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[Dramaland Catnip] Noona romances


I Hear Your Voice

In my happy inner world, there’s never been anything weird about an older woman with a younger man. But in the reality we actually live in, it unfortunately remains an anomaly, and so, rom-com lovers everywhere must acknowledge that despite our best wishes, age matters. You can be sure that if the words “noona romance” are uttered anywhere, I’m somewhere close, skulking hungrily in the shadows.

In a noona romance, couples have to swim against the tide of social pressures, facing judgment and disapproval, all while working through their own emotional baggage: It’s an underdog romance in a meaningful way, and there’s a real excitement in watching that unfold. It’s an intricate problem with a wonderfully tangled-up set of dynamics, but within an ultimately resolvable context.


Witch’s Romance

One of noona romances’ biggest draws for me is the promise of a smart, successful, strong female lead. It’s often the case that her workplace success makes her romantically inaccessible, or even undesirable, as is the case with Uhm Jung-hwa in Witch’s Romance. Her colleagues hate her and go so far as to attempt to humiliate her by hiring a man to pretend to woo her. He then shames her on a public stage for being too old to be kissable.

It’s a keen strike, because it picks at her lurking insecurity that she may be somehow unlovable, which is rooted in a previous failed relationship, having been stood up at the altar. In I Need Romance 3, Kim So-yeon had a whole string of successively worse dumpings, to the point where she barely turns a hair at her latest breakup and simply goes about business as usual, even though we know how much she’s hurting inside.

But while it makes some heroines outwardly thorny and closed-off, others retain a tender optimism about life despite being disappointed. In Dal-ja’s Spring, when Dal-ja’s boyfriend ditches her for someone hotter, a mixture of anger, desperation, and fierce pride leads her to contract a younger man to pose as her boyfriend in an attempt to save face and get revenge. I’ll always fall for a heroine whose pragmatism is dashed with a little wickedness (especially if it leads to some epic revenging on a dastardly ex), and My Name Is Kim Sam-soon’s heroine has the distinction of being my first love when it comes to willing-to-be-wicked women with warm hearts.


Dal-ja’s Spring

One of the best things about noona professionals is that they invariably come with buckets of self-awareness, which makes them burst off the screen and climb into your heart, though they can be jaded and unhappy when we first meet them. These women don’t necessarily want to be swept off their feet (who’s got the time for that?)—what they want is someone who’ll unfailingly be on their side, at their side. For example, in Witch’s Romance, the heroine makes peace with her single status, only to have it upended by her younger man. But what’s just lovely to watch is how she blooms again under that constancy and sweetness, even against her own expectations.

But while age differences can pose problems for the relationships, the heroines rarely have trouble seeing their respective heroes as men. It’s much harder—and funnier—when the heroine can’t actually see the hero as a man at all, and nothing sums that moment up better than Uhm Jung-hwa booting Park Seo-joon out of bed after discovering their fourteen-year age difference, head filled with the sound of a baby’s gurgling.

In I Need Romance 3, the young hero has a similar problem, but his struggle is even harder, since his would-be ladylove actually has known him from babyhood, and even nicknamed him “sweet potato” because she thought him particularly ugly. But of course, that makes for the most satisfying reversal, like the moment Kim So-yeon wonders who in their right mind would call Sung Joon’s manly glory (lol) at all potato-ish. And yep, she swoons a little (or A LOT) as the sweet-potato veil is finally torn from her eyes.


I Need Romance 3

I Hear Your Voice’s heroine also has a past with the hero, and these young men really have their work cut out for them, as they contend with heroines who insist on seeing them as their past selves rather than their present. Moreover, the balance of power is all over the place: How does the couple find equal footing in a sea of inequalities? But what a drama offers in a noona romance is access to the tipping point—as the encounters add up and the emotional stakes rise, their feelings demand a decision be made one way or another, and then… that moment comes when everything changes.

And what would a noona romance be without its puppy half? I love that the hero is forced to work much harder, because as well as making her see him as a man, he has to go further to prove to her that he really means it. If there’s even one percent of him that doesn’t mean it, it won’t work—not because it takes more to win a noona’s heart, but it takes much more to earn her trust. He also needs to be more direct—but such directness demands reciprocity from the heroine, too, as I Need Romance 3 and others prove, because no puppy, however much he loves you, can wait forever. These relationships have no room for complacency.


