K-Drama Review: “To All The Guys Who Loved Me” Rejects Typical Relationships In Its Comedic Journey
To All The Guys Who Loved Me promises a refreshing journey through life, love, and reincarnation.
To All The Guys Who Loved Me stands out as one of the dramas that tries to reject normal notions of romance. Led by actress, Hwang Jung Eum, who plays the independent-spirited Seo Hyun Joo, audiences are kept on their toes with her adamant rejection of love. As the drama blends the characters’ past and present lifetimes together, the drama crafts a fantastical twist on typical romantic comedies. However, for all its efforts to bring something new to the table, its messages are watered down by excessive humor that often falls flat.
TITLE: TO ALL THE GUYS WHO LOVED ME
THEME: DRAMA, ROMANCE, COMEDY
LENGTH: 16 EPISODES
BROADCAST DATE: 06 JULY 2020 – 01 SEPTEMBER 2020
MAIN LEADS: HWANG JUNG EUM | YOON HYUN MIN | SEO JI HOON | JO WOO RI
HIGHLIGHTS: STRONG WOMEN | REINCARNATION
DRAWBACKS: PREDICTABLE | COMEDY FALLS FLAT
Quick Plot Round-Up
To All The Guys Who Loved Me follows Seo Hyun Joo (Hwang Jung Eum), a lead webtoonist who vows to remain single. She encounters Hwang Ji Woo (Yoon Hyun Min), a mysterious CEO of a successful pharmaceutical company who takes a keen interest in her. Meanwhile, her best friend Park Do Gyeom (Seo Ji Hoon) remains loyally by her side, and secretly in love with her.
Unbeknownst to Hyun Joo, Ji Woo has a secret: all three of them are connected by their past lifetimes, in which they were involved in a love triangle. After Hyun Joo begins working for Hyun Min under his new webtoonist division, she grows closer to her new boss who interests her with his mystery. As Ji Woo begins falling for Hyun Joo for the fourth time, he begins to help her recover the old memories of her past lives which haunt her dreams.
Do Gyeom struggles as he watches the pair grow closer. Despite eventually confessing his feelings to Hyun Joo, he remains in the friend-zone as she admits she sees him more as a brother. Meanwhile, his co-worker Han Seo Yoon (Jo Woo Ri) harbours her own crush for Do Gyeom.
Seo Yoon struggles with her feelings as her mother Kim Sun Hee (Choi Myung Gil), tries to arrange a marriage between her and Ji Woo. The show’s largest plot twist is that Sun Hee was a classmate to Ji Woo in her prior life, and also in love with him.
The drama blends melodrama with romantic comedy as the characters stumble through their complex relationships, while Sun Hee remains determined to keep Hyun Joo and Ji Woo apart.
Highlights & Drawbacks
Though as a whole, To All The Guys Who Loved Me fell short of its promising synposis, the strong female leads kept viewers attached. The series’ main character, Hyun Joo, charmed with her headstrong and independent personality. While she favored her love for Ji Woo rather than her vow to remain single, she still remained adamant that conventional labels such as marriage, were not for everyone. Moreover, her ambition within her career was an admirable trait to see flourish within each episode.
Additionally, Seo Yoon was a shining light within the show. Although pressured by her mother to marry Ji Woo, Seo Yoon refused, ultimately running away. She chose her own career path as well as her own lover and was unexpectedly bold despite her more timid personality. Moreover, for all the pain her mother had caused her, she still sought to make amends with her, forgiving her mother for her actions.
To All The Guys Who Loved Me also impressed with its reincarnation plot twist. Though handled albeit clumsily with various plot holes, its premise of a couple reuniting across a series of lifetimes made the show more substantial. It also provided more mystery and excitement which had viewers looking forward to the next episodes.
Despite its merits, the drama fell short of its potential. It clearly linked Hyun Hoo and Ji Woo as its inevitable couple and was predictable since its premiere. Though Sun Hee’s villainous ways were meant to provide some suspense, her actions felt disjointed and clumsily included as the show failed to integrate her character into the plot from the start.
Often times, its comedy also fell flat. Instead, the humor felt forced, distracting viewers. Its comedic bits seemed overexaggerated at times, leaving audiences anticipating their end to move on to more plot-based scenes.
As a whole. To All The Guys Who Loved Me, unfortunately missed the mark. Overshadowed by more powerful releases this year, the drama pales in comparison to other stronger shows.
Though the show attempted to provide a new spin on love, its use of tropes such as love-triangles and soul mates were not creative enough. At times, the drama came across as more stereotypical than unique which made for a dull watch. Furthermore, its comedic scenes slowed its pace and took away screen time from more plot-related scenes.
While the concept of reincarnation was certainly interesting, To All The Guys Who Loved Me failed to devote more time on this aspect of the show. Instead, it only explored the past in extremely brief flashbacks. It would have been more satisfying to see the characters’ past lives develop alongside their present timeline constantly, rather than connecting the past and present at the latter end of the series.
The show is recommended for anyone looking for a light-hearted watch, though it may not enrapture one’s attention entirely.
Image Source: KBS2
Video Source: Most Contents Official