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[Drama Chat] Everything but the romance


I love love, and I’m a very big fan of seeing romance play out in K-dramas. There’s something captivating about watching the intense romance between two characters who crackle with an electrifying chemistry, or the ones who pine after each other in a slow burn romance. But once in a while, you watch a drama and the romance that you love so much is the very thing that lets you down or turns you off completely.

It’s probably an unpopular opinion, but for me, that drama is Vincenzo. I enjoyed everything about Vincenzo… except the romance. And while it didn’t really take anything away from the plot, the inclusion of romance felt like fan service at best. Vincenzo and Cha-young were better off as comrades than as a couple, and that’s one hill I’ll die on.
 

Over to you, Beanies! Name a drama where you wish the romance had been removed from the plot.

 
Let the chatting begin!
 
Thanks to @nigirisushi for the prompt.
 
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Doctors.

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Doctors, Memories of the Alhambra, Sisyphus: The Myth... any Park Shin-hye romance with a huge age gap.

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Haha I hadn’t realised that but so true!

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THIS. IS. TRUTH.

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I agree Park Shin Hye is horrible at romance acting anyways, and with larger age gaps it almost feels like a creepy romance between a man and his inflatable doll

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tabong @enriquequierecagar and @LaurenSophie would disagree, but I think Park Shin-hye has romantic chemistry with actors her age: Pinocchio Lee Jong-suk, You're Beautiful Jang Keun-suk, Flower Boy Next Door Yoon Shi-yoon, Heirs Kim Woo-bin, and as children Stairway to Heaven Baek Sung-hyun.

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She is very uncomfortable doing any scenes which requires her to be close to them. I am totally supportive of this and her stance in valid. She may have personal and religious reasons (I am just speculating here). However it makes for bad craft, she completely breaks character in those scenes and you feel that it’s park shin hye and not the character. She should chose scripts where there is zero romance. Similar to that lady who acted in Tomorrow. She also choose scripts with very little romance

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I agree, she was very natural and had great chemistry with LJS in Pinocchio

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Search: WWW with exception of Scarlett and GaYoung' romance.
Can't believe how much I fast forwarding OTP loveline and finished the whole drama 16hrs drama in one go 😅 (this is bizarre as I rarely FF while watching my Kdrama).

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Same!!! Since episode 1 I didn't like the main couple.

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I agree with Tammy's. They shouldve broken up ages ago but they just wanted JKY to have more screen time.
I adore GaYoung's and Scarlett's too.

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OMG YESS. I fast forwarded through all the scenes between the main couple in WWW, relieved it's not only me haha. Which is a shame because I loved the ladies and their characters, wish it revolved solely about them. Although the makjang drama actor sidestory was hilarious and cute.

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Good Doctor.

Extraordinary Atty Woo.

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Snowdrop, The K2, Soundtrack#1
These dramas are not my favorite, i don't think i enjoyed any of them. The romance in these dramas didn't work out to me. Soundtrack#1 in particular is very disappointing because it's a romance drama, using the friends to lovers trope that i really like, but there is nothing special or memorable about the romance.

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K2 had the potential to have one the best dark romances ever! But alas it went vanilla…

Soundtrack #1 was all pretty with no substance, it felt more like anti-romance tbh. Skip that and watch Happiness

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Yessss! Happiness couple is still number 1 in my heart

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Definitely the K2, that started out as a great action drama and then …..yikes. I couldn’t finish it.

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Oh gosh yes to Snowdrop.
The Canon K2 romance, yes, the NON canon K2 romance on the other hand,,,

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So true about K2 !

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Snowdrop would have been so much more interesting without a romance. K2 had more sizzling chemistry with the older woman than the boring unlikeable main female, I remember thinking how odd it was.

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While I don't know that I would have removed all of the romantic elements, I definitely found the love lines in Reply 1988 to be the most frustrating, least rewarding aspect of the show. It was much more compelling when it stuck to friendship and family dynamics.

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The 2 shows that come to mind are Why Her? and A Korean Odyssey. In Why Her? the romance made absolutely no sense and the couple was completely mismatched. In A Korean Odyssey there was exactly zero chemistry between the leads and the female lead’s performance was so wooden that it contributed to me dropping the show.

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Why her.
Forecasting love and weather I wasn’t interested in either the main couple or their ex’s but the ex’s relationship woes just made me annoyed every time they were shown. I think they could have done well focused on the working relationships in the office, the team approach the rivalry between the different teams in the headquarters and the regional areas and the trials of when things mess up with all the complaints. They could have had the minor cast of the sister and the upstairs neighbour, the man who had problems settling in with his daughter and wife and the woman who was supporting her husband to study and he was taking liberties as the love interests and that would have been much better.

