[Review] Expect Dating – 연애를 기대해

GREAT EXPECTATIONS?

Meet Joo Yeon Ae (BoA), a dating novice who always manages to date the wrong guy.  Meet Cha Ki Dae (Choi Daniel), a dating coach who is an expert at the dating but a failure at the next stages of a relationship.

Jung Jin Gook (Im Si Wan) is a nice guy who just wants a nice girl, while Choi Sae Rom (Kim Ji Won) views dating as a step towards marriage.  Expect Dating is about four people who have different views about love.

The drama’s title has a double meaning which means Expect Dating but also comes from the main characters’ names.  Only a two-episode drama special, I have to say that the drama quickly sets up the characters and the plot.  Can you really get lessons about dating?  The drama felt like a mishmash of a variety of romantic comedies.  Part Love Actually, part You’ve Got Mail, part Cyrano; Dating Agency and part My P.S Partner, the list goes on.

The drama is mildly cute for what it was.  I’m usually dismissive of Choi Daniel and the characters he’s played but I really liked his chemistry with BoA.  Out of the lovely moments they shared over cyberspace, I really enjoyed the scene on the train where they share a song with each other.  For a connection made over SNS, which can seem distant and anonymous, the moment seemed intimate and thoughtful.

While his character annoyed me, Im Shi Wan was pretty good in his role and I could see his acting has improved a bit.  The interesting thing about Jin Gook is that he puts all of his eggs in one basket, namely Yeon Ae.  On paper, she ended up with the guy she thought she wanted but he proved that what you think you want may not be what you really want.  In turn, Yeon Ae ends up understanding the ex-boyfriend that she criticized in the first scene.

As for Kim Ji Won, she always plays a headstrong character but with Sae Rom there is a version of herself that she’s comfortable showing to friends and even to Ki Dae early on and her real self.  Kim Ji Won juggles that dichotomy well realistically coming off as a girl who knows what she wants and expects Ki Dae to follow.

That said, I had mixed feelings about this drama.  The drama had a very stylish tone but nothing about the plot or the characters themselves were very unique.  Choi Daniel and BoA have a cute rapport but they don’t really have too many scenes together.

So we’re forced to watch the two leads with the person they’re not meant to be with.

That would have been okay except we’re left hanging in the end.  Maybe the “expect” in the title should have tipped me off to the fact that the leads getting together would be left to our imaginations but I spent most of the two episode drama feeling uneasy with the mismatched couples that it was hard to be satisfied with the conclusion.  The story doesn’t need to be a full-length drama but it should still satisfy the viewer.

Rating

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