K-Drama Mid-Series Check: “To All The Guys Who Loved Me” Questions The Merits Of Being In Love
To All The Guys Who Loved Me interests with its comedic take on love and previous lives.
Featuring a protagonist insistent on staying single during her life, and two devoted men attempting to win her affections, To All The Guys Who Loved Me portrays a hilarious journey through love and life.
- K-Drama Premiere: “To All The Guys Who Loved Me” Fashions A Hilarious Tale Of Avoiding Love That Is Seemingly Meant To Be
The first half of the comedic series pacts quite a punch. Including a love triangle spanning previous lives, the struggles of adulthood careers, in addition to the complexities of romance, the drama covered a lot of ground early on in its run.
Quick Plot Round-Up
Seo Hyun Joo (Hwang Jung Eum) is determined to stay single. Bittered by prior failed relationships, she vows to focus on her career as a webtoon director instead. Meanwhile, Hwang Ji Woo (Yoon Hyun Min) is a CEO of a successful pharmaceutical company that attempts to win her love. He is challenged by Park Do Gyeom (Seo Ji Hoon), Hyun Joo’s webtoonist best friend, who has harbored feelings for her over the years.
Known only to Ji Woo, the three are connected by their previous lives. In each one, the trio remains in a complex love triangle. The show comically traces their interactions as both men vie for Hyun Joo’s love while she remains dedicated to living life alone.
The Story So Far…
After losing her job due to webtoonists spreading lies about her mismanagement, Seo Hyun Joo feels lost. However, Hwang Ji Woo comes to the rescue. He is a wealthy CEO of a pharmaceutical company who wishes to invest in a webtoon division. He hires Hyun Joo as its creative director. However, Hyun Joo remains unaware that it was Ji Woo himself, who paid the webtoonists to spread lies about her, resulting in her termination.
Hyun Joo begins working for Ji Woo, however, she brings her best friend and alternate love interest, Do Gyeom, to join her webtoonist team.
Hilarity ensues as the trio attempt to navigate their new working relationship while balancing emerging romance.
The Love Triangle…Or Square?
After Hyun Joo’s misunderstanding that Ji Woo is romantically interested in Do Gyeom, Hyun Joo and Do Gyeom pretend to date. During their fake dating, the pair intend to ward off Ji Woo’s affections for Do Gyeom. While living with Ji Woo, Do Gyeom finds out that it was Ji Woo who caused Hyun Joo’s termination from her prior company, and tells Hyun Joo.
Following this revelation, Hyun Joo angrily confronts Ji Woo, who admits that he has fallen for Hyun Joo and concocted a plan to keep her by his side. Meanwhile, Do Gyeom struggles to confess his feelings for Hyun Joo. He uses their fake dating as a ploy to grow closer to her.
Hyun Joo grows uncomfortable with his confession. She believes that he is mistaking his sibling love for her as romantic love. However, as he attempts to woo Hyun Joo, she begins to see him in a more mature light.
She is challenged by her own conflicting feelings as she begins to like Ji Woo. Moreover, she receives confusing flashbacks of her previous lives with Ji Woo which confuses her more. Additionally, she makes the startling discovery that he was the same boy who saved her from drowning as a child.
The love triangle heats up as Ji Woo and Do Gyeom go head to head for Hyun Joo’s love.
Meanwhile, the show teases a possible romance on the horizon between Do Gyeom and Han Seo Yoon (Jo Woo Ri). Han Seo Yoon is Ji Woo’s secretary and joins the emerging webtoon division under Hyun Joo’s management. She confesses she is a huge fan of Do Gyeom’s webtoons and may work with him closely as the webtoon division gears up for a platform launch.
As the show progresses, Seo Yoon attempts to get closer to Do Gyeom through their work, realizing that her feelings for him are too much to ignore.
While the main leads struggle to navigate through their own relationships, their parents’ meddling complicate their efforts.
Seo Yoon’s mother, Kim Sun Hee (Choi Myung Gil), attempts to arrange a marriage between Seo Yoon and Ji Woo. Though Ji Woo’s mother accepted the proposal, Ji Woo himself rejects the idea. Initially, it appeared Sun Hee’s motivations were for wealth and power. However, the show indicates Sun Hee is hiding a darker secret.
To All The Guys Who Loved Me throws a startling plot-twist in; Sun Hee was Ji Woo’s classmate in a prior life. Moreover, while she had feelings for Ji Woo, another woman named Min Ju who looks exactly like Hyun Joo won his love instead. Sun Hee has a twisted desire to arrange a marriage between her daughter and Ji Woo, so that her young love can be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, Sun Hee investigates Hyun Joo, wondering how she looks exactly like her old classmate, and attempts to stop her burgeoning relationship with Ji Woo.
On the other hand, Hyun Joo feels burdened by the pressure of her own parents. Both wish to see their daughter married, and grow frustrated by her attempts to stay single. The pair grow even more intrusive after witnessing Do Gyeom planting a playful kiss on Hyun Joo’s cheek, fueling their hopes that Hyun Joo and Do Gyeom are dating.
After a few meetings with Ji Woo, Hyun Joo’s mother grows fond of him and his wealth, while Hyun Joo’s father remains fond of Do Gyeom. The pair make a startling announcement that they wish Hyun Joo to marry either one of them, putting Hyun Joo in a tough place to choose between her suitors.
To All The Guys Who Loved Me Mid-Series Afterthoughts
Despite it’s strong premise To All The Guys Who Loved Me falls short of its promises. Though some quirky comedic scenes here and there may summon a laugh, its comedic rhythm seems more forced than natural.
While the idea of past lives is certainly intriguing, the show obviously sets up Ji Woo as the victor of Hyun Joo’s heart. While Do Gyeom certainly makes a good effort at winning over her affections, it is clear that Ji Woo is Hyun Joo’s fated partner. The show makes this glaringly evident through their tender moments and flashbacks of previous lives. As such, it makes the love triangle boring–a simple delay of the inevitable.
The show lacks excitement between its main love triangle to keep viewers on their toes. Halfway through its run, To All The Guys who Loved Me needs a big moment to shake things up.
Furthermore, while Sun Hee’s big secret is a creative twist, the show clumsily navigates between a romantic-comedy and a melodrama. Its more mysterious, sinister scenes of Sun Hee reminiscing on her prior life, or Ji Woo keeping their past lives a secret from Hyun Joo seem out of place. The imbalance between the genres distracts audiences from the plot at hand.
The show’s current saving grace is arguably Seo Yoon’s sweet emerging relationship with Do Gyeom. Moreover, her relationship with her mother is an interesting avenue for exploration. As the show heats up with Sun Hee’s dark secret fuelling her schemes, audiences can look forward to rocky waters ahead.
To All The Guys Who Loved Me airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:30 PM KST on KBS2.
Image Source: KBS2
Video Source: Viu