Review – Radio Romance
Could I love this drama any more? It had all the tropes that I adore: A man haunted by his past, awkward and childlike in love – a zany cast of misfits trying to carve out their niche – interesting, complicated parents – and psycho antagonists who are strangely lovable. Add to that some quality writing that kept me glued to the screen every episode, and you’ve got a recipe for a quality romantic drama.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10. Tune In To This Adorable Romance.
More – including spoilers, one complaint, and character discussions follow:
Let’s start with the only weakness to this drama (in my opinion). I actually didn’t think our male lead was that great on the radio. He sounded stilted most of the time and rather boring. I do like his voice, mind you, but it wasn’t hypnotic. Ironically, his speeches in Let’s Eat were amazing! But his radio dialogue was just… decent. Restrained. There are actors that have much better voices, radio voices, voices that haunt you and sooth you and could read the ingredients on a box of crackers and make us swoon. Alan Rickman. James Earl Jones. Lee Sun Gyun – oh, the golden voice of Lee Sun Gyun… geesh…. melt like butter. Or even Song Young-Kyu – one of the bad guys from You Are All Surrounded. Good Lord, that man’s voice is amazing… just… pause during the interrogation scene to appreciate it.
So… yeah. Ironically, that was my only complaint about this near perfect drama.
Don’t be confused though – because everything else about the male lead was perfect. I loved this character! And he’s very easy on the eyes and has one of the best little shy smiles of any Korean male actor. He was prickly, he was sweet, he was insecure and suspicious, he was jealous and playful and puppy-like in love. His father is an adulterer, cheating on his wife since day one with a parade of young actresses. His mother is out of the picture – so his father’s wife raises our lead male as her son – until she drops the bomb that he’s NOT her son… on his ninth birthday, no less. She’s a harsh woman. I loved her too. So… he’s got some family issues to deal with, needless to say.
Our male lead has a live in doctor, a repressed and conflicted manager, and no real friends or support system. Both his doctor and his manager report to his “mother” on a regular basis, keeping tabs on him. He can’t sleep. He’s famous and has a slew of dedicated fans, but no one really knows him. He’s closed down his world to an island fit for one… self contained and miserable… doesn’t even own a phone cause who would he call? Until….
Our lead female comes along and reminds him of better days… days when he used to smile and had people he cared about around him. Days when he used to make attempts to connect with people. Days when he made moves on girls, blindfolded girls… ah, young love! So trusting.
So yeah… it’s another “return of the first love” story – and I absolutely adored it. I am a sucker for first love stories. The young actors were stellar, too.
What’s with the blindfold, you may ask? They seem a little young for kink. Well, fear not… it’s perfectly innocent. Our lead female’s mother had eye surgery when she was a teenager – losing her sight. In order to prepare for dealing with her blind mother, our lead female went around “blind” for a while, discovering the world her mother would inhabit. While at the hospital, our young lead female meets our young lead male and they have a sweet romance that leaves a lasting impression on both of them.
After her mother becomes blind, our lead female never turns on the television again. She instead focuses on the radio – listening to it for hours and hours with her mother, by herself. Slowly and steadily becoming obsessed with the world via radio waves and the power of music and voice to connect people.
It’s no surprise she grows up to work in the radio industry – her dream to become the head writer on a radio show. When the drama starts, she’s still a sub-writer, basically an assistant… but when her motley crew secure a big star for their own show, she is able to move up the ranks – albeit slowly – to become a main writer. I know nothing about the radio industry, so the whole dynamics of the work environment were fascinating to me.
The second male lead was a temperamental, lovable outcast who’d just returned from an extended forced vacation in India. He was a wildcard, but everyone loved him – even the high ups who had to clean up his messes. He was determined to make a quality show and his drag his crush (our female lead) along with him, transforming her into a main writer. Though there was a bit of a love triangle – it was more about the dynamics between these three people who worked so closely together – and how they all supported each other, fought occasionally, and always came back because of their passion for their work. He was the perfect second male lead, because you never felt sorry for him – and he didn’t even feel too sorry for himself, even when he lost the girl. He had an enduring spirit. Of course, as much as I liked his nagging and teasing of our female lead, his nagging and teasing of our male lead was even more enjoyable. And of course they end up begrudging besties! Their end scene, when our DJ runs to the airport to “confess” his undying support for his PD before he runs off to another foreign country…. so freakin’ cute. Made cuter by their self-awareness of the situation… “Are we shooting a drama?” Damn straight you are, and a good one!
Now, I’ve heard grumblings about the acting skills of our female lead. And yes, I concede, she’s probably not going to end up an upper echelon A-lister, but she’s still pretty freakin’ cute. And her character was so genuine and likable, and personally… I didn’t have an issue with her acting chops one bit. It fit the role. It fit the show.
And the romance was soooo good. Our male lead was just smitten kitten with our female lead… his eyes never leaving her, his little expressions of joy, frustration, jealousy, uncertainty… her big smiles and big eyes lighting up more and more when he was around. They bonded in this beautiful, natural way – building trust, working together, overcoming problems at work and at home. Personally, my favorite romances are the ones were the male lead is hopelessly in love from the get-go and the girl slowly comes around. So naturally I ate this drama up.
I also enjoyed this drama because it didn’t skimp on the variety of characters. There were so many strong personalities in this show – each fighting for their own personal goals. There was also a lot of humor, too. Extremely talented side cast. And like I said, it was hard to hate anyone for every long – they were so well developed as people with flaws, it was impossible to hate them for it.
So check it out! Enjoy it! There’s a lot I didn’t cover so you’ll still have plenty of surprises.