K-Drama Review: ‘Run On’: Two Charms of This Refreshing Drama

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Run On is a drama that combines refreshing scenery and various charms of four actors, Shin Se Kyung, Im Si Wan, Choi Soo Young and Kang Tae Oh. Although the viewer ratings might be a bit disappointing due to the trot program that airs at the same time, it has been contently going viral among drama fans as if to prove that numbers aren’t everything. Why has Run On garnered such positive reviews?

Credit: JTBC

First of all, the storytelling full of love for movies is just charming. Oh Mi Joo’s job is a movie translator that is rarely used in the media, and her (or the writer and director’s love) love for the movie is shown throughout the drama. To the point where we think the name Oh Mi Joo was derived from the film term “hommage,” props, titles, or parodies of so many movies – from classic films Psycho and Casablanca to more recent E.T., A Moment to Remember, A Bittersweet Life and The Merciless – appear as elements that makes you enjoy the drama more.

In particular, the fact that many film festivals were canceled last year due to the pandemic puts more meaning in the scene where Oh Mi Joo attends a film festival. The scenes where she enjoys the art films that can only be seen at film festivals and visits various events provide me with vicarious satisfaction and relieves the disappointment I had as a movie fan of being forced to stay away from offline film festivals.

Credit: JTBC

The relationships between the characters are also interesting. At first glance, Oh Mi Joon and Ki Sun Gyeom’s love story looks like a typical “Cinderella” story that we are so familiar with. Oh Mi Joo is the kind of person who grew up beautifully without lowering her head in the face of many hardships, even if she had no family to lean on. Ki Sun Gyeom, on the other hand, is the son of a top actress and a member of the National Assembly couple, and the younger brother of an LPGA’s No. 1 golfer. He seems like he has it all, handsome looks and a wealthy family, or has never faced a single hardship as a privileged silver spoon.

Outwardly, they follow the typical Cinderella story, but the drama twists this familiar cliché and gifts us an entirely new atmosphere. Ki Sun Gyeom, who knows how to care for others but not himself, lived as a pretty doll pressed by the spurious family but he meets Oh Mi Joo, who treasures him for who he really is, not who his family is, and slowly learns how to cherish himself. Their love is not about one side that has more helping out the other side that has less. Oh Mi Joo, with a solid personality, becomes Ki Sun Gyeom’s strength, and the two become each other’s rocks and small comfort during their difficult times. Even in their romance, the twists in the cliché shines bright. Strong-minded Oh Mi Joo leads the romance, while Ki Sun Gyeom puts on a pretty face and throws in heart-fluttering comments.

Credit: JTBC

Seo Dan Ah and Lee Young Hwa’s relationship is not just a simple twist but a complete reversal in the cliché. You could even say that Seo Dan Ah is a princess in shining armor who picked up the shoe that Lee Young Hwa dropped. Seo Dan Ah is the CEO of a sports agency and rightful successor to the Seomyung Group but was held back from advancing in the company because of her gender. To reclaim what is rightfully hers, she became distant from people’s emotions. Lee Young Hwa, an art major college student, is always hurt by her piercing words but enters her life without budging an inch.

The relationship between the two is implicitly showcased in the scene where the two come forward with their hearts. When Seo Dan Ah, who was always busy pushing away Lee Young Hwa, takes a big step forward after realizing her true feelings, Lee Young Hwa bursts into tears, asking why she shakes his heart. It is quite refreshing to see the change in gender in a typical romance drama scene where a wealthy male lead regrets his actions and an ordinary female lead fails to give up on love.

Credit: JTBC

Now that the drama has reached episode 12, the relationships between these four leads have been spiced up, along with the tasty lines. Under the threat of Ki Sun Gyeom’s father, Oh Mi Joo bid farewell to her love, whereas Seo Dan Ah accepted Lee Young Hwa’s straightforward crush. Which directions will these two couples head to? I just hope that this drama keeps up its sparkling charms.

Verdict: Beautiful scenery and fresh plot (7/10)

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182 Points
  • […] Run On warmly depicts the characters with some deficiencies who communicate through the language of ‘love’. They comfort each other and overcome their wounds. The bromance and ‘womance’ enjoyed a lot of support from the viewers, let alone the romance of Seon Gyeom (Im Si Wan) and Mi Joo (Shin Se Kyung) and that of Dan Ah (Choi Soo Young) and Young Hwa (Kang Tae Oh). Seon Gyeom and Young Hwa humorously show how they become each other’s buddies without any common grounds. For example, during their short and accidental cohabitation, Seon Gyeom cleans up Young Hwa’s messy house. Later, Young Hwa becomes Seon Gyeom’s good drinking buddy, sharing their concerns little by little. […]

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