Do you like breezy lighthearted rom-coms? Well, then give A Witch’s Romance a chance. The new Monday / Tuesday drama from tvN, A Witch’s Romance is based on the hit 2009 Taiwanese show My Queen. Two episodes of WR have aired as of this post and so far so good. Personally I needed something like this drama to temper my overdose of thrillers / action / melos; as of episode 2 this story has just the right amount of funny and romance to keep me entertained (and alleviate some of that angst filled television I have been tuning into). Time to take a look at first impressions. Cheers!
Meet the Players
Ban Ji Yeon (Uhm Jung Hwa)
The titular witch, Ji Yeon is a 39 year old reporter for the magazine ‘Trouble Maker’. If you have not guessed it by the title of the publication, this is a borderline tabloid magazine. Ji Yeon is good at what she does, having risen through the ranks to lead a team at the magazine. She is a no-nonsense, shrewd, and direct sort of person earning her the nickname of “witch”. Ji Yeon has sworn off love after her fiancée left her high and dry at the altar 6 years ago.
Yoon Dong Ha (Park Seo Joon)
Dong Ha is 25 years old and works as an errand boy (doing everything from dog walking to electrical work to playing Santa for a group of orphans). Kindhearted, with a sense of justice, Dong Ha has been on a long break from school and the real world following the tragic accident that took away his fiancée. While he always keeps a smile on his face, Dong Ha’s loss of his love has hurt him deeply.
Our Story Thus Far
Ji Yeon has latched onto a huge story – a beloved actor who is devoid of any scandals (think Yoo Jae Suk, but more perfect in the public eye if that is possible) has a hidden wife and daughter. Ji Yeon finds out that the actor will visit the school where his “secret” wife teaches, so she goes to stake out the scene and get some pics. Ji Yeon gets her big break, snaps some pics with the help of her colleague, and then is chased out of the school by security.
After escaping she takes a bike that is being presented to some children (by a man dressed as Santa Clause…in March. Not gonna think about that, but okay) and rides towards her office to turn in the big story. “Santa” chases her to the office and later confronts her, sad kids in tow. It seems that they are a group of orphans and they came to Seoul to meet Santa. Ji Yeon tells them Santa is not real *ouch* and goes back to work. So apparently that witch nickname is not that far off.
Because Ji Yeon ruined the Santa / Orphan event, Dong Ha (who was the man playing jolly old Saint-March-Nick) doesn’t get paid, which leaves him without money to pay his rent. He is kicked out of his apartment; his friend Soo Chul graciously lets him move into his own flat- which happens to be in the same building (across from no less) Ji Yeon’s apartment.
Ji Yeon’s co-workers hate her, well generally dislike her, and her recent story is making their dislike burn hotter. Ji Yeon’s boss loves her, understandably, because she delivers the big stories. Boss man tells the office to go out for drinks to celebrate the downfall of Korea’s untouchable actor, courtesy of Ji Yeon’s story. Deciding to get “the witch” back, Ji Yeon’s coworkers pay Soo Chul to seduce her. He shows up at the bar where the staff of Trouble Maker are celebrating and proceeds to attempt to woo the cold and icy Ji Yeon. Everything is going swimmingly until Dong Ha shows up. After seeing Soo Chul humiliate Ji Yeon in front of the entire bar (he pretends to confess- then calls her an Ahjumma. Ouch), he saves her – by kissing her.
Ji Yeon and Dong Ha’s paths cross once again at a shaman- where Ji Yeon is taken by her Mother (because her daughter is surrounded by misfortune or some jazz like that). Their phones are accidently swapped during that time, leading to another meeting. This time Ji Yeon is drunk at a street diner, leaving Dong Ha to help her home post phone-switch.
Once they arrive at her apartment the make out session begins – only to halt abruptly. So what stopped the loving? Ji Yeon gets a peek at Dong Ha’s driver’s license as he throws his wallet on her nightstand – he is 14 years younger than her. Terrible visions of “When I was in high school he was crawling- when I was getting my first job he was 10” flood her mind. She pushes him from her bed, shocked.
Light, breezy and entertaining. I like it. I seem to be saying this a lot lately, but I needed this type of show in my drama watching schedule. A couple weeks ago I needed some steamy romantic melo goodness (Secret Love Affair) to counter all of the action and thrillers, now I need some good old fashioned Romantic Comedy. A Witch’s Romance is certainly building a foundation that should support an easy watch- albeit a slightly steamy one. Did I say steamy? Well, the chemistry between the leads is intense. The make out session at the end of episode 2 had me thankful this show is on cable, because…well, some things just don’t fly on network television.
The only thing that bugs me about this show so far is the character of Ji Yeon. The fact that the story is using her lackluster love life and unlucky in love past as her defining characteristic left a bad taste in my mouth. Now that is not to say that being left at the altar wouldn’t change a person, I am pretty sure if that had happened to me I would be a teensy (okay, majorly) bitter for a while. But using that along with her status as a lonely spinster to explain her personality kind of detracts from what this character could be. Granted we are so early in the show that things will probably change, but as of episode 2 this bit bugged me. I love a strong female lead, but when that strength is chalked up to “Well, she just needs a man, that’s why she is like that” I tend to get… I don’t know…a tad bit disappointed in that type of logic.
On a non-critical and completely biased side note -Soo! Soo! Sorry Yoon Hyun Min, I will probably still be calling you Soo ten years from now (his character in the amazing drama Heartless City). I haven’t see Hyun Min take on a comedic role yet, and while his character in WR is probably going to fade into the background as time goes on (the hapless roommate) I am thrilled to see how his acting holds up given a funny role. And I like to look at him. End biased side note here.
If you are in need of an easy to watch romantic comedy I urge you to give this show a shot. At least sit through the first episode and decide for yourself. As for me, I will be busy not re-watching the last ten minutes of episode 2. Because Day-um (boy do I sound like a creep, I swear, I am not, but day-um). Cheers!