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I'll let @nigirisushi say Café Minamdang.

Recently, Why Her and Eve.
But Itaewon Class and Hotel del Luna take the cake.
P.S. Vincenzo is one of my all-time favorite romances.

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Hahaha, thank you for leaving me the honor to say Cafe Minamdang.

Oh, your call on Itaewon Class is so great too. I forgot about that. I was not a fan of the couple. One-sided crush, sure.

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Dream High

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I like the romance in Dream High! I think they made a really good choice for how it worked out.

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I disliked it very much. It was very bland, and added nothing to the story. And felt completely mediocre compared to the lovely chemistry between Wooyoung and IU. Even the two minute scene between Taec and Park Eun Bin had better spark than the whole main loveline. Imho they should have focused on the main characters' musical rivalries and achievements, and left the romance to very small sprinkles here and there.

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P.s. That is something that What's Up did incredibly well. I know Dream High was more of a youthful drama needing as much fan service as possible with all those idols. But the main loveline was just that, fan service. It could still be a pretty lovable show with cutting nine tenth of that arc.

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Daesung was the only reason I needed to watch What's Up :D

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I'd name a few.
Why Her takes first place of course - the freshest memory.
Next will be Forecasting Love and Weather. Just the main lead's romance, not the other romances.
The romance aspect of Alchemy of Souls between Jang Uk and Mudeok.

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Just to add...She Would Never Know. The ML and FL.

Even though they are a minor cast, the assistant writer for Han Bi-soo, and Nana's Manager in Oh! Master.

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I kind of agree on Alchemy of Souls. I mean it works, I guess, but it kind of developed out of nowhere and has completely distracted Naksu/Mudeok from her original purpose.

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why is there a suspicious amount of Later Hong Sisters on this thread...

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Confused fellow here🙋. I don't quite follow...?

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Hwayugi (A Korean Odyssey), Hotel De La Luna and Alchemy of Souls, the three latest Hong Sisters dramas, have all been mentioned multiple times on this thread. Ahem. lol.
(Later Hong Sisters, as if their career were named like historical periods e.g. Later Silla :P lmao)

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In ALCHEMY I feel the Dang-gu and Lady Jin romance is working much better (and sweeter) than the Jang Uk and Mudeok romance.

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From the depths of my mind, I second this fact.

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I really don't agree about Vincenzo (I thought that the romance was just right--subtle but satisfying--and made both characters richer and more likeable) and I am definitely not someone who complains when any romance line is added to a show. But I can think of a couple of shows where the romance left me cold and probably shouldn't have been there because the show was otherwise very good:

From a Distance, Spring is Green: The FL was a very flat character and the ML's hair and lip color were too distracting. I wouldn't have minded a central romance to beef up the story, but it shouldn't have been between these two.

Itaewon Class: This is what happens when the writers are forced to add a romantic element and you can tell they really don't want to. Poorly built up and executed, even though the actors had chemistry.

Korean Odyssey & Hotel del Luna: Both of these needed a romantic story to anchor the show, but it was poorly executed. FL in the first was terrible and in the second the ML never sparked with the FL. Wasted (and boring) opportunities that weighed down the action in both cases.

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I dropped Itaewon because I couldn't stand the FL.
I didn't like the ML in Hotel either.

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To be fair, Yeo Jin Goo in Hotel Del Luna wasn't given space to do much with his character. He was so good in the recent drama "Link: Eat, Love, Kill" with Moon Ga Young. I would blame the poor writing and directing for the romance in Hotel Del Luna. Same lackluster chemistry you can see in "Alchemy of Souls" between the ML and FL.

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I love YJG--I should have made that clearer in my post--and agree that he was fantastic in "Link." But he didn't work for me as a romantic lead in Hotel Del Luna and I don't personally feel that was all due to the writing. However, I do like the chemistry between the leads in Alchemy :)

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*coughs that's because his character wasn't even properly written period, virtually not written at all, so he was acting off nothing*
But even had there been more substance there, according to how the show is anyway (id est, without completely rewriting the rest of it) I think I still wouldn't have liked or wanted the Romance in HDLL.
Writing issue at the core, directing issue in that the director was at odds with the writers in regard to the direction of the leads as a couple, but I also think that he is weak and inconsistent as a romantic actor anyway; his strengths lie elsewhere.

