-camera but really didn't have to atone for her actions).

Other random thoughts:
• I still prefer referencing and thinking of Ji Hyun-Woo's character Kim Boong-Do Queen In-Hyun's Man.
• Ji Hyun-Woo's initial hair color and styling in Trot Lovers was very unflattering - a fashion police violation.
• Overall Choon Hee's father Choi Myung Shik played by Kang Nam Gil was distracting and sometimes felt expendable.
• When her father abandoned her and Byul and left them debt ridden to the loan sharks...I couldn't help but think of the 2012 - 2013 weekend...

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• When her father abandoned her and Byul and left them debt ridden to the loan sharks...I couldn't help but think of the 2012 - 2013 weekend kdrama My Daughter Seo Young. What if this drama had dared to explore Choon Hee opting to cut off ties with her father as a result?
• Hopefully Trot Lovers was not someone's first introduction to Kdramas.

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He went to the US and didn't contact her for a year?
Seriously??? Like, does this bother anyone else? The US and Korea are physically far apart but come on, show, there's Skype and Facebook and email... I don't know that I'd be quite so happy if my fiancé ignored me for a year and then came back and expected us to pick up where we left off. -__-

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Seriously........

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It's just one of those things that you would have to rely on suspension of disbelief or else you will never enjoy most kdramas. They always make "going abroad" seem like going to the moon or something where you can never follow/communicate with that person and just have to wait for them to come back.

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But you do realize that the year was also to take some time away from each other after all those events right?

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I don't usually comment but have to say that I was totally blown away by Eun-ji's awesome voice. I wish someone would just collect the audio of the songs she sang here. I'd download it and play it all the time.

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Thanks for the recap. I always enjoy seeing how other viewers experience the same drama. Just a few observations..I thought the writing was mediocre at best. The cast was great and the actors in the main leads had far more range and potential than the drama allowed. The early scene with CH and JH fighting in the closet was hysterical. It showed that CH had the kind of grit to survive her difficult circumstances. I would like to have seen that strength and grit play out later in her responses to the antics of the Shine Star crew. The development of the romance was barely adequate to explain a connection that would survive such terrible obstacles.By the last episodes the SI character had been so heavy handed that she was beyond a one and a half ep redemption. I think the audience for kdrama is becoming more sophisticated and would like to see an increase in the overall quality of the story.

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Thanks for the recap!
I loved every bit of Eun Ji's singing!!!! there's just something about her performance that draws me in the moment she starts singing. And of course the family scenes with Byul were just adorable and sweet. Shin Sung-Rok is hilarious; loved him and his character. I hope he'll be in more dramas!!!

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yeah, I hated so many of the idiotic tropes peddled by this show, but her performance can't be faulted - either singing or acting. She's really got a great voice.

(did they ever release her trot covers as part of the OST? I want her version of With You pretty badly now!)

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I loved the ending, but just felt that it was incredibly rushed. The time skip happened during the last six minutes of the show. I wish we got at least half an hour of that. And so disappointed we didn't get to see Byul and Joon-hyun reunite after that one year.. :( Would've been so freakin' adorable!

But my favorite singing scene from the entire drama was probably the ending. Or rather, the credits after the ending. I loved the duet between Chun-hee and Joon-hyun. And he finally sang trot, ha! Ever since he said he'll never sing trot, I've been waiting for him to sing it with Chun-hee. :D

I wish they released an OST of the full versions of all the songs Eunji (and JHW) sang. They were all so great; too bad they're all so short. :(

Thanks for recapping this series, odilettante! I still loved this drama though, despite the glaring flaws. Can't wait for Eunji to star in another drama. (:

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The ending was empty, had no passion, no bang, the story line was good and but the ending could have made a better lasting impression

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All i wanted from this show was a shit load of trot music and cute fluffy romance, but all I got was soo in+mom trying to kill chun hee and ruin her. Also, did anyone else thing Soo in looks a lot like Ariana Grande?

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Not the greatest story in the world, but I totally loved the music. That girl has some pipes! She needs to sing in every drama!

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hmmm. The ending was nice but felt really rushed. They spent way too much time in the middle with the amnesia and cancer and so the end didn't get to resolve everything nicely. There was a lot of wish fulfillment and character redemption that just didn't feel earned.

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I really enjoyed this final episode. It just took me a little while to convince myself that I had to watch the last two episodes, but I'm glad that I did. Chun-hee and Joon-hyun are so cute together.

What I really want now, is for Shin Sung-Rok to be a lead. And soon! Like, would tomorrow be possible? Please? Because I need more time watching him.

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odilettante, thank you for the final recap.

I appreciate it very much and your style of writing.

What's interesting is that a lot of people focus on a fad-ish word (trope) but miss the point of the trope itself.

People see amnesia, and roll their eyes, but they miss the point of the amnesia itself, which is that love finds a way.

And people see the evil rich mother-in-law vs. the poor girl antagonism, and they roll their eyes again, but they miss the point of the battle - which is that diligence at life will beat evil.

Other things too, like cancer, are meant to show the finality of life, and how people must take advantage of the time they are given to act or not to act, to love or to leave.

