Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The main character’s name can sum up Was It Love? – “Noh Ae Jung (sounds like No Love).” These days, when many attractive dramas combine romance with various genres, we don’t feel much attractions with Was It Love?.
Love is only a luxury for film producer Noh Ae Jung. Fourteen years ago, she became pregnant and started to pursue “livelihood” instead of “dream” of becoming a director, but the fact that she quit her college midway became a hindrance. After barely getting a job at a movie company as a contract worker, she was given the title of producer, but she took over the debt of 1.05 billion KRW (about 885,000 USD) when the CEO wrote her name on the guarantee letter under the pretext of making her a full-time employee. Where was the father? We don’t know the details, but she says he’s dead.
In such time, men walk into her life. Not just one or two, but four: the CEO of Nine Capital financial company Goo Pa Do, whom her CEO borrowed private loan from, Chun Euk Man (real name Oh Dae Oh), the best-selling author and No Ae Jung’s college sweetheart, Ryu Jin, popular actor and Noh Ae Jung’s college senior, and Oh Yeon Woo, a PE teacher at her daughter’s school. Though she is facing hardships, she seems to move little by little with their “love bombs.”
Was It Love? added one more element to “1 to many” romance. It’s “finding a husband,” which was one of the main interests in the Reply series. Now, viewers have to find who the father (who Noh Ae Jung always claimed to be dead) is among the three, Oh Dae Oh, Ryu Jin, and Oh Yeon Woo. If they make it right, the drama will be able to tell one compelling story.
So, is Was It Love? an interesting drama that combines the two elements? So far, the answer is likely a “no.” Of course, the figures aren’t everything, but the poor viewership of 1 to 2 percent will give you a rough idea of where the drama stands now.
First of all, it’s a pity that the material is not new at all. With a little exaggeration, it’s just “one of the usual dramas” I’ve seen countless times. It would be a miscalculation if they thought Was it Love?, which presents the same old story with different casting, would work with viewers who have diversified their tastes and raised their standards after watching numerous romance dramas.
The overall story is not the only thing that stays in the past. Not only the four main characters, but especially the way they deal with Noh Ae Jung is quite “old.” At the beginning of the drama, Ae Jung is depicted as a person who focuses on her work despite raising her kid alone, but as the romance progresses, the narrative of Ae Jung is nowhere to be seen. Only a “cinderella” who is swayed by the love bombs of Dae Oh, Jin, and Yeon Woo is present.
Of course, Ae Jung often tries to take the initiative in doing something, but overall, she’s not much different from female leads from 10 years ago. Nowadays, when the desire for narratives that portray self-reliant and wonderful women is higher than ever, the old-fashioned stories do not capture the hearts of viewers. Since the most important person is not charming, I can’t easily sympathize with the emotions of the three people who have not forgotten No Ae Jung for 14 years.
The drama is now sailing in the latter half of the story. The identity of Ha Ni’s (Noh Ae Jung’s daughter) father, who was the biggest riddle, will soon be revealed, but after watching the 10th episode, I honestly don’t wonder who the father is or who will be with Noh Ae Jung at the end. Even if she stays with someone, I can’t come up with a realistic answer to how they will fill the gap and wound of 14 years. I think I will nod my head and say, “I actually like this ending,” if Ae Jung decided to stay single and live with her daughter and her mother without a man.
Verdict: A trite and anachronistic romance that throws the actors’ great performances down the toilet (4/10)
Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.