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If the story isn't a noona romance, I don't see why younger MLs are paired with older FLs. I wonder if directors even conduct "chemistry" screening tests of shortlisted actors when casting for a drama. Yeah, the director or writer might prefer specific actors, but for a drama to work compatability should be a top priority. This goes without saying even for older ML and younger FL pairing (see comments on Park Shin Hye)

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@emsel: With all due respect, why should age be an issue when older female and younger male actors are cast? There is so much societal gendered conditioning regarding this. Chemistry is not dependent on age and the term “noona romance” is loaded with outdated gendered assumptions which are harmful.

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I think it can greatly depend on the actor/actress personally, and on a case by case basis- I have seen it work, mainly Lee Jae Wook and Scarlett in Search WWW comes to mind (I didn't watch that show but I did watch their scenes lol), and, although he's had like 1 romantic role, KDY for example was convincingly playing far above his age at 21 and continues to be able to do so.
Compatibility is NOT top priority, and probably never will be, at least not on average, but I don't disagree with you in regards to that anyway, that it should take a higher priority nonetheless. Not entirely sure how as a director you'd measure that though. How do we measure chemistry at all for that matter? Hmmmm.

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@dncingemma I mentioned it goes both ways and not just for older FL/younger ML pairing. A drama that is labelled as romance or rom-com needs the leads to have chemistry to sell their love to the audience. Hotel Del Luna was categorized as rom-com, but the OTP was lacklustre to majority of the viewers. With Korea being a patriarchal society, having importance to seniority and crazy idol worship, it does not give the actors or directors space to go above restrictions unless the script totally demands it. This specific drama did not have any necessity to cast a younger ML because his age did not matter to the plot. With all these factors into play, the interaction of the leads suffers and the end result is a total disappointment.

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@sicarius Totally agree it depends on the actors, but all the examples you gave are of people who have a degree in acting or have taken acting lessons and it shows because both are breakout stars in that generation. In the same "Search WWW", if you consider Jang Ki Young, his chemistry did not work out. Even after that, he was once again cast with an older FL (Song Hye Kyo) and failed to create chemistry with the FL. Coming to Lee Jae Wook, he had excellent chemistry in Search WWW, but the same person is the only one putting efforts in the AOS main OTP. This is why directors need to pay attention to actors connection/interactions or at least make directing decisions to convince the audience of the chemistry between the leads.

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You have an interesting argument; I'm not sure I agree with you entirely but it's food for thought nonetheless.
Casting is only one ingredient of the overal recipe as it were.

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(e.g. no amount of better casting is going to save a script that's doomed from the beginning anyway.)

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@emsel: I understand your point about chemistry but your first sentence undermines your argument as it couches it in problematic gendered terms. That’s the point I was commenting on. Maybe I am missing something but to me, it reinforces patriarchal views.

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The director of "Alchemy of Souls" is not doing any better than "Hotel Del Luna". I recently went on AOS MyDramaList to pass time and there were multiple comments asking questions which were already answered or comments on new theories which can never be canon because the related theory was proved wrong. This highlights just how confusing the plot is for a simple person (even when they pay full attention).

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It's hard to make the difference in a show that didn't need a romance and the ones that had a bad romance because of the lack of chemistry between the leads or the bad writing.

SIG is not very lucky but in Task 38 there was a romance but they kinda forgot about it (Soo-Young was pretty bad in this role), but they could do a romance with another female character, because all of them were badass except the FL. And there is Café Minamdang...

K2 : the FL character was badly written and useless and so the romance.

Itaewoon Class : it could work without it and the story would have been better.

Why Her : it could have been better with another actor, but without it it could have been perfect.

Again My Life : I dropped it but it felt forced.

Alice : It was weird.

Sisyphus: The Myth : This drama wasn't good but the romance didn't help.

My Name : It looked like a last addition to please the public than a real part of the story.

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K2... I was shipping him with his boss. They had great chemistry and a more interesting plot line/dynamic.

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*sigh* what could've been

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You mean the second female lead? I did like their scenes together and wouldve made the drama more interesting indeed.

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I agree about K2. JCW had chemistry with everyone else except his FL.

I disagree with Itaewon Class because I liked the Saeroyi with Yiseo but did not like Nara's character. I liked Yiseo from the start, I found her refreshing.

I didnt watch the rest so could not comment.

