Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Esther Lee
SBS’ Now, We Are Breaking Up drew huge attention even before its premiere for starring Song Hye Kyo and Jang Ki Yong. The public was looking forward to seeing the collaboration between our all-time favorite actress Song Hye Kyo and talented actor Jang Ki Young, who we all know as the young heartthrob in Search: WWW. Expectations were raised even higher when Misty’s writer Jane and Dr. Romantic 2’s director Lee Gil Bok hopped on the project with the production company that presented Misty and The World of the Married. The two leads are looking gorgeous and charming as expected, but viewers soon tuned out of the show. They say that it’s the poor story, outdated romance tropes, and awkward directing that caused them to stop watching the show.
Now, We Are Breaking Up is a series that is centered around the classic romance trope of ‘fateful love.’ It talks about how one night stand of a man and woman evolves into something serious as they run into each other multiple times by accident. Ha Young Eun and Yoon Jae Guk accidentally spend the night together, and later on, they run into each other at unexpected places. Young Eun, the fashion company’s design team leader, reunites with Jae Guk at a blind date that she went on instead of her friend, Hwang Chi Sook. Luckily, Jae Guk saves Young Eun from a problem she faced at work using his talent as a renowned photographer. And thanks to the fact that they work in the same industry, their fateful encounter continues.
After multiple coincidences, the show slowly revealed its grand plan to bring the two together. A scene flashed back to ten years ago, showing them unconsciously involved in each other’s business. Young Eun was able to put up with her stressful life in Paris thanks to the black and white pictures Jae Guk published when he was an unknown photographer. Jae Guk was also able to get through the tough time in his life thanks to Young Eun, who purchased his work when he was struggling. The drama reaches its climax as it reveals that they share one tragic memory: Ha Young Eun’s ex-lover, who left a scar in her heart, is revealed to be Yoon Jae Guk’s older brother.
The problem begins when all of this becomes too much to handle for the viewers. Set in the fashion industry, the drama attempts to portray a sophisticated female figure who excels at her job and knows what she wants for her love life. However, somehow the series seems like it’s filled with overused tropes that we just don’t want to see on TV anymore. Ha Young Eun appears to be an ideal woman who enjoys her excellent professional reputation. Still, the drama winds up ten years into the past and shows her being a heartbroken woman who stays recluded due to her painful breakup with her boyfriend, who she met for only two months or so. The discrepancy between how she is like now and what she was like then seems like it’s making no sense to the viewers. This is not to say that the longevity of a relationship is what matters the most. However, it’s disappointing to see Young Eun say, “now, we’re breaking up,” the moment she hears her ex-boyfriend’s name, Yoon Su Wan. It’s like she is trying so hard to look like someone who is heartbroken, clinging to the past relationship she should have let go of years ago.
The same happens when she faces all the troubles within the series. The drama is flooded with cliches we’ve seen multiple times in many typical romance dramas. Already troubled by the team leader of a different division who envies her, she faces even a bigger obstacle as she continues running into Yoon Jae Guk. Yoon Su Wan’s ex-fiancee, Shin Yoo Jung harasses Ha Young Eun with lame phone calls, bringing her personal grudges to work. Mr. Hwang, the CEO of The One who has always been supporting Young Eun, suddenly turns his back on her when he learns about what had happened to his daughter’s blind date. On top of that, Jae Guk’s mother is not looking all so happy with his son’s new girlfriend. Perhaps because she is always troubled by the hatred, jealousy, vengeance, and grudges that surround her, I find the story very bland and flat.
Some aspects of the show are a bit tacky and old-fashioned for a drama that premiered in 2021. The long subheadings and Song Hye Kyo’s voice-over in each episode clearly show that the drama is stuck in the 2000s. The conversations exchanged by the characters are also far from what we speak every day. Though I can see that the show is trying very hard to be a decent, sophisticated one, its hackneyed story and the cool, fancy lines that the actors deliver are not getting the show anywhere near its success. Another problem can be the actors’ performance. And here, we’re talking about Song Hye Kyo and her charming, chic character. Although she radiates her elegant energy as always, it isn’t easy to feel her character when she delivers all the lines with the same intonation. Indeed, she looks great with Jang Ki Yong, but there is no heart-fluttering chemistry between her and him. On top of that, the show failed to show the intriguing ‘womance’ among Young Eun, Hwang Chi Sook, and Jeon Mi Sook, perhaps because it focused too much on the main narrative rather than the characters they built. Many viewers have left Now, We Are Breaking Up for its weak plot, directing, and performance. Would it be able to bring back its viewers in the remaining episodes? It seems like the two characters are falling for each other very hard, but for now, the show is not getting anywhere near where it needs to be.
Verdict: If only this drama came out 10 years ago… (5/10)
Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.
Translator Esther Lee: I’ll be providing you with up-to-date, reliable Korean entertainment news. Enjoy!