Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Indeed, spring is the season of romance. When we feel the warm breeze and watch the flowers blossom, we sense the romance that has been gone for a while. MBC’s Oh My Ladylord premiered just in time in late March. Did it successfully awaken the sleeping love cells in our bodies?
The famous drama writer Han Bi Soo is a man who “doesn’t” date. He is handsome, loaded, has a high social status, and loves himself to the point where people say it’s too much. To him, dating is nothing but an annoying act that causes emotional exhaustion. That’s why he writes violent thriller genre without a single scent of romance. On the other hand, top star Oh Joo In is a woman who “can’t” date. She is the “rom-com queen” and falls in love with many heroes inside her work. But in real life, she has no time to date because of her ill mother. Joo In’s only goal is to purchase the hanok house where she lived as a kid and stay there with her mother.
These two, however, end up living under the same roof by accident. Bi Soo is residing in the hankok house that Joo In wanted her whole life. And Bi Soo’s mother sold the house without telling him about it. As he was about to get kicked out of his own home, Bi Soo suggests living together, saying, “This house is the only place I can write.” Since Joo In was to take the lead in Bi Soo’s new project anyways, she accepts his terms.
Reading the character descriptions and the synopsis, you can already tell what’s going to happen next. These two bickering characters will live together and slowly open their hearts to each other. This is one of the most familiar formulas from the rom-com genre. And of course, there are second leads and other characters’ love stories to spice up the main characters’ romance that could let up along the way.
There is a reason we call it the “formula for hit films.” No harm comes upon following the “proven” formulas. However, in order to succeed, the story should showcase something that will draw people’s attention, all the while going by the book. However, Oh My Ladylord, unfortunately, failed to escape the public perception of it being “just another rom-com.” That’s mainly because the series has nothing special to show except for the characters’ chemistry. So far, it has never managed to break out of 1% ratings.
First of all, some of the characters’ relationships and backgrounds seem contrived. The best example is the relationship between Kang Hae Jin and Yoon Jung Hwa, the mothers of the two lead characters, and Kim Chang Gyu, the record store owner. We can laugh off that Hae Jin and Jung Hwa were friends who lost contact years ago. However, Chang Gyu, Bi Soo’s favorite record store owner for 20 years, being Hae Jin’s first love is a little too much.
Also, the typical love stories of supporting characters are rather disappointing. As much as the two main characters, the romance of the supporting characters is one of the biggest fun of the genre. But in Oh My Ladylord, it feels like it was only inserted because the production team thought “it would be nice to have one.” Jung Yoo Jin is Joo In’s long-time “guy friend” and Bi Soo’s rival in love. And yet, this second lead presents zero charms that he nearly overshadows the actor’s passionate performance.
On the other hand, Han Bi Soo and Oh Joo In’s charms stand out. Their stories are so juicy that it seems like the writer didn’t have enough time to put that much effort into the rest of the characters. The two characters’ bickering chemistry is also quite impressive. Lee Min Ki has shone brightly in various romance movies and TV series. And this time, he completes yet another fascinating character, following Because This Is My First Life’s Nam Se Hee and The Beauty Inside’s Seo Do Jae. Nana also flawlessly portrays a complex character named Oh Joo In, who hides her loneliness and pain under her splendor, with stable acting skills.
In addition to romance, various stories and conflicts enhance the plot. There may be some room for improvements in character building. Still, the project covers up its shortcomings by bringing up interesting topics, such as hints about Bi Soo’s aftermath of traffic accidents. The love between the two main characters alone cannot lead the entire 16-part series. So the team’s attempt to add variety to the work is worth noting.
In the 8th episode, which aired on the 15th, they hint at a big lead – Bi Soo’s father, who traumatized Bi Soo in his childhood, may not be his biological father. The “secret of birth” stories are mainly spotted in makjang dramas, but it certainly is a subject that can catch viewers’ attention. It will bring a new crisis to Bi Soo and Joo In’s relationship. Will the production team be able to take the chance to rebound with the “trump card” they prepared? If their plan fails, we can’t say for sure if Oh My Ladyloard will end as an outstanding work despite Lee Min Ki and Nana’s strenuous efforts.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of Lee Min Ki or Nana, then it’s worth watching. But if not… (5/10)
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.