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For Itaewon Class, the issue is that Park Seo-Joon never showed any sign that his character could have feelings for the FL. His character was completely focused on his revenge and work. It's like they decided at the end and told him that his character will have feelings for her. So the love story didn't work for me.

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Perfectly understandable. Saeroyi was not an expressive guy

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Extraordinary attorney woo. Everything but the romance.
Goblin (no to the underage romance, he could have been her guardian and still the drama would have worked).

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ItAewon class. He should have been her mentor or career anchor. Love line was super weird.

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Unpopular opinion probably but Season 2 of Hospital Playlist. It felt like the show went from a story about 5 friends to just a series of love stories.

Maybe they wanted to pair everyone up before ending the show but it just wasn't narratively interesting. There was also a lot of what felt like manufactured relationship conflict such as between Jun-wan and Ik-sun.

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Oh, I agree. I didn't like any romance in HP 2.

I would prefer that Ik-Jun took time to accept his divorce. I found his love story with Song-Hwa rushed.

Jun-Wan had nothing in commun with Ik-Soon.

Jeong-Won showed no romantic feelings for Gyeo-Wool during one season but we had to believe he was very in love with her to forget his dream to become a priest...

For Seok-Hyeong, if the girl insists long enough, the guy would fall in love with her?

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Ikjun & Songhwa had been in love since their student days he withdrew because Seokhyeong had shown interest at the time and he didn’t want to be ‘that’ friend.

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But he got a wife and a child. Ik-Jun had success in everything. He was a great student who can party every night. He became a great surgeon. His divorce was his only "fail". But they didn't talk about it. It was just one episode they talked about it a little bit. I want him to explore the feelings about his wife cheating on him, the divorce, the fact she let him with their son, etc.

But it was like nothing happened and he fell in love with Song-Hwa.

When the show started Song-Hwa had a boyfriend, she was interested by having relationship, she was pretty cool about it. But they made her single pretty much the 2 seasons.

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True, maybe it was a first love thing but I accepted they could have other relationships but still love each other and contain it as friends as it didn’t go anywhere at the time.

He was very upset by his wife you saw the level of anger and his clear message he was not going to be separated from his boy. He was a great dad but I did wonder about how much he got to see his son in terms of consistency with all the emergencies and long operations.

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Just because Ik-Jun was a divorced single dad doesn't mean he can't love again. It was always clear that Song-Hwa cared for both him and his kid, so it works. I do agree that their romance was rushed, but I noticed their chemistry since season one.

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@kdramapedia I don't say that he can't love anymore. But I wanted the writer to explore the consequences of his divorce. At the end of season 1, he already moved on.

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Jun-Wan had nothing in common with Ik-Soon.

I second this anytime. I was really interested in his romantic life just as much as I enjoyed him being a single guy that I wanted to see him happy. A man like him would love wholeheartedly. And yes, he did. But as the series progressed, that person is definitely not Ik-soon.

I actually liked Seok-hyeong and Min-ha's romance the most, and Wintergarden the least.

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Thanks @miso and @kurama for voicing my thoughts on HP 2.
I always thought at the end of the first HP Jeong-won should have been on his way to Rome to begin his studies to become a Catholic priest. I never bought into his romance arc. Then there is what the writers did to my favorite doctor Jun-wan.

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What the writers did to Jun-wan will remain my one and only and highest cross with Hospital Playlist 1&2

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39 "had" to have the 3 FLs having a romance but all were failures: no chemistry, a broken affair and one that did not get out of dry dock.

But the worse genre is the arrogant chaebol who manipulates, stalks, harasses, grooms, invades boundaries and "won't take no for an answer" pest who finally gaslights a young woman into falling in love with him.

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Which young woman fell in love with the chaebol? Was that 39 or just a reference to that trope.

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Boys Over Flowers, Secret Garden, Business Proposal(?)

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Yes, I agree with all of those examples and would add Flower boy ramen shop even though she was an older woman and had asked him out first once she realised he was a school kid she had run away. He kept telling her she was a loser who someone like him should not find attractive but as he was interested he would be around her treating her like rubbish and shouting at her until he came to his senses and she said OK and eventually accepted she loved him and shouldn’t fight it😳

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Oh sorry, @Reply1988, I thought you were asking for examples. But yeah, I don't think those count for this topic because if you remove the romance, you have no drama.

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@panshel agreed re the need to stay on topic! I really wanted to add Now we are breaking up but knew it didn’t meet the brief. I was much more interested in the fashion competitiveness and the friendships. I thought the one night stand and move on worked and the annoying chaebol mum and ex fiancée were beyond annoying but it was a case of no romance no reason for the drama🤣

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The genre not 39

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The gaslighter chaebol falls more under toxic romance instead of unnecessary romance. It's like the tsundere heroes.