Ny Name Is Kim Sam-soon

Unfortunately, not every noona romance provides such a compelling hero. Some leads can be disappointing: My Name Is Kim Sam-soon’s hero spends so long belittling the heroine and making her do the work in the relationship that despite the noona setup, I had little tolerance for that kind of faffery. And that’s nothing compared to Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, which was my most disliked noona romance because the hero jerks the heroine around for much of the show even when he’s wooing her.

But more than simple age difference, we run into more significant problems when the noona setup includes a teacher-student relationships. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop played out that relationship in a way that felt inappropriate, while on the other hand, Biscuit Teacher Star Candy dealt with the same dynamic in a less problematic way, delivered as it was with utter charm: Teacher Gong Hyo-jin spends most of the show just laughing at student Gong Yoo, and pretty much never takes his puppy romancing seriously (not while he’s school uniform, at least).

The problem with high school boys is that in body, they’re full-grown men, and when coupled with the alluring confidence of youth, it’s easy—for our noonas and for us—to be tricked into forgetting that they’re not really emotionally mature, and not quite adults. I Hear Your Voice’s high schooler hero is an exception, but though he’s an old soul in a young body, he’s also a total puppy, and I admit it, I am a puppy-person and even low-key shipped the unshippable in Angry Mom. (Okay, not really, but bad boy Ji Soo’s crush on Kim Hee-sun—whom he was led to believe was a fellow student—was hopelessly adorable, if wholly unattainable!)


Biscuit Teacher Star Candy

Then there’s what I consider the most unusual and all-round delightful relationship, High School King of Savvy. To me, this show bucks the noona romance mold in so many ways. When hero Seo In-gook has to masquerade as his older brother despite only being a high schooler, he ends up being the boss to Lee Hana’s endearingly awkward, somewhat timid heroine. It tangles the “traditional” noona dynamics in quite a thrilling way, and both characters have an innocence that makes them seem at similar emotional maturity levels. The subsequent explosion of sweetness and charisma absolutely slays me.

With its offbeat heroines and beguiling heroes, I always find a magical alchemy in the noona romance equation that’s amplified by the reversed age difference: It’s the stuff of squee. Age? It’s just a number. Sometimes an unhelpful number, but when everything else works… age doesn’t matter at all.


High School King of Savvy

 
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Yay! My favorite catnip! 😍

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Yesssss! Its here!

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Oooh this one finally came....why are all these popular catnip so late :-P

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"Age? It’s just a number. Sometimes an unhelpful number, but when everything else works… age doesn’t matter at all."

<33333

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I agree to that :) <333

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I love noona romances. Maybe as a noona to many of the hot young actors it somehow makes it seem like "hey, if Uhm Jung-hwa can get Park Seo-joon, well, heck so can I!" (That was one sexy romance. 😉)

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I know! Now I totally want to re-watch Witch Romance!

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Becomes more relevant as I get older. 😂 😭

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So true!

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No What's Up Fox here? Love that noona romance.

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yassss... that was sooo cute!

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That's what I was going to say! What's up fox is where my live for the genre began! I may have to rewatch it!

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My absolute favorite noona roomance, and also one of my very first dramas -- watched it exactly 10 years ago, whattt. (Anddd also one of the best kdrama OSTs!) Disappointed that it wasn't mentioned. :|

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For me it's 'I Do, I Do' (Kim Sun-ah, Lee Jang-woo)... Cold Noona, lively-warmth Dongsaeng.

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Definitely one of the most favorites

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How could you leave out Secret Love Affair starring Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In? The chemistry between the two was really hot and you could see the emotional and mental meeting of mind and soul over piano playing. The age gap was very significant - 20 years and there were other hurdles such as marriage, jail time, career and countries.

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I definitely loved SLA for its noona romance, despite the fact that it WAS adulterous. Kim Hee-Ae was also such a clever heroine, able to outsmart all the manipulative, calculating people around them.

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I politely disagree that it was an adulterous relationship. The marriage was a business contract and was specifically stated as such in Episode 5 IIRC. Potentially never consummated either, as there were separate beds. A contract marriage for business purposes is not a real marriage in my book. No marriage=no adultery.
YMMV.

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My all time favorite!

