Review – Secret Love Affair (a PG Rated Erotic Tale)
I avoided this show for a long time due to the “noona romance” but finally gave in when I saw it pop up on Netflix. I’ve read a ton of reviews on it, raving about how sexy it was, how divine, how romantic and beautiful and so on. And it is all of those things. But it’s also incredibly demure. This show is such a tease!
I enjoyed Secret Love Affair. But I didn’t love it. I loved the music. I loved the cinematography. I loved the writer’s for leaving a great deal of the performances “unspoken” and giving the actors a chance to emote with their facial expressions. The husband, in particular, became more interesting due to his actions and reactions of the affair. What a complicated man. And yet I found most of the characters very unlikable. And tedious. And boring. And though our lead couple shared a connection through music, I couldn’t really understand what either of them saw in each other… except for the obvious cliches associated with a relationship with such a vast age difference.
Plot: Unhappily married woman in crappy job finds solace and escape in the arms of a struggling young piano prodigy. Both their lives become more complicated because of it. Subplot and perhaps moral of the story: Rich people are mostly jerks, but since a lot of people will do unethical and crappy things to get money, can we really throw stones in our glass houses? And do you even like your glass houses or have you just bought the lie?
Overall Rating – 8/10. A Major Musical Seduction and a Minor Romance in B Flat.
Full titillating review follows (including spoilers and X-Rated commentary)
Okay. So this show is embarrassed of itself. Let me explain.
It heated up pretty quickly. Episode two had the infamous piano orgasm audition scene, in which our sexy young male lead sits down at the piano for the first time for our sexy older lady lead and just takes total command of the keys. It was an amazing scene. It was amazing scene that came to us in layers… of flashbacks… of memories… of overlapping experiences. It was a rush. And yes… it was very, very hot. That scene sold me on their romance. 20 year age difference be damned. I was ready for them to throw out their morals, their marriage vows and their clothes and bone under the piano after their duet, though I doubt either of them had anything left at that point. They’d reached their musical climax together and let’s face it… they looked spent. But no… nothing happens.
Then we get the end of Episode 3, where they have their first kiss… except we don’t actually see it… I mean we do… but it’s also obscured behind hair and camera angles. Does that actually make it sexier? I’m still debating. Married woman hauls that cute virgin prodigy immediately into her house, taking him straight to the piano room with full intentions of taking it further until her housekeeper ruins the mood. She quickly kicks out her young honey and bites her pillow all night, wondering what to do.
There’s some more smoldering for a few episodes until we reach Episode 6, the Liszt Hard On episode, as I now call it. Or the “wash your dick and armpits” episode (I died! That was terribly funny). Married lady has come to visit her young piano maestro at his hovel… she’s sitting on a cardboard box full of sheet music, he’s up on the balcony cranking up his recording of himself playing Liszt Rhapsodie Espagnole… showing off… and watching her listening to him… it’s intense. She’s moved to tears. He’s thoughtfully observing. And at its conclusion she holds out her arms to him.
Except he seems strangely hesitant.
Which takes us all by surprise at this point, as viewers, cause this kid has been following her around like an eager puppy for a while and the fact he didn’t just vault over the balcony railing and into her arms is shocking. Awkwardly, slowly, he says he will come to her. And he begins to descent the stairs. Slowly. Uncomfortably. And her eyes trail from his face and down… and she takes a step back, and he blushes but moves towards her and I start grinning like a shark. Oh, those clever subtle Koreans! Our young lad has a boner. Apparently he was moved by the music too… (cough cough). He pulls his lady love into his arms and just smashes his full body against her and she’s panting and almost crying and yet almost moaning and slowly inches her hand up his back and wow… it was pretty hot. And again – we don’t really see it… I mean, we see them hugging and we saw her eyes on his crotch and how startled they were and we saw his face turn red and we get the full map but we aren’t actually taken to the destination. We are asked to drive ourselves there. In our imaginations.
Apparently a lot of people are pretty innocent out there, cause I’ve read a lot of reviews of this scene and none of them say anything about the fact that our young piano genius had a massive boner in his jeans. This is not just me being pervy – this is actually a very important piece of information. Don’t believe me? I have proof….