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This should be another Drama Chat topic

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I second that suggestion. The list would be long and cover 90% of the dramas in a particular time frame🤣 as I am fairly new to K drama I don’t know the dates but I definitely saw it in the older Chinese and K dramas I watched initially.

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The broken affair had chemistry, a lot of it. But it wasn't explored and expanded as much as I'd love to even though it made a whole lot of sense and was interwoven quite neatly into the general plot.

@reply1988, it has to be a reference trope. Thirty Nine has nothing to do with a narcissist chaebol stalker.

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That’s what I was thinking as I couldn’t see any of the characters falling into that description. I didn’t like it and watched it begrudgingly so thought I must have slept through something.

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Café Minamdang
Love with Flaws (the main couple)
Goblin (the main couple)
Human Disqualification (It wasn't that bad but it would have better without it)

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I liked Love with flaws I think he reluctance to have a relationship would have been enough so the squabble between the boys who had grown up together didn’t need to be there to try to create a second lead battle.

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*her reluctance (sorry only noticed typo after pressing send).

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I wanted MORE romance from Vincenzo. Given how the OTP's relationship unfolded, I kept thinking that there's no way those two wouldn't develop romantic feelings for each other, and was getting frustrated by why they just wouldn't address their feelings out in the open. Interestingly enough, the drama was originally written as a full blown romantic comedy.

The only kdrama whose romance made me go "???" was My Name. The sex scene at the end just came out of the left field. I spent the entire show up to that scene thinking the FL and the mafia leader had sexual tension, and didn't see much romantic buildup between the FL and policeman.

For other shows mentioned such as Itaewon Class and Goblin, I didn't have an issue with the romance itself. I liked both romances in theory, but felt the actors didn't pull it off with their chemistry.

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Hello Monster.
Yu Mi's Cells 2.
Search WWW.
Pinocchio.

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The toast kiss in Pinocchio was fire.

The central theme of Yumi's Cells is romance with one boyfriend per season. RIP Soonrok.

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Toast kiss VS FL pushing away ML every ten seconds because she feels guilty about something she didn't do. Uhmm...

I thought the show was an slice of life, I didn't know it was a romcom. But even for a romcom the romance was bad, imo.

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Any kiss with Park Shin Hye in it can never be fire for me. :-D She looks visibly uncomfortable in it. (Each one of them). I liked Pinocchio for the typical brand of moral dilemmas the writer presented in her (sort of) trilogy with Lee Jung Suk!

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I agree about Yumi's Cells 2. Came for Jinyoung but the romance is so bad...

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Uri Jin Young deserves so much better.

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Great calls on Monster and Pinocchio--totally agree. In Monster the romance was clearly an afterthought and Jang Nara's character was totally wasted anyway, so they easily could have scrapped the romance angle.

And I admit that I'm one of the few people in the world who does not find Lee Jong-suk appealing in romantic roles so I definitely remember feeling that the love story wasn't necessary.

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I would've preferred less romance and more bromance. Hyun and Min had one nice moment before the FL arrested him.

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I agree about Vincenzo. The show could do away with it.
Same with Alchemy of Souls imho. I KNOW i have mentioned it somewhere, I prefer the leads as master and pupil then bff at best.

Cafe Minamdang is another but only because the FL annoys me. Its either the character or portrayal, maybe both that irks me the most.

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Oops didnt realize "know" is in all caps..

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I agree with alchemy of souls. Yul should be the endgame there.

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Yes it makes the most sense for it to be Yul. The childhood connection and present day interactions. It wouldve been epic if the FL ended with someone else than the ML.

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I remember you (even though I love Jang Nara and SIG).

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I love I Remember You. Thats where I first saw PBG and he had good chemistry with SIG and CWY. Would be nice to see PBG in darker roles.

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I like Vincenzo's romance since they didn't overdo it for the most part.

Then again, I love romance and shipping and love how kdramas have it sprinkled everywhere, but sometimes, it feels like they dump a full cup of sprinkles on the ice cream cone of a drama while screaming "SHIP IT!" I do wish more kdramas would feel free to make the romance more of a background thing or a sub-subplot, sort of like Queen of Mystery or Psychopath Diary where it isn't in your face. And it helps if the couple have a shared goal that has to do with the plot and can contribute to the plot progression.

