I confess to not noticing the age gap in the OTP in Prime Minister and I. It’s not being blind to Lee Bum Soo being much older than Yoona, it just doesn’t stand out in the context of their characters or interactions. I see a closed off man with emotional baggage from a past marriage and a spirited woman falling for a smart and sexy competent politician. He’s older simply because to realistically be Prime Minister and have three kids he can’t be in his early 30s, otherwise age is but a number here. I really don’t get the fixation on older man-much younger woman or noona-dongsaeng pairings in K-dramas, as if it even needs to be debated conceptually. It’s either going to work because the two leads have chemistry and their characters make sense together or its not. Unless one party is under-aged then it’s still two consenting adults. It’s the same feeling that makes me uninterested in noona-dongsaeng romances in general by virtue of it being an older woman-younger man. Why should that be interesting alone, I need the bigger dramatic picture about what brings them together and makes them fall in love. Coming down the pipeline is a jTBC cable drama called Secret Love Affair with Kim Hee Ae and Yoo Ah In and they have a twenty year age difference in real life and I’m checking to see what the story is about before deciding whether to watch.
Last year had plenty of noona-dongsaeng romantic pairings and this week a newspaper conducted a poll in South Korea to rank viewers favorite 2013 noona-dongsaeng romances. I must be watching totally different dramas than most of the top-5 selected because it boggles the mind to see it on the list. The number 1 pick does make sense as Lee Jong Seok and Lee Bo Young in I Hear Your Voice. It wasn’t for me but so much love for them in it has to be grounded in some viable sparks. Number 2 is a LOL moment in Joo Won and Choi Kang Hee in the bizarrely lame 7th Grade Civil Servant. WHUT? Coming in third is an older sister corralling her puppy dog younger brother in Taecyeon and So Yi Hyun in Who Are You. Fourth is the stalker one-sided love of Emperor Ji Chang Wook for Ha Ji Won in Empress Ki. And rounding out the top 5 in 5th place is yet another Joo Won moment in his pairing with Moon Chae Won in Good Doctor. Was there even any romance in that drama? Anyone who watched it confirm or deny? If this was the state of how domestic viewers see as a “good” noona-dongsaeng romance in 2013 dramas then wowsers was it mostly an epic fail of a year. Maybe 2014 will be better? I already know the reverse of older man-younger woman is off to a whiz bang start with Lee Bum Soo and Yoona in PM.
It’s a damn shame this list missed the most amazing chemistry noona-dongsaeng drama romance pairing in 2013 – Yoo Ah In and Kim Tae Hee in Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love. With this mostly wonky list, it could only have been made worse if somehow the viewers voted in the noona-dongsaeng alterna-pairing of Jung Yong Hwa and Yoon Eun Hye in Marry Him If You Dare. *shudders*