After a slew of historical dramas, the latest KBS tear jerker "Bad Love"
promised viewers a break from old school epics with its all-star cast and classic love story. But audiences weren't interested. That is, until now. With the competition heating up, the New Year may just bring "Bad Love"
a bit of good luck.
, which first aired on Dec. 3, failed to draw interest with viewer ratings reaching a low 6.1 percent following its first episode, according to AGB Nielsen Media Research. The star power of high profile celebs, Lee Yo-won
, 27, and kwon Sang-woo
, 31, proved no match for rivals, MBC's "Yi San
" and SBS's "King and I
" a.k.a. "Eunuch".
After a long hiatus from the world of TV dramas, Hallyu star kwon Sang-woo
tried to win fans over with his rippling pecs and picture-perfect abs in the first few episodes. But to no avail.
"I think kwon Sang-woo
is doing it as a service to his fans", said viewer Lee Young-hyun, 51. "He is trying to reach out to them".
Lee went on to state that not only was kwon Sang-woo
miscast, but that Lee Yo-won
's previous role in SBS's "Surgeon Bong Dal-hee
" left such a strong impression on him that he had trouble buying into her new character, Na In-jung.
Other viewers seemed to be equally turned off by "Bad Love"
. According to TNS Media Korea, the drama's seventh episode recorded viewer ratings of 6.3 percent, a mere 0.2 percent improvement from its first episode.
But this KBS drama might still just manage to beat out its competition, or at least give them a run for their money. Its latest and eighth episode, which aired Christmas Day, posted record a viewer share of 9.2 percent, up 2.9 percent from the previous episode.
After the latest installment, one viewer wrote on the drama's bulletin board: "On Tuesday, I was switching back and forth between "Isan" and "Bad Love"
and in the end I picked "Bad Love"
, even though I am a huge fan of historical dramas".
Another viewer said, "Most dramas get predictable right about now, but this drama's unpredictability makes it attractive".
Indeed, what started off as a classic love triangle is quickly developing into a melodrama of epic proportions, as heroine Na In-jung's father suddenly passes away and hero Yong-gi, played by heartthrob Kwon, falls victim to a car accident in the final moments of the latest installment.
For those who haven't been tuning in, In-jung, struggling to recover from a torrid affair with a married man, pretty much sums up the plot when she answers Yong-gi's question, "What do you think love is?"
"Love!? It's bad ... it's wicked ... it's so twisted and evil, that it's sad .".. In-jung replies.
And Lee Yo-won
's character means every word she says. After being attacked and tortured by the jealous wife of her lover, In-jung gets spurned by her lover, miscarries her lovechild, loses her mother and must look after her invalid father while eking out a living as the owner of a small fried chicken restaurant in a remote island village.
Kwon's character, Yong-gi, recently scarred by his girlfriend's sudden suicide, falls in love with In-jung, only to discover that his brother-in-law is In-jung's ex-lover. In-jung, overwhelmed by all this, runs away.
And if that wasn't bad enough, in the last episode, In-jung's father suddenly passes away and Yong-gi, determined to stand by In-jung, is hit by a car while chasing after her.
With a plot like that "Bad Love"
certainly lives up to its reputation as a melodrama.
And even if this tear jerker doesn't win the ratings race, it sure wins hands down for being one of the most tragic stories to hit television screens this winter.
But to find out what happens to Yong-gi, viewers will have to wait until New Year's Day, when episode 9 airs.
plays on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:55 p.m. on KBS 2 TV.
By Jean Oh