I think the only drama where I found the main romance really annoying was Search:WWW. It was Tami's side story and the guy seemed to float on the outskirts, so everytime he showed up, it ate away at the momentum. It was like watching a long PPL trying to sell Jang Ki-yong (and I don't dislike JKY, just thought his character could be cut out).

I think some of this is the kdrama mindset of traditionally having a ML and a FL headline the show and coupling them up. And them also feeling like they have to give equal importance. Rookie Historian could have totally done without the romance and still worked, but I liked how the drama didn't try to give importance to Cha Eun-woo and the romance even though the first episode seemed to go that way. Eventually, the story stuck with Shin Se-kyung as the main character and Cha Eun-woo as a supporting character who happened to be her supportive love interest.

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It did feel like they were pushing so hard for JKY to be the male lead when the story evolves around the three leading ladies. The show shouldve increased screentime to GaYoung's side love story instead.

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I'll be on the hill with you because the romance in Vincenzo wasn't needed. I would have accepted a noona romance/more overt puppy love between Cha-Young and Joon-Woo at the beginning that goes horribly wrong once Cha-Young realizes who he really is. It would've been a better reason to keep him updated on the case since he was "an intern" at the same company they were trying to bring down.

Goblin could've either done without the lead romance (i.e., actually be her guardian) or had a romance that began at a legal age.

I Remember You/Hello Monster didn't need a romance to solve the case, and it actually got in the way. The family storyline was compelling enough on its own.

Backstreet Rookie is another unnecessary and underage romance. A mentor or oppa-like relationship was enough for the story.

Even if Mouse hadn't jumped off the rails, the forced "romance" wasn't needed at all. Halmoni could have just had Ba-Reum promise to look after Bong-Yi in the future instead of hinting at (yet another underage) romance.

I go back and forth with Tale of the Nine Tailed beacause I think I like the original loveline in the past, and maybe I would've liked it with another actress. But the more I think about it, I think I would've enjoyed the drama better if it was just about the brothers.

Currently airing, neither Cafe Minamdang nor Alchemy of Souls need a romance between the main leads. Both romances are distracting from the main plot.

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Even if Mouse hadn't jumped off the rails, the forced "romance" wasn't needed at all. Halmoni could have just had Ba-Reum promise to look after Bong-Yi in the future instead of hinting at (yet another underage) romance.

FL was one of the driving forces for ML's guilt. So, the romance plot was pivotal in the story, but the problem was the FL never had chemistry with the ML.

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I think we're talking about two different leads. I agree that the romance between Hong-Ju and Jae-Hoon is necessary and propels the plot due to having his child. I'm referring to Ba-Reum and Bong-Yi, as Ba-Reum never had any guilt due to being a psychopath. The other psychopaths in the show faked relationships well that covered their tracks, but Ba-Reum's cover was his "good cop" persona, not love.

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I kind of love that the central romance in Alchemy is so polarizing here. I'm totally on board that ship, but the discussion forces me to try to see things from other points of view, which is not one of my strengths.

I didn't like the resumed romance in Our Beloved Summer, but that's because I didn't like Kim Da-mi's character very much. The story would have had a very different focus if they didn't get involved again as adults, and that's a direction I would have preferred to explore.

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@Elinor: Could you please tell me why you didn’t like Yeon-soo as a character? I empathised with her given her life experiences and the burdens that she was carrying even though she was prickly and wasn’t a good communicator.

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Same question. I actually like YS and she is the character I empathized with the most. The way OBS ended it left a positive message for second chances and hope. The way the drama presented it, the leads were meant for each other and just needed time to grow up separately.

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@dncingemma @jillian : I can’t remember details because it’s been a while since I watched it, but I found her pushiness, prickliness, and refusal to communicate irritating rather than interesting. The ML told her, over and over, “I don’t like it when you do [X]” and she kept doing it, in both in the HS/university and current timelines. The show made her self-aware enough to ponder why she withholds herself and does this push-pull with him, so her refusal to learn and change her behavior (until the very end) was frustrating to me and made the second-time-around romance seem unrealistic. He, on the other hand, seemed to have matured enough since HS that he would have had the sense to stay out of a second romantic relationship. I mean, I understand lust and nostalgia but he had other options and the SFL idol character was a pretty good one. The concept of showing the complex truth behind the original video was great. I would have preferred a storyline - using the video diary - that explored what happened after they broke up, what they’ve learned that they could bring to a new relationship with someone else, and how (or if) they could develop a friendship or if they just turn their backs on each other and recognize they’re not meant to be together.