In Episode 8, the “They finally do it” episode, our two lovers are in bed (presumably… because we never actually see them! We see a hallway, and a wall, and some stairs… and some soundproofing. We do not, however, see two consenting adults in a bed together because that would be too much for our virgin eyes!) and sharing pillow talk. She warns she might not be good in bed, that she doesn’t have much experience. Then she says something along the lines of “You probably figured out I wasn’t super comfortable around dick when you pressed yours against me and I kinda flipped out.” He then admits he did begin to suspect she might not be the type of girl to teach him the Kama Sutra after that day (paraphrasing, paraphrasing!). She asks him if he’s really a virgin and he jokingly says… “Well, there was that time I exploded in my pants with you after listening to Liszt.” And I said to myself, “I knew it!!!” Then we’re treated to a few soft moans that sounded very similar to the sounds I make when trying to get my boots on in the morning. Not sexy.
Cut to… two fully clothed individuals sitting on the floor talking post coitus. I mean, come on, K-Drama! Who does that? Who gets dressed again? You could have kept them under the covers… we wouldn’t have minded just seeing their shoulders. But NooooOOoooooOOOOoooo! You’re such prudes.
After a while we get a few kisses. And a bed scene or two, but somehow it’s less sizzling. It’s also interesting that the fantasy sequence of our leading lady imagining her young lover in bed with his young girlfriend was super hot and heavy… and we get to see them rolling around actively under the sheets, but strangely we don’t get to see that type of action with the actual couple in this show. It’s always shadowy and obscured. It’s as if the show is embarrassed of the couple. Subtly it’s saying, “Aren’t they beautiful? But… you know… we don’t want to see that. Cause that might make this whole 20 year age difference hit home a little closer.” And they’re probably right. Was there anything more awkward than our leading lady lounging around in a, basically, sweatpants, at our piano boys house? Eh. It just felt so off to me.
Yes, we are an ageist society. Sure, there’s no reason not to break those rules. But when you do, the woman at the check out counter is going to ask if that’s your mom. And that’s going to happen over and over and over and over again. And they’re not saying it to be jerks. They honestly think that’s your mom. Cause… she’s old enough to be your mom. And Occam’s Razor. And most likely your friend’s aren’t really going to enjoy hanging out with your 20 year age difference person, because that’s a massive generational and cultural gap. I’m just saying… there’s a lot of down sides to this kind of relationship. It doesn’t gross me out and I don’t think it’s morally wrong. I’m just practical… and my practical brain kept interrupting the entire show, saying, “But you know what else is going to be awkward….?”
Though episode two will go down in history as one of the sexiest piano playing scenes ever, I just didn’t love the main couple. Yeah, the age thing was hard to get over. And it was difficult to imagine them overcoming their different upbringings and lifestyles to find common ground. Though I suppose after a year or so in prison, even his shit hole apartment will seem pretty swanky. They had incredible chemistry when sharing a keyboard, but when they weren’t playing a piano… they felt awkward and uncomfortable around each other. Theirs is a relationship destined to have many, many problems.
I guess at least they’ll always have Liszt, eh?
The plot line is ridiculous. Those rich bitches and all the mahjong and cat fighting and corruption at the college. It was tedious. Everyone knows there’s corruption at colleges. If you don’t know that… well, you probably just haven’t thought about it or you’re kidding yourself. There is. Always has been. Rich people get away with a lot of bullshit and pull strings left and right. Money wanders off unaccounted for. The entire subplot bored me to tears. I couldn’t care less about any of them. I was vaguely interested in what would happen to the young pianist. And somewhat interested in the fate of his older lady love. But honestly… not really. I don’t think the show much cared either, considering how vague the ending was.
Mainly I just wanted to watch them play piano. The entire show was worth it for that. Watching people who are passionate about something is fascinating. Artists and artisans and creative types and obsessive types make for great television. The hours of practice and the fine tuning and the subtle nature of greatness entertained me.
Check it out. If for no other reason than it will make you want to listen to classical music.