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Hmm, this is not really my catnip, but I do love the noona romance in Witch’s Romance! That's got to be my ultimate favorite noona romance. I love it when the younger guy is mature/thoughtful and not too puppy-like. Or maybe I just loved Park Seo Joon in it. xD

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I also think it's much better when the guy is not of puppy age but is mature himself. Or he's Park Seo Joon! 😉

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Yeah same, it's not my catnip but I've seen good dramas with an endearing noona romance. INR and Witch's Romance were gems but The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry was awesome too! I think it only works for me when the younger guy is legal aged, hella cute and not hiding the fact that he's younger. Then again, Kim Bum can sweep me off my feet at any age!

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I just remembered the rest of the bed scene in Witch's Romance where she imagines being on trial for corrupting a minor and PSJ's "NooNAH 😲!" aegyo was completely sidesplitting.

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THIS IS IT! I THINK IVE FOUND MY CATNIP. As someone who actively avoids romance based dramas, just saying that there is a noona romance is enough to get me to watch a show. Which is why I've been dying to watch Secret Love Affair

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SLA is a must, like an art house movie way,way different from mainstream K-Dramas.

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I love it! ❤️

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My all time favorite catnip.

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Because of the reasons cited by Saya herself, I think Sam Soon is lastly a noona romance. That she's older does play into the story a bit but there's none of the thrill that you get with a younger man sweeping an older woman off her feet in real noona romances. It's way more P&P/Enemies to Lovers for me. At least, that's how it came across in translation.

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Noona romance is not in my list of favorite tropes. However, when it's nicely dealt with and delivered with charm, I'm in. I enjoyed I Hear Your Voice, Biscuit Teacher Star Candy, and High School King of Savvy (except for that ending!!).

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Ooh I love the ending of High School King of Savvy. Its so ridiculous, and sleepy bickering over who's turn it is to shut off the alarm clock. Sweet stuff.

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And it suited their characters as well. That kid was totally the kind who would get married when he wanted to regardless of age.

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Not my catnip, but man did I love I hear Your Voice and High School King of Savvy! But I guess I loved them not for the romance but other factors? Kickass heroine in one and adorable happy-pill in the other😊

Maybe I will start loving this trope in around 5 years from now though when most of the actors would be younger than me... but I guess even then I would still have Seo In Guk and other older actors to drool over 😍

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It's like you read my mind, I was about to comment almost the exact same thing. As long as Seo In Guk's around, noona romances won't become my thing.
But then again, I've been religiously watching Circle and Yeo Jin Gu's 5 years younger than me!!! It sucks too that his next project is just that, a noona romance...
When's Seo In Guk coming back? *wails miserably*

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Hehhe... I wish he would come back soon but I dunno when that would happen (or if it would happen for the next 2 years) :(

And btw I googled your Username just because I wanted to understand the reference (I thought it would be from Weekly Idol)... I have a feeling that your name wouldn't have come from the first video that popped up! :P
*covering my eyes from the sudden attack*!

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Finally! my catnip
aww Park Soo ha , I wonder how he is these days? I hope he is working hard in the police lol miss him so much!!!

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Okay, Imma try again: Park Soo-ha is the best!

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I love this catnip! One of my favorite scenes in any Noon Romance is from Dalja's Spring and she's sitting on the couch with her fellow and they are trying to decide how to pass the time and she's *obviously* thinking sexy thoughts and he's all, "Are you thinking sexy thoughts with me RIGHT NEXT TO YOU?" and then there's a pause and "are you THINKING sexy thoughts when I'm right NEXT to you?!" And then they sweep away to make sexy thoughts sexy actions. And I swooned and laughed out loud.

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Totally agree with you on that Dal-Ja's Spring scene. For me it's rare to see mature couples actually behaving like mature couples in K-Dramas. There are people who have sex before marriage, so why not show this more!? Yes, Korea is a conservative society, but seriously, would love to know what the statistics are like on this.

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I love noona romances. Definitely one of my favorite tropes. Witch's Romance, I Hear Your Voice, High School King of Savvy, and especially Secret Love Affair are some of the one's I've really enjoyed. It's a shame there haven't really been any noona romances lately. Here's hoping the one with Yeo Jin Goo is good.

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Yasssss!!!!! I absolutely LOVED Biscuit Teacher and Witches Romance <3

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the only noona romance I liked FOR being a noona romance was Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. But everywhere else I have just been in for the characters and their lives.