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_K2 (it would be better if the loveline was with the second female lead)
_Fix you (an underrated great drama)
_Sisyphus
_Why her (dropped it because of romance)

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*ehehehehehe* *evil giggle*

Okay, so,
1. I Will Find you When the Weather is Nice...
I have written all about why at very least the romance in this was rushed and lacking proper narrative payoff and executed terribly hither: https://www.dramabeans.com/members/sicarius/activity/1034649/
But I also think that there is a strong case to be made for it not being there entirely. In-fact there are a lot of versions of that show which would've been better for me than the actual thing. What that essay covers, no fulfilment of the romance, but a slow burn anyway, or just take it out entirely.
For more details as to why, the essay goes into some of them so I'm not gonna make this longer than necc.

2. Our Beloved Summer. Well not so much NO romance, but rather OBS is one of those few shows where I think the OTP should've not been end game, and that them getting together at the end was both handled weakly, and wasn't actually consistent characterwise.
It’s easy for me to ship, and I’m naturally more inclined to the “well if they can work it out and communicate then they SHOULD” as a narrative trajectory.
However, I felt like OBS never properly developed their issues as a couple, or had them grow enough to justify them not breaking up again later for all the same reasons they broke up in the first place. And not because it was trying to make some statement about the reality of such relationships either. No, it just didn’t develop its characters properly.
There wasn't enough addressing of those issues, and what there was, wasn't well executed in gratifying ways, for that to seem both plausible, believable, or be satisfying narratively, so that the ending wasn't actually the best version of the story that could've been told.

3. The Crowned Clown: Okay so hmm, this is a tricky one. I have always thought that Jingoo as the Crazy King had more chemistry with The Queen, than he ever did with her as the Clown. How this works, I still don't know, since, he is the same actor, but nonetheless, I still stand by that statement. Now this wasn't exactly "romantic" chemistry, given that he was addicted to drugs, and therefore prone to violence, and also incredibly, incredibly messed up, so I'm not saying, make that romantic, but I like the idea of the King and the Queen still being in love with each other despite this massive dysfunction roadblock in their way, and when the alternative is basically adultery and a romance that happened at the expense of the King's entire character, was also completely unbelievable by the time we got to the back third, and made me want to claw my skin off... it'd be better to have removed any direct romance in this show at all.
The Clown can be in love with the Queen but she should never reciprocate to him as the Clown, and, if you want a teaser of the tragic direction I would've taken this show, when she finds out that he isn't her husband, and goes to kill herself, she...

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... she should succeed. (Thus facilitating the Clown's inevitable downward spiral, to mirror that of the King's, which would’ve been more thematically sound.)

I think I had another more controversial one, and just more in general, but I can't remember what they are right now. Huh. Anyway, others that have already been mentioned more than once:

4. Snowdrop- Makes a direct narrative parallel between the FL and the ML's SISTER, establishes this multiple times through symbolism and themes, continuously, and then makes the FL and the ML romantic... *cringes* *smh*
I loathed the romance in this so much by the second half I rejoiced when the FL had little to no screen-time and the ensemble cast took a more prominent role (as it should've the entire time). And then the ending, ugh. This show had many problems, most of which weren't related to why it was so controversial at all actually, but the romance was one of the bigger ones.
The better ship would've been between the ML and Yoo In Na's character lol.

5. The K2: I and many others have said this before and I'll say it again, but any romance should've been between Je Ha and the OTHER Yoon Ah, Song Yoon Ah- Im Yoon Ah's character should've been replaced with an actual child, tweak a few background things writer and character wise, capitalize on the cast chemistry, and the glorious dysfunction of that ship, and voila, you’d have a much, much better show.

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Oh I remembered one other at least-
5. Vagabond. I mean it was barely a romance, but it shouldn't even have been barely a romance, it was so out of place and satire worthy.

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I liked your version of K2 a lot!

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I think I should really credit @javabeans for it originally to be honest- she brought it to light and put it in everyone's heads haha. But thanks!

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And now to be slightly divergent of topic, once again.
In terms of Shows that SHOULD’VE or at least could’ve had central romances and that I think would’ve benefitted from doing so:

1. Kill It.
Was it necessary? No… technically, I have to, alas, say no?
But if the leads are gonna keep staring at each other like that then what’s the frakking point.
Just make out against a wall somewhere already, for crying out loud.
Ergo; it was necessary.

