Replay the Classic K-Drama: Three Questions Raised by ‘Lovestruck in the City’

Lovestruck in the City

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Ashtyn Lee

Lovestruck in the City
Credit: Netflix, JTBC

Yum Mi Jeong (Kim Ji Won) in The Liberation Note considers maintaining relationships to be labor and having conversations with others to be a factor that simply exhausts her. Perhaps what she needs the most is a warm consolation from Lee Eul (Ji Chang Wook), the peculiar magician from The Sound of Magic. For those who enjoyed the two series, we’d like to introduce you to a special romance show where the two star as a couple. We’re talking about Lovestruck in the City, a story about young people’s realistic dating lives.

 

What Makes ‘Love in the City’ Different From Other Romance Shows?

Jae Won (Ji Chang Wook) came to the countryside for a vacation, and Sun Ah (Kim Ji Won), who picked him up per her friend’s request, fell in love at first sight. However, ‘Sun Ah’ is a name that Eun Oh made up, wishing for a new life. Viewers who meet Eun Oh for the first time in an interview-style fake documentary may wonder why she made such a decision. Eun Oh is someone who believes that her life would be different if she lived in a city.

Lovestruck in the City uses two different areas as its main background. The first is YangYang, a sea village where visitors can enjoy the vast sea and calm waves in their cozy camping cars. It is also where the two first met. The second backdrop is Seoul, the city that never sleeps and where people must constantly prove their worth. It is also where the two must return at some point and where they promise to meet again as they depart from YangYang.

Sun Ah fails to keep her promise to Jae Won, revealing that their time together in YangYang was more like a fantasy. The reason behind Eun Oh’s sudden departure and her renaming herself is revealed halfway into the show. Furthermore, after she reunites with Jae Won, viewers learn why they cannot go back to as they were before. Eun Oh’s words, actions and choices naturally make audiences nod along as they strive to survive in the city. Eun Oh’s tears move the viewers as she confesses her double life by saying, “It’s tough being honest.”

 

How Does It Tell Its Love Story Differently?

The first episode of Lovestruck in the City shows its six characters with various jobs and places of residence, introducing themselves in front of a camera. They are the cast members in a fake documentary about the love lives of urban professionals. They are asked questions like, “What kind of person do you get along with best?” and “what do you do with your ex’s stuff after a breakup?” The deeper they get into the questions, the more they reveal their true feelings as they discuss the type of love they have experienced. The participants treat the camera like a friend, and the quick screen switching and segmentation make those six people look like they are having a conversation. Only the viewers outside the camera notice that some of them are old friends and old lovers as the story progresses.

Above all, the fake documentary format can naturally demonstrate the beginning and end of a relationship that can all be perceived differently. Even if they lie about what had happened, all participants eventually face the truth and notice how loving someone has affected them. The drama ends as the filming concludes, with no happy or sad ending, and viewers can expect another love to begin after the camera is turned off.

 

How Should We Build a Relationship?

The participants in the documentary have either met or heard of Jae Won or Eun Oh. Eun Oh’s kindergarten mates Gun (Ryu Kyung Soo) and Lin Yi (So Ju Yeon) have known each other for a long time. When asked if it is possible to remain as friends rather than lovers, the two demonstrate that it is possible. They are always there for each other, whether happy or sad, showing that there is more than love between them.

Kyung Joon (Kim Min Seok) is Jaewon’s cousin and Lin Yi’s lover. Kyung Joon and Lin had known each other since school but became lovers when they became adults. In this harsh modern society, the two people portray their characters through their willingness to lay down their lives for their loved ones.

Sun Young (Han Ji Eun), an ex-girlfriend of Gun, speaks openly about her beliefs and thoughts in the documentary. Initially, the characters were thought to be distinct only by their occupations and places of residence. However, the audience gets to slowly tune into the story as the characters’ relationships reveal to be much closer in the second half. And on the path to finding their precious love, not only ex-lovers but also their relatives and friendships appear in the narrative, and we realize that this is how we live in the modern world as city dwellers.

 

Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

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