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The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry - two noona romances for the price of one! Exes dating a mother-son duo - only in dramas (or so one hopes).

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Among those, "I Hear Your Voice" is my favourite, not to forget "The Woman Who Still Want To Marry".

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My favourite as well. Lee bo young is mesmerising as a flawed lawyer. And that was the first time a noona romancing a younger guy didnt make me cringe. Because ljs was such a character he made it believable.

Or maybe now that im that age and single the dramas relate more 🤣

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I was totally sold on the romance in I Hear Your Voice. He didn't make the character too young I think. In real life, I will never go for a character who is 19 while I am already a working lawyer.

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where is Secret Love Affair o_O

it's a masterpiece.

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Indeed a masterpiece!

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Thank you, and agreed! I fell in love with YAI watching that series.

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Is Hospital Ship gonna have a noona romance? No?

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Yass finally!!! It's my ultimate catnip! ❤️

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I love noona romances !! My fave is My Name is Kim Samsoon. It's just so epic in every way. Oohhh. What's up Fox is another great noona romance. It was hysterical.

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This is totally 1 of my catnips, and quite possibly the most relatable. There's something really satisfying about seeing the hero work harder to get the girl(woman) of his dreams than in most romance dramas.

Witch's romance is 1 of my faves in this genre but hands down You Ah In and Kim Hee Ae in Secret Love Affair...whew those 2 had some hot steamy stuff happening. Even if the premise was in a morally grey area they still steamed up my screen all those late nights I stayed up to watch.

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i agree about secret love affair! i tend to stay away from dramas that center on love affairs but my-oh-my did secret love affair sizzle. there was something about their chemistry that made me incapable of turning away. i binged the entire drama...and it was well worth it.

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"they invariably come with buckets of self-awareness, which makes them burst off the screen and climb into your heart, though they can be jaded and unhappy when we first meet them. These women don’t necessarily want to be swept off their feet (who’s got the time for that?)—what they want is someone who’ll unfailingly be on their side, at their side."

i really think you nailed this one! my catnip of all catnips is a strong female lead--can that be a catnip? i hope it can--and many noona romances hit this on the ball, which is why i often tune into noona romances. witch's romance is one of my favorites!

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I never realized what I was missing until I fell down the kdrama hole and discovered noona romances! I find them irresistible!! What's up, Fox, Daljas Spring, MNIKSS.....squuuueeeeee!!!!!

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Totally my catnip. As a woman of a certain age, I love the idea of a puppy wooing me. Too bad I haven't found that perfect puppy for me. I did date a guy a few years ago with a Witch's Romance age gap (I was 35, he was 21). He was very sweet but it was never going to work. Oh well, I guess I have to wait for Lee Jong Suk or Park Seo Joon.

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wow, I never really considered myself in a noona romance before or even rooted for them on screen...they were a definite no no for me...but then I suddenly had a 21 year old have interest in me this year...I'm 34 and it made me see things differently...I started watching noona romances to see if I can wrap my head around it...for whatever reason after I told the guy my real age he disappeared (could be the reason or not) he thought I was in my late 20s I guess 30s was too much of an age gap for him...I enjoyed his company but wouldnt of taken it there...he was fine tho...and my thoughts did wonder occasionally...well I wish we stayed friends because I did find we have some things in common...but I just couldnt get over the age gap...good to hear some one has actually done that kind of age gap...it seems like fun for thrill of dating but I dont know if I could actually see myself in a committed relationship with someone younger..but I still prefer older men...young guys are cute and all but older men are sexy...I watched secret love affair and it was steaming hot.I need to watch the rest mentioned here...I just somehow dont want to program my mind into being open to the possibility for myself...it seems in KDrama they always have younger guys...they have a few leading men in their mid 30s and above...but mostly they are always in their 20s it makes me feel odd falling for all these cute young men..but I guess as we get older you have to be open to more possibilities...

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To me, it is just superficial. I just like looking at hot younger men, when hot same age or older men are not in front of me. I reality, I freak out if younger men confess they like me to date me. One guy did, and I couldn't get over the age gap. Another almost did, but backed out when he found out my age. Haha

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I've always tended to skew towards younger guys for some reason though I'm not opposed to older guys. It's weird. I've just joked that I was born as a cougar.