2. Jirisan
Hear me out. This show was a goshdarn awful mess to the point where I call it an “anti-show”, in that it basically had negative storytelling; id est, if storytelling where an integer, Jirisan would have a negative integer value of storytelling.
Because of this, it also has zero emotional stakes, and whilst a romance in Jirisan wouldn’t necessarily be guaranteed to work, and the chemistry between the entire cast was weird af anyway, an easy way to establish emotional stakes, if you’re not competent in doing anything else, is to add a romance. At least that would’ve made it just ever so slightly more crackier on the tolerable end of the scale, and would’ve justified a. the OST*, and b. the relationship between the leads which was so frakking bland despite all attempts at trying to convince us otherwise!
Like it got to the point where @eazal and I had to watch it as a rom com anyway, just to get through to the bitter end. (It wasn’t a rom com, but it would’ve been funnier if had been.)

*speaking of OSTs, romantically lyrical OSTs should be BANNED from Shows that have no romance (The Veil, Jirisan, so far Adamas?). WHY, WHY ARE YOU THERE. If you’re not there for a reason, LEAVE.

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I agree that more romance would have been good in Kill it.

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Hello Monster instantly comes to mind. I saw no point in the romance and I felt it was checked of some list. I loved, LOVED the show but the romance didn't make sense to me.

Hwayugi has to be mentioned. I salute Lee Seung-gi, he did what he could. But the writing for the FL and the actress, they were not contributing.

I liked how the romance was handled in Vincenzo. The tension was there and they chose to look past it until the dust settled. That was professional, I liked that.

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And K2! It could have been awesome but it was so bad I felt the need to drop it because of the ill-fitting, badly written and acted romance. If I could rewrite a drama, it would definitely be K2.

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I Remember You

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Café Minamdang !
And Memories of the Alhambra.

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What the romantic competition in ITAEWON CLASS produced however was one of the most vituperative shipping wars I have seen. I think it was even more so than the Bo-young/Dr. Ye/Min-ho shipping war in A POEM A DAY.
APAD’s shipping war was the more traditional with what guy will get the girl with it flipped in IC with the shipping war being what girl will get the guy.
I really enjoyed Park Seo-joon’s portrayal of Sae-ro-yi in IC and looking back I think the most emotional scene for me in the drama was between Sae-ro-yi and his dad beautifully played by Son Hyun-joo.
In many ways the romantic elements were a distraction. At the end of it all I felt sorry for Kwon Nara and the way her character was written.
I am convinced the director brought Park Bo-gum in for a cameo (with her character) as a make up to her. I don’t think he did for the ratings because the ratings were fine for its entire run (Nielsen average of 11.8%).

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Vincenzo, Cafe Minamdang, Memories of Alhambra, K2, Itaewon Class, Attorney Woo, Search WWW, Hotel Del Luna, Flower of Evil, Fight for My Way, Snowdrop, Why Her, and I've a feeling Big Mouth is getting on this list too.

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I see the rest, but not Fight for My Way - that worked for me. The non-romance that stopped me watching anything with Go Ara in it for years was Hwarang.

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Except for the Ageyo, I did like the romance in Fight for my way. The second couple was written even more interesting than the PSJ/KJW. But that Ageyo! Eeeks!

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Oh, I think I just felt my heart break open. Fight for My Way is one of my all time favorite main couple. But, hey, that's why this issue is so subjective. With exception of ones that are just obvious such as Cafe Minamdang.

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I agree for most of your list. However for Flower of evil are you talking about the secondary couple ? the love in the main couple is needed for the story.

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Basically, almost every kdrama nonromance adding romance for the sake of increasing rating. Like they bssically just put there so thry will create shipper and creating buzz. I really want for once the romance is integral of the plot and feels like geniune writing.

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I need to categorize this list : a) dramas which I dropped because of the romance (story is otherwise interesting) : Why Her, Alice, Lost (Human Disqualification).

Category B: Dramas that was/is still watchable but could have been much better without the romance : K2, Alchemy of Souls , My Name

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Smart Prison Living. It was not a big part of the show, but the Je-hyuk/Ji-ho couple just didn't work for me. It's the only thing I felt super meh about re: this otherwise extraordinary show.

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Itaewon Class - dropped because of the romance
Extraordinary Attorney Woo - too much going on, would have preferred more emphasis on the cases and how YW navigates office politics
Hwayugi - zero chemistry
Prison Playbook - I don't remember the romance having any huge significance to the story but I could be wrong on this one

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simple : K2

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