What can you say about a drama that is over 100 episodes and not getting subbed? What can you say about a drama where the first 60 episodes are just fantastic but the rest slowly dissolved into the WTFery territory? Let me introduce to you, Only Love. MDL Refers to mydramalist.com
Seo Ha Joon as Kim Tae Yang
Im Se Mi as Choi Yoo Ri
Lee Kyu Han as Choi Jae Min
Nam Bo Ra as Kim Saet Byul
Yoon Jong Hoon as Kim Woo Joo
Kim Ye Won as Hong Mi Rae
Jung Sung Mo as Kim Sang Bae
Song Ok Sook as Oh Mal Sook
Yoon So Jung as Yang Yang Soon
Jung Hye Sun as Woo Jum Soon
Han Seo Jin as Kim Soo Ah
Kil Yong Woo as Choi Dong Joon
Lee Eung Kyung as Lee Young Ran
Lee Hyun Wook as Choi Yoo Bin
Seo Woo Rim as Kang Min Ja
No Young Kook as Choi Myung Joon
Oh Mi Hee as Jung Sook Hee
Lee Jung Eun as Park Soon Ja
Love like fate
One woman lost her love in an accident and was left pregnant. Leaving her child behind with his paternal family, the child was left abandoned and one of several lies were formed. A married woman is hiding this past. Single mothers, love between the classes who must overcome the prejudices of the rich and poor as portrayed by the men and women in this drama which focuses on three distinct couples. It is a warm family drama about grown-ups and the family around them. Whoever wrote this synopsis from SBS was definitely DEEP into the soju!
Character Introductions (this will be lengthy!)
It is so rare that you have a cast of characters in a drama that have as much importance as the main cast. I would be remiss in leaving out anyone because of their part in this drama. I’m not even sure how to classify this drama. Melodrama? Definitely. Family? Possible. Suspense? Every cliff-hanger leaves us suspended until the next episode. Makjang? Absolutely, as a matter of fact SUPER MAKJANG! Horror? HAHAHA!! Sorry, there is a reason for that. This drama is so involved, I don’t know where to begin except by explaining SOME character and their importance (or non-importance) to the drama.
We have our main couple, Tae Yang and Yu Ri. Tae Yang is a Orthopedic Surgeon at the hospital that is owned by Yu Ri’s family. Yu Ri first met Tae Yang while doing a documentary at the hospital. As the PD, it is safe to say that for Yu Ri, it was love at first sight. From this moment on, she proceeded to go into stalker mode by stalking him out at the hospital, asking her brother for information on him and then went as far as stalking him at the swimming pool whereby she went in the pool, barely knowing how to swim which resulted in the near drowning scene above. And so there love story began.
This relationship had developed so freaking fast, it was basically doomed in my estimation. They meet in the first 2 episodes, are meeting for coffee and exchanging cell phone numbers by episode 5. By episode 13, they are dating heavy and spending the night (innocently) together.
The declaration of love is by episode 20. However, what we thought would be the easiest love story literally turned into the “Nightmare on a Seoul Street” drama! This drama, instead of losing its way, totally lost its mind! Or maybe someone kidnapped the writer, Choi Yoon Jung who also brought us “Emergency Couple” (now I’m afraid to watch)!
At the beginning of the drama, Yu Ri and her twin brother Yu Bin have a great relationship. He is even encouraging her to “go for it” in her pursuit of Tae Yang. But what goes up, must come down…and down…and down…until it finally crashes and burns. More on this later.
Yu Ri’s father, Director Choi Dong Joon, has nothing but respect for Tae Yang in the profession and his expertise in the field of medicine (at first). In the earlier episodes, Yu Bin also respects Tae Yang with maybe a little bit of jealously. But as we viewers watched in HORROR, what was jealousy turned into full-fledge and roaring ugliness to the tenth power! BIG TIME!!
As is typical in a lot of Korean dramas, we had the grand matriarch/halmeoni from the netherworlds, Kang Min Ja. This woman never relented in her utter hatred, no, not dislike but pure hatred of Tae Yang. From the very beginning, this woman was nasty, nasty, nasty and never changed her opinion. Somehow, because Tae Yang was a brilliant surgeon, that equated to “he’s trying to steal the hospital”. Yes, I never liked this woman, right up to the end. A lot of what happens I truly put the blame on her shoulders. She turned Yu Bin from a caring brother to a raving maniac whose only intent was to destroy poor innocent Tae Yang! It took a LONG time for this idiot to see the light!
It is rare that you watch a drama and see a character two different ways: an evil, conniving woman and as a poster model for abused women everywhere. The level of abuse that Lee Young Ran (with the help of her brother) subjected on her biological son, Tae Yang until she knew he was her son was excessive to the point of putting the man in the hospital, multiple kidnappings and verbal abuse of the worse kind. Once she became aware, the abuser became the abused by her husband. Again, the abuse was unprecedented. I was really surprised at the level of abuse that was allowed for this prime time show. As a matter of fact, the abuse was so severe, it made me question the sanity of the Parental and Television groups that control what is shown on television in South Korea. Obviously, an innocent kiss between two people who like/love each other is a no-no but slapping the crap out of a woman is acceptable? REALLY, FOLKS? We need to talk!!
