sab: It is hard NOT to compare Secret against its better cousin, 1% of Anything. Since both dramas are from the same PD and both source from a manhwa (and have cute manhwa-ish openings that make reference to its origin). Tbh, I am glad that Secret has finally ended, so its slot can be freed up for other more deserving shows. Then again, to be fair to OCN’s first foray into K rom-com, Secret isn’t a COMPLETE flop – near, but not so bad that I gave up watching completely.
I do like Secret’s premise of starting off with the “cart before the horse”, so to speak. Instead of having the usual boy-meets-girl, misunderstanding-to-understanding each other, fall in love, have hot kisses and later a sexy bed scene, Secret begins with the sex, and works backwards from there. The idea of meeting with a guy/ gal whom you hardly knew but shared a one-night stand years later is embarrassing to say the least. And to meet in a boss-subordinate type of relationship – eeks, and face palm.
Unfortunately, Secret fails to milk the potential comedic gold that can arise from this situation. Instead, what we end up with is a female lead who is annoyingly insecure to the point she allows herself to be walked over by her colleagues and her lover-boss. And a male lead who oftimes comes across as being sexually harassing than sexy. Unlike some viewers (Secret does have its fan base), I am not sold on the so-called “chemistry” between the OTP, or Jin-wook’s “hotness”. Instead, what I see is plain ol’ bullying. Luckily, Jin-wook stops doing that midway into Secret, and once we are past that, the OTP finally begin to connect.
Where the OTP fails to deliver, the side characters in Secret step up. I absolutely adore Secretary Jang’s secret romance with Je-ni. Both are clandestine hotties with a killer fashion sense (they actually manage to carry off the most absurd colors without looking like clowns!). My only grouch is they don’t get enough screen time. And I actually adore the so-called “bitchy second female lead”, Hye-ri. As I’ve mentioned before, she is not like Joo-hee in 1%, who is juz insane through and through. I fully empathise with Hye-ri’s unrequited love – the little backstory we have of her meeting “her Jin-wook oppa” when she was a high schooler is cute. She practically had stars in her eyes when she saw the handsome stranger who was also her father’s beloved student. Hye-ri is Jin-wook’s perpetual fan-girl, she loves her oppa precisely because she has pedestaled him.
So her disappointment that he will engage in a “loose fling” and fall in love with the girl whom he “just had a fling with” finally knocked Jin-wook off from her mental pedestal, and Hye-ri becomes less clingy after that. Definitely a more graceful exit than 1%’s Joo-hee, who until the very end, has no idea why kidnapping someone is so wrong. So I’m pretty happy that Hye-ri gets a second chance at love, and with someone who also needed some healing. Like herself, Hyun-tae has been holding a torch for clueless Yoo-mi, but doesn’t have Hye-ri’s boldness to admit to his feelings. He finally works up the courage in the final ep to ask Hye-ri to travel with him though (which is a BIG step for someone who is too good at holding his feelings in).
While Hye-ri and Hyun-tae (despite their lesser screen time) experience an exponential character growth, our OTP spend a long time to finally realise what they need to do – which is to ignore the noise and juz love each other. Yoo-mi finally learns to shed her inferiority complex that stems from her rather brazen mother, and Jin-wook realised he cannot sit back and let another woman walk out of his life again. Though for the latter, we are still in the dark as to why Jin-wook’s mum chose to leave him in the past. (loose end, there)
It’s a good thing Secret ends with ep13…I really cannot stand ANOTHER ep of the OTP stepping on the same spot and NOT moving (narratively speaking).
kooriyuki: And I was telling sab, was I supposed to feel touched at their “reunion” in Episode 12? This drama went from “okay interesting” to “OMG can it just end now?!” I felt the development of the story went from a sizzling hot beginning to something even more drab than Yoo-mi’s fashion in the end. There’s just too little plot to sustain so many episodes and if the writer was thinking of banking on some cute moments to tide through, I have to say that failed.
Yoo-mi looked lost most of the time and Jin-wook frowns more than smiles, and I have to agree with sab that the latter borders on harrassment and bullying in the first half of Show. Understandably, he was lost and confused when Yoo-mi left without a word from their ONS three years ago, but it didn’t give him the right to keep bullying her. It’s thinly veiled S/M narratively and honestly I don’t know what kind of message Show is trying to get across.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fluffy dreamy romcoms like 1% of Anything, but this? It tests my patience and have me shaking my head because the heroine is poorly written and the hero can be so brazenly MCP at times I just cannot. Not forgetting also as sab mentioned above, we were not told why Jin-wook’s mother left, why he’s surrounded by all kinds of rumors before he met Yoo-mi when he claims he ain’t that playboy (but he was). There were certain scenes that were surprisingly not cliched although I’m not sure whether that’s a pro or con, such as I was expecting Jin-wook to find Yoo-mi at his mother’s but he didn’t, or Jin-wook’s misunderstanding of Yoo-mi’s baby brother as his son. The latter could have been played out as a hijink but it kind of fell flat, though I really liked how unconventional Yoo-mi’s Mom was in that scene.
Would I recommend Show? Most likely not, unless you’re really free and prefers romcom over any other genre.