This review will go against the popular view, but I just couldn’t get truly invested in Playful Kiss. It was the third drama I watched and after the first episode I turned it off. It was too over the top, too campy, too much of everything, and not enough of anything to draw me in. I went back to watching something that I can’t remember now, because through Hulu there weren’t that many Korean, Taiwanese, or Japanese dramas to choose from that I could easily find. Combined with the fact I hadn’t really become fully addicted which meant I just didn’t take the time to look around I just moved on instead of trying something else. However, after about a week or so I decided to give Playful Kiss another shot. The second episode wasn’t as bad and the third was alright, and so on and so forth. But, I just never really felt invested in the story or involved in the characters like I had with City Hunter and Boys Over Flowers. I picked this drama because I absolutely loved Kim Hyun Joong in Boys Over Flowers, that was my only reason. I learned my lesson about watching a drama just for a bias and now I do my research about the story and reviews before devoting my time.
I really liked the idea of the story. Girl has a huge crush on arrogant boy, a series of unfortunate events has the two families living together, and slowly arrogant boy sees the girl as his soul mate. A totally sweet and cute idea and I was pretty excited to see it. However, for me the execution of the story was lacking. I kept wanting to like it, kept wanting to have it move me, kept wanting more from the show. It just never got me in the feels.
Throughout the entire shore I saw little growth in the characters themselves, they remained as immature and aloof as they were when the show began. I wanted to see more development of Oh Ha Ni, there was so much they could have done to show her growing up. Yet she remained perpetually a child in actions and mentality. Then Baek Seung Jo never seemed to change, he began as a narcissistic and egotistical character and ended exactly the same. Once Baek Seung Jo admitted that he loved Oh Ha Ni he was as cold to her as he had been when he hated her. There was no warmth, no affection, and certainly no chemistry between them. For me the main couple totally fell short, and left me cool.
Even though the lead couple didn’t really meet my expectations, I loved the secondary couple. Bong Joon Gu and Chris were absolutely adorable! The moment she came into the noodle house and stared at Bong Joon Gu with that puppy love gaze I loved them. There was real emotion there and reaction. However, the bromance of the fathers Oh Ki Dong and Baek Soo Chang was amazing. Every time they had a scene together I loved it! They were just cute together and I wanted to see more of them. On top of that Oh Ha Ni’s relationship with her father, Oh Ki Dong was lovely. Their moments almost made up for the lack of feeling between Oh Ha Ni and Baek Seung Jo.
I also really enjoyed the big reveal kiss in the rain. Even though I didn’t care for the series as much as I wanted to, that kiss is in my top five best kisses. For that moment, for whatever reason, the leads made me believe that they were in love. I just wish that passion and fire had carried through to the episodes after the kiss.
Playful Kiss just dragged for me. If it were me now as opposed to six months ago I would have stopped watching and just moved on to something else. However, back then I felt guilty for not sticking with a show from beginning to end. But with full time work, a husband, and a rambunctious five year old I just don’t have the free time to commit to a show that doesn’t immediately capture my heart.