What can I say about Daddy dearest? Who would ever think that this man, Choi Dong Joon could not only surpass his wife, Lee Young Ran in evilness but could also make you feel sorry for her, his family, and definitely poor, poor tortured Tae Yang! This man’s insanity became a joke, it was so severe. He started out as an indifferent but caring father to a man who needed to be committed to the Insane Asylum. If I could, I would love to check the actor to see if he checked himself into a mental health wellness clinic after this role. His actions towards his wife, children and especially Tae Yang were unlike any I’d seen in a drama. It became so comical that our fellow soompi watchers were busy re-writing the drama and creating colorful but funny pictures like:
As most of us continued watching, these thoughts definitely ran through our minds but I must say, regardless of how ridiculous this character became, I was thoroughly entertained. Okay, maybe I laughed too much during scenes that maybe weren’t supposed to be funny! After awhile, you just couldn’t help yourself. I realize that because of the numerous cancellations of the drama for soccer and other special events, the writer, producer, and television powers that be wanted to return the drama to the ratings prior to these interruptions. Truly, I think they succeeded. As Choi Dong Joon got crazier, the ratings went up and up and up!
The saving grace to this drama was these two: Choi Jae Min and Kim Saet Byul; the highlight of the drama. It was sheer joy watching these two, especially Jae Min who also fell really hard for Saet Byul. I had a great time making GIFs of this character because he was entertainment by himself:
The cuteness of their relationship lasted for most of the drama. Of course, there was the expected period of Jae Min accepting Saet Byul, the single mother and her precious daughter, Kim Soo Ah and the additional period of the family approving their marriage after the many, many falsehoods plopped on Tae Yang’s head as Saet Byul was his sister. Unfortunately, because of the nonsense of the Yu Ri/Tae Yang storyline, these two really became backseat characters in the last 1/3 of the drama. They were the favorite of all and the least seen in the last 20-30 episodes. Yes, as you can imagine, we were not amused. But as expected, the time these two and little Soo Ah were on the screen were precious and well received. Maybe someone should have told the writer to drive the drama in their direction. It sure would have been a much better drama.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the most annoying, waste of time characters in a drama ever: Kim Woo Joo and his whinny, jealous and annoying wife, Hong Mi Rae. Their relationship was pretty much decided from the beginning when she lied about being pregnant. Somehow, that little tidbit got dropped and no one seemed to care that the woman lied to get marry. Every minute that these two were given was wasted. We were inundated with scenes where Mi Rae would whine for attention, whine if someone yelled at her; whine if Saet Byul was praised for something; whine because things didn’t go her way, she just whined a lot! It was beyond annoying. I can truthfully say, even I wanted to fast-forward through their scenes. I just wasn’t interested; nobody was.
And the best mother in a daily drama award goes to….drumroll please… Jung Sook Hee!! Jae Min’s mother was a pure saint! From beginning to the end, this woman who forgave her husband, Choi Myung Joon for his many affairs, a woman who protected her son and believed in his choice of life partners and a woman who immediately treated Soo Ah, Saet Byul’s daughter as her grand-daughter, there really isn’t a single disparaging word that I can say about this character! She truly was the heroine of the drama and saved it many, many times from being totally mundane! Thank you, Sook Hee: Drama Saver!
The true winner of this drama was Tae Yang’s hair! Yes! From scene to scene, whether it was a kidnapping, beating, fist fight, jail, you name it, Tae Yang’s hair remained intact and styled to a tee! Never was a hair out of place. Damn, even when the man was buried up to his neck in the woods, his hair was still styling! I kid you NOT! It was a running joke that the hair alone could have been a character!
So, what is my final verdict? I cannot consciously recommend this to most people; however, daily drama addicts like me would find the humor in most of the drama. I admit to not being bored but definitely wishing that the story and the writer didn’t decide to take the story down the path to bizarro world. Why, writer-nim, why? Unfortunately, this drama was never subbed. It was through recaps and early episode translations that most of us got through the drama. It was pretty easy to follow and I admit as I am a glutton for punishment that if this drama ever surfaces as subbed, I would actually re-watch most of it just for the hilarity of it! I know my friend and fellow daily drama watcher, Nelly would agree, we would not hesitate to watch it again. Seriously.
MDL Rating: 7, because obviously in S.Korea, abuse of women is okay while romance is a no-no. Priorities, people.
Side Note: Generally for daily dramas, the studio will offer a limited number of songs from the OST. Can I say that this is the best OST from a daily drama ever? I wished they had released ALL of the songs!