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Baby Faced Beauty!!! Oldie but Goldie! It might be slightly different because he didn't know she was a Noona until later, but I think it fits. Also, Jang Nara is ageless.

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My life is a noona romance. When I was a junior in college I escaped a stalker by moving back home and getting a job. I met a cute guy at work and since we both worked mornings, I assumed he was a college student too. He wasn't. He was 17 and still in high school. We became friends, then something more. I tell you, it was kind of embarrassing when I was 22 and he was 18.
Just like a K-Drama, there was "trouble." Besides being different ages, we were different religions, and from different economic backgrounds. We broke up, I went back to college (in another State.) I thought it was over. He came up to visit me and convinced me to quit school (again.) We married. Everyone said it would never last. Last week we celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary.

I love K-Drama Noona romances.

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44 YEARS! Wow congrats.

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With the all-around famous theory that men mature at a later age than women, it's no surprise that this catnip is still an anomaly IRL. Personally, I'd even prefer a guy older than me so I could be the baby in a relationship for once. (Though with the rate my personal love life is going, I might be getting a Noona Romance coming - if none at all. 😱 As much as I love k-dramas, I'll gladly pass on any drama on my personal life, thank you very much.)
But still, I do love this catnip, I guess. Especially liked Witch's Romance. Will have to watch I Hear Your Voice soon. ^_^

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I really hate that theory tbh lol. Like it kind of gives the men the privilege of coming off as more inexperienced/immature compared to women of same age. I mean come on. I am in my late twenties and I kind of sympathize with Kim Sam Soon, part of the reason cause she was close to me age-wise lol, and would have the craziest thoughts when everyone was expecting her to act like a grown up person. Even her mom would beat her up since she's that stupid and immature haha. So because I can relate to her, I kind of don't get the theory of men being more inexperienced than women :S.

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I dislike this "theory" as well, just an excuse for men to be lazy.

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As I always say ... They being over 18, for me that's not a problem.
All the dramas of Noona I watched, he were over 18 years old, despite being in high school, so i'm okay with age being just a number.

Noona romance is always good : )

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Ah this is one of my catnip with the hero falling first as well. So some of my favourites are here and I need to watch I need romance 3, A witch's romance, biscuit teacher star candy, high school king of savvy, dal ja's spring then...

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These dramas were all great... Older women complimenting these young men. They have their own stories to tell.. If i may rank them it will be.. 1 - King of High School; 2- Biscuit Teacher Star Candy; 3- I Hear your Voice; 4 - Witch"s Romance; 4- I Need Romance 3; Kim Sam Soon and 5 - Dalja's Spring.

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Aha! So you're the one that stole my first catnip pick! I guess I can forgive you, but only because it's you.

I'd add What's Up Fox (the epitome of noona romances in my estimation, although Dalja's Spring is a close runner-up) and some of the more low-key noona romances like in Let's Eat and Baby-faced Beauty or that are secondary romances that made me love them more than the central characters, such as Bo-ra and Eun-taek in Cheese in the Trap or Hye-young and Big in Surplus Princess (does that make Nam Joo-hyuk an official noona killer?).

I was pretty obsessed with the super-duper low-key potential romance with Hoya and Manager Jo from Radiant Office and am currently obsessed with his noona romance with Ms. Ahn in Super Family 2017 (along with Mom and her two-years-younger "boy toy"). Or maybe I just want Hoya to be in noona romances forever-n-ever (and not just because I like to pretend he's my own noona pet, nope, not at all).

Honestly, the fastest way for a show to get my attention is to have a side-story noona romance, even when they don't work out, like in Bottom of the 9th, 2 Outs (after all, friends-to-lovers kinda trumps the noona romance, except when it's a friends-to-lovers noona romance, which trumps ALL).

Other fave noona romances include the aforementioned I Do, I Do, The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, and Secret Love Affair. Not a fan of the high school noona romances, though -- they squick me out the same way the reversed genders would. Although the only reason I made it through the entire season of Unstoppable High Kick was to see what happened with Jung Il-woo's student character and his crush on his teacher, so I guess there are exceptions. (Hmm, does that make Jung Il-woo the king of high school noona romances?)

