Review More Than Friends JTBC 경우의 수 Friends-to-lovers stories never get tiresome. Or do they? JTBC’s latest romance/youth drama More Than Friends tells an age-old tale with some cable channel frankness, but also leans heavily on all the storytelling elements we might expect.
Like many a drama that relies on relationship background, the premiere week of More Than Friends is heavy on its backstory. When we open, we meet our heroine KYUNG WOO-YEON (Shin Ye-eun) in the past during her high school days. She’s adorable and sweet, but a bit persecuted by the cool girl clique. For all the high school angst, though, she also makes two wonderful girl friends, who we’ll also follow through the drama’s storyline — they’re HAN JIN-JOO (Baek Soo-min who I always seem to love), and KIM YOUNG-HEE (Ahn Eun-jin).
But there’s a third character that becomes the centerpiece of her high school years, and that’s the school heartthrob, LEE SOO (Ong Sung-woo). He protects (and yet playfully torments) our heroine like the best of dramaland’s male leads — for all the teasing and mockery, though, Lee Soo is totally charming. It’s easy to see why Woo-yeon falls head over heels for him.
The basic construct of More Than Friends is Woo-yeon’s unrequited love for Soo, and how it’s held her back in more than just her love life. But it’s not like she didn’t try to win him over, either. Our first two episodes chronicle not one, but two, earnest confessions — once in high school, and once when Soo returns from school in the States during their college years. Both times she confesses, or any time she’s honest about her feelings for him, he’s just as frank back: he only sees her as a friend. Pfftt.
Soo often admits that he’s selfish and self-centered — maybe that’s why he has no qualms about being swoony and sweet to Woo-yeon, knowing full well he’s only encouraging her feelings for him? It’s a little cruel, because no matter the time frame we’re talking about (high school, college, twenties), he can make a girl weak in the knees.
Though he denies it, it’s pretty apparent on camera (at least to me!) that there’s some serious chemistry between them. Picturesque laundry washing scene where Woo-yeon trips and Soo has to grab her not once, but twice? Swoony meet-ups and the hints of liking her? Early on, the drama almost gave me Sense and Sensibility vibes, with Marianne waiting-waiting-waiting for a love confession from the rakish Willoughby.
Much like that Jane Austen story, though, the love connection doesn’t happen for Woo-yeon and Soo. And even worse, Woo-yeon spends ten years of her life unable to fit anyone else inside her heart. When we meet her in present day, she’s in her twenties and has racked up more than a dozen ex-boyfriends. She tries to have feelings for them, and dates people she thinks she could grow to like, but it always ends with a dumping: she can’t forget Lee Soo.
Ten years is a long time for a young girl to nurse feelings for someone, but Woo-yeon is totally believable in this circumstance for two reasons: one, that Soo is so flirty and familiar when they’re together that it’s hard not to take it romantically; and two, because Lee Soo is unequivocally melty and appealing.
In fact, I would argue this drama is basically held together by the boyish charm of Ong Seung-woo. If he wasn’t so convincing in this role, I don’t think the drama would be able to carry its construct as far as it does. อ่านต่อ