Even "tropes" that I personally dislike, like the going to America / France / England for a year or two or three, almost always in Episode 16 or 20 or 24, has a purpose. That distance, time and maturity cannot fade love, but it can allow individuals the necessary time to grow as persons, something that being together 24/7 cannot allow. See, in so many of these dramas, people are thrown together in coincidental or destined ways, but regardless, it is abrupt, it is sometimes violent (not physically violent, but emotionally so), and it is always unintentional. That kind of start leads to hijinks, but while there can be love at first sight, there still needs to be individual growth because whatever growth there was may have been stunted by the sudden appearance of the other.

These tropes are there because they are part of the myth, part of the moral.

Yes, you can have a drama that has none of those, but then you risk a drama that has no soul.

It is interesting that everyone has a soul, but nobody says, "that's so repetitive and so cliched that everyone has a soul. I wish I didn't have a soul." Even if everyone is the same and cliched because each of us has a soul, wouldn't it also be true that each soul is different, and so it isn't so cliche?

Just a thought.

Thanks odilettante again. Well done.

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Thanks for that, samsooki. Well said. It's not the trope, it's what's behind it and how well it's used.

And thanks, odilettante! (Now to grab some of that awesome Eun Ji trot music!)

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Despite the drama jumping the shark for a bit, I didn't find myself repelled from watching like some viewers seemed to be. No doubt I found the amnesia annoying as it's a trope that would go so far as to say that I hate, regardless of how creative writers get with it because it always comes across as lazy uncreative writing to me. I sometimes wish I could hear the conversation that goes on when that trope comes up and the justification for it because as good as the rest of the show is, it's hard to believe that the writers really couldn't come up with something better.

Having said that, it's really my only complaint about the show, I really enjoyed the rest. A couple things I found a bit confusing was Chun Hee's "sudden" attraction to Joon Hyun when it seemed like she was in like with Geun Woo...and man did they have some good chemistry, it makes me hope that I'll get to see them as leads together in the future. The other thing was the short jail time for Soon-In. I know that CH put in a good word or whatever, but it was still attempted murder... you only spend 1 year in prison for that? It didn't kill the show for me or anything close, but I was still like...she's out in a year and she's even gotten work to even come close to competing with CH? Then what was the point if it was that easy? lol

Thank you for all of the recaps! I always enjoying reading them after watching :)

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i was on board for most of the show but the ending didn't really make sense to me. why did they have to separate? it's obvs not JH's fault and i can' imagine that CH really thought they couldn't be together because his mom is a terrible person.

thanks odilettante for sticking it out.

at least JEJ's voice was a consistent high point.

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Gotta love her voice. She is probably the best female singer in her generation, radius plus minus 10 years. And she is very emotive too, really cool. And the show made me feel good.

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very intresting drama but short

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I'm grateful for these re-caps because i dropped this drama after ep. 12. I periodically went back to see what's actually happening, but was never compelled to start it back up again.

Actually it's not all a mess. Shin Sung Rok as President Jo. What can I say? He stole the entire show from the moment he stepped on screen. His eccentric charm sizzled. Yun Ju Sang as his dad is a pillar, an amazing actor in everything he's in. Eun-Mi as Byul, she is a gem. A true actress at such a tender age. Cute but not precocious.

Except when she smiled and sang, Eun-Ji's acting was like cardboard to me. It didn't help that she wore a sulking sour pus that could peel paint for 85% of the drama. Lee Se Young showed promise in the earlier episodes, before her character Soo-in became less of a frail, put-upon pop star and more of an evil caricature like her over-the-top mom.

Ji Hyun Woo looks awful in that ashy hair and eyebrows. So unflattering. What did they do to that adorable man? (He's more adorable with those chipmunk cheeks, than handsome in my eyes.) I didn't think his acting was up to par like his past roles either. Probably a little rusty since he returned. :( I really wanted to love this drama, but all I wound up loving was the Trot music and Shin Sung Rok. A big disappointment.

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Avril Lavigne Appears in Allure Magazine's January 2014 Issue.

Her growth as a performer has been documented over the years with her many roles on a variety of Nickelodeon series
and continues to wow audiences. Anticipation is building as Detroit concertgoers prepare to be entertained by the amazing Ariana
Grande.

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Thank you for the recaps! i stumbled upon this because of Shin Sung-rok!!! it is refreshing to see him in a funny character!!! I liked him being a villain but i love him even more being adorkable!!! :)

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I'm going voting crazy!

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I am so disappointed with this drama. I really wanted to like this series. It started out okay, introduced some interesting plots along the way, and the actors were cute together (at first). BUT what a mess in the end! Around episodes 14-15 I began to think that I must have skipped an episode somewhere. Especially the last two episodes were so choppy, disjointed and confusing--nothing made logical sense. It was like someone was in a big hurry and added a bunch of extra little scenes together to make up the last two hours. It's such a shame and I can't believe I actually watched to the end. I think I was in shock and couldn't believe that directors/producers would really allow something like this. So disappointing! Next time I'll pay closer attention to the low ratings.

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Wow 2018,found this show on netflix and said to myself,why not give it a try..it's really not to love the drama!!! I love it!! First time watching a drama from these main leads apart from soo in(actress from korean odyssey) and geon woo(lo e from another star).I think im in love with the geon woo character or maybe because it is played by shin sung rok! Ive always liked him even when he played the psycho brother from "love from another star"..hes definitely so adorkable and im a sucker for dorks..especially hot dorks...lol..these drama gives me the warm fuzzy feeling especially when the scene is about the dad.

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Please watch Shin Sung-rok in Liar Game ♥

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