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Oh noes for stealing! But I had no choice because I got pipped to the post for my first choices too! We were too slow! Also, I forgot how dead gone I am for unreliable narrators, or I'd've picked that - I hope someone else does, because that is one of my top 3 (except you can't know it beforehand - the fun is in the mindscrew!)

The other thing that I'm desperately obsessed with is You've Got Mail storylines, but I don't think there's been a kdrama version of it yet, right? (please someone tell me if there is) I've watched A Cinderella Story (i.e. the Hilary Duff film) about ten thousand times over the last 10+ years and I AM NOT EMBARRASSED. Even when I went off Chad Michael Murray (why does he make me gag? I don't know) I watched it another hundred times.

I've been saving What's Up Fox and Woman Who Still Wants To Marry for ages, but there's never enough tiiiiiime. And YES, Bora and Eun-taek! I forgot about them but I LOVED them and how age was such a non-issue. The other thing I really enjoy is when older actresses are paired with younger actors and have great chemistry, like in Faith, King 2 Hearts, I Remember You, Legend of the Blue Sea, Descendants of the Sun, W, You From Another Star, etc. Also, when the age issue is blown out of the water because, say, one of them is an alien or a gumiho, or one of them is a time-traveller, etc. There's so much fun and interesting stuff between all the variations and different roles age plays (or doesn't play)!

But! You should try Biscuit Teacher Star Candy! I know it sounds squicky on paper, but it was actually very sweet and didn't feel dodgy at all. It takes a delicate hand to do that well, and it's doubly entertaining that Gong Yoo is actually older than Gong Hyo-jin in real life!

Hm, in the noona romance olympics, Dal-ja's Spring takes first place, with High School King of Savvy coming in a close second. (And I loved the ending - it was as unconventional and quirky as the characters, when you consider that it actually seems more conventional *not* to marry. But they did, they went all-in and it was adorable, improbable, surprising, yet perfect!)

I have to think about who I'd give my bronze to...

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oh duh, Witch's Romance.

BUT that doesn't mean, for example, that IHYV's romance was less good (it wasn't, it's one of my most favouritest ever), but just that it wasn't really a noona romance, it was a mystery supernatural suspense thriller with a side of noona romance which, strictly speaking it didn't need (though I love it! But I distinctly remember saying at the time that the show was so good on its own, it didn't need any romance at all...of course, I ate my words afterwards XD). So noona romance olympics are strictly for shows where the noona romance was the central conceit.

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I did watch Biscuit Teacher Star Candy (I mean, c'mon, I'm going to watch all the noona romances no matter what) but the romance angle still kinda skeeved me out. I think all the main characters frustrated me -- I don't have very fond memories of that drama (it's been awhile, I can't pinpoint specifics) even though the cast was fantastic. I remember loving the brat-pack students, though.

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I get it, man. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing! It's been a while for me too, so the details are hazy to me, but I went away with a good feeling. (luckily, being such a nerd, I have watching notes, which is what I consulted to write this post!)

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Ha, I just have weird tastes when it comes to romance (but that's for next month!😉).

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(A little off topic but not completely)

Mention of unreliable narrators, You've Got Mail, and A Cindrella Story in one post makes me very happy! Mostly because I will watch those two movies every single time they come on TV, no matter how many times it has already been (along with Bridget Jones Diaries).... And unreliable narrators were my answer to every problem in my graduation (okay, not every problem, but it was easy to put every blame on the narrators)...

Has anyone read 'The Guernsey literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'? If I remember correctly, the whole book is written as letters! And it was a brilliant book in general :)

Oh and about noona romances- did anyone mention Bora nad Sun Woo in Answer Me 1988? That was an adorable noona-romance too, sometimes even overshadowing the main love triangle..

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I haven't read that book but it sounds like I need to! Although my TBR list is about 50 times longer than my drama to-watch list, sob.

I was really into BJD (books and film) when I was university, back when it came out, but I think I've quite strongly outgrown it. It's a very specific lifestyle and mindset, and I had a "brown awakening" several years ago (I know, it took so long), and I haven't been able to view a lot of media the same way since, including Gilmore Girls, which I used to love. And the most recent revival...wow. It did not move with the times at all, and I couldn't make it past the first episode.

