Romantic comedy has seen better days in Korean drama. The last couple of years have really been disappointing, with shows going overly dark for the genre and even going as low as to falsely advertise themselves as something with a lighter tone. That is not to say romantic comedy shows in the past have not had their issues, but they were also more realistic, as realistic as this type of work can be, and mostly light in tone, as the genre should be. 'Fated to Love You' brings some of those issues back, but it also brings back the sorely missed lightness.
Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) is a chaebol son who is under pressure from his family to present an heir and who is planning to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Kang Se-ra (Wang Ji-won). Kim Mi-yeong (Jang Nara) is a woman who has trouble saying no to people, but she is a kind person who genuinely wants to help others. During a trip to Macau, Gun and Mi-yeong are accidentally both drugged and end up sleeping together. Making things even more complicated, Mi-yeong soon realizes she is pregnant.
One great thing that contributes to this show's tone and also likability is how creative it is with the way it tells, but also presents its story. While a lot of series just point and shoot, there is a certain lack of effort in them. 'Fated to Love You' has humor and it is mostly good humor, but more importantly, it is present throughout. There are darker moments too, sure, but most of those fit the story, they are related to the couple and they are not an excuse for drama, rather situations drama is injected through, without being forced.
But what makes this drama lovely is that it has a heart. Its characters are not walking stereotypes, they do not just behave like how those stereotypes usually do. They have fears, they make mistakes, they make more mistakes, they give one another affection, acknowledgement and their actions and motivations, although problematic, make sense within the work. This is a series telling the story of two people in love, with a minimum amount distractions from that path, rather than a series just trying to follow a drama checklist.
As mentioned above, this is not a perfect work. Certain subplots and darker parts were unnecessary, some elements rushed and problematic. While the second leads were not the usual annoyances we see in the genre, their own subplot outside the love lines also felt like it was there simply to be there, but was not really explored much. However, the fact that they were not stereotypes and that they had an existence outside of the romance was a pleasant change and in keeping with the down to Earth and human style of the show.
There is also the big elephant in the room of the series, which does cause some tropes to appear that are common, but always problematic in romantic comedies. The latter part of the show and some conflicts before the final stretch do overstay their welcome, while other elements towards the end feel rushed. This is not the most stable series in that sense, but it does somewhat make up for it by the end, which is as satisfying as the rest of it.
What ultimately makes 'Fated to Love You' a worthy addition to the true romantic comedy type of Korean drama is its heart, that it is warm and that it handles its themes with a certain level of involvement and maturity not often found in this type of a series. Despite its problems and despite some bad calls, it follows its path and delivers all the things we love about the genre. It is fluff, but unlike the juvenile fluff we usually get, it is light and happy without being brainless and effortless. That alone makes it a series worth creating and watching.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing drama episode reviews, daily opinion pieces, and weekly drama news roundups. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fated to Love You""
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