[Review] Discovery of Love – 연애의 발견

WOVE, TWUE WOVE…

Furniture Designer Han Yeo Reum (Jung Yoo Mi) has been dating the sweet and gentle Nam Ha Jin (Sung Joon), a plastic surgeon who works with her housemate. She’s set her sights on marrying Ha Jin but her head (and her heart) is sent spinning when her ex-boyfriend Kang Tae Ha (Eric) suddenly reappears in her life. He is the CEO of an interior design company and hires her to furnish his latest project. Meanwhile, Ha Jin comes across Ahn Ah Rim (Yoon Jin Yi), whom he treated like a sister when they were both children living in an orphanage. As the lives of these four people intertwine, they reevaluate the meaning of love and relationship.

From It’s Okay, It’s Love, here’s another refreshing take on modern relationships. What makes this drama different is that it explores the various obstacles couples face when they’re in relationships and thinking about marriage. Sometimes it’s not as clear cut as boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; insert obstacle; boy marries girl and lives happily ever after. Or did I just describe a Nicolas Spark’s book?

J Rabbit – 사랑일까? (Is It Love?)

제이레빗(J Rabbit) – 사랑일까?

I find it annoying when a drama overuses internal monologue to compensate for what the drama can’t accomplish visually. However, in the case of this drama, they reveal a deeper insight in the character’s psyche. Within these Modern Family-like monologues, we learn who has the upper hand in the relationship, whether they are questioning if their significant other is the one and the satisfaction felt when your ex is still pining for you.

What they don’t say to the other characters is more telling and we see how all the secrets that each of the characters holds on to affect the relationships around them.

The interesting thing about Tae Ha and Yeo Reum’s relationship is that we get flashbacks to the days when they were a couple. From the lovey-dovey beginnings to the ugly breakup. It’s fascinating to see what details they remember as it colors their perspective of their relationship in their favor. Cut to the present day in which they’re trying to digest all of this new information and have the opportunity to move forward.

The other interesting thing is the subject of emotional cheating. I think when it regards cheating it’s generally treated in K-Dramas as this person is bad and immoral. I know what you’re thinking. Technically, Tae Ha and Yeo Reum does get entangled in some physical cheating at the beginning of the drama but the rest of the drama deals with Ha Jin and Yeo Reum wondering if their relationship is right for them as well as keeping their feelings for the other party under wraps.

So in that sense, I like that it’s not the drama that’s drawing the moral lines. That’s left up to the viewer and frankly, I found that refreshing in the midst the sometimes preachy Korean dramasphere.

For those who are uncomfortable with the ambiguous line, at least there’s a moment featuring a cameo with Yoo Ah In in which they address the cheating issue.

As for Ha Jin, he was a very interesting character in the framework of prosaic personality.  We’ve all seen people like Ha Jin before but I like that the orphan aspect added an extra layer to his story.  His issues with abandonment certainly points to why he’s not able to break up with Yeo Reum despite all the flashing red signs.

He’s painted as a nice guy who believes that his steadfastness can conquer all that is lacking in relationship.  Yeo Reum wants to believe in that as well because on paper, Ha Jin is everything she wanted.  What they both discover is that the head can’t account for what the heart wants and the drama is about allowing a good balance between the head and the heart.  That’s easier said than done.

For me, Yeo Reum could have ended up with anyone (or alone) and it wouldn’t have mattered as the drama made me more invested in the journey she took rather than making us guess who is the one. However, I think the drama went with the most obvious choice to which the writer shared that not everyone will be satisfied. True but despite the old Bible verse, ‘Love is patient, love is kind.’ Not all love is patient and not all love is kind.

I love that Yeo Reum’s mom, in her tough no nonsense way, imparts this wisdom about relationships. Sometimes you wait and wait for the right one and love passes you by. Other times, you rush into love because on paper it looks good and it’s not the right match. There aren’t any real rules for figuring love out.

On the other hand, love could be right next to all along. That’s what Do Joon Ho (Yoon Hyun Min) and Yoon Sol (Kim Seul Gi) experience as the main leads’ sidekicks. They are the friends that help each other through heartbreaks, give advice (sometimes not the best advice) or get nosy when the leads need some pushing along. Despite loving Kim Seul Gi, I think she’s definitely at her best when she’s the lead’s best friend. As for Yoon Hyun Min, I was delighted to see this lighter side of him after watching him in Inspiring Generation. They were a good distraction when the main plot got too angsty.

The drama certainly knows how to balance the lighthearted with the deeper thoughts of how to make a relationship work. While drama’s not here to provide viewers with relationship advice, it certainly depicts relatable relationship scenarios and points of views. I’m really glad that K-Dramas are treading this new territory in their formatting their stories. It’s not a new way of writing them and Discovery of Love doesn’t totally abandon the format but I was getting tired of the traditional K-Drama romcoms where you can time the twist and climactic points down to the minute in the drama.

Rating

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2 thoughts on “[Review] Discovery of Love – 연애의 발견

  1. Great review! I have been debating whether I should give this drama a watch. I don’t hear much of chit chatting on it on Twitter (maybe a lot more on Soompi). But you just convinced me and I will add this to my marathon list. Was it funny? Or just pure romance?

    Like

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