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My TBR list is bursting at the seems but that is mainly because I have been focusing on my to-watch list for a while now :D

I am brown (Indians are considered brown, right?), if that is the kinda brown you are talking about ... and haven't had the "brown awakening" till now! Or maybe it is just a way of life for us? Dunno if that makes sense.. Like I know when I watch certain things that they are coming from a western sensibility and I take it all with a grain of salt..

About BJD, I did not like the book at all- and that is the first time it happened to me that I preferred the movie version over books! Just love the first movie.. the later installments kinda killed the magic of the first... Gilmore Girls was so so good in the beginning (I could hear them just randomly talk for hours) but I lost interest around the fourth season and never picked it back up again..

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I kinda envy people who didn't *need* a brown awakening (like my sisters). I had a slightly different life experience to them, so although I always knew with my head that I wasn't white, it's different when it's a visceral reality that affects your everyday life in a way you come to notice - which I didn't for a long time, because my school years were very sheltered. It's like in The Sixth Sense, when whatsisname says, 'they don't even know they're dead'. I spent a large part of my teens and 20s not knowing I wasn't white, if that makes sense. I'd say the wake-up process started when I went to uni, but I can see now that I still held a lot of subconscious assumptions which I fully snapped out of some years ago after some serious life stuff happened. This probably isn't a good place to discuss racial identity and the problems of representations of diversity, but it's a topic I spend a lot of time in elsewhere!

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@saya I think being someone "different" in a racial "other's" country will always have some problems that natives don't usually face, be it right from the beginning or later in life.. I wish that wasn't the case but the world is divided like that.. Even here in India, foreigners suffer from some discrimination or the other.. On top of that, we also have regional discrimination (north vs south, less developed states vs more developed states) and caste and class divisions...

I wonder if there is a country where discrimination doesn't exist at all...

But yeah you are right, this might not be the best place to discuss racial identity and related problems (and I am anyway giving a reply quite late).. When I do manage to get back to twitter, I might 'follow' you there..

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Yups, I can totally relate... I absolutely have to watch You've Got Mail (and other Nora Ephron movies) whenever they pop up on tv. As well as Bridget Jones' Diary and other P&P-related movies. Now, I'll have to check out A Cinderella Story!

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"We were too slow!" haha...

Couldn't agree more! Many of the catnip choices could've been mine, too. Hard to pinpoint ONE only.

But. You should TOTALLY write another entry for: unreliable narrators. I'm sure others won't mind if the same Beanie wrote two articles--at least I would definitely read it!

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Would that there were enough hours in the day! Eheu, alas, alack, there never are XD

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Omg how did I forget nam joo hyuk and kim seul gi in surplus princess! NJH could be the ultimate noona killer if cast rightly against the actresses that is. Loved these two in the drama, and their bickering was one of the cutest thing. I swear I would have finished the drama if these two were the leads I admit lol.

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Noona romances aren't too much of my thing (personally, I prefer either someone the same age or a little older), but I ADORED Lee Jong-suk in I hear your voice. (But I also adore him in general, so...)

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Jisoo is the ultimate puppy. I also low-key shipped him with the mom in Angry Mom. But, then again, I ship Jisoo with anyone he sets his adorable, puppy eyes on. Drama Lords, please give me the ultimate Noona romance drama with Jisoo as the lead. PLEASE!!!!!!!

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He has a pretty awesome actually *requited* romance in Fantastic! Shame about the rest of the show, though. His and Park Shi-yeon's storylines were all I watched it for in the end!

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OMG I can't believe I forgot about Ji-soo in Fantastic. *sheepish grin* I mean it's not like I recapped the show or anything...

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I thought you must have forgotten it! I nearly did as well, and shame on me, too, because it was the first show I edited on viki!

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I haven't given that show a chance yet. So you recommend it for my Jisoo loving self?

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@sidnerella not reeeeally, unless you ff everything but the PSY and JS bits.

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@Saya I will probably end up doing just that haha.

