This Review Contains Some Spoilers in the Form of Fangirl Squees
This drama had been on my radar for awhile. I was drawn to it for quite a few reasons. I liked that it was a group of mature woman that were friends with a love story attached. It reminded me of I Need Romance, I truly loved that drama a whole lot. Plus, Kim Bum is adorable and I was looking forward to seeing him in something other than Boys Over Flowers.
What I Wanted:
- Something that really focused on the age difference and how that would affect the potential relationship.
- A strong Noona with a real life and all the real issues that women face in the workplace, in romance, and with friendships.
- A convincing puppy love. Something with great chemistry.
- A well rounded cast that would be able to stay strong and interesting throughout the show.
What I Discovered:
Throughout the drama the age difference between Shin Young and Min Jae was the focal point. It was discussed between various characters in regards to the budding relationship. I appreciated that, a great deal. It is one of the more important parts of a Noona Romance for me. I want to see how the age difference affects the potential relationship. What obstacles does it create? How do they navigate them.
I enjoyed how this became part of the narrative of the story as a whole. It wasn’t just something that Shin Young had to deal with and try to reconcile herself with. Her group of friends, her ex, and Min Jae’s mother all had different observations about the age gap and how it affected the couple and themselves. This was handled really well. It wasn’t such a huge issue that the couple never stood a chance, but allowed them a path to explore their love and find their own path.
This show had one of the more realistic versions of a mature working woman who wasn’t extremely naive or helpless. Throughout the show she was consistently strong and made choices based on her goals and wishes without consideration for how they would affect her relationships. That’s not to say that she didn’t doubt herself or need the advice of her friends. But she remained strong in herself through the show.
Sadly, I was highly disappointed with the actual relationship of Min Jae and Shin Young. For me there was absolutely no chemistry between the characters or even the actors. When they were alone it felt so awkward, and not the first stages of love awkward, but just plain old awkward as if they never felt comfortable with one another. Min Jae’s affections towards Shin Young always felt forced, there wasn’t that burn of puppy love that I look forward to within a Noona Romance. This totally fell flat for me.
It was the friendships and other relationships that I really enjoyed about this show. They were all much more interesting and strong than the main couple. I especially liked the group of women and how they interacted. Their friendship was the best thing out of this series for me. The whole supporting cast kept me coming back for more.
Tidbits I Could Live Without:
It could just be my lack of interest in over the top acting or stories, but the entire relationship and courting of Jung Da Jung and Na Ban Seok. They were goofy and extremely intense. They had a lot of slap stick humor in their scenes and I found myself using my fast forward button when they were on my screen.
The other thing I could do without was the main love story. I know that seems counter intuitive but they fell flat for me. I was a lot more interested in the other couples and other relationships.
Tidbits I Loved to Pieces:
I would like to add something that I did appreciate about Jung Da Jung and Na Ban Seok. They addressed the way a woman is treated when she marries into a family that sees her as below their status. She is expected to be at the disposal of the family, regardless of her own dreams and goals. I liked seeing Jung Da Jung transform from a woman who only wanted marriage as a goal to wanting to be respected by her husband and family. Her journey in handling her new family was interesting to watch.
One of my most favorite parts was Min Jae’s mother Choi Sang Mi and Shin Young’s ex-boyfriend Yoon Sang Woo love. It was totally unexpected and absolutely beautiful and gorgeous. They fell in love gently and helped to heal one another. Plus! It was also a Noona Romance. In truth, I wish the entire drama was about this relationship. The evolution of Sang Mi’s self confidence and her ability to open herself to love along with Sand Woo’s ability to let go of Shin Young and find new love. I’d watch the whole show again just to see this couple again.
Out of the characters the most amazing discovery was Bu Gi. She was in an abusive relationship and left of her own volition. From there she built a life that she could be proud of. She excelled in everything she put her mind to. She became a martial arts black belt, became a style icon, and opened up extremely popular and successful restaurants. Many times she was the voice of reason, she never once needed a man or anyone else to be happy. Bu Gi loved herself, her life, and all the things she does. I would have watched an entire show about her as well.
I did appreciate that the love triangle angle was fairly low key. Shin Young was courted by Sang Woo briefly, but it wasn’t something that turned into a real and true love triangle. Since that is one of my least favorite aspects of a drama I was appreciative of that. The show did deal with some interesting concepts of love. It didn’t center on just romantic love. It also delved into familial love, the love between friends, and the love between exes. That was something that I did appreciate. As far as a Noona Romance for the main couple the show disappointed me. Thankfully, there were enough other reasons to come back to the show. However, even with the other story bits that helped me to watch it was at times hard to keep hitting the next episode button.
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 = 6.1
Emphasis on the Noona Romance being a Forbidden Love = 8
Importance of the Noona/Dongsaeng Age Difference = 7
Dongsaeng’s Persistent Puppy Love = 4
Noona’s Resistance to the Puppy Love = 5
Noona and Dongsaeng’s Relationship = 4
Noona is Consistently Strong = 9