This Review Contains Some Spoilers in the Form of Fangirl Squees
This was the first drama that I picked after taking close to a three month break from watching any Asian Dramas. I was still watching variety shows, primarily The Return of Superman and Running Man, but I had stopped watching dramas. So when I finally couldn’t hold out any longer I took my time in picking a show. Since my most favorite trope is the Noona Romance, I started there. Looking through what I have listed on the Noona Meter I read through the synopsizes and reviews for the majority of the list. What drew me to Baby-Faced Beauty was the unique twist on the Noona Romance. I’m certainly glad that I picked this!
What I Wanted:
1) At this point in my hiatus and drama watching I just wanted a Noona Romance.
2) A breezy and adorable love story.
3) A fun drama to help me get back into the swing of things.
Honestly I wasn’t expecting too much, the reviews that I read were split 50-50. I planned to give it 5 episodes and if I couldn’t gel with it I was going to drop it.
What I Discovered:
I’m not sure if taking an extended break made me more susceptible to cracking out on this drama or if indeed it was that cracktastic. Really it doesn’t matter why I suppose, but I loved this drama. It is now in my top 5 Noona Romances ever. It hit the nail on the head in regards to the plot points I look for in a Noona love story. And on top of that the whole story, from beginning to end, was fresh and fun and exactly what I needed to jump start the drama bug again!
I want to spend some time on the twist of this show. Be warned there are some spoilers here! When Lee So Young (Jang Nara) first becomes an employee the entire staff believes that she is 24, which makes her the maknae and lowest on the totem pole of the hierarchy. So she has to use honorifics when speaking to all of these people who are younger than she is by quite a few years. It created this very interested point of view. She had confidence in herself and her abilities, however, in order to remain employed she was required to sustain this story. Because of this the romance between herself and Choi Jin Wook (Daniel Choi) went through several changes. I think that is what I loved the most. At first he treats her like a dongsaeng that he must train, and he flirts shamelessly. But when her secret is revealed and they need to reevaluate what that means for them the show did an excellent job portraying that emotional struggle.
When I read the synopsis I worried that the twist would take away from the things I like to see in a Noona Romance, however, it never did. While Lee So Young pretended to be younger it built this wonderful foundation for interacting with the rest of the cast. When her real age is revealed she had not only a new status, but an understanding of how younger friends and employees felt. I think it helped to make her a much stronger Noona than she would have been had she entered the company as her true age in the first place.
Usually I’m not one to enjoy a love triangle, they can get way to close to being a melodrama. However, I liked this one. Perhaps it was Ji Seong Il’s (Ryu Jin) single dad status that really got me invested in his story. Whatever it was, I thought that the juxtaposition of a younger man and an older man as possible romantic partners gave the show yet another level of enjoyment. It helped to put emphasis on what it means to date a younger man, how society views such a relationship, and made their age difference an very important part of the tale.
Tidbits Which I Could Live Without
Lee So Young’s family was absolutely horrible. I wanted to reach through the screen and smack some sense into her mother. They actually frustrated me so much that I fast forwarded through some of their scenes. The mother treated her daughters with a marked difference. The younger daughter was the favorite and no matter how atrocious or mean hearted her actions were, she could do no wrong. However, our hard working heroine was treated as if she were the laziest and worst daughter ever to exist. I realize that they are caricatures of extreme personalities created to add drama to the show, but I wish that they were toned down or even removed all together.
Tidbits Which I Loved to Pieces
Daniel Choi! I was first introduced to him and Jang Nara in School 2013 (which I realize now as a reunion of their pairing in this drama). He was adorable in that drama too, but much more serious than in Baby-Faced Beauty. For me he was the best part of the entire show. One moment he was drowning in his puppy love for Lee So Young that the adorableness killed me in the best possible way. At other times he was so in love and trying to prove it that I swooned right out of my chair. After this drama
he has firmly obtained a position in my fangirl heart!
It was a good time. For me it was the perfect drama to help me rediscover why I started to watch Asian Dramas in the first place. It was wonderfully sweet with just enough angst and melodrama to make it cracktastic. The Noona Romance was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Plus, the twist on the story made it fun and interested. I would wholeheartedly recommend watching this drama!
The Noona Meter
The Noona Romance is close to my heart, most of you who know me in the blogverse and dramaland know. With the help of friends I’ve created The Noona Meter. A rating system that focuses only on the Noona Romance within the show. To see what each category means take a peek at this article.
The Noona’s Noona Meter
Overall = 9
Emphasis on the Noona Romance being a Forbidden Love = 9
Importance of the Noona/Dongsaeng Age Difference = 9
Dongsaeng’s Persistent Puppy Love = 9
Noona’s Resistance to the Puppy Love = 8
Noona and Dongsaeng’s Relationship =10
Noona is Consistently Strong = 9