Discovery of Love: An Irritating First Impression
Well, I guess not all dramas can be a hit, and Discovery of Love is a complete miss for me. For one, who else has realized that this is pretty much a rehash of I Need Romance 2012 for Jung Yumi? We've got two of the former franchise's members with Jung Yumi and Sung Joon, and the same staid tale of former lovers who broke up for whatever reason and are now on the path to reconciliation (but of course only after twisting with a perfect second male lead).
While I only saw a couple episodes of INR 2012, it was enough for me to immediately recognize that Jung is pretty much photocopying her previous role here. Everything from the fast talking, the circular banter, and the pouty, complaining faces, is identical. I couldn't stand her character in INR, and for the same reasons (and more), I can't stand her character here. Bleh, this girl seriously leaves a bad taste.
Que Sera Sera is still on my list of dramas to watch, but I admit to being quite hesitant as I've pretty much hated everything I've seen with Jung Yumi (and usually due to her characters, which can't be good). I wonder if seeing the former drama would give me a greater appreciation for Eric and Jung Yumi's pairing up here? Someone needs to tell me if that helps you stomach the essential cheating and manipulation she's pulling on poor second lead Ha Jin (Sung Joon).
I was actually ok with the drama up through episode 1, but episode 2 quickly flailed as the writing pretty much made Yeo Reum out as an insecure, guy-stringing bitch. The thickly-stacked lies, the sheer manipulation as she tries to guilt Ha Jin into feeling bad (when she's the one who should repent!), and the level of stupidity as she runs back and forth between the two guys. If this is how the rest of this drama is going to play out, I'm running as fast as I can in the other direction. Something about Jung Yumi's speed-talking, constantly pouting, bug-eyed performance is only adding to the off-putting nature of the character, and I'm having extreme trouble connecting how this incredibly low-grade woman has two great guys' affections.
Yeo Reum aside (and that's a very VERY big issue to try to put aside), I'm also not a major fan of the writing or directing. I just don't get the documentary-esque interview style. I understand the concept of trying to creatively capture a characters' thoughts, but in execution it feels gimmicky and unnatural. It literally takes me out of the story (not that there's much to begin with) whenever one of the characters goes into a strange, obviously falsified monologue with the camera.
The drama itself also has a washed-out look, and everything seems to fade into shades of brown and beige. The OST is fun but not stirring, and some tracks are very strangely placed (e.g. when we get a cheery tune during some of the serious character moments).
Visuals aside, the story is also just plain boring. It sounds like whoever wrote this came up with the concept (lady reunites with old bf while together with new bf), then tried to patch in the holes and string it into a 16-episode show. I have no idea how they'll fill out the coming 14 episodes (though I can guess there'll be plenty of angst and waffling on the part of said lady). As it stands, we're basically filling the minutes with tons of wordy but ultimately non-substantive interview monologues, flashbacks, and extended talking on the part of all characters, including the supporting ones. It's not exactly riveting material, and when I'm not even given rootable characters, it becomes pretty hard to continue gluing myself to this.
The editing is also a bit all over the place, quite literally. I guess they thought it'd be boring to do a straight on story, so we get random bits of flashbacks inserted in. It kind of works, but it's also too sporadic. It takes us til the last half of episode 2 to see how they got together and why they broke up, which makes it just a bit too late for me to understand and feel an investment in Yeo Reum. By that point, she'd shown enough bad stripes to where a single pitiful train ride wasn't going to resolve that for me. The back-and-forth is also confusing to follow, and I'm generally not a fan of a story that takes place half in the past and half in the present (which is what this premise necessitates).
I will go ahead and touch on the two guys, and on the parallel romances we see develop between them and the leading lady. I think it's an issue of the leading actress not sparking for me, because while the stories are each cute and unique, they don't capture my attention or heart (unlike, say, the flashbacks in My Secret Hotel). I watch without any investment, except to of course ogle the gorgeous guys that are Eric and Sung Joon.
In trying to write Yeo Reum as unique in her outspokenness, they're making her less relatable and overly artificial for me. Nobody talks like that to a random good-looking guy, and if they did, they most certainly wouldn't get the sort of reaction that Eric thoughtfully acted out (unless you're Song Hye Kyo or JLo). Not to mention, the whole flashback thing with the same actors acting out their much younger selves is another aspect ripped straight from INR. Seriously, is this the same writer or something?
I do like both the performances of the male leads, but when one-half of the pair doesn't work, the whole thing falls apart. Seriously what a waste of otherwise solid talent.