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Somehow this is my favorite catnip even though I'm only 21 myself lol. I feel like I'm destined to marry someone younger. My first serious relationship was when I was 16 with a guy who was 14. For me the attraction to noona romances is the potential for a reversal or at least a balance in the power dynamics in the relationship. My favorite noona dramas are the ones with "beta" males. "I do, I do" had many problems with its writing, but it remains a personal favorite because it never tried to counter the reversed power dynamics. She was his boss, she was more mature and more experienced in relationships and life, and she made the decisions in the relationship initially without his input. I always get annoyed when most noona dramas try to "compensate" (and usually overcompensate) for the age difference by making the heroine a virgin, making the hero more experienced romantically, making him her boss, making him more successful, making him secretly wealthy, making him somehow way more mature than her, ect, ect. I have to say I don't usually care for teacher-student romances, at least when they are mutual and ultimately successful. I just cannot suspend my disbelief that much. However the jdrama Majo no Jouken is one of my favorite dramas ever for the unabashedly realistic way it treated the teacher-student relationship. It never tried to force the viewer to be comfortable with the relationship, it was always uncomfortable yet somehow you just couldn't help but root for them.

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Yes to everything you said!

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My favorite catnip in the whole world! I could probably write a thesis about how much I love this genre lol.

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fav noona romances:
1. I hear your voice. Hands down LJS and PBS have amazing chemistry together. Till now nothing else can beat IHYV.
2. biscuit teacher and star candy.
3.let's eat
4.my name is kim sam soon.

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True nobody can beat lee jong suk and lee bo young they were perfect and absolutely relatable..Lee jong suk looks good with every costar, he is such a gem..

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I could probably write a thesis about how much I love this genre lol.

haha, I tried, but for the sake of the universe at large, it had to bow before the editor's knife! Let me be a co-author if this ever becomes a thesis for real, I beg you!

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Oh @saya I will! Maybe this could be an excellent research proposal if I ever decide to do masters in Korean Literature and dramas LOL.
And send me the unedited version if possible, haha, loved loved loved your write up <33.

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i like this trope so much even when the noona romance was not the highlight of the drama, just a slight clue that the lady is older can make me watch a drama. for example becoming a billionaire (lee bo young and ji hyun woo's character were almost siblings where lee bo young's character was the noona)

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This is one of my favorite catnips. If I hear a drama is a noona romance I am almost guaranteed to watch it. I Can Hear Your Voice, Witch's Romance, I Need Romance 3, Flower Boy Ramen Shop are all favorite dramas of mine. The funny thing is I actually don't like dating guys younger then me, but absolutely love this drama trope.

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I didn't think I had a catnip, but it turns out, noona romances are my catnip. Witch's Romance is hands-down one of my favourite k-dramas.

One reason why I love noona romances is that it's nice to see a leading lady with a wealth of wordly experience, one whose got most of her life locked down. I love all of our younger heroines as well but its get tiresome to see ingenue stories after a while.

Also older heroines tend to get the short-shaft, as if they stop living and feeling once they hit 30. It's always interesting to see someone in their 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and more grapple with love and all it's added factors. If you've lived alone for a long time, how do you make space for someone. How do you come to count on someone? It's interesting to see how dramas with older leads answer those questions.

Plus, puppy-dog leads are always a plus-point. (I think I might be spoilt by Park Seo Joon, who is handsdown one of the cutest and kindest k-drama leads. His amazing chemistry with Uhm Jung-Hwa didn't hurt either)

Thanks for writing about this catnip Saya! I'll be watching the comments section for drama recs, WOOT! :D

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Aw, I love this one, though it's interesting to note that only Dal Ja's Spring became an all-time favorite. I think I must really like that specific age difference (33 to 27). Just five years apart and both past their early twenties. Haha, and I guess I surprisingly prefer the savvy younger man to the puppy-type, though I loved Chun Jung-myung in What's Up Fox because he felt like the best of both worlds.

I also adore HSKOS, BTSC and thoroughly enjoyed IHYV!

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my faaaaaavorite catnip !

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This is my ultimate catnip too. I think I could watch anything just for the noona romance.

By the way, about this genre I recommend the following web dramas, since we don't talk much about them in Dramabeans but they are really well done and they feature noona romances too :

- Thumping Spike (the volleyball web drama with Song Jaerim as a high schooler)
- Love for a Thousand More (fantasy web drama about an immortal woman who meets a young musician)

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The plot of INR 3 seems interesting, maybe I will go take a look now lol. A drama where sung joon is nicknamed sweet potato? Sounds hilarious to me already!

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I often feel like a cougar for fangirling over some of the young hotties in kdramas since I'm old enough to be some of their mothers... sigh.

I'm grateful for this particular catnip. It makes me feel better about my guilty pleasure.

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