The good news for Park Bo Gum in Record of Youth is that he’s no longer the only actor hard carrying this drama, his noona Shin Dong Mi who plays his agent just destroyed her scenes in this episode and validated all the earlier inklings that she’s really nailing her role. Too bad this drama isn’t a noona-dongsaeng/agent-actor romance because Park Bo Gum has so much more chemistry with her than with Park So Dam, and it’s not romantic chemistry but just an onscreen sympatico with Shin Dong Mi when they act but with Park So Dam it’s like…..blank screen trying so hard to convince me there is a hidden image there. Park Bo Gum can only do so much one-handed carrying and his two other leads are just not hacking it 6-episodes in, Byun Woo Seok is so flat as the second male lead he needs to be demoted for more acting lessons in the future, and scenes with him and Park So Dam are so lacking in intangible connection I can replace them with mannequins. With that said, RoY continues to deliver a mildly interesting upstairs/downstairs class look at rich v. poor Seoulites dealing with same issues but it doesn’t feel enriched when the central focus just lacks any oomph.
I find the cinematography very lovely in RoY and don’t have any problems with a slower pace and slow burn sweet romance. The problem is the leads have no romantic chemistry whatsoever, it’s like watching two classmates awkwardly try to date. For slow burn sweet romance Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo just hit it out of the park in Encounter (Boyfriend) and that drama also did a long deep look at the divide between the uber rich and the common poor. I mention Encounter because those same type of scenes with the leads in RoY just walking, talking, doing something artistic, or the scene of Park Bo Gum ugly crying in that truck, that’s exactly the same pace and set up so it’s hard not to remember back to how much more emotionally rich Encounter was thanks to the leads really connecting onscreen.