I checked out Lovers of Music (Trot Lovers) today and there was more wrong and right to make a positive first impression. On the upside being a rom-com is like an oasis in the parched desert right now so I’ll probably check out tomorrow’s episode to see if it flips the switch. I enjoy trot music enough that the musical direction in this drama is entertaining without feeling too old-fashioned. I especially enjoy the first OST song “Hey Mister” from the soundtrack which is Crayon Pop continuing to pay homage to the trot genre after their last comeback track “Uh ee”. The first episode of LoM just didn’t pop the way a great rom-com starts off strong even if it ultimately putters in the end. None of the four leads have characters that make a really strong impression but the bigger problem are the two leads aren’t all that likable. Jung Eun Ji can do hardworking plucky in her sleep but her Choi Chun Hee comes across as too much with a stick up her arse. Ji Hyun Woo is really floundering playing the asshole musical prodigy Jang Joon Hyun, trying to be as arrogant and quirky as male leads like Dokko Jin in Best Love or Hwang Tae Kyung in You’re Beautiful but nowhere matching the charisma of such indelible characters. I just don’t find Joon Hyun interesting at all, much less care about his eventual redemption. The only character pique my interest is Shin Sung Rok‘s strange and forgetful Jo Geun Woo, his scene with Chun Hee was too short but the most interesting bit of episode 1. I like bickering OTPs and meet angry misunderstandings, but every scene with Chun Hee and Joon Hyun leave me wondering when something interesting will come out of their mouths and actually make me care. I’m not writing off LoM (yet) but it’s not promising out of the gate that’s for sure.
The premise of LoM looks like a straightforward recipe for rom-com delight but the actual execution didn’t quite deliver the level of zany cute oomph. Poor determined Choi Chun Hee is a former marathon runner who gave up her dreams years ago and now toils as a personal trainer at the gym while dealing with a debt-ridden dad and a very young sister. She meets music star and producer Jang Joon Hyun and it’s dislike at first sight when she sees him cheating at a marathon to win fan affection. Joon Hyun gets set up by an unknown woman and his star falls due to the ensuing hotel room scandal but he mistaken blames Chun Hee for his plight. Joon Hyun’s new agency president agrees to give him a chance to redeem himself by assigning him to turn Chun Hee into a top trot singer since Chun Hee is the daughter of the president’s first love. Geun Woo is the son of the agency president who has no interest in taking over the family business but has a meet cute of his own with Chun Hee. The first episode predictably ends with Joon Hyun raging at the indignity of staking his career revival on turning his nemesis Chun Hee into a trot star.
I don’t think anyone is miscast here and there isn’t a bad actor in the entire cast but something just isn’t clicking. It’s like the umami is missing in the dish. Ji Hyun Woo’s hair looks even worse in action than it does in stills or in the previews and I hope to go he falls into a vat of black hair dye soon. Chun Hee’s character feels so much like an amalgamation of all Jung Eun Ji characters in her recent dramas, or else she just acts every character the same way. She’s convincing but starting to get into a rut. Shin Sung Rok is the only one really elevating his character into something memorable, and definitely nothing like his scary silly turn as the villain in You From Another Star or his bumbling nice guy routine in older dramas like One Mom and Three Dads. Right now his character and the vague hope that this drama will really click with a few more episodes to gel keeps me hanging in there.
If the scene of a future OTP locked in a closet doesn’t get me excited, then I know something is amiss. Currently Chun Hee looks so much better with Geun Woo it’s not even funny. I’m hoping Joon Hyun starts getting less irritating soon because second leading shipping in this drama will be a recipe for disappointment so I much rather like the male lead as soon as possible.
I did get a new track for my jogging playlist so that’s a positive takeaway. This Crayon Pop ditty is cotton candy fun with a wink wink charm.
Crayon Pop “Hey Mister”: