New K-Drama Alert: Lucky Romance

Image source

Lucky Romance was the drama I was waiting for all spring. When drama after drama failed to catch my interest, I kept thinking "At least there will be Lucky Romance!" Quirky plot, Ryu Joon Yul soothing my broken post-Answer Me 1988 heart—what more could I possibly want?

As it turns out, a lot. Sigh.

What It's About: Shim Bo Nui (Hwang Jung Eum) is convinced that she leads an unlucky existence. In order to bring more luck to the life of a loved one, a shaman tells her she must sleep with a man born in the year of the tiger. Enter Je Soo Ho, a smartypants game designer who just so happens to be born in the year of the tiger.

Episodes watched: 4

First Impressions: I know I already said this, but sigh. I wanted to like this show so badly, and I just...don't. It's not that there's anything actively bad about it. There isn't anything particularly good about it, either.

It's an MBC romcom that feels like it copied and pasted the scripts of the last five MBC romcoms to make a dull, unimaginative Frankendrama. Every single scene and character feels like it was pulled from another series, making it difficult to connect with the characters and leaving me wondering if tvN might have been a better fit for the premise.

Take Bo Nui's storyline, for example. It's bad enough that the drama opens with her literally wearing a Cinderella-esque kerchief over her hair as she washes floors, just in case we didn't catch the message that this is yet another poor, hardworking heroine. (To be fair, it turns out that she's a genius computer programmer, which is cool, but she's still the epitome of the Candy character in more ways than I care to count.)

Juuuuuust whistle while you work...
Oh yeah, and she's also the most nurturing human on the planet, so when her super creepy new neighbor keeps trying to bust into her apartment, she immediately forgets how creepy he's being the second she spots a tiny cut on his hand. It's almost like I've seen Hwang Jung Eum being a poor hot mess exploding with mothering instincts somewhere before....(In case you don't catch the drift, it was She Was Pretty. Remember how she clipped her boyfriend's nails for him, just like his mommy used to do?)

Then, of course, we also have Mr. Richey McGrumpygenius, who is so rich that he can win a bunch of money and not even care, and so grumpy that he can't give more than mono-syllabic responses to anyone. And a math genius, of course, because falling in love with a regular billionaire is so passe in Korea these days.

Sure, the setup is a cliche, but it's not like I don't watch and enjoy other dramas that follow traditional drama setups. What makes this series so disappointing is that it never quite moves past the lazy premise to give us anything to set this series apart. Where Another Oh Hae Young, for example, excels in making its characters feel real with troubles that strike you in the heart with their familiarity, this drama (at least so far) relies on external plot devices to try to get us to care. Everyone—and I mean EVERYONE—has a sad backstory. It's like the one-upmanship of pain. Oh yeah, your dad may or may not have abandoned you as a child? Well, I apparently killed my parents and almost killed my sister with my terrible fate!

Don't forget to feel sad for me! I'm too talented at things, and I don't know how to swim!

That's a lot of words to say this show is boring. I'm just so disappointed in what could have been. They had a solid cast and source material that sounded funny and sexy—so why is it so unfunny and unsexy so far? It's a shame, but I think this might be a cautionary tale on what happens when the powers that be decide to play it safe.

Where to watch
Viki (Viki Pass only)