Maybe Warm was too hyped up during pre-productions, with all the pretty pics from the location shoots and the knowledge that the famous Hong Sisters are penning the script. That can explain why I felt a little cheated (?) after completing Warm. I came in with rather high expectations, knowing that the scriptwriters had proven their worth (re: Master Sun), Kang So-ra and Yoo Yoon-seok can act, plus the location is new (no more boring Seoul skyscrapers, more Nature, more Sea).
To be fair, all three aspects have been met to a certain extent. Granted, Warm may not go down in history as one of Hong Sisters’ top dramas, but it isn’t so horrid that you’d drop it like a hot potato. There are moments of cute and quirkiness that are trademarks of Hong Sisters’ romcoms. I do enjoy the bickering and push-pulling between Gun-woo and Jung-joo — at least before the cross talking becomes miscommunication or pure spite. I’ve also pointed out earlier that Warm is a drama where there’s more flower (female) power than the usual Alpha male-cave man thing. The women stand out — they are strong-willed, but not stubbornly irrational, emotionally grounded, but still sensitive to others’ needs. Very in line with the backgrounds of Jeju-do’s haenyeo culture.
The ending of Warm also emphasises on the feminity of the show. Whatever aggression we saw earlier in Warm is now gone and healed over. As symbolised by how the existing and new Jeju-do’s inhabitants gather in Warm and Cozy Restaurant for a meal. Contrast that with how they treat each other earlier — with hostility, suspicions, jealousy and animosity. Even the romantic competition between Wook and Gun-woo dissolves and both become friends.
However, I do not like the storyline of Gun-woo’s dad and mum (aka The Great Gatsby-ish representatives). Imo, it is already enough for Gun-woo to have to deal with his mum being the second wife in the chaebol family, without him having to also deal with a dad who was a supposed murderer. Then having to learn that his dad may not be the murderer after all…whatever. Seriously, if this element is included to increase some form of familial or romantic tension, and thereby milk our sympathy for Gun-woo, it falls flat. I juz felt…bored.
I’d rather watch Gun-woo and Jung-joo bicker endlessly on crap topics and talking off tangent with each other than having Gun-woo suddenly turn broody over the Murderer-Dad’s return. And reading the online comments about Warm show I’m not alone. Yoo Yoon-seok and Kang So-ra do help to float Warm, given that the script isn’t the usual meaty types we are familiar with. Other than the (small?) element of Gun-woo’s dad, there isn’t the usual chaebol-family type problems. Jang-geun is a decent guy and a really cool hyung, open minded enough to accept Gun-woo as a blood sibling, even though he isn’t even remotely one. We are all too familiar with those infightings between siblings and half siblings in Kdramas. To actually have a step brother that doesn’t stoop to back stabbing — wow.
To return to our leads — I won’t give them a prize for sizzling chemistry (there are better OTP couples out there), but they look cute together. Yoo Yoon-seok expertly displays the subtle changes that Gun-woo undergoes post-Jung-joo. From the petulant brat to the slightly more emotionally matured man. Kang So-ra too — I really dislike her initially, when Jung-joo is still a Seoulite. But the transportation to Jeju-do also changes Jung-joo and she becomes less of a damsel in distress to a full fledged haenyeo who can hold her own against any strong currents.
There is one thing I do love about Warm though. The setting. Yeah…the crystal blue ocean, the large empty spaces, the vast sunflower, canola, wildflowers fields. SO PRETTY. Makes you want to be there. Now.